tv Lockup Charleston Extended Stay MSNBC February 11, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PST
>> in your decades of law enforcement, have you ever had a session of interviews like it this one. >> no. no. he was very straightforward and was very nonchalant about the whole thing. >> so you get down to the point where -- >> after his initial confession, gary hilton, the man of stony silence, became a chatter box, spilling out a story that
sickened detectives who thought they'd heard everything. he began with meredith's abduction here on a hiking trail on blood mountainment he said that he ambushed meredith and her dog ella as she came down the trail. it was a struggle and meredith with her martial artsz skills, as hilton tells it, nearly got the best of his. she disarmed him, taking away his knife and the police baton. >> i lost control of both the bat and the knife. she was real quick with her hands and had no hesitation about grabbing weapons and everything. not only that, she was hard to subdue. fought like hell, man. >> hilton said they scrapped so hard they tumbled off the trail. separated by a few yards from the baton, the dog's leash, the water bottles, objects very importantly soon to be recovered. meredith meanwhile kept right on hilton. >> she started fighting again. i had to fight her again for several minutes. and her doing that is what got me caught.
because if i had been back to the crime scene, just a few minutes sooner, just several minutes sooner, i would have beat those people that found the bat and i would have picked it it up. >> he talks about fighting. >> yes. >> with meredith. that she almost took him. >> i don't really believe everything he says, but that part i believe. there's no doubt that she fought. you know, maybe it's ae littl bit that kind of givesou little smirk to know she almost got him. she gave him a run for his money and i'm sure that he may have thought, i maybe should have chosen somebody else. >> eventually hilt hadden wore meredith down. by then they were way off the main trail. hilton tied his captive to a tree and doubled back to that site where he had been stripped of his weapon. the bay owe net was gone, lost on the forest floor and the hiker had picked up the baton. hilton returned to meredith. >> i told her i had a gun and, you know, i was going to shoot her as now. >> skirting the main trail, he led meredith to his van in the trailhead parking area.
there he secured her with chains in the back of his vehicle and then proceeded to steal her bank cards. hilton drove off to an atm in blairsville, georgia. >> he told detectives meredith had given him her p.i.n. numbers back on blood mountain. did meredith expect it would be all over for her if she gave him the correct numbers? in any case, she had given him bad information. >> and did didn't work? >> it didn't work. she's still telling me, it's it will work. must be a problem with the bank. >> hilton next tried to use meredith's cards a a bank 50 miles south in gainesville, georgia. again, no dice. he made ca thanight with his captive in a remote spot in the forest. the next morning, hilton attempted to use meredith's bank card still again at an atm in canton, georgia. nothing. they returned to his hidden campsite. he held meredith altogether for
four days in the woods. and what nature of man is gary hilton? listen to the confession tapes about what he says about meredith's dog ella. he said he knew the dog had the identifying chip when he let the go in the supermarket parking lot. >> if i wanted to ensure that no one would have associated the dog with her, i would have killed the dog. there's no way i could do that. he was too much of a softy to kill the dog as he explained it. but ella's owner never had a chance. >> she was dead from the beginning. because i just told you, once you've done it, you're either going to kill her or get caught. there's no other solution. that sounds cold and cruel, yeah, it was. >> in his unbelievable cold recollection of the crime, hilton told meredith he was going to let her go after four days of captivity. >> i told her i'm going to take her and release her. >> instead, hilton went to the van, came back with a tire iron
and bludgeoned meredith emerson to death. in an attempt to thwart investigators, he decapitated and poured bleach over the body. this is gruesome beyond belief. >> yes. >> for what reason? >> i don't know. >> hilton had confessed to killing meredith emerson. but what about those other cases in the national forest? a woman in florida, the elderly couple in north carolina. >> he would not talk about anybody to us other than meredith. >> because you have to wonder when the switch was thrown in this man. >> i know. how many decades does this maybe go back? >> i don't know. do people just wake up when they're 61 and start to do these kinds of crimes the way he did them? you know, i would think not. meredith emerson went missing new year's day. less than a month later, gary michael hilton appeared in a georgia courtroom and pleaded guilty to her murder. meredith's parents were there. her mother susan addressed hilton.
>> i believe you have nothing more than a bully and a weak-minded coward who preys on others. he fancies himself a survivalist. well, anyone can see he's a scared little man on the run. >> the state honored the deal it made with the killer. no death penalty and he was sentenced to life in prison. hilton admitted nothing beyond the emerson murder. >> this is it the first time you've ever done anything like this? >> i'll let my attorney answer. >> by now, investigators from half a dozen southeastern states as well as fbi profilers were rummaging through hilton's past. by the time he was captured, he wasn't much more than a vagrant in a van, but his past was more complex. as an army veteran, hilton had earned an associate degree, gotten a private pilot license on the gi bill and been married three times before the wheels apparently came off. "true crime" author fred rosen has written 25 books. his latest is "trails of death" about hilton. >> to underestimate him is foolish.
this is a very dangerous person. >> according to rosen, he was shaped by a number of factors. hilton, who never knew his biological father, was raised by his mother and a stepfather, a horse trainer from argentina. do juvenile authorities run into young gary hilton along the way? >> when gary is 14 years old, he kes a gun and he shoots his stepfather. he doesn't kill him, but he wounds him very severely. and he's institutionalized. they put him in a mental hospital out in miami. >> hilton went to high school in hialeah, florida, played in a rock band and eventually joined the army. a cocky hilton made sure the cops who arrested him knew of his army service back in the '60s with a unit armed with tactic ittal nuclear weapons. >> i've handled atomic bombs. i did special p weapons. i've handled atomic bombs that damn big that weighed 70 pounds. and he bragged about his criminal con man past.
>> i've never worked full time in my life except for the army. i was a career criminal and lawful charity from '73 to '93, for 20 years. >> he's collecting money for charities of's a scam artist. >> exactly. >> and what about the dip into the movie business with the movie "deadly run" he helped make in the 1980s? >> this film where he's sending women out in the woods and killing them, hunting them -- it. >> i hope you like your little outfit i picked out for you, barbara. i think the look is definitely you. >> -- do you think that's the template for what he does decades later? >> yes, i do. that's what's so chilling to me about the whole thing, because in the millennium he'll make art into reality. >> youan hear e echos of this, huh? >> you're already beginning to see the lack of conscience. >> in his interview with the
georgia bureau of investigation, hilton put forth a grandiose sense of himself, a renaissance man of many hats. >> i'm a philosopher, i'm a scientist and i'm an artist. >> what do you mean artist? >> my art is my life and my art is weird. >> he's kind of a philosopher king. i'm an artist. and you poor dumb cops don't have the luxury of being able to think the big cosmic thoughts i do. >> he almost feels sorry for them that they can't keep up with him when he starts going about this, that and the other thing. >> hoping for crumbs of clues in those other open cases, murders in the national forests, the agents wanted to keep hilton talking. >> where all have you hiked? where all have you been in all over the united states? >> oh, i know what you're getting at, the unsolved murders. >> gary hilton thinks he's smart. is he? >> gary has an iq of 120, and that's considered to be way above average. >> the reason i'm so seemingly
intelligent is that i alone amongst almost anyone, including you dudes, have time to actually stop and think about things. >> he'll rattle on as long as someone will listen to him. >> yes, on any topic under the sun virtually, huh? >> yes. >> pick a topic. any topic. how about voluntarily convictology? >> don't you know the super volcano under yellowstone, there are over 70 super volcanoes? when it erupts it basically blankets in a cone the whole eastern seaboard of the u.s. under several feet of ash and would just destroy any civilization in that area. >> the fast-talking flimflam man was on display in some of hilton's home videos found in his van. here is hilton giving a cop that stopped him some lip. >> you tell me he you're the lawman. you're the law. i'm going to check it out. if it ain't the law and you're wrong -- >> come talk to me. >> i'm not talking to nobody. i'm filing and suing because you're interrupting my work. >> you hear gary braking about how smart he is, how well he does his job.
but at the same timehat you hear is an incredible narcissistic personality, which is typical of serial killers. he sets up the camera, and there's gary going -- >> 171 pounds. >> he starts pumping up his biceps like he's arnold schwarzenegger. very narcissistic. >> so why were detectives enduring hilton's self-centered ramblings? clearly they were hoping he'd blurt out something about his involvement in the other unsolved cases in the national forests. but hilton was admitting to nothing. >> basely on our time line, you're basically telling me that you committed no crimes. >> none. >> between '97 -- or '95. >> '95. >> he had escaped the death penalty in georgia, but despite his denials, he remained the prime suspect in the murder of the elderly couple irene and john bryant. mr. bryant's remains were found in january in the north carolina forest.
>> as a result of the investigation in georgia i was absolutely convinced at that point that gary hilton was our suspect. >> but there was another open homicide case that seemed to fit gary hilton like a custom-made suit. down in florida, the body of sheryl dunlap had been found in a national forest. her at card stolen, the remains decapitated. detectives thought that fit hilton's m.o. to a "t." and gary hilton, still playing the smartest kid in the class defied florida to after him, all that time, all that money. >> if they want to spend a million dollars, 2 million, then another 2 million to get death d th another 8 million to defend the death penalty and get around to executing me 17 years from now when i'm 78 years old and i'm decrepit, hey, they can do it. >> two tough florida prosecutors
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mountain. gary was cvicted if georgia of the brutal murder of emer son. that took place in the national forest. one was the murder of a nurse named cheryl dun lap. florida investigators were certain he was the prime suspect. hilten dared authorities to spend the time and hundred to come after him. and they did. suspected sooerorrial killer gary hilton had pleaded guilty to the murder of meredith emerson. in the south, authority in florida were convinced he had murdered nurse and mother sheryl dunlap whose partial remains were recovered two weeks before meredith emerson went missing. hilton was defying authorities in georgia to make the charges stick. >> if they want to spend a
million dollars, 2 million, to convict me and then another 2 million to get death, hey, they can do it. >> leon county florida state's attorney willie max had heard enough and indicted had hilton for the murder of sheryl dunlap. >> he's gone away for life. he'll be leaving georgia corrections in a pine box. why does florida need to go to the expense of a death penalty trial? >> my thought is this is an evil, bad person and there ought to be a consequence in life to evil acts. i don't think murderers ought to be cheaper the more you do >> with the dunlap case looking like a carbon copy of the meredith emor son murder, you may think it would be a gimme. far from it. they could not enter the evidence about the erm son murder or the movie "deadly run" or that he was the prime suspect in the murders of an elderly couple in north carolina.
annie white was part of the team charged with making the case. months earlier, the cops had developed a partial chronology for sheryl dunlap on the saturday she vanished. >> we started receiving calls, we saw her at walmart, saw her here. we started backtracking those to try to get the time line. >> the investigators knew that sheryl's morning had included shopping in tal it hass see, cashing a check at a bank and using a library computer to send an e-mail to had her son in the army. they even had a last sighting. witnesses identified sheryl as the woman peacefully reading a book at this popular spot in the national forest. >> the couple i interviewed that saw her at the sinkholes were very adamant that that was her. >> but the trail had gone cold it at the tallahassee atm where a disguised man had withdrawn money using dunlap's banked cards. a month after sheryl went
missing, the phones in florida were lighting up again. >> when he started had hitting the news media, our citizens here started seeing him and immediately recognizing him. and started calling. >> and that tip line kept ringing. one caller remembered an odd guy with a handsome red dog. that sighting led investigators down another national forest path and to another discovery. more remains. >> we were positive it with was mr. hilton, described the dog, the van. so that was one of the camps where the bones were found. >> deep in the national forest, five miles from where sheryl dunlap's torso had been found, investigators came upon a charred piece of skull and the bony fragments of a human hand in the ashes of a camp fire. >> they were badly burned. >> little camp fire pit kind of thing? >> yes. he had actually done a pretty good job of covering it p up. he had covered it up with straw and took measures to hide his tracks. >> the fire had been so thorough
it was impossible to extract da from the dons. whoever killed sheryl dunlap had gone to extraordinary lengths to eliminate any physical evidence. there was one thing about tracking the odd guy with the red dog that they had going for them. state's assistant prosecutor. >> fortunately for the investigation, if somebody saw gary michael hilton they remembered him. he's got that kind of a face or presence that you don't forget. once we had the description, we had tons of witnesses coming forward. >> and investigators had those home videos of hilton to screen as well. >> last time it was suwannee that was out here. >> i don't think so. >> watching the videos was very educational because i saw him by himself. i saw him with other people. >> people like this restaurant manager suffering a rant from hilton about his delivery drivers. >> you tell these guys to quit terror driving. has he received any it driving safety education? >> sure he has.
>> i saw him with law enforcement. he had many different sides. >> i'm leaving. i'm getting out of here. god almighty. >> he thought he was the smartest bear in the woods. >> definitely. >> smarter than the officers apprehending him. >> definitely. definitely. >> they now had numerous hilton sightings around where sheryl dunlap vanished. but, despite all the investigative work by multiple sheriff's offices and the fdle, no witness came forward to put him together with sheryl dunlap. the nurse's remains were in such poor condition they told investigators nothing about how she died. but there were thousands of other pieces in the puzzle investigators were trying to solve. hilton's van jammed to the roof with hundreds of items was trucked to the florida department of law enforcement crime lab. >> our crime scene analysts spent day and night literally, weeks. >> that van was a mess, right? >> she lived in that van for weeks. she dismantled that van. >> all that evidence from the van was added to items recovered from the dumpster outside
atlanta where hilton was recovered. a georgia cop on blood mountain had found the bayonet wrestled away from gary hilton. now investigators in florida had a theory. >> what was interesting about that knife is, before we knew of mr. hilton, before he had killed ms. emerson and been caught, our analyst in our lab showed us, this is the style -- this is what the knife's going to look like. >> cameras and memory cards were found inside the van. the techie detectives in the fdle computer lab were working overtime trying to unscramble deleted material from the evidence. and deep in their dna lab more than 700 samples were being analyzed in an attempt to find some link between gary hilton and the late sheryl dunlap. had gary hilton managed to outsmart them all? would florida be able to make the case against him? four years after sheryl dunlap's death, it was finally going to trial.
coming up -- >> your palms are sweat wrand your heart is beating. >> the dramatic case begins. how would it end? >> you could just see the jurors, i saw it in theirize, they knew. >> when with "dateline" continues. no, please, please, oh! ♪ (shrieks in terror) (heavy breathing and snorting) no, no. the running of the bulldogs? surprising. what's not surprising? how much money aleia saved by switching to geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. its technology was engineered (beeping). while its design was meant to be seen. experience the new 2018 lexus nx, and the nx hybrid. experience amazing, at your lexus dealer.
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welcome back to date lab extra. after being sentenced to life i prison in georgia. gary faced trial in florida for the murder of cheryl dun lap. some chilling audio tapes. four years after her murder, would there be justice for cheryl? here again is dennis murphy. gary hilton's trial for the florida murder of sheryl dunlap began in february, a little more than three years after he had pleaded and skatd the death penalty in georgia. but there was no chance a plea deal in this tallahassee courtroom. he might be doing life in georgia, but this was a capital murder case.
if convicted, hilton could die by lethal injection. remember, lead prosecutor georgia cap elleman couldn't tell the jury about hilton's conviction in the emerson murder or mention he was the prime suspect in the north carolina double homicide nor tell the jury anything about the slasher in the forest movie "deadly run" that he'd help make. >> ms. dunlap found herself in a situation and ultimately came to an end that is something we only think about in nightmares. she spent two days with mr. hilton before he decided it was time to murder her in cold blood, chop off her head and hands, and dump her body. >> after her opening statement, the state built the brick and masonry are of its story on e time line investigators had so painstakgly assembled. an attorney hiking with her husband in the national forest at leon sinks that saturday morning remembered seeing sheryl.
>> i looked at her, and i said, it it's peaceful out here, isn't it? and she looked at me and she nodded and she smiled and then she exited the boardwalk. >> then a parade of witnesses testified to seeing hilton out and about in the national forest. there was the motorist who noticed a man near sheryl's car with a flat tire. >> how confident are you that mr. hilton was the man that you saw at that vehicle? >> very confident. >> others remembered dandy, the man's good-looking reddish retriever mix. >> show you what i've marked as state's exhibit 37. >> that's it. >> that look like the dog you saw that day? >> yes he. >> a picture of hilton's dog dandy, exhibit 37, was looking to be the state's key piece of evidence. >> quite sure that's the dog. >> another testified about being flagged down by hilton on one of the forest roads. hiltden was looking for a jump-start for his van. >> i'm an old southern boy. he looked like a little yankee man to me. >> and hunters, too, identified the old guy with the nice dog.
>> he was flagging us down like it was an emergency or something. >> what the prosecution couldn't tell the jury was exactly how sheryl had died. a county medical examiner had to work with severed remains that had been exposed to the elements he thought for at least a week or more. >> are you able to tell this jury how this woman died? >> no, ma'am. >> not a cause of death. but what the prosecution did have was forensic evidence galore. hundreds of items recovered from his van and from hilton's suspected campsites deep in the woods. >> two items here, duct tape with hair and another piece of duct tape or masking tape with hair. >> one of the items was hilton's video camera that was retrieved. he tried to delete. >> i was able to recover those previously deleted files. >> florida department of law eens forcement lab experts had been able to salvage the audio hilton did not want the world to hear. and with good reason. this is gary hilton two days
after sheryl dunlap's disappearance singing into the camera microphone and gaving with the dog dandy. ♪ dan, dan, dan, we're doing it >> it sounded as though he was confessing to the dog. >> i killed her. >> a hushed courtroom listened to the monolog. >> this is the park. yeah, but first i've got to go hide it somewhere else. >> the state's forensic people introduced evidence about sheryl's slashed tire, a tool mark expert said the bayonet recovered on blood mountain in georgia was an exact match to the sharp object that caused the puncture in florida. but the say good night evidence was the dna evidence. joellen brown spent two years testing more than 250 pieces of evidence in the case. brown told the jury she was able to match sheryl dunlap's dna to blood on two of hilton's
sleeping bags and on the shoe louis r laces of his hiking boots. >> the major donor matches sheryl dunlap. >> jennifer portman was in court every day. so how good or bad is the forensic evidence against gary hilton? >> when the prosecutor present ared the da evidence and the sleeping bag with sheryl dunlap's blood on it and gary michael hilton's blood on it, you could just see the jurors, for them, you saw it in their eyes. they knew. >> and with that, after six days of testimony, the prosecution rested. now the defense, holding a very poor hand, would have to fight for gary hilton's life. we have no evidence. no direct evidence. that mr. hilten committed murder. >> will hilten take the stand?
>> your palms are sweaty and your heart is beating. very nervous. >> there's this you'd really like to throw up. until you hear it read. it is tense. >> when mystery on blood mountain continues. i'm 65 and healthy. i'm not at risk. even healthy adults 65 and older are at increased risk of pneumococcal pneumonia. isn't it like a bad cold or flu? pneumococcal pneumonia is a potentially serious bacterial lung disease. in some cases, part of your lung may fill with mucus, making it hard to breathe. can i catch it from a pneumococcal vaccination? no. the vaccines do not contain live bacteria. talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how to help protect yourself.
welcome back to date like extra. gary hilten was already serving a life sentence georgia for the murder. and then went on trial in florida. for the murder of cheryl tun lap. unlike in georgia where he struck a plea deal, there would be no such deal in florida. if convicted, he faced the death penalty. the prosecution case was strong. investiga investigators found dna on his sleeping bag and the shoe lace of his hiking boots. defense argue there's no direct evidence to suggest their client was guilty. its case was brief. lead attorney inez super-called only one witness. an expert on tool mark identification who testified by
video p tape, arguing that the bayonet in evidence, could not in her opinion be determined to have been what was used to slash the victim's tire. >> subjective. it's based on the individual examiner's training and experience. >> the defense was trying to impeach the testimony of the state's expert who said hilton's bayonet had slashed sheryl dunlap's tire, and that was it for the defense. gary hilton declined to take the stand. >> do you wish to testify? >> no. >> one in 63 million -- >> in her closing argument, the prosecutor reminded the jury of those big number dna matches. >> what are the odds that somebody else's dna is on that sleeping bag other than sheryl dunlap's? 1 in 11 trillion caucasians. >> the close for the defense was far more vigorous than her limit ared witness list may have suggested. >> we have absolutely no evidence, no direct evidence,
that mr. hilton committed murder. >> the jurors began their deliberations. capelman and her boss waited for the verdict. >> you've done a lot trials. is this just another day at the office? >> no. >> oh, no. never. when you're waiting for a verdict, your palms are sweaty and your heart is beating and you're very nervous. >> i can tell you i've been doing it 35 years now. it's never gone away for me. there's just -- oh, you'd really like to throw up while you're waiting. until you hear it read, it is tense. a vicious killer. >> he's a psycho path. there's crazy sick. and crazy mean. he's crazy mean. he's intelligent. a college graduate. a member of the armed forces. and probably smarter than everybody in the room.
>> what would the jury decide? what would they decide? >> we the jury decide as follows -- >> the verdict when "mystery on blood mountain" it continues n and layered fees. fisher investments never does. and while some advisers are happy to earn commissions from you whether you do well or not, fisher investments fees are structured so we do better when you do better. maybe that's why most of our clients come from other money managers. fisher investments. clearly better money management. looking for a hotel that fits... whoooo. ...your budget? tripadvisor now searches over... ...200 sites to find you the... ...hotel you want at the lowest price. grazi, gino! find a price that fits. tripadvisor.
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murder of sheryl dunlap had taken seven days. the jury needed less tlan 3 1/2 hours to reach its verdict. >> we the jury find as follows -- as to count one of the indictment, the defendant gary hilton is guilty of first-degree murder. count two of the indictment -- >> gary hilton was found guilty of the first-degree murder of sheryl dunlap. guilty on all counties except car theft. the same jurors would soon reconvene to decide if hilton would die by lethal injection. he had dodged death in georgia and now it was time to see if he could do it again. >> this man, mr. hilton -- >> assistant state's attorney georgia appleman had gotten the initial conviction. >> what words did you use to describe this guy? >> he a's a psychopath and there's crazy sick and crazy mean. he's just crazy mean. he's intelligent, a college graduate. he was a member of our armed forces. he's probably smarter than everybody sitting in this room.
>> there were different rulz in this it the penalty phase. unlike in the trial, prosecutors were now able to disclose to jurors that hilton murdered meredith emerson on blood mountain and state's attorney willie megs did just that, calling to the stand georgia bureau of investigation agents who had worked on the emerson case. >> you indicated it that ms. emerson's body was nude. did gary michael hilton tell you why it was nude? >> he did. he basically stated that he had removed the head and stripped the clothing for forensic purposes. >> megz was able to introduce portions of those chilling interviews that hilton gave the authorities in georgia. >> once you've taken someone, you're either going to kill them or you're going to get caught. it's as simple as that. >> that's where you started getting the information about emerson -- >> that's the first time the georgia information was allowed in.
>> correct. that's when you really start seeing the jurors taking in the enormity. then you really see the impact of all of this coming through. >> good morning, ladies and gentlemen. robert freedman was the defense's lead attorney in the penalty phase. his strategy was to portray hilton as so mentally damaged to be incapable of responsibility for his actions. freedman began with a pet scan expert who testified about traumatic brain injury he had suffered as a 10-year-old. >> he was taken to st. joseph's hospital in tampa and given 200 stitches. and this is an example of the murphy bed. >> and jurors that's not all the defense's expert continued. hilton was abused as a child and he he lashed out as a teenager. a defense neuropsychologist tested hilton who it it turns out is as bright as he thinks he is. >> on the wexler intelligence scale he scored an overall verbal iq of 120 which puts him in the upper 10% or so of the
population. >> another psychiatrist diagnosed him with multiple diagnoses. >> we call it an unresolved edible complex. a child can grow up with this emptiness inside of them. >> to top it off, the defense continued, hilton was self-medicating with prescription drugs. >> ritalin and effexor will basically push you over the line. >> the defense then treated jurors to gary hilton, this is your life. a saga of abuse, neglect, and injury. it included an audiotape of hilton's late mother talking about how as a teenager hilton had wounded his stepfather. >> he said, shoot me, shoot me! go ahead, shoot me! i dare you to shoot me. gary shot him. >> in the legs or -- >> the lower part of his stomach. >> a junior high girlfriend testified that gary wasn't a bad guy back in the day. >> he was funny and outgoing and smart. >> the defense rests.
>> once the defense rested, willie megs called his rebuttal witness, a clinical psychologist to revisit the essential issues. >> did mr. gary hilton know right from wrong? >> my opinion is, yes, he clearly knew right from wrong and clearly he knew the criminal nature of conduct. in my opinion, he is a psychopath. that's what generated the murders and nothing else. >> the attorneys made their final appeal to the jurors. >> i'm going to ask every one of you individually to go back in that jury room and vote to recommend that gary hilton be put to it death. >> on behalf of mr. hilton, i'm asking all of you collectively and individually to recommend a life sentence in this case. >> the jurors then retired to deliberate nothing less than whether gary hilton should live or die. coming up -- another haunting question --
were there more victims out in the forest? >> i personally believe there are. and a legacy. >> she's really the hero. it was through her efforts that we were able to catch her killer. >> remembering meredith hope emerson. hope emerson. >> he took our friends. he took a daughter or sister. but he can't take her memory and can't take the things we love about her away. >> when mystery on blood mountain continues. ♪ one is the only number ♪ that you'll ever need ♪ staying ahead isn't about waiting for a chance. it's about the one bold choice you make, that moves you forward. ( ♪ ) the one and only cadillac escalade. come in now for this exceptional offer on the cadillac escalade. get this low-mileage lease on this 2018 cadillac escalade from around $879 per month. visit your local cadillac dealer.
crime. here with the conclusion is dennis murphy. >> the jail jurors who found gary hilton guilty of murdering cheryl dunlop would decide whether he spend life in prison or be put to death. it lasted 20 minutes. >> the majority of the jury by a vote of 12-0 recommend it impose the death penalty on gary michael hilton. >> hilton sat express shunless. two weeks later the judge pronounced his sentence. >> we judge you be sentenced to the death for the murder of cheryl dunlop. may good to have mercy on your soul. >> gary michael hilton was sent to florida's death row for the murder of cheryl dunlop and sent to western north carolina for the murders of john and anita
bryant. they allege the serial killer murdered them in october 2007 before murdering cheryl. they have met multiple times to attempt to find out how many more of his victims there might be out there. >> you believe there are four deaths connected here? >> at least. >> you think there are others. ? there are certainly the potential to be others. i don't know for sure unless he tells us. >> so far hilton is sticking to his story he started hunting as he calls it in 2007 and no murders before that. the pain and suffering of the families of hilton's victims and suspected victims dulls but never ends. >> he's taken so much from me and my family. what can you say to someone who would murder two wonderful people for $300 and meredith
emerson, a beautiful young lady and cheryl dunlop and possibly even more. he is not what i would think of human, a true psychopath who should be put where he won't harm anyone else again. >> for cheryl dunlop in florida, hilton's conviction provoked conflicting feelings. >> i think, believe it or not, cheryl would want us to forgive. when i went into the courtroom and i actually saw him, my thought was not that they put him to death or this or that, i was glad he was off the street. but i have to forgive gary hilton, i have to. >> in the family, it was a death penalty case and the jury recommended the death penalty and that was the sentence. does it matter to you? >> we were pleased with the
outcome, yes. like laura said, he's off the streets, not able to hurt anyone again. yes, i think it matters. >> and there are regrets on the part of the officers who investigated the hilton cases? >> could there have been one tip line come in sooner and one fragment of information we could put together quickly and spared her? >> there hasn't been a day gone by i haven't thought about meredith and what we could have done differently. she is the ultimate hero and did the best she could hoping we could catch up. it was through her efforts we could catch her killer but the killer responsible for the killing of cheryl dunlop. >> reporter: in georgia, for meredith's closest friends time to forget about gary hilton and remember her. >> he took our friend, he took a daughter, a sister, but he can't take her memory. he can't take the things we love about her away. >> there is, they say, important
work to be done. >> we started an organization in her memory. >> judith, her one time roommate in georgia, has founded along with others something called right to hike, advocating hikers' safety. >> we don't want anyone else to go through this again and maybe think about it twice to take a friend and be safer. >> the organization sponsored by meredith's friends have had a huge turn of people and dogs. her dog lives together with her parents in colorado. >> seeing people come and say, i never met meredith but i feel like i know her and i want to come out in support. that was the biggest thing, the community outreach after everything happened. >> right to hike has aided human societies and educated hikers and put cell towers on trail
heads. >> one thing we realized quickly on these trails our cell phones don't work. meredith had her cell phone with her and that didn't help her. >> if you ever hike blood mountain, you might notice a stick are the, "remember m.e., meredith emerson. she most of all would like you to enjoy your day in the outdoors. >> she likes nature and watching ella play with other dogs, a peaceful place for her to be. >> people go to these places to relax and get away from everyday life and enjoy the outdoors. they should continue to do that. they are some of the safest places to go. >> until the monster shows up. >> yes. >> in march 2012, gary hilton pleaded guilty to the 2007 murders of john and eileen bryant in north carolina.
he was handed two consecutive life sentences. >> that's all for this edition of extra. i'm craig melvin. thanks for watching. due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. an inmate finds himself at the center of more than one battle. >> again, i didn't start it, but i finished it, as i always do. >> and he traces his problems back to the real-life nightmare that haunts his family. >> the story you see like in the michael s