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Transcripts For MSNBC Dateline 20240608

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div class= gutr > that is it for us, thank you so much for watching. remember, if your friends are busy tonight, had a hot date, you and can watch the nightcap tomorrow night, saturday at 11:00. he s turn right here on msnbc. for now i am signing off and on that note i wish you a very good night. from all of our colleagues across the networks of nbc news, thank you for staying up late with me, i will see you tomorrow. i think back and i go, this was such a senseless murder. and why diane? why, when she was ready to start a brand-new life? i will never know that answer. spectacles kept coming. hi diane, it s 2:00, just making sure you are here today. at 2:00 it was too late. simone have killed her. we had her body at the scene, that was all. she had a fiance. they argued a lot. we had our ups and downs, no question. and a coworker with a crush. he was an odd character. i was always very spoiled lead to her. everybody was suspect. then the break. tips from other women. he wanted to get me in there and i didn t budge and all of the bells were going off. i jumped in my car and took off. i felt i had dodged a bullet. the who was frightening, but the y was much worse. in my wildest rooms i would have never imagined something like this could even exist we you certainly had a motive. yes, we did. it was the afternoon of november the 15th, austin, texas, 4:00 p.m. something ominous in the air. suddenly, the familiar feel of it against the skin, comping. something big. they did tell us on the news, if you don t have to go out tonight, don t, because we are going to get relentless reins. and then the sky overhead turned dark, like midnight in the afternoon. when stuff like that is pitch black out and you have the fear of tornadoes. sure enough, so the announcers on tv, twisters had been spotted heading towards the city, including northwest. diane lived in the northwest and i called her i said, hey, girl, they just said there is a tornado heading in your direction, and she said my direction? and she s like, i don t know what to do. i ve never been in a tornado. so, she was kind of freaked out? she was very freaked out. then the ferocious rain and heavy wind, the thick funnel clouds dipped around the city. the next morning, a friday. it was all over. friends checked on friends. but no one could reach diane. the freaked out one. diane holik work from home, for ibm. that morning, so unlike her. she missed the conference call. hi diane, it is to:00. i am just checking to make sure you are safe. all day, phone calls from ibm and friends went to voicemail. diane, hey, this is sharon, i was going to see if you are going to show up tonight or not. she didn t. i got to the club and i was waiting, and she didn t come, she didn t come, and i spent all of my time wondering when she was going to show up. had she been caught in the storm? had her house been hit? a coworker called the police. they cruised over to diane s neighborhood and found her big house unscathed. they. through windows, the security key. they went upstairs. there, all but hidden behind a guest room bed, they found diane. someone had killed her. i actually had a scream of some sort, just like, you can t it is not true. that is not what happened, that is not diane. but of course it was. diane holik, 43 years old, suddenly the unlikely center of a strange and disturbing mystery, and a most unlikely victim, murdered. absolutely lived life with gusto. she was a vivacious, beautiful woman. reporter: lynn had a known diane since the 90s when they started working together at ibm. she let her friends, she let her family. we would vacation together. we would have so much fun and just laugh and laugh and laugh. well, a lot of things we like to do altogether was we hit the clubs a lot. lots of dancing. lots of dancing. diane met anita and cheyenne cooper at the ladies room of an austin bar. she was in there, she said oh, you have cowboy boots, you must know where country barn is. we said yeah, i do. our best friend is coming and we are going to go when she gets here. and she said cool, i m going to go with y all. first time i had ever met her, never seen her before. she was in town for 3 weeks. diane said well, not just for the club, so she gets into the truck where her clothes are and starts pulling at something western and starts putting it on right there in the parking lot. she was crazy. she was throwing things on that she was stripped right there in the parking lot. right there in the parking lot. we danced all night long, she was having a blast, so happy that she had met the two of us, because she said, now i have me some dancing buddies. so magnetic. which, said her colleague, helped make her a fine recruiter for ibm. i would center off to colleges, and these kids, they would just gravitate to her. she had a personality that just stood out. and her attitude? endlessly adventurous. one time i remember sending her off to do a recruiting trip, and she got out there and they were doing a balloon fest, and she called me up and said, i need half a day off. and i said why? she said, i m jumping in a balloon and going. she would always test the edges with you? always, yes. she would throw all kinds of parties at her house and invite everyone she knows. so, they may not know each other, but everybody knew her? yes. yes. and she was great, she just loved having all of these wonderful people around her. in any room, any crowd, diane was the lure, especially to men. it was never a problem going out with her, because she was like a magnet for all of us. yeah. there was always been around when diane was there. always. so there were. now she was dead. and the one thing that seemed obvious, there is that second floor bedroom, what happened to diane for the mark of a man. coming up, a killer is calm and cool as he is coldhearted. you commit the act of murder, and then you leave, you don t want to get caught, the that person didn t do it. that, in itself was odd. someone close to diane? an interesting thing happened when she had 40. i need a partner, i want marriage. when dateline continues. tel all bundled with progressive you ve got the peace of mind to really wander. yeah. yeah, i just hope it stays this way. once word gets out about these places they tend to -are you done? -aaand there it is. willll (rebecca) it wasn t until after they had done the surgery to remove all the toes that it really hit me. you see the commercials. you never put yourself in that person s shoes until you re there. 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(energizing music) i got a page from the supervisor in homicide saying that a woman had been found deceased in her home in northwest austin. narrator: detectives tracey gerrish and eric de los santos i got a page from the supervisor and homicide, saying that the woman had been deceased in her home in northwest boston. detectives tracy garrett i long since learned that if didn t tell them much. but when diane was murdered? we had the body, and that was all in the beginning. they looked for evidence of forced entry, there was none. the doors were locked and windows were attacked. either the killer knew her, or she let the person in. in any event it certainly didn t look like a robbery turned deadly. she still had her watch on, she still had a tennis bracelet on, and she had a charm that was in her hair that had obviously been on that was not around her neck. she also had some money that was sticking out of her pocket. so, maybe diane s body would tell them the story. the killer had hidden her under a bedspread. it appeared that she had been strangled, a ligature mark around her neck. it could have been a rope, it could have been one of those flecks fans that you used to exercise. clearly not somebody s had? clearly. what about her eyes and her face? was there any sign there? she definitely had in the eyes sign strangulation. she appeared to have a bruise on her cheek. it was like a rubbing type of a bruise on her cheek and she had four of them on her stomach. rubbing type of ruse? as if you are being dragged across the carpet and it was a rug burn. they discovered sponges of lipstick and mascara on the carpet. we also found a spot of urine, where her body would have been, had she been strangled. so, we knew something that happened there at that particular spot. she must have been killed there. and behind the bed where they found her body, was there any indication that she had been sexually assaulted in any way? no. her clothes weren t messed up. there was nothing indicating that she had been fighting, she had no scratch marks on her neck. why didn t she try to defend herself? so, as we continue to look at the body we notice some red marks on her wrist. that was interesting, because you don t usually see that. there was no ties, there was no rope, there is no tape around her in the room. just red marks. just red marks. little red marks that look, somehow familiar. it looks like two parallel lines, and then perpendicular to those lines were little lines , probably a 16th of an inch apart. i ve seen these marks before, sometimes on the flex ties that we use. ties. zip tied binder. but then he would have cut them off afterwards. he obviously cut them off afterwards, and we knew that immediately. detective santos s mind went to the darkest of places. diane must have been restrained with those zip ties, helpless, terrified as she watched her killer preparing the ligature and put it around her neck. what kind of horror did you go through? what was going through your head? after she was dead, the killer must have stayed for a while, carefully erasing any sign of his or her presence. so, that in and of itself was odd, that doesn t happen. you commit the act of murder and then you leave, you are scared, you want to get out of there, you don t want to get caught. this person that we didn t know, if they were male or female, didn t do that. with this person? so deliberate, so cold-blooded. this was no straightforward case, nothing simple about it. i probably didn t sleep for 72 hours. as they chased down their endless questions. so, what does that leave you with? was it a targeted killing? the one who is angry with her? those were all possibilities. most of the time you are going to be killed by someone you know. sometimes it is someone you know very well. and of course, we are all familiar with domestic violence, so, you know, we want to see who is in the immediate inner circle of her life? diane s friends, they learned, she had been married years before, but had spent most of her adult life as a single woman and happily so. until she changed her mind. she left her single life, and she loved her independence, but an interesting thing happened when she had 40. she decided, i need a partner, i need somebody like my friends have. i wanted marriage, i want the things they have. so, diane set out to find a mate. with the help of the dating service, it s just lunch. and pretty soon she met a divorced father of two, named dennis connolly. i think they truly, immediately had a chemistry. i think they were in love. he was a successful businessman, he was handsome, he took her everywhere, and that is what she was looking for. just two months later, dennis presented diane with the bubble of a lifetime, a $20,000 engagement ring. he loved her, he put her on a pedestal and treated her like a queen. she likes his daughter, she cared very much for his daughters. and that was a strong point. they make plans, as lovers do. dennis had moved from austin to houston. the idea was diane could sell her big house and move down there too. it was a downmarket then, but as diane told her friends, there was one potential buyer. now diane was dead. and there were all of those questions. not a robbery, and yet, as the detectives soon discovered, something was missing that $20,000 engagement ring nowhere to be found. so, police wondered, where was fiance, dennis, during the violent storm? and did he know something? coming up. the storm outside and in. they argued a lot. we had our ups and downs, no question. you know, it wasn t like physical? never. when dateline continues. lin it s okay to show off. with dupixent, show off your clearer skin and less itch. because you have plenty of reasons to show off your skin. with dupixent, the #1 prescribed biologic by dermatologists and allergists, you can stay ahead of your eczema. it helps block a key source of inflammation inside the body that can cause eczema to help heal your skin from within. many adults saw 90% clearer skin, some even achieved long-lasting clearer skin and fast itch relief after first dose. serious allergic reactions can occur that can be severe. tell your doctor about new or worsening eye problems such as eye pain or vision changes including blurred vision, joint aches and pain, or a parasitic infection. don t change or stop asthma medicines without talking to your doctor. show off to the world. ask your eczema specialist about dupixent. ask your eczema specialist it was true, all her friends knew it, diane holik was in love with the man it was true. all of her friends knew it. diane holik was in love with the man she met , smitten like a teenage girl, but the road of love, as we all know isn t always smooth. they were engaged so quickly. too quickly? before long they encountered some serious issued set her friends, anita and jared. they argued a lot. about, one example? her dogs, were like children to diane. but she told her friends, dennis didn t want any dogs in their new house in houston. they fought, set her friends, about what he seems to want her to be. she was always talking about, hey, didn t want her to do this or didn t want her to do that and that will cause arguments. she would not go along with it? no. she was independent? what was he? controlling. oh. very controlling. that can be a difficult combination to so, it was confusing, she probably wore this spectacular ring, but the engagement was off and then, maybe on again. and yet, that very week, set her friends, diane told them she still didn t know what to do. so, she had gone back and forth and back and forth? emotionally she was a roller coaster, because she just couldn t see how it was going to work and none of us could see how it would work either. especially when she told sharon she had made a date with another man. we kept telling her, if you are still wanting to do these things, you are not ready for that. but she had her house for sale? yes, she was going to downsize. if she didn t get married, she was going to downsize anyway, because this house was just way too good. waffling under plans for dennis? a date with another man? she said she had seen dennis angry, so, after diane was murdered, she wondered maybe he had just lost control of his life and killed her. that was my first thought. detective gerst ash dennis to come to the station to speak without the aid of a lawyer. the detectives focused on the timeline. they believed diane had been killed that stormy thursday afternoon or evening. her body was discovered about 5:30 p.m., friday. we were definitely interested in where he had been for the last three days. he knew he was going to verify his alibi to us. at the station, dennis seemed upset, but composed. as he told investigators, he was in his office in houston the night of the big storm, but exchange online messages with diane, back in austin that afternoon. it was just, you know, like, hey, i m working late, i m getting ready to go home, and she just send me, you know, i love you. that was it. and you were at the office? okay. dennis said he got home from work late thursday evening and was back on friday. we looked at the conference, could he have driven down to austin for diane and theoretically driven back in time for work? and yes, he probably could have. they checked diane s answering machine and found messages from him, this one was left on friday, the day after the big storm. she was dead by then. hey, you, if i don t hear from you in about an hour, and calling the freaking police. and have to go by your house okay? another message, saturday morning. diane, what is going on? give me a call. you have me worried to death. by. which could have been some sort of cover-up, of course. dennis admitted, their relationship was iffy. we ran into rough spots. we were going to build a house in houston and i decided that, you know, given the fact that we weren t getting along to gather, very well i mean, there was no fight, we all fight, it s just everybody carries baggage of your relationships at this age, and and our baggage was clashing, and we were working on it, but we decided not to be engaged anymore. okay. and stop holding a house. but he said they were going to therapy, which was hoping. i mean, we were really, really making breakthroughs, you know? about diane s dogs, for example. she saw that i was accepting the fact that, you know, her dogs were going to be in the house. and not long before diane was killed i remember her saying you know, that she would she loved me and that she would jump at the chance to be in a relationship and marry me, and, you know, no matter how long it took. yeah. we had our ups and downs, no question, but it wasn t like no physical fights? no. never, never, never even angry or loud words. it was just it s stupid, you know? she thought i should be more of a like, handyman kind of guy, like her dad, right? and and i thought she should be more appreciative. what she faithful to you? i would i would be shocked if she wasn t. i would be stunned. everyone has his or her version of the truth, of course. dennis story, not at all what diane s friends said they had been hearing from her. i wanted so many times to just say, dude, you are just so stupid, because she did want to marry you. detective geyer garrett took fingerprints, collected dennis s dna and check his alibi, and dennis? before he left, dennis brought up another name. has anybody gotten a hold of ray? no, we are trying to figure out who ray is. ray was a colleague of diane s at ibm. he seemed to worship the ground she walks on. he seems to be attracted to women that are not attracted to him. honestly, if i was if i was a woman, i would he would be giving me the creeps. and according to dennis, he and diane were not on good terms. now, they had a falling out about a month or so ago. don t know the exact nature of it. so, time for a talk with ray. coming up. a coworker, with a crush, but did he want something more? i was always very spoiled to her, and very affectionate to her. when dateline continues. i asked my doctor about treating my td, and learned about ingrezza. ingrezza ingrezza is clinically proven for reducing td. most people saw results in just two weeks. people taking ingrezza can stay on most mental health meds. only number-one prescribed ingrezza has simple dosing for td: always one pill, once daily. ingrezza can cause depression, suicidal thoughts, or actions in patients with huntington s disease. pay close attention to and call your doctor if you become depressed, have sudden changes in mood, behaviors, feelings, or have thoughts of suicide. don t take ingrezza if you re allergic to its ingredients. ingrezza may cause serious side effects, including angioedema, potential heart rhythm problems, and abnormal movements. report fevers, stiff muscles, or problems thinking as these may be life threatening. sleepiness is the most common side effect. take control by asking your doctor about ingrezza. ingrezza everybody wants super straight, super white teeth. they want that hollywood white smile. new sensodyne clinical white provides 2 shades whiter teeth and 24/7 sensitivity protection. i think it s a great product. it s going to help a lot of patients. i ll be honest. by the end of the day, my floors.yeesh. but who has the time to clean? that s why i love my swiffer wetjet. it s a quick and easy way to get my floors clean. wetjet absorbs and locks grime deep inside. look at that! swiffer wetjet. i am just collate in with the hour s top stories. the united nations is answering adding israel and hamas to its military forces harming children amid military conflict. the news comes as israel faces new criticism for an airstrike in central gaza that killed dozens of people at a u.n. displacing palestinians. and president biden spoke of the need to protect democracy while fighting dictators and hateful ideology, as he honor the sacrifices of soldiers 80 years ago on the beaches of normandy. now, back to dateline. suspicion. there was lots of it to go around after diane holik was choked to death in her own guest bedroom. at least one of diane s friends directed her suspicion at dennis. the man who said he was her fiance, but was he anymore. dennis swore it wasn t him, but maybe he was suspicious too. what about this guy? he asked? what about ray. there was a man that she worked with, by the name of rafael chauncey, and she had actually hired him at ibm, so she was kind of his boss. maybe more than his boss? here s what diane s friends told the police about ray. he was johnny on the spot every time she needed something. he always called ray and ray was there. honestly in my heart i believe that he truly loved her and would have varied her. if she would have him? yeah. if she would have him. it seemed off to dennis. s relationship with diane he told the police, it was a little too cozy, obsessive maybe? he always felt like maybe ray kind of took a liking to her was very infatuated with her, and he would always offer to take care of her dogs when she was out of town. always wanted to be kind of close to her. so, he thought maybe that he had too much of an interest in diane. what s more, ray had his own personal key to diane the house and remember, there was no forced entry. the killer was either invited and or had a key. so, detective gerrish asked ray to come into the station and answer a few questions, except it was ray who seems to be full of questions. working on it. unfortunately i don t know anything about diane holick when until i went to her house last night. he seemed excited to share what he knew. how long have you known diane? two years. he was an odd character, eager to help us, almost too i eager, to the point where throw us off a little bit. my group, my payment to her was not to always take care of her dogs. in two years she didn t have a dog sitter, i even change my schedule so i could walk her dogs. he told you a lot didn t he? man, i can t believe it. i always had a crush on diane, since i was younger. to diane reciprocate your feelings? no. did that ever cause problems to you? no. in the beginning argument that stuff? no, in the beginning we have some i was always very spoil- ey to her, very affectionate, she didn t like it. they played good cup, that cop. another detective came in, frustrated. no sexual relationships? you want to? i always wanted to, but never did. know, it was a little bit more formal than that i guess. you never had a sexual relationship? no. never. so, your dna shouldn t be found on her? you are not giving it to us? if you wanted. ray agreed, he did have a key to her house, but he also had an alibi, he was at work the day diane was murdered. i had the badge. there s cameras all over the place too at work. you can ask for the records. that day, ray said he stayed late at work and then drove home through the terrible traffic created by the storm. and after that, stayed home. stayed home and didn t go anywhere. back to work this morning at 8:00, 8:00. of course they needed to verify all of that. but when they asked ray about dennis, the fiance? that is a loaded question. it is and. i mean, i want the truth. there were some problems or whatever? they were going to get married this november. clearly diane had complicated relationships with dennis and ray. so, just as they had done with dennis, police fingerprinted ray and took a dna swab and went on looking. sharon told the detectives done had a date with the man and they couldn t figure out who that man was, but they tracked down every man she had met from the dating service. i interviewed every single day she had through that service. too many options. police wondered, has diane been strangled by a man she had met through the dating service? or a man she knew well? even left? and yes, something seems to be missing, but what? this wasn t going to be easy. coming up, a funeral and a wedding, and what some say was a former fiance s extremely strange behavior. oh god, we did a morbid thing. i mean beyond belief. and finally a clue. was this one of his stakes? when dateline continues. first and only nasal spray for dry eye. tyrvaya treats the signs and symptoms of dry eye disease fast by helping your body produce its own real tears. common side effects include sneezing, cough, and throat and nose irritation. relying only on drops? not me. my own real tears are my relief. ask your eye doctor about tyrvaya. that is an affluent neighborhood. it s not normally where you find murder victims. narrator: darla davis was worried. that is an affluent neighborhood, it is not normally where you would find murder victims. tyler davis was worried. diane s ball body was there barely cold. prosecutors jump on the case and encountered a problem. the fact that she lived by herself. there were many wanted to change that single status and there was certainly reason to look at them carefully. but the prosecutor worried too. about another possibility. we might have a stranger on stranger offense, which is way harder to solve. so, essentially a dead body, not much evidence? right. no idea who did it. exactly, and i had an idea that we would have the crime scene. that meant she had investigators went back to diane s house to take a look. and went over it with the alternate light source. we have to do it in the dark. we just take it and put it in carpeting or on any kind of fabric or anything. and certain things will fluoresce. for example, if there is blood. the alternate light search source we are looking for. it didn t look like diane had been sexually assaulted. but they had to know for sure. and when they tested? there were no indications that there was any semen anywhere. and that room are different parts of the house. nothing. no semen, no blood, no evidence of sexual assault. and apart from her missing engagement, nothing in diane s house seemed out of place. except, in the middle of the otherwise brisk living room. there, on the loveseat is this tower just thrown open. weird. it was definitely out of place. maybe it was left behind by the killer? was this one of the mistakes? there were hairs later on. her hairs? no. there were seven hairs on that terrible. they sent the hairs to the dna lab. her friends plan the excruciating details for diane s memorial service here in austin. sharon found the funeral home and the lady to do the makeup and everything. we went in with them and help them pick out a casket and all. and her dress for an open casket. i need to make sure that whatever we got looks right and covered the appropriate parts of her. seeing where the wounds were, seeing where the ligature marks were, probably just as difficult as the day i found out that she passed. dennis came to the service, as expected, but he tended to not speak with anybody, which i found somewhat strange for a man, who was so in love with diane. front and center? no, he did not sit front and center, which somewhat surprised me. watched through a haze of grief and suspicion. when diane s parents moved her body from austin to their home in new york for the funeral, diane s friends as was dennis. and as diane lee in her open casket something very strange happened. oh god. he did a morbid thing that just infuriated her parents. i mean, beyond belief. dennis had brought a minister with him to the funeral. to actually say the marriage vows to him, as she was laying in the coffin. and then took her hand and put that gold band on. i thought mom was going to come unglued. diane s parents removed the ring, said a friend. but, the diane s family was appalled and her friends were deeply suspicious, back in austin, investigators were looking at all kinds of possibilities. dennis, ray, and other men diane had left remained on the list of statements, their alibis checked and rechecked. and the first time love. but that murder prosecutors talked about, was that really what happened? was the killer some random predator? is not a great feeling to know that you are going to have to expand out into the possibilities that this was somebody who was a stranger to her. because that makes it so much harder. that second, more intense search of the crime scene detectives found the first time, including this killer, where the lover has been careful and clearly prepared for what he, or she was going to do. this person, who is trying to avoid being captured. yes, so he cut the zip tie off of her and took the zip tie with him. and thus removed the evidence, but there was this one other thing, just a passing comment. they heard it from anita, on the phone with diane. she said that she had somebody that had come by earlier and had looked at the house, was very impressed with it. i said that is good. she says, yeah. i might finally sell this thing. good that visitor be connected to diane s murder somehow? or that discarded what towel? with those seven tiny strands of hair. coming up, a stranger knocking on doors. what happened next. i felt i had dodged a bullet. he wanted to get me in there and i didn t budge. i stood there with all of the bells going off. when dateline continues. ne this painful, blistering rash can disrupt your life for weeks and could make it hard to be there for your loved ones. shingles could also lead to serious complications that can last for years. if you re over 50, the virus that causes shingles is likely already inside you. and as you age, your risk of developing shingles increases. don t wait. ask your doctor or pharmacist about shingles today. (ethan) i smoked and have had multiple strokes. now, it s hard for me to remember things. my tip is, if you need to remember something, write it down quickly. (announcer) you can quit. call 1-800-quit-now for help getting free medication. some people just know that the best rate for you is a rate based on you, with allstate. because there are people out there who aren t you. a lot of them. and you don t drive like. whoa. i don t want my child being raised by a robot! other drivers are not you. yes, thank you so much to all 50 of my subscribers. nope, definitely not you. save with drivewise and get a rate based on you. you re in good hands with allstate. looking for a smarter way to mop? try the swiffer powermop. an all-in-one cleaning tool, with a 360-degree swivel head that goes places a regular mop just can t. mop smarter with the swiffer powermop. feeling claritin clear is like. [cat meow] is she? letting her imagination run wild even though she has allergies. yeah. her uncle s unhappy. i m sensing an underlying issue. it s t-mobile. it started when we tried to get him under a new plan. but they they unexpectedly unraveled their “price lock” guarantee. which has made him, a bit. unruly. you called yourself the “un-carrier”. you sing about “price lock” on those commercials. “the price lock, the price lock.” so, if you could change the price, change the name! it s not a lock, i know a lock. so how can we undo the damage? we could all unsubscribe and switch to xfinity. their connection is unreal. and we could all un-experience this whole session. okay, that s uncalled for. the detectives investigating the death of diane holik were all too aware that stranger killings are among the hardest to solve. at the point when you were driving around talking to people here, did you have any idea what you were looking for even? no, nothing. narrator: especially if that stranger is as careful as diane s killer appeared to have been. i mean, it was true whodunit. narrator: the medical examiner looked carefully for evidence of sexual assault, semen, the killer s saliva, dna under her fingernails, that sort of thing. and there was none, none at all. though, police 101, maybe one of the neighbors saw something or someone suspicious. and sure enough, not one, but several neighbors had seen a stranger, a potential homebuyer, who was a welcomed visitor, frankly, in the difficult housing market that year. they all agreed he was tall, had dark slicked back hair, and a big nose, and that he said he wanted to pay cash for a nice house. so was he the man who toured diane s house day of the storm? you always try to find the last person that saw sure. the victim alive. and we thought, well, this man could be the last person to see her alive. narrator: who was this phantom homebuyer? interviewer: did anybody get a name? we did get one name, walter miller and a number. narrator: walter miller? of course, they looked up the walter miller s around austin and found two of them. neither one fit that description, though. and the phone number the man left course they looked up to walterg miller around austin and found two of them. neither one fit that description though. and the phone number the man left? it ended up being a fax machine. it ended up belonging to the wife of a guy, by the name of matthew supolsky. matthew supolsky. what with you? he had a background involving a drug addiction, the muscles, a restraining order against him. and we eventually tracked on matthew and they realized right away he could not be the killer. he was in a neck brace, he had been in a bad accident, he had paralysis on his arms, so we knew it couldn t be in. meeting, this visitor, whoever he was, left a fake name and a big phone number. who would do that? then they found another neighbor, who had talked to the guy, heard his story, got a good enough look at him to help with a composite sketch. and we aired it on the 10:00 news. boston police have asked for help in solving a murder. police questioned a man seen in the day before that murder. they described his wife between the ages of 35-45, he s about six feet tall and neatly dressed. and we were hoping to get tips. what you know? before long women started calling. tales about a man who wanted to buy a house. so, what were you hearing from people who may have had a visitor? was at the same story they were hearing? pretty much. yeah, they were getting the story about this guy that sold his ranch in south boston he and his wife are looking to do this quick in the physical description were all the same. some colors, like tammy, had curious details. he had on brand-new gene that were probably three sizes too long. it was the kind of strange thing you remember said agent, tammy. he had on a shirt, a striped shirt that had wrinkles in it. i mean, pulls. just came out of the box? he just bought clothes, i m sure of it. he had suspenders on, which i m sure nobody wears suspenders and it wasn t like his pants are falling off. but it is when she showed him into the house that her nerves went on alert. he said oh, after you, after you. it was a standoff at the bottom of the stairs, wouldn t go. my stomach is tight. tammy was where a. years earlier, she had been raped by a customer. i knew all my instincts, all that i have learned and been through were the reason i was nervous about him. he said his name was jim sage. he kept trying to get her into upstairs rooms. he wanted to get me in there, and i didn t budge, i stood there and all the bells were going off. the next day tammy called the police to report this jim sage. did he hurt you, did he threaten you? did he put his hands on you and i had to say no to all of that. he said i m sorry, there s nothing we can do. but now, diane had been murdered, strangled, tammy remembered the man s odd suspenders use them on diane pop holick s neck. when did that hit you? after. after i found out she was strangled. the calls kept coming in. women, with stories of a strange man posing as a homebuyer, some truly hair- raising stories. like what happened to x real estate agent melanie blunt, six months before diane was murdered. a man had called about one of her houses. it was a vacant listing, and i asked him if he had been prequalified by a lender, and i am paying cash, and so i drove over to meet him at the house or go to the door to greet him. and immediately he was behind me. he would never walk in front of me. which made melody uncomfortable. especially because he only wanted to see vacant houses, and the whole time that i was showing him the home he was never looking at any room. he seems to be more interested in looking out windows than he did the actual room. she said something else seemed off about him. he has a ticket in his neck, constantly cracking, and popping his neck and breathing very heavy. melody wanted to leave, but then the man noticed the detached garage. he was adamant about getting in the garage. he said i really want to see inside the garage. he started that neck popping. her hand shook as she tried to work the key in the door. it didn t open. i just turned to him said i m leaving, jumped in my car. locked the car and took off and i left him. she drove home, still shaken. i have never cried, nor prayed so hard in my whole life , because i felt i had dodged a bullet. melody called the police too. got the same message as tammy. they did not believe me. did he touch you? did he hurt you? no, he did not. when she saw the story about diane and the sketch? i looked at it, and immediately knew that it was the same man. well, the police and prosecutor investigating diane s murder were working every angle they could think of. we were just coming up zero. he knew what he or she was doing and very careful. that was the impression we were getting, and that is what was increasing our anxiety. so, they waited for dna results from those tiny hairs found on the towel in diane s living room. and they listened to the women who called to tell them about being frightened by a mysterious would be homebuyer. who was he? and then one more call and they knew this could be their breakthrough. she said that she had seen the news and she thinks that that man had come to her house and she possibly had a flyer that he had handled that he had left behind. we were really excited about that. which meant that, maybe there might be fingerprinted. did she say this thing? she did it by accident. she didn t just throw it away? no, she actually picked it up and put it in a sack. a story by this time sounded all too familiar. she was excited to sell her house. she was going to pay cash, wanted to bring his wife back to look at the house and he asked her if she could look around. so, she kind of followed him into one of the bedrooms and when he got to the closet he turned around on her and she said there was this awkward silence and he just stared at her, she just became so uncomfortable she thought something bad was going to happen. and just then, in a nearby room, the woman s baby cried. and it gave her the opportunity to break the encounter with him to grab the baby and he followed her into the room and was standing behind her, when she turned around with the baby in her arms and it must have spooked him. and he just left? leaving behind the flyer? leaving behind the flyer. so they picked up the real estate flyer and brought in a latent fingerprint those prints might just belong to their killer. remember, they found no prints in diane s house to compare them to. in fact, this was strange. even diane s (hard to find. as if the killer may have wipe them clean. it was really not even the fingerprints that you would think you would find in a house that was occupied. that is very rare. yes, it was very rare and scary. scary because they wouldn t know who he was. scary because if he was a stranger just looking for a convenience target he had probably seen the stories on tv with a composite sketch and knew they were looking for. so he could have changed his appearance or left the area, or even worse, my strike again somewhere else. but then? there was this one more phone call from a woman, who said she too had an experience with a male homebuyer and this call just might lead them to an actual person. coming up. she immediately got a creepy feeling from him. the brick detectives had been waiting for. she actually wrote down his license plate and called police. when dateline continues. co keith morrison (voiceover): the idea that the murder of diane holik had something to do with her attempt to sell her house the idea that me tthe murde diane holik had something to do with her attempt to sell her house was gaining some traction. even the friend who remained so suspicious of diane s fiance wondered about that. i had a fleeting moment that maybe it was somebody dealing with the realty and selling of the house because there were quite a few people that came in. i thought maybe a husband found her attractive, you know? made a move and she didn t go for it. calls were pouring in to the police station from women who all shared a similar story. they described a man who claimed to be in the market for a new home but seemed to be shopping for something more sinister? one woman provided police with the mystery man s fingerprint. detectives thought the crime scene had been wiped clean so there was no way to match it back. there was a new caller and she was about to give them more. and she basically had told us that months earlier that this man with the same story had come to her home but in a different neighborhood. but very affluent so it kind of matched. he was insistent about wanting to go in and see that house. and she immediately got a creepy feeling from him and told him no and her husband said well if he ever comes back you need to call the police or get his license plate because it really scared her. and about six months later he came back and was very insistent on going in to see her house and she told him no she was not going to allow him to come in. and so she called the police. nothing happened then. the reaction she got was like those other women. the police could hardly arrest some guy for just seeming creepy. but this woman did something different. she wrote down the name and phone number the man gave her but more important his license plate number. stuck it on her fridge. instinct? luck? maybe both. she didn t know if he would come back again. she thought it was concerning enough that she would just leave it on her refrigerator just in case and she gave us the original piece of paper she wrote his license plate down with. and. well we immediately ran his license plate and it was a minivan and it was registered to patrick russo and his wife janet russo. patrick russo. his last known address was in a rural area about a half hour outside austin. so they decided to pay a visit. it s a pretty drive to bastrop county. the live oaks, the cypress trees. at 4:00 a.m. the detectives weren t exactly taking in the view as they drove to russo s home. hoping this is a lead that could shed some light on the murder of diane holik. all they had were stories about a creepy guy looking at houses for sale. was patrick anthony russo that guy? maybe, maybe not. dawn was hours away when they knocked at his door. the man who woke up to answer it looked like the composite sketch. coming up. patrick russo seemed an unlikely killer. i ve got my ged. i went to college. i studied for theology to become a minister. but an odd coincidence. he was in diane s area the day she was kills. you remember ever talking to her? when dateline continues. dat (amanda) my name is amanda, and i smoked while i was pregnant. this is the view i had of my baby in the nicu. my tip is: speak into the opening so your baby can hear you better. 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[ bird squawks loudly ] to a pet shop. meg s moving company uses t-mobile. so she scaled down her fleet to save money. and don s paying so much for at&t, he s been waiting to update his equipment! there s a smarter way to save. comcast business mobile. you could save up to 70% on your wireless bill. so you don t have to compromise. powering smarter savings. powering possibilities. keith morrison retrack: a torrent of tips called in to austin police led detectives tracy a tore rent in to austin police led to detectives to the doorstep of patrick russo. a man matching the description of the mysterious stranger seen in diane holik s neighborhood the day of the murder. we told him his name had come up in an investigation in austin and he basically just told his wife that these things will happen from time to time because he s a convict and out on parole and not to worry that he d be back in a couple of hours and we left. on the ride to the police station he went by his nickname, tony. he wasn t surprised they wanted to talk to him. things go wrong in your town or something, it s a possibility people would look at you. and that s okay. i understand that. he seemed eager to help and wanted detectives to know he d turned his life around when he was in prison. i spent my entire eight years in prison doing nothing but engulfing myself in a better life. i got my ged. i went to college. i studied for theology to become a minister. it was behind bars where tony met his wife janet. she a church volunteer. since his release, he said, he d published an autobiography about his tough childhood, his battle with drugs and his redemption. i have a ministry they go into prisons with. i go to churches and share testimony with them on how they can deal with, you know, youth or whatever that are headed in the wrong direction. at his local church he said he d become the minister of music. what is your job at the church where they pay you for? my job is to make sure that the music for the praise team or any kind of music that s being done for church services is handled, whether i play it or have someone play it. and in his spare time? he fronted a christian rock band. what s the name of your band? it s broken silence. broken silence. that s a good name. again, said tony russo. he was more than willing to cooperate with the investigation. i will be happy to do of what you guys need. so i don t have any problem with it at all. so they asked him, where was he when diane was murdered. did he have an alibi? thursday? um, that was that big storm day, wasn t it? thursday, i spent some time at the church again. i went to go to knle here in austin. knle is a christian radio station. tony said they were helping him create a website for his christian rock band. okay. about what time was that? uh, i think it was about. let see, i talked to my wife. i was pulling into the parking lot so that would have been about 4:00, i believe. when no one came to the door i went ahead and left. so you made the trip up there for nothing basically? pretty much. then of course he got caught in that awful storm. i got lost for probably a good hour or so. i got on the phone with my wife. she stayed on the phone with me. it started getting later. that s when the heavy winds started coming and the tornadoes, i guess. so what time did you get home finally? um, my wife s better at the timing on this than i am. 5:30, i guess or 6:00? i m not really sure exactly the time frame. thing was, diane s house where she was killed was not far from the radio station. you remember ever talking to her? no, sir. tony was adamant he d never seen diane. you never talked to her? no. interesting. then detectives asked, had he been doing some house hunting? is there any reason why you d be in a neighborhood looking for a house? no. none whatsoever? uh-huh. of course they knew a thing or two about that. so the detectives leaned on him a little. do you want me to tell you how serious this is? i would appreciate it. i feel like i m getting pretty banged here and i don t even know what it s for. she s dead. i don t know if you noticed when you walked in here, this is the homicide unit. i ve done a lot things wrong in my life. i m telling you that as badly as i feel for this woman here, i m sorry, but you guys are barking up the wrong tree. go ahead, he said. search my house. my car. he even offered to take a polygraph. i don t care how hard you dig, you re not going to find me committing any crime like that. any crime, period. tony s wife janet was very helpful too. and her story about that day was just about the same as his. yeah, i was telling him where the tornadoes were. he doesn t know his way around austin all that well. next thing he knew he d circled back around going west because he was he said well there s candle again. candle is the nickname for knle the christian radio station. when the interviews ended tony asked to see janet. i promise you i never did anything to anybody. i promise. and all i think about is how this affects you and our church and everything we worked so hard for. i know. tony and janet russo had answered all their questions. had been cooperative. and tony even gave them a swab of his dna and his fingerprints. so the police thanked him and took them home. coming up. the interview part two. this one a little tougher. is there any reason why somebody might have seen your van over there? surely i don t have the only pewter ford minivan in this entire town. you have the only pewter ford minivan that has that license plate on it. that is true. when dateline continues. ne started disrupting my day. td felt embarrassing. i felt like disconnecting. i asked my doctor about treating my td, and learned about ingrezza. ingrezza ingrezza is clinically proven for reducing td. most people saw results in just two weeks. people taking ingrezza can stay on most mental health meds. only number-one prescribed ingrezza has simple dosing for td: always one pill, once daily. ingrezza can cause depression, suicidal thoughts, or actions in patients with huntington s disease. pay close attention to and call your doctor if you become depressed, have sudden changes in mood, behaviors, feelings, or have thoughts of suicide. don t take ingrezza if you re allergic to its ingredients. ingrezza may cause serious side effects, including angioedema, potential heart rhythm problems, and abnormal movements. report fevers, stiff muscles, or problems thinking as these may be life threatening. sleepiness is the most common side effect. take control by asking your doctor about ingrezza. ingrezza it s hard to run a business on your own. make it easier on yourself. with shopify, you can have your inventory, payments, and customers in sync across all the places you sell. start your journey with a free trial today. hi, i m jason. i ve lost 228 pounds on golo. changing your habits is the only way that gets you to lose the weight. and golo is the plan that s going to help you do that. just take the first step, go to golo.com. if you re one of the millions of people with diabetes who suffer from low and high blood sugar, dexcom g7 is one of the easiest ways to take better control of your diabetes. my blood sugar would suddenly spike or really go low out of nowhere. it was really scary. (dr. swamy) this small wearable alerts you 20 minutes before you go too low or when you re high so you can take action in the moment. now we re talking a game changer! i m back in control! (announcer) dexcom g7 helps protect against highs and lows. call now! hi, i m jason. i ve lost 228 pounds on golo. i don t ever want to go back to wearing a 4xl shirt or not being able to climb up stairs without taking a break. so i m committed to golo for life. after police interviewed tony russo and his wife, they brought him back in. the day e.after police interviewed tony russo and his wife they brought him back in. again he was cooperative. said he was surprised to be a suspect in of all things a murder. two years i ve done everything i can to make the best life for my family and myself. being caught up in this whole thing is such a mind boggler that i feel like i m in a nightmare state right now. bits of information and the women s stories about a creepy man who looked a lot like him were stacking up. detectives asked him about the upscale neighborhoods where several women had reported seeing him. often driving his minivan. is there any reason why somebody might have seen your minivan over there? surely i don t have the only pewter ford minivan in this town. that has that license plate on it. that s true. that is true. by the time the detectives interviewed tony they d checked for priors and guess what. that conviction the one he was on parole for was for kidnapping with a very particular twist. he had gone into an office where a woman was alone and tied her up with zip ties and choked her. did not kill her but choked her. disturbingly familiar given what happened to diane holik. back then a decade before diane s murder tony confessed to kidnapping and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. it was there he met and married janet and soon after was paroled after serving only one- third of his sentence. but the kidnapping charge wasn t all they found at tony s record. even earlier, years earlier, there it was her. it had actually been a quiet day. donna shank encountered tony when she was an apartment manager. all alone late one afternoon in her building rental office when a man walked in. he wanted to look at a two bedroom apartment for his self and his girlfriend, he says. donna showed him an available apartment. we re walking down the hallway. we get back to what would be the master bedroom so i open the closet door and went into the closet to turn the light on and in a split second he had me by the throat. she struck out at him. tried scratching and slapping him in an effort to get away. he took her down. before i knew it i was on the floor. i was on the floor face up and he was straddling me with both of his hands around my throat just squeezing. tight. very tight. i wasn t able to speak. i wasn t able to breathe. i was thrashing and. grabbing at him and things. bucking, you know, everything i could do. until he grabbed my hands and panned them i guess under his knees. i couldn t move my hands. it just, you know, dawned on me okay well this is it. is this absolute terror? it is absolute terror to where your life flashes before your eyes and. you think i m going to die. and this is it. then she thought no, this would not be it and she thrashed about until she was able to free her hands. and i put my hands on his forearms trying to pull him away. i had sort of a high neck sweater on and he kept pulling my sweater down to look at my neck and his eyes are very different, very scary. it was completely different. it was like flipping a switch. it was a very scary crazed look. then donna in a panic said all she could think of saying. i ve been gone too long, they know what apartment i m in, they will come looking for me and he would say you re lying don t lie to me you better not be lying to me and would call me profanities and would strike me. he s still holding on to you, your throat. yes. but he seemed to realize yes, there was a possibility somebody would be coming to look for her and as quickly as he had become a monster. his expression changed again and his eyes went softer. then he completely took his hands off of me and just went like this and just covered his face and then sat back up and he said i can t believe i did this. are you okay? like he s a different person now. yes. to the point that he was apologizing profusely for doing it, asked me if i was hurt. asked me if i was okay. helped me up off of the the floor. helped me collect my necklace that was torn off and thrown about. he begged donna not to call the police, but she did. and he confessed. he was convicted of misdemeanor assault. and was put on probation. but as the years went by, he had attacked five other women in similar ways. including his kidnapping victim. now he s being questioned about a murder involving zip ties and choking and was denying he knew anything about it. saying the similarities with earlier incidents were merely coincidence. it s disgusting to sit here and listen to you talk about being such a devout christian and forgiveness and how much you ve turned your life around when this one coincidence after another this whole thing goes back to similarities that i m sure coincidental back in 1989, 1990, 91, 92. but you re this reborn christian? and you re going to sit here and lie about it? but the truth was at that point police could only prove patterns of behavior. patterns tony insisted he broke when he became a born-again christian. but really? so the detectives set up a little trap and asked him if his fingerprints could possibly be found on a real estate flier. have you ever handled aureoles flier for a house for sale in west austin. no. then your fingerprints shouldn t be on there. correct. but even as tony insisted otherwise they already had received the test results from the real estate flier saved by that woman. thank you lord tony russo s fingerprints were positively on that flier. what happens in the old gut when that? we knew it was him. we just weren t able to put him anywhere and now we had him. true, they had him recently in the home of a woman who d been terrified by his behavior. but they didn t have him in diane holik s house. to get that evidence they needed time and they worried would he run? then the prosecutor had a canny idea. when tony russo said he didn t touch the real estate flier, that was a lie. and lying to the police was a parole violation. so the da s office came up with this charge that allowed us the time we needed to send off all the dna and physical evidence to see if it we could actually put him at her house. bring your right hand back. so into jail went tony russo. coming up. there were five guys standing like a theater setting. show time. with a script. as his victims come face to face with tony russo. repeat the following phrase. do you have any information about the floor plan of the house? do you have any information about the familiar plan of the house? i did not expect him to be right in front of me. so that was extremely frightening. when dateline continues. i m out of breath, and often out of the picture. but this is my story. ( ) and with once-daily trelegy, it can still be beautiful. because with 3 medicines in 1 inhaler, trelegy keeps my airways open for a full 24 hours and prevents future flare-ups. trelegy also improves lung function, so i can breathe more freely all day and night. trelegy won t replace a rescue inhaler for sudden breathing problems. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure before taking it. do not take trelegy more than prescribed. trelegy may increase your risk of thrush, pneumonia, and osteoporosis. call your doctor if worsened breathing, chest pain, mouth or tongue swelling, problems urinating, vision changes, or eye pain occur. what a wonderful world [laughing] ask your doctor about once-daily trelegy for copd because breathing should be beautiful, all day and night. sometimes your work shirt needs to be for more than just work. like when it needs to be a big, soft shoulder to cry on. which is why downy does more to make clothes softer, fresher, and better. downy. breathe life into your laundry. [ cellphone ringing ] phone call from the boss? sorry. to make clothes softer, outdoor time is me time. i hear that. that s why we protect all your vehicles here. but hey.nothing wrong with sticking it to the boss. ooooh, flo, you gonna take that? why would that concern me? because you re.the. aren t you the..? huh.we never actually discussed hierarchy. ok, why don t we just stick to letting dave know how much he can save when he bundles his home or auto with his boat or rv. wait, i thought jamie was the boss. [ laughter ] it s funny because i m not boss material! choose advil liqui-gels for faster, stronger and longer-lasting relief than tylenol rapid release gels because advil targets pain at the source of inflammation. so for faster pain relief, advil the pain away. a slow network is no network for business. becau that s why more pain at choose comcast business.n. and now, we re introducing ultimate speed for business our fastest plans yet. we re up to 12 times faster than verizon, at&t, and t-mobile. and existing customers could even get up to triple the speeds. at no additional cost. it s ultimate speed for ultimate business. don t miss out on our fastest speed plans yet! switch to comcast business and get started for $49.99 a month. plus, ask how to get up to an $800 prepaid card. call today! the hour s top stories. in financial disclosures released friday, supreme court justice clarence thomas acknowledged that he did in fact accept luxury vacations from harlan crow. republica was the first to uncover the gifts last year. families of the standee hook massacre accept a proposal from alex jones friday to liquidate all of his personal assets including infowars to pay some of the nearly $1.5 billion awarded in that defamation case. and now back to dateline. it was a bit of a reach, franky. jailing tony russo for lying about leaving thinger prints. still, tony was on parole and his lie was technically a parole violation. but mainly detectives wanted him safely behind bars while they looked for evidence to tie him to the murder of diane holik. mind you, they d already noticed something. like the fact that tony changed the look of his van after he became a suspect. he took off the pinstriping off of his van which several of the women noticed. so he went to some trouble to make his car look different. he didn t change the symbol of the christian fish that was the sticker on the back windshield. of course they searched tony s van top to bottom but they didn t find diane s engagement ring or anything else that belonged to her in the van. a search of tony s house came up empty too. a rolled up wire fencing outside the house they found zip ties which appeared to match the markings on diane s wrists. they tracked down his alibi too, of course. asked employees of the christian radio station if tony could have knocked on the door without being seen that afternoon of the big storm and the radio people said no, not possible because. as part of their tornado protocol everybody in the building had to go to the front lobby of the radio station. there s no way he could have shown up there with them not knowing because there s probably 20 people sitting in the lobby and they would have seen him. yet his cell phone pinged in the area, which happened to be near diane s neighborhood. those women who d been calling in who described a tall dark- haired man with a big nose and beer belly. could they help make a case? we had so many women that had let him into their homes in different neighborhoods all over austin, south austin, north austin, even real estate agents that he had called when he wanted to look at vacant houses. but could any of those women actually identify tony russo as their guy? we felt like we needed to do a live lineup because the phrasing and his ruse that he used was so specific and the women remembered his voice and they remembered his story. so they rounded up some austin police officers who looked like tony and put him and them in a lineup. and brought the women in. and there were five guys standing like on a theater setting. number one, take one step forward. couple of feet above me and we re down below. number two, repeat the following phrase. you have a beautiful house. you have a beautiful house. we had a script that each person had to step forward and exactly repeat what the detective was telling them to say. i m going to pay cash for a house. i m going to pay cash for a house. it was everything that was said to each one of these women when he went into their homes. i came to this house before, didn t i? i came to this house before, didn t i? repeat the following phrase. do you have any information about the floor plan of the house? do you have any information about the floor plan of the house? he was number one right in front of me. i did not expect him to be right in front of me. so that it was extremely frightening. i picked him out of a lineup immediately. i was feeling a lot of guilt. i don t know why. you just feel what could i have done? somebody s dead and this man was with me. how many of those witnesses picked out the right guy? i believe it was 15 women. out of the total of how many? i think it was 30. eyewitness testimony is notoriously not great and often doesn t carry much weight in a trial so you needed something more. yes. what they needed was something definitive to put tony russo in diane holik s house. they d sent off dna samples from diane s finger where her ring had been yanked off and from that towel on her couch. finally the results. what did the dna tell you? the swab on her hand was a mixture that was consistent with a combination of diane holik and russo. was it enough to say for sure though because dna. no. no, no, no. we can t exclude him. it s consistent with him. but it s not the kind of dna that you can eliminate the rest of the world. right. just really increased suspicion is all. it was helpful. it was dez positive. we sent the hair off to a lab and they did a may toe conacre dry corral dna test. we could not exclude mr. russo. but you couldn t say for sure. no. so close. just not quite the absolute proof they d been hoping for. but the dna did provide one very helpful service. police had confirmed the alibis of diane s fiance dennis and her ibm friend ray. these tests definitively eliminated them as suspects. but we could not eliminate mr. russo. finally six months after diane s death, tony russo was charged with murder. the risk? maybe. they d only get one shot. and the evidence they were going to take to court did not absolutely link him to the murder of diane holik. then the trial was almost upon us. they found something. something almost beyond belief. in my wildest dreams i never imagined that a website like this could even exist. coming up. the dark side to the web. and tony russo. you certainly had your motive. yes, we did. when dateline continues. ths what hd to me. 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not so easy. it was the most complex murder case definitely the most complex murder case i ve ever tried. that s because without hard evidence linking tony to the murder or even putting him in diane s house she d have to assemble all the jagged puzzle pieces of coincidence into a coherent pattern. when you re getting ready for trial you put it together almost like a play. what are you going to tell them first so you script it out. there were the zip ties on his property that seemed to match marks on diane s wrists. his cell phone pinged near her house. the radio station alibi was a lie. the dna, though it wasn t absolutely definitive, could not eliminate him. and all those women that identify him as that creepy guy claiming he wanted to buy a house with cash. cash which he certainly did not have. but then. he really wasn t looking for houses he was looking for victims. like realtor melody blount who cried and prayed after her encounter she found it so terrifying to testify. but did. i did not expect for patrick anthony russo to be sitting across from me within 10 to 12 feet and having to testify with that man looking at me, it was petri fying. and most unsettling when she noticed something all too familiar. now i m glaring at russo and what does he do? he starts that tick in his neck. starts that popping and i raised my hand up and i said there he goes. he s doing it right now. the state also called tony russo s victims from earlier years. including donna the young apartment manager he attacked in lake jackson, texas. this phone call just out of the blue after all of that time. she was not only surprised, she was angry. very angry. why did that have to a. why did someone have to be killed before this man was stopped? and the emotions of that whole ugly ordeal flooded right back. my heart started racing. it was just being terrified all over again. but some of the compelling evidence came courtesy of tony s first wife. as he d been married once before. the first wife said he could not get aroused sexually unless he was choking her and that he choked her when they had sex. and the second wife? the second wife confirmed he also choked her while they had sex. i mean i will say that he does tend to put his hand on my neck. any time i feel like my airway s getting restricted, you know, and he s, he always lets go. so a strange and potentially dangerous fetish but was that all it was? isn t it possible though that he really didn t want to kill diane holik? that s just my belief that he did. that just choking and not killing it was no longer enough. it wasn t enough any more. and why was she so sure? because of what turned up during a forensic analysis of tony russo s computer. the i.t. people landed on it just as the trial was about to begin. disturbing is perhaps too bland a word to describe what was in there. he was a member of a website one that you had to pay money to see. it s described as tastefully erotic death scenes and mr. russo had chosen the subcategory of asphyxiation. omg. uh-huh. in my wildest dreams i never imagined a website like this could even exist or that anybody would want to look at it. you certainly had your motive. yes, we did. it s called sexual sadism. he felt a compulsion to go and choke people. yes. he was sexually aroused by women being choked. oh boy. that gets into pretty dark territory. yes. they nailed him big time. diane s friend anita was in the courtroom as the state rested and she waited to hear tony s defense. we were all thinking okay, well, here we go. we re really going to hear a whole bunch of stuff. the room was packed solid with people. so his attorney just stood up and said defense rests. there was like a huge gasp in the room and then totally silent. diane s friend lynn arrived just in time to hear the closing argument. he stood quiet for a minute and walked over to the jury and he looked them all in the face. he said i need you to understand what happened to her that night. he put his hands up in the air like this and he put his thumbs down and he shook his hands like this as do though he was choking someone. he said, imagine. it took her two and a half, maybe even three minutes for her to die. as he s holding on to her. yeah. stood there and he looked at his watch and just waited. and for at least two and a half minutes nothing moved in that courtroom. and it was silent and he held that position with shaking hands until enough time had passed that a person would have died from being choked. and all of a sudden slams his hand down on the table. i mean, that s how long it took for her to die. and the whole courtroom just, i mean we all broke down at that point. to think that s how long it took for her to die. how long she suffered. the defense, which did not call a single witness made the case in its closing argument for all the drama the state, they said, failed to prove, because it couldn t prove, that tony russo was ever in diane holik s home. couldn t prove he killed her. tony did not testify. but he did talk to us. coming up. the verdict. when the jury walked back in to the jury box i can t even look at them. when dateline continues. lin the virus that causes shingles is sleeping. in 99% of people over 50. it s lying dormant, waiting. and could reactivate. shingles strikes as a painful, blistering rash that can last for weeks. and it could wake at any time. think you re not at risk for shingles? 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oh, we know. we just like making a scene. transferring your services has never been easier. get connected on the day of your move with the xfinity app. can i sleep over at your new place? can katie sleep over tonight? sure, honey! this generation is so dramatic! move with xfinity. davis had put everything she had into the case against tony russo. darla davis nohad t put everything she had into the case against tony russo. when, not if, will the sexually sadistic psychopathic predator strike again. she believed he was a dangerous man who should never be set loose to victimize another woman. her circumstantial case was powerful, overwhelming. but nothing, not even the tiny bits of recovered dna could absolutely prove beyond all doubt that tony russo killed diane holik. so prosecutors, investigators, friends and family were anything but calm as the hours passed. they waited for the jury. then after 11 hours. when the jury walks back in to the jury box i can t even look at them even now. i just looked down at the table and i wait for the judge to read. then. we the jury find the defendant patrick anthony russo guilty of the offense of capital murder. it was great. we really worked for this one. so they did. and won a case which remains as relevant a cautionary tale as it did in 2004 when the jury pronounced its verdict. seller beware. that was quite eye opening. the effect on not only her friends but the community as a whole and the real estate business. people need to see this and be aware so maybe this will stop that from happening. and tony russo? his hair has gone silver now. he s in prison for life. and here one friday morning he brought his bible to the barrier that separates his world from ours. his holy staff of assurance that what he was about to tell us about his role in the murder of diane holik would be god s truth. that jury comes back and says guilty, what s that like? devastating. when you re innocent, it s devastating. innocent? yes. and so i hear from the warden that you got your bachelors in divinity. yes, sir. if i had to spend the rest of my life in here i want to use it for christ. throughout our talk he wore his christianity like a badge and like an accusation. i noticed that in the media they love to sensationalize any christians or people that claim to be christians that somehow they just they ve got it, there s some hidden secrets in their life. but your victims were christians too. saying you re a christian and being a christian are two different things. in other words you have to be totally honest? i don t think you have to be totally honest but i think there s things in your life that you ll exhibit whether christ is in your life or not. the evidence against him? he had answers for everything. like why he lied to the police when he said he wasn t looking at houses when in fact he was. i did deny in the interview because i felt like i was going to incriminate myself in the original interrogation. i did, however, share with my attorneys what had been going on. which was, he said, perfectly innocent research. looking at the different designs and things. for a long time we had talked about building a house, one of my friends from church had lived in a mobile home while he built a house on the back of his property. so we wondered, why did he behave in a way that terrified all those women who testified in court against him? you got to admit that was a pretty creepy thing to do. i don t know how creepy it is to look at houses or designs of houses. to tell people a whole shaggy dog tale about why you re there, to follow them around the house, to make them nervous. i preferred not to follow anybody through a house. they re the ones that want to show you the house so they tend to lead you. the rental agent he attacked and half strangled back in 1989. what do you have to say to a woman like her? okay, i don t remember her at all. i don t. and yet he actually confessed to attacking that woman back in 1989. and what about the witness so frightened by his visit to her house that she and her husband saved his license plate number? they kept the license number. they kept about four license plate numbers of people that looked at their house or wanted to look at their house without a realtor. not true, said darla davis. his license number was the only one they saved. i also asked him about his decision to take the pinstriping off his van, just then. he said that wasn t because police were looking for it but because it had been vandalizes. i was going to redo the pinstriping since i had originally put it on there. the zip ties police found wrapped around fencing on his property? they belonged to a friend, he said. and the statement by his wife janet that he would sometimes choke her during sex. i mean i will say that he does tend to put his hand on my neck. i never choked anybody. you choked your wife. no, i did not. she said you did. no, she didn t. she said you choked her as part of a sex act. that s how you had sex. that s not true. that s a manipulation of what she said. i m just telling you that s what she said. we reminded tony he d been married twice and in marriage number one same issue. but your ex-wife says you choked her. okay. and that s how you got sexual arousal. the only way you d get sexual arousal. i m not going to go into detail to embarrass her so i d rather not say anything about her. you know that s a tactic, don t you? i ve seen this done a thousand times. you can call it a tactic. if you ve got something to say about the woman, say it but don t do that where i m not going to say a bad thing about her because it would be mean to her. that s bs and you know it. well, under the world standards yeah that would be bs. but as a christian it s not. we asked about that pornographic website reporting to show the killing of asphyxiation of women. the one he had to register and pay for before he could access it. i cannot help that porn sites pop up on a computer. they don t pop up unless you look at some porn site. so there s an explanation for everything. there s a truth to everything. oh, yes, tony russo had an answer for everything. i am absolutely innocent and it disgusts me that every time you try to say you re innocent everybody says isn t that what everybody says? have you confessed the ultimate sin to god? what s the ultimate sin you re talking about? murder. if i had murdered someone i definitely would have. be you you say with your hands on your bible. i will die claiming my innocence and people can believe it or not believe it. i absolutely am innocent and i don t care how guilty i look. he couldn t convince any courts of that though. all his appeals failed. here he will stay. outside this institution, several women still struggle with the anxieties and fears and prisons of their own created by him. come back any time i get a call from a man that wants to see a house who is single. every time. i could have been a victim. i was an intended victim. that s a hard thing to think about. and they told us, the trauma lives on. though. it s comforting to know he s in there. that he can t hurt anybody else. they are sorority sisters of a sort who unwilling to live their lives as silent victims came together to help get tony russo off the street for good. we did our job and we got him convicted. so they did. this sisterhood. for the sake of a woman whose fate might have been theirs. diane holik. whose friends came together to remember how they miss her. even after all these years. she was a constant friend. she was in my life every day and all of a sudden she was gone in an instant like blowing a candle out. you see the smile on all these photographs. was she always smiling? always. always. she had a magic smile. it was infectious. if she was smiling everybody else had to. we had to. i m andrea canning, and this is dateline. andrea canning: it was one of the most harrowing days in our history. i hear

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Erin Burnett OutFront

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Transcripts For CNN CNN Newsroom With Wolf Blitzer 20240607-1260

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Transcripts for CNN Inside Politics With Dana Bash 20240604 16:19:00

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Japanese Ambassador conducts series of courtesy calls

Japanese Ambassador Kazuya Endo has concluded a series of courtesy calls, engaging with key government officials to strengthen the bilateral ties between Japan and the Philippines. These visits focused on various aspects of collaboration, including peace and development, economic partnership, tourism, information and communications technology (ICT), security, and transportation.

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The first copycat version of Tesla s Cybertruck has been unveiled in China. Chinese carmaker Dongfeng has unveiled its take on the Cybertruck at the 2024 Beijing Auto Show. The copycat pick-up truck

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Political News: AAP MP Sanjay Singh Meets SP Chief Akhiesh Yadav in Lucknow, Terms It 'Courtesy' Meet

AAP MP Sanjay Singh Meets SP Chief Akhiesh Yadav in Lucknow, Terms It ‘Courtesy’ Meet The Aam Aadmi Party Rajya Sabha Member and Uttar Pradesh in-charge Sanjay Singh went on to meet Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow on Wednesday. The meeting between the two leaders took place at Janeshwar Mishra Trust fueling political

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Transcripts for MSNBC Trump on Trial New York v. Donald Trump 20240604 15:33:00

Does, to protect his family, his reputation, and his i think there s a typo here, it says brink. you will hear about hush money payments from another individual. how do you make sense of this, temidayo sno. i think, one, it is not normal to object during someone s opening statement. as lawyers at trial, it has to be pretty egregious in your perspective to stand out. one, it s just as a professional courtesy. people do not look friendly on that. it can make you look weak. part of your job as a prosecutor is you want to exert strength to the jury. as prosecutor that is so important. i think for the prosecutors to object and to get overruled, that s not a good start there. if you re going to object, you want to stand on very sure ground. now, to this meeting between that merchan just called. it may be the fact that we re seeing multiple objections and he may be saying what s going

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Transcripts for MSNBC Trump on Trial New York v. Donald Trump 20240604 15:37:00

Opening or a closing. it has to be really, really bad to do so. it s a professional courtesy but it s just kind of understood sort of in the business that, you know, you get a little bit more leeway in what you can get away with, and again, maya s exactly right. it s only the part of the judge to instruct the jurors as to the law. the jurors sometimes get confused about what they can and cannot sort of take for granted or take as true and sometimes jurors would, you know, the fear is that they would misunderstand, they would take an argument, a legal argument made by one of the lawyers and think that they have to internalize that. in this case todd blanche is saying x is not illegal. a juror may internalize that. it sounds like, again, nothing has been smooth in this trial. i think we re going to get i mean, you have such great lawyers really on both sides looking for those objections. i don t think either side is going to give the other side much leeway in terms of getting

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