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tv   A Haunting  MSNBC  July 16, 2011 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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911 emergency. >> has the jury reached a verdict? >> we the jury find the defendant -- it's not like some scary movie, this really happened. >> i remember falling on my knees. >> you just think, i want to live. i have to do something. >> it was a miracle they lived through it. just two frightened kids the night terror knocked on their door. >> he pulled out a .357 and said "move over here." >> a loving pastor's family, targets -- >> i said, i love you, i love
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you, dad. >> they were the only ones who survived, and no one knew then how long justice would take. >> i felt the bullet hit me. >> i screamed, and then he shot me again. >> or what it would cost. were you frightened? terrified that they would come back and try to kill you? some absolutely. >> a chilling manhunt. a young survivor driven to become a state senator. >> he was very, very passionate. >> would they ever come out of the dark? >> i always get a little emotional and can't believe it's been this long. >> 30 years later, an answer. >> forgive not and mercy. this is what my dad and my mom taught me. >> tonight, their powerful journey to hell and back. "the hounting." -- "haunting." >> thanks for joining us, i'm ann curry. it's a story of a teenage boy and his little sister whose lives were changed forever one night by a stranger at the door.
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though they suffered a terrible crime and unfathomable loss, they show us it is possible to heal, even to forgive. here's keith morrison. >> he's in his 40s now, married again, starting fresh here on the beach at malibu. time finally to put to rest. use hollywood to release those demons of his, get the nightmares in the rearview mirror. >> i look back, and it was just building this code of armor. and that was killing me, and it was killing my marriages, my friendships. it was protecting me, but it was keeping me away from people i loved. >> after all, what else but a movie could make sense of it, what those people did to him and
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what came of you couldn't make up. and the movie it turned out to be, a decades' long saga of crime and punishment, retribution and forgiveness. perhaps it was too unbelievable not to be true. so back where it happened, back east along the old route 66 where it snakes through oklahoma where his sister lives with demons of her own, a warning -- >> it was really true. it's not like some scary movie that you watch on tv or "csi," or whatever show it is you're watching. this really happened. >> yes, it all did. the unspeakable crimes. the strange, painful path toward punishment, and then could there ever be forgiveness? god knows that's what the father demanded. >> god knows all about us. there's not a secret crevice of our heart that he's not fully aware of. >> but could the son obey? >> god never expects of us that which we cannot do.
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god never demands of us what he does not empower. >> imagine now that it's 1979, a little place called okarche, oklahoma, a drive into oklahoma city as people were discovering then before it happened. >> okarche and a smaller community and a quiet, peaceful little town. >> and to be frank, the douglases didn't quite live in okarche proper. they preferred a modest little place miles beyond the street lights. a little detail worth keeping in mind later. but mention the douglas name back in '79, and this would be the location people would be apt to think of. the putnam city baptist church of oklahoma city where the reverend richard douglas and family had established a remarkable reputation. >> richard douglas was one of the mobile influential baptist
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pastors in oklahoma and at the time was pastor of a 3,000-member church. >> the sort of family everybody wanted to associate with. the pastor's daughter, leslie. >> i mean, we became the people who we are because my parents were so strong. we lived a life that he would want us to live. and learn the lessons he wanted us to know. >> and the fact that the reverend mr. douglas was a man of some heft in the baptist church seemed somehow secondary to his nature -- kindly, approachable, principled. >> if he wasn't at the church, he was visiting people and helping them work out their problems all the time. >> pastor douglas preached his first sermon at 16. and once he'd grown into a husband and father took his little family all the way to the jungles of brazil where he and they spent their happiest years in a missionary outpost.
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it was for leslie and her big brother unlike anything they would ever know again -- magic time. >> we grew up in the city right on the mouth of the amazon so where the atlantic meets the amazon river. and it occurred to me why i like being near the water so much. because that's where i grew up. and where my -- i traveled with my dad. >> and so they were close, as close as a family on its own in such a place as this could possibly be. and accomplished. marilyn douglas could have sung professionally had she wanted to. could have done all kinds of things. >> she was a straight-a student and, you know, i just saw her as being so smart and successful and what it was that she wanted to do. >> and what she wanted to do more than anything else was raise brooks and leslie. you can see their faces still in. >> oh, yes, and i can hear my
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mom singing. ♪ i sing >> she did once every week at church. and at home where she sewed the outfits leslie wore to compete in miss teen oklahoma. >> i was the one that spent time with my mom, where it be singing or her making me a new dress for a pageant. >> so autumn, '79, 16-year-old brooks was an advanced football-playing senior in high school, making money breeding doberman dogs. leslie, a precociously pretty girl, and dad was busy, a chaplain at the state house, visitors of prisoners at mccallister penitentiary, even preaching a bit on early morning television. >> simply saying that death is not meaningless, that it's parent of the overall experience of life. >> and packing them in at putnam baptist. >> i may not match god's plan with my living, but he knows just exactly how long i'm going to live.
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i don't. praise the lord for that. >> but the pastor and his wife, charity began at home. >> their door was always open. they really, truly cared about people and where they were and how they could help them and how they could serve people. >> it was that generosity and openness that would come to haunt them. it was october 15, a monday. everybody home. >> my mom was in the kitchen. fixing dinner. and leslie was in the kitchen with her. >> it was brooks who answered the knock at the door. people called in all the time at the pastor's house. this one he didn't recognize. a bearded stranger who wanted a favor. and no one felt the evil then as it entered the house. >> the first thing i remember is raising my hands and thinking it always happens to the other guy,
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it never happens to you. and here we are. >> coming up, sudden, just before dinner, terror. >> he had pulled out a .357, had it in my face. important phone call i made. when i got my medicare card, i realized i needed an aarp... medicare supplement insurance card, too. medicare is one of the great things about turning 65, but it doesn't cover everything. in fact, it only pays up to 80% of your part b expenses. if you're already on or eligible for medicare, call now to find out how an aarp... medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company, helps cover some of the medical expenses... not paid by medicare part b. that can save you from paying up to thousands of dollars... out of your own pocket. these are the only medicare supplement insurance plans... exclusively endorsed by aarp. when you call now, you'll get this free information kit... with all you need to enroll.
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a little house in the country just outside okarche, oklahoma, october 14, 1979. pastor richard douglas and his family were getting ready for a quiet school night dinner. around dusk, a knock at the door. 16-year-old brooks douglas put down his homework, answered it. it a bearded stranger stood before him. >> he asked if he could use the phone. trying to get hold of somebody that lived near us. so let him in, and he picked up the phone and said, oh, phone number's in my other pants.
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he went outside. >> when he returned a moment later, he bent down, reached behind his back, and the awful business began. >> he had pulled out a .357, had it in my face. and he said, you know what it's all about. move over here. >> a second man armed with a double-barrelled shotgun stormed through the door. it was a robbery, the men said. >> i took my wallet out and had $43 in it. handed it to him. that's all you got? that's all you got? yeah. went, and he went through my mom's purse. and then he asked my mom if we had any rope. >> they pointed their guns, herded the family together, hall-tied them. >> he told us all to lie down on the living room floor face down and they tied me up with our hands and feet behind our back. >> one stood guard with the shotgun. the other happensacked the house, pulled the -- ransacked the house, pulled the cords from
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the wall. the man returned to the living room and looked at pretty 12-year-old leslie. and now the character of the attack changed. >> he got leslie and said, i want you to show me where all the other phones are and your hiding places for money are. she said, we don't have any hiding places for money, and he said, well, we're going to find some. so he put his gun in the back of her head and walked her in the house. and then i heard him walk back into leslie's room. and i heard her start crying and saying no, no, no. >> you all knew what was going on? >> yeah. and my mom, of course, was laying next to me. and she just was sobbing. and i said, mom, leslie's going to be okay. we're going to be okay. we're all going to be okay. >> brooks and his parents lay on the living room hog-tied, and they listened helpless as each man took his turn, as each one raped leslie. >> then they brought leslie in,
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tied her up, hands and feet behind her back like the rest of us were. >> i remember that night just thinking, you know, you've got to remember this, you've got to remember this, you've got to remember this. >> the two gunmen helped themselves to the meal marilyn had cooking on the stove. >> they sat down and at our -- at our table and ate our dinner. >> and then the terrifying round of bargaining began. >> they went back and forth about what they were going to do. at one point, he had said, if you'll give us four hours before you go to the police, then we won't shoot you. of course, we'll give you four hours. >> then, two hours into the ordeal, the family heard the leader, the one with the pistol, issue an order. >> go outside, start the car, turn it around, and listen for the sound. >> was it pretty clear to you -- listen for the sound meant -- >> oh, that's what i took it to mean. was that he was going to shoot us. >> at that points it came home
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to you that it was really going to happen. >> i don't think we actually believed we were going to get shot. what had we done? >> all they could do was wait and pray. >> i remember him walking right up over my head and saying, well, i don't want to have to shoot you all, but -- and then i heard the first shot go off and felt it hit me. then i heard another shot went off and my mom screamed. and then there was two other shots and two more. and then i heard him run to the door and go out. >> shot twice in the back, brooks shimmied toward his parents. >> then i went over to my mom, and it was -- untied her ropes with my teeth. i was able to get hold of them, and i said, i love you mom, and i love you dad. >> they heard that? >> my dad was like, i love you, too, get me untied. he said, quit worrying about things, get your mother untied. i said, dad, i'm trying. i said, mom, you're loose. your ropes are loose, untie me,
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untie me. and she looked up at me -- one last time, then, you know, her head tipped down, and she -- she faded. and i knew she died. and then i went over to my dad, and i looked him in the face and said, dad, mom's dead. and he never really said anything else. i told him again i loved him, and he said, "i love you," and i said -- i said, it's okay, dad, you know, leslie and i are going to be okay. >> it was the last thing pastor richard douglas ever heard. he died with his son at his side, a son's assurance which the father may or may not have understood to be. wishful thinking because brooks and leslie were at death's door themselves. coming up -- >> you just think i want to live, i have to do something. i can't just lay here. >> what could they do? a race for life and for the gunmen begins. when "the haunting" continues.
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on the night of october 15, 1979, two drifters raced away from the okarche, oklahoma, home from the douglas family. in their wake lay the dead and the dying. pastor richard douglas and his wife marilyn shot to death. 16-year-old brooks and his 12-year-old sister leslie each shot twice were hog-tied and bleeding beside the bodies of their parents. >> if i was going to live, i needed to make a decision -- i remember thinking as long as i can draw a breath or even twitch
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a muscle, i need to keep trying. >> the house was eerily quiet, and brooks feared his sister, too, was gone. >> i'd been shouting to her periodically, and she was responding, and then -- then she stopped responding. >> yet despite being shot twice herself, leslie had somehow escaped her bonds and made her way to the kitchen. >> i looked up, and leslie came running in with a knife and cut me loose. >> you're the one who got things going afterwards. >> right. right. >> where did that come from? >> i don't know. i guess that internal drive that you just think, you know -- i want to live, i want to be here. i have to do something. i can't just lay here. >> brooks and leslie were bleeding to death, both of them. and at least brooks knew it. >> we needed to get to a hospital or we were going to die. >> brooks carried leslie out to the family car. they were terrified, all but sure the killers must be out there somewhere lying in wait
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for them. >> i remember also thinking they might be at the end of the driveway so i drove really fast. and they weren't there. and thinking they might be on the highway. >> as they raced up route 81, brother and sister had a surreal, surprisingly composed conversation. >> it was very strange because there was, you know, moments of silence and, you know, then leslie asked me, are mom and dad dead, and i said, yeah, they are. and she goes, so, you know, what are we going to do? i guess we'll go live with our aunts and uncles. and i said, i guess so. i just said, we don't need to worry about it right now. we just need to, you know, need to get better. >> brooks was doing better than 100 miles per hour in his dad's 1970 plymouth duster. they drove to the lawn of a family friend, a doctor, and blurted out what happened. >> didn't believe us. we said, we're shot, mom and dad are at the house dead, help us. then i collapsed. as soon as i got in the living room. >> the doctor and his san
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carried brooks and leslie to a nearby hospital. >> and then the doctor and his son went to -- went out to the house to check on my mom and dad. >> the children fought for their lives. in the middle of the night, they were moved to an intensive care unit in oklahoma city. their wounds were appalling. one bullet had knicked brooks' heart. >> it came in this side of my back and collapsed this lung. >> and what about your sister's injuries? >> she was shot twice, and one of them went through her forearm because we had our arms tied together behind our back. then it went through her lower back, and then the second bullet went through the middle or not even, just off the center of her back and came out her chest. >> the doctor called the sheriff's office. officers reached the douglas home around 10:00 p.m. lynn steadman was the
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commissioner of the county. >> the preacher, reverend douglas and mrs. douglas, were still at the residence on the living room floor. >> dead? >> uh-huh. >> pretty shocking thing. >> yes. certainly was. it didn't take them long to identify their suspects. there had been another home invasion earlier that day in henessey, oklahoma, just up the road from the douglases. two men fled the crime in a distinctive banana yellow chevy malibu with primer spots. the victims who were robbed but not physically harmed gave deputies good descriptions of the men and their vehicle. investigators were able to tries the distinctive car to an oil field a few miles up the road from the douglas property. two rough necks working the drilling rig had up and quit that morning, taking off in a borrowed car. thought they were wanted for parole violations apparently. they weren't. they thought they were. the two were named stephen hatch
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and glen ache. and they were familiar already to the local police. >> one of them had a burglary conviction. >> these are petty criminals? >> yes, sir. >> as police pieced together ache and hatch's activities that day, they learned that after the two borrowed the yellow chevy, they drove into town and cleaned out their bank accounts. >> each one of them got approximately $500 out of a savings account. >> they bought beer, whiskey, and scored some speed and cocaine and roared off in the borrowed car to rob the family in henessey. that crime netted more than $1,000 and a double-barrelled shotgun. from there, they headed south to okarche and the pastor's modest ranch house out beyond the street lights. assistants district attorney bill james responded to the crime scene at the douglas home that night. he was starting to help build a case. >> within 2:00, 3:00, 4:00 in the morning, we had the identity
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of the people because of the prior robbery. >> they took money out of bank accounts, robbed another place, they had a couple of thousands dollars, a car, guns, why go into yet another house? >> i think it was so easy, they had had somewhat of a high from doing it the first time so they wanted to do it again. >> the county sheriff, the state police, the oklahoma bureau of investigations, the fbi, were all looking for ache and hatch. but the fugitives had at least a six-hour start. >> they were here, they were gone, yeah. >> meanwhile, back in an oklahoma city hospital, brooks and leslie douglas clung to life in an intensive care unit. and lawmen had a bad feeling. >> i really was afraid when i was on the scene that night, these people are likely to go out and commit one murder after another. because it was just so consolidate and without thought. without even necessity. >> coming up, were you frightened? terrified that they would come back and try to kill you? >> absolutely.
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>> round-the-clock protection for brooks and leslie. were they still in danger? >> people don't know where these two guys are. they could be anymore. >> when "the haunting" continues. f!
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here's what's happening -- president obama just wrapped up a controversial meeting with the dalai lama at the white house. chinese officials had asked for the meeting to be canceled saying they opposed any foreign leaders meeting with a tibetan compile. and in less -- exile. and in less than eight hours, casey anthony could be released from jail. speculation is she may be set free in the early hours of the morning for security purposes. anthony has received death threats since the end of her trial. now back to "the haunting." ♪ it was thursday, october 18, 1979. the choir sang "amazing grace,"
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and 2,000 mourners crowded into putnam city baptist church for the funeral of the church avenues beloved passed -- church's beloved pastor, richard douglas, and his beloved wife, marilyn. even the mayor was there. it was three days after the home invasion and murder. brooks and leslie remained in intensive care. brooks took a turn for the worse. >> the morning of the funeral, my temperature shot way up, and they thought at that point they were going to lose me. but they caught it early, and they treated it. and so it was pretty miraculous. >> as the mourners listened to eulogies and the couple's favorite hymns, investigators were searching for hatch and ache. leslie and brooks were kept together in the same room under 24-hour police guard. were you frightened, terrified that they would come back and try to kill you? >> absolutely. it obviously caused some angst. you know, among the police and
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the family. >> it wasn't just the douglas children who were frightened, the enormity of the crime transfixed oklahomans. kjrh tulsa anchors remember. >> this terrible thing happened. there's a manhunt that's going on. there's a lot of tension. people don't know where these two guys are. they could be anywhere. there was word that they had made it down to texas, there was word that they had gone to colorado. they may be coming back. brooks and his sister can't even go to their parents' funeral because these guys may be coming back to get them. the stories were abundant. >> reports of sightings came in. some of them disturbingly close. what were they up to? bill james was assistant district attorney. were you worried that they'd come back and try to yet those two other kids once they learned that they were alive? >> correct. somebody thought they had seen them in the okarche area, and we had a manhunt up there.
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>> but of course brooks and leslie douglas were more than just victims, more than survivors even, they were crucial witnesses. >> i met them at the hospital. they were stable at that time. they would answer any question i asked directly. >> what was interesting to them about you --. >> how analytical, exact questions, what was going to happen, and that they were pretty intelligent kids and in control of their emotions. >> as you were lying in the hospital trying to recover, trying to understand what had happened to you, what was that like for you? >> yeah, it was really strange. part of it was i think nobody knew how to react. members of the church would come in and -- to console us and we would wind up consoling them and hugging -- hey, it's going to be okay. we're going to be okay. >> three weeks after the shooting, brooks and leslie were spirited out of the hospital and taken to a secure location still under police guard. it was halloween.
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>> we were staying in a little house that was owned by the church in a residential neighborhood. and a bunch of trick-or-treaters came up, they were adults, ohio is -- wearing masks. leslie and i about came out of or skin, and the highway patrolman actually had his weapon drawn behind the door. telling them you don't want to be here. that was a scary moment. >> out of the hospital, orphaned now, the finality of the children's loss sank in all the way. >> the hardest thing was the cemetery. i remember walking toward the gravesite, it was just dirt with a grave marker with both their names on it. and that was the first moment that it was real to me that they
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were gone. and i just felt like everything that was in me at that moment just fell out, and i remember falling on my knees and just thinking, how senseless. >> and imagine this -- having survived the deadly attack, having lost their parents, having soldiered through an arduous recovery, brooks and leslie's home and all the family's possessions were auctioned off to pay their medical bills. and so began repercussions neither they nor anyone else imagined. a haunting really that would go on for decades. first the siblings who kept each other alive through crisis and recovery were separated. leslie moved in with relatives in another town and started at a new school. brooks, just a term shy of high school graduation, stayed in the neighborhood with church members
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so he could finish school. >> at the end of the day, i was still -- i didn't want to be strapped down in the hospital, and i didn't want to be stuck in the house with security. it was all necessary, but it was hard to take for a 16-year-old and a 13-year-old. >> and glen ache and stephen hatch were still out there somewhe somewhere. coming up, worst fears are confirmed. the suspects strike again and again. >> the car just got away -- just disappeared. >> but police are about to get the break they need. when "the haunting" continues.
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the day after the murders, ache called family in oklahoma and learned that lawmen were on their trail for killing pastor and mrs. douglass and shooting leslie and brooks. sheriff lynn stedman led the investigation. i assume people are pretty anxious to catch them. so what -- what happened during the next period of days and weeks? >> well, the -- they left, and a lot of this is according to their statement. they left through oklahoma city and bought beer in oklahoma city, they asked directions to interstate 40 east, and they ended up that next morning in ft. smith, arkansas. >> still in the yellow malibu? >> yes, sir. still in the yellow malibu with the primer spots on it.
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they ended up there about 2:00 in the morning, spent the rest of the morning up until about 10:00 or 10:30 at the sheraton in ft. smith, arkansas. on roger stres street. they spent the night and walked to the bus station. >> eventually police managed to track down the yellow getaway car, abandoned now. but by then, they were long gone. had hoped a bus to memphis. >> they spent three nights there drinking heavily. they lost about $1,000 while they were in the motel as a result of a cabbie bringing a couple of hookers to their room, and the hookers rolled them for about $1,000. >> and after memphis they wandered around southern louisiana looking for oil field
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work before hitch hiking to new orleans. there the two found jobs in a carnival, and ache took one a young woman named virginia ginger keefe. >> they hooked up with her, and they went on the road with her for a good while. >> back on the road after they lost those carnival jobs, happened when they got drunk at work and fired a shotgun in the a air, they were just about broke except for a credit card stolen by mrs. douglass. by early november, three weeks after the murders, ache, hatch, and ginger caught a bus as far as their remaining funds would take them. that was lumberton, texas. >> ache, hatch, and virginia keefe arrived there. they office a continental trailway bus. >> willie payne was sheriff then. >> nay got the bus to stop -- they got the bus to stop in front of the house. they broke into the house, the two men did. virginia stayed out in the woods. and they was going to wait until somebody come home. >> and when the homeowner returned, a friend along with
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him, ache and hatch were waiting with a sawed off shotgun. sheriff payne later found signs of a struggle, but otherwise the crime scene was a carbon copy of the douglass murders. >> they had been tied with the ropes, their feet and hands were bound behind their back. they had hoods over their head and both of them had been shot execution style. >> payne didn't know then about the douglass case, didn't connect the two right away, but he did have something to go. the homeowner's new datsun 280z was missing. >> we were able to put out a national bulletin for the vehicle. >> hatch, ache, and ginger keefe sweez squeeze -- squeezed into the stolen car with marilyn douglass' visa. the three went to california, then doublinged back east to
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wyoming. hatch and ache looking for work. but the murderous roadtrip was about to end in a bar in downtown baggs, wyoming. ache got drunk, started slapping ginger around. she'd had enough, and at her first opportunity spilled her guts to the barkeep. the bar owner alerted the police. by then ache and hatch had escaped in colorado. jeff coreville was a detective sergeant in colorado back then. >> our deputies found out that the car was associated with ache and hatch and that they were wanted on a number of different murders in oklahoma and texas. they tried to pursue the car but what we had then of just kind of old pickup trucks for patrol vehicles. and of course these guys got away real quick. >> ache and hatch floored the 280z, lost the lawmen. aware of how dangerous the two were, the searchers scoured the county. >> our guys gave chase, and the car just got away, disappeared 25 miles north of town. >> they'd given the cops the
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slip. low on money and freezing in the colorado winter, ache and hatch were as desperate as cornered animals. they resorted to what they knew, invading a ranch house outside colorado. >> they got the car stuck in the driveway leading up to his house. they went out of the car, went to his house, basically forced their way in. armed, of course, and took pondella hostage. >> here's how ache and hatch convinced the rancher they meant business -- >> mr. pondella had a little dog. he called it his little three-legged dog. and the dog went to jump up on the bed, and one of the guys shot and killed that dog. and they told mr. pondella that if he didn't do exactly as they said, he would be next. >> after ache's bloody warning, the rancher stalled for time. >> he got them to drink a lot of beer, and when they either went to sleep or passed out, he got away from them. so his quick thinking and the
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way that he handled himself in that situation absolutely saved his life. >> the rancher met with the sheriff. >> we showed him the pictures of ache and hatch, he instantly identified them as the two people that had taken him hostage the night before. >> the rancher warned the lawmen that ache and hatch had access to an arsenal. >> between the firearms and the ammunition that he had and the firearms and the ammunition that they brought, they were very, very well armed. i want to say close to 30 different firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition. >> early the next morning, nearly a dozen lawmen stormed the ranch house. >> and right as we're driving up to the house, we see two men, ache and hatch, jump from a window in the house and run. and they run in two different directions. they were beth armed. >> a deputy fired a warning shot over ache's head. >> he tripped over an irrigation
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ditch in this flaeth mmeadow, a down. we thought that if we hit that guy we would have killed him, but not a scratch. >> ache and hatch surrendered without firing a shot. they were taken to the county jail. when their belongings were inventoried, they each had less than $1 and change, a gas credit card belonging to a texas victim, and pastor and mrs. douglass' wedding rings. coming up, arrested at last. of the long nightmare over for brooks and leslie douglass? or was it just beginning? >> i loaded a .357 magnum on these people. >> chilling words from a killer. verizon claims its 4g lte is twice as fast as at&t. we're putting them to the test against the speed of a rescue unit. go ! they're downloading a music album. the first network to finish gets rescued. does your phone know that we're racing ?
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it was stunning news. thanksgiving eve, 1979, six weeks after the okarche, oklahoma, murders of richard and marilyn douglass, the shooting of their children, the manhunt was over. >> the governor calls a news conference. it was that big of a deal. they wanted to put people at rest that these two guys weren't out there terrorizing the state of oklahoma anymore. it was a big deal. >> glen ache and stephen hatch who were by now also wanted for questioning in two additional murders in texas had been
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captured in colorado after another home invasion. it was the call he was waiting for. >> i jumped over the railing, ran to the office to prepare the extradition papers. i put a call in to the governor, had him sign him. we had it done in a few hours. >> why the hurry, why the rush? >> we wanted them. >> remember, the fugitives had committed a double murder in texas, too. but the oklahomans were determined they wanted first crack at ache and hatch. had to get there before some lawmen from texas beats them to it. the news of the capture was a huge relief to brooks and leslie douglass. and now the tries bring back ache and hatch. sheriff lynn stedman flew by charter to colorado. . >> it was about 2:30 to 3:00 in the morning this we landed at
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will rogers world airport here in oklahoma city. >> yeah. >> with them. and then took them by car. >> then the sort of thing that almost never happens -- on their way back to oklahoma, hatch and ache told the lawmen they wanted to make a statement. >> we had a semblance of thanksgiving that day and then did this that evening, thanksgiving evening, at the sheriff's office. >> they locked up hatch in this old building here, the old el rino jail. ache, they kept in a more secure facility, more modern place down the block. thanksgiving night, sheriff's deputies collected the two of them, took them around the corner there and down to the sheriff's office so they could deliver those confessions they seemed so eager to make. and so they did. apparently without any remorse or emotion, first hatch and then ache calmly described their
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activities on that murderous night. >> they told us they didn't do that kind of stuff, in their words, unless they were drunk. and they had been drinking heavily the day that this happened, of october 15 of '79. >> taking drugs, as well? >> yes, sir. in one of their areas they mentioned some speed. ache even mentioned cocaine, that they had taken. >> glen ache made it clear in his statement that he was the
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shooter. he was in change. >> why did hatch go along with him? >> hatch was a -- and this is ache's words -- hatch is a follower. ache said, "i'm the strong one and the made all the decisions." >> so it was like a big dog/little dog and hatch would follow along. ache said he was the triggerman, not only in the douglass killings but in texas, their. the other incident of the shooting of the fellows in texas, did ache tell you about that and" he pulled the -- and why he pulled the trigger then? >> he said that he had to do it because steve hatch was just too weak to do it. >> he was afraid to pull the trigger? >> yes, sir. and they knew each other having
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been brothers-in-law for some time. >> it's -- it's one of those crimes or series of crimes that makes you scratch your head at how human beings can behave that way. they come along one in a while, and you think what -- what? how does that -- you've had some experience in these areas. can you offer any insight at al all? >> not really other than i believe that the majority of the people that do this kind of thing are -- they're on some kind of mind-altering drink or drug. >> did either one express any remorse in these statements? >> the only remorse that i got was that ache said, "i want the death penalty."
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>> he knew what he it h done. >> yes, sir. >> for brooks and leslie douglass, the capture of the suspects appeared to put an end to their ordeal. little did they know. did you have any idea how much you still had to go through even though they caught them? >> oh, heavens, no. no idea. >> you figured it was sort of down at that point probably. >> yeah, yeah. >> enaive little you. >> yeah. >> coming up, the trial begins, face to face with their parents' killers. >> it was like his to pretend like i was somebody else. ♪ ♪ you are my sunshine ♪ my only sunshine ♪ you makes me happy ♪ when skies are grey ♪ you'll never know, dear
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by early 1980, brooks and leslie had healed enough to go to school -- physically, that is. but shellshocked by the deaths of their parents the previous october, they strulgled. any semblance of teenage normalcy forever lost to them. and they coped separately. leslie had moved to another town. brooks was still in the old neighborhood near his high school. they still had no idea that oklahoma winter that the legal trials of the men who killed their parents which were about to begin could become their own decades's long tribulation. despite their long and detailed confessions, glen ache, the trigger man, and stephen hatch his accomplice, had pleaded months to to the murders of killing reverend douglass and his wife marilyn and shooting the children. stephen hatch was tried first at the canadian county courthouse. >> hatch was a follower, but he's the one that picked out the house that night. he's the one that wanted to
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commit another crime. he's the one that created the energy for -- actually for the second crime. >> and the state of oklahoma looked to have an ironclads case against him. most important, of course, the harrowing stories of the eyewitnesses brooks and leslie douglass. then the confessions. the state had ballistic evidence linking them to the murders and the testimony of ginger keep, the traveling companion while they were on the run. keefe, who was never charged with any crime, testified that ache and hatch told her about killing the douglasses and shooting brooks and leslie. >> we had two surviving witnesses. we were able to identify who the people were. we were able to put the bullet in. we somewhat kept it simple. >> simple? to the judge hearing the case maybe, but certainly not for the surviving witnesses. brooks had already testified once in the preliminary hearing. but both he and his sister would have to relive it all for
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hatch's trial. >> 13-year-old leslie douglass appeared in court for the first time since the shooting that left her and her brother critically wounded and her parents dead. >> how did those two kids do on the stand? >> they did excellent. they were good. they were both well. >> stood up under cross-examination? >> yeah. we tried the case in chief in one day. just -- we just one witness after another. >> altogether, the hatch case took three days of the court's time. hatch testified in his own defense. he was convicted, sentenced to death. glen ache's trial in early summer didn't take much longer. but in the courtroom they kept him under heavy guard. ache was volatile, unpredictable. >> ache was really mean. i mean, he just was a mean person. >> sheriff lynn stedman testified for two hours about ache's thanksgiving confession. but once again, brooks and leslie were the star witnesses for the prosecution. they both calmly identified glen ache as the man who shot them
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and murdered their parents. did you watch the children's testimony? >> yes. brooks was very strong in his testimony. leslie was, too. but it bothered her more than it did brooks to testify. >> it was like i had to pretend like i was somebody else just telling a story of what happened. and it's kind of like the night that happened and i have to remember all this, i is to remember all this. i was trying to almost forget about what was actually happening and just, okay, remember what their face looked like, what did their -- what happened here, what happened there. >> that's the remarkable thing, that even when it was going on you were conscious of the fact you would have to remember for the sake of what might happen. >> right, right. and i didn't know why: >> that promise that leslie douglass made to herself the night her parents were killed is what carried her through, she said. >> i didn't know why. i just -- i just knew that his
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to remember every detail. and so whenever it was time to be on the stand, i knew that everything that i said was important. and that i had to be specific and remember. so it was like, i don't know what got in my head, i just have to remove all emotional attachment. >> the jury needed just two hours to make up its mind. ache was convicted. he was sentenced to 1,000 years for shooting the douglass children, and as for the murder of brooks and leslie's parents -- >> we the jury empanelled and sworn by to see try the issues in the above entitled cause do upon our oaths having heretofore found the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree fix punishment at death. >> so end of the road for ache and hatch or so lawmen and prosecutors assumed. sheriff stedman escorted ache to mccallister penitentiary and death row.
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>> when i took glen burton ache to mccallister, oklahoma, to be processed in by the department of corrections, when we got out of the car, i told him, glen, this is last time i will see you until i come back to see you die. >> with this monstrous chapter of their lives apparently over, leslie and brooks began to thrive. leslie living in that new town with her mother's family became a stellar high school student, a cheerleader, college-bound. how in heavens name did you go on to do all the things you did like any regular teenage person? >> i think it's because my mom saying one night if anything ever happened to them, she wanted me to be strong and move on with my life. and i remember crying, going, mom, why are you saying that? nothing's ever going to happen to you. but i think it was one of those things that i just -- had in the back of my mind, and it helped
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me push through thing. >> through the first trials and in the years immediately after, brooks also felt his parents were somehow still with him. >> i was able to at least during that first couple of years and even now but especially i think in that first few years, i could hear them -- hear their voices as i was having to make decisions or do things. and so i felt like they were still with me. and it wasn't until years later so much, oh, you're an orphan. >> oh, yes, he was. and because of what happened to make him one, both the law and life began now to spin in very strange directions. certainly beyond his control. as it began to look like his parents' killers might just escape just after all. coming up -- >> there was an audible gas p.
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>> brooks and leslie returned to the courtroom. >> i screamed, and then he shot me again. >> but this time the outcome will be very different. when "the haunting" continues. [ man ] i got this new citi thankyou card
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some days it seemed that every step forward he made that brooks douglass took two back. he made it out of high school all right, though orphaned with his sister by the murder of his parents and haunted by the complications of survival, grief, confusion, he was adrift. though scattered might be a better word for those years after brooks headed off to college. >> i went to six or seven different universities, the rhodes scholar days because i would either go for eight weeks or get kicked out or leave and go down the road and enroll in the next school for six or eight weeks. and so i was having a hard time.
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i'd get in, had a hard time focusing. >> and legal developments over the next few years didn't make it any easier. the appeals of the two men convicted of killing brooks' parents seemed to be drifting, too, deflected and scattered and confusing. a u.s. supreme court ruling on the death penalty in a far-off case in florida led to hatch's death sentence being vacated twice. and therefore, more uncertainty for the douglass kids, more legal hearings. >> if this case doesn't fit the aggravating circumstances that it was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, i can't imagine a case that would. >> his sentence reinstated, stephen hatch went back to death row. and meanwhile, glen ache, the triggerman, had been filing appeals from a nearby cell. in february of 1985, six years after the douglasses were murdered, the united states
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supreme court ruled in ache vs. oklahoma that he deserved a new trial. prosecutors had failed to provide a psychiatrist at state expense. kathy stoker was the d.a. >> i contacted brooks and leslie and indicated that we would have to retrial ake. i'm sure they just thought, will this ever end? >> that was exactly the stunned siblings' reaction. once again they opened their psychic and emotional wounds for inspection by the court. and this is the thing that is so remarkable is that you're able to go there again and again -- >> right. >> in places that are daunting and difficult, and yet you clearly feel that same emotional turmoil every time it comes up. >> i do. >> there you are sitting with us, and you're feeling it all again. >> you'd think 31 years later it would be different. i always get a little emotional.
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and -- start remembering and think, wow, you know, i can't believe's been this long. >> as ake's second trial began in february, 1986, his lawyer laid out the defense's case. >> we entered a plea of not guilty by the reason of insanity. and that will be -- we'll maintain that defense throughout the trial. >> after six years in maximum security, glen ake was nearly unrecognizable. sheriff lynn stedman was in charge of security. >> in the second trial, he made not a sound during the trial. he had let his hair grow long. and he set there with his head down, looking at the table the entire trial. >> but jurors heard from other witnesses. despite the passage of time, the tales of the crime -- the degrees of the crime remain chilling. >> reverend douglass was, again, laying on his back. his feet were also tied together
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with a cord-type material. >> although ake never took the stand, never even said a word to his lawyers, the jury heard his thanksgiving statement. >> then came the eyewitnesses to the carnage that night. leslie douglass, now 20 years old, a college student. calmly explained it all to the jury. >> and then i heard two more shots which hit my father and then another shot, and i screamed. and then he shot me again. and then i heard him run out the door. >> i was amazed by her courage. she had to go back there in her mind and tell you exactly what happened. what she did. she did not falter. >> and she was rock solid.
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>> yes. >> brooks douglass wasn't spared his turn on the stand. >> i felt the bullet hit me and another went off and i heard my mother scream. >> the core of the defense case was the testimony of psychiatrists, three of them. >> do you believe that he was insane on the 15th of october, 1979? >> yes, sir. i'm convinced that on that date mr. ake did not know right from wrong. >> and throughout it all in court, glen burton ake remained silent. presented himself more like a mental patient than a convicted murderer. sheriff stedman watched and decided it had to be a ploy. he was feigning insanity. >> he'd had about five years or so to come up with this act. >> but did the jury see what the sheriff believed he saw? the decision when it came was quite a surprise.
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>> i remember when the verdicts were read in the courtroom, this was an audible gasp. >> we the jury empaneled and sworn in the above entitled cause do upon our oaths having heretofore found the defendant glen burton ake guilty of murder in the first degree for the death of richard barry douglass, to afix punishment at life in the state penitentiary. >> no death penalty. this time the jury spared his life. he would come off death row. >> the jury came back and sentenced ake to life for each of the murders and to 200 years each for the shootings of the children. >> but wait a minute. stephen hatch who did not fire a weapon faced execution, but ake, the triggerman, got life. brooks was floored. >> as i heard the decision read, what was going through my mind
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was that i can just see my parents dying and knowing that they would never -- they would never be fully avenged. that they died, that this person took their life and yet he's going to be allowed to continue living at our expense. >> as brooks saw it, after all this time, all the suffering, his parent, his, his sister's, glen ake had plain cheated the excuser. that day after sentencing, the shellshocked brooks escaped into a hallway followed by sheriff's deputies escorting glen ake back to a prison cell. there they were, standing feet apart. brooks looked at ake and something in him snapped. he saw the deputy passing by, his revolver tantalizingly close. and in that moment, brooks douglass contemplated murder. he reached the for the officer's weapon.
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you saw at one point him being led somewhere, and there was a deputy with a gun. >> just by chance, i walked out of one door of the courtroom and he came out in front of me. and it was actually kathy stoker that grabbed my arm. >> she saw what you wanted to do? >> yeah. >> you might have done it. >> i might have done it. you know, two can play that game. you know, if he can play crazy, i can, too. >> wow. so that crime had done a lot to you after all. >> yeah. >> but brooks knew that he wouldn't, couldn't have done it even if the prosecutor had not stayed his hand. he told us he went back to the night he was shot and bleeding and made his decision to try to save himself. >> why did i get off that floor? did i get off that floor to go kill them? no. is that what my parents would have wanted for me? i'd of been much better off to
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have died that night. i needed to live my life, and i'd never be able to do it as long as i was holding that like that. >> but of course at that moment he could have no idea that this was not the last time he'd encounter the man who killed his parents. no. coming up, a confrontation with a killer. what did you see in him? powerful emotions, and long buried demons. >> what i really wanted was for it to be -- was for it to be over. >> when "the haunting" continues. finally, there's a choice for my patients with an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation, or afib, that's not caused by a heart valve problem. today we have pradaxa to reduce the risk
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as the years rolled by, it seemed that the wounds that brooks and leslie suffered the night their parents were murdered might never heal, but they did learn to live. and any outsider might think they had learned that lesson well. the homecoming queen went on to college, then graduate school. became first a teacher, later an assistant principal health care reform a family, two children of her own. >> i never wanted to seem like this person that just, you know,
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hid and -- and fell apart and would be the hysterical person that goes through all this kind of stuff and -- i wanted to make something of myself. my mom never went to college so i went to college and got a master's degree. it's one of those things that i don't want people to tell me i can't accomplish things and do things because they think i'm going to allow everything that's happened affect my whole life. >> brooks finally struggled through college, took an army rotc commission, then went to law school and got married. but again and again, both put their lives on hold to unpack their awful memories for trials and appeals and parole and clemency hearings, for glen ake and stephen hatch. how many times did you have to testify? >> i think it was a total of nine. >> what did it do to you?
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>> as soon as i would hear that i was going to need to go testify again, you know, my mind would go to that place. and it would just -- it was a month of -- or however long, leading up to it, and the apprehension and the fear. just plain old fear. >> in 1990, 11 years after the murders, just out of law school, just about broke, frankly, with a marriage headed south, brooks decided almost on a whim to run for the oklahoma state senate. was it that frustration with the system that made you decide to go and if finish your law degree and get into sflix. >> i remember feel -- into politics? >> i remember feeling helpless and looking for what are ways that i can begin to gain a little bit of control over what's happening to me. >> didn't this seem absolutely ludicrous to you? >> i think i was just sort of -- really oblivious --
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>> you didn't know what was impossib impossible? >> yeah, nobody told me i couldn't do it, so why not? let's do it, let's try. >> he won. it was, he would say, an upset. it made him at 27 the youngest senator in oklahoma history. russ mccaskey, then a tv reporter covering the capitol, payment a close friend. >> his teenage years were pretty rough. he struggled for a long time. but he was starting to put the pieces back together. and i think that at that point he was ready to start moving forward with his life. you could see a con froermz in him. >> he met another young senator, later governor, brad henry. >> it was just kind of natural that we gravitated toward one another because we were the youngest by a long shot. and even though he is a republican and i'm a democrat, we just became very, very good
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friends. >> it was in his second year in the senate when brooks found the cause close to his heart. >> victims rights was simply one of those things that nobody talked about. >> but of course that was the core experience of his life. did he know how the system treats victims of crime? oh, yes he did. so he introduced oklahoma's first victims right act. >> the jury never hears one word about the family or not considering how brutal that crime was. this person took another individual's life in these cases. >> the victims rights movement was in its infancy then. he met resistance from judges and prosecutors. >> there were judges, there were state senators who had championed the rights of the accused. and certainly the accused is entitled to basic rights. and -- but there's a long tradition of that. it's a relatively new phenomena
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that we provide some rights to the victims of crimes. and back when -- when brooks and i first began in the senate, victims of crimes had very few rights in oklahoma. he was very, very passionate and focused on victims' rights. and who could argue with him? there was nobody in the senate or in the house for that matter who had been through that kind of a traumatic experience. >> the law's passage was a huge victory for brooks and his allies in the legislature. and personally for him, well, it happened during his second term in the senate. revelation. and not a happy one. for all he had accomplished, all he had overcome, the grief, the fury, the drift, the confusion, it wasn't enough. perhaps it was his long dead father still whispering in his
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ear, something he needed to do. he found himself on a legislative tour of oklahoma's infamous maximum security prison at mccallister. big mac's population housed the most dangerous prisoners including glen ake. the triggerman in his parents' murder. and in an even more secure wing, stephen hatch, ake's accomplice, waiting out his final days on deaths row. at first brooks was afraid he might run into glen ake behind the wall here at the penitentiary. he was nervous about that, wanted to avoid it. then something started gnawing at him and eventually he realized he knew what he had to do. he had to confront the man who'd murdered his parents, the man he'd contemplated killing outside that courtroom years before. so he went to see the warden. being a senator does have its perks. and the warden sent a note to the prisoner. and much to everyone's amazement, glen ake agreed to a meeting.
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it was february, 1995. brooks douglass found himself sitting across a table from the man who'd murdered his parents and shot him and his sister. >> i said for 15 years i've wanted nothing more than to see you dead. and i still want it. and, you know, hearing some of that -- hearing myself say that was very, very strange. >> to confront the fact that you just said that to this man. >> yeah. >> that you wanted him dead. >> i wanted him dead. >> and by saying it, something went click inside. >> yeah. that -- that what i really wanted was for it to be -- for it to be over.
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and i didn't realize how much i think that was dominating my life. >> it was not what he intended to do, didn't know what he would do when he found himself sitting face to face with his parents' killer. but now the words came out, and he realized he meant them completely. he forgave glen ake. and inside him he said the reaction was almost physical. and yet you were now in the -- the one in the position of having to forgive the unforgivable and were confronted at the same time with your desire to see these guys die for what they did to your parents. >> right. >> what reaction did you see in him? >> he was -- he was completely remorseful, which surprised me right off the bat. and when that moment came was when he was, you know, messing with cuffs and was trying to
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wipe away tears. >> brooks confided in his friends. >> he calls me after the meeting. i said, how did it go? and he said, i forgave him. and there's just silence on the phone for a minute. my jaw is on the floor. >> the thing that really purged his soul was this forgiveness that washed forward, that he -- he really couldn't explain. and i think he surprised himself that he actually would affirmatively forgive his parents' murderer. i think because of the teachings of his father and his mother was able to find that forgive not inside. somehow. and i think it has been a tremendous, tremendous load off of his shoulders.
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>> leslie's reaction was more muted. >> he had told me about meeting with ake. and him forgiving him and me having a hard time understanding it. >> is forgiving part of moving on like that? part of getting past it? >> i think it is. i mean, i feel like i've forgiven. you can forgive, but it just doesn't change the circumstances sometimes. >> but there is a difference between forgiveness and forgetting. the state of oklahoma along with brooks and leslie douglass had some unfinished business with stephen hatch. not the triggerman, no. but a murderer, yes. coming up -- >> i was afraid to sleep at night. i was afraid somebody was coming to get me. >> another legal confrontation. and another staggering surprise. a new part of the story. 8gg@ú
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here's what's happening -- media mogul rupert murdoch says he's sorry. full-page ads of his apologies were printed in newspapers across britain. "the news of the world" phone hacking scandal pressured two of murdoch's top executives to resign on friday. and venezuelan president chavez returns to cuba for chemotherapy. he delegated some of his duties to his vice president and finance minister. chavez had a large tumor removed last month in cuba. now back to "the haunting." it was 18 months after that extraordinary meeting with glen ake, the one at which brooks douglass forgave his parents' killer. the other man convicted in their murder, stephen hatch, was scheduled to die. brooks had tried to meet with hatch on death row. he was rebuffed. appeals exhausted, hatch's execution date was set in the
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summer of 1996. there was a final clemency hearing. brooks and leslie would have to testify against him one last time. hatch pleaded for his life. >> i'm sorry for the pain the children, brooks and leslie douglass, continue to feel. i can say sorry for the rest of time, and that would not be enough. i could die 100 times, and it would never be enough to make up for what had happened. >> but then testimony that astounded leslie douglass and brought back all the horror. >> i had found out some things at the clemency hearing that -- that i was not aware of. and so it kind of shattered my world. >> it happened at the very beginning when the state brought those murder charges against ake and hatch in the first place. they chose not to put leslie through the additional trauma of testifying about the rapes. after all, they could prove
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murder easily. and leslie never knew, not in all those years, that the killers denied raping her all along. then hatch's clemency hearing when with his life on the line, he stuck to his story that he had not sexually assaulted her. >> they had denied raping me. and so i think right then it just really threw me for a loop. i was only supposed to talk like 30 seconds, and it ended up being three or four minutes because i was so upset. and remembered every minute of it like it was happening right then. >> not only did i have nightmares, i was afraid to go to restaurants, i was afraid to sleep at night, i heard noises that would wake me up because i was afraid somebody was coming to get me. and not only did i not get to go to my parents' funeral, i denied that they had died. he just still even after all these years just seemed like there was no remorse.
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and -- >> by not only denying but calling you a liar basically. >> right. and was like -- i just could see where that poor 12-year-old girl could have thought that i did or this happened. and i was like -- there's no thought, it did. >> the clemency appeal was denied. and so on august 9, 1996, leslie and brooks douglass drove from oklahoma city to mccallister prison to witness stephen hatch's death. >> all of the filings at the supreme court have been denied. and we have a green light to proceed with the execution shortly after midnight. >> a brother and sister among the first family members ever to witness the execution of a murderer. that they could do so at all was because of additional victims rights legislation brooks helped pass that year. >> the night of the execution and they give them an option of making a last statement, he didn't even say anything. >> he knew you were there.
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>> right. that just kind of left me kind of numb, kind of stunned. just like, wow, you know, isn't that what we all want to do is -- is change the thing that we've done in life that we regret? and go back and amend those things or ask for forgive not? because he took a big, huge part of me. >> and just after midnight, 17 painful years after their parents were killed, leslie and brooks watched stephen hatch strapped to a gurney die by lethal injection. hatch left behind a written statement. in it he called those who sat in judgment of him evil and barbaric and politicians. an hour after hatch was pronounced dead, brooks spoke to the press. >> leslie and i have again witnessed the taking of a life. the first time we did so we were young people who were present when our mother and father were viciously killed.
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today is the end of a very long ordeal that has dominated our lives. >> the family witnessing an execution was so unusual, leslie appeared on the "today" show. >> how has this crime haunted you and followed you since it happened? >> i dealt with it a lot better then. but as i've become older and have had children, it has become so much harder to try to explain to my children that they're never going to get to know their grandparents, they're never going to see them. >> so was it what you expected? >> i'm never going to get a call, when i'm not in california or wherever it is that i'm living, outer mongolia, and be told, guess what -- >> i hates hate to tell you this -- >> but you're going to have to testify against stephen hatch again. >> but was it? he had forgiven ake, felt that
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he had put that behind him, accepted things as they were. but according to brooks' friends, he was troubled after the execution and not long afterward his second marriage ended. >> he was depressed for a while. it brings everything back up, you know. when you have to go to the prison and so forth and -- and witness it, it takes you back to that place. it made it tough for him. >> and it took him right back there. >> one of the more bizarre things was i felt like as i was watching him die that it -- that i was also watching the events of that night all over again. part of us died back there. and i'll never forget it. leslie will never forget it. >> no. and nor could either of them have known then that one day he was going to choose his own decision to relive the worst
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night of his life in living color. >> and he was just gut wrenching bawling saying, i just feel so bad for my mom and dad because, you know, he knew that that was their last day, and they had so much to live for. and that whole night was really excruciating for everyone. even more real than you would have imagined. coming up -- >> forgiveness and mercy and love. >> i think my parents would be proud. >> freeing his ghosts. the surprising move that helped brooks heal the past at last. when "the haunting" continues. somewhere in america, there's a doctor who can peer into the future. there's a nurse who can access in an instant every patient's past. and because the whole hospital's working together, there's a family who can breathe easy, right now. somewhere in america,
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brooks douglass was restless. the man who'd helped murder his parents had been executed.
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the shooter was behind bars for life. and brooks seemed unsure where he belonged. three terms in the oklahoma senate was enough. he started a business, sold it, served as an army officer in the middle east, enrolled in harvard's kennedy school of government. where he met and married julia. the crime that so infected his life, well, he did make speeches from time to time about victims rights. >> it took 14 years for us to get the wedding rings back that these guys had stolen and taken with them. and one of them, they actually had to saw it off of him when they caught him. >> but life was different now. he and julia had two children, settled down in california. and then brooks decided not unlike a horde of my grants in the clusters of hollywood that maybe he could do some acting and writing. >> i was teaching a writing workshop, and brooks came to the class. and he pitched three ideas.
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one a sitcom, one a drama, and he proceeds to tell me about his life. >> paul brown is a hollywood writer and director. >> i couldn't believe what i was hearing. the story about justice and vengeance becomes a story about forgiveness. and i thought that was a very unique, important story. >> he said, that's the one you need to write. and i said, well, i don't think i can write it. it's too personal, and it's too painful. but he convinced me that i should try it. so i wrote a few scenes. and parts of it were very difficult. i mean, extraordinarily difficult. >> oh, yes. difficult. but before long, as important as anything in his life had ever been. could he actually make a movie? he'd never done anything like this before, not even close. and as fortunes made to vanish were regulator here. still this, he believed, was the answer.
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he hired fwroun co-write and direct his movie. he raided his bank account, then went fundraising among friends and family, scraped together a couple of million dollars. for three years into his labor of love cast hollywood actors, as well as some of his friends. and then called it "heaven's rain, kwt k" for reasons his fa would have understood. "heaven's rain" opened late last year, and leslie who had survived the whole long ordeal in her own private way, had to watch someonele very publicly be her. >> brooks, do you realize that every time we go through this i have to relive everything again? and that who's going to show up in my dreams. >> the thing that kept coming into my head was, i wonder how
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she feels about this. i wonder what she thinks about this. >> it kind of just made me look back at -- at where my head was and what i was thinking. and she actually did a great job portraying me because i thought, i can say exactly word for word everything that she said because those things all came out of my mouth. and you just kind of go on with your life and then you look back and go, wow, i really did live through that, you know. it's different. >> it is. it's kind of like seeing yourself different from what you normally can -- >> that can be scary sometimes. no, i think my brother has told a beautiful story. and, you know, i think my parents would be proud of how he's portrayed our family. >> leslie herself has a small part, a tribute of sorts to her mother. marilyn douglass, who taught her to sing a lifetime ago. ♪ 'tis seven long years since last i saw you ♪
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♪ away you rolling river >> she has a beautiful voice. and that voice got silenced. and in the movie she sings, and people that heard her voice were just astonished by how beautiful it is. so i'm hoping that this will be a new chapter for her to start singing again. >> and brooks -- >> i've done local theater here in oklahoma city. so i knew that i wanted to act in this movie. >> act, oh, yes. but in fact, there was really only one role he wanted to play. one he may have been born to. brooks decided he would portray his own father. coming up -- >> we have to get rid of the bad blood with forgiveness and mercy and love. >> you intentionally put that sermon in the movie. >> yeah. a lot of that was a sermon he preached the morning before he died.
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i knew that i wanted to act in this movie. >> brooks decided he would portray his own father. >> nothing excited me more than the possibility of really being able to do that as a tribute to my dad. >> please go tonight. >> the movie follows brooks and leslie's life. it picks up just after brooks' life in the oklahoma senate, flashes back to their mission life in brazil. it portrays the american family at the heart of it. the words he remembers in his father's very last sermon, delivered, of course, by brooks as his preaching dad. >> see, the joy of life is poisoned by the resentment of past grudges. we have to get rid of the bad
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blood with forgiveness and mercy and love. >> you intentionally put that particular sermon in the movie. >> a lot of that was the sermon he preached the morning before he died. >> but the theme certainly was forgiveness, and it was something he preached and believed in. >> right. >> thus that title, "heaven's reign." it's from shakespeare. the quality of mercy is not strained. it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. it is twice blessed. it blesseth him that gives and him that takes. >> i'm so, so sorry for what i did to you and the family. >> why don't you tell me why. >> the truth is, there was no reason.
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it was just senseless. they took me off drugs and i realized what i did. it made me sick. >> it's the reason he made the movie, this scene. >> why at that moment one that still makes the emotion come to your ears? >> um, i think it was so revealing. i looked back and i was just building this coat of armor. and that was killing me and it was killing my marriages, my whatever, friendships. at the end of the day, it was protecting me but it was keeping me away from people that i loved. >> there's another scene in the
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movie, a flashback to the night of the crime and maybe this was the scene he needed to play to finally move on. >> i wondered how it must have been your portraying him when he died. >> that was one of the very few instances in my life where it was actually much harder and much more painful than i started out thinking it was going to be. >> his wife was with him on set for that one. >> brooks was up stairs before we filmed and he was just gut-wrenching bawling saying, i just feel so bad for my mom and dad. he knew that was their last day, and he was so young and had so much to live for, and that whole night was really excruciating for everyone, more real than you would have imagined.
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>> dad, mom's dead. >> they had to relive that night, and i know how hard that was for him, and he talked about it and how hard that was going to be, and that i was glad it was him going and not me because i couldn't have dealt with it. >> after a los angeles opening, heaven's rain was first released in oklahoma and texas and across the southwest. it then came out on dvd. glen ake, the trigger man, died of natural causes in april. brooks spends much of his time now promoting the movie, often speaking after group screenings. it's found its early audience among oklahoma churchgoers. >> you know, brooks, i'm not sure people can fully appreciate the power that the grace of god has had in your life in granting the forgiveness to the people
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who have murdered your parents. >> an old wound. he could have left it alone, scarred over as it was. more than once he turned down book and movie deals proposed by others, chose to let the dead lie. but not now. not anymore. and by opening the wound again himself, he might finally have healed it. >> he could have just said no, forget about it. >> forgive something or someone, something that's happened or be forgiven. these are all very old lessons. it's not anything i came up with. this is what my dad and my mom taught me, and what my faith has taught me. and i wanted people to see who my dad was, who both my parents were. and the work that they did and the lessons that they taught me.
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>> what do you want people to ta>>kehe power of forgiveness a the importance of it if, as individuals, as people, if we're going to move on past the things of our past, we've got to find a way to forgive. or be forgiven. >> i just look at it as you have to forgive or your heart's not clean and you just can't move on. you just dwell on it and dwell on it, especially when people have hate for people. i couldn't go on hating these men because that reflects in your own life. if you have hate for people, it makes you a hateful person, and i don't want to live like that the rest of my life. >> glen aken did some horrible things. he threw some curve balls our way. but every morning i wake up, it's really up to me whether i want to live a full life or not.


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