tv Forensic Files CNN May 18, 2014 12:00am-12:31am PDT
but i'm a monster who is filled with remorse and i feel for the people i hurt when i did -- allowed this man to manipulate me into doing what i did. >> for everybody that had a part in this and every lead was tenaciously followed. every item of evidence was collected and up next, is it a murder, suicide, or fraud? >> red flags were going off i think for our detective bureau. >> investigators follow the money trail for clues. >> there was a $5 million policy that ultimately we found later. >> there was a lot of items that weren't matching up at all. >> but in the end, only science has the answers. >> i had never seen a case that took so many turns and so many different directions and really it was bizarre.
diesel truck pulling is an obscure sport in the united states, but it enjoys a loyal and growing fan base. >> it actually involves pulling way more weight than these trucks are designed to pull. >> here we go. and so you have to be a really good mechanic to be into it. >> for 39-year-old building contractor ari squire, preparing diesel trucks for these competitions was more than a hobby. it was his obsession. to accommodate this pasttime, ari built a 2300 square foot garage on his property in the chicago suburbs. >> ari was a bit of a gearhead. so he had his truck that he apparently was always working on. >> it wasn't considered a dangerous hobby until one february morning in 2008 when ari's wife called 911. >> 911, lake county sheriff.
>> i think my garage is on fire. i just heard some noise and i opened the door and it's all black smoke. >> and there's smoke coming from your garage? >> should i go outside or what should i do? >> go where it's safe, okay? >> when the smoke cleared, firefighters found ari's lifeless body underneath a truck. >> it appeared the truck had slipped off the front jack and it had crushed the victim. >> he had suffered severe burns over most of his body. it looked like the truck fell off the jack while ari was underneath working on the fuel filter. fuel spilled from the filter on to ari's clothes. the truck broke a fluorescent lamp, and a spark ignited the fuel. >> this was likely an accidental death. we've certainly seen deaths of people, working underneath their vehicles that have slid off of jackson, fallen on them and crushed them to death.
>> although the body was unrecognizable, ari's driver's license was recovered from his back pocket. >> we rarely actually compare these things to driver's license. people lie on their driver's license. so sometimes that information isn't correct. >> the medical examiner wanted to make a positive identification using scientific methods. this proved to be harder than anyone expected. >> based on the extent of the burns on the face and the hands and the arms, we couldn't do fingerprints. we couldn't do facial recognition so our only choice was dna and dental. >> well, as it turns out, ari squire hadn't been to the dentist in will a decade. >> at the fire scene, investigators saw something suspicious on the garage circuit panel. >> checking out all the circuits on those, i noticed that they were all in the off position. >> if the circuit breakers were off, there would have been no electricity to power the light, which theoretically, had started
the fire. >> i inquired whether the fire department had indeed turned those off. they said no, they hadn't touched the circuit box at all. >> ari had been working on a diesel truck fuel filter. but tests showed there was an accelerant on ari's clothing more flammable than diesel fuel. >> red flags were going off i think if for our detective bureau certainly. it was consistent with a gasoline type which would have more of a lighter petroleum product. >> when investigators looked into ari's personal life, friends said there was no love lost in the squires' childless 14-year marriage. >> they did not sleep in the same bed. when i got to the house, i did see that it was obvious both beds had been slept in that night. >> it wasn't really a close knit marriage. that was coming out very clearly. >> even more suspicious, ari had $5 million worth of life insurance and ari's wife denise
was the sole beneficiary. but when questioned by police, dennis claimed she knew nothing about it. >> so we began to try to find out why the wife would not know these details concerning aere. >> ari's wife moved quickly to cremate his body before being stopped by police. >> the fire was on saturday and she wanted to have that body released i think she was making phone calls by monday or tuesday that she needed the body for cremation into it became more and more obvious that indeed this was a homicide that had been covered up. [ female announcer ] hands were made for playing. ♪ legs, for crossing. ♪ feet...splashing. better things than the joint pain and swelling of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. if you're trying to manage your ra, now may be the time to ask about xeljanz. xeljanz (tofacitinib) is a small pill,
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ari squire was working on a diesel truck fuel filter at the time of his death. when investigators re-created the incident, they discovered it would have been easy for someone to release the jack holding up the truck and kill the person working beneath it. >> a lot of people showed surprise that ari would not have used safety equipment when working underneath his vehicle. >> as investigators tried to figure out what was going on,
detective morrison was home watching television and saw an episode of "forensic files" that was ear rhode islandly similar. >> rutherford case, it happened in new england. i'm watching and i'm seeing a dead body. there's a truck fire. he faked his death and then came back and assumed another identity. there were so many similarities between the two cases. >> the life insurance amounts in both cases were virtually identical. >> madison rutherford, he had two insurance policies one for $5 million, 1 for $2 million. it was very similar to ari where he had one for $5 million and one for $1 million. >> the madison rutherford case unrabled when forensic odontology problemed wasn't rutherford who died in the fire. and that's precisely what happened to ari squire when
investigators found squire's dentist from ten years earlier. the file was so old, there were no x-rays. >> he did get ahold of a dental note about a certain tooth and a certain filling >> the dentist had seen him for a large cavity on the lower right molar, and the dentist had placed a very large silver type filling in the tooth. >> when investigators checked the victim's teeth, there was no such filling. >> the body that they had, the burned body was not ari squires. >> if it's not ari squire, who is it and why are they underneath there? >> one clue came to police through a missing person notification. a woman called police to report her 20-year-old son justin newman was missing. he worked at the local home depot store and hadn't been seen since the fire. >> he told me he had met a man that comes into home depot quite
often and he had pulled justin aside and asked him if he would like to make more money. so justin said yeah, that sounds good, you know. >> justin told his mom the man was aery squire and that he was going to do some work at ari's house. >> he was supposed to be meeting with ari squire on february 23rd, the day that aere squire was believed to have died. >> he says mom, he offered me $15 an hour. he says and you know, right now we could really use that money. >> then the day after justin went missing, his mother got a text message from his cell phone. >> it said mom, gone missouri to work. call you next week. >> justin's mother was very skeptical. >> justin doesn't text, know? it wasn't justin. he would pick up the phone and call me. there was no way he would text me. >> as police tried to trace the origin of that text message, they re-examined the burned body.
justin was 5'6", 140 pounds, virtually the same height and weight as ari squire. scientists compared dna from justin's toothbrush to dna from the victim. they also took a dna sample from justin's mother into when we finally got the dna results back, we were able to positively identify the body that we had as justin new man. >> police put out an all points bulletin for justin new man's car which was missing. they assumed if they found newman's car, they'd also find ari squire.
. just one day after the arson fire that killed justin newman, denise squire received an e-mail from her husband ari. >> my will and letters are in my file drawer to my left in my office. they are located in a priority mail envelope addressed to you. >> three days after the fire, she received another e-mail from ari's e-mail account. >> when will my ashes be returned to you? where are you planning on disconsist%ing them? is there anything you need? thank you, denise.
with my love, ari. >> it appeared to me that he was trying to find out where we're at in the investigation without coming out and saying hey, you know, how are they doing? did they buy us? >> denise denied any involvement in justin newman's murder and claimed she had no idea where ari was, but now, another home depot employee told police a story that turned the investigation upside down. >> one of justin's co-workers comes up to the cops and he says i know ari squire. he was in here all the time, and this is the part that's really weird. he was asking me to do work for him, too. >> justin was not the primary target. ari had singled out another home depot employee who better matched his age and physical description. >> that person was sandy lively. a remarkable physical match to ari squire.
>> it's a creepy picture. he's the hunter and i'm the prey. that's exactly how i thought about it. he was stalking. i mean, that's how i felt. >> he didn't know that he was a possible victim. he had no idea until we brought those pictures in. i mean, it was scary. that was really scary. >> strangely ari who normally didn't wear a beard grew one in the weeks before the murder. >> ari starts to make himself look even more like sandy lively, and by growing a beard, the two almost looked like twins. >> when sandy agreed to do some work for ari, ari gave him this extraordinarily detailed job application. >> i've never seen an application that asked where a tattoo was at, what they were of and the pierce. if i had any piercings anywhere, i don't see how that would make a difference if i have a piercing if i'm going to be a carpenter. >> finally, sandy agreed to meet a rhode island at his house, but
fortunately for sandy, the meeting never took place. >> i was supposed to go to ari's on the saturday morning, and the night before my daughter had a slumber party for her tenth birthday party and kept me up all night. so the i overslept. >> just a few hours later, that same day, prosecutors believe ari grew impatient and called his fallback target justin newman. justin thought he was there to do some freelance construction work. >> put some shelving is up along this far wall here. >> prosecutors think ari used chloroform since there was no evidence of blunt force trauma. ari stripped justin down to his underwear and redressed him in his clothes and shoes. he placed justin under the truck.
pumped up the hydraulic jack, and then let it fall, killing justin instantly. in order to hide the identity of the body, ari doused it with more diesel fuel than the fuel filter would have held. then used a more flammable accelerant to propel the fire. he wanted to make it look like the truck broke the fluorescent light, creating the spark that ignited the fire, but that's not what caused the fire. the circuit breakers were off. so there was no power going to the light. he most likely used a match. and the amount of fuel on the body was inconsistent in amount and makeup from the fuel held by a truck's fuel filter. ari clearly didn't realize that fire doesn't destroy everything. justin's teeth didn't resemble
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investigators think that ari squire's motive for setting the arson fire and faking his own death was money. he was about to turn 40 years old. and he could no longer afford to pay his monthly premiums for his $5 million life insurance policy, and those premiums were about to go up. >> the insurance premiums were $2,000 a year but he came to a point where they were going to be jumping up to $13,000 a year and he was broke. he didn't have the money. >> investigators also found evidence ari squire's construction company was vi virtually bankrupt. >> at the time of this incident the housing boom had now crashed. people were starting to retract. there wasn't any work. his project down in florida was failing and in bankruptcy. and he was having a lot of financial difficulties.
>> to fake his own death, ari squire needed someone who looked like him in height, weight, and physical appearance. >> he gave his number and took my number and called me every day and stopped in every day and pretty much was pretty persistent. >> when sandy lively failed to show up for his appointment with ari in, frustration, ari turned to his second choice, justin new man. and dna positively identified that it was justin who perished in the arson fire. >> it was the worst feeling i've he ever p ever had in my entire life. he was my best friend and still nowadays i just look and i go, i just can't believe he's not here. >> police assumed ari fled to missouri because that's where he said he was in if the phony text mess and he sent to justin's mother. police in missouri had been on
the lookout for justin newman's red sports car. and nine days after the fire, an alert police officer found it in a motel parking lot. >> motels not your typical family motel. it was more of a rundown type motel. >> the clerk at the motel identified ari squire as the man who rented the room. >> is he here today? >> but the room was registered in the name of justin newman. >> the policeman decided to approach the room without backup. and he knew most likely, ari would be armed. and ready. >> police officer. >> before he could get through the door -- a loud gunshot. he walks in, there's a body there and there's the gun laying there. >> the victim had justin new man's identification. the same color hair and eyes.
but despite the attempt at disguise, dna confirmed the dead man was ari squire. >> he knew he was in some deep, deep you know? he took the easy way out because he knew he was going to go to jail. he was going to jil for the rest of his life. >> the thought of being behind bar for the rest of his live, forget, it wasn't going to happen. ari squire with his narcissism was too cowardly to come back, face the music and be forced to own up to what he did. >> donna fiorito filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit against denise squire for the death of her son justin and the jury awarded her $6 million. >> i just can't believe he's not here. that man and his wife ari squire and his wife always had money but it wasn't enough for them. they had to go kill a young kid that had his whoa life going for him. >> a criminal investigation into
denise squire's possible involvement continues. denise's attorney denies she was involved. >> she knew nothing about the plan. she knew nothing about the design. she knew nothing about this newman man who was deceased. >> however, the e-mails exchanged between ari and denise squire after the fire leave little doubt in the minds of investigators. >> he needed denise involved because they weren't going to give the 5 maryland to him. who were they going to give it to? denise so in order for him to get anything out of that, she would have had to have been involved. >> ari squire spent months planning the murder. but science inevitably had the upper hand in finding the truth. >> a coward, took the easy way out after he took the life of a 20-year-old kid that had a whole life ahead of had im. >> in this case forensic science worked, forensic
dentistryworked. >> i've never seen a case ta took so many turns and so many different directions and really it was bizarre. >> you can't fool science. >> you can't -- by definition, it's science. and it works. and it's repeatable. and it's verifiable. and it's accepted. >> up next, a suspicious house fire nearly kills an entire family. had she been in there much longer, she certainly won't have survived. >> a lont later, the husband is assaulted and the wife is dead. >> who did this? who would have possibly want wanted to hurt her. >> everyone was in lockdown move. new lights, new sensors had been purchased. everyone was on edge. >> police have no witnesses, no motive and no suspects. >> this was a savage brutal attack. >> until science uncovers an elaborate plan. >> everybody was scratching their heads.