tv The Beat With Ari Melber MSNBC December 25, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
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welcome back to "date line extra." i'm craig melvin. nick harvey had already been arrested and police were circling their wagons around two additional men they believed were involved in the fatal shooting of lynn shockner. nick admitted to killing lynn but investigators thought her husband, fred, and a man known as el cubano had plot ted the attack. detectives didn't have the evidence they needed to prove it, but they were about to set their trap. once again, here is keith morrison. >> reporter: police suspected that fred shockner was the mastermind behind the murder plot of his estranged wife, lynn. they still didn't have enough evidence to make an arrest. the detectives kept dropping in
on fred, all very nonthreatening. and then finally, they asked him if he happened to know anyone in the port hueneme area. that's where the hitman, nick harvey lived. and fred said yes, he did. the man he knew, he said, was frank jaramillo. just a guy he met when frank managed a gym in long beach. in fact, said fred, he'd bought a used bmw from frank for $25,000. and frank was going to deliver the car when he returned from an overseas business trip in new delhi. of course, from phone records, the cops knew perfectly well that frank, aka, el cubano, was in fact at home, about 50 miles north of long beach in woodland hills. but fred kept talking and, ever more chatty, volunteered that he'd lent frank more than $100,000. which made sense, given what
detectives had already learned about frank. >> he had a fetish for watches and living the lifestyle of the rich and famous. and he really didn't have a fulltime job. >> reporter: but if frank thought he was taking advantage of fred, the detectives believed it was just the opposite. >> i think fred schockner wanted to own frank jaramillo in some way. >> so frank already had the $100,000. now he's on the hook, bigtime, to fred. and fred says, "to get off the hook, you've gotta make this happen." >> correct. >> then slate's wiped clean. >> yup. absolution of all debt. >> reporter: so, in the detectives' view, fred was the mastermind, using his financial leverage to manipulate frank, who in turn hired nick for a bargain basement price. but fred still didn't know the cops even suspected him. didn't have any idea, for example, that they were tapping his phone.
so when fred actually began calling the cops to play mr. cooperative, they recorded every word. >> hello, officer, this is fred schockner. >> hey, mr. schockner, how you doin'? >> there -- there has never been anything as bad as this in my life. >> oh, right, right. >> and then, i hopefully hope there never will be. >> i don't blame you. >> but you asked me a couple of questions and let me give you some information. >> okay. >> the check that i wrote to frank was cashed on october 29th. >> $25,000. okay. >> yeah. >> that was for the bmw. >> that was for the bmw. >> reporter: and look at this. on the check there's a note that indicates the bmw would be delivered between november 7th and 8th. lynn was murdered on the 8th of november. >> i called him today and asked him about the status of the car on the voicemail. >> okay.
yeah, you called him today. did you -- you didn't happen to ask him if he was back in the country yet, did you? >> no, i just left a voicemail. >> oh, ok. >> reporter: and does this sound like fred is having fun toying with the cops? >> hey, any other questions that you have for us at this time? >> uh, happy fishing! >> yeah, nah, we just, we actually -- >> why is it going so long? that's a good question. because the fishing isn't answering, right? >> well, like i said, you know i told you from the beginning it's a pretty simple case. >> yeah. >> but our -- >> hold on a second, the other line's ringing. >> sure. >> reporter: in the middle of the conversation, fred got another call from frank jaramillo. fred puts him on hold continues to speak with the detective, even offering a theory about the killer, nick harvey. >> you know, the kid from port hueneme? >> uh-huh. >> may have been someone that was associated with the lock change, it may have been someone associated with someone she met and tried to help. >> exactly. >> reporter: fred hung up with the detective and picked up his cell phone to talk to jaramillo. that call was also recorded. >> hello, did you hear a lot of that?
>> uh, kind of. >> okay, good. >> i don't need to talk about it. >> okay. >> how are you doing, bud? >> it has been a rotten, rotten time. all the -- there's so much sympathy and so much activity surrounding it, it's unbelievable. >> reporter: so, just as the cops had been hoping, fred and frank talked. but not a word from either one to establish they were involved in a murder. >> we had, like, 60-plus phone conversations between them. >> and you're tapping them all. >> and we're tapping 'em all. >> but they just didn't slip up. so it was time, the detectives decided, to launch the undercover squad led by kris nelson. >> i was armed with information now. nick harvey's told the homicide guys what's up. they told me. so now, if you're frank and fred, frick and frack, your biggest concern is that nick's caught. >> yeah, of course.
you wanna make sure he's -- >> and what is he -- >> --not gonna say anything. >> and what does he have to trade? >> reporter: first, detective nelson decided, he'd go for broke. by phoning fred schockner himself and claiming to be the hired killer, nick harvey. >> so, how did you go about doing this? >> i went to county jail and i used one of their inmate phones, 'cause i wanted the prerecording that says, "you're receiving a call from a california penal institution," blah, blah, blah. >> and he hung up on me i think the first time. there's a pause there where they ask you if you're willing to accept. >> and he -- >> and he said, "no," click. and then i waited about five minutes and i called him again. >> reporter: and this time, fred took the call. >> and i said, "you know, i'm the guy that did that work at your house for you." and i said, "well, you know, i'm gonna need my other half. i'm gonna need my money, you know, for an attorney." and he says, "well, you already have it." and i said, "no." and he said, "well, you need to
talk to your guy." >> reporter: your guy. he could only mean frank jaramillo. but he didn't say the words. didn't say anything incriminating. and so, now he'd try something different. much riskier. time to get "uncle john" involved. coming up, detectives set a trap. >> i'm the one who can keep nick quiet. you need to give me money. >> will he knock into it? >> i don't really have money to help him out. >> when "the trap" continues. . >> when "the trap" continues
to arrest him for lynn's murder. so they decided to focus on suspected middle man, frank jaramillo, el cubano. undercover cop kris nelson had a plan. to set a trap, to make frank believe he was about to be fingered by the hit man, nick harvey. so he'd phone frank, and portray himself as -- >> a relative of nick's with a past of my own, not particularly liking cops, you know, i'm the one that can keep nick quiet. and what are you going to give me in exchange for that? you're going to give me money. >> reporter: afraid frank would recognize the trap and hang up on him, detective nelson elected to make up a very unthreatening persona. >> so, i thought, "well, i'll be uncle john," you know, that his mother sent down from the bay area to see what's really going on and what's harvey got himself into.
>> reporter: so uncle john places a call to el cubano. >> hey, uh, frank? >> yes. >> frank, hey. hey, my name's john. >> reporter: now to set the trap. he'd say nick needs money for a lawyer. >> he seems to think you or fred will help out. he didn't want a [ bleep ] public defender. >> okay. >> reporter: frank tells uncle john he knows nick, but -- >> he's more of an acquaintance. i don't, you know, i really don't have money to help him out. >> reporter: at first frank doesn't seem to take the bait. >> yeah, if i can help him in any way i -- understand, i would but -- >> uh huh. >> i'm sorry. i apologize. i can't. >> reporter: but then, carefully, uncle john reels him in. >> well, he seemed to think that, if somebody didn't reach out to him, he told me not so much you, but he told me to tell, have you tell fred that if he didn't get some help pretty soon he was, he was he was going to the cops, so -- >> okay, give me a call tomorrow and i'll see what i can do to
help you, partner. >> reporter: but, after all that, frank did not make the all important and incriminating call to fred schockner asking for money. and so the very next day uncle john tried again. >> hey, did you get a hold of fred? >> no, but between you and i, i don't mind taking care of him, bud. >> reporter: frank asked for time and agreed to meet uncle john in person to hand over some money. >> do you know where the thousand oaks mall's at? >> thousand oaks mall. >> it's off of lynn road. >> lynn. >> yes, off the 101. >> reporter: lynn road, the irony was apparently lost on frank jaramillo. it was mid-morning, late november. detective nelson was worried. would he show up? >> you sit in the parking lot by yourself and you kind of go over. and sure, your heart races a little bit. i mean, it's crunch time and you feel like everybody's kind of depending on you to get this
done. you want it to go well. >> reporter: so the idea is you're reeling them in like a fisherman? >> yep. >> reporter: but there are times when you don't know what's going to happen? >> right. you know? could have a fray in the line. have it break. had that happen a few times. >> reporter: but not this time. there was frank in a brand new lexus suv. >> frank? >> yeah, that's me. >> that's not an i.s. >> reporter: an i.s., referring to the less expensive car he said he'd be driving. >> oh, yeah. my wife took the other car this morning. >> that's sweet. now i know what you spent your money on. >> reporter: money from fred schockner, is what the cop meant. frank did not take that bait. >> i gotta get going. >> reporter: hard to tell from the video, but frank coughs up the money. >> i got a grand for you right now because they're still monitoring my accounts. >> who is? [ bleep ] >> detectives. >> are they lookin' at you? >> yeah. >> reporter: detective birdsall
was inside a van listening to the whole thing go down. >> and when you finally get something like that, that's gold. >> oh, that was the nail in his coffin. >> reporter: so the instant he offered that $1,000, you knew, "i got him"? >> yep. we got him. he locked himself into it. >> reporter: and a couple of days later, detective birdsall and his partner paid frank a visit, to snap their trap shut. >> they basically brace him with, you know, "who's this guy, john?" it's our understanding you gave him some money and he's, like, "i don't know what you're talking about." >> reporter: i've never met any guy named john -- >> yeah, you know, i come into the room a few minutes later and -- >> reporter: whoops. >> yeah. it was like the "oh, [ bleep ]" look of the century, like, and then -- >> reporter: then he realized you're a cop. >> yeah. >> reporter: oh, man. >> and he just hung his head and he just he looked sick. i think the whole world came crashing down at that point. >> you could see the look in his eyes, like, the deer in the headlights. and then he just started giving it all up.
coming up, at home with fred shockner behind closed doors. >> he said all families are like that? >> yeah. it was always, that's what families did. >> when "trap" continues. did. >> when "trap" continues know that innovation is not just about that one 'a-ha' moment. science is a process. it takes time, dedication. it's a journey. we're constantly asking ourselves, 'how can we do things better and better?' what we make has to work. we strive to protect you. at 3m, we're in pursuit of solutions that make people's lives better.
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hi, everyone. i'm kendis gibson. first lady melania trump tweeting christmas greetings to the nation, both her and president trump thanking the u.s. military for their service and wishing all americans a merry christmas and happy new year. meanwhile, u.s. troops in south korea celebrating the holiday 60 miles norof the nort korean border. earlier this month, north korea
promised a christmas gift, worrying washington that they could launch a long-range missile. welcome back. the mystery of line shockner's murder was being unraveled by long beach police. they arrested nick harvey, who admitted to stabbing lynn. thanks to an undercover sting operation, they believe they also tied lynn's death to another man, frank jaramillo. investigators believed they had one more dot to connect. now it was time to go after a person they suspected of masterminding the crime. returning to our story, here again is keith moirsson. >> reporter: nearly a month after lynn schockner was cut down at her own back door, her killer was behind bars, but her husband, fred, was still a free man and back in the family home with charlie. the press was in the dark.
long beach was in the dark. no one seriously believed what the police now firmly believed that fred schockner ordered and paid for his own wife's murder. as charlie's uncle mark said -- >> never in my wildest dreams, even after she was killed, because the circumstances, nothing pointed at fred. and the police did not point at fred. >> reporter: but, said detective richard birdsall, they had their reasons. >> we used them in a lot of respects. and you felt guilty because they're beating their chests. and they're upset. and they had no idea that the father of charlie is the one that set the whole thing up. >> reporter: well, remember, maybe some idea. >> yeah, i always had my suspicions. >> reporter: in spite of the fact that it was a burglar, and the police said it was a burglar. >> uh-huh. >> reporter: you still suspected your father? >> i didn't want to put it past him, as much as like, as a kid
you don't want to suspect someone of that. it just seemed false. like, there were clues. there were little ticks of stuff that you -- it just seemed wrong. >> reporter: it started the day his mother was murdered when he and his dad surveyed the house ransacked during the burglary. >> he had me go back and clean up all the jewelry that had been overturned and spilled out. >> reporter: what does that do to your mind? >> it made me very numb, very numb. it was a task and i did it, and then i went to bed. >> reporter: and your dad went to bed in the house with you. >> uh-huh. >> reporter: charlie understood his father intimately, of course, and he alone knew the secret. understood his father in a way that had been hidden from the outside world for years. charlie may have looked like any other happy suburban kid. but at home, he said, he understood normal life to be the constant expectation of moments of terror.
frequent, unpredictable rages. abuse. a mother desperately trying to protect him. and so he would want to beat you with a belt, and she would try to prevent it, and that would produce an argument between them? >> and then he would beat her. >> reporter: how often? >> often enough that as a child i knew what was going on. but then, that was normal, so i didn't know it was wrong. >> reporter: you thought all families were like that? >> until i had friends really come over, and they noticed stuff, and it was weird for them to notice things and to comment on it. but yeah, it was always just that's what families did. >> reporter: year after year it went on, said charlie, until his mother came to whisper her own secret. she was finally going to leave fred. >> my mom was tucking me in at night when i was 12 or so, and she was talking about how she was thinking about doing this
and that she was so nervous about doing it and didn't know if it was the right choice or what to do about it. >> reporter: what'd you think? >> my first thought was very excited, because it was just great to be able to think of getting away from him. >> reporter: and then, finally, more than a year later lynn hired family law attorney lisa brandon. what did she tell you she wanted from you? >> she wanted a fair division of the property. >> reporter: but, said lisa, fred controlled all the finances. so she didn't know how much money they had as a family? >> no, no idea. >> reporter: how much money did they have, this family? >> well, including the equity in the home, probably $6 to $7 million. >> reporter: which in a legal separation by california law would be split down the middle. but lisa said lynn told her fred would never part with any of that money. lynn also told her about fred's physical abuse.
and so with a pending separation lisa worried about lynn and charlie's safety. >> i wanted her to move out of the home with charlie. she wouldn't do it. she wouldn't leave her home. she wouldn't disrupt charlie. he was just starting high school. they'd lived in the neighborhood forever. so she was a sitting target. >> reporter: did she understand that it was dangerous for her? >> yes, yes. >> reporter: and yet, she went ahead and did it anyway? >> that's how important getting out of that relationship was to her. she was willing to risk her life, and she told me that. >> reporter: lisa told lynn she should at least get a restraining order against fred. >> it wouldn't make a damn bit of difference. >> reporter: that's what she told you? >> uh-huh. "if he's going to kill me, he'll kill me. restraining orders won't stop him." >> reporter: too late now, of course. but what about charlie? the detectives, worried about his safety, called lynn's brother, mark, he'd gone back across the country to georgia, and urged him to invite charlie for an extended visit with him
and his wife, susan, even though they did not tell mark about their suspicion. >> i was surprised, i am still to this day, that fred allowed that to happen, but he did. >> reporter: perhaps fred had more pressing things to think about. whatever his reason he put charlie on a plane to georgia just in time for the main event in the murder investigation. frank jaramillo, under arrest as the alleged middleman, was spilling it all, telling police he took money from lynn's husband. a lot of it. and used a little of it to hire the killer, nick harvey. and then, with a little polite arm-twisting, frank agreed to help set a trap for the suspected mastermind, fred schockner. but wait a minute. did you promise him something in exchange? >> didn't promise him anything, no. >> reporter: so why would he do it? >> i think, in his mind, because we got him on everything else, he was trying to dig himself out of a hole. >> reporter: or maybe frank
didn't understand how deep the hole was, as undercover cop kris nelson prepared frank for his big meeting with fred, el cubano got a call from his wife. >> he said, "i'm down here with the cops and i'm helping them." and he goes, "i'll be home later." he actually thought he was still going home. he even told me, he goes, "well, i didn't kill her." and i almost wanted to slap him and go, "no, you just hired somebody else to." >> he must have known. i mean, you got to be blind and deaf not to know that. >> you'd think. we used to laugh like, "is this guy for real?" >> reporter: frank set it up, called fred's land line, got the answering machine, still lynn's voice. >> hi, you've reached the schockner's. sorry we missed your call. please leave a message after the tone and we will get back to you. have a great day. bye-bye. >> hey, old man, it's frank. just wanted to come on by and see you and talk to you about a couple things so we can get a couple things straightened up. i would appreciate it. i'm going to try you on your cell phone, bud. take it easy.
>> no, no, no. >> reporter: fred picked up the phone. >> hello? >> hello. >> hello. >> you there? >> yeah, what's going on bud? >> nothing much. >> reporter: and they agreed to meet 7:30 in the evening at a local restaurant. >> i'll try to be there on time. >> all right, bud, thats all. i'll see you around 7:30, bud. >> right. >> okay, bye. >> reporter: less than two hours later, frank, wearing the same hidden camera that the detective used to catch him, walked in to the restaurant to meet fred schockner. >> i set him up with the camera and the audio. and we got a table, a couple tables away, to make sure that he didn't run. >> reporter: so you had your eyeballs on him. >> yeah, and we wanted to see everybody's reaction and we had, of course, the audio. we had a surveillance team outside listening to everything. coming up, one problem. 7:30 came and went. minutes ticked by. no fred. >> he was already really pair annoyed about being setup. >> would he show? and what if he didn't? when "the trap" continues. didn? when "the trap" continues. veryt,
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detectives had engineered a face-to-face meeting between the murder middleman frank jaramillo and the suspected mastermind, lynn schockner's husband, fred. this is where frank would attempt to get fred to say something to incriminate himself. except fred was late. had he finally realized they were laying a trap? nothing. if he didn't show this could all fall apart. then a signal from the surveillance van. there he was. >> the guys outside saw him kind of casing the place to make sure he wasn't being -- he was already really paranoid about being setup. >> reporter: clearly. >> came in with his notepad. >> hey, old man, how are you feeling? >> reporter: now all eyes were on frank and fred. >> and they both at this point look like they've been road hard and put away wet. i mean, just jaramillo's tired looking and, you know, you can imagine the amount of stress
that must be going through him. and then the old man who didn't look like he was doing particularly well either. >> reporter: did he look frightened or something? >> yeah, they both looked scared. they both looked like trapped rats on a burning ship, you know? >> reporter: and as they feared, fred was suspicious. he sat down, said not a word. but he'd written something on his notepad. >> at which point, fred schockner lifted that note up that says, "are you wired?" >> i'm not. >> very possible. >> i thought he was going to walk, you know? i thought, you know, this guy's going to come to his senses and realize this -- >> reporter: stand up and turn out and walk out the restaurant. >> but he didn't. >> reporter: he stayed. and they talked. frank trying to get fred to admit his role, fred deflecting his attempts. >> you know, you and i would not be sitting here if you didn't want, if you didn't want lynn killed, you know that. >> i don't know what you're talking about.
>> reporter: but frank kept going at him, and fred finally let something slip. >> i'm scared, fred. i don't know, i understand you're scared, too. you have to understand. we would not be in this position if it wasn't for her. if it wasn't for lynn, we would not be here. >> that's true. and if it hadn't been sloppy on nick's part we wouldn't be here either. >> reporter: fred referring to nick harvey, the hired killer. for the first time connecting himself to lynn's murder. but frank kept going after him, as if he knew they needed more. >> we would not [ bleep ] be here if it wasn't for you. we would not be here. we wouldn't. >> and we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the way things were [ bleep ] up by nick. >> it's not a question of being [ bleep ] up. what's done is done, okay? if he [ bleep ] up, he's doing you a favor, not me. he was doing you a [ bleep ] favor. if he [ bleep ] up and got caught, that's him. he's doing time for you, okay,
if he had known that. >> part of the risk. >> it was like watching two old married couple arguing back and forth about whose fault it was that the, you know, dinner was cold or something. >> reporter: but of course, this argument was deadly serious. >> you have to understand, we need to [ bleep ] erase this problem. this is your problem, okay? you have to understand. listen to me. >> no. >> listen. >> no, it's not my problem. it's our problem, isn't it? >> i would have to say it's more your problem. >> reporter: fred was still very suspicious of frank and asked a few more times if he was wired. frank, frustrated now, tried to goad him. >> i killed lynn? you're saying that i killed lynn? >> nope. you arranged. >> you're saying i killed lynn? >> nope. >> who wanted her dead? answer me that [ bleep ] question. who wanted her dead? who benefited for that, fred? >> nobody benefited. >> reporter: frank argued like a man who wasn't acting.
maybe he wasn't. >> oh, really? then who wanted her dead? me? answer me that [ bleep ] question. who wanted her [ bleep ] dead? not me. >> reporter: the tension between the two seemed to reach a breaking point. >> if you would back off and allow us to think and talk together. >> you have to understand that's why i'm here. >> no, what you're here is trying to incite me to do things. >> oh really? >> you keep on saying this over and over. >> okay, you know what, fred? why don't you just go home? why don't you just go home? and thank you very much. and i'll tell nick the same. have a good evening, fred. why don't you leave, bud? have a good evening. thank you for everything. whatever money i owe you, i'll [ bleep ] pay you back. get the [ bleep ] out of my face. because you really [ bleep ] me. you really [ bleep ] nick. and don't worry about me no more. i asked you a simple [ bleep ] question and you could not answer it. >> reporter: and just as fred was walking away, frank gave it
one last shot. >> why don't you [ bleep ] admit what you did wrong? >> i haven't done anything wrong. >> okay, and i did everything, right? >> no, you haven't done anything either, have you? >> no. >> that's what you told me on the phone. >> you need to quiet nick's family. >> what? >> you need to quiet nick's family on your part. it's not mine. >> i don't have the cash for nick's family because you have all my cash. >> so if you want to give me the cash, i'll give it back to you and you can do what you want. >> reporter: and that was it. maybe not exactly the words detective birdsall hoped to hear, but after weeks of dead ends and intense pressure, getting fred on tape saying those things finally made his case. what was the mood in the van you were sitting in? >> it was elation. we got enough. >> reporter: finally, enough evidence to arrest him. but they didn't. they let him go home just to see what he'd do. >> let's just see if he reaches out to somebody.
because now he's scared. >> reporter: back at the restaurant frank waited for an all clear signal from the detectives. and the waiter, who'd frequently served the schockner family, stopped by to reminisce about lynn. >> she's very nice, very funny. >> reporter: putting frank in a very uncomfortable spot. >> there's nothing that anybody can say, so. >> reporter: he wasn't able to complete his thought, and soon fred would be having a very different kind of conversation with the police. coming up, what a mess. and fred forgot to clean up. >> didn't throw his trash in time. >> nope. >> when "the trap" continues. n. >> when "the trap" continues dis are excited about the potential of once-weekly ozempic®. in a study with ozempic®, a majority of adults lowered their blood sugar and reached an a1c of less than 7 and maintained it. oh! under 7? (announcer) and you may lose weight. in the same one-year study, adults lost on average up to 12 pounds.
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ensuring clean energy across the country. how are we going to pull this country together? we take on the biggest challenge in history, we save the world and we do it together. welcome back. a videotaped conversation between frank jaramillo and fred shockner provided police with the proof they needed to connect fred to his wife's murder.
as investigators meet to move, news would travel to fred's family. fred's famison was about to rec an ultimate blow after his mother was killed. his father may have been the one responsible. >> you have to understand, i'm a 29-year-old man, fred. >> reporter: before he got mixed up with fred schockner, frank jaramillo, aka el cubano, had so many possibilities. he'd just recently married a wonderful woman, a school teacher, who had no idea what her husband had done or what he was facing. >> there's nothing that's going to happen if we both maintain our cool. >> reporter: but it was too late for that. frank did not go home to his wife that evening. he submitted to a pair of handcuffs and was carted off to jail. and fred? well, fred did go home under the watchful eye of the undercover cops, who also
conducted a thorough search of the restaurant for those notes fred wrote. they found nothing. nor did fred contact anyone else that evening. and so the next morning -- >> we just showed up 9:00 in the morning and caught him in his pajamas. and disheveled. i mean, you could tell he hadn't slept a lot that night. >> reporter: he look shocked, worried, upset? >> very shocked and very upset. why were we there? and, you know, our response is, "we're here to arrest you." >> reporter: they took him away, and when they searched his house they found one last piece of evidence in a trash can. one of those notes fred scribbled in the restaurant. "sloppy nick," it said. he didn't throw out his trash in time. >> nope. >> reporter: across the country in georgia, charlie got the news. >> yeah, that was another kind of happy moment, to be honest. >> reporter: that's quite a place to get to in life, when you're happy that your father's
been arrested for murder, the murder of your mother, mind you. >> yeah. i mean, no one wants to -- no one would want to actually say, "oh, gosh, yeah, that's a good thing." but after everything, growing up with him in the house, it seems like a little bit a justice. >> reporter: almost three years after lynn's death the three men charged with her murder finally went on trial. and detective richard birdsall and undercover cop kris nelson, both retired now, were there. >> it's always nice to see a case all the way through, and see it in, you know, in my opinion, see people get, you know, get what they got coming to them. >> reporter: do they give you a special, weird look? >> you know, when they walked in court, the only one that looked good that day, like rested and fine, was nick harvey. you could tell he had come to terms with what he'd done.
he knew he was never going to see the light of day again. the other two were really struggling with it. they looked really beat. >> they were so different, the three of them. they were a very unlikely trio of criminals. >> reporter: wendy thomas russell, a reporter for "the long beach press telegram" at the time, covered all three trials. nick harvey's was first. >> i would have to say he was more brawn than brain. and i don't mean that to be insensitive, but this is a guy who took the witness stand in his own defense, and he said that he aspired to be a hit man. >> reporter: he said that on the witness stand? >> yes. >> reporter: what did you think? >> i thought, "you're not the brightest bulb on the marquis." >> reporter: no kidding. >> no, so he said that he had toyed around with being a hit man, that he had idolized the
hulk as a child, incredible hulk. and he said that he had taken steroids just to get bigger and, you know, stronger. and you know, it's was very hard for the jury to have sympathy for him. >> reporter: and they didn't. the jury found him guilty in about 35 minutes. first-degree murder and burglary. next was frank jaramillo. >> he said that he wouldn't have done it had schockner not threatened his wife and his in-laws. >> reporter: so this was -- he did it out of fear then? >> yeah, he said, literally, he said on the stand that he had sacrificed his life for his family, when we all know that he has sacrificed lynn schockner's life for his pocketbook. >> reporter: but that was his defense? >> that was his defense. >> reporter: the verdict, guilty of first-degree murder. and now it was fred's turn. >> the man had aged at least ten years.
he looked so frail. >> reporter: but this wasn't over just yet. when fred schockner took the witness stand he told the jury he could explain everything. do tell. coming up -- >> he was very defiant and completely maintained his innocence. >> will the jury believe him? >> i had a moment of just sitting there and just started crying, hugged my family. >> when "the trap" continues. >> when "the trap" continues nees skip to the good part with alka-seltzer plus. now with 25% more concentrated power. nothing works faster for powerful cold relief. oh, what a relief it is! so fast!
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compelled to watch his family's darkest secrets spill out. then in the end he would get the opportunity to speak directly to his father here with the conclusion of our story is keith morrison. >> you hold your breath. the world kind of stops. >> a hushed courtroom in long beach, california. fred schockner, charged with commissioning the murder of his wife, caught on tape blaming a sloppy hit man, took the stand in his own defense. >> he was very defiant. and completely maintained his innocence until the end. i mean, in the face of this overwhelming evidence he maintained his innocence. >> it was all a tragic misunderstanding, said fred. he didn't pay for murder, just for a used bmw. and all those calls to his alleged co-krntd, el cubano, that's what they were -- wait for it.
pocket calls. and they proved nothing. the jury had to consider all possibilities, naturally. and there was no shortage of nerves among members of lynn's family. charlie, just 17 years old that day, wachld ttched the jury fil in. >> it's "law & order" and everything right then. you sit there and everybody comes in. you hold your breath. the world kind of stops. you don't -- you don't know what the outcome is because they have all the power. whatever they say is either the truth or what is going to be the truth. >> a lot of butterflies in your tummy. >> oh, god. yeah. >> he looked at their faces for some sign. waited nervously for justice for his mother. >> what was it like to hear the words? >> emancipating. it was just unbelievable. >> the verdict -- guilty. of first-degree murder. >> i had a moment of just
sitting there and i just started crying. i hugged my family. >> you know, it's interesting. you say hugged my family. because somebody who doesn't know the whole story may say well, you just lost your family. but they don't know the whole story. >> yeah, no. no. having my mother's side of the family, her two brothers and their family with me, it was amazing. it's what family should be. they were all there for me. >> the judge allowed charlie to address his father in court. >> i had this whole like speech prepared of -- it was just this vindication of everything. but i was so angry, just shaking. and not really able to get my words out. but i managed to say like i'm no longer your son, i can't believe you would do this, and just you're going to where you belong. >> it would be a pretty scary moment. i mean, a nervous-making moment.
>> it was terrifying. to know that it was actually going to happen, that this was the culmination of everything. it was a lot of emotion. >> also a way of saying good-bye to him. >> yeah. yeah. >> through all of this fred schockner maintained his innocence. in fact, even before his trial began fred did carry out a threat he added right after the murder. he launched a lawsuit against the long beach police department for not protecting his wife, lynn. >> he went to the city and filed a claim, which is a precursor to a lawsuit, against the city of long beach, blaming the long beach police department for not preventing the murder of his wife because they had not, you know, followed through -- followed proper procedure.
>> wait a minute, it's their fault because they didn't prevent me from killing my wife? >> that's right. exactly. >> the claim was rejected. but now, on the day of his sentencing, he tried the same argument again. >> chutzpah. >> yes. that was the judge's response too. he called it soefistry. and he called him a disgusting human being. and he did not mince words. >> fred was sentenced to life without parole. they all were. >> in a few sentences what you think the motive in this murder was. >> money. >> in one word apparently. >> for whatever reason. 3 or 4 million was not enough for manfred schockner. he wanted 6 or 8. >> even from prison fred schockner fought to keep it all for himself. fought his own son, his own blood. tried to prevent charlie from getting his share of the schockner estate. and though charlie was
eventually granted some of the money, fred kept millions for himself. though how he'd manage to spend it in prison was unclear. we wrote letters to all three of them. nick harvey, frank jaramillo, and fred schockner. asking to hear from them what happened. fred wrote back and said he was convicted on "highly skeptical circumstantial evidence" and that "there should have been more than enough to prove my innocence." nick, now in his 30s, called us. he has matured in prison, he said, was mad at the world back then, but has found god now. but listen to this. though he takes full responsibility for what he did, he's also been nursing a strange and very lonely conspiracy theory. >> i always believed police were involved. >> you mean they intentionally sent her back there to be killed? >> yes. >> you don't still believe that,
though? >> well, i'm not a big believer in court sentences, especially in situations like this. >> lots of time to think in prison about things like that. but also about charlie. >> oh. young charlie. he -- what i did to charlie is -- haunts me every day. >> yeah. >> you know, i took so much from him. >> but whether nick knew it or not, charlie was in the very capable hands of his uncle mark, who'd received a commission from his worried sister lynn before she was murdered. >> if anything happens to me, take care of my son. >> and he did. how do you feel about that boy? >> love him. yeah. this one's going to be tough. i always look back at that moment as the greatest gift i
ever received. from the man who i still hate more than any person i've ever known. and my wife and i didn't have children of our own. now i've got the best son in the world. >> it's been great. mark and susan are just -- they're great. i love them so much. >> and so in a sad strange way out of unimaginable evil and loss came love. a real family. an unexpected blessing. >> what's he done for you personally? having him in your life. >> it's like getting another life. like somebody opened a door and say here's a second chance. >> a reason to get up in the
morning. >> damn straight. a reason to live. >> mark and susan are now his mom and dad. he has taken their last name. and charlie has more than survived. he is thriving. >> i'm going somewhere, and i'm going fast. >> he got his master's and landed his dream job in theme park design. and he has learned in spite of everything that rarest of lessons, to accept and move on. >> i mean, i know what happened, and i know it's influencing me. but it's not defining me. >> but there is one thing that defines him. his mother's character. and that follows him everywhere. >> my mother was just ethereal. she holds a very special place. she's just everything that you think of as good, everything you think of as kind, everything that is just great about people.
that's what she embodied. and i carry that with me. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. my parents always told me that monsters don't exist. i can tell you with absolute certainty that is 110% false. and he is a monster. >> a wife and mother killed in her own home. >> i get a phone call from a screaming irrational voice on the other end. i said, is it rachel? >> i said what do you mean? somebody came into her house and
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