tv CNN Presents CNN November 30, 2013 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
here in the midwest, several young girls went missing. some were found murdered. others were never found at all. lawrie, 20, in appleton, wisconsin. rayna, from indiana. wendy felton, 16 from marion, indiana. michelle duey, 20, from indianapolis, indiana. all of these cases went unsolved. officials believed only one man knew what happened. >> we knew he was responsible for several deaths.
>> and to get answers it would take a risky, unusual plan. send a convicted drug dealer undercover into a dangerous prison to befriend and alleged serial killer. >> i'm not a serial killer hunter. i said, how am i going to do this? >> at stake, answers. >> wondering where she is. what happened. >> peace for grieving families. >> you want to find her and bring her home and you can't. >> and one man's freedom. >> you don't just turn around and give out candy and say, you're free to go. i went through hell and back. >> early each day, donna reitler greets her daughter, trisha. >> i say "good morning" every morning. i look at that and i can hear
her say -- hi, mom! >> trisha was very kind-hearted and very smart. >> as a child, says father, garry, trisha lit up the room. >> she would just bound into the room, spread her arms apart and say "ta-da!" that type of thing. >> they brought her here to marion, indiana, to attend this small, christian college. one spring evening in 1993, trisha left her dorm room for a walk. on march 29th around 8:00 at night, trisha reitler came here to this shopping center. she bought a soda and a magazine and started walking back to campus. but then, she disappeared. >> phone call came a little bit after midnight and the voice on the other side said, do you know where your daughter is? >> 19-year-old trisha lin reitler was seen at 8:00 on monday night. >> trisha's disappearance rocked
the community and devastated her parents. >> we'll never know what they have taken away from us. >> trisha's mother made a desperate appeal to trisha on the jerry springer show. >> hang in there and know we love you and we're doing everything we can to find you. >> despite huge media coverage and their pleas for answers, none ever came. >> it's like she just vanished into thin air. >> trisha was never found. >> young college students, they need to be aware. >> kristen was a zellar as iwu when trisha disappeared. >> we were advised to stay in our dorms if you were a girl. >> a week after trisha's disappearance, they needed to go
to the marsh grocery store. >> you thought it would be safe and you would be fine? >> exactly. not far at all. i can see the campus. what's going to happen? >> it was getting dark by the time they left the shopping center walking the same route tricia would likely have taken. >> we were maybe halfway up the road when heather turned to me and said, did you happen to notice that brown van? and i said, no. >> then the van passed again, slowly. >> we still were not alarmed. he came by again. >> a third time? >> a third time, yup. really slow this time. looking at us. the hair on the back of our necks started to stand up. >> the van pulled up right up be side them. >> how close, show me. >> he was, i mean, his wheels were right on the side of the curb. this was me. this was heather and helened over and started to say something and at that point we were both like -- run, just run.
>> the girls called security, describing a two-tone van driven by a man with mutton chopped side burns. officers spotted the van and talked to the driver, a man named larry hall. he said he was looking for a friend's address but the address he gave didn't exist. so officers let hall go. september 20th, 1993. six months after trisha's disappearance, now 15-year-old jessica roach goes missing in georgetown, illinois. investigator gary miller got the call. >> we all knew that we had something really bad here. we had an abduction. >> jessica's badly decompose body was found in an indiana cornfield weeks later. but then, like trisha's jessica's case went cold. >> there's a lot of times you wonder whether you'll ever solve it but you know you'll keep going and check everything out and recheck everything. >> for over a year, miller scoured local police reports and then, a break. a vehicle reported in a county nearby. the owner? larry hall. >> he had been involved in stopping some girls. those girls were scared.
they ran from him. >> in the last six months, hall's van was spotted by more than 11 girls in five different towns close by. including those where jessica lived and where her body was found. now, miller contacted the police in hall's hometown to arrange for an interview. >> he initially said, no. he hadn't been over here. >> miller had to coax hall to admit being near jessica's house. >> i saiding with well, would you remember if you stopped and offered girls a ride and asked them to get in your van?
>> he said he stops and talks to. >> everybody after a few questions, miller took a gamble. and he put a photo of jessica down in front of hall. >> he immediately flinched. he turned to his right and he put his hand up over his face like he didn't want to see the picture. he told me he didn't think he had ever seen that girl. >> later, a heartbreaking mystery -- >> there's so little that we can do to find her. i just want to bring her home. >> and the dangerous plan to solve it. my employer matches my charitable giving. really. i get bonuses even working part-time. where i work, over 400 people are promoted every day. healthcare starting under $40 a month. i got education benefits. i work at walmart. i'm a pharmacist. sales associate. i manage produce. i work in logistics. there's more to walmart than you think. vo: opportunity. that's the real walmart. [ female announcer ] we eased your back pain...
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larry hall and his brother, gary, had always been a little different. look at you two little boys. which one are you? and which one is larry. >> this would be me. >> gary and larry. in a rare recorded interview obtained by cnn, larry hall recounts a tough start. >> i know when i was born my mother told me that i was blue. that i hadn't got enough oxygen to me or something.
>> identical twin sons growing up hard. in the hall home there was little money and lots of problems. author hillel levin interviewed larry hall. >> it was a very cluttered household. they were raised with dysfunction. >> the neighbors say the mother was domineering. the father drank and sometimes turned violent. he worked at the local cemetery. what was it like growing up to a seb cemetery? was it creepy? >> no, not at all, not for me. at 12 years of age, larry and i started working at the cemetery. >> as he grew older, larry had problems fitting in at school. >> he was always the backward twin. i was the more dominant out going twin. he hung out with what my wife and i and a lot of fellow classmates, called "the misfits" or the "stinky" crowd. >> still, the boys were best
friends and as young men gary and larry developed a unusual hobby as civil war re-enactors. >> during that time period, i was able to travel around and meet him at battlefields and go on tours and stuff. it was a lot of fun. >> larry was hooked, even growing the mutton chops from his hair tlooin his seoul. though the re-enactment helped larry make friends he still struggled with women. >> what was he like around young women growing up? >> very awkward, quiet, backward. >> did he ever talk to you about urges he reportedly says he had urges about women? >> oh, my, gosh. it was absolutely -- it was out of bounds. i had no idea -- >> jimmy keene grew up 125 miles away in illinois. he didn't know larry hall and he
had no idea that their worlds would some day collide. >> third down and five at the 25 yard line. >> for jimmy keene, life couldn't have been more different. while hall was an awkward outsider, jimmy keene was a star! especially under the lights on friday nights. >> we would come out here. the lights would be on. the whole stadium would be just completely full and the crowd would be roaring and it was just a very euphoric high. the friday night games were the biggest rush i ever had in my life. >> a gifted athlete, he lettered
in two sports, studied martial arts and inspired fear in everyone he faced. you like having people terrified of you just a little bit? >> in that kind of sport, sure, you have to. that's why they called me "the assassin." my nickname was "the assassin." the reason is because i put somebody out in every game i ever played. >> keene wasn't just the hometown hero, he was his father's namesake. >> my dad gentry sat up in the corner. if i made a spectacular play he would give me the -- you did goodison." >> how often did he sit in the stands. >> every game. he never missed my practices. >> did that mean a lot to you? >> absolutely. >> he was my backbone. >> keene was as popular as he was athletic. >> you're a legend?
>> no doubt. they had posters of me all over town. everybody knew who i was with my sports ability. so, yeah, i was the most popular guy around. no question, i was voted most popular guy in school. >> jimmy seemed to have everything. except enough money to keep up with the rich kids at school. and he only saw one way to get it. he started selling drugs at school. and quickly learned, he was good at it. >> you're making decent money you don't think, is this a wrong thing that you're doing. so i kept growing into it and growing into it and by the time i was 20 years old i was sitting on top of an empire. >> by keen's own account, he was pulling in around $1 million a year! he was addicted. not to the drugs, but the money. >> it's hard to walk away from that kind of money, especially a 20 year old. >> so, he didn't. and that single decision would
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parties with volleyball nets, live bands. we'd have literally a thousand people or more sometimes. these were gigantic, huge parties. >> you were the guy women wanted to be with and device wanted to be best friends with. >> something like that. >> back then, he owned this 6,000 square foot home. >> right behind that is a golf course. he says he didn't stash the drugs here. >> this is a walk-in closet. >> but there was always a place to hide his fortunes. >> this was a hidden trap door that you could open and when you open it, you have another hidden kro set back in here. you can see my old safe is still here. this was pretty much my ft. knox room. >> for 15 years, keene's empire remained hidden and growing. but as he lived the high life, his father fell on hard times, nearing the brink of financial ruin. >> my dad, to me, was superman. so see him in such a hurt way
really killed me. >> so jimmy used his drug fortune to bail his father out. then continued to support him. >> even though it was coming wrong i felt i did something very right to make his world right. >> but the money never seemed to be enough. and keene couldn't stop watching his back. by the fall of 1996, the pressure of life in the fast lane was catching up. >> i had woke up in the middle of the night and i was laying there wide awake and i thought, i'm tired of running like this. i really just want this all to end. >> and it was all about to end but not the way keene had planned. two weeks later -- >> i heard the front door rattle and i thought it was the wind. it was no. next thank you know, boom, the
whole door blew off the hinges and they came flying in a straight file line and guns drawn and black uniforms. we'll blow your head off, move one time -- >> for jimmy keene it was over. >> everything stops and goes in slow motion. you don't even feel like it's real. >> he was ultimately dragged to vail. he immediated guilty hoping to minimize his sentence and at first, the federal prosecutor larry beaumont was willing to negotiate. >> initially we tried to what we call "flip" him to see if he would give us other drug dealers at the time. and i think he refused so our reaction was to make sure he gets the maximum penalty. >> beaumont got his way and keene got ten years.
it knocked the life out of him and broke his father's heart. >> any hopes and dreams he had had for me at that point in life, were gone. he was crushed. i mean, he was very crushed. >> jimmy couldn't imagine a way out. nor guess that a man he had never met might some day provide him one. november, 1994, wabash, indiana. it had been two weeks since larry hall recoiled from a photo of jessica roach. and investigator gary miller had a gut instinct. >> i really think we're on to something. he portrays this weak timid person, but, you know, i don't think he truly is. >> miller thought hall was vicious and as the investigation unfolded, miller also thought he knew how hall abducted jessica roach. >> when he first seen her, she was riding from toward the house going down this way.
>> hall followed and stopped to talk. jessica got scared and backed away. >> that's when he opens the door, grabs her and there's a physical confrontation where he overpowers her. put her in his van and left, probably going up this road right past her house. >> in an interview in the wabash police station, hall surprised investigators by explaining what happened next. i tied her up but i can't remember with what. i took her pants off. hall said he raped her and led her off through the woods. i laid her up against a tree and put a belt around her neck and she stopped breathing. hall said he strangled jessica from behind so he didn't have to see her face as she died. and that wasn't all. all of the girls looked alike, hall said. i cannot remember all of them. i picked up several girls in
other areas but i can't remember which ones i hurt. several girls in other areas. there were more victims than just jessica roach. hall said he'd also been near the campus of indiana wesleyan university or trish shall reitler had disappeared. i was over there because i needed to be with somebody. it was a small shopping center. i had a van. hall said he raped and strangled a girl here, too. and then he identified his victim, by pointing to tricia's picture. tricia's disappearance had remained a mystery for 18 months. >> we were just kind of sitting on the sidelines waiting for information to come in. >> with little evidence and local police insisting on another suspect, tricia's parents, garry and donna still suffered. >> with each thing that came in the urgency was great. and the heartache was great,
too. and. anticipation and the hope. >> hall's confession met the reitler's might at least find their daughter. and that gary miller had found the killer of jessica roach. but the next day, hall changed his story. >> as i was talking to him he said, i was just telling you about my dreams. that didn't really happen. he said, it was just my dreams. i said, larry, that's not what you said. you said it happened and you didn't like talking about it because you didn't like the things you had done but you never mentioned it being a dream. >> but he stuck to his new story. larry hall was recanting everything. a subaru...
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had other evidence like the witness who drove by this cornfield the night of jessica's murder. >> that person testified that he was absolutely sure that when he went by here that night there was a van and a guy coming from the corn field to get in his van. >> a search of hall's house and van revealed he had been casing out small college towns and keeping suspicious notes. "seen joggers and bikers. many alone. check colleges, parks. seen some prospects." hall also made lists for the hardware store. "buy two more plastic tarps. cover all floor and sides of van."
and hall wrote himself -- troubling instructions. no body contact. buy condomless. buy two more leather belts. find one now! among his things, investigators found newspaper clippings about roach and reitler, possessions from other missing girls and pornographic pictures hall had altered. >> in those pictures, he had drawn what looked like a rope or belt around the neck of one of -- of the left side of the mouth he had drawn blood. >> hall insisted it was all just staged, to make a play for attention. to feel important to police. >> i put a bunch of stuff in that van that i drove around with because i knew they'd eventually search my van and find them.
>> during larry's trial, his twin brother, gary, tried to provide him an alibi, still, federal prosecutor larry beaumont, got hall convicted of kidnapping jessica roach. >> in the federal system, if you're guilty of a kidnapping and that kidnapping resulted in a death, under the sentencing guidelines it's a mandatory life term. >> the jessica roach case was over. but the disappearance of tricia reitler remained unsolved. and her parents, garry reitler and donna, could not stop looking. >> we walked the sides of the roads. the riverbeds. we looked under the culverts. we went to crack houses because somebody had a lead. >> if you see something on the side of the road, a garbage bag, whatever, it's like -- could that be her? >> it was such a horrendous crime to lose your daughter and never find out what the heck happened to her. >> larry beaumont kept looking too. >> i actually made arrangements on a couple of occasions to go out and look for the body. >> beaumont called in specialized military and law
enforcement units to search. >> we were not able to find it. so rather than give up, it occurred to me that obviously, larry hall knew. >> beaumont needed answers and turned to an unlikely source to get them. he needed someone to befriend larry hall. someone charismatic, someone on the inside. larry beaumont needed jimmy keene. he had sent both keene and hall to prison. now he hatched a risky plan that would bring them together. keene was ten months into his sentence when beaumont brought him into talk. >> scared me. i thought it was a trick. >> keene watched nervously as beaumont pushed a folder across the table. >> and i open it up and the first thing i seen was a picture of a mutilated dead girl. and i flipped the next page and there was a different mutilated dead girl. >> and there was a portrait of tricia reitler. >> at that moment i looked up at him and he said, we need you to help us with this case. >> beaumont wanted keene to go
undercover, to transfer from his low security lockup to a dangerous prison. and to befriend alleged serial killer larry hall. >> he says, if you can get solid confessions from him and if you can help us locate the bodies that are still missing, we're willing to completely wash your record. >> keene's mission? to learn where tricia reitler was buried. >> the purpose of this operation was to find that body. >> beaumont made it clear, no body, no early release. keene would have to serve the rest of his ten-year sentence. but beaumont believed keene could do it. >> he's smart. he's articulate. he's not afraid. and i knew he wanted to get out. >> for keene, it was a chance tore redemption. to restore his family name and, says arthur hmplt illel levin, to get his life back on track. >> this deal was a way for him to get home and also a way for him to do good, and kind of take that bad thing he had done and somehow turn it inside out and make it something that would solve a crime. >> but it wouldn't be easy. >> it's fair to say he was risking his life. he could have been killed. >> it was dangerous, absolutely.
>> it was highly risky. these people in those types of places haven't got anything better to do than try to hurt you and kill you, too. >> keene was unsure. but a phone call home but his doubts to rest. his stepmother said his father had suffered a stroke. >> she said, he's in really bad shape. we wish you were here. this is terrible that you're in a spot where you're in right now because we could lose him. >> keene needed to get home fast and there was only one way to make that happen. he had to face an alleged serial killer first. >> i decided, you know what? however bizarre or how far out or whatever this mission that beaumont wants me to go on, i'm going to do it. with amazing rewards.
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of his life. >> i started to get cold feet. and i looked at the u.s. marshal and i said, listen, how do we nobo mont will live up to his word? they all assured me he would. i said, i'm not sure if i can do this. >> but there was no turning back. and he needed to prepare. agents had warned him to be careful. >> we don't want you to approach him for at least six months because he's a very cagey individual. if he senses one thing wrong, he goes into a shell like a turtle and you'll never get him back out once he's in. >> but keene didn't have time to wait. he needed to get home to his ailing father so hours after becoming a springfield inmate, he spotted larry hall. and he made his first move. >> i made it a point for us to bump shoulders and as we gently bumped shoulders i said, excuse me, i said, i'm new here, you wouldn't happen to know where the library is, would you? >> hall offered to show keene the way. >> and i reached over and slapped him on the shoulder and i said, thanks a lot, i appreciate that from a cool guy like you. >> over the next week, keene
watched hall's every move from his cell across the hall. >> i walked up to him and i says, this is where i'm at, are you in this area here and he says, yeah, i'm right there. and his you'res bug out of his head. i said, that's great. you're right by me. i told you you were a cool by and i'm glad you're by me and all this and that and that's when he basically offered if i ever want to have breakfast with him and his friends. >> keene was making progress, slowly gaining hall's trust. but life at springfield was complicated. and dangerous. so keene figured out a way to use violence to his advantage. it was a saturday night and hall was in the tv room, mesmerized by an episode of "america's most wanted" about serial killers. suddenly another inmate approached the tv. and. >> you could tell he'd been in
o'for a long time, he was a real big buff guy. he walked up, looked at ever b everybody and turned the channel. and i found it very interesting. larry looked at me and very quietly mumbled under his breath, hey, i was watching that show. >> keene leaped into action and knocked the guy out. >> i nailed him with an upper cut and kicked him through three rows of chairs. he was beat up real bad and had to go to the hospital and they took me and threw me in the hole. >> it was worth it. and it was a breakthrough with hall. >> he not only now looked at me as a guy he could look at and say, wow, he thinks i'm cool coming from him, that's a compliment. and now he's also able to protect me. >> now, keene had hall's trust and had him talking. one night, in hall's cell, he told keene the truth about what happened to tricia reitler. but what hall told keene was
different from what some investigators believed. it was his story, along with some evidence that created a roadmap i wanted to follow to try to figure out what happened to tricia reitler. tricia would have left this supermarket parking lot, walking just a couple of blocks back to campus. somewhere along this road, hall told keene he got tricia into his van when she fought off his advances, he said he choked her to keep her quiet. hall told keene he blacked out and when he woke up, tricia was naked and lifeless. days after her disappearance, investigators found her blood-soaked clothes here, just one block from the supermarket. hall's own notes indicate what might have happened next. exactly one week after tricia's disappearance, hall wrote -- cut out stained carpet. vacuumed van thoroughly. buy new hack saw blades. clean all tools. along with his notes was this address, 700 west slocum, in the woods, halfway between marion and wabash and it is possible
woods. >> he admitted to you he buried her in the woods? >> several times he admitted that, yes. >> i basically made him feel like it was okay to tell me his secret. >> but keene still needed the secret that would set him free. the exact location of tricia's body. weeks later, he thought he nailed it when he found hall hovered over a map in the prison workshop. >> it was a map with red dots over indiana, illinois and wisconsin and he covered it up really fast. >> lined up at the edge of the map were a dozen wooden falcons. >> i said, wow, this is pretty cool, did you make these? he said, yeah, i make them. it's really cool, jim. they watch over the dead. >> falcons, to watch over the dead, and a map mark with dots. it was the information keene thought would surely lead to the exact location of tricia's body. >> and that moment did you
think, this is my ticket to freedom? >> i did. because i thought this is it. i've got solid confessions out of him. we know specific details. we know how he's done it now. >> keene believed he had his answer. he'd soon be free. that he was done forever with larry hall. so that night, at lockdown, keene decided to tell hall what he really thought. >> i told him he was a [bleep]ing sicko. that he was insane. you're one of the most despicable forms of human life on this planet. all of the sudden he was terrified of me and he says, beaumont sent you, didn't he? beaumont sent you, didn't he? >> keene had blown his cover. and his outburst landed him in solitary confinement. >> it took some time before we found out they put jimmy in the hole so he was not able to communicate with anybody on the outside. >> by then, hall's map and the falcons had disappeared. worst of all, as keene was let out of springfield prison to
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>> during his months in springfield, jimmy keene got larry hall to provide details about several murders hall was suspected of committing, including tricia reitler's. but keene had not met the original requirements of larry beaumont's deal. >> i told him this myself, made it clear to him, if we didn't find the body, no body, no credit. >> sitting in his prison cell, jimmy keene desperately hoped he had done enough. >> are they going to be fair and give me what's justifiably right on this? or are they just going to say, here's six months? it was a crap shoot. >> without a location for reitler's body, beaumont had a decision to make. >> i made arrangements to have him take a polygraph test just to verify was telling us was the
truth, which he passed, and he made a legitimate effort to do what we sent him down there to do. >> so beaumont urged a federal judge to give keene credit for time served. jimmy keene became a free man and returned home to his aging father. what did you feel like when you were finally released? >> i was happy as could be. it was a very bizarre roller coaster that i went on. it was -- i mean, redemption at its best. >> keene had five more good years to be with his father before big jim passed away. >> we both realized once i got out that there is a better world than just always in a constant dash to make money. it's like, look, let's enjoy each other while we're alive here, you know? >> it was closure for keene, but not for the families of the alleged victims of larry hall.
for years, there was no progress and no relief for people like donna and garry reitler. >> as a parent, there's the part that you flutter down and that you want to find her and bring her home and you can't. i mean, we've done pretty much physically everything that we can to find her. and there's somebody out there that holds that one answer for us. >> beaumont, too, felt he had done all he could and that the pursuit of larry hall was over. >> there wasn't going to be no further prosecution from the federal perspective. he's already serving life imprisonment. he wasn't going anywhere. i mean,, you know, he was done. >> once again, larry hall had slipped off the radar. and it easily could have remained that way, except for jimmy keene. first, keene's story of strange redemption was featured in a "playboy" article and then a book written by keene and hillel levin. >> once we were able to write
about what jimmy went through, then things happened. >> keene's story refocused attention on larry hall. helped re-open cold cases and put pressure on his twin brother, gary. now gary stopped defending larry and started talking. >> larry, just like jimmy keene calls him, and he is. he's a baby killer. >> you think your brother is a baby killer? >> i don't have no doubt in my mind. >> do you think your brother killed more than jessica roach? >> yes. >> do you think your brother killed tricia reitler? >> yes. >> rayna riceon? michelle duey? >> yes. >> as gary talked more openly, detectives approached him asking for help. >> i went with the indianapolis detectives down to try to get my brother to confess. he made me leave the room.
he did, in fact, confess on tape to 15 serial murders. >> larry later retracted again. and while he can't ever seem to stick to one story, he does, sometimes, seem to have regrets. >> i didn't want to keep living my life the way i was living it. i wanted things to be different, you know, but i guess i didn't really do the right things and change the way my life was going. >> larry hall refused our request for an interview. he has never been charged with crimes against anyone other than jessica roach. but keene's story has caused officials across the country to take another look at hall. >> in november of 2010, investigators from the town of the nashville police department interviewed mr. hall at a federal prison in north carolina. >> in that interview, hall admitted murdering lori depeaze and provided clues of where to find her body.
>> multiple agencies are looking into him. >> larry hall may have had more victims than ever imagined. >> we understand it's even more extensive than we ever thought. not 20, but maybe 30 to 40 in terms of the victims. >> that leaves 30 or 40 families still awaiting answers. which is why, says levin, it's critical that serial investigations do not stop. two decades after tricia reitler vanished her father, gary, believes larry hall knows where to find her. >> i think if larry knew what we go through on a daily basis, you know, wondering where she is. wondering what happened, i don't think he would have any choice but to confess and let us know where she's buried. >> donna reitler is not as sure. >> yeah, he confessed. he recanted.
he confessed, he recanted. without a body, it's just another possibility. >> more than anything else, they just want their daughter back. >> to have a place to lay her to rest, just to be able to sit and just talk to her. >> as for jimmy keene, his truth is stranger than fiction. he's gone from football standout to drug dealer to undercover operative. and now -- to screen star, with his story in development as a hollywood film. still, says keene, he thinks of the victims' families and hopes they'll find their answers. >> that's all they can do is keep hoping. there was a glimmer of hope when jimmy keene was involved. maybe something else will still evolve out of this. >> maybe the things i've done
and am still doing will still shine a light and give them hope at some point. west memphis police discovered the bodies of three 8-year-old boys in a drainage ditch. >> autopsies showed they died from blows to the head. >> a horrific crime. three young boys murdered. >> at 9:00 that night i knew that i would never see him alive again. >> three teenage boys suspected. >> i wanted to bash their head up against the wall, kick their face in. >> three teens, demonized. >> that was the first thing that everybody started saying, that it was a ritualistic killing, satanic killing. >> three teens, convicted.