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welcome back to "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. while investigating the justin michael murder case, police had just come across a few possibly relevant facts all connected to one man. they learned that someone named david moffitt, who briefly dated justin's fiance, had also worked with justin and david had crashed his car the morning justin was killed, not far from the crime scene. these details, if unrelated, would be an odd coincidence and homicide detectives tend to believe in an investigation there's no such thing as a coincidence. once again, here's keith morrison. justin michael had been shot to death in his own bed. but his fiance, angie ver huel, had been spared.
about a half hour later angie's ex, a man named david moffitt, crashed his car into a ditch about six miles from justin's home. when officer jason tart arrived at the scene moffitt appeared to be gone. >> so i get out of the car and immediately i'm thinking, okay, maybe they were ejected. so i go and start searching the area, make sure they weren't thrown out of the car. i was just getting ready to get back into my car and i hear somebody yell, "i need help." i was like, "was this your car?" "yeah, that's my car." soon as he gets close to me, he has this real -- like a very sweet smell coming off of him. so i automatically i say okay, this is a owi. >> why would you say a sweet smell means it could be a drunken driving thing? >> just the time of day, and there's a car accident involved, single vehicle. i mean, it just kind of goes with it. definitely smelled like he'd been drinking. >> was he glad to see you? >> i don't know if he was glad to see me, but -- >> i mean, you were potentially going to rescue him from a bad situation, you'd think.
>> he saw somebody that might be able to help him, but i don't know if he was necessarily happy to see me. >> reporter: david moffitt told him he was on his way home from visiting his brother that night. >> so then i basically asked him, like, "there's no way in chance maybe you visited a friend in grimes tonight?" >> now why would you bring that up? >> there had just been, within an hour, a homicide had taken place in grimes. the suspect was still unaccounted for. >> and you got a guy who's sweating and smelling sweet. >> exactly. >> hmm. what did he say? >> "i don't even know where the town is." >> reporter: everything about david moffitt made the deputy feel anxious. >> all the hair -- not on my head, but all the hair on my body was standing on edge. >> that's weird. i mean, he's just a regular guy, right? didn't seem to be armed or anything. you're a cop and you got your weapon, and you're still feeling nervous? >> well, i knew he wasn't armed because i did just a patdown for weapons before he --
because if you're going to sit in my car, you're not going to have a weapon on you. >> but he still made you nervous? >> extremely nervous. >> reporter: but turned out david hadn't been drinking. there was no reason to arrest him. still, the deputy's instincts kicked in. >> so i looked through his car and i couldn't find insurance, so i impounded it for not having insurance with an accident. >> reporter: not that it was drivable anyway. he sent david home in a cab. after reading deputy tart's report, detectives bartholomew and hopper knew they had to act fast. there could be clues still on highway 141. and surprises, too. the media people angie and marie saw hovering around the patrol cars they'd been placed in that awful may morning had no idea what had just happened in justin michael's bedroom middle of the night. the reporters knew only this -- they had been sent here because of a suspicious death. and it was related somehow to this house. then as they waited for somebody
to tell them something, they got a tip. local reporter stephanie moore. >> we heard that sheriff deputies were walking the fields along highway 141. so that would be the highway you would take from des moines to go to grimes. and they were just walking these fields. and we asked them, are you looking for a body? no. are you looking for someone? no. are you looking for a weapon? we can't say. but the public is not in any danger. we think hat happened in grimes isn't related to this. >> walking up and down. >> walking in a line so they don't miss anything. kind of how they do if there's a missing child. but we thought maybe they were looking for a gun or a weapon. >> good guess. in fact, that small army of cops was looking for anything that looked like evidence. because hours earlier david moffitt's car went off the road around here and facts were piling up. moffitt had worked with justin, dated angie, and wrecked his car the morning of the murder just six miles away.
>> of course, that piqued our interest very quickly. that moved david moffitt to the top of the list. >> polk county prosecutor steve foritano and brett lewis had been involved all along. >> we sent the detectives and patrol officers to that location, highway 141, to see what else they could find in that area that might be of use or might be telling in terms of the investigation. >> that's why the locals saw all these police officers wandering up and down the field as if they were looking for something. and they were. >> they were. >> and imagine what they found there in a ditch along the highway. >> probably the most important thing was they found loaded magazines. they had the same type of ammo that was found at the crime scene. the shell casings found at the crime scene matched that type of ammunition found in the ditch on highway 141. >> right in the ditch near where the car crashed? >> it was actually across the highway and a little bit farther
down but within 500 yards of where the crash occurred. they also located in that ditch some paper targets that you would use for shooting target practice. some shooter's earmuffs, a camo neck cloth that you'd wear -- you could wear as a mask. >> reporter: like somebody preparing for an act of terror or an execution. clearly, david moffitt was their killer. had to be. and then? well, you know what they say about assumptions. those cops found something else near the accident scene. sort of thing that could make a person wonder, what in heaven's name is going on here? it was one little thing. in a shoebox. >> the shoes were not in it but there was various paperwork. one of the things that were found was a receipt from a local car dealership and the receipt was for a purchase of three oil changes, had the name of andrew wegener.
>> reporter: andrew wegener, the boyfriend angie lived with before justin. weird. another guy without a criminal record. another apparently ordinary person, a des moines funeral director in his case. and yet, there it was in black and white, among all of those other pieces of evidence, andrew wegener. >> how did he explain that? >> at that time, you don't. >> so did andy wegener kill justin michael, the man who replaced him in angie's heart? >> we immediately went to andy's place of business and brought him back to headquarters for questioning, and we ask him about his relationship with angie. >> and more to the point, perhaps, his relationship, or the lack of it, with justin. >> have you ever met justin? >> once. >> and where was that? >> it was at joe's pub in johnston. >> just random run-in or was it a gathering? >> no, it was a gathering with kind of a group of friends. it was an engagement party.
>> was justin the person who she was in a relationship after you broke up with her or was there someone else? >> i -- there might have been somebody else in between. i have no idea. >> but you don't know? >> no. >> the last time you talked to angie would have been when? >> she sent a text message to me that said "happy birthday" and i said "okay, thanks." >> and that was it. >> that was it. >> i'm asking andy about whether or not he's missing anything. and he never tells me about the receipt for the oil changes. >> reporter: the receipt in the shoebox, the reason for suspicion, and all these questions. >> and i stay on the receipt because that's where my interest is at. and he believes that he's in possession of the receipt. >> andy said he thought the receipt was either in his car or in his house. >> if it turned up somewhere else, how would that happen? if it's somewhere other than your car or at home -- >> it blew away? that's about it.
>> any ideas how it could turn up in this investigation? >> no. >> then detective hopper asked andy about guns. >> do you go shooting at all? >> shooting? >> yeah. do you have -- >> i have a 12-gauge. i haven't shot it in six years. >> do you have any handguns? >> no. >> okay. >> and what he did the night before. >> yesterday, what time did you get off work? >> yesterday, i got off at -- 4:00? >> okay. can you walk me through what you -- occurred from 4:00 yesterday until we showed up at your doorstep this morning and you act so thrilled to see us? >> andy said he spent the evening and night with his current girlfriend. >> so you spent the night at your girlfriend's? >> oh, yeah. >> how long has she been there? >> three years. three and a half. >> do they have good security there?
>> uh, no, not really. >> is it a safe area? >> yeah. >> is it like gated to get in? >> no. >> camera coming in or anything like that? >> no. >> he had spent the night with his current girlfriend at that time. and we verified that before he left the office, before he had a chance to make a phone call or anything else. >> at least according to his girlfriend. >> according to the girlfriend. yes. and -- >> it would give him an alibi for the time of the murder. >> it would give him an alibi. whether that was preconceived or whether or not that was legitimate, we did not know. >> reporter: andy swore detectives would find no evidence against him in grimes. >> when was the last time you were in grimes? for any reason. >> there's a basketball court in the u, is what they call it. that was a while ago. >> what's a while mean to you? >> three weeks to a month -- three to four weeks at least. it's been a while. there's a bunch of guys that get together, we pay five bucks and
are able to shoot around in this place for a couple hours. >> let me double check, make sure we're good to go. >> sure. >> the detectives exhausted their questions, took andy back to work, apparently in the clear. unaware that andy's name was about to turn up one more time in a very suspicious place. coming up -- investigators had been looking for a single killer, but a fresh clue may send this investigation in a whole new direction. >> there's evidence to suggest that there is some sort of conspiracy involved here. >> when "the shadow" continues. have you ever read the list in conventional tampons? they're scary! harsh ingredients, artificial fragrances, and chemical processes.
justin didn't deserve this. he always thought of everybody else, always wanted to do for other people. >> as much in love as angie said she was, the detectives had learned over the years, you never know. they needed to search her phone, see who she talked to in the hours and days just before justin was shot to death. they also got a search warrant for david moffitt's house.
and inside? no, they didn't find the murder weapon. but they did find these strange notes, seemed to have been written by someone who had been watching justin and angie's neighborhood. >> those surveillance notes listed addresses in the immediate area around the crime scene. and they were very specific about when neighbors were turning on and off their lights. the creek behind the house is -- is it wide enough where i can jump across that? obviously, it looked like a way to make an escape once the murder was done. >> reporter: but then they found what looked like the mother lode -- a bill of sale. >> it was in andy wegener's name. >> reporter: yeah. >> but there it was in david moffitt's house. >> reporter: that is, the bill of sale for a 9mm carbine. and the name on the document, bold as brass, was indeed andy wegener. how was that remotely possible? it's more evidence to suggest that there's some sort of conspiracy involved here. >> it's too early to really rule anybody out.
we wanted to find out if andy was the actual purchaser of that weapon. fortunately, that bill of sale gave us the lead to where the weapon came from. >> reporter: his name was right here -- drew bahlmann. and here he is. he's a small-town high school english teacher in a little place called sigourney, 90 miles or so from des moines. there is something you can do with a degree in english then? >> yes, there is. yes. and i love my job. >> reporter: an english teacher who likes to tell stories. and this one? sort of thing that would make an interesting plot for a novel, wouldn't it? >> for a novel perhaps, yes. >> drew is a self-described nerd. he also is a target shooter and a metal detector enthusiast. he's forever digging up old coins and such. loves it. mind you, there's only so much a person can ferret out using equipment that's -- well, to say "down-market" may sound cruel, but --
>> the metal detector that i wanted was about $600. >> are you out of your mind? >> no. >> you buy a $600 metal detector? >> uh-huh. that's even like the mid-range. you can spend upwards of $9,000 on a metal detector if you wanted to. >> you're getting toward being uppercase nerd? >> very much so, yes. >> so he figured he'd sell the gun and use the cash to buy that new metal detector. >> it's what the state of iowa calls a long gun. it's something that you put to your shoulder and you shoot like a rifle or a shotgun. so i listed it online, on armslist, it's like craiglist for guns. >> reporter: what'd you ask for it? >> $360. >> reporter: about a month later, he got a nibble via email. >> i told him that i needed cash and i needed a photo i.d. so i knew he was who he said he was, and that he was at least 21. >> reporter: who did he say he was? >> he said his name was andy wegener, and that was the email address that he had contacted me from, was andy wegener something-or-other at gmail.com. >> reporter: where'd you meet? >> i work part-time at a gas station.
it's public, there are cameras in the area, and if something bad were to happen i know of at least two or three people that are there a lot that would probably come to my rescue. >> is that the kind of thing you have to do when you sell a weapon? >> that's the thing i do when i sell a weapon because i've got entirely too much to lose. i have a family, i have a job that, you know -- i love them both. i did not want to jeopardize those. we met at the station. i showed him the rifle in the back end of my car, and then i filled out a bill of sale, because i wanted to make sure that this was trackable. i kept a copy. he kept a copy. we reviewed everything to make sure that it was what he wanted and make sure everything was, you know, up to snuff. >> reporter: you saw his photo i.d.? >> i saw his photo i.d. >> reporter: and how carefully did you, you know, store the information? >> i'm kind of a pack rat by nature. it's my -- my teacher nature, you don't throw anything away. so all of the email conversations that he and i had, i kept. all the text messages between he and i, i kept. and i still had pictures that i had originally posted on armslist, those were still on my home computer.
and as he was leaving, again, to cover myself, i wrote down his license plate number. >> you are a careful guy. >> i am. >> was he a nice fellow? >> for the very limited interaction we had, yeah. he seemed very nice, very normal. he asked me how to load it. i showed him how. >> and that was it? off he went? >> off he went. >> and then, a few days later, the school secretary gave drew a message. a polk county detective wanted to talk to him right away. >> and my very first thought was i interpreted the law wrong when i had looked up the iowa codes, and i'm going to jail. >> you immediately thought about selling that weapon? >> that's the first thing that came to my mind. why else would a polk county detective be calling me? i was going to jail. >> scary thought? >> it was very scary because i had taken so many precautions. i called the detective. and he said, "drew, did you sell a firearm recently?" and that was my second thought, "yes, i am going to jail. i have completely screwed everything up." and i told him -- you know, be forthright, be honest -- i said, "yes, i did." he asked me to describe what it was. i told him it was a 9-millimeter
carbine. he said, "drew, we have reason to believe that that weapon was used in the commission of a crime." and my heart just sank. what happened? i have no idea. and he told me it was used in a murder, and i about dropped my phone. that's -- what that does to you. i -- i unwittingly took part, was an accessory in somebody's death. i felt terrible about that. >> you felt that way, that you were an accessory? >> how would you feel? i mean, i sold the -- i sold something to a man, to a person who later used that to take somebody's life. terrible. just -- oh, god. and i -- still today, i've rationalized it, i've gone to a counselor about it. i still feel bad about it. >> what's the expression? guns don't kill people -- >> people kill people. and i still -- i still believe that. but i provided him that method. >> later that day, detective hopper drove out to meet with drew, who turned over all the emails and text messages, he had
saved them all, as well as photos of the rifle, three ammo magazines, a scope and a red laser pointer attached to the weapon, part of the deal. >> and i asked him if he had any shell casings from the weapon that he sold. he went, left, and came back shortly after and had 63 casings. >> reporter: wow. he's a person who likes to keep things. >> yes. most of those casings were tulammo, .9 milammeter. >> the same ones that were found at the murder scene. >> and at the crash site. >> but who bought the carbine? >> we still don't know where we're at with david versus andy. >> so, could drew i.d. the guy in a photo lineup? coming up -- detectives show drew pictures of david and andy. >> he said, that's very odd. he said, this is strange. >> when "the shadow" continues.
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hi, everyone, i'm kendis gibson with the hour's top story. spending christmas where it all began. christians from around the world gathered at manger square and ended at the church of nativity, one of christianity's most sacred sites. the president and the first lady sent out their christmas message with the message posted to melania trump's twitter page. they offered a message for service members stationed around the world and for their families. now let's go back to "dateline." welcome back to "dateline extra." police had their eyes on two people of interest in their investigation into justin michael's murder and both of them had dated justin's fiance. there was david moffitt who possessed a bill of sale for the murder weapon, but the name on that bill was andrew wegener. so who actually bought the gun?
the pace of this investigation was about to speed up. here's keith morrison with more. i really thought it was a random act. a home invasion. >> so during the course of that day, you were completely buffaloed? >> correct. >> while the investigation raced forward, the polk county sheriff's office told justin michael's family virtually nothing. didn't tell them they'd found the man who sold the murder weapon, nor that they had to figure out who he actually sold it to. because surely whoever bought the gun must have been the killer. >> i asked him at that point to look at the photo line-ups. the first set of six photographs i showed him contained the photograph of david moffitt. mr. bahlmann looked at it and he said, "i can't be 100% certain." he said, "the guy had a hat on, had sunglasses on." he goes, i wish i would have had him take it off. then he pointed at the picture of david moffitt and said, i'm 90% sure that's the person that i sold the gun to. >> what happened when he looked at the picture involving andy wegener?
>> when i showed him the photo line-up with andy wegener, he looked at it and immediately looked at it and pointed to andy wegener and said, "that's very odd." he said, "this is strange." he was confused. he goes, "that looks like the i.d. that looks like the person i sold the gun to." he picked out both of them, so we still have our questions. >> it was all very confusing. it didn't help that david moffitt and andy wegener look similar. so one last thing to try. earlier, when deputies searched david moffitt's house, they found the bill of sale for that carbine. but they also discovered a receipt for lemonade and a candy bar bought at a dollar general store in the very town where the rifle was purchased. >> so i requested video from that store. a person walks into the store, still wearing the hat, but the sunglasses are hanging off of his shirt. and the video depicts david moffitt. >> well, well, well. >> and he purchases a lemonade and a candy bar.
>> which may have settled the question of who picked up the murder weapon. but here was another question. how did david moffitt get hold of andy wegener's i.d.? the detectives had all kinds of reasons for wanting to talk to david moffitt. they picked him up about 15 hours after the shooting. took him to headquarters. installed him in an interview room. and? no dice. >> he requested a lawyer. >> and just like that, you're done. >> i sat there for approximately an hour with him, offering him a phone book, a means to reach his attorney. because we still wanted to attempt to talk with them, even if his attorney was present. he never reached an attorney. >> david moffitt wouldn't talk, but it hardly mattered. the evidence they already had was enough to arrest him, and charge him with first-degree murder. by now, detectives understood that angie had nothing to do with the murder. that what seemed like a lack of
emotion in angie's demeanor and marie's too, for that matter, was shock. pure shock. in fact, the thought that david could be the man who killed the love of her life hit angie while she was still being questioned. and finally, after her apparent calm, she was overcome. >> when dave came up and we talked about that and the detective came back with a picture of him -- >> do you know this person? >> that's dave. >> and i said, "that's him." and i immediately started shaking. and was very visibly upset. >> i'm just so -- that he had something to do with it and what if i have caused all of this? >> and the detective was like, what's going on? and i said, "if he's the one who did it, then it's all my fault." >> what do you mean by that?
>> because i was the one who had broken off the relationship. i was the one who ignored him the next day. >> you really think if you hadn't ignored him he'd suddenly become mr. sweetness and light? >> well, no, but i just felt like it was -- i brought this monster into justin's life. >> but the prosecutors needed more evidence if they wanted to prove that david moffitt was the man angie saw as a monster. how, for example, did david get an i.d. with andy wegener's name on it? unless andy was somehow involved? >> one of the discoveries during that first search warrant was a computer box for a laptop. and that laptop was never found during that first search warrant. >> so the prosecutors wrote a second search warrant. and voila! they found it. but maybe too late. >> they discovered it in the
bottom of a red tub that had a few inches of water in the bottom of it. >> and you know how computers hate water. but the waterlogged laptop wasn't all they found. >> the red tub ended up being a gold mine of evidence. >> like what? >> they found ammunition that ended up being consistent with the ammunition found at the crime scene. >> and remember that shoebox they found near the car crash? it was a nevados brand shoebox. and in david moffitt's red tub? what do you know. >> in that red tub were those nevados shoes, size 11. >> it's almost like he was laying the trap for himself. >> absolutely. >> they sent the wet laptop off to the computer lab, hoping maybe the techs could find something on it. and surprise, surprise, they did. >> and off of that computer, we were able to find the work that david moffitt had done to create a fake i.d. in andy wegener's name.
>> that's the one david presented to the schoolteacher, drew bahlmann. he also created a fake andy wegener email address and stole that oil service receipt from andy's car. all of which made it obvious, said the prosecutors, david moffitt planned to get away with murder by framing a perfectly innocent man, andy wegener. >> what kind of a mind is behind that sort of behavior? >> it was very cold, very calculating. tremendous amount of planning and premeditation that went into this murder. and he tried to execute it so that he would not be blamed, that he would get away with it. >> and remember that sweatshirt left behind after the shooting, as if the killer had been sloppy? >> in the sweatshirt was a boat registration that we could not figure out why it was there and what its meaning was at the time. ultimately, several months later, we learned that that boat registration belonged to the father of the registered sex
offender that lived within a few blocks of the crime scene. so it appeared to us, once we made that connection, that that was just another attempt to cast the blame for this on somebody else. >> so convicting david moffitt of first-degree murder would surely be about as easy a task as a prosecutor could ask for. or maybe not. coming up -- the trial begins and everyone will learn new details about the night of the murder. >> it's just unfathomable still. >> that's pretty crazy, isn't it? >> when "the shadow" continues. ', your plans can change in minutes. your head wants to do one thing, but your gut says, "not today." if your current treatment isn't working, ask your doctor about entyvio. entyvio acts specifically in the gi tract to prevent an excess
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>> several detectives as well as law enforcement officials -- >> finally, said tv reporter stephanie moore, after months of secrecy they gathered in june 2015 at the polk county courthouse in des moines for the trial. and the prosecutors revealed all those wild details behind the murder of justin michael. first time the public heard any of it. first time justin's family and fiancee finally understood what happened. >> the detectives and the prosecutors had shared no information with us, other than the fact of who they arrested. >> and the little they learned during the pretrial hearings could be confusing and painful. >> as things started to come out a little bit, i texted andy and i said, "how did he get your i.d.?" and he was like, "i don't know." and i just had that feeling of, "what if andy had something to do with this?" >> but prosecutors have good reason for keeping the details
of their cases from the public and even from the family. >> we don't want the publicity of the evidence to taint the jury panel. >> but now, as the trial began, they were quite confident they had all the evidence they needed, even without the still-missing murder weapon. but what happened to it? i mean, he crashed the car apparently right away. he either got rid of it before then or -- >> our theory, at least, is that sometime between him getting home after the murder before officers were back out there doing that extensive search and being arrested that evening, he was able to get back and retrieve the weapon and throw it into saylorville lake. >> and then once it's in the lake, there's no way you're going to find it. >> not without a lot of work. >> but with all the other evidence collected, prosecutors felt they had enough. >> with the physical evidence that we were able to get, specifically from drew bahlmann and at the homicide scene and at
david moffitt's house from a ballistics perspective, we were able to connect all of those dots. >> the state showed the jury bullet casings and ammunition magazines, targets for practice shooting, david's reconnaissance notes, a kindle containing a map of justin's neighborhood, a can of pepper spray. even a flashlight that, for all of david moffitt's careful planning, ultimately betrayed him. it was something that caught the attention of justin's sister, sydney, and brother nathan. >> there were two times that he reacted significantly in the whole trial, and one was they found a fingerprint on the battery in the flashlight. and so he wore gloves when he was carrying the flashlight, but not when he was putting the batteries in the flashlight. and when they said that, he goes, "ah." >> as if david just then understood his error. it was at the trial, said justin's mom, that she finally learned what that red light in her eyes was. it was not some kind of strange flashlight as she thought.
it was a red laser pointer, most likely attached to the murder weapon. >> pointed at my face. that's a very sobering thought. that's -- sitting at the trial brought back a lot of trauma issues and that being one of them. and the other thing that really bothered me was finding out that this guy had the gun six inches from justin's face when he shot him four times. >> because we had thought, you know, he was in the hallway, at the doorway. and somehow it makes it even more invasive, you know, that he's that close and -- i mean, just -- executed somebody. >> it was an execution, yeah. >> and you actually look at somebody's face and make that choice to kill him. to me, that's just beyond
troubling. i -- it's just unfathomable still, like "the twilight zone." >> the prosecutors saved david moffitt's computer searches for last, and then the jury and everybody else heard what david looked up on his laptop in the days before the murder -- a window into the mind of a killer. "the only murdering murder guide you'll ever need." seriously. "convicted crimes of passion in polk county." "traffic cameras in grimes." "what does hell look like?" and so on and so on. >> interesting that he would ask what hell looks like. >> there's some reference to the confessional times. that is, times when some local priest would be available. a priest whose oath would swear him to secrecy. >> he obviously was concerned about what was going to happen
to him had he committed this murder. >> that day that all of the computer stuff came out was a particularly brutal day in court for me. it was hard for me to handle. i had to leave and decided i couldn't go back in the afternoon because it was just -- it was overwhelming. >> you say it was too hard to hear. you couldn't actually go back. but what made it so hard? >> just seeing my name, seeing justin's name. you know, he had googled my name, looked at my facebook page or whatever for months. seeing the locations from where he was to our house and just knowing that he was that close. >> and here you were totally -- oblivious living through the happiest days of your life.
>> uh-huh. >> in his closing, prosecutor steve foritano told the jury what must have happened. >> david moffitt, i think, was obviously fixated on angie ver huel. that she broke off with him, which caused him some pain and hurt. and then that wound was probably reopened when he started working with justin. and justin wound up getting engaged. and david, obviously, would be concerned about the fact that it was justin that was with angie. and that he couldn't be with her because of him. >> so he gradually formed a plan that somehow he was going to get rid of justin, possibly even get angie back again. i realize that there is a very high bar to cross to -- to be considered insane by the legal system. but that's pretty crazy, isn't it? >> well, he had a goal. and he worked to achieve that goal. so his trying to commit this murder, trying to plan and make
sure that he got away with it. >> maybe. and maybe something else was going on. maybe david moffitt could blame somebody or something else. and, sure enough, he did. with a legal defense that could defeat the best evidence in the world. david moffitt had no intention of going to prison. coming up -- moffitt's lawyers call a controversial witness to make their surprising case and then the verdict. >> almost gave you chills up your spine. >> when "the shadow" continues. i'm part of a community of problem solvers. we make ideas grow. from an everyday solution... to one that can take on a bigger challenge. from packaging tape... to tape that can bond materials to buildings... and planes. one idea can unlock a breadth of solutions.
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wifi up there? uhh. sure, why not? how'd he get out?! a camera might figure it out. that was easy! glad i could help. at xfinity, we're here to make life simple. easy. awesome. so come ask, shop, discover at your local xfinity store today. david moffet's trial for the murder of justin michael was underway in an iowa courtroom. prosecutors had presented evidence to bolster their theory that david moffett had
meticulously planned justin's murder. after discovering the woman who broke up with him was engaged to justin. but the defense team was about to present their case and it was a stunner. with the conclusion of our story, here's keith morrison. >> rarely is a prosecution so replete with evidence of a killer's motives and awful deeds. rarely, does that evidence so clearly portray such planning, such deviousness. a man who knew exactly what he was doing when he murdered justin michael, said the prosecution. and then it was time for the defense. >> that was the worst day of the trial. >> ladies and gentlemen of the jury. >> defense attorney did not dispute the wealth of evidence the state presented. all true, said mr. rig. david moffett did kill justin, said the defense, because he was legally insane. and, therefore, not guilty.
>> what the facts are in this case are really in dispute. the fact that this happens because of a mental disease isn't really in dispute. because this makes no sense otherwise. what happens here, for lack of a better term, is crazy. >> and why should the jury believe that? this was the defense's star witness, dr. peter bragan. a famous, if controversial, psychiatrist, with a resume of television and other appearances in which he has condemned the use of psychotropic drugs. the doctor testified david had been taking anti-depressants on and off for years and that what david did was the drug's fault. >> i think the whole thing evolves out of a progressive
hammering of his brain by the drugs. >> it was drug-induced violence, the doctor told the jury. drug-induced murder. back in the courtroom, angie listened to this. and upset, would not be quite the right word. >> it was laughable almost. and just that you can -- how much money they had to spend to find this guy who's going to say exactly what the defense wants. him to say. >> were you afraid the jury would buy it? >> of course, you're always a little afraid cause it's scary to think that he could potentially get off with an insanity plea. and the more he talked, the more it was -- it was frustrating to sit there and listen to him. >> you walk into somebody's bedroom with an assault rifle.
>> yes. it's horrible. >> he told you he thought about whether it was right or wrong, right? >> no. he told me in the beginning he thought about whether it was right or wrong. and that didn't enter his mind anymore. it was like he was in a video game or like in a activity that was outside of the normal reality. he even thought about killing somebody else. so toward the end, i mean, he's just become a -- i believe the victim of this manic episode driven by the drugs. it's just not him. >> it's the jury that gets to make the decision, right? >> of course. >> they do. you never know quite what a jury's going to do. it's always an anxious moment when you are 're trying to wait them to return a verdict. >> oh, but it wasn't a moment. hour after hour, they waited.
and then almost seven hours later -- >> the judge asked do we have a verdict? the jury says they do. >> we find the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree. >> if david moffett felt anything in that moment, he didn't show it. >> nothing. stone cold reaction. almost gave chills up your spine. >> the insanity defense clearly did not work. >> the threshold that you have to reach for an insanity defense is that you don't understand the nature and consequences of your actions. or you don't understand the difference between right and wrong. that's an incredibly high threshold. you look at the degree of premeditation, the degree of planning that went into that, those are not the actions of an insane person. >> it does nothing to bring justin back. >> but it would have been horrific if he had not been found guilty. so it did help. >> and can you imagine if that person was still free in our society? who knows who he would've attacked next.
and he would've. >> i think he would've. >> i think he enjoyed the planning and seeing if he could accomplish his task. >> verdicts are always hard, i think, because nobody ever wins in this situation. his family is obviously still in pain. the moffett family is obviously in pain, as well. so there -- there really is no winner here. we want to hold him responsible for what he did. and the jury's verdicts did that. >> would they have caught him without those lucky breaks? had david moffett not lost control of his car on that gravel road. had the cop not spotted the wreck off in the dark. >> if you hadn't stopped, if you just went on your merry way -- >> my involvement is just the citizen driving up the road stopping to check on somebody that morning. you know? >> had the deputy's instinct not pushed him to seize david's car, he probably would have been
caught, eventually. but -- >> what do you think about this now when you look back on it? >> thankful. very thankful that i, one, trusted my gut because we're trained to do that from day one because it's the only thing you really got to back yourself up on calls when you're by yourself. >> sure. if somebody seems a little hinky, maybe he is. >> and you just need to investigate it further. it's not prying. it's trying to figure out if there's something more to the story than what you're hearing. and a lot of the times, when you trust your gut, it's right. >> neither david moffett or his attorney agreed to be interviewed. he appealed and lost. his sentence was mandatory in iowa. life without parole. cold comfort for justin's family. only photos of him now. and memories of the good person he was. habitat for humanity, his favorite charity, built a house in his honor. his colleagues at wells fargo worked on it.
>> it's one -- >> it's a perfect memorial, i think, for him. >> he would like to see something good come out of the terrible thing that happened. >> there's a thing that happens to people when they truly grieve. it isn't voluntary. and it takes a long time. >> grief is -- is a wave. and sometimes it's -- it just fills you and it takes you away. and it happens less frequently now than it did six months or nine months ago. >> yeah. >> but it's still debilitating. and we knew then that physically, he was gone. and -- and in our hearts, we still haven't let him go. >> it's just still hard to believe that a person could be that evil. evil is the only word i can think of. inhuman. to do something like that.
>> he just seems like, you know, he was a -- a -- he didn't get his way and he took justin's life for no reason. >> and the woman at the center of it all? what kind of a life would she have had with him? a thought, perhaps, best packed away like a lot of things. >> had the -- had the wedding dress. had the houses booked. had the venue booked. had catering booked. i mean, we were just a little over two months out. >> yeah. boy, oh boy. a wedding dress is such a symbol. what do you do with a thing like that in a situation that you're in? >> haven't even looked at it. >> where you put it? >> it's in my mom's basement. she's moved a couple of times. and it's in her basement.
>> that's all for this edition of dateline extra. i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. denita was a light in this dark world. that's what she was about. she was just a cup of love. i'm like who saw this coming? >> a beautiful, young student gunned down. >> things like that just didn't happen there. >> why? who? who would want to do this? >> i thought i had my man. >> her fiance was a police officer. >> anyone knew how to do this and get away with it, wouldn't it be him? >> i spoke to
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