tv Dateline Extra MSNBC October 22, 2017 1:00am-2:00am PDT
m craig melvin. and i'm natalie morales. and this is "dateline." one, to look at the pictures of what they did to her and, hear details of how it was carried out. it's just-- it's devastating. craig melvin (voiceover): shauna tiaffay, loving mom by day, vegas cocktail waitress by night. stephanie vargas: i was at one of the bars, and i saw her walk by. every single head turned. craig melvin (voiceover): it was after her shift that they found her, the victim of a ruthless attack. i mean your heart just drops to your stomach. craig melvin (voiceover): potential suspects?
how about a casino's worth of costumers. we didn't know if there was some psycho watching us girls work at the palms. craig melvin (voiceover): or did the answers lie in the dead woman's past? shauna started thinking, i have got to get out of this situation. craig melvin (voiceover): from out of the blue, a tip. he had some information that was connected to our murder. craig melvin (voiceover): that would reveal a diabolical. i just could not understand how this was reality. craig melvin (voiceover): but was this killer too clever to be caught? he is extremely smart, smarter than we all are. [music playing] welcome to dateline. shauna tiaffay hit the jackpot in las vegas, a handsome husband, adorable daughter, and a good job. but there is a dark side to sin city. and sadly, the beautiful cocktail waitress became its victim.
in cases like this one, the husband is often a suspect. but the crime scene was telling investigators something else. and they got a hot tip. but like so many things in vegas, nothing was as it seemed. here's keith morrison with "under a full moon." keith morrison (voiceover): she was finished now, tired, wrung out, must have been as she walked away from the incessantly chirping machinery and the bleary eyes of the gamblers on holiday from real life who called out for her again and again and again. outside in the night, a full moon bathed the great houses of delight and sin in an unaccustomed shade of pale. it was september 29, 2012. at precisely 3:00 in the morning in the backroom of the palms casino, the cocktail waitress named shauna tiaffay inserted her time card in the stabbing machine and set out to break a little rule.
shauna had parked her car in the back lot, a practice discouraged because surveillance cameras were unable to track her all the way to her car. still, easier this way, quicker. and after all, would a stalker really been waiting for her here under a full moon? it was absolutely horrible. and we felt so helpless. it's every woman's worst nightmare. we didn't know if any of us were next. keith morrison (voiceover): it never occurred to shauna to become a cocktail waitress when she moved to vegas as a 20 something back in the mid-90s. what she wanted then was to be closer to family, meaning big sister paula. she originally just thought, oh, there's no way i could be a cocktail waitress. i don't even drink. keith morrison (voiceover): but in a casino town, a cocktail waitress could make good money. so now at 46, she was a veteran. she would laugh at yourself and say, i still don't know what these cocktails are. i just order them give them to me and i go take them to the people.
keith morrison (voiceover): but she was good at it. everybody could see that. kelly chapman: all the customers love shauna so much. keith morrison (voiceover): why? she was a sweet person. beautiful. keith morrison (voiceover): she made close friends, a work family really, including kelly chapman and stephanie vargas. i was at one of the bars and i saw her walk by. every single head turned on that bar, watching her walk by. and i remember thinking, like, why don't i look like her? because men, women, they just loved her. keith morrison (voiceover): but no one loved her quite the way he did, a handsome boy scout and a firefighter, named george tiaffay. george was the genuine article, an all-american good guy. he had overcome early obstacles to become a top notch student but no one loved her quite the way he did. v named george. george was a genuine article. an all-american good guy. he had become a top notch
student in high school. a star athlete.s, this is his sister. valedictorian. typical. >> it was the quite the id. contrary. >> he was always the calming on force amongst family b and friends. you know, he was the gentle speaker. >> had this outlook in life. i want to go out and make the world a better place. s >> so george did.buil >> prestigious appointment to west point. his childhood friend went down for a visit. >> building school, clinics. roadways and bridges really had an impact.ted he finally felt like, hey, i'm getting to do something. getting to do something. >> when he left the military with the rank of captain he took a corporate engineering job but
soon realized life in an office building wasn't for him. he wanted to work for real people which is why he put asidv that fancy degree of his and na went to vegas to train as a firefighter/emt. >> fee cussing on himself was not how he wanted to live his life.so he wanted to serve. that was a favorite word of his to serve. >> so while shawna served -ric drinks, george served as a r firefighter and found time to dv volunteer, two what he could for the down on the luck souls. in 2004 they had a baby.er a >> there's daddy and momma. >> there's daddy and momma. >> loved it. her daughter was the most important thing to her in the important thing to her in the world and everything she did reinvolved around her daughter. >> dancing to everybody's favorite. >> then two years later a marriage in hawaii.o. >> momma and dad da just got eme married. what do you say?
>> just the three of them. >> back in vegas it was a busy complicated life with george's 24-hour shifts and shawna's nighttimes at the casinos. 3:00 a.m. car. started it. point away from the strip. why was the garage door open? what was that inside? george had grown accustomed to drama and death. but this.veal >> i think i need to report a break-in and a murder. >> it was a chilling discovery.r shawna found beaten to death her personal items found outside
the e house.cont what might they reveal? coming up -- >> what crosses your mind when you realize someone walked away from the scene as a stranger or predator? a sexual predator. a sexual predator. >> when "dateline" continues. hurry into lowe's and get up to 30% off select appliance special values. and get up to 30% you've got to get in i know what a bath is smile honey this thing is like... first kid
happened. shawna lived in a good, safe neighborhood. part of town where vegas does not party. the part of town where the people who work the casinos raise their families and live ordinary, quiet lives but this is where they found her. george and their 8-year-old daughter inside her own house, not so safe after all. >> i think i need to report a break-in and a murder. >> george would have known even if he hadn't have been an emt. she had been dead for hours. >> my wife, my wife is on the floor bloody. stiff. not moving. >> we got a call in the morning. >> text tiff dan long has been in homicide for a long time and vegas has kept him busy. him and his partner terry miller -- >> when we arrived there were
fire department personnel everywhere is there she was attacked probably as she walked into her house, beaten with something blunt and hard. >> and there was things done with the body that made us think that there was possible sexual assault of some type and there was posing of the body. >> some kind of predator at work here? a predator who escaped with a good huck of cash from the looks of it. her purse was missing? >> cash and casino chips, they get tipped with casino chips quite a bit and made to known to make $3400, $400, $500 a night. they make a lot of money especially if they're good and we did send detectives over to the palms and talked to them and said shawna is one of the best employees they had. >> but something happened after she left the palms so what? >> shawna was very beautiful. is it someone that saw her at work and followed her home?
>> of course, as the husband, george would have to be considered a possible suspect ide,so detectives pulled him interviewed him right on the spot. >> george, you understand the statements are being recorded. >> i understand. >> you understand we want to talk to you about what happened this morning. >> yes, sir. >> george told the detectives that when he saw the garage door open, he had their daughter hang back while he went inside. >> i saw her feet just laying there frozen. and my job i know what that mean. >> are you a mar medic. >> i'm and emti/firefighter. >> their daughter didn't see anything. he rushed her out to the street. >> i didn't know if there was anybody there. >> he had taken the girl to shawna's place because it was shawn that's turn. >> we're currently separated. and we're planning on moving back in together because we started to get along again.
>> they had this complicated aarrangement. shawna worked 7 to 3:00 a.m. at the casino. george a firefighter worked long shifts and got lots of days off. their daughter shuttled back and forth between them and when they were both at work, the girl spent nights with george's mother. >> what shift did you work yesterday. >> a 24-hour shift. >> he was at work when shawna was killed. of course, they did some checking just to be sure. >> you know if he was there on every run, if he had left for he reason. >> but he was on every run. did not leave work at all. so not the husband this time. >> he had nothing to do with the attack of shawna. >> but george did offer a possible lead. >> the garage door was open, which is unusual. so we were worried because we
got broken into a week or two ago. >> the chief in the earlier burglary used shawna's bathroom to take a shower and left with several pair of shawna's panties and some jewelry. he left behind a pair of boxer shorts size small. back then shawna immediately suspected some neighborhood teens, said george. >> so she had discussed it with several people including george and decided that it may be that she left something unlocked and it could be maybe some kids that live in the neighborhood. >> so is that who killed her? looking around the crime scene the detectives realized shawna's killer or killers had been into her booze, had taken not just her purse but like in that earlier burglary her underwear. so they set about checking out every one of the neighborhood boys and had solid alibis. >> they were not involved in the break-in. they were not involved in
shawna's death. now things get even more scary. because we don't know what we have. >> once that word got out, it could very quickly spread the terror around. like it already had among shawna's co-workers. >> we didn't know if there was some psycho watching, you know, watching us girls work at the palms and we didn't know if any of us were next. >> the predator there when on a walking path near shawna's house, someone found bits from her purse. i.d., makeup kit, personal things. >> what crosses your mind when you realize it's somebody walking away from the scene discarding things? >> a stalker. a predator, sexual predator. >> so they spread out and got the rest of homicide involved. days off were canceled. everybody out. they looked everywhere. >> there was considerable pressure. pressure from media. pressure from our
administration. everybody wants this thing solved and put away quickly. >> and then quite suddenly a break. a tipster on the crime stopper's line. with a story to tell. >> he had some information that he thought was connected to a murder. >> a wild goose chase? maybe. and maybe not. coming up, the tipster mentioned a detail about the crime. one that gets everyone's attention. >> no one knew that but the two of us. >> when "dateline" continues.
good job, good singing. keith morrison (voiceover): it's a terrible thing, to bury a young mother in the prime of her life, especially in the shadow omurder. big sister paula had felt somehow frozen in a terrible dream that refused to end or make sense ever get singing. >> it's a terrible thing to bury a young mother in the prime of her life. especially in the shadow of murder. big sister paula felt frozen in a terrible grief that refused to end since her mother called with the news about shauna. what's it like to hear something like that. >> i don't know that you can describe it. your heart just drops to your stomach. >> her family and friends gathered to mourn and remember how much they cared about her. the funeral itself was standing room only. >> it was a beautiful tribute to shauna. >> george's big sister, maria. >> i could see george was
heartfelt and did what he could to express himself at a terrible time. it was all about showing that shauna was loved. he cared for her. >> meanwhile, las vegas homicide detectives worked diligently to identify and track down whoever killed her. >> did he have a predator when she came home and were burglarizing the house? is there an enemy somewhere that she made that we need to find? >> and then they got lucky. a man would called himself big will called the crime stoppers hotline. big will had a story to tell. >> he had spent time in prison and he worked as a maintenance man, but he found satisfaction in helping others coming out of prison and helping them find the right path. >> one such man said big will was a homeless handyman who
lived out in the desert and went by the name of greyhound. >> drank a lot of alcohol, did a lot of drugs and was volatile. >> according to big will, this greyhound told a lot of tall tales but will called police this time because greyhound bragged about killing someone, a woman and said he used a hammer to do it. >> we had just come from autopsy that morning, marks that were seen on shauna's body. we thought that it was possibly a hammer, so no one knew that but the two of us. >> this guy brings it up. >> exactly. >> the homeless drug addicted ex-con with a volatile temper, said big will. certainly seemed to fit the profile of the potential predator detectives were looking for. >> he told her that greyhound walks everywhere. he lives out in the desert. >> bill wig will wanted to help
took them to some of the places greyhound liked to hang out. what do you know they ran into him in the parking lot of a gas station. detective long approached him. sweet as pie, greyhound was, said he'd be perfectly willing to go to the station, have a chat. his real name was noel stevens. >> he knows shauna. he knew where they lived. that he did yard work and handyman work for george and everybody else in the neighborhood. >> so someone shauna knew, someone george the do-gooder had tried to help, a thing not out of character for george but greyhound or noel was adamant he had nothing to do with shauna's murder. then he agreed to show the detectives his campsite out in the desert. >> what did you find? >> swimsuit bottoms that in our search of shauna's house appeared to me that matched the top that i had seen in her bedroom. >> so greyhound was the burglar
poking around shauna's personal things and, in fact, her friends recalled shauna had grown uncomfortable with this particular charity case who had been doing work around the house. >> she didn't want him in the house anymore and said you better get out of this house or i'm calling the police on you. >> so onwas he the killer? out of the there they didn't find any evidence. so they kept looking. >> one other thing he told us noel had a campsite number one and campsite number two. >> a second campsite. out there somewhere. but where? and what if anything was hidden there? coming up -- >> under the bush he saw a pair of jeans. it appeared to have blood on them. >> when "dateline" continues. so you can get back to enjoying it.
hurry into lowe's and get 20% off all sta-green winterizer lawn fertilizer. hurry into lowe's and get 20% off a heart attack doesn't or how healthy you look. no matter who you are, a heart attack can happen without warning. a bayer aspirin regimen can help prevent another heart attack. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. bayer aspirin. toddlers see things a bit undifferently with pampers easy ups they'll see a stretchy waistband you'll see pampers' superior protection and you'll both see an easy way to underwear pampers easy ups you wof your daily routine, so why treat your mouth any differently? complete the job with listerine® help prevent plaque, early gum disease, bad breath and kill up to 99.9% of germs.
listerine® bring out the bold™ my "business" was going nowhere... so i built this kickin' new website with godaddy. building a website in under an hour is easy! 68% of people... ...who have built their website using gocentral, did it in... ...under an hour, and you can too. type in your business or idea. pick your favourite design. personalize it with beautiful images. and...you're done! and now business is booming. harriet, it's a double stitch not a cross stitch! build a better website - in under an hour. free to try. no credit card required. gocentral from godaddy.
i'm here with the top stories. five former u.s. living presidents gathered for a concert. it was for hurricane relief and president trump taped a message. deep from the heart the one america appeal. sergeant la david johnson is one of four killed in an ambush attack. a call to his widow from the president started a firestorm. now back to "dateline." it's not unany itinerary this way but this too is las vegas, rugged desert terrain that is a kind of refuge or hiding place for the desperate and troubled. >> believe it or not that whole area has homeless people up there. >> this is where greyhound took them. this is where he lived, he said.
but out there somewhere they were convinced there must be a second campsite with possible evidence about the killing of shauna tiaffay so detective miller went up with the air unit to have a look around. >> those two pilots decided that they were going to fly that whole area for us and they actually located the second campsite. >> and we entered and found a citation in the name of noel stevens. so we were at the right place. >> so they spread out. kept looking and pretty soon, one of them called out. >> 175 feet from the tent he found a bush and under the bush he saw a pair of rolled up denim jeans. that appeared to him have blood on them. we put them in for immediate dna testing. >> how did that come back? >> it was shauna tiaffay's blood and the pants were worn by noel stevens. >> that's kind of your story there, huh.
>> that's kind of our story there. >> proof the homeless handyman george and shauna tried to help was a murderer. but could the story be that simple? really? listen to shauna's sister paula, for example, and things start to sound a bit more complex. >> well, i just think he always loved himself more than he loved anyone else and that was all about him and what he wanted. >> that was george she was talking about. the selfless firefighter had another side, said paula. >> the verbal abuse, the intimidation, the control, i mean george was always a controlling guy. >> the camera at your head. >> reporter: according to paula george had become ever more controlling and judgmental especially about shauna's spending habits. >> at the beach. >> only got worse when shauna told george the marriage was over. >> he said, you know, if you don't come back to me and we can't sort this out, you're going to lose custody of your
daughter. and that was -- oh, absolutely. number one fear. he used their daughter as a way to manipulate shauna time and time again. >> shauna had been letting her workmates read the text messages george sent as things got worse in the marriage. >> one text, it would be nice, short and sweet like i love you. i've been thinking about you all day. we need to work things out and then, you know, we would be working. she wouldn't be able to text him back right away and ten minutes later he's blowing up her phone cussing her out calling her names. >> shauna's supporters remembered her funeral quite different than george's people did. >> he had no emotion. no emotion at all. he did the ueulogy talking abou how much money shauna liked to spend and at the gas station she
mistakenly left the pump in the car. >> they hasn't lowered her in the ground yet and said come on and took her hand, it's time to go and i watched him walk off with my little niece, you know, 8 years old just lost her mom and i watched them walk off with her and i thought, you know, this is exactly what he wanted. he wanted all the control over my niece. >> reporter: paula told the politician her suspicions even before they began chasing down leads on greyhound. so even though they had their killer, the idea that george was involved somehow was already in the back of their minds. on the other hand, george's family was just as eager to assure the police that those attacks on george's character from shauna's side were complete nonsense. >> i never saw shauna act afraid of my brother. she had an equal footing in the
way they interacted with one another. so that's why i still can't believe that the insinuation, the allegations that he was abusive aren't even controlling. >> george's friend aaron solano couldn't agree more. >> no matter where he finds himself, what challenging situation he finds himself in he has always been consistently kind, consistently caring? >> so which george was the real one? the detectives decided to pay george a visit at his house. though they didn't tell him what they heard about him, the good or the bad. >> mr. -- can i call you george. >> yes. >> thank you. >> george said, sure, he knew greyhound but said he never heard him called noel stevens before. >> you knew him as -- >> he told the detectives how he had befriended noel and tried to
get him back on his feet. >> we looked at him as our charity case. >> by now the detectives knew greyhound was an addict and a big drinker. so they asked george. >> was he a drug user. >> no. >> alcohol? >> yes. not a lot. just a beer or two. >> just a beer or two every now and then. >> yes. >> that raised the antenna. in his interview greyhound said he and george were great founds, worked out together. drank together a lot. but then listen to this. as george kept talking the man he said he knew as neil became noel. >> said can you help us out with this. if it wasn't something i was good at so noel was good -- >> remember, george said he never heard the name noel stevens before. only knew him as neil smith so
was it an honest slip or was george hiding something? >> is it possible he was confused about the name, you know, greyhound used several different names. >> when you get nervous you'll revert back to whatever is natural. and he reverted back to noel. he just got done telling us i've known this man for years as neil and noel helped me move. >> why would he admit to knowing greyhound and lie about the name? detectives left george at home. made a plan they hoped would shake out the truth. >> we decided to amp up the pressure. coming up, a bold calculation by detectives was about to trigger a stunning chain reaction. >> he was forcing vehicles offer the road and then plowed straight into a cement barrier. the officer following said he just committed suicide. >> when "dateline" continues.
you have enough food thefor your guestslize but not enough fridge. at lowe's, we have more appliances to choose from. so, you can get the right one, at the right price, right now. hurry into lowe's and get up to 30% off select appliance special values. one laugh, and hello so i tried always discreet. i didn't think protection this thin could work. but the super absorbent core turns liquid to gel. snap! so it's out of sight... ...and out of mind. always discreet. for bladder leaks.
keith morrison (voiceover): it's an old police tactic to stimulate, maybe upset, the suspect you haven't quite cornered, hoping for an overreaction. sometimes it works, sometimes not. so even though they didn't have a solid case yet, it's an old police tactic to upset the suspect you hadn't quite cornered hoping for an overreaction. sometimes it works. sometimes not. so even though they didn't have a solid case the detectives let word slip they intended to arrest george, charge him with murder hoping he'd do something rash and maybe incriminate himself. >> he was told by his former attorney he was going to be
arrested at the same time police were showing up at my mother's doorstep. >> what did ed mangano do? got in his truck, raced over to his mother's house, dropped off his daughter, roared off again. >> he was driving extremely fast and forcing vehicles off the road and then plow stated into a cement barrier. the officer following said he just committed suicide. >> so what you think when you got that report and heard about it? >> well, i think it was a very good indication to us we were definitely on the right track. >> but if suicide was his intent as detectives assumed it didn't work. his injuries were not severe. still, it looked to detectives like a guilty george would rather kill himself than face a murder charge and as george lay in a hospital bed recovering noel steve rns gave police the final piece they needed. he confessed that he killed shauna and said his good pal george asked him to do it.
>> so we went to see him at the hospital. we went in and told him that he was under arrest. >> did he say anything? >> he asked to speak with his attorney. >> i just knew george had something to do with it. >> both george and know many were booked on murder and conspiracy and burglary charges. >> george is the win that wanted shauna dead. george is the controlling man that needed that control of shauna and he had it at his disposal that worshipped him, loved him. that would do what needed to be done. >> noel stevens pleaded guilty to several charges including murder. and spent the next three years cooperating with the investigation. stevens was later sentenced to 42 years to life. george who pleaded not guilty set up a american industry in the clark county detention center and maria remained convinced. >> the husband always does it.
>> teves a statistical suspect from day one for sure. my opinion is they sandbagged around that to make a case. >> why, she asked would anybody believe an addict and known liar over george and the detectives theory a guilty conscience led to a suicide attempt. fact was hogwash said maria. >> let me tell you, he has been on suicide prevention squads, he's an emt. he is quite knowledgeable about what it takes to kill yourself in a vehicle so driving that into a k-rail is not how you try to commit suicide. he did something stupid but didn't tie to kill himself. >> it wasn't just george's family who stood firmly behind him. fellow firefighters came to his defense. fellow west point grads. childhood friends. >> i truly believe he's innocent. he gives too much of himself and i think that's one of the reach
he finds himself in the situation he was in. >> were you surprised at the amount of support he got. >> no, no, no. >> george, he makes lifelong connections. it's parts his generosity. >> so on a searing hot summer day in late august 2015 -- >> good morning. >> -- nose-long connects sat on one side of a las vegas courtroom. >> george was adamant it went to trial. he wouldn't accept a plea deal. we agreed with him. family and friends, good, do that. we want to show people this was all wrong if and on the other side, a sea of hot pink. >> on outpouring every day. lots of people that showed up wearing pink and -- >> why is that. >> pink was shauna's favorite color and not pale pink, hot pink. >> ex-workmates were there too. >> i wanted the jury to see that she wasn't just a vegas cocktail
waitress. you know, that she was a good person, a beautiful person, a good human being. >> propers marked it and while greyhound was the admitted killer of shauna tiaffay, he never would have done it had george not put him up to it. >> he's got this singular goal of i need to kill my wife and he has to keep pumping noel to do it. >> shauna's sister paula said she encouraged her sister to move out. >> i told her that based on things she was telling me that had been going on for quite a while that i believed that she should separate herself from george and move to a different home. >> so she did. and george increased his contact with noel. his phone calls to stevens in the months before the murder proved a conspiracy, said the prosecutors. they showed the jury george's phone records. >> if you looked at how much he
called noel, there's 87 phone calls. >> three, four calls a day. >> yes, his mother is once a day. >> then they said look at this. here is george and noel shopping together. buying gloves, dark clothing, a knife and on four different occasions they bought hammers. >> at mr. tiaffay's house where he happens to have two other perfectly good hammers in the garage. >> what else could all of this have been, they asked. but a murder kit. one final thing greyhound told the cops he got into shaup's place with a key george gave him and look at this. here's george at the hardware store buying a key just like the key noel used. only one possible conclusion said the prosecutors. >> noel stevens used the hammer, the person who used noel stevens is george tiaffay. >> ah, but -- >> it's a good story, it's real
interesting, but it's not evidence yet -- >> this is george's defense attorney robert langford. >> recent doubt as to his involvement in the case. >> those surveillance videos that the prosecution found so damning. none were the actual murder weapon and most of what they bought together was simple and innocent camping gear. george helping a man in need as usual. >> he thought he was helping out noel stevens to live out where noel wanted to live which was outside of town. >> as for the 87 phone calls the prosecution said proved george and greyhound conspired to kill shauna, there was nothing sinister there, said the defense. just a man trying to contact his charity case handyman. >> i live out in that area and cell service is notoriously bad.
on top of have you ever tried to call a handyman in this town. it is ridiculously difficult to get hold of those kinds of workers to come do work. >> in fact, said the defense, the only thing the state had tying george to the murder was noel stevens' word. >> without noel stevens' statement to police, george is an innocent man. >> the jury believed stevens but even his own tipster big will said in court the man was an habitual liar. >> honesty, i would put him at a scale of one to ten i would put him at a scale of maybe 1 1/2. >> 10 being very honest. >> and 1 1/2 meaning not honest at all that's correct. >> george's attorney was itching to examine the witness who they say was a liar. the man at the sen of the george
might just destroy it. >> could be a real problem. could be a real problem and there was a substantial amount of discussion between pam and i over whether or not we're calling him or not. >> does that imply you disagreed. >> we disagreed. >> coming up -- a risky decision looks like it might just backfire. >> do you hear voices? >> yes. >> when "dateline" continues. any object. any surface.
if you've got a life you gotta swiffer and she was met by hers when my wedding dress.e door it was a wakeup call. we're not invincible at all. you think about all of the things you got over the years and in one night it's all wiped away. you got to remember. you are here. you have life. just because you lost everything materially doesn't mean that you lost everything.
he confessed to it, but he also claimed he was told to do it by her husband, george. welcome back. noel stevens murdered shauna tiaffay. he confessed to it but he also claimed he was told to do it by her husband, george. prosecutors had a tough decision to make and their case hinged on the outcome. here's keith morrison with the conclusion of "under a full moon." >> prosecutors had a big problem, and they knew it. the problem had a name, noel stevens. greyhound. >> know surveillance a very important piece of information. >> sure. >> but he's also the biggest risk. >> in the credibility sweepstakes he's way down here somewhere and so they argued, these two prosecutors. she said put him on the stand. >> my thought was you don't understand who george is and how
sinister this was until you meet noel and say, this is the person that he gave access to. >> he said don't take the chance. >> they could say this crazy psychotic homeless man did it on his own. >> who prevailed? she did. >> they called noel stevens. >> and so up went greyhound to the witness stand and offered his grizzly story. >> i hit her in the head. >> when you hit her in the head what happened. >> she hit the floor. >> after she hit the floor, what happened. >> i jumped on top of her. >> what did you do? >> i keep hitting her. >> how long did you hit her for? >> until she doesn't move anymore. >> why? because he said someone told him to. >> who told you to kill shauna. >> george. >> but was it true? >> now the defense got to ask greyhound about, well, for
starters his addictions. >> wild turkey, 101. >> a lot, yes, whatever i can get my hands on. >> you drink it every day. >> every day. >> just one or two? >> i drink it until there ain't no more or i ain't have no more or a drink. >> and he smoked weed he admitted and did speed but it got worse. >> do you hear voices. >> y yes. >> do you remember saying to that person that they sounded like monsters? >> yes. >> hallucinations too. >> what kind of hallucinations. >> i see -- >> sometimes. do you see other people? >> sometimes. >> well, i think everybody agreed that noel stevens is crazy. >> how could you believe a man as crazy as that? >> you were outside of reality at that point. >> you can't trust the primary
witness. they just didn't have it. >> so a man who hears voices, got the jury's attention. one juror even submitted a question read by the judge. >> did the voices you said you would hear from time to time ever tell you to kill shauna. >> no. >> there was the choice for the jury. george used noel as a murder weapon or the drunk who heard voices killed shauna and blamed an innocent man. the lawyers, the friends, the family from both sides could only sit and wait. >> it was nerve-racking. >> for three days they waited. the prosecutors once confident worried. >> hung jury situation and by day three you think is there a holdup. >> count one, guilty of first degree murder. >> guilty. george tiaffay his face serene
absorbed the verdict. >> so much relief. closure. >> it was just this big weight taken off my shoulders. you know, because i felt this entire time that shauna hasn't had a voice in this and i have been so worried about representing her right and saying the right things and making surely that i portrayed her as the wonderful person that she was. >> both george and noel were sentenced to life. george has no chance at parole. but what felt like justice to some, to others did not. >> here's this kid, smart, value tick torian and west point grad and understanding guy you could all look up to. >> yeah, right. good guy. >> walklocked away forever. >> in that horrible place.
>> i hope he finds purpose for himself there and i think he will. he is that kind of person. >> in july 2017 as part of his petition for relief he presented the court with this. words cannot say how sorry i am. my wife whom i truly loved dearly is dead. brutally murdered and it's my fault. he went on to blame his lawyer for not arguing that prescription drugs george was taking led to hallucinations. that god was directing him to perpetrate a crime to protect his child and the young girl at the heart of a tragedy had to learn to live without either parent. >> i really do feel that my niece is the true victim in all of this. it's so tragic and i just don't have words for what she is going to have to come to terms with and understands as she gets older, you know, it's really tough. >> he plans to make sure the
daughter of shauna tiaffay never forgets. >> we talk about her mom and how much she loved her and what we think her mom would want for her now. >> that's all for this edition of i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie morales. and this is "dateline." i could not believe it. i couldn't imagine anyone that would want to hurt her. i had no idea what could have happened. married to her high school sweetheart. family meant everything to her. >> it was always a lot of talk about children. wanted grandchildren. it all went up in smoke the night she died in a mysterious and monstrous inferno. i found the