Skip to main content

tv   Dateline  MSNBC  February 9, 2020 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

6:00 pm
of our live audience. we start at 11:00 a.m. eastern. we look forward to having you join us. but for now, good night from manchester, new hampshire. i just think that she was gone. >> she was a bright, young man-to-be. >> she was beautiful. >> confident, strong. >> it was the smile that really got me. >> moving on from a messy divorce, jumping into a new romance. no one could believe it when they found her. >> they're saying it was a homicide. >> then police found something else, revealing recordings.
6:01 pm
>> everything's changed like instantly. it's weird. >> brittney is essentially speaking from the grave. >> you could see the emotions that she went through. >> could she point police to her killer. >> i'm in shock and scared to death. all at once, just in a flash, your life just changed. >> deadly circumstances. hello. and welcome to dateline extra. brittney eldridge had fallen head over heels for someone in her office. there was a problem. she was married to another man. things become more complicated for brittney when she got pregnant. then a couple weeks from her due date, the expected mother was a no show from work. at first concerned coworkers thought she had gone into labor, but nothing could prepare them for the truth soon to be revealed. here's andrea.
6:02 pm
>> imagine all of your phone conversations being recorded for prosperity. how would you feel? what secrets would they tell. >> why are you talking like you're trying to hide something? >> this story begins here in knoxville, tennessee. looks a lot like any office in america. but when workers here talked on their desk phones, every word was captured. >> she always looks like she's about to kill somebody. >> and, oh, the stories they told, unfiltered and intimate. the details about office romances. >> oh, my god. he was so hot. >> and in one heart-breaking case, maybe even clues about a murder. >> this was a real who dunnit. >> norman clark loves sports. his mother says he was a top athlete and a goodson, too. >> he was a loving, hard worker,
6:03 pm
caring person. >> as a boy, norman had dreams of playing in the nba. then studied sports management in college. but by his mid-20s, he was working here, vanderbilt mortgage and finance. 23-year-old brittney started there the very same day. >> she was beautiful, but it was the smile that really got me. >> that winning smile got to a lot of people. brittney's big brother jeffrey says she embraced life with a contagious enthusiasm. >> she likes to cheer lead and she liked to play soccer. she was a girly girl and a tomboy at the same time. she was big at living in the moment. >> norman and brittney were collectors, calling people to make sure they kept up with their house payments. >> what was it about brittney that you formed this instant connection with. >> she was very good at the top. so i actually used her as a tool as first to teach me. she helped me out a lot. that's when we started talking
6:04 pm
more and more about things other than work. >> what did she like about you? >> she liked that i listened, that i cared about what she had to say. it was strictly platonic, strictly friends. but then it developed more probably eight months later. >> it developed a lot more. they became lovers. and that's when things got complicated. norman was single, but brittney, it turns out, was married. her husband was a man named terry eldridge, a truckdriver that drove his rig at night. >> she was happy, but she wanted children. he did not. >> were there any other issues, or was that the only one. >> they didn't spend a lot of time together because of their work schedule. she worked during the day. she worked at night, so they didn't see each other a lot. >> amaried woman having an affair for a coworker, not exactly the script for a fairy
6:05 pm
tale romance. >> we never went out in public, you know, out to eat or anything like that maybe one time. >> but if colleagues could have heard their recorded interoffice phone calls, they would have discovered some suggestive flirty banter. >> i could use your big, strong manly muscles. >> we're all good. >> more than a year after their affair started, norman and brittney were still keeping things quiet. then in february 2011, their secret affair became not so secret. brittney's husband found out, and not long after, she moved out and a divorce was in the works. >> did things start to get a little too serious and real? >> actually i don't know because she didn't even come to me and tell me they were getting a divorce. she just told me she was moving out and that he found out we had been having an affair. >> brittney delivered some expected news to her mother robin. she was pregnant, and the father
6:06 pm
was her coworker norman clark. >> when brittney told you she was having a child with norman, what did you think? >> kind of shocked at first. surprised. didn't know how to feel. >> did you think it was a mistake or were you like, it's a blessing to have a baby. >> it was a blessing to her. and, so, i guess when the shock wears off you're just happy for her and you're just there to do whatever you can to support her. >> norman says the baby certainly wasn't planned, but he says brittney was still his best friend and he took the whole thing in stride. >> i was happy for her because i knew she wanted to have a baby, but at the time she was still married. >> this is starting to get messy. got a baby. she's now divorcing her husband who found out about you. >> i wouldn't say it was messy. it was complicated. >> this wouldn't be norman's first experience with parenthood. a year earlier he had a baby girl with a nashville woman he
6:07 pm
had been seeing. norman helped support his daughter and said he was willing to do the same for brittney. >> what is it like being a father? >> it is the best thing in the world. i became a better man, a better person and i worked hard to become a better parent for her. >> had you always wanted more kids? >> yes. >> brittney was excited about becoming a mother and thrilled to learn she was having a boy. >> she even picked out a name for the baby. >> she did. >> what was the name? >> zeke, ezekiel. >> she was just working and being happy about the baby and waiting for it to come and getting things ready for it. >> brittney decided to keep working for as long as she could. december 13th, 2011 was just two weeks away from her due date. it's a day her friend and coworker andrea ray will never forget. brittney uncharacteristically was late for work. >> she should have been there at 8:30. i was one of the people that new
6:08 pm
anything about norman. i went over there to norman's desk, and i said, can you get in touch with brittney's mom? >> so i called her and asked her if she had heard from brittney. she said she hadn't, so she would check on her. >> was it your thought that, maybe brittney has gone into labor. >> it was. i think that was everybody's first instinct. >> robin went to brittney's apartment to be sure her daughter was okay. but when she called norman, it wasn't happy news about a new baby. >> it was a very frightening phone call. she was very upset and she was crying. and i'll never forget how she sounded on the phone. >> robin was frantic, and her world was about to be turned upside down. robin faces her worst fear, an awful discovery inside brittney's apartment. coming up -- >> oh, my god. >> what?
6:09 pm
ma'am, what? >> i ran out of the apartment because i'm scared and the 911 operator said go back in there. >> oh, god. ma'am, okay. hold on, honey. hold on. >> oh, it was just in a flash your life just changed. >> when deadly circumstances continues. mstances continues. ahh no, come on. i saw you eating poop earlier. hey! my focus is on the road, and that's saving me cash with drivewise. who's the dummy now? whoof! whoof! so get allstate where good drivers save 40% for avoiding mayhem, like me. sorry! he's a baby! break out the butter loif you've been dreaming aboutr tender wild-caught lobster, dig in to butter-poached, fire-roasted and shrimp & lobster linguini. see? dreams do come true. or if you like a taste of new england without leaving home, try lobster, sautéed with crab, jumbo shrimp and more,
6:10 pm
or maybe you'd like to experience the ultimate surf and the ultimate turf... with so many lobster dishes, there's something for every lobster fan so hurry in and let's lobsterfest. or get pick up or delivery at you've been hearing a lot about 5g. but there's 5g... and then there's verizon 5g. we're building the most powerful 5g experience for america. it's more than 10x faster than some other 5g networks. and it's rolling out in cities across the country so people can experience speeds that ultra wideband can deliver. 1.7 gigs here in houston. 1.8 gigs here in frigid omaha. almost 2 gigs here in los angeles. that's outrageous! it's like an eight-lane highway compared to a two-lane dirt road. ♪ when youyou spend lessfair, and get way more. so you can bring your vision to life and save in more ways than one.
6:11 pm
for small prices, you can build big dreams, spend less, get way more. shop everything home at
6:12 pm
robin owens will never forget the day she learned her daughter did not show up for work. >> it's unusual for her because she always showed up even if she didn't feel good. she would be there so i just knew something was wrong. >> her fear became a terrifying reality the moment she stepped into her daughter's unlocked
6:13 pm
apartment. >> the whole place is just a mess and i don't see her anywhere. i'm scared to death. >> without taking another step she called 911. >> emergency. >> what is it? >> my daughter, her work just called me and i came over to her apartment and it looks like it's been trashed. >> i ran out of the apartment because i'm scared and the 911 operator, she said, you know, go back in there and see if you can find her. >> inside the front door seen here in this police video robin saw brittany's flat screen tv lying on the floor. >> oh, my gosh. >> what? ma'am, what? >> next to the living room couch the scattered contents of her purse. then robin heard the sound of
6:14 pm
running water coming from the bathroom. >> oh, my. >> ma'am, talk to me. >> so i had been everywhere except for the bedroom and it was back in the back and i didn't want to go in there and i get to the doorway of the bedroom and i just got a glimpse of her and i just knew that she was gone. >> she's on the floor dead. >> are you sure? >> she's naked. oh, my god. >> in where, what room? >> in her bedroom. oh, god. oh, god. >> ma'am, hold on, honey. hold on. >> no. >> i ran straight out of the apartment and by this time the ambulance and police and fire department and all the emergency crews were coming. >> robin was in shock. the pain was more than she could bear. at the scene a police cruiser's dash cam captured an officer trying to console her. >> oh god, i can't believe this happened.
6:15 pm
why? >> it's the worst horror a mother could ever have to witness. >> it is and you wouldn't think anything like that would happen in a million years and all at once just in a flash your life just changed. >> brittany eldridge had been stabbed in the throat they found her next to her bed. her naked body partially covered by lingerie. she was just 25 years old. the unborn boy she named zeke was gone too. >> after the shock has worn off, you must be thinking who did this? >> i'm thinking how in the world could somebody murder a young lady that is 8 1/2 months pregnant. you know, how could somebody be so cruel? i'm thinking, why? that's a question that's never answered is why. >> were you the one who broke the news to jeffrey? >> yes. >> that must have been extremely difficult. >> it was very hard.
6:16 pm
>> jeffrey, brittany's older brother was at the gym. >> which got back to my locker and got my phone i had 40 missed calls. she said, somebody killed your sister. >> did you immediately ask who did this? >> i never thought about it. >> all jeffrey could think about was brittany was gone, the kid sister who always filled him with pride and often talked about becoming a mom. now that dream would never be realized and in its place would be a murder investigation. >> it was a very closed off scene. they had, of course, crime scene tape around. >> when reporter jamie satterfield heard about a body she went to the scene. are police telling you anything. >> the major crime folks came later as did the crime scene folk. >> what investigators found was a ransacked apartment suggesting a burglary interrupted and had turned violent. in fact, there had been a series
6:17 pm
of burglaries in the area in recent days. for jamie, there were things to speculate about in those early moments. but nothing concrete to report. >> other than just hunches and all that we just didn't have anything to go on. >> did you have an open mind as to the scenarios of what might have happened who could have done. >> i didn't know cuss on any one person. i just wanted to know who did it and why. >> yeah, i never had a specific person in mind. that could have done it. i didn't have a clue. >> there weren't many clues. but there were so many questions. and in this case there would be no easy answers. >> coming up -- >> that was my baby. my family is out there. i can't even grieve. >> the father-to-be from grief to disbelief. when "dateline" continues.
6:18 pm
>> are you telling me this is normal? >> yes, sir. but why from me? >> you're the boyfriend.
6:19 pm
6:20 pm
motor? nope. not motor? it's pronounced "motaur." for those who were born to ride, there's progressive.
6:21 pm
welcome back. it was a disturbing crime scene. more than eight months pregnant, murdered in her own bedroom. her unborn baby boy also dead. detectives would immediately want to talk to the men in brittney's life. here's andrea with more on our story. when norman clark heard about brittany's murder, he left work and rushed to the scene. what's going through your mind as you're racing to brittany's apartment? >> that it's not real. this wasn't really happening. when i got there, there was police officers there. so i pulled up to her apartment, parked right in front and jumped out the car and was heading into the apartment.
6:22 pm
>> can i help you. >> here's norman at that exact moment captured on a police dash cam. >> that's my baby. >> okay, okay, okay. >> what did you say to that police officer? >> i told him that that was my baby that was in there. i needed to get in there. i was thinking that the baby could still be born. that was what was going through my mind the whole time. >> norman says officers blocked him from entering the apartment. and in a matter of minutes they had him in the back of this police cruiser. >> i'm in trouble? >> no, sir, you're not in trouble, no, sir. >> so tell me more please. just update me because i'm really confused. >> police were asking questions and so was norman. >> so you're telling me this is normal? >> yes, sir, this is proceed proceed coll. >> why for me. >> you're the boyfriend. >> i sat there for awhile, i'd say for an hour.
6:23 pm
>> did you wonder why you were sitting in the back of the car for so long? >> i was and i understood they wanted to ask me questions. i didn't understand why i was sitting in the back of the police car. >> how were you treated? to me i felt like i was treated unfairly especially voluntarily answering every question. i feel they automatically did jump to a rush of judgment on who i was, you know, for showing up there. >> we have to talk to the people that know her because we have to figure out what is going on here. >> that was my baby. >> i understand. >> my family is out there. >> i understand. >> i'm sitting in the back of the police car. i can't even grieve because -- i don't even know what's going on. >> this happened to my friend and child. >> do you think maybe i should get a lawyer? >> no the fact -- the tone they're taking with you. >> no, ma'am. >> why not. >> i was answering every question they wanted to know. >> detectives had more questions for norman downtown at police headquarter. >> you have the right to consult what i -- with a lawyer. >> he didn't ask for a lawyer. >> i want to make sure you city want to talk to me. >> yeah. >> norman tried to be helpful, he said. he told detectives de have plans to see brittany the night she
6:24 pm
was killed but ended up going straight home after work and then spent the night with a friend. he gave police his phone so they could search his car and when they wanted dna from him. >> i would like to get a saliva sample. >> he let them take a sample immediately. that night, detectives drove norman to his house to collect the clothes he wore the night before. then it was back to headquarters for another round of questioning. it had been a very long day. norman felt he cooperated every step of the way. but by now he'd reached the end of his rope. >> i'll give you anything i want. i'm giving you everything. >> we appreciate that. >> detectives spent hours with norman that day but after that second interview he was released. norman was relieved. but there woulden tough day as head. ♪ how sweet the sound >> reporter: just one day later he attended a candlelight vim.
6:25 pm
>> how were you received. >> with open arms from the whole family. you know, they knew that i had just lost two people that i loved also. >> brittany's family buried her a few days later still not knowing who was responsible or even who would want to harm her. of course, there was someone police knew they needed to look at. the man brittany had recently divorced. terry eldridge. brittany was 17 years younger than terry. she was only 22 when they got married. it wasn't long before their marriage was in trouble. >> really you started to fall apart because she was getting antsy and wanted to have a family and settle down and he was just out driving a truck all the time. you know, she just kind of felt like this is not right for me like it used to be. >> the final straw was when terry found out brittany was having an affair with her co-worker norman clark and was
6:26 pm
pregnant with his baby. given that basket of facts the police investigating brittany's murder knew it was time for a talk with her ex-husband. >> coming up, investigators uncover secrets from brittany's life. revealing recordings that race new suspicious. >> coming up -- >> he was e-mails lime like normal. and then as soon as i told him, everything changed like instantly. and normal had secrets of his own. >> how many women were you seeing at the time. >> maybe 15 to 20. >> when "deadly circumstances" continues. you always drive this slow? how did you make someone i love? that must be why you're always so late. i do not speed. and that's saving me cash with drivewise. my son, he did say that you were the safe option. and that's the nicest thing you ever said to me. so get allstate. stop bossing. where good drivers save 40% for avoiding mayhem, like me.
6:27 pm
this is my son's favorite color, you should try it. [mayhem] you always drive like an old lady? [tina] you're an old lady. and my side super soft? yes. with the sleep number 360 smart bed, on sale now, you can both adjust your comfort with your sleep number setting. can it help me fall asleep faster? yes, by gently warming your feet. but can it help keep me asleep? absolutely, it intelligently senses your movements and automatically adjusts to keep you both comfortable. so, you can really promise better sleep? not promise. prove. and now, during the ultimate sleep number event, save 50% on the sleep number 360 limited edition smart bed. plus 0% interest for 24 months on all smart beds. only for a limited time.
6:28 pm
6:29 pm
i'm richard lui with your top stories. pete buttigieg earned the most voters. the former south bend mayor earned 14 delegates with senator bernie sanders trailing at 12. nbc news not projecting a
6:30 pm
winner. 908 people have been killed by the coronavirus outbreak. another 3,000 people have been diagnosed by the virus, bringing the case to over 40,000. now back to "dateline." welcome back to "dateline." i'm craig melvin. detectives investigating the murder of brittney immediately had questions for her lover, norman clark. he gave them his dna and his full cooperation. it was time for investigators to pay a visit to the other man in brittney's life, her jilted ex-husband. once again, here's andrea cannon. >> after more than two decades covering murder investigations reporter jamie satterfield knew this one was a no-brainer. the husband who discovered his wife was having another man's baby was someone detectives
6:31 pm
needed to investigate. did you wonder immediately about brittany's ex-husband. >> you know, the ex-husband is always your first suspect. their divorce had not been very pleasant. >> detectives questioned her ex-husband terry. terry was looked at by the police. they did take a dna sample. >> and it did cross my mind, what if terry did do this. you have to think about all the different possibilities, you know, could this person have done this? would they have done it? what would have been their reason to do it? >> when the results of terry's dna test came back from the lab it didn't match samples from the crime scene. police also found out he was nowhere near brit any's apartment at the time of the murder. his alibi was airtight. >> he really ended up not being much of a player in the case once they ruled him out. >> eldridge was cleared of any wrongdoing. norman clark had been questioned and released too. if police had any leads they
6:32 pm
were holding them close. >> i was curious why they were being so particularly tight-lipped about it. i think my primary concern was that this was just a case that was going to get shelved. >> that's exactly what brittany's family feared most too. that she and the baby she was carrying would be forgotten. >> we are her voice. we have to keep her memory alive. >> a full year passed. then two. with no arrests. but investigators were still working the case. in part because they heard from someone with inside information, someone unexpected, the victim herself. >> can i help you? >> remember, brittany's employer recorded every call she made on company phones. it was done for quality control but now investigators could listen to her conversations. and those calls explained a lot about her relationship with norman clark. >> how are things with you?
6:33 pm
>> um, well, very odd with norman. >> brittany's conversations with friends made it clear the oddness with norman began the day she told him she was pregnant. >> he was emailing me like normal then as soon as i told him, everything changed. it like instantly. >> wussie! >> yeah, i mean, it's weird. >> andrea ray, a close work friend says brittany often gave her an earful about norman. >> i think that she had hopes that he would respond and, you know, to her pregnancy in a positive way and that that would somehow bring them together. but that was not the response that she got. >> i can't take the wishy-washy like bipolarism. i don't know if he's thinking about all this. how can you not for one thing. >> he's a guy.
6:34 pm
that's why not. >> brittany was still in love with norman and pregnant with his child. she seemed desperate to figure out her future as a mother and how norman would fit into her life. norman to put it mildly was not acting like he was ready for a commitment. >> how you doing? >> i'm great. >> investigators had access to all of norman's recorded work calls too. they were very revealing. >> i wanted to ask you, you ever get with [ muted ]. >> yeah, i banged that out last week. >> did you really? >> yeah. yeah, yeah, that was only my second time seeing her. >> congratulations, dude. >> thank you, thank you. >> you wild, man. you're wild, dude. >> norman, it turns out was in other relationships at the same time he was with brittany. when we sat down with him, norman said he loved sex and women. lots of women. how many women were you seeing
6:35 pm
at the time? >> maybe 15 to 20. >> norman, that's a lot of women. >> i was single and i'm very friendly person. they knew that i was not looking for a relationship so friends with benefits. >> how do you even meet that many ladies? >> through work, online dating sites. >> were you sleeping around with multiple co-workers? >> yes. >> did that ever get messy. >> no, ma'am. >> seems a little odd that all these women were okay with you sleeping with all these other women. i wouldn't be okay with that. but maybe i'm old fashioned. >> well, i mean with different women that i met, they accepted what it was because i was honest up front. this is what i'm looking for. >> 15 to 20 different women at the same time? hard to believe brittany would be okay with that and norman didn't quite fit the image of a playboy. to save money he was living in his parents' basement yet was still barely stay ago head of debt collectors who would call
6:36 pm
him at work. >> you're still due for september, october and november. >> for the payment? >> yeah. >> investigators might have simply written off norman as a low budget don juan, except for this. three days before brittany was murdered after months of ignoring her, norman suddenly showed an interest in her and their baby. >> i'm trying to fill out this text norman sent me last night. he said, i will be back sunday. stay pregnant till then, promise? >> and she said what do you think that means? and i said, i have no idea and she said, well, i guess he wants to be part of this baby's life. >> well, he didn't go for that. >> no. >> what was norman thinking? investigators believed an entry from brittany's diary provided a hint. she wrote she planned to take norman to court to get child
6:37 pm
support for her baby. >> she knew he had a child with someone else and that he did participate there, so why wouldn't he here? >> andrea says the night before the murder she was on the phone with brittany who was texting with norman at the same time. >> she says he wants to meet monday after work and i said, tell him no. >> but brittany said yes. norman insists he blew off their date and did not go to her apartment monday the night she was murdered. but her family didn't believe him. they had grown very suspicious of norman and wondered why police hadn't moved in on him. >> how frustrated were you that he was walking around? >> very frustrated. i even called the lead investigator at one point and told him if you don't come get him, i will take care of him myself. >> were you being serious. >> i was being dead serious. >> despite the family's frustration, the case was moving forward. and almost 2 1/2 years after
6:38 pm
brittany was killed, prosecutors presented their evidence to a grand jury. they charged norman clark with the murders of both brittany and their unborn son. clark was arrested on may 14th, 2014. he pleaded not guilty. >> when you're arrested for something you didn't do and then there's no evidence to even show that you should have been arrested that's when things hit hard. that's when i really got scared. >> norman clark had reason to be scared. if convicted, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars. >> coming up -- >> they've taken a good young man and they've destroyed his life. >> norman clark on trial. and on the stand -- >> i thought he was my boyfriend. >> girlfriends, many, many girlfriends. but where was the evidence?
6:39 pm
>> he gave dna. he gave hair samples. they all came back negative. >> when "deadly circumstances" continues. continues. but it can help you pick your room from the floor plan. can the hilton app help us score? you know, it's not that kind of thing, but you can score free wi-fi. can it help us win? hey, hey! we're all winners with the hilton price match guarantee, alright? man, you guys are adorable! alright, let's go lose this soccer game, come on! book with the hilton app. if you find a lower rate, we match it and give you 25% off that stay. expect better. expect hilton. quitting smoking is freaking, like quitting every monday hard. quitting feels so big. so, try making it smaller. and you'll be surprised at how easily starting small... ...can lead to something big. start stopping with nicorette and i like to question your i'm yoevery move.n law. like this left turn. it's the next one. you always drive this slow? how did you make someone i love?
6:40 pm
that must be why you're always so late. i do not speed. and that's saving me cash with drivewise. my son, he did say that you were the safe option. and that's the nicest thing you ever said to me. so get allstate. stop bossing. where good drivers save 40% for avoiding mayhem, like me. this is my son's favorite color, you should try it. [mayhem] you always drive like an old lady? [tina] you're an old lady.
6:41 pm
we stood up for the rule of law. for the america we love. eight-point-five-million strong banded together to impeach donald j. trump. president trump has just been impeached on both article one, abuse of power, and on article two, obstruction of congress. and we're not done yet. senate republicans voted for a cover-up... ...but the american people know the truth. we can stop this corruption. join us at because now...we need to vote. need to impeach is responsible for the content of this advertising. ♪ applebee's new irresist-a-bowls
6:42 pm
now starting at $7.99. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. welcome back. norman clark had been arrested and charged with murder. investigators uncovered evidence that norman had been with other women, lots of them. the prosecution was preparing to put his lifestyle on trial. but could they prove he was a killer? continuing with our story, here is andrea cannon. in august 2015, nearly four years after brittany eldridge's death, norman clark a man who had never been in trouble with the law went on trial for murder in a knoxville, tennessee,
6:43 pm
courtroom. how nervous were you going into trial? your life is on the line. >> i was extremely nervous and scared to death. >> the prosecution told the jury norman clark strangled and stabbed brittany because he didn't want her to have his baby. reporter jamie satterfield. >> she believed it was the baby that was the target, that this baby was going to ruin norman's life and so he killed brittany more to kill the baby and she was collateral damage. >> prosecutor leslie nassios painted an ugly portrait of clark. a man having trouble paying his bills trying to juggle relationships with more than a dozen women. >> what is the nature of your relationship with him? >> i thought he was my boyfriend. i loved him with all my heart. >> the jury heard all about norman clark's prolific sex life as several of his lovers took the stand. >> at some point did your friendship with him become
6:44 pm
intimate. >> yes, ma'am. >> did he have a particular way of referring to a part of your anatomy? >> yes, ma'am. >> what did he say? >> ownership. it was his. >> he must have been stretched so thin to be attentive to 15 different women. >> that is one of the reasons that the prosecution said he was -- he broke and now here's this baby and brittany's saying i'm going to take you to court. >> next the prosecution established a time line to place clark at brit any's apartment at the time she was killed. here's brittany leaving work at 8:05:00 p.m. the medical examiner estimated her time of death as early as 8:30 and an fbi cell phone expert testified clark's phone pinged off a tower near her apartment at 8:28 and again at 9:05. >> where was his phone was? in brittany's cell tower.
6:45 pm
>> remember, clark's alibi was that he was at a friend's house the night of the murder. that friend, leeanne was one of his many girlfriends. her testimony seemed to shred his alibi. >> your testimony is that he comes into your bedroom without calling you, without any notice and you recognize the time as -- >> around 10:30. >> the prosecutor said if clark was at brittany's at 8:30 and arrived at leeanne's two hours later that gave him plenty of time to commit murder, stage the crime scene to look like a burglary and clean himself up. after presenting a circumstantial case, the state rested. norman clark's defense attorney deride the state's case as all theory. they had no physical evidence, no eyewitnesses, no proof clark was a killer. >> he gave dna. he gave a statement.
6:46 pm
he gave hair samples. they all came back negative. >> the defense aggressively attacked the state's case and witnesses. starting with leeanne hawn. the question was when did he get to her house? >> you have no idea when you saw him at 10:35 as to what time he arrived. >> correct. >> you were asleep with your television on. >> yes. >> the defense drove home the point. since leeanne was sleeping her testimony was meaningless. isaac said clark arrived much earlier and watched monday night football alone before getting into bed. the defense argued there was no way clark could have committed a violent murder, cleaned himself up and the crime scene, staged a burglary and made it across town in less than an hour. >> the state's fbi expert said clark's cell phone signal placed
6:47 pm
him near her apartment the night she was killed. the defense countered with its own expert who said the state got it wrong. >> we had a -- one of the nation's pre-eminent experts on this, he and the fbi agent testified against each other all over the country. >> it feels like a scenario where the experts kind of cancel each other out. >> exactly. >> i'll give you anything you want. >> it was a rush to judgment to pip the killing on norman clark, the defense said claiming investigate earls overlooked the most obvious explanation for the crime. the killer was a burglar who was caught in the act. >> there were 12 break-ins that occurred within a three to four-week period in a very close proximity and 10 of the 12 involved flat screen tvs. also there was a break-in that very same complex four days before the homicide of brittany eldridge.
6:48 pm
so very powerful. >> why not take the tvs. >> maybe the person got startled. maybe they couldn't do this. that's law enforcement's job, not mine. >> finally, the defense said there was powerful evidence to support the burglar theory that would prove norman's innocence. irrefutable physical evidence. >> there were two unknown dna samples on the lingerie that covered brit any's body in her bedroom. dna from an unknown male contributor, not norman clark. >> at 12:34 they cussed on norman clark. >> as the trial drew to a close defense attorney isaacs told the jurors to focus on the evidence, not norman clark's womanizing? >> this is not a place for judgments. there's guy upstairs that does that in a different court, more majestic than this. >> clark did not take the stand but says the state did not prove its case. >> the prosecutor said that you had the means, you had the opportunity, and you had the
6:49 pm
motive to kill brittany. >> i feel all of that is wrong, definitely far from the motive because it doesn't make any sense and the opportunity, that's pretty much impossible. >> well, it's not impossible. >> to me it seems impossible to get that done in that short span. >> you're the boyfriend. >> first suspect. >> the motive from law enforcement's perspective was very clear. you didn't want to be in a relationship, you didn't want this baby. you wanted it to go away so you could continue to live your lifestyle. >> if you know my lifestyle you know that i love children, i take care of my own child and i wanted more children. >> well, there's the other side of your lifestyle that you're sleeping with 15 different women. >> right. which has nothing to do with the murder. >> during the trial norman clark's mother was in the
6:50 pm
courtroom supporting her son. as the jury started deliberations she was anxious and bitter. >> they've taken a good young man and they've destroyed his life. >> brit any's brother jeffrey was certain the jury would return the verdict he'd wanted so badly. >> i thought 100% we got there. no doubt whatsoever that they n whatsoever that they were going to come back and return a guilty verdict. >> but nobody on the outside really knows what happens in a jury room. and after deliberating for six hours, this jury gave up. they came close but could not reach a unanimous verdict. the vote was 11 not guilty, only one guilty. >> at this point i am going to declare a mistrial and disband this jury. >> they come back hopelessly deadlocked, not only that it's 11-1 acquittal. >> right. >> you must have been shell shocked. >> devastated. just devastated. >> norman clark had been held in jail 15 months since his arrest. he was released after his mistrial but was still an accused murderer.
6:51 pm
do you feel like you have a cloud hanging over your head? >> oh, yes, ma'am, definitely. it's a huge dark cloud above my head. >> that cloud would remain because prosecutors decided they would try norman clark again. same charges, same evidence, same prosecutor. would it lead to a different outcome? coming up -- trial number two. more drama in the jury room. and another surprise in the courtroom. when "deadly circumstances" continues. can my side be firm?
6:52 pm
and my side super soft? yes. with the sleep number 360 smart bed, on sale now, you can both adjust your comfort with your sleep number setting. can it help me fall asleep faster? yes, by gently warming your feet. but can it help keep me asleep? absolutely, it intelligently senses your movements and automatically adjusts to keep you both comfortable. so, you can really promise better sleep? not promise. prove. and now, during the ultimate sleep number event, save 50% on the sleep number 360 limited edition smart bed. plus 0% interest for 24 months on all smart beds. only for a limited time. break out the butter loif you've been dreaming aboutr tender wild-caught lobster, dig in to butter-poached, fire-roasted and shrimp & lobster linguini. see? dreams do come true.
6:53 pm
or if you like a taste of new england without leaving home, try lobster, sautéed with crab, jumbo shrimp and more, or maybe you'd like to experience the ultimate surf and the ultimate turf... with so many lobster dishes, there's something for every lobster fan so hurry in and let's lobsterfest. or get pick up or delivery at
6:54 pm
welcome back. the prosecution painted norman
6:55 pm
clark as a low-rent playboy who killed britney eldridge because he did not want to have another baby. the defense countered that no dna linked norman to the crime and his womanizing did not make him a killer. the trial ended with a hung jury, but the prosecution was determined to see norman behind bars. it was time for trial number two. with the conclusion of our story, here's andrea cannon. >> norman clark's second trial began in september 2017. it had been six long years since britney had been killed. trial two would play out a lot like trial one. but with one big change. clark had a new court-appointed lawyer. what was your strategy, and was it going to be different from greg isaacs' strategy at the first trial? >> it didn't differ. i was basically just saying, look at the evidence. to me when i looked at it, it
6:56 pm
looked like a burglary that was interrupted and went bad. >> prosecutor leslie nasius had been on the case from the very start. >> when baby zeke was born, clark was going to be exposed for exactly who he was. the birth of this baby threatened his life, and the solution to the problem was murder. >> she was very emphatic that norman clark was not only guilty, but was kind of a sleazy human being. >> did you worry that the jury would just not like norman? >> absolutely. >> because of his lifestyle? >> yes. that was a big worry. i addressed that from the very beginning all the way through. >> what i want you to pay attention to is the evidence. >> after six days of testimony, it all seemed to come down to norman clark and what kind of man he is. >> you can't convict somebody because you don't like the fact that he has sex with multiple partners. they did not prove their case. >> these murders were personal,
6:57 pm
strangulation is a personal type of killing, it is a killing that shows control and desire to control the victim. norman clark is a killer. he killed brittany elbridge. he killed his baby. >> those same arguments had led to a admit-trial before. incredibly, when this jury got the case, it also came down to a lone holdout. only this time the majority wanted to convict. we spoke to two jurors about their deliberations. the person who voted not guilty, who was not going to change their mind, what was their issue? >> we asked. and the response that was made is, i'm the smartest person in the room. >> yes. i have a ph.d. you guys are all ganging up on me. >> at that point it became a very hostile room. >> yes. >> and we decided to call it. >> after four long days, they were hopelessly deadlocked. another hung jury.
6:58 pm
>> you just wake and up you wonder, why is this happening? you know, why -- is my baby sister not here? and why -- why can people -- why can the people on the jury not see what i can see? >> our family can't keep going through these trials coming out with the same verdict. we can't do it. >> the family may not have to do it again. after six years and two trials, prosecutors said that was it. they decided to dismiss the charges against norman clark. >> all they were worried about was trying to show the jury that i had a lot of women, i loved sex, and that i had bills to pay. that's it. you can destroy my character or try to. but you still are not going to prove that i was guilty. >> even when dismissing the case, prosecutors made it clear they believe they tried the reitman and would file new charges against clark if they
6:59 pm
get new evidence. did you kill brittany? >> no, i did not. >> what to you say to those people who believe everything adds up to you being the killer? >> what do i say to them? i don't say anything to them. i don't like ignorance in my life. if you feel that way, yes, you're ignorant. and that's very sad, and i will pray for you. >> brittany's family prays too, for justice and closure and how to make peace with a loss they will never understand. >> over six years i haven't focused on anything else except for getting justice. there's no closing the book. me and my sister grew up doing everything together. i mean, everything. how do you say good-bye to something like that? >> she and i had a special bond. and there are still times that i think, oh, i need to tell brittany about this. or, you know -- you can't call her, you can't email her, you can't text her. all you can do now is go to a brave.
7:00 pm
and that's not good enough. it's never going to be good enough. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. i was shocked. things just didn't add up. >> it was the last place you would expect to find a gruesome crime scene. quiet neighborhood. the lovely home. this friendly couple. >> i think it's hard not to have loved tammy. >> they were very happy. very happy. >> it seemed to be a simple case


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on