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.

Menominee (Tomasz Pohl)

Menominee (Tomasz Pohl)

Tue, 28 Mar 2023 07:00

A roofer left for work one Friday and never came home. A photograph might be the key investigators needed to find him.

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If you were to give advice to someone that's about to start working homicides, what would it be? One, have someone not involved in law enforcement that you can talk to. You can vent to go out and just get a different perspective on things. And the other advice I'd give you is don't worry on the why it happened. Figure out the who what went where and how and leave the why to somebody else. I'm Scott Weinberger, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. I'm Anna Sige Nikolasi, former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of investigation discoveries through conviction. And this is Anatomy of Murph. For today's story, I spoke with Detective Mike Kirby from Willing, Illinois. Mike has what we call a deep lineage to law enforcement. Generations of family members taking the oath to serve. My father, after World War II, was a railroad policeman for the Illinois Gulf Central Railroad before he created a private vestigate of fur. His dad was a sheriff in Texas and his grandfather was a Texas Ranger. And even though Mike has now retired, he has passed that torch most recently to his son. He's continuing in law enforcement. He's the sixth generation there. A few years into his career, Mike was chosen for the North Regional Major Crimes Task Force, where he would work over 100 homicides in the next 10 years. A task force really talks to the strength in numbers. You know, you draw upon different insights, different areas, expertise, and you're able to work on multiple avenues all at the same time. To me, this case is the poster case for task force. One small agency, even Wheeling, we had six detectives, we would not have been able to adequately work this case. It Saturday morning, May 16, 1998, while some couples sleep in because they were out the night before or just relax, after a stressful work week for Tomas. Poland is wife. This wasn't the case. Tomas was a 45 year old rougher, and he worked for a construction company in Everston, which is another suburb of Chicago. And when you think about that type of work, it is really regimented, regulated. You go to work at the same time, you probably leave at the same time. So while his day usually ended around the same time, 3.34 o'clock, this Friday in May was going to be different, because on that day, he didn't return. His wife, she came in Saturday morning and said her husband had gone to work that Friday and didn't come home. It was so unusual for him not to call, not to come home. He wasn't a party leader, he wasn't someone who went out drinking. He just went, showed up, did his job and came home. But she knew something bad had happened. She said this is just not right. This is not him. Something bad had to have happened to him. Now let's take a step back and just be objective for a moment. If we think about all those cases that unfortunately, the husband or I should say the spouse, the significant other, be it male or female, didn't come home, that may not ring the biggest alarm bells and you can all list in your head at least a few scenarios that would have nothing to do with a crime. Our first thought is he has a girlfriend somewhere or he was out with the boys and just spent out all night. My experience is indicated that that's what happens in those cases. And there wasn't anything really super suspicious at this point and is missing. Just he just didn't come home. So it didn't really start getting actively investigated until one day. Now if we think about it this way, if something bad, you know, nefarious had happened to Tomas that Friday night, we have to not think about, well, how is that going to impact the investigation? If it takes more than 48 hours for police to start looking for them, certainly in my experience, it's not going to change the outcome as far as save the life. At least not usually, in fact, almost never. But it does impact the evidence that can be collected. And it was during that initial phase of the investigation that proved his wife did in fact have every reason to be concerned. Initially, when we talked to family members and coworkers and friends, Tomas was just a very steady, hard-working individual. Loved his family, loved his wife, his kids, just wanted to kind of come over here and live the American dream. Well, one of the first things we would do normally do is see if we can locate a vehicle put out a bowl on the vehicle. And the day when missing, he had a large international truck with a bed on it where he carried all the roofing materials and the ladders and that. So investigators do get an early break in the case when they find Tomas' truck in the parking lot of the hardware store, but he wasn't inside or anywhere to be found. We then processed that whole vehicle for forensic evidence about a week later. And of course, we covered a ton of latent prints, some trace evidence, some fiber evidence. There was no blood, there's no foreign material, nothing that to the naked eye that they could see, you know, no DNA or potential DNA. And just think about that for a moment. How many people there would be touching that car? Remember, he is a rougher, he works on a construction crew. So even if there was something like fingerprints or DNA in and of itself, where is that going to get them? Investigators would head to the location where Tomas was last seen, which was his job site in hopes one of his crew could provide some answers. The job site he was working at was probably 20 miles from his house up in the Evanston area. So they went out and interviewed the crew and they told him that he went to meet an old friend of his in Skokie. And this friend, well he owned a body shop just three blocks from where Tomas's truck had been found. And that's where investigators met the owner of the body shop who was Tomas's friend, Igor Lubiesni. There was information that they served in the Russian Army together and that's where they met. They ended up in an area of Lincolnwood, Illinois, which is just outside of Chicago. There's a large Russian community there. And then from there, Igor went to a Buffalo Grove where he purchased a home and Tomas was renting an apartment in the Wheeling. And they both had separate businesses, but they kept in contact. They would go on vacation together. They like to go hunting and fishing. And to see here's an interesting fact. Lubiesni actually translates to the word gracious. I think that is interesting. We're used to thinking about first names translating into something or some meaning sometimes. But I actually can't think of too many last names, at least that I know of that had such a solid meaning behind the word. Now Tomas' co-worker said he went over to meet Igor. However, Igor told police that he had not seen Tomas in about a week. He really didn't go into great detail. Initially, a lengthy interview wasn't done with Igor. You know, we have the crime scene photographs. And when I'm looking at a photograph of the body shop, first of all, it is much neater than many of the body shops that I have seen. Because often you walk in and I can't make heads or tails of what is what. There is car parts, there's cars. But this is, I don't even see where you could hide many things. It's a wide open space, a garage. There is nothing on the floor except for one stain that looks to me like it would be an oil stain or something you might expect in a body shop. And then there's just things one road deep lining the walls. I kind of find it interesting that you're so familiar with body shops. I don't know what that says about your driving, but I think it's pretty interesting. It means that I am comfortable taking care of all areas of my life. Well, you know, when I looked at the photograph, it did seem like a standard place for me. But as investigators started to dig into that location, things began to come into focus. The body shop exit out into an alley. That's how you got in and out of it with vehicles. So there's a large overhead door and a dumpster. And between the overhead door and the dumpster spread out randomly where the three shell casings they found. Three 22 spent shell casings. So this is the obvious uh oh. Investigators obviously have a crime scene here, right? But if we think about it for a second, think about how many cases that you have ballistics found that ultimately don't lead to anywhere at all. What I mean by that is, you know, both of us having worked in major metropolitan areas. I just think of all the times that you end up with something like that. They go to look for someone up on a rooftop and they find spent shell casings. But while those should never have been fired there in the first place, it doesn't necessarily lead us anywhere in the crime at hand. You're absolutely right. But you know, looking at this specific remote location, you know, it's a small alleyway behind a remote business. And I think the answer is it's not common at all. And you know, that would give investigators the indication that somehow these are fresh and potentially related to their investigation. So here we go. This area is not common for shootings. It's not like a gang area where you have drive-by shootings and all that. So it was fairly unusual to find shell casings in an alley there. This area was an industrial park. So it wasn't an area where people would be like target, preshooting or anything like that. The police would have called fairly quickly on that and react to that. It didn't take long when police started looking around that they found something in a garbage can that really got their attention. Wrapped up in the newspaper date at May 15, they found a bloody rag. So let's just key in on the date that the victim was reported missing, which was May 16, and this is more than just a coincidence. If someone is sloppy enough to have committed a crime and wrapped up a bloody rag in a current newspaper, then finding shell casings remaining on the outside of the property seems pretty consistent to me with someone being sloppy. Sloppy, but almost strikes me as bizarre because it is such an easy thing to dispose of. You put it in your pocket, you drive away in your car, you leave it inside Tomas' truck if we're going down this road. But it's almost like too obvious in a way when I think about it. That is just there, an open garbage can, almost giving the stamp of the date. So like you said, Scott, it's either someone who just wasn't thinking at all, but it almost is too obvious that that gives me pause too. The bloody rag that we recovered subsequently, we were able to find a blood sample of Tomas' from a paternity suit. And when we said that the little lab, it matched the blood that was in the garbage can. And there is one more discovery that checked the victim's location using cell phone data and it pinged to Igor's body shop. And even though the cell phone data points to the fact that the victim, or at least his cell phone, was at the location, it doesn't necessarily mean that Igor himself was there or involved. And let's just take a pause here for a second, because what happens next seems like one of those scripted dramas like Monk or Madlock, where the detective starts to pick up on the most innocuous detail. My partner, Jimmy Chartier, he's the type of guy you've envisioned, the auto mechanic who stands there and looks at your engine with the cigarette in his mouth, and he's got the ash that's about an inch and a half long. Is this take your time and look at the big picture and see what's not normal or natural. And so he takes a further look around the body shop and he sees the typical things you would expect, you know, tools, shop vac, air compressor, but then he locks his sights onto something that seems very personal to Igor. When Aaron Igor's office on his table, prominently displayed was a photograph of Thomas and Igor and they were standing next to a tree along a river and Igor had his arm over Thomas's shoulder, so almost into an embrace. Obviously something that was important to them and written on the back of the photo was monomony. Monomony, it is spelled exactly as it sounds, meh non minni, and it's the name of a Native American tribe and a reservation in Wisconsin and it's also a river. The monotomy river stretches for more than 100 miles draining into a rural forested area between Wisconsin and Michigan. Monomony falls as an area up on the border between Wisconsin and Michigan. A lot of open land and it's very frequent for outdoors people to want to go up there because it's very beautiful and rustic. So being meant it only four hours away from wheeling and also based on that photograph that is sitting on Igor's desk, it's definitely an area that looks like Thomas like to relax but could it also be something much more perhaps his final resting place? One of the things I learned in some training I've had was that when an individual kills somebody and there's a relationship between them that they will bury the body at a place that has meaning to them versus someone who just kills somebody and dumps the body. So I've never heard it as Mike has just explained. It's widely known that serial killers may choose to keep bodies of the victims close to them so they get to relive the act as some sort of gratification. But in most cases, in my experience, it was always placing a body post murder in a location most convenient for the killer or placing a body in a location so remote that there are hopes that a combination of weather and animals would make that body more difficult to identify it. What do you think, Anasiga? I thought it was really interesting when Mike said that because I have not had that experience. If I think about where a body is placed, it's usually somewhere to hide it. So it's not found somewhere that is not going to be linked back to the suspect. On the other hand, it definitely does make sense but I would think again, I'm just using common sense because I haven't had a case like this myself that that might be something more with a loved one. So now they put them somewhere that has some sort of meaning to them. But it definitely makes sense at least in theory for what Mike is saying. And we've seen in cases on AOM like Marine Brew Baker Farley, Alicia McQueen, Karen Slowver, Cindy Vanderbeek. That didn't play out in those cases either. It's a hunch, but it was a hunch as well. We're pretty positive that this was going to be a good source. When we checked the cell phone records, we saw that on Saturday morning, early, his phone went active and was pinging on towers from where he lived to the Skokie area for approximately 30 minutes. And then went to do north, traveling up through Milwaukee, through Green Bay. And that is all consistent with heading straight up to the Monomony Falls area. But investigators noticed that around the Mononomi Falls area, the signal went dark for almost 4 and a half hours. What could he have been doing during that time? Our assumption was the reason we had no activity was because it was once you got past Green Bay, you were off the grid intermittently. And so you would have been out of the area of a self-hower content. And again, there's two sides of that right, Scott, because yes, if there is a crime here, well, then he could be, you know, in the worst light hiding a body. But also remember, we see a photograph of the two guys, the two friends, here together. So I don't know if he's a hunter or a hiker or a rock climber or whatever else, what other activities you could be doing up there. And so maybe he goes up there all the time. Yeah, and it's strictly at this point a theory. It doesn't give investigators any sense of direction that if Tomas was being disposed of in that area, where in that huge area of land it would be. We set a group up north to search that area. See if we could locate where that photo was taken. We figured that would be our first step. What an incredible challenge of trying to find the exact spot on this photograph. Now, it's 116 miles long that we're talking about the river. And the only identifying marker is a tree. Now, unless it's a tree that is waving around like one of those yellow inflatable dummies at a car dealership, how are you going to find it? My partner, Bill Stuffman, was one of the lead investigators up there. And he was telling us that they were sitting in the sheriff's office with this photo. And they're trying to determine where on the Monomity River, which is a large river in this photo was taken. And everybody has an opinion. And I think it's here. And I think it's here. No, it's over here. But at that moment, well, that's a member of the Department of National Resources just happened to walk into their office, took one look at the photograph and said this. That is next to the Wisconsin Power and Light tree farm. And they all look at it and says, how do you know that? And when you looked at the photo in the foreground was the two people, the tree and the river. But if you look closely way, way up in the top corner of the picture, there was a bridge. And it's white. The DNR guy says there's only two white bridges over the Monomity River. And only one of them has a light on it. And you got to really love those moments, right? This is really one for the good guys. It just also shows that no matter what type of skill and experience you have, it also takes that stroke of luck because of that guy, hadn't have happened to have walked in and point them in a direction. So at least they have a place to start. And now with this great intel, the search is on. The aerial onto river was probably from where the bridge was down to where the tree was. You're talking several thousand feet. And then the tree fireman itself is probably a 15, 20 acre area. For days, the team searched the area. They brought out cadaver dogs. They searched on horseback. And then finally, on the eighth day of searching, they found nothing. We worked it for almost eight days. And then we shut down. What a blow to the investigation where they had just been given this stroke of luck. Or at least they thought, I'm sure they all went in thinking like they are going to find this. Well, at that point, they're back to the entire area of monomony, if that really is going to relate to this case at all. The family was very active in this. And we kept good contact with them. They were very frustrated. They knew something bad had happened to them. And we all had believed he was still up in the monomony area. It was just a matter of trying to explain to the family. We just didn't have the resources to camp somebody up there for four months looking for them. The question now being raised based on the photos of the body shop and what we know, is it possible that maybe, just maybe, Tomas isn't in mononomy? There wasn't a lot of secreted areas in the body shop. So they were pretty confident one that the body wasn't there. Two, based on the cell phone records the following day, it was pretty clear to us that they had left the body overnight in the shop and then transported at that Saturday up to monomony. One of the first hurdles was we had to find the body. The investigation went a little cold for a while. Well, now they have to start looking at this differently because if they aren't going to find his body, well, is this going to be a no body case? So that is how police start to investigate this crime. Checked cell phone activity, which was none. No credit card activity, no bank activity, no contact with any family members or friends. We were interviewing anybody that was linked to this, looking for some background information and the victim and the suspect. Investigators then get some more context on why Tomas met up with IGOR after work on Friday. We interviewed the co-workers he was working with on Friday and they had indicated that he was upset with IGOR. He had loan IGOR some of money. And this wasn't just some money. It was $15,000. And he had never paid them back. So he was quoted as telling his crew, I'm going over and meeting IGOR to get my money or else. Here we have two lifelong friends. Could this unpaid loan really drive a stake so deep it would lead to murder? And it also begs another question. Why did the victim loan the money to IGOR and what was it for? Some of those answers are about to come, but not before another break in the case. So the months start to roll by and we're no longer in May. We fast forwarded right through the summer into October, October 15, 1998. When I woke up on Thursday morning at 7 a.m., I was expecting just a normal day. And that also means in the monomony area that we are weeks into hunting season. A custodian from the Michigan State Police and a hunter friend of his were up in that area. They had gone out that day looking for a good hunting spot. And in their travels they spotted something off in the distance. It wasn't a buck or a grouse. It was a body partially buried. So what they found was the legs, the lower portion of a body exposed. Apparently an animal had started digging up the grave and exposed exhumed part of the body. So it was from the waist up that they saw. And the interesting thing was his body was found 200 feet from where the tree where the photo was taken. You know, every crime scene has its challenges, but just think about the geography of this one. Setting up a sterile crime scene in a dense set of woods brings all sorts of issues. It's a four and a half hour drive up there. So we spent the first several hours on the crime scene being lumberjacks. Leaves on the ground, dampness. Well now there's just so much to look through like beyond the body itself. They have to actually sift through dirt. It's a sandy type of soil, little bit of the hilliness to it as you get closer to the river. There are about 200 feet from the river. They have to look for things like, is there a shoe impression or anything that might lead them to something that would identify who had been there placing Thomas's body in that shallow grave. Part of the processing of the grave site, or like an archer-alagical dig, every piece of dirt they came out got sifted twice to screens. And in the turned up ground, once again, investigators hone in on a small clue. Five pieces of plastic about the size of a thumbnail. They aren't sure what it is or where it's from, or if it has any significance to the case. But they do know that the pieces of plastic don't belong in the densely wooded wilderness. When I saw, as I was sifting through everything, that was part of my theory was they had to unwrap them and sump them to transport them in the vehicle. And then they dumped them into the grave, while in doing that some of the plastic tore off and fell into the grave site. So while the body looks rather intact and I don't want to get too gruesome, it almost looked mummified. I'm looking at the photo on a seagull, and it would appear that that shallow grave is about three to four feet deep. The body is in a semi-feetal position on its left side, and its feet are sticking up towards the top. And as you said, yeah, it looks like it's pretty well-fellied preserved. But you still have some level of decomposition. Remember, it's been months since Thomas disappeared. And you're also going to have to deal with the time factors, things like weather, and remember where this shallow grave is, and what else is in a forest? Animals. It was obvious in the animal had been digging out it. It did have a very ripe odor to it, though. Probably one of the worst odors I've had at a death scene, even though we were outdoors. One of the first things we did to identify him was he had a watch on. And we were able to determine, based on information we had gotten from the family, that this was his watch. When we first examined him, we didn't see any really obvious trauma. But the Michigan State Police had sent up a command vehicle for us to use. And it belonged to their bomb squad. And in conversation with the Lieutenant, he'd mentioned to me that they had a portable X-ray machine. I've never heard of a portable X-ray machine being brought out to the initial crime scene. So we said, well, can we X-ray the body? And he said, sure. So we took the X-ray machine out, and we X-rayed the body, and we found three projectiles inside them. So once they find what they believed to be Tomas' body, they work through the night and into the next day. And by midnight that day, they had the victim's body already undergoing an autopsy, bags of evidence to sift through, and a search warrant in hand for Igor alubiasne's vehicle. We know from witnesses that the Lincoln Navigator was seen at a car wash up in the Monomity area, and that Saturday in May. So one thing to remember about Lubiasne is that he runs an auto body shop. So when you think about something that he is going to know very well is cars, vehicles. And so if they are looking to search his car, I look at it that if he is responsible or involved in any way, that he has kind of that game advantage, if you will, because if he knows cars, he knows how to clean them, or things that might show up in them. Yeah, and I think he has a great knowledge of how to disassemble cars as well. But Mike's partner was also an expert on vehicles. In fact, he's a form of mechanic. And he was looking at this car and he informed me that the carpeting in the back of the storage area had been taken out very suddenly, and not by the dealership and not by a repair guy. And so that kind of peaked my interest as to how do you know that? And he said there's two little square tabs up at the top that are attached. And if you look at those, you see their taunts. So somebody didn't unscrew it, they just pulled the carpeting out. So we took that carpeting and it's about four feet by four feet area. So police actually gridded this carpet into small squares and they conducted blood tests on each of the sections. And when they did, there was no visual indication of blood. So on the surface, it doesn't make much sense. If they transported the body in the vehicle, the carpet should have some trace of blood. Unless they removed the carpet before they put to Maas' body in the car. So they wouldn't have to clean it. So by removing the carpeting, he figured police would only go as deep as searching the carpeting. But they were wrong. So then we went to the bed of the vehicle and said where were this car aspired with? And when we looked in that area, we found a little crevice. And we found two little flakes of what later was determined to be our victims blood. When police execute that search warrant or the search warrant of the body shop, they get an answer to the five tiny plastic pieces that they had found near Thomas' body. And there had been a big roll of plastic in the body shop. Scott, did you ever watch the show Dexter? I have. That's all I could think about. The area that he would kill his victims was wrapped in this plastic that came off these huge rolls of plastic exactly like they find there. Now, yes, there is a clearly innocent, usable explanation for why this plastic would be in the auto body shop. But maybe it's because we aren't investigating a homicide that right away that's where my mind went. Good point. So we collected those. And then those were subsequently matched by the lab back to the pieces we took out of the grave site. And then there's the question of the murder weapon. Was this something he discarded in the woods just like the victim's body? I grew at a large gun collection. And I believe it was 30 guns that he had records for. And when they seized them, they found 29 guns. He has records for 30 guns, but only has 29. Sometimes the smoking gun is having no smoking gun at all. And the only gun missing was a 22 caliber. And when questioned about that, he claimed he lost it on a fishing trip on Lake Michigan. The evidence is mounting against Igor Lubiezni, but Detective Mike Kirby has an eerie suspicion that he was missing something. Or rather, some one. He felt that someone else was also involved. Igor wasn't the type to get an opponent to get his hands dirty. You know, he had people for its stuff. Let's just think about the various factors. First, we've talked about this before that the weight of a body actually feels very heavy. And it is, you know, and this is no pun intended, but dead weight. Like there is nothing like buoyancy that helps you in the water with a body. So it might just be hard to carry this person. But we also have the terrain. You have this remote area. Remember, even police had to use these chainsaws and had to get through this thick brush. So it doesn't seem very practical or likely that one person would have moved that body and gotten it into those woods and buried it alone. Now it was time to bring Igor Lubiezni in for questioning. Mike was hoping he'd be open and willing to talk about his decades old friendship with Tomas. Other than to initially say that he did know a Tomas, that he did hang out in the monomony area, and that he did lose a 22 caliber hand gun on a fishing trip that was it. Then he loyered up. While Mike has this theory that there's someone else involved, it's just that. While we know that you can't walk someone into a courtroom based on your theories, they had much more than that against Lubiezni himself, so they charged him. Well, we wanted to make sure we had all our eyes dotted and teased crossed, presented it to a grand jury, and received a indictment for two counts of first degree murder. The question we had was, is he going to take a jury trial or a bench trial? So a bench trial is a trial that the finder of fact is not a jury. It is the judge, and since a judge sits on what is commonly referred to as a bench, that's where it gets its name. So sorry for that nerdy, fun fact for us lawyers. We like to know where these things come from. But anyway, the reason why the defendant may have opted for it is because of a motion that someone might decide to have a judge render that verdict. They are worried that something in the case might so overcome the jurors that they are going to decide based on their emotion rather than the facts, and that a judge might be able to better parse that out. Yeah, I mean, I think many people may believe that detectives and prosecutors love a bench trial, but that's not necessarily true, Anna Ciga. Oh my gosh, it's the opposite. It is the hardest thing to do because just think about it. If you think about trials, you are talking to a group of people, so you need to convince them and you're opening in your summation of your theory, explain to them. It's much easier to do to a group like you can't be dramatic without feeling silly in front of a judge. But yet we feel somewhat dramatic because there is a lot of emotion. There is a lot of import to the things we're talking about. So it's actually much more difficult to convey that in a way that at least feels natural to just the judge. Because of the CSI effect, sometimes with juries, if you don't have all the things they're used to seeing on TV, like DNA that comes back in 100 billion, or a lack of certain physical evidence, they may not rule in your favor because the absence of that evidence. And a judge obviously knows the law and would only apply the law beyond a reasonable doubt. And in this case, it may be the best course of action for the prosecution. And we were just kind of concerned that because we just had a little bit of blood, the plastic, some phone records, and it wasn't like a smoking gun. You and Mike says that he spent more time towards the end of his career explaining the absence of evidence rather than having it. Well, that's absolutely true. You know, at some point I switched over to in jury selection every single jury case that I did, I started to talk about this CSI effect. That people would expect that, you know, some glowing laser beam was going to prove that the typewriter came from 1967, and that was going to go right to the defendant, and that those things most often never happen in real life, so that they can't use what they've seen on television or in fiction, it is certainly something very pervasive in every criminal case today. And in this case, the defense and their client opted for a bench trial. The state's attorney laid out the evidence, including the finding that Tomas' autopsy, what it showed, that he had died from a gunshot wound to his head. And that really starts to paint a picture about what may have happened the night of May 15, 1998. So the theory is that they got into an argument and somebody came up behind him and just almost like executed him. We know that he told the crew that he was working with on that May day, that Friday, when he left, what he said, I'm going over to meet Igor. He owes me money. I'm going to get my money or else. You know, when it comes to the $15,000 loan that was said to have transacted, the defendant had a different story. He said he gave Tomas the check for $10,000 to cover the work that Tomas did at the body shop. But Igor says he told the victim not to cash the check, but Tomas did it anyway. And the check was returned for insufficient funds. Then during the trial, he said that Tomas had come over to his shop about $3.30 that afternoon and stayed for 30 or 40 minutes. And then he claimed that Tomas left. He said that he himself, Lubias, and he had picked up some photographs and left them at home. That's it, end of story, no argument, no execution, no trip to Menominee Falls, dispose of a body. He says that on May 16, he didn't go upstate, rather he went to work at his body shop. He left around nine to run some errands, returned home around seven. And at trial, his wife corroborated that and said that sure enough, her husband had come home on the 16th about six or seven o'clock. It's a brief statement to police on the 18th. He did say they did take a trip up to the falls. So now on the stand, he's contradicting his original statements. And when it's digital forensics that actually put him near in or around the falls based on cell phone pings from his phone, triangulated by investigators, collected and put forth in evidence in the trial, that's a difficult piece to get over. Now you still have that block of time when Lubias' phone was out of service, remember it was several hours. So now he claimed that he wasn't the only person who had access to his cell phone and he said that he didn't even have his phone with him on the day of May 16th. He has nothing to back that up at all, you know, making a statement like that, you need to back up that theory. You know, it's our responsibility to be able to disprove that, hopefully prior to trial, but it just doesn't add up to me. Because my common sense says to me like, okay, so who had your phone and if someone else had your phone, where are they? But here's what I'm thinking, if you're coming out with this as your defense, you know, it's not before a jury. So you're not going to have jurors sitting there in judgment or even going back into liberation, trying to think about, is this true? Is it possible? You're in front of a judge and in a bench trial, you don't have that kind of emotion that goes into trying to raise reasonable doubt. It was pretty clear that the judge, he didn't take a lot of time deliberating. The judge was pretty straightforward, you know. You're guilty. They charged him with the two counts, convicted him of a ball, and I believe he got 60 years. Now, what about the gut feeling that Mike has about another person who may be involved? Well, here's a little story that happened months earlier back in May, 1998, just as the investigation was getting started. There's a second photo of Luby Esni and Tomas with a group of friends and police questioned those people too. There's a guy, he's a shorter guy, got brownish hair. When we interviewed him back in May, we asked him about, you know, did you help? I go, you know, bring the body up there. He just looked at the two detectives and said, KGB, talk to me, I tell them nothing. You want to kill me, kill me. You want to beat me, beat me. I tell you nothing. And then the next day, he went back to the Ukraine. I don't know if any of you've ever seen the FX show, The Americans. This reminds me of several scenes from that show where the KGB is interrogating people, they suspect of spying. And he has seen, according to him, an experienced so much worse in his own country, that life in American prison couldn't even bring him to a point where he'd be willing to say a thing. How do you handle that? You know, that's a difficult situation to be in. He definitely paints the picture of the right type of character, if you will, who would easily sign on to, or at least potentially, help dispose of a body, or maybe even being accomplice in the crime. But again, this is just theory and fodder for us to think about and talk about, because that is in no way evidence of guilt, no matter how tough someone may seem, what may make perfect sense and very likely that Lou Biesney had an accomplice, remember. In our country, it is always innocent until proven guilty. So this is only a very loose theory, at least for now. No relevant facts at this moment to prove that he was. Two lifelong friends who immigrated to the US together, seemingly, for a better life, to have one turn on the other over money. Or could it have been for another reason? We will likely never know. Kune in 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 Frisetti Media. Ashley Flowers and Sue Middavid are executive producers. So, what do you think Chuck, do you approve?