tv Dateline MSNBC August 12, 2018 12:00am-2:01am PDT
love for everything they've done. they gave tara peace and justice. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." all the things that are coming out about this case are just mind-boggling. things that you would never believe and you would never do. >> the killer had been waiting. >> a young wife dead. but it didn't stop there. >> somebody came out from behind the trees and he shot me. >> what in the world is going on? >> that's what i wanted to know. >> his wife is brutally beaten. did he hire someone? we just don't know. >> her husband had an alibi. and something else. a lover. >> you were intimate with her in your home?
>> two times. >> it was shocking, would have never expected it. >> as police got closer to the truth -- >> he says, "i think i know who did it." >> the truth got closer to home. >> he just told me, "hold on. it's about to get a lot more crazy." >> reporter: you won't find mayberry r.f.d. on the map. but if close neighbors, good schools, and just plain, old civility is what you're looking for in a place to call home, you could do worse than settle in grovetown, georgia. tamara baldwin has lived here for 14 years. >> you see the children outside playing, having a good time. just a nice, quiet place that you want to move and take your family to. >> reporter: the way we think america used to be, and seems to be harder and harder to find, huh? >> yeah. >> the army's ft. gordon is just down the road and a number of the city's 12,000 residents are active or retired military. crime stats can be measured in
stolen bicycles. >> great place to raise a family. >> reporter: here's a veteran investigator for the county. what's your crime rate? >> it's not that high. we don't have too much violent crime. >> reporter: dozens of homicides a year, would you say? >> no, not at all. we might have one a year. >> reporter: one a year? >> yeah. >> reporter: and in march, 2009, they did have one -- a homicide. a bad one that sent neighbors shopping for burglar alarms and maybe fresh ammo. >> you wonder, "what's going on? what's happening?" >> reporter: so many terrible things happened so quickly. so many taboos were broken on an anywhere suburban street that the mind reeled. >> we were so confused. we just kept praying for the families. >> the whole neighborhood was shocked. >> reporter: it began here with two houses, two best friends on a street called hot springs drive in grovetown. kay parsons had moved into the neighborhood in 2005. she was a devoted wife to her husband, david, who worked down at ft. gordon and an active little league mom cheering on her 12-year-old son derek.
tamara lived just down the street. >> kay was a sweetheart. you never saw her upset, never saw her mad, always smiling, just a joy to be around. >> what kinds of things did she like to do? >> well, mostly anything dealing with her son and her husband. she was very supportive, always being with them. >> reporter: next door to kay lived becky sears. becky had her hands full, too. she and her husband tony had five kids, including two older sons from becky's first marriage. >> she's one of those people who's very outgoing, one of those, "hey, how you doing," type people. >> reporter: tamara got to know both, but says kay and becky really hit it off. >> they were best friends. they were basically inseparable. and they were together 24/7 almost. >> reporter: the two neighbors became peas in a pod. they worked at the same physical therapy center called healing hands. >> they'd go on vacations with each other. >> reporter: jurgen cowling was
their boss. >> when you think of them being around your office, what do you see them doing? >> well, we all get along. you knew they were best friends because they were cutting up on each other. and then they would also tell stories about their sons' baseball, especially during the baseball seasons, 'cause they were best friends, the sons. >> reporter: kay and becky even joined weight watchers together. and the two of them were pretty competitive at the weight watcher thing, huh? >> yes, yes. >> reporter: who's up a pound, who's down a pound? >> yes. every day. >> reporter: and one day in march 2009 began like any other. kay, the little league mom, got up to take derek to school, and becky, the mother of five, left her house a few minutes later to drop off her kids before her workday began. all very routine. until 8:30 a.m., when contractor mitch cozart showed up to do some maintenance work on kay's back door. you're coming around the corner. you lift up the latch gate. and tell me what you see. >> okay. when i walked back into the -- where the back door was, it was -- the glass was busted out. and i immediately knew they had been broken into. >> reporter: did you put your head inside the house and look around or call -- >> all i did --
>> reporter: -- call out her name. >> i just -- i just stuck my head just inside just enough to holler out for her. and i didn't get no response. >> reporter: he tried calling kay's phone. no answer there either. he came back out front and noticed a young man sitting on a rock across the street. his name was michael, the oldest of kay's friend becky's five kids. michael had overheard the contractor talking on the phone. >> i walked up to him. and i said, "hey, did you say something about this house being broken into?" and he was, like, "yeah." and i was, like, "well, mine has been, too." >> reporter: so now two broad daylight break-ins of across the fence neighbors. was the thief still lurking? >> i carry a firearm in my vehicle. and so actually i -- i went out and got one just in case. you know, i mean, the -- somebody could run out or whatever. >> reporter: he called 911. >> yeah, the back door is broke in and the next-door neighbor's door is broke in.
i'd called the owner, but she's not here. and i don't think -- if she's gone. i mean, i hollered into the door. >> uh-huh. >> and i didn't get no response. >> yeah, i don't want you to go in. >> reporter: the contractor followed instructions, and within minutes, law enforcement responded to the scene ready to investigate two potential burglaries right next door to each other. police taped off the area. now tamara's neighbors were calling her at work, including kay's husband david. he was traveling on business. >> he asked me, "have you spoken to kay?" and i'm, like, "no, not today. i'm at work." and he says, "okay, i'm just trying to get in touch with kay. i'm in california." >> reporter: first responders at the scene alerted investigator jimmy edmunds with the columbia county sheriff's office. >> it's very unusual to have -- have two houses side by side, you know, hit at one time that's, you know, that same way. >> reporter: so are you thinking, "where's this guy
going to go next?" >> correct. i'm definitely thinking, "where's he at?" >> reporter: but as edmunds turned his attention to the break-ins at these two homes, he and his team discovered something ugly. >> she was in a pool of blood. >> reporter: this wasn't going to be a simple burglary. this was a violent attack with a bloody trail between the homes of two best friends and a female body lying in the garage. >> she was beaten so severely you couldn't even recognize her. >> reporter: what had happened on hot springs drive? and whose sanctuary was about to be violated next? >> a badly injured victim in one house. was something worse waiting for police next door? >> the point of entry we could see was the back door, also there and we found spots of blood on the back door. ♪ ♪ protect your pet with the #1 name in flea and tick protection. frontline plus. trusted by vets for nearly 20 years.
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>> reporter: march 25, 2009. just after 9:00 a.m. sheriff's deputies had rushed to this quiet residential street in grovetown, georgia, to investigate not one, but two burglaries. worried about her friends and neighbors kay and becky, tamara baldwin left work and headed home to what shockingly had become a crime scene. >> did you see lots of vehicles and uniforms and -- >> a lot of police cars, the entire corner was all taped off with crime tape. now you see two houses that i have to pass to get home, and you wonder what's goin' on. >> reporter: and what the responders found inside these homes would put this neighborhood into full-on panic
mode. investigator jimmy edmunds entered the home of kay, the little league mom, through that shattered glass back door, the one the contractor first noticed. then edmunds saw it, a trail of blood. >> immediately, i could start seeing spots of blood on the floor. i could see an empty coffee cup that had spilled right there on the floor from mcdonald's. >> there was a mcdonald's bag on -- food bag on the floor and a purse. and i started seeing signs of blood on -- on the sofa in the living room, on the -- on the carpet. and then you go into the foyer area, there was a lot of blood on the walls, on the door, on the floor. >> so this is suggesting a moving struggle. >> definitely. it looks like the homeowner came home and surprised a burglar in her house, and a struggle ensued where she was beaten. >> reporter: the bloody path led edmunds further into the house, to a bloody hand print on the door out to the parsons' garage. >> and you can tell there was -- there was more beating going on in the garage. there was blood spatter on the walls. so she was already bleeding
before she got into the garage. >> reporter: and that's where this apparent struggle had ended. the deputies found 41-year old kay parsons lying there on the floor. >> had you ever seen a scene like that? >> nothing -- nothing that drastic, no. she was beaten so severely in her head, it was pretty bad. >> reporter: but amazingly, kay was alive. emts hurried her to the hospital, her life hanging by a thread. >> she still had a heartbeat. >> but she was in a very bad way. >> very, very bad way. >> reporter: investigator edmunds made the call to alert kay's husband. >> he was in los angeles for work. i was able to talk to him on the phone, let him know he needed to come back here as quick as possible. >> so how did he take that news? >> he was pretty devastated. i tried not to tell him on the phone. i tried to tell him, you know, "i need -- you need to come back. there's been an accident," you know? but he -- he guessed pretty much what was going on. >> reporter: kay's husband david booked a flight home, as investigators turned their attention to the house next door. that's where kay's friend becky the mother with five kids lived. could there be another victim there?
>> the point of entry we could see was the back door also there, and we found spots of blood on the back door. >> reporter: inside, becky's place was ransacked, but, quick relief, as they looked around there were no new victims. the blood smears they'd noted appeared to be from the crime scene next door. >> that means you have somebody that is brave enough, or just -- or just cruel enough to just -- just beat this woman so severely, and then is going to go next door and commit another burglary? >> reporter: becky had been at work that morning with her 19-year old son christopher. the two of them raced home to the scene and met up with her older son michael. >> they're both there, so your mother and christopher are there? >> yeah, they pulled up together at the same time with a columbia county officer. we all walk around back to kay's house, and my mom, she sounds very distraught. she's -- she's screaming kay's name. >> she shows up at her house while you were all in the backyard there? >> right. they show up on scene and -- and they're wondering what's going on, and they're -- they're pretty shaken up.
>> reporter: everyone else in becky's family was accounted for, her husband tony, a long haul trucker, was away on the road, her three younger children were fine at school and day care. the investigator said becky's focus then turned to kay. >> understandably she was upset. you know, she didn't know what happened to her neighbor. she just knew her neighbor had -- had left in an ambulance. >> reporter: and, in fact, edmunds says, becky was less concerned about that burglary in her own home and more anxious to get to see her neighbor. michelle amerson is a longtime friend of becky who also lived nearby. her sister drove becky to the hospital. >> she got to the hospital, you know, she was demanding to get to see her friend. >> she go to bedside for kay, huh? >> yeah, she wanted to get there. >> i said, "what hospital did they go to?" >> reporter: news of the attack quickly spread to another close friend of kay's, suzanne frazier. >> i hung up the phone and i was shakin', and so i called my boss and i said, "i gotta go, i gotta go."
and i left. >> broke some laws, huh? >> i ran red lights, i flew. i mean, i just went. >> reporter: tamara rushed to the hospital too. >> did you get to her bedside or -- >> no. >> be able to take a look in? >> i did not. i just stayed in the waiting room. there were a whole lot of other people in the waiting room. >> but the prognosis was very bad, wasn't it? machines were -- >> yeah. >> -- keeping her alive at that point even, huh? >> yes. >> reporter: the friends all kept an edgy vigil for news about kay's condition, waiting for her husband to get to her bedside. lives all changed in an instant. a home invasion and burglary in broad daylight. a woman fighting for her life. and now a perpetrator on the loose. >> you don't know whether you have a guy on the move who could be ready to bust into another house along here, right? >> exactly, exactly. we don't know if we had a mad man on the loose here, you know? >> you settin' up security on these streets? >> on every one of these streets, we're goin' to every one of these houses. we're stoppin' anything that comes in or comes out of this whole neighborhood, we're talking to everybody. >> it's your neighborhood and -- >> yeah. >> there's somebody out there
who's apparently a very violent person. >> yes. >> you gotta be terribly scared. >> i was. i'm thinking that there's someone who's walking around the neighborhood watching and seeing when people are leaving and basically attacking or -- >> reporter: on hot springs drive, the investigators knew for sure they had a serious crime on their hands, but as they learned more from that bloody scene, the shockwaves only kept rolling. >> he said, "oh, god. no, no, kay." >> a husband returns home to tragedy and questions. >> i just got a weird feeling. something wasn't right. >> reporter: friends and family ahh... summer is coming. and it's time to get outside. pack in even more adventure with audible.
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>> reporter: friends and family gathered at the hospital keeping a vigil for kay parsons, a suburban mom who'd been brutally beaten that morning in a home invasion. and while her next-door neighbor becky's home had been burglarized too, becky didn't seem to care as much about that. good friend tamara says that for becky, it was all about getting to see kay. >> she continues to ask, "well, can we go in and see her? can we go in and see her?" they tell us no. >> reporter: eventually, one of
kay's closest friends suzanne frazier did get back to her bedside. >> could you recognize her if you didn't know that it was her? >> not really, not really. >> all puffed up? >> very, very -- face was very full. head wrapped. so i asked the nurse, i said, "is she brain dead?" and she didn't answer me. >> reporter: kay was just clinging to life, some wrenching decisions had to be made. and doctors were waiting for guidance from her husband david, who arrived back from a business trip in california. >> how did david seem, the husband? >> he seemed very distraught. he seemed very upset. >> you could hear him screaming through the double doors. and he said, "oh, god, no, no, kay." >> reporter: investigator edmunds saw david too. and law enforcement tends to see things a little differently, especially with husbands. >> at the hospital you meet him in person, you see him? >> right.
his wife's on life support, you know. and he's pretty distraught. but i just, still, i just got a weird feeling. something wasn't right. i couldn't tell if it was overboard or if it was just -- i couldn't put my finger on it but there was something that was bothering me. >> reporter: so even though the husband had an alibi, that out of state business trip. he's on your radar and you both know that? >> yes. so i'm watching him pretty, pretty close. >> reporter: by that point edmunds was trying to determine exactly what had happened on hot springs drive. he had his team take pictures of kay, collecting any physical evidence from that confrontation in the house. and they came up with something, a bit of human hair found under kay's fingernails. it just might be from her attacker. >> she had defense wounds to her -- to her arms, to her hands. she was -- you know, bruises everywhere, all over her body. >> reporter: all indicating something else, kay had fought back. and whoever assaulted her had
been on the prowl for something. deputies shot video of the upstairs bedroom. it had been looted, with jewelry and other valuables missing. and they found what seemed like a similar m.o. in becky's house next door. >> the master bedroom in that residence had been ransacked. >> so both houses had been tossed. >> both houses. >> reporter: becky's most valuable necklace and rings, gone. and as edmunds kept examining that grisly scene in the parsons' garage, he determined how the burglar had assaulted kay, with a hammer, found underneath the car, and a baseball bat. >> so the way the weapons the appeared just describe a horrendous attack? >> yes, it appeared that this -- this hammer, you know, was used and there was so much blood, it slipped out of the attacker's hand. and, you know, the baseball bat, which we were able to determine belonged at that house, was -- was a weapon of opportunity after he lost the first weapon. >> reporter: it looked like the little league mom was beaten with her own son derek's baseball bat. >> it really touched my soul knowing how much derek loved
baseball. and i'm, like, "how in the world could someone take a baseball bat and, you know, beat her?" >> reporter: an old-fashioned dragnet remained drawn around the subdivision. >> you got a crazy guy on your hands. >> yeah, yeah. i mean, he -- he beat that woman severely, and we need to find who it was and where he was and get him off the street. >> reporter: some residents mentioned a mysterious figure they had seen recently. >> we heard about a guy that -- supposedly a homeless guy that was livin' in the woods around there somewhere. >> reporter: so the investigator dispatched some deputies to check out the area just a few hundred feet from kay's house. >> we checked the woods. we didn't see any signs of anybody living there, anything of that nature. and we really couldn't prove or disprove there was anybody that was living in the woods there. >> reporter: so a potential lead dashed. but investigators had another. unlikely as it may seem, tiny grovetown, georgia, has a few "usual suspects," including a
young man who lived just around the corner from kay parsons' home. >> we look at our neighborhood and see who's living around there. and we, you know, we had a frequent flyer in there that -- >> a who? >> a frequent flyer, you know. that somebody that we deal with all the time. you know, that -- that commit the same type of crimes, you know. we knew this guy. we've arrested him several times for burglaries. and he lives close by in the area. >> so if a computer's missing or a piece of jewelry's gone astray? >> if there's cars broken into -- >> you go to your frequent flyer and ask him what he knows about it, huh? >> if he's close by, we -- we definitely talk to him. >> so in this case, on that day, you do that, huh? >> we do. but we were -- we were able to quickly rule him out. he had an alibi. there was no way he could be there. >> reporter: then from the hospital, the news everyone feared and expected. doctors determined kay's injuries were too severe for her to make it. the family decided to take her off life support. kay parsons, devoted wife to david, loving mother to derek, was gone. >> and so then they let me know that she had passed away. >> you lost your friend, kay. >> yes, yep. >> a beating death, a break-in. >> yes. >> how horrible is this for you, suzanne?
>> one of the worst days of my life. i didn't expect it. 41 years old. i mean, you can see somebody dying of cancer or, you know, in a car wreck or something like that, but to be beaten beyond anything. >> did you go back? >> yeah. yeah. >> you said goodbye to kay? >> as much as i could. >> reporter: now the stakes quickly became much higher for this investigation. kay parsons had been murdered. and edmunds started thinking this killer might just be someone who knew both women, kay and becky, someone who had been right there at the scene of the crime. >> police take a closer look at becky's son michael. >> he discovers his mother's house broken into. he's on the scene when we get there.
so that raised a lot of red flags. >> but why would michael murder his mother's best friend? for my constipation, my doctor recommended i switch to miralax. stimulant laxatives forcefully stimulate the nerves in your colon. miralax is different. it works with the water in your body. unblocking your system naturally. miralax. now available in convenient single-serve mix-in pax. ♪ happiness is powerful flea and tick protection from nexgard. a delicious chew that protects for an entire month. ask your vet for more information. reported side effects include vomiting and itching. nexgard. the vet's #1 choice. olay regenerist wipes out the competition; hydrating better than $100, $200 even $400 creams. with our b3 complex, beautiful skin doesn't have to cost a fortune.
>> reporter: investigators in grovetown, georgia, now had a murder case on their hands. kay parsons had been assaulted and killed in a home invasion. and the house of her good friend becky next door had been ransacked too. is your door to door, your canvassing, coming up with anything? >> no. nobody -- nobody's seen anybody, you know, out of the ordinary in the neighborhood. >> reporter: so they turned to the first person in the neighborhood to notice something was wrong -- the contractor who'd alerted 911 -- first man on the scene. investigators had to wonder why he was really there. >> at this point everybody's a suspect, you know? you know, and logically he's the first one. >> reporter: edmunds brought him down to the substation for questioning, and they went through the story he had told at the scene. >> it was an -- and i walked down to the hall and i said, "hey, is anybody in there?" and anyway i didn't hear nothing. >> reporter: but you also have to ask him if that's really what happened. >> yes. >> reporter: i mean, he's the guy who discovers this violent criminal act, and you wonder if he knows more than he's saying.
>> oh, definitely. >> reporter: they pressed him to find out more about just what work he was to do there, and whether he had worked for kay parsons before. >> did you have the key -- have the door open to the house? to do the work? >> well, we -- we was mostly outside. the only time that we was really on the inside is when she called me up and said, i need a little bit fixed on the inside. >> reporter: you had the bad luck of being the person to find this. >> yeah. yeah. yeah. >> reporter: so, that put you on the list also, mitch, of -- >> sure. sure, yeah -- >> reporter: people they want to get a full story from. >> exactly. >> reporter: maybe with some sharp questions, huh? >> yeah, exactly. i knew better to walk in that house, you know, because i did not want anything -- my fingerprints anywhere in that house because i just, you know, watched enough tv to know better. >> reporter: what'd you -- what'd you see in him in terms of demeanor? >> he seemed pretty genuine to me. he was pretty shaken up. >> reporter: so investigators knocked the contractor off their list but in his interview he helped point them to someone else, that boy on the rock. >> then i seen that boy sitting, the next-door neighbor sitting down on a rock across the street
and that made me kinda suspicious right there, 'cause i be -- i said -- i said, "i wonder if this guy's a lookout." right? i mean, he might be still -- you know, somethin' is goin' on here. >> reporter: michael, becky's 22-year-old son from next door. remember, he was also on the scene that morning when deputies arrived. a neighbor and familiar face to kay, the victim. that got edmunds thinking. >> i thought, you know, if she came home and surprised this burglar and she knew who this burglar was, he couldn't let her get away. >> reporter: you can almost see that little movie play out, the motivation, what happened. >> exactly, exactly. so we started looking at michael pretty hard. >> reporter: michael told them he'd gotten there around 8;30 that morning only to find his house had been burglarized and he'd promptly called his mom. but he hadn't called the police, which seemed a bit strange to investigators. what's more -- >> there was no forced entry to that residence. >> reporter: there wasn't? >> there was no forced entry. >> reporter: that was odd too, and they were about to learn a lot more about michael. he was becky's oldest son. he and his brother chris were from a prior marriage.
and michael came with a history of trouble, mostly drugs. so, that's gotta make your nose twitch a little bit. >> most definitely. he's on the scene when we get there. he's had a lot of problems in the past with drugs. so that raised a lot of red flags. >> reporter: opportunity to get quick cash? >> most definitely. >> drug habit? make a buy? >> you know, they gotta get money. and the best way to do that is burglaries, you know? get the quick cash. >> reporter: did you have trouble with drugs at the time? >> i won't say trouble, but it was -- >> reporter: you were a regular customer, huh? >> i mean, it was a social thing. we'd be -- being dumb and young, that's all. >> reporter: smoking weed, or harder stuff, michael? >> ah, smoking weed and a little harder stuff, pills, things like that. >> reporter: this is methadone? >> yeah. uh-huh. yes, sir. >> reporter: with michael's presence on the scene, and drugs now in the equation, edmunds' team brought him down to their substation for questioning. >> now, i'm going to be point-blank with ya, if you knew anything about this you would tell me, right?
>> absolutely. >> when was the last time you took some methadone? >> today. >> today? >> uh-huh. >> reporter: so michael had used methadone on the morning of kay parsons' murder. now investigators wanted to know more about where exactly he was when the assault happened. michael said his mom becky had dropped him off at a job site just before 7:00 a.m. to do some house painting. >> when did ya tell your mom you had this paint job? when did you tell her you were -- >> told her a little while ago. this morning. >> reporter: but here's the thing. he didn't do any house painting that day. and he initially lied to his mom and investigators about working. >> and the whole reason you lied to us was because you didn't want your mom to find out that you didn't really have a job? >> yes, sir. >> that just -- that blows my mind. >> reporter: and there was something else that really troubled investigators. if michael was the attacker, he had cleaned himself up before deputies got there. he had no blood on his clothes or visible wounds. but he did have something else. >> i asked him to let me see the bottom of his shoes. and as he lifted his shoes up, i saw small pieces of glass stuck
in the bottom of his tennis shoes. and that glass was the same type of glass from the back door at kay parsons' house. >> reporter: in the interrogation room michael couldn't explain how the glass from the murder scene got there. >> as far as glass that was found in your shoes, how can you explain that? >> glass in my shoes? >> uh-huh. >> i guess -- i don't know. maybe -- i guess i don't know. i really don't know. >> reporter: so, what's he doing with that glass under foot, huh? >> that's what i want to know. that's what i want to know. >> reporter: investigators talked to michael's brother chris, the son who'd arrived at the scene later with their mother becky. chris seemed to have his life together in a way that michael didn't. he had a job, even his own house. that morning he was helping his mom at the therapy center where she worked. >> your mom picks you up about what time? >> i got up at 7:00, brushed my teeth. she -- she pulled up 7:10. >> then you go to work with her? >> yes. >> reporter: then they asked him
about michael. chris said he knew his brother took drugs but he said michael wouldn't have killed anyone. >> do you think your brother did this or do you think somebody? >> absolutely not. i don't think my brother has it in his heart. >> i just want to make sure that at this point, brotherly love is not outweighing common sense. >> well -- >> because i just saw some stuff in your brother just talkin' to him for about 20 minutes. and i'm sittin' there goin', "what?" people get on methadone. they don't have any money. and they not workin'. >> well -- >> how they going to get money? >> i agree on that. i do agree on that. >> well, out of everybody that your brother hangs around with -- >> who would be the most likely to do somethin' -- >> yes, uh-huh. yeah, yeah. >> like that? you might need to get a bigger piece of paper. because of those drugs, man. >> i'd go for seventeen hours. >> reporter: so michael's brother confirmed the troubled young man ran with a shady
crowd. investigators were all ears. >> reporter: does his association with the house, his back story, make him a person of interest to you? >> he's definitely a person of interest. >> reporter: the deputies kept michael at the station for nearly three hours but they didn't hold him that day. he gave them a number for his alibi witness, that friend he'd gone to see that morning. would he vouch for michael? >> another mystery. >> we had some blank checks in one of our offices that disappeared. >> and a new theory of the crime. >> we didn't know if they were in this together or what. >> reporter: sheriff's deputies ♪ you got it from your parents. and they got it from theirs. it's your skin, and it can protect you from millions of things. so we're here to help you protect your skin.
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and you know, drugs and burglaries go hand in hand. >> reporter: investigators believed that kay was beaten at her home in a narrow window of time between 7:10 and 7:20 that morning. but michael said he didn't arrive at the scene until 8:30. and said he had an alibi for the time before that. he'd been hanging out, he said, with a friend named anthony. >> reporter: what's the story he tells you about that day? >> we pull anthony in and we interview him. anthony's a character. he -- he's pretty lively. he's very talkative. he hadn't had time to talk to michael. we knew michael hadn't talked to him. >> reporter: so you got two unvarnished stories, this might work out. they haven't had a chance to compare notes. >> exactly. >> what time michael get to your house? >> 6:45 roughly. >> you awake, sleep, what? >> i was up. i was up. well, i was laying back down. i was laid down on the couch, getting ready to go back to sleep. i didn't expect him that early. but -- >> but you were expecting him? >> yeah. he said he was going to come over. >> how long was he there? >> till -- from when he got there, which was roughly 6:45 till 8:27 on the dot.
>> they were pretty consistent. you know, anthony was -- his -- his time was pretty consistent with -- with michael's. but we still, you know, we -- we didn't know if they were in this together or -- or what. >> angel was on. that's what i watch in the morning. and some -- >> you watch -- you watch the episode of "angel" wednesday morning? that hour? tell me what you -- >> no, actually, i talked to michael for pretty much the entire hour. but "angel" was on the boob tube. >> reporter: as he sat in the interview room, investigators didn't know what to make of this talkative character. so they hooked anthony up to a polygraph machine and asked him again where he and michael were that morning. >> you didn't even come close to passing that polygraph. >> i'm sorry. but i'm not lying about it. i told him i'd take another one. i mean i'm, if i was lying, why the hell would i have said i'd take it? the more important part is -- >> well, stranger things have happened. >> i'm sure. >> yeah. >> well, i'm telling the truth. so it is what it is. i mean i -- i don't know what to tell you, sir. but you can -- i'll give you whatever you want, you know, blood. they already took my mouth, so -- >> yeah.
>> but i didn't do any of this, man. >> reporter: anthony repeated over and over that he had nothing to do with kay parsons' murder. didn't even know her. >> dude, i'm trying to be as straight up with you guys as possible. i mean -- >> well, and that -- and that's what i want. >> yes, sir. i'm -- i'm not going to lie about it. i want you to catch the guy. i just -- i don't want you looking at me like i did the [ bleep ]. 'cause i ain't -- dude, i ain't real cool with you. i don't think it's a really -- you know, if you or me or -- or some guy got hurt, that's one thing. you know? but not a lady. you know? not somebody's mom. >> reporter: and he started to put the finger more on michael. >> he knows something. well, i don't -- i don't rightly know. >> what do you mean? what does he know? >> i don't know what he knows. dude, look, you're not catching me up in something. he knows something. >> what does he -- >> he saw something, he did something, one of the above. >> i would assume if michael or any of his people had something to do with it, it's for dope. they're going to have enough sense to [ bleep ] be able to beat, what, an entire team of investigators? i doubt it, dude. i doubt it. i figure, by the time everybody's dna comes back, 'cause i know i'm not the only swab you got, somebody'll get caught up.
>> so you -- you're completely confident your d.n.a. is not in that house anywhere? >> i know it's not. i know it's not. >> he -- he keeps saying, you know, "i -- i didn't do anything so i don't have anything to worry about." >> reporter: but was he in fact on your list at that point? >> oh, he -- he was, you know. he was, he put himself with michael. >> well, i think you know a little bit more than you're telling me. >> sir, i don't. i -- i -- i've -- i'm giving you pearls, man. i'm giving you all i got. i -- i've told you guys everything i know. i know that he came over. i know exactly when he left. i know i was at my house. that's all i know. >> reporter: for all his questions, investigator edmunds ultimately had nothing on anthony. a failed polygraph isn't evidence, and nothing connected him to the crime. but they were still looking at michael, and there was the inevitable question of motive. sure, michael was open about his drug use, but that didn't entirely explain why he would savagely beat his mom's best friend. >> my bookkeeper came to me and said "we've got some issues here." >> reporter: jurgen cowling has
a story to tell about michael. becky and kay both worked for him at healing hands physical therapy center, and sometimes michael would do odd jobs at the office too. >> michael would come in and do some more -- we had some flooring that'd be put in, some carpet. and then he would come in and assist. >> reporter: but after a while people in the office started to notice something. >> we had some blank checks in -- in one of our offices that disappeared. >> reporter: becky and kay's boss says the checks went missing while michael had been doing some cleaning in the office. >> so i -- i pull becky in. she said she sat down with michael and talked about it. and, of course, michael said, "yes, it was me." >> reporter: how much money was stolen in that incident? >> about 800 bucks. >> reporter: 800 bucks? >> yeah, three or four checks, about 800 bucks. >> reporter: and it was all michael. and he 'fessed up to it, huh? >> yes, sir. >> reporter: so becky must have been, what, embarrassed? >> you could tell she was really distraught. >> reporter: the healing hands boss agreed with becky that he wouldn't report the incident to police as long as michael never came back there. but had becky's friend and co-worker kay found out about
the stolen check funny business? could that have led to a conflict between michael and kay? but, here's the thing, the authorities wouldn't even learn about the "healing hands" theft for months to come. even without that story about the theft, michael was shaping up to be a prime suspect in the murder. >> it wasn't looking real good for him. things started -- started piling up. >> reporter: then something happened that would stand the investigation on its head, more violence, more mayhem, with another sudden attack. >> who was the victim this time? was someone stalking women in this small town? >> somebody came out by the trees, and he shot me. >> reporter: two neighbors. two break-ins. ♪
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>> reporter: two neighbors. two break-ins. a gruesome murder and one son under the white hot spotlight of suspicion. but there was at least one person who stood squarely behind michael, becky's good friend, michelle amerson, knew all about michael's struggle with drugs. still, she wouldn't accept that he had anything to do with kay's murder. >> did you wonder, "well, i wonder what's going on? is there something about this boy i didn't know? " >> no, i didn't really because,
knowing michael i didn't -- i knew that, you know, he wasn't -- wouldn't do anything like that. >> reporter: then just 36 hours into the murder investigation another attack, this time a shooting. just ten miles from the crime scene on hot springs drive. >> 911 . >> somebody came out from behind the trees and he shot me. >> reporter: sergeant steven douglas was dispatched to the scene. >> my partner and i received a phone call from the road patrol division in reference to a woman who had apparently been the victim of an armed robbery as she was leaving work that evening and had apparently been shot in the process. >> do you know where you're hit at? >> my legs. >> reporter: the location of the shooting sounded familiar. >> what's the name of your office? >> it's healing hands physical therapy. >> reporter: so did the name of the victim. >> what's your name? >> becky sears. >> reporter: becky sears, the best friend and co-worker of murder victim kay parsons. >> that is kind of a holy cow moment.
this is the same woman next door to this house where there'd been a vicious beating. >> yes. it seemed an odd set of coincidences. >> and this is the back door of healing hands? >> this is the back door of the business that we got called to. >> reporter: as the sergeant pulled up to the scene, he learned becky had been working late on the company payroll. she was heading to her car when she was jumped. >> apparently when she had turned around, an unknown male subject wearing dark clothes and a white baseball cap rushed out of the bushes at her with a firearm demanding his money or next time it was going to be her face. >> reporter: that's when the assailant shot becky in the legs. >> the subject apparently didn't rob her, didn't take anything from her, but turned around and ran back into the bushes the way that he came. >> she's not known for doing the night deposits with cash. there's no cash here. >> exactly. not at this time of night. >> what's the target, what are you going to get? has to be personal. >> one would think so. >> reporter: emts transported becky to the local hospital. it didn't take long for the troubling news to reach becky's
friend michelle. >> did you talk to becky on the phone after she'd been shot? >> i did. i just asked her, was she okay? and she said "i am." she said, "you know, just tryin' to get thru this." >> she's your friend, you're worried, huh? >> yes, worried about her. >> reporter: so was tamara baldwin. first kay now becky? >> it just -- it did not make sense to me. >> what in the world was going on? >> that's what i wanted to know. >> reporter: sheriff's deputies immediately canvassed the neighborhood looking for anyone matching becky's description of the shooter. >> so you have a gunman on the ground on the loose. >> right. >> what are you doing on that score? >> we had started sending units out to see if anybody had seen anything, see if anybody heard any gunshots. see if they saw anybody matching the description of the suspect. and we were not able to find anything. >> reporter: the only forensic evidence douglas could find in the parking lot was the .25 caliber slug that grazed becky's legs. >> her shoes were still laying there. >> we found a spent shell casing, and then we had also found the actual projectile
itself, right on the edge of the sidewalk. >> and you didn't find a tossed weapon in the vicinity? >> no, no weapons. >> reporter: the shooter had vanished without a trace. >> but you had more questions, didn't you? >> we did, indeed. >> reporter: but those questions would be left for jimmy edmunds, whose investigation into kay parsons' murder had suddenly become a lot more complex. >> here i've got two neighbors, you know, one has been beaten to death and the other one has just gotten shot. and they both worked at healing hands. >> do you believe that the gunman who has wounded becky is also the person who's broken in and fatally beaten miss parsons? >> of course that comes to mind. i mean, of course it does. it's just too much of a coincidence. >> reporter: and nothing about this shooting took the heat off becky's son michael. >> what's the working theory? >> the working theory still is, michael's still pretty high up on the list. somebody's looking for some money. somebody owes somebody some money. >> reporter: edmunds had some tough, personal questions for becky about her son michael.
thankfully the wounds to becky's legs were superficial. so edmunds grabbed his note pad, and his tape recorder and headed to the hospital. >> becky, she's in the hospital bed. >> right. >> not too badly injured. >> not too badly injured. when i'm talkin' to her, she's, you know, she's really hurting. >> reporter: the investigator then asked becky for details about the shooting. >> what did he say to you? >> who? >> the guy that shot you? >> he wanted his money or next time it would be my face. >> what money is he talking about? >> i have no idea. we did not owe anybody any money. >> does michael? >> not that i know of. >> i don't want you dead next. >> i don't think michael knows. unless he owes money from the past, i don't think he owes any money now. >> reporter: to edmunds, becky sounded like a mom unwilling or unable to wrap her head around the possibility of her son's involvement in a murder. >> i think he's trying to stay away from all of that to get out -- to better himself. >> reporter: edmunds spun
through the possibilities -- was becky in denial? was she covering up for her son? or was he heading down the wrong path with michael altogether. he decided to cast a wider net. >> is there some -- any relationships you're not telling us about? >> like? >> you haven't had any problems with anybody? >> no, nobody. >> family problems? >> reporter: that's when becky revealed an intimate detail from her recent past. she and her husband tony had gone through a rough patch in their marriage. >> i mean my husband and i were having some problems, which we were thankfully working out. >> do you have any relationships on the side? >> i did. >> how long has that been? >> how long has it been over? >> yeah. >> three months. >> reporter: suddenly, added to the mix of a brutal murder and a bizarre shooting was this admission of an extramarital romance. >> i mean it wasn't like it was a long-lasting thing. it was just a couple of months
long. >> reporter: edmunds didn't press becky any further about the affair. a hospital room immediately following a shooting was neither the time nor the place. but the investigator was intrigued. he left becky wondering who the "other man" was. >> i knew there was somethin' there. i just couldn't -- just couldn't figure out what yet. >> turned out there was? >> there was. yeah, there was. there was some secrets. >> in a love triangle, someone always ends up hurt or worse. >> why would you cheat on someone that loved you so much and was always there for you just to have sex basically? ♪ protect your pet with the #1 name in flea and tick protection. frontline plus. trusted by vets for nearly 20 years.
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>> why would you cheat on someone that loved you so much >> reporter: the story of kay parsons and becky sears had now become a strange and complicated case for investigators. two best friends, victims. one killed, and the other shot outside the office where they both worked. it was juicy enough to keep this usually sleepy town wide awake for the late news. >> it was definitely the lead story. >> reporter: ashley campbell is a reporter with nbc affiliate wagt near grovetown. after becky was shot, she was working her contacts. >> i placed a call to one of the
columbia county investigators and just to find out, you know, "what is going on," like, "what's the connection here?" and he just told me, "hold on. i can't tell you anything quite yet, but it's about to get a lot more crazy." >> reporter: the source wasn't kidding. at the hospital after she'd been shot, becky revealed she'd been having an affair. but she didn't say the other man's name. then the very next morning, in what could only be considered a lucky break, deputies got a tip from someone close to the family and learned just who that other man was. how about: david parsons, kay's husband? >> that was a shock. >> reporter: becky's friend michelle could not believe it. >> david and she have had an ongoing fling? >> uh-huh. >> reporter: david, the investigators learned, had carried on the affair with his wife's close friend and next-door neighbor becky for about six months prior to his wife's death. the revelation of a love triangle would send the investigation into the realm of soap opera and raise all kinds of new questions. >> you have these next-door neighbors, they're best friends, they're going on trips together.
and then behind the scenes, you've got love letters being written between rebecca sears and david parsons. >> reporter: notes like these uncovered later by investigators which showed things were getting pretty steamy on hot springs drive. in one david wrote, "rebecca, i hope you like the picture frame. i wish i could had given it to you before i went to p.a. i love you baby. i miss you so much when we aren't together." and in another, "rebecca, i just wanted to let you know that even when you don't think i am thinking about you, i am. i can't wait to see you!" and becky wrote to david, "being apart from you is very difficult, but being in love with you and knowing that you love me makes all of the time that we are apart bearable." it was a secret love the two had kept hidden in this small town where gossip tends to travel at warp speed. >> it was shocking more than anything. would've never expected it. >> did you know anything about
david philandering, messing around, infidelity? >> not till i heard. a friend of mine called me on the, on my cell phone and asked me, he said, "did you hear about david havin' an affair with becky?" and i said, "there's no way. there's no way." >> reporter: the news about the affair didn't surface until after kay had been buried. david was still seen then as the grieving husband. >> if i woulda known about that affair, i don't think there woulda been as much support for david at the funeral or at the hospital. >> why would you cheat on someone that loved you so much and was always there for you just to have sex basically. why? it -- it wasn't worth it. >> reporter: tamara thought back to david's behavior in those days after kay's death including an odd exchange between them at the memorial service. >> david went up to me and again, being very close with kay, he hugs me. and he hugs me really, really tight. and he's boo hoo cryin' and he tells me, "i'm sorry. i never meant for this to happen." and i didn't know --
>> that's kind of -- >> -- what that meant. >> -- a funny thing to say. what do you think he meant? >> i don't know. >> "i didn't mean for this to happen"? >> i -- i didn't know what he meant. i just -- you know, i was thinking, "he didn't mean to leave her while he was in california." or, "i didn't mean to have an affair." it could have meant a lot of things. >> reporter: tamara also recalled that early morning phone call she received from david on the day kay was found beaten. >> he was asking me if i had talked to kay. and the thing about it is, he's never called me during the day, so it was just very unusual for him to call me and ask me if i had talked to kay. >> reporter: it seemed strange to tamara then, perhaps even stranger now in light of the new questions about david. people in town whispered and wondered, did david somehow have a hand in kay's murder? a way perhaps to avoid an ugly and expensive divorce? >> she said, "well, if i ever found out that david was havin' an affair on me, i would be gone." she said, "i would take derek, i would get half of what is in his retirement from the military."
>> yeah. >> -- and i'd get what i could get out of the account." >> did the community really turn on him? >> they did after they found out about the affair. i think there's more to the story. >> so now you've got a very lethal soap opera in the midst of this thing, huh? >> oh, yeah. you know, things -- things start -- start comin' together. >> now you gotta wonder what's going on with david, the husband. >> i definitely do. is he involved in this? does he want his wife gone? you know? we gotta look at all those angles. >> reporter: all predictable questions. but in an investigation that was never less than startling, more twists awaited around the bend. >> a tale from jail. >> he looks at me and he says, "i think i know who did it." and i said, "really. tell me." >> and this guy wasn't just your ordinary jailhouse snitch.
>> reporter: by now, jimmy edmunds had no shortage of leads to work in the pair of crimes he was trying to solve, the murder of kay parsons, and the shooting of her neighbor becky. and then another new lead. a big one. >> i get a phone call from our jail. they have an inmate that is requesting to speak to me.
so i pull mr. jacobs, jerry jacobs, out of his cell and take him to an interview room. >> you're jerry, right? is that what you go by? >> yeah. >> reporter: jerry jacobs was serving time for a misdemeanor parole violation. >> what's his story? >> he was pretty upset. jerry tells me that as he was in the jail he saw the news and he saw what happened to kay parsons. and at the time he looks at me and he says, "i think i know who did it." and i said, "really. tell me." he says, "i believe my sister had something to do with it." >> reporter: and who was jerry jacobs' sister? well, becky sears. kay's best friend and neighbor. >> i think my jaw dropped right then. wasn't expecting that. he dropped a bombshell. >> reporter: becky's brother said he knew all about the affair between his sister and david. he told the investigator becky had once confided in him that david was trying to end it.
>> she'd come and meet one day or there in the parking lot crying. and i was like, you know, "what's wrong?" and that's whenever she told me she was having the affair. >> he then goes on to say that becky was, had been pretty upset, crying because david won't leave kay. he won't leave his wife to be with her. >> reporter: jacobs then revealed his sister had no intention of giving up on david or letting him stay married to kay. >> she had asked me if i knew of anyone or if i knew a way that we could do this to kill kay and make it look like an accident, like cut her brake line on her car and make it look like an accident, or do something in that effect. >> reporter: jacobs said at first he thought becky was joking. >> i'd be like, "well, becky, that's okay. you know, sometimes we all feel that way about people." you know, she's like, "no." she's like, "i really want her dead." she said, she said, "can we do this?" >> you say, i mean, she was serious? >> yes.
>> wantin' somebody to kill her? >> yes. she wanted me to. and i told her i wouldn't. >> so she's shopping around for someone that can do in kay? >> yes. >> her romantic rival. >> reporter: it was a stunning revelation. a real doozy. a lovesick woman plotting to kill her best friend and next door neighbor so she could have her friend's husband all to herself. >> you've got a wild story and a wild theory on your hands. >> most definitely. i mean this case has taken so many twists and turns it's unbelievable. >> forget about the smash and grab and go robbery, that's gone out the window. >> oh, yeah. oh, yeah. we're looking at some premeditation and some planning here. >> reporter: but edmunds had to consider the source of the story. >> of course, jailhouse stories are always troublesome because they're trying to do themselves some good. >> definitely. >> reporter: one thing the brother said was easy to confirm, he didn't do the hit job. he was in jail at the time of the murder. so if becky was behind it all, who helped her? jacobs said there was another member of the family investigators should look at, becky's son chris.
the young man with his own house. jerry had been staying there before he was behind bars, and said chris also knew about becky's affair and how desperate she was. >> she would call christopher almost every night and cry and tell him stuff. and he would get off the phone. and i'm like, "is that your mom?" and like, "yeah." "what's wrong with her?" "you know what it is. you know what's wrong." i'm like, "yeah." i was like, "david again?" he's like, "yeah, david again." he's like, "she just needs kay out of her life bad." you know? stuff like that. >> reporter: now that was a shocker. investigators had had their eye on becky's other son michael from the get-go. >> i was surprised to hear it that way. i was expecting to hear that it was michael really 'cause, you know, i've been learning so many things about michael and his past and all of that. >> you haven't had any discussions with michael about -- like you've had with christopher? >> not like with christopher,
no. no. 'cause me and christopher are a little bit closer than me and michael. >> do you know if she ever talked to michael about it? >> no, i don't. >> have a seat right here. >> reporter: still, edmunds decided it was time to bring in michael for a second round of questioning. and this time, the investigator turned up the heat. >> michael, it's over, okay? i'm not playing games anymore. >> reporter: at first, michael said he didn't even know that becky and david were having an affair. >> i know about the affair with your mom and david. >> my mom and david? >> don't play stupid with me. don't play stupid with me. i'm telling you right now. it'll get ugly real quick, okay? this is your one and only chance to get yourself out of a whole load of trouble. >> it gets pretty hot and heavy in that interview room. >> listen to me. listen to me. i know what's going on, okay.
i know your mom wanted kay dead, okay? do you want to go to prison for the rest of your life? >> no, sir. >> you need to start talking here and now. okay? >> i didn't know it was david. >> bull ---. >> i swear to you. >> bull [ bleep ]. >> reporter: then edmunds moved on to the million dollar question, did becky ever ask michael to kill kay. >> she has asked you specifically if you would kill her. >> no, she has not. >> i know it's your mother and i know you want to protect your mother, all right? you're 22 years old, right? >> yes sir. >> you might want to look out for number one right now, okay? >> she's never come to me and said, "would you kill kay for me?" she's never said, "would you kill someone for me?" >> reporter: even after a three-hour grilling -- >> i will burn you. i am telling you. >> reporter: michael never cracked. edmunds had to face the fact that michael was in all likelihood telling the truth. by then, they'd come to believe his albi was solid. and they'd figured out that the glass from the crime scene that had so suspiciously turned up on michael shoes could be easily explained.
michael had gone to look at the smashed in back door with the contractor just before police arrived. >> did you have anything to do with that day? >> if i did, i wouldn't be sitting here. >> did your mother ever ask you to kill kay? >> absolutely not. absolutely not. only thing she's ever done is just like anybody else, you know? riding in the road, somebody cut 'em off. "oh, i wish you'd drive off the face of that cliff." that's the only thing i'd ever heard her saying about harming anybody. >> did you think that your mother could possibly have done the thing that they were accusing her of? >> no. and i don't think she could do it. >> reporter: jimmy edmunds wasn't so sure. and he still had to wrestle with the vexing problem of becky's shooting. who was behind that and why? it was time to go talk to the object of becky's affection, david, and find out what he knew. >> a guilty man? or just a worried one? >> we get up and briefly walk out of the interview, and he starts talking to himself.
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now they were hearing becky orchestrated kay's murder, all for the love of kay's husband, david. the next question was the logical one, what did the husband know? >> you've obviously got to look at the husband. you know, she's havin' an affair with the husband. the wife's dead. you know, you gotta look at the husband as well. >> reporter: reporter ashley campbell said the community was thinking the same thing. and david being away in california at the time of kay's murder didn't seem to absolve him. >> you know, "oh, how convenient. he's in california. and his wife is brutally beaten." did he hire somebody? we just don't know. >> reporter: of course, david had been on edmunds' radar from the moment investigators first met him outside kay's hospital room and thought he was acting strange. >> i knew there was something there. i just couldn't -- just couldn't figure out what yet. >> reporter: but after finding out about his affair with becky and hearing that becky could be behind the murder, edmunds called david in for his first formal interview and got it on tape. >> what i need you to do is tell me about your relationship with becky.
>> okay. >> reporter: david came clean. he admitted to being an unfaithful husband to kay and explained how it all began. >> we had been playin' tennis. you know, workin' out. the four of us. we would go play, it would actually be becky and i against her and tony. one day she -- she said, "you know why i suck so bad at tennis is 'cause you distract me out there." you know, kind of, you know, a little flirt thing goin' on. >> reporter: a flirty game of mixed doubles that turned into a hot and heavy affair between next-door neighbors. >> you were intimate with her in your home? >> two times. >> twice. where would the other locations be? >> most of the time in one of our two vehicles. um, at her mom's house. >> reporter: but david insisted he'd decided to end the affair. he told becky it was over. >> i'm like, "look, this is getting too close. i don't want kay to find out. i'm, you know, i'm done with it. you know, i'm done with it. you know, i'm done with -- done
seein' each other." >> reporter: at least, that is, until his young son derek went off to college. >> i've told her multiple times that i did not, you know, want the situation to change at home. >> because of derek? >> right. >> reporter: right after david called it quits one month before the murder, becky decided to confess to her husband tony sending aftershocks across the lawn to kay's house. >> she told tony everything? >> yes. >> and tony picked up the phone and called kay? >> yes. >> reporter: the secret was out. >> i know that hurt her so bad and i apologized to her so much. she said she'd forgive me and we'd work through it together. we were just going to move away from that and put it behind us and move on. >> he said they're going to try to make it work. they're going to sell their house. they immediately put a for sale sign in front of the house and they're going to move and be away from becky. >> reporter: david told edmunds an icy chill fell on hot springs drive.
kay quit the job at healing hands and quit talking to becky. but that didn't stop david and becky from continuing to communicate. >> they would still talk and they would still meet for five minutes here and there. >> reporter: david insisted it was all above board. nothing physical. >> yeah, we did a little bit of e-mail and talked on the phone, but i was, you know, just checking to see how she was doin and you know, et cetera. >> reporter: but as edmunds soon learned, that wasn't entirely true. as the interview continued, david revealed he called becky from california the night before kay was killed. and it wasn't just to ask how she was doing. >> tuesday night we had a long conversation. >> about? >> nothing in particular. we just talked for a little while about what was goin' on and then we got involved in, you know, phone sex over the phone. >> this is the night before kay is killed? >> the night before kay is killed. they're havin' phone sex for an hour. >> reporter: then the next
morning right around the time of kay's murder david called becky again. this time because he said was worried about kay. >> is it weird that the husband should be calling the mistress? >> oh, definitely to check on his wife. >> asking her to look in on his wife? >> you know, i -- >> what's up with that? >> that's what i'm thinking. i mean, is he calling to say, "hey, is it done," you know? >> you gotta wonder, right? >> oh, definitely. >> are these two in cahoots? >> most definitely. most definitely. >> you guys gotta believe me. this is the last thing so far from the last thing i wanted. to take her and all that away from my son. away from her family and all of her friends. >> reporter: throughout the interview, david repeatedly denied having any involvement in kay's murder or being a part of some plot to have her killed. >> never once has there been any kind of insinuation, not even insinuating that i would ever want anything to happen to her. >> reporter: as for those repeated calls from california the morning of the murder, david insisted he was genuinely concerned about kay. >> is it normal for you to call her that early in the morning, call kay, you know, 7:00 in the morning?
>> always. i always call her 'cause i, like, talked to derek before he went to school. i started gettin' worried. i thought maybe she was in an accident or somethin' out on columbia road or somethin'. >> reporter: edmunds started thinking david was telling the truth. so he changed course and asked david whether he thought becky had it in her to mastermind kay's murder. >> deep down inside, do you think she could do this? >> i thought never. i never thought that she would be like orchestrator or set something up like this. i did not think that. >> desperate people do desperate things. >> how, see, desperate for what? she's -- >> you. you. >> to hurt my wife? kill my wife? to have my wife killed? i'm not -- i do not believe that. >> reporter: edmunds kept pushing. eventually david revealed that more than once he'd wondered just how desperate a housewife becky had become. he told edmunds a month before kay's murder someone sent bizarre texts to her that hinted of the affair.
david now suspected those texts came from becky. >> did it ever -- ever run across your mind at that time that maybe the text messages were comin' in because your time table and becky's time table weren't the same? >> it crossed my mind. she was trying to let kay know 'cause she thought that if she found out, that kay would leave. >> reporter: david's interview went on into the night. >> we get up and briefly walk out of the interview. and he's still in there, still being recorded and then he starts talking to himself, you know, about "what have i done?" >> oh, man. they're going to blame me. this cannot be real. >> reporter: but david's interview wasn't over yet. he had more to share including a clue that would bring edmunds and his team of investigators one step closer to the truth. >> investigators learn more about another man in becky's life. >> it was a real, real strange mother/son relationship. when his mother called, he would drop everything and go to mom.
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>> reporter: after almost 3 1/2 hours of questioning about his wife's murder, david parsons sat alone and wept. >> so sorry, derek. >> reporter: it wasn't the first time edmunds heard tears coming from his interview room. but to this veteran cop, david's emotions seemed real. and in the end, edmunds had no reason to believe that david played any role in a plot to kill kay. >> we had no evidence whatsoever to prove that he knew or was involved in any of this. >> i really don't want to come -- have to come back, you know, come back to you with somethin' else that comes out that you haven't told me. you know what i'm saying?
>> oh, well, you can ask me anything. i don't know what else you need to hear from me. i'm not tryin' to keep anything from you guys. i promise. >> reporter: before edmunds turned off his recorder, david did share one tidbit. something that linked up with what becky's brother had told edmunds earlier. it was the name of the other person becky had confided in about her affair with david. becky's son, chris. >> i asked her who knew. you know, if anybody else knew. and she did tell me that christopher knew that she was with somebody else. i don't know if that means anything or not. >> reporter: sheriff's deputies spent a lot of their investigation looking at the relationships in becky's life. first her son michael. then david. but it was becky's relationship to her other son chris that would prove to be the most intriguing. >> it was a real, real strange mother/son relationship. when his mother called, he would drop everything and go to mom. whatever she wanted, he was there. >> reporter: becky, investigators discovered, doted on chris and showered him with extravagant gifts, money, a motorcycle, a car. nothing was too expensive for chris. not even the house he lived in. >> it was a house that was
purchased by his mother. >> 18-year-old kid with his own house. >> correct. that's kinda strange, you know. >> was he a mama's boy? >> well, i mean, i guess he was a mama's boy, you know. anything he needed, he got. >> reporter: but according to michael, becky's over-the-top generosity always seemed to come with strings attached. >> it was that, "hey, i'm going to need something from you. here's the keys to your new car." "hey, i'm going to need something from you. here's your house." "hey, i'm going to need something from you. here's an envelope full of money." >> reporter: and whatever becky asked for, chris would eagerly deliver. >> he said, "it may be very hard for you to understand, but i would do anything in this world for my -- for our mother." >> reporter: could "anything" have included killing his mother's romantic rival? michelle amerson, who knew the family well, says over the last several years chris had grown distant. she worried he was heading down a dark path. >> he had changed a lot. so we were -- we weren't around him a lot. >> when you say, "he changed a lot," michelle, what are you thinkin' about?
>> i hate to say, but you know, he just appeared to be in a different type of crowd than we were hangin' with. so, you know, he might've had some issues goin' on. >> reporter: remember, investigators did interview chris right after the attack. they were looking for dirt on his brother michael. >> do you think your brother did this, or do you think somebody -- >> absolutely not. but something about chris struck them as odd. >> right from the get go, we sit down with christopher and he is trembling. >> you're sittin' here shakin' like a dog tryin' to crap out persimmon seeds. okay? i understand it's traumatic, but you're extremely overnervous. >> immediately we ask him, we said, "what's wrong? why are you shaking that bad?" >> honest to god, i think i have parkinson's. i always shake like this. >> parkinson's disease? >> i was like, "christopher, you're 19 years old. that makes no sense." >> reporter: it was a bizarre little detail they tucked away while they focused on other suspects. and when they went back over that interview, something jumped out, the only alibi chris had for the time of the murder was
becky. >> you and your mom are at her work, which is healing hands? >> healing hands therapy. >> christopher says that he didn't go to work at his regular job that morning, he was supposed to go to his mother's work. she picked him up. >> reporter: so a conspiracy that morning between becky and chris seemed plausible even if it didn't explain the later shooting at healing hands. now edmunds looked for a way to link chris to the murder scene. and he got another helpful call from becky's brother jerry jacobs in jail. they had shown jerry photos of the murder weapon before. >> does that look familiar to you? >> no. right. i mean it's brand new. >> reporter: then in a follow-up interview jacobs came back and told investigators he recognized the hammer. he said it came from becky's garage, a place chris often went to borrow tools. >> i've seen the hammer in the toolbox in the garage.
>> what toolbox? where are we talkin' about? >> in my sister's garage. >> reporter: sheriff's deputies found chris in front of the home becky had bought for him packing his truck for a weekend getaway. >> did he ask what was going on? >> no. didn't really say anything. put him in the car, we take him up to our office and put him in the interview room. >> everything's not happened the way you said it happened, so i want you to really think long and hard and tell me -- you're a young man right now. >> basically you just called me a liar. >> reporter: chris, no longer shaking, defiantly asked for a lawyer. >> i want to speak to a lawyer right now . >> as soon as we read him his rights, he clammed up. >> so he's lawyered up, chris. >> he's lawyered up. >> reporter: for investigator edmunds, the puzzle pieces had finally fallen into place. becky had the motive to kill kay and chris, with his devotion to his mother and access to the murder weapon, was her means. >> go ahead and stand up, place your hands behind your back. you're under arrest for murder.
>> chris would do anything for his mom and she knew it. >> including kill the lady next door. >> and he did. >> reporter: and the woman behind it all? they arrested her and charged her with murder as well. >> where do you take down becky? >> she was staying at a hotel, at a holiday inn. we took her down in the hotel room. >> reporter: tamara baldwin could not begin to comprehend the news of their arrests. >> the becky with the murderous plot and the becky you knew from sports games and on your cruise and backyard get-togethers, how do you put those two halves of becky together? >> you can't put 'em together. it's like a square and a circle tryin' to fit together. i didn't see the square. all i saw was the circle. >> reporter: it didn't make sense to tamara, and it didn't make sense to becky and chris' defense attorneys either. as they saw it, the state's case was riddled with reasonable doubt. >> what was the weakest part about it? >> the weakest part about it was the lack of physical evidence connecting them to the crime.
>> putting them in that house. >> right. >> reporter: and they were just itching to get into the courtroom to try to tear apart the state's case. >> if, as prosecutors allege, becky plotted to kill kay, then who shot becky? >> he was the guy in the bushes. >> he was the guy in the bushes with the gun. >> reporter: becky sears and her ♪ protect your pet with the #1 name in flea and tick protection. frontline plus. trusted by vets for nearly 20 years. with advil liqui-gels, what bad shoulder? what headache? advil is relief that's fast strength that lasts you'll ask... what pain? with advil liqui-gels what's the #1 new skincare product in 2018? olay whips. absorbs faster than the $100, $200,
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>> reporter: becky sears and her son chris had been charged with the murder of becky's neighbor and romantic rival kay parsons. and they'd hired a pair of veteran attorneys to prepare a vigorous defense. >> it was a tough situation. >> reporter: brothers vic and jacque hawk saw a prosecution case full of titillating soapy drama. but when they started looking at the actual evidence, they were unimpressed. no forensics linked their clients to the murder. >> when you think about it, there were -- they did all kinds of, um, csi type of testing within the house. nothing connected either becky sears or chris to the offense. >> reporter: no dna, no fingerprints, no eyewitnesses. and that one hair recovered from under kay's fingernails didn't match either one. the crime, they said, looked like a botched burglary, not a premeditated plot. >> you think about it.
if you're going to go commit a murder, you know, what are you going to pick. you're going to pick a gun, you're going to pick a knife. you're going to pick some sort of weapon that you can dispense with somebody fairly quickly. "okay, what are we going to do this murder with? let's get a hammer and a bat." that seems crazy. >> how did you feel about your case, jacque? >> oh i felt great. i felt like this was a very winnable case. >> reporter: they did what lawyers do. they went through the case file, pestered the state to turn over evidence, and then they saw it. >> and it was devastating. >> it made it much more difficult, yes. >> reporter: the piece of evidence in the case file was a recorded interview with becky. a surprise to the defense. >> i mean, i was floored because i was under the impression that she hadn't made a statement. and then, we find out not only was it a statement, it was a five-hour statement, and with every kind of detail that messed the case up. >> reporter: right after her arrest, becky had spoken, and what a story she had to tell. she began by insisting her relationship with kay's husband was over. >> david was going to make his marriage work and i was going to make my marriage work. i don't love him anymore.
i love my husband and my husband and i are trying to make our marriage work out. >> reporter: but she admitted she did talk with david on the night before kay's murder. >> what'd you talk about? >> we talked about ballgames, the kids, and sex over the phone, which is somethin' that, i mean, we had never done that before, and i don't even know how it ended up that way but -- >> but you basically had phone sex? >> i guess that's what you'd call it. >> did you ask her bluntly, "did you kill kay, or did you cause her death?" >> we did. she denied it. >> reporter: but other details came spilling out when investigators challenged her. >> you have asked people, more than one person on more than one occasion to kill her. >> i have never asked anybody to kill her. the only thing i have ever done is say i -- well, i take that back. i did say to my brother one time, "i wish that she was just gone." >> so she admits to wanting to have kay gone. >> she does.
but she -- she does -- >> but she doesn't say that she's the -- >> no. she says she -- >> -- she's the person who does it. >> right. >> reporter: and as she kept talking, she admitted she wasn't quite so vague about her wishing ill on kay. her story started changing slightly. maybe she did talk to her brother about hiring a hit man. >> i was upset one day and my brother came over to my office and i was like, "you don't know anybody that'll take anybody --" and i didn't even say kay. i just said, "you don't know anybody that'll take anybody out, do ya?" >> but you were talkin' about kay. >> i was. >> reporter: then came another revelation, this one about her son. >> she starts tellin' us that she knew that whatever she was sayin', that -- that she wanted kay gone and that would make her happy, that christopher was listening. and that she knew what he wanted to do was make her happy. >> reporter: becky began pinning it all on chris.
>> turning on her boy. >> on her own son. >> reporter: she admitted that on the morning of the murder she picked up chris and drove him to her house on hot springs drive. she just hedged a bit on the reason. >> the implied reason was he was going to go next door. >> to kay's house to do what? >> we didn't talk about it. it was an implied reason, he was going to go to kay's house to -- >> -- because he was going, in his mind, to do whatever it took to make me happy. >> and -- >> and that would be to get rid of kay. >> so she's the puppeteer, putting all of these things in place for him to be tempted and act on it. >> she's pullin' all the strings. >> "i'm not saying do this, but you and i both know what you're supposed to do here." >> yes. >> reporter: in her interview becky continued to insist she didn't know what happened in kay's house, that is, not until chris called her later that morning and asked for another ride. >> when he got in the vehicle, could you see blood on his clothes and stuff? >> i didn't see any blood on his clothes, but he had blood on his -- i think he had blood on his face. and i asked him, "what did you do?"
i said, "oh, my god, what did you do?" and that's when he said he beat the [ bleep ] out of her. and i said, "christopher, please tell me that she is okay. please tell me that you did not do this." >> and what did he say? >> he said, "i beat the [ bleep ] out of her." >> she's giving up her son as a killer here. >> she's -- she's throwin' him under the bus. >> this is extraordinary. >> it is. >> do you realize how extraordinary it is as you're takin' the story down? >> oh, yes. >> she's groomed him as her little killer. >> most definitely. he was -- he was her little monster. >> i messed up because i made christopher think that i wanted him to do something that was horrible when i didn't want him to hurt anybody and i made him think that i did. >> becky, becky, becky. >> and he was convinced that he was helpin' me. >> reporter: becky told investigators that chris got rid of his bloody clothes, stuffed them in his backpack. and she drove him back to her office. and then they later showed up together at the crime scene,
pretending to know nothing, but alarmed that kay was still clinging to life. >> the next conversation that christopher and i had was at the hospital. when i talked to him and i was cryin' and he said not to worry about it, that everything was going to be okay. and i told him i didn't know what to do to help him. he said i didn't need to do anything, that he was going to take care of everything. and i told him i was scared. >> reporter: after that, becky said she and chris worked together to throw investigators off the trail, which meant that shooting at healing hands was a total setup. >> it was christopher. >> he was the guy in the bushes. >> he was the guy in the bushes with the gun. >> reporter: chris had shot his own mother, a ruse to throw off the cops. and a bumbling one at that. becky said their plan was for chris to shoot and miss. >> he didn't mean to shoot me. he was just going to shoot at me to scare me, for me to say that somebody chased after me wantin' money.
>> your own son shot you. >> he didn't mean to. >> reporter: becky sears had told investigators quite a story in a version that showed her slightly less culpable than chris. the legal fight now had shifted to mother against son. and becky had one more card left to play. >> it's the question everyone was asking. >> who is this woman? >> evil.
>> reporter: becky sears and her son chris were both facing the death penalty for conspiring to murder kay parsons. but their attorneys vic and jacque hawk suddenly had a colossal problem on their hands. >> i didn't want him to hurt anybody. >> reporter: becky's "all but a confession" on tape. vic represented becky, and jacque represented chris.
facing this tough new set of facts, the brothers decided to sever their cases. mother would now be pitted against son in two separate trials. >> i didn't have any question in my mind that his mom would testify against him if it benefited his mom. >> and chris is going to go to trial first here? >> yes. >> does that make a difference in the scheme of things? >> well, i think it puts pressure on her because then that gives him some reason to maybe, if he is hit with a significant sentence, death penalty, whatever, a good bit of impetus to come and testify against his momma. >> reporter: the state still didn't have any physical evidence against chris, but that was about to change. >> i get a message that -- that a box of bloody clothes and shoes had been turned over. >> reporter: becky had an 11th hour reveal. she told authorities where to find the clothes chris wore during the murder. she'd stashed them in her mother's attic. turning them over was a play to get herself a better deal. >> so she can do herself some good and get the death penalty
off the table? >> i think that's the obvious. >> what'd you see when you opened it? >> i saw the backpack, black backpack just like she described. we found the jewelry taken from the parsons home. we found the jewelry taken from the sears home. it was all there. >> signed, sealed, and delivered. that was it. >> there was nothin' else they could do. >> say goodnight, there was nothin' else to do. >> no, not at all. >> reporter: there would be no trial now. instead, a plea agreement, in may 2012. becky sears and her son chris bowers pleaded guilty to murdering kay parsons. they were spared the death penalty, but in the end, becky didn't get a better deal than chris. the judge sentenced them both to life in prison without parole. becky appeared in court that day looking hardly like the well-put-together suburban mom from days past. >> do you remember seeing becky on the news when she came to court? >> i did. >> what did ya think? >> i was, like, "wow, i understand why she was goin' to weight watchers." um, she had gained so much weight.
and, you know, really no remorse either. >> reporter: even her defense attorney, who withdrew from the case before that plea deal, said he could not fathom the taboos broken in this case, the families ripped apart. >> she's turned the mother/son relationship upside down. no mother would do what she's done. no real mother. and to have turned on her own son, that says more than anything else about becky sears. >> reporter: and even as she headed off to prison, this saga wasn't over yet. her old boss at healing hands says that while she was working for him, becky had her hands in the till. >> how much money, jurgen? >> about $250,000. >> was stolen by becky from your healing hands account? >> yeah. >> so nice, friendly, gregarious becky out front has been stealing from you with both hands. i'm guessing she was your best paid employee and you had no
idea. >> and you would guess right. >> that's before you even get to the whole other thing of the business with kay. so who is this woman? >> evil. >> reporter: becky was never charged with the theft. the d.a. says they had the evidence, but with her guilty plea and life sentence it all became a moot issue. and remember how michael was blamed for stealing checks from healing hands? he told us what really happened. >> it wasn't me. that was my mother. >> she blamed you and you took the heat, huh? well, yeah. she basically told me, hey, if i didn't do that for her, all the money she was making, she wouldn't -- she couldn't make no more. >> but you had nothin' to do with it? >> nope. sure didn't. >> reporter: it's been years since he spent all that time in the interrogation room taking the heat for his mother and brother's crimes. michael told us he still has nightmares about it all. >> i'm torn up inside. >> you're still part of the wreckage of this whole deal?
>> yeah. >> have you talked to or seen your mother since? >> no. i sure haven't. sure haven't. >> do you want to? do you have questions for her? >> i do. i sure do. >> she's sittin' here. what do you ask her? >> what do i ask her? i would like to ask her what happened, you know? what happened to the mother i had, you know? >> reporter: until then michael is trying to focus on the future and his family friend, amerson says she's there to help him. you're still a second mom to michael. >> yes. >> how is he doing? >> michael is doing better. do you know, we have had a lot of heartache over his loss and, you know, what he's been through, but he's a trouper and he has a lot of people standing behind him. >> becky sears and her husband tony are now divorced and kay's husband david, he's remarried, still living in the house where it all happened. derek, just 12 years old when he lost his mom, is now serving in
the marine corps. it's been over eight years since kay's death. for her friends, it seems like yesterday. what were your last words to her and you know they'll never be the last words they were? >> i said, i'm sorry. i said, "you know i love you, girl." and she says, "i know, i know." and i said, "i'll talk to you later." and that was it. >> reporter: grovetown quietly bustles along with few traces of the tragedy that happened on hot springs drive. but tamara says that for her, kay's spirit is still there, right down the street. >> do you offer up a little prayer to kay when you drive by her place? >> of course. and also -- also to derek. it has to be hard on him. and so i always -- i always pray
to make sure that he knows that even though his mother's not there, she loved him more than anything. i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." she was there. >> she'd walk into the room and it just kind of brightened. >> and then she wasn't. >> my initial reaction was what happened. >> the mother they adored. missing. in her place, a trail of blood. >> my biggest fear was we were going to find her. >> what police found instead was puzzle. >> in my 28 years, i have never seen that before. >> a missing woman. mystery with few clues.