tv Dateline NBC NBC October 17, 2016 1:30am-2:30am PDT
you to sit down. i'm like, oh, no. this is never a good thing. your dad was shot. i collapsed to the floor. none of it made sense to me. i had to hear the whole story. >> fences make good neighbors they say. this one made for a fight. >> private property, you don't have permission. >> big sky country shrunk small by one man. >> the neighbors felt he was a
in. >> praise the lord for this country. >> a showdown, a shooting, and one man dying. >> he got up on his elbows and said, you shouldn't have done that. >> the shooter says it was kill oar be killed. what was the truth? >> he was murdered, pure and simple. >> the man who shot first told his story. >> it was him or me and i shot him. >> joe said, he came at me with a choice. >> did the dead man's body tell a different story? >> he was looking the other direction and got shot in the back. >> only two men were there, and one of them is dead. now his daughter wants the truth. >> who is this guy that can steal such a beautiful soul from this world. >> i'm lester holt, and this is "dateline." here's keith morrison with "the
>> there's still places in america so peaceful, god must have been smiling. like this place in montana, the bob marshall wilderness. more than a million natural acre s of the national park. strange that a person up here would feel so tense. >> we always knew that something was going to happen. >> there w it, sue de la rosa was a worried woman. >> we didn't know who was going to be on the receiving end of it. >> yes, there was trouble, big trouble. sue and her husband dan could feel it in their bones. this had been such a happy place. for nearly a century, people have been coming here to hunt and fish and ride the trails. summer, winter, whenever. >> where are you staying up
bought small lots down hill of the public lands. built an old dude ranch. >> it was a place to get away from your daily grind and go up on the weekends and let your hair down and have fun. >> with no boundaries, i'm assume something. >> that was exactly right. >> harmony, community were the rule. in fact, in 2001 sue and dan were married up here by everyone's favorite waterfall. >> we invited everybody was family up there. >> oh, how they loved it. >> praise the lord for this country. >> tim neumann loved it too. >> my dad was a real mountain man, he loved being out in nature and sleeping under the stars without a tent. that's what made him happy. >> jim and his family were fixing up a cabin here. >> he worked fast, real fast.
other's second chance at love, when they bowled each other over in 2004. >> i felt so blessed, we were blessed. or were before the trouble. it was that business about the land that started it. >> one of the neighbors would always use the land in the trails like everyone else, managed to buy up hundreds of acres for himself, smack dab between all tho cottages and the vast public wilderness up on the mountain. and then he refused to allow anyone to use the generations old trails connecting their cottages to the forest. this is him. his name is joe campbell. >> how did you feel about that? >> not happy. >> not good. it was like they were taking something away that was mine all along. we felt violated. really? why would you do that?
would get called in there for? >> people trying to access the public land through private land. and the owners of the private land blocking the access. >> any one particular name you began to hear about more than the others? >> yeah, mr. campbell. >> what was the neighbors feeling about him? >> the neighbors felt he was a bully. >> not only neighbors mind you. >> this is private property. you don't >> we are? >> joe campbell confronting a visiting hunting party. >> you're on our property. >> we're about 3/4 of a mile. >> joe was wielding a highpowered shotgun called a street sweeper. >> are you threatened? >> that ain't a bird gun. >> i always thought, he's going to run into the wrong type of person that isn't going to put up with him. i thought, either he would be
>> there was the time joe barged into a della rosa family reunion, claiming one of their cars was blocking a road. >> screaming, yelling profanities, just being an absolute jerk. >> the della rosas wrote a letter to the county attorney asking them to do something about joe before somebody got hurt. they were advised the property disputes were a civil matter. >> some of the families joe that gave them the right to cross his land. joe put up signs listing the people granted access. >> we saw some deer. >> not everyone could afford to join the lawsuit. >> tim newman, for example. >> it was hard for him to swallow that. he wasn't accepting of that at all. >> he figured his god given
>> it's annoying. >> yes, tim neumann was convinced, he had a natural right to cross campbell's land on long used traditional trails into the very public national forest. >> campbell lives somewhere over there, we're not going that way. >> by late september, 2013, tension was -- well, tense. tim challenging joe. joe increasingly angry. threats and then it was hunting season. and here a brief calm. tim and a hunting friend avoided joe campbell's land. >> here we are. cutting trails. hunting season, 2013. she's getting pretty. >> later that week, tim left a voice mail for his daughter christie. >> and he was telling me about a bear he had just gotten. he had been wanting to get a bear for a long time.
sometimes you'll get the bear. sometimes -- well, you know the rest. oh, by the way. everybody but the bear lived that day. >> but not for long. >> 911, what's your emergency? >> there were shots fired and one of them is down. >> a shooting up on the mountain. but who was the victim? and who was the shooter when we return -- you to sit down. i'm like, oh, no. this is never a good thing. >> and a puzzle for the sheriff. two guns, one angry man. >> it was just plain -- i thought he was going to shoot me, so i shot first. before those little pieces would get in between my dentures and my gum and it was uncomfortable. even well fitting dentures let in food particles. just a few dabs of super poligrip free
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and there in the dirt was tim neumann. the deputy ripped open neumann's shirt, saw a gunshot wound to the chest, and it was too late. >> my phone rang, she was like, christie, i need you to sit down. >> tim's daughter got a call from her aunt. >> oh, no, this is never a good thing. and i just immediately said, no. no, no. i don't want you to tell me what you're about to tell me, no. like no. and she's like i'm sorry, but he's dead. >> tim neumann was 53, when he died beneath the big sky he loved. >> i was floored, i was stunned. >> i always knew with the guns being pulled something was going to happen. we just didn't know who was going to be on the receiving end of it. >> it's a beautiful area. how could anyone who lives in such splendor be so angry. >> sheriff dutton responded to the scene just after his
and found joe campbell in the back of a patrol vehicle. >> we had to take his story at face value. because nothing else seemed to -- seemed amiss. >> what was that story? >> it was plain -- i thought he was going to shoot me, so i shot first. >> made sense. >> tim neumann's 357 magnum was found on the ground, not far from his right hand. and the sheriff knew that tim neumann had been rules about who could or couldn't cross his land. he carried a video camera with him. >> this is what you have to go through with this gate. >> tim bold as brass, had been cutting padlocks, which joe campbell used to lock his gates. >> when i first talked to mr. neumann about this, he admitted to cutting the locks and said he was going to continue to do that. if that's the case, me and you
often. >> did you charge tim neumann? >> i did. i did. >> you wrote up tickets for him? >> i did. for criminal mischief to the locks and gates that he was cutting and destroying. >> saw a mountain lion. >> tim thought the charges would be put in front of a judge, where he would finally have the chance to set the record straight. but just days before the shooting, the dismissed all the charges against him. saying it was not a criminal matter, but a civil one. which tim neumann took as tacit permission to keep cutting the locks. >> did you ever say tim, this is not a good way to go. >> yeah, we did. >> you go out and cut someone's locks, they're not going to be a happy camper. >> which leads us back to the gate. where tim neumann now laid dead.
he and his wife were walking up the trail toward their property when tim started following them on his atv. they were frightened, they hurried to his gate, slipped through it, and as joe sent his wife to call the sheriff, tim got out of his atv and approached the gate with a pair of bolt cutters. then he moved down to the padlock. and noticed joe was wearing a pistol. >> i shot, i spun around, i thought i hit him, i wasn't sure. i spun around, and he still had the gun in his hands, and he was going down. i shot him again and i was ready to shoot again, and he dropped the gun and rolled over. and then he got up on his elbow, and said, you shouldn't have done that.
shot tim neumann twice. first in the chest, and then in the back. >> we didn't arrest him because he asserted it's self-defense. montana now has a law that you don't have any duty to run if you feel threatened, then you can fro tekt yourself with deadly force. >> essentially, shoot first and figure it out later? >> yes. >> and figuring it out would take time. >> i can walk home. >> we'll give you a ride. >> so joe campbell was sent home that very day. and tim neumann's body was taken away for an autopsy. but, of course, science would enter the story. science as glorious as all out doors. to bat away foolish human vanities. coming up -- >> this really all came down to what the body told you? >> absolutely.
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in the days after tim neumann was shot dead, joe campbell went back to his home on top of the mountain. while many of his neighbors let the cabins diswade them. >> if all the neighbors had run and himself, which is what he wanted originally. >> this was our paradise, even though it was shattered, we weren't willing to walk away. >> and many neighbors vented to the sheriff about joe campbell. >> there's a montana law that
yourself, you're within the law if you're -- >> you don't need to shoot people for that but which was it. >> self-defense or murder? joe campbell confronted tim pointed a gun at him. half reflex, half fear, make sure he got the guy who threatened him. >> maybe it was the lower back or something. >> this was curious. >> tim was left handed, but his gun was found lying on the ground near his right hand. and tim's gun hadn't been fired. if he had the drop on joe as campbell said he did, how did
could pull the trigger. the puzzle landed on the desks of deputy attorney general. >> i think mary and i both feel that we have an absolute right to defend ourselves. i think the challenge is, to try to bear it out, when there's a justifiable homicide, versus a situation where they wanted to commit murder, and they use force to get away with murder. >> the two prosecutors had t case. they heard joe campbell's side of the story. the only story tim neumann could tell would come from his autopsy. >> this really all came down to what the body told you, what the wounds told you. right? >> absolutely. and from that autopsy, we learned that there were two shots to tim neumann, one shot was to the back, severed his spine and would have paralyzed
the other shot hit his hand first and then skimmed his chest and whizzed past his head. >> to the prosecutors, the angle of those shots strongly suggested the first shot could have been in tim neumann's back. >> it told us that the story that joe campbell had told law enforcement that he had shot into tim neumann as tim neumann was rising up with his own gun, physical a common sense level. >> this is your miranda warning. >> they called joe in for a second interview when again he said tim was the aggressor, chased joe and his wife with his atv. >> we were scared, realably scared. >> maybe you should go home and call a sheriff. she didn't want to leave. >> but she did said joe, and that's when tim came at him. >> all of a sudden, out comes the gun.
i had one question, i didn't want to forget it. >> you said you were fearful, i'm wondering why you don't take off. >> well, we're on our own property and -- i didn't think -- i guess i was hoping he wouldn't do anything. >> instead, said joe, tim walked right up to the gate and him. and then -- >> pulls the pistol up. >> this joe campbell's sry quoted tim as saying, oh, you're armed? now he claimed tim pointed a gun right at him -- >> cut the lock. >> certainly that statement about cutting the locks, he's trying to show that tim neumann verbally told him he was going to shoot him. before that, there was nothing.
in the back? no, no said joe. didn't happen. not long after they sent joe home again, and wondered what was the truth and what wasn't? they really couldn't be sure. >> in the end we needed a shooting reconstructionist. and to reconstruct the shooting at the scene. >> that reconstruction would have to wait for one of those only in montana >> right after tim neumann had been shot, there had been a big snowstorm. the crime screen had been under snow all winter, to get him up to the crime scene so he could do his work. >> once again, it was springtime in montana. and the answer pure and mindless as the first tiny blossoms, rose up from the greening soil. >> it was murder. >> pure and simple? >> yes. >> how did they know?
and how would they prove it to a jury? different sort of science all together, that. coming up, in the old west, it was the lowest thing you could do. >> he shot him in the back in cold blood? >> he admits he shot him in the back. >> and if that was the first shot, this was murder. >> he stated that the next time i see tim newman, i'm going to him down. those were his words. ? better find a way to smooth things over. ? ? if only harry used some bounce, to dry.? ? yeah. ?
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deliberate homicide they call it here, accused of killing tim newman cold blood. >> it made me wonder how it had gotten to this point where someone died. >> worse, breaking the unwritten code of the west. >> you're accusing this man of doing probably the lowest thing you could do in western mythology, shoot a man in the back. is that what he did? >> he admits he shot him in the back. shot or his second? that could make the difference between murder and self-defense. >> this was not a justified killing, and the state of montana is going to ask that you find joe campbell guilty of deliberate homicide. >> remember the crime scene expert who had to wait for the snow to melt to make his calculations? this is him. >> my job was to independently investigate what could have
>> william schneck a forensic scientist. what he did was try with an assistant helping to reenact events as joe campbell claimed they had happened. lining up body positioning, tracking the bullets, that sort of thing. and -- >> were you able to reconstruct this scene as mr. campbell said it had happened? >> no, i was not able to do that for either shot. >> but guess what did line up. the shots in the >> my opinion is, mr. campbell shoots mr. neumann in the back as he's running from the gate. at that point he falls to the ground on his back in the death position, at that time mr. campbell takes the second shot, a grazing shot over the hand and across the chest. >> look at it, said the scientist. with tim falling with the first
he shoots a second time. was he right? why not call a legend to call it. >> the state calls dr. werner spitz. >> he literally wrote the book on forensic pathology. >> i can only tell you this, if weight has a meaning by way of quality. this is nine pounds and a quarter. >> okay. all right. >> 89 years old when he took the stand. he investigated the assassinations of john f. kennedy, and dr. martin luther king and more. recently the casey anthony trial. what did dr. spitz say about this case. >> just to be clear, your opinion is that mr. newman was shot in the back as he turned away from the gate some ten feet
>> and then he fell to the ground on his back? >> that's correct. >> and then he was shot a second time landing in this death position? and those wounds to the hand line up perfectly? >> line up perfectly. >> the big mystery then was why? why would joseph campbell have shot tim neumann in cold blood? well, remember that video of campbell taken by a hunting party in >> private property, you don't have permission. >> we are? >> prosecutors played it for the jury, to show that campbell wasn't afraid to confront and chase off anybody who dared cross his property, even when he was out numbered. >> you could see on that video he was not scared of those hunters and to accept his story that he was terrified of tim neumann, a man, a neighbor of his that he had known seeminged implausible. >> nor was that an isolated
relationship. >> one word, miserable. >> and he looked up at me and he said, i don't know who you are, mr., but you're trespassing and i don't want to see you again. >> this woman was an army colonel on leave from iraq, out with her father, when they were presented with campbell and his shotgun. >> hey, sweetheart, who are you? >> we are trying to go on a horseback ride. hey, i have to go back t shotgun down. he started waiving, this is my property and this is my property, and you scant be on my property. >> the clearest proof that joe campbell intended and planned to kill tim newman, his own words, like what he said to the deputy county attorney who declined to prosecute timms for cutting locks, this was days before the shooting. >> he told me if i wasn't going to take care of mr. neumann, he
the top of the mountain in a body bag. >> joe's words to a contractor, two days before the shooting. >> he cleared his jacket back from his pistol and touched his side like that and he stated that the next time i see tim newman, i'm going to push him down, i'm going to put him down, lemonde the. >> he said he was going to kill him, and then he killed him. it was murder. >> the rule in montana is as can defend your castle if threatened, but absent a threat, murder is what it is. what could joe campbell possibly say about that? as it turned out, lots. coming up -- >> i was trying to stay alive. that's all i want to do. it's him or me, and i shot him.
>> dramatic testimony from the accused. but would a jury believe him? so all these people came into court, took an oath and have lied in front of this jury, is that correct? >> objection. >> a courtroom showdown, when "dateline" continues. and your joints really love them too? introducing megared advanced 4in1... just one softgel delivers the omega-3 power so give your body mega support with megared advanced 4in1. ?when you've got...? ?...nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea!? ?nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea!? here's pepto bismol! ah. ?nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea!? ziploc presents: cafeteria chaos.
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point of view can change everything, can't it? perspective. even in the crisp, clear montana air where here inside the grand old courtroom the view was about to get decidedly hazier. >> it is about self defense. >> this is joe campbell's attorney, greg jackson who wanted the jury to see justifiable shooting by a life. >> he was faced with a decision at that point. try to stay alive or die. >> all that fancy forensic testimony by dr. westerner -- werner spitz, and then vincent dimaio. >> you have to have description of where the shooter is, then
or it is not consistent at all. >> in this case dr. da my oh came to a different conclusion. >> there's nothing to disprove mr. campbell's story. >> he offered his own theory, tim could have been jumping or falling backwards when the first bullet hit his hand and chest and the second shot hit him in the back. duelling experts maybe cancel each other. if joe campbell was walking out of the courtroom a free man, the defense had to hope the jury perceived him and her in a favorable way. >> joe campbell is my husband. >> here was his wife. >> how long have you two been married?
>> the only other survivor of the confrontation on the hill. so far you heard joe campbell was a bully. >> isn't any right of way through here. >> he was a threatening, mean, dangerous old man, unafraid and aggressive. but she told the jury in the weeks before the shooting it was tim newman driving a pickup that confronted them as they walked to their horse pasture. >> he said joe and tani, finally joe just said tim, we've given you notice you're not welcome at our place, please don't harass us. >> were you afraid of him when you were next to the road? >> i was startled, joe just said let's go, and he just hollered out his window come on, let's just get it over with right now. and then he did drive off. >> that's why she said she and
and joe walked toward home they were alarmed to see tim coming up behind them. >> what were the things that made you believe he was going to physically harm you? >> he was just wanting to cut the lock, why would he chase us up the hill? why would he do that? we were watching him. he was on his atv and he was off his atv and grabbing bolt cutters. he was unpredictable, highly agitated. do next? >> joe just kept saying you need to try to get out of here, get safe, go home, call the sheriff. i didn't want to leave joe. >> but she did leave, she says, and on the way to calling 911 heard gunshots, placed the call, rushed back, and -- >> i saw joe standing at the gate, he said he came at me with the gun and i didn't have a
and i saw mr. newman lying on the ground. >> and in the sometimes tense cross examination, prosecutors point out not so gently that elements of her story changed also from previous interviews. but altered or not, her story was emotional as was joe campbell's. >> call joe campbell to th stand. >> so sometimes frightened grandfather of seven or neighborhood bully that brandished his weapon at neighbors and strangers. the defense sat out changing perceptions. the neighbors, the hunters. >> did you threaten them with a shotgun, anything of that nature? >> no. they were trespassing, i asked them to leave.
>> ever point a shotgun at us? >> no, sir. >> no getting around the fact he told the deputy da he was going to take care of tim newman himself. could be more than one way to perceive that, could there? >> we were going to take legal action, we were really frustrated. i was really frustrated. >> legal action, he was just a peaceful, frustrated man and was terrified when tim chased them up the hill in a rage that day in october, 2013. man had murder in his eyes, said joe. >> it's hard to stand up here and say in front of everybody, but i was trying to stay alive. that's all i wanted to do. thinking about tani, my kids, my grandkids.
>> had joe campbell succeeded in changing the jury's perception? before mr. campbell could leave the witness stand, the prosecutor got a chance to cross examine him and again present the bully of the mountain, the neighbors said they knew too well. >> lamont moltre says approximately two to three days before you shot and killed mr. neumann, you told him, i'm going to put him down. >> i did not. >> so all these people came into court, took an oath and lied in front of the jury, is that right? >> objection, your honor. >> ultimately the prosecutor said joe campbell could have avoided a confrontation, could have, but did not because he wanted it. >> all you have to do to save your wife, save yourself, is to
>> i looked at the options, it is a hell of a lot harder on the hill side when somebody is threatening you than to be here in the courtroom two-and-a-half years later. >> if you were a juror, what would you think of joe campbell and the gun play on the mountain? was it murder or self defense? coming up. >> there's so much anxiousness. >> hoping for justice.
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in the old supreme court chamber of montana's state capital building, the question went to the jury. did joe campbell have a right to shoot tim newman? was it self defense? or was it cold-blooded murder. neighbors dan and sue della rossa waited. willed their thoughts into the jury room. >> i believe he murdered him. >> murder, absolutely. >> they knew full well since montana passed a new law legalizing certain kinds of self what a jury might decide. >> find him not guilty, there will be for sale signs for everywhere up there. >> nervous hours around the old courtroom which turned into a whole day and then a second. >> there's so much anxiousness just waiting for the jury to come back. >> and then just after noon, day two, the jury sent the judge a
>> everybody was summoned to the courtroom. >> i am told that you folks are hopelessly deadlocked and that even if given more time you couldn't reasonably expect to reach a decision. is that your understanding of events? >> yes, your honor. >> i am going to declare a mistrial. >> a mistrial, three weeks of testimony for naught. >> the state may or may not bring the case again. >> i couldn't believe it. it was a complete shock for the family that he could just leave that courtroom, not have a guilty or not guilty and like nothing happened. like nothing happened. >> what was the state to do? well, this case said the prosecutors, the decision was obvious. they offered joe campbell a plea deal and scheduled a retrial
and i'm concerned it will be repeated and somebody else will be killed. >> joe campbell remained out on bail with the proviso he remain ten miles from his property on the mountain. but less than three months later, may, 2016 joe campbell elected not to face a second trial. instead he walked into a courtroom and waived his claim that the shootinwa >> how do you plead to the charge of negligent homicide? >> no contest, your honor. >> a plea of no contest, meaning campbell neither admitted nor denied the charge that he committed negligent homicide. reduced charge from the original allegation of intentional homicide, montana's parlance for firth degree murder. >> i believe it is in the best interest of myself and my family. >> in a case like this, said prosecutors, you take what you can get.
best agreement we could reach and have a guaranteed resolution of this case. >> before the judge pronounced sentence, tim newman's wife jackie went to the podium. >> just because you are callous and have no remorse, i want you to be aware as tim's wife you have affected our lives in a horrendous way. >> tim's daughter, christie, also sent a statement, unable to be present because she just had >> my dad died a hero. what will you die? >> it makes me very angry, yeah, very upset, very sad. like who is this guy that can just steal such a beautiful soul from this world. >> the judge offered joe a chance to explain or apologize. >> is there anything you would like to say? >> no, your honor.
his lawyer released a statement saying the plea agreement allowed mr. campbell and his wife and family to go forward with certainty of freedom and removal of constant stress and anxiety, while still allowing him to maintain his innocence and continue to maintain he acted necessarily in self defense. >> for your plea of -- >> the sentence was of course part of the deal with the state, 20 years. but not in any prison. all of it suspended sentence. >>o >> as neighbors listened, the judge told joe he'll have to abide by some very important conditions. he'll never again be allowed to possess a firearm and 20 years, even if he manages to live that long, he cannot return to the mountain he once called home. he will never again set foot in his house, his forest, his trail, his precious property.
you never get to see it again. >> yeah. >> yeah. it is very ironic. you know, before he owned all the big property, he recreated like all of us. and he walked down those trails across everyone else's property and hunted and enjoyed it, and life was good. when he decided he needed to take control is when it all changed. >> like a fable, isn't it? >> yes. >> aesop could have written it. >> there you go. >> and if tim neumann were on a cloud up there somewhere, for his daughter christie, he'd be telling her -- she knows exactly what he'd say. >> i'm sorry, sorry, darling. sorry for going up to that gate, i'm sorry i am not there to meet my granddaughter.
hike together. i love you, you know. >> praise the lord for this country. >> that's all for now. i'm lester holt, thanks for joining us. accuse donald trump ofex began kissing me. >> trump keeps denying the stories, all of them. >> the stories are total fiction. >> this morning my interview with vice-president joe biden. >> what he said is a textbook definition of sexual assault. >> and with the republican nominee for vice-president mike pence. now that trump says the shackles are off, how damaging has this episode been? the latest numbers from our
journal poll. the great american divide. we go to one county that's all in for trump. >> hillary has so much stuff against her. i don't see how anybody can vote for her. >> and another where everyone seems to be for clinton. >> i don't understand how people are voting for him. >> just how divided are we? joining me are hugh hewitt. joy reid, chris cillizza and kristen welcome to sunday, it's "meet the press." >> from nbc news in washington, this is "meet the press" with chuck todd. good sunday morning. every week we say it and every week it's true. there's never been a week like this in american presidential politics. here we go again. admittedly there were times that we had trouble keeping up with the number of women who came forward claiming donald trump had groped, propositions or sexually harassed them.
buckle, republicans feared that his troubles would metastasize and take out down ballot republicans threatening the party's hold on the senate and perhaps even the house. we have a new indication of just how dire things have become for trump. in our new poll out right now, hillary clinton leads donald trump in a four-way race by ten points among registered voters. if you limit it to likely voters, check this out, clinton's lead grows to 48% 37% actually help trump, not in this case. but there's a silver lining for republicans in this poll. it may be in congress where the democratic lead has snapped back to two points. a week ago, it had opened up to seven. these numbers come after a head shaking week when trump was under constant assault and seemed to be at war with just about everyone. in the face of more accusations of sexual assault, trump is