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tv   Beauty and the Beast  MSNBC  July 17, 2011 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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that it made regional and national headlines but with people in the state of delaware, it is a part of us forever. one on one with a serial killer. >> this is the devil personified. >> go inside the mind of a notorious murderer. follow along as this beautiful investigator tries to lure him into a confession. >> we told her flat out, i'm asking you to do this because of the way you look. >> and to get him to talk, she would play a dangerous game. >> do you have any sense of clarice from "silence of the lambs" like jodie foster --
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>> i think it is very much like that movie. >> could she match wits with this deadly mastermind and learn the truth about what he had done? and what would he want from her? >> he said then can i at least have a kiss. >> a fateful meeting threatened to spiral out of control. >> his hands were at my throat. >> who would win this battle of secrets and seduction? a prosecutor takes on a killer. in this hour, "beauty and the beast." a confrontation with a murderer. that was the assignment melissa powers was given. to match wits face to face with a self-described natural-born killer. >> i was in fact speaking to somebody extremely evil, someone that is very much the devil walking on this earth. >> to unlock the mystery of a brutal murder case, she would become vulnerable to a vicious man.
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>> his hands were at my throat, basically. he goes, "there's nothing to you. it would be so easy to kill you before that guard could ever do anything about it." >> she was a beauty, a determined prosecutor on a mission. he was a beast. a serial killer locked away on death row. theirs is a story of fear and manipulation, of secrets and the subtle game of seduction used to discover them. >> years before she ever headed to that death row encounter, before she even knew she would become an attorney, melissa powers had designs on a completely different life. >> my dream was to be a fashion designer and be in new york. >> and that dream seemed to be under way. while in college, melissa broke into the industry as a part-time model. >> it was something i would get provided extra money as i was going to school, do a shot, get paid, get back to school and do my classes.
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>> the runway, it seemed, would lead melissa far from her cincinnati roots, but her life was about to take a different course. >> i ended up becoming a single parent and then had to modify my goals. >> and so melissa decided to go to law school. what was it, though, about law school that you found intriguing, interesting to you? >> it was challenging. it could present many opportunities in the future. and it was a good way for me to be able to provide for my son. >> after law school and passing the bar, the former model landed in cincinnati's hamilton county prosecutor's office. >> my job was basically to do research. research and writing, and then argue in front of the first district court of appeals. >> what sorts of cases? >> anything from as minor as a traffic violation all the way up
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to drug dealers, drug trafficking. aggravated burglaries, rape cases. >> but certainly not a case about a serial killer. until one day in 1997 melissa got a call from her boss that would change her life and one day endanger it. >> he said, "come on in here. i've got something to show you." and it was the videotape of the "inside edition" interview. >> i'm a natural born killer, you know what i'm saying? >> he showed that to me and said did you know that he is the main suspect in a double homicide that occurred in the 1980s? >> authorities felt certain they had the right man but didn't have enough to prove it. his name was joseph paul franklin. he was a sniper who roamed the states hunting his prey. caught in his scope, men, women, even children. his youngest victims, two cincinnati boys, cousins who one night strode down their street and into franklin's line of fire. it was a typical summer night. >> my brother and cousin, they just used to go to their
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grandmother house on the weekend, sit outside, talk all night. >> la vaughn evans says his brother donte and cousin darryl lane were going about their usual summer routine. >> summer night. it was hot. they do this every day, friday, saturday, you know. >> so the boys thought nothing of heading out late that night to buy candy from the store up the road. >> they left. they went to the store. just walking to the store, having fun. you know, talking, kidding around. then somebody heard shots. >> as the pair made their way down redding road, bullets came out of nowhere. darrel, 14 years old, was hit first in the chest. 13-year-old donte collapsed next to his cousin, shot in the back as he turned to run. then each boy was hit with one more bullet. >> that's when my cousin, linda, ran up there, and that's when she saw what she saw. >> what she saw was the two boys
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in a pool of blood. a passerby called the police and ambulances were soon on the scene. darrel was dead. donte would die hours later at the hospital. >> darrel and donte, they was basically best friends and best cousins. birthday on the same day. died on the same day. >> the gunman had vanished. all that was known, that a sniper perched on a train trestle above the road p had murdered two innocent boys for no apparent reason. >> at the time they were probably the most overwhelming feature was just the manpower the cincinnati police threw at the case. >> former cincinnati prosecutor joseph dieters was melissa's boss, and told her all he knew about the shootings of donte and darrel. >> i didn't pay attention to those kind of things back in 1980. >> dieters told melissa that
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initially police had no idea who gunned down the two boys. >> they were very badly wanted to solve this case because of its horrific nature. >> but he told melissa it didn't take long for them to realize who they were dealing with. three months after the shooting their suspect, joseph paul franklin, was caught after a nationwide manhunt. he was on the run. the fbi after him for other killings that eventually landed him on death row. there franklin became a dead man talking, confessing to murder after murder. his jailhouse confessions closed the books on unsolved murders around the country. an avowed racist, he admitted targeting jews, blacks, and interracial couples. >> these people were coming out of a parking lot to get into their automobiles when the shooting -- >> also wants to question him
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about the murder of four black men last month -- >> picked the first interracial couple he saw. >> in all melissa learned he claimed as many as 19 victims and even confessed to high profile shootings. >> i noticed there was a large terrible hole in his stomach. >> he says he shot and wounded publisher larry flynt for "hustler" magazine's depictions of interracial sex, and civil rights leader vernon jordan. but there was one murder franklin would not confess to. >> we always could place franklin in cincinnati. we could place him there, but that was it. >> dieters told melissa, though they were sure franklin was the man who gunned down donte and darrel, there simply wasn't enough evidence to take him to court. >> as hard as people tried, he would never admit to cincinnati. so we were pretty much resigned to the fact that he was not going to talk to us. >> may the blessings of the almighty god, the father, the son, and the holy spirit -- >> for donte and darrel's family and for the prosecutor's office, it seemed that justice and closure were all but impossible.
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almost 20 years later, their hopes would hang on an assistant prosecutor, one who would have to make a jump from parking tickets and paperwork to trying to outsmart a cold-blooded killer. coming up -- >> why did they pick you? >> i'd like to think that the answer to that is they thought that i could do the job. >> melissa powers' role in this case would go far beyond flexing her skills in the courtroom. it would put her life in danger. ♪ going to the bank without going to the bank... that's a step forward. with chase quickdeposit on your smartphone, you just snap a picture, hit send and done. chase quickdeposit. take a step forward and chase what matters. ♪ we just keep on keepin' on ♪ ♪ keep on ♪♪
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assistant district attorney melissa powers was getting a crash course on joseph paul franklin, a serial killer who had confessed to murder after murder across the country. but he refused to admit killing 13 and 14-year-olds donte evans brown and darrel lane. the cincinnati case remained officially unsolved for almost two decades.
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>> they felt that he would, in fact, go to his grave with the information. >> in 1997 melissa powers and her bosses in the prosecutor's office had their interest in the case sparked again when they saw this. >> i'm a natural born killer. you know what i'm saying? >> joseph paul franklin went on national tv bragging about his murders. >> i was just trying to kill as many people as i possibly could. >> during this interview on "inside edition" franklin confessed to 11 murders, some he had never been charged with. this is what he said when asked how many people he had killed in all. >> if i told you that, i'd have to kill you. >> but what franklin did say filled out a pattern in his murders. >> i committed that with a 30/30 rifle. >> he used high-power the rifles. >> shot twice with a .357 magnum. pow, pow. and he dropped just like that. >> he shot his victims twice to make sure they were dead.
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>> they told me they were into race mixing, you know, whatever. so i just took them down a dirt road and wasted them. >> and he was motivated by psychotic racism. all of the aspects franklin was now describing on television fit the cincinnati case, and melissa's boss thought that was enough to finally make a case against him. >> we could introduce same and similar evidence in ohio. we used to joke that we have won cases with less evidence than we have against franklin and why should he get a free pass. >> so they compiled the evidence from the crime scene and studied franklin's confessions to show how donte's and darrel's murders fit that pattern. >> but you only get one shot in this business. you only get one bite of the apple, and you don't charge somebody like this unless you can go and win it in court. >> it was risky. if they tried franklin for the murders with what they had, there was a chance it wouldn't
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be enough for a conviction. they felt they needed more. so they hatched a plan to get a confession. but getting franklin to break his 17-year silence would not be easy. >> just kind of as a last ditch attempt, i contacted a reporter that had been talking to him and said would he talk to me, and she said he hates men, but if you have an attractive female prosecutor he might talk to her. >> one prosecutor in particular immediately came to mind. >> what my boss had asked me at first is would you like to be involved in the case. well, i thought i was actually going to be involved in trying the case. >> i said there is a guy we believe is a serial killer who killed these two black kids in 1980 and if you're willing, we'd like you to contact him. >> at that point is when i learned what my role would actually be. i was told can we send you down
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there, we want you to show up at his cell, see if he'll talk. >> melissa had left a career based on her looks behind her. but now it seemed her beauty might be just as useful as her brains. >> we told her flat out i'm asking you to do this because of the way you look. that's where we think we have an in with him. >> so melissa agreed to the plan, send in the beauty to talk to the beast. >> they tell you they want you to sit right across from one of the most heinous killers in the world and elicit a confession. >> right. >> were you scared? were you nervous? >> what i'm thinking about is this is a challenge. and, you know, he hasn't spoken about this. he avoids talking about cincinnati. i'm not thinking in terms of the actual sitting across from each other. >> she couldn't have known then how that one on one with franklin would change her life. >> i think both of us knew that
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the potential conclusion was almost a "silence of the lambs" kind of an interview. she was going to have to be in the same room with this creep. >> in the same room with a man who picked off people like carnival targets, hunted innocent women and children, and seemed to show no remorse at all. >> he was evil personified. we all knew it. >> listen to what franklin said in that "inside edition" interview. >> i will kill somebody at the drop of a hat. you know. all you've got to do is give me the chance. you know what i'm saying? i wouldn't kill you. i wouldn't kill a good-looking babe like you. i might rape you, but i wouldn't kill you. >> and if the danger melissa faced wasn't enough, there was the weight of the task before her. >> how much pressure was on you? >> there was a tremendous amount of pressure because first of all if i screwed this up, he probably would never, ever talk
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about cincinnati again. this was our one shot and one shot only to get him to talk. many people have been trying to get him to talk about cincinnati, and he had not done that for years. if i did the wrong thing, you know, or said the wrong thing, looked at him the wrong way, it could be the end of the conversations with him. so there was a tremendous amount of pressure going in. >> so everything was riding on doing this exactly right? >> right. the family members -- they need that closure. that's what kind of motivated everybody to work so hard. >> melissa's first challenge would be getting franklin to agree to meet with her, so she decided to send him a carefully calculated letter. >> i even altered the style of my handwriting to make it appear more feminine, a little more elongated. i wanted it to be a soft approach. >> coming up, melissa powers couples legal smarts and her feminine charm to try to arrange
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a meeting with the serial killer. >> was that a little flirty? >> yeah, i think you can interpret it like that. i needed to get this guy to write me back. we set our goals higher than anyone. perdue is the first and the only chicken company to have usda-process-verified programs for fresh all-natural chicken. [ joe ] we never have used steroids or hormones of any type, and always raised cage-free. we're trying to make a better chicken.
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assistant district attorney melissa powers was about to confront one of the toughest challenges of her life. she had to persuade the serial killer joseph paul franklin to meet with her. franklin was finicky, particular about when and where and to whom he spoke, so she studied up on franklin, retraced his steps at the crime scene, went through all the evidence, and came up with a profile that would help her manipulate him. >> he likes people to be impressed with him. he doesn't want to be disappointed. he doesn't like anybody that
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shows up in a suit. you know, he wants to talk to only women. >> i bet you every man in the d.a.'s office knew exactly what you should be doing. i bet you got tons of advice saying, melissa, this is how you need to approach him. >> i think they finally figured out that if anybody knew how to handle a man it was me, and so they realized that they should just let me kind of run with it. >> melissa wrote franklin a letter. >> i handwrote it, rather than typing it. i didn't use official stationary because, again, his aversion to, say, the fbi or anybody in authority. but i did identify myself. >> she told him she was interested in the cincinnati case and she hoped he could help her. then she added something else. >> i included a xerox copy of my photo i.d. and said everything is the same except my hair color, you know, so there aren't any surprises, and i felt that that was going to be the hook to create enough curiosity for him to respond. >> was that a little flirty? >> yeah. i think you can interpret it like that. i needed to get this guy to write me back. i wanted a response from him. >> and that's exactly what she got. franklin took the bait. >> i came back from court and in my mailbox is this letter.
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so, of course, i run upstairs and anticipate it up, read it, bring it to my boss and, you know, everybody was pretty excited. >> in his neat, professional letter, franklin wrote back asking melissa if she wanted to talk by telephone first. then he told her to take care and that he was looking forward to speaking with her. >> so at this point he basically is saying i want to open the lines of communications with you? >> yes. basically he's telling me how to contact him, and he actually was suggesting to make a phone call before a visit. i was given instructions, well, we don't want to appear too anxious. let's wait and sit on it for a while. >> and your response was? >> well, we shouldn't because this is a guy that's very finicky. he could have a bad dream. we really don't need to wait on this. we need to act on it. right now we've got him, he's hot, let's keep moving. >> so you followed up with a telephone call? >> yes. >> hey, what's up? >> hello?
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>> how's it going? >> good. who am i speaking with? >> you know who. >> is this joseph? >> yes. >> this is melissa. >> are you originally from ohio? >> after the small talk franklin focused in on melissa. >> yes. i grew up in cincinnati. >> oh, is that right? >> uh-huh. >> what kind of things did he want to know about you? >> i think in that first phone call he's asking what my sign is and things like that. >> what your sign is? >> yeah. >> why? >> i think it's very much like a pickup, like in a bar. >> so are you married? >> no. >> all right. >> he wanted to know how much i weighed. he wanted to know whether or not i had been with any black men. >> and you felt like you had to play along. this was a guy who you need to sit down and talk -- >> right. he knows this is a game. and he's got information that i want. >> it was a suggestive game, a careful and mutual flirtation that melissa hoped would pay off. >> you had to spend so much time stroking his ego. >> absolutely. there was a lot of that going
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on. but i do want to say, i didn't do anything in my mind either to embarrass my office, to compromise myself in any way. >> i tell you, you're so gorgeous. it'll be nice just sitting down face to face and talking with you, you know, having a really pretty lady. >> well, i'm excited about meeting you, too. >> melissa's strategy worked. franklin agreed to meet her but on his terms. >> i had suggested, let me come out on april 20th. he said no, he couldn't do it on the 20th, that was hitler's birthday. so then i backed it up a week to the 13th, which was his birthday. >> with the date set, melissa had to prepare. how would she deal one on one with a serial killer? >> are you scared to come by yourself? >> no. >> you can come on down here by yourself if you want to. >> what i realized going into it, it was, don't take the approach of being too
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aggressive, try to be very soft, be very feminine, be very almost, you know, as if i was a victim. allowing myself to be placed in that role as a victim, one of his victims. >> the hunter would have to pretend to be the prey. coming up, melissa heads to the prison where franklin sits on death row. >> he knew what i wanted. he most likely was going to want something in return, and that was the big question going in, what was that going to be? [ male announcer ] you don't make the world's best chicken
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>> hi. i'm richard lui. former egyptian president hosni mubarak is in a coma after suffering a stroke, according to his lawyer, but a hospital official is disputing the report saying mubarak's condition is stable. rebekah brooks has now been arrested in the hacking scandal. she was formally the editor of the new defunct "news of the
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world" newspaper. more later, now back to "beauty and the beast." assistant district attorney melissa powers landed a role in the biggest case of her life and the most dangerous. she was about to be alone in a six-by-ten-foot room with a notorious serial killer, joseph paul franklin, who was on death row with nothing to lose. melissa was going to see if she could get franklin to confess to the gruesome 1980 murders of 13-year-old donte evans brown and 14-year-old darrel lane in cincinnati.
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>> i wondered how i was going to react being on death row, how hearing those doors shut behind me. >> beyond that door awaited joseph paul franklin. >> so he sits down. you sit down. how close are you guys sitting? as close as you and i are right now? >> yeah. there's a table in between us. >> there was also a guard posted at the door and a panic button if melissa needed to make a quick escape. >> is franklin shackled when you come in the room? >> he's shackled at the feet and he's handcuffed and he's got the waist belt where the cuffs are going through the waist. >> did you shake his hand? >> no, i didn't shake his hand. we sat across the table to each other. at one point he pulls his chair to the end of the table so we're kind of on a 45 degree angle. >> do you have any shades of clarice from "silence of the lambs" playing that role of jodie foster? >> i think it was very much like that movie, "silence of the lambs." >> people will say we're in love. >> dealing with the one-on-one contact. >> you were sitting across from a mass murderer. >> yeah. >> what part of you was scared? >> my biggest fear was in is he going to get inside my head? and trying to protect myself from that.
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>> franklin appeared to be very excited to finally meet melissa, and he didn't hesitate to let her know. >> he asked if he could smell my perfume. i said, are you crazy? >> franklin even tried to make contact with her. >> there was a point where he leans over with his ankles or knees and leans up against you. >> he was just really getting excited, very animated. it was horrifying. i couldn't breathe. >> meantime, you're thinking to yourself, confession, confession, i've got to get a confession. >> exactly. whether it was his shoe against my shoe or his knee against my knee, pulling away may have inhibited some of the information. >> was he at all threatening to you in that room? >> he stood up and his hands were at my throat basically and he goes, "there's nothing to you. it would be so easy to kill you before that guard could ever do anything about it." >> his threat proved to be little more than bravado. melissa quickly regained control
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of the situation, calmly telling franklin to take his seat. they resumed their conversation and franklin seemed ready to talk to melissa. >> he leaned his shoulder into mine and looked over his glasses and he goes, "you know, i did it." and i said, "did what?" >> are you thinking to yourself i'm getting it? it's coming? >> it was more just toying with me, and that was the biggest concern also, was he just going to dangle this carrot. what i wanted to make sure very clear to him was that i'm coming here once and one time only. not this cat and mouse game of oh, come back and then i'll tell you. >> melissa had to consider that she had been lured to that meeting. but franklin's only intention was to taunt her with a partial confession just to get close to her. but she needed details on the record.
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so melissa hit the record button on her tape deck and hoped that small room just off death row would become franklin's confessional. >> we are here to talk about the cincinnati case. what can you tell me about that, joseph? >> well, i did it. >> those words said so matter of factly were just the beginning. franklin was about to walk her through that june night in 1980. >> it was like it was a secret, you know, he's telling me a secret, he's confiding in me. >> this was the first time joseph paul franklin spoke about the murders. >> was there any reason? >> his motive was chilling. >> i was trying to get rid of all the ugly people in the world. >> okay. why did you select -- >> and i considered the blacks the ugliest people of all. >> did that completely rattle your cage to hear him say that? >> yeah. i was pretty surprised that somebody would come out and say and make those kind of statements about anyone, you know, and it's so outrageous to
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think that this could be possibly his motivation. >> and according to franklin, the bond hill neighborhood where the shooting happened was an ideal hunting ground. >> it's ideal because you don't stand out. you've got a few targets there, i.e. the blacks and the mrcs, mixed race couples. i was basically just waiting for the first blacks or interracial couples to come back. >> did you see any mrcs? >> no. no, i didn't. i didn't see any of those. that would have been ideal. i preferred those. >> that was frightening, listening to somebody that can talk about how they could point a gun at a complete stranger because of the color of their skin and shoot them. >> and that is just what happened to donte evans brown and darrel lane. >> i just put the gun right on the -- first.
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and fired one shot. heard a sound like they just got shot, you know? and as soon as the other guy bolted, it was just like a miracle that i got him. i did not even aim the gun at him. i just -- lucky shot and hit him, you know. >> these words, what he's speaking, as if he's telling about what the weather is like today. was your skin crawling listening to him say i got a lucky shot? it was a miracle. i hit the kid. i just shot in the dark. >> right. it was. your skin is crawling. i keep telling myself i've got to breathe. that was the biggest thing, was just trying to breathe. >> i believe i did shoot that first one again. just to make sure. >> he's talking about a 13-year-old boy and a 14-year-old boy, but to him he has no concept, does he, melissa, that these are kids? >> he viewed them as targets and targets only.
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so he did not place that this was somebody's son or somebody's brother or someone's cousin, someone's grandson. >> that's the thing about sniping. they can never tell where the shots are coming, from where you're at, you know. so that's one reason it's so easy to get away with that type of murders, you know, snipings, like that. >> as shocking as it was to listen to such a cold-hearted killer, melissa couldn't leave that room. she still needed more, details that would ensure a victory in court and justice for the families. >> he started to get some details, saying stuff to him like was the road paved? >> yes. >> what kind of bullets did you use? did you exit on the right or the left? how crucial were these details to getting him? >> i treated it as if i was questioning a witness on the stand witness stand to try to paint a picture, but also to corroborate with some of the known evidence that we had. >> did you stay around the area just to make sure those two
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people that you shot were dead? >> no, no. >> did you have a moment, melissa, in the interview with him that you thought to yourself, i got him. he's mine? >> what was going through my mind actually was i've got to get out of here. i want to run. i cannot breathe. i can't wait to walk out of this room. >> he didn't really want it to end, did he? >> no, i don't think he did. this is something that he enjoyed. horrifying to me but enjoyable to him. >> all right. i'm going to end the tape now, okay? >> okay. oh, yeah. i did tell you i had a scope put on the rifle, right? >> oh. >> when it was finally over and melissa pushed the stop button on her recorder, franklin made a last-ditch attempt to get close to her. >> and he said, "well, then can i at least have a kiss?" and i said "absolutely not." >> franklin was returned to his
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cell, and melissa, after more than an hour sitting next to him, was finally able to leave the room and breathe. you got this confession from a guy who wouldn't give it to anybody. how did you feel when you got that? >> i was very happy that i was successful in getting the information. very happy, you know, for the families, that they were now going to have some closure to this. >> at least that was the hope. coming up, as prepared and as brave as melissa had been, for that confession to matter she would have to face off with franklin one more time. [ male announcer ] it's simple physics...
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17 years after the murders, serial killer joseph paul franklin finally confessed to the 1980 killing of two teenagers in cincinnati. his reason -- simply because they were black. >> i just shot randomly and i was just amazed when i read on the news that i hit both of them. >> assistant district attorney melissa powers had that confession on tape. >> i knew this was something that i could do. i just was very confident going into it that i could get this confession. >> for her boss, joseph dieters, this was his chance to bring franklin to trial and close the book on the murders. with franklin already on death row, a conviction and life
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sentence would be just a formality, but it was important for the families. >> they wanted him in a cincinnati courtroom convicted for killing their little boys, and i can't blame them. >> franklin was about to get a day trip from death row. and melissa powers would have to face him one more time. this time in a cincinnati courtroom. unless he could slip through a loophole, a possible mistake melissa made in getting that confession that could mean he'd never see a trial. >> melissa, did you read him his miranda rights before you got started? >> i did not. >> under certain circumstances, law enforcement officers are required to read a suspect his miranda rights before any pertinent questioning is done. the key elements of the miranda rights are the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. franklin's lawyer told court tv that since these rights were not read to him by melissa, that his confession was null and void. >> we feel that the statement was taken under duress and without his proper warnings of his constitutional rights. >> did you worry? because we've all seen cases of where miranda rights weren't
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read, so all the work that detectives and prosecutors do is for naught. >> you're right. it could be for naught. that was a risk we took. >> the defense also argued that franklin should have had an attorney present, but their biggest objection was not to how franklin's statement was taken but to how the person taking his statement looked. >> the defense claimed that he was manipulated by your charm and good looks. >> he might have been. i was going to use everything i had, whether it was my looks, my charm, my knowledge of men, whatever it took in order to be successful and get that confession. >> the judge saw no problem with her tactics, telling franklin that there's no constitutional right to an unattractive interviewer. the judge said franklin was already in custody and knew full well that whatever he told her would be used against him. melissa said before she met with franklin, the prosecution did a lot of research and they concluded that in this particular situation, neither reading franklin his miranda rights nor having a lawyer present at the meeting was required. the judge ruled against the
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defense's motion, and the trial was on. franklin pled not guilty and actually served as his own cocounsel. that meant he could approach and cross-examine witnesses. >> state your name, please. >> melissa powers. >> and melissa would be one of them. >> how are you employed, ms. powers? >> there was the chance he'd take that opportunity to get close to her one more time. >> did he try to look at you? make eye contact? >> there was some, you know, when i walked in the courtroom outside the presence of the jury, "hey, missy, how's it going?" >> melissa began her testimony. >> very nerve-racking being a witness on the witness stand, which was kind of unexpected. >> and told the court what she knew about the shooting. >> yes. and after he fired the two shots he ran down -- >> but the most heart-wrenching testimony time from the passerby
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who tried to help the boys. >> the one boy was saying, "help me, help me." i gave him mouth to mouth. >> you did cpr? >> yes. >> did you see any blood coming from the boy at that point? >> i had blood all over my face. >> and the family member who found them as they laid dying. >> i ran through the bushes, and when i got up there a little past the hotel i could see him putting donte in the ambulance. i saw my brother laying on the ground with a big hole in his chest and blood coming out. >> then, adding to that chilling testimony, franklin's own words. >> is that the entire tape recording he made with you that day? >> yes, it is. >> melissa played the tape of his confession in court. >> he heard that shot and just
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bolted and started running. and i aimed the gun without -- just pulled it. it was a lucky shot and hit him, you know. and sure enough, it actually got him. >> a mother listening to a cold account of how her child died. >> the family was there. it was like their boys had been murdered yesterday. they showed remarkable restraint. i don't know that i could have. if someone was sitting ten feet from me that killed my kids, they would have had to have tranquilized me. >> he turned around -- >> franklin actually appeared to be uncomfortable as his voice filled the courtroom, squirming in his seat and shielding his face. with melissa's tape the prosecution had made a powerful case to the jury. now it was franklin's turn. >> it's on the record. i understand. >> i don't think it would be in my best interest to testify. >> they were not going to put
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franklin on the stand. he would have been disastrous. >> they didn't put much of a defense up. in fact, i don't think they presented any witnesses, had any little to say in court. >> your honor, please, at this time the defense will rest. >> when the brief three-day trial was over, it would take the jury just one hour to return a verdict. >> for count number one, we the jury in the issue joined find the defendant joseph paul franklin guilty of aggravated murder. >> 18 years after that hot summer night when two boys were gunned down for the color of their skin, justice was served. >> when you heard the verdict, what did you think? >> i was relieved and happy. >> franklin then actually told the judge he expected a little gratitude. >> your honor, i didn't even have to confess to this in the first place. i helped these people out solving this case. you know, i did not have to do that. >> the judge was unimpressed. >> you are a hannibal lecter.
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except you got a high-powered rifle to use to kill people. >> and gave him a life sentence for the boys' murders. then he ordered his immediate return back to missouri's death row. for the families it was finally over. and now they were eager for franklin to meet his end. >> did you come in contact with the family after the verdict? >> yes. they were hugging me and just, you know, thank you, thank you, and they were very choked up. i don't think they needed to say anything more than that. >> the families of darrel and donte had finally found closure. but for melissa, the nightmares were just about to begin. coming up, melissa powers had not heard the last of joseph paul franklin. >> it opens up a pandora's box of, you know, just fears,
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joseph paul franklin was brought to justice for the cincinnati murders of donte evans brown and darrel lane almost 20 years after the crime was committed, and it was all thanks to that day melissa powers spent with him on death row. but melissa hadn't heard the last of franklin. for two years after the trial he sent her letters, mostly to keep in touch, he said. it seemed in franklin's mind, they had started a relationship, one that he wasn't ready to end. "dear missy, i was thinking about you last night. i'll talk to you later, sweetheart. love ya, joseph." but there was one letter that was even more disturbing.
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he had one more confession for melissa. "dear missy, if they had not put those restraints on me and you and i would have been in there alone, i would have raped you. i had a strip of cloth that i had planned to throw over your neck to force you to submit. during the strip-search, though, the officer saw it and took it away from me." >> i had trouble sleeping, obviously, after all of that. >> so he really did have -- >> he did a number on me. >> he did a number on you, didn't he? >> yeah. >> you did a number on him too. >> not quite. not the same. not the same. >> the woman who felt she needed to act like one of franklin's victims, passive and submissive, in order to get his confession in a way became a victim herself. >> i had quite a bit of anxiety immediately afterwards. very fearful, didn't know who i could trust. and every day it was very difficult to feel like i could survive that day and keep my head above water.
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>> do you think he manipulated you? >> absolutely. >> he did? >> oh, yeah. absolutely. >> so you felt like what you ended up giving up was your soul? >> that's what i felt. you talk to any person, any detective, and particularly homicide detectives, what you do, what it takes to get that confession, and that's what i did. it took a lot out of me to do that, and still to this day, it's upsetting to even think about and dwell on that whole event and that whole experience. >> what's upsetting now? >> i was pretty fearless going in, so when i walked out, i walked out with a fear i had never known before. and i still have -- you know, there's anxiety that's associated with that fear. and the biggest is that this is an individual, you know, he was able to function and move around society very freely. and there are others probably out there like that. >> melissa needed help, so she asked for some advice. >> i then went to talk to a
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priest and asked them how to -- how do you let go when you get information? because you deal obviously as a priest, he must be getting people confessing to him, horrible things also. so -- >> did the priest help you? >> yes. yes. he was able to kind of talk me through and to let go. >> it was in 1997 that melissa beguiled a ruthless serial killer. franklin's letters have stopped, but the memories of that day with him have not. joseph paul franklin is still on missouri's death row for a murder he committed in st. louis. he has no appeals pending at the state or federal level. no date has been set for his execution. melissa powers left the district attorney's office in cincinnati in 1999 and for the next seven years worked in private practice as a litigator. she worked primarily on criminal and domestic relations cases. in may of 2006 the governor of ohio appointed melissa to fill a
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vacancy as a judge in the hamilton county municipal court, where she hears adult misdemeanor and civil cases. it is a long time since the day back in 1997 when she got joseph paul franklin to confess. but that day still haunts her. >> so melissa, was it worth it? >> it's a tough question. it was worth it, but then again, there was a price. i'm going in and flattering this guy, of all people. how could i be saying these things to someone who has done such horrible acts? i felt like i sold my soul to the devil. >> so would you do it tomorrow if -- >> no. >> no? >> no. i don't think i would do it again.


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