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tv   Nightline  ABC  September 19, 2015 12:37am-1:08am EDT

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this is "nightline." >> tonight, she spent a life-changing night at gunpoint. at the mercy of an escaped killer. but he wasn't the only one who was desperate. the unbelievable true story hitting the big screen tonight. >> you scream again and i'll have to kill you. >> a formerly drug-addicted young widow on how her stunning connection with the man who held her captive changed body their lives. busted? a successful surgeon allegedly plotting to kill his ex-wife. and his girlfriend records the chilling details. >> it's not [ bleep ] putting six bullets in there. >> tonight she tells us why she went to the police as he speaks out from behind bars. was it all talk or a deadly plan thwarted just in the nick of time? and he may not be your average soccer dad. but for hands-on parent david
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beckham, nothing's more important than family. tonight, the new "outlaw" star talks keeping his kids grounded. first the "nightline 5." >> want bladder leak underwear that moves like you do in try always discreet underwear. move, groove, wiggle, giggle, swerve, curve, lift, shift, ride, glide, hit your stride. only always discreet underwear has soft dual leak guard barriers to help stop leaks where they happen most and hugs your curves. you barely feel it. always discreet underwear. so bladder leaks can feel like no big deal. because hey, it happens. get your free pair and valuable coupons at
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good evening. happy friday. tonight, the unforgettable story
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of a young widow held hostage at gunpoint. her captor, an escaped killer on arampage. but the captive somehow manages to turn desperation into salvation for them both. a new movie bringing their dramatic story to the big screen tonight as the murderer's mother tells my "nightline" coanchor byron pitts about his remorse and gratitude. >> reporter: it was mass murder. >> the judge had been shot. >> reporter: a shooting inside an atlanta courthouse. a judge, his stenographer, murdered. >> everybody is now working on this case. >> reporter: the suspected gunman, that man, caught on surveillance camera escaping down a stairwell. brian nichols was on trial for rape. before this day would end he'd kill twice more. >> you're seeing s.w.a.t. officers coming out now. >> reporter: for 26 hours, atlanta was on lockdown. the nation riveted. evading capture, nichols weaved his way to duluth, georgia, a suburb 27 miles outside the
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city. >> brian nichols came to my house at 2:00 last night. >> reporter: that 911 call ended the manhunt. that voice, 26-year-old ashley smith, held hostage by a killer for seven tore taurus hours. >> breaking stor. >> ten years later, it's become a movie. >> my name is ashley smith. >> you scream again and i'll have to kill you. >> reporter: "captive" starring kate mara as ashley smith, and david eloyo as escaped killer brian nichols. >> god please help me. >> reporter: smith and nichols had no connection, had never met, until he put a gun in her back and pushed his way into her apartment. >> i prayed to god that police ju please if you can get me out of here alive. it's not that i didn't care what happened, it's just what i was trying to prepare for the worst. >> reporter: she's now 37. back then smith lived alone, a recovering meth addict, a dead-end job. she'd lost custody of her 5-year-old daughter and her
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dignity. after the murder of her husband years earlier. >> what do you want people to take from this movie? >> i really want people to see that it's never too late to turn your life around. >> reporter: all she really had was her fading faith, a fear of death the shock her soul needed. >> i really believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that jesus christ took the body of brian nichols. i could feel the power of god. it was almost like i knew he was there. >> the guns are in the bathroom, you're trying to figure out what to do next. walk me through that. >> i thought about grabbing the guns. then i thought, i never umsed a gun in my life. when he said, if you do what i say i won't hurt you, i had to believe him. >> reporter: the going would get worse before it got better. nichols wanted drugs. smith kept crystal meth in her apartment. >> do it. >> no. >> what was brian nichols' reaction when you told him no? >> he just accepted it.
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i told him those drugs had ruined my life and i wanted no part of it. he did two lines and he left one sitting there. i knew if i was going to die, i didn't want to meet jesus having drugs up my nose. i wanted to just be normal. >> reporter: she made him breakfast, pancakes. more than that, she fed his soul. besides the only reliable weapon she had in the house that night was the book she had been reading for inspiration, "the purpose-driven life" by pastor rick warren. >> read it to me. >> it all starts with god. it's not about you. >> reporter: smith would show nichols not only defiance but dignity. >> the greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose. >> it says god deserves your best, he expects the most of what you've been given, examines your experiences, extract the lessons you've learned. >> they let you finish reading? >> when i finished reading i said, what do you think my purpose is?
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he said, i think you need to share your story with people. >> reporter: what is perhaps the hardest thing of all to believe, nichols, the man who had just the past day killed four people in cold blood, let ashley smith go free. >> i said, i have to go. >> you'll need this. >> reporter: the killer and the hostage, both parents, he with a newborn son, she had an appointment that morning to see her little girl. destiny had a deadline. >> he handed me some money that he had in his pocket. then i just left. i remember walking out the door, my knees were still shaking as i got to the car and i thought, this is too good to be true, surely he's going to come out and shoot me. i got in the car and made it around the corner. i immediately breathed a sigh of relief. >> you called 911? >> i called 911. >> advising that brian nichols is in her apartment and she ran out. >> we can confirm gwinnett county s.w.a.t. team has brian nichols in custody. >> reporter: the two sinners
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shaved by grace as she describes them would see each other only one more time at nichols' murder trial. >> he said, have you been watching the news? >> my main objective was to tell the truth. i didn't want anything to come in between that. >> members of the jury, you may into the now retire and make up your verdict. >> reporter: for the victims, justice came swiftly. the jury sentenced nichols to multiple life sentences. tonight, his mother, claritha nichols, shares her son's side of this saga. >> what has he said about that night? >> he was very grateful for the way ashley treated him. it also gave him an opportunity to go back and reflect on what he had done and also to consider the impact of his actions on the victims' families, for which he was extremely sorry. brian was active in the church. he had an slept job. he lived in a very upscale community. it's something that none of us would have expected. and brian, when he looks back on it, can't believe that he did it. >> reporter: off-camera, during
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her interview, nichols' dpaer bre father breaks down in tears. we could hear him weeping. >> is that your husband? >> yes. >> he's crying? >> yes. >> explain that. >> we had so much hope and promise with brian. and to have his life go in this direction has been just absolutely devastating. >> so there are more than just the four people who died, ashley. there are more victims? >> yes. >> reporter: he was armed with guns. she with god's word. it was the spiritual part of their encounter more than the shock value of her captivity. >> could you forgive me? >> reporter: that drew two a-list hollywood stars to the story. >> in a different world, under different circumstances, i could be him. i felt that. >> there but for the grace of god go i? >> basically. it really made me appreciate being able to be with my kids, being able to be with my wife. >> to me it's a very hopeful story. ashley's story is inspirational to me.
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i think it can be to anyone. >> reporter: the one time drug addict now mother, wife, career woman, inspiration, sinner, saved by grace. >> you two have never spoken since that night at your apartment. if you could, what would you say to him now? >> thank you for allowing god to let me let him live. all i did was lay down my brokenness to god and give it all to him. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm byron pitts in new york. >> "captive" is in theaters nationwide. up next, inside the bizarre case of a wealthy doctor accused of plotting to murder his ex-wife. he says it was just talk but his girlfriend captured it all on tape. he's been a sports icon and a fashion icon. now david beckham tries his hand at acting in "outlaws." what if one sit-up could prevent heart disease? one. wishful thinking, right?
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changing the world.
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perhaps it's not that unusual to drink too much and start bad-mouthing your ex. but when one woman went on a romantic vacation with her boyfriend and he began ranting about killing his ex-wife, she
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noticed his details were awfully specific and sounding like it was already in motion. tonight, he speaks out from behind bars. here's abc's linzie janis. >> reporter: this couple is spending a romantic getaway in sunny puerto rico. >> we're on the top floor of the hotel. we see all the white sofas. we hear the water. >> reporter: it's a whirlwind 11-month romance for joanna, a nurse and divorcee who thinks she's hit the jackpot with dr. greg conraf, a surgeon and one-time millionaire. they're taking in the sights and knocking back the drinks when things turn ugly. >> and he starts talking about ana. >> reporter: his ex-wife. >> i'd just [ bleep ] walk over there, open the door and just blast her. >> reporter: joanna, who doesn't want to us use her last name, said she felt compelled to
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secretly take out her phone and standard recording. >> you know what we have? it's not [ bleep ] bullets [ bleep ] spitting on her [ bleep ] body. >> reporter: he's gone through a messy divorce with the mother of his three children. >> is she going to like [ bleep ] slump down and die right there? that would be ideal but maybe she'll writhe around and start making noise. >> how quickly did you think, he's not just blowing off steam, cease serious? >> he talked about buying a gun and hiding it. >> reporter: conraf lays out what sounds to joanna like a carefully conceived blueprint. >> this is when the kids are in the house. one choice is to do it in the bedroom. there's lots of ways to make it happen. >> reporter: what would make dr. conraf want to kill? >> she has a million dollar life insurance policy, i'm the beneficiary. >> reporter: the beneficiary because he would be the one to look after the kids if anything happened to her. she doesn't know it yet but something might. his strategy? he would make it look like suicide. >> she shoots herself in the
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head, she kills herself. >> while you're recording him, you're not trying to talk about it. you're just in shock? >> uh-huh. >> reporter: sounds like joanna may be considering going along with the plan, wanting to know what the doctor is going to do for her. >> you're going to have to start thinking about money. >> why? >> you don't care about me? >> reporter: then joanna flies back to indiana, ignoring conraf's calls. he calls law enforcement and asks them to check on her, telling them he fears she may be suicidal. when joanna hears that word, she wonders if she's conraf's new target. she tells the officer what's really going on. >> did you share the recording with her? >> i did. and then her partner came in and then they listened to it. >> reporter: detective sergeant mike rogers can't believe his ears. >> couldn't this have just been a guy blowing off steam, talking about his ex-wife, like a lot of
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guy dozen? >> that's always a possibility but i thought we needed to go further with the investigation. >> reporter: rogers calls him in for questioning. >> we've uncovered some concerning conversation between you and joanna about you wanting to kill ana. >> reporter: and the doctor is happy to spin his own yarn. >> there's a difference between ranting about my ex-wife or, you know, i'm sure she does the same thing about me. >> reporter: detective rogers searches this humble rental home conraf and joanna were sharing and finds that gun in the garage. along with other incriminating evidence. he's arrested and charged with attempted murder. to the prosecution the case looks open and shut. but in keeping with the spirit of this strange saga, conraf won't stand trial. >> you decided to drop those charges? >> ultimately we had to. you had to be in the vicinity with the means to commit the murder. we couldn't get the case past the judge. >> reporter: turns out the law in indiana states, planning is
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not enough to convict. >> they had the recording, they had the gun, they had the bullets, they had the bag. but under indiana law it seems that's still not enough. because they didn't stop him at that point where he physically could have committed the crime. >> case law in this state looks like your best friend. >> yes. >> reporter: conraf says he never should have been accused of attempted murder. >> sounds like a well thought through plot and motive to kill your ex-wife. >> it was a fantasy that i had. and it was a detailed fantasy. >> reporter: as you can see, in a final twist, he's ended up back in jail. when the initial charge was dropped, conraf was released as >> i thought it was a reasonable offer. >> reporter: the offer came with one very clear condition. absolutely no contact with his ex-wife or his former girlfriend. a rule conraf would violate even
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before his release. >> he used his children to text and try to contact me. >> reporter: he broke the no contact order and then went on the lam. >> my prediction was he would be in mexico within 30 days of being released. he surprised me. he tried it in 14 days. >> he was arrested tonight a mile outside of flagstaff. >> reporter: conraf pled guilty to stalking charges and fleeing. three weeks ago he was sentenced to ten years in state prison. >> you're back in jail? >> yeah, and wishing i hadn't done that. >> do you have any message to send to anybody? >> just, you know, watch what you say in front of your girlfriends. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm linzie janis in peru, indiana. up next, i got to talk fashion and family with david beckham. he plays an outlaw in his new film short. but at home, it's all about paying by the rules.
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it's already been a couple of years since david beckham hung up his soccer cleats. of course he'd already leveraged his smoldering good looks and high-gloss lifestyle into a global brand. i got to sit down with the multi-millionaire who owns part of a miami soccer franchise and is meeting with world leaders as a unicef ambassador. now he's trying his hand at acting. he's one of the most famous faces on the planet. soccer star turned model turned business mogul turned -- outhah?
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outlaw? that's alexander. starring as the motorcycle-driving, leather-clad, mysterious stranger in fashion grand bell staff's short film "the outlaws." >> this is very different than your average ad campaign. >> it is. they will, what can we do next? i like to do things that are give. i've never had to kind of act in this magnitude. that was obviously the challenge. and something that i was personally really excited about. >> there's already a social media campaign to get you to be the next james bond. >> i saw that the other day. and i laughed many times about it. because acting's not something that i want to go into. because i think it's for people that are specialized in that area and i'm not. >> reporter: a beckham specialty, fashion. the soccer star and his posh wife run the hugely successful victoria beckham fashion line. what's it like being a business partner with your wife this. >> it's pretty easy, actually. beef been married 16 years. so you trust each other's
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judgment. my wife, she's a hard worker. her dedication to what she does is incredible. >> reporter: and both are fiercely dedicated to their children. >> are you a soccer dad? >> i am a soccer dad. i do drop-offs, pick-ups. there was one thing that one of my boys turned around to me the other day. he said, daddy, i'm not sure i want to play football all the time. because every time -- it broke my heart a little bit. he said, every time i step onto the field, i know people are saying, this is david beckham's son. and if i'm not as good as you, then it's not good enough. and i was like -- >> oh, stab me! >> i know. i said, okay, stop right there. you play because you want to play. you play because it makes you happy. >> they also have careers. >> yeah. romeo, he's been the face of burr berry for the last couple of seasons which is amazing. >> how do you balance childhood with all that? >> he's treated romeo not like a model, he's treated him like a kid. they live a normal life. that's one thing that we've always worked hard with them.
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>> his film project "outlaws" premieres next monday and will be available online at belstaff. thanks for watching abc news. tune into "good morning america" tomorrow. we're online 24/7 on our "nightline" facebook page and abcnews.com. good night, america. did you hear howie simon's son sold one of those funny anecdotes to reader's digest? yeah, ok, good. good for him. that's $50. yeah? so why can't you do something like that? dad, i'm a writer, dad. the newspaper pays me to write full-time. look, i'm not talking about the sports column. that's great. i'm talking on the side.
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funny anecdotes on the side? yeah. that's free money for you. ok. here. lamb chops. aw, mom, i got the dinner! she's cooking-- all right, one. hi, i'm ray and i live here in long island with my wife, debra. she's great with the kids, the house, everything. i don't know how she does it. we've got a daughter a ally and twin two-year-old boys. it's not really about the kids. my parents live across the street. that's right, and my brother lives with them. now, not every family would go by on a conveyer belt for you, but mine would, because -- everybody loves raymond. yeah, yeah, yeah.

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