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.

Who’s Behind The Door? (Ginger Hayden)

Who’s Behind The Door? (Ginger Hayden)

Tue, 12 Jul 2022 07:00

Two doors — a sliding glass and a closet door — may be the best chances investigators have at finding a killer.

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If you're looking for a new show unlike anything you've ever heard before, check out audio Chuck's latest series killed. Each episode of killed covers a story that you may have never read because it was killed before it got published. I'm Justine Harman, who some of you may know from my show OC swingers, and I'm here to bring these dead stories back to life binge killed right now to get the full story. Did you ever see that Batman with Heath Ledger? You know that really super creepy grin he had? When the defendant was in the courtroom, he would have a really creepy grin. It looked like that to me. It was the oddest thing. I just got Weinberger, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. Palazzi former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of Investigation Discovery's true conviction. Is anatomy of murder. It's September 5th, 1984 and Sharon Hayden Harvey, a 37 year old mom, returns home to her apartment after another long shift at work. Sharon worked the night shift at the post office. This is Lisa Callahan, assistant District Attorney for Tarrant County, Texas. So she got off in the wee hours of the morning and came home like she usually did. Sharon lived in an apartment complex in Fort Worth, TX, which is part of the Dallas Metroplex. That she was walking into the apartment, she's going down the hallway towards her bedroom. As she walked past the bathroom, she noticed that there was some water on the floor that had something red in it. Like it was stained red. Sharon's 18 year old daughter, Ginger, who lived with her, was entering her freshman year in college. And she didn't think twice about it at the time because Ginger had told her that she had a jumpsuit that she wanted to dye red. And so she thought that Ginger had done that while she was at work. So she grabbed a towel off the rack and tossed it on top of the puddle of water. And went on into bed. Sharon was living and struggling with multiple sclerosis, or Ms. Her routine was to get into bed as early as she came home from work and get as much sleep as possible. Then at 6:15 AM, Sharon was woken up by an alarm clock. But it wasn't her alarm clock. Ginger's alarm was going on. And she wasn't turning at all. So she got up and went into Ginger's bedroom. The scene in there was absolutely horrific. She was covered in blood and was face down on the floor beside her bed. Sharon went in shock and staggered down the hall to the front door and went outside and just began screaming. Sharon picked up the phone, dialed 911, screaming my babies dead. Ginger was 18 years old, having graduated from Arlington Heights High School just three months earlier. Ginger had big plans. Her dream was to become a physical therapist. This offense occurred the day before she was supposed to start college at UTA. There are a number of the cases I've tried I keep photographs of, and I still have that photograph of her here in my office. And she just seemed so full of life. You know, I'm looking at a photograph of ginger and I always think it's this kind of awkward thing when you have to describe someone physically because how we see someone is always subjective. But I'll say this when I look at her, she's like a typical teen in the 80s. Her hair looks like it's light brown. It has that layered kind of swoop to one side part down the middle. And her affect and her clothing looks very much of the day, you know, and I know a photo is just a snapshot in time, but the photos I'm looking at Ginger, she looks like. He has real confidence and a really super kind smile. We all know that what's on the outside is certainly a lot less important than what's on the inside. And for Ginger, she was planning on going into physical therapy. Remember, her moms struggled with Ms and she wanted to dedicate her life to helping people that had physical struggles, like her mom. I think she was a good hearted, warm, spirited person who could have done a lot of good for people. He was a beautiful young woman who was happy. She seemed like she was happy with her life and it just seemed like a huge waste to me. When first responders arrived at the house, they were immediately met by Sharon, who was inconsolable over her daughter's death. They went in the apartment and they drew their weapons to do a protective sweep of the apartment to make sure there were no suspects or anyone else in the apartment. After they realized that the home was safe, they began to go around, and they noticed very quickly that certain things seemed off. They did look in the bathroom, and they noted some wadded up socks on the counter by the vanity and a cloth on the floor. And when they looked at those socks, they appeared to have dried blood on them. They went down the hallway into the bedroom, and they found ginger. It was later determined by the forensic pathologist that Ginger Hayden was stabbed 57 times with a kitchen knife and bled to death. She had approximately 57 stab wounds, although since some of the wounds could have been consistent with multiple stabs, it could have been more than that. The place she had. Most of them would been on the upper body in the chest area, but she had quite a few on her arms, thumb on her legs, some in her abdomen. You know, Scott, obviously when you have stab wounds and you have a lot of wounds, we right away think personal. But there's other things about this scene that suggests that it was in no way a heat of passion. Clearly it indicates a rage attack that was most likely, as you would imagine, personal. But there was something else that potentially pointed to a possible suspect who was not known to the victim, and that came from the examination of the crime scene by investigators, specifically the way the attacker may have gotten into the apartment. So in Ginger's bedroom, she had a balcony attached and it had these sliding glass doors. That sliding glass door had never really locked properly, breaking down the crime scene just a bit more. Let's start off by describing her room. It was decorated like any typical 18 year old family pictures and other art neatly dressed the walls. But in contrast, on this day, investigators couldn't help from noticing the tremendous amount of blood, from the blood spatter on the walls to the pooling from her body. Ginger was face down on her knees next to the right hand side of her bed. There was blood all over the bed. There was blood all over ginger. There was blood on the floor. There was also something else. Is that the louvered doors, you know, those closet doors that slide one over the other, there wasn't blood on one of the doors, almost suggesting that whoever did this may have been inside and then opened the doors before the attack. And there's nothing about that that suggests any sort of heat of passion crime. Behind her, near her feet, was the murder weapon. It had been bent. It was a steak knife from a set that was located there in the house in the kitchen. Now, going back into the bathroom for a moment, because I thought this was a really interesting detail. Remember, you have those socks that were wadded up inside one of those socks, besides some of the dried blood that appeared on the outside of them, there was this little sliver of wood. That that little piece of wood on the socks fit into the handle of that night. The wooden handle. So really, what that says to us is this, that most likely those socks were being used as almost gloves to hide the hands. Any potential identifying fingerprints of the killer. Stabbing somebody 57 times with such force it would bend the murder weapon would likely make that weapon very slippery in the killer's hands, causing them to be cut as well. And just imagine holding a knife while wearing a sock on your hand. That is an important factor, and that could play big in the collection of forensic evidence. And the autopsy would also uncover more about ginger. On autopsy, they discovered that Ginger was pregnant at the time of her death. There was evidence that she was aware of that and had discussed the matter with her boyfriend. His name was Jeff Green. They had been dating during the course of that summer. While it's way too early in this investigation to determine if the pregnancy was a factor, let this fact sit with you. A study once showed that the leading cause of death among pregnant women is homicide, and investigators did determine that Jeff Green was well aware she was pregnant. He was aware that her plan was to have an abortion and he was not in disagreement with her about that. Ginger's boyfriend, Jeff, was at her place just the night before, along with another friend who also lived in the same apartment complex. Sharon Hayden mentioned both of their names as people that Ginger was hanging out with that summer. And according to the young men, the three of them had been in the apartment watching TV that night, just hanging out, relaxing. And Jeff said that he was with Ginger until about 11:30 PM, when she dropped him off at his home, which was also nearby. But you know, Scott, there's also this thing about the sliding glass door. That doesn't really fit with, you know, a problem in the relationship being the way for this attack to have unfolded. Yeah, if you're assuming this attack was a personal attack, a rage attack, stab 57 times, then it's not likely that the person, if they knew ginger and they had a relationship together, that they would have to slip in to her bedroom through a sliding glass door. So let's just talk about another Ave that investigators needed to go down to see if the stranger theory. Had legs. When you think about the killer entering through a sliding glass door, what type of person do you imagine in your head? When I hear about the blood spatter located on just one side of the closet door, it makes me think the killer was inside the closet, waiting, watching Ginger Hayden, who was 18, very attractive, and not the only young woman in Fort Worth to have been murdered. Another young woman, Jill Jackson, who was 22, had disappeared from Fort Worth only two years before. Almost to the day of Ginger's murder, and another, Donna Williamson, also in her 20s, disappeared around that very same time period. There's then Cindy Heller, 23, who disappeared a year after Ginger's murder. She was later found strangled and laying in a ravine. And there were more victims, too. Catherine Davis was another one. Sarah kashka. Lisa Griffin. Angela, you were very till Katherine Jackson. Marilyn Hart. Regina. Grover. Now the question is, was Ginger's death the work of a serial killer? 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. So when they started to look at all these young women that were either missing or had been found murdered, they had to start look at the specifics to see if they could have been related. And here's a couple of them. You know, when you looked at the Jill Jackson that we referred to earlier, well, she disappeared from outside of a nightclub and then her body was found about six months later, looking closer at Donna Williamson, her car was found outside a motel that was known to be frequented by those dealing narcotics and sex workers. And her remains were found by the side of a highway. These cases do have a similar set of circumstances, and they do have similarities. But Ginger's case was a potential home invasion turned homicide, and the MO here is quite different. Investigators agreed and moved off the serial killer Angle and began to reposition the investigation within the people closest to Ginger. So here's where they're looking so far. You have the boyfriend as a possibility. You know the idea of the serial killer while they're not. To assure it's that they certainly can't rule it out. So there is this possible serial killer theory still looming out there. But there's also another person on the police radar. Remember, Ginger was with two people the night before she was killed, her boyfriend, Jeff Green, and his friend, a 17 year old by the name of Ryland, Shane Absalon. Jefferson and Ryland, Absalon and Ginger were all friends and hung out together that summer. He lived right there at the apartment complex, along with his brother and father. So when I look at the point of entry and probably exit of the killer from Ginger's apartment, it doesn't really feel like a personal crime to me. Even though the rage that was used in the murder and it's he got when you look at the crime scene and based on the evidence of where the suspect entered and not only that, where the suspect lied waiting for her to be asleep, what does that mean to you? You know, as soon as I start to look at it one way, I almost flipped to the other because on its face, that sliding glass door seems more like stranger to me, and it seems like someone who has a purpose in mind, and they are waiting and watching her sleep as part of their crime. But then I started to think about this other guy that they're looking at. He is a resident of the same complex. So how was it that the killer knew that that sliding glass door didn't work and that that could be a mode of entry? So during Ginger's moms interview with investigators, it's something that she said that raised some questions about Shane's behavior that really piqued the interest of those investigators. Just moments after finding her daughter dead and looking for help, she banged on Shane's door. Wanting him to call Jeff Green, she told investigators. Despite the fact that his neighbor and friend was just found dead, Shane Absalon was, quote, laying on the couch like he didn't give a crap about anything. He was just laying there. The issues that drew attention to him was that the father reported that he had been wearing a shirt that appeared to have a reddish stain on it. He explained to his father that it was strawberry soda. You know, your head flips all the way around. Like, wait, what? Within hours of this 18 year old being murdered, he happens to have a red stain on his shirt and says it's strawberry soda. Now, while I know that such a thing exists, I mean, how many people are actually drinking strawberry soda? I mean, that is an excellent reason to be able to go back and want to interview Shane Epsilon once again. The police decided to interview the defendant again, and they went to Arlington Heights High School, which is where he went to school with Ginger. During that interview, Absalon made some very interesting statements. He had been to Ginger's apartment many times, in fact. That in itself made sense. But then he told them about a moment in the past that he climbed over the back patio fence to recover a knife that he had dropped. Here we go. He's laying out how he got into the apartment. At least potentially because it sounding an awful like how exactly the killer would have gotten in and now he's trying to give some alternate time that he would have been doing it more innocently. Certainly investiga to me it would be fair to speculate that Epsilon knew that investigators likely recovered some forensics in that apartment. Was he just trying to give a reason for his fingerprints or his blood to be within that apartment? Did that make sense? I mean to me it comes down to that saying, you know. What? You have to deny what you can. And if the killer snuck in through the sliding glass door, my bet is they had to get over the patio fence. And so now if you have to start to explain certain things, that might come back to you. Because remember, killers always think that they're smarter than everything, but they don't always have it all figured out. So, well, maybe he thought to put the gloves on his hand when he's in the apartment he hadn't thought out beforehand, so there might be fingerprints there. So let me go on the other side, just for one second and just say, listen, chain Absalon is 17 years old. As a high school student, he's got no prior criminal record. Would he be smart enough to do all that? I mean, that sounds like something we'd watch on a Mission Impossible movie to be able to cover his tracks. Is that what we're dealing with here? And I'm going to take it on the other side of that again because I almost look at it like, oh, you know, dummy, you're going to actually put in your words with the prosecutor if this ends up being you. Which of course, we don't know that yet in her closing argument that he basically laid out in his own words. How he got into the apartment that night thinking that he was being swabbed, that is just actually part of an admission of his guilt. So again, way too early to tell and there are so many different things that we sometimes think means something that ultimately mean nothing at all. But I'm starting to wonder and want to know a lot more about this guy. So let's step back into the interview that investigators were doing with Shane at his high school and it's something that investigators keyed into and it wasn't something that Shane. Saying it was something he was wearing that spoke volumes. While they were interviewing him, they noticed that he was wearing a pair of tennis shoes that had what appeared to be a bloodstain on. Shane stated it was blood from when he cut his finger while camping. Is it possible? Of course. But at the stage of this investigation right now, absolutely relevant to question and test. You know, Scott, I almost, you know, when I heard it, all I could think of is like coincidence or evidence because at the very least there is uncanny timing to all these various things he is saying and that they are now seeing with respect to this guy. There were some items of evidence that they recovered and the police asked for the shirt and they never could find it. However, the search did continue on. They did find a pair of shorts, a pair of shoes with a pair of blood stains and a towel. But in 1984, DNA technology is yet to become the powerful weapon it is today. DNA technology would have been able to give them the information they needed for a warrant. All they had was serology, and that was not specific enough. So the evidence itself doesn't answer the most important question, which is, is Ryan Absalon directly involved in the murder of Ginger Hayden? But it did not cause them to stop the investigation. They persisted, and for many, many years. So investigators tried to go about it another way. So they. Tried to eliminate suspects, 1 by 1 by polygraphs. They gave them to the boyfriend, Jeff Green, to Ginger's mom, Sharon. Jeff Green took a polygraph and passed. Sharon Hayden took a polygraph and passed. A number of other people took polygraphs and passed the tech is what the Fort Worth Police Department questioned Shane Absalon and when he was asked if he was willing to take a polygraph, he agreed. But the next day that came to an end saying that his attorney had advised him not to submit to that examination. And then see, Guy could just hear your voice in my head always saying how lie detectors are not even admissible in court anyway. Exactly right. But they are interesting indicators for law enforcement and prosecutors. So while you might raise an eyebrow and think it's curious, at the end of the day what really mattered to investigators was the evidence they did and did not have. And they in no way could they build a strong enough case against Shane Absalom. Investigators did continue to work on Ginger's case behind the scenes, and they also developed a few more potential suspects based on the men that Ginger had dated in the past. And while that did not reveal anything new, something happened, something that lit this investigation right back up. This offense occurred during a time in which an unusual number of homicides of young women had occurred, and the Fort Worth Police Department developed a task force in order to investigate it. They had initial worries or concerns about their possibly being a serial killer. And as they do that, they really start to hone in on one individual. He was a graduate of Harvard, a freelance photographer who liked to take photographs of women he found attractive. And this man lived just one floor away and five doors down from ginger. So we want to tell you about a man named Remson Newbold Wolf. He was the son of a noted surgeon and graduated from Harvard in 1964, and when he was in school his classmates described him as a gentle guy and could not imagine him hurting an animal, let alone a human being. Different buy things began to get a bit unsteady for Wolf. He and his wife divorced. They had had two children together, and after that he had a hard time finding regular work. And he started to float around a bit and he floated down to Texas, where he decided to try his hand at freelance photography. And that move was in 1983, one year before Ginger was murdered. Then in 1985 is when he began to come up on police radars. He was arrested on charges of sexual assault with a minor. But investigators were just scratching the surface with wolf. He was now being questioned and believed to be linked to two murders, 1 disappearance and seven sexual assaults. You know, it's always interesting, Scott, to me when you have one thing that almost begins this House of Cards effect, where it all starts to then just fall down. You know, in New York City, we see it all the time with transit jumping, or at least when that was still an arrestable crime. Someone would jump over the turnstile in the subway. They would be identified and would lead to all these other things. So you have to wonder. Would this sexual assault charge, would it now lead them down a road and all these missing and murdered women in Texas? I do see that Wolf had a pattern of violent behavior, but would that check off my boxes of motive, means and opportunity? And so while I definitely believe is a reason to sit down with wolf and talk about this specific crime, it should only happen after you gain as much Intel about Wolf as you can so when you get him in the room. You have some indication of where he may have been or was he in the area? Is he connected in any way with Ginger Hayden? And so after investigators tried to connect those dots, they went so far as to put them in a lineup, and that was with the 24 year old sexual assault survivor. And that person picked him out of the lineup as the one who attacked her. And soon after that, January 24th, 1985, Wolf was actually arrested in connection with Ginger's case. But here's another twist of events. In this investigation, he was released three days later, and the reason was a lack of evidence. Basically, it's this, you know, you can arrest someone and hold them, but then you need to formally charge them or present that evidence against them, either through preliminary hearings or grand jury proceedings within a specific period of time before you have to release them. And that's what happened here. You know, whatever happened behind the scenes, we aren't Privy to, but they did release him after that window had passed and they decided they couldn't put all the pieces against him. To formally charge him. So after having multiple suspects and looking into various means motives, they're different efforts. Nothing panned out for the investigation into Ginger's brutal murder. They had narrowed it down to two possible people, Jeff Green or Ryland Absalon, but they were not able to move forward because they looked at everything there was and it just wasn't sufficient at that time in order to obtain a warrant. And basically everything was just hitting a brick wall of dead ends. They know they were both around ginger, and they know that Ryland Absalon would not take a polygraph, but that's pretty much all they had at that point. But for Shane Absalon, the next two years following the homicide would take a dramatic turn to abusive drugs and alcohol. He would also rack up several arrests for crimes such as burglary, arson and assault. And in July 1986, he pleaded guilty in Terry County to smashing a vehicle with a club while he was intoxicated. The judge sentenced him to a one year period of probation, followed with a drug and alcohol treatment program. And I want you to remember that, because that's going to come up pretty big later on. Then Shane Absalon decided to relocate to Arizona and during all this time Sharon is coping with obviously the loss of her daughter, but also struggling with Mrs. She was just diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when this happened and had to live the remainder of her life without her only daughter and had to go through her illness without her daughter. And that was always. Tremendously sad to me. And it would be 25 years before Ginger's case would once again find a way to progress forward. In 2009, the federal government would give grants to police departments to do DNA work in cases where they thought it might be able to solve the offense. I remember when all these federal grants were starting to pop up because now DNA was a thing and a fantastic, strong way to try to solve some of these cases. And so investigators were trying to match those that they thought had the most potential to be solved with this newer technology to the money that was coming from the government. And Ginger's case was the first thing on the minds of Texas detectives. Because it was clear to them that whoever committed the offence had cleaned up in that bathroom, so they thought there might well be DNA from a perpetrator in that bathroom. And what they were able to determine is that there was blood on items in the bathroom that was consistent with the blood on the tennis shoe. Was to get a warrant to take a sample from Absalon to determine whether it was a match. Help them to get a warrant in order to obtain what's called a buccal swab and they went out to Sierra Vista, AZ and got that from him. Else. It was a match. But there's more. A small hair recovered from one of the socks at the murder scene was also a match to Shane Absalom. And on August 20th of 2010, Shane Absalon was taken into custody at his home then in Sierra Vista, AZ. Now this set off kind of a chain reaction because it had been a case that received a great deal of media attention and The Associated Press picked up the story. Word of Shane Absalons arrest reached at least three former patients who were treated with him in 1986 for alcohol and drug use. That's when those people began to call the police because they remembered Shane confessing in the drug treatment program to murdering a girl by stabbing her. And it's really interesting because it wasn't just, hey, we know a guy who confessed to this crime. They were very specific in the details that he gave to them, and those details were matching up with what investigators knew about the actual crime. Those people voluntarily called and gave tremendous detail about him coming into the room and hiding in there while Ginger had taken a shower and gotten into bed, and he was hiding in that closet where those louvered doors were and watching her until she fell asleep. And then he came out of that closet and stood there watching her. And then he began stabbing. So it was clear that that door was open at the time of the Commission of the offense. He's talking about hiding in there, coming out of the closet and standing there and watching her. The position of the door is consistent with that. The number of times he said it was up in the 50s was consistent with what the medical examiner found. There was just a tremendous amount of detail. But just trip away for one moment of who they were and where they got this information from for just one second. You know, this is a literal road map to this crime, and it matched up with the forensic evidence, and it's chilling. So having to get over the hump of how they learned and why they didn't come forward early, you know, you have to look at the totality of the information that they're giving. It's so close to the actual crime. Was matching up as to what he did. The thing that really got me was when he gave the why he did it. He was attracted to Ginger and that he wanted a relationship with her that was more than just friends, and Ginger rejected him in a way that embarrassed him. That was his motivation for doing what he did. It was obvious from the way he said it that he was enraged by what he perceived to be an intentional rejection and or embarrassment of him. Obviously, a lot of the listeners must be thinking this is a treatment, is this confidential? And can it be used in court? You know, privilege is this very complex, somewhat messy area for prosecutors, too, because we're sometimes not sure where it's going to fall, which line of the privilege. And when we think about privilege, we think about privileged when you're speaking to clergy, when you're speaking to your lawyer, when you're speaking to a mental health provider or in this case, a alcohol or drug treatment provider. And the reason is this, the law provides that you should be able to have confidence in your communications to better foster those relationships. But was really interesting here and I'm not going to get too deep into it, is that this case it was ultimately decided that because he was not there for that treatment and voluntarily remember it was court ordered as part of that probation stance on that case that he had been sentenced to that it wasn't going to be privileged. So the statements he made. In that therapy session could be used against him. This case in fact made statewide case law by making a finding that if you are court ordered into a program that is not voluntary. Absalon claimed his innocence and the case went to trial and this is where Lisa Callahan comes in. Another prosecutor told me about the case and asked me if I wanted it. And later on the same day I see that prosecutor coming down the hall with a gigantic box and they bring the box into my office and dump it on the floor and you know, basically said here, have fun. From a young age, Lisa and the rest of her family knew that law was her calling. My father was a PhD criminologist. I was raised with crime. That was the family business, so to speak. He done a number of things. He was a military policeman, he was a Secret Service agent. He was presidential detail. And also before he retired, he was a federal parole commissioner. So he had had a long career in criminal justice. You know, just listening to her father, the path he had in his law enforcement career, it feels like he really wanted her to follow in his footsteps. But I guess, in a sense, justice is justice. So my father suggested I go to law school. He had told me since I was five years old. Lisa Marie, you need to be a lawyer. I argued. Everything. My father was a very astute man. He worked for the Labor Department with, you know, young people and encouraging them to get educations, and he knew where I belonged. I belonged somewhere where my natural tendency to be argumentative would be useful. You know, I have to say, the piece that really made me smile is that he was encouraging his daughter to go into law, which was not considered a female profession back in the 60s. And, you know, I'm always going to be raw. Raw. Girls can do everything that boys can do. Her dad was of that ilk, too, and I loved that for the confidence he must have given her to go out and get whatever she wanted. By the time Lisa had to try Ginger's case, she had already handled an incredible amount of trials. In terms of actual jury trials, probably 30 to 35 in this trial, the evidence certainly pointed to Shane Absalon as the killer. However, the defense had a different theory, a different suspect who, according to them, had fallen through the detective's fingers. I'm superstitious, as many travel writers are, so you will be slapped down by the irony gods if you're too convinced everything will go your way. But I knew we had the right person. It's just a question of whether or not you could get the jury to see that. Shane Absalons trial got underway on September 17th, 2012. Well, one of the things that stood out most was the defendant's behavior in the courtroom. Did you ever see that Batman with Heath Ledger? You know that really super creepy grin he had when the defendant was in the courtroom or will come out of the holdover? He would have a really creepy grin. It looked like that to me. It was the oddest thing. It was bizarre looking. Unusual behavior in the courtroom of a murder defendant is nothing new. But, you know, anesthesia. I really wonder what the jurors were thinking. People that are in a courtroom being accused of homicide, there aren't that many that I can think of at least that kind of make you those working the case almost like fear factor, almost like creeped out, you know, by them, just their presence. And he sounds like one of those. It was fairly apparent to me by the time that we began what the defense was going to focus on, their focus on the DNA and their focus on the deficiencies of that treatment program, we were pretty understanding that that was going to be two of their prime issues of attack. OK, it's amazing they got this DNA match to actually prove it was his and his explanations that he had given previously are kind of nonsensical when you put it with this as far as any way in a sense. But there's definitely issues with these people that were in treatment with him and came forward all those years later. And while I'd still be comfortable and confident going into court as much as a prosecutor can be, the defense definitely had some legs to stand on if they chose to go that route. And questioned the evidence, which they did. The defense was attacking the fact that the blood evidence they located, they were suggesting that the fact that his DNA was there would not be unusual given the fact that he had been in that apartment many times and that there was no connection. Specifically saying that his blood was the source of that DNA since you can leave contact DNA on an object too. They definitely tried to strike doubt in the jurors based on the statements made by those in the substance abuse program with Shane Absalon. During cross examination, the defense got one of the witnesses to state that drug counselors may have been poorly trained and at times pressured patients to confess to crimes. In fact, the witness stated from the stand, I'm going to quote, there was some brainwashing going on and I learned to conform. I had to get out, UN quote, you know, I'm going to play defense. Attorney here just for a moment, and obviously not in real life, those of you who know me and probably many of you by now where my brain lies. But anyway, you know it doesn't sound bad to me, right? Because think about it. It's not a bad defense because Shane Abson is in there under court order, and who knows what it takes for them to quote UN quote, graduate from the program or be released. And so if you think you are currying favor, maybe they're willing to say something untrue. At least something that the jury now can't put stock beyond a reasonable doubt, which is what they have to decide before they come down with that. Guilty. So, you know, it's it's pretty good to me as far as the defense. Now, as the prosecutor, I believe she has the facts and the truth behind her and the evidence. But let's see what the jury comes out when they put it all together for themselves. The primary defensive assertion was that the serial killer, the person that the police thought might be in existence in 1984, was the real killer, and that's the real person who committed the offense. They pointed to an unidentified semen sample on the victim's bed and quilt, and it was also unidentified blood and tissue under Ginger Hayden's fingernails. So they have forensic DNA that doesn't point to the defendant. That's a pretty strong evidence. And this is one of those true to life scenarios that has prosecutors you sometimes get is that not everything does match up exactly the way you might hope. But remember, it's not like everything that is there left in that apartment. Didn't necessarily need to be left there on that day. She was a young woman of 18. Her mom was living in the home. And I'm not going to theorize how that may have gotten there, but it certainly could have been there. You know, you don't necessarily wash the cover of your bed nearly as often as your sheets and you know, who knows? So I really, as a prosecutor, you have to argue common sense. When you put the pieces of evidence that we have together, they only paint one picture, and it'll be up to the jury to decide if for them in this case. That's enough an easy way to look at it. As this picture of pie. And the defense may often pick at an individual piece and you start to say, Oh well, that piece. There's something to that maybe that goes against what the prosecution is arguing. But then when you put the whole pie together, it still is only a, in my case, I like strawberry rhubarb, a particular type of pie, and it's not going to show you anything else. But on the other hand, Liz Callahan already had some of the answers, some of the prior homicides in Fort Worth, and they were not connected to a serial killer. During the course of their investigations and that task force, they solved a number of those homicides, including this one, and discovered that it was really just a perfect storm, that it was different defendants committing the offense. There just happened to be an unusually large number of offenses. Occurring approximately during that time was a time when population was increasing in the Metroplex, people were moving here, the population was getting larger. So it may just have been that the number of homicides. Increasing as the population increase. After both sides rested their case, the jury was given the law and went to deliberate and it took them three hours before they said they were ready to come back and give their result. My mother came to watch that trial and I was in the back in, I believe the Court coordinator's office with her, and she was sitting there reading a book and I absolutely could not settle. I just kept going in a circle, walking around, around and around waiting for the jury to do something. And she kept telling me, sit down, like I can't sit down. Anna Singer, you're often asked about the length of time a jury deliberates even. Does that really mean anything? There's no hard and fast rule to any of it. You know, we all theorize and every prosecutor, there's no more nerve wracking moments than the time that the clock ticks ever so slowly while we wait for that verdict. But we do say, OK, well, if it's super quick, is it because it was so clear cut? But then you worry that they just say, well, there's just not enough. So there isn't much for us to talk about. So, you know, this is. Relatively quick, not incredibly fast, that I would worry. So hopefully it's because when they put the pieces of that pie together, they knew what type it was. On September 21st, 2012, the Journey for Justice for Sharon Hayden and the murder of her daughter Ginger was over. The jury found the defendant guilty of capital murder. Shawn Absalon would not be eligible for parole until he turned 65. Absalons reaction to the verdict and sentence. Was evident. Have you ever seen those tragedy comedy masks that they had used to have on theaters? There's the one that's very happy and smiling, and the next, the tragedy mask is the sad face. That weird grin melted into the tragedy mask. I mean, it was like his whole face melted. And then we come back to Ginger's mom, Sharon. Throughout the years, Sharon's health did deteriorate and at the time of trial, she was wheelchair bound. But she did not give up hope that justice would be served and neither did investigators. Once the verdict came back, we wheeled her out into the area behind the courtroom and over by some windows, and she had a large amount of family and friends there with her, and they were all surrounding her wheelchair and were hugging her so hard all you could see was this tuft of hair coming out the top and her wheelchair wheels in the back. And she was literally screaming, I'm so happy, I'm so happy. I don't usually do this, but after that case, Sharon passed away about 18 months after that, and I went to the funeral and her husband told me that her health had been getting progressively worse, which I knew, and that she was holding on just long enough to get this case tried and to see some justice. It was a real gut check to me to understand. That somebody was waiting to die in order for me to do my job. Ginger's mother, Sharon, lost her battle with Ms, passing away on August 18th, 2014 at age 67. She fought a brave battle and never let it define her. Her motto for life was to allow 10 minutes a day to feel sorry for yourself and then move on. I think that says a lot. Yeah, there's one thing I would absolutely say. The sheer tenacity of the Fort Worth Police Department's homicide unit is why I was able to go into a courtroom and get this. They never let it go, not in all those years, and they should be commended for that. And while we so often end on talking about the victim, this case stands for something else. And it is that silver lining of hope. It took 28 years, that's almost 3 decades, to find out who had committed the crime and bring Ginger's killer to justice. And for the unfortunate, very many that are out there still waiting for the answer in their own cases, use this tragedy. The loss of Ginger Hayden. As your ray of hope that you two will get the answers that Sharon finally got. TuneIn next week for another new episode of Anatomy of Murder Anatomy of Murder is an audio Chuck original, produced and created by Weinberger Media and Farsetti Media. Ashley Flowers and submit David are executive producers. So what do you think, Chuck, do you approve? Umm.