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tv   Dateline NBC  NBC  October 19, 2016 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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mysterious and monstrous inferno. >> it was to the right of the mattresses that i found the remains of julie. >> shocking as the blaze was, it was nothing compared to what investigators found in the embers. >> a bullet? >> yes. >> so this woman had been shot to death? >> yes. >> the obvious suspects -- neighborhood thieves. >> there were half a dozen house burglaries. >> investigators also dug into a favorite theory -- the husband did it. i felt that the detectives were on a manhunt and they were after my dad. >> and anyway, he was in another state. >> he's over 200 miles away. >> then, up popped a text that might just be a clue. >> you could say, well, maybe she's driving events here. >> that's correct. >> the truth beyond twisted. leaving behind smoking ashes and burning questions. >> i physically started shaking
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>> i'm lester holt and this is "dateline." here's dennis murphy with "consumed." the canterbury hills subdivision in paducah, kentucky, is a good place to raise kids. tidy homes kept up by neighbors living ordered lives. so as the front porch lights winked out on just another day, what happened one cold january night in the wee hours was especially alarming. orange flames were licking the tree tops, a roaring all-consuming fire was devouring one of the nice homes. >> it was awful. half of the house was gone. >> what would rise from the ashes was far more than a fire marshal's investigation into cause. there would be a probe into the deepest roots of a treasury beyond most people's comprehension. >> it's not true. no way.
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>> a monster, a liar, a cheater. >> he's destroy mid-entire family. before it became charred rubble, the house was home to a long time paducah couple, keith and julie griffith, churchgoing, golf playing high school sweethearts 36 years into a marriage that had produced two sons, aaron, the older. >> they were very supportive parents. they were loving. they loved my kids. >> aaron took after his dad -- athletic, easy going, level headed. younger brother zach was more of a firecracker like his mom. there was the time, for instance, in the sixth sixth grade zach grabbed a shovel and started digging a hole for a koi respond in the backyard. >> my parents come home, they're like "what are you doing?" i'm like "we're going to have a pond."
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>> they were fine. they were like this is going to be a nightmare. >> when aaron and zach flew the nest, the griffith's lives seemed to get busier. they joined a motorcycle class through their church, frequently were a golf foursome with friends craig and temple bradley. >> everybody that knew keith loved him. great guy. >> did he become your best friend? >> one of my very best friends. >> temple felt that way about julie, too. >> she had a heart of gold. she would do anything to you but >> did she get people's feathers ruffled? >> oh, yeah, yeah. but everybody loved her. >> after early retirement from the water company, keith found a second career as a traveling lawn mower salesman which left julie to spend a lot of nights alone in the house. but keith never worried for her well-being in a safe neighborhood. their own door watched over by their beloved great dane cleo. aaron's wife ali.
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dinner or go to town and leave the door unlocked because cleo was the guard dog. >> fulfilled as their life seemed to be, their life was transformed when aaron and ali brought their first child aria. >> it was the greatest day of her life, i think. >> julie lived for my little girl. she wanted to be a part of everything that she did. >> and julie was there for ali when she went into neighbor with their second daughter, a she was nicknamed nascar nana. >> the flashers were going, she was honking the horn. >> what did she say? >> she said, "don't have a baby in my car. keep your legs crossed, don't have a baby in my car." >> everything seemed to be going well for the griffiths. keith had weight loss surgery and had lost 100 pounds, julie was over the moon with two granddaughters.
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the zach disclosed to his very religious conservative parents that he is gay. >> it was hard. i went from my mom was my best friend and going from talking to her multiple times a day to just being completely -- just completely shut off. >> julie visited zach that fall. they tiptoed around the elephant in the room but the time together gave zach hope. was that the step as you look back to patching things up >> yeah. yeah. >> there was a way forward? >> there was definitely a way forward. we just needed more time. >> then came that cold night in january. >> a deputy drove toward the griffith home, his dash cam recorder catching this quick glimpse of the blaze. then the fire trucks arrived. mccracken county sheriff's detective mack carter received a call in the middle of the night.
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the whole left end of the house was consumed with fire. >> it took an hour for firefighters to knock down the flames. hours more for them to make their way through the blackened wreckage of the house through what seemed to be the heart of the fire, the master bedroom. ghastly, what they would discover. >> what they found in the embers would rattle the neighborhood and shatter the family. >> everything was just consumed by fire to the point that things when we come back, investigators make a pair of discoveries and realize they're dealing with both a tragedy and a mystery. >> he had recovered a projectile. >> a bullet? >> yes. joe heck's and donald trump's views on women are disturbing. heck voted to defund planned parenthood 10 times. he was even willing to shut down the government over it. and they both outlaw abortion.
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criminalize abortion, even in cases of rape. donald trump and joe heck are not for you. dscc is responsible for the content of this advertising. with 40 megs of internet speed from centurylink, a family of four can all be online at the same time... streaming, gaming, or downloading movies. all you need is high-speed internet from centurylink. get up to 40 megs for just $20 a month for one year when bundled with a qualifying home phone plan and autopay. speed may not be available in your area. no, that's okay. i'm not hungry. don't worry about me. okay.
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daybreak revealed the grim
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wisps of smoke rose from the water-soaked wreckage that was once the griffith's home. detective matt carter. >> it was a pile of ashes on the ground. we didn't know if anyone was home or not. we knew they were in and out of town a lot. >> as firefighters walked through what appeared to be the fire's epicenter, the master bedroom, their worst fears were confirmed. julie had, in fact, been home >> it was to the right of the box mattresses that we found the remains of julie. they were unsure initially that it was human remains. >> even with all their experience. >> yes. everything was just consumed by fire that things were unrecognizable. >> as for keith, he was away calling on customers in indiana. word on julie's death spread almost as fast as the fire raced
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background. >> we are live in the canterbury hills subdivision on tudor boulevard. >> then temple bradley's phone rang. it was a friend who also knew julie. >> she said "you know there's a fire." "i saw it on tv." she said "it's keith and julie's house." and i just sat there. >> did she know at that point that julie was gone? >> she knew. she told me. >> temple's husband immediately tracked down keith as he was making the three-hour drive home from indiana. >> he said "i'm on my way, i'm probably, you know, two hours away." i said "are you all right?" he goes "yeah, yeah." i could tell he was in shock. >> the news hit zach griffith particularly hard. since coming out to his mother, his relationship with her had been strained and now this. i guess you're just beating yourself up something terrible that you'd been sideways with her. >> yeah.
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have been close again. that we would have been -- you know, that mom and son duo that we were. but we just -- we didn't have the time. it was ripped away from us. i can never get it back. >> aaron the elder son had more of a take-charge reaction. >> i've got to take care of my brother. i've got to take care of my dad. >> logistics before the news can get absorbed. >> for me it's the way my brain is wired, i guess. would head from all directions toward what used to be an anchor in their lives, the family home. >> i gave my dad a big hug and we were both crying. we were like "i can't believe this. what happened?" >> keith's good friend craig bradley was there to lend his support. >> how was he doing? this was the first chance you had to see him eye to eye. >> he was shaken. >> as if the news couldn't get worse, the griffith's great dane cleo along with another pet daisy perished in the fire.
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surveying the damage. >> we went to the koi pond and goes "we've got to get those fish out of there, julie will kill me if something happens to those fish." i was like "let's not worry about that right now." >> overwhelmed by loss, the griffiths were faced with a question, how could this happen? >> the first thought was the new heating and air unit, it had just gone in. >> the unit had been installed days before the fire adjacent to the master bedroom. air unit wasn't put in properly. >> faulty installation? >> yeah. >> as for the cause of julie's death, that was left to the county coroner's off. deputy coroner ben bradley what were you working with? >> a very charred body. i could not very well identify it being a person. >> the cause of death seemed obvious but just to be sure julie's remains were sent to the
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troubling as it was unexpected? >> he recovered a projectile in the remains. >> bullet? >> yes. >> suddenly what was thought to have been death by smoke inhalation was now a homicide. closer examination revealed three bullet holes in julie's torso. the coroner immediately called the sheriff's office. >> i said "we need to get people back to the house because this is going to be a homicide." >> you thought lady in a nice neighborhood, good house, now she's got three bullet wounds. >> that's right. on a who did it crime. >> back at 107 tudor boulevard fire equipment pulled out as sheriffs' cruisers pulled in. would the charred wreckage of the home once filled with joy and laughter now hold clues pointing to a killer. coming up, could julie's murder have been a burglary gone bad? somebody is looking for the
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>> something goes down. >> right. >> and then this detective spies what could be a critical clue on someone's phone. ping, up comes a text message. >> that's correct. >> that's correct. >> when "dateline" continues. putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing. planned parenthood should absolutely y be defund. and congressman hardy said he supported trump 100%. like trump, hardy opposed legislation to ensure equal pay. and hardy fought to defund planned parenthood, kihuen fought for equal pay for equal work. and ruben kihuen will protect our right to make our own health decisions.
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the theory that julie died by accidental fire had collapsed
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for detective matt carter, a .45-caliber slug recovered from julie griffith's torso turned the charred rubble into the scene of a homicide. so i'm guessing your day changed a whole lot. >> it changed a lot. >> despite more than a decade on the job, the detective had his work cut out for him. no hair, fiber, bloody footprints. >> right. you've got an arson that's destroyed any chance of obtaining that from the scene. >> for detectivear homicide was the work of a home intruder. >> a burglary gone bad. >> somebody looking for the laptop or whatever, jewelry. >> right. >> the thing goes down. >> right. we had had some burglaries within a few miles of this area. >> within weeks or months or -- >> within weeks. within weeks. >> as police canvassed the neighborhood for weeds and witnesses the investigator also had to consider the perpetrator may have been someone julie
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or in, you're simply going through the motions, speaking to immediate family first and working your way out. >> the sheriff's department did not tell the griffiths julie had been murdered? >> we were not told anything by the police at that point. >> but anyone at the scene might have guessed foul play was somehow involved? >> there was just cops all over the property. >> so you said why are they here? >> exactly. >> naturally, the first person detective carter interviewed was e' >> at first, keith talked about what everyone perceived was the cause of the inferno, an accidental fire set off by a newly installed heating unit. >> you had a new gas pipe put in tuesday? >> uh-huh. i mean, it was a whole new system. >> keith explained the contractor was a friend of his who'd done a work a few days earlier. >> they put a rush on it, you know, that's kind of what
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problem is not his. >> but eventually without giving details the detective revealed julie's death was no accident. >> the investigation has shown that foul play is involved. i do not believe at this point in time that this was any kind of an accident. i'm going to ask your cooperation on several things, okay? >> okay. >> one of the first things detective carter asked about was how keith and julie was getting along? >> any problems that y'all had? >> no, she's my best friend. >> okay. >> i mean i know -- i mean that woman loved everybody. >> the investigator also asked keith for details about his business trip to indiana. >> what hotel? >> comfort suites. >> comfort suites. okay. didn't leave the hotel. >> i did the hotel about -- about 11:00 i went and got something to drink and i left
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just went and got a doughnut and a coke. like i said i get up pretty early. >> what about wednesday? did keith own a gun? >> i have a 45 pcp in my work truck that i just got. it's never had any -- i mean it's never been loaded. >> as part of standard protocol, the detective asked for keith's clothes. they would be tested for gunshot residue. >> what you're wearing now, is that -- was that fresh clothes from this morning whenever you -- yesterday. >> before wrapping up the interview, the detective took a look at keith's cell phone. >> while i'm reviewing this phone i see that he obtained a text message, an incoming text message from a lady by the name of deanna chloe. >> the ping, up comes a text message? >> that's correct. >> the message read "did you make it home okay?" keith was quick to point out his relationship with deanna was completely platonic. >> she's more like a guy friend. >> no big deal, nothing sexual.
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>> after that, keith was released to go and grieve with his family. detective carter, meanwhile, set out to verify keith's story. >> he had a receipt where he stayed? >> so that puts him three hours away from this house fire in the death of his wife. >> it showed his check in time and check out time. >> a quick check of keith's gun showed he was telling the truth about it as well. the gun looked as though it had never been fired. so maybe he's not the guy. >> he may not be. >> so then who was? sits down with deanna. was she really like a guy friend to keith? you could say well, maybe she's driving events here. maybe she wants to get rid of the wife.
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ound checks is by going online and connecting with strangers to buy guns. as someone in law enforcement, i think that's dangerous. millions of guns are sold through websites like this, most with no background checks, no questions asked. the law requires background checks in gun stores; why don't we require them online? a few clicks of the mouse, now a bad guy is armed - and potentially dangerous. and that's a threat to all of us.
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julie griffith's family had hardly had time to absorb the news of her horrific death in a house fire when information started reaching them that investigators thought her death was foul play. the sheriff's department kept the idea quiet for days. daughter-in-law ali. >> i couldn't imagine anyone who would want to hurt her much less set the house on fire, the dogs perished.
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>> no enemies. i mean, it made no sense. just who would want to kill her? >> after keith was released the night of his interview with detectives, he headed straight to his friends the bradleys. they were floored to hear the line of questioning that he recounted. what was up with his marriage? his alibi? the gun he owned. >> he had been questioned to the point that he almost felt like that they thought he did -- that he had done it. >> son aaron also got called down to the station that same en questioned about his parents' marriage. >> notice anything lately in their relationship as far as any problems or anything like that you're aware of. >> no. >> anything going on -- >> nothing. was there any money troubles? was there any relationship things that we knew of. >> but to a person in the griffiths' circle, the very idea that keith knew something about her death was crazy. >> i knew he didn't do it. >> there wasn't any way keith
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looking at keith and watching him for a while and finally i said "you can't even grieve, can you?" and he said "no, they've taken it all away." >> the friends' working theory was a botched break-in. they'd heard about the neighborhood's recent rash of burglaries. maybe that's what happened to julie. >> they came in and they startled cleo. >> dog started to bark? >> caused julie to wake up and -- >> they were startled and shot >> but for the detective, the theory of the crime wasn't panning out. even as they sorted through the rubble detectives at the scene found untouched valuables, two saves, a cache of guns and julie's purse sitting in plain sight. you think an intruder would have grabbed. >> it you would think so. >> so carter set out to follow the most promising lead he had. who was this woman deanna, the text messager who wondered if
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friend." >> there was something about that text message that seemed to stick out and it seemed to create that question of, you know, what's missing here? >> carter had called ahead to the authorities in the indiana town where deanna lived. they'd arranged to bring the woman down to an interview room and she was waiting. >> my name is matt carter. >> hi, matt. >> deanna was about to tell the detective a story that would dramatically reshape this investigation. >> deanna shared the same story with us. >> he wanted me to love him. >> deanna says she and keith first met years earlier at a vendor fair. she was the cfo of an i.t. company, keith the road warrior lawn mower salesman had a booth there. keith was sitting there and i guess i caught his attention right away. >> you noticed he was eyeing you? >> i noticed he was staring at me and i smiled. >> she says he asked her to dinner.
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they had in common. >> he talked about both his sons and being a grandpa so i just really connected because i had grown kids, too. >> after several dates, deanna says, keith expressed interest in a relationship but she wanted to keep it just friends. they stayed in touch but didn't see each other for a while. then, just a few months back, he sent her a flirty text message. >> the text just said "did you cast a spell on me?" i'm like "what?" he said "i was at a party last night and this woman was chatting me up and all i could think about was you." >> deanna, who was in the throes of a traumatic romantic breakup, agreed to start seeing him again for dinners and, she says, he seemed excited to show off the new post-surgery keith. >> he goes "you're not gonna recognize me. i've lost over 100 pounds." and i said, "you have?" >> did he look okay?
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>> deanna says keith now began aggressively courting her, showering her with gifts, flowers, notes of affection. it was all, she said, a bit much. >> he kept pushing for more. and i kept telling him you need to back off, you need to slow down because i'm just not there. >> deanna says she couldn't put her finger on it but there was something about keith that was holding her back. maybe it was the fact that he still seemed unusually found with a woman he called his ex-wife. very from the very beginning, deanna says, keith told her that he was divorced? >> very first conversation. >> i'm a divorced guy? >> right. >> by the time she was sitting across from detective carter in the interview room, deanna says she and keith were never intimate but they were dating and keith was talking long-term, house hunting for them. >> he said "i don't want to scare you but i want you to know that i'm looking for property
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>> for the detective, deanna's story put a whole new spin on the investigation. keith griffith now seemed like a man with a very big secret. or, thinking like a homicide detective, was she the one with the secret? you could spin it another way and say maybe she's driving events here. maybe she wants to get rid of the wife. >> that's correct. we were open for that being an idea or possibility. >> in fact, the detective had let her tell her story without er his visit. now he laid out his cards. >> was he not divorced? >> no. >> he says "first of all, keith's not divorced." according to him he's been married to his high school sweetheart for 36 years. and i just broke down because i -- i couldn't believe it. >> but, of course, there was more. >> we're conducting an
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believe to be a homicide of his wife. >> i was in shock, i was like, oh, my gosh. i couldn't believe what he just said. i had no idea. >> so you believe she had been played by this guy? >> i believe she had. >> so detective carter wondered, if keith griffith had manipulated and lied to this woman, had keith lied to him, too? maybe it was more about what keith hadn't sai detective had dropped what should have been devastating news on keith. >> the investigation has shown that foul play is involved. >> did he ask you the questions, what happened? what are you telling me, she was killed? >> no. >> you would expect that, right? julie was shot by an intruder? >> there was no questions to that. >> but if keith griffith was somehow involved in his wife's murder, how on earth had he pulled it off? after all, he was hundreds of miles away at that hotel the
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unless, of course, he wasn't. coming up, a security video surprise. you're scrolling through the tape. >> going through, going through. >> and when did your bingo moment come up? then a twist rocks the entire griffith family. >> we were all frantic, we had no idea how it could have happened.
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six days after the cold-blooded murder of julie griffith, family and friends gathered at her church to say good-bye. between the visitation and the memorial service, son zach was overwhelmed. >> just showed like what an amazing woman that my mom was to have that many people come out just to say that, you know, they just wanted to give their condolences. >> to closie keith was more emotional that day than they'd ever seen him. >> tears. >> tears. >> sadness. i'd never seen him cry, you know, in my life. >> but even as the griffith family mourned, zach and his brother were feeling uneasy about the investigation which seemed to be focused exclusively on their father. >> i was angry. i felt that the detectives, the sheriff's department were on a
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>> because the husbands always do it? >> yup, husband always do it and they seemed like they zeroed in on him and were going at it 110 miles an hour and were not respectful to my brother and i about any of the developments going on. >> but detective matt carter had an ongoing investigation and he felt there was ample reason to pursue their dad. after his interview with deanna, he'd driven to the hotel that was keith's alibi. there he uncovered a bombshell. detective he'd been at the hotel the entire night ducking out just twice to get a drunk and a snack? unhappily for keith's alibi, when the detective hit "play" on the hotel's security video, it told a vastly different story. keith is seen leaving, as he claimed, around 11:00 p.m. but -- >> i think within 15 to 30 minutes he's going to be returning. that never happened? >> you're scrolling through the tape? >> going through, going through.
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>> he finally arrived back at that hotel six hours and thirty-four minutes after he left initially. >> gone for more than six and a half hours. was that enough time for keith to drive all the way back to his house in kentucky, commit the crime, and return? so what did you and your partner find? >> driving the speed limit to and from it would have allowed approximately 20 minutes at least to have committed the >> is that enough time on the ground for him to do this lethal act? kill his wife and torch the house. >> i believe it was ample time. >> 15 to 20-minute window? >> yes. >> keith griffith was arrested and charged with arson and murder. >> do you care to answer the allegations, sir? >> he could face the death penalty. he pleaded not guilty. >> we were all frantic. we had no idea what was happening, how it could have happened. because at that point we knew that there was no way that he had anything do with this. >> so this is nightmare country? >> yes. but, again, we thought it would
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would take him and the truth would come out. >> i was 100% convinced that he was innocent and that they were taking the wrong person in. meanwhile, the person who actually did it was getting away. >> family and friends were for sure distressed to learn that keith had another woman on the road. but the revelation wasn't enough to shake their support for him. >> it was a shock, but was something that we accepted as a mistake. but that did not mean that he killed julie. >> there's no way he did it. not to julie, his wife. kids' mother. there's no way keith did it. >> but when keith griffith went to trial in february, 2015 -- >> all rise. >> -- the prosecutor laid out a formidable circumstantial case. >> in 2014 keith griffith decided he could kill his wife.
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not only was he gone for enough time to commit the crime, it also caught him in a lie. remember in his interview he told police he hadn't swapped clothes that night. but a look at the security footage showed he had. >> he left wearing one set of clothes, he was -- it was one of his work shirts. he came back dressed in all black. >> the prosecutor also showed security video captured from the residence near the git home. it caught a glimpse of an suv pulling into the subdivision shortly before the fire. >> a little blurry. it was a few seconds long but it sure looked like keith griffith's car. >> and another circumstantial bit. who else but keith, the prosecutor said, could have gotten by the griffith's aggressive great dane cleo? certainly not an unknown intruder. >> the dog and keith were very close but a burglar couldn't have come in. a family member could have. >> as for the why question, how could keith, a man who by all
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the prosecutor turned to two age-old motives. >> almost every case involving husband and a wife it's lust and greed. one or the other and this had both. >> the lust part of equation was deanna. she took the stand and told the jury that not only was keith house hunting for them he was also making plans to bring her down to paducah for a concert and introduce her to his family. " weekend, i'd really like for you to meet my dad." >> as for the greed part, that was life insurance money. two policies on julie's life worth $250,000. one of them, the prosecutor said, had taken effect just eight days before julie died. >> keith griffith got to the point in his life he wanted to start something new and he didn't want to give julie griffith what she would have needed and been entitled to.
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griffith listened to the entirety of the prosecution's case. all she heard were theories. >> they spun a story and told the story how they wanted it to go and they had facts that supported their story but did not prove it. >> and that's what keith's defense attorney hammered home for the jury. >> what does no evidence mean? they didn't have dna. they didn't have any kind of forensics, they didn't have a confession. they hadhi they had circumstantial evidence. >> in their haste to arrest keith, the defense argued the police had gotten it wrong. yes, he conceded, keith wasn't the husband of the year but he said deanna's story that keith was pursuing her for a long-term commitment was nonsense. >> what he wanted was a port in every storm. >> as for the life insurance, $250,000 was far from a financial windfall, he said. even the bradleys knew that the
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friend's recent tragedy. >> she had been nagging him about getting -- making sure they had plenty of life insurance. >> and he argued the footage of the suv pulling into the subdivision was far too blurry to i.d. it as keith's ford expedition. besides -- >> if a guy is going to go to this much trouble to kill his wife why would he drive an expedition everybody knows he has? >> but the big question still remained. if keith hadn't dren paducah to kill julie, where had he gone the night of the murder? the only person who could answer that was keith himself. >> he was very adamant about taking the stand. >> he wanted to talk to the jury. >> he did. >> what would he say? and would the jury believe him? it was roll the dice time. coming up, keith's eyebrow-raising alibi. >> i was embarrassed and ashamed of what i was doing the night my wife died. >> and then what keith revealed to us.
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when they hear the story they're not going to believe it. >> why even a jury couldn't end >> why even a jury couldn't end this case. putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing. planned parenthood should absolutely be defunded. and congressman hardy said he supported trump 100%. like trump, hardy opposed legislation to ensure equal pay. and hardy fought to defund planned parenthood, just like trump. ruben kihuen respects women. kihuen fought for equal pay for equal work. to make our own health decisions.
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it's hard to make the past dissappear, but danny tarkanian is trying. he'd rather you forget about all of his failed runs for congress, senate, and secretary of state. ...and the shady record that killed his chances every time. the property taxes tarkanian skipped out on for years... the telemarketing scammers he represented... all those fake charities he helped set up.
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keith griffith was about to take the stand and explain the most damning piece of evidence
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footage that put him off the grid for more than six and a half hours the night his wife julie was murdered. but if he wasn't perpetrating the crime during that time then where was he? >> tell us your name, please, sir? >> keith wayne griffith. >> keith's explanation came with an embarrassing secret. his lawyer argued that ever since becoming a traveling salesman keith had struggled with an addiction to sex. >> when you got on the road several years ago, did enough >> no, sir. >> and the night julie was murdered he said he spent those hours out prowling for women. after he left the hotel, he changed out of work clothes into his "man out looking" duds. >> i didn't like people to put my job with my carousing. >> with your carousing? >> uh-huh. >> he says he went to a massage parlor, a bar and a couple strip clubs, but try as he might he
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>> i was trying to pick somebody up, there wasn't anybody available or interested or however you want to put it. >> after last call, he said he went down to the river to watch the boats before returning to the hotel to catch some shut eye. as for why he lied to the police -- >> i was embarrassed and ashamed of what i was doing the night my wife died. >> did you kill your wife? >> no, sir i do not. i loved my wife. >> did you burn the house down, keith? >> no, sir. >> did you kill those dogs? >> no, i loved those dogs. >> when the case went to the jury keith's friend craig bradley didn't know which way the jury would fall. >> i didn't know if he'd be acquitted but i didn't think he'd get convicted. i really felt like it would be a hung jury. >> turns out, he was right. after six hours of deliberation, the jury was deadlocked. >> i'm going to declare a mistrial at this time. >> keith would sit in jail for another year as he awaited a second trial. a long time for his family to process the story he told.
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he goes and sits on the river front? like, he has never done that before in his entire life. >> so when he stepped down you thought "my father did this thing"? >> yeah, i wasn't saying it out loud and i wasn't ready to accept it but i definitely was moving in the direction of the only thing that makes sense is they he committed the crime. >> after months of wrestling with his thoughts, zach decided it was time to send his dad a letter. was that you did it. you know, you took away the last chance that i had a rebuilding a relationship with my mom. you're no longer allowed to contact me and i don't want you to ask about me to anyone. >> wow. "dear dad, you are dead to me." >> exactly. >> his brother's wife ali had started to feel that way about keith, too. >> it seemed like he was fabricating everything that came out of his mouth. >> but there was a split in the family. despite doubts of his own, her
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to his father, was still a supporter. >> whatever issues my mod and dad would have had i just could not believe that my dad would take my kids away from their nana. >> then a few months before keith's retrial, detective carter's phone rang. there was news from the jail. an inmate had some information about keith and it was as eerie as it was chilling. the detective in the bull's-eye. >> keith had come forward to him wanting h >> to put a hit on you? >> put a hit on me. >> orchestrating your death? >> yes, he'd drawn a map of what he believed to be my residence, suggested the caliber of weapon to use to kill me and the informant asked him what if my family was present and his response was one word and that was tragedy. >> wow. that does make the hair on your neck stand up. >> it does. >> that wouldn't look good to a jury. the development brought aaron to a tipping point.
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had you come down on the side of "oh, my god, my father killed my mother"? >> yeah. >> now aaron, too, wrote his father a letter. if he was guilty -- >> it's time. time to man up and do what you would have done two years ago. >> keith's defense attorneys went to the prosecutor to hammer out a plea deal. they agreed on 30 years in prison for the murder and for soliciting the hit. moments later, keith was standing in a paducah courtroom speaking the years thought they'd hear him say. yes, he murdered julie. >> there's no execute for what i did and i can't take it back and she was my best friend an i don't know what happened to me. but i did it and there's nothing i can do about. >> it temple bradley, who works near the courthouse, was there. >> my heart was breaking that the person i have that put
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>> i just cant believe we've been deceived in that way. we were there for him the whole time. >> for keith's family and friends, there are so many questions. but one seems to tower above all the others. >> i want to know why and i want to know how you go from a loving husband and father, grandfather, to driving all the that way, ll covering it up and then lying to your family for so long knowing that we had everybody doubting us and we still defended him. disgusting, he's a monster. >> all i can tell you that i had a lot of bad thoughts, wrong thought, mistakes. >> we sat down with keith hoping for answers. but as many times as we asked
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>> i -- i really can't tell you. i mean, i don't know. i mean, just a bad decision. >> we never did get a satisfying response. so this isn't some kind of delayed mid-life crisis here? >> no. >> where you're trying to be with deanna or someone like her to have a final happy chapter in your life? >> no. julie and i were happy. >> you see how perplexing it is to hear this? it's confounding. >> that's what i told everybody when they hear the story they're not going to believe it. that i did what i did. >> and one thing he didn't do -- how about a divorce? >> never crossed my mind. >> keith now says the remorse began the moment he pulled out of his driveway. >> trying to get out of the subdivision crying before i ever get out regretting what i've done. i probably drove 100 miles an hour all the way back hoping to get caught. >> as for the future, keith says
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for except maybe forgiveness. >> from whom? >> from my boys. >> and that's why you're talking today? >> exactly. yes. >> well, it's between you and them but i'll tell you my take on it is you've got some distance to make up. >> i know i do. i've got a lot to make up. >> of the countless things keith stole from his family, resilience was not among them. aaron and zach are closer than they've been in years and now that they know what happened to their mother they say they can finally mourn her passing and focus on keeping her spirit alive for those two little granddaughters who were the center of her yuan force. >> my oldest daughter will remember -- she talked about her everyday. we have pictures of her up in my room. as my youngest gets older we'll tell her the nascar nana story about when she was born and never let her memory die.
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i'm lester holt. thanks for joining us. >> the final showdown. u.n. lavrov? >> will the nfl now follow suit. >> news3 starts right now. >> it is now in the history books, the final presidential debates, with all the eyes of the nation and the world on u.n. i'm reed cowan.
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debate. our jim schneider spent the night in the spin room. >> round 3 provided more substance than the other debaits, but still nastiness. she called him a putin puppet, he called her a nasty woman. republicans were cheering donald trump for hitting her hard on the the new wikileaks revelations, calling it his most consistent performance yet, even though his temper shortened in the second half. but when trump refused to commit the outcome of this election, saying i will keep you in constituency.

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