Cold Case Files - The Baiting Game   View more episodes

Aired at 01:00 PM on Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 (1/13/2010)      View all transcripts from this day

Transcript

00:00:01into the woods to investigate.
00:00:04>> I came out, and stopped, and walked up this logging road and went up to where this pile of wood and a couch was.
00:00:10And underneath this you could see the deteriorating head of a human being.
00:00:17>> KURTIS: The head is attached to the body of a man wrapped in a bedsheet and badly decomposed.
00:00:22Office Minter wastes no time calling homicide.
00:00:26>> It was obvious that he didn't get under this pile of wood by himself.
00:00:30We handled this from the very beginning as a homicide because of the circumstances.
00:00:34>> KURTIS: Investigators need to put a name to their victim.
00:00:38They follow the body to the county morgue, hoping an examination of the corpse itself will provide them with an answer.
00:00:58On the morning of October 3, Captain Kimmy Nester examines Henry County's John Doe.
00:01:05>> The body's extremely badly decomposed; as bad as any of I've ever seen in my 20- something year career.
00:01:11>> KURTIS: Fingerprints offer Nester the best chance of putting a name to the corpse; that is if the captain is able to salvage a print from the rapidly decomposing hands.
00:01:21>> We were concerned that prior to the body being delivered on Monday to the medical examiner that the skin tissue might be further deteriorated or damaged or destroyed.
00:01:30Therefore the decision was made to collect it at the morgue versus let it wait to the time the autopsy actually occurred.
00:01:37>> KURTIS: Using an X-acto knife Nester cuts around the first layer of John Doe's skin, called the epidermal glove.
00:01:44He then slips the transparent skin off John Doe's right hand and into a jar of formaldehyde.
00:01:51The fingertips are sent 50 miles north to the medical examiner's office in Roanoke, care of the latent print unit.
00:02:10Forensic scientist Lyle Shaver is given the task of eva John Doe's harvested skin.
00:02:15He likes what he sees.
00:02:18>> I was much more exited to have that glove print, that outer layer, because I know that that contains the first layer of skin, which is the easiest to work with.
00:02:30>> KURTIS: Shaver identifies the right thumb as his best chance for recovering a usable print, but first he needs to transfer the friction ridges onto paper.
00:02:39He does this by slipping on the skin of a dead man.
00:02:42>> It's just like putting on a glove.
00:02:45In this particular instance I had the right thumb that I knew I was dealing with by the shape of the friction ridge scan.
00:02:52I was able to place that over my thumb.
00:02:55And you just lay that over your finger, and you're able to roll it as if it were your own finger.
00:03:01>> KURTIS: Wearing the skin of John Doe's right thumb, Shaver gently rolls the fingerprint ridges, and a clear ridge outline appears.
00:03:09The transfer is a success.
00:03:11Shaver enters the print into the automated fingerprint identification system.
00:03:16In a matter of minutes, AFIS compares the lift against more than ten million prints and produces a hit-- 35-year-old Jerry McLendon.
00:03:28>> That was a big break in the case, that we identified the unknown body, which led us to look for where his whereabouts were.
00:03:34And we looked and found that he was from the city of Virginia Beach in Virginia, and that he was a sailor.
00:03:40>> KURTIS: McLendon was reported AWOL ten days earlier from the Little Creek Naval Base.
00:03:45Nester contacts the Virginia Beach Police and tells them he has found their missing sailor.
00:03:50Unfortunately, he is dead.
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00:07:34On October 6, Virginia Beach Detectives Pat Tucker and Doug Williams knock on the door of Jerry McLendon's home.
00:07:41No one answers.
00:07:43>> This was important.
00:07:44We had to make contact with somebody.
00:07:47We looked in the windows.
00:07:49The house appeared to be empty, which was very unusual.
00:07:52>> KURTIS: With no warrant to enter the home, Tucker and Williams prepare to leave when they notice a mailbox by the curb.
00:07:59>> And we looked at each other and said, "Why not?" So we opened up the mailbox, and we noticed that the letters were addressed to Jerry McLendon, some of them, but there were also correspondence in that mailbox addressed to a David Deshazo and a Roxanne Latham.
00:08:16>> KURTIS: Roxanna Latham and David Deshazo.
00:08:19The two names are passed on to the Henry County Sheriff's Department, to the desk of Captain Kimmy Nester.
00:08:27Nester runs both names against his local police databank and gets a hit.
00:08:31David Deshazo's name pops up on an old police report.
00:08:35Even more interesting is Deshog cabin complex in Henry County, Virginia.
00:08:45Detectives decide they need to talk to Deshazo to find out two things-- first, why is he receiving mail at a dead man's apartment, and second, why does he now live less than two miles from where that man's body was discovered?
00:09:07In the early evening hours of October 6, David Deshazo welcomes Captain Nester and Detective Adams into his living room.
00:09:15His fiancée Roxanna Latham stands by his side.
00:09:18The couple tell detectives they boarded with Jerry McLendon in Virginia Beach up until two weeks ago.
00:09:25Now Henry County is their home.
00:09:27They made the 250-mile move west be close to Deshazo's family.
00:09:32And, detectives note, close to the dumping ground for Jerry McLendon's body.
00:09:37>> I think they were very cautious in what they said, calculated, and I think they were nervous underneath.
00:09:44>> KURTIS: David and Roxanna claimed they last saw Jerry McLendon two weeks earlier in Virginia Beach, and had only recently learned of his death from the local newspaper reports.
00:09:55>> I asked them, you know, "Well, why didn't you contact us when you found out that this was Jerry McLendon from Virginia Beach and you used to live with him?" >> The answer was more or less, "We were afraid that you'd think we had something to do with it." >> KURTIS: This is exactly what detectives are beginning to believe.
00:10:10>> I had only been an investigator at the time for about seven months but I could tell that they had something to do with it.
00:10:18They was just... they were acting too nervous about it.
00:10:21>> KURTIS: Circumstance has placed David Deshazo and Roxanna Latham in the crosshairs of a murder investigation.
00:10:28Hard evidence, however, would be required to keep them there.
00:10:31In a moment, cold case detectives return to their best piece of evidence, the body of their victim, to see if it can tell them anything more about their killer.
00:01:29>> KURTIS: Doctor William Maselow is the Assistant Chief Medical Examiner for western Virginia.
00:01:35For 22 years he has been opening up bodies, hunting for clues, extracting information from the dead.
00:01:42>> Most of the deaths that we investigate are reasonably straightforward.
00:01:47Each pathologist has three or four every year that are rather mystifying, and this one was somewhat mystifying.
00:01:54>> KURTIS: The body of sailor Jerry McLendon was discovered dumped on a trash heap in rural Virginia.
00:02:01From the onset detectives have treated the case as a homicide.
00:02:04A review of the body, however, presents a troubling question-- if McLendon was murdered, exactly how did it happen?
00:02:13>> We didn't find any evidence that this person had died of any sort of violent injury such as a beating or a gunshot or a stabbing or anything like this, because these you would be able to see.
00:02:26>> KURTIS: On October 5, Maselow cuts into McLendon's body hoping to find more subtle signs of murder.
00:02:32He immediately notes swelling along the inner lining of the throat and damage to the lungs, both consistent with a loss of oxygen and death by asphyxiation.
00:02:44Toxicology adds yet another twist, reporting high levels of a tranquilizing drug called Alprazolam, or as it's commonly known, Xanax.
00:02:54>> This indicates that the person, you know, had probably been in a relaxed state.
00:02:59Perhaps he'd been groggy, perhaps they'd... had been asleep, passed out if you will.
00:03:06>> KURTIS: Doctor Maselow's findings pinpoint the means of murder.
00:03:12Someone blocked Jerry McLendon's airways and killed him.
00:03:14Detectives now retn to what they believe to be the killing ground-- the victim's apartment in Virginia Beach.
00:03:32For the second time in two weeks, Virginia Beach detectives Doug Williams and Pat Tucker arrive outside 1764 Solar Lane.
00:03:39This time, however, McLendon's family has granted them permission to enter the building.
00:03:47The house is deserted save one room.
00:03:49Inside Jerry McLendon's bedroom detectives find signs of a struggle.
00:03:54>> You know, it certainly... it looked like something had happened.
00:03:59>> KURTIS: The bed is stripped.
00:04:00A pillowcase on the floor is stained with what appears to be bodily fluid.
00:04:04The fabric design matches the bedsheet found covering McLendon's naked body in Henry County.
00:04:09The story the room offers is consistent with Dr. Maselow's findings-- with a pillow as his or her murder weapon, the killer appears to have smothered McLendon in his own bedroom, then dumped his body 250 miles away in the backwoods of Virginia.
00:04:26>> We didn't know why the murder had been perpetrated against Jerry McLendon.
00:04:30We can only speculate.
00:04:31>> KURTIS: When homicide detectives begin to speculate about motive one of the first things they follow is the money.
00:04:36Tucker and Williams pull McLendon's bank and credit reports.
00:04:40They find the victim's ATM account was very active within the three days surrounding McLendon's first disappearance.
00:04:47>> And luckily for us, the ATM machines that were used in 1992 had cameras.
00:04:53Hey, lieutenant, this is Pat Tucker.
00:04:57>> KURTIS: Detectives request all the photos taken when McLendon's account was activated, and cross their fingers that their killer isn't camera shy.
00:05:03>> Is there any way I can get a hold of him?
00:05:14>> KURTIS: In the back of the Lindhaven Mall an automated cash machine does a brisk business.
00:05:20Hidden above the console, a camera snaps pictures of each transaction.
00:05:24On September 22, the day Jerry McLendon disappeared, these images were captured.
00:05:29The first shows David Deshazo withdrawing $200 from McLendon's account.
00:05:35The second depicts Deshazo again, but this time his fiancée Roxanna Latham is with him.
00:05:42This time $100 is taken from McLendon's account.
00:05:46Over the next three days the pair would return four times, six transactions in all, totaling $1,500 dollars.
00:05:53Investigators know Latham and Deshazo well.
00:05:56The engaged couple roomed with Jerry McLendon in Virginia Beach.
00:06:00The pair moved to Henry County the same week McLendon's body was fod within two miles of their new home.
00:06:06The coincidence is alarming.
00:06:08Detectives suspect Deshazo and Latham killed McLendon for his money, but without physical evidence their case for murder is lacking.
00:06:16>> The next step we needed to take was to separate the two suspects.
00:06:20We knew that they were engaged, we knew that they were in love, and as long as they stayed together, we would have less chance of getting anything out of either one of them.
00:06:31>> KURTIS: Detectives decide to arrest only Roxanna for credit card fraud, hoping some time in a holding cell might coax a confession out of the 29-year- old suspect.
00:06:42>> We wanted to hear what she had to say.
00:06:45We wanted to let her talk.
00:06:46"Tell us what you know, tell us what went on." And then we were going to, you know, feel it out from there.
00:06:51>> KURTIS: On November 19 Roxanna Latham is arrested in Henry County and driven 250 miles to Virginia Beach, and five hours away from her fiancé David Deshazo.
00:07:07>> That transaction took place on the 25th, Roxanne.
00:07:10>> KURTIS: Seven hours after she was first placed in handcuffs, Detective Tucker and Williams confront Roxanna Latham about Jerry McLendon's murder.
00:07:25>> We basically went on the view with her that she was a woman that was kept down, she had had a hard life.
00:07:31"Go ahead and tell us what happened." >> She could turn the tears on and off at will.
00:07:48She could cry at a moment's notice, and she could dry up at a moment's notice.
00:07:52>> KURTIS: Roxanna tells detectives she knows nothing about McLendon's death.
00:07:56The questioning then turns from murder to her relationship with David Deshazo.
00:08:01>> Well, she basically in a nutshell told us that, you know, her and David were an item.
00:08:07They loved each other.
00:08:08She would do anything for him, he would do anything for her.
00:08:30>> KURTIS: For five hours detectives hammer away at Roxanna.
00:08:34For five hours she stays the course, admitting nothing but love for her fiancé and never once deviating from her claim of innocence.
00:08:52>> KURTIS: Roxanna offers no new information to police, and they are forced to release her into the waiting arms of David Deshazo.
00:09:00Frustrated investigators can only sit back and wait for the relationship to fail.
00:09:06>> We knew that there would have to be some type of a breakup there, and that the breakup probably was going to end up being a nasty breakup, and that would play to our favor.
00:09:13And it was a waiting game.
00:09:15>> KURTIS: Six years later investigators are still waiting, and the investigation into Jerry McLendon's death has gone cold.
00:09:23When we return, a bug, a bass, and a body farm all help detectives narrow their case for murder as the McLendon cold case s >> KURTIS: The trash heap that once scarred this acre of woods is now gone.
00:14:05Gone too are any remnants of the murder once unearthed here.
00:14:09Six years earlier a sailor's body was dumped on this very site.
00:14:13Cold case detectives suspect Jerry McLendon's roommates Roxanna Latham and David Deshazo had a hand in his death.
00:14:21ATM photos show the couple withdrawing McLendon's cash on September 22, 1992, one day after McLendon was last seen alive.
00:14:32The couple claims Jerry was alive at the time of the withdrawals and consented to the transactions.
00:14:38Detectives believe otherwise.
00:14:40>> If we could narrow down and specifically say when he was killed that would show that these... this withdrawal of money was subsequent to the death.
00:14:52It would also show a motive for the killing.
00:14:55>> KURTIS: Detectives need to narrow down the time of death at a murder case six years cold.
00:15:01One man may be able to help them.
00:15:03He's been studying death for more than 30 years, and his story unfolds in Knoxville, Tennessee.
00:15:25The University of Tennessee football stadium stands tall along the banks of the Tennessee River.
00:15:32On game days over 100,000 fans fill these seats, unaware that behind the west side bleachers, beneath the chairs, beneath the graters, resides a doctor of death.
00:15:45Doctor William Bass is the founder of the Anthropological Research Facility, or as the students like to call it, the body farm, where the dead go to be studied.
00:15:55The idea was hatched in 1977 when Doctor Bass was asked to determine the time of death on a freshly dug up body.
00:16:02>> And looking at decay that I knew at that time, I said in looking at the body that this was a 24 to 28-year-old white male who'd been dead about a year.
00:16:19>> KURTIS: The doctor was a bit off.
00:16:22The body was later identified as a Civil War soldier, William Shy, a colonel from the Confederate Army who died in the battle of Nashville in 1864.
00:16:32>> Colonel Shy was a 26-year-old white male.
00:16:35So far I'm a hundred percent correct.
00:16:38Except Colonel Shy had been dead 113 years.
00:16:42I only missed 112 years.
00:16:44It's got... something wrong here.
00:16:48>> KURTIS: The gross inaccuracy was a shock to Dr. Bass' expertise as well as his ego.
00:16:53It also served as a catalyst for the creation of the body farm.
00:16:57>> So I decided, you know, we'd better do something about this.
00:17:00And so we set up what we call the Anthropology Research Facility, or what most people call the body farm.
00:17:08>> KURTIS: 25 years later, Dr.
00:17:10Bass still runs the body farm, the only facility of its kind dedicated to studying the rate of human decay.
00:17:17>> Well you're going to see bodies in all sorts of disrepair.
00:17:21The major research projects that go on out here are either master's theses or doctoral dissertations.
00:17:28They're projects that the students have come up with.
00:17:33>> KURTIS: Each body represents a scientific test, each test an experiment in human decay.
00:17:36>> The one over here is an experiment going on on bodies that are clothed or unclothed.
00:17:42Clothing tends to either slow down or speed up the decay process, depending on whether it's in the sun or the shade and things like this, how heavy the body is.
00:17:54And we'rfinding that bodies lose about five pounds a day in the rapid decay stage.
00:17:59>> KURTIS: Dr. Bass and his students have tested the rate of decomposition in hundreds of conditions.
00:18:05They've learned more about human decay in 22 years at the body farm than in the past 2,000.
00:18:10>> This body here under the tripods, we've been looking at how rapidly does a body lose weight when it dies.
00:18:22We do... occasionally we will reproduce a crime scene for law enforcement agents when there's no data.
00:18:33And what we've done is we've taken a... we've taken a body, tied it to the tree, and letting it decay normally to see how >> KURTIS: At any given time up to 30 bodies reside on this one- acre lot.
00:18:51Dr. Bass rarely says no to a donated corpse.
00:18:54To him each death represents a new challenge.
00:18:59>> I never see a forensic case as a dead body.
00:19:02I see a forensic case as a challenge to me to see whether I have enough knowledge to figure out who that individual is and what happened to him.
00:19:13>> KURTIS: In 1998 Virginia Beach detectives present Dr.
00:19:16Bass and the body farm with a new challenge-- pinpoint a date for Jerry McLendon's death from the ten day span he was listed as missing.
00:19:25>> I said, "Okay, this is what I need.
00:19:28I need the autopsy report, I need the crime scene photographs, and I need the police report, and I need the temperature.
00:19:36I need four things." >> KURTIS: Dr. Bass begins his assessment by studying crime scene photos and measuring the body's rate of decay.
00:19:43>> We looked at... the body was bloating, there was skin slippage, there was hair slippage.
00:19:52>> KURTIS: Based solely on the body's decay Dr. Bass can narrow McLendon's time of death to no later than September 27, 1992, but that won't do for Virginia Beach.
00:20:05To make their case against Latham and Deshazo, cold case detectives need a date of death no later than the day the couple made their ATM withdrawals, September 22, 1992.
00:20:17Dr. Bass fine-tunes his analysis and turns his attention to bugs, specifically the fly larvae commonly known as maggots.
00:20:25>> They can very accurately predict the length of time since death if you know the environmental conditions surrounding the time of the death and where that death occurred.
00:20:37Maggots can be a very good indicator.
00:20:41>> KURTIS: Dr. Bass knows flies are only active in temperatures over 52 degrees.
00:20:46He measures the maggot size from McLendon's autopsy photos, studies climatology reports from the third week of September 1992, and pinpoints the time of death to within 12 hours of the date police are looking for.
00:21:01>> He was killed shortly after he was last seen.
00:21:04And the dead body was out there roughly the entire time he was dead, or certainly at least ten days out there.
00:21:11>> He said time of death was going to be probably the evening of the 21st, maybe early morning hours of the 22nd.
00:21:17And he was able to give us a time of death that we were never able to have before because the technology just was not there.
00:21:25>> KURTIS: Bass' findings confirm that Jerry McLendon was already dead when Roxanna Latham and David Deshazo withdrew money from his account, adding a critical link in a circumstantial case of murder.
00:21:39When we return...
00:21:49>> KURTIS: ...Roxanna Latham breaks her six-year silence and If more affordable health insurance for individuals, anthem blue cross just introduced new lower-cost options at surprisingly affordable rates.
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00:24:18Billboards promote Virginia as the state for lovers.
00:24:22Not everyone in Virginia, however, has a vested interest in romance.
00:24:26In fact, members of the Virginia Beach Police Department have been hoping for one relationship to fail.
00:24:33They suspect David Deshazo and his fiancée Roxanna Latham of suffocating their roommate, navy seaman Jerry McLendon, in 1992.
00:24:41For six years the couple has professed their innocence and lived together in apparent bliss in Henry County Virginia.
00:24:49>> If we were going to break this up and get to the bottom of this, it would not be until after the two split up, if they ever split up.
00:24:56So it became at that point... it became a waiting game.
00:25:00>> KURTIS: The waiting game pays off in 1998 when Special Agent Dan Rice from the Naval Criminal Investigative Services discovers the happy couple is no more.
00:25:09>> We figure that it was probably an acrimonious split, and it was probably a good time right now to make a move on her.
00:25:17>> KURTIS: Roxanna Latham has lost her fiancé to another woman.
00:25:22Rice believes it might be the angle he needs to get Roxanna talking.
00:25:26He and Virginia Beach Detective Pat Tucker drive 250 miles to Henry County hoping to coax a tale of murder from a woman scorned.
00:25:42At 7:30 in the evening on June 9, Roxanna Latham opens her door to find two cold case detectives standing on her stoop.
00:25:51As they sit at the kitchen table, Special Agent Rice explains their business.
00:25:56>> So I said, "We know that everything you've told us to date is a lie." And she sat there for about a minute, and then she started to quiver and cry, and she said, "If he ever finds out that I've told you anything he'll kill me." >> I said, "Roxanne, no one's going to kill you, and the only way to get rid of the guilt is to tell the story." And at that point, she began explaining that she was there when Jerry was killed, but she did not take part.
00:26:21>> KURTIS: "Deshazo did it and I just watched." That is all that Roxanna remembers from the night Jerry McLendon died.
00:26:29Her story, however, raises as many questions as it answers.
00:26:32If David Deshazo alone did the killing, why didn't Roxanna come to police earlier, and of her own accord?
00:26:40And if she is truly innocent, why do police have photos of her and Deshazo using McLendon's ATM card to pilfer the dead man's account?
00:26:50Police reconvene with Roxanna two weeks later, this time in a more official setting.
00:27:04On June 23, Agent Rice and Detective Tucker once again sit down with Roxanna Latham.
00:27:09As a video camera rolls Roxanna now claims to have a better memory of the night Jerry McLendon died.
00:27:26>> KURTIS: Roxanna tells detectives David Deshazo was jealous of McLendon and coveted his cash.
00:27:31According to Roxanna, Deshazo had talked of murder, but the threats never took until the night of September 22, when Roxanna Latham claims she walked into McLendon's bedroom to find her fiancé holding a pillow over McLendon's face.
00:27:58>> KURTIS: Roxanna tells police she opened the bedroom door to a murder already in progress.
00:28:02As Deshazo struggled with McLendon he yelled at Roxanna to help him.
00:28:07According to Roxanna she feared for her life and had no choice but to comply.
00:28:26>> Dan and I look at each other like, "Holy cow, I can't believe we're hearing this." It took us six years to get this, and now it's better than ever.
00:28:50>> It's like putting together a puzzle-- you know what happened, except you're missing three or four pieces.
00:28:55And she was now filling those three pieces in, or four pieces in, and giving us, you know, the whole puzzle.
00:29:02>> KURTIS: Roxanna tls police she then helped loot McLendon's ATM and dumped his body in Henry County Virginia because she was afraid of David Deshazo; afraid for her life.
00:29:22>> KURTIS: Is Roxanna Latham a scared and unwilling accomplice to murder, or did Roxanna herself kill McLendon and is now looking to pin the crime on her former fiancé?
00:29:32Cold case detectives suspect the truth lies somewhere in between.
00:29:36>> We needed to get David.
00:29:38We knew he wouldn't talk to us, so we needed to use her to get to him.
00:29:46>> KURTIS: Detectives believe if they get the couple talking to each other the real story of McLendon's death might somehow emerge.
00:29:55They ask, and Roxanna agrees, to call her ex-fiancé as part of a phone sting.
00:33:11On the morning of June 8 Roxanna calls David Deshazo.
00:33:14He doesn't know she's calling from the first floor of the Salem Police Department.
00:33:36>> KURTIS: As Roxanna waits, Deshazo's wife fetches her husband.
00:33:39Then for the first time in six months Roxanna and David speak.
00:34:18>> KURTIS: Detectives record and listen as Roxanna begins pushing for details of McLendon's murder.
00:34:38>> She told Dan and I, she said, "Well, you know, I can push his buttons.
00:34:43I know what buttons to push.
00:34:44I know what buttons that will make him upset and I know what to do." And sure enough she pushed those buttons, and it worked like a charm.
00:35:14>> KURTIS: "It was 50-50." With those four words David Deshazo not only implicates himself in McLendon's murder but implicates Roxanna as a willing accomplice.
00:35:25The statement leaves detectives wondering, are they dealing with one cold-blooded murderer or two?
00:35:32>> We thought he was still the main guy, but we also knew that she was much more involved than she let us on from be... from the start.
00:35:39>> KURTIS: When we return...
00:35:47>> KURTIS: ...things begin to get sticky for Roxanna as her I that (announcer)NEW ICY HOT NO MESS APPLICATOR.
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00:36:24No pain, no mess.
00:36:49>> KURTIS: In July of 1998 Virginia Beach detectives believe they have found a rat.
00:36:54Roxanna Latham breaks a six-year silence and fingers her ex- fiancé David Deshazo for murder.
00:37:00In a videotape statement Roxanna claims she was forced to help Deshazo smother their roommate, navy seamen Jerry McLendon, or risk suffering the same fate.
00:37:12Roxanna's story sits uneasy with cold case detectives.
00:37:16>> We weren't buying it.
00:37:18We led her to believe that we were, but we weren't buying it.
00:37:23>> KURTIS: To support her story Roxanna agrees to call David from the police station.
00:37:29As cold case detectives listen, Deshazo implicates himself in the killing, and reminds Roxanna that she was with him every step of the way.
00:37:59>> KURTIS: Roxanna's phone call is not going as she hoped.
00:38:02Deshazo begins to provide fresh details about the murder, details Roxanna never mentioned to police.
00:38:19>> KURTIS: For the first time detectives hear Jerry McLendon might have been drugged the night he was killed, and that the person who did the drugging might have been Roxanna Latham.
00:38:28>> I was afraid she'd hang up the phone.
00:38:30So I just looked at her kind of nonchalantly and then looked back down.
00:38:35Well when I looked at her, her eyes was big as frying pans, like, "Oh, my god, they know." >> KURTIS: Tucker believes he's gotten the confession from David Deshazo, and enough to implicate Roxanna as well.
00:38:46He calls in a SWAT team to arrest Deshazo and tells Roxanna to hang up the phone.
00:39:06>> KURTIS: Still holding the phone, Deshazo is arrested outside his home in Henry County.
00:39:12Within six hours he is at the Virginia Beach Police Station eager to give his version of the night Jerry McLendon was suffocated, with Roxanna Latham in a starring role.
00:39:31David Deshazo has a story to tell about his ex-fiancée's appetite for murder.
00:39:37>> I think the first thing out of David Deshazo's mouth in reference to this case was it wasn't his idea; that it was Roxanna Latham's.
00:39:48>> KURTIS: Deshazo claims Roxanna hated Jerry and often complained of McLendon's advances.
00:39:55Those complaints turned to threats on the night of September 22.
00:39:59The night began with Roxanna cooking spaghetti for dinner.
00:40:02According to Deshazo the meal soon became a recipe for murder.
00:40:25>> KURTIS: Deshazo claims he watched Roxanna empty her prescription bottle of Xanax into the simmering spaghetti sauce.
00:40:33She then poured the poisoned sauce onto a plate of pasta and fed the serving to Jerry McLendon.
00:40:57>> KURTIS: The Xanax dosing explains how the couple was able to smother the 180-pound McLendon.
00:41:03McLendon's autopsy report helped support the story.
00:41:07>> In the autopsy report the toxicology came back 48% Alprazolam, which turned out to be a key ingredient in Xanax, which is one of the medications that Roxanne had been prescribed for depression.
00:41:22>> KURTIS: Deshazo then tells detectives Roxanna was not only the brains but also the brawn in Jerry McLendon's death.
00:41:45>> KURTIS: Deshazo claims he held McLendon's hands as Roxanna placed a pillow over the victim's face-- a story that is diametrically opposed to the version Roxanna provided to police just a few weeks prior.
00:41:57>> If you talk to David he'll tell you he held the hands down while she smothered him, and it was her idea.
00:42:03If you listen to her she'll tell you that she held the hands down and David smothered him, and that was his idea.
00:42:09So they're both pointing at each other, and at... and we needed that.
00:42:14>> KURTIS: Two people, each pointing fingers at each other, each helping to convict the other.
00:42:20On September 29, 2000, David Deshazo is convicted of murder one and pulls a life sentence.
00:42:27Ten months later his ex-fiancée Roxanna Latham is found guilty of murder in the second degree.
00:42:33She is sentenced to 15 years in prison.
00:42:49On October 15, 2001, Roxanna Latham meets withCold Case Filesat Virginia Beach Correctional Center.
00:42:56three years, the convicted murderer reserves a healthy dose of venom for detectives, who, according to Roxanna, offered a deal and then reneged.
00:43:06>> I put my trust in them.
00:43:08I told them the truth.
00:43:09I told them everything that I knew, and this is what they come do to me afterwards.
00:43:13>> I think one, she thought she was smart enough to get away with it.
00:43:19And I think she also felt that if she owns up to knowing about it but not necessarily let us in on her total involvement that she probably would walk away with no jail time.
00:43:30>> KURTIS: As for David Deshazo he sits in a maximum security cell downstate, willing, at least on the surface, to offer an olive branch to his old flame.
00:43:56>> I know what happened in that room, and he knows what happened in that room.
00:44:01God knows what happened in that room.
00:44:04And I'm free, and David knows the truth, and he will be the one rotting in hell over it.
00:44:11It won't be me.
00:44:13>> KURTIS: Investigators may never know who really played the strongman in Jerry McLendon's death.
00:44:20The fact remains that they killed him together.
00:44:25Both were in the room, both watched him die, and for cold case detectives both are where they should be-- behind bars.
00:44:31>> As to who did what, to me it doesn't matter.
00:44:36They both took part.
00:44:37They took the life, and they should pay for it, and now they're paying for it.

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