tv MTP Daily MSNBC December 25, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
of "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. the neighborhood had everything a burglar wanted to find. private yards. wealthy homes. >> she had the worst of possible luck in that he picked her. >> yes. >> i'd like to report an attempted break-in. >> a mother home alone. the cops race to her front door as she walks into an ambush in her backyard. >> how does somebody die within a matter of seconds with officers all around her home? >> surreal. it was awful. it really just all came crashing down. >> your first thought at that time. >> it's a burglar gone wrong.
>> but the killer caught red handed starts pointing fingers. >> the burglary was staged. >> this is a guy who aspired to be a hit man. >> he was a sitting target. >> doesn't mean you can now go out and charge 'em all with murder? >> i have no facts. >> so detectives lay a trap. >> trying to play cat and mouse. >> he was already really paranoid about being fed up. >> you hand a little note that says are you wired? >> will they catch their prey? >> you hold your breath. the world kind of stops. >> "the trap." hello and welcome to "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. it seemed like one of those open-and-shut cases. police were standing directly outside a home when a woman was killed. investigators immediately believed they knew who did it and why. but it was not that simple. solving lynn shockner's murder
would take years and involve tapping phones and hidden cameras. and long-held family secrets would be revealed. here's keith morrison. >> reporter: you never think it's gonna be you. >> oh, no. no. no. no. >> reporter: no. the young man is right. in fact, this is the kind of thing that just doesn't happen to anyone. >> no. never. never would've thought i would have ever seen anything like this. >> reporter: no one, not here, not in this neighborhood, in this house. but certainly not, surely not, at the very moment when at least three policemen were just outside the front door. and just over the backyard wall, not more than 30 feet away. >> we had to be told a few times just to get it in our heads what happened. >> reporter: what happened here in broad daylight under the very noses of the cops? was murder.
long beach, california. a town that may have been cheated a little in the city pride department. >> a lot of people assume it's like l.a. but it's not. it's different. it has its own identity. >> you think it's different culturally? >> i think so. i think long beach is sort of its own beast. >> sure. >> it's a little more working class. >> yes. and it's one of those '50s suburbs in search of a city that everybody calls l.a. but long beach is a brauny city unto itself. half a million people. 52 square miles. a busy airport. a big university. an oceanfront. a long beach. and its share of wealth and poverty and, of course, crime. >> lots of scope for a person who's -- >> no shortage of work for -- yeah -- if you cover crime. >> reporter: tracy covered the police feed of the local paper, the long beach press telegram. she was fair to the tops. they trusted her.
so maybe that's why one november morning. >> contact within the police department came over to me in the midst of this sort of press conference. and said you need to go to bixby now. and i was a little taken aback. >> taken aback because bixby was not a name you heard on the crime beat. >> so it was very clear to me something major was going on. packed up my stuff. ran out the door. and got to the scene. >> reporter: the scene was in bixby knolls, quiet and affluent. leave it to beaver homes on carefully-tended tr carefully-tended tree line treats. violent crime is unheard of in bixby knolls, which is just the way they like it here. maybe that's why if they grew up here or moved here, they'd rarely leave. like, rachel kerns. >> everybody's very friendly and always waving. you don't get that a lot in
southern california. >> reporter: rachel still lives in the house she grew up in. >> we were able to play as kids at all hours of the day. we didn't have to worry about anyone ever hurting us or coming after us. it was a really safe neighborhood. >> reporter: but then came that november morning when tracy mansor roared over there in her car. >> i had no idea what i was going to, what i was going to find. but i knew based on how i was told about it that it was going to be something, you know, very bad. >> reporter: oh, and it was. >> i was barely out of my car before i saw the homicide lieutenant, the homicide sergeant, two commanders, and obviously a bank of black and whites. >> uh-huh. >> so my first thought was there was an officer-involved shooting. either an officer had been shot and killed or an officer had shot someone. >> reporter: but no. not that. no. what really happened was far stranger than that. >> long beach police department. >> yes. i'd like to report i believe we
have an attempted break-in going on at the moment. >> it was a neighbor who saw it. at the start of some dreadful shock movie rolling out in slow motion. it was 11:03 a.m. >> it's taking place at my neighbor's, which is the house just to the west of me. >> okay. one just west to you? >> yes. it's the shockner residence. >> the shockners. the caller's next door neighbors. as they talked to the 911 caller, they heard and saw a little white dog barking incessantly from a window at the shockner's house. >> it was a little -- what -- american eskimo or something? >> yeah. not a very large dog. fluffy, yappy dog. >> a petite-framed woman came to the window to see what her dog was barking at. an officer gestured to her, come outside. clearly bewildered, she finally opened the door. >> so he is telling her that they got a call from a neighbor that they saw a prowler.
and would it be okay if they looked in her backyard? and looked around the house. and she had said that that was fine. >> reporter: but hold on, the woman said to the police, let me grab the key. the gate is locked. >> so she closes the front door. walks through the house and walks out the back door. >> reporter: three cops waited outside the front door. two more cops pulled in right here in the alley behind the house. and then, to their great surprise, the prowler jumped over the backyard wall, practically into their arms. they searched him. found jewelry in his pocket and a taser and a cell phone. and a knife with blood on it. the cops out front waited for the woman to return. she didn't. ten seconds. 20 seconds. did a minute go by? they decided time to go in. they opened the door. looked through the house. what they saw was not just terrible but a riddle of
deception. a piece of pure evil. coming up. what could've happened in that house while it was surrounded by police officers? >> i didn't believe it. i thought it was a joke. >> reporter: until your father arrived with tears in his eyes. >> that was when i knew something was wrong. >> when "the trap" continues. s . >> when "the trap" continues ♪ it's the easiest because it's the cheesiest. kraft. for the win win.
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that particular november 8th. california weather. not quite noon. and as usual, it was quiet in bixby knolls here in long beach. quiet and in that quiet, more menacing than anybody understood. as police responding to a call about a prowler waited outside the front door, neither they, nor the half-awake homeowners sensed the jeopardy as she closed the door in their faces and went in search of a key for the gate to the yard. seconds tick by. the dog barked. the woman didn't return. so the cops, still not getting it, went in too late. >> she was attacked and she was killed right then and there while the officer was on her front porch. >> reporter: just extraordinary.
>> yeah. >> reporter: the victim's name was lynn schockner. she was 50 years old. when they found her lying quite dead just outside her own back door, they could clearly see the bright red gash across her throat. how was it possible? the policemen were just outside her front door. and more cops were in alert mode out in the alley. but the only apparent witness to the silent murder of lynn schockner was lynn's little dog, zoey. horrified officers found her lying by lynn's side. her white coat spattered red. back at police headquarters, long beach cops, like undercover man chris nelson, heard the chatter. >> we were sitting in the office and we used to have a police radio on in the office listening to what's going on in the street. >> reporter: this was bad. >> we were right down the hall from homicide. and you knew right away this turned into a call out. you know, where somebody got
killed. >> now, crisis mode. detective richard birdsaw took the call. get down there fast. >> your first thought at that time. do you remember what it was? >> it's just -- it's a burglary gone wrong. >> did you have at the same time a sense of how the hell could we screw up like that? >> like anybody else, you're trying to discern why she did what she did and what did the officers say? what was the conversation? >> oh, yes, there were lots of questions. this would be ugly. why did she go back in the house? why did the cops let her? why didn't they move in faster? how could they let the murder happen right under their noses? >> that was really disturbing. and, you know, you hate to second judge another cop. but there were mistakes made. >> reporter: after all, a neighbor reported a prowler in the back alley. a prowler who may have sneaked into her house. but she, the victim, didn't seem to believe that. >> she had a little -- little eskimo dog that barked at
butterflies. there's there's -- >> reporter: she was wrong. >> she was wrong. >> lynn's son charlie was a freshman in high school then. he was sitting in math class. somebody told him he was wanted in the principal's office. on the way there, he thought he was in trouble. and then when they told him. >> i didn't believe it. i thought it was a joke. >> reporter: until your father arrived with tears in his eyes. >> that was when i knew something was wrong. >> reporter: his father, manfred, or fred as most people call him, came to take charlie home. >> how was your father? >> upset. i mean, he was definitely -- he was crying. he couldn't drive. you know, i didn't really have eyes for him in that moment really. >> you're just a mess. >> yeah. >> and charlie still could not believe what he was hearing. >> it really didn't set in really until i actually saw the house. and then it really just all came
crashing down. >> reporter: his home was a crime scene. >> the house was taped off. and just people going in and out of the house. a lot of neighbors around. like everything you see on tv. >> reporter: you never think it's gonna be you. >> oh, no. no. no. no. it's surreal. very much so. >> reporter: what does that loss feel like? >> yeah. i -- i can't put it into words. it was tremendous. it was awful. i immediately called mark and i'm babbling on the phone. i can't even speak. >> mark is charlie's uncle, lynn's brother. >> after the initial shock, there's disbelief. i didn't burst into tears right away. i didn't start screaming. i was just stunned. >> lynn grew up in ohio. she was the baby of the family. the only girl.
here she is with her two older brothers, john and mark. but lynn was not like them. >> she was a tentative girl, whereas my brother and i were very outgoing. >> their father died young. lynn often fought with her mother. >> love/hate, call it what you want. >> she got married. moved to california with a brand new husband. it didn't work out. it ended pretty quickly. but then one day, she went to a ball game. dodgers versus somebody. who knows? and she found him. the right guy. her guy. fred schockner. he was almost 14 years older than she was. but didn't seem to matter. didn't hurt either that fred was a very successful man. anyway, this time, it clicked. they had an intimate wedding on a boat off the california coast. the captain did the honors. and they lived alone together in that house in bixby knolls. until, finally, after 11 years, they had a son.
who grew up to be charlie. as parents, they encouraged him to try new things. >> the olympics and we were watching gymnastics. i turned around to my parents and i go i'm gonna do that. and i think like a month later, i enrolled in gymnastics. so it was very much a supportive environment. >> reporter: and lynn doted on her only son. >> it might be trite to say this but she loved him more than life itself. he was the center of her universe. >> reporter: so after what happened, mark flew out to california right away to comfort charlie and fred. and to make funeral arrangements for his only sister lynn. and at the very same time, as if in another world altogether, detective richard birdsaw poked around this burglary gone bad.
he could perhaps write up a report, be done with it, make the bad press go away. but no, richard was a troubled man. >> usually, we know something's wrong. my partner and i just feel something's wrong but we don't know yet. >> wrong? well, of course it was. but the wrong the detective had in mind was not the grief or the loss or the vitriol thrown at the police. no. it was almost like a smell. the kind that sticks in your nose. something off. coming up. one of the strangest things of all was the alleged killer himself. not your typical burglar. >> in his words, he always wanted to be a cop. >> and this was not your typical burglary. >> i worked burglary division for four years but i've never had one come with a device that's used simply for killing. >> when "the trap" continues. k >> when "the trap" continues (wheels screeching) (clapping) (sound of can hitting bag and bowl)
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bik bi bix bixby knolls. >> tree line street. beautiful neighborhood. it's a wonderful place to grow up. would ride my skateboard all around the block. take my dog with me. >> he was lucky, too, to have lynn for a mother. how did she make you feel? >> i guess how a parent should. >> safe? >> safe. happy. welcome. loving. just good. >> reporter: but now, lynn schockner was gone. killed in a burglary. and charlie, just 14 and grief stricken, was so angry at the police. >> you didn't do your job. how could that happen with you being right there? that's just negligence. >> reporter: charlie was far from the only one. fr this was a broad daylight murder. police officers just outside the front door when it happened. >> i can imagine people in the neighborhood would be upset. a burglar had been there, robbed a house like that, killed a woman, and the cops couldn't
prevent it. >> right. i think the majority of the neighborhood was just stunned and shocked by the violence. you know? how -- how does somebody who's in her own home die within a matter of seconds with officers all around her home? >> tracy's paper, the long beach press telegram was reporting on the community backlash. there was fear, and of course anger. cops often tend to pull together in the face of a thing like that. but in private, harsh judgments, said the undercover cop chris nelson. >> i'm sorry. you just don't let her go back into a situation like that. >> so what was it -- >> police 101. very minimum. you go with her. >> so what was the feeling and the talk around the department when this happened? >> they [ bleep ] up. >> detective richard birdsall, used to asking tough questions, suddenly found himself answering them. >> reporter: i got to think that the department would kind of adopt a bit of a defensive stance at that point because you know the public's going to say
what the hell was going on here? why did you guys let that happen? right? >> yeah. they did. you know, because you're trying to defend the officers, they didn't do anything wrong. you were waiting for someone to bring you the key. they waited a short period of time. within a minute. you know, they're yelling for her. ma'am, can you come back? hello? where are you? >> reporter: just a minute or so. enough for lynn to surprise the burglar who stabbed her in the neck and grabbed some jewelry and ran. into the arms of the police. the detective prowled around the crime scene. >> we see that there's a bedroom. drawers are being -- were open. jewelry. things are thrown around. so you look like a lot of things in disarray. >> reporter: looked like a standard daytime burglary gone horribly bad, of course, when lynn encountered the robber. but one thing stood out like, well, like a bloody knife. >> i worked burglary division for four years but i've never had one come with a device that's used simply for killing.
>> reporter: so time to focus on that so-called burglar. caught with a bloody knife in his pocket. his name was nicholas harvey. he was 22 years old and this was unusual. >> he didn't have a criminal background. he had never been in trouble with the law before. >> seemed like a reasonably-nice young man? >> yeah, very personable. i mean, he came across that way. he wanted to ingratiate himself with us as law enforcement. you know, in his words, he always wanted to be a cop sometime in his life. >> and here's robbing and killing a woman. >> correct. >> he'd been an athlete in high school. still worked out a lot. was a personal trainer at his local gym. >> big muscle character. >> correct. that's way up the coast. >> by ventura. >> in other words, about 70 miles from the crime scene. but why would he commit a robbery so far away from home? >> that's one of the flags that immediately came up.
>> when detective birdsall and his partner first asked him, nick gave them an answer that, frankly, still didn't make sense. >> we came at him and his initial story was i heard this is a good area. >> reporter: really? there wasn't a good area closer to home? well, then nick gave them another answer. >> he wanted to get out of his area. and he worked out at a local gym up there. he was a gym rat and he worked out with police officers and did martial arts with police officers. he felt they would recognize him. >> when he said that, did it -- did it seem plausible? >> no. it wasn't plausible at all. >> reporter: and one other thing. remember how when police arrested him, they found jewelry in his pocket? turned out it was fake. even though lynn had lots of real diamonds, right there to be taken, along with other valuable items. >> if you can do a daytime burglary and just kill somebody, you're going to make the effort to get the good stuff. but he didn't. >> reporter: so either nick harvey was the world's worst
burglar. or burglary wasn't the point of his visit. the detectives pushed him hard. but -- >> he didn't want to change his story. we had him for hours and we walked out of there going this is not what it seems to be. >> reporter: just a hunch, of course. no way to prove it. until 70 miles up the coast, a man picked up the phone. to call the police. coming up. a family feud. >> i wrote that letter. i signed the letter. i handed it to my sister. and i dared her to give it. >> what is that all about? when "the trap" continues. trap". people were afraid i was contagious. i was covered from head to toe. i was afraid to show my skin. it was kind of a shock after... i started cosentyx. i wasn't covered anymore. four years clear. five years now. i just look and feel better.
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and keep the public safe. hi, everybody. i'm kendis gibson with the hour's top stories. the u.s. is keeping an eye on north korea flying four surveillance planes over the korean peninsula. that's according to south korean media. north korea threatened to give washington a christmas gift unless it made concessions in nuclear talks. and republican senator lisa murkowski says she was disturbed to hear senate majority leader mitch mcconnell say there'd be total coordination between the white house and the senate on an upcoming impeachment trial. now, back to dateline. welcome back to "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. it was such an unusual sequence
of events. police were called out to a suspected robbery. then nabbed nick harvey as he tried to flee the scene. and turns out, nick was fleeing a murder scene. but investigators believe there had to be more to the story. and they were about to get a tip from a guy who said he had information. to detectives, it was starting to look like nick did not act alone. with more of our story, here's keith morrison. >> reporter: detective richard birdsall didn't believe for a moment that he was investigating a burglary gone bad. for one thing, guy doesn't travel 70 miles just to break into a house. but for all his suspicions, birdsall couldn't prove a thing. that is, until a man who knew nick harvey called the police and said -- >> nick harvey came to him and offered him some money, several hundred dollars, to say, hey, can you drive me down to long beach? >> he agreed. they met at a park and ride parking lot and he drove nick's
car. the driver also said nick told him why he needed to go to long beach. >> nick harvey said he was an enforcer for the local drug dealers up there. so he was coming down there just for that one reason. >> honestly, he had no idea the agenda included murder, said the driver. >> he never knew that he was gonna come down to take someone's life. >> reporter: of course, the guy was probably lying. so they put him under arrest. anyway, his claim that he thought he was driving a drug enforcer didn't make a lick of sense. the notion that suburban housewife lynn schockner was somehow tangled up with drug dealers and had been targeted for execution was, frankly, preposterous. lynn had been living a quiet life for 25 years. married to a man with a lot going for him. >> he was a wealthy man. >> reporter: for years, fred earned top dollar in the aerospace industry. not to mention all the family money he inherited. >> they were able to afford things that none of us growing
up could possibly afford. we were blue-collar, working-class people. and we didn't know many millionaires growing up. >> reporter: he bought her things. jewelry. that sort of thing? >> well, right out of the gate, they bought a very nice home in a exclusive suburb of long beach. bixby knolls. so that was a big step up. >> reporter: mark remembers flying out to see lynn after she got married. >> she was dying to show off her home. show off her new life. >> reporter: lynn seemed happy, said mark. >> she set out -- i think with special determination having had her first marriage not last. to make this one work and function. >> reporter: to make a complete family, a desire that only intensified once charlie came along. >> she wanted her son to be the
best person he could be. and would stop at nothing to make sure that he got that. >> reporter: around bixby knolls, the schockners were considered a perfectly-normal, if upscale family. certainly not the kind of people who would be targeted by drug dealers. of course, members of the family had a slightly, more intimate perspective. mark, for example, loved his sister. but found fred a little obnoxious. >> he wasn't shy about dropping hints about the extent of his -- >> reporter: mark didn't see them very often. he lived way across the country in georgia. but when he did come to visit in long beach and they went out for dinner, fred always managed to monopolize the conversation and somehow stick mark with the bill. >> cheap. totally opinionated. absolutely self-involved. >> reporter: so when he invited
lynn and charlie to visit him in georgia. >> i basically told my sister not to bother to bring him. stay as long as she wanted. leave her old man at home. >> reporter: and on one of those visits, mark told lynn exactly how he felt. >> i said how can you let someone run your life and forett about yourself? >> reporter: afterward, he sat down and wrote many of the same things in a harshly-worded letter to fred. >> i wrote that letter. i signed the letter. i handed it to my sister. and i dared her to give it to him. >> reporter: did you think she actually would? >> i didn't know. but she did. >> reporter: that took guts. >> it did. it did. >> reporter: and, frankly, mark was pleased when a few years later after a quarter century of marriage, lynn told him they were splitting. and fred moved out of the house in bixby knolls. >> she changed somehow after your father left? >> she seemed freer.
seemed happier. more able to get excited. just really interested in everything. and very lighthearted. >> reporter: but her happiness was short lived. and when mark first heard she was murdered, his mind went to a very dark place. could fred have had something to do with it? but as much as he disliked fred, he just couldn't see it. >> there were no connections in their personal life to this person that committed the crime. >> reporter: no, it seemed pretty clear. fred had nothing to do with lynn's murder. besides, lynn changed the locks on the house after fred moved out. could it be someone she hired to install some protection actually came back to rob her and wound up killing her? after all, such a person would have seen that lynn had valuable things around her house in this very nice neighborhood. >> the neighborhood had
everything a burglar wanted to find. private yards. >> sure. >> wealthy homes. >> and she had the worst of possible luck in that he picked her. >> yes. >> reporter: and now, the family came together in grief. and when he saw fred. >> we hugged. chatted condolences. within five or ten minutes, he mentioned the letter. said do you still believe that? i said, no, that's water over the bridge. we need to get on with our family. we need to stick together. >> reporter: fred moved back into the family home. he and charlie and the rest of the family leaned on each other. well, around the neighborhood people absorbed the news that police had the driver, a possible accomplice, in custody. neighbors wondered were more people involved?
>> there was concern that there were others that might come back to more houses and more homes and that they were violent. >> reporter: but that fear soon turned to anger when another bit of news swept through bixby knolls. the police let the driver go. coming up. detectives were convinced nick harvey did not have a motive to commit murder. but just maybe someone else did. >> my partner discovered that there was a person that he talked to multiple times right before the murder. >> when "the trap" continues. sure. sometimes i wish i had legs like you. yeah, like a regular person. no. still half bike/half man, just the opposite. oh, so the legs on the bottom and motorcycle on the top? yeah. yeah, i could see that.
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♪the beat goes on yeah! us. ♪the beat goes on yeah! it's what this country is made of. but right now, our bond is fraying. how do we get back to "us"? the y fills the gaps. and bridges our divides. donate to your local y today. because where there's a y, there's an us. we don't see who you're against, through or for,rs, whether tomorrow will be light or dark, all we see in you, is a spark we see your spark in each nod, each smile, we see sparks in every aisle.
we see you find a hidden gem, and buying diapers at 3am. we see your kindness and humanity. the strength of each community. we've seen more sparks than we can say. about 20 million just yesterday. the more we look the more we find, the sparks that make america shine. welcome back. police had arrested a second guy in connection to lynn schockner's murder. the man admitted he drove nick harvey. but said he had no idea nick planned to kill his target. investigators let the man go free. a risky move for a department
under fire. lynn's family had come together in grief and was now united in their anger toward police. but detectives remained focused and releasing the driver was part of a plan. here's keith morrison with more. >> reporter: ever since lynn schockner was murdered in her own home, as police stood outside, criticism of the long beach police department had been intense. emotions raw. >> the officers were extremely upset. my understanding was one of the officers who was on the call had a -- had a nervous breakdown or, you know, an episode like that afterward because it was just too much for him. >> reporter: detective richard birdsall knew even as he investigated lynn's murder that her family was angry with the police. >> yeah, they were. they were upset like anybody would be. like the press. i mean, everybody else was upset
with us. that we didn't do our job to protect someone's life. because that's ultimately what we're supposed to do. >> reporter: lynn's husband fred even threatened to sue the long beach p.d. for not protecting his wife. and so detective birdsall knew he'd take even more heat when the news leaked out that police had arrested an alleged accomplice of the suspected killer, and then just as quickly released him. but that's exactly what birdsall did. released the man who admitted he had driven the killer to the crime scene. but the detective had a plan. >> we actually put an active feed on his -- on his phone. we want to find out who he's talking to. we have the driver. we have the killer. now, we want to find out if there's more people involved. >> reporter: detective birdsall didn't believe nick harvey was a drug enforcer. just didn't buy it. so he hoped that by releasing the driver and tapping his phone, he could uncover what was really going on. there was just one problem. after he was let go, the driver didn't reach out to anyone.
>> the only person he ever spoke to was nick harvey. >> reporter: no, the driver was not part of a larger web. he had nothing whatever to do with lynn's murder. >> so he was telling the truth. >> it turned out, yes. >> reporter: dead end. so they kept on digging into nick's background. and remember, this was a guy with a clean record. he came off like a perfectly ordinary, young man. >> we talked to the family. i mean, there was -- they were all incredulous that he would ever do something like that. >> nick's family. >> nick's family, correct. >> incredulous? >> it didn't fit him. didn't fit his persona. never thought he would be capable of doing something like this. >> reporter: so when you asked his family about him, how did they characterize him? >> at that time, he worked out a lot. he was doing steroids. but just didn't really have a focus in life. it actually was a trainer for a local gym up there. and that's all he did. he did a bouncer at a bar. not in trouble with the law. he wasn't someone that attract
someone to himself. >> reporter: but somehow, he'd found plenty of trouble. police started to figure out how when they subpoenaed his phone records. >> my partner discovered that there was a person that he talked to. and multiple times right before the murder. >> frank haramia? >> correct. >> reporter: frank, aka el cubano. unless, of course, he was in on it. how to find out? step one, said chris nelson, go back to nick harvey. lean on him a little bit. >> you got to talk to this guy before he gets arraigned. because once he's arraigned, you're screwed. he's going to get an attorney and his attorney's going to tell him to shut up. >> reporter: just what birdsall and his partner were thinking. so they confronted nick again. now, two days after lynn's murder. >> you need to be fully truthful with my partner and i right now because it's only gonna, you know, benefit you to tell the
truth. this is getting uglier and uglier. >> we went at him one last time. tell us your story. he reiterates almost exactly what he said before. >> reporter: which was that he killed lynn schockner because the burglary he tried to carry out went bad. the cops still didn't buy it. >> i've been doing this a long time, nick. you need to take into responsibility now. take care of nick now, please. and tell -- be truthful with us. because we're not gonna stop, nick. him and i, that's our job. >> reporter: and that's when nick's story started to change. >> i was hired to hit the house. i don't know why. i didn't ask. >> reporter: it is, said nick, he was hired to commit a burglary. one that depending on what he could steal might prove very profitable. b.s. said the cops. he was hired to kill and they
knew it because those phone records told a very different story than he did. and finally, nick harvey cracked. >> i remember nick harvey's words like you guys are good. you got me. >> just like that? >> just like that. and then he cops out. >> reporter: yes, he said. frank jaramillo, the guy they called el cubano, hired him to kill lynn schockner. gave him 2500 up front. promised $2,500 more when the job was done. what kind of guy would commit murder for a measly five grand was one question. but a more urgent question was who was this el cubano, really? and why would he pay a guy to kill a housewife in long beach? coming up. it's always the husband, right? but in this case, police didn't seem to think so. >> the detective was very quick to assure me that they had no
welcome back. detectives investigating the murder of lynn shockner were leaning on nick harvey when he started talking, giving them key details, including the name of the man who hired him to kill. but why would either of these two men want lynn dead? police were about to look at some phone records and discover yet another person who appeared to be involved in this sinister plot. here again is keith morrison. >> reporter: the plan had been as simple as it was ugly. nick harvey, in exchange for just $5,000 was to kill a long beach housewife named lynn schockner, stage it like a burglary, and then get away clean. instead, nick was in jail, facing murder charges, and detectives were prying apart a conspiracy. nick had already told them he'd been hired by a man named
frank jaramillo, who went by "el cubano." >> they wanted the job done, wanted the burglary staged. >> reporter: nick met el cubano at an el torito restaurant, he said, where he was paid half up front. >> what'd you do with that money? >> i moved so i had to buy a bunch of new bedroom stuff. >> reporter: he'd spent the $2,500 on new furniture from a store called the couch potato. but when the time came to earn the rest of his money, to kill lynn, he said for a moment he got cold feet. >> truth be told, when i got there, i didn't want to do it at all. in fact, when i was sitting there, i was sitting actually back by the door and i was -- the [ bleep ] up part is i actually thought about leaving right when she came up walking up. >> reporter: that's when he went
into something like fight or flight mode, he said, and he killed her. then he quickly ran into the house pulled out some drawers, grabbed some jewels to make it look like a burglary. but then when he tried to escape, he discovered, to his horror, that the cops were, or appeared to be, waiting for him. so then, listen to this, harvey had a question for the detectives. >> can i ask you a question? i don't know if you guys can answer this. how'd you get there so fast? >> neighbor. there's people in the neighborhood. someone saw you get out of the car. >> reporter: did you know the cops were even out there? >> not until i got back over the wall and i saw the van. and when i saw the van that's when i said, "this has got to be a set up." >> reporter: that is, he thought he was being double crossed by his friend frank, aka el cubano. that's why he decided to stick to the botched burglary story, he said. maybe he'd just get 2nd degree murder.
and once he got out of jail, he was going to find frank and -- >> take care of him myself. >> reporter: the detectives played along, of course. let nick dream up whatever conspiracy theory made him happy. but meanwhile, they requisitioned el cubano's phone records, and they found something quite surprising. >> not only had frank jaramillo been talking with nick harvey, but he also had talked to the husband. >> reporter: fred schockner. >> fred schockner. >> reporter: fred schockner, lynn's husband of 25 years. on the surface it didn't make much sense. after all, fred had been cooperative with detectives from day one. and yes, he had moved out of the family house. but, he told them, the break was amicable. "she was my best friend," he said. >> reporter: and yet, not long after the murder, young charlie sought out detective birdsall and whispered an awful question. >> did my dad have something to
do with this? >> reporter: charlie remembers what they told him. >> the detective was very quick to assure me that they have no suspicions of that. they don't think that would be something that was happening. and if they had thought that, that they would already have looked into it and not to worry about that. >> reporter: is that what detectives really believed? well, no. >> we had to sit there and look at him in the eye and say, "well, we'll catch everybody who was involved." >> reporter: but not say, "we suspect him." >> exactly. >> reporter: they believed, they simply couldn't tell charlie, or the rest of the family, what they were discovering. afraid that fred would find out and stop talking to them. so charlie stayed at home with his father. his uncle mark was allowed, even encouraged, to believe that fred was not involved, even as the detectives were getting the real story from the hit-man, nick harvey. >> did you know who talked to cubano regarding this? >> yeah. >> who did? >> her husband.
>> reporter: so doesn't that mean that you can now go out and arrest jaramillo and fred schockner? charge them all with murder right then. >> we wish. but remember, it's a coconspirator statement. i have no facts. i've got a statement from one person. >> reporter: that person, nick harvey, was an admitted killer and demonstrated liar. and with the police department under so much scrutiny, they didn't dare arrest anybody without solid proof. just think of the scandal if, on top of everything else, the prosecution failed. they did find fred's business card in harvey's wallet, but that wasn't enough either. meanwhile, the public and lynn's family would be encouraged to believe it was a simple case of a burglary gone bad, a murder the cops should have prevented. >> i couldn't go out there and defend my department, as much as i wanted to. >> reporter: you couldn't say anything. >> and i can't tell the press. i can't tell -- i mean, we can't defend ourselves. because the suspects, the persons of interest, are the ones we're looking at. we don't want to alert them. we don't want them to get lawyers. >> reporter: and so, inside and
outside the long beach p.d., the pressure was on. >> and my department wanted a quick resolve because we have a black eye. the press was just beating us up daily because of what we did. >> reporter: so the clock was ticking. detectives needed to prove the murder-for-hire plot, and they needed to do it fast. >> so that was the whole game is trying to play cat and mouse, trying to get more. we want to get them to talk. we want to get them to communicate. >> reporter: but wasn't going to happen, by the look of it. even though, they kept talking to fred. >> we kept going to the husband. >> reporter: playing dumb, of course, but hoping he'd panic and call el cubano. >> i mean, it was to the point where we were calling almost every day but, again, trying to give a reason, so he wouldn't become more suspicious than what he was. >> reporter: oh, just one more question, sir. >> exactly. i felt like colombo. oh, one more, sir. >> reporter: this was a game, of course, with deadly consequences. death also has a way of bringing people together. lynn was a private woman, had very few friends beyond her son, charlie. and yet --
>> we had a big service for her. it was amazing how many people came out for my mother. it was nice. i just remember i -- at that point i couldn't even cry. it was just still just depressed and shocked. and i felt bad for that for a long time, but -- >> well, that's pretty normal. >> yeah. >> did the tears come? >> yeah, it took a while, but they did. >> reporter: meanwhile, detective richard birdsall was chipping away at the case, but far too slowly for the likes of his bosses at the beleaguered long beach police department, still under fire for not preventing a murder. the detectives had found some connections among the three suspected conspirators but not nearly enough to go to court. >> you have a murder for hire. okay, now you've gotta go arrest everybody. i'd love to.
but do i have probable cause? no, i really don't. i've gotta prove more. >> and you couldn't even say that either one of those people was a suspect. >> correct. and you know, i say i was 6'2" when i started, and i was 5'2" when i finished. 'cause there was so much pressure on me to do it and go out and arrest. coming up, fred and frank finally start talking. >> we had like 60-plus phone conversations between them. >> how are you doing, bud? >> it has been a rotten, rotten time. >> reporter: but will it help detectives catch a killer when "the trap" continues. ctives cat "the trap" continues when you shop with wayfair,
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