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.

My First Murder (Bill Mussack)

My First Murder (Bill Mussack)

Tue, 28 Feb 2023 08:00

A missing father… a daughter suspected of the crime… the expression ‘if walls could talk’ takes on new meaning in this case.

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Before we even get started today, just a reminder to all of you that you can follow all things that Scott and I are up to both for this podcast and beyond on our social media handles that's at Wineburger Media and at Anisega Nikolasi and from their various variations of our name and companies, you can find us on all your usual outlets. So we really didn't know where he went and we really think you know where he went. Something one of my mentors taught me when I was a very young officer. We've done some check-in. Was no matter what the call is. So I know Bill died in that basement. I always assume the worst. I always assume it's a homicide. I have no knowledge of him dying in that house. I've been dying in that house because I can smell it. I'm Scott Wineburger, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. I'm Anisega Nikolasi, former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of investigation discoveries to conviction. So I want to begin this episode Anisega with a question to you. I just want to know, do you have a dead body in your house? I certainly hope not. And of course I'm not laughing at this object matter. But I think I am comfortable with the answer that based on everything I know, that answer is a infatic quick no. How about you? Now I have to ask. And I could infatically say I do not have a dead body in my home. And that was a bit of a tease for all of you of what's to come. We'd like you to meet Detective Burke Hain from the Federal Heights, Colorado Police Department. We're smack dab in the middle of the Denver metropolitan area. But we didn't handle a lot of homicides. And today we're going back to the beginning to Burke's first homicide. I was a full-fledged detective out of field training with detectives for about three and a half four months before I this case landed on my desk. I remember being at my first homicide scene, which was a double murder. I'll always remember the way the bodies were positioned. And I also remember being hyper focused on everything that was there. What potential evidence was surrounding the bodies. And for any homicide prosecutor, remembering the first is always going to be our first homicide trial. Because yes, I had handled these cases and even been to the crime scenes. But it's going to be that first surreal moment in the courtroom. I remember it. Gosh, so well, the victim's name was Barry Plato. The defense was justification. I just remember everything was going in slow motion. Because I just felt such pressure to get it right. At the center of this case is 67-year-old William or Bill Musok. After serving as country in the Vietnam War, Bill worked as a security guard. And by the mid 2010s, Bill put that behind him and was living the best years of his life. He was retired, enjoying his retirement. William was a guy that would do anything for anybody. He had a friend that he'd go over and cut firewood for. And they'd order a pizza and watch the Broncos game. Very reliable guy. Bill had to grow now adult children. His daughter was the closest. And while we don't exactly know how close they were as far as the relationship, or emotionally, we definitely know that she was the closest physically to his day to day. Bill lived with his daughter, Dana. Dana's young child. And Dana's, I don't want to call him strange, but her on and off again, husband, slash boyfriend. Dana and her significant other moved into Bill's house in September of 2015. He was a doding grandfather for what I was able to learn. He was affectionately known as Grumpy. Instead of Grandpa or it was Grumpy. But very much enjoyed having his granddaughter around him. In late December 2017, Bill was no longer the doding grandfather, but that's because on that day, he was nowhere to be found. Bill was always the one to pick up the phone around the holidays to spread some cheer. But it was on December 28, 2017. His family took action after not hearing from him for two weeks. William's brother calls, that's just a dual welfare check, which is a standard law enforcement thing. We go and check, you know, people haven't heard from their family in a while, and they want us to check on him. Patrol checked on Bill not once, but twice. They've gone out the next night or the next day when William's son called in and asked us to go out and check on him. No sign of Bill, but when they asked his daughter, Dana, she let them know that she too hadn't heard from her dad in 10 days. And he also had left his cell phone behind, but she wasn't at all concerned because he had left notes behind saying that he'd begun. She was very vague about where he was. He went with a girlfriend, he's on a trip, he just gets his mail here, that kind of thing. So it's called a welfare check, and it's one of the most common functions of uniform member of law enforcement. Well, for checks or something, you know, we do almost on a nightly basis. In fact, I worked last night and we did three of them last night. It's one of those things, you know, a lot of times people just haven't heard or lost connection with people. And in almost all of the cases, there's nothing criminal. So the way you approach the location on a call like this is with concern, not with suspicion. Unless something changes your mind. Well, my commander, Commander Murphy at the time, he brought the file to my desk. My commander told me, hey, this is a missing person case. You should be able to knock this out in a couple days, just find out where this guy's at, get him to call his brother and we'll be good. Based on my experience that I'd be able to knock this out, you know, I'm sure he's on vacation somewhere, just do a little bit of leg work, and I'll be able to knock this one out of the park. So in order to begin your search, you've got to do it methodically. And there's a handful of steps that detectives do to start checking off the boxes. Some of the quick, obvious ones are checking local hospitals, even checking the jail, to see if anyone's been arrested. We checked the hospitals. I talked to his son on the phone, talked to a niece, and started to learn a little bit more about William. We established that we didn't have Bill in any hospitals. He wasn't in jail anywhere. All his vehicles were at the residence the day that we went there on the welfare check. And then you begin your next step, which is digging into the financials, has somebody use their debit card or their credit card. We had a detective with the Adams County District Attorney's Office go to the bank to see if there had been any strange charges on his bank account, anything like that. In some cases, as you know, Anisega, some people don't want to be found, and they leave for all types of reasons that are not criminally intended. Now, obviously this wasn't a missing person. Bill wasn't coming back from vacation. This was a murder. But Burke didn't know it yet. Burke spoke to the officers who had done the welfare checks to get a better idea of what exactly they noticed when they'd visited Bill's home. So the house is a three-story or tri-level stick-built home, has an attached garage. It's during that second welfare check, as soon as the officer immediately entered the home, he got a strong whiff of an odor. He had told us about the smell that he smelled in the house, the smell of rotting sewage. And her explanation for that was that the toilet had overflowed. As you can imagine, the officer asked Dana remember she's Bill's daughter who lived there, if he could take a look around. Talk about a great piece of police work, he talks Dana into letting him in the house, and allows him to go downstairs to look to see where Bill was living. And it's in the basement where Bill would sleep, where the officer just got a strange feeling. You can see that the bed that she claims Bill sleeps on is completely piled with probably five or six, maybe more loads of laundry. And my officer is kind of like looking underneath the laundry and the blanket and that. She asks him, you know, what are you looking for? And he says, well, sometimes people hide from police and I just wanted to double check. The pile of clothing was just that. No Bill. You've heard of the expression the nose, nose. I mean, when you have a combination of facts like the laundry, and then that odor, and then you're asking, does her story make sense? A combination of all of these factors may be my first big red flag in this investigation. A red flag for us was the vehicles. So with the exception of a girlfriend or a friend picking him up, all his cars were there. Now we've talked so many times about the importance of building a timeline. And that's the thing that officers really need to know. And remember, Bill is retired so he doesn't have that daily routine of going to work, which make it easier to pinpoint where he'd been and when. We actually contacted all of his family in Colorado with the exception of his daughter Dana and had a meeting at the police department where we really sat down and did a timeline of who actually spoke to him last, who heard his voice. They also decided to go on a canvas and knock on a few of his neighbor's doors just to see that any information about where he could be and what the neighbors told officers was interesting. We had some conflicting stories at the time. We had one neighbor that said that they had recently seen them and then other neighbors that said they hadn't seen them in a while. It was kind of weird. We're still hoping that maybe he'd flown off somewhere. We didn't know for sure what had happened. Remember, at this point, it may just be suspicious, but there's still no reason to think otherwise. Just yet. So we were able to do a cell phone ping on a cell phone and to show that it had not left the area of where his house is located. That isn't surprising in a way because Dana had said that her father had left his cell phone there, but at the same time, it's completely surprising because who leaves to go anywhere these days, even to the store, let alone overnight or on a trip without their phone. We were able to show some very odd bank transactions. There were several checks and several withdraws done in Dana's name or to her company, 2,500, 500, those type of amounts, which was odd when the other detective spoke to the bank. Manassum, if there were any odd charges, that is what they brought up. So let's just address the elephant in the room here. You may have already made up your mind thinking that Dana is behind bills to disappear. But it's important to understand the relationship between this father and daughter. Bill was Dana's person. Hopefully everybody in their life has that one person that they can go to for anything, and for Dana, that was her dad, William. So while it seems that Dana and Bill had a very strong family tie, it was Dana's love life that didn't have that same stability. Not at all. Well, she was a massage therapist who had just recently lost her business or closed her business. And when we say that, her relationships didn't have that same stability, it's because she had had multiple marriages. And many people have multiple. So it isn't a knock on that at all, but yet for her, it was one after the other. Now she was under her fourth and it was certainly causing her a lot of angst and pain. And in fact, at this time that her dad went missing, she was about to go through her fourth divorce, and her third husband, the man that she shared her one child with, he was in the process of right then and there getting remarried. It kind of looked like her world was kind of spiraling out of control. She's back living with her dad in her dad's house. We all know how parents want the best for their children, especially when they're going through difficult relationships of their own. So it's likely that Bill felt his daughter's pain and we'd be trying to give her the best advice he could for her, given that advice, whether she wanted to hear it or not. Just think about it to yourselves, the various ways. You know, it could be that he's like, oh my gosh, not again. Or okay, maybe he's the type that is going to be judgmental or even if he has the best intentions, you know, Dana, these things are not going well. How can we do it for the betterment of you? There might be financial implications to these failed marriages that are now affecting her relationship with her father. Maybe she needs the money and is going to him. You know, there's all these different ways as we know that familial relationships are affected when there are other problems with those that we love. It was definitely an interesting dynamic for her and really kind of a spiral. Investigators would need to look into all of Dana's past relationships to see if any tension between her father and any of her exes existed. As far as Dana's relationship with her husband, ex-husband, they were separated at the time that I started my investigation. In talking to him and talking to her other ex-husband, it was a very tumultuous relationship. They were on and off again, very much a love-hate kind of relationship. And it was Burke's conversation with Dana's third husband, which would prove the most interesting. And here's the reason. The ex told Detective Payne that if something bad would happen to Bill, he would immediately think that Dana had something to do with it. Is that potentially being spiteful? Could he have some personal motivation for that statement? I think absolutely. Burke starts looking more closely at Dana. And what he finds is that right around the time that Bill went missing, Dana had brought two roll-off dumpsters to their home. One of our concerns was Bill's body and one of those roll-offs. And we started to basically put the pieces together. You don't want to say that for me, I'd be a lot more suspicious if there was no construction going on at the house or any plans for demolition. I'd also try to determine the name of the company where they rented the dumpsters, the data delivery, the data pickup, and maybe where they went. What about you? I think when I heard the dumpsters all I kept thinking was body dump, body parts, but then again, I just think I've been doing this maybe in some ways way way too long. And so we got out to the dump and they told us they'd be able to get us within a football field of where he was at about 60 feet down. So this was January, we're looking at possibly digging through trash all summer long. And while their initial search came up with nothing, it really could take some time to go through this dump especially. And I'm going to go there for just one minute if the body had been dismembered and clearly there's no evidence of that at this point, but that would complicate a search as you can imagine. So it's at this point about 30 days after Bill has been missing and so then detective Burke Payne decides it's time to execute a search warrant of the house. We executed the search warrant, went to the house, my SWAT team went through the door first to clear the house. The initial search by officers was pretty cursory. So now with a warrant, it would allow investigators to do a more thorough search digging into the basement literally and scientifically. And once again, the first thing the SWAT team gets hit with as they walk in is a smell, but this time it's different. There was an overwhelming smell of peppermint oil in the house. I mean, almost to the point where it would burn your eyes. All that says to me or at least what I suspect is that it is masking or trying to cover up maybe that first smell that they had noticed when they'd been there before. I asked Dana to step out and talk to me. She grabbed her laptop and her purse and she wrote with me in the other Adams County DA's detective aspect to the police department. While Dana goes down to the station, the search continues inside the house. And they're looking for anything and everything. They have no idea if you're going to find maybe a ticket that sure enough he had left to go to Arizona or somewhere, you know, somewhere warm based on how cold it is here today. And he didn't tell anyone. Maybe it is some bill that gives him something or maybe it's some evidence of a crime. They're just looking for any potential answer to where Bill was. When my search crew went into the house, I told them that if they find anything to send me a text message, you know, I figured I could flip my phone over and look at it while I was in the interview room rather than take a phone call. Moving back to the interview that's going on at the same time down at the precinct. Remember, it is voluntary. First of all, no one ever has to speak to police. But for her, of course, it's a routine way for officers to get information. You know, everyone knows that if someone's missing or something worse close to you, those in their closest circles will be questioned to at least provide information. But for investigators, it was also the opportunity to sit with someone that might be the suspect in anything they could be looking at, including and up to a murder. Commander Murphy, he's my mentor and he said, you get one shot at this so you better make it good. This isn't like TV. You're not under arrest, but I do have to tell you some things just so you know, okay? You do want to talk to us and you decide why you're talking to us. You don't want to anymore. You can stop at any time. Here on AOM, we always prefer to bring you the actual audio from these type of interviews so you can hear it for yourself. And of course, in some cases, the quality may not be as good as we'd like. But still think it's important for you to hear these exchanges firsthand. I have to advise you that you, you know, do have a right for a main silent. You don't have to talk to us, you don't have to share with us. But, you know, we can't share with you if you don't share with us, okay? So during the initial stages of the interview, Dana was very conversational. That sounds like I'm in the arrest. No, you're not under arrest what most people think. Even joking with the two investigators that were in the room with her. Let's start with, you know, the last time you saw him. For a little while, he's... I'm trying to just say what, what, where and life just started to start. But um, he got really mad and could just job. He started paying out with a couple of women that were a lot younger than him and enjoying himself again. And he started being gone for longer periods of time and just kind of leave him me notes saying, I'll be gone for a few weeks. I'm not sure when I'll be back and taking off. And I think he's out, how I was on. And there's been some communication and like, I just, I leave money out for the rent. Scott, her behavior in the beginning, you and I are the big proponents of you really never know. But we definitely have our clues and it isn't the demeanor that I would suspect when someone's father has been missing for this long. Yeah, it seems to me that she wanted investigators to feel like she, yes, is being cooperative, but she's really not giving them any pertinent information. Everything she thinks rather than she knows. I just got the impression he was going to Arizona because it's so cold up in the mountains right now. So I'm guessing out there. She was very vague about, you know, well, he's got a girlfriend and well, what's the girlfriend saying? Well, I really don't know. That type of thing. Maybe he's left this lady's number from Arizona and some of his paperwork. And, you know, if we can find it, we can find them in Arizona, then that's great. And that's what we want. We explained to her that, you know, hey, we're trying to find out, you know, where Bill's at. Got a report that he's missing. And I remember one of her comments and, you know, kind of stuck in my brain was, he has to be found if he does a lot of me. Well, does he have to be found? What an odd thing to say about a loved one. Your father, who's missing? I mean, perhaps she's insinuating that her life will go on just fine, even if he is never found. When I heard it's like, uh, yeah, you're dead. You should very much want him to be found. But even if they weren't close just on a basic humanitarian level, we should always want everyone to be found that's missing. Absolutely taken back. I'm lucky enough I still have my father alive. And if I hadn't heard from my father or, you know, didn't know where he was at, I'd be concerned. I'd be like, yeah, we need to find him. And it was just, it was one of those things that just kind of struck me odd because that wasn't the reaction I would have had or that I thought anybody else would have. I don't understand if he doesn't want to call his family, does he have to or am I going to continue being talked to him at least until he does or we need to resolve this. I mean, technically, you know, he'll always be listed as a missing person until, you know, we do get a resolution to this. In the middle of the interview, Detective Burke Payne was interrupted. My phone started blowing up. They weren't texting me. They were calling me. His colleagues from the house search were desperately trying to get a hold of them. I didn't want to take the phone call and interrupt the dance in the interrogation room. You want to keep the conversation going and flowing freely and to get up and take a phone call in the middle of it would have just erupted that. Burke texted them back to stop calling just text him instead. I knew something was wrong. This just wasn't like Phil to just go missing and there's something you had to have happened. But not knowing where we're going to find him in the house, where we're going to find a receipt for an airplane ticket, where we're going to find, you know, a bloody crime scene. And then right there with Dana sitting just a few feet from him, Burke gets attacked with just four words. Four words that changed the course of this investigation. The text I received was we found human remains. Here we've got Dana sitting across from us and she's being very jokative, really doesn't seem real concerned about her dad. And the fact that she'd had those two dumpsters removed was I going to be spending my summer digging through trash looking for human remains and you know a football field full of trash. While interviewing Dana Jennings about her father's disappearance, Detective Burke Payne received the news that the officer's searching Bill's home discovered human remains. And remember this is the home where she lived too. Any investigator getting that message while their face to face with someone that now goes from do they know to what did they do. And remember it's his first homicide case. So it went from a missing to whether it is a homicide or if not a homicide, at least you know they have disposed of a body in a way that is going to be a crime. So his mind must have been whirling but at the same time it was of the most importance that he just played it cool. So I went through a course called Interviews and Interrogations taught by Detective Bob Rios and the police academy and a lot of it really comes down to is not asking a question that you potentially don't know the answer to because you have already thought out what you would do with that potential answer. You should never be surprised by what somebody tells you when you're in an interview situation. You should have already thought of the possibilities and if something comes to you from out of left field there's no reason why you just can't take a break. Step out. Think about it and come back in. You make it like it's a natural break and I get you a bottle of water. I need to answer this message. I need to talk to somebody else and I'll be right back. It has nothing to do with your case but I'll be right back. But that gives you the answer to really understand that every step that you take is a defined step. And that's what the Academy Course teaches you is how to handle those situations during an interview. There's no one set path that detectives go through a term of what they do before they actually sit down in those interview rooms for real during the actual interviews but they all go through some sort of training about interviewing before their badge goes from silver to gold. I've spent the most of my career working patrol we call it pushing a radiator and made detective about three years into my career a little over three years and I did spend approximately five years of my career working either in department of corrections or in a jail setting, been an operator on SWAT. I've always said having an opportunity to work job in corrections before being a uniform member on the street is a great advantage. Now I didn't take that path but I envied others who had the opportunity to learn how the criminal element thinks, how they communicate and what a detention officer transfers into patrol that knowledge can really pay dividends. Scott, do you think about Burke and his prior experience with SWAT? They are such high pressure situations after that you really need to get used to keeping a level head and I think the same holds true for interviewing. I think when people look at a department's special weapons and tactics unit or SWAT, you think of coverage perhaps that you've seen on TV or TV drama as taking down a door or repelling out of a helicopter and of course they do all of those things but what you don't see is the hours of planning and preparation that goes into all of that and for a detective it's the same thing. Preparation brings better intel and brings better results. I immediately text them call Commander Murphy because I knew Commander Murphy was watching the interrogation and he was in the office next door to me. While Burke was at the police station speaking to Dana, his colleagues were at the home uncovering the human remains when they'd visited Bill's home. You go down the stairs to the first landing and there's an access panel that leads you into the crawl space and once you're inside the crawl space I would say it's no more than four or four and a half feet from the bottom of the crawl space to the bottom of the living room floor. Once investigators navigated themselves into a corner portion of the basement which was a crawl space just inside the door they noticed something unusual. They noticed this freshly poured concrete and it was dry but it didn't look professional to them and there's something else. It seemed to be the very source of with the odor which was likely decomposition was coming from. Once you smell that smell it's a smell that you'll never forget and it's a very distinct odor. It's not like anything else. So they basically had to chisel him out of concrete. They broke off the top layer of the concrete and below the top layer they saw blue tarp. There were miscellaneous household items, CDs, magazines that kind of thing kind of stuffed in and around his body filling up the void but the one picture that I got that really confirmed that we had human remains was a picture of Bill's wrist with his wristwatch still on it. Now listen how they were able to positively identify Bill. Bill had a replacement knee when they did the autopsy they obviously exposed the knee and were able to confirm with the serial number on the knee that that was in fact Bill. And that just to me was a wild thing that I had never heard before. So there may be a question about do we have a homicide. Most of us probably realize that Bill couldn't encase himself in that concrete and die. While it's super suspicious you know can we rule it a homicide obviously not at this moment but I believe it's really going that way but I think antecedent may have a differing opinion. So yes of course we will presume it's probably a homicide but I also say we don't know that at all for sure you know there is another crime and another possibility which is unlawfully hiding or disposing of a body and for all of you that are shaking your heads at me even saying that well there's a reason it's on the books. Sometimes someone dies accidentally or you know who knows maybe and again I'm not saying this about Bill at all but they were doing narcotics when they shouldn't or there's something else going on that now the person dies or even there's mental impairment on the person inside the home now with a deceased person and they don't know what to do so they hide the body. Well it used to be in this to me is kind of interesting like it used to just be a misdemeanor you know to hide a body and they did that because at least in New York because Cemetery's would sometimes put human remains in places that were where they weren't supposed to go because of finances but I think it was in 2015 or at least around there they changed the law because again there's circumstances like this that we're not talking about a cemetery there's definitely going to be some civilian involved that at least hit Bill's body but no I don't think that we're there yet at all while likely a homicide it may be something going on that they just hid him and disposed of his body in a way that at least that piece will be a crime. Obviously Bill didn't put himself in the crawl space and cover himself in concrete it's the very least I had an improper notification of a death. Based on where Bill's body was found his height his weight what if he possible for Dana who was not a very big woman to be able to carry the body stuff him into a crawl space and pour concrete over him and while she was also let me say wearing a boot on her foot after an accident that she had my question back to you Anisee is that is it possible that she had help? I think also quite likely for the exact reasons you said you know bodies feel heavier once someone dies. So Dana was a good sized person I think Bill at the time the last weight we had on him was 202 pounds could she drag him there we never wanted to rule out anything until we could obviously rule it out 100 percent if she have helped did someone help her with this. At the time that Burke got the text he didn't know all of the intricacies what was found at the crime scene he only had the text which said we found human remains and that was right in the middle of the interview with Dana. I really was trying to hit up the father daughter connection and you know help us find him help us clear this up during that whole time my new my team was out searching the house and we're just trying to get her to kind of lay out a foundation give us a story she gave us stories you know she would tell us that he was in California with friends. So we really didn't know where he went and we really think you know where he went. I all I know is Mark's and Arizona high school from in California. And it's about here that the tone of the interview really begins to shift from what it had been like in the beginning. We've talked everybody and he doesn't know anybody in California his friend in California doesn't love there anymore we've done some checking and we know he didn't know there's someone. Okay. Okay. And we really know that. Well because we've talked everyone he doesn't know anyone there's someone. Before investigators want to reveal the amount of knowledge they already have from what's been discovered at the crime scene they're giving Dana every opportunity to be truthful. Not saying that happened but I mean if Bill suddenly died in natural causes will that be a shock to you. No. Okay. I mean I don't expect it but I wouldn't be we knew we had the body and now we're trying to get her to admit that she had something to do with his death. We gave her the out as we call it and we gave her scenarios that were less dramatic than you killed your dad you know maybe dad died and you were afraid and didn't know what to do so you you know you hit his body you know maybe it was an accident we gave her those outs to try to get her to start admitting and start giving us some of the information that we wanted. I don't think we're giving anything away here by saying this is an absolute textbook move. It's an open question a very effective method in these types of interviews by offering up a theory and a path towards confession. He says to her we found a dead body it's your father and how he died may not be at your hands but if it was the difference is dumping a body perhaps after a natural death or was it murder which one is it. I'm thinking that Dana either killed him or he died in the house and she you know was hiding the body from us my feeling was obviously if their human remains in the house that she wasn't telling us about then she had something to do with this. When someone does ultimately give an admission if they give them it all it's very rarely a straight out full every moving part confession if anything it's put your best foot forward okay I I did some of it you know that admit what you have to deny what you can saying I often use so they're giving her a lifeline like tell us something but even if you want to paint it in a way that you think might be better for yourself but Burke wasn't alone in that interview room as is rarely the case it is usually two detectives both in the room that conduct these interviews or two detectives in a prosecutor depending on where it is but here it's two detectives and it is now that the other detective in the room asks a bold question I want to ask you just build dead in that house and you have read it out not that you're aware but Dana if he's what do you mean you're not that you're aware of he'd be crawling underneath the house I have no knowledge of him dying in that house that's the same died in that house going I can smell you know Scott hearing that in the interview my reaction was obviously ours was the same it's like huh you know that isn't what someone would say but when you asked me the question at the top of the podcast my answer was similar to that and I'm comfortable saying that I do know I don't have a dead body here or something not that you know I know what that smell is and so with that if I answered it that way and there is no dead body in my home that there could be someone answering it that way who really isn't trying to cover someone up and again it goes to that you can't get tunnel vision and just be predisposed to knowing the outcome based on what someone says it's almost a scientific type of question because the majority of people would answer it a certain way but the people who don't aren't necessarily criminals or killers so based on just that answer that's not case closed let's take it to a jury okay let me take you back to December 9th remember December 9th makes him think he's got you because you're ex-husband got married on that day okay remember that yeah so December 9th is one that is that right yeah okay so you got married and you broke your foot on the same day right at least that's what you told okay do you remember that no you don't remember December 9th maybe leave that anyway make a note of this because it's going to be important later she's asked about December 9th and she says she doesn't remember and I should also tell you this we found where your dumpsters went yeah when we leave your house we're going right to the dump okay and we find them there easy to the your house or the dump burg take the pain is Bill dead in your house you know he's not that's the answer I was waiting for but Bill learned many of his thoughts but Dana you know what I'm talking about yeah you're much smarter than your life you know that I'm talking about you know and I know something happened on the ninth and I'm not saying it's homicide but I'm saying it starts to look that way when he stride to cover stuff up and you're covering stuff up like you wouldn't believe okay so what are you trying to conceal Dana I'm not trying to conceal it I just feel like I can get trapped and if I say he's not and you say he is and say what I didn't say he was there did you kill your father no okay but you did hide his body because he is deceased isn't it no he's not deceased how do you know I don't know I know I didn't hide his body you asked me to question okay good and I responded okay you don't want to say this is the line in the interview that really got to me it's when she's accused of placing the body in a dumpster and her reaction was I want to put in a dumpster I just watched her any crime shows I would think that we'd get no I don't know um all during the interview the other detective was continually getting text from the crime scene details that only the actual killer would do the person who place bills body in the cross base and poured it over with concrete telling Dana that science has now confirmed that a dead body is in the basement so you know they've been texting me about what they've been fighting at the house I'll see you later. You don't move in all this year. Luminol is a chemical agent that when applied to a surface will react to the presence of blood or bodily fluids giving off a phosphorus glow when you turn the lights out it's the most effective tool crime scenes where the killer believes they've cleaned it up and wiped away any evidence. I went down to the basement but Luminol lit and they know something happened out there so there's actually like body stuff down there like from a person. Remember early in the interview she was laughing speaking loudly and very connected with both investigators in the room but now she was speaking quietly almost mumbling which goes to now her guard is going up so I know Bill died in that basement we had a good day yeah well you said you couldn't remember like 10 minutes ago. She quickly then gets caught in this lie. Earlier on she told investigators that she could not remember anything about that day and now in the interview she was saying how great the day was and how great the relationship between her and her father was at that moment and while it's just this little eye it's starting to change the interview all the more and I don't want to have to charge you with a homicide because that's what it looks like right now and I'm telling you the truth so tell me data he died on accident that's an easy question he died on accident didn't he? No not that I know. I'm trying to help you man. I'm giving you where to kind of light preserve where I can and to grab on for the light preserve. Grab it. Even though investigators knew about the concrete used to pour over Bill's body they were leaving that detail out for the end of the interview wanted to see if that detail were turned the corn for her which she become truthful and why did you put semen in the crawl space because we're gonna dig that up to that's fine we're gonna dig that to concrete and we're gonna find your dad or anything really yeah I'm almost positive based on my experience dig your dad's in that basement and he's underneath that concrete and when we dig it up looks like you killed him for everything that I've already told you. I'm glad to hear that it wasn't until we told her that we were breaking apart the concrete that she requested an attorney and ended the interview and how they're in the process of digging that semen up from what they just told me. Now the investigators believe they know the who but they still really don't know the why and how Bill died. We still didn't know if she had help we had a lot more to go it wasn't you know okay we got him we were done did she actually kill him did someone else kill him. Now that Dana has exercised her right to stop speaking investigating it is aren't going to be able to get anywhere else with her at least not with her words but what about her most recent husband number four. Dana's fourth husband we interviewed him a couple times he was cooperative but not cooperative if that makes sense he offered us his cell phone to allow us to download it gave us a written consent to search his cell phone but the passcode that he gave us was incorrect and when we questioned him about it he couldn't remember his passcode. He couldn't remember his password and without a password it really wasn't an investigative tool for them at all and this guy was a IT guy so like was one of those kind of that's kind of weird type thing. Scott at least on his face that strikes me as yeah I'll say I'm cooperative but only so much when he's an IT guy and so you give your phone and you give the wrong passcode. Yeah I'd have to agree I mean something I would put in my back pocket and perhaps raise later on if there is a reason to even though Bill's body was found in a crawl space in the basement the entire house would become a crime scene one of the main reasons was that their prime suspect also lived within the confines of that home and you really need to know and collect everything possible to see what could have contributed to his death and I'm even including medications as an example. When we found the human remains they asked me you know what should we take and I didn't know what it killed him so I told him to take everything we collected over 800 pieces of evidence. 800 pieces of evidence Scott I think we just have to take a side step here because as I listen to him talk about the amount of evidence they collect it I could just hear the criminalist in the crime lab just put their heads in their hands saying oh no oh no so no there is no way all 800 of these pieces of evidence would ever be tested and having had those cases that we've had you know this many pieces of evidence and more ultimately what happens if there's ever charges or things coming out of this house that are potentially relevant is you sit down prosecutors detectives with your criminalists and you go through all of it what your various theories are and then you actually pick through the pieces but again it was very smart to take it all here because they had no idea what they were looking for and then they can sift through it later and decide what they needed to test. So detectives still have no idea how Bill died the answer could lie in those 800 pieces of evidence from the home but in reality the answer was right at their fingertips but they couldn't get it. So Dana had an iPhone when Dana was in the interrogation room we had taken her cell phone. Now it's not easy to unlock cell phones whether it's an iPhone or even some of the other carriers and even some of the manufacturers of these phones will not unlock them for us even when we give them search warrants asking or requiring them to do so and here's something that's interesting you can't compel someone to give you that information and it really comes down to I take the fifth and many of you know that from various legal shows, procedures that you've watched over the years but just think about it if there is evidence of a crime that you may have committed on your phone well then in a way you're being compelled to speak to give that evidence against yourself if you can have to give the words to get them in that phone so it's a few steps beyond but it's pretty interesting the rationale why if police can't do it and often they can but it's not easy while you're not going to be able to get it from the person who owns the phone unless they choose to give it. We'd reached out to the FBI because it was locked to see if they could help us break it and they had told us that we were talking six months to a year before they'd be able to get into it. Just think about this these investigations while they take time can they afford six months for Burke to wait for that information and what if Dana did have help? Is that time going to hurt the investigation? Is it going to give people opportunities to get their story straight or even interfere with this investigation? Six months. Investigators would hit dead ends with their own resources, Apple, the FBI so they would turn to the help of a child. And so not having the passcode definitely caused an obviously hiccup in our investigation. Detective sit down to brainstorm what to do with this conundrum they have the phone but they don't know how to get into it so they start to think about well wait a second who do we often see with phones? You see kids. We kind of all sat down and started brainstorming it and came to the realization that often children play with mom and dad's phone so maybe Dana's daughter knew the passcode for it so we contacted Dana's third husband who had custody of their child at that time and he was able to provide us with the passcode for the phone. Within seconds they were in so they did the download on the phone we were only able to go back a month and in that month her phone was a treasure trove of information for us. And it was eye opening to say the least especially when he came down to the searches that were done on Google all filling in a timeline and a potential method of delivering death. We had found on there where she googled how long does it take a human body to decompose and based on the date that she googled that it was shortly after my officers went to her house the second time to check on Williams see if he had come home and while we were schooling through it I saw the word asapromazine pop up on the screen I didn't know what it was so I quickly wrote it down asapromazine and that is not an easy word to say believe me it's basically a horse tranquilizer. In high doses it causes cardiovascular collapse basically making the heart stop. I've come across various other substances that are used to mimic natural death and homicides but never this one not a horse tranquilizer. I called the coroner's office and I asked them in the toxicology do you guys check for asapromazine their response was no we don't. I asked them can we check and to find out that he had a large quantity of a horse tranquilizer in a system and you know obviously you know bills not a horse so why does he have that in his system. But here's the other thing about this substance is that it's not something that you go and you buy it a pet store. Eventually we were able to find the eBay account where she purchased the asapromazine. My first step was I started calling it veterinarians to see how I go about getting this. Is this something that I can buy from them or is it something that has to be prescribed. Apparently someone was selling it without a prescription off of eBay and that's how she got it. Everything started to line up now because Burke learning from talking to Bill's family that there was an incident prior to Bill's death where he was knocked out. Just a couple of days before he was last heard from Dana made and served Bill a burger. He took a single bite and woke up at his recliner 15 hours later. When he came to he messaged his son she must have drugged me. Now police know the exact substance she was using. I know you can find and get everything on the internet but what are people selling off market horse tranquilizers for is it because they're too expensive when you go to the drugstore or is it for some reason like this you know to hurt someone else and I don't know my head started to go down that road and I had to stop myself but then if we think about it here it shows it wasn't the first time she had given it to him so how long had she been planning and working with this drug feeding it to her father. And I think it goes to her intent. Her intent of trying it out knowing the amount potentially that would just knock him out or knowing the amount that would kill him and trying to base her timing of those two different events. And I think out of see it it comes to the point where you have to start thinking about motive. I mean why kill him and then pretend he was alive and that goes back to what I was saying earlier. Is it just that he died accidentally or naturally even and that she just wanted to collect his benefits well now we know from everything that that doesn't seem a realistic scenario so what was the reason that she did all of this. Saying to investigators that he may have gone away and may not be back for a while was that giving her an opportunity to maybe collect his so security checks at his home or really when you think about the relationships really just tired of him telling her how unsuccessful and bad she was at those relationships about choosing the right person and maybe she just could not take any more of it. It never actually getting a confession from her and never actually learning what her true motive was you know it's all speculation. I guess the way I picture it in my brain the day that William died is that she's lost her business she's on her fourth divorce her third husband's getting remarried her life is spiraling out of control my vision of this is that her and Bill are sitting there talking about Dana you need to get your life together honey you need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get going and I think she was just tired of her and him talk and whether or not she meant to kill him or she just meant to quiet him down for a while I don't know. Scott let me pull out this interesting fact out of the hundred plus episodes of AMM have done so far this is only the second one that I could think of that a child actually killed a parent there's LaShawn Lewis now there was another case that we covered much earlier which was Bill Markhart but Bill remember he wasn't convicted of killing his mom only charge so Scott when you think about all the episodes we've done so far for AMM were you surprised that we've only done two that the familial relationship was this. I think it's only based on the numbers that it really actually occurs we have homicides that occur for so many different reasons you know we say it all the time for love for money relationships or random crimes that have nothing to do with the victim or the suspect it's just a matter of it being random so I'm not surprised based on the fact that the numbers probably bear out that it's not very common that you have a child who kills their parent I think it's probably more common it's the other way around. The case against Dana Jennings went to trial in July of 2019 so the charge was first degree murder it was also improper disposition of a human body Dana's defense was more towards unintentional death than murder their defense for the most part was this was a tragic accident saying that her father had a list of ailments that made it difficult for him to sleep she used her expertise in massage and laced massage oils with marijuana and that unfortunately caused him to pass away. And the accident defense makes perfect sense here because they have the body they know where he is and you can't really say I knew nothing at all because of course you had knowledge and had something to do with it so it's they didn't have to give any defense the defendant never does but it's the best that they could do in a sense but it really defies common sense because it doesn't in any way account for the cement the crawl space the line to police the extreme lengths that she went to to hide the body speak more about covering up the murder. The question would be would the jury find her story believable they deliberated for several days and even though detective pain and his team felt pretty comfortable with the presentation within the trial you just never know. When the jury came back I remember you know I got the call obviously and their you know have us come back into the courtroom and they'd been out for two and a half three days we had we felt a very strong case but you put it in the hands of 12 people you never know what's going to happen when the verdict was read it was kind of bittersweet. A jury found Dana Jennings guilty of first degree murder of William Musack she was also convicted of tampering with a deceased human body and was sentenced to life in prison plus six years without the possibility of parole. The day that we're recording this episode just happens to be my own dad's birthday he's 82 and so when I think about him he revolves around his kids his family you know the attention and care that we give and show to him that is the thing that brings the biggest smile to his face. What Dana Jennings did to her father flips all the love and appreciation that we hope one feels to a deserving parent on its head. William Musack was the kind of guy that you want to sit down and have a beer with and the kind of guy that you know really went above and beyond for his friends and family and they'd lost him so while there was some hey we got the right person we were able to give him that voice and be able to answer those questions for his family it was also sad because Bill's not coming back. By Bill being the provider he was both financially and emotionally is what gave Dana the opportunity to murder him but think about what parent wouldn't offer that type of assistance to their child. We don't know the dynamic between father and daughter we do know based on the evidence that Dana made a decision it was purposeful it was premeditated and it was murder. He was her person the one that always took care of her as best he knew how so for Bill I would imagine just to know that she was capable and then in fact did this to him that might be would be the worst part of it all. Cune 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 Medevin are executive producers. So what do you think Chuck do you approve?