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.

Be Best (Wayne Best)

Be Best (Wayne Best)

Tue, 18 Jan 2022 08:00

Shots fired in the dead of night…a house set ablaze…a young man almost run over…and wild rumors swirling in the community. It’s the type of case that keeps investigators (and you) guessing every step of the way.

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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. I was asleep and Johnny was in his room and he came upstairs screaming, saying Wayne's been shot. That was the worst phone call I've ever received. We had nothing. They're thinking, are they going to catch him? Are they going to get them? I recall thinking to myself, wow, this is going to be a hard one to solve. I'm Scott Weinberger's, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. Belasi former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of Investigation Discovery's true conviction, and this is anatomy of murder. So often when you hear a case called a whodunnit, well, maybe it kind of is, but you still have a sense of what happened or who in the end. But today's case is truly a whodunit, and just when you think you know which way it's going to head, all of a sudden something surprising happens and it's going to make you second guess everything you've been thinking before. We want to begin today's story with two people who met in Schenectady, NY 1st is Wayne Best senior. My first apartment, when I moved to Schenectady, was right above this diner. And a waitress named Karen Kirsch. I worked in a diner and he would come in for coffee, so I would just go downstairs and grab my cup of coffee. And he would bring the boys with them every day. Wayne Senior had two kids. He had two little boys, Wayne Junior and Johnny. Wayne and Johnny were just so cute and just a big, big smile in his squinty eyes. And he had this routine every morning that he would go downstairs from where his apartment was, there was a little coffee shop and he would get his morning coffee. He'd get it to go. And he would never leave me a tip. So one day I said to him, I'm like, well, it's good with this. I serve you coffee every day and you never give me a tip. Well, one day that coffee turned into the conversation, and soon that conversation turned into them being a couple. I mentioned that I wanted a haircut and I couldn't get my hairdresser to give me a haircut, and he said I'll cut your hair for you. I was a licensed Barber at the time, so I cut her hair. I mean, it just snowballed from there. Some people fall in love at first sight, others warm up to each other overtime, and that's exactly what happened with Karen and Wayne Senior. But it's the relationship that Karen formed with Wayne seniors, two sons, that made it really a perfect fit. She really almost fell in love with them before she fell in love with their dad. Well, it was right at the beginning of winter. So they had their big puffy coats on and they had their little hats on, and just all you could see was these fat little faces looking at you and they were just adorable and they didn't have their mother in their life. Now just to get our facts straight here about this family. Both of these boys were the biological children of Wayne Senior, but Karen had known them since they were two and three and she really was a mother to them in every sense of the word and loved both those boys, loved them as her own. Shortly thereafter, we moved in together. You know, the rest is history. And just the way this whole now blended, family meshed and met kind of talks to a sweetness, if you will, in the resulting history. While Wayne Junior and his brother Johnny were very close growing up, they could not be more different. While Johnny was the quiet type, Wayne Junior was more outgoing and he knew just about everyone. As a kid and I'm talking three years old. Just when Wayne would walk into the room, like with his arms, you know, like he's he's showing his muscles. He was just a very well liked, well known. His presence was strong. When Junior's dad talked about what an influence Wayne had not only on his family, but his friends and his community. Just a great, upstanding kid. He always looked out for his friends. We could fill this entire podcast with all the nice things that people had to say about Wayne Junior. One thing was hard to miss about Wayne Junior and that is that he was an incredibly gifted athlete. From everything from football to lacrosse to his beloved BMX biking. He not only did it all, but he was great at it all too. I grew up my whole life playing ice hockey and that was my sport, something I still love even once in a while. I still get out there if I can get ice time after. 5:00 o'clock in the morning, but lacrosse is a very difficult sport to master. It is a fast-paced contact sport and like hockey you really need great coordination to be sharp on your feet in order to really become proficient. Wayne was the only person from Schenectady in 2006 to make the New York State Empire State games lacrosse team. That is a huge accomplishment. He was the only person and they try out. I want to say there were a few 100 people trying out, so they were excellent lacrosse players. Wayne Junior's biggest passion was BMX biking. I would love for you guys to see some of the videos his friends made because you would really get to see him in his element. I mean right on the left side drive with dark right side page. Let me share some videos with us of Wayne doing some tricks. This is a guy who just looks so comfortable in his own skin. I read the he is smiling and laughing and he did it, spending a lot of time perfecting some pretty dangerous tricks. Like jumping over concrete barriers or sliding down a railing on a set of stairs. He did like to do very crazy tricks. Like if he fell and burned and people were laughing at him, he didn't care. He would get back up and do it again. And another thing, he is always surrounded by people. Who did you get all Tommy pickle footed? Pickles. He wasn't all around really good guy. You could really tell how outgoing he was and how comfortable he was basically with everyone. But that was all going to change on December 9th of 2014. Wayne was murdered when he was 25. By then, Karen and Wayne's dad had separated for several years. Both Johnny and Wayne lived at Karen's. Who still remembers the last time she saw Wayne Junior? I went to work and went to the dentist and then my sister and I just went home and made a ton of Christmas cookies. Wayne came home with like five of his friends and they all just sat around in their kitchen having milk and cookies. I had that dental work done. And I asked him to go get me some yogurt because I couldn't eat. And then that was it. It was over. So is Karen Lee sleeping? She knew that Wayne Junior, who was 25 years old at the time, had gone back out with friends, and her younger son, Johnny, came running up the stairs hysterical. He came upstairs screaming, saying Wayne's been shot. It happened right in front of the apartment. Karen ran out the front door and she could see Wayne. My sister was with me and we went downstairs and the boy that Wayne was with was smart enough to keep us away from Wayne. The friend that he was with tried to shield her from what he knew were serious wounds. Johnny basically took off running, I think, to go figure out who was running down the road and I just stayed calling 911. Just thinking about this, her child, albeit a young grown man, is outside, laying on the ground, not moving, and what that must have been like to her. You know, you have to think that any parent of course wants to get down and be there with their child, to help them, to save them if they can. But she couldn't even get close, and at that point they waited for police. The Police Department arrived 1st and they would not get out of their car until other police officers showed up, I guess for safety reasons. There was a couple of police officers there and then the ambulance showed up. Now, in my experience, normally it's the other way around. If EMS or paramedics would arrive before police and some cases they may choose to wait for police, especially in a call involving gunfire. But I cannot speak to what or why that would happen here. Agreed. You know, it struck me definitely as off when I heard it. You know, I would understand sometimes if it was one officer because there's a safety protocol of making sure they are two, but assuming that's the case, as Karen said, why they wouldn't get out to try to render? Some assistance. It's just a big question mark. Another person who was soon notified about the shooting on scene was Wayne's father. I was at home and I got a call from an unrecognized number, and it's after one in the morning. But then the call came in three times and it was my son Jonathan calling me from the person's phone that was with Wayne. And he says, Daddy, you got to come quick. Wayne's been shot. That was the worst phone call I've ever received. So immediately, I mean, I was only 10 blocks away, so I was there within 10 minutes. And again, you know, just. The worst night? And I'm sure any of us could imagine what that ride, even for only 10 blocks, must have been like. Johnny went with his father to the hospital, and my sister and I went to the hospital separately. They had separated Karen and Wayne in a separate wing off of the ER, so they can have some privacy while they wait for the diagnosis of where Waynes injuries and how severe they were. But they have no idea what condition Wayne Junior is actually in. Is he alive? Is he dead? Is he even conscious at that point? But then after a while, a group of doctors come in. There was a wall of police officers behind these two doctors and nurses. We got the news that he didn't make it. And we ask, can we please just see him? And they said no. And I said I promise we won't touch him. Can we please just see him? And they were adamant that we could not see him. Obviously everyone deserves to be able to see a loved one when they want to see the loved one, especially in that moment. But at that point I've got to believe that it was because of the state of what he is and again, doctors police didn't want them to see. What he looked like with those gunshot wounds and probably with whatever medical assistance they had tried to give, they just didn't want him to see it. And also at that point, Wayne's body and his condition was also, at the time, potentially evidence. His body is a crime scene. The humane thing to do is give a family what they're asking for, but in the end, you want to preserve the most you can to bring that family justice. And I don't think what we're saying is to give any excuses for it because it is so hard to wrap your head around. And it makes me uncomfortable even talking about it because what parent should ever be denied access to their child? The night that it happened, Johnny was just kind of he was hysterical. He was upset, he saw what happened to his brother. But the tragedy wasn't over. It was just the beginning. And now the family and investigators were left with the one burning question who shot Wayne Junior? And for Karen and the rest of the family, those next days were an obvious blur. There are Funeral arrangements just grieving from this loss that they just cannot even fathom that he's actually gone. But at the same time, police are wasting no time from jumping into the investigation. And as far as the crime scene, there really wasn't much to process because it was not much. Forensic evidence left at the scene, and just generally Speaking of course they're taking the obvious steps. Were there people out there that saw anything, heard anything, interviewing people that may have been around looking for surveillance footage? There was one person with Wayne Junior who survived the attack. His name was Sean, and police needed to talk to him to get any description or any information that could lead them to a potential suspect. And one of the difficulties about that was while he could tell them what happened. He couldn't give them much about who because of people that ran up on them were wearing masks. A guy in a dark hood and a neoprene mask gets hacked him. He fought back. You know, Scott, so often when police don't have much to go on in the beginning, they look for motive. When we got down to the Police Department, they separated us and we each got our own detective to talk to. They asked us if we knew anything, if we knew who would want to hurt Wayne. And basically Wayne really didn't have any. Dummies. Just everything that we heard and we saw and learned about Wayne Junior. A guy like that who really doesn't have any so popular, so well liked. It makes it all the more difficult to think of who might have wanted to harm him. And then the evidence started gradually coming in. Here you had Wayne Junior, whose pockets were turned out, and that leads to an investigative theory that this may have begun as a robbery, but police already had a name to investigate. Someone Wayne's mother, Karen knew, had a recent beef with her son. All I could assume was I knew that there was one boy that Wayne had some issues with, and I didn't think it was anything that drastic, but Wayne didn't have problems with anybody, so I thought it had something to do with this kid. 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. Are 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. Just a few months earlier, Wayne had come home after being maced, and now that someone could be suspected in the murder of Wayne Junior. So far you've heard that Wayne Junior had a lot of friends, was very well liked, and very few enemies according to family and friends. But it turns out that Wayne did have a problem with someone, and they've actually had a physical altercation just a few months before he was murdered. So I was just trying to help him wash the Mace out of his eyes and he just kind of broke down and told me that this kid Devin had sprayed him with Mace. I don't know that he told me the whole story. You know, when you think about everything you heard about Wayne Junior Scott, I don't even expect to hear that you fight with anyone, let alone with something that rose to the level of using Mace. And so you kind of want, or I want to know why a prior incident with someone involving being sprayed with Mace is a very valuable lead, and that's who I originally told police I thought I had done. It was this one individual? Now investigators have a lead they can look into and at least they were supposed to look into. I contacted the detective that I was dealing with in the very beginning so often that he told me I couldn't call him anymore. But it wasn't Even so much that they didn't have the answer. It was what she was getting back in response. In fact, in my book, he broke the golden rule, which is Telia victims family. I'm too busy. Where? Please stop calling me. He would say things to me like I'm going on vacation and my wife will be mad if you call me. Or there was a big fire in Schenectady. And he would say, well, we had to put Wayne's case on the back burner because now we have a new shiny fire that we're dealing with. Like, you don't say that to the mother. I closed my eyes when she says it, because there really is so much to bedside manner. You know, say somebody else's case is more important than hers. There had been a fire in Schenectady. It was a big fire. It took more than one life and so of course, again, it's going to be an all hands on deck case and you know, yeah, it's understandable that they're going to have to switch gears, but to be crass or or almost cruel in your coldness, I'm not down with that and I I think none of us are. That is not the way you handle family. That is not the way you investigated family members homicide. And I will say his behavior was inexcusable. But here's where I have to commend what Schenectady police did overall. They recognized the concern the family had and that the investigator didn't have the bandwidth to handle Wayne's case alone. So a new person stepped in to help, and there was a very special Lieutenant detective who later rose the ranks in the Police Department. My name is Eric Clifford and I'm the chief of police in Schenectady, NY. I took more of a leadership position on this case. They needed a lot of help. Eric Clifford's path to law enforcement was not a straight line. His older brother was a police officer and prior to Eric joining the department, he was an insurance claims adjuster. Well, it's interesting story. I was actually in line to move up the corporate ladder there and the insurance business when 911 happened. And I remember like it was yesterday being out in the field while those towers were falling here I am on the road chasing a number for insurance company. I just kind of felt like I wasn't making a difference. So and it's kind of dawned on me maybe I'll take the police test. And as he rose the ranks in the department, he started to make change, one case at a time, especially with cases that weren't even his cases, like Wayne Junior shooting. In the early stages of the investigation we had nothing. One of the leading theories was the information from Wayne's mom about a person called Devin who maced Wayne Junior. It got communicated to us that Wayne was beefing with these two guys and one of them used bear Mace on him in a bar. They had motive to go after him. As Eric began to look into it, it seemed like a possibility. The more information he got, the more connective tissue he uncovered. There's two guys, one that lived in New York City and one that lived locally and the one that lived locally. Because his name was being floated around, he started to lose control. And Devin went so far as he was at someone else's house a bit far away in a neighboring town, and he is literally screaming in the street. You think I did it? You think I killed him? And it is the way that all this attention was getting under his skin that they thought it might just be because he was hiding something, perhaps involvement. This kind of made it both more suspicious of him, and we wanted to interview that person and explore it further. But as they're looking into Devon a bit closer, police got another tip. This one came from jail. It was a really weird story that tells us he's got information about a 16 year old by the name of Jake and say that Jake was with this other guy named Savage and they were walking together with Wayne arguing over weed and money. And then Savage pulled the black handgun out that Jack stepped in and told Savage to calm down. And then we started running and Jack ended up following and he couldn't keep up and it was just this really long drawn out. Story. Hearing the story that's coming from this jailhouse informant, it doesn't really sound that legit on its face. You know, it sounds a bit outlandish, but then again, why would someone in jail go out of their way to call the police? We've talked about jailhouse informants, and they could provide useful information, but sometimes that information comes with conditions like, what are you going to do for me? And all of that has to be taken into consideration. What made this theory interesting is that there's some consistency with what actually had happened. But there is one more thing here to point out and that is the timing. It's not like these calls came in right after Wayne Junior had been murdered sometime, had a lapse where the police really weren't getting anywhere. And so it is possible that whoever committed this crime was now in prison for something else and had made these statements and now this person was just calling to tell the police what they knew or even also to help themselves. So we were working the Dev and Chris Angle. We had this person that had a whole bunch of information, could have been. From young stupid 16 year old kid that did this and while police were taking a closer look into that lead. You ready for this? Another tip comes in. You got a call from this girl who is scared out of her mind will only talk to me to get a call like that. Certainly it peaked my attention to say, well, let's see what we got here. Maybe this is the one that's going to solve this for us. So we're going and we meet with this girl and she tells us a story about these two guys. They're brothers. And it is the most crazy story that we've ever heard. These brothers, one dealt drugs. The person that drove Wayne to the scene, his name was Sean. He owed Bob $250 for drugs, and Bob was looking for Sean and he was going to kill him for the money he owed him. And then what really got this girl worried is that right? After Wayne died, both boys started freaking out, saying we gotta clean up our Facebook. The two men she had talked about in the tip were known to scrub their own Facebook pages of pictures of them allegedly holding guns, holding money, putting them in sort of a negative position or a negative light where investigators may have picked up on that and thought, wow, they were moving evidence off of Facebook, which could implicate them potentially in a crime or at least bring police to their door for questioning. It has some possibility that could this be happening? This very complex theory that she came up with, you know, she's really putting a lot of pieces together and really almost put on her own. Armchair Detective Hat went to Facebook and started doing investigation to these guys that they knew. She started correlating it that, you know, it got put out to the media, that they silence had face masks and she's like, well, they both own face masks. You really need to start to wonder, is it that she has this information that's going to pan out, or she's just putting some random pieces together that aren't going to lead anywhere? In the end, it turns out that these boys had nothing to do with it. So with so many leads police are hunting down, let us sort of walk you through a couple of the theories that they're working. The two men from the random girl, the tip that was given. Police determined that tip was not valuable. The man who called from jail with some information, it really wasn't lining up either. And then there was Devin the Mace guy. He's the most compelling theory to the family, but that too turned out not to be involved in the murder of Wayne Best Junior. It just so happened that this person didn't get along with Wayne. They had a lot of interactions, they had a lot of words, but he had nothing to do with the case. They looked into him hard. They really did. Usually when someone is identified very quickly in the beginning, especially by multiple people, that it ends up being their guy or their gal. But in the end, here the question becomes, where do you go from there? You're thinking, are they gonna get them? Are they gonna get them? Are they gonna catch him? Are they gonna get them? As a matter of fact, I recall thinking to myself when this incident occurred. Wow, this is going to be a hard one to solve. 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. Wayne Junior was a 25 year old young man who had his entire life ahead of him and he was well liked and loved by the community and that community was rocked when he was murdered. He was a guy that was just friends with everybody. He really connected our community between white people, black people, Hispanic people. He was that kind of guy that would enter a bar. Everybody would say his name and come up and say hi to him. And it also showed in the funeral that they held. It was incredible. The school lit up, their whole lighted sign, shirts were made, hats were made. I was so completely overwhelmed by the amount of donations that came in to help me pay for his funeral, like people I didn't even know. It was a huge outpouring in the community. There were over 700 people at the funeral. The funeral director had never seen anything like it. People were down the block waiting to get in to see Wayne. We actually went through three of these signing books. I mean, there was 75 or better of his friends that did a bike ride for him. We do tree lightings for him every year. And while Wayne's popularity certainly was evident in all the outpouring of support, it also brought some complications to the investigation, because many who knew him also had their own theory, who may have been responsible. So many people wanted this case solved that so many tips and so many random facts, if you will, were just flooding the gates of police headquarters that sometimes too wide a surge can make the investigation take so much time. And as we've said before, every tip needs to be investigated. Thing. At one point we had four or five legitimate theories going on that we had to either confirm or negate as a part of this investigation. Somebody comes to us and gives us a theory. We can't just say that's crazy. You're not looking into it. We have to look into it and disprove it. Otherwise it gives defense for the person we do arrest. It gives them the opportunity and say, well, the police knew about this and didn't even investigate it. The lack of movement in this case didn't deter the best family to continue pushing for answers to make sure that everything that could be done was being done. An equal in the family's commitment and determination to solve this case was Chief Clifford. I was very impressed. I felt like he wasn't just telling me something just because I wanted to hear it. He never gave me any false hopes. He just let me know that they were working on it. We've talked about this in other cases. It's the type of case an investigator would be all in determined to get answers for that family. I got the closest with the family of the victim, between Karen and John Wayne's brother and Wayne senior, his father. I got to know them. And Amir, unlike any others, you know something that I'll carry on the rest of my career. I have a better understanding of what it's like to be a crime victim because of the relationship I formed with them. And during the investigation, Eric Clifford found out more about Wayne Junior that now gave them an additional theory to pursue, and that had to do with marijuana. Wayne Junior, by his own family's account, like to smoke as many young people do, but that when he had that marijuana or weed, that he sometimes would sell it, give it to other people who were looking for it too. Time carried it in his backpack. We're talking about personal use. Did he sell weed? Yes. Did he have his own stash to sell? No. So we are talking about the transferring of marijuana they had for money to friends and other people that might be looking for it but that it's really more recreational back and forth amongst friends. However, you know Scott, we've heard that even when it's between friends and and more recreational dealing like this that it can still end up being something that goes wrong and leads to violence. We have seen homicides over a small amount of marijuana or a small amount of any drug, but what the information does do is give. A lead, a theory, a possible motive, whether it was someone wanted that marijuana or money he may have had for it or because of it, and that may have been just the thing that was ultimately a motive for murder. And then yet again, another theory comes in, and it has to do with the bar called the sawmill in it's a place that Wayne did frequent from time to time. It also has quite an interesting history. It's what they call a biker bar, and at one time even Hell's Angels were seen hanging out there. The theory that started to evolve was that Wayne, he almost had like the weekends where he'd go to these different bars, and people knew that he would have marijuana on him. But Wayne had the ability to connect and make a larger purchase if necessary, and the theory that came to us was that he had hooked up with some bikers from Rensselaer County and purchased marijuana. After he made the purchase, robbed him of that back, killed him. There were many, many different people connected to that, a lot of young people that were winning stage. And hearing all this is exactly what I was talking about at the beginning of this podcast. Like, as soon as you see things one way now, the police are lit in a completely different direction, and each one has the potential for being just the thing they're looking to solve this case. But each one of those leads dead ended. So it's like almost you had too many leads, too many possibilities that they just didn't know which way to turn until finally police would uncover a clue that was going to pay off and actually lead them to their killer. Schenectady has a lot of cameras, the kind that are St cams that tell you information about traffic and also useful for police in deterring crime. You can go back and listen to whatever episodes from earlier this year, Mary Greco. It also involved the use of this street camera network. We went and got camera footage from the College in front of the college, there's a countywide camera. So using those two different camera views, we actually saw right after Sean and Wayne's car drove past a flash of a vehicle that we queued in on reset. That looks like the vehicle. This is big. I mean, this is the thing that just might blow the lid off this entire investigation. We have a very granular visual of what the vehicle looks like, and I just knew in my gut that this vehicle right here is going to be the key to solving this crime. And now we're going to go back into Chief Clifford's former life before he was a member of law enforcement, and that background is going to really factor in. Before I was a police officer, I worked as an insurance adjuster, so I had a really good background in cars. I estimated damage on them. I had been training, so I started working the video footage that we had by taking stills and just scanning the Internet to see if I could find a car that looked like that one we were initially fixated on. Was it a Nissan Pathfinder? Was it a Chevy product? Accurate product? Honda products. So we just kept going back and forth, back and forth on all these products and it was a lot of work. I love this type of detective work. It's not the DNA evidence or what you're going to find out in a crime lab. It is old school police work, sometimes called gumshoe. We were able to get a better view of it and really key in on the fact that it was a Chevy Tahoe. You would never think how would being an insurance adjuster help him in his police work, but it was just that thing in helping to figure out the make and model of this grainy image of this footage that led them to such a big step forward in this investigation. Once we confirmed the range of the year, we were able to do something that's called a lawman. Search investigators searched how many of those vehicles could be in the general vicinity and came up with a similar car which had been recently stopped by police for a traffic ticket. One of the vehicles came back to a person by the name of Troy Saunders, and Troy Saunders did not peak our interest for anything. The name Saunders at first didn't raise any eyebrows to investigators, but there's more information in that traffic stop than just the driver. We see that there is a traffic stop where a person by the name of Todd Macon was in the car. Todd had known Wayne. In fact, they were friends, and Todd even attended Wayne's funeral. So it just makes sense that they're going to zero in on him and see, just maybe, is there a link between that guy now and the crime? And here comes even another break. One day, there's a shooting in Schenectady. Todd Macon's name comes up again and I saw his picture on my board. And this is fantastic police work, but it also has to do with that bit of luck that every detective will tell you that they will look for it and take it every time. We realize that the person that did the shooting was a confidential informant for one of our drug guys. So we called our drug detective down to say, hey, we need to go in there and talk to your guy and ask him if he knows anything about the Wayne best homicide. Sure enough, he had started pointing fingers. This time making Troy Saunders. Police arrest Saunders, the one they actually believe shot Wayne. Police also arrested Macon, who was in the car, and while Saunders was fighting with Wayne, they even uncovered a third person who they believe was involved. We triangulated the cell phone towers to the specific location where this crime occurred. Chris Johnson was the other person there who attacked Sean, and his phone number was one of them that came up. Now let's talk a little bit about who Troy Saunders was. He was a guy who wasn't from Schenectady. He was originally from New York City, he was known to be a member of the Bloods gang, and he actually had a criminal history that included another death. It was alleged that he had killed another man in 2002, and he was actually convicted of manslaughter in that case. Nearly a year and a half after Wayne was killed outside of his home, his family finally got to see the people responsible be arrested. Now let's talk about what actually happened the night that Wayne was killed and we're putting multiple pieces together. But Todd Macon knew Wayne Bass, and these guys knew that he often had marijuana for his own use, and he sometimes had it to give or maybe even sell to other friends. They thought it would be an easy way to get marijuana and money by robbing him. And so they actually started placing calls to Wayne Junior where he was, and the reason they were looking for him was to track him down to rob him. And as they went from bar to bar waiting from him, they finally hooked up with him, saw him at one of them, and then they followed him home. Talk about proving intent here. They were able to determine in this investigation that Macon, Saunders and Johnson were following the victim, looking for places to commit this robbery. They actually tried to do something at a local restaurant bar here, but apparently it was just not private enough or whatever, and they decided not to approach Wayne there, and they found out that he was at another bar and they waited outside for him to leave. 1st place may have been too many people. Second place may have had too much light to be able to be seen and they stalked the victim until they found their opportunity. And they followed him home and ambushed him in front of the house. And when they got there, Todd Macon, he was the driver. He stayed in the car as the getaway driver and possibly the lookout. And the two other guys, Troy Saunders and Chris Johnson, they had masks. They got out of the car. At least we know that Troy Saunders for sure had a gun. Todd Macon stayed inside that car while these other two went out and confronted both Wayne Junior and his other friend that they were with. And he didn't give up his property that quickly. And when he tried to fight back, Troy shot him. The two of them ran back into the. Are and Todd Macon drove them away. So we want to secure. Obviously when you have multiple suspects, you know there's methods that you use in separating them and interrogating and talking to them and trying to get as much information as possible. So in your estimation, who do you go after first? It's not going to be the shooter because that's the one you're going to want to make sure is held responsible and get the biggest penalty in the end, assuming that they're all convicted. So it's going to be the guy inside of the car, the Todd Macon and maybe the other guy who was there for this robbery and down for that, but not down for the homicide that ultimately happens. So you're going to also go to Christopher Johnson and that's exactly what they did. And both those guys gave statements and ultimately pled guilty. Troy Saunders pled not guilty and his case would go to trial and remember Wayne Bess was shot twice, once right in the heart. And so shooting a firearm at a close range into another person's vital organ, well, that equals intentional murder. You could just tell that Troy was a bad person. He even made a reference to why he did what he did to lane and I think he said I had to put him down. It was just very cold blooded. And you would think that with the three men arrested at the trouble for Karen and the family would be over. But it wasn't. Things only got worse, if that's even possible. I went to bed that night. I knew I was going to court the next day because Todd was trying to get bail. Woke up in the middle of the night and my house was on fire. Somehow, someone set her house on fire. The house that she lived in overnight, it was darkness of night. It caught on fire 12:30 at night, 1:00 o'clock in the morning. Whatever it was, somebody burnt the house down. The firemen got me out. We immediately started trying to figure out who the suspects could be. The fire that burned down Karen's house was the night before Todd Macon's bail hearing. Even though a good amount of time had passed since Wayne Best Junior's murder, the fact they were having a bail hearing the next day and this was considered a suspicious fire. Who could have set that fire and why? And was it connected to the hearing the next day? A horrible situation for Karen and her son John to have not only lost Wayne in the streets in front of where the house is, but then till have lost their house, it's absolutely horrible. And now here's something else. As police were looking into the fire and whether it was connected to Wayne Junior's murder, the family was dealt yet another blow, this time involving Wayne Junior's younger brother, Johnny. He and his mom had gone to stay with a friend because, remember, their home had been burned down as as he walked the family dog next door behind a bingo parlor, a car came into the back. It came into the back of the bingo parlor, which had no business being back there, did kind of like a a circle and then all of a sudden just gunned it right at him. Johnny only had a second to jump out of that path or he would have been hit. It was crystal clear that the driver was trying to hit John. I already didn't know is that there was a very good camera system behind this bingo parlor. Police were able to identify the driver, and it was Devin. I questioned Johnny about it, he said. Daddy, that's the same guy that makes Dwayne in the face. The same person who was looked at for Wayne's murder. The same person who maced Wayne months before his death. So hearing that now the Devon that had been named all the way from the beginning by Karen as being potentially responsible for her son's murder now is responsible as the one who almost tried to run over now her other son, you know, does that make him more suspicious in the homicide or maybe in the fire? And police concluded again they had already ruled him out conclusively as to the homicide. So then the question is why? Now to be clear, he has never been charged with anything related to the fire, but he did actually go to prison for trying to hit Johnny with the car. He is currently serving eight years for that crime after being convicted by a jury. And while there's no answer out of his mouth as to the why the family suspects, it was because they had originally blamed him for the homicide and he was just so upset and angry about having been accused for that crime. When it came time for trial, prosecutors were setting up their strategy, and both those other defendants make an end. Johnson did plead guilty in exchange for their testimony and cooperation at trial. But there is yet another thing that threw this case sideways, and that is when it came time for trial. Troy Saunders decided to represent himself. I think that he had been through enough trials where he learned how to defend himself. I've never seen a a suspect be able to cross examine witnesses and to me it almost didn't even seem right. By cross examining that accuser to me in some aspects it almost seemed like he had the ability to re victimize some people. And not only did Wayne best family have to be there and subject to cross examination by Saunders, the Co defendants did too. And you know, I thought it was interesting when I was reading some of the trial testimony, just hearing what actually happened in one of the Co defendant's own words. And that is Todd Macon. As he was being questioned at trial, and I quote the plan was to rob him. It was simple. He had weed and the plan was to take it from him without paying for it. He said that we waited in the car. You. Because that Saunders is being questioned by Saunders and Chris got out of the car. I don't know what you guys did. And then he said that after the shooting that he picked up both Saunders and Johnson and they fled. For the family of any victim of homicide, going through a trial is grueling and emotionally draining process. Yes, there is hope that justice for the victim will be down the road, especially for the family, and it is still a difficult process to go through. And for the family of Wayne best junior, it was no different. But as hoped, the outcome was justice. Troy Sanders was convicted of first degree murder charges for killing Wayne Bush Junior. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility. Of parole in 2017 and as to the two Co defendants that were allowed to plead guilty to robbery in exchange for their testimony. Todd Macon received a sentence of 15 years in prison and Christopher Johnson received 12 1/2 years. And there is still that open question about the fire. Was someone trying to send the best family a message? That question is still an open one today. Nobody has yet to be held responsible for that arson. You know, I'd be out at a restaurant and I'd see John there, or I'd be out at the store and I'd see Wayne or Karen. They'd always go either way to say hi to me. We'd wish each other Merry Christmas, you know, happy Thanksgiving, things like that. Which they're not the only ones that I've connected with that have been crime victims, but somehow we made a connection that continues on to this day. You know, as a chief of a department, he can't possibly stay in touch with the hundreds of people that he is in touch with on the many cases he handles. But the best family is one that he maintains a relationship with to this day. And to me that talks about the type of people they are, the type of person that Wayne Junior was and also the type of person that Chief Clifford is. Wayne Best Junior was a gifted athlete, a warm hearted conversationalist, someone who can get along with just about anyone you know. There's a quote that says if you want to know the measure of a man, simply count his friends. And by all accounts, Wayne Junior had many. But rather than us talking to you about who Wayne Junior was, we'd like you to hear it from his friends. He was just the best person you could possibly imagine. You think of that and that was Wayne. He was just a fun, loving happy. I would say honorable because he was just an all around great kid. Anything with wheels was his thing. He taught my children how to skateboard. He had effect on any age group from my four or five year old son at the time to I've seen him hug old homeless men that he knows. Wayne was always doing good and being there for people. If he came to Wayne for help, he was there to help you. He's just a good dude. Wayne was too good for this world and I feel that's why he's not in it anymore. If you could talk to Wayne now, if you could say anything to him, what would you say? Just that I love him and I miss him. That he was just a really overall good guy. He was a great person and he loved his family and he loved his friends. TuneIn next week for another new episode of Anatomy of Murder. Anatomy of Murder is an audio Chuck original produced and created by Weinberger Media and for SETI Media. Ashley Flowers and submit David are executive producers. This episode was researched and produced by Hallie Lucas Shevitz. So what do you think, Chuck, do you approve? Umm.