tv Lockup Tampa - Extended Stay MSNBC July 9, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
but everyone here knows that the main event is now over. so that does it for us from hamburg tonight. rachel will be back on monday and i'll see you again next friday, live from iraq, where we'll take you to the front lines forth final push to drive isis out of the city of mosul. my dad hung up the phone and told us that jenny was gone. >> a house in flames. the body of a woman inside. >> we have a body. i need a medic. >> but it wasn't the fire that killed her. she was dead before it started. >> accidents will happen. this was no accident. >> who wanted her dead? her boyfriend said he knew. >> there's people after us. >> what does that mean? >> they're trying to get us. >> but police knew better. >> this is a very personal killing and a very angry
killing. hello. welcome to "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. at first, a fatal fire that struck a young couple's home appeared to be an accident and then investigators took a closer look and what they discovered about this fire and this couple left them with "burning suspicion." here's keith morrison. >> is everybody out of the house? >> i don't know but it's on fire. >> the fire in the cottage on addison avenue was hungry, devod devouring almost everything in the bedroom. >> do you see smoke coming out of the windows? >> it's pouring out of the house. >> reporter: within minutes, the smoke clearing, the water running in the streets. and then as the mop-up began, the word flashed out like
something electric. the house was occupied. someone didn't get out. and up through the ashes, a mystery flared, like a stubborn ember that demanded an answer. the inhabitants of the renteds could tcottage were two young beautiful people, the successful type that you might expect to see on a reality show. their names are paul and jennifer. jennifer, an ambitious, award-winning real estate agent who lived like a rock star, or said her buddy roy. >> she's like, i'm knocking them out like dominos, i just worked out, went to starbucks and on my way to a meeting and it's only 6:33. >> so paul just seemed to be the right kind of guy for nnifer, said roy. >> because he was an entrepreneur. >> reporter: uh-huh. >> and he seemed like he was a very driven person. and that's definitely a quality that jennifer was looking for.
>> reporter: jordanian-american paul zumat, sleek, attractive, engaging. he owned a hangout cafe where customers could smoke flavored tobacco pipes called hookas. this man was a fan. >> he's a good-looking man. he looks good, smells good, he's witty, he's smart and he's just affectionate. >> reporter: so love at first sight? well, maybe. >> he liked to joke around. >> and money? there was a lot of it around apparently, too. and jennifer and paul worked hard to get it. they seemed only too happy to
spend it. >> when jennifer and paul first got together, paul took jennifer to new york city. >> and i remember he was like a kid in a candy store, just planning all of these elaborate, wonderful things that they were going to do together. >> they were passionate, these beautiful people. they both had strong personalities, their love burned hot. >> jennifer was a strong, independent woman and she would not accept anyone disrespecting her or even looking at her inappropriately and she was very strong-willed. >> me, like i always did, told him you need to be careful because girls can be evil. so he said, no, she's different. i love her. i already love her. she's great. >> and so in september 2009, paul and jennifer moved into the charming little cottage on addison avenue here in palo alto. time to playhouse. paul started to think about
marriage. and for paul's 36th birthday, jennifer planned a party full of promise. >> she invited most of his close friends to dishdash, one of his favorite restaurants, and i think they had over a dozen people, almost to people or something. and jennifer created a cute table setting. she created a perfect party for paul. cake and everything. >> in fact, people who were there described the party as almost like a wedding reception. it lasted through the evening, into the wee hours of the morning. and now here it was just the very next evening and it was gone in ashes, all of it. the excitement, the glamour, the promising future up in smoke along with the house on addison and the person inside. >> we have a body. i need medics. we have a body badly burned. >> the next day, jim was driving
with his parents to a dinner engagement. his phone rang. it was an old friend. he had picked it up. >> i said, jake, you're going to tell me something bad, aren't you? and he said jim -- >> reporter: he just kept repeating your name? >> yeah. i said, hold on, i've got to pull over. i didn't want to hear it. i didn't want to hear what he had to tell me so i gave the phone to my dad. and he told my dad. my dad hung up the phone and he held me and my mom in our arms, like we were all holding each other and he told us jenny was gone. >> reporter: it was his jennifer, his daughter who died in that fire. and now along with almost unbearable grief, something else started to burn inside jim.
something searing. it was suspicion. >> you know, accidents will happen. there's a lot of tragic things that happen to a lot of people in this world, but this was no accident. it didn't have to happen. coming up -- police give paul the bad news. >> i don't know how to tell you this, man, but there's a body in the house that's been burned. [ crying ] >> when "burning suspicion" continues. award winning interface. award winning design. award winning engine. the volvo xc90. the most awarded luxury suv of the century. visit your volvo dealer today
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that's why at comcast we're continuing to make4/7. our services more reliable than ever. like technology that can update itself. an advanced fiber-network infrustructure. new, more reliable equipment for your home. and a new culture built around customer service. it all adds up to our most reliable network ever. one that keeps you connected to what matters most. welcome back to "dateline extra." jennifer schipsi and paul zumot seemed like a gorgeous couple. he a handsome entrepreneur. they were both passionate about
their lives and passionate about each other. but one day, a terrible house fire left one of them dead and the other facing questions from investigators. here again is keith morrison. >> reporter: while the deadly fire was burning at his home on addison avenue, paul was at his hooka lounge just a few minutes away. he rushed over but could only pace back and forth as firefighters did their job. soon after that, he sat down with the palo alto police to help sort out what happened, though, as you can see on the video recording, sat is probably not the best description. paul was full of nervous energy and frantic questions. at this point, nobody had told him that jennifer was in that fire. >> i'm worried about my house, what about my girlfriend, what caused the fire and i don't care about this. i just want to know about jennifer right now. >> i'm not sure i know anything more than you do.
my job is to talk to you and find out what exactly you know because you probably know more than me at this point. >> no. no. >> so, together, police and zumot talked about the hours before the fire. where had she been? what had she and paul been doing? >> well, yesterday was my birthday. we went out and everything was fine, you know. >> who's "we"? >> me and her and all of our friends. >> who is her? >> jennifer. >> your girlfriend? >> yes. >> paul explained that he spent the afternoon at an appointment in san jose and just got back in time for the cafe to open in the evening. >> there was traffic, i got to the cafe because that's when they open. and as soon as i sat down i want to smoke. i have the hookah lounge and my landlord calls and says your house is on fire. i flew through the red lights and i'm here. i'm really frustrated and
confused and exhausted and i want to know what happened. i care less about the house but jennifer's safety. i cannot think anything right now. >> then, paul's phone rang. it was jennifer's mother who told him she hadn't seen or heard from her daughter. you can see what happened. paul fell to pieces. >> yeah, i know. i know. i know. i can't find her. they're not telling me anything. >> reporter: to this point, he told detectives that he had been clinging to the hope that jennifer was with her mother. anywhere, really, but at home. but she wasn't with her mother. wasn't anywhere. and that's when the officer broke this news. >> i don't know how to tell you this, man, but there's a body in the house that's been burned. and we have no way of knowing who that is.
[ crying ] >> i have to get out of here. get me out of here, please. [ crying ] >> okay. and i'm trying to be as sensitive as i possibly can because i understand that this is your -- i don't know that this is jennifer. >> i hope not. i hope not. >> listen, we have not confirmed who this is, okay? it's a really odd set of circumstances, okay? we need to figure out, is this on purpose, is this an accident, okay? this is just -- unfortunately, this is just the beginning for all of us, okay, to try to answer some questions. okay? [ crying ]
>> but of course, it had to be jennifer. and it probably wasn't an accident. as that news sank in, paul began to think about who might have wanted to harm jennifer and came up with some potentially helpful information. two brothers, hisham and tony began ganda. >> what happened is, he called me and said he was going to kill me. he spoke in arabic. i speak it knfluently. >> he and jennifer filed restraining orders against both of them. >> i'm scared from the guy. so i know those guys like this. now, yesterday she walked home and she said, hey, somebody probably was stalking me. >> reporter: had the brothers killed her, too? police listened, and then had
paul give them his clothes for forensic testing. his home destroyed, his girlfriend dead, he was nearly in shock, says his friend. >> his mind was, are they sure it's jennifer and she's never coming back. >> reporter: as the weeks went by, she said paul was in a daze. >> the gist of our conversations for the first few weeks is that jennifer's not coming back. he was completely distraught about the fact that jennifer was in that fire. >> reporter: meanwhile, as those same weeks went by, investigators went quietly and steadily about their task, picking through the cinders of the fire and coming to the conclusion that none of it smelled right. literally. coming up -- >> was gasoline there? >> no question at all. it's in her hair. you can smell it and you can smell it when you walk in just with your own nose.
>> investigators now know the fire was not an accident. what they discovered next was an even bigger shock. when "burning suspicion" continues. you never just get one offer. go to lendingtree.com and shop multiple loan offers for free! free? yeah. could save thousands. you should probably buy me dinner. no. go to lendingtree.com for a new home loan or refinance. receive up to five free offers and choose the loan that's right for you. our average customer could lower their monthly bills by over three hundred dollars. go to lendingtree.com right now. you...smells fine, but yourin your passengers smell this bell dinging new febreze car with odorclear technology cleans away odors... ...for up to 30 days smells nice... breathe happy, with new febreze.
ruins still warm, a yellow lab named rosie sniffed around what was by then a sealed crime scene. rosie was trained to identify some of the tools of arson, kerosene, oil, gasoline. rosie stopped in her tracks. she'd apparently found something. chuck is a deputy district attorney in palo alto. was gasoline there? >> no question at all. it's in her hair, you can smell it when you walked in just with your own nose and the remnants of the gas can was found next to her right hip. we were able to identify the type and make and model of the gas can. >> wow. that's like somebody leaving a gun beside the body with their fingerprints all over it, isn't it? >> no fingerprints and no physical evidence beyond that. >> reporter: but it was so clear that it was an arson? >> correct. and the arson was not at issue. >> reporter: now. it was cold-blooded murder that was at issue because jennifer
schipsi did not die in the fire. she was dead before the fire started. the method, a particularly intimate form of killing. death by strangulation. >> strangling someone is a very personal killing. it's a very angry killing. it's not like shooting someone from a long way away, i don't imagine. you're touching the person and feeling their life's blood ebb from them. >> reporter: who could have been so angry with jennifer? paul had told detectives that they had taken out restraining orders against hisham and tony ghanma, men who he considered former friends. >> they're trying to get us. they are trying to harm me. >> who is that? >> hisham. >> the guy you have a restraining order against? ze h >> he hit me. he has a restraining order against me. >> reporter: and just one night
before, paul told police some guys in a truck tried to follow jennifer home. >> she had broken her heel and she says somebody was stalking her. it's fine. it's okay with me but we had people stalking us in the past, okay? i don't know what's going on. i believe that's what caused the fire. i believe somebody was threatening us. >> reporter: so was paul zumot on to something? detectives went to talk to the brothers and, of course, checked to see where both men were the day of the fire. and there was no doubt they were nowhere near the fire. they had alibis. >> at the time of the fire, we know exactly where both of them were. one of the ghanma was in their cafe and he's on videotape and another was at home depot 20 minutes away. we have videotape and receipts from both of those locations. >> reporter: so once the ghanma brothers were in the clear, cops do what they always do in cases like this. it's practically police work
101. they take a closer look at the victim's boyfriend paul. and there was a curious moment in that police interview the day of t fire when paul admitted he wasn't always the best sort of boyfriend. >> me and my girlfriend were broke up and palo alto put a restraining order on me becau they said paul threatened me, blah, blah, blah. i said, no, she came to the cafe and broke the door. we always have problems like this and i never touched a girl in my life. you can see the police reports. >> reporter: suspicious? sure. but as they asked around among the couple's friends, police learned a few things that put paul's behavior into context. maybe he wasn't any more to blame than she was. >> their relationship was chaotic, there's no disputing that, absolutely. but he was no more violent in the relationship than she was. whether it be physically, verbally, emotionally.
>> reporter: as police gathered evidence, bit by bit, asking around about paul, one of them noticed something a little odd. paul told a friend, also a policeman, by the way, two slightly different stories about his whereabouts the day of the fire. first conversation, day of the fire, reported the cop friend, paul said he wasn't home all day. then, second conversation, next day, paul said he stopped briefly at home en route to his hookah cafe. as we say, odd. but people's memories can be tricky. was that one little difference enough to add up to suspicion of murder? police apparently thought so, especially once they added that to the rest of what they discovered. paul was arrested. >> i'm going to wait to talk to my attorney. >> what's that? >> i will wait for my attorney. >> okay. >> they charged paul zumot with arson and murder, which struck some observers as strange.
after all, there had just been that one little inconsistency and though paul and jennifer did fight sometimes, they seemed crazy in love, too. paul had been shopping for a diamond ring, for heaven's sake. >> there was a part of paul that was mourning his girlfriend and then there was a part of him that was -- he didn't understand why he was in custody. and he didn't understand why he couldn't just cry for his girlfriend and for his life that had just changed 100%. >> reporter: it certainly did. paul zumot was taken to jail to await trial on a charge of murder in the first degree. big mistake, said paul zumot. >> when i first saw him, he -- all he was really still telling me is, you know, me being in custody, all of this is going to blow over with. you know, they're going to realize i'm not the person who did this and this will be over
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hi, i'm richard lui. a new report in "the new york times" says that donald trump jr.'s meeting happened after getting damaging information about hillary clinton. donald trump jr. says the lawyer claimed people connected to russia funded hillary clinton and the democratic national committee. a spokesman for president trump's legal team says the president was not aware of the meeting at trump tower. now back to "dateline."
welcome back to "dateline extra" with "burning suspicion." a prosecutor believed that paul zum zumot evidence that pointed elsewhere. in the days after the fire on addison avenue after paul zumot was charged with murder and hauled off to jail, events in palo alto seemed to freeze somehow. in confusion and denial from paul's point of view and unrequit tal grief from the people who loved jennifer. >> it hurt. it hurt a lot. >> reporter: unrequitted because paul wasn't entering a plea, which this is was all about. candlelight vigils outside of paul's hookah lounge. >> we decided to stand in front of his establishment every night until he made his plea. >> reporter: eventually, no
surprise, paul did plead not guilty. and prosecutor gillingham found himself sifting through the records of a two-year romance studded with restraining orders, bitter quarrels, scratches, bruises, 911 calls. >> these are two people who had makeups and breakups and she gave it as good as she got. >> reporter: after one of their flare-ups, paul was to attend anger management classes, went to one the day of the fire, as a matter of fact. so why did people who fought so much stay together for so long. there was an audio recording of jennifer herself. gillingham got ahold of it. listen to her explanation. >> he wins your heart so he sweeps you off your feet, candles everywhere, flowers, not money items but just romancing, sweet talking and parading you around and wanting to introduce you to everybody. it gets me loving him and
admiring him that he admires me and then it makes me trust his opinion and what he says about me and thinks about me so then as soon as he gets to that point, he flips it and calls me ugly, fat, a gold digger -- >> reporter: by the way, the person she's talking to is hisham ghanma. here she was confiding in him. mind you, it's a phone conversation that was recorded a few months before the fire, but then she was not happy about paul, not at that point, anyway. >> i have pictures of the damage that he did to all of my furniture. he kicked in my car, somebody saw him at starbucks spit in my face on my way to work. >> reporter: but things clearly changed after that. remember, they were all lovey dovey and paul was even talking marriage the night before the
fire. and now here he was not more than a year later on trial for her murder, listening to the prosecutor take the jury inside the last days of paul's relationship with jennifer. how did gillingham do that? jennifer's cell phone. detectives discovered -- and this was rather curious, that most of her text message history had been deleted. but law enforcement has changed a lot. it's had to to keep up with high tech. the palo alto cops managed to find a phone expert all the way across the country in new hampshire who had a very deep look into that cell phone and was able to pull up thousands, literally thousands of deleted text messages between jennifer and paul and the last few months of her life. and, oh boy. from jennifer, you're nothing but a selfish squcam artist lia. furious. that didn't read like any old
quarrel. jennifer sent that text to paul right at the end of the elaborate birthday party she threw for him when she had perhaps 12 hours to live. she was so upset about something that she refused to go to the hookah lounge, walked all the way home on a broken heel texting all the way. jennifer, good, stay away from me. i just got home. paul, i'm staying away this final for good. what a way to end my birthday. >> for jennifer to walk home alone at night with a broken heel and upset, she had to have been -- i don't even know if i've ever seen her that mad. >> but that was the night before. angry messages buzzing back and forth. then, as the cell phone revealed, the pair made love during the night before jennifer's morning text messages again turned red hot angry. the subject seemed to be a debt
she claimed he owed her. >> right around 10:30, 10:45 into 11:16 in the morning telling him you better bring a check, don't come back or she's filing charges by 3:00 that day and that's the last text message anyone has with her, the last contact she has ever with anyone. >> reporter: and just before noon is when paul lost his temper and choked her to death, drove to a gas station, bought a can of gasoline, later, returned home towards the house. and somewhere along the way, said the prosecutor, he erased it all of those angry text messages she sent him. >> every single one between the defendant and her, every single one is gone. months worth. >> and then paul used jennifer's cell phone to send fake texts to her friends so they believed she was still alive. to support that claim, he
introduced an expert witness who testified that texts from paul's phone and texts from jennifer's phone were hitting some of the same cell towers all afternoon. so her phone must have been right there with him in his car, which is why when she missed a meeting with her friend roy, the texts he got from her didn't make sense. they weren't a sensible response to the message he sent her. in fact, he got the same text twice. >> she didn't show up and her phone was off so as soon as i got that repeat text message, i was kind of worried because she wasn't responding to what i was saying. >> jennifer was nowhere to be found. jennifer was dead. >> reporter: now what prosecutor gillingham wanted the jury to think about is what happened or didn't happen much later after the fire. here was the scene, house burning, paul standing on the street outside watching the fire and at this point he supposedly didn't know if jennifer was inside or outside, whether she
was alive or dead. but -- in the time that he was there, he made 38 calls and text messages, two of which went to jennifer and neither occasion did he leave jennifer a message. he left messages for others and spoke with others, text messages, for instance, the same friend multiple times. but in that two-hour period, at no time does he leave that location to look for jennifer perhaps, to go to the other side of the blocked off street. >> reporter: you know, if he called her and texted her once, surely that's enough. i mean, she'll call him back. >> the cell phone records actually bear out that he's a person that would call or text her 2 to 300 times a day if he wasn't able to get ahold of her. his silence especially at the crime scene was deafening. because there was no text message, and i did to the jury, he stood at that location because he wanted people to see him there. >> reporter: how could the jury be sure that paul was guilty? prosecutor offered her. remember rosie, the skillful
police dog trained to alert to the faintest whiff of accelerant of the sort used in arson fire? she alerted when she smelled some of paul zumot's clothes. suspicious? yes. though, not exactly ironclad evidence. as you'll see, courtesy of paul's high-profile defense attorney, the man famous for defending scott peterson. his name, mark geragos. >> i've had many a client who i have no doubt who was capable of the acts that he was accused of. this is just not one of them. coming up -- in the last hours of jennifer's life, something was caught on camera. does it prove paul is not guilty? >> so you had sex last night with her? >> yeah. >> anybody who watches this is never going to have the impression that this was somebody who was ready to kill her. >> -- when "burning suspicion" continues.
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>> reporter: defense attorney mark geragos has made a name for himself defending clients in difficult and highly celebrated cases, not the least, the scott peterson trial. but defending paul zumot would present its own set of challenges. zumot was accused of killing his girlfriend jennifer schipsi and then trying to hide that fact by burning the house down. but as the trial began, he had also been paid by the prosecution as an abuser, a violent man, an image geragos set out to change. >> they both were passionate, romantic at times, hot at times, as you would characterize it. i don't think it was a one-way street, by any means. >> reporter: to a start, geragos tried to weed out possible jury members who might have been unduly swayed by angry text messages or stories about zumot's temper. >> what you want to get a jury to do is to want to help your client and to kind of walk in the shoes of your client.
>> reporter: and then when he presented his case, geragos set out to reframe the events after that infamous party the night before the fire. >> the party was at a place and it was for paul's birthday and it was planned by jennifer and the -- had maybe 14 to 18 of their close friends that were there and by all accounts at the party, everything was great. >> reporter: and the argument later, the angry texts, that was just a way that paul and jennifer were, said geragos. his proof? after those angry text message exchanges, here's what happened as zumot described in his police interview. >> we talked, we smoked hookah, everything is fine. we did what we did, you know. and we slept together and we took two xanaxes and we went to
bed. >> so you slept together that night? >> oh, yeah. made up and then we video ourselves. i mean, honestly, i probably shouldn't be saying that but that's -- >> videoed yourself? >> having sex. >> so you had sex last night with her videoing it? >> yeah. >> reporter: and sure enough, when police looked at jennifer's cell phone, there was a video. she and paul having sex after their fight hours before she was murdered. >> so enthusiastically that anybody who watches it is never going to have the impression or take away from that that this was somebody who was ready to kill her. >> reporter: and as for that cell tower evidence that the prosecutor presented that seemed to have paul had jennifer's phone with him and sending out fake messages in her name? that was nonsense, sense geragos. >> that was one of the pieces of information that was imploded. we went and got the engineer, the actual engineer from the carrier to come in and say he
looked at the evidence and what this guy said was the phone pinging off the same towers was not. it was just merged data from the cell phone. >> reporter: why is that important? because, says geragos, the prosecution's own timeline should have cleared paul zumot. jennifer was strangled several hours before the fire started and it was lit no earlier than about 6:30 p.m. but early in the afternoon, after paul had left the area, geragos says, jennifer was still alive, sending real, not fake, text messages herself from her phone. >> by all accounts, she was alive at 1:17. >> okay. >> and at 1:17, paul was not at the house. >> reporter: so where was paul? trying to pick up paperwork at the palo alto police station and then at the hookah lounge where he appears on video footage around 1:37 p.m. and then from
there he headed to his anger management class about 18 miles away. obje on the way, he stopped at the restaurant depot seen here around 3:30. so there simply wasn't time in between, said geragos, for paul to go to the cottage, strangle his girlfriend and douse her body with gasoline. a solid alibi, says geragos. his client simply couldn't have killed jennifer and he couldn't have started the fire. how could he have been in two places at once? and as for rosie, the yellow lab who alerted to the gasoline on zumot's clothes, those clothes were sent to the bureau of alcohol and firearms and nothing was found at all. >> the fta has a protocol and the atf also put out a protocol that said you never take a dog
alert -- a single dog alert and draw a conclusion and, in fact, if the atf says negative, then you should not allow in the dog alert. >> reporter: so why would people believe the dog over the atf? >> i think once again you get into this idea that people have dogs, they kind of ascribe supernatural powers to dogs. i have two large dogs and one having been through a couple of cases with dog evidence as much as i love my dogs, i'm certainly not going to want to convict somebody and put their liberty at stake based on dog evidence. >> reporter: still, as he presented his case, geragos had a problem. and he knew it. >> what it came down to was the character assassination block of the case. the first two blocks of this case resolved around the -- what is so-called sicientific evidene and that was absolutely destroyed and then you end up
with character assassination. >> reporter: the chance to testitalk to the jury by testifying. testifying, in fact, is risky, especially for paul,paul, said friend mikisa. >> knowing paul, and the way that he could be interpreted incorrectly, i was very nervous about paul taking the stand. >> risky or not, paul was determined to tell the jury his side of the story. coming up -- >> i thought, you know, if there was any way this jury thought this man was responsible for this, now they know for sure that he's not. >> but what did the jury think? when "burning suspicion" continues. ♪
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our story, "burning suspicion." once again, keith morris. >> defense attorney mark geragos had done what he could to poke holes in the prosecution's murder case against paul dume not, arguing that the prosecution had no solid scientific proof or clear evidence zumot was anywhere near jennifer when she was strangled and the house was set on fire. and anyway, he asked, if paul attacked jennifer, wouldn't she have put up some kind of a fight? why were there no defensive marks or scratches on paul zumot's body? did the prosecution even have a case? paul zumot wasn't going to take any chances. in fact, he was determined to tell the jury his side of the story. so geragos assigned a female colleague to question paul. it must have been a strategy, whispered courtroom observers. a way to show the jury that paul could in fact interact well with a woman.
but those observers were mistaken, said geragos. >> well, i generally -- i don't think direct examination is my strong suit. and i was concentrating on cross-examination of the witnesses. >> so paul zumot looked the jurors in the eye and told them i did not kill jennifer schipsi, did not burn the house. and then he told them, emotions building to a fever pitch, how despite their roller coaster relationship, he truly loved jennifer. his lawyer presented a love letter in fact that she had written to them, and he broke down then. flood of tears. >> i was so relieved. and i thought, you know, if there was any way this jury thought this man was responsible for this, now they know for sure that he's not. because it's so obvious to me that he's telling the truth. >> but listening to all of this with his experienced ear was prosecutor gillingham.
you must have been rather pleased when you heard he was going to testify. >> i think that's an understatement. i was very, very pleased. >> more than that, it was a gift, said gillingham, an unexpected opportunity. why? well, the prosecutor had paul right where he wanted him for as long as he wanted him. there were hours of questions, tough questions, baiting questions, questions designed to make paul crack and reveal what gillingham to be a controlling personality and a red hot temper. >> my plan was to go through how he acted when he was angry. and then ask him questions that he could have no good answers for. for instance, why all those text messages are deleted. and those are questions he could not answer because he had not considered those questions. a after three long days in the hot seat, paul zumot's testimony was finally over. had he persuaded the jurors that he was innocent? do you feel he got a little chippy or arrogant on the stand? >> i don't think he got
arrogant, but clearly he was tired an he was exasperated. he wanted to tell his story. he was being cut off. >> but the jurors once they got the case said they were determined to look at the evidence, not just courtroom theater. >> everyone was very committed to going over the evidence and discussing each of the witnesses and each of the crucial pieces of evidence. it was really encouraging. >> and it was crucial they decided to compare very carefully the different timelines claimed by the prosecution and the defense. >> so we analyzed the timeline for the entire day from his testimony where he said he was and then other pieces of testimony and evidence to validate or contradict. >> the jury took less than 14 hours and came back with a verdict, guilty. >> all i remember was i heard that word guilty, man. and it was just like this -- this relief, this release of tension. >> i was very shocked by the verdict. i think a lot of people were
shocked by the verdict. because, i mean, if you sat through the weeks and weeks of trial, it just -- it's inconceivable how they could get to the result that they got to. >> but to the jurors, the issues about text messages and whether paul had jennifer's phone all afternoon wasn't as important as zumot on the stand. that's what made the difference. his tears, for example? >> sometimes i feel like i'm too cynical. but it was a universally held opinion, i think. the entire jury believed that it was a manufactured moment. >> what was the problem with his testimony? >> there were two things that struck me. one was when he broke down on the stand. and to me it didn't seem genuine. and the other portion of his testimony was when he had the opportunity to tell us where he was and what he was doing, he chose to basically lie to us three times.
and we were able to prove that he lied to us by the hard evidence that we had with the phone records and with the video surveillance and those items. to me, that hurt him very badly. >> if he hadn't testified, i can't say for sure, but i don't think i could have convicted him. >> at his sentencing, an angry zumot again protested his innocence. but he was sent away for 25 to life for murder. plus eight years for arson. after the fire the palo alto cottage was repaired. new love perhaps growing in there. young people were still coming to the cafe to socialize and smoke hookah. paul, gone like the romance that burned too bright it vanished with its victim in a cloud of smoke. >> and i can still hear her voice. and see her smile.
i know she is here. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. ms. cuevas, you want to explain to me why i should not put you in prison? >> i'm just tired of getting high. >> and you weren't tired when i gave you a five-year suspended sentence before? >> a drug addicted mother asks a judge to keep her out of prison. >> can you just call my dad and tell him to look for something who has collateral? j