tv Dateline MSNBC October 20, 2019 2:00am-3:00am PDT
he came off as a tough guy. >> we would fool around a little bit. sibling teasing i guess you'd call it. >> he threatened to take out my whole family to get custody of our kids. >> a chilling story of danger and duplicity. >> we were trying to figure out who did this. he knew the whole time. >> this is the ultimate betrayal. hello and welcome to date line. she was a hard working single mom that doted on her little boy and kept her loved ones close. then one morning she was found dead in the house she shared with her son. detectives would soon discover someone close to jessica was living a lie. here's keith morrison with evil
intent. >> it was 9:00 in the morning on the 25th of june 2015 omaha, nebraska. missy nelson's morning ritual was interrupted by a phone call. it was the bank where her daughter jessica worked. she was an hour late. >> i said what? what do you mean? they said she's not here. we have been calling her and she's not answering. >> the thing was jessica was never late. missy tried calling her. no answer. panicked now she ran to her car, was jessica at home sick. >> so i was calling her all the way over there and i was thinking, i don't know where she is at and then i started to think really bad things. maybe she was in a ditch somewhere passed out. maybe she was in a bad car accident. >> did you know it was something bad? >> i felt something was wrong.
so i get over there and her car is in the drive way so i'm relieved. i said okay she's here. she's not in an accident so why isn't he answering the phone? >> the door was locked to missy used her key to let herself in. >> i walked in and her house is dark. i can't find her. everything is dark so i don't know where i'm going and the bathroom was like the first door on the left and the door was close d but i hear watering run. i opened up the door and i turned on the light and she was in the bathroom and the water was running and the water was up to her nose. she was laying there like this. she had something in her hand. it was a phone cord and i didn't understand. i started screaming. i had my cell phone so i called 911. do you need police fire or rescue. >> my daughter is dead in the
bathtub. >> i don't understand a word you're saying. >> i just found my daughter. i just found my daughter dead in the bathroom. and it looks like she slipped and i don't know -- >> i drained the water thinking they could help her but she was already gone. >> you could tell. >> i could tell. the pattern on her face looked checkered but her body was still the normal color. >> i don't imagine this. >> it was horrible. it's like a nightmare. i still see it. it's one of the worst feelings in the world that you can't help your daughter because she is gone. >> by the time jessica's father harry got there. >> there was a policeman in the driveway. >> not far away he found missy a wreck, a mess. >> i hugged her. what's going on? what do we know? we don't know anything. >> i just didn't think it
sounded right that she shouldn't have had her phone charger there. her phone wasn't there. >> you didn't know what to think. >> i didn't know what to think. i was devastated. i wasn't even thinking at that point. >> first responders trained to keep an open mind aren't sure what to think either. >> it wasn't an obvious homicide. they didn't know if it was a medical emergency because we find people like that that suffered a stroke or a heart attack or something in a similar kind of situation so they didn't know what they had. >> the homicide detectives. >> i do a walk through the residence. they show me where jessica was at. she's in the bathtub and oddly enough her clothes were in the bathtub with her but not on her. >> not on her. they were laying near her feet. the couch in the living room had blood all over it so my official reaction was maybe there was a medical emergency that occurred on the couch. she had gone to the bathroom to
maybe clean herself off and had collapsed and secgiven in to whatever medical emergency was happening. >> there was a small bruise on her neck. >> but there was something off too that didn't quite look right. they decided to treat it like a homicide. >> you only get one chance at this. so if you go in and you go guns blazing and you try to rush through things, you're going to miss things. >> the csi people arrived and used a laser scanner so quickly take billions of measurements and create this virtual representation of jessica's house, 3-d, so more accurate than any photo and then they removed jessica's body and yes, detectives could see homicide was the right call. >> when we were able to actually
look it was evident there had been a strangulation or asphyxiation at the least that took place. >> one of the things we noted right away is she had longer fingernails and one of those fingernails was quite evidently bent back and we knew there was a chance then that she had fought back against her attacker there's potentially dna there. >> the next day the autopsy confirmed that jessica had indeed been strangeled to death. >> there was a slight ligament tour mark around her neck but it was disrupted and it also appeared there was possibly a hand. possibly her hand trying to pull. so the marks were intermittent. >> and one more thing the autopsy revealed is she had been sexually assaulted. >> the first thing that goes through your head is why? how? who? everybody is a suspect and nobody is a suspect.
who could have done this. why? >> did she have any enemies? >> none that we knew of. >> coming up, the man in jessica's life and their volatile relationship. >> she would call us like every other week. can you come and get me? we had a fight. then did a facebook post put her in danger. >> she just put out there that she was alope and did it without even realizing. >> so if anybody was following her, they would know. >> yeah. >> when date line continues. kno >> yeah. >> when date line continues. fight for piggyback rides fight for 7 am makeouts. every year, walgreens helps millions of people fight the flu. fight to protect the ones you love. walgreens. be a flu fighter. get your free flu shot today at your neighborhood walgreens.
thenot actors, people, who've got their eczema under control. with less eczema, you can show more skin. so roll up those sleeves. and help heal your skin from within with dupixent. dupixent is the first treatment of its kind that continuously treats moderate-to-severe eczema, or atopic dermatitis, even between flare ups. dupixent is a biologic, and not a cream or steroid. many people taking dupixent saw clear or almost clear skin.
and, had significantly less itch. that's a difference you can feel. don't use if you're allergic to dupixent. serious allergic reactions can occur, including anaphylaxis, which is severe. tell your doctor about new or worsening eye problems, such as eye pain or vision changes, or a parasitic infection. if you take asthma medicines, don't change or stop them without talking to your doctor. so help heal your skin from within, and talk to your eczema specialist about dupixent. verizon up gave us tickets to the super bowl! (announcer) verizon knows you love music and sports. we were able to meet shawn mendes. (announcer) that's why we give you access to more jaw-dropping experiences. it's like an out-of-body experience. (announcer) get up to $750 toward our best phones. that's verizon.
there's nothing better than a close family and friends that are like family. they had three kids, grandchildren, until the morning they found their beloved eldest child there jessica. just 28 years old, dead in her own bathtub. but who was she? detectives needed to know. and so did we. >> everybody loved her. very bright. very smart. >> very smart. >> jessica was ashley and matt's big sister. >> she was very outgoing. always wanted to have fun but the older we got the more she was like another mom to us. she would always be there even if we were fighting and we
needed her she was there. >> big sister. her cousins and close friends that were more like siblings. her siblings close friends that were more like relatives. >> she was nice to everybody. >> she had been a friend since grade school. >> she just wanted to have a good time. she was just, i wouldn't say crazy but she was goofy and did whatever she wanted to do. >> that held true with her choice of men. her first serious boyfriend was him. >> with his tattoos and stuff, it seemed to be something she would have been into because she had a few tattoos as well. >> his name was john mcdowell. he and jessica were good together and sometimes not. >> she would call us like what, every other week. can you come and get me. we had a fight and i'm not staying out here so we would drive out there and a couple of weeks later she is back out there again.
>> a year in it was still no wedding but there was a baby. dominic, dom. >> i just remember, you know, everyone was so excited and wanted to meet him. >> she loved him. it was just an instinct she had. she wanted to do the best she could. >> and then one day dom was still quite small it all seemed to come apart. >> they were doing okay until he left her a voice mail. >> by accident. >> and an unintentional voice mail and the message that was left was bad. very bad. >> talking to friends. he didn't know he left her a voicemail telling her he slept with another girl and that was it. he was done. >> whoa. >> so i helped her move that day. >> she must have been so upset. >> she was. she was devastated. >> to get an accidental voice mail from the father of your
baby i slept with another woman. >> bragging about it. well, you should have seen the one i was with. >> and that's why jessica elected to be a single mom. better she decided to concentrate on her little boy, the center of her life, dominic. >> she did everything that she could for her son. just to try to do it right. i have things i want him to have so i need to pay for those things. >> so she worked. >> two to three jobs sometimes. >> she worked at the first national bank. >> she liked that job. >> she loved it. >> that was her dream job. >> and then jessica and dominic lived in the little house on the northside of town. he had the big room.
she said he has a slide. well he needed a slide. sure he needed a slide. >> i am such a mess when dom is gone. >> she had lost the remote and thought it was the worst 15 minutes of her life. >> she was lost without dominic because he could find the remote. >> she just put out there that she was alone and she did it without realizing. >> so if anybody was following her they would know. >> well of course someone was following her on facebook. maybe quite a few some ones. but finding the one with evil intent was not so easy. >> they start the search with jessica's ex and hear troubling stories. >> if she is around another guy even if they were just friends,
young mom was found sexually assaulted and strangled to death in her bathtub. her family wondered if a facebook post alerted her killer that she was home alone that night. now they're going to drill down on her personal relationship and at least one of them is complicated. once again, here's keith morrison with evil intent. >> word of jessica nelson's death spread quickly if incoherently among her friends in omaha. >> i got a phone call from a mutual friend of ours and she was so hysterical i couldn't understand what she was saying and i thought she said that dom had been killed so i got off the phone with her and i called john and he said they found jess real. it was unreal. you couldn't believe that. >> laura's friendship with jessica drifted a bit after high school but by 2015, it was a little unusual. laura and jessica both had
babies with john. laura dated him first but it was after she broke up with john that her son christopher was born and that was not long before jessica got pregnant. >> i found out when i was 6 months pregnant with her our so that him and jessica just started dating. >> two women, two children, one man. >> i wanted to be mad at her and i couldn't because she was just too nice. >> anyway, pretty soon john was no longer in the picture for either of them. then as single mothers, laura and jessica reconnected so their sons, half brothers could bond. >> our kids met each other and they got to play together. >> now her friend was dead and the father of both of their sons was sitting in the police station answering questions. >> when was the last time you were at the house. >> i can't tell you for sure.
>> ballpark. >> probably been three months. >> so when did you actually last see jessica. >> when she dropped my son off last night. >> which meant john was the last known person to see jessica alive except for the killer, unless he was the killer. detectives brought in jessica's family and friends and questioned them all about john. >> i think everybody had their own impression of john. >> and some of those impressions were not flattering. >> he would post pictures of us, you know, just out with friends and if she's around just another guy even though they're just friends, john, you could tell he was like who is that? >> jealous. >> yeah. >> did jessica trust john? >> no. >> i know she was big on filing for sole custody of dominic. she was tired of it because half the time it was john's time to
take him he refused. >> they have these fights over dom, over custody, over money. >> dom seemed to be trying to minimize the issues. >> issues we were at each others throats. >> the biggest thing that we might fight about is shorts i bought him two weeks ago i sent them to your house and you need to find them. >> okay. >> after two hours after questioning they let john go with a warning. he was suspect number one and they kept an eye on him as they investigated other men that crossed paths with jessica. >> we were interested in any male party she had recently been introduced to. anybody at all that could have been showing interest in her, communicating that with her via social media or any other means that maybe seemed unwanted. >> can you tell me is there anybody that she's seeing right now or she has been seeing up until recently? and i'm talking about, even
casual hook ups? anything at all? >> i know her last hookup was with a old high school crush that had came back to town. he doesn't live here. >> he was a high school crush and he's in the military so when he was home she would hook up with him for a few days but then that was it. he was gone again. she stayed over there once. >> detectives locked sbo hoked whereabouts the night jessica was killed. he was nowhere around. it couldn't have been him. it had to be someone close. someone she knew and trusted. someone with a key maybe. after all there was no forced entry but the door was locked when jessica's mother arrived in the morning and then her family told police about someplace that had been violent toward jessica's sister ashley a few days before the murder. >> i was going through a divorce and my ex was not so nice.
he threatened to take out my whole entire family and then myself just to get custody of our kids. >> wow. >> and the week before that he physically assaulted me. >> he had pinned her on the floor and left bruises on her arm. >> he had been arrested and was facing charges for domestic assault. a man that had been violent and threatened the family. detectives checked out his alibi for the night of jessica's murder but they also went looking for anyone else that might have had access to jessica's home, like maybe a spurned lover but apparently there weren't any. spurned or otherwise. >> everybody wanted to ask that question they would say that jessica often referred to the only man in her life as dominic and her others was her job and that's all she wanted to concentrate on was her work and providing for dominic. >> but sometimes jessica had friends over for saturday night gatherings when dom was at
johns. and the last one was maybe ten days before she was killed and came with trouble. >> jessica's freaking out next to me. she's like are they doing a drug deal in the house? >> coming up. >> you find all kinds of stuff on people's cell phones, don't you? >> oh my gosh. absolutely. >> investigators discover odd text messages on jessica's phone. there was just something weird about it. maybe we need to figure out who this person is. >> when dateline continues. this >> when dateline continues ♪ here i go again on my--- you realize your vows are a whitesnake song? i do. if you ride, you get it. geico motorcycle. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more.
a data plan for everyone. everyone? everyone. let's send to everyone! [ camera clicking ] wifi up there? -ahhh. sure, why not? how'd he get out?! a camera might figure it out. that was easy! glad i could help. at xfinity, we're here to make life simple. easy. awesome. so come ask, shop, discover at your xfinity store today.
protests. the latest at the top of the hour on msnbc live. >> welcome back to dateline. i'm natalie morales. jessica nelson had been murdered in her home. her ex-boyfriend john mcdowell was a prime suspect and then investigators discovered there was a party at jessica's house before she was killed and the list of potential suspects was about to grow. meanwhile, jessica's friends and family were galvanized by their grief but could her killer be among them? here again is keith morrison with evil intent. >> it was a week before they could have a funeral for jessica. a small sad service for family and friends is what they expected, but it wasn't small. not at all. >> it was overwhelming just to
see that many people knew her or at some point had cared enough to show up and say hey, we're sorry. >> and some of the young men vowed revenge as they wore that are justice for jessica bracelets. her brother, matt. her brother's best friend also named matt that once lived with them that knew jessica like a sister. >> he was with us. >> like another son. >> like another son. what do you need help with? people would bring over food. he's there helping us carry it in. that kind of thing. >> and there as well helping out and grieving was john mcdowell jessica's ex. he may have looked the part of a tough guy but police had checked his alibi. he could not have been the killkil killer. >> we're also able to look at his cell phone locations and they were exactly where he said he was.
at no point did his phone ever put him anywhere near jessica's house. >> john did not kill jessica. and when he first learned she was dead. >> i just felt completely lost. instantly trying to figure out how i was going to tell my son that his mother, that was his world was no longer here and i didn't know what to do. >> he tried but even at jessica's funeral, her son then just 6 years old didn't seem to comprehend. >> what was that like for you? >> it was horrible. especially with her being right there and he is still not comprehending that she wasn't with us anymore. >> that was when the detectives were tracking down, well, they didn't know who? the sister's ex? the guy charged with assault had a solid alibi, but what about
the men that attended jessica's small party. one party in particular. >> one of her friends invited her boyfriend. her boyfriend invited some of his friends. those friends invited others. so as this get together kind of went on in the evening more and more people were showing up to jessica's residence that she didn't know. >> what does that do to an investigation. >> it opened our suspect pool up quite a bit. >> especially after friends told the detective that jessica thought something illegal was going on at her party asking them, are they doing a drug deal in the house? this is not okay. >> i just know that he came outside and said hey that guy may have just got pills. >> so i wanted to know exactly who invited this guy to jessica's house this evening. who thought that would have been okay to do? >> the answer complicated matters even more. friends told detectives that the man that invited the drug dealer
also tried at the party to initiate some kind of sexual encounter with jessica. >> he was in the bathroom and she went to go grab a towel and she let her in the bathroom and then he was like do you want to stay in here with me. she is like no, i just want a towel. i guess he had like tried to close the door and all of this stuff and she said no and opened the door and walked away. now they had to track him down. >> how often did you spend on this? >> several weeks. that's all we were doing was attempting to identify these people, locate them and interview them and it was a vetting process as far as getting the time line and alibi as everybody else. >> we were taking dna samples. >> at the same time they asked one of their tech investigators to look for clues in jessica's cell phone. >> you find all kinds of stuff
on people's cell phones don't you? >> absolutely. >> all kinds of stuff, on this one, it was pretty much one thing on there. it was just pictures of her son. her life completely revolved around him. >> but there were text messages too. lots of them. some were interesting. >> one of the last person she was communicating with was someone named matt. >> he was the friend, more like the son that grieved with the nelson family and was like a second brother with jessica. always had an easy teasing relationship so of course they texted each other but the officer didn't know any of that when the texts caught his attention. >> there was just something weird about him. just the way he would be constantly asking her to do stuff. do you want to go bowling and she would be like you know what i got to clean up the house. and then he would be like well, maybe i could come over and help you up the house and she'd
reply, i'm almost done don't worry about it so now i'm really tired. i'm going to go to bed and it was like this over and over so i talked to the sergeant that was in charge and said maybe we need to figure out who this person is. >> jessica's friend and family said that sort of back and forth was quite typical of their relationship. >> it was just brother and sister type of thing. he'd get smart with her and she would get smart back and they'd go on their way rgel so appar t apparently nothing to see here. but detectives had to dig a little. who was this matt that the nelsons loved like their own. >> in the interrogation room matt opened up to police revealing he feels guilty he didn't stop the can i recall. >> i feel like i was there and i could have done something if i had drove by that night or if i had known. >> when dateline continues. i had known. >> when dateline continues the only one to combine a safe sleep aid.
with less eczema, you can show more skin. so roll up those sleeves. and help heal your skin from within with dupixent. dupixent is the first treatment of its kind that continuously treats moderate-to-severe eczema, or atopic dermatitis, even between flare ups. dupixent is a biologic, and not a cream or steroid. many people taking dupixent saw clear or almost clear skin. and, had significantly less itch. that's a difference you can feel. don't use if you're allergic to dupixent. serious allergic reactions can occur, including anaphylaxis, which is severe. tell your doctor about new or worsening eye problems, such as eye pain or vision changes, or a parasitic infection. if you take asthma medicines, don't change or stop them without talking to your doctor. so help heal your skin from within, and talk to your eczema specialist about dupixent.
a murder investigation is often a collection of stories. but also, love, loss, regret. john mcdowell was innocent but he didn't feel innocent. >> the only thing that went through my head is that really it was all my fault because if i would have never messed up and we would have never split up then i would have been there to
protect her. >> i think you still feel that way a little bit don't you? >> yes, sir. >> does she intrude upon your thoughts a lot? >> yes, sir. >> so many stories. witnesses, family, friends of the victim. >> i walked out of the room to make sure that the sky wasn't on fire. when detective davis interviewed the man he encountered a man still aparentally grieving. >> good mother, good friend. she'd -- i don't think i ever heard her not put herself out for somebody in need. >> davis was sympathetic and matt opened up and talked about his brotherly sort of relationship with jessica. >> me and jess, we've always had the relationship where we have
inside sexual jokes. we never had interest like that. i always enjoyed that being able to joke around with somebody without -- we know it's never going to lead anywhere so like everything on the table. >> and like brother and sister he says they sometimes get physical in a playful way. >> we'd fool around a little bit. >> how do you mean? >> like she would pimple me. i'd poke her in her soide. like teasing. >> kind of like flirting, no. >> not quite like -- i don't know, maybe. i didn't consider it flirting and it wasn't like, as far as i know she's never been interested in me. we were just friends. >> after jessica was murdered it was matt who vowed to take revenge and told detectives he felt so guilty for failing to protect her. >> i would do anything for my friends. >> i would die for them if i had to. >> okay. >> it's just -- i know it's stupid. i've talked to her mom and i
shouldn't put it on mysel drove had known. >> after all he was at work that evening close by. so he said he struggled with regret even as he tried to figure out what happened. >> i have had an overactive imagination or brain or whatever you want to call it. >> whoever did it must have been waiting to find her home alone and must have seen her facebook post, the one about her son dom being away. >> like they were watching her facebook feed. somebody had to have been watching the house for awhile to know that she was 100% alone there. >> and maybe he said, maybe it was more than one guy. >> i'm a fairly strong guy. i have weaknesses. my body's pretty [ bleep ] up but i mean, it doesn't make sense for one person. >> he knew something about bad guys. he spent some time in prison for
something he said he didn't do. attempted sexual assault. >> i was dating a married woman and when i broke up with her she called the cops and reported me for rape. >> but she lied he said. a false accusations and the nelsons supported it. >> this guy somehow got railroaded. >> so this poor kid had a consensual relationship and then afterwards instead of getting in trouble for it she blamed him. >> yeah. and i even knew somebody that knew her and she told me the same thing, that she was always up to no good. >> so after he got out of prison the nelsons celebrated with him and his family. after all his dad and harry nelson had been best friends for decades just as he was best friends with jessica's brother. >> they had my back as long as i can remember. >> after jessica's death matt provide a sample of his dna and said of course he had been to jessica's house so if his dna
happened to turn up there well a perfectly innocent reason for that. >> i pretty much bleed in everybody's houses i go to and i get bored and i either pick at a scab or cut myself on something. >> if they were looking at him as a suspect they had the wrong guy. i wouldn't be able to look them in the eye if i did this. i wouldn't bewaring justice for jessica on my wrist. i wouldn't be sharing her picture on facebook looking for [ bleep ] people that did this. i'm not built that way. >> no. matt was virtually a member of the family. >> because we're all suffering i feel better being around their family sometimes. >> he couldn't have killed jessica. could he? >> coming up stunning and heartbreaking. >> what this woman has to say about jessica's murder. >> it never should have happened. >> because you had already warned everybody about him. >> yeah. >> what her story will mean for
the case when dateline continues. r the case when dateline continues. to the enamel. with pronamel repair toothpaste, we can help actively repair enamel in its weakened state. it's innovative. with pronamel repair, more minerals are able to enter deep into the enamel's surface. the fact that you have an opportunity to repair what's already been damaged...it's amazing. i think my go-to toothpaste is going to be pronamel repair. i think the house is changing him... -[ gasps ] -up and at 'em! ...into his father. [ eerie music plays ] is it scary? -[ gasps ] -it's in eco mode. so don't touch it. mm-hmm. i can't stop this from swinging.
must be a draft in here. but he did save a bunch of money bundling our home and auto with progressive. progressive can't protect you from becoming your parents, but we can protect your home and auto when you bundle with us. -hello? -sorry, honey. [ telephone beeps ] butt dial. -hello? -sorry, honey. emreplenished,d, fortified. emerge everyday with emergen-c. packed with b vitamins, electrolytes, antioxidants, plus more vitamin c than 10 oranges. why not feel this good every day? emerge and see.
here, hello! starts with -hi!mple... how can i help? a data plan for everyone. everyone? everyone. let's send to everyone! [ camera clicking ] wifi up there? -ahhh. sure, why not? how'd he get out?! a camera might figure it out. that was easy! glad i could help. at xfinity, we're here to make life simple. easy. awesome. so come ask, shop, discover at your xfinity store today.
welcome back. the search for jessica nelson's killer had turned up no shortage of potential suspects. investigators had cleared her ex-boyfriend john mcdowell and several men who went to a party at jessica's house before she was murdered. now they had more questions for her friend matt. it had been a long road, but investigators were about to hear the truth from a surprising source. here's keith morrison with the
conclusion of "evil intent." >> matt kidder, the young man who was like a brother to jessica nelson, like a son to her parents, was sitting in the police station three weeks after jessica's death. >> do you think i consider you a suspect? >> i think you consider everybody a suspect at this point. >> but specifically do you think i consider you one? >> i hope not. >> by then they did consider him a suspect. >> they knew he checked facebook the night she was killed. would have seen the post that revealed she was home alone. they discovered his cell phone was at or near her place for 17 minutes that night. >> you see where -- >> experts oscar and nick. >> right now, it's about 11:00. you'll see a couple more activations where he's still at work. right there. all of a sudden, it switches. >> that's at her house at this point. >> yes. >> that's directly near the house. >> there was more.
the detectives noticed a crescent-shaped cut on matt's hand. could have been made by jessica's thumbnail as she defended herself. they found her dna under her nail and on the cord she was strangled with. now he played his hand snienlt i think you were there when it went down and i think you had something to do with it. >> and matt exploded. a stream of loud and determined denials. >> i didn't kill her. i don't know who did. i wasn't [ bleep ] there that night. i wouldn't be able to watch my uncle harry collapse over the body of his daughter at the funeral. here you are trying to accuse me of it. you arrest me for something i didn't do, especially on this. it's going to destroy our family. >> the lead prosecutor. >> he was narcissistic and he is a sociopath. if you were watching that interview without knowing the evidence we had, you might scratch your head and say do we
have the right guy because he was so convincing. >> the police believe they did have the right guy. and they arrested him for the murder of his lifelong friend jessica nelson. >> stand up now. >> i'm not going to gel for this. >> it's not up to you. >> the decision has been made. >> it's the wrong [ bleep ] decision. >> that's something you can take up with your attorney. right now you need to stand up because you're leaving here. okay? >> now, it was time to tell the nelsons. >> they said we had made an arrest and we have arrested matthew kidder. my head hit the table. >> missy and harry gathered the family to tell them. i said look around and who is one person that would probably be here but isn't. and my son matthew kind of raised his eyebrows like, oh, my
god, no. >> up until that moment, matt kidder had been matt nelson's best friend in the world. the one he trusted implicitly. the one who would never ever betray them. and here they were. >> everyone who was there broke down, like bawling their eyes out. >> as matt kidder waited in the local jail, evidence piled up. he talked to his father on the phone, recorded of course. >> i think she fell asleep on the couch after i left and somebody came in behind. >> after you left? you were never there. >> dad, my phone puts me there. >> huh? >> dad, my phone puts me there. >> oh. >> it's changed now from 169 times he denied being in the house yelling at the detectives very sternly denying that he was even there. that was big. >> there was more. he got chatty with his cell
mate, told him the whole ugly story. this is prosecutor beth -- >> this informant, they were accurate. from walking into her house, head-butting her which would explain the blood we saw and the blood patterns on the couch cushions to the sexual assault itself to the things that she said to the injury on his hand and the injury on her finger to the cell phone charging cord. this informant gave us a view into what jessica went through. >> it was about how -- i think being rejected by her via text just made him angry. he's a very angry individual. >> i guess in a weird way, the more he's rejected, the more he needs that power and control. it's part ever the buildup or something. >> we think so. >> which brings us to this woman, patricia springboard. the
woman who accused matt of
rape. remember he went to prison, attempted sexual assault but convinced the nelsons she was lying. it was no lie. when patricia heard about jessica. >> that's the hardest thing for me. because it never should have happened. >> because you already warned everybody about him. >> yep. >> her experience with matt at first was not unlike the nelsons'. >> he wormed his way into our family and none of us thought would do anything like that. >> he was a good friend to your family, too. >> yes. i met him through my oldest daughter. >> wow. >> yeah. my husband taught him how to drive a truck. things like that. things that you would do if we had a teenage boy. >> sure. >> then one day he caught her alone at home and grabbed her neck and tried to choke her and she, fearing he would kill her,
stopped struggling and discovered something revealing
about matt. >> from what i could tell and with my situation is the violence and stuff is what got him. >> yeah. because when you relented, obviously, it wasn't a turn on for him anymore. >> huh-uh. >> if she hadn't given in -- >> i wouldn't be here. >> he wouldn't have been at jessica's place. >> this shouldn't have happened to that girl. >> it shouldn't have. >> she's got a little boy. it just shouldn't have happened. that's why after everything that happened, when the prosecutor asked me if i would testify for them, damn right. >> and she did. there was one more thing. the police had seized matt's
laptop when theyted him. what they found, well -- >> i've seen some weird stuff. but nothing like this. it was a lot of rape videos and torture videos and just like the combination of them. it let us know basically his intent and his mind-set. because what he ended up doing is basically recreated one of these kind of videos that he likes in real life. >> in real life. >> where he stormed somebody, assaulted them, killed them and then left. >> matt kidder did not testify but his defense said all the evidence, dna, cell phone tracking, the cell mate story all had innocent explanations and besides, they said he wasn't the killer, plain and simple. but the jury deliberated just 41 minutes before convicting matt kidder of jessica's murder. he was sentenced to life in prison. the nelsons, of course, still
miss jessica terribly and dominick, lives with his dad john now and also with laura and his half brother christopher. after jessica's death, laura stepped in to help out as much as she could. >> we were over there all the time with dom and john and the kids all playing together. it was just one day after the next after the next. and you just fall together. it's the one good thing that came out of this tragedy. dom has a whole family. and he's so happy about that. he says i got a mommy in heaven and i got a mom here. >> in time, laura and john got engaged and the nelson family grew by a few more. just one empty place. >> you can never fill the whole in your life, do you, when you lose a child?
>> no. >> how often do you think about jessica? >> every day. >> every day. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm natalie morales. >> thank you for watching. good morning. i'm dara brown in new york at msnbc world headquarters. it's 6:00 in the east, 3:00 out west. here's what's happening. reversing course. president trump reverses course about holding the summit at the his resort. what caused him to back down. a wild week on the hill. the spotlight testimony that could finally give us answers about the infamous text messages at the center of the impeachment inquiry. meanwhile, a $30,000 sound system and furniture from italy to keep -- in the impeachment probe under fire for