tv Dateline NBC NBC October 3, 2014 9:00pm-11:01pm EDT
>> this was the most terrifying crime scene i've ever seen. >> the suspect knew the victim. >> she was just the last person who should've died like that. >> reporter: she loved skiing, sailing and friends. >> she was extremely outgoing. >> reporter: a wonderful life that came to a tragic end, one warm summer night. >> i hear a very weird scream. >> reporter: her life had ended, but story was just beginning. her killer hadn't been caught. >> i remember one detective saying to me, "we just have to
wait until he kills again." but the trail grew cold, the file forgotten until decades later someone dusted it off. >> the whole goal in these cases is trying to see the thing that's hiding in plain sight. >> reporter: there were clues -- a mysterious weapon made of wire. a wedding invitation. a midnight sail to nowhere. but were they enough to catch a killer? >> i was 100% confident that he was our guy. >> reporter: now, the showdown -- the determined prosecutor against the famed defense lawyer who helped set oj simpson free. >> robert shapiro, did it give you pause? >> i'm on the right side. >> reporter: after 35 years, was it finally time for justice? >> it's been a long journey. >> i'm lester holt and this is "dateline." here's keith morrison. >> reporter: he was alone in his makeshift workshop. had to be --for what he intended. carefully, he cut the lengths of a broom-handle, two of them, just a few inches each --sanded them down, drilled a hole in
each one. found a piece of wire to string between them. too thin. he doubled it. for strength. his perfect weapon. for his perfect crime. ♪ >> reporter: outside. in the brilliant sunshine. it was the summer of 1979. ♪ >> reporter: aids hadn't happened to us yet. nor the internet, nor cell phones, nor a way to read dna --all those things were still years away. everybody worried about three mile island that summer. the iranian hostage crisis -- was still months away. ♪ >> reporter: and in southern california, in the summer of '79, in the beach towns that cling to the coast near la --20-somethings came from all over. to work, to play, to practice an
art as old as humans --and as new as last night. mating. >> reporter: the area had a ski club//snow skiing, water skiing, volleyball, all sorts of outdoor activities. >> reporter: richard frank was 32 that summer. he published an independent community newspaper --but on weekends. >> we'd do bus trips and guys are trying to meet girls and hit on people. >> it was a lotta fun. one woman in particular caught richard's eye. >> we had a thing called snow queen. and she was running for snow queen. and - -she didn't win --but she was a very outgoing, gregarious, almost tomboy kind of person. attractive. her name was lynne knight. she was a neo-natal nurse. who, like so many here, came from somewhere else. in her case, a pretty place called stratford, not far from toronto, canada. >> she was beautiful. beautiful person. >> reporter: this is lynne's sister, donna. >> she was jim carrey before
jim carrey was ever around. she did the goofy stuff. and everywhere people would be in stitches. >> reporter: nurses, whether funny and beautiful or not, were in great demand in the 70's. lynne could have gone anywhere. or stayed close to home. like her sister donna, also a nurse, chose to do. >> i had such difficulty when she was going to go to california. i did not want her to go. no. >> reporter: but she did. moved into a tiny studio apartment tacked onto the back of somebody's garage. here in suburban torrance. and she signed up at the hospital called "little company of mary." where she went to work with the smallest patients of all. the most vulnerable. premature babies. >> those were her babies. she took her job very seriously. she would arrive early. she would do double shifts. >> reporter: all of lynne's hard work paid off. the hospital considered her one of its top employees. she was a finalist in a nursing
contest called miss red rose. how she did it all is a wonder. worked hard. and played hard. >> she would work midnight shift, so-- and then sleep for about three or four hours. and then she'd be gone. and-- scuba diving, marathoning, running, you name it --lynne was the most incredible tomboy ever. (laugh) >> reporter: and...one more thing: she loved the company of men. many of them, perhaps most of them, were just friends --some, more than that. >> a number of them were raquetball players or skiiers or whatever, so she had a lot of male friends because she was competitive in raquetball so. >> reporter: but they were more friends than they were romantic partners. >> yeah, she only went out, really, with (laugh) professionals and-- good- looking professionals. and then, of course, she met richard frank. >> we hit it off pretty quickly.
we dated pretty heavily for a couple of months. >> reporter: it could be confusing, of course, for richard. not many young women with as many male friends as the crowd of them that hovered around lynne. her "sweethearts," as she called them. >> one of the -- things was trying to find out where i fit in her life. >> reporter: but with richard? as lynne told her sister, it was romance. was she perhaps a little too intense? for richard's 32 year old single self, yes, she was. >> it was a little too much in the beginning. even her sister, donna, said that. and so i kind of cut it off. >> reporter: so she was just a little going too fast. >> yeah. yeah. >> reporter: but? love has a way of circling back. towards the end of that summer of '79, after they'd been apart for a while, they ran into each other again on a water skiing trip. >> i saw her and we started talking. and we decided, you know, okay,
let's go out. and it was like-- for me, it was, "is this the one that got away?" >> reporter: and then it was august 29. a warm summer evening outside lynn's little studio apartment on anza avenue. quiet. calm. not a breath of wind. lynne was cooking chinese food. >> she had company -- a male friend who'd come for dinner. a male friend who was not richard frank. no. this was an ex-boyfriend named joe giarusso. >> reporter: after dinner lynne and joe drank some wine, talked about what we cannot know and then at 11:30 or so, he left. and lynne -- went to bed. early shift at the hospital. outside, the street was silent. wednesday ticked into thursday. that's when the neighbors heard it, couldn't help but hear it a high pitched scream. and it came from lynne knight's little apartment.
>> it was a cream that would echo down through the years -- and change so many lives. >> my whole world crashed in. >> 35 years later, the scene in that apartment would still leave a hardened homicide detective in tears. >> you'll have to excuse me. ..e has the grease cleaning power of two bottles of this bargain brand. here's to the over-extended family gathering. dawn, it's amazing what a drop can do. snackon it. isn't this my breakfast cereal? it's also a snack. so, then it's snackreal. clever. your favorite cereals. at any time of day. all at unbeatable walmart prices,
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>> reporter: the scream was almost beyond human. shrill, harrowing, echoing through the quiet neighborhood on anza avenue. the man next door called 9-1-1. >> i hear, uh, a very weird scream, you know? >> who lives there? >> lynne knight. >> reporter: when the torrance police arrived minutes later, the little apartment was quiet again, and lynne knight was dead, lying on her bed in a pool
of blood. detective emilio paerells had never seen anything quite like it. >> just terrible. bloody and -- oh, i -- can't find other words to describe it other than horrific. >> reporter: so horrific, said lead detective, gary hilton, that even now, 35 years later, talking about it is difficult. >> you'll have to excuse me. >> yeah. >> out of all the ones i worked, it was the toughest. it was real emotional, and the first time that i had actually responded to a scene where the victim was still warm. >> that's a scene that lives in your memory pretty much right now, doesn't it? >> for years, i had problems with that issue.
>> reporter: no wonder. the victim had been stabbed more than a dozen times. and one particular wound was gratuitously savage. >> her breast was mutilated, also, by stabbing. >> almost like that was a little added extra. >> yes, that would appear to be the case. >> again, pointing toward what? >> rage. the desire to see this particular individual dead. >> good and dead. >> good and dead. >> reporter: but there was another set of wounds the detectives couldn't quite figure out at first. deep cuts on her neck. which may have explained the horrifying sound that woke up lynne's neighbors. >> how did they describe that screaming? >> a squeal. a loud squeal. >> reporter: after he heard that, said a neighbor, he caught a glimpse of the man who might have been the killer, a slender, young man with dark, curly hair. not much to go on.
>> he looked at the back of the suspect as he ran down the driveway into the street. >> carrying something? >> a small satchel. >> reporter: but there couldn't have been much inside that little black bag because very little was taken from lynne's apartment. only her wallet, her keys and one particular piece of jewelry. >> she had a necklace on with a pendant, at the scene, we found the -- the broken clasp and the pendant. >> but no chain. >> no chain. >> reporter: but the killer left something of his own behind. something the detectives didn't notice until the coroner moved lynne's body. >> it appeared to be a homemade device used to strangle a victim. it was cut off portions of what appeared to be a broom or mop handle and a piece of wire. >> going between the two? >> yes. >> so, there was some planning involved here. >> oh, there was a great deal of
planning involved. it was a homemade garrote. >> reporter: a garrote? detective gary hilton hadn't seen one of those since he served in vietnam and certainly never at a crime scene. but now he understood why lynne's neck was cut so deeply. >> did he actually put it around her neck as far as you could tell? >> yes. uh-huh. >> reporter: overkill. and that would be an understatement and then it was time for perhaps the most difficult part of all of this making the phone call to lynn's family here in little stratford, ontario. a family, which until that very moment, had assumed that lynne was perfectly safe saving babies in los angeles. lynne's sister, donna, was just getting off of her shift at a toronto hospital. >> got a call from my brother-in-law, and he was, like, gulping for air and having -- you know, practically
out of his skin. and he said that, "i hate to have to tell you, but lynne's been stabbed to death." and it was like -- it was such a sad day. >> it's not something you ever would expect to hear, no matter what. >> no. no. no. it was like my whole world crashed in. and that was it. it was completely life altering. my life has never, ever been the same since. >> reporter: donna was 26, only recently out of nursing school. 35 years later, the pain lingers. >> how do you even take a thing like that in? >> oh, you don't. 'cause you go like -- it's like totally out of body. you go into shock. it's -- it's complete shock. it's like also a great, big hole in your chest. >> reporter: who would have done such a thing? to lynne, the kind and compassionate nurse?
not an enemy in the world. but then before dawn, a concrete lead. police saw someone suspicious running in lynne's neighborhood. the same guy the neighbors saw? >> the suspect was seen running from this location, carrying a black bag. >> reporter: they picked him up and, by the look of it, with blood literally on his hands. coming up, a clue found in the strangest place. >> i saw this wedding invitation. it was crumpled up in the trash. >> a party lynne would never get a chance to taken. who threw out the invitation and why. when dateline continues.
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>> reporter: sometimes cops get lucky. this was recorded in the 1979 --just after the brutal murder of lynne knight. >> 23, a possible suspect dark curly hair, last seen running eastbound across anza. >> a patrol unit detained and arrested an individual who was acting strangely nearby. >> it looked like he had blood on him. >> he did. >> reporter: his name was gerardo juarez and he appeared to match a description of the man seen running away from lynne's apartment. so they held juarez for questioning. but before they got to that, they had to finish processing the crime scene at lynne's apartment. >> i found evidence of blood smears in the house that looked
like it was caused by gloves. >> and there was no dna, of course. >> back then we didn't have dna. all the blood we found was consistent with the victim. >> reporter: remember this was 1979, years before the advent of dna. fingerprints were still the gold standard back then. but only lynne's prints were identified in her apartment. the others could not be traced be back to the murder. and that apparent murder weapon, the garrote, was clean of prints. >> reporter: so, there was planning. a lot of it. and immense brutality. but burglary? no. only small personal items were taken. detectives paerels and hilton were pretty sure it could mean only one thing. >> the suspect knew the victim. >> she had been targeted. and i say that because the location was quite removed from the street. it was not a place where there were passersby. someone would have to know how to go back there in order to -- to reach the door. >> reporter: so the detectives went back to the torrance pd to talk to their possible suspect,
gerardo juarez. he insisted he didn't know lynne. had never even seen her. had no reason to kill her. a search of his home turned up nothing. and that blood on his hands and clothes? >> it proved not to be blood. >> reporter: what was it? >> it could have been something like paint, dart, mud. we just simply couldn't tie him to the crime scene. >> reporter: so much for that break. gerardo juarez was released. and for the moment at least they were nowhere. a few days after the murder, a small funeral was held in stratford, ontario. they'd been planning to have a wedding then. donna's wedding. lynne was supposed to have been here -- alive -- as her sister's maid of honor. they dressed her in her maid of honor dress. i remember feeling such anger that -- to whoever did that to my sister. my
parents -- watching my parents grieve. "what have they done to my baby?" >> reporter: the coroner's report answered some questions. an autopsy determined the garrote did not kill lynne. she died of stab wounds. and the report revealed something else -- traces of two semen samples. but again dna testing was not available back then. so they could not attach identities to those semen samples. >> reporter: so you began to talk to everybody who knew her. >> so that's where we started the circle of friends, acquaintances-- her job - - anybody that knew her. >> reporter: including all her current and former boyfriends. racquetball partners. ski buddies, work colleagues. >> we needed time to develop a little bit of background on all of the various players so that we would have some idea what
questions to ask. >> reporter: yeah. any one of whom could've been the one. >> any one. >> reporter: mind you, richard frank had already called the police to offer his help and was pretty quickly eliminated. he had an alibi. but what about that old flame joe giarusso? he was, without a doubt, in lynn's apartment just hours before she was killed. the neighbors had seen him there eating dinner. >> reporter: joe told the detectives lynne was fine when he left about midnight. >> reporter: didn't that make you think that he might be a suspect? >> oh, yeah. he was, of course, somebody we had to investigate immediately. >> reporter: so they took joe in for questioning. he, too, seemed very forthcoming. and if he wasn't deeply upset about what happened to lynne he was putting on a good act. still, the detectives noticed something strange on his fingers --several cuts. he insisted they happened at work, in a lab where he dropped a test tube. he would never hurt lynne, he
told them. had no reason for jealous rage. >> he was in a relationship with another woman. and was still visiting our victim, and apparently were friends. >> reporter: by the time lynne was murdered, said joe, he was in bed with his girlfriend. what to make of the story? until his alibi could be checked out, joe giarusso remained the only possible suspect. by this time, when the investigation had been underway for almost two weeks, the knight family flew to la for the grim task of packing lynne's personal belongings. >> we felt -- we really, this is not nice to say -- but we hated america for what happened to lynne. and we didn't want anybody touching her stuff. and so we, as a team, cleaned up her place. and it was a really hard job.
>> reporter: they collected all her keepsakes and mementos. even her financial records which said a lot about lynne. >> the sum in her bank was all of $18, 'cause she paid for scuba diving lessons. and you name it. she just did it. she was packing in every activity she could possibly pack in. so she really lived a lot in those 28 years. >> reporter: but there was one thing donna didn't find. something that was quite special to both sisters. the invitation to her upcoming wedding. and then detective hilton remembered, he spotted it in a wastebasket, though he didn't collect it as evidence. >> i saw this wedding invitation that was crumpled up. >> reporter: didn't seem like a big deal at the time? >> no, it was just a wedding invitation, had her name on it, and it was crumpled up in the trash. >> and that's when we went, "lynne wouldn't do that." my grandparents' picture was right there, their wedding pictures. so we knew something wasn't
right. and also, if it was crumpled up, who else would have the motive to crumple it up? somebody who was ticked off that they weren't coming to this wedding. >> reporter: ticked off enough to actually kill lynne knight? who was it who was left off the guest list? coming up. an old boyfriend tells a startling story. is it also a valuable clue? >> it's almost surreal. knowing that the incident happened, and maybe it related somehow to the crime. the camera on the new iphones are better than ever. sha-pow! what, what was that? that's the sound the camera makes.
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>> reporter: this was home in lovely little stratford, ontario where lynne knight grew up. the place she intended to return for her sister donna's impending no wedding now. >> we had to cancel the wedding. and it was just so horrible. you know, a wedding is supposed to be a happy time and -- >> nothing happy about those days. >> nope. >> reporter: but the wedding did offer an odd clue of sorts -- lynne's invitation, which had been found crumpled up in her wastebasket. >> the question was would she have wrinkled it up or thrown it in the trash or did the suspect do it? >> reporter: the detectives were convinced that lynne's killer knew her. hated her. maybe wanted revenge for something. donna couldn't imagine who that might be. >> who would slaughter an --
somebody that -- to that degree -- if they didn't have a motive, a hatred, something? >> reporter: two weeks into the investigation the only potential suspect was lynne's former boyfriend joe giarusso. he was with her just hours before she died. he had cuts on his fingers. and then the detectives discovered something else. >> hadn't he had a physical altercation with lynne at some point? >> there was a situation where she was beaten up. >> reporter: so, they brought joe back in, grilled him again. he swore it wasn't a beating at all but a minor thing, a slap during an argument. and afterwards, he and lynne remained close friends. besides, said joe and his girlfriend, they were in bed together when the murder happened. they volunteered to take a polygraph. and -- >> they both passed. >> reporter: and soon after that joe giarusso, who after all, didn't look anything like a man the neighbor saw after the attack was eliminated as a
suspect. in fact, one by one, just about all of lynne's male friends came up clean and seemed to want to do whatever they could to help find her killer. >> they all had good things to say. i thought that was unusual to talk to 12 men who dated her and knew her, and nobody had a bad word. >> reporter: and that of course included her athletic new beau richard frank, who had rekindled his romance with lynne just a week before her murder. >> it was -- it's devastating. it's -- it's almost surreal, knowing that the incident happened and maybe it related somehow to the crime. >> reporter: the incident -- richard told police about a bizarre end kourn he and lynne had a couple of months earlier at her apartment. a guy she once dated stopped by to drop off a lamp he had borrowed. >> and he -- words to the effect, "excuse me.
thank you." and he left. but minutes later he was back. >> and he comes in and he starts yelling at her. and he's calling her a whore. and took the lamp and threw it over our heads and was pretty violent with all of this. and then left and you can hear the tires squeal. >> what was that all about? >> and she explained it's somebody that's she's been trying cut it off with. >> reporter: lynne told richard that the guy's name was "doug." and they had dated for a few months but just the day before richard came to call she broke it off. apparently, doug didn't take it so well. >> that particular night, do you remember her reaction then? >> obviously, she was scared. >> was it scary to you, too? >> i was concerned. i was concerned for lynne. >> reporter: in the days that followed, the incident seemed to be forgotten, at least as far as lynne was concerned. >> she had this calming way of -- of taking big things and
makin' small things out of 'em. she was in control later on, she explained that, you know, she calmed him down on the phone a couple of times and then -- >> after that incident? >> yeah, she thought it was kind of taken care of. >> reporter: detectives were intrigued. they found lynne's address book in her purse. only one doug -- doug bradford. they asked donna about him and she vaguely remembered something lynne mentioned in a letter. >> saying that doug was no longer coming to the wedding. >> okay. >> and that he was on the back burner and -- and i just sorta put it out of my mind because i had all this wedding and -- to organize. i knew obviously, he didn't light her fire too much. >> reporter: this was the first bit of heat on a cold trail. they gave doug a call. he lived with his parents. he sounded shy but agreed to meet at the house. where, it turned out, doug bradford had a lot to say.
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county. detectives gary hilton and emilio paerels parked in front of a modest house where a 27-year-old engineering student named doug bradford lived with his parents. >> he seemed somewhat meek. somewhat soft-spoken. kind of a neatnik sort of -- sort of a guy. >> nerdy kind of character? >> you could say that. an engineering type of person. >> reporter: nothing about doug bradford made him look or sound or act like a potential suspect. no, he was clearly a smart and pretty civilized guy. about the only cool thing about doug was his car. a bright orange 280-z. lustworthy, back in '79. still, according to richard frank, this same doug had engaged in a very uncivilized lamp throwing tantrum in lynne's apartment, so he was a guy they had to look at. besides, at some point, lynne was something of a big deal in doug's life.
>> she had spent easter at his home with his family. they were fairly close. the fact that he would've introduced lynne to his family is somewhat telling. >> this is a serious relationship. >> i think he wanted it to be. >> reporter: lynne too, apparently. why else would she've invited him to tag along to her sister donna's wedding up in canada? so knowing that much, wait, back up the freeway a bit. something else you need to know. gary hilton's detective mind was oddly creative, sometimes in ways other cops didn't quite get. hilton, knowing the case hadn't gotten much news coverage, hatched a plan on the way to the interview. >> we're not going to tell him that she's dead and that we were there investigating a missing person. >> reporter: just a friendly chat about a missing woman.
a missing ex-girlfriend. if he was involved in a murder, how would he react to that? give something away, maybe? >> there was no giving of miranda rights. he was in his own home. he was voluntarily cooperating. he could've stopped the interview at any time. but he opted not to do that. he wanted to speak. and he did. >> reporter: so, asked the detectives, what did they do when they dated, he and lynne? >> we'd go out to dinner, um, quite a bit. um, we went flying, um, took her sailing. we went skiing, locally here. go out and go dancing. >> reporter: as for the relationship, it was exclusive, said doug, more or less. >> did she go out with, uh, other men? >> uh, well, not to the best of my knowledge, at least when i was dating her. uh, she used to kid me about it and say, "no, you know, you don't have anything to worry about." but, uh, yeah, i guess she might have gone out with some men. >> reporter: with lynne it was just fun, said doug.
active. lots of laughs. but he never did consider lynne to be the love of his life. and sure enough, he said, she wasn't. >> could you say which one of the two of you was, uh, more decisive about breaking off the relationship? >> i think that lynne was more decisive. i was just kind of going along, uh, with it, and i kind of saw that the relationship was gonna come to an end. >> reporter: that became very obvious out in palm springs one weekend a few months into their relationship, said doug. they just didn't seem to be clicking anymore. >> and, uh, we decided that we should go our own ways. and that was it. >> that was the last time you saw her? >> uh huh. >> reporter: but wait. unless richard frank was lying, doug showed up at lynne's place the very next day to return a
lamp, saw richard and flew into a rage, throwing the lamp across the room. so, what about that, they asked doug? there was no rage at all, he said. disappointment, maybe. >> well, i don't know if i was really mad, i was just more upset about it. and she was, you know, more, uh, jumping from one relationship to the next. so i left and that's the last i saw of her. >> reporter: and then doug said something kind of strange. remember now, detective hilton had decided not to tell doug that lynne was dead. rather, that she was missing. listen to this. >> i don't have any reason to -- to ever see her again, or want to see her again. you know, she's d-dead and something i want to put out of my mind. >> reporter: she's dead? why would he say that? the cops didn't follow up, worried bradford might clam up. then, as detectives were about to grill bradford concerning his whereabouts the night lynne
supposedly went "missing," an unfortunate surprise. >> the tape recorder started making some strange sounds. >> oh, boy. >> and when it failed, we had to stop. >> reporter: so they waited a few days, did some research on doug bradford, discovered he liked to play jazz on the piano, was an expert sailor, in addition to his engineering studies. and his tinkering. he liked to make things. he was accomplished. donna, however, didn't like him much. not a good fit for lynne. >> i could see why she would have not wanted to go with bradford. because it wasn't her usual type. but it was a rebound relationship. >> reporter: but what mattered now was doug's alibi, if he had one. so detectives drove down to costa mesa again, worried that he'd refuse to see them, or demand a lawyer.
but he didn't. instead, doug bradford told them a story of his own. which put him miles and miles from the murder of lynne knight. coming up. doug bradford's odd alibi. >> i didn't get much sleep that night. i was shore in my shoulder. in m. . . . . . . . . unlimited iphone! so should we eat?in my shou. the new sprint simply unlimited plan, exclusively for iphone 6. unlimited data, talk and text for just $50 a month. switch to sprint and we'll buy out your contract. it's the best value in wireless. to make dinner more delicious. with eleven plump tomatoes in every jar, our sauce is richer, thicker
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costa mesa with their new recorder. again, doug described how he and lynne had once been close. how he liked to buy her presents. >> i'd given her a necklace. >> what type of necklace was it? >> um, well, actually i didn't give it to her. i, um, helped her buy it. okay, she picked it out. >> reporter: now, that caught the cops' attention. a necklace which just happened to be the one piece of jewelry that appeared to be missing from lynne's apartment. pendant and clasp were collected but no chain. interesting. but now the real reason they were here -- to find out where doug was the night lynne was murdered. >> last week, on wednesday night, could you tell me what your activities were? >> well, i was here most of the evening, and -- uh, i went up to, uh, long beach for a little bit. i went sailing and i came back -- uh, right back here, uh, little after three. >> reporter: sailing in the wee hours of the morning? in the dark and alone out there
on the pacific ocean? odd, but maybe -- after all, doug belonged to a local sailing club, so he had access to a sailboat any old time he wanted one. that night, said doug, he took out a 30 foot sloop, a special type of racing boat known as a "shields." >> did you go under sails that night? >> well, i started off under sail, but i ended up coming back under paddle power because there is no auxiliary power. and i got out there without any wind. >> and then you arrived back in there at what time? >> by the time i got the boat put away -- hmm, it could have been 1:30, 2 o'clock. >> reporter: which was right around the time lynne was murdered. >> you didn't get much sleep that night, huh? >> no, and i was sore in my shoulders, everything, from paddling. it was quite a night. >> this going out by himself on a 30 foot sloop with no motor, right? >> no motor. no, no auxiliary power, as he
put it. >> reporter: mind you, doug was an expert skipper. said he knew how to paddle a shields. but the detectives didn't like it -- this too perfect, too weird alibi. >> it didn't make sense to me then. and it doesn't make sense to me now. >> reporter: so, they paid a visit to the boat club where doug claimed to have set sail that night. >> we obtained one of the records showing that he had signed out for the boat. >> reporter: they asked another skipper was a 30 foot shields a boat a skilled sailor could handle alone? >> and his comment was, "oh, yeah, you could. yeah, you could sail this by yourself." >> reporter: so, that was the alibi. a pencilled mark in a sailboat's schedule book, and doug's claim that he sailed alone that night. >> he could never come up with anybody who actually saw him take the boat out? >> no, he said he was the only
one there. >> reporter: maybe nobody saw doug sailing, but there were reports he was seen driving in front of lynne's apartment just days before the murder. now, that was interesting. because remember, doug told detectives he cut off all contact with lynne after their break-up. so, they checked with lynne's neighbors, showed them a photo of doug and his 280-z. and -- >> i got a witness to identify mr. bradford as the person who had been seen driving back and forth in front of the residence looking up the driveway. >> he wouldn't leave her alone? >> he wouldn't leave her alone. as a matter of fact, he stalked her. >> stalked her? >> yes, before the murder. >> reporter: which might explain, said her sister donna, why lynne stayed with a number of male friends for several nights before the murder. >> i know that the last week of her life -- it looks like she, you know, slept with a lot of men. and that's not true.
when i look at the -- the pattern, my sister was afraid. she was scared. >> reporter: so, maybe doug's 280-z would yield a clue for detectives. they got a warrant. but -- >> it was just as clean as a whistle. >> there was no evidence in it at all? >> none that we were able to recover. and there was no blood found. there was no sign of -- of anything there. >> and whoever attacked her would've been covered with blood. >> you would conclude that, yes. >> reporter: but the cops couldn't help but notice the smell in that 280-z. >> when we opened it up, it was just an overwhelming smell of armor all. >> it had just been cleaned. >> detailed. it was a clean car. >> reporter: and after that? there was no talking to doug bradford anymore. >> i received a phone call from an attorney, said he was representing doug bradford and told me don't do anything with regard to my client unless you
call me first. >> it seemed pretty clear that you were after him. >> he was number one, as i put it. >> reporter: so, the detectives took their case to the da with a request to charge doug bradford with murder. but -- >> all the district attorneys pretty much said there -- there just wasn't enough. >> yeah. >> they needed that. they call it the smoking gun. >> we were sent back and told to do additional investigation and bring it back. >> reporter: which they did. but always the answer was the same. >> that hurt. it hurt. >> well, you couldn't put that guy in that room on that night. >> true. it was heavily circumstantial. >> reporter: it wasn't just the detectives who were disappointed. donna was convinced doug bradford killed her sister. but she wasn't holding her breath for justice to be done. >> i said to my mom, "there's not going to be an arrest for 20, 25 years or more.
i just know it, mom. just get used to it. it's not going to happen." >> reporter: she was certainly right about that. after three years, in 1982, the investigation into the murder of lynne knight was classified as inactive. a nice way of saying it was over. and no one saw the tantalizing clue hiding in plain sight. on the other attributes that patients want out of a sensitivity toothpaste, delivering a complete package. i think dentists are going to want to recommend sensodyne complete protection. it's going to be a breath of fresh air for them.
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>> reporter: it's a terrible thing when a murder goes unsolved, justice undone. especially a murder as vicious and -- intentional -- as what happened to lynne knight in her tiny torrance apartment in the summer of '79. lynne's family up in canada could scarcely stand it. >> every time you think about it, you shudder. and then it's like niagara falls. and you're at the bottom. and it's all coming at you. it -- a terrible, horrible, horrible experience. she just was the last person who should've ever died like that. >> reporter: as the '80s rolled out their own catalogue of horrors --aids, drugs, urban decay, rampant and growing crime, donna fought to keep her sister's memory from sinking under the weight of so many other troubles. she wrote letters --lots of them.
and enlisted lynne to help. >> i got -- that nice picture of lynne. and i pasted it there. and i thought, "sell yourself, lynne. here goes. i'm just gonna send it. >> reporter: and you sent them where? to the governor, the f.b.i. "i have nothing to lose." >> reporter: well, you even wrote to, who, ronald reagan? >> yes. i thought "i gotta go to key decision makers." >> reporter: but she was shouting in the wind. detectives hilton and paerels retired. not happy about what they left behind. >> this one weighed on -- on me for quite a long time. it nags you in the back of your head. i don't want to leave a homicide case undone. that's just -- just wrong. >> reporter: lead detective gary hilton second-guessed himself, endlessly. still does. >> if i could have been a little bit more, done a little bit more. i just got to know lynne knight just a little personally.
too bad i didn't know her in life. ♪ >> reporter: occasionally a new set of detectives would dust off the file, and tell donna they were optimistic about cracking it. >> so it was just like, "oh, here we go again." but i remember one detective - - saying to me, "we-- we just have to wait until he kills again." and i went, "no. no. this is not going to happen. this is not going to happen. there has got to be an answer." >> reporter: and doug bradford? the man cops long suspected of murdering lynne? he did quite well for himself. owned a successful high-tech company, a nice house in california, had a young wife. >> reporter: and richard frank -- remember him? the man lynne started seeing again just days before her
death. he too had moved on. got married. raised a family, owned a successful newspaper business, but occasionally thought about her and what had happened. >> i drove by the neighborhood a lot because i worked in that area. so that would be a constant reminder. >> reporter: you just wondered? >> yeah, i'd call the detectives every once in awhile, "anything new?" >> reporter: nearly two decades went by. it was 1997. someone found a little extra money for the torrance police department. to open a cold-case unit. >> when we first opened this detail we started lookin' at about 30 cases and this was one of the very first ones we did. >> reporter: and that's when detective jim wallace heard about lynne. from her sister donna. >> reporter: wallace likes to work crimes with his brain. he's cerebral. and what he saw at that file hit at a baser level.
>> the cases i've worked this is the most most horrific -- powerful -- terrifying crime scene i've ever seen. there's something about the horror that lynne went through that was still evident in that crime scene. that ghost of this scene was still there. a ghost, maybe, but virtually no hard evidence. so wallace went back to the beginning and first looked at lynne and the company she kept. >> reporter: wallace re-interviewed all of lynne's surviving boyfriends. >> they were very happy with the kind of relationship they had with lynne. and everyone would tell you that. >> reporter: except for two, about whom they couldn't know. joe giarusso, the man she invited in for dinner the last night of her life, had since died. no way to talk to him. then there was doug bradford the ex-boyfriend who threw the lamp -- and was seen driving near lynne's apartment in the days before her murder.
and had offered that odd alibi about sailing and paddling a 30 foot sloop in the middle of the night. >> i think there's always a rational element in k -- in these kinds of circumstantial cases. because anything is possible. but not anything is reasonable. and this case was one of those where you really had to ask "is it possible that somebody would go out on a boat at 10:30 at night?" oh, absolutely. is that reasonable? no. >> reporter: wallace could see why the initial investigation focused on bradford. but this won be easy -- but this wouldn't be easy, which he knew was catnip for deputy district attorney john lewin. >> the cases that i enjoy are lots of little pieces, and if i get too big of a piece, it's not as -- as challenging to work. >> reporter: so lewin read the file, too. and right away, it looked to him like joe giarusso could have been the killer. but then he listened to those
original 1979 interviews with doug bradford. >> you know, she's just dead and something i want to put out of my mind. >> i was 100% confident that he was our guy. it wasn't just the fact that his statement was so creepy and so incriminating. it was when you mix that with his alibi was absurd. the fact that he was the only person in her life that had motive. >> reporter: but, proving it? 'creepy' and 'absurd' are not exactly legal terms. his boss -- the district attorney -- would laugh lewin out of his office if he didn't come up with something new to connect bradford to the crime. so, bit by bit, over years, lewin and wallace and his partner work the case like a big jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces. but one didn't quite fit -- such a brutal crime -- committed by a nerdy engineer?
>> one of the big problems that i had was when you looked at doug bradford, he looked like a normal, regular guy, who could live next door. >> reporter: sure. >> this is a guy who builds a weapon to go over to murder and then mutilate someone after they're dead. in my 20 years of doing this, one of the worst scenes i've ever encountered. >> reporter: that weapon -- the home-made wire and wood garrote, had been a mute resident in the evidence locker for a long, long time. wallace couldn't stop looking at it. as if it could talk. >> the whole goal in these cases, right, is trying to see the thing that's hiding in plain sight. >> reporter: so the killer's garotte was made with wooden dowels that were connected by a very thin piece of wire. a double strand. wait, double?
>> why would you double it? " because apparently you -- you recognize, "this is so thin. it's probably gonna break if it's by itself." so why not just use thicker wire? well, that makes sense to me that you're using something that's available to you, that's not ideal. but you happen to have it on-hand. "so i'll just settle for it." >> reporter: same thing with the handles. like the killer cut pieces from a household broom. >> we could see forensically blue specks of paint that are almost sanded off completely. but not completely. so i'm just thinking, "this looks like something that you're making from available materials. "and that's what gave us the idea, "wow, maybe these available materials are just junk that's still lying around. let's just take a look and see." >> reporter: doug bradford moved out of that house years earlier. but his elderly mother still lived there. >> is it possible that some of the simple building materials you would use to build a garrote might still be tucked away in some old drawer, stuck in the side of the garage? it's worth a look. >> reporter: wallace and his
partner ran the idea by deputy da lewin who liked it. >> a best-case scenario, can we actually find, you know, the same wire, the same dowling. and 2007, they served the warrant. >> reporter: but really? by then nearly three decades had passed. so what in the world would they find in this little house in costa mesa? >> reporter: coming up. something old? >> what are the odds of anyone keeping it that long? >> something new? >> she would know about his relationship with lynne. and help block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to my symptoms. in clinical trials, most adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis saw 75% skin clearance on humira.
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>> reporter: some people are just really bad at taking a hint. know the type? won't take no for an answer? by the time the christmas lights went up in torrance, california end of 2007, lynne knight had been lying in the cold, canadian ground for 28 years. a renewed murder investigation had gone in empty circles for a decade. and though neither d.a. john lewin nor detective jim wallace seemed capable of giving up on it, they couldn't charge doug bradford with murder based on mere suspicion. so, one last effort. they got a warrant. two warrants, actually. first, wallace and his partner went to pay a surprise visit to doug bradford's current house with a hidden microphone. and they asked him about lynne's case.
>> i would have guessed that was solved. i hadn't heard anything more. >> no, no. so, i wonder if we could have a few moments just to see what you can remember from back in '79? >> well, i've been advised by counsel not to, uh, have any further discussions about that case. >> oh, really? >> reporter: which was just the reaction the detectives expected. so, they showed him their search warrant and set about poking around. snapped a few pictures of the place, including one of doug sitting and steaming in his living room. they found several firearms, all legal. and in a file cabinet two articles on polygraph tests. odd. back in 1979, doug initially agreed to take one and then changed his mind. >> and then right next to that file was another file that had a brochure on a crossbow. and then even more disturbing, literally a manual on how to make -- how to build a crossbow. so, again, that was -- >> interesting, except he didn't
make a crossbow. >> well, what it showed was whether he made the crossbow or not, i'm pretty confident if i came into your house right now, i would not find manuals on how to make exotic weapons. >> reporter: but there was nothing in doug's house related to that other exotic weapon -- the garrote. so, what little optimism the detectives brought with them began to evaporate. but they had a second warrant. remember. for the very place doug lived when lynne knight was murdered. his father had died, but his mother norma still lived in the same house all these years later. >> what's the problem? >> it's an old 1979 murder case that, uh, we -- we are revisiting. >> reporter: norma bradford was no slouch. could see this might be trouble for doug. a woman doesn't stop being a mother just because her son is 56. >> he is the straightest, straight arrow person you ever want to know. >> we knew there might be a number of things she could tell us.
she would know about his relationship with lynne. >> now had you met this nurse? >> uh, yeah, she came in here. doug brought her in. >> oh, he did? >> he thought she was really something. >> reporter: now, that was interesting. >> we had two stories in essence, a story from doug in 1979 that really this was not a relationship he cared about. but she offered that doug really thought that this was -- was a keeper, somebody she really thought he had something special here with lynne. and he was attracted to her in that way. >> reporter: then, as they filed that nugget away, they looked around and couldn't help but see the veritable gallery of oil paintings hung around the house. norma revealed that the artist was her. she loved to paint and both her late husband and doug took pride in framing and hanging them. >> she had one room that was basically like a small museum of her paintings. >> reporter: could the paintings hold a clue? wallace suddenly turned art
collector and decided to take a few of them to the police station. and then, they went out to norma's garage. all kinds of old stuff lying around, looked like nobody had thrown anything away for quite a while. and tucked away in the corner, there they were. >> we found a number of wooden dowels. and not all of them were painted. only one was and it was blue and it was a broom handle. so, we collected it. >> reporter: who would have believed it? almost 30 years later, it seemed pretty obvious that the broom handle used to make the garrote was still there. the broom handle was blue, the garrote handles had been sanded down, but specks of paint still clung to them. blue paint. >> my gosh, we were so excited. we had expectations. that's why we got a warrant. but we didn't expect those expectations to be met with the actual wooden dowel that was
used to build the -- i mean, what -- what are the odds of anyone keeping it that long? but it looked old. >> but there, there's your case? >> we thought this was going to be a pretty good piece of evidence -- the kind of wood it is, the graining even. we were that excited. >> reporter: all wallace needed was a testing lab to confirm it and prosecutor john lewin would finally have the evidence he needed to file the case. >> so, we were thinking, okay. and you looked at it, it's blue paint, it's a dowel. you know, you have it. it's --there's a cut one in the garage. it looked like they were gonna be the same. >> reporter: lewin was excited but also disturbed by what he saw. when he compared the two dowel samples, he noticed that the one from the garrote had been sanded. person gets a chill when the mind registers a thing like that. >> why would he take the time to sand it down? and the answer is just horrifying. >> horrifying how? what do you mean? >> the killer made this weapon because he's enjoying the process of, "i'm making this weapon that i'm gonna use to
wrap around her neck and kill her" this is a weapon that someone took time to make, and that someone really cared about. "i'm gonna perfect it." >> reporter: but now here it was -- the evidence that could put doug bradford at the crime scene. they sent the samples to a specialized lab outside chicago for comparison testing. >> we are expecting that we're gonna get a match. >> reporter: but -- >> we didn't. >> reporter: the lab report was unequivocal. these were two distinctly different dowels. they did not match. and now, suddenly, there was no case. >> it was, you know, getting kicked in the -- in the stomach. >> i can tell you we were deflated beyond words. and so, the expectations we had then when we had no match was that this case was dead. >> reporter: coming up -- maybe the wood wasn't a match, but was something else?
>> i went down to the local hardware store and thought, gee, maybe i can find picture hanging wire. >> reporter: when "dateline" continues. $160 dollars a month. dave, i'm sorry to interrupt... i gotta take a sick day tomorrow. dads don't take sick days, dads take nyquil. the nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, fever, best sleep with a cold, medicine. awwww...here we go. eggo? one berry, two berry mixed berry, blueberry peanut butter, nothing's better gimmie jam to make it redder cream cheese, cherry please score some honey from the bees stack it up, it's what you do mix it up, it's up to you. enter your eggo recipe on facebook,
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>> reporter: over ten years of effort. and they were right back at square one. at which point, it made perfect stuff the lynne knight file back into the purgatory of unsolved cases. or not. >> i started to kind of look at the case to say, "well, what do we have?" >> reporter: jim wallace picked himself up from his disappointment and poked around at the bits and pieces he might be able to build into a case. like the bit that never made sense to him, doug bradford's alibi. who sails a 30 foot racing sloop alone at night? and then is able to paddle it back in? oh, the alibi checked out way
back in '79, but still. some alibis can be faked, can't they? was this one? wallace took a crash course in boating to find out and sought out any skipper he could find who knew something about sailing back in 1979. >> and i called every one of them and interviewed them and asked them, i don't know anything about sailing. teach me. >> reporter: one of his "teachers" was charlie abbott, once an officer in the very same sailing club that doug used to belong to and where the shields racing boat was docked. >> sailing at night after 10:00pm in southern california is kind of a fool's errand. the shields is hard to sail alone to begin with and at night you need lights. so if you're going out in southern california in the summer time, there's not going to be any wind at all or a very little bit. >> reporter: sailors have an expression for that. >> no blow, no go means if there's not enough wind, we're not going sailing. >> reporter: but doug was an expert, after all. if anybody could sail after
sunset, he could. listen again to his version of what happened that night out on the dark pacific. >> well, i started off under sail, but i ended up coming back under paddle power, 'cause there is no auxiliary power. and i got out there without any wind. >> about what time did you, you leave the marina down there? >> it was a little after 10:30, probably. >> if it's not windy already and it's 10:30 and you're standing at that dock and you're asking yourself, "wow, is there enough wind for me to sail?" i can maybe barely get out. do you expect it to get better once you get out there? and everyone i talked to said, "no, no. that's crazy." as a matter of fact, that's the one thing that was a consistent statement from every sailor. "would you do this?" "no." >> reporter: not to mention paddling a two-ton boat with one little oar. who could do that on the ocean in the dark? and yet, there it was, doug's
name on the reservation form. a clear record that he booked out the boat the night lynne was killed. so, next question, could he have faked his sailing reservation that night? as a club member, doug did have access to the reservation book so he could have inserted his name even a couple of days after the murder. didn't mean he did, but he could have. but then they discovered something with doug's name all over it, very intriguing. all the reservations from 1979. >> so it was just serendipitous we had them and we found them. >> reporter: because when wallace reviewed all of doug's sailboat bookings, what do you know? there was a very distinctive pattern. >> doug consistently reserved the boat on weekends. the first week that he begins to change his reservation pattern is the week of the murder. the fact that there, nobody who ever reserves the boat for a post-sunset sail, except for one person, doug bradford on the
night of the murder. >> reporter: now that could be useful evidence. certainly weakened doug's alibi. but conviction material? no. as for possible dna, there was all that blood splattered around the apartment and those two semen samples recovered from lynne. with dna testing now available, could they connect something at the crime scene to doug bradford? >> detectives went out, and the got samples from all the boyfriends. >> reporter: including of course doug who was served with another search warrant at his house, this time seeking a swab of his saliva. >> so this is an opportunity for us to kind of say "hey, if you're not the guy, let's just move on with it." >> oh, i thought that had already been determined. >> reporter: one by one the dna results came in from all of lynne's old lovers and guy friends. and none of them matched the dna from the crime scene, including doug bradford. >> it definitely was problematic because, unfortunately, the more
testing we were doing, we were getting dna. so there was dna of the semen belonging to two males. >> but not him. >> it just wasn't him. so -- so yeah, it was definitely disappointing. and i knew that what i really needed was some piece of new evidence that would help. >> reporter: something physical, something forensic they could take to the l.a. county district attorney. >> you have to sell this thing now. to your bosses, right? >> yeah, i do, i do. >> reporter: but still, wallace could not get his mind off that garrotte. he must have missed something. wallace now went to his own workshop and started tinkering. made a garrote. and then another. and another to understand the mind set of the killer and the materials he used. he examined the wire very closely. then he looked again at the
pictures doug's mom painted and the wire doug used to hang them. and both wires were the same type, something called grade #1, eight-strand, braided wire. >> that's the kind of wire used in the garrote. and that's also the kinda wire that doug's mom was using to hang many of her paintings. >> reporter: an exciting discovery, well, maybe. but like the dowels, it could also be pure coincidence. how to tell? >> as i -- i thought about it, i said, "wow, i wonder how rare that wire really is?" so i went down to the local hardware store, and i said, "gee, let me see if i can find picture hanging wire." i found some. but not #1 braided. i couldn't find it anywhere. and i started calling those manufacturers to ask them, "do you guys sell a thinner wire?" >> very uncommon? >> very uncommon. >> reporter: so uncommon that, of all the picture hanging wire sold, this particular wire only accounts for one to six percent of sales. >> it's that rare. yet, that's what's being used to
build the garrote. and that happens to also be what doug had access to because of his mom's painting. >> reporter: not like dna of course, but what they call a "class match." was it enough, along with everything else, to get lewin to take the case to court? >> when i got done with the work on the wire, with the work on the alibi, with the work on the garrote, i felt like we had a fileable case. and i brought it to john. >> reporter: now, at this point, a more conservative prosecutor might have told him forget it. but lewin, lewin likes tough, circumstantial cases. he said yes. and took the case to his boss, at the district attorney's office. >> the decision to file the case was based on, well, it was based on everything. >> everything. >> reporter: and so in may, 2009, almost 30 years after lynne's murder, a warrant was issued for the arrest of douglas gordon bradford. word traveled fast to canada. >> and there was a message from -- "call detective wallace." and i'll tell you, it was
electric. there was so much electricity in the air. and the church wind chimes on my back veranda were just ringin' away like crazy. and it was just wow. and the arrest, it was like, yes! you know, they got him. they finally got him. >> reporter: well, maybe. quite possible lewin had bitten off more than he could chew this time. because doug bradford had hired one of the most prominent and experienced defense attorneys in the land. a man who had won more than his share of high profile cases, clearing celebrity clients who faced much steeper odds than a middle aged engineer named doug bradford. coming up. >> i asked him do you have an attorney? >> yeah. does he have a name? yeah. what's his name? >> bob.
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built a life. started an engineering business, made it successful, got married, obeyed the law. and maintained with absolute consistency that he had nothing whatever to do with the brutal murder of his one-time girlfriend, the canadian nurse, lynne knight. now, doug bradford was in the back of a squad car facing a charge of first degree murder. >> he was calm the whole -- the whole way. he was defiant the whole way. he never wanted to talk to us. >> reporter: although, he did say one thing, which certainly got detective wallace's attention. >> i asked him, "do you have an attorney?" "yeah." "does he have a name?" "yeah." "what's his name?" "bob." i said, "okay. do you have a last name?" "i have his card." and -- sure enough, of course, i get the card out. it's robert shapiro. >> reporter: yes, that robert shapiro.
the lawyer who represented oj simpson, the man who founded legal zoom. >> at legalzoom.com we put the law on your side. >> thank you very much. thank you. >> reporter: here was a true courtroom celebrity. robert shapiro has been practicing law for nearly 50 years, had represented scores of hollywood's rich and famous, including of course oj simpson. >> oj will do everything he can to cooperate with them to help solve this brutal murder. >> reporter: almost 20 years now since he helped engineer simpson's acquittal in the infamous "trial of the century." lynne's sister donna was well aware of shapiro's reputation. >> i certainly wasn't gonna be intimidated by robert shapiro. >> reporter: maybe she should have been. once shapiro stepped in, doug bradford was out on bail within hours. and the outlook for the trial?
well, if there was a mountain of evidence against oj, the circumstantial bits and pieces piled up against doug bradford amounted to a foothill. maybe. >> it'd be nice if we had a piece of physical evidence that would lock it in or a witness who can say, "oh, i saw him leavin' the -- you know, that's so and so." and we never have those. it's completely circumstanial. >> reporter: lewin was eager to get to trial. but the defense, not so much. robert shapiro thought the evidence insufficient to charge doug bradford or put on a trial at all. so, he papered the court with motions seeking to have the case dismissed, given its age and the lack of new physical evidence. and though his requests were denied, they took time, lots of time. a year went by, then two, then five. doug bradford remained free on bail as the case crept slowly toward trial.
more than 2000 miles north across the border, donna waited patiently in canada, bracing for a trial over three decades in the making. this coldest of cold cases. >> well -- it wasn't cold. it was never cold to me. >> no? >> no. >> reporter: then, finally -- july 2014. it had taken 35 years to get here. l.a. county courtroom department #103. storied defense attorney robert shapiro versus the d.a. who liked circumstantial cases, john lewin. shapiro had already announced this would be his very last criminal case. it was also the very last one of detective jim wallace's long career. he'd be testifying from retirement as a private citizen, a cop no longer. >> good morning. >> reporter: and so they all assembled in the very courtroom where robert shapiro helped
acquit oj simpson. and sitting in the gallery -- what was left of lynne knight's family though donna's mother, dead almost 9 years, was certainly on donna's mind. >> towards the end, we had a lot of mother-daughter talks and she grabbed my hand. and she goes, "you got him, kid. i know you got him." and so, my mom died knowing -- she knew. she knew. >> reporter: here, for the very first time, lynne's family got a look at the man accused of killing her. the man once invited to donna's wedding. >> i really felt i was able to look him in the eye and say a lot of things in my head that he wasn't hearing and that weren't polite. >> reporter: prosecutor john lewin would have to sell what was, perhaps, the most completely circumstantial case of his career. he enlisted co-cousel ethan milius to help him.
>> with cases like this, cold cases, you never have one witness. you have a whole bunch of pieces. and on the surface, they don't appear to be connected. it's our job to connect them all together, to put it together to give you the final piece. >> so, no smoking gun, but then there really aren't any. >> the whole thing is a smoking gun. >> reporter: lewin fired the opening shot. >> the evidence will show, ladies and gentlemen, beyond any reasonable doubt that this man, douglas bradford, on august 30, 1979, in the middle of the night crept in there with that handmade garrote, got her while she was sleeping and brutally murdered her. >> reporter: then, more than 20 witnesses paraded by, each to recount a memory or offer an opinion, one tiny piece of the
whole. >> the people call detective gary hilton, your honor. >> reporter: gary hilton was 72 now, still tormented by his inability to close the case. so, in a way, he was trying to clear his conscience here. >> i saw lynne knight's body. i never saw anybody so bad off. she was sliced, diced and butchered. >> i wanted to be there for lynne. it was all these people talkin' about her, how great she was. i knew her, you know, i -- i knew -- i knew her. >> reporter: donna testified about her sister lynne, and 35 years of deep suspicion, beginning what doug bradford didn't do. >> at the time, did you notice that one acknowledgement of condolence was conspicuously absent? >> yes.
absolutely nothing, not a phone call, nothing, not a card from doug bradford. >> reporter: richard frank, lynne's last love interest, testified about the day he said he saw doug bradford fly into a rage just after lynne dropped him. >> nobody had ever really seen him violent. and i had. came to the sliding glass door and tore off the screen, opened up the door, shouted, ranted. i think broke a lamp. he was incredibly upset. it was scary. >> reporter: it was jealous rage, said the prosecution, rage that inspired doug to make a garrote using materials he found in his mother's garage. and his alibi? that story that he went sailing at night, paddled a two-ton racing boat. he couldn't have
killed lynne? lewin called several sailing experts from local marinas, who testified that the alibi was wildly improbable. >> it was so absurd that they would almost recoil in essence going, "this is stupid why are you asking me this?" >> reporter: all the while, doug bradford watched quietly. listened intently, seemed almost aloof, except perhaps when it came to donna. >> we had some stare-down competitions. i wanted to look in his eyes. but i really wanted to see, in his eyes, in his body language, whether he killed my sister. >> and did you see that? >> yes. and, "i'm gonna get off. because i got shapiro." >> reporter: if that's what he was trying to say, it was not without good cause. because robert shapiro had a defense strategy ready, featuring a special video tape supporting doug bradford's alibi, a tape that just might help him sail free. coming up -- >> a picture is worth a thousand words.
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>> reporter: now it was robert shapiro's turn. his last criminal case in the same courtroom where he won, arguably, his greatest legal battle against what was labelled then "a mountain of physical evidence." 71 now. still sharp, a formidable presence in the courtroom. >> so robert shapiro, did it give you pause? he's -- he's a star in the industry. >> if i have a good judge and i have a good jury, the big advantage that i have in all my cases and he didn't have on this case is i'm on the right side. i only have to convince a jury to see what actually occurred. >> reporter: but, exactly what did occur? in this case, there were implications, accusations, opinions and almost no physical
evidence at all. that glaring truth is where robert shapiro began to fashion what he hoped would be his final victory in criminal court. >> at least six fingerprints were found. no match to doug. blood. no match to doug. dna. the holy grail. no match to doug. >> reporter: there was more. no blood was found in doug's car. the man seen running from lynne's apartment had a different hair color. the wire used in the garrote, despite what the prosecution said, they couldn't prove was an exact match with the wire found on the back of his mother's paintings. >> we can't match it. why? because wire can't be matched. >> reporter: but, above all, said shapiro, doug bradford wasn't there at lynne's apartment the night she was murdered. his alibi was solid. he was sailing that night.
and then paddling his 30 foot shields. >> we're gonna prove to you to an absolute certainty that not only can you paddle this boat, doug bradford told the truth. >> reporter: his proof? this video, produced by shapiro's office, showing a two-ton shields boat being paddled, by one person. just as doug bradford claimed he did on the night of lynne's murder. >> a picture is worth a thousand words. >> reporter: but then, a stumble. shapiro, famous for tripping up prosecution witnesses on the stand, called his own weather expert, who testified there was enough wind to sail that night. a breeze of five to ten miles an hour. but d.a. lewin had done his homework and discovered that some of the wind locations the expert cited were nowhere near the area where doug said he was sailing. >> 32.7° north, 117.5 west. do you know how many miles that was?
>> i don't have the chart in front of me. but -- >> 86.6 miles. guess what land mass it's -- it's closest to? >> baja, mexico. >> mexico. listen, i'll give you credit. it's the right continent. >> it was a careless estimate that i made, because i didn't look at it carefully enough. >> reporter: a careless mistake, maybe. but shapiro told the jury it did not change the fact the prosecution could not and did not prove that doug bradford killed lynne knight. >> justice delayed has been justice denied but now it's time for justice. there's an old indian saying, "do not judge a man until you walk a mile in his shoes." i'd like to change that a little bit. do not judge a man until you've walked in his 35-year-old shoes. >> reporter: the prosecution gets the last word, of course.
here's co-counsel ethan milius. >> the defendant couldn't forget lynne knight. he couldn't control his emotions. instead he fashioned a garrote, made it from hand, held it, crafted it, fantasized about putting her out of his mind by ending her life. >> reporter: and finally, john lewin. 35 years of getting away with murder, he said, had to end. >> he's had his trial. it is time. it is time that he is held accountable for what he did. he is a murderous monster. he needs to be held accountable. it's time. thank you. >> thank you mr. lewin. >> we look forward to the jury
verdict. >> reporter: on his way out of the courtroom, a confident doug bradford stopped to answer a question. >> mr. bradford, are you an innocent man? >> absolutely! >> reporter: donna looked forward too, with considerable anxiety. >> i just hope that we get some peace of mind, lynne gets -- her soul has a chance to rest, and my mother's, as well. and we can go on in our lives mukpo. a big stone sitting on
brand new in the last 30 minutes. the centers for disease control confirmed a new jersey toddler who died last week tested positive for enterovirus d-68. this is the first child death in our area involving the disease. the cdc officials say -- can't say yet whether the virus directly caused the boy's death or played a role. the four-year-old boy attended yardville elementary school in hamilton township. there will be a call center open form from 9:00 a.m. to noon for anyone who wants more information. now, keep in mind, this is all part of two health scares, one targeting children in our area, the other the expanding ebola crisis and whether this