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.

Nightmare Next Door (Kristin Scarabelli)

Nightmare Next Door (Kristin Scarabelli)

Tue, 06 Dec 2022 08:00

The family, community and police are convinced that a strange neighbor is behind the murder of teen girl. But a phone call confession urges detectives to look in a different direction.

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The bottom line to this case was that people could have done something and they didn't. I've got Weinberger, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. I'm Anna Sige Nikolasi, former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of investigation discoveries to conviction. And this is Anatomy of Murth. When I saw today's case on the AOM interview list, I just thought to myself, oh no, I remember that one well. You know, cases grab us for different reasons and beyond the what of this one, it is definitely the where. As the case recovery today developed, I was a reporter at the NBC station here in New York City and the story did receive intense media coverage. It took place in Suffolk County, which is on Long Island in New York, which is where I grew up. And I think when things like this happen close to home, they impact us differently. My name is Douglas Mercer, Suffolk County New York homicide school. It was Mother's Day 1996. Detective Douglas Mercer was celebrating the day as he normally did, which was cooking for his mom and his wife, his mother-in-law. But today, those plans would dramatically change. So we got cooled out to this person who was missing and then we picked it up. Then there was another family, the Scarabellies, who had different plans for that Mother's Day. Victor and his wife, Charlene, had four children. Each of the kids was doing their own thing that day while the parents had gone up to Rhode Island. That house up there. So they wanted to open the house up for the summer. So they did, and they were going to celebrate Mother's Day when they came home. When they came back home around midnight, their youngest daughter, Kristen, who was 16 years old, wasn't home. At first, they thought she had already gone to bed or perhaps been in the night at a friend's house. They saw a note said something about her friend, Mara, and they didn't want to disturb her because they thought she was sleeping. But they later realized that, in fact, was not the case. The next day, Monday, she wasn't home. And that's when they panicked and realized that she hadn't been home all night. Almost as soon as police realized they had a missing teenager on their hands, investigators were called in. And almost as soon as they got to the home, Victor told investigators what he had noticed that seemed off to him in his house. The father noticed that on a staircase going up to the second floor, there had been a towel on the staircase. And that towel was at the top of the staircase when he left. It was now at the bottom of the staircase. Stats him was on. Other than that, there was no disturbance in the house. You know, to me, Atasega, right off the top, there are three obvious theories here. Is she just off with her friends and intentionally not reaching out to her parents? Or is she missing under suspicious circumstances? Or is she missing because she was actually abducted from inside her home? And that theory is based on how the towel was positioned within that stairwell. What do you think? I don't know. That towel to me, I think it's one of those things that I didn't think that much of it when I first saw it, something I would take note of and maybe revisit it later, figuring out, you know, if it had anything to do with something sinister. Once we knew what happened to Kristen. No, they thought she was missing, but they didn't like the fact that she was missing. They felt that there was something seriously wrong. That she wouldn't just go missing like this. To understand how to approach all of these theories is to know as much as you can about your victim. It's also known as victimology. We talk a lot about that on AOM. Kristen was a cheerleader in high school who took accelerated classes so that she could graduate a year early. And even though she was 16, she was only a month away from saying goodbye to high school and starting the next phase of her life at the University of Georgia. And while right now she is a missing person, her family was already fearing the worst. They always have hope. They don't think of a dead person. Most people do have hope. And these parents had hope also. But with the hope comes the knowledge that deep down inside they know something's wrong. And the Scarabelli family was quick to tell authorities who they were already suspicious of. And that was their next-door neighbor, Stephen Manales. He was a strange character. They felt he was always looking at her. He was watching her. Stephen was in his 40s and lived at home with his parents. And other neighbors had described him to police as someone who at times displayed odd behavior. He even published reports talked about the fact that he was a diagnosed schizophrenic who did continually display erratic behavior. He was like in his 40s. Long stringy hair, very thin and very quirky. He would like run around, talk to himself. Let's stop from him and just talk because we brought up one of which is definitely a mental health condition, which is the published reports of Manales suffering from schizophrenia. But here's one thing and I harken back to something that an FBI profiler once said. He said that people often think that those diagnosed with schizophrenia are likely to cause violent crime. When in fact in his experience, they are more often than not the victims of violent crimes. We questioned him that the question is mom, we went up to his room the first day we were there trying to talk to him and he ran out. He wanted no part of us. So we like left him alone. At the onset of this investigation, Christian was a 16 year old missing teen. And of course the first goal here was to find her and bring her home safely. We did a complete search in a neighborhood. It was hands on. Everybody came down and searched for her. Neighbors gave us a lot of information about what possibly could have happened to her. Then we just started searching in a neighborhood, going to the door. But as they searched the neighborhood and canvas the area, talking to different people that were willing to talk with them, it became more clear to them that her disappearance at least looked sinister. We observed right away, drag mocks on the front lawn. And quite through you on the ground and dragged you along on grass, there would be a line in the grass. So the line is what we found. It was just a line in the grass that was all the way down the end of the block. And then neighbors reported this on the night. Christian was last seen. Neighbors across the street heard a girl scream and a man shout, shut up or I'll kill you. She was around 10.45 pm and neighbors also told police they thought they saw two people scuffling at around 11 pm just outside the Scarabellys home. The neighbor across the street said, oh yeah, I drove into my driveway that night and I saw one person on the ground across the street in that spot. Scott just for a second, let's stop because as soon as I read this, I was like, wait, why are they finding out about this now when they're now looking for this missing girl? How did nobody call the police that night when they heard that sort of commotion outside? Being in this profession, we've heard all types of reasons why people just don't want to get involved. You know, maybe they thought there were a couple of their next door neighbors fighting. Maybe they thought it could have been a couple of teens who were joking around. It's important to realize that people do things that they're most comfortable with and sometimes calling the police is not something they're comfortable with. I think this was a real turning point in the investigation. No longer was just a young teen who just ran away. This was now looking more like a potential abduction than this. Just between the front door and the street to the right of the air. One button was found. Three-hole button that was on the front lawn. It was a right button from a white shirt. If we jump ahead and just assume at some point this whole case is going to end up in a courtroom, just picture what the defense does with that. A button. What is more common than a small white button that is probably found on most buttoned down shirts? I certainly would like to think that it leads somewhere. There's something pretty average and not special in and of itself to me, at least for right now. But as an investigator, if you're at a crime scene like this, where it's potentially a crime scene and you find something, that's better than finding nothing. And the investigation is definitely heating up. They now have various witness accounts of what took place the night before. You have the drag marks, you have the button. So now to help find Kristen, police bring in one of Man's best search tools and that happens to be Man's best friend. About two days later, you're going to K9. The drag marks are really important for another reason. One that I'm very familiar with as a former K9 deputy myself. It's at that very spot that a police K9 could potentially pick up a trail. The K9 led investigators down the block near a chain link fence. There was a large tree, something similar to a drought tolerant evergreen tree. The dog indicated at the tree and inside behind the branches, the body of 16 year old Kristen Scarabelli was located. And they were bags all around her so you couldn't see her at all. We were with parents. We got worried that they found her. So we had to tell the parents that they found her and she was not alive. And the father went nuts on us. We had to hold them down. This is not a shock to them, but to hear those words come out there, we just found your door to dead. That's the shock. The Scarabelli's lived on a street normally bustling with children on bikes and well decorated homes for the holidays. But in the days following this horrific murder, the streets were lined with TV news trucks, a community in fear that a killer was at large and possibly could be one of their neighbors. You got a 16 year old girl that goes missing from her neighborhood and she found down the block on the retreat. Certainly that means there's a killer in neighborhood. They want to know where she's taking her on the house. They want people wanting to know how she got there, who killed her, shook the neighborhood big time. But they rallied around the Scarabellies. You know, there was something in a newspaper article that really talks about the chill that swept over this community. There was a student who talked about how everyone just sat in class quietly when they heard the news so much so that you could hear a pin drop. And I just picture that that is exactly what is going on almost all over town. At Kristen's funeral, 500 mourners packed the church. One article even mentioned that Kristen worked at a local fruit stand. And on that Sunday, she went to work so that another employee, a mother, could take the day off. And that's how Kristen spent her last day on Earth. And so again, without ever having known her or met her, that one act tells us definitely something about her because it goes to a young woman who has a caring, kind and thoughtful nature. Let's go back to the find underneath that tree. Kristen was found naked from the waist down. Her pajama bottoms were folded neatly stuffed up into her shirt. And at that moment, her cause of death appeared to be strangulation, which was later confirmed by autopsy. She had a pajamas, but she was naked from the waist down. pajamas were folded up neatly, stuffed up under her shirt, which is the top part of her pajamas were. So the pajamas were stuffed up under her shirt, and the bottom part of her was completely naked. We didn't know if she was raped or not, but she had been sexually abused. For police, they have to automatically start thinking, well, what type of killer are they dealing with? And here they know that there is a 16-year-old who was just going about her evening or into the night. And she is likely taken. Again, remember, there's the drag marks. She is strangled. She is killed. And also likely sexually assaulted. All of this leads in the direction of a predator, someone who may have been stalking the victim, even more, may have been waiting for an opportunity with the intent to kill. Detective Doug Mercer knew what was at stake here. Emotions were high. As he pressed on for more information, more evidence, he began to interview family members, her friends, the neighbors, but there was another source of information. We shoot. Within the first two days, we found her diary. It was typical girl stuff. Some it was true, some it wasn't. But buried on those pages, written in her own words, was a secret about Christa. It is always useful to find out as much as you can about your victim as possible. That family, friends, and the closest one to your victim can let you know about them. And then there's this type of insight that may actually come from the victim themselves in the form of a private diary. You know, in cases when we get them, you know, of course we're scouring them. We are reading every word hoping to uncover some clue in the case. And certainly the ones that I've had that is unfortunately rarely the case, but it does give you a snapshot into their lives. And that is always helpful. I think when it comes to helping in a case I've seen it mostly helpful in domestic violence cases, unfortunately it starts to paint a picture that the outside world maybe didn't really see. But you know, in Christen's case, investigators uncovered another hidden facet of this young woman's life. The biggest aspect was the drug aspect. You know, here they did have a teen who was writing about experimenting or using narcotics. So again, that is now another path that investigators must go down. You know, that is at least potentially a motive because we all do know that narcotics unfortunately can often lead to bigger trouble. And during the investigation, Doug was able to uncover that Christen's own brother may have been dabbling in drug sales. Here's the reason why that may be relevant. Could he have brought in some type of criminal element to the home that may have that access to Christen? If you talk to the brother, we found co-oc in the brother's room. So we found that he was dealing cocaine. We talked to him. So we got the brother in and we talked to him. During that talk, the conversation, he said, what if he had nothing to do with it? And none of his friends had anything to do with this man. We kind of believed him. So police do want to dig more and to do that they're going to try to speak with Christen's friends. And they started with her best friend, Mara, because she was actually with Christen that Sunday night while the rest of the family was away. Mara lays out the timeline of her last moments with Christen. And according to Mara, the two spent most of the evening together. And Christen dropped Mara off at home about 1030. Remember it was about 1045 to 11 when neighbors heard the screams and another spotted two people scuffling just outside the home. So based on what investigators are getting from Mara, it is likely that she was the last person to see Christen alive. At least that's before the killer. But you know, with Mara, she was not an open book. And it definitely wasn't easy for investigators to get information from her. Yeah, I understand something. These kids at the time did not trust us. They didn't like the police. They didn't trust us. They kind of like refused to talk to us. Of course, they thought we were trying to get into other bad behavior aspects of their lives. You know, as you know, as you know, in any murder investigation, especially of a high school age student, the amount of others that they interact with on a daily basis can be challenging for investigators. When you go to school with several hundreds of other students, it's difficult to determine how many people they had within their circle. And who may know what? Depending on the size of the high school, and from what I remember, Northport was a large high school. You know, this could really add on to such an extra amount of work because the potential pool of suspects is that much greater. There was one classmate that did stand out to investigators. His name was Jimmy Mara. Jimmy Mara was the classmate. And apparently they had gone out a few times. Mara was trying to get with her. So we looked at him. As investigators found more about that relationship, the short-lived relationship became more alarming and Mar definitely did not take the breakup well. He had like, you know, threatened her a few times when they broke up or whatever. So we wanted to talk to him also. Friends of Kristen told police that Jimmy blamed her for driving his girlfriend away from him and that he wanted to assault Kristen. And when it came to answering Doug's questions while Jimmy was willing to talk, it did take several requests to come into the station for the one-on-one sit-down. We talked to Jimmy Mara like years later when he agreed to talk to us. When we talked him later on, he's fine. He didn't want to get implicated. He said, yeah, he was going out with her. He was infatuated with her. But then that was it. It was typical 16-year-old stuff. So you know, it comes down to is Jimmy Mara someone that should be on police radar. And the answer is, of course, yes. You know, until he's rolled out, he has to still be in. It doesn't make him responsible for anything. But until they know the who and who is the definitely not, they need to keep all these potential people in the mix. For Doug, he felt the time would be better spent focusing on their number one suspect who was Stephen Minolas. We had nothing on him to bring him in to question him. There was nothing to link him to this case. Other than the drag box that we found to his garage area. But that doesn't mean it's him. Digging deep, Reduc find out that Stephen Minolas had a record and was on probation for Grand Larson. And in New York, Grand Larson is the charge applied, the thefts that are considered more serious because of the value of the property over $1,000. It also includes stealing a firearm, a credit card, or even a vehicle. And when they found out he was on probation, they actually learned a bit more. And that is that on multiple occasions when probation had gone to see him at his home, that according to probation officers and what's been reported is the parents actually shielded him and always said that Stephen Minolas wasn't home. And it really left probationers not with much information, but unfortunately rather than following up eventually, they just gave up. So finally probation gave up his authority. He's not doing anything. Leave him alone and they let it go. But Bob was definitely protecting him. Another missed opportunity apparently, I see you. Yeah, there's a reason that people are supposed to be checked on when they are on probation and parole. And that is to kind of make sure people are in the straight and narrow and hopefully all involved, whether it is the probationary themselves or family members. They should want that to to kind of write their wrongs and kind of get themselves back on the right path. It is pretty well established that at this point, Minolas is a strong person of interest. But to take it to a point of charging him with Kristen's murder, investigators definitely needed more. Because really what do they have right now is a prosecutor I'm saying basically nothing. They have drag marks, which are interesting and maybe become much bigger later. They have a button that isn't leading anywhere, but that's it. You know, what about the garbage bags? Can they tie the garbage bags that were near Kristen back to the home? Is there maybe some sort of evidence inside his home now while they're not there yet, but that's somewhere down the road that they can get inside and at least check. You know, I don't really see anything right now that is clear evidence that is going to be proof against him in a courtroom. You gotta remember something. Back then, DNA was not an option. We had no proof of anything for her. You know, well, we have a saliva marks. So, you know, we didn't have DNA, we didn't have any indication or anything connecting Minolas to her. So to talk to him was ridiculous because he wasn't willing to talk to us. Let me put it that way. Over years, years, detective Mercer and his partners tried to generate more information about Minolas and that entailed building a birdhouse. That's right, a birdhouse. Yeah, we built the birdhouse on the spot where the button was found. And in the birdhouse, a photo of Kristen and just behind that, a hidden camera. Oh, we were hoping that he would come and talk to it and say something to her like, I'm sorry I killed you. I'm sorry I did this. I'm sorry to that. That's just a fantastic way of at least trying to gather evidence. It is crafty. It is definitely not the norm. I've never heard about the birdhouse as a way to try to get someone on tape, if you will. And again, you know, it's just in a way like different enough that just maybe it's going to work. You know, it's one of my favorite things about doing the stories that we do on a seagull is seeing the creative side of so many members of law enforcement, hoping their prime suspect sticks his head into that birdhouse and hope he begins to talk to her picture. Perhaps even admitting the murder. It's pretty ingenious. Here, the butt is that it didn't work. Manolus pretty quickly spotted the camera. He too, pretty smart, took his flashlight, was shining it on the picture and could presumably see the camera on the other side, the lens. And so he burnt it out. So we tried other things where we put out other items on the lawn with cameras on him and he burnt those lenses out. So we stopped doing that. Investigators are getting nowhere with proving that Steven Manolus killed Kristen Scarabelli, but maybe that's because he didn't do it. Maybe he's innocent. But during that time he was kept under surveillance. Police received this call. There was a guy from Georgia who called up and said he killed her. He was confessing to the murder of Kristen Scarabelli. A couple years after Kristen was murdered, which is now 2000, a 27 year old man named Anton Chalinski walked into a precinct, not a long island, but in Douglasville, Georgia. We had a call from Georgia saying to have a guy, Chalinski. That was his name. Chalinski. He was confessing to the murder of Chris Scarabelli. Where we have a caller from a thousand miles away, confessing to the killing and on the surface, it seems outlandish. But here's the background on Chalinski. He grew up in East Northport, Long Island, and he was a drifter. So it is possible that he did know Kristen. I don't know how he met her, but he said he tried to date her. In their conversation with him, he said he had tried to date Kristen and she rebuffed him. But other than this, he was really nothing else that showed that Chalinski had anything to do with her murder. We talked him on the phone. He was convinced that he killed her. So after a 15 minute conversation with Chalinski, investigators felt that he had nothing to do with her murder. He said he had tried to date Kristen. It was no evidence whatsoever that they even knew each other. He was homeless. So it was a way of him getting to jail to get a house. So, you know, hearing that this is not a likely mental health issue that is causing him to say he committed a homicide that he had nothing to do with. Here the reason being different is that he was basically living on the streets and didn't have a home and he so wanted that roof over his head that he had decided that long time jail was a better option. And to dig into that thought and that premise is probably a conversation for another day. But in this case, detectives shifted their focus now back to Stephen Minolas and Doug Mercer uncovered that he had a disturbing history with women. And we found out through records that he had got the college out Stony Brook University and he was going out with a girl and he raped her. But she didn't want to press charges. We found out from this girl that she continued to get phone calls for 16 years and the person would call her and hang up on her. Remember this investigation was going on for years. And all the while, the Minolas continued to live right next door to the Scarabellies. Every morning they would leave for work every night they would come home and they could see the Minolas literally getting away with murder. And of course that extends to all of Christian's neighbors as well who believed they were living next to someone who could do something like that. Mr. Scarabell, you wanted to kill the guy. We had to constantly calm them down to tell him, hey look, we think it's him but we don't know for sure. There could be somebody else out there. So until we can lock him up there with us. It's not a case that's going away. So they were very patient with us, they're very patient. You know one article, Kristen's dad Victor said that he never got more than two hours of sleep because of his daughter's open case throughout those years. Well, we both know the hands of justice move slow, but when they're right next toward you that lack of movement and that in your face potential activity just adds a tenfold. I really think I'd have to just pick up and move right away, but I will say to the Scarabellie family what like strength that exhibited to like handle that and one step in front of the other until they hopefully got to where they thought they were supposed to be. And we went to see a profiler in New York City police the bump in profiler and his profile basically said it was somebody near to her. So when we told him about the next one neighbor, he said absolutely it could be him. Doug and the homicide unit knew that they needed to keep up the pressure and remain as creative as possible. They knew their target and they needed to keep a watchful eye without him realizing it. Because whoever did this, just think about the type of crime it was. It is that she is literally taken and dragged and strangled, which means that the person, the offender who committed this, very likely at some point will strike again if he is not stopped. We put up a surveillance camera on the pole outside and he broke that. We're staking him out to watch him document what he does with certain things. But as detectives to stake Manolis out, Manolis turned the table and would stake them out. We'll hide behind trees, we'll hide behind other houses. He would always find us. He would pick us right out. He would just stuck your head out a little bit, he'd find it. He knew where we were at all times. He would shine a flashlight out of us. He had a camera and a night scope and he was there. Not about it, he was there. He was a Wiley E. Coyote if you would. Chris was murdered back in 1996 when DNA was still in its very infancy. But now that there are five years ahead in 2001, every investigator in America knew that that just might be the answer to their cold cases. But since they didn't have the actual evidence against Manolis to get a warrant for his DNA, detectives relied on another man to try to get it. So as part of the surveillance of their prime suspect, they wanted to know more about him. So one technique was to go through his garbage where there's no expectation or privacy to see, you know, what is his interest? Does he like cars, does he recarme magazines, or something they can learn more about him? So then they could potentially send him an offer in the mail, hoping that he would return that offer and lick the envelope on their return. Then by licking the envelope, guess what? We could get some type of forensic evidence from that. And I think you know this from previous cases that we've done. There was one story that we did where the investigator approached their prime suspect saying that there were survey takers and they knocked on the door, gave them an envelope and paid them $5 to take the survey. The person signed the survey, licked the envelope and gave it back to the undercover agent. So when it works, it's fantastic, but will it work here? So we sent him a letter, hoping that he would lick the envelope and send it back in and we try and get his DNA when DNA became available. The envelope was licked. There was water on the envelope. There was nothing to show that he had licked the envelope. He signed it. Kyle Stewart. And remember our victim's name, Kristen with the K, Scarabelli with an S, Kyle Stewart, K.S. He was fixated on her. There's no doubt about it that he was fixated on her. Investigators seemed so close and that somehow it didn't work and it's clearly possible that Manolus was toying with them, knowing that they were trying to send him up. He was on to us. He was playing with us. I think he was playing with us anyway. So you know, if Manolus knows that police are on to him, why even send the envelope back at all, right? But again, we all know that also killers sometimes they almost enjoy the attention, even if it's because police are hot on their trail. Or it's almost like that cat and mouse. You know, sure, you want me to do this. I'll do it kind of, but it's not going to get you anywhere. Now let's go back to that button. The small white button found in the grass. It was clear that it belonged to a white shirt and Steven Manolus was known for wearing only white buttoned down shirts. So I put my shirt on at home one day and I see this button and I say, you know, when I put this shirt on and I'm closing the button, I'm running my fingers over this button and the holes all the time. I'm leaving you a pithelio cells and within the holes and Doug did uncover more details about Manolus that may make this discovery even more critical. It's a district in New York City called the garment district. We went down there. We showed them the button and we found out that it was made for one shirt and one shirt only, which is a white shirt, which is what he wore all the time. Nothing else but a white shirt. So this is now a potential new opportunity and who knows maybe the last opportunity that investigators have to see if they can link Manolus to the murder. We took the button and we gave it at that time down to the lab for DNA testing and it came back to him. Okay, DNA and a button from a shirt that belongs to your prime suspects. Sounds like a done deal. So his button was there, but who says he came off during a struggle on that day? Mother's Day in 1996, it could have happened days, weeks or even years earlier, right? But of course there's still a benefit because what if you didn't test the button you could get DNA off of it, but it comes back not even to his. Well, now the prosecutors have total leg on their face right. And it's a ridiculous thing not to do. We're here again by itself to approve anything he lives there. He wears the shirts, but it happens to be near the drag marks like how many it just happens. Can there be before it's all pieces of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. I guess that's my argument. And I'd step back before we even got to court and I'd have him if he's talking and I may present that evidence to him and show it to him that we have your DNA at the scene before he even gets an opportunity to challenge it in court. Throw it back to him. He may see that opportunity like the anacena line jiggas up. I'm caught. Why does that keep becoming my line is not even my line because you said that's one of those moments that I'm searching for a word right now it's become my line I crack up every time he say. I mean that's why it's important you have an opportunity to challenge him if he's willing to talk to you in an interview that you have DNA. It's not enough to secure a conviction, but it is enough to get an arrest warrant. But it has to be strategic and here's why is because of course you always want to get a statement if you can if your suspect is willing to speak to you. Well, if they don't play their cards a certain way and they have the parents involved then they think they're more likely to get attorney involved. And while the attorney certainly has the right and will give that counsel to their client they're probably going to say don't say a word at all. They don't want to do that. So they are going to be strategic in wanting to get him in a way that they don't want to get an arrest warrant. They don't want to have to go into the house or going to wait for an opportunity to try to arrest him and then see if once they get him into the precinct if they can get that statement whether it's a denial admission or whatever he wants to say. After years of being on police radar you would have to imagine that Manolus knew the possibility that this day may come. Perhaps in his mind he gained it out stockpiled some weapons. It's possible and because of that possibility Doug and his team wanted to as I always say control the environment in an arrest scenario. We had told everybody in the neighborhood to stay inside the house. If they hear something at night don't worry about it. We're in the neighborhood. We're going to control it. So now it's a question of getting him out of the house. And so ultimately what they do is they actually lower him out with a blinking light. We borrowed a light truck a lot of oil and power 30 truck and his house was located. There was a pole. So we went out there and we put up a box with a little red light that bliped face towards his window. So he would have to come out of the house to do something about this light which we knew a noise. So the plan was to wait for Manolus to leave his house. Police had a lot of backup on the scene that day on the street. They had 14 police officers located in various different areas on the streets on the houses across the street on the houses next door. Four people inside the Scarabellys house. Four people outside in the house next door on the other side. Four people in the back. I was across the street watching everything. Everything was in place waiting for Manolus to walk out. After they have the light in place all of the officers surround the house and then they wait. They're in position. They wait some more. Eventually, Stephen Manolus did come outside. So when he came out, he used a 14 foot pole to try and knock this box off of that pole. We knew that he would try and get back into the house. First officers came at a Scarabellys house towards his house to block the front door. The second officers on the other side, they blocked the side door. With the house completely surrounded, police knew that they had to make their move and quickly Manolus realized that he was in fact surrounded. He has two options. Fight or flight. But Manolus chose to fight. He tried to kick the screen. He did one officer, punched a couple of guys. It took a lot to take this guy down. He didn't come easy. There is up to 14 members of law enforcement there and it took most of them in some capacity or the other to ultimately apprehend Manolus and get him safely into the car to head down to the precinct. We had a van that pulled up in front of the house to whisk him away and bring him out to police headquarters out in Yappank. We locked him up. Neighbors came out of the houses and we just liberated them from this disease. One person was telling us about her daughter. We have to scare a belly with a kill. She would find footprints outside the door. Along with the arrest warrant for Steven Manolus, they also executed a search warrant of his home. Stolen property was found in his room. Another neighbor across the street. He had been broken into so many times when we did a search warrant on Manolus' room. We found the items that were taken from his house and he never knew. You know, kind of let's get back to the emotion that is traveling through so many of them at that moment. Let's start with and end with Kristen's father, Victor Scarabelli. Remember his reaction five years ago when he got the news that his daughter had been murdered? Police had to hold him down. He was so beside himself with grief that they needed to stop him from running out of the house and doing who knows what. Well now that man who had to be held down five years before, now he collapsed in tears. Tears of relief. Mr. Scarabelli started crying. Mr. Scarabelli just walked around the circles for a while until they realized that it's thinkin' that Manolus just got locked up. Doug remembers making the original death notification to her father, Victor, and the tremendous pain in his eyes that day. But notifying him of the arrest was the type of notification that Doug had been hoping to deliver. It's hard to explain to somebody that your daughter's killer has just been arrested and we got him. Well now that he's heading down to the precinct, investigators are going to take that one shot that they have to see if Steve Manolus is willing to speak with him and if so, if they can get any type of an admission. At first he was quiet, but then he was like angry with us. He would curse us out, but then he started talking. But that quickly turned into this. He began to talk about a person named Kyle Stewart. He would never talk about himself. He would always talk to us about Kyle Stewart and then the third person. He would say things like, I don't know who talked to Kyle. Kyle did this, Kyle did that. But we know it was him. He never admitted that he himself killed Chris Scarabelli. He's saying it's somebody else, but we know based on everything that we know that that other person is going to come straight back to him. And it comes back to that letter that the police sent out, like they didn't get his DNA off of it, like they were hoping. But here this really is the next best thing because they knew it went to his home. They knew that he sent it back and he signed it with the same name that he is now putting this homicide on this likely fictitious person, Kyle Stewart. Kyle Stewart instead being the alter ego of Stephen Manolus. So now that he owned it, right, owned the name and stated the name, do you see this as a sort of a mission? They really got everything they could have hoped for that by sending that envelope all the years before that Kyle Stewart is guilty of that homicide. But Kyle Stewart is none other than the person sitting in the defendant's chair, Stephen Manolus. He did say things that implicated Kyle Stewart and we knew he was Kyle Stewart. And now at this point, the jig is up. Well, I had to say it because now of course it's my line, Scott. You put it in my mouth enough that I'm going to do it. I'm going to own it if it's there. You got on it. Knowing what you know right now about this potential admission and also knowing what has been said about Manolus in the past about his mental health status. How does that add to that or take it away? Someone's mental health status is always a factor to be considered. And first of all, we have to decide that if they do suffer from a mental health condition, did they know right from wrong? And that is a defense that a defendant can choose to put forth or that a judge can say, look, I want this person examined. Many people have mental health conditions and it doesn't cause them to commit crimes. Or even if you have a mental health condition, if you know right from wrong under the law, you are accountable. So that's how you look at it here. And all the pieces that investigators put together for all those five years to me. And obviously prosecutors in this case that answer was yes. After Manolus has arrest, many of Christens friends who had stayed silent for years came forward with new information. When they were finally locked him up, they were talked to us and they were older. They were in their 20s now. So they were only talked to us about him, sneaking into the house. They were stalking her. She kept the hammer and screwdriver in her mattress because of him. And I went back to the house and there they were on the other mattress. So what we think happened was Manolus used to go into her room all the time when she wasn't home. He would sneak into our room. He found the way to open windows and sneak into the house when she was not around or no family members around. We think that he watched her go out with Mara and he thought she was gone through the night. Then she came home. She went into her home, but she wasn't alone. She'd come up to stairs and when she got to the top of the stairs, he was in her room. And that then remember that towel that had been at the top of the stairs will now is down the bottom. You can almost picture it. She is running for fear. Remember to get out of the house because she had found him outside of the house. Well now she would have gone inside the house. So you can just with common sense say that he had been inside and he's chasing her out. And it's probably during that chase that that towel gets kicked or somehow pushed down the stairs. But it doesn't stop once he gets out because that is where he catches her. He chased her out of the house. Got her on the front lawn, strangled her. And it was during that struggle a button from his white shirt would be ripped and dropped into place. And then dragged her over by his driveway garage area, which was next door. That's what happened. But the defense presented a different theory. The investigation lasted for five years and police looked at many people of interest. And those same people would now make for the strongest defense because Manila's team claim they were responsible for Kristen's murder and not their client. The button was found but it was just dropped there by him. That we didn't investigate it enough that there were other people out there that could have killed her. That we didn't investigate. We didn't look at that Shalinsky was really the killer. You're hearing the name Shalinsky again, the guy who had called from down in Georgia who claimed that he was the one who'd actually murdered Kristen. And that's because the interview that authorities conducted with him, well that interview itself is about to send the trial in an unexpected direction. That's it. I mean there was an audio tape from Shalinsky that we didn't know existed. The defense got a hold of it because we had turned everything over to them, all the paperwork over to them. And he wanted to know where this tape was as well as in the case. He brought it up to a judge that he wasn't given the tape. It was a technical issue, a fair point raised by the defense and the judge agreed. Therefore the judge created a mistrial. So I'm gonna see now that this does head to a second trial. Are there benefits in this retrial? Always benefits. There's definitely the downside that you have to bring the witnesses back and for the prosecutor to work on it all over again. But you now have this huge benefit of hindsight. Remember, they know what the defense is. They know that they're going to pin it on all these other people who had been looked at during the investigation. So now prosecutors can say presumably they're going to give the same defense. What can they do to counter that? So you know, when you go by the numbers, it was always a really interesting thing to me when I was taught early on that when you have a hung jury and prosecutors go back to trial, it generally ends up in the numbers more likely than not a conviction. The jury heard the case for 19 days and deliberated for seven hours. It took more than eight years, but the person who strangled Kristen was brought to justice and found guilty on a charge of intentional murder in the second degree. And he was sentenced to 25 years to life. He's got a couple years to go, which he's not getting out. It's the way he's getting out. I just keep coming back to the hammer and the screwdriver. This teen was so afraid that she kept those weapons under her mattress every single night. And I just keep coming back to it for this reason. You know, there has got to be a better way. You know, someone that is exhibiting clearly predatory behavior and terrorizing the community and those around him, there just has got to be a better way before it ends up like this. I do not in any way claim to know the answer, but I certainly wish we did. If you see something, say something. We've all heard that phrase being advertised, especially after 9-11 when it came to terrorism. But over the years, many members of law enforcement, including myself, have preached that in this case, neighbors heard and neighbors saw. But at the very moment, it was happening. It chose not to get involved. Whatever the reason may be, my purpose here is not to blame anybody. Just I hope my words resonate with someone and hope it can make a difference. Tune 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 Met David are executive producers. So, what do you think Chuck, do you approve?