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.

What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been - Part 1

What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been - Part 1

Wed, 09 Dec 2020 08:00

Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. A wife is found dead in the garage by her husband. The trial for her murder takes an unexpected turn, and leads a young prosecutor on a virtual road-trip.

Listen to Episode

Copyright © audiochuck

Read Episode Transcript

If you're looking for a new show unlike anything you've ever heard before, check out audio Chuck's latest series killed. Each episode of killed covers a story that you may have never read because it was killed before it got published. I'm Justine Harman, who some of you may know from my show OC swingers, and I'm here to bring these dead stories back to life binge killed right now to get the full story. Hi everyone, Ashley Flowers here and I have exciting news to share. My debut novel, all good people here is officially out now. Our fans are blowing up our social talking about it. You do not want to be left out and the worst thing that could happen is for someone else to spoil it for you because there are some wild twists in this book. If you love true crime content, mysteries, and a grown up Nancy Drew style detective work then I have a good feeling you won't be able to put this book down. So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy of all good people here now, wherever books are sold. It's an inexplicable story, and I don't even know how I became a part of it. It would be unfathomable that I would be able to predict how this case would come together, but I'm saying 20 years later, I can't tell you the motive for this. I'm Scott Weinberger's, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. Glassie former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of Investigation Discovery's true conviction, and this is anatomy of murder. I don't normally say this, but this is a case that I look at as one for the record books. I mean, there is a twist in this case that, you know when you think you've seen it all. I don't think anyone could have seen this one coming. And I'm really excited we're covering this today. It's like a John Grisham novel. And tell me if you think I'm right or wrong by the time we're finished. I already think you're right. I like that. I'll take it. I'll take that. So for this one, I spoke with the then District Attorney who was also the prosecutor in the case, John Tyson. Who is now a judge in Wisconsin where this took place. Triple Falls is a small town, a friendly town as a prosecutor. It's a place that you can't go to the grocery store after work because when you're picking up one or two items, it's going to take you about 1/2 hour because all the people are going to come up and talk to you about what happened in this and that, so you have to sneak into the grocery store late at night. Chippewa Falls, WI is really a small town and I remember when we first got there. There is just these large, beautiful swaths of land you literally can picture in your mind the the rolls of hay as you drive down the highways. You know, I remember you're there driving your car and you're literally had to wait because all of a sudden there is a buggy. And that's what I see in my mind when I go back to Chippewa Falls. It is definitely an idyllic town. It's not really one of these places you would. Associate with crimes, let alone a homicide. But for this case, unfortunately, it was. A homicide should be big news in any town, but it's particularly big news. In a small town. You know, I was prosecutor there for almost 10 years. We used to talk in terms of. You might get one first degree intentional homicide every 15 years or something like that, so this was a big deal. So Mary Jane Marquardt and her husband Alfred lived on a small, sleepy St within Chippewa Falls. Mary Jane was 54 years old, was very, very involved in her community. In fact, the one fact that I really love about her is that she loved to ride motorcycles. And at 54 years old, being a woman riding motorcycles, that's not a typical thing I see. I think you'll find right. I think that's fair to say. You know, weekends, they'd go out on their touring motorcycles. And ride those wide open roads. And she also loved thrift sailing, which is something I have never done, but it certainly sounds like something very peaceful. I'm going to describe her as a very typical, loving mom. Like family was the most important thing in her life. Mary Jane and Alfred had three kids, had two boys and a girl. The youngest was bill. He was 24 years old and, you know, they were really out of the home. So Mary Jane and Alfred were living a perfect life, according to everyone that knew them very well. And, you know, there's something about their everyday life that I really loved. And it said so much to me about who they were. You know, Alfred would go out to his work every day, Monday through Friday. But before he left every day, he would pick out what he wanted for lunch. I don't know about all of you, but I rarely have meals with other people because I'm always running in One Direction or the other. But he came home for lunch every single day. He would come home and he would sit down with his wife, leave again and come back for dinner. And that's where this story picks up. On March 13th. Belford came home. He noticed something out of place. As he came into the garage, approximately 30 feet in front of him, he saw a. Comforter. From one of the beds upstairs. It had been somewhat saturated with blood and. His wife was lying there. So he entered the house and called 911. Ship of all the morning. She center. Yeah, right. All over his cold and it's covered up with a blanket on my bed. I don't know what happened. Follow me, I want to send the info out there but don't hang up. OK, OK. Tell you true crime aficionados out there, you know it isn't just what the person saying, it's the way they're saying. And that's when investigators were noting that it wasn't even just so much of Alfred's words, but it was his affect. And think back to that 911 call you just heard. He is very matter of fact when he speaks. Which again, may mean absolutely nothing, but it's something that investigators paid attention to and with good reason. His voice on the 911 call is clearly disturbed, but not. Overly panicked. When I listened to it, Scott, I know what I'm thinking. As an investigator, what are some of the things going through your head? It's so easy for us to say, Oh well, he wasn't hysterical, he wasn't screaming, he wasn't crying. So that means that something is wrong. I don't think there's really anything you could take away that solid from just someone's performance or someone's discussion. Everyone handles stress differently, so while that is a red flag, I don't think that's enough for us to say that he's risen to the first person in our suspect pool. No, but I do think it's something that needs to be paid. Attention to to figure out, is it that that is just his personality and then absolutely within his right to sound any which way that is within his mental makeup? Or is it that he's covering something until they look deeper? Investigators just don't know, and so they need to always be skeptical with everything until they get down that more innocent path. So after getting that 911 call, investigators went to the home and it was right inside the garage that they found Mary Jane. It was clear that her body was lifeless and there was a lot of blood. Investigators began asking Alfred a whole bunch of questions about what he found, what his timeline was, and within the first initial conversations with investigators, Alfred had said, you know what? I left home around 7:10 this morning. I normally call my wife a few times during the day to check on her, to have a conversation about what we're going to be doing that night or coming up for the week. And each and every time he tried to call her, he tried it. 11:50, he tried again at 12:30. Again, at 2:00 o'clock and the line was busy, so all day long he was unable, he said, to investigators to reach his wife. There was no plans for anything unusual, no plans for any visitors. The only unusual thing that had occurred was that Alfred made that phone call and she did not pick up. And the first unusual thing that they find is that Mary Jane is covered with a blanket. Entirely covered with a blanket. Well, first of all, all, you out there should know that that comforter actually came from their home. It came from their upstairs bedroom, which means that whoever put it on top of her had to have gotten it from their bedroom. The fact that she was covered by a comforter had profound significance for for investigators. First of all, it was it was actually her comforter. The person would have had to go into the house up a set of stairs. Up another set of stairs, down the hallway and taken that comforter from Mary Jane Marquardt's bed. I'm sure you're all connecting the dots, but Scott, as the investigator, where do you go right away? Why would somebody commit a brutal crime and then attempt to cover up that? And I think we have seen a whole bunch of cases that Masego where these crimes are so personal that the person who committed the crime or inflicted this type of rage doesn't want to see the body or see what they've done. And that comforter may mean nothing at all. But sure, based on our experiences, that says that it's someone who didn't want to see the result of their actions, and so they wanted to cover. The face which goes again to it being someone close to them and knew them, and it just was too hard in the aftermath to be face to face with the results of their violent conduct. There were no weapons found. In the garage. Until it may have even been hours later when one of the 9 millimeter shells was found underneath a car. So now the leading theory here is Mary Jane was shot, but there was also something else that was unusual about this crime. Ultimately, when they are able to examine her, they do find both gunshot wounds and stab wounds. Particularly to her head. That's a little unusual. That's sort of a telltale sign, once again, of it potentially being a personal crime. How do you read that? It does go to a being personal, I mean, going at someone's head with a knife over and over. I mean especially a 54 year old housewife and mother that to me says that they're probably looking at someone who knew her and knew her well. However, let's just talk about motive. She wasn't involved in any illegal activity. She was a loving community figure, a mom, a family person. There is no connection to any motive to kill Mary Jane Marquardt. There was no signs of forced entry. Their house was really not in any disarray. There was no evidence that anything had been taken. There was no evidence that she was having problems with anyone or that anyone had been making threats to her. So this big question mark really created a fear factor, any homicide, especially an unsolved homicide, which it was at first. It's a big deal in a town of what, twelve, 13,000 people? So Alfred was brought down to the police station, which is obviously typical standard stuff, and then questioned about certain things. But there are steps that are always taken within some investigation. You know, you guys as crime junkies, you may have seen this on television or in movies, play out when they bag someone's hands. This is when they actually take a brown paper bag and place it over your hands left and right and tape them. And the reason law enforcement does that is so they can preserve any potential gun residue. That may be on your hands, because ultimately we do know that one of the weapons that were used in this homicide is a 9 millimeter weapon. So ultimately we have to determine whether Alfred could have recently fired a handgun which leaves gunshot or gunpowder residue on your hands. They were able to test his hands and determine no gunshot residue was found on either of his hands. And they're also looking at his actions, so not only watching him and how he's speaking, but they're asking Alfred about what he did when he got home and he said something that turned their heads a bit. He notices that the family dog had made a mess in the basement. He cleaned that up. Because he knew people were coming and he knew that it would upset his wife if if they saw that mess. That to me right away kind of spoke to everything we heard about this couple, that how close they were and it was really just the two of them. They weren't with their kids that even after happening upon her and she's lifeless and she's bloody, he knew that she would want the house to appear a certain way. So he took that step to clean up after their dog and that to me went more to him maybe being truly just the innocent husband who came home and found his dead wife. Just call me a bit suspicious, Anna Sigga, but any cleaning up after a crime, whether it's dog poop or putting down ammonia on a floor after the crime was committed, I just think it's a bit unusual. And it was. So again, it's one of these things I think is a great example why law enforcement and prosecutors need to be skeptical. I mean, that's our job, is to try to go down those roads and figure out as you're saying, Scott. Is it that he's cleaning up and trying to hide something? Or is it just this albeit strange but kind of sweet gesture, something that he's thinking about his wife they just didn't know? Alfred was obviously still looking pretty suspicious to investigators and without making any determination they continued to look elsewhere. And there was another suspect that investigators eyed that was acting even more bizarre. I like to think that the net was wide open. However, law enforcement often starts at the circle, the family. Mary Jane's husband, Alfred, while he was right there at the crime scene. And we know they had three adult children. Two of those kids were notified, but the third, their youngest, bill Paul Marquart, he was nowhere to be found. That led to a search for Bill Paul Markwart first to notify him, second on some suspicion that perhaps he too, was a victim. He was the one who had the most recent access to the home. He was sort of in and out of trouble. He had recently met with Alfred a few days before the crime, and Alfred noticed something a little bit off about his son. He told investigators his son has shaved his head and Alfred was a bit concerned about Bill, especially now that investigators couldn't find him. So really, the question becomes, is he a suspect because of this, or is he now perhaps another victim? Yeah, I mean, he's missing. So you ultimately have to believe that that could be a plausible situation. Because there was no motive for homicide of Mary Jane Marquardt, investigators turned to the next most likely motive, which would have probably been associated with. Kill Paul, Mark, Ward and somewhat of his checkered past. He had some previous convictions for drug related offenses. The suspicion probably was that if he's associating with that element, these are the types of people we would look for, maybe engage in homicide. You have to go into the investigation with a clear, open mind. You really haven't fully yet established what the timeline is. So I think there's two theories here. Either Bill Marquart is missing and a victim of potentially the same killer who was involved in the killing of his mother, or. Marquart is missing because, as you said, he doesn't want to be found and he's on the run because he's involved in the murder of his mother. There had been conflict between Mary Jane Marquardt and Bill Paul Markworth. When this kid was a young, 20 years old, mom had been kind of pushing him to get on with his life. Get away from drugs, not commit crimes. Bill was pushing back a little bit. No one they asked had seen him. And we're not talking about a little guy. I mean, he's 511, he's £200, a shaved head. He's someone that is distinctive in his appearance, so it wasn't like he blended into the scenery and they went so far as to go out to his home. Law enforcement responded to the family cabin. It's a place about 30 miles away from the home, out in the woods, in the middle of nowhere, basically. And you know, Paul Mark Ward had been either living there primarily or living there in association with living at the family house. I've been out to that cabin, and when you get there you you go from this idyllic little community to now you're just driving down this road where it got more and more desolate and there's random trees. I kind of remember that a lot of them had no leaves on them, almost as there had been a big fire at some point. So there's just these stalks of old tree trunks out there and no people. And then in the middle we stopped and we got out of the car and I remember the the ground crunching. Under my boots, as we had to kind of walk down this embankment because you couldn't even see the cabin from the road you have to walk in. There was wire saying private property keep out and it's deep inside there, this small, tiny little structure. I almost pictured it like a hunting cabin, not someplace that a family or even a single person would choose to live. And that's where Bill Marquardt was living at the time. Picture like someplace that like Ted Kazinski might live. When law enforcement arrived, they find no people. However, in a garage or an outbuilding. They find tarps. The tarps are covered with blood. They do find lots of items that create huge red flags. The first thing is a tremendous amount of blood within the cabin, and clearly that raised a lot of concern for investigators. The second thing they found is 9 millimeter shell casings within that cabin. And remember, there was a single 9 millimeter casing found at the crime scene just a few feet away from Mary Jane Marquardt. So ultimately those two items, the blood and the 9 millimeter shell casing may have been saying two different things, or were they? Law enforcement do analysis on the blood, and all of the blood on the tarps comes back as animal blood. The cabin utilizes a outhouse and investigators entered the pit of the outhouse. And they end up finding multiple deceased rabbits and dogs. And that is where my head starts to spin around. I mean, we already have the horror of Mary Jane, but now there are dogs. Rabbits, I mean, they're blood is everywhere, and they're not only just shot, I mean, they're stabbed. Who does that to an innocent animal? Clearly showing someone has propensity for violence. It's. Sadistic. Now you're talking about potentially an even different, more depraved type of killer. And, you know, in this world of our criminal justice, world like that talks about a different type of mind, a much more sinister, scary type of killer. So now police really, really have to find Bill. They need to know whether somebody else came in and and committed these acts. Or was it actually the owner of this cabin? Was it bill? When they started to look around, it wasn't just what they found in his cabin, but a neighbor's home had been reportedly broken into. I think it was just a week or so before. And their dog guess what? Shot? Stabbed? Another example of propensity to violence, another example of this offender not being afraid to take the violence outside of his own home. And certainly, once again, we're building a tremendous case to Question Bill. But the real question at this moment is really where is he? And you have to find them. The case lingers. He's a missing person. By this point, Bill Paul Markward had been identified as a potential suspect. And so the race is now on to find Bill, and within the week they get a call that his car is pulling back into town. Seven days later, the neighbor of the cabin calls law enforcement and says, hey, you know that Bill, Paul, Mark what you were looking for? He just drove by. Law enforcement acquired a search warrant. The activated the SWAT team surrounded the place. And the first thing they wanted to do, which is clear procedure, is to try to contact with him because they knew weapons could be involved. They wanted to know if they could just get him to come out peacefully and surrender. They did it by the book. They went around the cabin, they threw in what we call a hostage phone into the cabin to communicate with him, but he would not communicate back. So after several hours of what we call a barricaded suspect situation, they made the decision and the SWAT team leader decided to enter gas into this equation. So they shot gas pellets in through the window and within minutes he was gasping for air and police were able to take him into custody. But here's how that went down. As Bill came out, they got him on the ground. They began to search him for weapons, and one of the officers reached into his pocket and found a folding pocket knife. And as they pulled up pocket knife off, the police report says it showed stains of what appeared to be blood. This is all so interesting to me as a prosecutor because I think about the way they had to get him out of that cabin. This is a guy who, presumably when they're trying to talk him out, they say, hey, your mom's dead and we want to talk to you would think that person comes out and says, wait, what? So now, seven days after Mary Jane Marquardt's body is found, her son is taken into custody, and when they take him in? More blood this time. It's on his shoes. He's carrying a knife. The knife is tested and it comes back with DNA markers for both Bill Paul Marquart. And. Mary Jane Marquardt. They also find DNA markers for two other unknowns. The two others were both female and familiarly related. I mean, this is where science plays such an incredibly important role in this story. And I'm always amazed how this starts to come together in these cases when you believe you're going down one road and all of a sudden science takes you down a completely different road. And usually the very correct Rd when it comes to finding out who may have committed a heinous crime like murder. And, you know, finding a killer's blood mixed with the victim's blood is common. Because as you can imagine, when someone is using a knife in such a forceful way during a murder. The knife often slips and cuts the defendant as well as the victim. So clearly, it's so important to find out who these other two pieces of DNA belong to because essentially down the road in a court case, the defense could say, if you don't identify these two pieces of DNA, these can actually be the killer. My client is is innocent. And that's why it's important. So while they have him in custody, they still haven't found some pretty crucial evidence. I mean, she wasn't just stabbed, she was also shot. So investigators now went back into Bill's cabin for the third time to do another search. In the third search, which obviously becomes a little bit more thorough, they move some of the garbage aside, they lean the refrigerator back, and they locate the 9 millimeter. And anesthesia, this is where the case kind of goes sideways for me once they remove the refrigerator. Underneath was a 9 millimeter handgun. And you may be saying, wow, there's the murder weapon. And I'm sure investigators were saying the same thing. But for me? You know, I I have to step back from that and say. You were there one time. You went through a complete search. You didn't move the refrigerator. You went for a second time. You went through a complete search. You didn't move the refrigerator. Then you went back weeks later. And then you decide to move the refrigerator and find the handgun. So while I believe that their intentions were great and while it absolutely believe the affidavits that they filled out and the testimony they gave is truthful, but if you want to talk about holes in the case and you want to talk about doubt and you want to talk about just what feels uncomfortable in this situation, I am absolutely uncomfortable with it taking three times. Searching that cabin to find the alleged murder weapon. Problematic for me. Remember the way that it was described? I mean, this place is a mess. There is filth and objects strewn all over the place. They barely know where to put their feet, let alone what might and might not be evidence in a case. So now when they know that he is the guy everything is leading up to, the DNA is coming back that all their suspicions were indeed correct. They're like, let's just take one more shot. So now they take the added step of actually moving furniture, which sometimes they do that in the beginning. Very often they don't. And when they do, really secreted under this place that they didn't think would be large enough to hold anything of significance, they find the gun. And I can tell you, I've had things like this happen themselves. You know, I've had evidence in plain sight that they didn't seize. Because often you have these crime scene photographs and I can think of 1 case in particular, that there was something just sitting on a dresser that they never picked up. The first time. They went back later and we could prove later we just happened to see it in the photograph that had been here all along and while here, you know? Some of you may be going right to, you know, the making of a murderer where they also found the murder weapon. On a subsequent search, things like this do happen that still remain credible, and their explanation really does make sense to me. I get it. And I think what you've said does sound credible, and I'm sure it is. It doesn't take away the fact that it makes me question. It makes me uncomfortable. And if, you know, having, you know, my experience in law enforcement and my experience in journalism, I know Anna Sigga. If I was working back as a reporter and I was in a press conference sitting in the first row and the announcement was made by the District Attorney or by anybody else involved in the investigation. Of what the fine was, I'd have my hand U 1st and as the reporter I'd be asking. The question is, how is that possible? I know you've explained that, but it doesn't mean it shouldn't be questioned. And Scott, you're not the only one with those questions. You know, because the case against Bill, as you all might have suspected, went to trial. And when the case was on trial, the defense brought up something that nobody expected. There was actually a witness who they claimed that was going to prove that Bill. Didn't do this. And this, all of you out there, is something you have never seen before. So Bill Marquart goes to trial for animal cruelty in the neighboring county of Eau Claire, where they found the animals in his cabin. But he's going to be tried separately in Chippewa County for the murder of his mother. Well, let's first go to is this the man who would do this to all these defenseless animals? And a jury in Eau Claire said yes, he was convicted, but not quite in the way you'd expect. He was found guilty of the murder of all these animals, but then he was found not responsible by mental disease or defect, which basically means that there was evidence of his mental state, which under the law means you did not know the difference between right and wrong at the time you committed the crime. So he went away for a long time, but it wasn't to jail. He was civilly committed for decades if I remember correctly. The sentence was something like over 70 years for what he did to those animals. Under Wisconsin law, Bill Paul Marquart was not competent to proceed with the murder. Of his mother. At some point he was found competent to proceed. However, he had appealed that initial search warrant and had gone up on appeal and was pending with the Supreme Court. Five years later, after I had been elected, DA's Supreme Court approved the search warrant and we could proceed at that point to prosecution for the murder of his mother. And so while he sat there in civil commitment for those crimes, he went to trial in Chippewa County. So when he goes to trial, he doesn't have a conviction for those. So that really doesn't play a part within the prosecution for his mother's murder. It doesn't, but it wouldn't have anyway. And here's why. Those crimes, at least they couldn't prove that they happened before they found them afterwards. And so if a crime happens afterwards, it can't be used in the crime he did previously. So are they really didn't know exactly when he committed them? It certainly was wiped out based on the jury's finding of his mental state at the time he committed him. So he goes into there as far as the violence with the clean slate, well, I guess for the community, he is off the streets for those crimes, but is he going to be for the murder of his mother? And just think about all that's riding on the shoulders of this young prosecutor that walked into the room. John Tyson who I spoke to was the prosecutor in this case and he was a newly elected DA and he is not someone in his 60s or 70s as you all may think about is prosecutors used to seeing in the papers in your counties. He was a young guy and in fact this was his first murder trial in a case that it had a long history for years before he got involved. Just imagine Scott, the stress that he must have been under walking into court. I can't imagine this is obviously his first murder trial. And a story that has been talked about in the news for so long, an incredible amount of pressure, but he was extremely confident going into that trial was solid. We had at least one of the murder weapons on Bill, Paul Marquart's person, the knife. It had the DNA of both his mother and him on it. Look, he has a great demeanor. I've seen him during that trial, in fact, because it was recorded and part of it was televised, and I've seen that, you know, and he has a confidence in him when he speaks that I found very credible. There's a lot of challenges for the prosecution here, as you said, Anna Sigga. But one other very big challenge is the fact that the defendant is the son of the victim, which means that the family of the victim would also be in court. And to what investigators knew right off the bat is not every family member believed that Bill was capable of doing that. How does that affect your ability to prosecute? While most often I will have the family members sit on my side of the courtroom, sometimes they just can't wrap their head around their loved one committing this. And here you're talking about Alfred, his child being accused with the murder of not only his wife but that child's mother. And they chose to stand. By him, because he was still with him here on this earth. I could imagine the night before, you know, you're doing your opening statement. How many times would you run that through in your brain and how you would make eye contact with the jury? Obviously, you're representing the victim of a homicide, and I know how critically important that is to you. So that must have been a huge amount of pressure right there. I mean, it always is and you're always running it through your head. You know, I am not one of those people that was ever given the gift of just being able to stand up and off the top of my head, tell a beautiful, eloquent story. Always been the person that's all about preparing. Which means that I am up like night after night writing it out, thinking exactly how I would say it and then writing it again and changing it up and then highlighting it over and over until the next morning. And while you don't read off of it, that's kind of how I would remember the story and think about the story. It's just trying to make sure, because part of your job is to take all these complicated, complex facts and scenarios and give it to the jury in a digestible form, that they get it, that you want them not to be able to see it any other way because the pieces only go. To 1 result. I mean in the murder of Mary J Marquart. Clearly John was preparing himself for his first trial. But as you can imagine, so was the defense attorney for Bill Marquart. The defense theory is that someone came perhaps to kill Bill Paul Marquart, he wasn't there and and they ended up killing Mary Jane Markworth someone else did it. We did have a bit of an uphill battle going to this case because while we talk about all the evidence that we did have, as you pointed out Scott, you know one of the big questions was this gun and when they found it. But you also had all this other history coming in because Bill Marquardt has spent a year in a mental health. Facility before going to trial just to prove his competency for this case. The whole case was controlled by a person who had a theory that this man was mentally ill to the point where he should not be held responsible. He had just been found basically incompetent by a neighboring jurisdiction, but now he's found competent here, and so now John Tyson has to go in knowing that this other county had already found this with his mental health. Then, as you said, Scott, he really got something out of left field from the defense. The defense. You use a letter written to Bill Paul Marquart from a prisoner. The two of them had been involved in some sort of drug. Deal previously. An angry letter to Bill, Paul, Mark, or perhaps even threatening letter. The inmate. At the time of trial, was deceased. And that piece of evidence is just crazy to me as a prosecutor because it didn't come from a person that was introduced to the jury by a letter. It was a letter from a guy named Jason Fitz. And the defense said that Jason Fitz was this real killer, that this was about some drug interaction gone bad and that he was going after Bill Marquart and ended up killing Mary Jane Marquardt in the process. But the craziest thing about that is that by the time this case went to trial, Jason Fitz was dead, but the judge still let the letter in. So. I can't even imagine being John Tyson that you can't cross examine a letter, a letter by someone that's no longer living. I mean, how do you defend against something like that? And when I realized just recently, in talking to it, that's really what he was up against. I mean, that is not something that would normally ever come into court. So the fact that it did here in this murder trial, I can only imagine how the tide began to turn John Tyson's counter to that story was really interesting because when he talked to the jury about it, he said, just imagine that, the theoretical. Killer a hitman who planted the 9 millimeter weapon. Then planted other evidence, the shoes, the sneakers, the knife, and then was able to determine that any of the evidence that was found on the defendant was actually brought to the scene to the cabin by this hitman or the shadowy figure. It's not plausible. It's not a plausible defense, and that's what Tyson told the jurors. But they also had something else that came into just at the time of trial. There is a witness who shows up the week of trial. And says that he recalls that day. And that he saw a man with a long black ponytail. Standing in an adjacent driveway, looking suspicious. Bill marquart. He is a light skinned Caucasian male, blonde as can be. I mean, there's nothing about him that says he had ever had dark hair. So if it wasn't him, who was this? And was this person mistaken or were they accurate or inaccurate? I mean, this is all the type of thing that while they had all this great evidence and strong evidence, they had all these other things on the other side. I mean, when the jury gets this case, Scott, I mean who do you think had the stronger case while they were in there delivering in those initial hours? You know, the prosecution has the burden of proof. The defense attorney build enough doubt in the minds of the jurors, but what the jurors didn't know at the time before they would render their verdict is that the defense was willing to change their plea. They offered after the jury went out to plead. Guilty but not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. What does that say to you? It makes me sigh because while that doesn't happen often, what happened here is they were willing to say, hey, it's we don't want this case to get to the jury. We are willing to plead guilty. But John Tyson was so sure of the evidence, so sure of this man's guilt, that he said, you know what? We're going to see what the jury has to say. I rejected that offer, feeling confident that we had a conviction. I just thought we have eliminated all the usual suspects except this one person, Bill Paul Marquart. He has a bloody knife. He has suspicious behavior. The circumstantial evidence becomes overwhelming when coupled with connections, the DNA on the knife, his mom himself. Stab wounds. Ultimately, it's the only thing that ever really made sense. And then the jury spoke. The jury came back and acquitted Bill Paul Marquart in the homicide of his mother. How did this happen? And as he got me, I know I've talked about the the gun and the weapon found on 1/3 search. You know, I know how I've raised doubt in how that could occur in an investigation. I know you feel a little differently about that, but with DNA, which is so important in these investigations with two of the murder weapons found, forget the gun for a second. It just the knife in itself in his pocket with a mixture of the victim and the suspects DNA right on the knife. How does this have? So I get it. You know, we have a very high burden as prosecutors and with good reason. The stakes are just so high and it has to be proof beyond a reasonable doubt. And there was just enough doubt thrown at the jurors that you know, whether it was one or more that it stuck with or even if they said we probably did it, but what about this? We just can't answer it. That's enough. That's all it takes. But the tough thing being John Tyson that he knew at that point, that's it. He can't go back and ever try Bill Marquardt again. So now that Bill Marquart is found not guilty. You think that this case is over, and it is, but is the story over? Remember I said at the beginning of episode it's going to be one for the record books? Well, next week you're going to find out why there is so much more to this story, and I guarantee you've never heard anything like this before. TuneIn next Wednesday, when we'll dissect another new case on anatomy of murder. Anatomy of Murder is an audio Chuck original, A Weinberger media and forseti media production. Sunit David is executive producer.