tv Dateline MSNBC November 11, 2017 2:00am-3:00am PST
you know, breaking a federal law would be okay if i still had my daughter. so we choose for life. that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm lester holt. thanks for joining us. i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalee morales. >> and this is dateline. >> one woman, two member, her husband, the air force captain and the staff sergeant, her rendezvous man. >> he was a playboy himself. >> one man too many, then suddenly there was one man less. >> it wasn't like bang, bang, bang, bang. it was like bang, pause, bang, pause, bang, pause. n't. >> it was exkigs? >> you could call it that, yes.
>> michelle, was a brilliant, cunning, ruthless woman. >> hello, and welcome to "dateline." the story you're about to see centers on the death of a military man thousands of miles from a battlefield. a dedicated officer surviving war zones only to be caught in a lover's triangle. here's keith morrison. >> narrator: what was she thinking? when she went to the commuter, when she typed in those five little words. did she not understand where those little words might lead? >> where are you at? >> i don't know.
>> okay, what's your name? >> michelle. >> michelle was no doubt about it, dissatisfied. here she was, young, successful, attractive and yet, wasn't exactly boredom that was eating at michelle, after all she was just starting a career as a psychologist, often counseling troubled couples. >> she was relatively new with her license. i think that was her first real job. >> michelle would have laugh ee now. >> michelle from everyone i have spoken to wanted to be somebody and really worked hard to get to where she ultimately got her degree and became a professional. >> but then michelle, even at an early agealways seemed
confident about getting what she wanted. she was just 15 when she s.t.a.r.started dating. he wanted to be an astronaut, he went to the air force academy. she was 20 when she married him at the academy's famous chapel outside colorado springs. >> marty, you may kiss your bride. >> this was back in 1991, when marty was all she ever wanted. long before she talked to that psychologist, agreed to talk about the weird events yet to come and those happy days with marty too of course. >> we did everything together, he treated me really well, we had the perfect relationship, we were best friends. >> he was the dashing young officer, back then, she his lovely bride.
the future she imagined, an endless honeymoon in which marty's air force career would take them to exotic destinations all over the world. she just didn't imagine that it would be air force outposts in oklahoma, alabama and florida and final fayetteville, north carolina, they came here in 1999. ca marty was captain fier by then. all that time alone, not so easy on a marriage, as she revealed in those meetings with psychologist debbie lake nicole. >> she talked about several problems in the marriage. marty was away for long lengths of times. she was lonely. >> sometimes he was gone for
months, and when he did come home, military families know that period of adjustment all too well. they argued about her housekeeping, about her job, about children, he wanted them, she didn't. she thought she would be raising them in a town where she was already miserable and lonely. >> i was in fayetteville, loserville. had nobody to pick up the phone and call. >> that was about the time it started, harmless really, just a few key strokes, sexy brunette seeks rendezvous man, and before long her internet inquiry got a response, from him. his name was john, john diamond. >> john loved women, john was a lady'sman, john always had girlfriends. >> so debby, john's big sister
could certainly see her brother responding to a solicitation like michelle's. >> he has a great personality. and he's attractive guy, and his personality makes him that much more attractive. >> not long after meeting online, they met at a restaurant. >> he was charming. >> john diamond was an army officer. he had been in the service since he was 18. >> by all accounts, he was a good soldier, but he was a playboy himself. he had been married himself and had a child from his first child and left his first wife and married and they had a son together. >> michelle didn't know that john had been married twice. she wouldn't have cared.
>> he was very sexy, he was very affectiona affectionate, he was very adoring. >> what made her so desirable to him? >> i think it was just the sex. that was what he was in smitten with. >> she said he was the love of her life. and that she never loved john diamond. >> and marty, he was in the dark of course. when michelle told them their marriage was in crisis, and they needed to see a counselor. >> he wouldn't agree to counseling. he was shocked. >> michelle got her own place and spent much of that steamy fayetteville summer with john diamond. >> he was so attentive, he would rub my feet for five hours if i wanted him to. >> diamond was apparently nuts about michelle, never met
anybody like her before. >> he was challenged in ways he had never been challenged before. >> a reporter with the fayetteville observeobserver. >> he was strong and exciting for her. >> was he enough for her? >> she went become to marty. >> she thought that the marriage could survive. >> so john and michelle's 6-month affair seems to be off. but then a few months later, it was apparently back on. the two traveled to the tropical island of saba, where michellsc interviewed for a job at a local hospital. but michelle, as he would later tell the psychologist, insisted it was just a relapse. >> i knew that i loved marty and i knew that i wanted to make it
work in my heart. >> but john diamond was devastated, or so said michelle. >> he said specifically, i'm going to kill myself, i can't live without you, you can't do this to me, i'm going to go drive my car off a bridge. >> it was african-americwful sh. he even threatened to call marty and tell him everything. >> michelle says she met john at a local restaurant to end the affair, gently, but for good. >> we had a whole talk, that it can never happen again, he seemed very calm, very rational. >> so now it was december. a time for peace and joy, christmas parties. one in particular at which the spirits flowed and the fuse
burned down to it's explosive end. somebody was about to die. and somebody else wasn't taking any chances on missing. coming up -- >> it wasn't like bang, bang, bang. >> it was bang, pause, bang, pause, bang, pause. >> which was like what? an execution? >> yes. with advil's fast relief, you'll ask, "what pulled muscle?"
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here in the heart of the american bible belt, on the fringe of vast sprawling army and air force bases, like a patient accommodating landlord is fayetteville, north carolina. imagine, most of a strip mall devoted to strip clubs, and a downtown that's charming, elegant even, and a scene about everything. it's an old town, fayetteville, where north carolina ratified the federal constitution back in 179, standing on what was a slave market, sherman fought battles here in the civil war. now it's a military town and 160 acres back there, is the army's ft. bragg, where soldiers
prepare to go to war. two institutions, two professional military men, one woman. and that woman, michelle fear, now found herself caught between two men, her husband, and air force captain john diamond, who wouldn't go away. >> i told him i didn't want t leave my husband. i never told him i want to be with you, i think i was pretty straight up. >> now with the holiday season in full swing and a new commitment to their marriage, the fears were on their way to raleigh. >> they had gone to this christmas party that she specifically asked her boss if marty could go. >> it was a sedate christmas party and they left early, since marty had to leave early in the
morning. then an interruption, michelle excused herself, made a brief phone call, out of earshot of the others. then the drive to fayetteville, one hour. they dropped the other couple at their home. stopped on the way for gas. michelle told marty she had forgotten something at the office. >> i needed to go back to the office to get some stuff that i needed so i could stay up and work that night. >> marty parked behind the office building, michelle walked up and outside staircase, disappeared inside, marts mart d inside, apparently he got impatient, headed up the stairs to check on michelle. and that's when it happened. she found him, she said, on the bottom of that outside stairway, she could see the blood. she ran to a nearby store,
called 911. >> my husband's been shot. >> somebody shot your husband? >> i think so. >> where are you at? >> within minutes fayetteville police and paramedics arrived and they found michelle cradling her husband in a pool of blood, but it was too late. marty fear was dead. he was just 31. because marty was an air force captain, military investigators were on the scene shortly after police. both teams were eager to speak with the only known witness, michelle atmosphere. >> she said she heard what sounded to her like three bangs of a car backfiring. >> and did she tell you what she did at that point? >> she then opened the door and noet noticed that her husband was
laying at the bottom of the stair. >> she said she thought she saw somebody moving at the bottom of the bushes near the stairway, but she wasn't sure. >> i think police were looking for evidence of a robbery op of so some sort. >> there was a man who lived behind the office building who heard the shots fired who later said that he said somebody's getting murdered out there, because of the order in which the shots were fired, they were very calculated. >> it wasn't like bang, bang, bang. it was bang, pause, bang, pause, bang, pause. a space between each of shots. >> like an execution? >> very much, yes. >> bullet holes sprayed in the walls, looked like he was at the top of the stairs, shot from
down below. >> i think that's what made him roll down the stairs and the final shot was to back of his left ear. >> the kill shot? >> the kill shot, close range. >> they found shell casings in the parking lot, apparently from a 9 millimeter hand gun. but investigators did find marty's wallet, still on him complete with cash and credit cards. >> marty fear was not robbed. the other thing was that it was a very, very cold night, not a night where a prowler would be out on the street just looking to find someone, that made it very suspicious. >> investigators wouldn't imagine who would want to kill such a wonderful man, like captain marty fear. of course out in this dark parking lot, they didn't know what you know, not yet anymore. >> assuming what you have heard so far is the real story. and as you'll see, the question
of what was true and what wasn't could be very tricky indeed. >> michelle said she had gone back to her office because she had forgotten something, so what took so long? coming up -- >> they found a candy wrapper that had listen opened and in a trash can, it was almost like a scene she had gone upstairs and sat and waited for a few minutes. >> for what? when "dateline" continues. i love you, basement guest bathroom.
it was a week before christmas 2000, and fayetteville was aglow. but not everywhere with the lights of christmas. and a few hours after air force captain marty fear was out and it was big. michelle fear now marty's grieving widow was inside reading a book, when she heard someone firing outside. >> by all accounts it was an assassination. >> somebody would kill marty fear that night. there's no evidence of any robbery. no sign of any other thing going on here. >> inside michelle's office was a little bit odd plain.
they had found a candy wrapper that was had been opened and in the trash can. it was almost a scene where she went upstairs and sat and waited a few minutes. because obviously to find a book wouldn't take very long. >> as dawn approached, michelle was allowed to go home. and later that morning her boss came around. >> her boss said she was having marital affairs. >> so detectives went to her house to follow up and sure enough, michelle did admit having an affair with staff sergeant john diamond. michelle also said she hadn't spoken to diamond in two days, but when pressed she remembered trying to call him unsuccessfully just before leaving that christmas party, about 90 minutes before marty
was murdered. so detectives decided to check their cell phone records and discovered -- >> they had been calling each other regularly, a minimum of 20 times a day. >> now detectives paid a visit to john diamond who freely admitted having a sexual relationship with michelle, but she was just one of many ladies in his life. and as for the night of the murder, he had an alibi, he was home with his family, watching a movie. still michelle must have harbored some sort of suspicion about john diamond who was now a person of interest. not long after the murder she told detectives and her psychologist she went to see diamond and conduct her own investigation, find out what he knew about marty's death. >> do you know anything about this? did you have anything to do with this? he said no, i would never two anything to hurt you. >> mind you, as police were soon
aware, michelle hadmany opportunities to question her son john after her husband died. >> he koutdn't stay away from her. >> he was going there and then stayed all night. >> not commonly the way widows grieve, spending the night with the person of interest in her husband's murder. but michelle told her psychologist, she needed support from someone, anyone. >> she felt more elyes or alien family and friends. and the only person in her life who was willing to be there for her was john diamond. >> i knew that i was depressed and i was getting more and more depressed and i turned to john for comfort. >> in fact just a few weeks after marty's murder, michelle and john drove to florida for
the weekend. >> he acts as if nothing was wrong, because he knows he didn't have anything to do with it he didn't shoot him. >> so who did kill captain mark fear, was it john diamond who actually executed his rival? investigators were sus beneficia suspicious. one telephone number in particular caught their attention. it a call from diamond to one of his army buddies at ft. brag. >> so we asked him if diamond had any access to any weapons, he said that he loaned diamond his personal pistol. >> which just happened to be a 9 millimeter baretta pistol, the
same kind of gun that killed marty fear. >> john had actually borrowed the gun from him during the time the murder occurred. >> investigators were now convinced that marty now had access to a gun, and also the murder weapon. did he still? apparently not. because shortly after investigators went to diamond's home asking about that gun. one of the things stolen from his car was a 9 millimeter hand began. >> when we got there, the passenger door had already been opened and there was a pile of glass sitting next to the rocker panel on the passenger side. but if you look on the inside, there was very little glass. >> what did that tell you? >> he had the door open when he
broke the window and then tried to make it look like it was broken in. >> a bogus break through? military police certainly thought so. john diamond was arrested for admitting that he brought an unregistered gun on base. and he was arrested for the murder or marty fear. >> she was taking him to his sex clubs and saying, it's okay, if you want to have sex with her, that's fine. and he just, wow, okay. enter when "dateline" continues.
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president vladimir putin shook hands earlier today before taking part in a news conference. the leaders did not hold any formal talks. we'll have more later. that's what's happening now, now back to date line. welcome back to "dateline." army staff sergeant john diamond was arrested for admitting that he had brought an unregistered gun on to the military base. the same kind of gun used in the murder of his girlfriend's husband. >> a few weeks after the murder of marty fear, a police detective named c.t. williams was asked to have a look at a
couple of computers obtained from michelle atmosphefear's ho. like an onion, he peeled back the layers of text had disappeared but reaappeppeared her his expert touch. >> she was looking for an alternative lifestyle. she was seeking a partner and exaccording to. >> that would be carolina friends, a swingers club, it boasted more than 10,000 members. and detectives discovered those not so innocent -- who the email trail revealed quickly joined michelle in the lifestyle. >> she was taking him to these
sex clubs and saying it's okay, go, you know, if you want to have sex with her, that's fine, go, i'm fine with it. and he, just, wow, okay. >> but as investigators sorted through the sexually charged email, they could plainly see a story as old as time. john diamond fell head overheels in love with michelle. >> he was her little puppy to be controlled any way he wantshe wd to control. >> john diamond appeared to be a man obsessed. i can't wait until you come back and we can take care of each other, of course, six sex, sex, sex and more sex, i will always love you, no matter how you've hurt me. >> it's changed not fortunately from a sexual relationship, to completely and totally enamored
with her. his plans were to be with her. she's the woman he's totally in love with. >> anything? perhaps even kill the man who took between him and michelle? >> she was playing hisemotions. she was pushing him away i some ways, but without really completely pushing him away. i think she was manipulating him at that point. >> manipulating him into hurting her husband, while she want to do that? >> there was a $500,000 life insurance policy taken out in 1999 on marty fear. >> john diamond's family was outraged at such a theory, they were quiconvinced michelle type all those emails to steer investigators away from her and to diamond who would take the rap. >> he never expressed a love
feeling abo ining about her. he told me he did not want to marry her. he did not want to spend the rest of his life with her. >> according to debby, it was michelle who was obsessed with john. and never more so when she gave him two wedding rings. >> i think he wif she was obses with him so that she couldn't control the situation -- >> she wanted to control it and if she gave him a wedding ring and he wore it, wouldn't that give him all kind of reasons to claim that he would do anything for her including kill her husband? >> that could be, i don't know. what i got from him after he was arrested, was he didn't want anything to do with her, nothing. >> john was in big trouble, so hi lawyered up, with prominent
fayetteville attorney cory brewer. >> i believe he was an innocent man wrongly accused. any rational -- >> mill caitary investigators w convinced that john was the triggerman, and michelle remained free, and what did she do? well, she left town. >> i think he planned to kill her husband a long time ago. i think she waited and researched and waited for that right person that would look and fit the part to pin it on. >> if that was true, michelle's plan was working perfectly. because in a few short weeks, john diamond would be on trial for murdering her husband. >> coming up, the prosecution's case against john and the defense's case against michelle. >> michelle fear was a
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diamond found himself in the murder of air force captain john fear. >> military justi they immediat and they charge him. >> frightnine months after the , diamond went on trial. >> diamond was very, very cooky at the beginning, he would love with reporters in there, he was just so sure that he was going to be acquitted. >> but john diamond wasn't the star of his own trial, michelle fear was. she was still under investigation by fayetteville homicide cops and here she is to testify at her former lover's trial. >> she's colored her hair, she's lost a burge of weight abunch od
she's got a gaggle of reporters following her. >> she took the stand, but thing too the fifth. he conspired with her to kill her husband, by borrowing the gun, arranging to be in position in that dark parking lot and wait until michelle went into that dark office building. and now that john diamond's alibi that he was watching a movie. hiwife said that halfway through the movie his phone rang, and suddenly he was gone. >> her mother heard him come home in the wee hours and saw him wash clothes.
>> she was afraid of the government. i don't think that she was telling the truth. >> had she been pressured? besides, said the defense, there was no dna, no footprints, no fingerprints to prove diamond shot marty fear and anyway d diamond was a trained sharp shooter, but the shots were sloppy, probably the work of an amateur. an amateur like michelle. >> michelle fear had asked for the gun several days before the murder. she said that her husband was going to beat her and she was afraid of him. so he gives her the gun. he didn't think she was going to kill him with the gun. she set this up to kill her husband because she what abouted t the insurance money and for john
diamond to take the fall. michelle fear was a cunning, ruthless woman who wanted her husband dead. >> the military however didn't see it quite that way. >> the verdict was swift.charge moment on, his demeanor changed, like somebody just sucked the air out of him. the john diamond full of bravado and ego just shuttled away. >> he was sentenced to life without parole. his family was convinced he was framed. >> you don't expect to be convicted on theory, on what ifs, and myths. so me the gun, she me the timeline, show me the facts. i will believe that she killed
her husband and planned to have my brother go down for it. >> people around fayetteville -- because michelle fear disappeared. >> coming up, michelle wasn't just a missing woman, she was also now a wanted woman. >> there's some speculation that she was tipped off that she had been indicted because she seemed to really sort of fall off the face of the earth. >> when "dateline" continues.
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welcome back to dateline. shortly after john diamond was convicted d ed in the murder of husband. michelle did something unexpected. left north carolina without a trace. authorities weren't done with her yet, but would they be able to track her down. here with the conclusion of deadly ambush is keith morrison. >> leavenworth federal prison, doing time doesn't come much harder than it does here. john diamond was serving a life sentence for murdering air force captain. former lover, my hills is. seemed to have dropped right out
of sight. it was all circumstantial. it was per way sieve. >> i don't think there was any question who was involved. diamond and her together. >> the evidence, the life insurance. the affair. access to murder weapon. finally in may of 2002. nearly 18 months since her husband was killed. any shell was indicted for first degree murder and conspiracy, but arrested, no. why? >> there's some speculation that she was tipped off that she had been indicted because she seemed to really sort of fall off the face of the earth right before
that came down. >> michelle vanished. no one, not even her family knew where she was. lauderdale by is sea is a charming little town. north of miami. quaint and quiet. low profile. in the summer of 2001, cindy a local landlord met with a woman who wanted to rent a room at her cottage. >> she gave her name. i let her sign a six-month lease. seemed well spoken. intelligent. told me she was on the run from an abusive boyfriend in california. >> made friends around the neighborhood. before long, had a new beau. she kept in the touch with her family very carefully. secretly. only called on pay phones, for example. and that rarely. two months after michelle arrived in florida, she asked her boyfriend to call her parents and pass on a message.
use a pay phone she told him and may be he forgot or perhaps she tell him why. he called from his parent's house phone. u.s. marshals were monitoring. they looked up the number that had called michelle's parents. >> the database told them that this woman had a son in his mid 20s who lived in south florida. >> did he know the missing michelle? the cops found him. staked him out and found him. to that little white beach cottage where he and michelle were in for a big surprise. >> following a developing story out of florida. a woman wanted for the murder of her husband, a pope airman, has been arrested in florida. >> at the time of her arrest in the apartment, we found magazines describing ways to go under cover in the united states. obtain new identity. >> books too. learning spanish, travel guides for several latin countries.
an array of fake ids and then there was michelle's appearance. >> she had changed her appearance. cut and died her hair. had plastic surgery done. >> do you have anything at all to say. >> a few days later, michelle, her face still red and swollen and smeared with ointment from cosmetic surgery was driven back to fey yeltvillefayetteville. charged with fmd. two years later. the prosecutor laid out the proof against michelle. all the intimate e-mails which showed said the prosecutor how michelle manipulated diamond into a fatal frenzy and made him her fall guy. >> she got john diamond to the point she was so upset, if he couldn't have her, he was going to kill himself. if you're willing to kill
himself, wouldn't take toch muc redirect that and kill someone else. >> that point arrived after the office christmas party when michelle called diamond to tell him he and marty were heading to the kill zone, but she needed him there alone. after they dropped two co-workers at the lot, michelle made a crucial move that inextricably linked her to the murder. they began driving home. stopped for gas. then michelle by her own admission had marty return to the offi. supposedly to pick up some work she needed and while she doddled in the office, marty became impatient. went upstairs to check on her. thus walked into an ambush. >> when they left, there was no way for that shooter to have any reason to believe they were coming back unless they had known through prior conversation
he was going bring him back to that location. go up and do her business. leave him outside the door so he can then murder her husband. >> that was really your smoking gun. >> that tied her to it. >> michelle did not testify. nor did john diamond. attorney belittled the states evidence as circumstantial. debbie was hired by the defense to interview michelle to testify as an expert witness. those were the recorded conversations. excerpts of what you heard earlier. the doctor told the jury michelle wasn't manipulating diamond by stopping and starting romance. it was something else. >> when somebody is in a long-term affair, there does tend to be a pattern of pulling away and then coming back together. an inability to be decisive. that's not unusual with affairs. >> besides, claimed the defense, being involved with another man
didn't mean michelle was also involved in murder. the two sides battled through three months of trial tame. from labor day past thanksgiving. 11 week trial. three hour deliberation. the verdict, guilty. >> she stood up. put the handcuffs on her and she walked out the courtroom and never looked back into the courtroom area. not even towards her family. >> michelle now sits in north carolina prison, halfway across the country from her co-conspirator john diamond. today the former lovers share only one thing, life without parole. >> his supporters are heart felt and certainty she was the bad one. she did it all. >> he didn't do anything. >> her supporters all blame him and say he did it without her knowledge because he was in love with her and she was breaking up with him. >> michelle rolled the dice. turned down a deal which would
have released her before long. instead, the woman who followed her dissatisfaction to an internet romance went on trial. and as a result, will die in prison. that's all for this edition of dateline. i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. wlp good morni wlp. good morning. everyone. here's a look at what happensing today. vladimir putin and trump shared passing moments in vietnam. asked putin about election metaling. what did the election leader say. live report next. >> do you remember dating girls that young at that time? >> not generally, no. if i did, you know, that would be one thing, but i don't remember anyg