tv Caught on Camera MSNBC March 14, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
it's the place where lies unravel and alibis crumble. >> whien wouldn't you abduct it, tell me that. >> the interrogation room. or as police call it, the box. >> he doesn't like you, he doesn't trust you, and he doesn't respect you. and you've got to overcome those three things before you're going to hit a confession. in california, a seasoned detective takes along with a serial rapist. >> what was it that pushed you
into the idea of forcing sex on women? >> and in arkansas, a boy tells us about being 12 and on the other side of the table. >> you killed your sister. >> i didn't kill her. i didn't. >> they automatically assumed i was a demonic little kid. >> i didn't kill my sister. i didn't kill her. >> now, go where cases can be made or broken. >> msnbc takes you, inside the box. april 21 west 1999, homicide investigator larry hobson meets
a 33-year-old sex offender in the in san luis, a cleveland town just off california's central coast. >> been my experience that many, many investigators, when they go in to do an interview or interrogation, they don't have a plan set up ahead of time. they sit down, they start talking, they wing it. first thing you have to do is develop some type of repor, or that person's not going to talk to you at all. >> hobbson, assistant chief investigator for the san luis district attorney's office. make sure the handcuffs immediately come off. >> when you sit down and talk with someone about a serious crime. the worst thing you can do is keep reminding him of possible consequences. handcuffs are consequences. having a gun exposed where he
can see it is a consequence. a badge, a badge on your belt. it all represents confinement. he's going to go to prison. and you don't want that. have you ever met rachel? >> he's been in custody for some 30 days. since police found a bb gun at his job, a violation of his parol. but both he and his interrogator know that's not why they're here. two young women, students at nearby colleges have gone missing. one taken off the street, the other from her home in the middle of the night. police suspect the women have fallen victim to a sexual predator. >> the county has a lot of people that have been convicted of sex offenses and just about any one of them could have done
something like this. >> this is one of dozens of sex offenders interviewed by police. he and hobson have been talking for police, informerly at the county jail. since the pa patrol agent not y notifies the task force there's a parallel between the way the women apparently vanished and the suspect's past. >> back in may, 1987, he committed a rape. he had broken through the bathroom window and at the end of that crime, he hog tied it the victim and left the residence, and i'll never forget this, he said to the victim, have a nice day. >> he serves ten years for the rape. as well as another sexual assault. now investigator hobson believes it's time to interview him on camera, hoping to extract a confession and find the college students.
rachel newhouse and andrea crawford. >> if you were going to do that crime, and you saw somebody you wanted to abduct, bear with me here, this is a hypothetical, that you wanted to abduct, take some place. how would you do it? >> i ain't going to talk about that. thinking like that is dangerous. >> he's evaluating me as much as i'm evaluating him. i'm watching the non-verbal behavior, it's very open and outgoing. he's very animated with his hands. he's leaning forward on occasion, talking. >> hobbson realizes it won't be easy to get him to confess, but with 28 years of law enforcement experience, the investigator believes he knows the criminal mind. >> why couldn't you be the person that's responsible for rachel and audria's disappearance?
>> why couldn't i be? >> why wouldn't you abduct them, tell me that. >> because it's not in my makeup. >> he appears to take him at his word, asking the suspect for help understanding the mentality that led to his past crimes. >> you're not a bad-looking guy. well put together, you were young at the time, 21, probably could have, you know, in fact you were engaged, weren't you? what was it that, at that young age, especially 21, pushed you into the idea of forcing sex on women? how's that? >> do you want the whole story? >> yeah. >> i'm not a psychiatrist, psychologist, i'm just trying to get him to talk, i keep that rapport going, in an hour orless, i'm going to confront him. >> mom and dad divorced when i was five because mom decided she wanted to drink and [ bleep ]
the neighbor guy. >> maybe i'm missing something, how does this tie into forcing yourself on other women? >> hated women. >> okay. all women or just certain women? >> i think it was pretty much all women. no respect. >> and they gave tomorrow, next week, next year, ten years from now, i don't know, but we're going to find the person that's responsible for both aundria and rachel's disappearance. what do you think should happen to him when we find him? >> kill him. >> kill him? >> that's a question that i ask almost in any interview or interrogation i do because it tells you a lot in the answer. most people look at themselves and think, what should happen to me for doing this. >> kill him. >> kill him?
>> rex kind of surprised me with his answer by coming off right away and saying that whoever did this should be put to death. but at the same time, he, i think, at that point, was believing that we didn't think he did it. >> but police have been to his house and found items he thinks he's hidden. investigator hobbson is waiting for his moment to turn the interview into an interrogation. revealing the secrets and taking the unusual step of bringing the woman he loves into the interrogation room. (everyone) cheers! glad you made it buddy. thanks for inviting me. thanks again my friends. for everything, for all your help. through all life's milestones, our trusted advisors are with you every step of the way. congratulations! thanks for helping me plan for my retirement. you should come celebrate with us. i'd be honored. plan for your goals with advisors you know and trust. so you can celebrate today and feel confident about tomorrow.
chase. so you can. mr.clean came up with a productn make his assistant disappear, that makes dirt virtually disappear. he called it the magic eraser. it cleans like magic. even baked on dirt disappears right before your eyes. mr.clean's magic eraser. which is why no one wants ng to be iinsurance.ent. so we go cheap. you know, because we're never gonna need it. until one day, we do. now that cut-rate policy is costing us big. makes you wonder if there's something better out there . see car insurance in a whole new light. liberty mutual insurance. ♪ every now and then i get a little bit hungry ♪ ♪ and there's nothing good around ♪ ♪ turn around, barry ♪ i finally found the right snack ♪
[ female announcer ] fiber one. ♪hopping online is as easy as it gets. ♪ i finally found the right snack ♪ wouldn't it be great if hiring plumbers, carpenters and even piano tuners were just as simple? thanks to angie's list, now it is. we've made hiring anyone from a handyman to a dog walker as simple as a few clicks. buy their services directly at angiealist.com. no more calling around. no more hassles. and you don't even have to be a member to start shopping today! angie's list is revolutionizing local service again.
>> homicide investigator larry hobbson interviews rex, a registered sex offender, serving time on a parol violation. crab says he knows nothing about the whereabouts of missing college co-eds rachel and aundria. but the investigator is about to reveal evidence he thinks ties him to the disappearances. >> after a two, two and a half hour interview, i confronted him for the very first time, and then it became an interrogation. >> do you want me to touch that? >> well, my fingerprints are all over it. >> he has kept the trinket in a wooden box in his house. task force members watching from an adjoining room have been told crawford always carried the same
key chain. >> rapist, sometimes take items from the victims, it keeps the memory of the rape and the domination and everything that goes with a rape, fresh in their mind to relive it. >> he handed it back to me, and acted like he didn't know who that belonged to. he was still pretty open. >> one other thing, that really jumps out is you only have one in the back of that truck, right? >> uh-huh. >> what happened to the other one? we found that his truck had a jump seat that was missing. eventually we found it underneath his house, way back in a corner. it was obvious somebody had scrubbed on it, tried to clean things up. we didn't even fool with it, we just packaged it up, sent it off
to the crime lab. you're familiar with dna, i'm sure. the results and so forth. and guess whose blood that is? rachel newhouse. at that point, rex stopped being animated, he stopped being open. he stopped being talkative. it was out of control, right? rex, look at me. it got out of control? rex, tell me what you're thinking. tell me what's going through your head. at that point, i got concerned because once rex said he wanted an attorney, that means the interview is done, wouldn't be able to try to recover their bodies or any followup, it was
over. and i did not want him to invoke his rights to remain silent. >> you have to kind of treat hem with kit and gloves. >> talk to me. look at me. it's not easy. it's not easy, i know that. >> he shuts me off verbally, but when i touch him, that brings him back into okay, i'm talking to him. he can feel the touch. with rex, it still didn't work. >> if you sit there and try and keep beat lg on me. >> i'm not beating on you. >> yeah, you are. i won't say nothing. >> i was afraid if i pushed it any further, he would invoke. when i made the decision to shut the interrogation down, and hopefully be able to resume it the next day.
>> oh, we were [ bleep ]. but we trusted him. he was a seasoned, way more seasoned investigator than i was at the time, and just like, okay, he's doing this for a reason. >> what follows is a long sleepless night for both the interrogator and the suspect. followed by a stunning decision to let the sex offender tell his story directly to his pregnant girlfriend. yeah? yeah! that turbo engine packs a punch, right? oh yeah. pinch me. okay... and on passat models, you can get a $1,000 volkswagen credit bonus. one more time. pinch me. it's not a dream. it's the volkswagen stop dreaming, start driving event. stop dreaming, do it again. and test-drive one today. hurry in and you can get 0% apr plus a $1000 volkswagen credit bonus on 2015 passat and jetta models. oral-b toothbrushes aree engineered al, with end rounded bristles so brushing doesn't scratch gums
and angled perfectly, to remove 90% of plaque for a healthier smile. trust the brand more dentists and hygienists use. oral-b. at kraft we start with quality ingredients all expertly blended to make our mayo. so you can take whatever you're making from good to amazing. i'm here to get the lady of the house back on her feet. ohhhh. okay veggies you're cool. mayo, corn dogs you are so out of here! ahh... 'cause i'm reworking the menu. keeping her healthy and you on your toes. the complete balanced nutrition of great tasting ensure. 24 vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and 9 grams of protein. i see you cupcake. uh oh the #1 doctor recommended brand. ensure. nutrition in charge! if legalzoom has your back.s, over the last 10 years we've helped one million business owners get started.
visit legalzoom today for the legal help you need to start and run your business. legalzoom. legal help is here. i have a cold with terrible chest congestion. i better take something. theraflu severe cold doesn't treat chest congestion. really? new alka-seltzer plus day powder rushes relief to your worst cold symptoms plus chest congestion. [breath of relief] oh, what a relief it is.
after questioning registered sex offender rex for more than three hours, about two missing college students investigator larry hobbson notices the suspect retreating into himself. >> i agreed to take him back to his cell. he's in the back seat and he's a dead man walking. and that's why i went out to the jail at # a.m., i said rex, this
isn't going to go away, we need to talk. he says, all right. once again, the pair entered the interrogation room. very quickly, hobbson senses that his gamble has paid off. okay. >> he begins describing the events of november 12th, 1998. driving through town and spotting 20-year-old rachel newhouse, just after she leaves a bar, popular with the students. >> i had a -- what do you call it? premonition of where she was going. >> premonition. okay. where did you think she was going? >> up on the bridge. >> he says he parks below the jennifer street bridge. a pedestrian walkway over the
railroad tracks. >> he put on a mask, one that's, you've probably seen in the "scream" movie, it's a scream mask, he puts his mask on and he steps off to the side so she can't see him as she comes up the ramp. >> what happens next? >> i attacked her. >> okay. when you say you attacked her, what do you mean attacked her? >> i turned around and hit her. >> and where did you hit her? >> across the jaw, i believe. >> okay. now she's unconscious laying on the bridge, what happens? >> i brought her down to my truck. >> you say you drug her, what do you mean by that? >> drug her down the stairs. >> you didn't carry her down? >> no. >> how'd you drag her? >> by her hair.
>> he recalls tieing up rachel and driving toward his home. beyond the city limits. >> what happens in there? >> i raped her. >> he had a very sophisticated system of knot-tieing. rex claims that during the night, rachel had struggled with the ropes, being around her neck and her feet, and she actually strangled herself, and she died. >> took a shovel with me. >> all right. and -- >> and i buried her. >> so far, the interrogation is going exactly as hobbson hopes. he talks about sinking back into normal life. working at a lumberyard where
he's regarded as a good employee. just a few months later, he says he's driving around and becoming fixated on andrea, when he spots her returning to her off-campus home after classes at the college. >> then one night he was at home drinking, and he decided, this was the night he was going to abduct andrea. so he drove into town, he parked his vehicle right in front of her duplex. tried all the doors, all the windows. and they were all locked. >> then, he says she notices a small bathroom window and lowers himself into the shower. >> okay, what happened? >> i hit her. >> you punched her? >> yeah. >> where? >> in the mouth. >> how many times did you punch her? >> three or four times. >> what happens to her? >> goes unconscious. >> he says he hog ties his
victim, and wraps a pillow case around her head with duct tape. then he carries her out her front door to his truck, and drives her to his property. >> put her in the bedroom, put her on the bed, untied her, took her clothes off, raped and sodomized her. what's she saying? >> she didn't say nothing. >> what do you do? >> strangle her. >> okay. and how did you strangle her? >> piece of rope. >> and what happened? >> she died. >> after covering the body with hog wire to ward off animals, he digs a grave, ironically, he then buys flowers for his pregnant girlfriend, rosalynn. >> does rosalynn know anything about this one? >> nobody knows anything about
it. >> just you and i? >> just you and i. >> despite his confession, police are anxious to find the victim's bodies. he agrees to lead authorities to the graves, but first, he'd like a favor from larry hobbson. >> he loved rosalynn very much, obviously, he says larry, he says, is it possible that i can sit down and talk with rosalynn and my boss? and tell them what i did, rather than have them see it on the news? and i felt that was a fair request, based on what he had just confessed to. plus, it was another chance for us to hear his confession to somebody other than me. >> how you doing? >> in a barely audible voice, he gently tells the future mother
of his child that he's the one who raped and killed two college students. >> oh my god. no. rex, please. >> it was emotional. yeah, it really was. >> why did you do that? >> she had a serial killer for a boyfriend and she didn't know it. >> no. leave me alone. god. >> calm down. >> she was at that time, i think about seven months pregnant, and immediately started hyperventilating. to the point we finally had to call a paramedic to come and treat her. >> what's going on? >> she just got some bad news. >> with the interrogation over, he brings investigators to the crime scene, keeping his promise to larry hobbson. >> he liked larry. it's a weird relationship. but it's a relationship. >> despite that relationship,
hobbson testifies at his 2001 trial, persuading a jury to send the killer to death row for raping and killing the students. from san quinnton, he writes christmas cards to hobbson. grateful for the way the investigator questioned him, with decency and kindness. >> it just shows that, he respected me for the job i had to do. it's just been. >> coming up, what's it like to be 12 years old and sitting in the interrogation chair? >> i didn't do it. i didn't kill my sister! i wouldn't kill her. 's not likeo go away on its own. so let's do something about it. premarin vaginal cream can help
it provides estrogens to help rebuild vaginal tissue and make intercourse more comfortable. premarin vaginal cream treats vaginal changes due to menopause and moderate-to-severe painful intercourse caused by these changes. don't use it if you've had unusual bleeding, breast or uterine cancer, blood clots, liver problems, stroke or heart attack, are allergic to any of its ingredients or think you're pregnant. side effects may include headache, pelvic pain, breast pain, vaginal bleeding and vaginitis. estrogens may increase your chances of getting cancer of the uterus, strokes, blood clots or dementia so use it for the shortest time based on goals and risks. estrogen should not be used to prevent heart disease, heart attack, stroke or dementia. ask your doctor about premarin vaginal cream.
at mfs, we believe in the power of active management. every day, our teams collaborate around the world, to actively uncover, discuss and debate investment opportunities. which leads to better decisions for our clients. it's a uniquely collaborative approach you won't find anywhere else. put our global active management expertise to work for you.
since last summer. pope francis says he'll only be pope for the next four or five years. his 78-year-old pontiff told a mexican tv network, he has the feeling that god placed him here for a short time, but that's only a feeling. now back to "caught on camera". camden, arkansas, august 2006. >> i didn't do it. i don't know who did. >> this 12-year-old begins talking to himself. alone in an interrogation room. after police tell him he's responsible for the murder of his 11-year-old sister, kaylee.
>> i didn't do it. >> unlike rex, thomas is a complete stranger to the criminal justice system. >> here, he's 12. his sister's dead. he's emotionally an infant at this point. emotional wounds were visible, this child would have bled to death before the first interview was over. >> in the summer of 2006, thomas is about to enter the eighth grade. while living here with kaylee and their mother, melody jones. melody is on disability, she tells authorities she suffers from mental illness. and has attempted suicide at least once. >> she could go from one emotion to the other in a snap.
if we, me and my sister were playing, we got too loud or anything, my mom would flip out and start yelling and screaming and grab something and hit one of us. so i stayed away from her. because i didn't know how she would act. >> on august 7th, shortly after they find kaylee's body in her bedroom, both thomas and his mother are asked to come to camden police headquarters. thomas enters the box. or interview room. what follows is a remarkable window into the interrogation process, from the suspect's point of view. >> did you argue with your sister very often? >> every now and then, maybe once a day. >> i just answered the questions. i didn't think there would be anything wrong in telling them. so i just said this is what happened in our house. this is how our house functions.
>> just after the 30 minute mark, detectives get more specific, questioning thomas about the circumstances surrounding kaylee's death. thomas recalls being woken up by his mother some time before noon, and told to accompany her to kaylee's room to deliver a letter from a friend. >> my mom woke me up and say it's for kaylee. she was like that. >> like what? >> she was tied up with bags over her head, and my mom ripped off the bags, and i went around to her other side, and she was all cold and blue. her hands and feet were tied. >> how were they tied? >> i don't know. in a knot. i couldn't get it undone. neither could my mom. >> the apparent murder weapons are the family's personal items. both thomas and his mother say kaylee's hands are tied with the
dog's leash, while her feet are bound with cloth measuring tape. the two shopping bags on kaylee's face come from walmart. >> i didn't know she was dead yet. i feared that there was something wrong, but i wasn't aware fully. >> thomas. >> yeah. >> thomas, i'm with the state police, and i've been kind of listening to some of the story that you've been telling. and i'm going to tell it to you just like it is. you're an intelligent boy, aren't you? >> yeah. >> well, we're pretty intelligent too. >> okay. >> and the bottom line is, nobody broke in that house last night. so your sister died, and there was only two people in the house that could have killed her. >> okay. >> you or your mother. >> but police apparently don't believe melody jones murdered
kaylee. >> now, all i want to know, i really want to know why. >> why what? >> why you would kill your sister. >> i wouldn't. >> but you had to of if your mother didn't, that just leaves you. >> well i didn't kill her. i know i didn't. >> i'm finally starting to realize that she was dead. i'm scared. i'm getting a bit frustrated at the police for asking me all these questions, pushing me over the edge, and i start to break down. >> you killed your sister. >> i didn't kill her. i didn't. >> it'll feel a whole lot better if you just tell me. >> i didn't. i didn't kill her. i did not. >> then who killed her? >> i don't -- >> it had to have been you, son. >> i didn't do it. i didn't kill my sister. i wouldn't kill her.
is there any way i can prove that to you? >> it's going to be difficult. >> i'm going in circles. there's nothing else i could think about but what, there had to be somebody else who had to get in there, but the cops kept saying that wasn't the case. >> let me ask you this, could it have been an accident? i'm not saying that you killed her. >> okay. >> it's a possibility that it could have been an accident, and i don't remember it. >> right. >> okay. okay. but i don't remember killing her. >> the interrogation is taking a critical turn. >> i'm starting to be convinced that maybe i just don't remember, maybe i'm wrong. i'm getting to the point where i'm starting to maybe accept what they're telling me. >> is there a possibility you two playing around and you tied her up? >> it's a possibility because i don't remember if i did or not. i might not just remember. >> sure, sure. >> thomas is beginning to change his story. and before the day is over,
let's get some oh yea, rocks, man.ng down health can change in a minute. so cvs health is changing healthcare. making it more accessible and affordable, with walk-in medical care, no appointments needed and most insurance accepted. minuteclinic. another innovation from cvs health. because health is everything.
in a camden, arkansas, police station, 12-year-old thomas cogdale is in big trouble. for more than an hour, police have been asking questions about his younger sister, kaylee. thomas and his mother say they found her that morning, tied up with a dog's leash and measuring tape. and suffocated with two walmart shopping bags over her head. what thomas doesn't realize is
that on the other side of the interrogation room walls, his paternal grandfather, steve harris has come to assist him. >> i said i'd like to see my grandson. and they said well we're interrogating him. i said, does he have a lawyer or a child advocate? they said, no. and the strangest thing they said was since 9/11, that's all changed. >> officers point out that thomas's mother, melody jones is also in the building. and has gwynn them permission to interview the boy. >> i said, she's bipolar, she has just lost her daughter, she's in a destroyed state, she's not competent enough to help him or help herself. and they said, as long as she says we can talk to thomas, that's all we need. >> i just wanted, for the record, that you did allow us to talk to thomas.
is that correct? >> yes. >> melody jones declined to be interviewed by msnbc. >> a parent should not be able to give up your rights, especially when she's the only other person that could have done it. >> even worse for thomas, he's giving investigators information that's starting to work against him. like details of a game he played with kaylee. using handcuffs made of yarn. >> could you have been in a room since mama was in bed, and, and y'all decided to play and tie each other up. >> no, i don't tie her up with leashes. >> yeah, but you could have been in there and say come on, let's play prison break, or whatever. >> i don't remember. >> and then tie her up. >> i don't remember. >> and that's fine. because you're playing a game. >> could i have tied her up and did this by accident?
i feel like they were trying to find some friction between us. >> now, you said you have, you have some anger problems? >> yes. >> who is your anger directed to most of the time? >> my sister. >> and why is that? >> because she argues with me. she bosses me around. she doesn't respect me because i'm older. she just supposed to respect me. >> i don't know what's going on. my sister's gone. why aren't we trying to find the person who did this. why are you asking me all these questions? >> do you know what time it is? cause i'm getting very hungry. >> 90 minutes into the interrogation, thomas is brought into another room to eat. law enforcement officials stay with him the entire time. >> they took that child off camera for three hours and 30, 40 minutes.
i guess they didn't want us to know what was being said because they certainly had the ability to record it. >> while thomas eats, melody jones replaces her son in the interrogation room. >> were you in any way involved in the death of your daughter? >> no. i don't like thinking death. i wouldn't do that. and i don't think thomas would either. >> when you watch that tape, whenever you get past thomas wouldn't hurt her sister, then generally speaking, you get some tears, followed by something derogatory or negative about thomas. that he blows up, he's on medication, he doesn't have friends, he doesn't like church. things of that nature. >> when you catch him doing something, is he good about going ahead and fessing up, or
is he the type that's going to deny to the end? >> he denies it. >> they automatically assumed i was this violent, socially withdrawn, pretty much demonic little kid where i black out and do crazy, violent things. >> i'm going to tell you, the good lord would be a good place to start. i don't feel like i should push him into church, if you don't, the devil may take him. >> he just doesn't like church. he sits there like this. >> it's better than sitting in hell. >> yeah, i know. >> this is a very church-y city, i guess, everybody here believes in god, goes to church every sunday. and for a 12-year-old kid to say i don't like going to church, it makes me feel uncomfortable. it's weird. >> if he would do this once, he
might do it again. we have to be in fear for anybody he's around, any other child or young person. or even you. >> at a certain point, detectives excuse themselves and leave melody alone. when they do, the camera picks up a faint sound from another room. >> you hear the words from a male voice, thomas, i'm not going to ask you, and it fades off, and i think the next word is again. and it's about, at that point that thomas says that he decided that it was time to go ahead and tell them what they wanted to hear. >> after i get through eating, this other man comes in, and we start talking, and then he starts to get angry. and he says, if you do not
confess, we will charge you with the death penalty as an adult. and they start telling me these little bits of information i could work into a story, maybe i got angry because she wouldn't listen to me. maybe we were playing around, it was an accident, or maybe i just blacked out and don't remember any of it. i don't to want die. so i told them i did it. >> yet, thomas says he thinks he's going home that night. and he tells his mother, he knows the one fact he's sure will set him free. [ male announcer ] legalzoom has helped start over 1 million businesses.
arkansas, after receiving a report of an 11-year-old girl bound and smothered in her bedroom with two walmart shopping bags. hours later, her 12-year-old brother sits in an interrogation room ready to confess. if thomas seems calm, he says will's a reason. he's convinced investigators will soon clear him in the death of his sister. >> i'm thinking if i just get through this, tell them what i want to hear that i can go home, get done with this. >> we're going to go over the home with you, make sure you understand what your rights are. >> police read thomas his rights. >> i hereby voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently waive them and agree to answer questions. do you understand a waiver. >> uh-uh. what's a waiver?
>> it simply says that what you're saying, you're doing of your own free will. >> okay. >> the definition they gave was incorrect. he's 12 years old. he does not comprehend what it mean to give up a right to an attorney. >> what happened at your house between you and your sister that led up to where we are today. >> she was asleep with the tv still on so i put the trash bags over her head and i held them there for a few minutes. >> what do you call a trash bag. >> the walmart bag. the walmart bag over the head and she choked. i tied her wrists and feet. i pulled her arms out from under her then i went back and read.
>> he comes back and he is a robot. he is not the same person he was three and a half hours ago. >> thomas now waits for police to bring his mother into the interrogation room. he tells his investigators he'll confess to her, too, under one condition, he wants to do it privately. the investigators leave the room but the camera continues to roll. >> i whispered in her ear, don't worry what i'm about to tell you. it's not true. my prints are not on the bags or anything. >> the officer testified he told thomas that the fingerprints from the person who killed his sister would be on the bag at a certain angle. well, thomas was smart enough to
know he had not held those bags to caylee's face. >> you understand? i did it. i'm the one who did that to caylee. it was an accident. i'm sorry. okay? she kept on disrespecting me. let's go. i don't think we can. sit down. >> remember, don't tell nobody. don't tell them. >> i think thomas was afraid if she told them he was going to be taken out in another room and interrogated some more. >> what did he whisper to you. >> he said to go along with what he said because he doesn't -- he
said he doesn't -- he said he didn't do it and that y'all wouldn't find his fingerprints. >> his statement was very detailed, in my opinion. but he wants to hold back because he doesn't want you to be mad. >> he should trust me. >> thomas doesn't return home. on march 18, 2008, he goes on trial for the murder of his younger sister. >> there was absolutely no evidence to connect thomas to this crime except his confession. . my theory at the trial was that someone, not thomas, had held
caylee's head into the pillow. when i asked the medical examiner if the cause of death was consistent with a large person straddling caylee and holding her head in the pillow, he said yes, that was consistent with her suffocation. not saying it was the only way, but he said that was certainly consistent. >> i approached her bed, got down on the bed and put the bags over her head. >> nonetheless, thomas' words in the interrogation room are too powerful for the judge overseeing the case and thomas is convicted of second degree murder. >> i was shocked. i figured, how could he come to that verdict when it's so obvious that i didn't do it.
>> during nearly three years in juvenile detention, thomas is a model inmate while his lawyer fights to have the verdict overturned. >> it simply says what you're saying, you're doing of your own free will. >> the decision will come down to an error made in the interrogation room. in 2010, the arkansas supreme court unanimously throws out the confession based on police giving thomas the wrong definition of the word "waiver." his battle with the legal system ends when prosecutors take no further action. the case is dismissed. >> it's very hard for me to wrap my head around the belief of the police that thomas actually committed this murder. >> i didn't kill her! >> and that the only reason he's
free is because they made a mistake in telling him what a waiver is. >> authorities say thomas' juvenile status at the time of the murder prevents them from discussing the case. in a statement to msnbc prosecutor robin carroll did say "a prosecutor is the only one in a criminal action who is responsible for the presentation of the truth. through our efforts in this case, we believe we have achieved that goal." >> someone killed my sister and they just dropped the case. justice has not been done. >> back in camden, thomas moves in with his grandparents. he says he rarely communicates with his mother and hopes to study astrophysics. this is the first time he's ever spoken about his interrogation. >> what the cops did was not right. i believe they were unprofessional. they thought they knew
something. they failed to do their job in investigating it fully and they just nailed the easiest target. >> there are the good guys -- >> the dog looked like he was about to get swept away. >> -- and the bad. >> she's trying to slit my throat from behind telling me she's going to kill me. >> men and women capable of courageous action. >> if we didn't get things going quickly he was losing brain function. >> or dastardly deeds. >> they were carrying guns, big guns. >> from the valiant -- >> i didn't know how many thrusts it would take. he was a lot