tv Dateline Extra MSNBC January 14, 2017 5:00pm-6:01pm PST
decade, one issue has both haunted and consumed me. wrongful convictions. justice denied. over the years i've investigated many claims of innocence. sometimes my reporting has actually helped free innocent people. the more of these stories i do, the more people i hear from who say they too are innocent. >> mail comes in all the time. many of these people are probably lying but sometimes i'll hear about a case that sounds so outrageous, it makes me wonder. what if it's true? which is exactly why i looked into this story you're about to hear. >> on my way to sullivan county correctional facility in new york, about two hours north of manhattan. i'm on my way to see richard rosario. >> he is serving 25 years to life for the 1996 murder of a man named george collazo in the
south bronx. i heard about rosario from another person i had done a story about. >> the headline is that richard says while this murder was happening in the bronx, he was in florida. >> the first thing do i in an investigation like this, i visit the inmate. >> i will look him in the eye, as will you, and we'll see what he has to say. sullivan correctional facility is home to nearly 500 maximum security inmates including serial killer david berkowitz, the son of sam, and richard he is on, rosario who seems a bit edgy when we meet. just as we're about to start talking, he asks if the correction officer can leave the room. >> he has to be here for the interview when we're speaking about my case? >> i tell the officers, i don't mind being alone with him. rosario explains to me in prison you keep to yourself and he
doesn't want anyone, including the officers, knowing his business. >> just listening to our conversation. >> i start by giving him my ground rules. don't bother lying because i check everything out. all i care about is the facts. so if you're actually innocent, the facts can't hurt you. the facts can only help you. >> absolutely. >> rosario tells me he didn't know george collazo and he certainly didn't kill him. he said the first time he even heard about the murder was two weeks after the crime. he said he was in florida, called home and heard police were looking for him. >> as soon as my mother talked to me, i spoke to my wife and i found this out. i came back. >> when he came back, he says, he voluntarily called the nypd telling them they had made a mistake. >> 15 minutes later they arrived at my mother's house. >> what did you say? >> i said i was in florida.
they said we have to take you down to the precinct and question me down there and i left with them. >> detectives took him to the 43rd precinct in the bronx where he said he gave them a list of witnesses who could confirm he was in florida. >> and you gave them their phone numbers? >> their phone numbers, their addresses. >> you gave them everything the first day. >> the first day. >> he tells me he thought that would be it. cops call the witnesses, witnesses confirm his story and he goes home to his family. >> this is the way it's supposed to work. you didn't commit a crime. you're in another state when this happens. how is it supposed to work? >> but here's the thing. detectives had two eyewitnesses who said they were certain rosario was the killer. >> they look at these photographs and somebody picks you out. >> yes. >> they said turn guy. >> how they got to that point, i
really can't say. >> prosecutors say because they picked the right guy. >> they're always going to say they got the right guy. >> it was enough for the detectives and the bronx district attorney. two years later they convicted him to murder and sentenced him to 25 years to life. so far he's served 20 of those years. >> i don't understand what i'm doing in prison. i'm innocent. >> if he's telling the truth, think about all that has been lost. rosario was 20 when he was arrested. today, he's 40. he shared this picture with his wife and kids, taken in the months before his arrest. today, amanda and richard jr. are adults. they visit their dad in prison a couple times a year. this is what they look like today. >> we are going to go see our dad. we're excited. i haven't seen him in six months, since his birthday. >> my family, my children, my life. right in front of me. just taken away.
>> after our interview, i'm not quite sure what to believe. maybe he's guilty and maybe he's not. as i leave the prison, i know i want to keep going. i want to find put to those alibi witnesses really exist. first, i need to learn about the crime and how it all went down. >> he turns and shoots the kid point blank. what's up, man? and bang. >> that's next on "conviction." c'mon in, pop pop! happy birthday! i survived a heart attack. i'm doing all i can to keep from having another one. and i'm taking brilinta. for people who've been hospitalized for a heart attack. i take brilinta with a baby aspirin. no more than one hundred milligrams as it affects how well it works. brilinta helps keep my platelets from sticking together and forming a clot. brilinta reduced the chance of another heart attack.
or dying from one. it worked better than plavix. don't stop taking brilinta without talking to your doctor since stopping it too soon increases your risk of clots in your stent, heart attack, stroke, and even death. brilinta may cause bruising or bleeding more easily, or serious, sometimes fatal bleeding. don't take brilinta if you have bleeding, like stomach ulcers, a history of bleeding in the brain, or severe liver problems. tell your doctor about bleeding, new or unexpected shortness of breath, any planned surgery, and all medicines you take. talk to your doctor about brilinta. i'm doing all i can. that includes brilinta. if you can't afford your medication, astra zeneca may be able to help.
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this murder was happening in new york or he wasn't. >> we're on our way to the bronx right now to where george collazo was murdered. >> first i need get details of the crime. i get ahold of some police reports but there is nothing like seeing the crime scene. i like to see where people were standing, what they could see and what they could hear. to help me make sense of it all, i knew who to ask. >> there's a lot that bobby can help decipher for me. >> bobby is former homicide detective. he was a cop for 20 years in the south bronx where he took down vicious gangs and locked up killers. all from the same area where this crime happened. i first met bobby in 2002. that's him in the hat. i'm the guy to the right with the head phones around my neck. back then i was working for "dateline" as he followed him. bobby became so frustrated with
the case, he resigned from the job he loved. >> good luck. do something good with your life. >> i learned a lot from bobby. not just police work. he is one of those honest salt of the earth guys and he agreed to help me. bobby had not heard of the case. after we reviewed it, we met the south bronx in a parking lot. you look a little older since the last time. strangely enough, it is almost 19 years to the day of the murder and even the same time of day. 1:30 in the afternoon. >> how did this go down? it starts right around here. this is where the initial contact happened. >> bobby explained that four people were involved.
the victim, a 17-year-old kid named george collazo and his friend michael sanchez who were walking through parking lot, and two other men walking toward them. according to the police reports, it is a bump. i'm the victim going this way. >> there was a brief confrontation and some smack talk. according to the reports, it was a shorten counter. >> they walked down here and made a left. >> the reports showed that the other two men split up. one went to a car while the shooter followed collazo and sanchez down this side street. he said something to george and turned around. >> something was said. he was shot in the face. right above the lip. after the shooting, the shooter went back down the street, got into the car. the car makes a u-turn and goes south on white plains road. >> cops and an ambulance arrive within minutes. george collazo was rushed to the
hospital where attempts to revive him failed. police combed the area for any evidence. they didn't have much to go on. >> unfortunately, in 1996 it was 1996. 20 years ago. now there are cameras every where. do you see three cameras there? >> so no video but there were two eyewitnesses. the first, the man walking with the victim. his friend, michael sanchez. the second eyewitness was robert davis. a porter who was sweeping just a few feet away from the shooting. >> so they take michael sanchez and robert davis to the station house. they ascertain as much as they can from them. >> both sanchez and davis described the shooter as an hispanic man in his early 20s. >> at that point you have a physical description. male hispanic and you have your
books. >> each precinct keeps a record of each person who has been arrested in the area. michael sanchez said he saw the shooter and pointed to a picture of richard rosario. >> he picks out rosario. two hours after the incident. >> later that evening, the potter, robert davis, also pointed out rosario's picture. two eyewitnesses. not good for rosario. the fact that his mug shot was in that book meant he had been arrested before. i asked him about that. >> why was your picture in there? >> for robbery. i got caught with credit cards. >> it would be more important to say you ronald somebody of their credit cards. >> of course, of course. >> i had already done a little homework and actually knew about his criminal past, including acts he committed as a juvenile. but i want to test him to see if he'll come clean about it. and he does. >> i was a regular run-of-the-mill hoodlum. it is something that i regret but it is a part of my life that i can't deny. i was a kid growing up in the
bronx and i learned the wrong habits. that doesn't make me a murderer and that doesn't make it right for me to be in prison for a crime i did not commit. >> now, this is where things get tricky for me. he sounds like he's being honest. maybe i'm being played. admit to the robbery. deny the murder, fool the reporter. but if this was a lie, it was such a bold faced one. he said he was in florida at the time of the crime. literally 1,000 miles away. and remember, he said that on the night he turned himself in 20 years ago, he gave detectives a list of alibi witnesses who could confirm his story. >> their phone numbers, their addresses. >> how many names of witnesses? >> 13. 13. >> 13 alibi witnesses? it sounds like a lot to me. when i read the police reports, i didn't see any interviews with
any alibi witnesses. i'm thinking if he gave police 13 alibi witnesses, surely a detective would have followed up. back at the crime scene, i asked bobby about that. >> if the suspect when you pick him up says i was in florida, and here's some information. do you look into that? >> i would say you should. maybe the detectives didn't have the time. it was busy back then. i hate to say this but it comes to dollars and cents. you have an a. case is closed. move on. >> are you kidding me? >> i need find out if this is true. go to florida. go to the d.a.'s office and ask if they'll pay for you. >> you're kidding. >> i'm not kidding. >> you have two eyewitnesses that say he did it. >> but he has 13 eyewitnesses that say he didn't. it is more important to him to prove it. tell him to put on it his dime. >> so i decided to put on it my dime and find out. [ cough ]
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now that i have a better sense of how george collazo was murdered, i start to collect file transcripts and court findings. there are thousands of pages and i need to have a good sense of them. so i've read through a lot of the paperwork and here's what i know for sure. the case against rosario was based solely on those two eyewitnesses. there was no forensic evidence no, physical evidence against him, and no murder weapon ever recovered. i also find out here that rosario was telling me the truth about at least two things. he did turn himself in that
night and he did give a statement to police where he names 13 people who he said could confirm that he was in florida. and he also gave them a copy of a bus ticket showing that he had taken a gray hound bus from florida. so i want to find these alibi witnesses and see what they remember. >> in november 2014, i pack up my gear and head south. so here we are in florida. we just got here. what we're doing is we're on our own journey. is he telling the truth? was he really down here on june 19th, 1996, when this murder was happening in the bronx? i'm in jupiter, florida, heading to the first two names on his list of alibi witnesses. john torres and his wife jeannine. i called earlier so they're expecting me. i wonder how they'll possibly remember a single day nearly two decades earlier. >> you don't like cameras.
you don't want to be on camera. >> no. >> it took a little convincing to get her to talk to us. >> i know he was in my house and i can't live with myself knowing there is a way to help him. >> she said she'll never forget richard rosario and that day in 1996. >> i was pregnant with my first son. we were living in a small apartment. richard was down from new york staying with us. >> jeannine tells me her husband and richard were friends. and she didn't like it. >> you remember clearly him staying with you. >> yes. trust me. i remember that. >> why do you say that it way? >> because i didn't want him in my house. they were always hanging out, partying. >> even though she feels that way about rosario, she said she knows he was in her living room on june 19, 1996. and there was a specific reason why she remembers. she was just hours away from going into labor with her first
child. >> you were home? >> when i went to my doctor's office, it was midday. he was on the sofa with my husband. i was staying doctor wants me to go to the hospital. >> midday. i get goose bumps when i hear that. it was midday june 19 that the crime happened in new york. i also speak with her husband john. like his wife, clearly remembers that day back in 1996. and there is something about john that's interesting. especially for an alibi witness. he's a palm beach county sheriff's deputy. >> my son was born on june 20, 1996. and they're claiming that richard killed someone on june 19th, 1996. which that's physically impossible. he was in my house when we were leaving for my wife to go to the hospital to be induced. i'm looking at him, talking to him, june 19, june 20. it is 1,000% impossible for richard to have committed that
crime. there's no way. he can't be in new york and florida at the same time. >> the night he turned himself in, he gave a statement to the police and gave them alibis, names and addresses and phone numbers including yours. did anyone call you? >> not a single phone call. not a letter. >> at the time, john wasn't a cop yet. he was 21 and unemployed. >> nobody. no one from nypd called me just to confirm if what he was saying was true. >> after rosario's arrest, when he didn't hear from the police, he said he called from rosario's attorney but didn't hear back for more than a year. then sometime before the trial, he called asking john and his wife jeannine to testify. >> i testified at the trial but
it fell on deaf ears. they didn't believe anything that i said or anyone was saying when they were telling them that he was in florida. >> at the end of our conversation, john did something that would stay with me. he asks his son to join us. the one who was born the day after the murder. >> this is my oldest son. the scary part is this is how much time has gone by that richard has been in jail. you know? from the time that he was born, this is how long it's been. >> john and jeannine seem so credible to me. but 12 jurors didn't believe their testimony. and when he testified in his own defense, the jury didn't believe rosario either. prosecutors painted him as a liar saying rosario failed to disclose that a couple months before the murder, he had spent a few weeks in jail on a robbery charge. obviously there's more to this story and it is important i keep an open mind. that's what i'm doing. working my way down the rest of the list of alibi witnesses. the one who's never testified at his trial. >> so no one has ever interviewed you like this. >> no. >> that's next. before me,
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deadly ice storms continue to hammer parts of the central united states for the second day. freezing rain and cold temperatures are roads and highways slippery. three people have died since friday. martin luther king jr. weekend starts out with a march on the nation's capital today. hundreds of people gathered to protest the policies of president-elect donald trump. now to "dateline's" "conviction." i'm in florida working my way down richard rosario's alibi witnesses.
i've spoken with two who did testify. now i want to hear from the ones who never appeared at the trial. names he gave detectives the night he turned himself in. but there are also three other people who lived nearby who i'm hoping can help me learn more. his family. >> we'll be there in about 30 minutes. is that okay? nice house. nice to meet you. i'm dan. minerva is richard's wife. yes. i said wife. she stood by him 25 years even though richard has been behind years for 20 of them. she works for an insurance company and has had to raise their two children, amanda and richard jr., on her own. she and richard met when they were teenagers. >> actually, i was in a pizza shop and he walked in. he claimed me as his wife. >> what was your first reaction when you saw him? >> he wasn't my type. i can't believe that he just
said that. how dare he. but he just has this charisma about him. and from that moment on we were together. >> a year later, amanda was born. she was barely 4 when her dad was arrested. >> what was it like for you growing up? >> it was horrible. i went to a small school. i'm sorry. and we had father/daughter dances. and that wasn't fun. to go and not being able to tell people why you couldn't go. so it was hard. >> amanda's brother richard jr. was 2 when his father was sent away.
he tells me a story about how when he was a young child, he would pretend his dad was a cartoon hero who fought crime. >> when i was a kid and stuff, i would imagine my dad would be a power ranger. i didn't know what to think. might as well say that he's the dude on the tv screen that i think is cool. it really helped me a lot. my dad was just out there fighting crime basically. >> the irony of that is not lost on me. and hearing it was heart breaking. especially if rosario was wrongfully convicted which is what his wife believes. >> i'm like, that's impossible. he was in florida. i thought it was insane. >> at the time, she and richard were living in new york and she remembers wiring money to him in florida. >> there is no question. you remember that. >> definitely. i remember it. i was funding his fund here in florida. >> and she said there's a specific reason why she remembers when she wired that money. >> i remember he received the funds and then he called me to tell me that he was going to the hospital because his friend's wife had the baby.
>> minerva's story about the birth of the baby matches up with what i heard yesterday from john torres and his wife jeannine. but of course there's a million reasons why she would want to back up her husband. so what about all those other people on the list of witnesses? about a half-hour away, i meet up with margarita and fernandez torres. >> where are we? tell me where we are. >> my son used to live here. we met richard over here. >> you've already met their son, sheriff's deputy john torres. his father fernando said he remembers seeing richard rosario on that special day. >> if my grandson had not been born on the 20th of june, this would be nothing to me. >> his memory appears to be cheer. >> it was between 1:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon. i parked right about here. and richard walked over here and he greeted me right about here. he told me that my daughter-in-law had just had the baby.
>> it is hard not to believe fernando. after all, he has a job that doesn't exactly condone lying. >> i'm an assistant pastor right now at the church. >> and his wife margarita says she also knows the truth. >> no doubt in your mind. >> no doubt in my mind. >> they said they never heard a word from anyone until more than a year after rosario's arrest when a lawyer called for their son. >> some attorney called from new york and said that they wanted johnny as a witness. >> during that phone call, fernando said he offered to testify but was told, not necessary. >> are you sure you don't want my testimony? he said no, no. johnny's testimony is good enough.
that was it. as a matter of fact the only thing i heard was that he was convicted after that. i said how can they do that? >> i'm listening to these people and they sound like they're telling the truth. i continue down the list and meet up with shenoa rubies who was once a member of the family. she was married to john's brother back then and lived next door to john and jeannine. she said she saw rosario in florida the day the murder was happening in new york. >> do you have a very specific recollection? >> my sister-in-law at the time was giving birth and richard was there in the house when she was going into labor. >> prior to his trial, did anybody -- >> no. >> interview you? >> no, no. >> have you thought about it a lot over the years in. >> that's crazy. his life, his kids not able to see him. >> i always made devil's advocate with myself to try to find a reason to be skeptical of what a witness tells me. in this case, i'm thinking maybe because they're all in the same family that they're telling the same story. then i meet this guy. >> my name is michael, i'm a federal corrections officer.
i've been doing that about ten years now. >> michael is friends with john torres. and like everyone else i've spoken with down near florida, this is what he says about richard rosario. >> he was staying in johnny's house. he was there celebrating the birth of johnny's son. >> first the cop, then a pastor, now a federal corrections officer. this is starting to sound like a bad joke. but if what they're all saying about richard rosario is true, this is not funny. >> yes. he was in florida. no doubt. yes. >> you're 100% sure. >> 100% sure. >> when he was arrested, did you ever hear from anybody? did anybody ever call from you the nypd? did a lawyer ever call you and say hey, was he down here? >> negative. no. >> i'm confused and concerned about what i'm hearing. especially after speaking on the phone with two more names on rosario's list. not related to the others. who insist he was in florida. i can't stop thinking about the facts of this case. i just spoke with six people who are certain rosario was innocent.
and wasn't even hard to find them. so why didn't detectives or rosario's own lawyers go to florida? >> this is your handwriting, right? >> yes. >> that's next. save a ton of moy on your car insurance. why didn't you say so in the first place? i thought you's was wearing a wire. haha, what? why would i wear a wire? geico. because saving fifteen percent or more on car insurance is always a great answer. c'mohappy birthday! i survived a heart attack. i'm doing all i can to keep from having another one. and i'm taking brilinta. for people who've been hospitalized for a heart attack. i take brilinta with a baby aspirin. no more than one hundred milligrams as it affects how well it works. brilinta helps keep my platelets from sticking together and forming a clot. brilinta reduced the chance of another heart attack. or dying from one. it worked better than plavix. don't stop taking brilinta without talking to your doctor since stopping it too soon increases your risk of clots in your stent, heart attack, stroke, and even death.
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i'm back in new york city. after speaking with richard rosario's alibi witnesses, i want to dive deep entire this case. starting with the original detectives. i want to know of what they would make of this. the investigation was base clay group effort, as are most nypd homicide investigations. but there's only one lead detective. in this case was a guy named gary whittaker. he is retired now but i spoke
with him on the phone. and he said he didn't remember much about the case and he did not want to do an interview with me about it. but while lead detective gary whittaker arrested rosario, he is not the one who took statement. that was a different detective named irwin silverman. >> i'm on my way to yonkers, new york on, this gloomy, arraigny day to speak with irwin silverman who is retired now. apparently his nickname is silky and he agreed to see me. he asked as. we meet in his synagogue. he arrives wearing a wild t-shirt as we set up in the room. >> you have a big owl staring at me. >> we're here to talk about the richard rosario case. >> correct. >> what do you remember about it? >> there is a lot i don't
remember. and i was not really involved in that much of the case. >> he was a cop with the nypd for 41 years. most of that time as a detective in the bronx. he tells me he played a minor role in the investigation but an important one. this is the statement that richard rosario gave the night he turned himself in. you took that statement from him. >> yes. >> what do you make of that statement when you proceed statement? what do you make of it? >> it is a denial statement. he claims he was not involved. he claimed he was not around at the time. what do you do with that when it is done? >> it is put into the file. >> when he gives that you statement of 13 alibi witnesses, is it your responsibility to follow up on it? >> no. it's not. >> whose responsibility is that? >> it is the responsibility of the lead detective and i guess eventually it goes to the d.a. for prosecution. what was done or what should have been done, i really don't recall. >> i show silky clips of the alibi witnesses telling me no one ever came to speak with me.
>> nobody. no one from nypd came to confirm to see if what he was saying was true. >> did the cop testify? >> two out of 13 testified. >> two. >> but no one spoke with all these other alibi witnesses. do you take any responsibility, saying to the lead detective, by the way, i put something in the folder. the guy said he had 13 alibi witnesses. did anyone call them? >> i most likely did. here. i took the statement of i may have said i would suggest that you have all these people speak with you. >> would it be upsetting to you if they didn't do that? >> sure. why not? with that information that i got that night, i would assume that those people would have been spoken to. if that didn't happen, i would
feel things were left out. >> i also find another former detective who worked on the rosario case. carls kruger. he was the one who showed the main eyewitness books of mug shots hours after the crime. he said he needs to refresh his memory so i show him the police reports. >> we have people i.d.'ing him saying he definitely did the shooting. it is irrelevant. he can say anything he wants. we have eyewitnesses. >> i think a lot of people would be surprised that the onus is not on the detectives to investigate the claims that he gave the first night. >> well, we have witnesses. once someone picks them out, they pick them out. >> that's how i know he is innocent. he was here. >> i show him clips of my interviews with the alibi witnesses. >> richard was there in the house. >> they seem credible. if he was in florida, he couldn't have done it. he shouldn't be in prison. >> what could someone do other than what he did, turning
himself in, i was in a different state, here's the people to talk to. >> i don't know if he could have done anything else. apparently, whoever his attorney was did a lousy job. >> what about rosario's trial attorney? he didn't want to discuss the case with me even though rosario asked him to. so i reached out to someone else who could help fill me the on this case. his office is a few blocks from nbc headquarters. >> i've been a lawyer for 30 years. >> chip first met rosario about five years after his conviction. a former classmate from yale law school asked if he would represent rosario on appeal for free. to chip it seemed like a slam-dunk case. >> i thought once i read the case, and i still think, clear cut, obvious case that richard rosario did not get a fair trial because he didn't have effective assistance of counsel. >> basically he believes he got a raw deal. here's. why rosario had no money and he was assigned a court appointed attorney. joyce hartsfield.
she had the case for about a year before she moved on for personal reasons. he was then assigned a new attorney. a man named steven kaiser and chip said both attorneys screwed up. >> the trial lawyers who represented richard just messed up. the first lawyer applied to the court to get expenses paid for a defense investigator to go to florida, that petition was granted and then she didn't do anything for a year. >> so the court actually granted rosario's attorney the money to send an investigator to florida. but the screw up comes when joyce heartsfield hands the case over to steven kaiser, the lawyer who would represent rosario in trial. >> the first lawyer told the new lawyer that the petition had been denied. even though it had been granted. translation no, one fully investigated. >> it was a mix-up. >> but i found them.
i got them on the phone. and they told me their story. >> could have done that, too. he could have done that and he didn't. >> i feel like i'm missing something. >> you're not missing anything. it is a colossal injustice. >> six years after his conviction, rosario won a rare legal victory, a new hearing before a judge. chip represented him and called seven alibi witnesses to testify. including the people i interviewed in florida but the judge wasn't swayed. he found that rosario's additional alibi witnesses were questionable and not as persuasive as the two who testified at his trial and were discounted by the jury. and that in spite of the misunderstanding or mistake made by rosario's attorneys, they both represented him with integrity in a thoroughly professional and dedicated fashion. most of all, the judge wrote the people's case was strong and rosario's conviction was amply supported by the evidence. the motion was denied. >> why didn't the judge believe the witnesses? >> it's inexplicable to me.
i think it is awful. i think the judge got it wrong. >> i wanted to ask the judge about his decision but he passed away many years ago. i leave chip's office with a copy of everything he has on the case. and i soon discover more. >> all these names i never heard of before. eyewitnesses who have never testified including letters that rosario wrote to his first attorney in 1996 from jail, when he was awaiting trial. >> i came back to new york from florida because i was told they were for me. being that i know i didn't commit the crime, i came back to justify my innocence. and look how long it is taking to get me out. i'm going crazy up in here and i don't know how much longer i can take this. he wrote that in the months after his arrest.
and it is the same exact story that he's been telling for nearly 20 years. my focus now is on the evidence that convicted rosario. those two eyewitnesses. it's time to find them and see what they say. that's next on "conviction." (burke) at farmers, we've seen almost everything, so we know how to cover almost anything. even mer-mutts. (1940s aqua music)
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the names michael sanchez and rob davis are about as common as john smith. eventually i find a possible address for robert davis. not in the bronx where george collazo was murdered but a different borough of new york city. we're here to look for rob davis. he lives here next to coney island. we don't know if he's home or even still lives here. we'll just go knock on his door and see if he'll talk to us. it can be nerve-racking when tracking people down. you never know what you can be walking into or what kind of reaction you'll get. but it is something i need to do. especially because of how important robert davis is to this case. as former detective bobby showed me. the official theory of the crime was that george collazo's murder was the result of a random altercation among strangers. the gunman followed them down a side street.
reports showed robert davis was standing right about here. lucky for me, davis is home and allows me to record our interview. >> so he asked me the question? >> yes. >> he said he was on the job back then. outside the building where he worked. >> i'm cleaning the street that day. i see three gentlemen coming toward me. and of two of them were and words. one of them said you're not going to do this no more. so in my mind, i'm thinking it is over a girl. all of a sudden i hear a shot. bang. i look up. the kid falls to the ground. >> davis tell me he immediately ran over to help and tried to get information from the victim's friend, michael sanchez. >> do you know this person? do you know the person that got
shot or the person that shot him? he answered, yes. >> did he just say michael sanchez, the victim's friend knew shooter? >> he knew the shooter. >> do you know that person? he said yeah. >> i read the police reports and san which he never told the police he knew the shooter. maybe davis is just wrong. after all it has been 20 years. but he seems to remember a lot of details. >> when he got the police ask ambulance, and the cops came. >> detectives brought davis to the 43rd precinct in the bronx where he was shown mug shots. he couldn't identify anyone. so davis went back to work. then within a couple hours the other eyewitness picked out the mug shot. so detectives showed up at his job that night. this time he says, they've only
had a handful of pictures with them. >> maybe two to three pictures and just said which one. which picture? they showed me so i pointed out the guy. yeah, that's the guy. yeah. that's the guy. so i thought did i my job. >> that guy was richard rosario. davis tells me, he didn't doubt rosario's guilt then or now. >> i still feel like i got the man. >> so i'm curious what davis would make of all those alibi witnesses in florida. and make it clear, i'm not looking to sway him in any way. >> we're not trying to get to you say he's innocent. i'm here to find the truthful that's all i care about. >> i'm a deputy sheriff. on june 19 he was in my house. we were talking. >> davis isn't even through hearing the first alibi witness before he has a reaction. >> not a single phone call. >> that's messed up. that's really messed up. >> after he's done watching the rest, his mood seems to change. >> that really hurts my conscience now to see that if i did lock up an innocent person, that's kind of bad. especially if the cops lied. or bs'd me. >> what did they say to you? that this really wasn't the man. they're just bringing up anybody's picture. >> that's not the cops saying
it. that's you saying it. >> they showed me a picture and i said yes, it was him. they did different things. maybe did i make a mistake maybe in that. you know. maybe that was not really the guy. >> the only people that say did he do it are and you this other guy michael. that's it. >> and the cops saying that he did it. >> the cops aren't saying it. >> they are. they said he was the guy. they did say it. the cops did tell me that. this is what i'm trying to tell you. i know what they said. that he was the guy. they said you got the right guy. thank you very much. that's it. >> wow! from the beginning, in police reports, in his testimony, davis has been consistent. he said over and over again he's certain richard rosario pulled that trigger. i take another look at robert davis' testimony from rosario's trial. he testified that they showed him a bunch of books when they came back to his job and he
looked at more than 75 pictures. not just two or three like he told me. and i double-check. it's not documented anywhere that davis has ever said that michael sanchez told him he knew the shooter. so what should i make of robert davis? once again, i call on former detective bobby to get his opinion. >> he's telling me, they saying he was the person. >> bobby is immediately skeptical of davis. >> i think now it's 20 years since the incident occurred. right? and he appears to me somebody who is very pliable. i think you can probably get this guy to say anything. >> and we don't know if it is true. >> if it's exactly the way he's saying it, there is a police procedure problem. you don't show a witness two pictures, three pictures. there is a system in place to show six photographs.
it's detective 101. >> the way that i took it was the cop said, confirm that's the guy. >> that's what i got from that. that he's saying once he picked here picked, the cops confirmed to him, yes, you got the right guy. >> is there a problem with that? >> yeah. i would never tell somebody, yeah, you got the right guy. >> what's the problem with doing that? >> because you're influencing him at that point. you're confirming that you've already convicted him. yes. you got the right guy. you're telling him this is the murderer. >> even though lead detective gary whittaker didn't want to go on camera derg say he would never show a witness just a few photos and everything was done by the book. i also called the nypd and they declined to speak about the case. the only other evidence against rosario is the person who first
pointed to his picture hours after the crime. the victim's friend, michael sanchez. i'm having trouble finding sanchez. and now i'm starting to wonder, if rosario is innocent, what really happened here? it's time to learn more about the victim, george collazo. and doing that will launch me on a brand new trail. >> he was scared. he knew something was going to happen to him. >> that's next on "conviction." and my life is basketball.west, but that doesn't stop my afib from leaving me at a higher risk of stroke. that'd be devastating. i took warfarin for over 15 years. until i learned more about once-daily xarelto®... a latest-generation blood thinner. then i made the switch. xarelto® significantly lowers the risk of stroke
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such as kidney, liver, or bleeding problems. to help protect yourself from a stroke, ask your doctor about xarelto®. insurance changes? xarelto® has you covered. i need to find out more information about george collazo in my search for the truth. and it is only respectful that they know what i'm up to. i find one of george's sisters living in north carolina. i send her an e-mail and then give her a call. >> it's dan. how are you? >> i'm good. >> she's hesitant to talk on the phone but says she'll be in new
york in a few months so we'll set a date. and i let her know. i would like to film our conversation when we do. we set up our cameras in a room in the nbc offices and i wait for her to show up. i'm so glad you came. thank you. she tells me she adored her little brother and is here the make sure someone speaks for him. >> she tells me how her brother george was the youngest of five. >> he died the day of a my 20th birthday. >> the much loved baby boy of four older sisters. >> he played ball, little league for years. he loved it. we loved going to his games to watch him. >> she said she'll never forget when she heard what happened. she was at work. >> he said your brother has been shot. i don't know how bad it is.