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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  July 14, 2018 2:00am-3:01am PDT

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he didn't just murder someone and have nothing afterwards. he left behind family. he left behind a disaster. and if i'm the only thing to remind him of that, then that's what i'm there for. >> that's all for this edition of i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." >> it's never good news when the phone rings at 5:00 in the morning. i knew something wasn't right. he just began sobbing and saying, no, no, something horrible must have happened. >> it was just before midnight when the shooting started. >> he had been shot multiple times. he was on the ground facedown. >> a man was dead, but not just any man. >> how do kill superman?
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>> he was an olympian and a father. killed his wife says by an intruder in his own backyard. >> describe them to me how fast they were. >> but if her husband was dead outside, why was the gun found hidden inside? and what other secrets were hidden away? >> sometimes she would say things like i would be better off if dave wasn't around. >> was her husband defending his family or was she? >> she rose that night. >> the mystery may not be who did it, but why. >> the truth will come out and justice will be served. i have to believe that. welcome to "dateline."
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for dave, home was ventura county, california, where he grew up, where he met his wife, jane, and where he lost his life. jane said there was a prowler and then gunfire. police found dave dead and troubling holes in jane's story. what happened at their home that night? here's keith morrison with "the hometown hero and the homecoming queen." >> reporter: it was late when it happened, very late, too late. the sky had already fallen. no one saw it coming. no one heard the warning, but now in the night it was done. they work hard here in their homemade garage gym, but it isn't just a gym. it's a kind of shrine. >> i look at the wall and
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there's pictures. that's what makes it special, i think. >> reporter: these were the moments before they were born when a shot putter named dave laut became his family's superman. and his little brother watched him win a bronze medal at the 1984 olympics. >> i mean, after, i just cried. how do you not? how do you not cry when you see your brother up there getting a medal? he's my big brother, but he was like my superman. he was my superman. >> reporter: don laut is dave's younger brother by nine and a half years. dave and don inherited a passion for athletics and fitness from their father. >> my first milk when i was a kid was a protein powder. >> reporter: this is all just built into your dna and is part of your life? >> yeah, it is. >> reporter: here is where that dna was planted. oxnard, california. they grow mostly strawberries
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here now. lima beans back then. they were different those days. >> when we grew up, you could ride your bike anywhere. everybody knew everybody. >> reporter: this is helen kaloris. she knew the lauts growing up. and that big old farming family of her childhood best friends, jane lawbacher. >> our dads were both farming. old farming families we're both from. >> there was just lots of love around. they multiplied. they were good catholics. >> reporter: and helen's friend jane grew up to be especially beautiful. featured in her high school yearbook as homecoming queen. >> she was not ever concerned with that. she's also very, very shy. >> reporter: how do you get to
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be a homecoming queen if you're shy? >> she's also just a very kind person, very gentle person. >> reporter: and as that yearbook picture shows, a star volleyball player too. >> she's not that tall, but she could jump. >> reporter: jane met that other gifted athlete, dave laut on his way to becoming one of the best shot putters in california. they began dating after high school and sometimes let don little laut tag along. >> they got along so well. they loved each other. it was just neat. >> reporter: when they got married in 1980, jane's friend helen was a bridesmaid. >> going that morning to jane's parents' house and the girls getting dressed up, that was really fun. it was just sweet and jane was quite excited. she looked gorgeous, beautiful, beautiful, on her wedding day. >> he had her on a pedestal. he always said just wonderful
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things about her. >> reporter: this is don's wife, rebecca. >> we'd talk maybe once, twice a week on the phone, and probably for hours her and i. we just hit it off. we were family. >> reporter: jane was there by dave's side as he became a national and then world competitor. at the world championship meet in 1983 he talked to nbc sports about the benefits and costs of weight training. >> it can destroy the feelings that are necessary to throw and implement a far distance. >> reporter: dave won the bronze medal at the 1984 games, but after his career faded quickly. he kept trying, but knee injuries. he didn't make the olympic team in 1988. >> he was disappointed, but he knew. it was just like a point of your career when you know something is done. it's okay because you know you've gone as far as you can and that door closes. >> reporter: and another door opened. dave became a high school biology teacher, coach, and athletic director. >> he was even better at being a teacher and a coach than he was an olympian.
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>> referee: if dave missed his former glory, his family said, he never showed it and remained a legend to his niece and nephews. >> i think one phrase that could best describe him is a gentle giant. >> yeah. >> yep. >> he had so much patience, so much kindness. >> reporter: at home, dave and jane struggled to have children. >> she wanted to have a family really bad. i felt bad when i would get pregnant. >> reporter: then in 1999, they adopted a baby boy from south korea. named him michael. >> they were happy. i mean, i have tons and tons of pictures of them, the three of them together. they were happy. >> reporter: moments in time. inspiration on a garage wall which these days is about all that's left. >> it just doesn't make sense. no. it's not right. it doesn't make sense. >> reporter: ever since that august night in 2009. >> 911. what's your emergency? >> my husband was shot.
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>> there were shots fired? >> yes. >> reporter: when a superman fell to earth. coming up, did a run-in with a prowler turn deadly? >> how many shots did you hear? >> three. >> describe to me how fast they were. >> when "dateline" continues. olay ultra moisture body wash gives skin the moisture it needs and keeps it there longer with lock-in moisture technology skin is petal smooth
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midnight august 28th, 2009. oxnard, california. >> 911, what's your emergency? >> something over there -- >> reporter: a woman in full panic. what does the person look like that was in your backyard? >> there were shots. >> there were shots being fired? >> yes. my husband is outside. >> reporter: the woman on the phone was jane laut, the wife of the hometown hero. >> oh, my god. >> reporter: dave was still outside, she said, where she heard shots fired. >> he told me to get back in with michael. i came back in and i heard the shots. >> how old is your son? okay. don't wake him up just yet. stay with me. i have officers that are there.
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i want you to stay inside the house. >> the officers had to lockdown and call in a homicide team to investigate further. it was a brutal scene. >> referee: ventura county d.a. investigator mike said by the time first responders arrived, there was no sign of a prowler, but they did find dave laut. >> he had been shot multiple times. he was on the ground facedown with very obvious gunshot wounds to his back and to the back of his head. >> reporter: jane was a mess. she told investigators she had no idea who would do this. son michael, 10 at the time, slept through it all. and jane's brother took charge dollars of him while jane went down to the oxnard police department to offer a more complete statement. it had been a perfectly normal evening, jane said. they were in bed by 10:00. dave the in the master bedroom,
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she in michael's room where she often slept because dave had a bad back. then it was about an hour later, she said, about 11:00. >> reporter: dave came down the hall, she said, worried about the dog. >> reporter: so 11:15, she said, she and dave crept over to a sliding glass door to a side yard. >> reporter: and the gunshots --
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>> reporter: and the gunshots --
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>> reporter: as jane talked to investigators into the early morning hours, the awful news was getting around. >> we got a call about 5:00 in the morning. >> reporter: what happens to a person when you go to bed at night and everything is fine? then the phone rings at 5:00 in morning and suddenly your life a very different thing. >> yeah, it's like an earthquake. it shakes your whole foundation and being and things are never the same. it was awful. >> he just fell to his knees. he was on the phone and he just began sobbing and saying, no, no. it was horrible. >> you don't believe it, but how do you kill superman? how is superman dead?
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♪ i once was lost >> reporter: a few days later, dave's friends and family held a candlelight vigil. >> he was so loved. and every step we take we take because of people like you. we just really truly appreciate that. thank you. >> reporter: but they didn't know then, didn't know what the police had discovered. a key piece of evidence almost overlooked at first. >> the lead investigator in this case walked in. he's just looking around and, i mean, you've got a dining room table, you've got a hutch, you've got a grandfather clock, so he opened up that clock and there was an oh, wow, moment. >> reporter: why would a prowler leave something so important in there? >> coming up, if the intruder was outside, how did a key piece of evidence get inside?
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and something else deemed odd. jane's behavior. >> she actually tried to keep one of the police officers out of the laundry room. she tried to close the door with her in the laundry room and him out. >> when "dateline" continues. in the movies, a lot of times, i tend to play the tough guy. but i wasn't tough enough to quit on my own. not until i tried chantix. chantix, along with support, helps you quit smoking. it reduced my urge to smoke to the point that i could stop. when you try to quit smoking, with or without chantix, you may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms. some people had changes in behavior or thinking, aggression, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, or suicidal thoughts or actions with chantix. serious side effects may include seizures, new or worse heart or blood vessel problems, sleepwalking or allergic and skin reactions which can be life-threatening. stop chantix and get help right away if you have any of these. tell your healthcare provider if you've had depression or other mental health problems.
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jane laut told the police a harrowing story of a backyard prowler and gunshots right outside her door, and now her husband an olympic bronze medallist, dave laut, was dead. but things seemed a little off. when police were still questioning jane at the house, she stepped into the laundry room. >> she actually tried to keep one of the police officers out of the laundry room. she tried to close the door with her in the laundry room and him out.
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>> reporter: why? well, jane was wearing pajamas when police arrived, but in that laundry room they found her jeans rolled up in a towel stuck between the washer and dryer. her top was lying there as well. looked like they had been removed quickly, stashed away. when an officer tried to administer a gunshot residue test to jane's hands -- >> when the officer doing the task began getting the test ready, she did go into the bathroom and either wash her hands or wipe her hands on a towel. one of the two before coming back to the table and before the test was done. >> reporter: so odd thing. anyway, police scoured the place. didn't see any murder weapon lying around. and they were about ready to take dave's body off to the morgue when some instinct told the lead detective to look here. he cracked open the doors of the grandfather clock in the dining room, looked down inside, and there it was.
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>> this is more than likely the murder weapon. >> reporter: a ruger six shot revolver. surely no prowler would have dropped the murder weapon right here in the dining room clock. >> the prowler theory did not make any sense whatsoever with the hidden gun inside the house. >> reporter: so it wasn't long before investigators shifted their focus from prowler to the woman who reported one, jane laut. remember those clothes they found in the laundry room? when they tested them, they found gunshot residue. jane changed into her pajamas before she dialled 911. jane specifically mentioned a red flashlight, so police bagged it, tested it, and found gunshot residue as if she was holding
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the flashlight while shooting her husband. if jane was the killer, this was about as cold-blooded as it gets. investigators said dave had been shot six times. >> we came up with a fairly logical explanation of how it was done. >> reporter: shot one was from a distance of several feet. then the bullet hit the wall. that shot brought him to his knees where the killer fired shots two and three into his face at close range. >> one goes into his cheekbone. it goes down the side yard and bounces off the concrete. it nicked the fence, and that bullet we matched out on the sidewalk. >> reporter: shots four, five, and six hit the upper arm, the back, and the back of dave's head. >> we believe the final shot was the shot to the back of the head. >> reporter: from the very beginning, jane denied she had anything to do with it. >> reporter: but they didn't
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believe her, especially when they found out that the bullet that killed dave matched the gun in the grandfather clock. and now don and rebecca laut began to look at a lot of things differently, things jane told them through the years, which maybe didn't add up either. >> i honestly felt like she was family, so i'm going to dismiss the strange feeling i get sometimes. >> reporter: like, said rebecca, the time jane told her dave held a knife to her throat and demanded money. >> i said did you call the police, did you yell? she says, oh, no. i just came home. i wanted to get home. and this was in the middle of the day and nobody else saw? and she said no. >> reporter: then there was her claim that someone was leaving threatening notes on her car. >> then you'd ask her what kind of notes and she wouldn't really tell you. >> reporter: the implication
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somebody is after her, she's in some danger? >> yeah. >> reporter: it was like something fell into place for them. >> there was a separation. it was like jane was the parent and michael was the child and dave was in the way. >> reporter: you had the sense she was pushing david away? >> yeah. i think it was the stress of the marriage. >> reporter: if there was stress, it was pretty clear, said rebecca. >> for a while every time she would called me, it seemed like it was to vent about something she didn't like about what dave was doing. >> reporter: so evidence was carefully sifted for months. then in february of 2010 jane laut was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. and the story, said investigators, were chillingly clear. >> this was an execution. she lured him out, shot him from
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behind, and then aggressed on him. shot on him the second, third time. stepped back, shot him a fourth time, came up super close and shot him two more times, one to the back of the head. >> reporter: there seemed to be plenty of evidence. jane's odd behavior, her lie about a prowler, and on top of it all the gun in the grandfather clock. so jane hired a lawyer and pleaded not guilty, and the story that came out then turned the whole case on its head. >> mr. laut is a monster. he was despicable. >> coming up, what had been happening behind closed doors? >> you've got one or two choices at that point. run or fight. she decided to fight. nexgard kills both fleas and ticks all month long. and it comes in an easy-to-give tasty chew.
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here is what's happening. it is the first indictments against russian government officials for meddling with the
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2016 election. deputy attorney general rod rosenstein announced on friday the indictment of 12 russian officers accused of hacking the clinton campaign in the democratic party. this comes three days after the meeting with helsinki. now back to "dateline." welcome back. i'm craig melvin. dave laut was murdered outside his home. what his wife told detectives next would send the investigation hurdling in a whole new direction, a stunning allegation points to another explanation for dave's death. here again is keith morrison with the hometown hero and the homecoming queen.
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>> sweet jane laut. >> it seemed like she was controlled, in my opinion. >> an across the street neighbor. >> i mean he's there standing there while she's pulling out weeds and washing his truck and he's not lifting a finger to help her. i was like a scared little rabbit. >> i was always a little leery about what was actually going on in the home. >> reporter: this close friend said jane's fear reminded her of another vulnerable creature. >> jane looked like a scared cat, constantly doing like a twitch looking over her shoulder, kind of looking to see if somebody is behind her. >> reporter: and this from jane's former co-worker. >> he was very aggressive. he was very demanding, and when
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he said jump, she would go how high. >> reporter: how strange it was, she thought, that jane always wore long sleeves, even when it was hot outside. but more disturbing -- >> there were times when she would come in and i noticed on her face it looked swollen. and she would never comment how it happened. >> there were several times that i saw bruising on her. one time on her face, her arms, her legs, several places. >> reporter: he's a monster, just a monster. >> reporter: ron bamieh is jane's attorney. according to him, dave is far from the hometown hero some believed him to be. the truth about dave laut, he said, for nearly two decades he subjected his wife to horrific abuse. >> like all abuse, it is power
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and control. we have verbal abuse, the names he called her over a long period of time. we have emotional abuse. we have physical abuse, that's everything from the punching to the kicking to the hitting to the slapping. throwing her down, pulling her hair, spitting on her. >> reporter: jane wasn't the only victim, said bamieh. dave was angry that his adopted son michael was not athletic. >> we had neighbors who hear him call michael names like [ bleep ] racial names to michael that are just horrible. we have him yelling at him in the street about how he can't ride a bike or catch a football or play baseball. >> reporter: all those years, jane was afraid to report dave, afraid of what he might do to her loved ones. so she covered up his abuse and her injuries. we obtained this summary from a police report in the 1980s in which jane reported an intruder attacked her while she was alone at work. at the time, police found injuries consistent with her
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story. in fact, said bamieh, dave inflicted those injuries and then ordered jane to lie and blame a nonexistent intruder, a pattern of covering up dave's abuse, abuse by the summer of 2009 was getting worse. >> by june of 09 to august of 09, it was escalating. >> reporter: until that particular august night when something changed. that night, according to bamieh, for the first time jane threatened michael's life. >> she really believed that he was going to kill michael. >> reporter: jane had taken michael to the beach that day, said bamieh. they were late getting home. >> dave was upset. nobody respects me. i don't get any attention around here. nobody cares about me. >> reporter: jane put michael to bed.
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got into pajamas herself and waited for dave's anger to subside. >> but he wasn't coming down. about 10:30 or 11:00, he comes out of the room and he's upset and angry. >> reporter: and that's when she saw the gun, says bamieh. >> he's holding it and he starts talking about michael. he doesn't respect him. he's going to blow his effing head off. she kind of crawls backwards with her hands, crab walk to the back door. somehow she gets him off the patio. calm down, dave, calm down. >> reporter: out in the darkness, dave stumbled on the patio. >> he loses his balance and that's her opportunity. it was a struggle for the gun. the gun goes off. then she eventually gets the gun and she empties it. >> reporter: and then she said, she ran back into the house, put the gun inside the grandfather clock, and called 911. >> she had no idea that he's down. she thinks he's getting up. women in these relationships
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have these superman complexes. they give their abusers. >> reporter: she lied, but did it almost automatically as a conditions response to his abuse. once police discovered jane's lie, their minds were made up that she was a cold, calculating killer. so when police found those clothes shoved in the laundry room, they believe it must have been jane's attempt to hide evidence, but those clothes only had a tiny fragment of gunshot residue. police never bothered to test the pajamas when jane showed up and the pajamas were covered in gunshot residue, proving that jane was wearing the pajamas when jane shot the gun. so it all supports her story? >> it does. >> reporter: that was just the police covering up a major mistake.
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>> a cop lost the gsr test. they searched for it and couldn't find it. >> reporter: and just plain got it wrong. once they concluded she was a murderer, he said, they distorted their evidence to fit their story. >> the bullet went about a 90 degree angle and hit the wall and deposited scalp matter on the trash can. >> reporter: you're saying it is physically impossible? >> yes, it is ludicrous. it violated the laws of physics. >> reporter: the dna on the gun was dave's supporting jane's contention that he had the gun and they struggled for it. >> his dna is on the trigger. there's no getting around that fact. >> one more thing, said bamieh, one more bit of evidence that the police missed, even though it was right under their noses.
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bruising under jane's left arm. >> if you look at the bruise closely, you'll see basically there's a little hand print. a hand shaped bruise that helps prove, said bamieh, this wasn't murder. it was self-defense. >> you're fighting for your life reasonably, i think you have to reasonably conclude if you're fighting for a gun, you have to use lethal force. >> reporter: now looking back, said jane's childhood friend, things began to make sense. >> we saw her less and less. >> reporter: more than two decades passed. helen had a long career as a social worker and gradually lost touch with jane. >> i would always send her christmas cards and say call me, whatever. and i would never hear from her. >> reporter: and then helen heard about dave's death. >> everybody was pointing to jane, and like a lightbulb went off. and i'm like, oh, my god, she
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was a battered wife and you didn't get it. you didn't see it. >> reporter: but the very idea that jane was an abused spouse, that she killed dave in self-defense, absolutely ludicrous said the lauts. and an outrageous allegation about dave. >> i know my brother. he's just a good man. he'd give you the shirt off his back. that's just the way he was. >> reporter: can you see him losing his temper at the woman he is married to and abusing and hitting her? >> no. >> never. >> no. >> reporter: no, said the lauts. no, said the police. besides they said maybe jane had quite another motive for killing dave laut, a financial one. >> coming up, borrowed money. >> thousands and thousands of dollars. >> reporter: and even more money if dave was dead.
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>> sometimes she would say things like i would be better off if dave wasn't around. >> when "dateline" continues. coppertone sport. proven to protect street skaters and freestylers. stops up to 97% uv. lasts through heat. through sweat. coppertone. proven to protect. she pretty much lives in her favorite princess dress. but once a week i let her play sheriff so i can wash it. i use tide to get out those week old stains and downy to get it fresh and soft. you are free to go. tide and downy together. well, esurance makes it simple and affordable. in fact, drivers who switched from geico to esurance saved an average of $412. that's auto and home insurance for the modern world. esurance. an allstate company. click or call.
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olympic glory does not always translate well. in fact, said detectives, as they sifted through dave and jane's financial records they found evidence they were struggling. >> the laut's finances, they
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were living beyond their means. it didn't happen just before the shooting. this had been going on for years and years and years. >> reporter: after dave was killed, said don and rebecca, they found out dave had been borrowing money from their mother-in-law. >> jane asked her for a lot of money, gave her different excuses why she needed money. >> to pay mortgages or something like that? >> mortgages, doctor bills, school supplies, tuition. >> how much money are you talking about here? >> it was thousands and thousands of dollars. it was a lot. >> reporter: and when they found out dave had three life insurance policies -- >> i believe we totalled it all up, and i think it came to $300,000, $350,000. somewhere in that neighborhood that she was likely to see if a prowler had done this.
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>> reporter: was there ever indication she was capable of violent acts or the sort of person that could be violent? >> yeah. >> she said some things to me and i just missed them because i maybe didn't want to believe that she was capable, but sometimes she would say things like, i'd be better off if dave wasn't around. >> reporter: meanwhile justice crawls. a year passed, then two, three, four. jane remained free on bond and dave's niece. >> she caused my family so much pain and it's horrible. it's just -- i hate it. >> reporter: nephews aaron and cody took it out on the garage weight room. >> i have a way of bottling it and condensing it. i get it out when i lift. >> you get your adrenaline
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going. >> reporter: in september of 2013, don laut pleaded with a judge to get a case before the jury. >> there's family and friends behind my brother and it's been four years. and it's been very difficult. >> reporter: and then in january 2015, more than five years after dave's death, in a move that shocked jane's veteran defense attorney, the prosecution indicated it would be open to making a deal. >> and i was blown away. >> reporter: a plea deal? and what a deal it was, said bamieh. if jane pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, she would be sentenced to six years and would most likely serve only three. seemed like an admission of weakness of the prosecution, said bamieh. and the opportunity of a lifetime for a woman facing
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first degree murder and 50 to life. and so -- >> i gave her my strong recommendation that she take it and she said no. i was just like -- i was stunned. i said, jane, i kept saying you understand. she was fine and she said i have to fight for this. >> reporter: mind you by then jane had some powerful moral support from her friend helen. >> she rose that night. she didn't fall. she rose that night and became a very strong, powerful woman and defended the life of her son. >> reporter: and then at last in january of 2016, jane laut went on trial for murder. her friend helen sitting right behind her. >> do you think she'll go to jail? >> i don't. >> reporter: really? >> i don't.
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i absolutely do not. >> reporter: you believe the jury will believe her story? >> i do. >> reporter: and see it as a case of self-defense? >> i do. i believe that. i believe that. >> i sincerely believe her and i don't say that about many people. i sincerely believe her. >> reporter: do you usually get this personally invested in a case? >> i am always invested in my cases, yes. but do i care as much about clients like i do about jane laut? no, that's -- i would be lying if i said i did. >> but could he persuade a jury to believe in jane too? coming up, jane takes the stand. >> i get a not guilty, which is what we're shooting for. she has to testify. >> a gun takes center stage. >> pull back the hammer, fire. each and every time.
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♪ welcome back. facing 50 years to life for the murder of her husband, when
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prosecutors offered to cut jane laut's sentence to just six years if she aeld plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter, she said no. would she regret that decision? here's keith morrison with the final chapter of "the hometown hero and the home coming queen." jane laut was facing 50 years to life for the murder of her husband. but when prosecutors offered a deal, a sentence of six years if she pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, she said no, she wanted to face a jury. would she regret that decision? here's keith morrison with the final chapter of "the hometown hero and the homecoming queen." >> dave laut was a son. he was a father. he was a colleague. he was a friend. >> more than six years after the death of olympic bronze medalist dave laut, the murder trial of his wife jane finally began in this ventura, california, courtroom. prosecutor rameen minoui told the jury jane was a calculating killer. >> if you look at each of the six shots they were administered by this defendant as she was executing her plan to murder her husband. there is just one reasonable conclusion, to find the defendant guilty of murder. >> i'm about to talk to you for
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quite some time. >> defense attorney ron bamieh countered the real victim was jane laut, who suffered the utmost cruelty at the hands of her husband. >> he is not the hero of the olympics. he is the monster who abused her for 27 years. >> the defense called family and friends and neighbors who all testified jane was an abused spouse. but attorney bamieh said the most important witness was the defendant herself. >> if you're going to get a not guilty, which is what we're shooting for, she has to testify. >> the judge would not allow cameras to roll when for the first time publicly through tears jane told her story. she said she took dave's abuse for nearly three decades, until the night he threatened their son. >> i think she could live with the fact that he could kill her. she could not live with the fact that he would kill michael. >> on the stand, jane admitted that she lied in her 911 call. >> 911 emergency --
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>> and later to the police about a prowler. but she denied she had any financial motive for killing her husband. after all, she did not ask for nor did she receive a penny of dave's life insurance. >> jane would never be about finances. absolutely not. >> why do you say that? >> because that's not her value. jane is about relationships, she's about family, she's about children. it's never been about money for her. >> of course, the prosecutor got his turn to cross examine jane. there were a lot of "i don't remember"s about the the night of the murder. she simply couldn't recall what happened after she fired the first two or three shots, she said. but she did admit she was quite familiar with the gun. in fact, had used it several times before. >> this single-action gun in the hands of this defendant required
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her to pull back that hammer, fire. pull back the hammer, fire. each and every time. for the six times that she aimed that weapon at her husband and shot him. >> like this, said the prosecutor, as he played a video of a woman firing that very gun. but, said the defense attorney, that's not the only way to fire the gun. >> if you hold the trigger down you can pull the hammer back and fire. >> this is called fanning the gun. the sort of thing you'd expect to see in an old western. but a prosecution expert countered that a movie is the only place he'd ever seen that. >> every expert that came up said that that is absurd. the accuracy of firing a gun six times and hitting your target six times in the dark is astronomical. >> after seven weeks of testimony, final arguments from
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both sides. defense attorney bamieh made an impassioned plea to the jury. >> why would jane laut do this? why would she do this? when you think about it, there's only one real reason. only one. it's what anybody would do to protect their child. any one of us. >> you do not have the right to kill your husband -- >> while prosecutor minoui urged the jury to look past the emotion and focus on the evidence. >> the defense testimony is false. it is untruthful. it is unbelievable. it is a story conjured up to raise her battered woman's self-defense claim in a murder case. it is plan "b" because plan "a" doesn't work. and it's a lie. >> jurors deliberated for 3 1/2 days. then finally, march 30th, 2016, announced they were ready. jane, supported by helen and other friends who had stood by her all along, walked to the courthouse and what waited
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there. >> it all appears to be in order, so i will read the verdict. we the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, jane laubacher laut, guilty of the crime of first-degree murder. >> guilty of first-degree murder. a shock ran through the room. ron bamier, who fervently believed in her innocence, looked distraught. jane comforted him. the woman who flat turned down a deal to do six years for voluntary manslaughter was later sentenced to a mandatory 50 years to life in prison. it was a victory for dave's family. yes. but not one to celebrate. >> our faith calls us to forgive, and we do. we forgive her. >> but forget? no. not the lauts. not their superman. >> it's very difficult. i miss him every day. i miss him every day.
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>> i think i'll always grieve. i know i'm always going to miss him. he's always a part of me. but it's hard. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. thanks for watching. >> i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morale less, and this is "dateline." thanks for watching. she had missed a meeting and then not to hear from her, this isn't right. it would have been impossible to get up every day knowing that she was gone. i had to believe we would find her alive. >> text her, she always got right back. >> i've seen her step out of the shower to answer her phone. >> then one day she didn't. >> immediately my spidey senses were high. >> where was nailah? >> i sent her an e-mail all caps, "are you alive?"


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