tv Dateline MSNBC December 30, 2017 2:00am-3:00am PST
you know, you have to keep on keeping on. i'm craig melvin. thanks for watching. >> i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie morales. this is "dateline." >> my dad hung up the phone, said jenny was gone. >> a house in flames. the body of a woman inside. >> we have a body. i need medics. >> but it wasn't the fire that killed her. she was dead before it started. accidents will happen. this was no accident. >> who wanted her dead. her boyfriend said he knew. >> they're trying to get us. >> but police knew better.
>> strangling someone is a personal killing. that's an angry killing. hello. welcome to "dateline." at first the fatal fire that struck a young couple's home appeared to be an accident. then investigators took a closer look. and what they discovered about this fire and this couple left them with burning suspicion. here's keith morrison. >> is everybody out of the house. >> i don't know. but it's on fire. >> reporter: the fire on the cottage on addi saab avenue was hungry. devouring almost everything in the bedroom. >> we'll have the fire department on the way. is smoke coming out of the windows? >> it's pouring out. >> reporter: within minutes, the
fire department knocked it down. the smoke clearing. the water running in the streets. then as the mop up began, the word flashed out like something electric. the house was occupied. someone didn't get out. up through the ashes a mystery flared like a stubborn ember glowed and smoldered and demand an answer. the inhabitants were two young, beautiful people, the glossy and successful times you might expect to see on a reality show. paul and jennifer. jennifer an ambitious award winning real estate agent who lived like a rock star or so said her buddy, roy. >> she would be like, i'm knocking them out like dominos, baby. i worked out. went to starbucks and i'm on my way to a meeting and it's only 6:33. >> paul seemed to be the right kind of guy for jennifer, said
roy. >> he was an entrepreneur. he seemed like a driven person. that's a quality jennifer was looking for. >> jordanian american, paul zumar, sleek, attractive, engaging. paul owned a hangout, a cafe, where customers could smoke flavored tobacco through water pipes called hookahs. the place and paul were popular. >> he's a good looking guy. he looks good. smells good. he presents well. he's witty, smart. affectionate. >> so love at first sight? maybe said their friends. >> from the minute he told me about her, he always talked about how wonderful she is. how she's perfect. >> he definitely was charismatic.
he liked to joke around. >> and money? there was a lot of it around, too. jennifer and paul having worked hard to get it seemed only too happy to spend it. >> when jennifer and paul first got together, paul took jennifer to new york city. >> i remember he was like a kid in a candy store. planning all these elaborate, wonderful things they were going to do together. >> they were passionate, these beautiful people. they both had strong personalities. their love burned hot. >> jennifer was a strong, independent woman. she would not let anyone disrespect her. >> i said you need to be careful, girls can be evil. he said, no, she's different. i love her. i already love her. she's great. >> so on september of 2009, paul
and jennifer moved into that cottage on addison avenue. time to play house. paul started to think about marriage. for paul's 36th birthday, jennifer planned a party full of promise. >> she invited most of his close friends to dish dash, one of his favorite restaurants. they had over a dozen people there. almost 20 people or something. jennifer created a cute table setting. she created the perfect party for paul. >> people who were there described the party almost like a wedding reception. it lasted into the evening, wee hours of the morning. and now here it was just the very next evening, and it was gone in ashes. all of it. the excitement. the glamour. the promising future up in smoke along with the house on addison. and the person inside.
>> we have a body. i need medics. we have a body badly burned. >> the next day, jim was driving with his parents to a dinner engagement. his phone rang. it was an old friend. he picked it up. >> i said, jake, you're going to tell me something bad, aren't you? he said jen. >> just kept repeating her name. >> i said hold on. i have to pull over. i didn't want to hear what he had to tell me. i gave the phone to my dad. and he told my dad. my dad hung up the phone. he told us. me and my mom were all holding each other. he told us jenny was gone. >> it was his jennifer.
his daughter who died in that fire. now along with almost unbearable grief, something else started to burn inside jim. something searing. it was suspicion. >> accidents will happen. but this was no accident. >> coming up, police give paul the bad news. >> i don't know how to tell you this, but there's a body in the house. it's been burned. >> when "dateline" continues. boom. love it. [struggles] show me the carfax. start your used car search at the all-new carfax.com.
>> while the deadly fire was burning at his home on addison avenue, paul was at his hookah lounge miles away. someone called, told him about the fire. he rushed over but could only pace helplessly back and forth as firefighters did their job. soon after that he sat down with palo alto police to sort out what happened. though you can see sat is probably not the best description. paul was full of nervous energy and frantic questions. at this point nobody told him that jennifer was on the fire. >> i'm worried about my house.
my girlfriend. what caused the fire. i want to know about jennifer right now. >> i'm not sure that i know anymore than you do. my job is to basically talk to you and find out what you know. you probably know more than me at this point. >> no. no. >> so together police talked about the hours before the fire. where had she been in what had she and paul been doing. >> yesterday was my birthday. went out. everything was fine. me and her. all the friends. >> who is her? >> jennifer. >> that's your girlfriend? >> yeah. >> paul explained to police he spent the afternoon at an appointment in san jose, got back to palo alto for his cafe to open for the evening. >> i came here. there was traffic. i got to the cafe. that's when they open. i just log into the computers. as soon as i sat down, i have a hookah lounge here.
i started smoking, my landlord called me said the house is on fire. i threw on the lights and came here. now i'm confused, exhausted. i wanted to know what happened. i cannot think anything right now, guys. to be honest with you. >> then in the middle of his conversation with detectives, paul's phone rang. it was jennifer's mother, who told him she had not seen or heard from her daughter. you can see what happened. paul fell to pieces. >> i know. i know. i know. i can't find her. they're not telling me anything. >> to this point he told detectives that he was clinging to the hope that jennifer might be with her mother, anything but home. but she wasn't with her mother. wasn't anywhere. that's when the officer broke this news. >> i don't know how to tell you this, man, with y shg, but thern
the house. it's been burned. we have no way of knowing who that is. >> i need to get out of here. get out of here, please. >> i'm trying to be sensitive as i possibly can. i understand this is your -- i don't know this is jennifer. >> i hope not. i hope not. but they're in the house. >> we have not confirmed who this is. >> it's an odd set of circumstances, okay? we need to figure out is this on purpose? is this an accident? okay? this is just unfortunate.
this is the beginning for us to try to answer some questions, okay? >> but of course it had to be jennifer. and it probably wasn't an accident. as that news sank n paul began to think about who might want to harm jennifer and came up with some potentially helpful information. two brothers had already threatened her, said paul. there was a confrontation weeks earlier. >> what happened is he called me, said he would kill me. he spoke in arabic, i speak arabic fluently, and he called her. >> paul said he and jennifer filed restraining orders against both brothers. >> she's scared of him. i'm scared of the guy. yesterday she walked home. she said, hey, somebody was talking me. >> had the brothers killed her,
too? police listened. took some notes. then as a precaution, of course, had paul give them his clothes for forensic testing. questioned by police, his home destroyed, his girlfriend dead. paul was very nearly in shock said his friend, nikita. >> his mind was are they sure jennifer is gone. oh, my god, she's never coming back. >> as the weeks went by, paul was in a kind of daze. >> the gist of our conversations for the first few weeks were the fact that jennifer's not coming back. he was completely distraught about the fact that jennifer was in that fire. >> as those same weeks went by, investigators went quietly and steadily before their task, picking through the cinders of the fire and coming to the conclusion that none of it smelled right. literally. >> coming up --
>> was gasoline there? >> no question at all. it's in her hair. you could smell it you could smell it when you walked in with your own nose. >> investigators now knew the fire was not an accident. what they discovered next was a bigger shock when "dateline" continues. i was tired and i was fed up. i wanted to try something different. along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. chantix reduced my urge to smoke. compared to the nicotine patch, chantix helped significantly more people quit smoking. when you try to quit smoking, with or without chantix, you may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms. some people had changes in behavior or thinking, aggression, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, or suicidal thoughts or actions with chantix. serious side effects may include seizures, new or worse heart or blood vessel problems, sleepwalking or allergic and skin reactions which can be life-threatening. stop chantix and get help right away if you have any of these. tell your healthcare provider if you've had depression or other mental health problems.
named rosy sniffed around what was by then a sealed crime scene. rosie was trained to determine the tools of arson, gasoline, oil. rosie stopped in her tracks. she apparently found something. chuck gillingham is a deputy district attorney in palo alto. >> was gasoline there? >> no question at all. it's in her hair. you could smell it. you could smell it when you walked in with your own nose. the remnants of the gas can was found near her right hip. there are still enough remnants for us to identify the make and model of the gas can. >> that's like somebody leaving the gun near the body with fingerprints all over it. >> no finger prints, no evidence beyond that. >> it was so clear it was an arson. >> correct. the arson was not an issue. >> no, it was cold blooded murder that was at issue. because jennifer did not die in
the fire according to forensic experts. she was dead before the fire started. the method, a particularly intimate form of killing. death by strangulation. >> strangling someone is a personal killing. that's an angry killing. it's not like shooting someone from a long way away. you're absolutely touching the person. feeling their life's blood ebb from them. >> who would have been so angry with jennifer? paul told detectives he and jennifer had taken out restraining orders against those two brothers, hisham and tony. both men who he considered former friends. >> there's people after us. what does that mean? >> they're trying to get us. harm her and harm me. >> who is that? >> hisham ghanma. >> the guy you have the restraining order against? >> he hit me. i have a restraining order against him. >> just one night before, paul
told police that some guys in a truck tried to follow jennifer home. >> she felt someone was stalking her. we had people threatening us in the past, okay? that's what i believe. somebody was threatening us. >> so, was paul on to something. detectives went to talk to the brothers and checked to see where both men were the day of the fire. and there was no doubt they were nowhere near the fire. they had alibis. >> the time of the fire, we know where both of them. were one of them was in their cafe, he's on videotape. the other was at frye's electronics. >> once the brothers were in the clear, the cops did what they always do in cases like this it's practically police work
101, they took a closer look at the victim's boyfriend, paul. there was a curious moment in that police interview the day of the fire that paul admitted that he wasn't always the best sort of boyfriend. >> me and my girlfriend broke up. and thanks to san jose, sorry, palo alto pd they put an emergency restraining order on me. because she said paul threatened me, blah, blah, blah. but she came to my cafe and broke the door. i never touched the girl in my life. you could see the police reports. >> suspicious, sure. but as they asked around the couple's friends, police learned a few things that put paul's behavior into context. maybe he wasn't any more to blame than she was. >> their relationship was chaotic. there's no disputing that. he was no more violent in the relationship than she was. whether it be physically,
verbally, emotionally. >> as police gathered evidence, bit by bit asking around about paul, one of them noticed something odd. paul told a friend, also a policeman, two slightly different stories about his whereabouts the day of the fire. first conversation, day of the fire, reported the cop friend, paul said he wasn't home all day. then a second conversation next day, paul said he stopped briefly at home. en route to his hookah cafe. as we say, odd. but peoples memories can be tricky. was that one little difference enough to add up to suspicion of murder? police apparently taught so. especially once they added that to the rest of what they discovered. paul was arrested. >> i'm going to wait to my attorney. >> what's that? >> rii'll wait for my attorney. >> okay. >> they charged paul with you ason and murder, which struck
some observers as strange. after all, there had been just that one little inconsistency. and though paul and jennifer did fight sometimes, they seemed crazy in love, too. paul had been shopping for a diamond ring for heaven's sake. >> there was a part of paul that was mourning his girlfriend. and then there was a part of him -- he didn't understand why he was in custody. he didn't understand why he wouldn't just cry for his girlfriend, and for his life that had just changed 100%. >> it certainly did. paul was taken to jail to await trial on a charge of murder in the first degree. big mistake said paul. >> when i first saw him, he -- all he was really still telling me is, you know, me being in custody, all of this will blow over with. they'll realize, i'm not the person who did this. this will be over with.
new york city fire investigators say the fire that killed 12 people in an apartment building this week was started by a 3-year-old playing with a stove. in puerto rico nearly after the island's power customers are still without electricity, nearly three months after hurricane maria the government requested up to 1500 additional electrical workers. and overseas, former beatle ringo starr is being award ni t knighthood by queen elizabeth. now back to "dateline." welcome back.
paul and jennifer seemed a match made in heaven. a prosecutor believed he had plenty of evidence that pointed to the contrary. here again is keith morrison. in the days after the fire on addison avenue, after paul was charged with murder and hauled off to jail, events in palo alto seemed to freeze somehow. in confusion and denial from paul's point of view, and grief among the people who loved jennifer. >> it hurt. it hurt a lot. >> for some reason though he had been arrested, paul wasn't entering a plea. which is what this was all about. candlelight vigils outside of paul's hookah lounge by jennifer's friend and family. >> we decided to stand in front of his establishment every night until he made his plea. >> eventually no surprise, paul did plead not guilty.
and prosecutor chuck gillingham found himself sifting through the records of a two-year romance with restraining orders, 911 calls. >> these are two people, makeups and breakups, she gave verbally as good as she got. >> after one flair up, paul was ordered to attend anger management classes. went to one the day of the fire, in fact. why did two people who fought so much stay together for so long. there was, as it turned out, an audio recording of jennifer herself. gillingham got hold of it, listened to her explanation. >> he wins her heart, so the first couple months is amazing. sweeps her off your feet. candles everywhere. flowers. not money ems, but just romantic and sweet talking. and parading you around. wanting to introduce you to everybody. it gets me loving him and admiring him that he admires me. and then it makes me trust his
opinion and what he says about me and thinks about me. so then as soon as he gets to that point, he flips it and calls me ugly, fat, a gold digger. >> by the way, the person she's talking to, one of the brothers paul told police jennifer and he were afraid of. here he she is confiding in him. and she was not happy about paul. >> i have pictures of the damage he did to all of my furniture. he kicked in my car. somebody saw him at starbucks spit in my face on my way to work. >> but things clearly changed after that. remember, she were all lovey-dovey, paul was talking marriage the night before the fire. and now here he was not much more than a year later on trial for her murder.
listening to prosecutor chuck gillingham take the jury inside the last days of paul's relationship with jennifer. how did gillingham do that? jennifer's cell phone. detectives discovered that most of her text message history had been deleted. but law enforcement has changed a lot. had to to keep up with high-tech. the palo alto cops managed to find a phone expert all the way across the country in new hampshire who had a very deep look into that cell phone. and was able to pull up thousands, literally thousands of deleted text messages between jennifer and paul in the last few months of her life. and oh boy. from jennifer. you're nothing but a selfish cold hearted liar. furious. that didn't read like any old quarrel. the timing. jennifer sent that text to paul at the end of the elaborate
birthday party she threw for him. when she had perhaps 12 hours left to live. in fact, she was so upset about something, she refused to go to the hookah lounge after the party. walked all the way home on a broken heel. texting all the way. jennifer, good. stay away from me. i just got home. paul, i'm staying away this time for good. what a way to end my birthday. >> for jennifer to walk alone at night with a broken heel and upset, she had to have been -- i don't know if i've seen her that mad. >> but that was the night before. angry messages buzzing back and forth. then, as the cell phone revealed, the pair made love during the night. before jennifer's morning text messages again turned red hot angry. the subject seemed to be a debt she claimed he owed her. >> around 10:30, 10:45 into
11:16 in the morning, she's referring back to those text messaging and telling him he better bring a check. don't come back, or she's going to the san jose police department to file charges by 3:00 that day. that's the last text message anyone gets from her. that's the last contact she has ever with anyone. >> that, said gillingham just before noon is when paul lost his temper, choked jennifer to death, drove to a gas station, bought a can of gasoline, and then torched the house. somewhere along the way, said the prosecutor, he erased all those angry text messages he sent her. >> every single one is gone. months worth. >> then paul used jennifer's cell phone to send fake texts to her friends, so they believed she was still alive. to support that claim, gillingham introduced an expert
witness who said texts from paul's phone and texts from jennifer's phone were hitting the same cell towers all afternoon. so her phone must have been there with him in his car. which is why, when she missed a meeting with her friend roy, that the texts he got from her didn't make sense. they weren't a sensible response to the message he sent her. he got the same text twice. >> she didn't show up. her phone was off. and so as soon as i got that repeat text message, i was kind of worried because she wasn't responding to what i was saying. >> jennifer was nowhere to be found. jennifer was dead. >> now, what prosecutor gillingham wanted the jury to think about is what happened or didn't happen much later after the fire. here was the scene. house burning, paul standing on the street outside watching the fire. at this point he's supposedly didn't know if jennifer was inside or outside. whether she was alive or dead, but -- >> in the time he was there, he
made 38 calls and text messages. two of which went to jennifer. on neither occasion did he leave jennifer a message. he left messages with others. spoke to others. he text messaged the same friend multiple times. but in that two-hour period, at no time does he leave that location to look for jennifer, to go to the other side of the blocked off street. >> you know, if he called her and texted her once, surely that's enough. she'll call back. >> the cell phone records actually bear out that she's a person who would call her and text her 200, 300 times a day if he wasn't around her. his silence at the crime scene was deafening. there was no text message. and i would submit, andy to the jury, he toad stood at that loc because he wanted people to see him there. >> how could the jury be sure he was guilty. prosecutor gillingham offered her. remember rosie, the skillful
police dog trained to alert to the faintest whiff of an arson? she alerted to paul's clothes. suspicious, yes. but not exactly ironclad evidence. as you will see, courtesy of paul's high profile defense attorney. the man famous for defending scott peterson. his name, mark geragos. >> i had many a client who i have no doubt was capable of the acts that they were accused of. this is not one of them. coming up, in the last hours of jennifer's life, something was caught on camera. does it prove paul is not guilty? >> anybody who watches it will never have the impression this was somebody who was ready to kill her. >> when "dateline" continues.
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defense attorney mark geragos made a name for himself defending clients in difficult and highly celebrated cases, not the least the scott peterson trial. but defending paul zumot would present its own set of challenges. paul was convicted of killing jennifer and trying to hide the fact by burning the house down. he was also pegged by the prosecution as an abuser, a violent man, an image geragos
set out to change. >> they both were passionate, romantic at times. hot at times as you would characterize it. i don't think it was a one-way street by any means. >> for starts, geragos tried to weed out possible jury members who may have been unduly swayed by text messages or stories about zumot's temper. >> what you want jurors to do is help your client. and to kind of walk in the shoes of your client. >> when he presented his case, geragos set out to reframe the events after that infamous party the night before the fire. >> the party was at a place, and it was for paul's birthday. it was planned by jennifer. and the maybe 14 to 18 of their close friends that were there. and by all accounts at the party, everything was great. >> the argument later? the angry texts?
it was just a way paul and jennifer always were said geragos. his proof? after those angry text message exchanges, here's what happened. as zumot described in his police interview. >> we talked. we smoked hookah. everything is fine. i said give me two xanax. i think she took one or two. she took two more in front of me. we went to bed. >> so you had slept in the same bed? >> yeah. >> so you made up? >> yeah. we made up. and we videod ourselves. i shouldn't be saying that. >> you videotaped yourselves? what do you mean? >> when we have sex, we videod ourselves. >> so you had sex last night and videod it. >> yeah. >> sure enough, when police looked at jennifer's cell phone, there was a video. she and paul having sex after their fight hours before she was murdered. >> so enthusiastically, that
anybody who watches this will never have the impression or take away from that that this was somebody who was ready to kill her. >> as for that cell tower evidence that prosecutor gillingham presented that seemed to show paul had jennifer's phone with him and sending out megs in her name. that was nonsense. >> that was one of the pieces of information that imploded. we went and got the engineer, the actual engineer from the carrier to come in and say he looked at the evidence, and what this guy said was the phone pinging off the same towers, was not. it was just merged data from the cell phone. >> why is that important? because, says ger goeagos, the prosecution's own timeline should have cleared zumot. the prosecution said jennifer was strangled hours before the fire was lit, and that was at 6:30 p.m.
but in the afternoon, hours after paul left the area, jennifer was still alive sending real, not fake text messages herself from her phone. >> by all accounts she was alive at 1:17. >> okay. >> and at 1:17 paul was not at the house. >> so, where was paul? trying to pick up paperwork at the palo alto police station. then at the hookah lounge where he appears on security cam footage around 1:37 p.m. from there, says the defense attorney, he headed to his anger management class about 18 miles away. on the way, he stopped at restaurant depot around 3:30. so there simply wasn't time in between, said geragos, for paul to go to the cottage, strangle his girlfriend andouse her body with gasoline. a solid alibi, said geragos. his client simply couldn't have killed jennifer and he couldn't have started the fire. how could he have been in two places at once?
as for rosie, the yellow lab who alerted to a gasoline smell on zumot's clothes, geragos pointed out those very clothes were submitted to a test by the atf, and they showed no evidence of gasoline at all. >> the atf chemist has a protocol. specifically one thing the prosecution also didn't tell the jury, which we brought out, was that the atf also put out a protocol that said you never take a dog alert, a single dog alert and draw a conclusion. in fact, if the atf says negative, then you should not allow in the dog alert. >> why would people believe the dog over the atf? >> once again, you get into the idea of people have dogs, they could ascribe supernatural powers to dogs. i got two large dogs. having been through a couple of cases with dog evidence, as much as i love my dogs, i'm certainly
not going to want to convict somebody and put their liberty at stake based on dog evidence. >> still, as he presented his case, geragos had a problem. he knew it. >> what it came down to was the character assassination block of the case. the first two blocks of this case revolved around the -- the so-called scientific evidence. and that was absolutely destroyed. then you ended up with the character assassination block. >> the solution? paul zumot himself appears to have demanded it. the chance to defend himself to the jury by testifying. some courtroom observers believed the defense created reasonable doubt that testifying was, in fact, risky. especially for paul, said his friend nikita. >> knowing paul the way i know paul and the way he could be interpret eed incorrectly, i wa nervous about paul taking the stand. >> risky or not, paul was
you know what's not awesome? gig-speed internet. when only certain people can get it. let's fix that. let's give this guy gig- really? and these kids, and these guys, him, ah. oh hello. that lady, these houses! yes, yes and yes. and don't forget about them. uh huh, sure. still yes! xfinity delivers gig speed to more homes than anyone. now you can get it, too. welcome to the party. welcome back. paul zumot was on trial for the murder of his girlfriend, jennifer.
and was determined to take the stand with the hopes of convincing the jury that he was innocent, but would this risky move pay off? here's keith morrison with a conclusion of burning suspicion. defense attorney had done what he could to poke holes in the primary physician's murder case against paul zumot. arguing that the prosecution had no scientific proof of clear evidence that zumot was near jennifer when she was strangled. when the house was set on fire. anyway, he added. if paul attacked jennifer, wouldn't she have put up some kind of fight? why were there no defensive markets or scratches on the body? paul zumot wasn't going to take any chances. he was determined to tell the injury his side of the story. so assigned a female colleague to question paul. must have been a strategy,
whispered courtroom observers. a way to show the jury that paul could in fact, interact with a woman. those observers were mistaken. >> i generally i don't think direct examination is my strong suit. i was concentrating on cross-examination of the witnesses. >> paul zumot looked the jurors in the eyes and said i did not kill jennifer. did not burn the house. then he told them, emotions building, how despite their roller coaster relationship, he truly loved jennifer. his lawyer presented add love letter in fact that she had written to him and he broke down then. flood of tears. >> i was so relieved and i thought, you know, if there was any way this jury thought this man was responsible for this, now they know for sure that he's not. it's so obvious to me that he's telling the truth. >> but, listening to all of this
with his experienced ear was prosecutor gillingham. >> you must have been pleased when you heard he was going to testify. >> that was an understatement. i was very, very pleased. >> more than that. it was a gift. unexpected opportunity. why? well, the prosecutor had paul right where he wanted him for as long as he wanted him. there were hours of questions. tough questions, baiting questions, questions designed to make paul crack and reveal what gillingham revealed to be a controlling personality and red hot temper. >> my plan was to go through how he acted when he was angry and then asked him questions that he didn't have any good answer for. for instance, why all the text messages were deleted and those were questions he could not answered because he had not considered those questions. >> after three long days in the hot seat, paul zumot's testimony was finally over.
had he purr swaersuaded the jurt he was innocent. >> do you think he got arrogant on the stand. >> i don't think he got arrogant. he was kpas ptired. >> the jurors were determined to look at the evidence, not just courtroom theater. >> everyone was very committed to going over the evidence and discussing each of the witnesses and each of the crucial pieces of evidence. it was really encouraging. >> and it was crucial, they decided to compare very carefully the different timelines claimed by the prosecution and the defense. >> we analyzed the timeline for the entire day from his testimony where he said he was and other pieces of testimony and evidence to either validate on contradict. >> the jury took less than 14 hours. and came back with a verdict, guilty. >> all i remember was i heard that word, guilty.
it was just like this relief, release of tension. >> i was very shocked by the verdict. i think a lot of people were shocked by the verdict. i mean, if you sat through the weeks and weeks of trial, it just -- it's inconceivable how they could get to the result they got to. >> but to the jurors, the issues about text messages and whether paul had jennifer's phone all afternoon wasn't as important as zumot on the stand. that's what made the difference. his tears, for example. >> sometimes i feel like i'm too cynical, but it was universally held opinion, i think, the entire jury believed it was a manufactured moment. >> what was the problem with his testimony? >> there were two things that struck me. one, was when he broke down on the stand. and to me, it didn't seem genuine. and the other portion of his testimony was when he had the
opportunity to tell us where he was and what he was doing, he chose to basically lie to us three times. and we were able to prove that he lied to us by the hard evidence that we had with the phone records and with the video surveillance and those items and i just to me that hurt him very badly. >> if he hadn't testified, i can't say for sure, but i don't think i could have convicted him. >> at his sentencing, angry paul zumot protested his innocence. he was sent away for 25 to life for murder. plus, eight years for arson. after the fire, the paulo alto cottage was repaired. new love perhaps growing in there. young people were still coming to the cafe to socialize and smoke hookah. paul gone like the romance that burned too bright before it
vanished with his victim in a cloud of smoke. >> i can still hear her voice. see her smile. i know she's -- i know she's here. that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm craig melvin. thank you for watching. i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline"." >> it's gut wrenching. a young woman shot three times. this was a murder. >> young single mom out with friends on game day. >> it was packed. >> as night fell, fear grew. >> they're asking us do you know anybody that would want to harm your sister. >> was it someone what was a stranger? was it someone that we knew?