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tv   Dateline NBC  NBC  April 6, 2015 2:03am-3:02am EDT

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this has been a paid presentation for luminess air. a got a call. they told me he was missing. i they asked, would anyone want to hurt him. i knew that my dad happen on match.com. >> this is not going to end well. this is a crime scene. miles of nothing up here. it's an easy place for a man to go missing. >> what do you mean you can't find my brother? >> he was the school superintendent, not the type to play hooky. >> he really loved teaching and working with kids. >> turns out, he wasn't missing -- he was dead. >> reporter: your missing person
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case has become a homicide? >> correct. >> that solved one mystery but caused another. why would anyone want to kill him? maybe it some h something to-- maybe it had something to do with a woman in his life:. he'd broken off his engagement with one. >> i just found out those this morning. now i'm a suspect. >> and there was somebody else. >> i was lonely. just needed someone to talk to. >> reporter: did it also get a little steamy, mary? >> yes. >> passion and a secret that the wrong person discovered. >> her face looked like she'd seen a ghost. she said "sheriff" -- >> stay with me. >> "you have a phone call i think you need to take." >> i'm lester holt. this is "dateline." here's dennis murphy. >> narrator: winter comes every and will stays late in far western new york. the farmpoland tilled by amish -- farmlands tilled by amish and dutch families are encased in
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ice and snow for months at a time. in this place of frozen stillness, the hottest of passions boiling jealousy came to call one day. tiny climber, 1,700 residents in the southwest part of the county, is still shaking off the shock of it all. joe jerosy is the long-time sheriff. >> my 35 years in law enforcement can't ever remember a homicide in climber -- never. >> reporter: it began simply. the new school superintendent in n town went missing one weekend just a few weeks into the school year in december 2012. keith reed 51 years old, was a long-time educator who'd landed in the sweet spot of his professional career. >> parents and family members do you believe in our graduates? [ cheers [ become >> reporter: the up until then school principal had applied for the top job in the school district with his brother kevin urging him on. >> this little school called clymer. he says, i don't know whether i should apply there. i said apply. >> reporter: you were the
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nudger? >> i nudged him, yeah. i knew what he wanted. once he was there, it was over. >> reporter: you might think a close-knit community like clymer would be standoffish to mycomers. but parents and students quickly embraced the hands-on mr. reed. his eldest daughter, caitlyn -- >> greeted the kids in the morning coming off the boss. talked to them during the day. he was in the hallways. he really loved teaching and working with kids. and he was wonderful at it. >> reporter: the new superintendent had three grown daughters and a painful divorce behind him. he never let it distract from his primary role dad. megan is his oldest child. >> he liked to have one. he would dance crazy with us. pick us up in the air and slide us between his legs and throw us up. >> reporter: the old family snapshots. hiking in hawaii disney world, all the christmases seemed to show a dad over the moon with
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his three girls. caitlyn was a star volleyball player and all-american, and knew without a doubt when her father was in the stands on game days. you could hear him? >> i could. yeah. everyone could. >> reporter: her dad was in a long-term relationship with a single mom named kimberly roush. >> he had three daughters, and his two boys. and a lot of our time was spent being involved in their sporting events. >> reporter: they'd been on again-off again for years. but no sooner had they decided to take one of their periodic romantic time-outs from one another then they'd rubberband back together. boyfriends like keith are hard to find. >> saw him, pull the car over take me out of the car and dance alongside of the road. being with him was amazing. >> reporter: now that his girls were grown, keith reed of at long last finding his special place, getting comfortable. he bought a big house in town. a sign that the superintendent wasn't just using clymer as a
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career stepping stone. >> he found where he wanted to be finally after years and years of looking. they'd have to pry him out with a bar. >> reporter: on saturday morning, september 22nd, when clymer principal ed bailey drove past his friend and colleague's house, he was surprised to see both of keith's vehicles in the driveway. the superintendent was meant to be across the state at an educators conference. >> i just made a mental note. i was going to be coming back and thought if both vehicles are there, i'll stop and see what's going on. >> reporter: when all looked the same on his return trip, the principal pulled into the drive. >> i actually went in the door of the house and yelled yelled his name. and of course there was no answer. >> reporter: someone else who started to wonder what was up that saturday was caitlyn. the two spoke by phone every day. >> he didn't answer my phone call on that saturday. so i thought that was a little strange, but i was really busy. so just kind of forgot. >> reporter: by sunday his middle daughter megan, had become very concerned. she hadn't heard from him
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either. worrying. >> so i was like okay, answer your phone. it's time to answer your phone. you know, i was confused because he always just answers the first time we call. >> reporter: that sunday night her uncle kevin, a former fbi agent of 20 years, was being called to the house in clymer by a school official. >> said, we can't find your brother. what do you mean? he's supposed to be at a conference in albany, didn't check in. both cars are still at the house. okay, so we're coming. >> reporter: kevin was hoping for a simple explanation that they'd com. his brother on the property hurt and maybe unable to get up. >> my home was that he had gone out back. there's a huge tract of land behind the house, and had fallen and was laying there and couldn't get home. >> reporter: when he walked into the house, the former fbi man didn't like what he saw. >> i started looking around and here's his $600 and wallet suitcase is partially packed. i came downstairs, sent everybody out. everybody out. what are you talking about?
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go out in the garage. this is not going to end well. and this is a crime scene. >> reporter: principal ed bailey of taken aback by kevin's comment. >> i understand we have an issue here that keith's not where we thought he should be, but what do you mean it's not going to end well? >> reporter: the principal had called the sheriff's office to report keith missing. deputies had responded to the scene. >> nothing added up. he had a bag packed, it looked like he was preparing for his trip. but nothing else that was out of place. >> reporter: deputies broke out flashlights and searched the house, the grounds, but no luck. keith reed was flat-out gone. >> it's really a mystery to them when they leave the house, huh? >> correct. >> reporter: sunday night ended in drenching rain. darker than usual around the house. they hadn't yet figured out why the exterior lights by the garage weren't working. they hadn't talked to the neighbors about some loud voices they'd heard. where was the school superintendent, mr. reed?
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one down, mr. bailey. don't forget this. >> reporter: the snippet of video shows superintendent keith reed at the end of the school day in 2012. at in time, the high-profile figure would be reported as missing. >> the school superintendent that everybody loved. kids loved him. he was there every morning greeting him as -- greeting them as they got off the boss. >> reporter: friday night a security camera caught him leaving a restaurant around 8:30 p.m. the next day, he was a no-show at a big state educators conference across the state. his brother kevin reed, a former fbi agent, had a bad feeling about thing when he arrived at his brother's house sunday night. >> i went right into fbi mode. didn't have time to get emotional. >> reporter: his brother, grounded, stable reliable, was no one's candidate to just one day go missing -- especially not then. just a few weeks before, he'd
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had the moment every day lives for, walking his eldest daughter, caitlyn, down the aisle. >> it was one of the moment momentous days of his life. he was just -- i'd never seen they happy. >> reporter: at the reception, he even busted out his signature dance moves. >> he lived it up on the dance floor. >> reporter: he was a very happy guy in august 2012? >> he was, uh-huh. >> reporter: as dawn broke a month later, monday morning, september 24th keith reed had vanished. the sheriff's people were dispatched again to do a daylight search of the grounds. it wasn't long before a k-9 handler reported back. keith reed his body, had been found. >> immediately the dog and he found the body in the shrubs. >> reporter: keith's girlfriend kimberly was driving to a new job that morning when she got the news. she couldn't believe what she was hearing. >> he's dead. they found him. and i just started crying and said, "that's -- that's not
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possible." >> reporter: but tucked into the hedge row about 50 feet from his driveway lay keith reed's body. he had been shot three times, twice in the back, once in the chest. all at close range. >> it was like wow. how could this happen? who could have done this? why would they do it? >> reporter: those same questions were soon roaring through the halls at keith's school. principal ed bailey had gotten the news from the sheriff's office. >> i just about dropped the phone. just couldn't believe it. >> reporter: talking about keith reed. >> yeah. my friend. >> reporter: along with the shock in the community came an unnerving question. given the national climate of school-related shootings, could keith reed have been targeted because of his work leading the district? an angry student, a driesisgruntled parent? was any of that remotely possible? >> i'm thinking going back did he have enemies? who possibly could have been upset or crazy enough to do this. >> reporter: did you come up with any snoblt.
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>> well there was -- any possibilities? >> well, there was one incident that i know the family was very upset with him. >> reporter: school related beef of some kind? >> school related. but nothing out of the ordinary. you know nothing that should have ever rose to this level. >> reporter: neighboring districts were understandably on edge, too. were they next? >> my phone blew up from other schools are. we in danger? is this the beginning of something bigger? there was a lot of people worried. >> reporter: and concern only heightened, the sheriff said, when word spread that an unknown man it h stopped by keith's school around noon that friday asking to see mr. reed. >> he had told them that he was applying for a job as a substitute teacher. that he was -- came in from connecticut looking for work. >> reporter: the man seen here was captured on school surveillance cameras. was this visitor a piece of the puzzle? detectives didn't know. but given the potential nightmare of schools and children in jeopardy it was more important than ever for the sheriff to have all hands on
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deck at the crime scene. county district attorney david foley was there. and a door-to-door kahn vas turned up a critical clue. >> a neighbor heard gunshots three gunshots friday evening somewhere around 9:00 p.m. >> reporter: on the property itself, detectives found themselves frustratingly short of clues. but they did recover in the grass a soggy piece of paper that looked like a receipt. it would be work for the lab to figure out. and around the garage, investigators took note of something perplexing. three exterior lights, the bulbs were missing. >> why are the bulbs gone? this is odd. this is really odd. >> reporter: somebody had done some planning? >> ring the doorbell can't see who's out there. flips the lights on, nothing happens. opens the door there's his assailant. >> reporter: so the shooting of the superintendent for a grievance unknown became one theory to pursue. but detectives were about to hear a story that would make them look at the crime scene in a completely different way -- something more tradition.
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was it possible that keith reed was the victim of a bad romance? as it happened a candidate for a suspect, someone somewhat on again-off again, was about to pull into the drive. coming up -- angry texts put a girlfriend in the hot seat. >> i just found out he was dead this morning. and now i feel like i'm a suspect.
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>> reporter: the body of keith reed, the admired edd school superintendent, had been found in a hedge by his house. he'd been shot three times. keith's brother, kevin, a law enforcement veteran had caravanned to the house monday morning with his 80-year-old parents expecting to search for a missing person. the sheriff broke the news. >> so now i've got my mother wanting to go and cover him up with a blanket because he's cold. try that sometime. it's a crime scene, mom. you can't go up there. it's tough. >> reporter: as the reed family struggled to make sense of the horror, investigators would put the question to keith's daughters -- did they know of anyone who had a reason to hurt their dad. >> we could not think of anyone to tell them. no one. >> everyone was just -- no. >> reporter: but a name had occurred to their uncle kevin.
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of the leads to sort through, he suggested investigators look at keith's on again-off again girlfriend of many years, kimberly roush. >> i said first thing you need to do is talk to kimberly. >> reporter: where did that come from in you? >> experience and knowing the relationship. >> reporter: the investigators learned from kevin and others that the superintendent's relationship with kimberly had at times been rocky. they'd been engaged to be married, but keith recently called off the wedding. >> by the time summer was over he said no we're not doing this. >> reporter: was this what the crime scene was all about? a deadly confrontation between a man and his lover, upset over a canceled wedding. kimberly, who was almost two hours away, raced to the house. >> i said "kevin, what happened?" i said "did he have a heart attack or something?" and he said, "no. somebody shot him." and i just started sobbing, and i started to go down to my knees in the road.
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>> reporter: investigator randy boland was assigned to talk to her. >> she is crying and very very very emotional. so i immediately go and speak to her, but i give her some moments. >> reporter: in the investigator's eyes kimberly quickly went from grieving girlfriend to potential suspect. he asked for her phone. >> i said, "okay. is there a reason why?" you know i just was kind of shocked. >> reporter: it turns out that keith had asked kimberly to join him at the educators conference that weekend. she said they'd never finalized the plan but she'd been mad at him for not returning her calls. >> she gets very upset in her text messages back like i can't believe you're not talking to me, you know and there are like half violent. like why are -- why are you not calling me? >> reporter: flaming stuff, huh? >> yeah. >> reporter: and something else. in keith's bedroom upstairs crime scene analysts noticed this picture frame.
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it was toppled over and taken apart on a bookcase. whatever picture had been in it was gone. you can put a story together with that pretty easy huh? >> the pieces of the puzzle were just starting to come together. >> reporter: investigator boland brought kimberly in for a form at taped interview. she was read her rights. >> i was in shock. i barely had my head around that he was killed. now i feel like i'm going right from that into are you the one that killed him? i just found out he was dead this morning. and then i show up and found out he was shot. and now i feel like i'm a suspect. >> reporter: kimberly told investigator boland she'd been three hours away at her parents' house at the time they believed keith was shot. she admitted what wild she did get angry, she would never hurt him. >> never in a million years. no matter what he said or did it i consider or conceive of the
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fact of hurting him or living without him. i remember feeling absolutely terrified, and i thought, i have two little boys at home. i need to get home. they don't even know he's gone. >> in some of your messages, you've displayed that -- >> he has said things in anger -- i'm angry. anybody would be in certain situations. that doesn't make them a killer. >> reporter: had there been a trigger leading up to friday night? the investigator saw in kimberly's text messages that she was intent on getting back from reed a high school diploma, something she thought might be at his house. >> i used the "f" word and said i'm sure you're obviously there with another woman. and i don't even care. i just need my [ bleep ] diploma. why wouldn't you just pick your [ bleep ] phone up? you think i'm going to show up and shoot him over my missing
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diploma i can't find? i would just go there, look through the bins, find it, take it, and leave. >> reporter: but what about that picture frame? detectives thought it might have been toppled over during a fight. >> now we've never broken pictures of each other, so i really had no idea what they were talking about. >> reporter: investigator boland confronted kimberly with a working theory. thinking keith was away she stormed over to his house with a male friend to get her diploma back. only keith was still home. an unhappy surprise. >> there's an issue here where there's two males going at it. did you see something you didn't want to see? >> i wasn't there. >> seriously? not at all? >> not at all. they were thinking i was guilty of this. and i loved him so much, i could never have even thought of doing anything like that. >> reporter: the nearly three-hour-long interview was over. kimberly was still in the cross hairs, and the thought was terrifying to her.
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>> am i going to go to jail for something i didn't do? >> reporter: but investigator boland had his doubts that she had anything to do with keith reed's death. >> she didn't leave my suspect list, but at the same time she seemed genuine that she would never do something like this. >> reporter: meanwhile, there had been a puzzling development in the investigation. the sunday night the superintendent was reported missing, the cops had asked the phone company to ping keith reed's cell phone to ask it the technological question, where are you. the phone answered back electronically, i'm in harrisburg, pennsylvania. >> this man is dead in the hedges by has house, and his phone is in harrisburg p.a.? hours away. >> hours away. >> reporter: a school superintendent dead at his home his phone more than 200 miles away. what was going on? coming up things get way more complicated when a second woman makes a phone call to the
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sheriff. >> i don't know -- >> relax. she was very, very upset.
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returning to our story, a school superintendent in upstate new york has been found murdered. without much to go on, police have questions about his former fiancee. but a phone and a phone call will soon take detectives in a new and unexpected direction. here again is dennis murphy. >> reporter: of the many details concerning the homicide of well-liked school superintendent keith reed, perhaps none was more perplexing than the murdered man's cell phone. why was the phone company reporting its location as harrisburg, pennsylvania, four hours southeast of the crime scene? >> i thought maybe it was a mistake. no one knew of anyone he would know in harrisburg. >> reporter: in the hours after
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keith's body was found, relatives frantically called that phone, desperate to get a voice on the other end. the sheriff was shocked on monday when one of them hit pay dirt. >> he said, i just called keith reed's phone and somebody answered it. i said, what? >> reporter: that's a holy cow moment. >> yeah. >> reporter: it turns out the person saying hello was a construction foreman on a bridge near harrisburg. the phone had been found on some scaffolding which suggested to detectives someone had tried to toss the phone into the river. >> it landed on a bridge deck set up to do repairs to the bridge. it was a very lucky break for us. >> reporter: what are the snods. >> one in a billion. >> reporter: while this recovered cell phone was on its way to the fbi lab, crime scene analysts spent the next day at keith reed's house scouring the property for clues. district attorney david foley knew the clymer community on edge about a school-related shooting was anxious about the case to be solved but an arrest
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looked a long ways off. would be nice to announce an arrest quickly, but you can't calm people can you? >> no. >> reporter: then something totally out of the blue happened. the sheriff was in a closed door meeting when his secretaries interrupted. >> i thought it was a family member. her face looked like she had seen a ghost. she said, "sheriff you have a phone call i think you need take." >> reporter: a panic-stricken woman was on the phone and needed to talk to the sheriff immediately. the sheriff returned to his office so he could take the phone call. >> i don't know -- i don't -- >> relax. >> reporter: her name was mary taglianetti. she was calling from virginia. no one in keith's life including megan had heard of her. does the name mean anything to you, this mary bottom? >> not at all. >> reporter: nib anybody in the family, did it ring a bell? >> no. >> reporter: caitlyn's sister megan didn't know the name either but would realize had mary was a woman her dad had taken to dinner in 2010 during an off period with kimberly. >> i remember him saying that he
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was going out to dinner. but yeah no. nothing ever came from it. >> reporter: but now, this mary was on the phone. >> she was very very upset. [ crying ] >> stay with me. this is going to be okay relax. i kept her on the phone purposely. as long as i could. and while we were talking, i had my staff scrambling to get somebody in law enforcement to her home. >> reporter: almost 400 miles south, officers in virginia brought mary to an interview room. she was the second woman in three days investigators were speaking to about the murder of the superintendent. >> i'm glad they have these here. i might need them. >> okay. >> reporter: mary says she and keith first developed a relationship on match.com. she'd separated from her husband and had moved with her four children to upstate new york. after 11 years of marriage she says she was trying to figure out how to get back into the dating game. >> i was lonely, and just needed
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someone to talk to friends. >> reporter: mary says she was intrigued by the superintendent and responded when he sent her a message saying hello. >> i said, you're really good looking. we started looking and had some things in common. and then he asked if he could call me. >> reporter: they talked on and off for a couple of month, she says. keith, who always had a soft spot for someone in need provided emotional support as she struggled to find her footing as a newly separated woman. >> i kind of felt lost, you know. i didn't know what to do or where to go next. and he was great. he was really encouraging. >> reporter: it was sometime in the summer of 2010 she told the detectives, that she met her online match for their one and only date. >> took me to dinner and we had a night together. >> reporter: it was little more than a one-night stand. mary says she decided to try to make things work with her
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husband. keith reconciled with his girlfriend. >> we both just kind of said good luck to each other. >> reporter: it was like a handshake and good-bye you? >> pretty much yeah. >> reporter: but a couple of years later, mary says her marriage was once again coming undone. in the spring of 2012, she tried to friend keith on facebook. he didn't accept the request, but the superintendent did write her a message. >> he sent me a message back asking me how i was. i told him that i wasn't happy. and things weren't going too well. >> reporter: she says they started calling each other on the occasional evening. keith struggling with his relationship, and mary lonely in hers confided in each other. was that something nice in your life at that time, mary? >> yes. it was a piece of happiness. like i felt a little more fulfilled. >> reporter: but she says their phone conversations did at times get sexual. was it hi how are you, but did it also get a little steamy
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mary? >> yes. >> reporter: still, it hardly seemed like a big-deal relationship. could a single date and something issive phone calls really -- something issive phone calls really add up to murder? in mary's mind, yes. but she hadn't called to confess to the crime, nor had she called to point the finger at a potentially jealous girlfriend. no mary had someone else entirely in mind. and the through who killed the superintendent could be found on his computer. coming up the secret comes out. >> try to give you everything that i can. it was this long thing about don't -- don't you dare contact my wife ever again, and if you do, you're going to be sorry. >> when "dateline" continues.
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>> reporter: the internet had given renewed life between the cyber-relationship between school superintendent keith reed and mary taglianetti. now mary would explain to detectives in virginia why she feared their amorous digital trail had led to his death. >> i'm trying to give you everything that i can. >> reporter: mary had met her husband, rob taglianetti, in college. he was an historian with the marines. she was mostly a stay-at-home mom to their four kids. she told detectives that their 11 years together had been difficult at times. but something had happened that august which pushed the marriage to the brink.
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she was at the doctor's when her husband discovered an e-mail. his wife thanking reed for the previous night's phone sex. >> he said, do you mind telling me who keith reed is. >> reporter: you knew what he'd come across, huh? >> yes. >> reporter: mary who had struggled through the pain of separation once now decided to try to keep her family together. >> i was really thinking about the kids. and i just thought, you know, they deserve to be in their home with the father and the mother. >> reporter: but her husband was adamant, she says. if he was going to stay there was a condition attached -- she'd have to hand over her passwords. mary told detectives he later logged on to her e-mail account and fired off a blistering message to reed. >> it was this long thing about don't you dare contact my wife ever again, and if you do you're going to be sorry because i have the emails. i'll post it all over your school. >> reporter: the superintendent responded simply and directly --
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back off. stay away from me, or i'll take action. and tell your wife the same. that should have been the end of things. >> it should have been the end of things. >> reporter: but it wasn't. >> no. >> reporter: after reading keith's e-mail mary said rob started getting dressed. she asked him where he was going. >> he said "where do you think i'm going?" i said "you're going to go see keith?" he said, "well, i guess you know me." >> reporter: does he take off in the car? >> he leaves late. 11:00 at night. >> reporter: that all happened she said the night before investigators suspected keith reed had been killed. >> i had thought in my mind like there's no way he's going to go all the way up there just to beat this guy up. >> reporter: that's what you thought this was -- confrontation, a fist fight? >> yeah. he had gotten into fist fights before. >> reporter: for past few years, mary says she had been concerned about her husband's tripwire anger. >> he would have episodes where i would be afraid of him or the children would be afraid of him. >> reporter: it had caused their separation two years before, and now she worried her husband had
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lost all perspective. i hear you saying it may have been a love triangle only in rob's mind. >> yes. >> reporter: that was not what was going on? >> no. it was more like a connective friendship and it was flirting. >> reporter: she says she e-mailed keith several warnings and tried to reach her husband through out throughout the next day, but her calls went straight to voicemail. >> i was just thinking i was going to get a phone call from the police saying your husband was acting like an idiot. but i didn't hear anything from anybody. >> reporter: mary says rob returned home saturday morning telling her keith had been out of town. >> instantly, i was like oh good. i was so happy. like i was so relieved. >> reporter: relieved she told the detectives until four days later when she ran an internet search to see what her husband could have found out about the superintendent. >> there it was. keith's picture saying
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51-year-old keith reed shot to death -- i couldn't believe it. like i lost my breath and i was shocked. and i knew right away that it had to be rob. >> reporter: to investigators looking for the killer in upstate new york mary's husband made more than a lot of sense. there was keith reed's cell phone found off this bridge in pennsylvania. >> harrisburg is on the way to virginia. see now, that makes sense too. that piece of the puzzle. >> reporter: and something else clicked. remember that man who'd at peered at clymer's central school asking to speak to the superintendent? investigators sent a freeze frame from the school security cameras down to the interview room in virginia. >> does this look like him? >> yes. >> that's him? >> yes. >> okay. >> mary identifies those stills as being her husband. so we know that it's him in the school. >> reporter: now authorities had a suspect, but where was he? mary said that a few days after her husband returned he told
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her he got a new job and had quit his position as an historian at the marine base in quantico. rob, she said, had also packed up some things and taken off, leaving behind a cryptic note about going on a camping trip to clear his head. at the time it hadn't made sense to her. >> i didn't understand why he didn't want to take us you know, if he's going to take a couple of weeks off for vacation. why wouldn't he take his family? >> reporter: but now, everything added up. the authorities issued a bolo a be on the lookout for anthony rob taglianetti. a manhunt was underway. >> we are actively looking for this individual to pick him up for questioning. and we consider him to be armed and dangerous. >> reporter: where are you? where were the children? >> we have at a hotel. they were worried he was going to come back and look for us. >> reporter: as the authorities searched for rob taglianetti keith reed's family up in new york state gathered to say their good-byes. the church in his hometown was too small for the hundreds of
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mourners. all the people whose lives the educator had touched. brother kevin was a pallbearer. did you speak that day at the service? >> i couldn't. my son had to hold me up. >> reporter: you were a wreck at that point? >> oh yeah. completely. >> reporter: keith's three daughters, though, did find the strength to speak. years before they'd almost lost their father in a motorcycle accident. he'd persevered. now they were determined to make him proud. >> i knew that he wouldn't want us to be sad and depressed. i knew he would want it to be a celebration of his life. >> reporter: it was that same afternoon that taglianetti's gold buick was spotted speeding down a road near a national park in virginia. >> make the plate, pull it over and take him into cust-- into custody without incident. >> reporter: anthony rob taglianetti was charged with the second-degree murder of keith reed. to the prosecutor the theory of a jealous wife killing his perceived rival connected all the dots. but wait the defense said, the
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real story of who was to blame had yet to be heard. rob taglianetti was nearly the puppet the defense would argue. it was his wife, mary, a cunning and manipulative woman, who had pulled the strings. >> all she wanted was to be with keith reed. which means she's got to get rid of rob taglianetti. she's got to get him out of the picture. coming up, an angry husband, or as the defense argued, a scheming wife? >> this is the story about manipulation and exploitation. >> who was really behind keith re
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>> reporter: a little more than a year after the killing of the popular school superintendent, keith reed, rob taglianetti went on trial for second-degree murder. he pleaded not guilty. >> ladies and gentlemen of the jury -- >> reporter: the prosecutor told the jury that this case was about an explicit e-mail that provoked a husband to kill. >> he sought out keith reed and shot him to death. >> reporter: the prosecutor laid out his case. taglianetti caught here on tape
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at the superintendent's school the day of the murder. a gold buick like taglianetti's spotted in reed's driveway that afternoon. and that soaked piece of paper found on reed's lawn -- it was an atm receipt linked to taglianetti's bank account. what a look-at-me detail huh? >> wonderful. >> reporter: there were american sendiary emails too. a flurry of them the prosecutor said sent to keith reed the night before the murder. capital letter stuff eco exclamation points. >> i'm going to get you. you don't mess with me and my family. >> reporter: and all but say good night evidence found in taglianetti's car. in a case under the driver's seat lay a .357 resolver. it was wrapped in a printout of his wife's steamy e-mail. on the gun itself -- >> we had keith reed's blood not only on the barrel but in the barrel. that was the gun that was pressed up against keith reed's back. >> reporter: and a big surprise found on taglianetti's laptop
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the prosecution said. an exit strategy. hours before his arrest, rob taglianetti bought a one-way ticket to israel. >> his ultimate idea was to get out of the country. >> reporter: but as convincing as the prosecution's case appeared defense attorney ned barone told the jury it wasn't what it seemed. >> this is a story about manipulation and ex-ploitationexploitation. >> reporter: taglianetti he was said was an ex-marine, a devoted husband who loved his wife and wanted to keep the family together. his wife mary was a master manipulator, he said. dead set on destroying the marriage any way she could. >> rob taglianetti she wanted out of her life. keith reed she wanted to be with him. she did whatever she needed to do to accomplish both those ends. >> reporter: take rob's discovery of his wife's sexual e-mail. the defense suggests that mary left the e-mail open on purpose. why? maybe because a confrontation
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between the two men was her goal. why else, he said, would she not have alerted authorities to her husband's impending showdown with the superintendent? >> if you're really worried of what your husband's going to do to another individual wouldn't you call the officials, wouldn't you call the police? she waits literally days to call law enforcement. >> reporter: mary taglianetti, a prosecution witness says she's appalled by the defense's theory and finds it preposterous. how was killing keith reed and getting her husband thrown in prison supposed to solve any problems? >> i didn't do anything of that on purpose. >> reporter: did you willingly provoke him, as the attorney suggests, even leaving open that e-mail to -- >> no. no no, no. i wish i never would have left that e-mail open. >> reporter: that's the story the jury's hearing about you. that you're driving the events. >> yeah. that's not true at all. >> reporter: the defense attorney went even further. maybe those blistering emails from taglianetti to reed had really been written by mary. while she denies it, he implied
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it could be a way for her to frame her husband. to show that he left the house with murder on his mind. >> there's no corroborating evidence whatsoever of mary's. it that rob authored those emails. >> reporter: to try to prove that point, the defense attorney cited a phrase in one of those messages that he said rob taglianetti would never have used. >> a marine doesn't refer to himself as "a former marine." once a marine, always a marine. >> reporter: as for what did happen on keith reed's property the night he was killed, the defense did not concede that rob taglianetti was there. but if he had been, he said, maybe the superintendent was the aggressor. after all, he argued it was his reputation that was at stake if the phone sex with mary was exposed. >> when someone's confronted with that situation, who knows what they could do? >> reporter: no. there were just too many unanswered questions to justify a guilty verdict, the defense told the jury, during closing arguments. >> the prosecutor has failed to
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establish this case and every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. >> all rise. >> reporter: but it didn't take the jury long. just three hours to come to its decision. >> how does the jury find the defendant? >> the jury finds him guilty. >> reporter: guilty of the second-degree murder of school superintendent keith reed. rob taglianetti received 25 years to life in prison. he declined to interview with "dateline." in a pretrial motion his attorney argued that rob taglianetti suffers from bipolar disorder, and he had hoped to make extreme emotional disturbance part of the defense. a notice of appeal has been filed. state of mind of the accused here is going to be an area to investigate, huh? >> that's crucial. absolutely. >> reporter: outside kevin reed embraced his niece. a brother and father killed by the husband of a woman he had dinner with one time in his life. a woman they're convinced keith believed to be single. so overwhelming.
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>> i thought i would feel relief or happy, but it just -- it wasn't. it was tough. >> reporter: among those thinking about keith reed's family is mary taglianetti. >> my heart goes out to them almost every day. and it's just -- it's a tragedy. and my heart breaks. >> reporter: the reed family is far from the only victim in this case. kimberly roush had nothing whatsoever to do with the crime yet she says she had to endure being questioned as a suspect while simultaneously struggling with the grief of losing a man she loved and admired. >> he's an incredible man who loved life. his girls always came first. he was a wonderful father figure to my children as well. >> reporter: keith reed's three daughters now face a future without their dad. he won't be there to walk the two younger girls down the aisle or be a loving granddad to their
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children or take their daily phone calls. when do you miss your dad the most megan? >> when i drive home from work. i always grab my phone to call him. >> it's just hard without that person there that i talk to so often. >> reporter: it has been close to impossible for his family to understand it. a devoted educator who did so much good for so many students ripped from their lives for something so mundane. some online flirtation a single dinner date more flirtation two years later, and then three quick shots. >> it was a complete waste. lives of kids he could have helped -- who knows what path they would have taken if they had contact with him? >> reporter: the homicide brewed in cyber-space may sound perfectly modern. but the combustibles are as timeless as the winter fields here. one woman, two men, and a
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jealousy that was all consuming. that's all fo now. i'm lester holt. thanks for joining us. this sunday, the eyeiran deal, a historic agreement that makes the world safer. >> it is a good deal. a geel thatdeal that meets our core objectives. >> can he sell it to a skeptical congress and allies in the middle east? israel's prime minister will join me live. plus, fight over those so-called religious liberty laws that are splitting the republican party. >> whole lot of republican politicians are terrified. >> 2016 gop hopeful, louisiana's bobby jindal will weigh in. opening day is here. rob manfred and how our national past time is trying to remain part of our national future. and of course, whether pete rose should be allowed into the hall of fame.

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