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.

Lovers' Lane (Robert Farberger and Eva Caudell)

Lovers' Lane (Robert Farberger and Eva Caudell)

Tue, 09 Aug 2022 07:00

A couple seeks seclusion on a quiet, winter night. But away from prying eyes also means no witnesses. A romantic rendezvous becomes a double homicide. And, the investigation’s biggest ally is the weather.

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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. 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. It's kind of a lovers lane. The officers will cruise through there, you know, once or twice a night, just to make sure everybody knows that it's patrolled. So that's when he approached the car and saw it. I'm Scott Weinberger, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. Delizie former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of Investigation Discovery's true conviction. It's anatomy of murder. One of my most favorite adesida isms, if you will, is something she may tell a detective who's bringing her a case. A case that may not be quite baked yet. Don't tell me what you know, tell me what I can prove and that really will come to play in today's case. And I think I love when I get to quote you in the podcast. And I've I've had to see what was coming to see if I liked it too. But that's a good one, so I'll take it. For today's case, we spoke to retired Detective Rafael Tobar. I started my career at this Plaines Police Department on July 23rd, 1970. And detective tovar. His jurisdiction was the city of Des Plaines, which is a Police Department located just north of O'Hare Airport. The dispatch Police Department was 100 and 10115 man. Police Department Detective Tovar began his career in 1970 and has worked on some very high profile cases, including the John Wayne Gacy case. But today's case is a different type of homicide. It takes place in the section of the city often used as a lovers lane, a secluded area frequented by people looking for some private time inside their cars. You know it's going to be somewhere quiet, but that also makes them potential targets because of that seclusion too. The officers will cruise through their, you know, once or twice a night. Just make sure everybody knows that it's patrolled. It was just before 1:00 AM on the morning of January 10th, 1996. An officer on routine patrol near an industrial park passes through that lovers Lane section and sees a 1987 red Chevrolet. He notices the man lying with his head back on the headrest and music was still coming from the car and the car was also still running just out of the corner. I saw that the passenger, the mail was sitting up and there was nobody in the driver seat, so he assumed they were. Doing something, so he just passed on mine and then he came back later. 90 minutes after passing that vehicle and going to the industrial park, the officer returns, gets out of his vehicle, and he is slowly walking towards the car. He begins to notice that the man inside isn't engaging in anything promiscuous. In fact, he's not engaging in anything at all. And he saw that nobody had moved. So that's when he went over and he approached the car and saw it. The approach he saw at the male individual was leaning back on the headrest as mouth was open. He could see blood coming out of his mouth. He had one arm down on his thigh and the other one on the armrest. Now, to him, this is not just a sleeping situation or a couple that lovers lane. This is a homicide. And as he looked in, he saw there was a female who was laying on his left thigh and looking forward. And he could see that she had blood in the back of her head and our shoulder. He could also see blood there. So I think my first thought looking at the crime scene would be a potential murder suicide based on the absence of a weapon that would change and lead me to believe it's likely a double homicide. And I had a very different thought when I saw it, which is that, you know, there was one detail that. Was left out here. The man's ID's were sitting on the dashboard of his car. So now you have two people in the car, clearly dead. And all I could think about was that they were targeted and maybe by someone posing as sort of law enforcement, you know, hey, take out your license because why else would they have their license out? They take out their license, they put on the dashboard. And then this person, whether from outside of the car, even inside the car, takes that moment of whether it's confusion or they're not knowing who they're dealing with and then goes on to commit this crime. Interesting take for sure. And again, it's got like, I have no idea at this point, but that's all I could picture when I had the two people dead in this lovers lane and ID sitting on the dashboard after securing the scene, officers radio for crime scene investigators and detectives. And one of them was Rafael Tovar. I was off duty and I got called in as one other detective. Just a little bit more about Rafael Tovar's journey to law enforcement. It did not take a traditional path. I started out to be a history teacher. Actually, I'm a history buff. I've traveled to six of the seven continents, 68 countries, and I go where there's stuff to see that I studied about, like the pyramids about to beat you. You know, I just love the history. I helps me in my conversations with people, especially working narcotics. That's your your biggest weapon in your mouth. How well can you lie to these people to make yourself believable? After he got out of college, Rafael ended up going to work for an airline out of Chicago, and he was there for a short time when his then father-in-law said, you know, the local Police Department is looking for specifically Spanish speaking applicants. An application. They told me that the deadline was the day before that. Is that OK fine. So I started to walk away and they Lieutenant came running out after me and did you speak Spanish? I said yeah fluently you just can I talk to you said sure at that time they are high requirement for police officer you have to be at least 510 and unfortunately most of my my race are short guys at that time. So he was he was impressed that I was over 510 and I had college education and so he. Said that he would waive the deadline rule and I filled out an application on the spot and like within a week I said the police Academy. Being a Spanish speaking police officer was a real advantage of the city of Des Plaines, IL in the 1970s. There was a lot of Spanish speaking people in the area and they'd have to use these services that had interpreters and they're not very good witnesses in court. We used to have, in New York City, we called language line, and we used to all just roll our heads when you were doing that because there was so much that was often lost in the translation. We'd be speaking to people often on the phone when you're writing these complaints, and they spoke another language so you would have an interpreter on the line. And so there was so much loss in translation that it's just so much better when you have someone sitting there with you, like a police officer who speaks their native tongue. More often than that, you know, when there was a problem I had to handle it and it was a good training for me. You know, it's always a motivation for any Police Department anywhere in the country to have their agency reflect the community. And the agency would find real use in his language skills, especially when it came to working narcotics. Raphael worked as an undercover agent for more than 20 years. And in between those times, I would go back and work as a detective. And that's where this case came in, among other cases that I worked. And a little bit more about the area that we're talking about, Dis Plaines, Illinois. It's an affordable area, a bit transient because it has major highways connecting the community. When I first started armed robberies, strangely enough with the big crime because they could get off the Expressway, hit a place and hop back on and go back into the city, mostly where city people coming out to do. When Raphael gets to the crime scene, he finds things very much as he was told by the initial officers, with two exceptions. There was too many people near my crime scene, mostly the ones with gold badges, but once we clear to everybody away, I could see the car where it was located. It was still running. As they looked at the car more closely, and also the surrounding area, Rafael began noticing a few things that seemed whether they're out of place or that weren't part of the initial call. I looked further with a flashlight. I could see a couple of casing on the floor and in the back seat in the front seat. Rafael could tell the majority of this crime scene was inside the vehicle, leading him to believe that both victims were shot by a suspect or suspects that were likely sitting right behind both of the victims in the back seat. And the medical examiner obviously in the next days would do autopsies on both the man and the woman and determine that the manner of death for both was gunshot wounds to the head, and the bullets recovered from both their bodies were 380 automatic caliber bullets. Woman. She had been shot in the back of the head also, and one kind of ricocheted a little bit. Went in through her shoulder. So there's clearly a number of bullets fired into the car, but there were no bullet holes on the windshield. So that either is going to mean that the windows were down and were fired through that opening and they were down, or the killers in the back seat. And remember, both these individuals were shot in the back of the head. The crime scene search expanded around the vehicle to determine if anything could be recovered, and two important piece of evidence would be located in the vicinity of the victim's car. It's generally very cold in January. You get a lot of snow at that time, and I try to keep everybody away because it had just been snowing a little bit. Hopefully we could find some footprints or something. One of the other detectives found some tracks that actually led from the back seat of the car to this tree. And then they found some yellow snow. We all know what yellow snow is, so we make sure we block that off to recover it. The first question that Rafael thought though, was could this be a potential source of DNA? So, Scott, when you think about, you know, Rafael, and obviously other investigators are already starting to formulate theories about who could have done this, you know. So, you know, you have to start to think about was this a thrill kill because there's nothing missing. So it doesn't say robbery to me. How about you? Well, the term up close. Personal really speaks for itself here, for me and to go to the urine in the snow for a second. The first question that comes to my mind is, had it been done prior to the killings, it would mean to me that there was some connection with the victims. And here's why. Someone who would be able to nonchalantly go out and relieve himself means that they weren't worried about attracting any attention or surprising the victim. Now, if it was done after the fact, well that says to me the killer felt confident enough that he could just stand there after murdering. Two people and just relieve himself. So that starts to build in my mind, a theory of who the killer may be. I still really believe at this point. It's certainly personal. You know, carjacking is worth the big thing then, so I I don't think that we would have thought that at first. One of the thoughts was, OK, somebody's ripping somebody off some dope. I've been working narcotics off and on, so, you know, my mind went to that right away. People are killed in this area dubbed a lovers lane. So could it be some sort of crime of passion, you know, murder, suicide or someone that's mad that one of them is with the other in this pair? And it doesn't speak to me like that at all. First of all, crime of passion is usually something is happening right before it to now lead to the homicide, so I'm not seeing that one here either. Besides, the urine at the crime scene would be seen as the best working lead on the night of the murders. Footprints in the snow leading away from the crime scene right outside the right rear door was a nice set of shoe impressions. Also looking around we found the same set of footprints going in a NE direction from the scene towards a house that was located nearby. There's been some cases where we followed grass that has been pushed to one side knowing. As someone just passed by, or those items, even if a suspect drops something along the way guides you to the direction that they may have fled. But footprints provide two big pieces of information. It not only tells you the direction of travel, but the footprint evidence itself may end up telling you who was making those tracks. Which is walked all the way to the front of the house and then they walked away and yeah, you hear about it. It's like, wait, what? So someone is going to commit these brutal execution style murders and then just walk through this snow right up to a house that you could almost see from where they were? I mean, while killers just like criminals, like anyone can easily make mistakes, it almost just seems too much on its face. So when investigators followed those footprints from the crime scene, from that red Chevrolet to the door of this house, it appeared that those. Prince actually passed the house, but they would still want to see who is in that specific house. Went to the house and knocked on the door. Just picture what it's like for them as they're approaching that location. Because if by chance the attacker is actually gone into that residence, well, now you have someone who obviously or most likely doesn't want to get caught. And it doesn't take rocket science to come to the conclusion that bad things can easily happen. When someone's feeling cornered and you know, based on the way that this crime was committed, they have a gun. It's in the door and they were greeted by a group of friends that were all living together. It was kind of one of these, almost like a frat girls, a whole bunch of guys living together. Everybody agreed to let us come in and look around and. And the first thing is they wanted to find out who these victims, the man and woman laying in the car, who were they? And this group was able to confirm their identities as Robert Farr Burger, who was 24 years old, and Eva Cordell, who was only 20. They knew that it was Rob because he had been there several time. It was kind of a loose confederation of friends, and within those interviews they also wanted to do one other thing is check everyone's shoes to see if it was any type of visual match for the shoes in the snow. First of all, nothing more wet than secondly, another match. The footwear impressions that we found in the snow, they were all totally different. I mean most of them were, these were definitely like hiking boots as opposed to what was in the house mostly. Everybody had slick so, so we knew it was none of their shoes at that point. But again, this a group, if they know the person who was wearing the shoes, would they even give that to investigators? It's really too early to tell. Guys are being transported to medical examiner's office for autopsy. Raphael and his team began to develop the timeline by using the First officer on scenes account of events and then reaching out to the next of kin of both families for notifications and to fill in some of those gaps in time. We figured it right around midnight that it occurred. So detectives don't get much of anything, at least not concrete, from those conversations inside the home. But they were about to get a very big break when they ran the license plates on the various cars that were outside that residence. They did find one name that they didn't recognize, and they asked someone inside the home, well, do you know who this is? And that person very quickly said yes, it's our friend's car. And the name that they gave was Jim Fievel. Investigators now begin to zero in on Jim Fievel. We learned that James Ziebel had called their earlier saying he was coming over, and then he called again and said he wasn't coming over. They knew they had some potential forensics to compare, and while that was still in process, the head over to his last known address to speak to him. He was not there at the moment, but the roommate allowed him in and gave him permission to search. We're looking to see what kind of shoes he had. I'm looking for a lot of different things, right? We know we have 380 rounds that are used in this double homicide, so I'm looking for the weapon, a box of ammo if it compares to that. And also I'm looking for the boots, I'm looking for clothing. I mean, it could be a treasure trove of a forensic fine there, but then in the middle of their search, police got a visitor. And while they were there, James Ziebel, he finally shows up. He also gave permission to search and they look. They found a couple of boxes of ammunition, but at the end of the day it is just that it is ammunition. And it wasn't even the same type that was used to kill our victims here. But that search definitely paid off because they were able to locate something of great interest, potentially a direct connection between this new person of interest and one of the victims. And it was in the form of a Polaroid picture. And it was a Polaroid picture that was actually taken at a state penitentiary. And it was someone who looked identical to one of the victims, Robert. And it's of James level with the twin brother of the victim. So now this is a potential connection between Jim Thiepval and at least one of the victims. Further interviews revealed that Robert and Eva were boyfriend and girlfriend, and while they knew Robert had a twin brother, another interesting fact came to light that Eva had a twin sister. And this is one of those things that it's just such coincidence. You know, you have one twin that's now dating someone else who also has a twin. And it's just kind of like, what are the odds of that? It doesn't mean anything beyond that, but I thought it was really interesting. And here's what police. Learned of the two victims. The 1987 Chevrolet belonged to Eva's parents and Eva lived with them along with her twin sister. She had just graduated from high school two years earlier. Robert's life had taken a different path. He had had various contacts with law enforcement over the years, multiple lower level crimes. There were property crimes, there was burglary, narcotics possession, damage to property, theft. So in the end these two, certainly on paper seemed very different. Yet they were linked based on their relationship. Eva was a poor soul who kind of went along with with Rob. Rob was kind of a forceful guy and we really didn't know a lot about her. For me, knowing that Robert had some sort of criminal past, including drug possession, you want to explore the potential that this was a drug deal gone wrong between Robert Fahringer and Jim Thiepval. Was Robert the intended target or even taken out to prevent any eyewitnesses to this murder? Or could this been related to some type of love triangle? Now nothing pointed that way, but it is an aspect or an angle that you need to investigate. Back to the photograph that they found. Remember, they've just been going through the apartment that Jim Thiel stayed in with his roommate and the photograph they found. The shoes that he was wearing were quite distinctive. You could see them, but you can see what brand they were and they looked fairly new from that point. Our objective was to try to identify the shoes because we had not found those shoes at his house, but there he was wearing them. Armed with a fair amount of information, Raphael thought it was the right time to get Thiepval on the record. His side of the story and his statements about that evening connected directly with the victims, and everything started to come in focus. That night. He said he was supposed to come out to the house and decided not to come because he had been drinking. Ava and Rob, the two victims, came over to the apartment and wanted to talk to him, and his story was that later, before they left. He remembered that he had been in the back seat that night talking smoke some weed. Devil story was simple. He never left his home that evening except for one reason. Feval told detectives that Rob and Eva had come to his home and he followed them back to their car into the back seat where they all smoked. And all I could think about Scott is the admit what you have to deny what you can. It's like that now this guy happens to be in the car the same night that these people are shot at the same place and it's just a very convenient. Way of placing himself there as an innocent explanation. Again, not enough to take him in the courtroom yet, but I'm certainly looking in his direction for a lot longer time as he talks. Anytime your prime person of interest puts themself with the victims in your investigation, that is a huge box that is checked. The one thing that you may want to do is take the opposite approach. You may want to ask him. We have this evidence that you were with these victims. Why wouldn't we think it's you? How can you explain the fact that you were with them? And now they're dead. And that may place him in a corner to have to come up with more reasons why the connection was as real as it gets. Of his jacket and clothing to see if there was any residue on his jacket, cause I mean he would have been wearing a big jacket, that army jacket that he wore 99% of the time. The shooting all occurred within the car. Multiple gunshots are fired from a semi automatic handgun which pushes off a lot of gunpowder as it's discharging. Imagine if you're in close quarters of a car and a gun is fired. Some of that gunpowder is going to blast back on someone's jacket, on someone's wrists or their shoulders. Anywhere else that a gun can be close to, the gunpowder will transfer to. And now while this is all going on, remember they do collect that yellow snow, which is most likely of course urine. So they find that the. I'm seeing detectives are sending it off to be processed to see what, if anything, they can find out about that forensically. But while that's all going on, there's something else taking place, and that is that the press gets a hold of this too. It was inevitable that this story would receive a substantial amount of media attention, but without any information being released, often misinformation about the case swirls within the community, and rumors are seen as just facts. There was some fairly good covers. Everybody was speculating was in a hit by the outfit. Memories of the mob guy that got shot in the back of the head when he lived and they were comparing that. Yeah, and while all these news stories are on television and in newspapers, investigators are still pounding the pavement trying to talk to witnesses to build their timeline to see what the victims may have been doing prior to the homicide. Our situation was that there was so many people that they knew, and so many people they'd seen the night before they'd gone to movies and concerts that our whole town was being taken up with. Just tracking down and interviewing all these people and then sitting down and saying, OK, this is what he told us, and then this is what the offender told us, you know? So we had to compare all this to try to see basically where the truth was obviously his truth, their truth and the real truth. And ultimately, there's going to be some more bumps in the road for detectives, and this time when it comes to gathering any potential forensic evidence. When we found the urine near my crime scene, we did send it. We gathered it and we sent it to the lab, but they said it was too degraded. So no, we did not get anything from that crime scene. Investigators were able to also lift multiple fingerprints from Eva's car. The question that would come up is since the evil and both victims knew each other, would that evidence even be useful? Remember, fingerprints tell you who they are if they can be read, but it doesn't tell you when they were left there. And based on my reading on this case, Devil's Prince didn't come back at all. So what does that tell you? The one thing about fingerprints is it doesn't tell you someone wasn't there. It's just that if you have them, it tells you that they were. And just like, you know, Scott just pointed out it doesn't tell you when. And cars are notoriously difficult when it comes to latent prints because just think of your own cars, how many times people are in and out of them, whether it's someone doing work on the car or friends, family. You know, someone knows someone. So you end up with all these prints and if they don't have. A reason to have their prints in the system that you end up with a whole lot of question marks which become potential problems later. Was used by everybody. I mean, she was one of these people that moved people around all day long, and when they went somewhere she was always driving for some reason or other. So any laytons picked up out of the car, you know, who knows where they came from. A few weeks into their investigation, detectives find another piece of information that might get them one step closer to an arrest. We started talking to people about who was around the area and we learned about a car being towed out of the area. At approximately 1:00 AM on January 10th, 1996, a tow truck driver was called out to assist a vehicle because it had battery trouble. Is the driver a witness or maybe they were even involved? Themselves. The tow truck driver met with a person who led him to an 80s style Nissan sports car. But here's the catch. James Thiepval didn't own a Nissan. He owned a Dodge Omni which was inoperable at the time of the murders. And a Dodge Omni and a Nissan are two very different types of cars. And the tow truck driver obviously knows cars very well and he could never mistake it for each other. So while James Fievel doesn't own a Nissan. Ready for this? His brother Jeffrey did. So why are we even talking about that? The car that was being towed belonged to Fievel's brother? Well, remember, we've been looking at Jim Fievel all along here at least pretty closely. So we're investigators on the completely wrong track, or at least are right track, but a different lane, you know? Was this maybe the brother, Jeffrey? Who was involved? Could this have been done by two people? Could Jim Thiepval be one of two shooters involved in this case? So now their initial theories or this hypothesis are thrown out of whack and they have to expand at least the horizon to look to see if the car is going to lead them down a different Rd than they were thinking before. So they go back to the tow truck driver right, to figure out The Who who it is that he's dealing with because he had said from the beginning he primarily dealt with. One person. First of all, it was a male. He was smaller in stature than the tow truck driver, probably younger than he was. He described that he was dressed appropriately for winter. He was wearing a hat and gloves. Unless remember, there were no fingerprints leaving to either of these in the car, and he was also wearing, and I quote plastic framed slightly larger than average glasses. And remember, the driver doesn't know whether he met with James Thiepval, Jeffrey Thiepval, or who that person was. You can only give the description of the car that he handled, but Fievel was 2425 at the time and the tow truck driver was 31, so Thiepval is younger. Check. The driver said the man wore glasses and James Fievel wore glasses. Check again. So the obvious next step is for Raphael to show the tow truck driver a photograph of Jim Fievel. He did that, but the driver was unable to make a positive ID. He couldn't remember who the guy was. He's just said there was several people there. But the story is not over because the tow truck driver has more to say because he says that he's ultimately led over to start up a van. Back up, but we're talking about 3 vehicles here. Jim Thieves's car, which wasn't working and was had his house and then you have his brother's car which was in the area of the crime scene. That too wasn't starting. And now you have the third vehicle, a van, which surprise surprise also wasn't working. The tow truck to start the brothers car. For some reason they couldn't start it so therefore they couldn't use that car to start the van. So the investigators best guess at what happened is if James Thiepval is the killer, he couldn't take his car so he took a van. But after the shooting the van wasn't working and remember it was below freezing that day, but they didn't want to call for a tow because the last thing you would want after committing a double homicide is another potential witness. Half a mile to his mother's home, grabbing his brother to help him start the van. When that cart then went kaput, he had no choice but to call the tow truck driver. So they told their brothers card to their mother's house and then the tow truck driver was able to start the van up. And all of their attempts to conceal the van don't work, and this game of musical cars comes to an end. And, you know, here's something to remember. The tow truck driver, while he's talking to people, he's really focused on the cars, the vehicles that he's there for. And so he is documenting things about that, specifically the license plate numbers of all of these that he is talking about. Part of the responsibility of impounding or towing your car is riding all the information down, including the license plate that make the model and even sometimes the VIN number of the car. So if that's not too specific, I don't know what is those of you out there. I don't know if you've seen the movie, Fargo. First of all, if you haven't, you should. It is one of my favorites, just so well done, and it's a Coen brothers movie, but it's kind of like you cannot believe some of the missteps taken by the Ultimate Ones Committee. The crime so is it's just someone who doesn't know how to get away with murder or they just don't care if they're caught. These guys were not driving, you know, state-of-the-art vehicles. And so now when investigators go back and look at that van boom, it belongs to no, not Thiepval, but just as good, his roommate. What are the odds of that? So again, they're full circling, still having the same person at the top of their list. So we went to interview the roommate of James Siegel. The roommate was very vague in the sense that you know well. I took a call. I gave it to him. I called him out and said take the call. He did share the Thiepval owned guns, and the roommate outlined a possible motive. Just one day before the murder, January 8th, the roommate noticed Thiepval was angry with Robert because he thought Robert had taken one of his favorite guns, and he stated that he was going to quote get him for that. That the several people that that he suspected that Rob Farmer had stolen it and he was really ****** *** at that. So he was severely angry at this guy because like I said, the gun was on. I mean, call it his baby or something, you know? Later, Thiepval told his roommate. Remember that thing I was talking about? Well, I did it. Evil also asked his roommate that if the police are ever asked about his whereabouts that night, to say he'd been home all night with him. James Ziebel told us that he never left the house that night, so that would contradict the story that he was at home with this whole time and obviously lied to me. So what else did you lied to me about? Right away. This roommate as the prosecutor just became my most important witness, at least right now. Because again, if it all comes together in the end, just think about this like he gives a motive, which, by the way, he didn't even say he saw Robert take it. We don't even know if he's right about that, but he says that he's angry at him. He's going to get him for it. Then he says I did it. Well, that is clearly an admission. And then he asked him to cover with him with an alibi and say that he was home when he wasn't. But for investigators, they want that final piece on the top of that. Pyramid and they keep coming back to those footprints in the snow, and they keep coming back to Thiepval shoe because they know that if they can connect the two, well, that is going to be the cherry on top. So they go so far as reaching out to the FBI to try to get some help. We sent a letter to the FBI trying to get them to help us with the shoe wear impressions, and they were absolutely no help. They actually told me if you send me the shoes, I'll tell you they came from there. I said if I had the shoes, I wouldn't be calling you. You know, I think I had a little bit of a chuckle here on that last line. You know, I wouldn't be calling you for this if I knew it already. It's a bit obvious here. So while they didn't get anywhere with that connector, they still had a big question mark there. There was something that complicated these matters even more, and that was towards the end of that year in 1996. Jim Sievel was no longer even in town. He moved to Oregon and moved in with his sister. His sister was an attorney. She was clerking for some federal judge there at the time. Still convinced they had the right guy, Raphael flew to Oregon with two other detectives and managed to get a search warrant for the sisters apartment. Three of us went out there. We met with a state detective. We were able to convince the judge there to give us a search warrant for the House. It's sister's house. She was very protective of. I mean, she even told me even if you had a video of him doing it, I wouldn't believe it. Investigators did recover two things that we should note. The first was part of a weapon, a gun. Dan was Fievel's army jacket. Raphael is getting really, really close to gaining some valuable evidence. Jacket, they have on it what they believe to be human blood. So now you think you're finally, you don't have the shoe dots being all the way connected, but this jacket might be the thing they need. You had it up in Oregon with them, and that was tested. But they could almost say, yes, it was human blood, but they had been put through so many, you know, washes and whatnot that there was really no way they couldn't do anything with it. Indicators had enough circumstantial evidence to believe that Fievel was indeed the killer, and maybe had enough to arrest him. But was it enough to secure a conviction at trial? Never any real super hard evidence. It was just everything lined up, you know, trying to convince a jury and under the code of law and all this, could we convict this guy? Yeah, I wasn't so sure. So while they debate whether or not they have enough, if the case ends up in a trial in a courtroom, the deplanes Police Department decided to put the homicide case, at least the arrest process, away for a while. But Robert Harbinger and Eva Cardell's case was obviously never forgotten by Rafael Tovar or the others that worked on the investigation, and they kept tabs on gingival over the years. And they decided to open the case back up a few years later, in 1999. Rafael always knew that he needed to find more concrete evidence linking their prime suspect to this crime, so they decided to revisit the forensic evidence once again, this time focusing back on those shoes. A massive search in the area, going store to store, looking for shoes like that. That took up a lot of time. Finally, we touch bases with a shoe buyer at Sears. The Sears is headquartered in Chicago and there was a guy there was very good and he said no, I can't help you, but he gave me the name of a guy in New York. So detectives this time made a call up to New York and spoke to a man who was referred to as bingo. He knew shoes like you, and I know our kids, you know, I mean, he was really good. He took a look at him and he said, oh, those are elk woods or oak woods or something. And he named the brand how good this guy was. He. He was able to find out that there was 80,000 of those shoes sent to the United States for five different companies. So there was five different outer soles, and he narrowed it down. Their Walmart sold most of them. And then we called Walmart and they. Figured out that they have sent X number of pairs to a Walmart store that was down the street from where James Seibel lived. And I think I know what I'm laughing. Yeah, I know. You know, I'm going to talk about Walmart because we always talk about how Walmart is involved in so many of our cases. Whether it's surveillance, whether it's carrying receipts or keeping receipts or getting interviews with workers. They seem to be really working hand in hand. And here's no different to think that we need to see if Walmart wants to be an A. Sponsor because they are law enforcement's best friend in these, because so like you said, it's got so many times it comes back to that store. But luckily for the way that we're talking about in ways that are in aid to law enforcement. We found that the store had sold, I think 2 pairs, one with a credit card, so there was no brainer, and then the other one was a cash sale, so it was probably the one he bought. And for them to be gone with less than a year, you know, more circumstantial evidence to show that he was the one in those shoes. One thing that detectives learned now in this new phase of the investigation was that Fievel was living with his girlfriend in Oregon. So when Rafael talked with the ex-girlfriend, she said she had thrown him out because he was abusive. And she also told investigators that while they were together, he liked to watch and discuss crime shows. And there's a reason why this is important. While watching a TV show, for example, somebody was killed, he said. That's not the way I would have done it. And you know, the best way to do it is find a lonely spot where there's no witnesses, shoot them in the back of the head. And that was exactly the way these people were shot. Let's just talk about the timing for a moment because so many of you probably said, wait, what? They stopped and just let this case sit for a few years. Well, here's the exact type of thing that you hope helped with the passage of time. So we had this girlfriend that he was living with who very likely might not have spoken to investigators when their relationship was active on ongoing. But now they're apart, you know, that it ended, you know, not well based on at least allegations of abuse. So now she is very ripe to speak with them and look at this wealth of information based on what she starts to say. He told the girlfriend he knew that he could do a crime and go to his mother, and his mother would help him get out of that. He would never dump the gun in the lake because he can be found, he said. Best way to do that is sick. A screwdriver down the barrel and mess up the rifling and get rid of clothing. They have been sort of off comments during that show, but when you put that in the mix of this investigation, it's pretty interesting. He was talking a lot. I mean, really silly stuff that would come back to bite him in the **** you know? But that's what he was doing. So there's this question, like, why do criminals so often like to talk about their crimes? Because so often it ends up getting them in trouble. And it really comes down to very often this, like, bravado, this bragging, whether they're proud of it or they just want to impress the person that they're with or they are. Themselves impressed in their own minds. Like it sounds like this guy was with what he had done that you know, he thinks he is being a bit discreet in the way that he's putting out there, but these are fantastic admissions if ultimately they get this woman to give these things later on in court. Of 99, they decided they were gonna go forth and issue a warrant for his arrest, and that's when we went back to Oregon. So now that they had their arrest warrant in hand, police decided to make their arrest of Febel at his workplace. He walked in and we walked them behind him and arrested him right inside the plant. You know, people say, well, why not rest him at home? Well, there is different privacy laws when it comes to that. Sometimes I could tell you my thought on the primary reason is someone's work schedule. People normally arrive at the same time every day to work. So if you're trying to find someone and plan their arrest in a situation where you can control that, in custody situation, you wait for them to arrive at work because you know you're going to be prepared. And once he was under arrest, Jim feeble called his sister, who remember she was an attorney, and she advised her brother not to speak or to waive extradition, which means not to go willingly to that other state to be prosecuted. It took from May 24th to August 27th before he was extradited. The state attorney focused the trial on the most convincing pieces of circumstantial evidence, like the ammunition, and from the witness stand, Rafael was able to succinctly lay out the evidence. I've got a pretty good ability to memorize stuff, so I was understand for a while and I was able to just recite the case, you know, step by step. And then the witness who becomes maybe my favorite, which is the ex-girlfriend, and she was understandably quite hesitant about being part of the process. And certainly in testifying she was afraid of him. First of all, she didn't really want to do much of anything. You know, they took a lot of imploring to get her to come to testify. We all know how juries love hearing direct testimony from somebody who interacted with the alleged killer, and how her story weaved into the entire package of evidence for me was so interesting. During his trial, Thievy's roommate told the story that leading up to the murder, the defendant described how he felt he had fantasized a scene from the movie Reservoir Dogs, where the person in the movie is tied to a chair and gasoline is poured all over them. Adding how he said it would be so much fun to get revenge on someone who had done me wrong. And after all the evidence and testimony was before the jury and they were given the charge, they came back quite quickly in this case, and Jim Thiepval was found guilty of all counts. Later when we talked to some of the jurors, they said that they weren't quite as hard on the circumstantial as we were. They said it's obvious, you know, to them. They said they had no problem in in finding him guilty right away. Jim Thiepval was sentenced to life in prison without any possibility of parole. You know, what I think about where I come out on a particular case very often it comes, you know, write to me, something strikes me in it. But one thing that struck me was this. We don't know as much about Robert Farr Burger and Eva Codell as we do in other cases. And that in and of itself I find sad because we talk about remembering them. So I wish we had more to say, but I did keep coming back to the word of senselessness in this, you know, whether it was that Fievel was right and Robert had taken something, whether it was the gun or something else. Belonged to him. He's going to murder him over that, and by all accounts, Eva had nothing to do with any of it at all. Far Burger was accused of just stealing one of his guns, Eva, something Thiepval considered to be just collateral damage. And it really comes down to, you know, you get angry at people and the way that people decide to get retribution for whatever it is on their mind, there is just a senselessness and tragedy of it all, and I think this case just really stands for that to me. 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 Summit David are executive producers. This episode was produced by Phil Jean Grande. O what do you think, Chuck? Do you approve? Ohio.