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.
Wed, 02 Dec 2020 08:00
A woman is viciously attacked in her home, leading investigators on a desperate search for answers. Could a small piece of glass hold the key?
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. Description on that offender that's the man is 25 six brown hair, slender and no colored shirt and blue jeans, 5/10 at the mill. Subject had duct tape with him when he ran out the door. A Fender also had a shovel Templar venison round. I'm Scott Weinberger's, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. Glassie former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of Investigation Discovery's true conviction, and this is anatomy of murder. So sit back a second and just imagine you walk into your own home expecting to meet up with your 17 year old daughter for lunch. Instead, you walk in into a scene of horror. A man beating your daughter with a shovel. It's still in progress as you walk in. That's exactly what Diane Marcel witnessed in their Albuquerque, NM home. It is one of more the unbelievable scenarios. I mean, it's September 11th, 2008, and it's everybody's worst nightmare, you know? So often crimes are known to happen on the street or in a dark alleyway, but here in the place that is supposed to be your safe haven, the place where you can shut your door and be free of dangers out in the world. It was now in her home, the assailant. Threatened her with a knife and said, do you want some of this? Diane was able to get out of the house. And dial 911. The call is extremely disturbing. But important to this story. Morning, Diane marcell. She's gonna die. Please. Mine with me, OK? How old is your daughter? She's 17. They're on their way. When she stabbed or pardon me, she was stabbed by him. Then. I don't know. I just want you. I saw blood everywhere. I'm afraid to go. And I walked in and he had he was coming after me. He ran to the kitchen and he said he's crying. Please, please help me. Please help me. Please. Bear on their way. With me. This is not what I want. I mean, I've heard that call anasarca several times. And there's not a single time I don't walk away feeling the pain that she must have been going through at that very moment she made that call. This is understand we have paramedics on their way as well. There's a lot of depth situations when they hurry they're on their way, ma'am. Even he was going to do stuff to her. You know, as prosecutors, we always, we love when we have 911 calls, not only because they give information, but no matter how much we explain to a jury or I tell you, you know, this mom was panicked and what she saw, it is never going to feel as real as if you witness yourself right here. I mean, as you hear her voice and you hear that panic and you really can put yourself in a way right there when you hear her voice. What happened? There was an intruder in my home. He had already gone after. I don't know if she knows this guy. I don't know if he was breaking in. I don't know these things he had to shovel. He went to my garage and grab the shovel he had beat. Her face is swollen, her eyes are bulging. There was blood all over my carpet and walking home from the library from like she was senior Cibola, he saw me coming into the kitchen and grabbed the knife. The knife is on the floor. I will not touch the knife. Please just help me get her to the hospital. Is on the way. I think we should all step back for a moment and understand the critical job the 911 operator has during this unfortunately typical but terrifying call. Now they're trained to be even toned and gather specific information. The 911 operator is the female voice on the phone and the EMS worker is the male voice. Now his role is to offer a life saving assessment of the victim, and the 911 operator is gaining valuable information for responding officers to help contain. A possible suspect and reserve an active crime scene. The guy, was he white, black, Hispanic, or Native American? He looked his family about. How old did he look at? Maybe 20th. About how tall would you say? I'm going to say maybe 5-6. Having Fender medium build, slender build, athletic clothing? I couldn't even tell. I saw him and I just had to run. I think it's dark colored. No, I don't remember if you had hair balls. He had hair. Tell me a sandy brown oh gosh, and it's really when they can get a description, they are trained to get that right away because then they can get that on the radio, as you said, in real time. We call it under the law two things it counts as a present sense impression and excited utterance. All things which I'm going to be able to admit in court because the thinking is, is that someone is so under the excitement of this current upsetting situation and they're speaking as something's happening in present time that that is before they. Have the opportunity at least to potentially falsify or taint anything they're going to say. So some of this sometimes is the best evidence that you will ever get. OK, Diane, listen carefully, OK? I'm trying to help you. I need to know if your daughter is breathing. Oh my God, she's got brains. Diane? Diane? Is she breathing? The part that just stopped me in my tracks was when I could hear towards the end. I could actually hear. Brittany, he's everywhere. Please. He's waiting hard. Can you just wait to get somebody here? We're minutes. 2 minutes in the hospital, please. You can hear it portions. You could hear her. You know, you could hear this young woman fighting at that point for her life. I mean, if you're a parent and you hear that, you could only imagine the agony that goes there. So I just advised that it's still 31 at this time, other than the car was advising that the male subject had duct tape with him when he ran out the door. No direction of travel. The mother does not recognize the 31 male subject at this time and just advise her supports down. Interesting in these recordings that we have is not only just the 911, but we have some of the radio run, you know that is the chatter if you will, between the police, law enforcement as their first arriving first responders, other peoples in the area. So it is really not only a race to try and save this young girl, but it's also a race to try to get this assailant before they got away. Anywhere or do we have the direction of travel, the vendor or any financial responsibility of one of the officers to direct all of them to set up a box and basically the box is closing off any potential escape routes. I guess we can go as Far East as 528 ultimately, unfortunately, they came up with a big zero. No sign of anyone that matched a description or looked like they were fleeing the scene. It really was back to square one. But when paramedics find Brittany, she's clinging to life. Brittany's rushed to the hospital and the investigators began their work at the crime scene. Who was this madman? Let's talk about the scene of the crime manasika this happened in their own home and being inside a home, I mean it's a treasure trove for investigators because there is so much potential in the home of evidence. It's also makes it difficult because of just that. So it's a double edged sword. You are going to have tons of fingerprints because people live there. You are going to potentially have DNA and you need to know whether that DNA belongs to your crime or just from people in the house. If there's things out of place, is that clear evidence of an attack, or is this a household that was messy for that reason? I mean, there's a lot of added steps, but yet at the same time, if they can wade their way through that, it very often is a better place than to gather evidence. Then again, if it had happened out on a street where it's either right there in front of you or nothing to be found, so the shovel, the knife, and the duct tape were left behind and there wasn't one weapon used, but there was evidence of two. You know, Britney's mom talked about seeing her daughter being beaten with a shovel, but when investigators arrived, there was a knife on the floor, and they believed that knife came from the kitchen itself, and there was no sign of forced entry to this house. There was a window that was opened upstairs, and the person could possibly have gotten up there. I think they talked about an air conditioning unit that was nearby. Maybe he could have climbed up, but the working theory was that as she went in the door, that person was already inside. Or. Behind her, waiting, pushed her in. And then the attack went on from there. And we all know about DNA at this point. And so you hear that you're like, great, you know, there's so much blood, how easy they're going to figure something out, but so much blood. It was britney's. So even when they tried to collect all this and look for DNA, even if where there may have been more than one, so much of it was hers or mixed with hers that none of it really panned out by being anything useful to this investigation. But. For one spot. North windows in the dining room and I see blood in some of the glass. When he brought the windows probably exit. So it's either this or he was cut. So so I don't know how seriously, but there is some blood on the ground. That single drop of blood came from a Shard of glass that had been broken out when the crime scene was set up. They were able and determined his egress not only from Diane's description of how he left, but the fact that the glass was found on the outside of the home. So they knew chances were really, really good that was going to be the attackers evidence. And so now you think, OK, great, well, they're going to figure this out quickly because they have a speck of blood that was not Britney's. That they were able to get a DNA profile for, so that's it came over, right? But not so fast. Because although they were able to put together that DNA profile very quickly. They put into the national database, those of you that followed the stuff a lot, it's called codas, as you probably know, but there wasn't a match. So let's talk about Scott, why that isn't so unusual. So CODIS is the combined DNA index system that's run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. We know it is the FBI. And ultimately to get your name or get your profile into CODIS, you have had to have had a sample at some point taken from you, although they had a. Profile. To submit to that database, you need to have the offenders profile in turn already uploaded in that database. And that isn't always done, because how does someone get their profile in CODIS? And there's multiple ways, but it might be if you're convicted of certain level crimes, you automatically have to give a DNA sample. If you're arrested for certain level of crimes, you automatically give a DNA sample. Certain jobs require you to give a sample for things like that. So there's other ways in, however, if that person is not. Them into contact with the criminal justice system or had their DNA taken and submitted for some other reason, they might have a perfect full profile. But it's still going to be a question mark, and that's exactly what they had here. That was the first dead end for investigators. 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 question is really who, who did this to Brittany? And when I'm thinking about the crime, how she's attacked right when she goes in her door. I mean, is this a stranger who's just out there looking for someone or is it someone that's actually out there looking for Brittany? And those are the two avenues that investigators have to look at at the same time because time right now is going to be of the essence. And I see when I look at the crime scene photographs. And the diagrams from investigators. It seems really personal to me, O my first instinct is they must have known each other. I don't know. I think that it could be because it is. Violent and extremely brutal in the nature. However, we also see that these random stranger attackers or stalkers very often also are just really there in their mind demonizing the individual, whether it's a deep seated hate of women or people or whoever they're subject is that you get these type of in home attacks where it's a stranger as well. So that is where police are going to have to figure out was this someone that Brittany knew and had had a relationship with? Because if so. You're absolutely right, guy. I think it's going to be very personal and someone that there was an issue or some guy she rebuffed or a relationship gone bad or. Is this going to be someone who maybe never met at all, but was out there watching? Because when they interviewed Diane, she said that just the night before she had heard outside her bedroom window some rocks shuffling. And while she didn't think much of it at the time, was that this assailant out there waiting and watching. Investigators wanted to talk to Diane while it was still fresh in her mind about this confrontation she had with the attacker. They were able to get a description from her, but the important thing is that she did not recognize him. She didn't know of him to be any friends or former friends of Brittany or anybody else in the family, and she couldn't also determine any other markings on his body like tattoos or mustache or beard, anything that may work in her favor to identify. So then investigators wanted her to help with a composite sketch. So the sketch as it was originally drawn out is the man appears to have someone of a heart-shaped face. Pretty average features. His hair is, you know, maybe an inch or so long. Looks like, you know, it's certainly not a buzz cut and it kind of goes a little bit under the ear. His lips are pretty well-rounded. It looks like he's wearing some sort of a let's see, it's not checkered the shirt, but what's the word for it? Scott, help me out here. It is sort of checkered looking. All right. Well, then I was right. I didn't think I was though. But there's something distinctive. You know, eyewitnesses always take different things to a sketch artist that they remember clearly, but I always focus on really 2 aspects of a sketch, the hair, because people are pretty accurate about. The style or the length of someone's hair. If someone's got no hair at all, you know that. If someone's got a buzz cut, you know that it's an obvious thing that you can remember. So I typically look at the hair length and the hair style, but the next thing I always go to is the eyes, because it's that contact you have with that person. You're looking at them and them noticing you. You can define those in the eyes and in this sketch. Yes, you're right. And his hair is a specific type of length. It seems to be thin in nature. And also the eyes, they're almost almond shaped with big eyes. So investigators decided to take the sketch and put it on the local news. And then the phone rang. Albuquerque Police operator 3897, how May I help you? Hi, I was just watching the news on that. Give up our guests that got attacked by that young guy, OK? Looking corrections and I know this kid for years. His name is. And obviously probably the area about 25 alright. He's very light complexion of stringy curly hair. He's about 5758 alright. He sits for the Scription very, very well. I know he was locked up with his herd. He groped a woman at Walmart and then he kidnapped a girl here in Berlin and her young kid. You fit that description and he fits that. He's a pedophile, he's troubled kid, and he's not playing with a full deck. There was one of the calls that I listened to with was actually a corrections officer who said, you know what? I saw this photograph when you put it up there and they got lots of leads like that. Ultimately none of them panned out. It feels like sketches of suspects have been around for 100 years. You know, I've always felt, you know, sort of in my cases that it was a tool to get someone to think they recognize it. It's a great tool, but it doesn't always really work. What's your thought out of Sega? I think I'd go one or two ways. You know, first of all, it depends on the person who is giving the details, the images to the forensic illustrator, how good their memory is. Not only how good their memory is, because some people can picture that person in their head very clearly, but they're not able to articulate it in a way that they can explain it for it to be put down on paper. And also, you know, look, forensic illustrators are just like everybody else. You know, a lot of them are very good, some are amazing and some not so much. So you really need that right formula to come out. Something that is. Right on the money. So really it's a double edged sword and you just have to hope that you had that meeting of the mind that you had someone that could give a good description and the right illustrator to put pen to paper. Just to advise, my female has severe head trauma and may not make it. You think about these cases, and on my homicide cases, how often is it there's no witnesses? You have a body found, and you have to put together the pieces from the outside. Here, you're fortunate enough not only to have her mom, but you also have a survivor. After Brittany was attacked, she survived. But she wasn't the Brittany that had walked into her house earlier that day. Obviously we review all of the files before we do these podcasts and going through evidence photographs. What was your take on how Brittany looked at the time right after the attack? She was, from her photographs of her before this attack, unrecognizable. You know, you're talking about a young woman who was so swollen and misshapen in certain ways with her face and with the swelling and with the wounds to her body that forget about the injuries on the inside, just the way this person left her on the outside. It's horrific in its face. It's actually one that, if it's my case, I would be very. Careful, and show my jury very few of them, because it is just that disturbing. Now she was in a medically induced coma for two weeks. Chen damaged the left side of her head and her jaw was broken as well. A portion of her skull had to be removed to alleviate the swelling going on to the brain. She couldn't speak. Ultimately she couldn't walk or talk, and she did survive. But she was nothing like the 17 old Brittany her friends and family had known before. Brittany was this vibrant 17 year old young woman, but afterwards, based on her physical condition, she was really very much back to being childlike. She had lost so much of her memory. That for investigators, as much as they wanted to get information from her about the attack, she just at that point could not remember anything. You know, as investigators, you really want to get to the heart of the inquiry, right? You've got a living victim who hopefully can give you critical information, but not at the expense of retraumatization the victim. I mean, think about the cases that you've had in the past and Sega about really running out of. Running room in the prosecutor's world. How frustrating does that become? It's incredibly frustrating because on its face, you have it all right. You have a survivor who, in theory, can tell you everything that happened and at least described the attacker. You have this living witness, her mom. You have DNA that actually were able to get a full profile of. So it's you have the person there in your hands, but they're slipping through them at the same time because you don't have a name. And so while it seems they have so much to work with. This case ultimately went very, very cold. So when Brittany's mom called and spoke with Sergeant Thompson. She wanted someone to actively work it, and she wanted someone with a fresh set of eyes to review the case. Someone knew so. When I went to the homicide unit in 2013, Sergeant Thompson assigned the case to me. I had an opportunity to talk to Detective Jody Gonterman, and she had something in her history that I found so important to really what gave her the ability to be focused in on this specific case. I knew what it was like to be, you know, the sister of a murder victim. In 1998, my sister was carjacked with her kids in the van and she was shot and killed and she took off and made it to a gas station where she died from her injuries. And so I knew what my family, my parents went through being, you know, losing a child and the struggle and the things that they go through. So I thought, you know what? I can relate to these families. And for me, here's a girl who is a high school girl, is a whole future in front of her, you know, and this family has just been devastated. By what happened to her I I closely related to that and I thought this has to be solved because I don't want it to happen again to someone else. Listening to Jody when she said it, you know, I actually felt my heart sink for that moment. Because here this investigator that is clearly so thoughtful and smart and exactly the person I would want to work in any case that I was involved in, to hear that she had gone through what so many of these families that we work with have gone through herself. It really made me perhaps understand why she sounded as good as she did as far as the caring. That was just so clear in everything she said as far as her work for Brittany in this case, obviously. This is not a murder case, but it's an attempted murder case. How is it treated differently as far as prosecutors are concerned or is it treated differently? These would be one of those cases that we would get involved in right from the beginning because they're called likely to die. But prosecutors, we have to worry about statute of limitations. And basically what that means is that after certain crimes are committed here, we would have felonies. And depending on the state, there's usually A5 year statute of limitations. And what that means is that we have to bring charges against someone within five years or if not. The case is too old, so once Jody had the case and she poured through it, she went and sat and spoke with the prosecutors. They made the decision, which you don't often hear about, though it is done a bit more than you think. The assistant District Attorney David Wayne Meyer he. Set up a grand jury indictment for the DNA profile that we didn't have. The the statute of limitations didn't expire. We hadn't indictment so that we could indict the DNA. And later, if we identified a suspect, we could just basically associate the person to the DNA profile. Pills are wait a second, it's not a person. No, it's actually a John Doe DNA indictment. So you have a DNA profile. They know the profile of the person who committed this crime. They know what the charges are going to be based on her condition and the crimes committed against her. So they filed charges rather than against someone by name. It is John Doe DNA. So that basically stops the clock. They don't have to worry about five years running by and now the case is too old and no one can ever be. Charged. That basically holds it in abeyance. It basically sits there and it waits until they can hopefully find the identity of the person whose DNA it is so that the person doesn't just get away with the crime and to give investigators that time to try to figure out who it actually is. I love that move. I mean that's such a fascinating move forward to stop the clock. And it's an important one because cases all the time, time out. And so you have these crimes that people. Are not held accountable for and so this is the way to try to give themselves that time to figure it out and still make them be held responsible for what they did to her. So Jody wasn't done pulling out the tools out of her tool belt. Also in 2014, she decides to take a very bold move, this time with Brittany. His mom asked me, what do you know about hypnosis? Britney's mom asked me, what do you know about hypnosis? I said absolutely nothing. The only thing I know about hypnosis is what you see on the stage in Vegas. You know, for entertainment purposes, I said. For law enforcement. I'm not familiar, but I said let me find out. So Britney had a piece of her brain removed. I personally believed that what happened to her were that she was suppressing the trauma. She was suppressing those memories. And I thought because she had started going back to school and learning, well, you know what? Let's let me see if I can reach out to the colleges who have done this before. So that's what I did. And I found that there was a psychologist who did it for the FBI. He could testify and it would be admissible in court. You know, in the legal world, hypnosis is really very suspect and in many states it's never. Even if they get something fruitful from that investigative hypnotic session, it's never allowed into court. And here's why it is not generally accepted in the scientific community. There hasn't been enough research or proof that this is a tried and true method. Many States and many courts have health that this is inherently unreliable because they are really worried about the formation of pseudo memories. You know, there's no way to safeguard. That the person being put under hypnosis doesn't purposely come up with something faulty or that they are not being led there in an overly suggestive way. So there's really a lot to dig into, into these hypnotic sessions. So let's talk about what happened here. I mean, it's an investigative tool, it's a lead, and we could verify it through DNA. And when I met with the doctor, he told me don't tell me anything about the case. We're going to set it up. And then I'll meet with Brittany and however. Quirky, this may be, or other people's opinions may, you know, give negative judgment when the world are you doing this isn't done before. I really didn't care. What's your thinking on all this? Hypnosis, Scott? Well, I think anything that could be used to jog the memory of someone who. Clearly suffered. Damage from her attack would be helpful. Flashbacks or something that brings a memory to the forefront is helpful as long as the process isn't damaging to the victim. So the doctor didn't give details he didn't know about the case, but he did tell me that. She's going to start to remember. It pretty much unlocked her memory, and I warned Diane too, I said. Just make sure this is something that you want to do, because for a while Diane was afraid also. For Brittany to remember because it was going to be painful and difficult, but in order to move forward we kind of needed to do this. So the doctor just mailed me the recording and I watched it. I couldn't believe it. I mean, she gave such details. She remembered specific details about the offender, his body type. She remembered him being very strong and muscular, but not big. She remembered that his eyes were very distinct. She described that. She was feeling around her head in the video where she was. Her head was swelling and it was big, and she was describing the pain that she was feeling. I saw her going through this again. It broke my heart, but on the other hand it was a move in the right direction. And I have to say, you know, I am a skeptic when it comes to hypnosis. But when I listen to Jody talk about the way it was done in this case, all the safeguards they took into account to try to show that nothing was being done to be overly suggestive. And the fruit that came out of it, the memories that came back, at least seemingly so from Brittany. It was one of the first times that I said, you know what? I'm glad they gave it a shot here. It's two very big steps. They came out of this first. Using that session, they were able to get Brittany to start to remember a face things that would help them develop a sketch. And that's exactly what happened. We had several tips come in of look alikes, but the second part was to determine does she recognize somebody. And when you think about the way that Jody went out on a limb by trying this hypnosis with Brittany, wait till you hear what she tried next. So in 2016, Detective Gonterman decided to do this very interesting step take that single piece of DNA and take it to a lab called Parabon to do a process called snapshot composition. It is the ability for scientists to take that DNA profile and determine things like race, hair color, eye color, and then develop a composite picture. I mean, this is super cool evidence. This is the type when I read about it that I was, I couldn't stop reading about. I actually started doing some research on my own after looking at the file. I mean, I've never used Parabon or anything like it. And you know, I think we're all used to hearing today about the ancestries.com and how you can find someone related to an assailant and how you track them that down that way. Allah, Golden State killer and things like that. But this one, I mean, they not only can develop these composites, but they're also able to exclude they would also give us. Exclusions, which were great because I had so many different. Descriptions of the offender. Brown eyes, mixed race. And you have to consider that when people give descriptions and they're being threatened, no one really looks into, you know, and remembers someone's eye color. I mean, it's an incredible tool to be able to tell a potential suspects characteristics, right. It can't tell age, but it certainly could talk about features. But it doesn't work in court. No. And and it shouldn't. You know, at this point it's not scientifically except that it hasn't been vetted enough. You know, from the DNA you could come up with the eye color, the ancestry, all these different things. But the way that Parabon goes out on a limb to a degree is that they actually put this into a physical representation, the sketch, and that is where. There's the big question mark. When people start to turn their heads, like this might go too far and so they're not willing to let it be used in court to give exclusions. The individual wasn't going to be anything other than, you know, it was Caucasian. He had fair to light complexion. It showed green eyes. So while Parabon is doing its magic, so to speak, and trying to develop this profile, Jodie gets a phone call from Brittany. Early on, Brittany couldn't really relay information. She had to learn again how to walk, talk, eat right. It was like talking to a child. So I wanted to refresh Brittany's memory. She didn't remember the relationships that she had with her friends, even her best friend. So. I wanted Brittany to go look through yearbook. Look through photos and see if anything clicks. Try to remember. And then one day you know, she calls and she says, you know, I remember the name Justin Hanson. And now the race was on to figure out who he was. What relationship or connection did she have with Justin Hanson? And as investigators found out pretty quickly, there was a connection. I had Brittany's old phone at the time and back then we didn't have the technology that we have now, but there was Justin Hanson in her contacts. There was a phone number and so when I ran the phone number I was able to pull records with a different spelling. From different jurisdiction as well. And I found all these reports that were red flags to me. Fraud, setting a vehicle on fire, a rape case. So when Jody looked at this guy, he had this criminal history that, when she put it all together just in and of itself to her raised a lot of red flags. BRF. Wait, what is BRF? Big red flag. Like that big red flag? That's a good one. I mean, listen, the circle is closing in on Justin Hanson. I mean, this is looking pretty good right now. Justin Hanson dated her. Best friends sister and he had a child with her best friend sister. Jody was able to talk to that friend Abby to determine that Justin also worked at the same mall. Where Brittany worked and Brittany worked at a sunglass Hut, and the fact that she, Abby, could put Justin and Brittany together at the same time, talking to each other at that kiosk at the mall before the attack, there we go. Or do you? Because here's one of the dangers and the things you have to wonder. And again, I'm always thinking like the defense too, because they have to not be able to prosecute it. You have to be able to defend what the defense might say. And that is so here, years later, this name. Pops up and it isn't just a random name, it's someone that dated her best friend's sister. It is someone who worked in the same mall. It is someone who clearly, you know, like you said, Scott knew her because the friend had seen them talking together. I mean, is it just that her memory is slowly coming back to her, to various people in her life? I mean, she knew him enough that his number was saved in her old cell phone. Or is there something much more to it? And that is the tough part and the thing that they needed to figure out. When she remembered Justin's name, and then I looked into him and then after she had the hypnosis that described Justin. Justin was muscular, but he was very lean. He wasn't big, so that fit and his eyes, that was right on the money. I mean, going back to what I said about the hair and the eyes, I mean clearly. The first sketch that Diane did was so close to the description of what his hair looks like in the photograph. His eyes sort of an omen shape to his eyes. That is a really good representation of both of those items. And now it's time to go pay Justin Hanson a visit. So she's really going out there to size him up, see if she can get his DNA and hear what he has to say. Justin walked out in his bathroom in his boots and he said, hey, you know, I said, I just want to talk to everybody about an old case I'm working and see if you know anything, if you have any information that you can help us with. And he's like, yeah, sure, come on in. He said he heard about it on the news and he really didn't know Brittany. And when I started to ask him about his relationship with her, he said, well, he doesn't like younger girls. Well, his wife was ten years younger than him, so he married his wife when she was 18, so he does like younger girls. I caught him in a lot of lies. When I asked him if he could give his DNA, he didn't want to give it. He was going to get back with me after he talked to his mom. And I told him I said, you know, if you didn't do anything, you had nothing to hide. We just need to exclude you so I can move forward on the case if you care anything about this girl. Then I need to check the box or he didn't want to do it. He didn't have any interest in giving his DNA. That's everyone's right. You don't need to give the police anything unless you're ordered in a court of law. But let's look at the whole picture here. Do you have two options, right? You can go the route of seeing if you have enough to get a search warrant for his DNA, and I would say that. I don't know where courts going to go. There's a lot of things that make it look likely, but does it rise to the level of getting his DNA? I'm not so sure. So then the only other way she has to get it is. This is where the creativity of law enforcement is at its best. We decided that, you know, we were going to have them followed. And he went to a McDonald's where he was eating his food, and he took the lid off of his cup and he drank from the cup. And then when he left, he wrapped all the all of his items in the paper mat. And he said it on the top of the trash. Well, the trash can was full. So the detective was able to walk by with the glove and take the cup from which he drank from. And that is what we had tested, abandoned DNA. That's where the defendant unknowingly leaves a sample on something and discards it. Which legally is no longer their property, it's abandoned, so police are able to collect it. And that's exactly what happens in this case. On Monday, I think it was when I went into the office I was told that I needed to go see my Sergeant. So when I walked into her office, there were several of my teammates were in there, and they were very serious. And I'm like, Oh my God, someone died. What happened? And then I looked and she opened the folder and it was the print out from the Parabon snapshot where it said his DNA and then she wrote matched on it. Talk about overwhelmed with emotion. I mean, I started crying. I threw my keys in the air. I was jumping for joy and crying at the same time. I was so excited. What an amazing feeling, not only for her, but for her to be able to turn around, walk out, flip her phone on and call Brittany and call Brittany's mom. So I think they were in shock, you know, that it was finally solved. Now there's a couple of things you have to keep in mind when you're talking about that abandoned DNA. It's often collected from one of two places, cigarette butts or a cup. The reason for that is there's not much opportunity for contamination. Someone's lips go on both the items, they leave it behind and voila, the police now collect it and they have their abandoned DNA. But I can't just walk into court with that. I have to now go the extra step where, based on the match, I have to go ask a judge to get an order to get that person to give me what's referred to as a known sample. And that's usually taken from inside. Women's cheek. Now with that new sample, they run it, you get a profile and that now is the official match, which is admissible. O abandoned DNA is a fantastic tool, but then you have to go the extra mile to get a known sample, which can then be brought into court. So she brought Justin back in, sat him down, and laid out to him what evidence she had, hoping he would just come clean. He was quiet. He was calm, but I could tell he was nervous. He didn't give much, you know, information in the interview. And then I, you know, I laid the photo down and here, you know, he didn't say very much. So if I had to just present to a jury his written word, that might not get me very far. But I thought that one thing that happened in there is something that I would use right at the top of a summation. I wanted him to look at a photo of Brittany, of what he did to her, and so I laid out a picture of Brittany from the hospital bed where she had. You know, she was tight. She had tubes going in her body. Her head was swollen, her face was swollen. She had bandages and blood on her face and on her head. And I told him, I said, look at this photo, look what you did to this girl. And he turned the picture over and he put his head down on the table. And by itself, does that mean that he did it? Absolutely not. But when you couple it with the rest, that is yet another piece of evidence that he won. Did not want to see the result of the assault of what he had caused. And it was almost like the. You got me. He was arrested on July 5th, 2017. For the crime he committed seven years earlier. So knowing what you know and Asia, the evidence that you have in your pocket to be able to move forward DNA. How difficult would it be for you to prove this case, and what direction would you go? I mean every case has to be your most difficult because it just takes one on any jury for you to get an acquittal. So I'm sure that's how the prosecutors went about this because you have to look at the challenges they had, you know, passage of time, all this kind of novel at best, evidentiary techniques used to get them. So in the end, there was a discussion in court about a no contest plea. Why do you think that came up one thing about a plea? Is that it's definite you don't have to worry about? Will all the jurors get it? I mean, it is an absolute definite. It's over. It also wasn't going to put this young girl, I mean, think of all Britney had been, her physical challenges, the psychological challenges that she had to face, and now you're going to put her back up on the sand to relive all that, to have her memory tested and pushed and cross examined by the defense. So if they could get him to agree that he was guilty and give him a sentence, in this case he did. He took a sentence of 18 years. I think that was the right way to go. It was very just. And appropriate in this case, it was the maximum that he could get. I was so proud of Brittany. She's come so far. Even though she survived, she still lost a part of herself that she won't get back. She's a different person. She's had some additional surgeries to get her smile back, and now that that is healed, you know, she's she's starting to. When she smiles, she has both sides of her mouth go up and that's coming back and she's amazing. She's happy and she's doing great. Incredible story of survival and an incredible bond that a mother and daughter developed in the worst of events, something that will last with them forever. TuneIn next Wednesday, when we'll dissect another new case on anatomy of murder. Anatomy of Murder is an audio Chuck original, A Weinberger media and forseti media production summit. David is executive producer.