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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  November 3, 2018 2:00am-3:01am PDT

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in a very dark place, to unravel. >> reporter: and so she does what her father taught her. she lives for others as well as herself. she flies, like he did, and she looks to the light. >> when it comes down to it, our dad taught us, pass our goodness forward, make this world a better place, and give unto others who are less fortunate. so we do that. my sister and i both do that today. that's part of our mission in i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." >> i think i was just in shock to find out that she's gone and the cause is a gunshot wound. you just wonder, how can this happen? it seems very surreal. >> a quiet night at home shattered by a gunshot. >> she came to the shower and i heard her go. >> a young wife dying on the
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floor. >> she wasn't talking at all. i'm asking him, conrad, what happened here? >> i was utterly confused. >> so many different stories about what might have happened. >> he said many things that night. >> maybe someone could have shot something at the house. >> at one point he said it was 80% suicide. >> police had their own theory. >> i thought, oh man, something is wrong here. >> you don't see many women naked. >> conrad's story wasn't adding up. >> other things weren't adding up, either. a key peels of evidence. >> we walk in, we think, aha. >> would a mistaken piece of evidence send an innocent man to prison or free a guilty one? >> we thought this was over. we thought this was settled. >> one suspect. so many stories. only one of them could be true. >> something is going to break. and when it does, the truth is going to be known.
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♪ >> hello, welcome to "dateline." conrad and heidi truman had a powerful connection a deep love envied by others. then one fateful night the young couple was jolted by unforeseen tragedy when heidi was killed by a single gunshot to the head. in the after math, fingers were pointed, but were they aimed at an innocent man? here's josh mankiewicz with "as night fell." they seemed so incongruous. the soaring majesty of utah's mountains and the story of a beautiful woman struck down in her youth. it was a lot of things. tragic. crushing. stunning. but was it an accident? or a suicide? or a murder? police felt they knew. but as most cops will tell you,
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both the evidence and the jury have their own stories to tell. and the answer is not always so clear. certainly, that is true for this story. and quite possibly for the woman at its heart. her name, heidi wagner. >> as a baby, she was savored, everybody loved her. she could do no wrong. >> autumn was one of heidi's four sisters. >> she was just special. you know, she'd walk into the room and she's ready for that good time. >> reporter: heidi grew up with no fewer than seven older siblings. >> tell me about her growing up. >> she was a fun-loving girl. she was rather shy, though. so heidi seemed like an appropriate name. >> heidi's mom, janet. >> the family would get together. we were kind of loud and boisterous sometimes. she got kind of embarrassed and she'd hide her face. >> as heidi got older, she was
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cute and bubbly, but make no mistake, hide diwas no pushover. >> she was actually intimidating, actually, for being so small, you wouldn't think so. >> reporter: at just 20, heidi started working in the not so entirely gas and feminine industry just outside salt lake city. sandy sanchez was one of heidi's co-workers. >> we worked with hazardous chemical and gases, crazy things you wouldn't expect a couple of girls to do. >> heidi seemed to work thrive place with hard hats. >> everything is dangerous it's what will kill you the quickest. >> to sandy, heidi became more than a co-worker. >> i considered her my best friend. she was a person you knew that would never stab you in the back. she was a person you knew would always have your back. >> in person, she could be both. sweet and salty and that caught the attention of one of her colleagues, 25-year-old conrad
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truman. >> i noticed her first in the hallway. >> what did you think? >> i thought she was cute and i noticed her hard hat and they have a little personality or stickers. and hers said, it's all about me, deal with it. i was kind of thinking, this girl is kind of a feisty girl. >> soon, conrad asked heidi out on a date. >> i'm not that type usually. i don't get super serious right off the bat. but it was almost like we were inseparable after that. >> that was it, that first night in. >> yeah. yeah. >> this tough girl even shared conrad's interest in guns. >> we would go to the ran him out of towns -- range out of town and shoot into the hills. >> one year after the year, he chose to pop the question and chose a mountain on which to do it. did she know it was coming?. >> i got on the knee and started balling. she said yes right off the bat. >> reporter: conrad's sister
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colette couldn't believe it when he first introduced heidi to the family. >> i was actually sort of surprised when i met her, how did he land that girl? they seemed to be such a great match. >> you saw love and chemistry there? >> oh, it was almost awkward. they were definitely an enviable couple. >> another year later came the wedding. >> it was amazing. we went up on a lift, a chair lift and then all of the guests left down these slides. so it was just so them. they said their vows and he was kind of doing this champion pose like he was just everything was right with the world. >> the enviable couple was just starting out, with a future as bright as their smiles. until, that is, a sunday evening in september, 2012. three years after the trumans were married. tell me about that day. >> that day was just, just like
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any other day. >> as night fell, heidi decided to take a bath. conrad said he went to the kitchen to get something to eat. as he fixed himself a sandwich. he said he heard a noise coming from the direction of the bathroom. >> it was like the new year's poppers or the halloween poppers, where you can pull two strings or you can pull one and confetti and stuff comes out. >> that's when conrad said he turned and saw heidi standing there in the hallway, naked. >> she wasn't talking. she wasn't talking at all. she was coughing. she was heaveing. >> and she was bleeding? >> she was bleeding out of her mouth and her nose. i needed to call 911 immediately. >> 911. what is your emergency? >> orem, utah. >> an unimaginably shocking scene, heidi on the kitchen floor in a people of her own blood, conrad on the phone, pleading for hundred. >> there's so much blood. new don't get here right now. i don't know what happened. i really don't know what
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happened. oh, my god. >> it was bad to begin with and it got so much worse. >> as you will learn, truer words may never have been spoken. >> what happened in that house? coming up. >> i'm asking conrad, what's going on? he said, i don't know what happened. everything was different answers and theories, different things. >> a search for answers and a race to save heidi. >> this is not happening. this is really not happening. >> when "dateline" continues.
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something was wrong at the truman house. >> she came out of the shower, and i heard a pop. and there's -- there's blood. >> i have officers and paramedics on the way, okay. >> the 911 call came into the orempolice department at about 11:00 p.m. that september fight. >> we got a call of a gunshot wound or some sort of injury. >> sergeant bill crook went to the trueman home. >> so we all rushed to our cars and headed to that direction with lights and sirens. >> on the other end of the phone was conrad, kneeling on the kitchen floor, covered by blood and consumed by panic. >> it was devastating. it was a nightmare. you can't even explain it. >> with one hand he held the phone, with the other, his
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bleeding wife. >> it was so hard when it's your loved one like that. i had no i just did the best i could to keep her breathing. >> by then, conrad said, he realized heidi had been shot in the head. >> when you went to heidi, did you see a gun? >> no. >> he remembered the pop and wandered if the bullet came through the bathroom window and hit heidi. >> i was trying to think of the noise how it wasn't very loud, maybe someone could have shot something at the house. >> it seemed far fetched. but, he said, neighborhood vandals had recently been shooting the back of his house with meapaintballs. >> i was utterly confused. >> by now conrad moved to the front of the door. >> he had blood on his hands, he was shrieking and screaming. >> conrad led the soldier
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upstairs and into a scene straight from the horror movie. >> i can see heidi laying there. she was naked, blood everywhere. just right at the top of the stairs. this is a horrific keen. >> what's conrad doing? >> well, he's screaming, he's yelling. >> and as these police photos make clear, covered in blood. >> i'm asking him, conrad, what's going on? what's going on here? he said, she was in the bathroom, just, i don't know what happened. everything was different answers and different theories, different little things. >> right away he went to check one of those theories a stray bullet programs coming through the bathroom window. >> the window is closed. will is no bullet hole. >> nothing to indicate that anybody fired anything. >> he went to the kitchen and discovered a gun lying on the kitchen floor. >> what did you happened in. >> honestly, i didn't know. >> was this an accident, attempted suicide or something far more sinister? at least for now, those answers would have to wait.
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heidi was clinging to life. >> my focus at that time honestly was to help heidi. >> paramedics took heidi to a nearby hospital. conrad followed in a police cruiser. a dash cam recorded the absolute desperation in his voice. >> this is not happening. this is really not happening. i really don't understand any of this. this is so crazy. >> about an hour after conrad arrived, hospital staff delivered the devastating news. heidi wagner truman could not be saved. >> it was pain. it was misery. it was why? how? >> in a neighboring town, heidi's mother, janet, would soon agonize over those very same questions. it was after midnight when two police officers came to her door. what must that be like? >> the most horrifying scene ever and i would never want anybody to have to feel that and that pain that agony of knowing that your daughter for whatever
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reason is dead, is gone. >> the officers wouldn't give janet any details. only where her daughter had been taken. >> i'm driving down to the hospital and i make a comment to my daughter. i go, you know, autumn, as hard as it is that we lost heidi, we're going to have to be supporting conrad because he must be overwhelmed with grief. >> conrad's sister colette was thinking the same thing as she raced to the hospital. >> what kind of condition was your brother in then? >> he was just a total wreck, just absolutely his terrical, didn't know how it could have happened. >> no one did. but book at the truman home, the sergeant had started analyzing the evidence and was already developing a theory. >> i thought, oh, man, there is something going on here. >> you got a feel something. >> i got a feeling. it wasn't just me, everybody was looking around like there is something wrong here. we need a detective.
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>> coming up, was it an accident? suicide? >> she's completely naked. we don't see a lot of women that commit suicide naked. that's not common. >> or feel like something else. >> i feel like they thought i did something. >> when "dateline" continues. jen: but that all changed when we bought a house. matt: voilà! jen: matt started turning into his dad. matt: mm. that's some good mulch. ♪ i'm awake. but it was pretty nifty when jen showed me how easy it was to protect our home and auto with progressive. [ wrapper crinkling ] get this butterscotch out of here. progressive can't protect you from becoming your parents. there's quite a bit of work, 'cause this was all -- this was all stapled. but we can protect your home and auto when you bundle with us.
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as the sun inched above utah's wasatch mountains, questions
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swirled at tear base, how did heidi truman wiped up on the floor shot in the head? for sure, police were wondering about her husband. after all, conrad truman was in the house when heidi was shot and there was no evidence of an intruder. >> i feel like they thought i did something. >> soon after he arrived at the scene, sorth bill crook did begin to have his suspicions. >> we're telling him, conrad, back off, the paramedics are here, he wouldn't. >> he was what moving around? keeping paramedics from getting to the body in. >> yes, sir. >> there were other scenarios that needed to be explored like accidents and suicide. that's where detective tom wallace had come in. >> there were a number of theories. we will obviously exhaust them. >> that will happen. >> the medical examiner didn't make wallace's job either. his preliminary finding, heidi's manner of death could not be determined. so wallace tackled each theory
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one by one. accident seemed hard to believe, thanks to conrad, heidi had firearms experience. >> can you think of anyway it could have been an accident? >> no heidi wouldn't have been so careless. >> so what about suicide in. >> she's completely naked. we don't see a lot of women that commit suicide naked. that's not common. >> did you find anybody that heidi had spoken to about suicide or being depressed? >> no. >> neither heidi's mother janet nor her sister autumn could imagine heidi even thinking ability taking her own life. >> heidi would never do that. in fact, heidi was against that. she had a friend that committed suicide. she felt it was selfish in her words dumb. >> did heidi ever tell you she was depressed? >> no. >> ever act depressed? >> no she was probably one of my happiest most upbeat kids. >> that left wallace with homicide and put conrad back in
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the police crosshairs. wallace decided to speak to the officers first on the scene about their experience with conrad. >> everyone felt his behavior is odd. >> he's yelling, but it's a violent yelling. he's like, if you don't save her, i'm going to [ bleep ] killer. >> crook found those threats so alarming, held took out his phone to record them. . >> it could just be the way this guy reacts to trauma. i'm telling you, it was a red flag at that time. >> also a red flag, conrad was drunk. he admitted he and heidi had been drinking earlier that night. >> i could see in his eyes the redness. >> red flag number three, conrad told crook he and heidi had been arguing. a minor dust-up, he said. no big deal. but enough for heidi to draw a bath and ask to be left alone. >> she went and locked herself in the bathroom. then he details how he picked the lock and went into the bathroom. then she kicked him out. to me, it's another.
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it's more proof of there was an argument. a bigger argument. >> as for the location of the gun, itself, that, too, was suspicious. >> that gun is how far from heidi in. >> i would say eight feet, ten feet maybe. it wasn't like a normal if she shoots herself and falls to the ground type of thing. >> later that morning, police ask conrad to come to the station. >> they can say whatever they want. i did not hurt my wife. and i know. from the bottom of my heart i did not hurt heidi. >> heidi's family thought otherwise after learning from police the details of how she died. >> the reason i heard how she died, i knew he did it. >> it sounds like he had a temper and he was very box kited and -- intoxicated and did something he hadn't planned. i just few he did it. >> detective wallace powered
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over conrad's statements to police about what happened that night. as wallace saw it, conrad's story went like this conrad was in the kitchen. heidi was in the bathroom. at some point conratd heard a pop. when he heard, he saw heidi standing somewhere between the kitchen and the bathroom hallway bleeding. >> and he either runs over to catch her or she falls down. >> wallace then went back to the truman home making detailed measurements of the kitchen and surrounding rooms, he wanted to see if conratd's story checked out. his conclusion, it did not. >> her body is at the top of the staircase. it doesn't add up she would have traveled the distance he's saying she would have gone and fallen at that location. >> it was hard for wal lat to believe heidi could have traveled from the bathroom to the top of the stairs after sustaining such a severe head wound. >> she would have fallen immediately to the ground. >> wallace shares his findings with assistant district attorney
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craig johnson. johnson agreerkd everything pointed to conrad. >> why would conrad truman want to kill his wife? >> under the circumstances, i'd say the motive was based on the heat of passion argument that they were having. alcohol, a fight and guns, that's where we got murder. >> at the same time, johnson was still reluctant to press charges. remember, the state's own medical examiner couldn't say whether heidi's death was a homicide and johnson knew that would be a hurnl hurdle in court. >> based on my experience in courts with juries and medical examiners, it carries a lot of weight. >> so johnson and wallace showed the m.e. a 90 point presentation including those measurements, hoping something will sway him. the presentation worked. the medical examiner changed his ruling to homicide. >> it sound like one of the things that got the medical
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examine tore move from inconclusive to homicide was the measurements of the crime scene suggested her body was too far from where mr. truman says she had been shot? >> exactly. >> so after a ten-month investigation the orem spsz pd arrested conrad truman and charged him with the murder. >> my mom called me and i fell to the ground finally that he was behind bars. >> going to trial, what did you think? >> i felt we had a strong circumstantial case. >> at trial the prosecution argued homicide. the defense, self inflicted gunshot wound. the jury sided with the state, conrad truman was convicted of heidi's murder. >> it was like, finally got him. finally got him. >> as far as you knew, that was it? >> that was it. >> did you think that was it?
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>> i did. >> but if you think that was it, well, then you haven't been watching enough "dateline." coming up, heidi's heart break. >> she did not know her dad and she had always wanted that. that really bothered her. >> and conrad truman's hope. >> this is going to work out. it has to, because i didn't do this. . >> when "dateline" continue>> . >> when "dateline" continues.
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. >> it's the final stretch for the mid-terms. the president is touting friday's strong jobs report yesterday on campaign trail along with that migrant caravan. today he visits montana and florida. former president obama, meanwhile, is campaigning against the president, making stops in florida and georgia yesterday. mr. obama accused president trump of lying and fear mongering. that's what's happening. now back to "dateline."
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. just more than two years after his wife heidi's death, conrad truman today convicted of her murder. he was looking down the barrel of a life sentence when he returned to a utah courtroom to learn his punishment. this is the moment where some convictled killers ask for mercy because of their difficult lives or tell the court they have been misunderstood. sometimes, of course, they don't speak at all. but not conrad truman. >> listen to me please, i can't say sorry for something i did not do. >> i understood speaking out would make it way worse, but i was like, i don't know, to hell with this, i need to speak my mind. >> i didn't kill my wife. there is just no way. if there would be some proof that i did this, i didn't. that's why there is no proof. you know, this is just a big
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injustice. >> the judge had heard that before. the sentence he imposed. 16 years to life. crushing for conrad and his family sitting behind him, including sister colette. >> you want to believe that things turn out the way that they're supposed to. and that's just not always the case. >> in prison, conrad did what many do, he retraced the steps that led him there. he thought a lot about the night heidi died. as conrad saw it, the police rushed to judgment, began precisely when officers first rushed through his front door. >> they felt this guy the drinking. there's firearms in the house, so he must have shot her. >> well, why couldn't it be exactly that simple? this wouldn't be the first time that mixing alcohol, an argument and a handgun went straight to a prison sentence?
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conrad told us what he told police. it isn't that simple. sure, he and hide i dihad been drinking. they had been arguing, he said neither is an explanation for what happened. >> i could have upset her with this things that i said or i've acted with not being attentive to her. i know i do that sometimes when i drink, i don't pay a lot of attention. >> it still doesn't seem like ground for a grigantic fight. >> it got to the point where i upset her. i know she went to go take a path. >> which is what she did when she was a little irritated? >> yes. >> conrad also shared with us how he picked the bathroom lock. not he said to confront heidi just to apologize. >> she just said, get out. i said, okay. so i just let her be. >> as for conrad's behavior after police arrived at his door. he said he had good reason for acting that way. >> i was trying to save my wife.
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i don't know, does that make sense? i just wanted her to live. >> i get how frantic you must have been. i'm not sure i understand the threatening part of that. i think that's one of the things that ended up getting you in trouble. >> it could b. i was like, do i have to, how do i explain this to you guys, like get her help. when you can't explain that to someone, i just started making threats. >> well, if all that's true, then why and how did heidi wind up with a bullet in her head? >> i think police found it hard to believe that you could be right there with her in a very small area and she's shot and you don't know what happened. >> yeah, maybe in their heads. in mine, i was just confused. >> could this be an accident? >> what i say to that is, see, i don't know what happened. >> that's how he felt just hours after the shooting. but as the months passed, conrad
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came to the conclusion, heidi may have taken her own life. his wife, he said, wasn't as tough as she appeared. was she a sad person? was shea depressed person? >> when she drank little bit, you could see it come out. it wasn't every time, but it did. >> heidi's friend sandy sanchez also saw another side to heidi. >> that strong, funny, you know, person also had some things inside that were very painful. >> according to sandy, those things had to do with heidi's upbringing, most significantly, heidi grew up not knowing the identity of her father. >> that really bothered her. you know, she did not know her dad. and she had always wanted that. >> it bugged her, tremendously. >> enough to take her own life? had she ever attempted suicide before? >> never to my knowledge?
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she never talked about it? >> no. >> it's ha ready to believe what's going on in heidi's life at the time, what seemed like a happy ma irnlg to you she will spur of the moment commit suicide like that in. >> that's a tough question, how do you know someone will do that, you no she in. >> as he lived his lives behind bars, conrad continued to speculate and tried to stay helpful. >> i was like this is going to work out. it has to, because i didn't do this. >> conrad's family never gave up on him. so they scraped together the money to hire conrad some new attorneys. >> mark and addie looked into the indication. to them, it was immediately apparent that there were a lot of problems. >> mark moffett and anne talafaro were one of those attorneys. one of the first things they did was visit the scene of the crime. >> we went to the house. and we walked in and we think, aha. >> within moments of being in that home, we knew immediately
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that there was a huge problem. >> not a problem for them, more for the people who had put conrad truman away. coming up. an innocent man in jail for someone's mistake in math? >> i remember thinking, well, that's australian him. >> that couldn't be right. >> we immediately started measuring. we knew right away that there was a big problem. >> when "dateline" continues.
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. while conrad truman sat in a utah state prison marking time, his sister colette searched endlessly for ways to get him out. >> was there a time when you or anybody else in your family thought maybe we don't know him as well as we thought we did? >> no. >> he couldn't have killed her? >> not possible. >> so much about conrad truman's trial bothered his sister colette. one detail in particular kept gnawing by her. it was the diagrams depicting the area where heidi's body was found. >> i remember thinking, well, that's strange. that couldn't be right. >> post-verdict. colette shared her concerns with conrad's new attorneys. mark moffett and anne talafaro. the defense team decided to visit the home to see if the plans were accurate.
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we later made that same trip with moffett who showed us what they discovered. >> this is the area in question? and it's pretty small? >> it is, it's really small. we immediately started measuring. we knew right away that there was a billing problem with the diagrams and the measurements. >> the problem, all those measurements were off. >> instead of 139 inches. somebody took the figure 139 and excerpted it to be 13.9 feet. 33 inches became 3.3 feet and on and on and on. >> according to moffett, those flawed measurements, which were used in court, made the house appear to be much bigger than it was. >> they used the theme of distance to argue that mr. truman was lying about where he said his wife was when he heard what turned out to be this fatal shot. >> at trial, the prosecution
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argued, to believe conrad, you have to believe heidi shot herself in the bathroom then walked 12 feet before falling to the floor and according to medical examiner, that was impossible. he testified heidi's head wound was so severe that she could have at most walked a step or two. >> this issue of distance was this big issue. >> but for anne talafaro, seeing the house and how small it was was proof enough that the prosecution's argument was flawed. >> when you walk in the house, there is no way there is even 12 feet there. >> what's more, according to defense team, conrad never told the police heidi shot herself in the bathroom. instead, he told them he had no idea where she was when he heard the shot. >> tell me your theory of what happened here. >> we believe that heidi truman shot herself in this very area and we believe that she fell right in the area directly in front of me on the ground and it's the very area where she was
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found when law enforcement entered the home that night. >> which they also said was completely consistent with the m.e.'s testimony that heidi would have fallen after only a step or two. >> she would have gone to the ground immediately. >> your argument is she did fall down? >> exactly. >> and she fell about here? >> yes, that's exactly what our argument is. >> according to moffett, this was not a simple mistake. is this just the case of a small town police department making incorrect statements or adding up some figures wrong. >> i don't believe so. i think they willfully lied to convict a conviction against conrad truman. >> according to his attorneys, there are more problems with the calls. one had to do with residue tests. they believe they swabbed the hand. but those swabs were never sent to the lab. >> when you have gunshot residue that was never tested, those things matter. >> the defense team decided to
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test those swabs, themselves. conrad's happened were negative for residue. but there was a question as to whether conrad had washed his hand before they were tested. so those results were meaningless. >> that's probably why they didn't test in the first place. >> as for heidi's swabs, there was no residue on her left hand, but there was on her right hand and significantly, heidi was right-handed. >> when have you gunshot residue in a location and in a quantity that is absolutely consistent with her firing a semi automatic weapon, one of the possibilities is that she fired a gun. you can't discount that. >> the deeper moffett and talafaro got into the case the more it seemed to them that heidi's wound was self inflicted. they believe the head wound, a contact wound ruled out homicide. >> a contact gunshot wounds to the right temple are the most
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common site of self inflicting gunshot wounds there are. >> they decided to take their findings to the m.e., hoping to sway his ruling on the manner of death once again, just as police did prior to conrad's arrest is there we gave him a bunch of information. then he on his own with his investigator went to the home to look at it. >> and the result was just what they had asked for, heidi truman's manner of death once undetermined, then a homicide, was now officially once again undetermined. it was mania from forensic heaven. how often to forensic examiners change their findings and change them back? >> i've neff had a case where this has happened ever. >> it took another year, but conrad truman's conviction was overturned and he was granted a new trial. >> i never even thought that was a probability for the medical
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company tore change. i never would have thought that. >> is there a part of you that thinks i can't get upset about this. >> that was how i felt. >> i was beyond happy. we were just absolutely over the moon. >> for heidi's family, it was just the opposite. >> we couldn't believe it. >> you thought this was over? >> we thought it was over. we thought this was settled. >> that was a hard, hard, hard moment. we hated it. we just thought, so, what are they going to come one this time? >> and we know that's what you're thinking, too. coming up, a new trial. new jury. a different verdict? >> there was enough "there" there beyond a reasonable doubt. >> why would things work out if it didn't work the first time? >> when "dateline" continues.
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leave no room behind with xfi pods. simple. easy. awesome. click or visit a retail store today. conrad truman had been convicted of murder, sentenced to life and had already served more than three years. now, the revelation of those flawed police measurements had led to conrad truman's new trial. that stunned everyone in the utah county d.a.'s office. especially the man responsible for conrad's conviction. prosecutor craig johnson. >> this is something that really took us by surprise. >> reporter: the defense says you had to have known. >> well, that's their take, and they're doing their job to zealously represent their client, but i can tell you categorically that that's not correct. >> reporter: just as stunned was
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the man whose team took the measurements, lead detective tom wallace. what went wrong? how'd that happen? >> in the process of transposing numbers from actual measurements at the scene to the crime scene program, numbers were just transposed wrong. >> reporter: wallace admits the error but says it was minor, that conrad truman did not deserve a new trial. >> it's not that significant as they made it out to be. >> reporter: did those incorrectly entered measurements change your opinion of conrad truman's guilt? should they change anyone's opinion? >> they didn't change my opinion. >> reporter: nor did it change the opinion of the deputy district attorney, tim taylor, who decided to take on the task himself of prosecuting conrad once again. >> i think craig had been into the case for a long time, so i wanted fresh eyes. so i went through all the evidence. and even with the medical examiner changing his opinion, i still felt that there was enough to go forward. but we knew going into it, it was going to be tough.
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>> reporter: at trial the prosecution's case was familiar. starting with the officers who testified about conrad's rambling often incoherent description of what had happened that night. >> the core of our case were his inconsistent statements. >> the story was hard to follow. it was jumping around all over. it wasn't making sense to me. so it was hard to follow. >> reporter: those officers also told the jury about conrad's threats. >> he was telling us that we were going too slow and we needed to hurry up or he was going to kill us. >> i'll [ bleep ] kill you if you don't save her life. >> if you are making these violent threats to people who are there trying to help your wife, how are you treating your wife when it's only you and her alone? >> reporter: taylor then tackled the theory of suicide by calling witnesses to testify heidy was not suicidal. >> in your experience as heidy's mother, was she a sad or depressed person? >> no.
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i didn't see her that way. >> reporter: did heidy's not knowing her father or not knowing who he was, did that make her depressed or sad? >> no, no. >> reporter: the prosecutor pointed out, conrad's story evolved over time. immediately following the shooting on the way to the hospital. conrad insisted heidy would never commit suicide. >> i think something shot her or something. because she would never shoot herself. she'd never shoot herself. >> reporter: taylor argued it was only later after suspicion against conrad had mounted that he changed his tune. as for the gunshot residue on heidy's right hand, taylor called an expert to say it proved nothing. >> nobody can identify a shooter based on the results of this test. that is a major limitation of this test. >> reporter: defense attorney mark moffat answered by telling the jury that, before being allowed to wash his hands that night, conrad had pleaded with police to confirm he had no residue on them.
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>> he's telling them, test my hands. test my hands. i didn't shoot a gun. >> reporter: did you wash your hands before saying that to police? >> no, i absolutely not. i never washed my hands until they said, go wash your hands. >> reporter: conrad's attorneys were working hard to establish reasonable doubt, and the state medical examiner's shifting opinion on heidy's manner of death only helped them. that's your case right there. >> you would think. >> reporter: i mean, if he has reasonable doubt, hard to argue a jury shouldn't. >> exactly. >> reporter: the medical examiner told the jury that in the final analysis, he didn't know the manner of heidy truman's death. >> i finalized the autopsy report with the cause of death as gunshot wound and the manner of death as could not be determined. >> reporter: the m.e. also testified how, in his experience, a contact wouldn't like heidy's is rare in homicide cases. >> with the contact gunshot wound, it would be consistent with a wound that's self-inflicted.
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>> reporter: after 15 days of testimony, the jury began deliberations. so you felt pretty good leading up to verdict? >> yes. there was enough "there" there beyond a reasonable doubt. >> reporter: conrad was having a much harder time. >> it was really difficult. you know? because why would things work out if they didn't work out the first time? you know what i mean? >> reporter: eight hours later, the verdict. hold up your hands. you're not wearing handcuffs. >> no cuffs. >> reporter: you're not in custody. >> i'm free. >> reporter: that's right. this time conrad truman got the verdict he wanted. not guilty. >> i just kept saying did they say not? >> he grabbed my arm. are you sure? >> reporter: in the courtroom, conrad's family shared tears of joy. >> i was giggling and crying at the same time. it was weird. >> reporter: on the other side of the courtroom aisle were tears of a different kind. >> i felt my heart sink and i just was in shock.
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>> reporter: you fainted? >> i did. i couldn't believe there was a situation where that long shot happened, where he would be freed. >> reporter: juror brian christenson said he and his fellow jurors had no choice but to set conrad free. >> i believe that we all pretty much felt that he probably did it. >> reporter: but you voted to acquit. >> we voted to acquit. >> reporter: because you had reasonable doubt? >> we had reasonable doubt. >> reporter: whether you believe mr. truman is innocent or not, those measurements either put an innocent man in prison or let a guilty man go free. >> well, so you're right. but my opinion hasn't changed. do i think he got away with murder? yeah, i do. >> reporter: what's it like to have your work called into question in a way that frees the guy you helped to convict? >> it's that a measurement that's inconsequential actually ended up freeing him.
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>> reporter: what's life been like for your family since then? >> we're trying to put the pieces together. >> reporter: for heidy's family, that is easier said than done. >> i miss the things that we had together. i miss the simple conversations. i miss her sassiness. i miss her wonderful personality. she lives on forever in our hearts. >> reporter: conrad is left looking both backward and forward. >> i mean, i'd do anything to take another day, another walk with her. i loved her. and i do love her still. >> reporter: you got a lot of life left, a lot. how are you going to live it? >> to the best of my abilities. >> reporter: there are jurors who think he might have done it but i had reasonable doubt, i couldn't vote to convict. >> well, god bless them. there's a lot of people who do believe in me. >> reporter: he's made his own
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peace with a simple truth -- the very thing that freed him, reasonable doubt, could also shadow conrad truman for the rest of his life. that's all for this edition of "dateline." thankin thankings for watching. i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie moraalemorales. >> and this is "dateline". >> he said you need to get in the car with us. tied my legs, duct taped my arms. it's terrifying. >> she thought he was mr. right, confident, hand some surgeon until the good doctor seemed to turn sinister. >> he had put his hand over my face and said go ahead and try


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