Skip to main content

tv   Dateline Extra  MSNBC  October 23, 2017 12:00am-1:00am PDT

12:00 am
ive. that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. and i'm natalie morales. and this is "dateline." aves, and it's where everything else is clear and flat. my heart is racing a million miles an hour. i was using my boots to move leaves. and that's when i screamed this blood curdling scream. craig melvin: nique leili, a corporate exec who made time for romance and her three daughters. she was the best mom. craig melvin: then she disappeared. dozens joined the search. we need nique to come home. craig melvin: then they found her. oh, i need to see her.
12:01 am
no, you can't, you can't, baby. craig melvin: launching a mystery that would divide this family. i suspected him from the beginning. craig melvin: one daughter thought her step dad matt did it. the others said no way. and matt? he had a theory all his own. craig melvin: had nique taken off and found trouble? so now you're thinking someone gave her a date rape drug. that's a possibility. craig melvin: the trail would lead to this house of cameras. there's a big server tower that would indicate a large amount of data being stored. craig melvin: what they discovered, thousands of hours of tape. it's absolutely a torture to listen to. nique leili: let the record show i am now locked in the room again. craig melvin: and would reveal one shattering truth. i'd got down on my knees and just started crying. [theme music] welcome to "dateline." nique leili was juggling family life and a thriving career
12:02 am
when suddenly she vanished. detectives turned to those closest to her for information. then they discovered something unusual. nique's last months had been recorded on camera. could that footage lead detectives to her? here's dennis murphy with the house on sidney's cove. dennis murphy: there's never a good day to search for a missing woman. but this rainy, muggy, saturday in the heat of july made an unhappy task all but unbearable. take some flyers with you. dennis murphy: they decided, the friends and family, that they'd all wear red shirts. they got themselves organized in the parking lot of a walmart in lawrenceville, georgia about an hour outside of atlanta. and then set out to find any trace of a petite corporate executive named nique leili. she's been missing for a week now. she's got three kids that would love to see her home. dennis murphy: amy robinson told reporters
12:03 am
that her 44-year-old sister, mother of three, was hardly the kind of person who'd just up and disappear without a word to anyone. i'm just so worried about my sister, you know, we just have no idea where she is or what-- what's happened to her. dennis murphy: as fate would have, the question of where nique was would be answered soon enough. but even now, the question of what happened to nique remains unclear. nique leili: i'm sick of playing your games. dennis murphy: what is clear from the recordings she left behind is that nique leili lived a troubled and tormented life. tell me about nique's personality. she was very funny, you know. she and i used to laugh all the time. and she was very-- she was very feisty. she would say what she meant. you know, she didn't mince a lot of words.
12:04 am
dennis murphy: as sisters, amy robinson and nique leili were 10 years apart. but according to amy, they were always close. boy, you two look alike in the old photos. we do. i was thinking maybe you're swapping out each other's clothes, but of course you're 10 years apart. well, that didn't stop it from happening. i wore a lot of her hand me downs. dennis murphy: by the mid-90s, nique had been married and divorced twice. and she and her young daughter, alex, were sharing an apartment with amy. we had a good time with that too. we just laughed putting up pictures in the apartment and stuff. this sounds like a sitcom. yeah, oh yeah. and at times it definitely was. dennis murphy: eventually, nique moved out, remarried, and had two more daughters with her third husband, matt leili, a new yorker she'd met online. he made my sister laugh. and so we would all laugh. dennis murphy: after brief stays in oklahoma and mississippi, nique and matt returned to georgia and settled into this house on sidney's cove in lawrenceville. nique, a well-regarded corporate money person was the primary breadwinner.
12:05 am
matt, a computer guy, ran a small business out of the house. he started going to government surplus auctions and buying these big pallets of old, used computer parts, and then rebuilding them and selling them on ebay. by this ring. by this ring. when it was amy's turn to get married in 2003, her big sis was there serving as matron of honor. i just want to raise a toast to amy, my best friend, my confidant, my sister, and to the love of her life who makes her head spin. to amy and dillon. dennis murphy: then later that night boogieing to what else, we are family. (singing) we are family. dennis murphy: as the years passed, the sisters remained close. in late june 2011, amy organized a spa day out for nique and her three girls. no boys allowed. you know, we're going to go have a girl's day. where'd you go? we went to go get our nails done. day of beauty at the spa, huh.
12:06 am
mm-hmm, yep. we got-- we got manicures and pedicures and we went and had lunch. dennis murphy: nique had had her toenails painted pink that day. and though she'd sometimes had a difficult relationship with her teenage daughter, alex says that day at the spa felt like a turning point, a fresh beginning. snapshots, everybody looks pretty happy. - yeah. - good girls day out. yeah, it was fun. and i'm beyond grateful now that we've done it. dennis murphy: two weeks later, nique had apparently left home in the middle of the night without a word to anyone. when the family reported her missing two days later, the police advised them there was little they could do. their response was we don't even know where to start looking. she's not on the 11 o'clock news every night. no. because frankly, you know, a grown woman having left her house wasn't that interesting a story. well 100 people getting together all wearing red shirts, now there's an interesting story. so they covered that. so then the cameras were out. then the cameras came. dennis murphy: and this is what the cameras saw, searchers
12:07 am
armed with maps literally beating the bushes around nique leili's subdivision for clues as to what might have happened to her. well keep your eyes open, if you see her or anything, definitely call 911 and let them know that you've seen her. dennis murphy: every searcher had an assignment. oh look, we got blue skies going to smile on us. dennis murphy: harriett garrett, nique's mother, had the job of going door to door, leafleting the neighborhood with flyers picturing her daughter. i don't think anybody is at home, but we'll find out. even though southern hospitality may have been in short supply that day. get out of here before i call the cops. dennis murphy: harriett pressed on. good morning, sir. my name is harriett garrett. my daughter is missing and they're trying to give it-- we're trying to get some news coverage. dennis murphy: like so many of the volunteers that day, alison rockwell wasn't a relative. she was looking for nique, her coworker. i loved nique. nique was great.
12:08 am
she was just so great to work with, very smart, lots of energy, positive, wonderful. just a wonderful person. dennis murphy: on the morning of the search, alison recalls that she and another colleague from work, a man named derek, were running late. that would turn out to be an important twist of fate. forty minutes late actually, everyone else had started searching. so were you given a grid or an area to look at? yes. we were given the front of the neighborhood, the very front of the neighborhood on the right. dennis murphy: it was one of the last unassigned sections of the organizer's search grid, a patch of woods near a busy road. derek and i went into the woods together. and i remember having to walk up and go over a large tree. and there's this pile of leaves. and it's in the middle of where everything else is clear and flat.
12:09 am
and my heart is racing a million miles an hour. i go up to the pile of leaves. i was using my boots to move leaves up at the bottom of the pile. as i was doing that, i said, derek. and derek came over. and he heard the panic in my voice, and he started helping me. and that's when we saw a blond hair. and i screamed this blood curdling scream. and there was no question? no. craig melvin: coming up. and she said oh my god, it's her. we found her. oh, i need to see her. there's her hair. - how awful for you. - yeah. craig melvin: a body and a vital clue. that telling factor was the bottoms of her feet were clean. craig melvin: what did that mean? when "dateline." continues.
12:10 am
do i use a toothpaste thati had whitens my teeth or one... ...that's good for my teeth? now i don't have to choose! my dentist told me about new crest whitening therapy. so, i tried it! from crest 3d white comes new whitening therapy. it's our best whitening technology. plus, it has a fortifying formula to protect your enamel. now i get a whiter smile and healthy teeth, all in one. the 3d white collection from crest. healthy, beautiful smiles for life.
12:11 am
my "business" was going nowhere... so i built this kickin' new website with godaddy. building a website in under an hour is easy! 68% of people... ...who have built their website using gocentral, did it in... ...under an hour, and you can too. type in your business or idea. pick your favourite design. personalize it with beautiful images.'re done! and now business is booming. harriet, it's a double stitch not a cross stitch! build a better website - in under an hour. free to try. no credit card required. gocentral from godaddy.
12:12 am
12:13 am
dennis murphy: at first, it was the unnatural way the leaves were clumped that attracted attention. then it was the hair. and i hear a scream from the woods. you hear a scream? yeah. and i tore off running into the woods. and then when i got into the woods her coworker alison was there. and she said oh my god, it's her. we found her. there's her hair. how awful for you. yeah. dennis murphy: nique leili's sister amy and her friend alison felt sure the body beneath the leaves had to be nique's. it was terrible. i think everybody was a little bit shocked.
12:14 am
so i just kind of went into crisis mode and i called 911. dennis murphy: within minutes, police, ambulances, and news cameras were converging on the patch of woods where the body was found. nique's mother, harriett garrett, says she heard the news when a cop told her she'd have to stop leafleting the neighborhood. someone in the neighborhood had complained. and while he is talking to me, his radio goes off. it's the dispatch. body has been found. you hear it over the dispatch. yes sir, yes sir. do you actually go to that place in that little bit of woods? yes. well i couldn't. by the time i got there they already had the crime scene tape up, and i couldn't get any further. ok, we're going to move back. we're going to move back on down, guys. they had it isolated by that time. but i got to it as close as i could. hello? dennis murphy: soon, harriett had nique's oldest daughter, alex, on the phone.
12:15 am
do you know it's her? well, i'm right here, the police won't let me come, honey. they won't let me though. i'm right here where the police are. they won't let me through. where are you? i just remember fainting or something. but as soon as i came to i took off running. and i ran all the way to where the crime scene tape was. oh, i need to see her. no, you can't. come on, folks. you can't, baby. of course, they wouldn't let me see her. and i am grateful that they didn't now. dennis murphy: as nique's family struggled to process the news, amy faced the microphones and once again became the family's voice. all we saw was her hair. you know, so we're just waiting for the police to do their job and we'll find out more soon. dennis murphy: inside the police tape, investigators carefully uncovered the body of a middle aged female. she was nude, lying face down. and tellingly, appeared to have a fresh pink pedicure.
12:16 am
given the decomposition, the heat, the rain, investigators figured the body had lain there for a while. it had been out there several days. dennis murphy: gwinnett county police detective brad everson. no clothing whatsoever. dennis murphy: any obvious injuries to the body, lacerations, blunt force trauma, gunshot, stab wound, anything you could see? nothing. and of course, at this point there is no-- there's no identifying documents around it. so there's nothing around where the body is at that would indicate what happened. dennis murphy: in the way of these things, dental records confirmed what everyone suspected. the body in the woods was indeed that of nique leili. the telling factor was the bottoms of her feet were clean. what does that tell you? connect the dots for me. well, that tells you that she didn't walk out there and put herself in those words. and in this phase, she sure wasn't going to cover herself up. dennis murphy: later, lab analysis of nique's blood
12:17 am
revealed something else that was odd. there was a high level of the date rape drug ghb in her system. so now you're thinking maybe sometime before this woman's death, almost immediately before, someone gave her a date rape drug. that's a possibility. m.e. also finds semen. correct. dennis murphy: had nique somehow been abducted, raped, and then dumped less than a mile from her home? the detective couldn't say. but in the days before her body was found, while this was still a missing persons case, nique's husband matt had told everson something intriguing on the phone. this wasn't the first time nique leili had walked out on him. craig melvin: coming up. craig melvin: the nique no one knew, stories of unstable behavior.
12:18 am
craig melvin: when dateline continues.
12:19 am
is now a good time to refinance? yes! mortgage rates are historically low. the time to refinance your home is right now. get started at the only place you can compare up to five real offers, side by side, for free. our average customer can significantly lower their monthly bills. quick. beat the fed's next rate hike. do not miss this window. are you sure you have the best rate? it only takes 3 minutes to find out. go to right now.
12:20 am
12:21 am
dennis murphy: by the time searchers found nique leili's body, police detective brad everson already knew bits and pieces of her life story. he'd been working her case since she was reported missing a few days earlier.
12:22 am
i had already talked to her dad, talked to her mom, talked to both of her sisters, talked to her oldest daughter. dennis murphy: the picture that emerged was of a woman whose life had revolved around her work, her daughters, and her husband, matt. he would come sometimes and do lunch with nique. did she ever talk about her girls? yes, yes. she was very proud of all three girls, yes. photos on the desk kind of thing? oh, absolutely. dennis murphy: like most marriages, nique's had its ups and downs. early july 2011 when nique disappeared was one of the down times. matt freely admitted that when he talked to the detective the day after he reported her missing. so he's telling you, this is just the latest of a continuing episode that my wife has.
12:23 am
correct. matthew, this is detective harris at gwinnett county police. dennis murphy: in this telephone call, which the detective recorded, matt leili said his wife was mentally unbalanced. he's just giving you a hose full of information. i have a hard time getting a word in edgewise. dennis murphy: matt leili said he'd even considered getting a court order to protect him from his wife.
12:24 am
he's telling you that she's bats. that's what he's saying. dennis murphy: as for the night nique disappeared. he stated the previous friday that they had actually gone out to eat and then gone to a movie after she'd got home from work. he wanted her put on a little sexy costume of some kind, huh? correct. as matt tells it, the fight continued at home and ramped up. matt's father, who was visiting from new york, was just down the hall. when the argument touched on the way nique had supposedly been treating her father-in-law, matt asked his dad to weigh in. he called his father mathias into the bedroom and basically asked matthias to tell nique how
12:25 am
he felt about being down there. and that matthias came out with a line that he hadn't felt welcome, that kind of stuff. and that nique just reacted to that by basically saying he was lying. dennis murphy: then matt said his wife did something off the wall. you're kidding. she flashed her father-in-law? correct. dennis murphy: matt said the dust finally settled in the wee hours of saturday, july 9, nique in the bedroom, he on his couch in the downstairs office. dennis murphy: all her stuff was still there.
12:26 am
her car was still there. her keys were found. her purse was still there. correct. he assumed she had left on foot or he assumed she had somebody come and picked her up. dennis murphy: matt told the cop it was then that he realized his home security system had been turned off. dennis murphy: so that's the first you learn that this place is wired for sound and pictures. correct. dennis murphy: when nique leili's body was found days later near her home, learning the story told by those cameras became most urgent. craig melvin: coming up, a treasure trove of evidence. quantify it. what are we talking about? thousands of hours of material. craig melvin: just what will it reveal? it's absolutely a torture to listen to. craig melvin: when "dateline continues.
12:27 am
can this much love be cleaned by a little bit of dawn ultra? oh yeah one bottle has the grease cleaning power of three bottles of this other liquid. a drop of dawn and grease is gone. not all fish oil supplements provide the same omega-3 power.
12:28 am
introducing megared advanced triple absorption it supports your heart, joints, brain, and eyes. and is absorbed by your body three times better. so one megared has more omega-3 power than three standard fish oil pills. megared advanced triple absorption. i'll have the langoustine lfor you, sir?i. the original call was for langoustine ravioli. a langoustine is a tiny kind of lobster. a slight shellfish allergy rules that out, plus my wife ordered the langoustine. i will have chicken tenders and tater tots. if you're a ref, you way over-explain things. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance you switch to geico. sir, we don't have tater tots. it's what you do. i will have nachos!
12:29 am
12:30 am
welcome back, i'm craig melvin. nique leili was dead. and now her husband was telling police that this seemingly happy mom was violent and often mentally unstable. but investigators were about to get a better view into that home than they could have ever imagined. here again is dennis murphy with the house on sidney's cove. dennis murphy: within minutes of finding nique's body,
12:31 am
police race to the leili home about a mile away. what they observe right away was astounding. the home security system that matt leili had casually mentioned to detective everson a few days earlier appeared more appropriate to fort knox than a house in the burbs. and when you first see the house from the road, you can see all these huge, these big cameras on the eaves of the house, both sides. dennis murphy: there were 21 security cameras in all, with a tricked out control room to monitor and record everything. he sounds like a one man nsa. and he was at a very low crime area. so it almost boggled the mind as to why he felt he needed quite so much surveillance coverage for the house. dennis murphy: odd to be sure, an observation to tuck away for later. but the duty that day came first, notification. the officers telling matt leili that his missing wife had just been found dead. the uniformed guys told me that he at one point
12:32 am
seemed like he got sick. dennis murphy: matt leili may well have been sick, sick of talking to the cops. because by now he'd lawyered up and wasn't answering any of their questions. so you now have probable cause to get a search warrant. correct, correct. do you think man, maybe this is going to help us? maybe these cameras saw and recorded something that tells the story of what's up with nique? that was my hope. we're mainly going for anything in the house that has any sort of memory. be it computers, be it-- you know, he had a dvr hooked up to his surveillance system. dennis murphy: the detective knew it would take time to review and catalog all of that material. so since the police had found no sign of blood nor any signs of struggle in the house, the detective reviewed the evidence he did have, particularly matt's claim that his wife was bonkers. are any of her family members corroborating this emotional instability issue that's raised by the husband? none whatsoever. this is not a woman off her meds. no. they're completely shocked by this version of events
12:33 am
that matthew leili has given me. are any of them suspicious of matt, the husband? yes. they were all suspicious of matt. dennis murphy: nique's daughter, alex, had lived with her mother and matt until she was 16. and there was plenty she'd had to say to the detective. i wanted him to know what was going on in the house. i wanted him to know that i suspected him from the beginning. that my mom would have never left her girls. and i wanted him to know he would restrain her, lock her in bathrooms. why did he do that, the whole thing with the cameras? he's just extremely controlling. dennis murphy: still, despite the family's suspicion and the fact that the semen found on nique's body proved to be matt's, the police didn't feel they had enough evidence to make an arrest. there's no ankle bracelet on this man. you haven't taken his passport. no. does anybody say if you're going to be moving around, tell us where you're going to be? is it that kind of relationship with the authorities at that point? no. he's-- there's not really a relationship with us. dennis murphy: what about all that computer
12:34 am
evidence, the video files from matt's hard drives? they appeared to be useless. after months of reviewing more than a half million video clips, the best investigators could come up with was this. it's a clip of nique leili walking onto the front porch to have a smoke just after midnight on july 9, 2011, the day she went missing. after that, nothing. what happened after midnight in that house? exactly. that-- that was the million dollar question. dennis murphy: the video files from midnight until 6:00 in the morning that day were corrupted, according to the tech guy who examined them. he could see footage, but what it was, is it was very disjointed. most of it was not time stamped, most of it was not date stamped. so it was not in a manner that you can just go in and click play and just play through everything. dennis murphy: the bottom line, the police had zero, nada, zilch. and so with no compelling reason to stick around lawrenceville, matt leili moved back up north to vermont to be closer to his family.
12:35 am
that was in february of 2012, almost seven months to the day after nique's body was found. nique's stepmother betty chatham says that move effectively ended all contact between nique's family and her two youngest daughters, amanda, 12, and rebecca, 9. he was to provide us with a telephone number. he was to set up a skype account so that we could talk with the girls. nothing. packed up, moved. dennis murphy: five months later in the summer of 2012, the investigative file passed to cold case detective sergeant john richter. i was actually in the homicide unit as a corporal when her body was found. does that stay with you? yeah, i always say there's certain-- you know, there's certain cases that stick with you, and this was one. dennis murphy: at first, richter did what cold case detectives do. he re-interviewed witnesses. when that went nowhere, richter took another look at matt leili's computer hard drives. do you think somewhere in there is the thing, the nugget that's going to get you to the next step
12:36 am
in this investigation? i think at minimum we need to redo it, just to see if technology had advanced. so i needed a new forensic guy to look at the video, or whatever else he can find on the computer. dennis murphy: turns out the techie richter needed was just down the hall. corporal chris ford had been an it guy before joining the police force. richter just came down and said hey, do you mind taking a look at this? so i start looking for what we call low hanging fruit, what's easily available. and that's where i really started digging through and finding all these audio files. dennis murphy: nobody had listened to the audio files before, because investigators were so focused on finding video from the night nique disappeared. and that's just what ford did at first too. i basically looked at that video in raw format, which is basically a computer language. so something was recorded there. yes. they just wouldn't play. dennis murphy: eventually, ford determined the screwed up files were no accident. someone had deleted those files and then run a cleanup program to clear the database logs, not once, but twice. the only two times those clean up drives were run
12:37 am
were the days that he reported her missing and the day her body was found. i'll never forget the day he comes to my cube and he says, these videos were deleted. this isn't corrupted. and then he turns to leave and i think he just looks back. and he says, oh, i got a bunch of audio files that are on there too if you're interested. a bunch of files, quantify it. what are we talking about in terms of like hours of material? thousands of hours of material that date back from 2008 up to 2011. dennis murphy: the audio recordings are probably best described as cringe worthy scenes from a very bad marriage. it's absolutely a torture to listen to. because we have a woman who i know is now deceased. and i'm hearing how she's living for the years preceding her death. and how-- how she is just being beaten down psychologically and mentally. dennis murphy: it took the detective nearly aea and a half to list to all of the recordings.
12:38 am
and then, he'd heard more than enough. when he learned that matt leili would be returning to georgia to testify in a civil suit concerning the payout from some life insurance policies nique had, sergeant john richter planned to be waiting. could investigators have it all wrong? nique's youngest daughters paint a picture of their mother's inner battles. coming up. she was hearing voices. and like the voices in her head were telling her that people were talking bad about her. craig melvin: and why they're furious with their mom's side of the family, when "dateline" continues. was you had to pay to be on there, and i felt like the people who were on there really value a relationship. - for my family, we are three for three in our siblings for getting married. i thank eharmony for that. - [narrator] stop waiting, start communicating for free today. advil liqui-gels minis. our first concentrated pill that rushes powerful relief.
12:39 am
a small new size that's fast, cause it's liquid. woohoo! you'll ask, what pain? new advil liqui-gels minis. words from a doctor: stage 2 breast cancer. i have three little kids, my baby's seven years old - i can't have cancer. we really wanted a cancer team, that would care about not only my cancer but you know, how is my husband doing through all of this? and what about your three kids? so we thought that we would travel to
12:40 am
cancer treatment centers of america and see what they had to offer. i think the hope for us came in the form of knowing that these doctors were experts, and that they would help us decide the best course of action in the hopes of beating it. so when amy came to us, the first thing we did was discuss her case with the surgical oncologist, the radiation oncologist, the genetic counselor and came up with a treatment plan. the plan for her was to begin with preoperative chemotherapy, thereafter proceeded with surgery. one of things that we loved about ctca was that they give you a series of options. and you do what's best for you. depending upon what decision she makes with her surgical oncologist, we then know what to offer as the plastic surgeon and reconstruction team. dr. fernandez was wonderful. he said it's up to me to do what's best. it's about giving her options where amy has all the information to make a decision best for her.
12:41 am
rather than one treatment fitting all, it is a personalized approach to cancer therapy. we have so many tools. this is what attracted amy to our center all the way from new york. cancer is what they deal with everyday. these were people who are experts in their field. and for us that was the best choice. we left the hospital on day one feeling like, this is going to be okay. we're going to beat this and this is the place that's gonna help us do it. that feeling is priceless. learn more at cancer treatment centers of america. appointments available now.
12:42 am
dennis murphy: in march, 2015, matt leili returned to georgia for the first time since he'd left the state three years earlier. it was money that brought him back, a court proceeding concerning a payout from his wife nique's life insurance policies. i knew he was coming down. that made me uneasy. it made me feel really creeped out. this is three years later. mm-hmm. what we didn't know was that the whole federal courthouse was actually crawling with plainclothes gwinnett county police. they were taking him down that day. they were. we had no idea. dennis murphy: sergeant john richter says the plainclothes cops waited all day for just the right moment to make their move. get him on the outside of the courthouse. who makes the collar? how's it go down? myself and detective washington were there. we put the handcuffs on him. it felt pretty good.
12:43 am
dennis murphy: nique's family knew the feeling. i raised my hands and said praise god. that was my reaction. dennis murphy: in addition to facing a murder charge, matt leili was eventually charged with sexual assault and multiple counts of eavesdropping. a few weeks after his arrest, nique leili daughters amanda and rebecca posted an edited video on youtube in support of their dad. in the video, the girls claimed that their mother hated her own family. and those same spiteful relatives were the primary reason their dad was in jail. for nique's family, that video was devastating. what, they wondered, had happened to those girls in the four years they'd been in vermont? as far as i can tell, he poisoned them against us. and i can only attribute that to them living in a house with a master manipulator. dennis murphy: the notion of matt leili as a master manipulator would become a central theme when his murder trial began in january, 2016.
12:44 am
morning ladies and gentlemen. dennis murphy: in her opening statement to the jury, prosecutor lisa jones depicted matt leili as a couch potato, sponging off his hardworking wife. nique leili was the breadwinner. that that family was in debt, up to $300,000 in debt. dennis murphy: furthermore jones said, matt leili tried to control his wife by turning their home into a virtual north korea with cameras and recording devices everywhere. lenses aed at them as ey sat on the couch and watched tv. you will take a look into this marriage, ladies and gentlemen, in this case. you will hear the voices of nique leili and the defendant in the case arguing. dennis murphy: nique's murder, she claimed, was simply matt leili's final act of control. i think they got into an argument that he wanted to have sex. that he drugs her, that he has his way. that she is loud, she's not able to resist as much as it progresses.
12:45 am
that he silences her. that he strangles her, he sits on her, he asphyxiates her to where she can't breathe. not meaning to, maybe. oh, i think he meant to. i think he'd had it. and i think he knew that she was leaving him, because she had made it clear she was done. raise your right hand, please. dennis murphy: the state's first witness was nique's oldest daughter, alex. they'd be arguing, and he would end up locking her in a bathroom. she'd been shoved down stairs. there were several nights that i would lay up at night and listen to her say please get off me, get off of me, you're hurting me. dennis murphy: next, nique's sister amy told the jury about the constant monitoring at the leili house. we knew that he would record phone conversations that came into or out of the house. were you aware at anytime whether there were ever gps trackers or tracking devices on any types of the phones or the vehicles at the residence? yes. i-- i knew that he had trackers on nique's phone and when alex was old enough to have a cell phone that he
12:46 am
tracked her phone as well. dennis murphy: then the prosecution gave the court a fly on the wall look inside the leili home by playing those promised recordings of the couple's fights. dennis murphy: it was hard to listen to. bitter screaming matches frequently about sex. dennis murphy: in retrospect for the prosecution, the recording seemed to have the ring of prophecy.
12:47 am
dennis murphy: the prosecutor said nique leili's best chance for leaving her marriage came 12 days before she disappeared. after yet another argument, nique had called 911. dennis murphy: officers dispatched to the leili home that day offered to help nique leave. but as this still photo shows, she wouldn't budge from the front porch. she wanted him to go. he didn't want to go. he wanted her to go. she wasn't going to leave without the girls. and so the argument-- they were pretty much at an impasse. dennis murphy: two weeks later, nique leili was dead. in a house where practically everything was recorded, the prosecutor claimed it was no accident that the video covering the crucial hours when nique leili went missing was somehow corrupted. lisa jones: the surveillance system was, in fact, recording during that time period, is that correct? that is correct, yes.
12:48 am
dennis murphy: the prosecutor countered matt's claim that nique had somehow turned off the security system by calling the police department's it guy, chris ford, as her last witness. lisa jones: so detective, in your opinion then, did an individual have to go in and purposefully corrupt and delete those files? that's correct, yes. that's the only way i can explain why out of all the dates and video that i can recover, that's only date range i can't recover from. dennis murphy: though no one knows exactly what was on that missing video, the prosecutor suggested that it was probably video of matt leili carrying his wife's body out of the house. but you heard her-- dennis murphy: in closing, the prosecutor let nique leili have the last word. you need to listen to what she says and what she lived. nique leili: welcome to my world. you killed me a long time ago. welcome to my world. you killed me a long time ago. find him guilty.
12:49 am
because that's exactly what he is. craig melvin: coming up, has the prosecution really proved anything? dennis murphy: it's what you call a circumstantial case. yes. craig melvin: nique and matt's daughters say that in their parents' marriage, matt was the victim. she took a heel and threw it. and i myself had to duck from it. tom clegg: and was it being thrown at your dad? yes. craig melvin: when "dateline" continues.
12:50 am
when you're raising a child... just a little pinch. soft. when you're doing it alone, be strong. thanks, dad. life takes softness and strength, which is why we make angel soft with a balance of both. tand, our adulte children are here. so, we save by using tide. which means we use less. three generations of clothes cleaned in one wash. those are moms. anybody seen my pants? nothing cleans better. put those on dad! it's got to be tide.
12:51 am
a heart attack doesn't or how healthy you look. no matter who you are, a heart attack can happen without warning. a bayer aspirin regimen can help prevent another heart attack. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. bayer aspirin.
12:52 am
12:53 am
dennis murphy: by early february 2016, the prosecution had rested its case against matt leili. the husband was portrayed as an eavesdropping control freak who had killed his wife during an argument. leili's defense attorney, tom clegg, insisted that matt leili was in fact an innocent man, falsely accused by the state of georgia. they have a theory. and that theory is nothing more than a hunch. it is a guess. so if you were to ask yourself questions that might have been posed of you if you were to have gone to journalism school-- who, what, where, why, and how-- you'll find that during the course of this trial the state of georgia will fall woefully short in proving the allegations they are making against this man. i think their gut feeling was come on, she's naked,
12:54 am
she's buried this close to the house, she's obviously hidden. it's got to have been him. it's what you call a circumstantial case. yes. dennis murphy: the defense attorney concedes he had some difficult circumstances to overcome in this case, beginning with the six hours of missing surveillance camera video from the night nique leili disappeared. clegg insists his client did not erase those files as the prosecution claimed. the video surveillance system was shut off at some point in the morning. matt believes that nique shut it off. he is insistent that he did not shut it off, that the system was shut off by nique. so whatever happened to her, the cameras didn't see it. the cameras did not see it. that is absolutely correct. dennis murphy: as for those audio recordings of the couple's screaming arguments, clegg pointed out that most were recorded in 2008 and 2009, two years before nique died. according to the defense attorney, matt made the recordings with the encouragement of a marriage therapist that the couple had been seeing at the time.
12:55 am
he is talking, and he is conciliatory, in my opinion. he is trying to calm things down, and it is impossible to calm nique down. dennis murphy: according to clegg, the prosecution cherry picked scenes from the leili marriage, highlighting the bad and downplaying the good, bright spots like a 2010 trip matt and nique took to hawaii. they even renewed their marriage vows on that trip. the tapes reflect both of them at their worst. now the flip side is when they are getting along well, when they are affectionate towards one another, when they renew their wedding vows in hawaii, they don't tape that stuff. it's always the darkest side of the moon with this marriage. the darkest side, absolutely. yes. dennis murphy: as for the night nique disappeared, the defense tried to show that nique leili was once again acting unstable, behaving erratically.
12:56 am
the defense attorney called matt's father mathias to verify his son's version of that last fight between matt and nique, the one where she allegedly flashed him. she tore off her top and says, come on, let's go. let's f like a family. tom clegg: were you expecting any sort of comment like that? never. never. dennis murphy: once nique disappeared, clegg says, matt leili inquired about having his wife involuntarily committed, and even hired a divorce attorney. a man who knows his wife is already dead, he says, wouldn't have done either of those things. he did not really want to divorce her. he wanted to let her know look, here are your options. you can go get help for yourself or i'm going to go forward with a divorce. dennis murphy: the defense wrapped up its case by calling matt and nique's two daughters, rebecca, now 14,
12:57 am
and amanda, 17. tom clegg: did you ever see your dad hit your mom? no. tom clegg: ok. did you ever see any obvious injuries or bruises to your mom? no, sir. dennis murphy: according to the girls, their mother was the one with the violent temper, not their dad. and she took a heel and threw it. and i, myself, had to duck from it. tom clegg: and was it being thrown at your dad? yes. dennis murphy: on the day nique made that 911 call, amanda said her mother complained about hearing voices in her head. she was pacing back and forth saying that she was tired of people talking bad about her behind her back. and my dad asked her who was talking about her. and she said that she was hearing voices, and like the voices in her head were telling her that people were talking bad about her. dennis murphy: throughout, neither girl made eye contact with their mother's relatives who hadn't seen them in four years. whatever affection might once have existed
12:58 am
seemed to be gone now. we made our own decision. we don't like that side of the family, so we wanted to stay away. it's not his-- him forcing us to stay away from them. dennis murphy: in closing, tom clegg argued that while the state may have proved matt leili unlikable, it had not answered any of those basic journalism questions, who, what, where, when, why, or how. in closing, i said you've heard all of this evidence. the state still cannot answer any of these particular questions. what does that tell you? that tells you they have fallen woefully short of proving matt's guilt. dennis murphy: after eight days of testimony, both sides of the family prepared for a long and anxious wait for a verdict. turns out, they didn't have to pace long. after just three hours of deliberation, the jury announced it had reached a verdict. i'm going to ask you at this time if you would stand and read the verdict out loud. as to count one, we the jury find the defendant guilty of malice murder. dennis murphy: though not a sound
12:59 am
came from nique leili's family, their expressions said it all. thank you, sir. dennis murphy: before passing sentence, the judge gave matt leili one last chance to have his say. mr. leili, is there anything you want to say? i didn't do it. and i'll be filing an appeal. dennis murphy: with that, the judge asked matt leili to rise and receive his sentence. i am going to follow the state's recommendation as to count one and have you sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. dennis murphy: it was a bittersweet ending for nique's family. they'll likely never see matt leili again, but as nique leili's youngest girls left the courthouse to go back north with their grandfather, it seemed just as likely that they would never see them again either. they were my girls. i still love them to this day. i taught them how to read, got them ready for school in the mornings. you'd like to have a relationship with them? i would love to have a relationship with them again. i don't know that that day will ever come. but i want them to know my door is always open. but i don't know if that day will ever come.
1:00 am
dennis murphy: one murder, so many victims. that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thanks for watching. [theme music]


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on