Anatomy of Murder

A murder case has many layers: the victim, the crime, and the investigation. To truly understand it, you need to dissect each piece of a tragic puzzle. Join Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi and Scott Weinberger every Wednesday for an insider’s perspective, as they reveal to you the Anatomy of Murder.

137F Strikes Again

137F Strikes Again

Wed, 01 Sep 2021 07:00

A young college student is murdered, sending shockwaves through the community. But another murder, eerily similar, makes investigators question if a serial killer is loose in this college community. For episode information and photos, please visit

Listen to Episode

Copyright © audiochuck

Read Episode Transcript

If you're looking for a new show unlike anything you've ever heard before, check out audio Chuck's latest series killed. Each episode of killed covers a story that you may have never read because it was killed before it got published. I'm Justine Harman, who some of you may know from my show OC swingers, and I'm here to bring these dead stories back to life binge killed right now to get the full story. Previously on anatomy of murder. Paul Johnston, hi. Hi. A prosecutor who's been in the trenches, did everything from military intelligence, became a paratrooper. And then after 911, I did three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. With the markings of a sadistic killer. She was nude. She was displayed. I think there were eleven stab wounds. An FBI profile. They said it's most likely a white male that she knows. A university student. This is likely his first kill. A killer with no name but a number, no match on 1:30. Point out, that's just what we heard over and over and over again, and 137 app was going to strike again. How we got him. I'm Scott Weinberger's, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. Crazy former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of Investigation Discovery's true conviction. And this is anatomy of murder. As a reminder, last week we were talking about the murder of Brooke Baker, and we interviewed Hal Johnson, a former Madison County, Indiana prosecutor. We had also left off talking about another homicide that had happened almost a decade before. So let's start there today. The woman in that case, her name was Lisa McCracken. Lisa McCracken was found dead, lying on her back in her bedroom in her apartment near the university campus. Lisa had been stabbed, and there were signs of strangulation once again. A young college student, white female, lived alone, sexually assaulted, stabbed. Investigators found that her body was also posed with their hands laid out behind her head. There was no forced entry. There was a window that was broken. But investigators could tell by the way the shards of glass were scattered throughout the room that it was broke while Lisa was trying to fight for her life. A lot of similarities there. I mean similar victimology and the like, and that had never been solved. The murder weapon was also a knife taken from Lisa's kitchen and, just like in Brooke's case, the medical examiner. Did find semen in their examination. We did have DNA from that though. So what we requested was could you take the Lisa McCracken sample and run it against 137 F? So let's just for a moment hypothesize if there is a match, what is that going to tell us? It may not only hold the answer to Brooke Baker, but maybe this also other homicide going back to 1987 as Lisa McCracken, just as a side note here. And another true crime series I produce. We interviewed Lisa's mother and she talked about how Lisa had an infectious joy about her, and she will never forget the last words Lisa told her before she went back home to study for midterms. And those words were I love you. So that should give you an understanding about how we have two sets of families looking for answers for their loved one. So the stakes or the potential if this is a match, are incredibly high for either one of these two brutal homicides. So just imagine. How high tensions are while they're waiting for the results of that DNA, and the conclusion was there was no match on it. If you're a year and a half into a murder case and you've interviewed scores of people and done dozens of DNA analysis and you're not getting any closer to anything, it was really feeling cold. But, you know, you have to imagine this is a big blow when you're really depending on science to come through for you. It didn't happen at this point in this investigation. So not only are there high hopes dashed, but now they're left to pick up the pieces. You know, the science usually gives them a good directive on where to go. And when the science says no, you've got to go back to your standard investigative procedures and still try to talk to witnesses. Do what you can to get more information. But where we go now is even deeper and darker. This is where the case it's a stunning development, but also deeply troubling. Because let's remember Hal Johnston's words when he said that may be the only way to solve this case would be if the killer strikes again. So let's now move to close to two years later, July 5th, 1999. And here's what happened. There was an apartment complex just South of the university. It was a multi Storey building and the manager of the building got a phone call from residents. They were complaining there was no hot water. So he goes out and determines that somebody's got hot water running in their apartment and they've just been running it for who knows how long. It's in the same town of Vincennes, IN the manager of an apartment complex decides to find which apartment. The water's been running. He quickly locates it and uses the master key to walk in. He opens the door and goes in, and it's a scene of remarkable violence. There are broken furniture and lamps. There's been a fight at what appears to be bits of blood on the wall. And he goes into the bathroom and the tub is running and there are towels in the tub, and there are cushions from the sofa in the living room, but nobody's there. You have to go right to the issue that brought the manager to that apartment. It wasn't a neighbor hearing screams for help or the furniture breaking, but water running towels in a tub and cushions from the sofa. No signs of forced entry. Does this all sound familiar? The idea of a. Serial killer really was forgotten when police hopes were dashed of identifying the killer of both Brooke Baker and Lisa McCracken. But now they have water running in similar circumstances again. And so this gets our interest, because now we have something that appears to be a signature. But here's the problem. We don't have a body. The apartment belonged to a woman by the name of Erica Norman Erica Norman, who was a Caucasian female, also a student of Vincennes University. Well, once we identified who she was, detectives go back to the university to get information about who she was. She was not from Knox County. She was from Montgomery County, Indiana. Came from a very nice family. She had a steady job. She was a good student. Another white female student at Vincennes University sounds all familiar. And yes, investigators had many reasons to begin to compare Ericas and Brooks case. And also remember they have been down this road of connecting cases before. I mean, the victimology is fitting. And I went out to the scene and looked and there had been a hellacious fight there, but no sign of forced entry. So given all these circumstances, I mean, how certain do you believe they think the two cases are connected to the same killer? We know that's saying if it walks like a duck and it sounds like a duck. Well, they had thought that before, and the DNA proved them wrong when it came to connecting Brooke Baker and Lisa McCracken. However, you have now 2 homicides in much more close proximity. But remember, with Erica Norman, they don't have a body, so they don't yet even know that she is gone by sinister means or dead. But I certainly think that it doesn't look good and this really raises the antenna. Of all and they need to keep the other students of Vincennes and that community safe. So if they are related, police have a haunting thought. Someone is hunting down college girls in this town. Everything seems to be matching up similar to Brooke, but I don't have a body. Of course. Everything begins at the crime scene, and in Erica Norman's case, with the lack of a body, it all begins, as we always say, with developing that timeline. Investigators want to know where Erica was that night and who was she with. So what? Detectives determined she had worked at a restaurant in downtown Vincennes. There was a Holiday Inn where some of the kids would go there for the bar nightclub place. Detectives go to the Holiday Inn and they're like, Oh yeah, we knew the group there. So we start contacting people, and they're coming and saying, Oh yeah, Erica was there, and she got here about this time. And they kept talking about a guy named Beach. Who the hell is beach? Most of you probably know that I love a good mystery, and playing games on my phone is sometimes exactly what I need when I'm taking a break from work. Enter June's journey. It's a hidden object murder mystery game set in the heart of the 1920s. You search for hidden objects and collect clues across thousands of vivid scenes to help June as she investigates the mysterious death of her sister. With new chapters every week, there is always a new case waiting to be cracked. You can chat and play with or against other players by joining a detective club. Now celebrate the games 5th anniversary with a two week birthday Bash, June's journey Golden Soiree. Exciting surprises await in June's journey every single day during the 5th anniversary celebration from September 19th to October 2nd, including special events, daily rewards and unique decoration items. Follow the official Junes journey Facebook page and become an. E-mail subscriber for even more perks, including a chance to win one of just 10 gold plated charm bracelets, joined the 5th anniversary party now through October 2nd. Download June's journey for free. Available on Android and iOS mobile devices as well as on PC through Facebook games. So now they have a name she left with beach. I mean, there was probably maybe seven or eight kids together at all know each other. And there was this guy named Brian Jones. Who the hell is Brian Jones? We've been working on this case for two years and we've never heard the name Brian Jones. How often is it that you right away get this name? There is this person they've never heard of before, but they actually have people saying that he went home with Erica that night. So we determined he'd been to Vincennes. University student living in Vincennes, working at a local bread factory. He's not a suspect, right? We don't know that he did anything. A suspect is usually when investigators or prosecutors are really zeroing in on someone based on the evidence. Well, a person of interest is just that there is something peaking the interest more than just, you know, a whim of a thought. By investigators. And that's what they have here because they actually have this person named and placed as last person that was with Erika Norman before she disappeared. So now with the name Brian Jones, the next step is to locate Jones. And there are a lot of unanswered questions, including is there a connection between Brian Jones, Erica Norman and Brooke Baker. Detectives go out and want to see if he'd give a statement. He says, sure, I'll talk to you. So our senses are up, our radar is on, something's going to happen. Here. We've talked about this in prior episodes about the mindset going into question, a potential suspect, especially when they've agreed, at least in the beginning, to cooperate. You know, as the investigator, you're frame of mind is critical. Your attitude or lack of attitude could be critical to a successful interview, but the most important part is a command of the facts to find those inconsistencies that someone who has not been truthful statements, they cannot walk back. This is the time when Bill Clinton was being impeached. You know the famous I did not have sex with that woman. Those lawyers don't need to know how to ask questions. Because what I've always told the detectives was when you questioned these men, go into extraordinary detail. Have you had oral sex? **** ***? Masturbate? Is there any reason your semen should be in that house? I don't want to have a lawyer come in later on and go. Well, you're meeting a sex in my meaning of sex are two different things. And it was at this point in the interview that I could not have given Hal Johnston enough handclaps and knew that he was very like minded to me at least in these ways. Because that's really it, right? It's all about detailed, detailed detail. As difficult as it could be to listen to those turns as you listeners and as jurors, they're really important facts. If you just ask this open-ended question, maybe it gets you somewhere in the end, but maybe you leave a lot out there for the defense or someone later to pick holes in what that. Actually means, but if you really drill it down to multiple questions and really almost box the person in again, remember ultimately they're not going to be able to get out from under responsibility if that's where the evidence puts them in the end. So police bring Brian Jones to the station, they put him in their room, they know where they're going, and then they start to interview him. And one of the first things Brian Jones says is he admits to knowing Erica Norman. He said I met her at the Holiday Inn and my friends were there and and yeah, my nickname is Beach for BJ's. I took her home. She said that they made macaroni and cheese and they watched a movie for a little bit and he left and that was it. And he said she was fine when I left, didn't have sex with her, didn't kill her, don't, don't know where she is, don't know anything. While this is getting to the direct connection to Erica, without a body at this point, it would be hard to prove she's dead. Well, you know, we have no physical evidence. Linking to anything at this point. Now investigators make a turn in that conversation. So the police then say, well, did you know Brooke Baker? And she says, well, yeah, I knew Brooke. Well, have you ever been to her house before? Yeah, I've been to her house before. And so we determined that he was living about two blocks away at the time of Brooks murder with a couple of friends we had interviewed. But both friends had never told us about him. I mean, let's go back to the profile of Brooke Baker's killer developed by the FBI. They said it's most likely a white male that she knows. Check. Most likely a university student. Check. And he lives close to Brooke. Another check they get into or do you know what happened to Brooke? I have no idea. I left town after she was killed and that was something we were looking for, somebody who would have left town. He said he was got a job somewhere else or something. Moved to Fort Wayne with a girlfriend. OK, then he came back. The police. Then I think Bob Dunham, the particular, said, well, did you ever have sex with? And he goes, no, I never had sex with Brooke at all. And you know, Bob's very detailed. OK, **** *** oral sex. Master, is there any reason your DNA should be at 216, Harrison? No, no reason at all. I've been in there before. I smoked marijuana there. Brooke didn't like that, but I smoked marijuana. So that's it. Remember we talked about the fact that there was no forced entry into Brooke Baker's apartment? Well, now with the interview of Brian Jones, the investigation shows that he probably was led into the apartment because Brooke Baker knew him. So now you go from person of interest to suspicion on fire. You have the guy that was last seen with Erica had also been in Brooke Baker's apartment at some point. It's not just hypothesizing if there's a connection at least. There is definitely a connection this much. He also gave a DNA sample. So what do we have to do? Send it off for analysis and we have to wait now for the DNA test to come back? While investigators are waiting for results of the test, there's more to be done. In the meantime, we do some search warrants. I get a search warrant for his car and I get a search warrant for his apartment. They looked throughout the car and they didn't see anything that appeared to be unusual or potential forensic evidence. But when they look in the trunk of that car, a bit closer, and this is where the evidence technicians really win an award here. One of the investigators notices something that's going to take this investigation to a whole nother level. When they popped the trunk and they looked inside in a corner, one of the evidence technicians saw the most bizarre part of this story. Hi everyone, Ashley Flowers here and I have exciting news to share. My debut novel all good people here is officially out now. Our fans are blowing up our social talking about it. You do not want to be left out and the worst thing that could happen is for someone else to spoil it for you because there are some wild twists in this book. If you love true crime content, mysteries, and a grown up Nancy Drew style detective work then I have a good feeling you won't be able to put this book down. So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy of all good people here now, wherever books are sold. The interview with Brian Jones was paying dividends, and he was also consenting to give his DNA. Enter CSI investigators who targeted Brian Jones's car. Mirror of a it's only about the size of a thumbprint of a reddish material. So now that piece is collected, often it would be cutting out that piece of fabric, the interior of the trunk, and then it's off to the lab. Now, unfortunately, so often when you hear red smear, it comes back something as benign as ketchup or paint. But just maybe they would be onto something. It was human blood and we did reverse. DNA on with Eric's parents because each one contributes half of the DNA to the child, so we did a reverse DNA and then DNA analyst said it's arrogant, Norman. The blood of a missing woman you believed to be dead in the trunk of your top suspects car that has a really big development. How would he be able to explain that now that you have Eric Norman's blood in Brian Jones's car? If he becomes 137 F, can you use one to answer the other? And really the answer technically is no. You have to prove the evidence for each crime on its own. However, there is something called modus operandi. Sometimes there is such a significant signature, if you will, of a killer. There are certain things that they do that. So similar that you can use evidence of one for the other, but that's something that you need to do later on in court and get permission from the judge. This gave CSI investigators and case agents an opportunity to really extend their forensic search to Brian Jones's apartment. Getting more physical evidence would really help this investigation move it forward and also could create a new theory. Then the police in Brian Jones apartment went in and actually disassembled. Part of the shower. The shower door was an aluminum frame with a glass in it, and what they noticed when they removed the glass is that there was a brownish reddish streak of material in that, like a little gutter where the water would drip down. Now, while it may seem an oddly specific place to look, it's actually pretty commonplace because if you think about it, whatever is on those materials is draining down, and sometimes even though there's water running, something gets caught. So they literally take out these pieces of metal to see if there's something in the trap and other parts of the metal piping that sometimes the way that it's configured, they can still get something even when someone is trying to cover their tracks. Went off for analysis once again, Serologist says. This is human blood. DNA says it's Eric Norman. So what I have at this point is sufficient evidence to say he put her in the trunk, drove her somewhere, came back and cleaned himself off and screwed up and just didn't get rid of all the evidence. But I still don't have a body at this point. And a saga. How difficult is it to proceed with a prosecution without a body? It's more difficult than I think. I'll leave it there because you have all these extra layers that you need to go through to ensure that that person is actually dead. You know, we've talked about this before in past episodes. It's looking at their bank accounts. Have they been in touch with family or friends, if they work or go to school, if they've been showing up, have they been using any of their social media accounts? Different things? So while you certainly can get there and there are many cases that not only have been prosecuted but successfully, you're not going to get there as quickly because you really need to ensure. While unfortunate that in fact the person's actually dead. The link is to Erica, but I don't have an Erica's body. Without a body, I can't say I got a homicide. I got a missing person, but I don't have homicide. And what about 137 F, the DNA sample tied to the murder of Brooke Baker? Well, this next part of the story could easily be taken from a Tom Clancy novel in the likes of a Jack Ryan, best explained by Hal Johnston himself. That's U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Hal Johnston. I had joined the Army National Guard. I transferred from the Navy, and we're doing war games, annual military training at Camp Atterbury, which is a big Army base in southern Indiana. Well, I'm with the brigade there, 4000 troops. I've been out in the field for several days, and a Sergeant comes up to me one day and says the Indiana State Police are trying to get a hold of you. Now, this is before cell phones and all that. And they said your wife's trying to get hold of you, too. So I called my wife, Jerry, and she said Greg Winkler from state police is trying to find you. They have information for you. And I said, is it on Brooke? And she said, well, they wouldn't tell me, but they're excited. Now you have how? Johnson, not only a public servant as a prosecutor, but he is out in the field. Of 4000 troops as part of the Army National Guard. And Scott's reference couldn't be more apt. I mean, there is no scene that could be better set in any movie than what you have here. And this is like 11:00 o'clock at night. So I finally get ahold of Greg at his house, I believe, and Greg says it's a match. Brian Jones is 137 F. Wow. I mean, I knew the answer, but I never get tired of hearing him say that. You feel it in your stomach. You are elated again, saddened because again, none of this is ever good news. It's good news because you are getting the identity of a killer and now they finally have a name to 137 out. I said we have to arrest him tomorrow, so state police arranged for a helicopter to fly to Camp Atterbury. I got emergency leave. They picked me up at like 5:00 AM. I'm in army fatigues. I haven't showered in several days. They dropped me off at a local parking lot because the helicopter can get in there and I meet the team. So just picture this. Here is a guy in full battle fatigues, wore paint still on his face, and he jumps out of a state police helicopter to get a warrant to arrest the bad guy. You know, are we sure this is not Jack Ryan? And we get together, go to a local restaurant where we can sit around the table, and we talked about what are we going to do. And I said we got to get the guy arrested today. I said, this is what we've been waiting for. It's him. We had all the senior detectives there and I said, OK, guys, I'm going to go around the table and I'm going to ask you one question and I just want a yes or no. And I pointed to Bob and I said, is Brian Jones the guy? And he said, yes, Rick Winkler. Is Brian Jones the guy? Yes. Larry Heck, is he the yes, I believe it too. I said, so let's go get a warrant. And meetings like this in these long term investigations there are not uncommon. I cannot even tell you how many of these roundtables we would have in various supervised offices and homicide or in our conference rooms. And you want to make sure that there is a real meeting of the minds. Before you take this very big next step of deciding to make an arrest, I'm still filthy dirty, but I already have a lot of the probable cause done because I've done so many search warrants. But now we could finally add what we've always wanted to add, which is 137 F is consistent with him to like one in so many billion. And the DNA analyst, in his opinion, says that Brian Jones is the one who contributed the semen. And so I asked for probable cause to be found for one count of rape and one count of murder for Brooke Baker. So for a moment, if you're saying, OK, but you're investigating him for Erica Norman's homicide, but now he's arrested on Brooke bakers but not yet Erica Norman. And here's why they would break that up. Because at the end of the day, you want to get this guy off the street because they are not only want to hold him responsible for what he's done to one or more, you want to make sure he doesn't strike again. Getting him in and him being charged in Brooke Baker's murder gives you the opportunity as an investigator to sit him down and let him realize all that you have against him in the book. Baker case hoping he realizes that he's going to go away for a very, very long time, and perhaps he'll give you the information on where is Erica Norman's body? Now, state police have determined that Brian Jones was supposed to appear in Evansville for a traffic ticket that day. So they get the warrant, they race down to Evansville, to the courthouse, and as Brian Jones walks in, they go up and arrest him. And what's interesting is that they just said you're under arrest. He never said what for, which we thought was interesting. And now, here's something that's important for us to remember. No one has ever compelled to talk to the police, and you can never use someone's silence as evidence against them for that very reason. However, the fact that he doesn't even bat an eye, not a why? Not a for what? Nothing. You can't use it in court, but it's something we can certainly think about ourselves. You know, while his reaction is not evidence of guilt, it is pretty telling. And how Johnston sets the scene in the courtroom so? Well, he gave me a real weird look. And he came in the courtroom because he had never seen me before. I don't have any civilian clothes, so I I've still got, like, camouflage on my face. And I'm in U.S. Army battle fatigues, so he's looking at me like, who the hell is this guy? And I love that I picture him in these military fatigues, as he said, literally. We're still with the I don't even know what the word is for it. The the dark grease paint that is under the eyes. And what a sight, what a bizarre sight that must have been for all. But it really goes to the real intrigue of this all. So we bring him in, he's charged with Brooke Baker and of course the media goes bananas over the whole thing. But Eric is still missing. This is the face of 137 F and it's Brian Jones. Will he admit the connection? And will he also confirmed to investigators what happened to Erica Norman? Is this connection somehow with Eric Norman? We're convinced it is, but I can't do anything until we find her. Is she dead? And if she is, where is her body? Now our work really begins. This isn't solving the case. This is now. I have to prosecute the case, and it's one thing to investigate, and it's something else to get the damn thing ready for trial. And it's going to be a real challenge. But what's still haunting me is where the hell is Erica? What happened to her? Little did he know he was about to find out. A farmer, he was at a tractor route and he detected a smell and he said, you know, I'm a farmer, said I'm used to a lot of smells, of dead bodies, of animals and the like. He said this was really unusual. So he stopped his tractor, walked into the field a few dozen feet from the road and found this. He didn't know what it was, but he thought, I've got to get hold of the police. The case took a dramatic turn after 16 days of intensive searching for Erica. Indiana State Police get a call from Illinois State Police. They believe it's a human body in the cornfield. Farmers found it just off Hwy. 50, Who by the way had a few years earlier found the body of another victim from Vincens in his field. I mean, that's a bit scary to have not only one dead body on your property, but two, but obviously they're unrelated but still a bit weird. He called the County Sheriff. First Sheriff came out, looked sheriff, said we need Illinois State Police. Illinois State Police came out. The level of deterioration such this is in the late summer where it's extremely hot. This is very, very humid because you're down in the fields near the Wabash River. So high humidity, very high heat. It was unrecognizable as a human being. The phrase used by the pathologist in Illinois was necrotic mass. It looked like tar had been poured out. Necrotic, or necrosis, is a process where human tissue disintegrates, and you can imagine the rest of that. I mean, I've seen a lot of dead bodies, but this was extraordinary, the level of deterioration. Now when you are left, unfortunately, with this level of decomposition. You can imagine how difficult it is to make sense of what led this person to be there, but there are certain things that usually remain. You often have bone teeth, and it gives you the opportunity to do dental impressions, dental identification and DNA testing to confirm the identity of a body in that state or that condition. Sometimes there are clues left around the body, so that's where investigators really need to try to turn. There was a wallet nearby, and the wallet was Eric Norman's wallet. While the wallet makes it likely, it's still not conclusive identification. Forensics will be needed to definitively determine that. Yes, this is Erica, but also how she died. So. Only has to conduct their investigation, which includes doing what's called a coroner's jury, which is kind of an interesting process. Can you talk a little bit about what a corners jury is? I'm going to nerd out a little bit here because the corners jury is something that I'd never heard about. So when I spoke to Hal, I really had him explain it to me. And it's a reminder why, depending on where you are really matters in these cases, because in New York, for example, when you have a case that's going to be a felony, we have to present that to a grand jury. And that basically is making sure that we have. Enough evidence to move forward even with the prosecution. But in Indiana they have what's called the coroner's jury, which means that they can't even get to that until they have an actual jury decide on the cause of death. That they basically have to stamp or affirm what the coroner has found. That yes, the cause of death was X, which means the manner of death is Y. I think it's an antiquated system. 200 years ago you just brought in the local people and they tried to investigate the case, you know, Midwestern states. A lot of our constitutions are based on Virginia, but I mean Virginia's old constitutions. So some of our, some of our systems out here in the Midwest are a little archaic, but that's just what Illinois is used for years. It's really interesting to me that it shows all the different moving parts that you need to understand, not just where you are, but what's happening in other places. When the body went off with the pathology work in Illinois, they did forensic analysis of the teeth. We got hold of the parents, which was horrible, having to explain to them that we think we found your daughter. The Illinois pathologist gave a positive ID through the dental records. He ruled manner of death, homicide. The cause of death, it was unknown. When you get the undetermined, which sometimes you get when they just can't tell whether this is the manner, is natural or homicide, or what caused the death, it really leaves a question mark, not only just don't have answers, but for a prosecution. When I had were two murders, despite my best efforts, Judge Crawley decided to give him two separate teams of attorneys. So you got one guy listening to two sets of lawyers. And the first set of lawyers on the Brooke Baker case was headed by a local defense attorney who was famous for telling clients, I'm going to win the case, I am going to get you off. You don't plead in anything, I'm going to get you off. His other team of attorneys are much more rational and seasoned and said you need to plead to this because there's no way we can win a trial. Faced with all of the evidence in Eric's case, Jones pled guilty to murdering Erica Norman. He received 60 years in prison, but he pled not guilty for Brooke Baker, and that case went to trial. Ultimately, the decision was made that if the prosecution ended up with a conviction, they would be asking the jury for life without the possibility of parole. But you know, why do you think anasarca he would move forward with one and plead to another? There are different reasons. And again, I'm just guessing here, but a lot of times it really comes down to time, the amount of prison time that a defendant is facing. So while getting a 60 year sentence would be the natural end of many people's lives at that point, there are different things in corrections laws. But even though if you get 60 years, depending on where you're serving your time, you may get out or be eligible for parole many years before. Brian Jones is already pled guilty in the murder of Erica. Now, the stakes were high. Because they broke Baker case would go to the jury. Would Hal Johnston be able to convince jurors that this actually was the heinous crime as he described? So by pleading guilty, what I felt was I've got that conviction in my pocket. Maybe he's really crazy and would take the stand, but if he did, he's doomed. Because the first thing I'll introduce is that the copy of that conviction on Eric Norman. Now, prosecutors love when defendants decide to take the stand, but with everything, there's also concerns, because now the defendant is going to give the jury their own version of events. And while you hope the truth shows itself for what it is, you never know, maybe the jury buys what the defendant. Paying? I think what he wanted to do was to get up and say, well, I wanted to learn, have sex and I left and then the policeman came over and killed her. That's ended up being their defense. And here you have a guy like Jones who has actually been convicted for another homicide. Now, that type of evidence is normally never allowed in before the jury because it's overly prejudicial. And remember, a defendant, no matter what, always has to be convicted for only the evidence in that particular case. We're here you have something so powerful and also probative, but the jury is normally never going to hear it. But in this case, how? Johnston had a strategy for that. In a criminal case, usually the defendants criminal history is not introduced unless they testify and you have what's called an impeachable offense. Well, in Indiana, one of the main impeachable offenses is murder. So if Brian Jones chose to take the stand, my first question is, are you the same Brian Jones who pled guilty in this court? And here's a certified copy of your conviction on the murder of Erica Norman. Thank you, because that goes to your credibility. You're a convicted murderer. What do you think the jury's response is going to be at that point? They're not going to believe a word he says. If Brian Jones takes the stand, he can ask him the question if he had pled guilty and thus was now a convicted murderer. So there really is a difference because the judges ruling says that if they take the stand, the jury should know that because it goes to their credibility. Because again, if you're deciding if someone is telling the truth you want all the information you can have that the judge rules is applicable in making that determination. It was the case TV stations in Indianapolis, TV stations in Chicago carried stories about it. Chicago newspapers carried stories about it. For the first time, I get a phone call one night for my sister in Texas and said, were you just on TV? When I sat down to prepare the case, I simply felt overwhelmed. And I was sitting in my library. I've got all this evidence out. I've got so many interviews. I mean, they interviewed maybe a couple 100 people. And I'm thinking, how the hell do I handle this? Well, one of the things I've developed is prosecutor over the years to understand my case. It it sounds odd, but I would play a game and the game is you only have one witness. Who do you choose? Well, my answer is my DNA analyst. And then I realized that's my case. But I have to build up to it. I can't put him on the stand. First I got to build up to him. So let's say I can only have two witnesses. Who's the 2nd witness? My pathologist got to get the pathologist in because these two are dealing with facts. The DNA is a fact that the the the pathology report is a fact. The bruising, the rape, all that, that's a fact. So I started building my case that way. So once I came up with that, it helped streamline my case and allowed me to really focus to build up to that point. And then I decided my last witness would be Bob Dunham because he would then testify that Jones denied ever having sex with Brooke Baker and I would rest my case at that point. Hal Johnston was ready to go to trial. There was a tremendous amount riding for Kyle Johnston's case and for Brooke Baker's family. At trial, there was another piece of evidence that Hal shared with the jury. Analysts had gone back and looked at Brook's fingernails and had removed material from the fingernails. That material was consistent with 137F and we had witnesses who had seen Brian Jones the next night and campus with scratches on his face. Jury heard the case, went out, deliberated and came back. He was convicted of rape and murder. Keep in mind that during the Brooke Baker trial, nobody could breathe a word about Eric and Norman because there was a motion to eliminate and I can't mention that murder. The jury was pulled. Everybody said that's my verdict. And the judge said you're not quite done yet. He said the state has filed a request for life without parole. Let me break this down a little bit here, because sometimes there are two distinct portions of the trial. The jury found him guilty. So with that guilty verdict, there is now a sentencing phase in Indiana when you are looking for a potential sentence of life without the possibility of parole, well, that is a decision that a jury needs to listen and decide to. And so it is now in that second portion where his guilt has already been established, that now how Johnson is able to actually bring in the aggravating factor of. Erica Norman's murder as one of the reasons why are they are seeking this penalty of life without the possibility of ever getting out on parole. I remember getting up and saying, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I can finally say someone's name who I've not been able to tell you about. And that's a young woman named Eric and Norman and Brian Jones had killed again, and the jury had a look on their face like, holy Crap. And here's the evidence. And they went out. I mean, it was a very quick deliberation because at that point they said this is too much. So the jury unanimously recommended to the judge that he received life without parole. So at sentencing, the judge entered the standard sentence on the murder, and then he said, I accept the jury's recommendation for life without parole, and I hereby sentence you to life without parole. For hell, Johnston and his team, for all the investigators involved in the Brooke Baker case, there was a lot to celebrate in bringing justice to Brooke Baker's family. But there was one more case that still had not been resolved and one more phone call for Hal Johnston to answer. I happen to be at state police headquarters. I was actually working on the Brooke Baker trial, and one of the analysts came in and said, what the Hell's going on with Knox County and DNA and murder. I said, what do you mean he goes? Didn't you hear? We got a hit on Lisa McCracken three years later. Lisa's case had gone cold and unfortunately it had to take another murder to know what happened to her. The stay with me for a moment. 15 year old girl was babysitting in a home right near hers on June 17th, 1995. She was babysitting A5 year old girl when the house caught fire. But when police and firefighters arrived, the five year old girl was rescued and she survived. But they found the body of that 15 year old girl. Their injuries had nothing to do with the fire, and it was determined that the fire was set after she was already dead. Witnesses near the home ID DA local man as Jeffrey whips. Police went to interview whips at his house, and police said he acted and appeared so nervous he was sweating. They're also saw that Jeffrey had a burn mark and blood on his shoes. DNA confirmed that he was also involved in the murder of Lisa McCracken. To Lisa McCracken case. That was the first case in Indiana, according to Hal, to be solved with DNA. And at the time that they got that DNA match to her killer Jeffrey Whipps, he was already in prison serving an 89 year prison sentence for another homicide that he had pled guilty to. So now we have three separate homicides, 2 related by the killer and one completely unrelated, except you have to wonder if it was these two later homicides that brought about the renewed. Interest that ultimately got the answer for Lisa Mccracken's family, too. What an incredible, twisty Turny Rd in this investigation. When I look at this case, there are so many different levels and facets in our all. Brian Jones was just someone who could not take no for an answer. His drive to murder appeared to be sexual nature to dominate. Never once throughout this entire process did he show any remorse for his actions or his victims. And without Eric's case, he may have gotten away with murder. When Brian Jones murdered Brooke Baker, he took away a voice, a 19 year old who dreamed of being a storyteller, a journalist silenced in the most horrific. Of waste. Let's think about these three young women, Lisa, Brooke, Erica and the voices they could have been, and the many men and women in law enforcement, and Hal Johnston. How it was their voices and their perseverance that made sure that justice was achieved for all three. TuneIn next Wednesday, when we'll dissect another new case on anatomy of murder. Enemy of Murder is an audio Chuck original, A Weinberger media and forseti media production summit. David is executive producer.