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tv   The Real Texas Chainsaw Massacre  MSNBC  October 16, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. in texas in october 1974 two mormon missionaries disappeared. they were last seen heading to a taxidermist. the remains of their body were found on the blade of a saw. the man they were supposed to meet was robert elmer kleasen, a man who claimed to be a spy and war hero.
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a man who traveled under several aliases, and man sentenced to death on the grounds of strong circumstantial evidence for murder. >> i'm not the monster that i was portrayed. if they dig a little deeper, why they'll find out i'm just an average sort of guy. >> he's different. he's got a certain glow about him that's not your typical everyday person. >> maybe the most dangerous man i've ever met. >> robert kleasen's connection to these murders is only the beginning of the story. kleasen was found living in a house full of weapons with access to another motorized saw, but this time he wasn't in texas. he was in the heart of a terrified british community. >> he is deranged. he must be. he's frightening. >> he was essentially a madman. he really was.
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>> for almost ten years, the northern market town of barton on hamburg was home to a mysterious american, a man who was suspected of being a murderer but whose skill for fantasy stories and multiple lies left an illusive air. part of why kleasen was let into britain is unexplained as it is managed to keep his time on death row secret even from his british wife. but robert kleasen is a man who shows a talent for grand deception. and the residents of barton are only the latest in a long line to fall for lies that date back to texas more than 30 years ago. in 1974 in austin, texas, robert kleasen's unlikely rise to notoriety began from a caravan parked behind a taxidermist. >> he was a customer of hours.
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so we became acquainted with him that way. the guy was in need, and so we helped him out. >> he would hang around the shop during the day, and follow him around and learn how to operate the machinery and cut up animals basically. >> kleasen's appearance in austin coincided with the end of the vietnam war and the watergate scandal. it was during these unsettled times in the texas heartland that america's most graphic horror film was released, "the texas chainsaw massacre." three months later robert kleasen arrived in the same city telling his own wild stories. the local community were impressed by the newcomer who seemed to be a genuine, all-american hero. >> when i met him, he claimed to have been a korean war veteran fighter pilot who shot down a number of aircraft in korea.
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>> he always claimed to have been a cia operative. >> he was also in the french foreign legion. >> in addition to claiming he had two or three ph.d.s, he spoke a half dozen languages fluently. >> he claimed to be part of the operation in the bay of pigs. >> he claimed to have been responsible for the assassination of shea guevara. >> he also claimed to have gotten court-martialed for flying under bridges. >> he was very good at convincing people about anything. he could tell stories where you couldn't follow up or track it. you really didn't feel like you needed to. >> kleasen fit into the texan community. he was an avid hunter and he joined local church groups becoming a baptized mormon. but it wasn't long before cracks
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began to appear in the new arrival's story. in december 1973 kleasen was arrested for buffalo rustling and jailed. but undeterred the mormon community rallied around. >> our philosophy, our beliefs in our church is when someone is baptized into the church, then they're all our responsibility. so, you know, robert showed up he needed help, and we gave it to him. >> but kleasen himself didn't show appreciation for the help. he felt his new brothers weren't doing enough. >> when he got in trouble, he felt that other people had an obligation to basically bail him out. the church would not provide him withal lawyer for that that he somehow thought they had an obligation to do. he just caused a lot of arguments in the congregation. >> after five months in jail, kleasen was released and despite a growing unease about their newest member, a number of mormon missionaries continued to visit him. among them were 20-year-old gary darley and 19-year-old mark fischer who dined with him every monday night. >> one of the missionaries in
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particular kept some diaries. in his diaries he'd indicated a growing un's about kleasen. >> we had gone out there trying to home teach robert kleasen and he just went into an absolute rage. i witnessed how he would go from quiet to just leaping up and with his fist clenched and just screaming and hollering and cursing. >> the mormons were becoming suspicious of a man who claimed to be a spy and secret agent, but few could have guessed the real truth. far from being a war hero, robert kleasen was actually a former mental patient on the run from police,. a compulsive holder of firearms, he had been sectioned for shooting up a hospital and jumped bail in buffalo new york, after shooting a man in the foot. >> his conflict resolution method is to be violent or to threaten violence. he's in love with guns. he's just infatuated with guns. >> unbeknownst to the mormon
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community, kleasen's past was littered with firearms offenses and odd behavior. three wives had left him, the last when she found him taking a bath with a disemboweled deer. >> dear brother blair, sick of not doing much. i will not mess about any longer. i'm going for the kill. >> now kleasen's anger seemed focused on the mormon church as he began to write a series of threatening letters to the local bishop. >> there was a lot of things in the letters about being cia, big brother was watching you. >> i gave up everything that i owned and was chased, tracked down jailed and insulted, not only by my enemies, but by the church itself. >> when i got through reading those letters, i knew we had a problem with the guy. >> i do not want a pat on the head or a paw shake. i want blood. i want to go after my false accusers now and bring them to dishonor.
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>> aware that kleasen now had a grudge against the church, bishop mccullough put world out that the missionary visits to kleasen's remote trailer should be stopped. for reasons of their own, mark fischer and gary darley decided to keep their regular monday night dinner date with kleasen. >> they were committed to telling people about jesus christ. they cared about this lost soul, and they wanted to help him. >> when i got the story back that they were still going out there, that's when i made a direct call. and i told elder darley, i really strongly advise you not to make any more visits out there. there's something wrong, and i just don't think it's a good environment for you to be. and he said, okay bishop, we'll make this the last trip. >> they had no way of reaching
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him. he did not have a telephone. and this is what gentle young men they were and kind. they wanted to go there one last time and let him know that they would not be able to return. >> they had told a number of friends through the day that that is where they were going, and they were last seen an hour or so before they were supposed to arrive at kleasen's. >> no one has ever seen gary darley or mark fischer since that night in 1974. but soon clues would emerge that would shed light on the disappearance and the bizarre world of robert elmer kleasne. the postal service is critical to our economy-- delivering mail, medicine and packages. yet they're closing thousands of offices slashing service and want to lay off over 100,000 workers. the postal service is recording financial losses, but not for reasons you might think.
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arrested a man they suspected of committing what seemed to be one of the world's most horrific murders. two mormon missionaries had gone missing, but no bodies had been found. the police were baffled by robert kleasen, a man with a host of aliases and more than one personality. >> he apparently was acting pretty strangely, strangely enough that the officers started to wonder just what they were dealing with, that there may be a mental health question here. >> kleasen denied any role in the apparent murders, claiming at different times that either the mormons never arrived at his trailer, the case was a mormon conspiracy against him and the judge was a war criminal who clees p had information on and, therefore, had to be silenced. >> he was to my mind obviously
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guilty from the first moment i became acquainted with the case. right from the get-go, the evidence was that he was the last person to see them and that he was unhappy with the mormons and that everybody was afraid of him. but there was no body, no bodies. >> despite there being no bodies, a mass of circumstantial evidence linked kleasen to the more months' murder. by his trailer the police found an i.d. badge with a bullet hole through it. inside the trailer they found the mormons' blood-stained watches and apartment keys. using these clues, the investigators began to piece together exactly what they thought happened on the night the boys disappeared. >> kleasen was apparently a very good marksman, and he had set up kind of a personal shooting gallery behind his trailer. he would frequently shoot the
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target and then send his guest s down to fetch the target and return for them to examine it and see how many bull's-eyes he had. several of those people related to me that that they would turn around and come back with a target and see kleasen siting down on them with the rifle. that may be what happened to these young men, they may have been sent down to retrieve a target and were shot. >> the prosecutors answer to what then happened to the body also lay in kleasen's trailer. they seized a seemingly innocuous manuscript written by a john t. william son, another alias of kleasen. in it he described in detail his habits of killing, dissecting, and disposing of animal carcasses. >> the whole deer can be cut up to fit a very small space. >> he went into great detail about not only how many deer he would kill but also how to get rid of carcasses. and, of course, he didn't put it
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in human terms, but it's easy enough to translate that into human terms. >> you certainly never set out any of the deer parts in your garbage. leave no evidence such as guts behind. >> the district attorney held up that notebook and read from it to the jury and said, you know, this is what happened to those bodies. >> the final pieces of the jigsaw were falling into place for the prosecution. forensic scientists examined the taxidermy studio. next to kleasen's trailer. in it was a band saw used for cutting up slaughtered animals. on the blade of the saw they found hair that matched that of gary darley and mark fischer. >> it appears he dissected them, cut them up. he actually threw the body parts in what's called a tankerage pile behind the taxidermy shop with other carcasses and stuff and it was hauled off to be made out of fertilizer. but because you had a human
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head, somebody would see that. it looked like he took the band saw and cut the heads, sliced the heads apart. >> these were two people known to kleasen, people who were trying to help him out. young men who were being nice guys. to take the head of somebody and cut it up basically in the blade of band saw, i couldn't do that. i don't think a normal human being can sort of do that. the sort of gag reflex would prevent you from doing that. >> kleasen was found guilty of murder, but his time in court wasn't over. the same jury had to decide whether to sentence him to life imprisonment or death. against the wishes of his defense team, kleasen now took matters into his own hands. he took the witness stand and allowed the prosecution to read the threatening letters he'd
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sent to a number of mormons. >> i am drawing my guns. i'm going into action. nothing new to me. >> i'm going for blood, and i'm coming in for the kill. >> i want their heads, and if they want to fight -- i mean they were very violent bombastic sort of letters. >> we didn't really think the jury was going to like hearing that. and apparently they didn't. >> my eternal life is on the line, this fight. and i do not intend to lose this fight. >> kleasen's demeanor, the content of those letters and some of the other stuff that he left seems to have removed any doubt with the jury about what they should do with him and they returned a death sentence very quickly. time for the your business entrepreneur of the week. a builder of surgical units hit
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for the next three years robert kleasen was held on death row. he was about to go down in history as the real texas chain saw killer.
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as his dealt sentence approached, the media swarmed around him. >> no, i'm not a killer. i'm not a killer at all. >> are you optimistic about your appeal? >> yes, very much so. >> so do you believe you will not ever die in the electric chair? >> i don't believe i will, no. >> kleasen still denied the murders, but strong circumstantial evidence had convicted him. his chances of escaping the death penalty were tiny. with time running out, a legal technicality emerged that was about to provide kleasen with an escape route. >> there had been a search warrant issued to search his trailer. some of the evidence used against him in the trial was the result of that search warrant like the manuscript. and the texas court of criminal appeals decided that there was a defect in the search warrant and, therefore, the search warrant was invalid and that anything that was the result of that search couldn't be used in a retrial. they didn't say he was innocent. they didn't say he couldn't be retried.
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they said you just have to have a trial that is fair and conforms with the rules of law. so they reversed it based on that. >> kleasen would have to be retried without the blood-stained watches, the poacher's notebook, or any of the items found in his trailer. without that evidence, a second jury might decide kleasen was innocent and free him. for the prosecutors it was too big a risk to retry him for murder. instead they refiled other outstanding charges to keep him behind bars. he was convicted of shooting a man in the foot in new york. and together with other gun charges, they ensured kleasen would be in prison for at least nine years. but robert kleasen had beaten the death sentence and was already planning for the future. >> he pen pal'd with a lot of
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women. he joined these pen-pal clubs that would give him a list of people that wanted to pen pal him. he'd write his cia stories and war hero stories and, gee, i've got all these degrees. >> in the northeast of england a policeman's widow was beginning a correspondence she would come to regret. >> marie had been married before, and her husband had died, and she joined something called the international pen friend's club in dublin, and they sent her a long list of people. and she simply wrote to a few at a time as she felt that she wanted to. one of these names was robert elmer kleasen. >> he wrote saying that he was not an inmate. he was, in fact, a college professor, come to bring wisdom and enlightenment to these prison inmates by teaching them classes and teaching them languages and so on.
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>> he would somehow acquire black-and-white photographs and send them to marie and say this is where i went this weekend. i'm sorry i'm not in that photograph because i was taking it and i'm a clean photographer. but what he did was he got her to disclose more and more of her personal circumstances so he eventually discovered, for instance, she owned the house she lived in. she had very modest financial reserves, but she did have some. >> over a period of years, kleasen wrote with increasing regularity until his release date finally arrived in 1988 in buffalo, new york. but while he had managed to keep his truitety secret from his pen pal, in his home city, the man thought responsible for the real texas chain saw massacre was about to become the center of attention. >> topping tonight's news, the question, what are they going to do with robert elmer kleasen? >> at this hour a frenzy of movement on the legal and social front as former death row inmate robert kleasen became a freeman in buffalo. >> i'm watching tv and the name
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robert e. kleasen, released, murderer, he's in town we don't want him here. i said, geez, that's that bob i used to hang around with. >> kleasen isn't wanted in this neighborhood or anywhere else and he knows that. >> he's a walking time bomb. i certainly wouldn't want him living next door to me, and i certainly wouldn't want him living next to anyone else. >> gentlemen, i'm not the monster that i was portrayed. if they dig a little deeper, they'll find that i'm just an average sort of guy. >> while kleasen's notoriety spread in buffalo, he was busy making plans to leave the country as soon as his parole was complete. robert elmer kleasen was on his way to england. ♪ ♪ [ doug ] i got to figure this
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i'm laurie wilson. here's what's happening. president obama was on hand for the official dedication of the martin luther king jr. memorial on the national mall. the president said king stirred our confidence and made the union more perfect. in kansas city missouri local law enforcement is being joined by the fbi and national guard as they search for 10-year-old lisa irwin. they're focusing on three separate sites. now back to "the real texas chain saw massacre." due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. 24-hour watch posted on mr. kleasen in the community. >> we don't want mr. kleasen in this community. obviously he's a danger to the people in any community that he resides. >> in the united states robert elmer kleasen was the man
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thought responsible for the real texas chainsaw massacre, a man constantly tracked by news crews and feared by local residents. in barton hamburg a picturesque town in england they were expecting a visit from a robert elmer kleasen, who described himself as a prison teacher, a gentleman, and a prospective husband. >> simple checks should have uncovered things. a thing called interpol, isn't there. >> kleasen hid his time on death row and built up a relationship with marie. now he was arriving for what marie longley thought was a short holiday. >> she was a great letter writer. i think she had been writing obviously for a long time and probably enjoyed the correspondence when he obviously offered to -- said he would like to come out for a holiday, and
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she just welcomed him. >> suddenly there are boxes arriving. i don't mean just one. i mean dozens of them. full of the most incredible rubbish up to and including, i seem to remember, tins of macaroni. she didn't know what to think of this. this old world, charming pleasant man arrived, very helpful, very respectful, was absolutely as nice as he possibly could be for her. >> four months after his arrival, marie longley was married to a man she shout was a former cia agent and war hero. on the wedding day he wore a congressional medal of honor, the highest military award. it was the first in a new set of fantasies that would take in not just marie, but the whole community. >> it was not long before he showed us the congressional medal presented by president eisenhower. >> he said he got a purple heart.
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>> i won that, he said, by assaulting over three or four days in korea. >> i forget how many migs he thought he shot down. it grows every time he tells it. >> shot down 31 migs, i think it was. >> he shot 34 migs down. >> he was an assassin. >> a u2 pilot. >> i had no reason to doubt him because he was a lot older than me. >> i think i gave him the benefit of the doubt just like everybody else. >> throw one out, throw one in the air. >> while kleasen seemed little more than eccentric to most, he was already moving himself closer to the kind of hunting and gun community he had lived within in texas. it wasn't quite big game, but the local duck and wild fowlers eventually allowed him to join them. then the former mental patient and death row inmate applied for a british gun license. >> you have to have a good reason for either refusing or
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revoking it and eventually you have to show the person is a danger to the public safety or peace. at that particular time for foreign nationals it was not unusual unless it was a good reason to check in the country where they were born, where they lived. >> if any of the police officers did know this around travis county, even the girl in the office would have told them who kleasen was. >> mr. kleasen -- >> kleasen indicated to the immigration authorities when he first arrived that he had no previous convictions. when he put his applications in he indicated likewise. >> he manages to get a permit, not only to possess firearms which is much more difficult in england than the united states but a permit to deal in them. he starts stockpiling guns again. your worst nightmare, a paranoid schizophrenic with a gun fetish and an anger problem. >> kleasen receiving a gun
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license marked a change in his behavior. marie longley's cottage was overrun as his gun obsession took over. >> i'm sure she had absolutely no say in the matter because he would have hit her if she said anything. but he tore a wall out and put a stairway up to the roof. he had his bedroom taken over by load mad cleans ammunition, and stacks and stacks of ammunition. >> patterns of behavior from texas were repeated as he began to intimidate his wife with his weapons. >> as he cleaned his guns for instance he would always sight it at her head. it meant if she didn't do what she was told, he would shoot her. eventually she did realize he was actually a very disturbed man that she membered herself with. marie is old-fashioned. she believes if you make a mistake, you have to live with the consequences. that's what she did. >> the man thought responsible
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for the real texas chain saw massacre had rearmed. concealing his past, he was now a local gun expert swapping christmas cards with the police and advising them on ammunition. but according to her friends, marie longley's life was about to reach a new low ebb. >> he beat her so badly that she was unable to leave the house for a full night. and he made her ring up people and make excuses so they wouldn't come to the house. she wouldn't have go out, and they wouldn't see her face, and he wouldn't take her to the hospital. he wouldn't let her see a doctor, but it was very, very brutal indeed. >> we were really unaware of it. most of those things go on behind closed doors. you don't know. >> kleasen had joined a number of gun clubs in the northeast. but fellow members soon became suspicious of his eccentricities. >> when he's friendly with you, he's nice. it's only when you cross him, like you sell him a gun and he
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doesn't pay you, then you want your money. then he'll rear up. he's quite horrible then. >> he had a temper. it flared up so quickly. you'd see a change in his features, in his eyes, and all of a sudden, he could be like a wild man. what's going on here? hey, whats up guys? this is not how witness protection works! when we set you up with that little hardware store we didn't intend for your face to be everywhere. but fedex office makes it so easy. not only do they ship stuff they print flyers, brochures -- everything i need to get my name
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>> one night he was out, and bob parked his car where it shouldn't have been parked. and as they come off the pond during the hours of darkness, another ex-member of the wild fowlers said is this your so-and-so car. >> basically was talking, nothing major, no big argument or anything like that. >> bob sat in his car for a short period of time, probably thought to himself, i'm not going to be spoke to like that took the gun out of his gun case, loaded it up -- >> and then out of the dark came robert kleasen and pointed the double barrel shotgun at john's face. >> he said if you were in texas i'd blow your so-and-so brains out. >> and i told mad yank to give me his gun, unloaded the gun myself. i can definitely say it was loaded, and it was used in a very threatening manner.
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>> the incident was taken to court. kleasen claimed he himself had a gun pointed at him and both men involved were fined. no one in the police checked with the american authorities to see who the illusive american in their midst was. kleasen was allowed to keep his license to possess and deal in guns. >> he went to court, and he was bound over to keep the peace. but i think at that point, a, we should have perhaps done some more checks and, secondly, i think we should have considered more carefully whether or not we should have returned the shotguns. >> while the police didn't act after the incident, the gun clubs themselves were looking for any reason they could to expel the mad yank. gunshot owner tony fox had always been suspicious about the medal of honor kleasen wore on his wedding day. in early 1999 he faxed a letter to america. >> i'm writing to you good souls to hope you can assist with the problem that we have. last year a new member joined us. his name was dr. robert elmer kleasen. he claims to be a veteran of the korean war who was decorated by
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your president eisenhower with a congressional medal of honor. he claims that he was given this for shooting down some three or four mig fighters. >> this was the beginning to the end of robert kleasen's bizarre life in britain. >> they said he was fraud and he wasn't a recipient of a medal. >> with concrete evidence that kleasen lied about his military honors, fox asked him to leave his gun club and received a death threat in return. >> he left me absolutely no doubt that he was going to whack me if he got out. he said, you know what i'm capable of. and i assured him that the matter was between me and him if he resigned, and he did. i deceived him actually. i had already contacted the police. >> with this information provided by an amateur sleuth, the police began doing their own investigation into who robert kleasen really was. >> i went to see my superintendent and said, look, i think we ought to do some real
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digging around with this guy because i'm not too sure who he is. and as a result of that, he said, i think we must go into an interpol inquiry. after while,a while the inquiry came back, and i have to say i was quite shocked when i saw these convictions from a man called kleasen. >> the police now knew kleasen shot a man and had a history of firearms offenses. no one new anything about his connection with the disappearance of the mormon missionaries in texas. the police moved in raiding the cottage and confiscating the things kleasen loved the most, his guns. the police confiscated 42 guns including a thompson sub machine gun from kleasen. >> he howled and howled for weeks and weeks. he would talk about it, and she said he's still crying. he would say, they're taking my children away, they're taking my children away.
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they were his children. that was the depth of his mental confusion, i suppose. >> kleasen was now a man on the edge. his guns had been taken, but his wife remained. as in texas in 1974, everyone around him felt threatened by his presence. >> i thought the only way he'd whack me is if he did it sneaky. he wouldn't come into the front of the shop and do it because he knew there's a good chance i could defend myself. i felt he might well do it to his wife. >> at one time he'd threatened mary that if ever she left him, he would set fire to the house. and we were bothered weren't we? don't you remember that? >> of course we were. because we were attached to her. >> the police still hadn't found out about kleasen's murder conviction in texas. but liz butterfield was unnerved to learn that kleasen moved a band saw into the cottage that he claimed to use to cut up logs.
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wanting to fill in the gaps of kleasen's past she asked her computer-literal computer-literate son to help her out. >> i went to the new york department of corrections website, and i couldn't believe it. they actually put prisoner's records up there. i'll type in kleasen, robert elmer. and there was an assault charge. >> that was a shock in itself. the link from there led us to the texas state records which was the awful moment. >> you sat there. you just don't want to move. you're looking at the computer but don't want to take it in. it's this denial factor again. you think no, it can't be right. >> chris just ran up and he said, you just don't want to know this. he's been on death row for murder. >> liz now believed her best friend had been married to a murderer and headed to barton to confront mair.
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>> how do you tell somebody that they're married to a murderer? i think by then she's got this awful feeling that this was something terrible. i sat down with a cup of tea and said i need you to look at this. this is not going to be good. she just shook. i have never in all my life seen anybody turn gray, absolute gray, putty colored, and she just shook and she shook and shook for about half an hour. i thought i had killed her. it was one of the worst things i've ever had to do. >> for most of the afternoon liz butterfield tried to persuade her friend to leave the house immediately. but marie refused. >> so i said okay i accept what you're saying. you're not going to leave.
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you can't do it. please, at least you owe me an answer, why can't you do it? this tiny little voice came out and said, "because he says if i leave him, he's going to kill me. he's going to shoot me. and he is. if i leave him and i go to your place, he's going to hunt me down and shoot me and he's going to kill you, too, and i can't let that happen. >> later that afternoon, marie returned home to the cottage she shared with kleasen. three days later she disappeared. ♪ my sunglasses. people say i'm forgetful. ( car honking ) maybe that's why we go to so many memorable places. the subaru outback. love the road you're on.
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oóóóóóóóóóóóóóóóóóóóóóóóó in 1999 the residents of a small northern town exposed robert elmer kleasen as a liar and suspected murderer. his wife had also found out about his connection with the disappearance in 1974 of two mormon missionaries. but now a police search had begun because she had gone missing. >> they had sort of been to see about this missing person report
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from this man they now discovered was dangerous. their first thought was that she was in pieces. >> we thought something had happened to her because we knew of his background. and then with his wife going missing, we thought it was rather strange. and my -- i was very, very concerned that some harm had come to her. >> marie longley told friends she was living in fear of her life. now there was no sign of her at her cottage. but it would shortly emerge that her disappearance had not been engineered by kleasen but by her best friend. >> nobody else knew about it except she and liz. because she just dare not tell anybody. >> it was absolute secrecy. she assumed another name. >> we didn't think anybody would believe us. she didn't expect any support from the police. because they came to the house and consulted. so we had to do it ourselves. >> days before her disappearance, liz butterfield
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had begun an elaborate escape plan. >> marie does a lot of charitable work and especially for animals. she always has done. and the cat protection league is one of her favorites. so, she simply said to bob she was putting out some bags for the cat protection league. >> on the morning of the escape, arthritic liz butterfield and pensioner marie woke at dawn to avoid kleasen. >> i drove up to be there for 8:00. i got the dog in the car. that was first priority. four bags of what appeared to be jumbled, these four plastic bags. >> they was terrified for their lives and their friend especially, she was very concerned that he was capable of killing her. >> fearful of waking kleasen, the women crept around the house, gathering bags before making their way to a waiting car. >> just in case he woke up and tried to follow us, we came all the back roads. we came routes he couldn't possibly know.
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>> marie longley ended the day in a safe house 50 miles from barton. the police eventually found her there five days later. again, they raided the cottage and found two more illegally held pistols. one, an assassin's pistol complete with silencer. >> here we've got one of the two pistols which were recovered when we searched his premises. this is what he claimed in interview had been his own personal issue weapon when he'd worked for the cia. and that the reason why he kept it was for sentimental reasons. >> kleasen was a very accurate shooter. he would be able to kill someone within 100 yards without any problem whatsoever. i can't think of a reason why he would have that. >> other than it was part of his fantasy. if he genuinely believed that was his weapon in the cia, and that he used it to assassinate people. >> hello and welcome.
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>> on tonight's program. >> robert kleasen, the american who survived death row and then built an arsenal of weapons in his lancashire home. >> tonight's top story, the american gunman who spent time on death row. >> mr. kleasen, is there anything you want to say at this stage given the cold case? >> no comment. >> ten years after leaving buffalo, robert kleasen's cover was finally blown as he once again became the center of media attention. >> in america he was described as an extremely dangerous man who would constitute a threat to society if ever released. >> but a fascination with violent weapons proved his downfall again. >> in march 2000, kleasen was charged with illegally possessing guns. marie was granted a divorce from him. and this should have been the last chapter of his bizarre life in britain. but remarkably, robert kleasen was released pending sentencing, and allowed to return home to barton. >> he threatened to kill me and his wife. i was concerned, quite annoyed
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with the judiciary that they let out a psychotic on bail frankly. >> the magistrate paroled him out, back home. but it wasn't his home. >> he had to report to the police station every day. >> it was the house marie had run away from and it was hers. and she dare not go back. >> as soon as he was released, the ever resourceful kleasen was writing to pen pals again, this time in germany. locals believe kleasen had no intention of returning to court and was planning to relocate to the continent. >> it was so predictable. it was like the sun coming up tomorrow. you knew he was going to do it because he always did this. he always ran away at that particular point. >> one late afternoon in spring 2000, kleasen made his way with
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a german woman who would become his fifth wife and a van full of marie longley's furniture. >> he placed him under surveillance. because we were becoming even more concerned that he was going to skip the country. he was followed to north sea ferries. he had taken quite a few of his possessions down to the north sea ferries, and they were all booked on. he wasn't. but the officers at that time were concerned that he was going to stow away. they decided to arrest him. >> kleasen was eventually sentenced to three years for illegally possessing guns. despite having completed that sentence, he remained in belmarsh prison. proceedings had begun to expedite him back to texas because new evidence had been found in the case of the mormon missionary murders. >> they now had kind of a jumpsuit that had been found stuffed in a metal drum outside of his trailer that had smears of blood and hair on it. and they'd been able to establish that that blood and hair came from both of the victims.
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>> in downtown austin, the prosecutors reopened the case against kleasen and were looking forward to getting him back to texas. >> he is fighting extradition, and we're told that the process of extradition could take up to two years perhaps. and we want to get him back. we've got a score to settle with kleasen. but kleasen ensured he would evade the prosecutors once and for all. after suffering suspected heart failure, 70-year-old robert kleasen died. few people are mourning kleasen's passing in barton. marie longley has moved back into her cottage but still feeling the effects of living a decade with a suspected murderer. >> imagine, you've gone from being a quite vivacious and lively lady in your 50s to living ten years of hell with a man like kleasen. she's ill, not well.
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she's in a lot of pain with arthritis. she just wants to be left alone which is why she's not appearing in this program. >> he was certainly not of stable mind, not only an embellisher of facts, he was potentially, you know, a madman. he really was. >> very crafty man, very crafty. >> very evilly crafty. >> evilly crafty. >> oh, and frightening.


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