Cold Case Files - Daddy Knows Best; Dawn of the Dead   View more episodes

Aired at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, May 04, 2010 (5/4/2010)      View all transcripts from this day

Transcript

00:00:00has no case.
00:00:02The disappearance of Marlene Major goes cold, and the prime suspect goes home to Rhode Island, where he may be safe from the law, but he cannot escape the wrath of his own father.
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00:04:24>> KURTIS: Marlene Major disappeared in October of 1980.
00:04:27Shortly thereafter, her husband Bill sold his belongings, packed up the kids, and moved away.
00:04:34The town of Verona has not forgotten Marlene, nor ceased suspecting her husband of murder.
00:04:41But the rhythms of country life march on.
00:04:44Come the following fall, a hunter is flushing out rabbits from the brush when he sees a flash of white.
00:04:51Moving in for a closer look, he discovers the top of a human skull.
00:04:56>> Unfortunately, the skull that was found was missing both the upper and lower jaw area.
00:05:05There was no teeth.
00:05:07>> KURTIS: The skull is that of a white female in his mid 20s.
00:05:11Detective Graham believes it's Marlene Major, but in the days before DNA, dental records are the only way to make a positive Id.
00:05:19In this case, no teeth means no Marlene.
00:05:23>> At this point I'm thinking, "If we've got the skull, the rest of her has to be somewhere." >> KURTIS: Not far from where the skull was found there is a small lake-- a good place, perhaps, to dump a body.
00:05:38>> So we got the water rescue people out, the divers, and they did a very intense search and came up with nothing.
00:05:46>> KURTIS: Police continue the search in neighboring lakes and portions of the rugged Kentucky countryside, but come up empty handed, and the case once again goes cold.
00:05:56>> I'm thinking, "Well, Bill pulled off the perfect crime, and we're not going to find anything." You know, it's not that I gave up; I never gave up.
00:06:06You're always hoping something will pop up.
00:06:08But up to this point, things were looking pretty bleak for us.
00:06:18>> KURTIS: LaLana Bramble was four years old when her mother disappeared.
00:06:22She and her older brother, Donald, fell into the care of her father, Bill Major, a part- time mechanic and full-time child molester.
00:06:31>> He would work on Saturdays, and he would have the habit of taking either Donald or me with him.
00:06:38And a lot of times the abuse would a occur at the place he worked at.
00:06:41Later on, he got one of those little campers that you put in the back of a truck, and he used that.
00:06:47>> KURTIS: In 1982, Bill Major remarries.
00:06:50LaLana eventually tells her stepmother about the abuse, and her stepmom decides to intervene.
00:06:56>> He told her.
00:06:57He said, "I know I'm sick, and I know I have a problem, and I won't do it anymore, and you know, "I'm so sorry." And two or three days after that, she was gone somewhere, and Donald was off with his friends, and I was outside in front of trailer playing in the yard, and he grabbed me by the back of the hair, and he threw me in the trailer.
00:07:19And he took a gun, and he shoved it in my face, and he told me that if I did not learn to keep my mouth shut, he would blow my head off.
00:07:28>> KURTIS: LaLana learns to keep her mouth shut.
00:07:31For three more years, she and her brother suffer the abuse in silence.
00:07:35>> And his threats to keep me and my brother in line was, "If you don't do what I tell you to, I'll kill your brother." And he would turn around and tell my brother, "If you don't do what I tell you to, I'll kill your sister." So he used our feelings for each other, our love for one another against us.
00:07:55>> KURTIS: Then one day the nightmare ends.
00:07:5813-year-old Donald Major is fed up, and his stepmother is on the phone to police.
00:08:06>> Donald said to me, he said, "It's over." He said, "He's not going to hurt us anymore." And I said, "What are you talking about?" He said, "I told Pauline, and she called the cops, and they're going to arrest him." My first reaction was, "We're both dead." >> KURTIS: At a lile after 7:00 PM on August 10, 1985, Bill Major's life changes.
00:08:31He looks out the kitchen window and sees a pair of police squad cars in the driveway.
00:08:36>> They came in the house and cuffed him right there, and me and Donald were peeking around the corner, and I can remember watching them put the handcuffs on them, and he turned around, and he looked down that hallway at us, and I was just, like, "We're dead." I'm, like, "If they don't keep him, we're dead." >> KURTIS: But they do keep him locked up in a Rhode Island prison for 11 years after a conviction for sexually abusing his own children.
00:09:06The good news is that Bill Major is off the streets.
00:09:09The bad news: He will someday be released.
00:09:1811 years after he went to jail on child-molestation charges, Bill Major's time behind bars is almost done.
00:09:25It's a fact that has not escaped the attention of cold-case detectives in Kentucky.
00:09:30They still believe Major killed his wife Marlene, but can't prove it.
00:09:34Instead, they hope to stitch together a second molestation case in Kentucky, one that will keep Major in prison and away from children.
00:09:44In the diaries of Marlene Major, cold-case detectives find indications that Bill Major had molested his son, Donald, while living in ntucky.
00:09:53Now 24 years old, Donald is approached by cold-case detectives and confirms the abuse.
00:09:59Investigators also uncover the names of two additional boys, now men, who describe in detail how Bill Major stole their innocence.
00:10:07>> I believed everything they told me.
00:10:10When you do a child-abuse investigation, especially with somebody who's young at the time that they're molested, you want to get... it may sound bad, but you want to ask them what the sensation was because it's hard for a person who is not a victim of child abuse to come up with the sensations of molestation.
00:10:28>> KURTIS: Armed with the statements of more pedophile victims, detective Vannarsdale swears out a warrant for the arrest of Bill Major.
00:10:36Upon his release from Rhode Island state prison, Major is extradited to Kentucky and thrown in Boone County Jail.
00:10:44With nowhere else to turn, he drops a coin into a phone and dials the number of his own father.
00:10:52(phone ringing) >> Hello?
00:10:55He called me up, and he said, "Dad, I got to talk to you." I said, "Yeah, what's the problem?" He says, "Well," he says, "I killed Marlene." I said, "You what?" He says, "I killed Marlene." I said, "You little >> KURTIS: Long suspected but never charged in the disappearance of his wife Marlene, Bill Major appears to be suffering a sudden attack of conscience.
00:11:28Over the phone, he provides his father with details of the murder, now almost 16 years cold.
00:11:35>> And he says, "She decided she was going to leave.
00:11:40So she's sitting in her car." He says, "She pulled a gun on me." He says, "I took it off her." He says, "So I got mad, emptied the gun into her, and didn't know it was empty until it started going click on the empty chambers." Then he picked her body up, threw her in the back seat, and drove over to Florence and carried her up into the woods and dumped her in a sink hole.
00:12:14>> KURTIS: Major goes on to tell his father that once he disposed of the body, he drove Marlene's car into the Ohio River.
00:12:22>> I said, "Where the hell are you calling from?" He said, "I'm calling from my cell." I said to him, "Hey, don't you realize, jacka, that they probably got a tape on that...
00:12:37a tap on that phone?" "(bleep) me," he says.
00:12:42>> KURTIS: In fact, the prison call was not recorded.
00:12:46When Boone County authorities learn about Bill's alleged confession, they have no choice but to treat it as hearsay and thus not usable against Major.
00:12:56Meanwhile, the pending molestation charges against Bill Major are dropped when a Kentucky grand jury finds insufficient evidence to pursue the case.
00:13:07After more than 11 years in stir, the convicted pedophile is back on the streets, and the case of his wife's disaparance is colder than ever-- that is, until cold-case detectives get father and son back on the line for another friendly chat.
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00:17:37>> KURTIS: Marlene Major disappeared in 1980.
00:17:39One year later, a jawless, toothless skull fragment was found in the woods not far from her home.
00:17:46Local police have always suspected Marlene's husband, Bill Major, of doing away with his wife, but in the days before DNA, the toothless skull could not be positively identified.
00:17:58Without Marlene's body or any other proof of foul play, the case has languished for the better part of two decades.
00:18:07>> It's a cold case.
00:18:08It's as cold as it gets.
00:18:10>> KURTIS: LaLana Bramble was four years old when her mother, Marlene, disappeared.
00:18:15>> My dad basically told us that she was a drug-addict, alcoholic prostitute, you know, who just really didn't care about us and that she had run off with another man.
00:18:25>> KURTIS: After a childhood of sexual abuse at the hands of her father, Bill Major, LaLana grew to distrust his tales about Marlene and eventually began to suspect him of murder.
00:18:36As an adult, she confronted him.
00:18:39>> You know, "Just tell me what you did with your body so we can bury her, and I'll leave you alone." I said, "I won't force the issue, won't try to get you prosecuted.
00:18:46You know, you can just lead your merry little life." And he laughed at me, and his specific words to me were, "If you think I'm going to tell you where your mother's body is, you're crazy." So at that point I told him, I said, "Okay, fine, it's on." >> KURTIS: In the winter of 2000, LaLana begins sewing the seeds of her discontent in the Boone County courthouse.
00:19:13Her pleas take root in the office of the newly elected prosecutor, Linda Tally Smith.
00:19:19>> I have a passion for trying to close cases, and this is one of those perfect cases where you feel like you have to commit everything that you possibly can, every resource available to you so that you can tell this family we've done-- we have done everything that we could possibly do.
00:19:35>> KURTIS: Smith calls upon Special Investigator Todd Kenner.
00:19:38His first task, transform Marlene Major from missing to dead.
00:19:43>> Of course, the first thing, one of the most important things was doing the DNA identification of the skull.
00:19:48So we contacted the daughter so she could do a swab.
00:19:52>> KURTIS: Using the process mitochondrial DNA, samples from the skull fragment are compared to those from LaLana Bramble.
00:19:59The results indicate that the two samples are maternally linked.
00:20:04In other words, the skull must belong to Marlene Major.
00:20:08>> And that's the information we needed, and of course my next step was I contacted the family and said, "It is Marlene, positively." >> KURTIS: After 20 years, the whereabouts of Marlene Major is no longer a mystery.
00:20:21The case is then handed to forensic anthropologist Emily Craig, who examines the skull and transforms Marlene Major from dead to murdered.
00:20:30>> There was a gunshot wound to the head.
00:20:35The exit wound was right here in the top of the skull.
00:20:39>> KURTIS: In addition to the gunshot wound, Dr. Craig finds evidence of attempted decapitation.
00:20:45>> There were cuts here, here, here, here, here, straight across in a line.
00:20:53>> KURTIS: Using a thick-bladed cutting instrument such as an ax, the killer attempted and probably succeeded in decapitating Marlene Major.
00:21:01Then he turned his blade to her jaw.
00:21:05>> There were striations right through herehat indicated to me that there was a deliberate attempt to remove those ligaments or sever those ligaments with a knife.
00:21:17Because as soon as you get through those ligaments, all the way around the joint, then the jaw will come off.
00:21:26>> KURTIS: A killer who shot Marlene Major, then decapitated her and removed her jaw to obscure her identity.
00:21:33One by one, the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place, forming, as they do, an image of Bill Major.
00:21:40Now the state looks to Major own words to make the picture complete.
00:21:45>> One philosophy that I've always had is that you need a statement from a defendant.
00:21:50I don't care if it's a denial, if it's a "Go tol," or if it's a complete confession-- just anything that nails them into their version of what took place.
00:22:02>> KURTIS: In 1996, Major allegedly confessed to the crime during a phone conversation with his father.
00:22:09>> He says, "I killed Marlene." I said, "You little " >> Obviously that statement is a great statement, but there was a lot of animosity between Jim Major and Bill Major, and so, you know, the credibility of that type of witness is automatically suspect.
00:22:27>> KURTIS: The alleged confession was never recorded.
00:22:30Now cold-case detectives hope to get a second admission on tape.
00:22:39Investigators Todd Kenner and Tim Carnahan travel to the home of Jim Major in the spring of 2000.
00:22:47Major agrees to a wiretap on his phone as he calls his son Bill and discusses the details of an alleged murder confession made four years earlier.
00:23:06>> Basically I asked him what we were after was, one, to confirm that the conversation did take place in '96 and to get what details he could out of him.
00:23:15>> "Bill," I says, "I'm calling you up; I want to know something." He said, "What's that?" I said, "Why won't you tell me where you buried Marlene?" >> Immediately, you know, there was, what I recall, a pause on the phone.
00:23:47>> There was no denial there.
00:23:48He's basically saying, "If I tell the truth, I'm going to jail." >> He's confirmed the conversation took place.
00:24:18He's confirming that he did this horrible.
00:24:42>> That's when the cop says, "We got him.
00:24:46We got him." >> KURTIS: The conversation between father and son provides cold-case detectives with the one element they have been missing.
00:24:55>> If it's recorded, it's evidence.
00:24:57>> KURTIS: The suspect's own voice confirming what they have long suspected.
00:25:01Bill Major killed his wife Marlene almost 20 years ago.
00:25:28>> KURTIS: Not long after, Bill Major hangs up the phone with his dad he is arrested and charged with murder in the first degree.
00:25:40At trial, a mountain of physical and circumstantial evidence together with the defendant's own voice cast a long shadow over Bill Major.
00:25:49It takes the jury less than one hour to find him guilty of murdering his wife and then dismembering her body to obscure her identity.
00:25:58>> To sit down and think about how he would have manipulated her, had to pull her teeth out and to remove her lower jaw reminds you of horror movies that you watch on TV.
00:26:10And to think of her looking...
00:26:11her eyes looking up at him as he's pulling her teeth out-- that's a person without any feelings.
00:26:18>> KTIS: Bill Major is sentenced to life in a Kentucky prison.
00:26:22For some, the sentence is too light.
00:26:25>> The no good son of a I'd hang him myself if I could get my hands on him.
00:26:31Any guy that will kill a woman, then rape her daughter, try to make aer out of his son deserves to be hung.
00:26:49He don't deserve to breathe the air-- not in my book.
00:26:55>> KURTIS: For Bill and Marlene's daughter, LaLana, the verdict brings some relief, some comfort to soothe the painful memories of a family torn apart by the sins of a father.
00:27:08>> I've always felt a certain amount of guilt over her death because in my mind-- and I know my brother feels the same way-- she died to protect us, trying to protect us from him.
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00:31:31>> Martin said he saw Tim pull out a handgun.
00:31:40>> This case seemed like a complicated puzzle.
00:31:44>> He heard one shot.
00:31:47>> He told me that he went in there and robbed him and shot him.
00:32:00>> KURTIS: Dawn, and the cold light steals over San Jose's east side, revealing a new day and fresh crime.
00:32:08Outside a gas station, an attendant lies in a doorway, bleeding hard from the chest, the cash register empty.
00:32:18By the time San Jose detectives arrive, robbery has ripened into murder.
00:32:23>> I observed a subject covered with one of our yellow blankets, the deceased, near the office of the gas station, moved in closer and started looking at the situation.
00:32:35It appeared that it might have been a robbery that had gone bad.
00:32:39We based that on there was a cash tray; the plastic cash tray was upside down on the floor.
00:32:46>> KURTIS: The victim is 21- year-old Steven Paul, a new attendant in his first night on the job.
00:32:52The body is sent to forensic pathologist Richard Mason.
00:32:56>> The dissection was done, and it showed that the bullet had actually perforated his right front chest wall, had gone down through his heart and through the aorta.
00:33:08>> KURTIS: Dr. Mason retrieves the fatal shot: a small but lethal .22-caliber slug.
00:33:14>> They're pretty innocuous looking.
00:33:16They pretty tiny, but they make holes in things, and if they make holes in vital organs, that's it.
00:33:23And after he was struck by that bullet, it was essentially all over, you know?
00:33:27He had less than a minute to live.
00:33:30>> KURTIS: San Jose detective Hank Schriefer picks up the case.
00:33:34With no suspects at hand, Schriefer pins his hopes on a second attendant who was on duty at the time of the murder.
00:33:42>> There was a coworker that was training the victim, and he was very evasive.
00:33:49He told a couple different stories of why he wasn't there, which drew our attention to him.
00:33:56>> KURTIS: The coworker was sleeping in the victim's car when the shooting went down and claims to know nothing of the shooting.
00:34:03>> Because of him being evasiv and the way of the circumstances, certainly he was a suspect, or we did look at him very carefully.
00:34:11We just couldn't put our hands on anything.
00:34:15>> KURTIS: Meager leads come and go.
00:34:17San Jose police are compelled to move on to fresh homicide, and the case slowly goes cold.
00:34:23>> I was really upset.
00:34:25He was... appeared to be a pretty squared-away kid.
00:34:30His father had tried talking him out of going to work.
00:34:33It was his first night on the job.
00:34:35The person that was supposed to be training him wasn't out there where he should have been, probably would have prevented it.
00:34:43It was just very sad.
00:34:51>> KURTIS: Main jail, inmate number 243957, one Martin Mendoza, awaiting trial on a charge of narcotics possession.
00:35:02With one strike already against him, Mendoza is staring down four more years in the state pen if convicted.
00:35:09Hungry to cut a deal, the inmate begins talking about a long- forgotten murder in San Jose.
00:35:16>> We were notified by the Fresno County Sheriff's Department that they had a subject in custody down there that that had information regarding a homicide case that occurred here in 1980.
00:35:28>> We had some details that this inmate provided, so we researched that.
00:35:35We found a case that matched.
00:35:37>> KURTIS: Detectives Gilbert Vizzusi and David Knopf are cold-case detectives.
00:35:41They match Mendoza's story to case file 800948051, the unsolved murder of Steven Paul.
00:35:49After getting up to speed on the file, the detectives hit the road to Fresno for a sit-down with Mendoza. >> He told us back in 1980 he had been living in San Jose and a friend of his from Paso Robles came up to visit him.
00:36:06>> KURTIS: The friend from Paso Robles is Tim Fletcher, a drifter and a thief on the run after some trouble his hometown.
00:36:14>> The friend stayed with him for a couple weeks, and during that time, the friend, Timmy Fletcher, started committing robberies in the area.
00:36:23>> At that point, Martin told us that he had in his possession a .22 handgun.
00:36:31>> KURTIS: Late one night, Mendoza notices that Tim Fletcher has disappeared from the apartment.
00:36:37Also missing is Mendoza's .22.
00:36:40>> He had a party at the apartment complex, and Tim wasn't at the party anymore.
00:36:46Martin went to his bedroom where he kept the gun, and the gun wasn't located there.
00:36:51When the gun wasn't there, Martin figured that Tim had taken the gun and was up to something.
00:36:58>> KURTIS: Mendoza goes looking for Fletcher and spots him at the nearby Powerine gas station.
00:37:29>> KURTIS: Vizzusi and Knopf are skeptical of the informant's motive, but can't deny his story sounds good.
00:37:36One detail in particular sheds light on an aspect of the crime scene that has puzzled detectives from the beginning.
00:37:42The only shell casing left at the scene, a .22-caliber, was discovered on a counter inside the cashier's booth, yet the victim was found outside.
00:37:53>> And it kind of didn't make sense.
00:37:55We really didn't know why that shell casing was on the counter.
00:37:58When Martin gave us his version of what happened, Fletcher put a gun inside the little window for the cashier's cage, and the victim was seated inside the booth when he was shot.
00:38:11>> And thoseacts fit the physical evidence, so it was either Martin himself committed the murder or he was present when that happened.
00:38:23>> KURTIS: Cold-case detectives press Mendoza for more details about the gun.
00:38:27Mendoza provides them with a picture of the weapon.
00:38:31>> Martin had possession of that gun at one point in time and had a picture of himself taken with that gun.
00:38:38We submitted that picture to the crime lab.
00:38:40They were able to blow up that picture and determine that it had the same appearance as a Colt Huntsman.
00:38:49>> KURTIS: A Colt Huntsman is a .22-caliber weapon, the same caliber as the slug retrieved from the victim's body.
00:38:58Cold-case detectives are on the right track.
00:39:01The question now: Was the shooter Tim Fletcher or his former friend turned informant Martin Mendoza?
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00:39:45I'm taking 8 pills a day, and if I take it for 10 days, that's 80 pills.
00:39:52JUST TWO Aleve CAN LAST ALL DAY. PERFECT.
00:39:56[ Male Announcer ] CHOOSE Aleve AND YOU COULD Be taking 4 TIMES FEWER PILLSTHAN Extra Strength Tylenol.
00:40:00JUST TWO Aleve HAVETHE STRENGTH TO LAST ALL Day.
00:40:03GET THE ALL DAY PAIN RELIEFOF Aleve.
00:40:06Also in liquid-gels.
00:40:09had cleaned.
00:40:10you said you bought a digiorno.
00:40:13But the pizza came with cheesy breadsticks.
00:40:15New digiornopizza & breadsticks.
00:40:17Taste. believe.it's not delivery.
00:40:19It's digiorno.
00:40:20She found the box.
00:40:21Maybe because you left it right on the counter.
00:42:56>> KURTIS: In the early morning hours of April 3, 1980, a San Jose gas station attendant named Steven Paul is gunned down on the job.
00:43:0618 years later, a jailhouse informant named Martin Mendoza is looking to shave time off his sentence.
00:43:13Mendoza points the finger at an old buddy named Tim Fletcher and tells police a tale.
00:43:19He claims he followed Fletcher the night of the murder and watched as Fletcher took down the gas station.
00:43:25>> He said Tim kind of walked back and forth in front of the gas station and then went up to the teller.
00:43:30>> Martin said he saw Tim pull out a handgun from his front waistband and stick in the cashier's booth.
00:43:36He heard one shot, and then he saw Tim running from the cashier's booth back towards the apartment.
00:43:45>> KURTIS: Mendoza provides cold-case detectives with a picture of the alleged murder weapon: a .22-caliber Colt Huntsman.
00:43:52According to Mendoza, Fletcher skipped town with the gun.
00:43:56Cold-case detectives follow this thread of Mendoza's story to a small town 150 miles south of San Jose.
00:44:10Four days after the murder of Steven Paul, Tim Fletcher was picked up on burglary charges in his hometown of Paso Robles, California.
00:44:19At the time of the arrest, local police noted Fletcher was in possession of a handgun.
00:44:25>> It was a .22-caliber Huntsman semiautomatic pistol.
00:44:30It became evidence, so it was booked at the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department.
00:44:36>> KURTIS: A .22-caliber Colt Huntsman-- the same type of gun Martin Mendoza claimed Tim Fletcher used in the San Jose shooting.
00:44:46Cold-case detectives are encouraged and ask if the gun is still in the San Luis Obispo evidence locker, and that is where their luck begins to fail.
00:44:54>> After Tim Fletcher's conviction, the gun was eventually destroyed as per an order of the court.
00:45:01>> The fact that it was destroyed hurt our case, but I mean, there was some record that it existed, and it was the right caliber.
00:45:10>> KURTIS: Cold-case detectives now have a picture of the suspected murder weapon and a police report placing it in the hands of Tim Fletcher three days after the murder.
00:45:20Ballistics examiner Chris Coleman is assigned to the case and asked to examine the .22- caliber slug pulled from Steven Paul's body.
00:45:28The question for Coleman to answer: could the fatal shot have come from the barrel of a Colt Huntsman?
00:45:35>> In this case, I was looking at a .22 rimfire bullet and cartridge case.
00:45:39I had the... the bullet itself had a six-left rifling, which means that it had six lans and grooves and that they had a left-hand twist.
00:45:47So it was going down the barrel counterclockwise.
00:45:50>> KURTIS: The ballistics signature is distinctive, pointing Coleman in the direction of a single gun maker: Colt.
00:46:00>> The rifling characteristics of this n are fairly rare, and because the cartridge case was left behind the scene, meaning that it was ejected from the gun, it had to have come from a pistol and not a revolver.
00:46:12So we were able to eliminate it down to a Colt Huntsman pistol.
00:46:17>> KURTIS: A .22-caliber Colt Huntsman killed Steven Paul.
00:46:20A police report three days later puts the same make and model gun in Tim Fletcher's hands.
00:46:26Linking the two is an eyewitness who claims it was his gun and Fletcher was the man who pulled the trigger.
00:46:33The circumstantial noose is tightening.
00:46:36Cold-case detectives decide it's time for a sit-down with their prime suspect.
00:46:47In 1998, Tim Fletcher is back in prison on a drugs charge and just a few weeks shy of being paroled.
00:46:55When cold-case detectives come calling, Fletcher seems more than willing to cooperate.
00:47:11>> We told him that we had done some follow-up on this gun that was found when he was arrested and we discovered that that gun was involved in a murder in San Jose.
00:47:23>> KURTIS: Vizzusi is bluffing.
00:47:24He suspects the gun was used in the murder, but because the weapon is destroyed, he has no real way of knowing for sure.
00:47:32The feint is enough to get Fletcher talking.
00:47:34He tells cold-case detectives that he picked up the .22 after the murder from a local drug dealer, street name "Burnout." >> KURTIS: Fletcher's story about Burnout does not square with what police have learned from Martin Mendoza, who claimed the gun was his and that Fletcher stole it.
00:48:33>> He suspected that Martin had told us, and that's the one time he got pretty animated and upset.
00:48:39>> He said, "If Martin Mendoza is telling you that I did it, he's a liar and a dope fiend, and he's trying to get out of something." >> KURTIS: Fletcher shuts down and refuses to speak any further.
00:49:11Despite their suspicions, cold- case detectives are unable to corroborate Mendoza's statement and are still unsure if their shooter is Tim Fletcher or Martin Mendoza-- that is, until another ex-con from Paso Robles starts talking.
00:49:32Francisco "Paco" Arrowsmith is a one-time thief who found religion in 1992.
00:49:39>> ♪ Sing hallelujah sing hallelujah ♪ Our Jesus is alive... ♪
00:49:47>> KURTIS: Nine years prior to that, he shad a jail cell with Tim Fletcher, and Fletcher shared a secret with Arrowsmith.
00:49:54>> One night we started talking about things that we had done, you know, and we talked about stuff that we got away with, and then for some reason he told me that he had committed homicide.
00:50:08He said that him and Martin Mendoza had robed this gas station, but he said that he pulled the gun out and killed this young man.
00:50:17>> He said that he had kept that silent.
00:50:20>> It kind of freaked him out.
00:50:21>> He said it really bothered him.
00:50:23>> Although he was scared, it was kind of a relief that he was able to finally tell somebody and get it off his chest.
00:50:28>> Not at the time did I ever think about the parents or anyone else, that this child was someone's child that got just murdered, you know.
00:50:40For what, I don't know.
00:50:41But it wasn't worth what he got shot for.
00:50:46I just want to praise God.
00:50:47>> KURTIS: Arrowsmith's account differs from Mendoza's, placing Mendoza not as an eyewitness, but as a willing participant in the robbery.
00:50:54Nevertheless, cold-case detectives believe they now have enough to close the book on m Fletcher as their triggerman.
00:51:02>> You know, I tend to believe that Martin was there at the time like he described, but he wasn't the killer.
00:51:08Tim Fletcher is the killer of Steven Paul.
00:51:18>> KURTIS: JoAnne McCracken prosecutes Tim Fletcher for murder, her case cobbled together from bits and pieces of evidence.
00:51:26>> This case seemed like a complicated puzzle that the pieces had to fit together in order for the jury to understand that Tim Fletcher committed the crime.
00:51:35And one of the aspects of the case that was the most compelling was the testimony of Francisco Arrowsmith.
00:51:41That testimony was so persuasive because there was no motive that Francisco Arrowsmith would have to lie.
00:51:47It corroborated what the informant witness was telling us.
00:51:51It was very persuasive.
00:51:53>> KURTIS: A jury convicts Tim Fletcher of murder in the first degree.
00:51:57He is sentenced to a term of life for killing Steven Paul, a 21-year-old kid who was excited to be making $3.50 an hour his very first day on the job.
00:52:07>> The victim's father said to the victim, to Steven, "You know, gee, I don't know how I feel about you taking this job out on the east side of San Jose.
00:52:14It makes me kind of nervous." And he said, "Oh, don't worry about me dad, I'll be fine." That, I think, is especially sad.
00:52:29(male narrator) For homicide detectives, the clock starts ticking the moment they are called.
00:52:35[gunshots] Oh, there's a shooting.
00:52:38(Bosch) That's him.
00:52:39Bo-bing!
00:52:41This is fun.
00:52:42(Cooper) We're back to square one, so go out and find him.
00:52:46All of a sudden, this guy pulls up to where they're at and guns down her baby's daddy.
00:52:50(narrator) Their chance of solving a murder is cut in half...
00:52:52[man over megaphone] This is the Miami Police Department.
00:52:55Come out with your hands up.
00:52:56(narrator) If they don't get a lead...
00:52:57Get that [bleep] out my face, man.
00:52:59(narrator) Within the first 48 hours.
00:53:01Let me see your hands.
00:53:02Turn off the car, papa.
00:53:03(Bosch) Let me see your hands.
00:53:05[suspenseful electronic music] ♪ ♪
00:53:27(Tamayo) Come on, baby.
00:53:30This should be about 250. $250,000.
00:53:33That's enough for me.
00:53:35Listen, I hit the lotto, I'm done, baby.
00:53:37(narrator)Detective Emiliano Tamayo is a seven-yearHomicide veteran.
00:53:43How much of that money you gonna give me if you win, T?
00:53:45I'm giving you your fair share, man.
00:53:47You know me.
00:53:47You know what I'd do if I win: take it all out to Vegas, put it down on one roll of the dice, double it or lose it, baby.
00:53:52(narrator)Rookie Detective Kevin Ruggerio isamayo's partner.
00:53:56[Tamayo laughing] I'm not giving you anything then.
00:54:0111, 13, 21, 22, and 28.
00:54:05Doesn't look good.
00:54:06[laughs] I'll be right back here tomorrow morning, buddy.
00:54:11Whoo-hoo.
00:54:11Yes, sir.
00:54:15(narrator) Across town, a woman calls 911.
00:54:28(narrator) A woman has been shot...
00:54:30[gunshot] inside a convenience store.
00:54:35[siren wailing] Paramedics rush the woman to the hospital, but she dies on the way.
00:54:43[clock ticking] (Noel) I was dispatched here.
00:54:58A reference, a victim shot upon arrival.
00:55:01Observed the glass brokenas I entered the store, and I saw the victimlaying in front of a cooler.
00:55:08The victim a male or a female?
00:55:09Female victim.
00:55:11(narrator) The victim is 23-year-old Jessica Dickson, a lifelong Miami resident.
00:55:17She was shopping for groceries when she was shot.
00:55:22(Tamayo) Okay.
00:55:23Let me take a look at-- see what we got here.
00:55:29Fabrice, what do we got?
00:55:31Over there, behind this Nissan,there were four spent casings.
00:55:36[dramatic music] (narrator) The casings suggest the shooter was outside the store when the gun was fired.
00:55:47(Tamayo) This is definitely entrance right here.
00:55:50Yeah, yeah.
00:55:51Do the trajectory, and we'll have a better idea.
00:55:57(narrator)CSI sets up a trajectory test to determine where the shooterwas standing when he fired.
00:56:02(Tamayo) That's the one that goes into the Florida Lottery box.
00:56:12Nice, very nice.
00:56:14Thank you, guys.
00:56:15(narrator) The test shows the shots were fired from the street...
00:56:18(Tamayo) Direction of travel was definitely this way.
00:56:21Guys are shooting from here.
00:56:23(narrator) Went through the car window and into the store, hitting the victim.
00:56:29(Tamayo) Definitely.
00:56:30Now we know where everybody was based on the physical evidence.
00:56:37What we don't know is why he shot her.
00:56:46(narrator)Four hours in, Tamayo gets his first break.
00:56:50(Tamayo) There's a video camera up there, and hopefully it'll give us something.
00:56:56Long time of doing this, I've never had a murder caught on videotape.
00:57:00Just not that lucky.
00:57:04Hopefully, this will be the first.
00:57:07Okay, real slow.
00:57:08Forward now? Yeah.
00:57:10(Tamayo) The victim had to be in front of this guy here.
00:57:13(narrator) The tape does not show the victim or the shooter.
00:57:22Okay, now, let's go real slow.
00:57:24This is the car here.
00:57:25Can you rewind it a little bit real slow?
00:57:28(narrator) But the footage does give Tamayo a lead.
00:57:32(Tamayo) Oh, there's the shooting, right there.
00:57:34Okay.
00:57:35(narrator) A man outside the store was also shot.
00:57:43Is he pulling out a gun?
00:57:44Well, he's got a gun.
00:57:46He's definitely got a gun.
00:57:50Yeah, he's shooting back too.
00:57:51(narrator) The man fired back before fleeing the scene.
00:57:55(Tamayo) These two [...] are out here shooting at each other.
00:57:59I bet this poor woman wasn't even the target.
00:58:04It's too b.
00:58:05(Tamayo) Just an innocent victim...
00:58:11caught on the mean streets of Miami.
00:58:13We have to find this guy.
00:58:15He knows who was shooting at him.
00:58:18(narrator) Tamayo calls Detective Kevin Ruggerio to update him on the case.
00:58:22Hey, Kevin.
00:58:23Someone else did get shot?
00:58:25The guy is the intended target.
00:58:26(Ruggerio) All right, so you want me to start calling all the hospitals in Dayton, see if anyone checked themselves in?
00:58:30(Tamayo) Yeah.
00:58:31All right.
00:58:32I'm on it right now.
00:58:34All right. Bye-bye.
00:58:39(Tamayo) Knuckleheads fighting it out and an innocent victim gets it.
00:58:45She didn't have a chance.
00:58:48That sucks.
00:58:49You're just going to the store in one minute, and the next minute, you're no longer alive.
00:58:58Senseless.
00:59:02[cell phone beeps] (narrator) Then a major break.
00:59:08He's where? He's at North Shore?
00:59:10(narrator) Ruggerio has located the surviving victim.
00:59:13He's got a gunshot wound to the leg?
00:59:16Oh, that's beautiful.
00:59:17So that's our intended target over there.
00:59:21All right, look, make sure you hold on to that guy.

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