Skip to main content

tv   Dateline  MSNBC  December 23, 2019 12:00am-1:00am PST

12:00 am
>> curtis lovelace, a life interrupted. i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is dateline. >> blood evidence doesn't lie. it actually tells a story. >> you're there at the crime scene. >> you can almost re-create the crime. >> right there on the wall, a mystery scrolled in blood. three cryptic letters. what would you make of this? >> is that a word? is that a person? the clues pointed to so many different directions that it was a total mystery. >> the case the murder of a former model and flight attendant. >> when she got dolled up, oh, my god, gorgeous. >> did she write these letters? was this a hint to who killed her?
12:01 am
>> you've got this message saying this was my killer just like you'd see in a movie. >> and the ending, that was just like a movie, too. >> i can't believe what people do to each other. hello and welcome to dateline roc, in this case those three letters would tell a story all their own. the letters scrawled in blood above her body seemed like a beacon that could lead detectives to her killer. but what exactly did they mean, and what other crucial clues were hiding in plain sight? it would take a dogged forensic specialist with a keen eye to unravel the mystery. here's dennis murphy with
12:02 am
"written in blood." >> reporter: if year-round water is on your thing, once the one-time model and flight attendant got sand in her shoes, she never looked back. >> she loved the beach, diving, boating, that life. >> her friend worked the counter at american airlines in tampa with karen. if you were a frazzled passenger. who isn't these days? karen was the antidote. exactly the right agent to bump into to get you on your way. >> karen was very pretty. she was smart. smiled all the time. funny. >> reporter: but when the always capable and reliable karen didn't show up for her saturday morning shift on october 11th, 2003, clearly, something was wrong. her boyfriend had tried calling her at home. >> when she wasn't at work or answering her calls, i began to
12:03 am
get worried, but it was a couple hours before i really got panicky about it. >> reporter: the boyfriend drove over to karen's condo, the front door was unlocked. a bad sign. he said he stepped inside and looked to the right to the kitchen. >> i saw her body and i knew immediately there was no doubt in my mind she was dead. i picked up the phone and i called 911. >> she's laying on the floor, there's blood everywhere. >> reporter: karen pannel, sprawled on her back, a murder victim in her own home. michael then a homicide detective would lead the investigation. >> when the first deputies arrive on the scene, her boyfriend is in the front yard, he was hysterical. he actually threw up he was so upset about finding his girlfriend. >> deputies gave tim, a shaken boyfriend, a chance to chill out in the back seat of an
12:04 am
air-conditioned patrol car. he placed a call to her friend katherine with the unimaginable news. >> he says, catherine, it's tim. i'm at karen's apartment, she has been stabbed. >> stabbed? >> it's a horrible way, it's really a horrible way to die. >> karen, the baby of the family with five older brothers suddenly gone. she had been especially close to her oldest brother mike. >> my brother called me. i was at the airport, and said, you better sit down. he said, karen's been murdered. >> any theories about what had happened? >> i don't know. i was trying to figure out the why and relying on the police to do what they needed to do. >> and what they had to do was plenty. they processed the crime scene, filmed every inch of karen's
12:05 am
home, knocked on doors, tried to figure out just who their victim was. detectives holbrooke and larry nelvin began with the man that made that 911 call. >> the first thing a lead investigator will do is talk to the people closest to her. in this case, we had timothy permenter finding his girlfriend. we took him back to the office and talked him to extensively. >> tim a car salesman, gave them a run down in the hours leading up to the terrible discovery. he said he popped in briefly on karen the night before to drop off a gift. a photo calendar of kittens he knew his cat lover girlfriend would find irresistible. tim said he left about 7:30. that was the last time to see her alive. >> wouldn't it have been your routine to stay the night? >> not on a friday night. because she had to work the next day. she had to go into work early. >> after saying good-bye, he
12:06 am
said he ended up spending the night with friends about an hour to the north. >> is he saying anything, he can't do it? i know boyfriends are figured suspicions, i want to talk to a lawyer? >> no, he's being more than cooperative. >> while tim says he was off with his friend, there appeared to have been a frenzied struggle at karen's house. forensic specialist ana cox assessed the bloody aftermath. >> she put up a heck of a struggle. >> what are you looking at? >> she had defensive wounds, the way her body was contorted. and i just remember thinking she put up a heck of a struggle. she really fought for her life. >> do you think oh my goodness or have you seen everything at this point? >> i can't believe what people do to each other. it's terrible. >> reporter: around the back, cox, the crime scene tech, found the security bolt on a sliding glass door had been dislodged and there were other signs of tampering. >> there was a cable box that was opened. you start to think to yourself, somebody's trying to cut the
12:07 am
wires. there was a knocked over bird bath. so there was evidence outside that at first you need to think to yourself, i think that this might be a burglary. >> and karen's overturned purse on the stovetop supported the break-in theory. anna cox took an inventory of everything at the crime scene. a pizza box, a garden glove, a grocery receipt, all routine findings so far. but it's what authorities spotted on the wall above the body that would turn this case into something out of the movies. three-letter message in blood. you didn't have to squint to make it out, either, roc. on the victim, karen's right hand index finger was clearly stained with blood. roc. what was the murdered woman trying to tell the cops? >> all these theories were running through my mind. what does that mean? is that a word, is that a
12:08 am
person, is that a thing? the clues pointed in so many different directions, it really was -- it was a total mystery. >> reporter: there's a concept in the law known as a dying declaration. with those three letters scrawled in karen's own blood lead to the apprehension of her killer? >> coming up, investigators dig into that three-letter mystery. who or what was roc? when dateline continues. s roc? when dateline continues. cold-eeze® can shorten your cold by 42%. it releases zinc ions that some scientists believe inhibit cold viruses from replicating. try cold-eeze® lozenges. of a lifetime. it's "progressive on ice."
12:09 am
everything you love about car insurance -- the discounts... the rate comparisons... and flo in a boat. ♪ insurance adventure awaits at "progressive on ice." tickets not available now or ever.
12:10 am
at "progressive on ice." beyond the routine checkups. beyond the not-so-routine cases. comcast business is helping doctors provide care in whole new ways. all working with a new generation of technologies powered by our gig-speed network. because beyond technology... there is human ingenuity. every day, comcast business is helping businesses go beyond the expected. to do the extraordinary. take your business beyond.
12:11 am
12:12 am
the camera always liked karen pannell. she was both hard to miss and hard to forget. just ask her boyfriend tim permenter, who was smitten right away when he met her at the dealership where he worked. what did you think of her? >> she was gorgeous, she was beautiful. >> you were pinching yourself. >> i thought she was the one. i thought she was the one i could settle down with. >> settling down hadn't been part of karen's growing up. she and her five brothers had been raised as military brats and moved bases a lot. now they were traveling from far flung parts of the country for her funeral. shocked and in mourning for the lost sister who had been their glue. >> all the boys kind of got involved in their own stuff. then there was karen. she was really what connected all of us to the family unit. >> what does that tell us about
12:13 am
her? >> she was a lot more important to us than we knew. i think she was always more interested in family as a whole than she was in herself. >> brother mike wasn't alone in thinking his kid sister could have been a sky is the limit person. >> she could have been anything she wanted, a scientist or a doctor or whatever. >> well, her friends loved her. >> and she was hard not to love. >> even harder to forget what a cruel fate she had suffered at the hands of a killer unknown. >> during the viewing, there were invisible stab wounds on her hand. you know, so we kind of pulled flowers down a little further. >> a few days after the funeral. her many friends say good-bye. >> there is a shovel at the main terminal. there were so many people there from all different airlines the security people, it was incredible. >> meanwhile, the pinellas county sheriffs investigation was moving quickly on several
12:14 am
fronts. first, they validated boyfriend tim's story. he said after visiting karen early that evening, he spent the night with a friend, george solomon in moon lake an hour to the north. >> he did, in fact, go up to where george was staying with his girlfriend if pasco county. there was confirmed by george and george's girlfriend. george gave us a time line consistent with what permaner gave us. >> his story checked out and he voluntarily came clean. he had a record. he had done time. >> early on in your life, you get in trouble. what was going on with you? >> i was running an escort service. got stupid, started it up small, basically, running an ad out of a newspaper, getting a small
12:15 am
office. it expanded and ballooned. >> what kind of money were you pulling down a week? >> i was grossing about six to $7,000 a day. >> a day? you were how old? >> 20. that's the trap. why am i going to school when i'm making this kind of money? >> yes. >> it ended up in a gunfight? >> yes, sir. >> tim says he was worried he'd be painted as a bad guy right away because of his sordid past. so he promised to cooperate every way possible. the cops took him up on it. >> i allowed them to photograph me. removed my clothing. i allowed them to go to my home. took anything they wanted. >> there was nothing about his clothing, his car, his person that led to us believe that he was involved in any other way than he said he was. he came over to see her, found her and was devastated. >> reporter: tim's permenter's alibi checked out. police dismissed any clues pointing to a home invasion.
12:16 am
after all, karen had been stabbed 16 times, an attack so ferocious, it could only be a crime of passion. now the detectives were desperate to figure out what their biggest clue of all meant, those three letters written in blood. roc. this is a creepy scene. i mean, you got this scrawled in blood message saying this is my killer. i'm now dead, you find this guy. that's what it's suggesting, isn't it? >> absolutely, it's what it's detecting. >> detectives found how those letters were connected to the victim lying beneath them. roc it turned out was a man that spelled trouble for karen in the past. >> roc was an ex-boyfriend karen pannell had problems with previously. >> and whoever and wherever this roc was, he'd just become the prime target of the investigation into her murder.
12:17 am
>> okay. well, there it is. that's what she meant to write was roc. they have to follow that lead, off they go. >> to find roc? >> to find roc. >> coming up, mission accomplished. find him, they do. but what would they find next? >> i'm looking at murder, somebody's talking to me about a murder. >> when "dateline" continues. ins okay wipe pretty-please do your thing... nice! nailed it! huggies® natural care wipes, gentle like a hug. hugg on have a skincare routine. but what about a lip care routine? pay your lips some attention. the chapstick total hydration collection. exfoliate nourish naturally enhance your lips. chapstick. put your lips first.
12:18 am
12:19 am
do you want me to go first or do you want to go first, brea? you can go first. audible reintroduced this whole world to me. so many great stories from amazing people. it makes me want to be better. to be able to connect with the people's stories that i'm listening to. that's inspiration. it's on during my commute, it's on all the time. doing the dishes. working out. while i'm in the car. at bed time. an audible listener is someone that wants to broaden their mind. people who are tired of listening to the radio, or music. to hear her speak those words. it was incredible. it was unbelievable. with audible originals, there's something for almost every taste in there. everything you ever wanted to hear. i signed up for getting a credit every month, and i started exploring books that i normally wouldn't read.
12:20 am
our ability to empathize through these stories, with these stories, can be transformational. it's my own thing that i can do for me. see what listening to audible can do for you. just text listen27 to 500500. a stomach churning crime scene, with a cryptic message in
12:21 am
blood. roc. but it wasn't a big mystery for long. roc was the unusual but proper spelling of karen pannell's ex-boyfriend. >> so tell me about the former boyfriend known as roc, letters scrawled in blood? >> roc was an ex-boyfriend. he had a little legal problems, a little substance abuse problem. >> roc had a personality as big and loud as the pipes on the harlies he loved to cruise. he worked at an auto body shop handling claims. when he met karen, she was on a downward spiral. after being married five years, she recently had got an divorce. the doctor had given her awful news. she had multiple sclerosis, 38-years-old. >> to be a young, divorced woman, with this awful diagnosis, what do you think
12:22 am
that did to her? that's a lot to put on your shoulders. >> right. i think that really affected herself esteem. frankly, i think it had an impact on the kind of men she was attracted to. >> karen came to rely on roc to take her to doctor's appointments and injections. when she asked him to move in, her friends and family thought she was asking for trouble. >>ive think that's true. is it my place to say, well, you need to go find somebody that is going to offer you a better future? >> you can't dictate terms to your kid sister? >> no you can only fix yourself. >> as it turned out, roc wasn't a fix for karen either. the relationship soon took an ugly term. >> they seemed to get along for a while and she was happy. and he turned into not a very nice guy. he was a little creepy. >> he was tough on her? >> there were some unexplained bruises.
12:23 am
i used to tell her, what are you doing? he did not deserve her. she wouldn't listen. >> the fights got worse and police were called three separate times to intervene. one time roc allegedly broke down the front door. that was the last straw. karen filed a domestic battery complaint and roc moved out. tim says even a year later, he was still harassing karen about a rolltop desk he left behind. >> she was starting to get scared of him toward the end. >> the issue he had was i got a valuable piece of furniture, i want it back. >> right. but karen said that that was a ruse. >> trying to worm his way back in? >> that's the way she put it to me. >> they knew they had to confront this roc, so they tracked him down and paid a surprise visit. he wasn't happy to see this. >> i'm at my home in north port,
12:24 am
florida, mark shows up, everybody know what is that is. i'm thinking, what the heck is that? >> detective holbrooke identified himself and said they need to talk to him about his friend karen. >> we sit down on the porch and goes, well, she's dead. this doesn't register. i said, you need to tell me what's going on. >> but the detective wanted roc to do the talking. he asked about his troubled relationship with karen. >> roc indicated that he was using drugs and that karen liked to drink and that they fought often. >> roc said he savored the good times with karen, too. >> when she got dolled up, oh, my god, gorgeous. great, picture perfect. wasn't a thing out of place. >> were there some sparks there, roc? >> yeah, there was, she was all that, just by herself and ready to go. she looked hungry for attention
12:25 am
and she was alone and it was perfect. it was a perfect setup. >> what do you think she saw in you? what was working from her side? >> probably the bad boy kind of thing. i wasn't your conventional straight laced kind of guy. >> roc was opened with the detectives. even came across as a good guy. but conceded there were screaming matches with karen and a few rip roaring fights but said she was the instigator. >> she'd get violent, physically violent. just stuff. things would happen. but nobody ever got arrested, but they'd come out. they would address the issue. >> as roc tells it, she gave as good as she got. he dodged a few pieces of thrown crockery. >> she was ready to stand up for herself at the drop of a hat. she was a tough girl. >> reporter: roc remembers karen playing hardball about that rolltop desk of his, too, not liking her attitude. >> i did call her on several occasions about my rolltop desk. >> the desk. >> that stupid desk and it was bugging me.
12:26 am
i mean, it was a nice piece of furniture and i wanted to get it back. she pretty much said, you left, you're not getting it. >> he never did get. >> that rolltop was still in karen's condo on the night she was stabbed to death. now, detective holbrooke pointedly wanted to know if roc had been there, too. >> he says, where were you on such-and-such a day. i'm like, well, first of all, i'll have to look at the calendar because i don't know where i was that day but i guarantee you i wasn't in oldsmar. so we go from there to discussing where i was, who i had been with, where i lived. >> so are you getting a serious grilling? >> right. he ends up telling me that we found your name in blood on the wall. >> roc? >> so, obviously, i'm a suspect. i acknowledge that. i mean i'm looking at murder.
12:27 am
i'm getting somebody's talking to me about a murder. >> roc waved his right to a lawyer and agreed to give fingerprints and swabbing. it looked as though police found yet another cooperative boyfriends from the victim. >> i said, if you are looking for fingerprints, they're all over that home. i lived there a year. you are going to find them. >> did you lose your patience? >> i did lose my patience when they take the end of my fingernail off, now i'm done. >> roc's cooperation had an edge to it. was he really trying to cover his tracks? detectives were determined to find out. >> and they put that bloody clue under the microscope. were those three little letters really what they seemed? >> coming up the csi of roc. >> i remember thinking, wow, i wonder if that's what wrote these letters. >> when "dateline" continues.
12:28 am
esn your car's soft surfaces get released, and are then circulated by your ac system. to stop the cycle of odors try febreze car vent clips. febreze stops the circulation of musty air by trapping and eliminating lingering odor molecules for up to 30 days of fresh, clean air. plus, they come in a range of scents including extra light. stop the cycle of odors in your car with febreze car vent clips. brand power. helping you buy better. with pronamel repair toothpaste, more minerals enter deep into the enamel's surface. you have an opportunity to repair what's already been damaged-it's amazing.
12:29 am
12:30 am
12:31 am
i'm dara brown with the hours top stories. two people are being questioned in a shooting at a house party. and the white house is trying to dismiss a newly revealed e-mail that showed eofficials calling for a hold on aid to ukraine just 90 minutes after the phone call with ukraine's president that has led to donald trump's impeachment. a spokesman says the report is misleading and inaccurate. now back to dateline. welcome back to "dateline." i'm craig melvin. who killed karen pannell? florida investigators were looking at her ex-boyfriend roc, his name was scrawled in blood at the crime scene. roc admitted to having a stormy relationship with karen but insisted he didn't kill her.
12:32 am
was there more to the bloody clue than met the eye? forensic specialist anna cox was trying to unlock what her naked eyes could not see. when she did, her discovery would send the investigation in a completely different direction. here is dennis murphy with written in blood. >> the handwriting was on the wall and forensic specialist anna cox was intent on breaking down the three letters in blood, roc. you would spend hours looking at these letters? >> i did. >> you actually cut the sheet rock out of your place and took it into your lab? >> yes. i have to look at those letters after everything about them. >> using a high powered microscope, she did an analysis of the specks of blood that stained the wall as karen was stabbed 16 times.
12:33 am
that blood splatter served as a gruesome canvass with roc written over it. >> when the letters roc was over top of it. it scribbled over it and didn't disrupt it at all. >> here was her specialization, roc must have been written after they dried, how long after? >> i have a special machine i used to make some spatter. >> in her lab, she used animal blood to test how long for spatter to dry on a similar surface. >> when i came back and was able to apply spatter to some sections of some cardboard, i was able to get some blood and writing the word roc. i must have written it a million times over different areas of spatter. >> in the lab it took at least 25 minutes of drying time before the forensic specialist could write without smearing the spatter. she concluded there must have been about that much time between the attack on karen and the word roc being written on the wall. next, she looked for
12:34 am
fingerprints in the letters, themselves, sounds impossible, right? >> if she's writing and applying pressure to the wall, you would think there would be some type of transfer of ridge detail. >> ridge detail. we all have it. unique telltale patterns on every human finger and hand. but anna wasn't finding that here. rather she detected an unusual hint of a pattern. something almost like polka dots. >> i thought to myself the garden glove on the counter was missing its match, missing its pair. >> reporter: a garden glove was found and the mate was never located. it had a distinctive dot pattern. >> on the interior side where the palmetto and the fingers were, it's like that rubber and it's got those little. >> bubbly surface. >> knobbing grippy surface. i remember thinking, wow, i wonder if that's what wrote these letters.
12:35 am
>> cox bought similar gloves at a hardware store. after several more days of testing was satisfied that her hunch was correct. ana cox had come up with two important findings. the message in blood had likely been written with a gloved hand and it had been scrawled at least 20 minutes after the onset of the attack on karen. she reported her results to the detectives who by then had learned another pertinent fact about their victim. >> karen was exclusively left handed and her left hand did not have blood smear on it. >> not only that, when the autopsy report came in it suggested karen couldn't have written anything with either hand. from what the medical examiner was seeing, was this a victim who was going to dip in her own blood and write roc on the wall? >> no, absolutely not. over 90% of her spinal cord had been damaged by the knife wounds. >> she was incapacitated. >> it wasn't her. she didn't write that.
12:36 am
>> the evidence was overwhelming. karen pannell did not write the letters roc in blood. it was a huge turning point in the case and the best news possible for the ex-boyfriend roc herpick. >> they confirmed 100% she could not have done that. she couldn't have done it. she would have been physically incapable of doing that and it certainly wasn't me. i mean, why would you write your own name on the wall? >> police agree, implicating yourself in a murder just made no sense. roc got moore good news after police checked out his alibi, but he was home at the night of the murder. >> we got his cell phone records. the cell towers were hitting off, he's in north port, florida. that's a good you know hour, hour-and-a-half away. >> you went over these alleged beefs he might have had with her when they were boyfriend, girlfriend? >> he had moved on. >> the detectives were able to move on, too. they officially cleared roc.
12:37 am
it was a major development. karen's ex had suddenly gone from being a prime person of interest to a victim himself. victim of the real killer who tried to frame him for the crime and was still out there somewhere. whoever killed her know somebody named roc. >> somebody knows my name. >> that's a part of the story. >> that's right f. you think about this, this is -- it's not even a smart thing to do. >> reporter: roc was right. the pool of suspects had suddenly narrowed to a small handful of karen's intimates who knew about him and knew the unusual way he spelled his name. roc. detectives holbrooke and nelvin were about to take a hard look at all of them. >> coming up. >> you could walk right by and think it has no importance at all. it ended up being crucial in this case. >> could a box of pizza help solve this puzzle? when "dateline" continues. when .
12:38 am
mucinex cold & flu all-in-one. fights... oh no. no-no-no. did you really need the caps lock? mucinex cold and flu all-in-one.
12:39 am
12:40 am
12:41 am
police had reached a startling conclusion, karen pannell did not write the name roc on the wall, her killer had. but those three letters were still a gift to police because investigators figured he had the know both karen and roc. detectives started questioning the other men in karen's life. >> karen had nicknames for her boyfriends, car guy, tim permenter.
12:42 am
another she referred to as dr. pilot. >> dr. pilot, a british airways captain had recently been sending karen romantic texts. but he was aboard a flight over the middle east when karen was killed. so he was ruled out as were most of karen's known male friends, all can prove they were nowhere near her house in oldsmar that night. every boyfriend except car guy, tim permenter reported finding her body. >> is she conscious? >> no. >> is she breathing? >> i don't know. >> tim would later tell detectives he had lost the love of his life. the woman he was hoping to marry. but the people who knew karen best started telling police a very different story. >> i'm not sure why she stayed in that relationship or began a relationship like that. >> the relationship began with tim trying to sell karen a new car.
12:43 am
police learned he sold her a bill of goods about himself, saying he had been a navy seal, involved in top secret missions never mentioned the sordid truth about his criminal past. >> karen told me he explained the scars as he got on a mission. >> super commando stuff? >> i think that was his impression of himself. >> why are you lying to her? giving her a crock? >> there is no excuse for it, other than if you are an inmate or a convicted felon, no matter how good you do, no matter what you do, there is always going to be that spectre hanging over you. >> it was several months into the relationship before tim finally revealed his ugly secret. he was a felon that spent more than a decade behind bars, not a navy seal but a violent one-time pimp. a self-described escort king. >> i said, i have been waiting for the right time to tell you this. she was flabbergasted. i think that she became frightened of me.
12:44 am
>> why didn't you shake hands and call it quits? >> because i loved her. >> karen's friends and brothers say she told them she was afraid. when she tried to pull away from tim, brother mike says those fears were quickly borne out. >> did you ever hear evidence she was not being treated well? >> yes. and she called me and said that tim had choked her and i felt like after that conversation that i had convinced her to file a police report. >> but no report was filed. still, karen's co-workers could tell something was terribly wrong. >> she had bruising on her neck. a friend found she missed a day or two, she wore a turtle neck. in the summer months in florida, you don't wear a turtle neck. >> while the detectives chased
12:45 am
down every lead, the crime lab made a big discovery. unlike the bogus and mellow dramatic message in blood, this message was something forensic analyst anna cox almost passed right over. a pizza box on karen's kitchen counter. >> you could walk right by and think it had no importance at all. it ended up being crucial. >> cox was able to lift a clean fingerprint from the box. it was tim fermenters. >> he initially stated that he wasn't there when the pizza was delivered. >> he told the officers in the initial interview i was out of there at 7:30? >> well, his fingerprints were on that box. >> and you had a receipt saying it was delivered at 8:48. >> yes. so he has now put himself right there at the scene and right there in the last crucial hours of her life. >> it's a poor set of facts? >> for him. >> and then tim's time line and alibi took another hit.
12:46 am
he first said he was home when he called his friend george after 9:30. detective nelvin found evidence proving otherwise. >> once we get the phone records back and the cell tower site locations back, we are putting him at her house. >> so the tower is catching him out in a lie? >> absolutely. his 911 phone call in the morning, it hits off the same tower he was hitting off when he called 9:46 the night before directly north of karen pannell's house. >> they could only think of one reason for him to lie about those times. it was that karen's car guy was the killer. they brought him to headquarters once again. this time for an official and much more aggressive interrogation. >> he gave the same timeline as he gave previously. we went through it with him. and he held true with what he told us. at that point we started attacking his story. >> tim had a simple explanation for the time line problems, he
12:47 am
was confused. >> this is what cooperation got me. confused. >> confused? >> we know you weren't confused, tim, you lied. >> when the pizza arrived, i was still there. >> 8:48 delivered. >> and it was right after the pizza arrived. i would say i was there another ten, 15 minutes. >> why do you tell cops 7:30? >> i'm horrible at times and days and the problem was is that making a mistake became a i'm hiding something. >> cops call your mistake a lie? >> of course. >> why do you lie about the time snz you were there at least 8:30 to 9:30. >> it's impossible. >> no, pizza man keeps a receipt, keeps track. >> tim had been tripped up by his own statements. the detective said the suspect knew the charade was over.
12:48 am
>> he put his face in his hand, he literally covered his face for two or three minutes. tim ultimately looked up at us and the car salesman guy that we knew as tim permenter completely left the room. >> what did you see in his eyes, in his face? >> the first thing i thought was satan just walked in the room. >> coming up. >> i knew i was innocent. >> was he? >> juries like to see forensics. >> right. >> dna, the blood samples and they didn't have. >> that was the biggest concern for me. >> the trial and the verdict when "dateline" continues. when .
12:49 am
12:50 am
oh, come on. flo: don't worry. you're covered. (dramatic music) and you're saving money, because you bundled home and auto. sarah, get in the house. we're all here for you. all: all day, all night. (dramatic music) great job speaking calmly and clearly everyone. that's how you put a customer at ease. hey, did anyone else hear weird voices while they were in the corn? no. no. me either. whispering voice: jamie. what?
12:51 am
some things are too important to do yourself. ♪ get customized security with 24/7 monitoring from xfinity home. awarded the best professionally installed system by cnet. simple. easy. awesome. call, click or visit a store today.
12:52 am
detectives were now convinced that tim permentor, the boyfriend who pledged to help solve karen's murder was really the killer. tim said police had nothing on him and were only targeting him because of his criminal record. >> i didn't do it. i knew somehow, some way i was going to get it pinned on me. i knew the minute i saw the body. >> detectives arrested him and sent him to county jail. bill lowery was the state prosecutor who got the case. what about your accused? >> he is a psychopath, someone who i think had gotten lucky to be with karen. once she got past the superficial aspect of him and realized what he was like, she wanted out of that relationship
12:53 am
and that ultimately lead to her death. >> the prosecutor said permentor thought he could outsmart the cops when he acted the bereaved boyfriend. >> oh, god! >> the prosecutor said permentor got thrown off the tear-stained script when he called karen's best friend soon after making the 911 call. >> he said katherine, it's tim. i'm a karen's apartment and she is laying on the floor and there is blood everywhere. she has been stabbed. >> stabbed? >> stabbed. not she is dead, but she's been stabbed. >> he said she has been stabbed. >> okay. she has been stabbed. >> we didn't know that at that point in time. >> he knew something crucial he shouldn't have known. >> because he's the one that stabbed her.
12:54 am
>> a man the evidence showed was at the scene of the crime and had lied about it. he charged permentor with first-degree murder and decided to seek the death penalty. weeks before the trial was scheduled to start, tim's friend george solomon, his sleep over alibi witness recanted his story. >> he tells me this whole new story that permenter admitted he killed karen that night. >> blurted out a confession? >> that's a holy cow moment. >> it is. >> death penalty cases can take a torturous path when reaching a courtroom. this one had taken four long years. and despite building a strong circumstantial case, prosecutors did not have a murder weapon or physical evidence linking tim to the stabbing. defense attorney dudley kline. >> you have a complete lack of physical evidence. no bloody fingerprints.
12:55 am
no bloody footprints out the door. >> the prosecutor was confident about the evidence he did have. >> i think circumstantial cases are sometimes the best. they don't lie. the circumstances don't lie. people lie. >> that's the case lawry made to the jury. the circumstances showed tim permentor was the only one with a motive and opportunity to kill karen. everything he did afterwards of fabricated to cover up his horrendous crime. >> the issues in this case was the murder of karen by the only person that could have done it, and that person lied about all these things. there's no reason for a person to lie about the death of their loved one if that's really true. >> the defense attorney countered with common sense. arguing that karen's killer must have been drenched in blood after a frenzied attack. there was no forensic evidence show his client was that person. >> in order to buy the state's
12:56 am
case, you have to make assumption upon assumption upon assumption. that's not what our system is about. >> how did i do it? how on earth did not one single drop of blood get on my clothing or anything like that? >> or in your car which was ripped apart. >> right. that's why i agreed to let them look. get what you want because i knew i was innocent. >> the defense also tore into the credibility of the state's star witness, george solomon. saying it was ridiculous to think timed get an invitation to spend the night after blurting out a murder confession. >> hey, i killed somebody just now or whatever. really? okay, let's go see my wife and kids. no way. >> a confident tim permentor decided to speak directly to the jury. he took the stand in his own defense. >> the attitude was, look,
12:57 am
you've got to get up here and talk to these people. >> how do you remember him on the stand? >> i think he was calm. i think he answered the questions as best he could. very simply. i think very completely. we felt we had made a showing that the state had not met the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. >> mike waited four long years to get justice for his sister. but now, he wasn't sure what the jury would do. >> there were times that i felt the evidence was very circumstantial. >> in this day and age, juries really like to see forensics. the dna and the blood samples. and they didn't have it. >> that was the biggest concern for me. >> but it took the jury just four hours to find tim permentor guilty of first-degree murder. he was spared the death penalty by the judge who ordered him to serve a life sentence with no chance for parole.
12:58 am
i spoke to permentor at florida's liberty correctional institution. the convicted murderers says he's the victim of a justice system that was tilted against him from the start. did you murder karen? >> no. >> this would be a great time to relieve her family of a lot of remorse and fess to it. >> i understand that, but i did not kill karen. i did not. and i'll probably spend the rest of my life here. and when i'm 80 if i'm still alive, i did not kill karen. i'll pay for it and i am paying for it, but i didn't do it. >> the detectives who cracked the case say they might have believed him if only he had not tried so hard to fake his alibi. starting with the three letters written in blood. so the hollywood touch as i think of it, roc did it, the declaration, it bit him. >> it bit him hard. very hard.
12:59 am
he outsmarted himself and that's why he is in prison. >> roc is free to ride his harley these days, but it still eats him up that a man he never met tried to frame him for murder. if you could sit down and talk to him just the way we're sitting here, what would you say to him? >> i am restrained, correct? i couldn't get to him? >> should we tie you to the chair? >> i would not be a good communicator in that conversation mode with him sitting there. i couldn't do it. >> mike pannell couldn't do it either. he would rather not think about tim permentor and the last moments of his precious baby sister's life. >> i am not interested in remembering karen associated with that crime. >> it's been a long ordeal for you. >> i want to remember karen as a brilliant beautiful young woman that she was. >> maybe this smiling person. someone who loved her friends, loved the beach, and died too
1:00 am
young. >> that's all for this edition of this sunday impeached. >> article i is adopted. >> donald trumped becomes the third president to be impeached, but he and his supporters dismissed the democrats' vote. >> it doesn't really feel like we're being impeached. >> what will the senate trial look like? speaker pelosi delays sending over the articles until she's sure. >> looks like the prosecutors are getting cold feet. this is really comical. >> if the house case is so weak, why is leader mcconnell so afraid of witnesses and dumtss? >> my guests this morning, mark short and democratic candidate and impeachment juror senator cory booker of new jersey. plus, the democratic debate after


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on