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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  December 15, 2019 1:00am-2:00am PST

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farewell to hannah hill. never forgotten by her family and friends. or as it turned out by the criminal justice system. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. >> and this is "dateline." >> i go, what are these things any way he says they're these little falcons. he goes they watch over the dead, jimmy, he goes they do. >> what if someone asked you to risk your life? >> what if i get shanked, what f if i get killed. >> to go undercover into one of the country's most dangerous prisons.e >> once they stepped out the door, i was on my own. >> to help catch a killer. >> she had such a zest for life. >> young girls were being murdered.
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>> i can't imagine sending my daughter off to school and never seeing her again. >> and investigators needed help to get a confession. >> if anybody could pull it off, you would probably be the one to pull it off. >> but this snitch was different. he was already a convicted felon. if anybody could pull it off, he would probably be the one to pull it off. >> if it worked, he could win his freedom. if it didn't, he could lose his life. >> they had your back. >> they had my back. >> least you thought. >> that's what i thought. >> welcome to "dateline." it was dangerous under cover work requiring jimmy to spend
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time behind bars for the criminally insane. getting inrs was the easy part. getting out alive e would be mu harder. here is lester holt with "the inside man." two enemies who didn't trust each other faced off across a ie table. one of them in handcuffs was a clever con named jimmy keene. the other, a hard charging prosecutor. >> in court, he called me the john gotti of kankakee. >> the prisoner was worried sick. larry beaumont, the prosecutor, that convicted keene and put him behind bars suddenly wanted to talk, a top secret meeting, no less. what more could he do to jimmy? >> he was the last person i expected to hear from.ar he was my biggest fear. >> but keene's fears went off the chart when the prosecutor slid an accordion file his direction.ac on top was a grisly photo of a dead girl.
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>> i flipped the next page, another young dead mutilated pp girl.yo i am thinking whoa, wait a second. nk >> he is probably thinking at this point you're about to charge him with something else? >> yeah, because you know, i had be rough on him in the initial prosecution. im b >> jimmy was in the dark. he had no idea the crazy scheme beaumont had in mind. >> he says jimmy, listen, he goes this is something that we have another person on, he has killed many, many young women, and i personally think you're the one that can help us with this. >> this turned out to be an edon investigation to try and catch a suspected serial killer. beaumont, an outside the box thinker, believed this convict, jimmy keene, was the one who b could somehow crack the case, taking on a unique and deadly mission. >> i realized how serious it was and also realized the danger of it.li >> what he couldn't know was how such a daring mission would
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change his world and the person he was forever. if this all seems fodder for a v hollywood movie, brad pitt would agree. the mega star who was benjamin button, then "moneyball" billy beane is interested in playing none other than jimmy keene. >> brad pitt likes the fact that this guy jimmy keene risked his life to try to find what he could find. >> clearly this guy is one of a kind. charismatic, conceited, courageous and complicated. from an early age, he had the personality, charm, cockiness that made him dream a hollywooda star might one day want to play him in the movies. o his first big brush with fame m came on the football field. everybody called you the assassin in football. that was a good thing i take it. >> yes. a i was taught by my dad at a young age, if you don't hit that guy first, he is going to hit you first. htgu
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>> a superstar athlete and t. mr. popularity in high school, jimmy seemed to have it all as a big fish in the river city of kankakee, illinois, a blue collar town south of chicago. >> i was most valuable player, i was captain of the team every year that i played. >> jimmy grew up in the shadow of his father, big jim, a giant of a man who was a cop, fireman, and hero to his son. >> he is my best friend, you know, my backbone in pretty much everything i did. , >> but all of keene's grand potential would be put in peril by a terrible choice he made as a teenager. he began selling drugs. he started small, peddling bags of marijuana in this kankakee park, then expanded to cocaine. at the tender age of 17, he moved to chicago where the business and profits exploded. he was now a big fish in a bigger pond. lake michigan to be exact. p he was his own in crowd, fast
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cars, and souped up living. >> all the hot spots, nightclubs, owners i was in tight with. i would come in and have carte blanche every place i went to. >> were you feeling invincible? >> yeah, there was a point there was invincible feeling. >> did your pop know what you were doing, did he suspect?s >> he didn't suspect until much, much later. >> it would be a rude awakening for his dad and jimmy that day in 1996 when jimmy was just relaxing at one of his chicago homes. >> all of a sudden kaboom, the whole door blew off the hinges, they come flying into the house, all of the dea, fbi and locals came in single file line with their automatic weapons, pointei at me freeze, get on the ground. get on the ground! >> he had been caught in a drug sting, spearheaded by a hard-nosed federal prosecutor,
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larry beaumont. >> we scooped him up in an operation that i ran, we called it operation snow ploy. >> in court, beaumont showed keene no mercy. >> he was coming at you on all fours? m >> oh, god, he was a bulldog. >> jimmy was convicted and od slapped with a ten-year sentence. >> it was a pretty stiff sentence. i knew he didn't expect ten years in that case. >> your father was in the a e courtroom. >> right. i knew i let him down, probably one of the biggest ways you could let somebody down. he >> keene's future was bleak. he faced ten years away from his glamorous life, the fancy cars, the big bucks. in 1998, just when all hope seemed lost, his old nemesis, beaumont, came to him with an offer of freedom, attached to that accordion file he slid across the table. in return, keene would have to t agree to risk everything and become an undercover informant in one of the roughest prisons in the country, the maximum security lockup in springfield, missouri. it was a psychiatric prison with
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both hardcore killers and the criminally insane. dc >> these people all have life sentences, they're all in therep and they're crazy lunes and they have nothing perfect to do than hurt you or kill you just for some fun. >> if he accepted beaumont's offer, keene's target would be c suspected serial killer, a ee mysterious man in a van.d coming up, every picture tells a story. >> when i put the picture down, he flinched, raised his arm up, refused to look at the picture. >> when "dateline" continues. ws
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several years before jimmy keene's arrest and conviction, his drug business was booming and his personal life, as he tells it, was nonstop fun and games. there are a lot of hot clubs here in the '90s. this is a place you were doing business as well? >> worked and played right here, yes. it was a good time. >> back then, he had no idea about the danger lurking 150 miles south and a life style away that would change his life forever. rural, tranquil georgetown, illinois is where they were raising their 15-year-old daughter jessie and two other children, far removed from big city crime. >> everybody knew who everybody
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was, so they were more conscious of what was going on usually. you could count on somebody to get after your kids if they needed it. >> in 1993, jessie was a high school sophomore devoted to home and family. >> jessie was really very much of a home body. so one bike ride up the road and back, she was done. then she would be watching "gone with the wind." >> one monday in september, jessie went out for a bike ride. but just minutes later, her sister noticed jessie's beloved bike down on its side in the middle of the road. not on the side of the road, middle of the road? >> she would put the kick stand up, never lay it down. immediately went down there, there's the bicycle. it is like i knew something was wrong. >> deputy sheriff gary miller was dispatched to the scene. >> the more we learned about the family and the girl's background, we just didn't feel
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she was staying away by choice. >> the haunting image of a bike tipped over and abandoned terrified all of the investigators and, of course, jessie's family. >> i mean, you never lose hope for them not to come in. you still hope, but we knew she wasn't just going to walk away. >> after six weeks, jessie's parents' worst fears were realized. her body, beaten and sexually violated, was discovered in a corn field. it can never be easy telling a parent their child is dead. >> no, it wasn't, but at least we were able to tell them this is her, she's gone. we were able to erase all doubts. >> gary miller had a murder case to solve and it was now a federal case involving prosecutor larry beaumont as well, since jessie's body had been found across the illinois state line. for the next year, miller did lots of leg work, but to no avail.
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every day you get up, are you thinking about this case? >> oh, every day. >> what have i missed? >> exactly. i know this case really shook him from the beginning. he would check all leads that would involve all girls and kind of run them down. >> then in late 1994, miller's persistence finally paid off. a man in a van had been reported chasing two teenager girls in jessie's hometown of georgetown. miller traced that to larry hall from wabash, indiana, a three hour drive from georgetown. is your heartbeat starting to pick up a little bit? >> thinking yeah, this has to be checked out. >> he learned hall was a gung-ho union re-enactor that liked to fight fantasy battles. he immediately drove to wabash to interview hall who wasn't saying much. miller showed him a photo of jessie roach. >> when i put the picture down, he flinched, raised his arm up,
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turned in his chair and refused to look at the picture. >> convinced larry hall was hiding something, miller became obsessed with making a case against him. days later, back in illinois, miller turned up a huge lead. he found witnesses who vividly remembered hall from a revolutionary war re-enactment in the georgetown area the very weekend before jessie was abducted. to them, hall stood out for his bushy muttonchops side burns, but also for playing a soldier who was fighting the wrong war. >> he was wearing a civil war uniform and he had a civil war hat. >> at a revolutionary war re-enactment? >> exactly. >> armed with this new information, deputy sheriff miller returned to wabash for a second crack at hall. this time, he pressed his suspect harder, stressing that hall's fellow re-enactors had
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seen him near georgetown. >> he came along to the point where he said well, i go to so many re-enactments, i could have been there and don't remember because i go to a lot of them. >> he was giving more ground? >> right, yeah. >> miller sees the opening and kept at it. finally, he said hall came clean and confessed that he abducted, sexually violated, and strangled jessie roach to death. how much detail did he give you about the killing of jessica roach? >> very good detail, what he actually did and what took place. >> not only that, miller says larry hall confessed to other killings, including a co-ed from indiana wesleyan university in nearby marion, indiana. >> he did say he was there. >> deputy miller didn't know much about tricia, he called on the local indiana police handling that case. but when marion detective jay kay and other indiana cops arrived, hall was suddenly
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telling a much different story. he denied confessing to any killing, including jessie's and tricia's. what's more, he claimed it was all a misunderstanding about disturbing dreams he had. >> he takes us out to a location in my dreams i strangled her and left her lay here. we searched the woods and area and never really found anything. >> the indiana cops familiar with hall were not at all surprised by his actions. some of them like jay kay thought hall might be a wannabe, a pretender that gets his kicks confessing to crimes he didn't commit. is it possible he's simply obsessed with these cases but not involved? >> there's no doubt in my mind that he does follow these cases, that he does read and is attracted to cases all over the country, you know, so the question does come is he a wannabe? >> deputy sheriff miller and prosecutor beaumont, however, felt certain they had a real
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killer on their hands, a serial killer with a unique m.o. would drive across country where he to play to be like a soldier. then he would prey on young women and kill for real. >> the fbi were discovering girls missing at these various areas at the time larry hall would have been there. >> but the only case for which prosecutors had sufficient evidence was jessie roach's. larry hall was arrested in connection with her death, even though he denied making that confession to miller. hall went on trial in 1995. as a prosecutor, what's the best card you're holding? >> we had a statement, his confession, said he did it. >> beaumont called deputy sheriff miller to the stand to testify that hall had indeed admitted that he abducted and killed jessie after he spotted her with her bicycle. >> she was walking her bike at that point. >> miller testified that in his
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confession, hall gave him a detail that only the killer would know, that jessie was not riding her bike but walking it, a safety precaution the roaches insisted she follow when she was on their narrow road. that was never in the press that she was walking her bike that day. >> right. >> when you heard that, did that give more credence to the story? >> oh, yeah, that just sealed it for me, i knew, i knew that he was the one. >> a jury unanimously agreed. it took just three hours to convict larry hall. but prosecutor beaumont believed this was just the tip of the iceberg. he felt certain hall was a serial killer and now he had to find a way to prove it. so he began investigating tricia reitler's abduction, a case that wasn't his for a family he didn't even know. >> i can't imagine sending my daughter off to school and never seeing her again. >> and he came up with an outside the box scheme to get hall, which would risk the life of that charismatic convict he
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had just put away for dealing drugs. jimmy keene. >> what happens when i have to deal with all these crazy killers and stuff, what if i get shanked, what if i get killed, am i going to survive this? >> jimmy's get out of jail card comes with a hefty price. coming up. >> they had your back. >> they had my back. least that's what you thought. >> that's what i thought. >> when "dateline" continues. ♪
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people typically don't admit murder, sexual assaults and murders to police officers unless in fact they probably have done it, so it was clear we felt he was responsible for the tricia reitler disappearance. >> she had such a zest for life, and she would walked in the room and everybody knew she was there. >> tricia reitler, a 19-year-old psych major at indiana wesleyan university was on her way to becoming a family counselor. >> her goal was to put families back together again. >> then in march 1993, donna and gary reitler got that late night phone call every parent dreads. a cop from marion, indiana, was on the line. >> said do you know where tricia is. in my heart, i knew something was drastically wrong.
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>> tricia had walked to an off-campus super market and never returned to her dorm. now nearly 25 years later, her parents are still waiting. >> we have no answer. that is what eats at me, somebody out there has that answer for us. >> tricia reitler wasn't even prosecutor beaumont's case, but he was deeply moved by her parents. >> that was always a horrible crime to me. i knew about the facts of the case, and i knew about the family. i didn't know the family but read about them, newspaper articles, accounts of them asking for help. >> beaumont felt certain that suspected serial killer larry hall was responsible. not only did hall live 25 minutes from indiana wesleyan, he had been identified chasing two co-eds there just a week after tricia went missing. so in the summer of 1995, a month after convicting hall for jessie roach's murder, beaumont was leading a search for tricia. it was in those same indiana backwoods where hall had told
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indiana authorities he dreamt he killed and buried tricia. >> i wanted to feel like i did everything i could to see if we could find her body. >> but after two days searching in sweltering heat and humidity, tricia's body didn't turn up. >> we couldn't find anything. doesn't mean it wasn't there. >> then beaumont decided to try something completely different. >> i came up with the idea of putting somebody in the prison cell with him to see if we could get him to tell us what he did with tricia reitler. >> they think you were crazy? >> most people did think we were crazy. i was able to convince them we should do it anyway. >> enter jimmy keene, the drug dealer beaumont had just convicted and sent to a low security prison. why did he stick out in your mind? >> because i knew he was kind of a con man, he was smart. i knew if anybody could pull it off, he would probably be the one to pull it off. >> he said you have been trained in martial arts and you can go into a dangerous environment many can't and protect yourself in environment like that.
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>> in return, beaumont offered jimmy freedom. first, jimmy would have to exact more than a confession. >> i told him unless we found the body, he would get no credit. no body, you get nothing. >> jimmy was skeptical, he was a drug dealer, not a criminal profiler. he knew this was a mission impossible. he said no. but then fate intervened. jimmy's dad suffered a stroke. weeks later, frail and sickly, he came to visit jimmy. >> my dad was in a wheelchair. this was big jim, the gjy that was super man to me my whole life. we cried through the window for awhile and we talked. he didn't know about the offer. nobody knew. >> jimmy realized he had a one time only opportunity to fix the mess he made for himself and get out while his dad was still alive. >> as soon as we were done with the visit, i called my lawyer, said tell beaumont i'm going to take him up on his offer. >> the mission was on.
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so on august 3rd, 1998, federal marshals escorted jimmy into the psychiatric prison. >> once they stepped out the door, i was on my own. >> jimmy's cover story was that he was a convicted weapons runner whose 40-year sentence pushed him over the edge and landed him in the psych prison. a psych prison filled with killers. his one inside contact, the chief psychiatrist, couldn't protect him, nor could his outside lifeline, a female fbi agent who visited as his girlfriend to monitor his progress. >> i did have a hot line to her, too, so if i got caught in a dangerous situation, i could get a hold of her. the deal was, they would have me out in 24 hours. >> they had your back? >> they had my back. >> least that's what you thought? >> that's what i thought. >> when keene's mission began, it was all about him, his shot at freedom. he had few feelings, if any, about tricia reitler or her family. all he wanted was to get in and out with tricia's location and
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as fast as possible. day one, breakfast in the mess hall. jimmy zeroed in on larry hall. >> i was waiting with my tray, and i look over, there he is, 20, 25 feet from me, sitting there all by himself. it felt like a magnet was compelling me to come to him. finally, i bumped shoulders with him on purpose. >> jimmy explained he was a brand new inmate needing directions to the library. hall obliged. >> kind of slapped him on the shoulder, said thanks a lot, i appreciate that from a cool guy like you. >> after that, they occasionally talked. but the next step came when jimmy was invited to join hall's breakfast club. >> in the prison system, that's a big thing of who you're invited to have your breakfast with. >> keene thought he was making progress. but then prison politics got in the way. >> i left out of the chow hall one morning and a few big muscular guys came up to me, said hey, old man wants to talk to you right now, right now he
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wants to talk to you! >> the old man was celebrity mafiosi, also known as the odd-father who used to wander new york city in his bathrobe, pretending to be nuts. >> he goes hey, boy, what's wrong with you, what's wrong with you. what are you hanging around them baby killers for? he goes you hang with us from now on. he goes you hang around those people, maybe somebody comes up, puts a knife in your back. he would be at my cell early morning, jimmy, get up, get up, we're going to play bocci ball. i said what about breakfast? he said we will play first. >> that is nice put you're trying to get out of prison. it was taking up his valuable time, making it hard to talk to hall. then he learned hall's favorite show was "america's most wanted." so one saturday night in the tv room, jimmy would make a daring
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move, putting his body on the line, just to gain larry's trust. >> coming up, jimmy's new best friend shares a nightmare. >> it was probably the hardest thing i've done in my life to listen to this kind of stuff and not just rip him apart. >> when "dateline" continues. >>s (laughter) (cat meows) (dark barks) ♪ guess who's early? (cat meows) good thing walgreens is right around the corner with last minute holiday supplies. get in. get out. get jolly.
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death toll to 16 on the volcano of new zealand's white island. a victim from australia has died from injuries received in the volcano eruption. two people remain missing and unaccounted for. democratic congressman is switching parties over the impeachment debate. jeff andrew that represents the district that donald trump carried in 2016 made the decision after a meeting with the president. now back to "dateline." welcome to "dateline."
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i'm craig melvin. convicted drug dealer jimmy keene was on a mission. his goal in the psychiatric prison to get suspected serial killer to reveal the murder of jessica and then if successful jimmy would be released from a prison sentence but jimmy would not be prepared for the horrific story that hall was about to share. here again is lester holt with "the inside man." by fall of 1998 after several months in missouri's toughest federal prison, jimmy keene could have won a popularity contest. he charmed everyone just as beaumont knew he would. he even won over some convicts with his lending library of pornographic magazines.
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and he managed to placate the chin and mob faction by day while circling his prey, suspected larry hall with one on one bull sessions at night. >> talked about normal things, hung out. made him feel like i was wanting to be his friend. >> but it wasn't fast enough for keene who feared someone might recognize him and blow his cover. >> if you went by the fbi's technical terms, i was pretty much staying right on pace. but from my point of view of being in this place, it was starting to get very hard. >> on the outside, the mission mastermind, larry beaumont, could only sit and wait for secondhand news on how this crazy scheme of his was going. were you pacing the floors waiting for updates during this? >> i don't know if i paced the floors, but i was eager to get updates. i had information they were starting to trust him, they were talking, that kind of thing. >> but beaumont had absolutely no idea a breakthrough moment arrived.
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it was a saturday night. keene and hall were in the prison's tv room, watching "america's most wanted" again. >> here comes a big prisoner, big muscular, buff guy. he walked to the tv, turned the channel. hall looks at me, quietly mumbles under his breath, hey, that's not right, i was watching that. i thought this is a prime opportunity for me. >> jimmy, a martial arts expert who continued working out in prison, was ready for this moment. he got up and changed the channel back. >> he jumped up, slobbering all over the place. you turn that channel again i'll rip your damn head off! you don't touch that tv, going on all crazy and stuff. turns the channel, sits back down. i just looked at him, i turned the channel again. he jumped up, starts cussing at me. i finally threw a particular cuss word at him that i knew would set him off. as soon as i did, he took a wild hey maker swing as me, i kicked him through two or three rows of
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chairs and beat him to a pulp. >> hall had a ring side-view of saturday night's main event. afterward, he staunchly defended him as retaliator, not when prison officials interview eyewitnesses about the tv room brawl. you are his best friend? >> yes. i became his new best friend and hero. >> jimmy could sense his heroics brought him closer to hall. he was ready to make a bold move. in the prison library, jimmy figured out a strategy to draw hall out on tricia reitler. >> i noticed he was reading his hometown newspaper. and that was really important eventually for me to crack into his psyche. >> even though the goal was tricia's body, jimmy decided to ask first about something already public knowledge. hall's conviction in the jessie roach case. jimmy fibbed his mother lived near wabash and read about jessie's case and other stories involving hall.
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>> she gets that newspaper from that hometown where you're from. i said all the newspaper stories say you killed multiple women. >> that was a big risk though. >> it all was a big risk. i said larry, i don't care what you're in here for, be honest to me, that's all. tell me what happened. i'm still going to be your friend no matter what. i said i had girls do me wrong in my life, i understand how girls can get under your skin and how they can be bothersome to you. >> jimmy pressed hall about roach. at last, hall began to open up, recalling that september day in 1993. >> he was driving down a back country road, seen her walking her bicycle. >> hall then told jimmy exactly how he abducted and killed jessie. you must have been revolted. >> oh, god, lester, it was probably the hardest thing i've had to do in my life, sit there, pretend to be his friend, to listen to this kind of stuff, and not just rip him apart. but i knew what the mission involved, i knew what was at
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stake for me, i knew what was at stake for the people's families, still trying to find their daughters. >> a major transformation was taking place. jimmy was starting to care about more than just himself. and now he was determined to squeeze the most crucial confession out of larry hall and not just for himself, but for the family of tricia reitler. >> i started thinking i don't know where this is still going to lead, how long this is going to take, but something is now happening. >> coming up. a disturbing discovery. has jimmy keene solved the mystery of the missing girls? >> i go what are these things anyways. >> he said they watch over the dead, jimmy, they do. >> when "dateline" continues. >> when "dateline" continues sup. sup. yeah, and he wanted someone to help out with chores. so, we got jean-pierre. but one thing we could both agree on was getting geico to help with renters insurance. ♪
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not a cent more. family is important to us. and we'd like you to be part of ours. so happy holidays. and welcome to the family. the chevy family! get the chevy employee discount for everyone today. jimmy kean answer five months of hell and five months making nice to a killer he despised had finally paid off. hal had described in gruesome detail how he murdered jessie roach. >> i open that door, he's feeling that he can trust me enough now. >> but jimmy felt he needed to wait a bit before going for the goal line. >> how did you brooch tricia
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reitler? >> i had to slowly keep prodding, i didn't want him to think i was carrying on. >> he plotted the next move. days later, he thought the time was right. he tried that hometown newspaper ploy again. >> i said the newspapers say you killed this girl from the college over here. i says what happened there? >> jimmy couldn't be sure how hall would react. had he been too blunt, too direct? no. it was all clicking. according to jimmy, hall began to open up about tricia and said he drove his van right up to her that day he saw her outside school. >> he said he tried to kiss her and when he did, she started fighting very violently. he said she was a very strong girl and she fought stronger than anybody had ever fought before. >> did he admit it? >> he said he had killed her and he knew he had done it again, these are his words, that he knew he had done it again, and he said he went way out in the woods and buried her way out in the woods. >> hall gave a general location for tricia's body, near a river in indiana. but jimmy needed more specific information. luckily, he seemed to stumble into it a few nights later when he spotted hall inside the
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prison wood shop, a restricted area. >> there's nobody at the door, no guards or anything. i went in there, and as i came up from behind him, he had all these little different statues lined up, 10, 15 of them maybe. i couldn't tell what they were at first. as i got closer, i noticed he had a big map laid out. he drove on the map, folded it up really fast and slid it off the side of the table. i go what are these things anyway? he said they're these little falcons, they watch over the dead, jimmy, they do. >> and they look like? >> a good size chess piece. >> jimmy had a strong feeling his wood carved falcons and map were journal keeping by a serial killer. >> that map had little red dots all over it of illinois, indiana, wisconsin. you would look down at this map, you could see all the little spots are burial spots where he's got somebody. >> all those months of dangerous, painstaking work had paid off. jimmy had cracked the case. mission accomplished.
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once you see the map, the falcons, you want to tell the fbi about it, right? >> i did. i went to the hotline i had for the fbi girl. i called. i got some type of voice recording, it was after hours. >> so jimmy left a message for his fbi contact to come get him, the map and the falcons. his freedom and the answers to tricia's parents' prayers were now just hours away. >> i was elated. i felt i wrapped this up. >> you're expecting troops to come marching in? >> expecting troops to come marching in. didn't quite work that way. >> what he couldn't know was his fbi contact didn't get his voice mail, and his one inside contact, the chief psychiatrist, was on vacation. then you got full of yourself, didn't you? >> i did. i went back to my cell, was happy. 24 hours they said they would have me out of here, i got what they need, this was it. i went across to his cell there.
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>> impulsively, jimmy decided he couldn't leave prison without giving his fake friend a piece of his mind. >> the repulsiveness i felt about him through the whole time i had to stay being his friend, the disdain and dislike i had for him, i thought it was good for me to unload on him, tell him what i really thought of him and who he really was. i said i'm going home tomorrow, larry. i said you're a crazy killer. i started calling him everything you could think of. >> with that, jimmy returned to his cell and waited to be released. you're going home the next day, you think, and things take another turn. >> about 5:30 in the morning, hear some little lady in a white doctor smock come walking in. >> it was hall's psychologist, and she was furious that jimmy blasted her patient, turning him into an emotional wreck. >> she told the guards, grab him, throw him in the hole. they put me in the hole, keep me in there. i am not really worried.
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thinking so what. fbi will be here, they told me 24 hours, they'll have me out of here. >> morning turned into afternoon turned into evening. the cavalry still hadn't arrived. this was hard time at its hardest. >> you can't see if it is day or night because you're in the hole. you can tell what time of day it is by the meal. breakfast lunch dinner. then breakfast, lunch, i am thinking where are these guys? my thoughts were they did me wrong. they got what they needed, got the info, pulled the rug out from under me. >> while jimmy was wondering where they were, beaumont was looking for him, too. >> we were like where could he be? he is in prison for god's sakes. >> coming up. >> they lost you. >> they lost me. >> but had they also lost their best chance at finding the body of tricia reitler? >> when "dateline" continues. >> when "dateline" continues at chevy, we're all about bringing families together. this time of year, that's really important.
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larry beaumont successfully snuck informant jimmy keene into springfield prison in 1998. he just didn't expect to lose him there. goes off your radar? >> yeah, disappeared. couple weeks we didn't know what happened to him, trying to find out, we were getting frantic. >> two weeks later, only after keene's psychiatrist contact returned from vacation did they finally find jimmy. >> i knew the fbi was there, and she kept apologizing, kept saying i am really sorry, something happened with the message. >> at last, investigators got to search the woodshop and hall's
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cell, but by then, the map and falcons, items jimmy believed could lead to tricia, were gone. what were you thinking telling larry hall you're out of here and dressing him down? >> people probably wouldn't understand the mounting pressure, that kettle is ready to boil over at any time, you know, and it felt good to unload on the guy. >> the problem as i see it, you've unloaded on him, he knows you're against him, but nobody has that map. >> right. i am disappointed i didn't wait another day or two at least. i should have waited a few more days. i wish i could have done more for them, but i did all i could do. i feel in my being i did all i could do. >> meantime, the people who would benefit the most from a successful mission, tricia's parents, only learned about the secret operation ten years later in 2008 when the story came out in a "playboy" magazine article. the reitlers are thankful for jimmy's courage and corroborating details he said he
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got from hall, but they're furious he blew his cover before finding their daughter. >> why would you have been so close. >> yeah. >> and then give it up like you did. >> i try not to dwell on that at all because it eats at me and it's very hard to deal with that he was that close. >> jessie roach's parents find small consolation in that jessie was the victim who tripped up hall. >> if something good could possibly come out of losing jessie, it's the fact that he is in prison and he will never get released. >> hall remains in federal prison with no possibility of parole. he has since made more murder confessions to reporters and investigators. >> i sincerely believe that there are young girls out there somewhere who are alive today because larry hall is in prison. >> do you think he killed before?
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>> i think he killed before and i think he would kill again. >> jimmy did tell beaumont that hall had killed again, but there was no documentation. it was just jimmy's word. so to be sure, the prosecutor made him take a lie detector test and jimmy passed with flying colors. >> he was telling us the truth, so bottom line is we had further information that larry was responsible for tricia. >> a grateful beaumont decided to reward him with full credit for his brave undercover work, releasing him from prison, and scrubbing his criminal record clean. >> from his perspective, he expected to get nothing. from my perspective, of course, he spent time in the looney bin with this guy, going through this whole process. >> for 15 years, jimmy had been the only one to see those falcons that hall said watched over the dead. >> problem is we never got them, they disappeared, we don't know what happened to them. >> you've never seen the falcons?
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>> no. >> show you a picture. that's one of the falcons. >> "dateline" took pictures of a falcon when we met larry hall's twin brother. he said larry carved the falcon in the wood shop at the springfield prison, then mailed it to their mother. i showed a photo of that falcon to beaumont and jimmy. what's it like for you to see that after all these years? >> it's definitely bizarre, but it's also reassuring to me, lester, and i'll tell you why. now these falcons backs everything i said. that's exactly what it looked like. >> after becoming a free man in 1999, jimmy got to spend five more years with a father he idolized before big jim passed away. he tried the make the most of his incredible opportunity. >> he sees the hall experience as something that gave him a second chance at life. >> when we last met with jimmy, he had done real in real estate
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and cowritten a book, "in with the devil," that tells jimmy's compelling story of redemption. he says he is working on several hollywood projects, most notably, the movie version of his book. >> but jimmy is especially proud he says his book re-energized some cold case investigations, several targeting hall in indiana and wisconsin. at least one near a civil war re-enactment site. investigators dug up locations where hall spent time over the years and found articles of women's clothing and a belt modified with wooden handles, all sent out for dna testing, but cold case detectives following fresh leads still haven't developed enough evidence to bring charges. >> i did a good deed and did a lot of good things, that's where i feel the redemption comes in. i have done something good for
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the things i did wrong. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. eyes, you think about everything that happened in your life and you wonder, am i ready to die? >> he was a hollywood stuntman but this was no hollywood stunt. >> this was a hit. >> shot, four times and left dying on the floor. >> somebody definitely wanted him dead. >> but who and why? you'll meet lots of possible suspects. >> oh, my gosh. >> including his ex-wife, an actress once movied to joe pesce but she had a strong alibi. >> do you know who shot eric? >> i don't know.

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