tv Dateline MSNBC July 22, 2018 12:00am-2:01am PDT
business it was. he owned a thousand acres of land along with rental property. charmin was famous for her specialty cakes, wedding and otherwise. they were church youth leaders. he'd served on the school board. >> busy people. >> yeah. >> very. very. they touched the lives of so many people. >> she was a teacher's aide for 17 years at a rural school, taught lessons also that didn't end in class. >> one thing i always heard from mom was, take responsibility for your actions, be responsible. >> she would praise you and just keep pushing you to do better. she always wanted us to be better people. >> and then came that easter sunday 2006. church services, a big family dinner, that easter egg hunt for the grandkids. their last day on this earth. >> at least we got that juan day. sorry. my kids remember it, they talk about it all the time.
>> i suppose as last days go, that wouldn't be a bad one. >> no, it wasn't. >> andy had missed the easter party, spent the day with his future in-laws. but left his young puppy with his parents. >> called mom and dad on my way home. said, i'm going to come get the dog. they said, no, he can just stay here. he'll be fine. he sleeps on the porch and we'll watch him until monday morning. i said i'll come get him. >> would history have been different had he listened to his parents? hard to know of course. >> they met me on the deck on the back of the house. we talked about easter and what they did and they each gave me a hug and i went home. >> you remember that moment, it makes you feel pretty emotional, doesn't it? >> yeah. yeah. >> next morning, andy, who was being groomed to run stock hay himself someday, drove the half mile from his place to his parents' farm, ready to go to work.
>> i drove in, i went in the shop. dad's pickup was there, which i thought was a little bit strange. and so i went, well, i'll see if he took mom's car somewhere, and looked in the garage and her car was there. picked up the phone in the house, there was no dial tone. that's when my heart kinda sunk, that for some reason, it was a little bit of a trigger in my mind. >> something was wrong? >> something was wrong. thought, better go upstairs. as i started up the stairs, there was some blood on the walls. you know, i knew it was bad. >> gotta be surreal, a moment like that. does your mind even register? >> no. i think the good lord protects us. until i rounded the corner and saw dad laying there on the floor. and it was, you know, a horrible thing. >> it was, perhaps, the central moment in his life so far.
nothing would be the same after this. >> what did you do when you found them? >> i never made it past the landing. my cell phone was out in my pickup. and just turned around and went to call for help. >> the ambulance was there in 12 minutes, the first lawman in 20. andy stood outside in shock, calling family without even knowing what happened or what to say. >> andy's wife and i work together. she answered the phone call, and she didn't even recognize andy's voice. and they've been together for nine years. >> your own wife? >> she came in the back and said, tam, something's wrong. andy just called and said, come quick, dad's laying in a pool of blood. >> coming up, the stocks' children face another stunning shock. >> it was like, is this really
happening? >> in a gravel driveway there was a marijuana pipe and about ten feet from it, there was a flashlight. >> when "dateline" continues. b. yeah, it's fine. you okay? eczema. it's fine. hey! hi! aren't you hot? eczema again? it's fine. i saw something the other day. myeczemaexposed.com. your eczema could be something called atopic dermatitis, which can be caused by inflammation under your skin. maybe you should ask your doctor? go to myeczemaexposed.com to learn more. ♪ happiness is powerful flea and tick protection from nexgard. a delicious chew that protects for an entire month. ask your vet for more information. reported side effects include vomiting and itching. nexgard. the vet's #1 choice.
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even when they tried to call back their brother andy who was on scene and now wasn't answering. >> and by 11:00, 11:30, we were like, something's really wrong. and the minister called and said, you need to come home. and i said, i'm not going anywhere until you tell me what's wrong. and they said your mom and dad have been killed. i think i did start screaming. and we headed towards the farm. to be with andy. never in a million years would you think you'd see your parents' house taped off by that yellow tape. >> it was a stunning crime. big news throughout the midwest. the stocks, the most unlikely victims. wayne, found on the upstairs landing, dead of a shotgun blast. wife charmin, murdered in her own bedroom, a telephone in hand, as if trying to call for
help. >> right now this is an unsolved homicide. whether it's somebody local or somebody from another town, we don't know at this time. >> reporter: who could have murdered wayne and sharmon stock? and why? as an entire community struggles to absorb the horror in their midst. the stock's children face another stunning shock. >> it was like, is this really happening? just a couple of hours after wayne and sharmon stock's son discovered their bodies in their rural nebraska farmhouse on easter monday 2006, the word got around. law enforcement swarmed the scene, neighbors expressed shock in that understated midwestern way. >> they're just typical nebraska farm background people, and you wouldn't expect it. >> reporter: andy stock, as you can see in these pictures taken on that very day, stood next to his pickup in utter shock waiting for his brother and sister to arrive. and he struggled to process it all. as his father's words echoed in his mind. >> i'll never forget july of '05.
dad and i were working together. we were standing there, and he looked at me and he said, son, he said, when it's my day to go, hold your head high, keep living life. i'll never forget that. >> reporter: but it was all happening so fast. wayne and sharmon stock had been gunned down in the safety of their own home, the sanctity of their own bedroom. why would anyone want them dead? and who? andy was the last to see his parents alive, the one who found their bodies in the morning, which made him, bizarre though it sounds, a potential suspect. >> before i even saw steve and tami, they had put me in a car and took me to another town and questioned me in a room. >> reporter: trying to establish whether or not you were involved. >> yeah. did gunshot residue tests. like is this really happening? >> reporter: andy stock didn't
realize it at the time but investigators were soon looking hard right at him. after all, he was there, he had opportunity, and he may have had motive. he might have had something to gain from his parents' death. why? andy stock was the already designated heir to the stock hay company, which some people might consider a family fortune. as investigators questioned andy, csi units were busily working the crime scene as well. >> it was a very brutal crime scene. it was one of the worst i've ever seen. >> reporter: one of those leading the investigation? david kofoed, the head of the csi squad in douglas county. from omaha, an hour away, he was called in to help the smaller cass county sheriff's department. >> what really bothers me is that these two people were just sleeping in bed and the male victim was apparently crawling away and he was shot in the head.
clearly an execution. >> reporter: close up. >> close up. and the female victim was along the side of the bed holding a phone in her hand, and she had been shot in the eye at close range. >> reporter: investigators found out pretty quickly how the stocks' killer or killers had entered the house. a screen had been lifted, a window appeared to have been forced open leading into the laundry room. from there it appeared the killer's route might have gone past the now empty easter basket sharmon had made, through the well kept kitchen, then up the stairs to where the stocks lay sleeping. four 12-gauge shotgun shells leaving a trail to the bodies. wayne tried to get up but was shot in the knee. it left a huge powder burn on the bed. then wayne was shot in the head. sharmon killed, too, as she tried to call 911. then it became apparent, it wasn't just one killer, but at least two. >> when we did the blood pattern analysis, we saw a void area at
the top of the steps. >> reporter: which could only mean one thing. as one of the killers fired at wayne stock from behind, this area, called a void area, was where another killer would have been standing. the second killer sprayed with blood spatter instead of a wall. kofoed and his team found a wealth of evidence outside the house, too. >> it was a big farm operation. and there was a lot of out buildings and it was complicated by the fact that they'd had an easter egg hunt the day before. so we had a lot of shoe prints and stuff. >> reporter: but one print stood out. >> i saw a shoe print in the mud that was unusual. by a flower bed near the front door. >> reporter: and beyond the flower bed, there was a virtual trail of evidence left by the likely killers. >> in a gravel driveway, there was a marijuana pipe and about ten feet from it, there was a flashlight, and those two things were obviously out of place. >> reporter: you could sort of imagine the television show "csi." >> right.
>> reporter: there's a light, oh, there's a -- it's just too easy. but there it was. >> it was there. i think one thing i knew pretty much right at the beginning was i could visibly see blood on the outside of the flashlight. we knew that had to be involved. >> reporter: but then a real breakthrough. a newspaper carrier called in to report that he and his girlfriend saw something. they'd been driving down this country road middle of the night about a mile from the stock farmhouse down there. and just here outside this cemetery, they saw a car just parked here. strange cars just don't get parked on country roads outside murdock, nebraska, at 3:00 in the morning. it was tan or light brown, four-door sedan said the young man. and what really stuck out was that this car later passed them in the same area that same night. this time driving 60 or 70 miles an hour. it was in a rush, it appeared, to get away.
investigators now had a number of clues. that car, seen by the newspaper carrier. the flashlight with what appeared to be blood on it. the marijuana pipe. and detectives were probably looking for more than one killer. but a motive? who knew? not a thing was missing. wallets, purses, gun collections, even a safe hidden in the bedroom floor, all untouched. but all that evidence. and asking questions of those closest to the stocks would soon pay off because just a week later an arrest and a confession. and another shattering blow to the stock family. stories surface of a long simmering feud between the beloved farming company and the family's black sheep. >> didn't get along so well. >> was the killer at his own
questioned the couple's large extended family, another relative's name came up quite often actually. matt livers. he was wayne and sharmon's nephew, 28 years old. he attended the easter dinner the afternoon leading up to the murder. but he wasn't there by virtue of being a family favorite. in fact, livers was considered a black sheep. he bounced from job to job. never finding his niche. family members told police matt was slow, different. he had no criminal record, but there was, they said, an ongoing problem between matt and the stocks. they described disagreements, sometimes heated. they said sharmon had a dislike for matt. the stock's oldest son steve -- >> i think in my head i went to it a little bit just knowing that they hadn't gotten along real well. i had my own suspicion. >> reporter: just two days after the murders, detectives visited
matt livers' former employer, asked about his personality, rumors that he had a temper. they put a watch on him and went through his garbage, too. this was at his house in lincoln, about 30 miles from the murder scene. then on april 25th, then eight days after the bodies were discovered they asked matt livers to come in and answer some questions. >> you're free to leave at any time. >> i'm here to cooperate with you gentleman. >> reporter: he was unerringly courteous, deferential to the two detectives questioning him. said he'd never been interviewed by police before. >> what do you think happened? >> i don't have any idea. i would like to know why. who, what, when, where and how and why? you know, why would somebody do this to such good people, very christian people? very likable people. >> reporter: livers told them after the big family dinner with the stocks, he drove home the
half hour to lincoln where he stayed all night with his girlfriend sara and sara's young son and a roommate. he did admit to having disagreements with his uncle wayne over the various family issues, but those were minor, he said. >> any problems between you guys? >> years ago we kind of had a tiff. yeah, but you know, that's been done, forgotten. >> reporter: after five hours of questions, matt livers agreed to take a polygraph. >> do you know for sure who caused the death of wayne stock? >> no. >> reporter: if he was looking to clear himself of suspicion by taking that test, it did not have the desired effect. >> your subconscious body is telling the machine. you cannot fool it. >> i didn't have anything to do with this. >> you did. >> i did not. >> you did. >> i did not, bill. >> you did. >> no, i didn't. >> i'm sorry. you did. >> reporter: for hours they locked horns with livers.
despite his continued denial of involvement, they knew he was lying. >> we've had too many people sitting in that chair that think they're smart and they're not. >> no. dumb as a brick. >> no, you are not dumb as a brick. okay? you made a mistake. and you got to pay for it. >> reporter: why were investigators here in nebraska so convinced matt livers was lying? well, besides the polygraph, there was the state profiler who suggested that this is the sort of crime committed by young males who know their victims. how else would they know to find the farm house way out in the middle of nowhere if they didn't know them? and add to that, said the profiler, this is the sort of crime that appeared to be very personal. an execution. matt livers rang those bells, all of them, and rang them loudly. eventually, detectives got quite explicit, telling livers he was headed for death row. unless he would start giving them what they knew to be true.
>> you don't admit to me exactly what you've done, i'm going to walk out that door and do my level best to hang your ass from the highest tree. you're done. >> this is your one shot. we put the olive branch out right now and attempt to help you. okay? electric chair, gas, lethal injection. >> reporter: it was that technique that finally produced the desired effect. rough, perhaps, yes, but matt livers started confessing. >> you got a gun. >> right. >> and you took that gun back to your uncle and aunt sharmon's house, right? right or wrong? come on, matt. you okay? eczema. it's fine. hey! hi! aren't you hot? eczema again? it's fine. i saw something the other day.
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house, right? right or wrong? come on, matt. >> right. >> reporter: now that the cat was out of the bag, livers began filling in more of the blanks. how the murder went down, for example. >> you put the gun to her face and blew her away. >> okay. >> and then as i headed out, i just stuck it to him and blew him away. >> reporter: then a bonus. remember how that blood spatter indicated a second killer was involved? well now before they trooped him off to jail, matt livers gave them a name to match the void on the wall. so perhaps it's not so surprising that in the elation
of the moment, detectives had no idea, not a clue, that they had just jumped down an alice in wonderland rabbit hole. the case snares a second suspect not just with an accusation, but with what appears to be damning evidence. >> now, that was the real smoking gun. i mean, you've got him. the children of wayne and >> about 12:30 at night. he says, tam, i need you to be awake. are you awake? i said, yeah, what's going on? he said, they arrested matt and nick. and i said, matt and nick who? and he said, our cousin matt and nick sampson. >> reporter: it was true. matt livers had confessed to the murders of his aunt and uncle.
>> put the gun to her face and blew her away. >> reporter: and he'd named an accomplice. 22-year-old nick sampson. a cousin of matt's on another branch of the family tree. >> my husband had given me the phone. i was sitting up in bed. and i said, andy, should i be shaking? he said, that's normal, the shock. >> reporter: but matt livers had been with them at easter dinner just a few hours before. now he said that he and nick had returned to kill his aunt and uncle. >> our first reaction was somebody needs to tell our grandma. she had just lost her only son and her grandson is being arrested for this. and just like us, she's like, i don't understand. and i said, grandma, none of us understand any of this. >> reporter: did it give you any sense of at least somebody has been found responsible? did it make you feel any better? >> i think police will move on to the next phase of this. we're not going to wonder for the rest of our lives. i was relieved to know they had somebody. >> reporter: with livers already
in jail, police descended on murdock to arrest nick sampson. he was a cook at bulldog's bar in murdock. he was a guy by his own admission liked to drive too fast, had a problem with marijuana as a teenager, had done two separate stints in boys' homes now he had been printed and processed, then like livers, questioned on videotape. >> i guess i'll just ask you flat out. why do you think you're here? >> i think they think that i'm involved with the murders. >> reporter: but nick sampson, unlike his co-defendant -- >> i had absolutely nothing to do with this. >> reporter: during three hours of questioning, did not confess to anything. >> if something's left at that house, okay, with your dna and your prints, how are you going to explain how it got there? >> i'm not. because i don't think you have
my dna anywhere near that house because i've never been in that house. never, ever, once in my entire life have i ever been inside that house. >> reporter: he agreed to take a polygraph. but again it wasn't quite what the accused hoped for. the polygrapher said the test showed that sampson was deceptive when he denied being at the home when wayne was shot. and investigators seized on that to ratchet up the pressure. >> you were at the house when he was killed. >> no, i was not. >> your body's telling me otherwise. we need to get past that. what's going on there? >> i honest to god was not at this house when they were killed. >> reporter: but the investigators did not believe nick sampson. after all, matt livers had
already told them nick sampson was behind the whole thing, that the two of them actually planned the crime together on their cell phones in the two days or so before the murder. and so, said the detectives, they were pretty sure. matt livers was telling the truth. nick sampson was lying. >> you were there when they were shot. >> i was not there. >> i want you to understand how the system works. >> i do understand. i'm getting framed for something i didn't [ bleep ] do. >> reporter: but it didn't look good for nick sampson. he denied being a marijuana user any more, but he had had trouble with the drug before. and investigators found that marijuana pipe at the scene. when detectives visited nick's grandfather in murdock, the old man told them that a month ago nick borrowed a 12 gauge shotgun from him, the same gauge weapon that was used in the murders. then investigators executed a search warrant at sampson's home in palmyra. among the items seized, from under the bed, that 12 gauge borrowed from his grandfather,
and a pair of blue jeans, examined by csi chief david kofoed's team. >> we had a pair of pants. the pair of pants had -- it look like it had blood on it. we tested that with phenolphthalein and that tested positive. that was the real smoking gun. i mean, we've got him. >> reporter: then there was more. remember that car seen by the newspaper carrier parked a mile from the farmhouse the night of the murders? detectives had found it, they believed. a 1997 ford contour owned by nick sampson's brother. and it had been cleaned and detailed actually at 5:30 easter monday morning just hours after it had apparently been used in the murders. who details a car at 5:30 in the morning? >> that's exactly why the detectives thought it was pretty suspicious. >> reporter: but wait, it gets even better. the car had been searched for evidence once and nothing was found, but then csi chief kofoed got a call from one of the lead investigators. >> when matt confessed, he said
he threw the shotgun in the backseat of the ford contour. he said maybe you can find some transfer evidence there. take another look at it. i said, well, maybe we missed it. >> reporter: so they examined the car again. and this time, lo and behold, a stain was found just below the steering wheel on the dashboard. a stain found by csi chief kofoed himself. >> i just took it along that edge and wiped it because i figured that way i wouldn't miss anything. and it reacted. >> reporter: so you got a hit, though? >> i got a presumptive positive, yes. >> reporter: and before long, tests confirmed that what the csi chief found under the dashboard was indeed blood, the blood of wayne stock, the victim. only one way it could get there, carried by livers and sampson. with the confession and now real
physical evidence to back it up, many in the community thought case closed. oh, but they were mistaken. a piece of evidence that had gone unnoticed turned the case upside down. is this the ring of truth? e it. it's just my eczema again, but it's fine. yeah, it's fine. you okay? eczema. it's fine. hey! hi! aren't you hot? eczema again? it's fine. i saw something the other day. myeczemaexposed.com. your eczema could be something called atopic dermatitis, which can be caused by inflammation under your skin. maybe you should ask your doctor? go to myeczemaexposed.com to learn more. 4-in-1 wall repair, this game changer.nger. game changer? game changer. the moment your paint game changed.
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mode. they had arrested 28-year-old matt livers. he'd confessed. and he'd named an accomplice, his cousin, 22-year-old nick sampson. so the cass county sheriff's department called in the press and announced that one of the most shocking crimes in this part of nebraska in decades was solved. >> people ask us is this closure on the case. it's not. it's another chapter, turning a page. still re -- still a lot of work to be done. >> reporter: though he was right, the sheriff had no clue just how much work there was yet to be done. but for the stocks' children, the arrest brought a small measure of relief, at least they decided they could try to move on, as they knew their parents would have wanted them to. >> i could hear mom and dad say, tami, you can let this eat you alive or you can go on and be the best that you can be and do what needs to be done. and that is family.
and so we can dwell on it, but we choose not to. because that's not what mom and dad would want. >> reporter: now the system could grind forward, too, and the system provided defense attorneys, jerry soucie for nick sampson, julie bear for matt livers. >> first thing he says is, look, i told them i did this, but i didn't do this. and you've got to believe me. >> reporter: they all say they didn't do it, right? >> i've been lied to a lot as a defense lawyer. so the cynical side of me goes, mm-hmm, right. >> reporter: yet bear and soucie were puzzled, too. there were things that just didn't quite add up. both nick and matt and their live-in girlfriends swore up and down that on the night of the murder they were at home asleep 25 miles away. and nick claimed, despite what the cops believed, he'd never talked to matt by phone or in person the week before the murders. what?
>> the first thing i simply was concerned about was what was the evidence against nick sampson, regardless of whether he did it or not? i just had to know what the evidence was. >> reporter: then quite by chance, this tiny piece of what seemed to be evidence showed up. police missed it the morning after the murder. one sharp-eyed cop just happened to notice it a couple of days later. it was this gold ring on the kitchen floor. >> i thought somebody took it off to wash their hands and fell down and they forgot about it. >> reporter: but at the time it could have belonged to the victim. could have been belonged to anybody. >> it could have. >> reporter: except one thing people should know about the stock house, nothing was ever out of place. so one of the investigators picked up the ring, bagged it and tagged it as evidence. it was a size 10, a man's ring, bearing a message. >> the inscription said "love always, corey and ryan." they wanted to find out who was a ryan and who was cori. >> reporter: who was cori and who was ryan? detectives asked the stocks' children.
nobody knew anybody by those names. didn't recognize the ring either. but as livers was confessing. and as they were as arrested and put in jail, one of kofoed's officers kept puzzling about that ring. on the inside were three tiny letter, aaj. the manufacturer perhaps? well, yes. turned out to be a place called a & a jewelers, buffalo, new york. >> i remember one of the girls in shipping had indicated that there was a call from somebody in the nebraska police department. >> reporter: mary martino was running what was left of buffalo's a & a office just then. why what was left? the place was going out of business. massive layoffs. 200 jobs lost. by the time nebraska cops started calling, mary was one of only three people left to clean up the buffalo office and close it down. and now, here was this investigator asking mary to
track down a ring the company likely shipped years ago. and you said what? you got to be kidding? >> i said that's like looking for a needle in a haystack. however, she mentioned homicide. >> reporter: and that's when mary martino heard about the ring and the double homicide and the fact that nobody else at the company seemed able to help. >> she said she had made several attempts and no one was willing to assist her. >> reporter: so mary martino said she'd see what she could do. certainly her company would have taken the order, made the ring, inscribed it "love always, cori and ryan" and shipped it, but where? mary went to the warehouse where tens of thousands of back orders were kept. >> so i started with just box number one, stores 1 through 25. then box number two, stores 25 through 30. >> reporter: and you went through each one? >> yes. until i got to like 100 and -- i believe it was 108 or 118 and i said, this is going to be
impossible. >> reporter: so mary asked for help. had a colleague make a computer grid of the more than 3,000 stores a & a shipped to across the country. a block of dates when the ring might have been ordered, and cross matched that with the inscription. how long did that process take? >> it took me probably three days and two nights. >> reporter: does that seem a little over the top? i mean, you can look for an hour or so and say, i can't find it, sorry, and that would be that. >> i heard homicide. i heard it was important. >> reporter: and lo and behold, after three days of searching, suddenly, there it was. >> i got up from my chair and i said, bingo. i found it. i found it. >> reporter: any specifics about what you found out on that order form, where it was sent. do you remember that? >> it was wisconsin. i do know that. >> reporter: wait, wisconsin? not nebraska? actually, it was quite specific. the ring was sent to the town of beaver dam wisconsin to this
walmart store. this is where a girl named cori bought the ring for a boy named ryan. but it wasn't love always, and the ring was soon gathering dust in the cab of ryan's red pickup truck. but then the strangest thing happened. the truck was reported stolen from here on ryan's farm just a few days before the murders of wayne and sharmon stock in far off nebraska. >> really nothing more than a standard missing vehicle. >> reporter: jim roarer was then a detective back in dodge county, wisconsin. when call came in, experience suggested probably some local joyride, they'd find it nearby. instead, what a surprise. >> our dispatch had received confirmation from a parish down in louisiana that they had the stolen truck. >> reporter: stolen in wisconsin and abandoned way down in louisiana. that's a long way to go. what did you think?
>> a couple kids on a joy ride. somebody taking it that needed to get back down south for whatever reason. >> reporter: it wasn't long before they fingered the suspected thieves. there were two of them. the guy was greg fester, age 19, with a history of drug use, suicide attempts, anger issues. fester was on probation for weapons and disorderly conduct convictions. >> greg was a little odd. he seemed a bit slow. just didn't seem to grasp things quite as well as a typical person. >> reporter: fester's alleged accomplice was a 17-year-old named jessica reid. a former honor roll student and cheerleader turned troubled teen after a divorce. she'd become mixed up with drugs and, by extension, fester. not exactly master criminals, were they? >> no. not by any sense of the word. two teenagers from wisconsin whacked out on drugs and not knowing what the hell they were doing.
>> out of control. >> reporter: but the detective had no idea just how out of control these two had been. or where their jaunts in the stolen truck had taken them. and that, a few weeks later, is where the ring came in. that's when roarer got a call from nebraska, heard how that ring turned up at the scene of a double murder, heard how they tracked it back to the walmart in beaver dam and then to cori and ryan and the stolen truck. that must have been a shocker to get that information, to have it cross your desk. >> a huge shocker. that pretty much sends a chill down your spine. >> reporter: what was going on? how were these two teenagers, reid and fester, tied to the murders of wayne and sharmon stock? or were they at all? an interrogation of one of the teens provides a chilling first glimpse of what may have happened inside that farmhouse. >> and so i freaked out and left because obviously, that guy is up there killing somebody.
>> unless, of course, she's lying. there's little rest for a single dad, and back pain made it hard to sleep and get up on time. then i found aleve pm. the only one to combine a safe sleep aid, plus the 12 hour pain relieving strength of aleve. i'm back. aleve pm for a better am. ♪ happiness is powerful flea and tick protection from nexgard. a delicious chew that protects for an entire month. ask your vet for more information. reported side effects include vomiting and itching. nexgard. the vet's #1 choice. it's just my eczema again,. but it's fine. yeah, it's fine. you okay? eczema. it's fine. hey! hi! aren't you hot? eczema again? it's fine. i saw something the other day. myeczemaexposed.com. your eczema could be something called atopic dermatitis, which can be caused by inflammation under your skin.
>> reporter: and so they may not have noticed so much the riddle that sprouted along with the corn. two towns, murdock, nebraska, beaver dam, wisconsin, more than 500 miles apart. now united, undeniably, by a single band of gold. that ring sold in a beaver dam walmart and found days after the murder in the kitchen of the stock farmhouse. how did it get there? matt livers never said anything about a ring when he confessed to killing wayne and sharmon stock. nothing about a stolen truck or out of control wisconsin teenagers either. one of whom, jessica reid, out on bail over the vehicle theft, responded to an invitation to visit the wisconsin detective, jim roarer. >> she had to know somewhere in the back of her mind that maybe they know more or want to talk to me about more than just a stolen truck. >> reporter: did she? in fact, as she settled in, young ms. reid seemed to view
the police interview as little more than a nuisance to be endured. >> my grandma's coming into town, and i kind of -- i want to do this, but i want to do it a little bit faster. this going to take forever. >> reporter: jessica was all of 17. did she wonder why the wisconsin cop was joined by investigators from nebraska? >> i really want to know what nebraska has to do with this? because i don't think we even entered nebraska. >> reporter: didn't go to nebraska, didn't know anything about a gold ring, she said. she and fester just stole a truck, she said, and fueled by pot and massive dose of over the counter cough syrup went off in search of the ocean before running outs of gas and money and leaving that pickup truck in louisiana. but then they showed her a picture of a marijuana pipe, which, along with the gold ring, turned up at the stock farmhouse. and jessica reid's mantle began to crack. >> okay. i did steal -- i stole a whole
bunch of money from somebody. i don't know who, i don't know where. i just remember stealing a whole bunch of money. yes, we did lose that pipe when we stole this money. >> reporter: reid then blurted it out. at this farmhouse, now apparently to her surprise, in nebraska, greg fester sneaked in through a window and let her in the back door. in the kitchen she said she found $500 in an envelope. then she said, they left. and the ring? well, now she admitted finding it in that stolen pickup, putting it on, then feeling it slide off her thumb inside that house. where was all this going? sorry, i can't make it. it's just my eczema again, but it's fine. yeah, it's fine.
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did you not -- >> oh, my god. i never killed anybody. okay? i really didn't. this is so seriously -- i didn't do it. i took money. that's all i did. i swear to god, that's all i did was take money. i don't want to go to jail for murder because i didn't do it. >> reporter: then who did? remember, matt livers had already confessed and named nick sampson as his accomplice. >> tell us who you were with. >> i was with greg. that's all i was with. >> and who else? >> i was with greg. >> reporter: but wait a minute. she must have known matt and nick. so the investigators showed her pictures.
no idea who they were, she said. never saw them before. >> if they did it, i swear to god, they are some dumb people for getting us brought into this. >> reporter: then she was told the electric chair stood ready for her if she refused to cooperate, and jessica reconsidered. >> this guy, i don't know why, but he does look kind of familiar. >> reporter: that's nick sampson, who looked kind of familiar. and from there, as the hours wore on, jessica's story shape shifted as did the players time and again. until it evolved eventually into a tale that began easter night at bulldog's bar in murdock, where nick sampson, you'll recall, worked and ended at the stock farmhouse. >> all i remember hearing in this house was, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. and so i was like, that's not good. so i cruised down because obviously that guy's up there killing somebody. i don't want to stick around and
have to deal with this [ bleep ]. excuse my language. i'm sorry. but i don't know what happened up there. >> reporter: then with that off her chest, jessica looked at the photo of nick the man she claimed was the mastermind of the murder. >> it sounds really dumb, but i wish he wouldn't have been a murderer. >> why? >> he's really hot. why do the hot ones got to be the dumb ones? >> reporter: with that, jessica reed's well planned day, in fact, all of her plans ehave been rated in a jail cell. while detectives focus next on jessica's partner in crime, greg fester. >> conned me into going with her. >> reporter: it was all jessica's idea, said fester, stealing the truck, the ridiculous trip across the country. as for the murder in the farmhouse, that was the guy they met outside bulldog's bar, he said. who squeezed into their stolen pickup truck, led them to the stocks' farmhouse, went upstairs and just started shooting. >> he kind of ran into the room
and he -- i heard this scream and he shot again. we all run out of the house. >> reporter: but then, surprise, surprise, fester insisted the man who committed the murders was not nick sampson. wasn't even matt livers, who had already confessed that he was the killer. no, greg fester said, it was some friend he communicated with via text message. a guy he called thomas. so a little confusing perhaps, but for the investigators from nebraska, it seemed to be starting to come together. what was their sense of things after that first day of questioning? >> i think sense of accomplishment mainly because we do have confessions from greg and jessica for the homicides. >> reporter: let's go out and
have a beer time? >> well, it's a reason to pretty much do a high five. >> reporter: that's just what these investigators did. now with greg fester and jessica reid in jail, detectives set about finding physical evidence to back up their claims. and incredibly, once again, one little thing, not a ring this time, but a cigarette box was about to turn the whole business upside down all over again. >> what we're looking for is anything at all that would tie
them to nebraska or any other location that they were at during their crime sprees. >> reporter: oh, and he found it all right. here, hidden behind a picture frame, was this cigarette box, and inside, a shotgun shell, 12 gauge, the same gauge as used in the murders. and there was more folded up in that little box. this letter apparently meant for greg fester, that said, quote, and this bullet? well, bunny, it's the only thing left. and i loved it. but that's something we'll talk about one day. but it's here also because that's something i did for you. me. and for you to love me as much as i love you. that's the end of the quote. when you read the material that you found, what did you think? >> that this was so bizarre. that gives you a mind-set of the type of person we were dealing with. >> reporter: then, roarer found a notebook. incredibly, with more words penned by jessica reid. "i killed someone. he was older. i loved it.
i wish i could do it all the time. if greg doesn't watch it, i'm going to just leave one day and i'll do it myself." pretty scary. 17 years old. >> what this is telling us is that she truly was involved in pulling the trigger on at least one of the people there. >> reporter: time for another meeting with jessica. >> you got some explaining to do. and i'm willing to tell you right now i am at the end of my rope over this whole thing between you and young gregory. i'm giving you one opportunity and one opportunity alone to come completely clean with every bit of your involvement in this. so you quit dancing around with me because i know the truth. >> greg blew a guy's head off. and he shot a hole through the lady's face. >> reporter: there, she'd said it. it was greg fester who killed the stocks. but why would she then write that note?
>> greg killed someone. he was older. i loved it. i wish i could do it all the time. if greg doesn't watch it, i'm going to leave one day and go do it myself. you're in a lot of trouble, young lady. >> i didn't kill this guy, though! i didn't have a gun! how am i supposed to kill somebody without a gun? i watched greg do it. i didn't kill anybody. i'm not kidding. i did not kill anybody. i promise you guys this. >> you know what? 17 years old and you have just thrown the rest of your life away. >> reporter: she tried to explain the words, changed her story again, confessed to firing one gunshot. then admitted something else quite shocking. that she had enjoyed it. >> okay. i'll tell you guys like i liked the adrenaline of it. >> i know you did it. >> i didn't like what caused the adrenaline rush. but i liked the adrenaline rush. >> reporter: that's a real shocker for you.
you don't run into that in this little town too often. >> well, no. and you don't run into it with a young girl either. >> reporter: ballistics tests soon confirmed that the shell found in reid's cigarette box matched spent shells found at the murder scene. the murder weapon, stolen from the same wisconsin farmhouse where reid and fester stole the red pickup truck. blood found on reid's clothes and fester's shoes matched the victim, wayne stock. and icing on the cake. dna found on the gold ring and the marijuana pipe matched only fester and reid. both were charged. first degree murder. of course, as all this was happening, back in nebraska, no one outside law enforcement knew a thing. the stock children were certainly in the dark, as they struggled to grip the wheel of their new strange lives. >> we have just lost both our mom and our dad. to lose one is horrible, but to lose both of them. and not have those parent
figures that kept this family going. where do we go? how do we help andy with the farm? how do we -- how do we let our children have a normal life? >> reporter: meanwhile, in their cells in county jail, matt livers and nick sampson knew not a wit about these developments. then well into june, defense attorney soucie heard the words that changed everything. >> i got a call saying they've arrested reid and fester. up in wisconsin. and we got no details on it at all. >> reporter: but when they did, the lawyers just knew their clients were innocent. >> everything clicked. you knew exactly what the case was at that point. >> reporter: or did they? if the attorneys for matt livers and nick sampson thought their clients were suddenly in the clear, they had some more thinking to do.
a rain of confusion washed over the farms and furrows around murdock, nebraska. the arrests 500 miles away in wisconsin of two teenagers in connection with the savage shotgun murders of prominent farm couple wayne and sharmon stock sowed seeds of doubt in the official version of events. that version had this an open and shut case against two local men. confessed killer matt livers and the accomplice he named nick sampson. their arrests trumpeted weeks earlier in banner headlines and news conferences. now, these latest arrests of teens jessica reid and greg fester announced so quietly had many wondering what was the connection among these four alleged killers. >> i called a newspaper reporter. i says, you won't believe this, but they arrested two other people. >> reporter: sampson's defense attorney jerry soucie and livers' attorney julie bear spread the word themselves to local reporters. >> he called me back about three hours later. and he says, i got the arrest warrant from wisconsin. and he said, do you want to read
it? i said, oh, yeah. >> reporter: you got that from a newspaper reporter? >> i got that from a newspaper reporter. >> reporter: it didn't come from the prosecutor's office. >> no, it was being sealed. i met him at a bar and for the price of a budweiser i was able to read the affidavit of the teenagers reed and fester. >> reporter: those affidavits slipped to attorneys by a reporter contained details culled from the hours and hours of police interviews with greg fester and jessica reid. >> greg blew a guy's head off. >> reporter: and told the story of the 12 gauge shotgun. the shells, the ring, the marijuana pipe and, most tellingly, that dna. irrefutably linking reid and fester to the crime scene. suddenly, it was all beginning to make sense to those public defenders. remember, they'd been skeptical when their new clients professed innocence, but ever since then, they'd been asking themselves one very simple question, where was the evidence? and in their six weeks of looking for it, they had found, well, none. after all, livers' girlfriend, a woman with an impeccable
reputation, insisted matt was home all night with her, 30 miles away in lincoln the night of the murders. the same with nick sampson's girlfriend who swore he never left their house that night. and she passed the polygraph. >> if she would have thought that nick had done this, she would have thrown him under the bus in a heartbeat. there's just no doubt about that. >> reporter: then the lawyers went looking for evidence of the phone calls matt described in his confession, calls in which he and nick supposedly planned the murders, and the records revealed there wasn't one call, not one between matt and nick in the days before the murder. >> that phone communication never took place. you know, it simply didn't occur. >> reporter: but couldn't they have used, you know, those kind of phones that you can buy that you can't trace? >> that's theoretically possible, but there's no
evidence of that. >> reporter: add to that a ballistics test confirmed the gun found under nick's bed was not the murder weapon. the spot on nick's jeans thought to be blood wasn't human blood at all. and now the arrests of these teenagers from wisconsin, two people clearly present at the crime scene, but never mentioned at all in any of matt livers' hours and hours of police interviews. all this led julie bear to head over to the jail to ask matt livers face-to-face about these alleged accomplices, reid and fester. >> present him with, you know, this is what's being said. do you know these people? >> reporter: and? >> not a clue. not seen them, never spoke to them. >> reporter: maybe he was lying to you. >> not a chance. >> reporter: it would take another month for copies of those videotaped interrogations of jessica reid and greg fester to inch their way over to the defense attorneys. but when they finally did? more surprises. like this comment during the interrogation of jessica reid.
>> i know there was nobody else there. it was just me and greg. that's what happened. i am not kidding. and if no one believes me, then i really want to go back to my cell. >> reporter: there were, she said, no other killers. just her, just greg. and that whole story about meeting nick sampson at bulldog's bar? she made it up, she said, after detectives showed her a picture of the place and asked her if it looked familiar. for nick sampson's lawyer, the case was now as good as done. into that must be a good feeling. >> no, it wasn't. it was a good feeling to know your client's innocent. it is bad feeling to know your client's still in jail, you can't get him out. the cops are coming up with every other kind of theory they can think of to drag him in. >> reporter: oh, yes. there was, remember, that blood from victim wayne stock found in a car connected to nick sampson and spotted near the murder scene. so the prosecutor wasn't about to drop charges against mr.
sampson. and he, sitting in jail, had become suicidal. >> nick was in really, really bad shape. and so at that point, i'm trying to do m.a.s.h. psychiatric holding him together, it's going to work out, it's going to work out. >> reporter: but would it? the summer dragged by, followed by a depressing september. and then first week of october, the county attorney nathan cox met the press. the murder case against nick sampson was dropped. sort of. >> since there's no statute of limitations on murder, the state reserves the right to refile the charges in the future. >> reporter: hardly the news the stock family expected or wanted to hear. though they handled it with surprising grace. >> it's not for us to judge or, you know, to make a statement on that because we don't know. it was this and then it was that and then it was this and then it
was that. >> reporter: but imagine being nick sampson. on that amazing day. >> he was cloud nine. it was incredible feeling. >> reporter: after five months in jail, he was free. >> it was incredible. i'm finally out. >> reporter: but nick sampson, even free, was not carefree, not by any means. some things could never be the same again. >> i was constantly looking over my shoulder. seeing who was behind me. you know. >> reporter: so there was a real genuine itch in your back fear that somebody was going to come after you? >> come after me, come after my family. you know? revenge. >> reporter: because around this county in rural nebraska were a great many people perhaps a majority who were still quite certain of nick's guilt. after all, his own cousin matt admitted full out that they both killed those lovely people. >> i was upset, at a loss of why my own cousin could do this to
me. >> reporter: why would he do it to you if it wasn't true? >> to make himself look better. just using me as a scapegoat. >> reporter: nick sampson was now off the hook. but what about matt? true, he'd confessed to the murders. but was there more to the story? a tape surfaces of what he said to investigators the very next day. >> i've been just making things up to satisfy you guys. sorry, i can't make it. it's just my eczema again, but it's fine. yeah, it's fine. you okay? eczema. it's fine. hey! hi! aren't you hot? eczema again? it's fine. i saw something the other day. myeczemaexposed.com.
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nick sampson struggled with the bitterness the long jail-bound nightmare had planted in his soul while the children of wane and sharmon stock tried to make sense of the release of the man they had been told had killed their parents. >> it's a difficult situation. none of us are attorneys. none of us are in law enforcement. and you're just sitting there trying to take it all in, trying to figure out, okay, how does this work? why does this happen? >> reporter: hadn't their cousin matt livers confessed? at least he was still in custody. as were those two teens from wisconsin. so it wasn't as if the whole case was falling apart. at least not yet. but if anyone did not feel confused in the october chill, it was defense attorneys bear and soucie, who were as sure as the summer day that both nick
sampson and matt livers were innocent, despite what matt told police during his interrogation. >> it was just screaming to me false confession. there was every indication in there that there was a problem. >> reporter: what made it look like a false confession? >> as reports start coming in, we start learning that none of the details that matt provides are accurate. >> reporter: something else investigators may not have understood but perhaps should have. matt livers, as his friends and family knew very well, was slow. he had a low i.q., at least the sort of i.q. people can measure. in a conversation with authority figures under pressure, matt livers was prone to being led. he was gullible. >> there was a portion of the questioning where they won't let him finish his sentence. they're belittling him. they're screaming at him. they're threatening him with the death penalty. >> reporter: and he believed them when they said those things. >> yes, very much so. >> reporter: and one moment stood out defense lawyers say when detectives should have realized just how little matt
livers understood what was happening to him. here it is. watch what happens when they ask him to be a man and take responsibility. >> you consider yourself a man? stand up. when detectives should have realized just how little matt livers understood what was happening to him. here it is. watch what happens when they ask him to be a man and take responsibility. >> you consider yourself a man? stand up. >> he takes them very literally and starts to rise up out of his chair. >> reporter: he's going to stand up. >> he's going to stand up. >> no, be a man, okay? >> reporter: were those detectives even paying attention to the sort of man they were talking to? maybe not. just after nick sampson's release, julie bear received a dvd she'd never seen before. even though she'd asked months earlier, as was her right, for all the available material. this is a tape of matt livers in a second interview the day after his confession. once he'd had a chance to regain his equilibrium. >> the absolute truth is i was
never on the scene. i don't know if nick is the actual person involved in this. i've been just making things up to satisfy you guys. >> reporter: how long was that second tape withheld? and by whom? >> a little over five months. >> months and months and months after because he said those things the day after his confession. >> right. >> i don't know that nick is involved in this because we never -- i mean, you can check my phone records. we never talked on thursday or friday about this. and the only reason i picked him out of that crowd was i heard through the grapevine that his brother's car was used. >> what are you telling me this now for? what do you think this is going to accomplish now? >> nothing. i'm just trying to come clean, i mean. >> reporter: now, that was a bombshell. livers' own attorney had never been told by authorities that he'd recanted his confession.
so basically from the official story, his recantation simply disappeared? >> right. >> reporter: the cass county sheriff's department declined "dateline's" request or interviews or explanations of how this happened or, for that matter, anything else about the case, but in december, 2006, seven months after the murders, prosecution experts finally agreed, too, livers' confessions were deemed unreliable. >> i went over to the jail and matt was in his cell and we told him, you know, it's over. you're going home. and, you know, i probably had the biggest hug from a man that i've ever had in my life. >> reporter: cass county prosecutor nathan cox was, once again, left to make the announcement. >> it's not my intention to try to convict somebody that is not guilty. that's not why i'm in this business. but winning isn't the issue. the issue is whether justice is being done. >> reporter: with that, after
more than seven months in jail, matt livers was free. >> i'm innocent. i had absolutely nothing to do with this. >> reporter: and the doubters in the town all around him vanished for him in the joy of it all. >> i just went crazy, praise the lord, praise, thank you, thank you, praise the lord type thing. >> reporter: sara was there, of course, to take him home. they are now, by the way, mr. and mrs. livers. >> best day of my life. best day, besides marrying my wife here. sorry. >> reporter: what was it like watching him come out of there? >> it was awesome. a relief. just great to be able to be with him again and everything. >> it was a wonderful day. >> reporter: but why in heaven's name did he confess in first place? finally now that he was free, we could ask him.
a lot of the audience watching will say, come on. nobody's going to confess to something they didn't do. especially something so horrible as the murder of your own relatives. >> well, they changed their tactics on me. my rear end was going to be in the frying pan. they were going to be going for the death penalty. >> reporter: you're scared. >> yeah. tremendously. i thought if i tell them what they wanted to hear, that i could get to go home. >> reporter: how did nick's name come up? >> they asked me who else was involved and i started just throwing out names. finally when i said nick's name, then that's when they seemed they were happy and believed me. >> reporter: but the damage is done. although they've patched thing up a bit, for years, matt and his cousin nick barely spoke. >> i think he wants to forget it ever happened. people give me [ bleep ] about it all the time. i try to make a joke out of it. but it hurts every once in a while.
>> reporter: what will it take to convince them that you're an innocent man? >> i don't think anything will. >> reporter: you're going to have to live under this cloud for the rest of your life? >> probably. unless i move. >> reporter: yeah, well. >> i don't want to move. i love murdock. that's my home. >> reporter: but if it seems strange to you that an innocent man could remain so long under suspicion, imagine how bizarre it was about to become as the accused and the accuser play out a truly disturbing drama we'll call trading places. troubling ab sayings about one of the lead investigators. so, you wake up one morning and they say you are a criminal. and then there were two in yeah, it's fine. you okay? eczema. it's fine. hey! hi! aren't you hot? eczema again? it's fine.
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nebraska, that is. only those two teenagers from wisconsin remained behind bars, charged with murdering wayne and sharmon stock. the d.a. had let matt livers and nick sampson go. dropped the charges. which to a suspicious family was puzzling. after all, hadn't the head of csi, david kofoed found a blood sample that tied them to the crime? it must have seemed to you as if they were letting two murderers back on the street. >> that was the way i felt. >> it did seem like they were just letting them go, but i guess nobody knew any different. >> reporter: in fact, some of the investigators remained convinced sampson or livers or both had to be involved somehow. they didn't buy the notion that two drug-addled teenagers just happened to stumble on the place by pure chance in the dark. and anyway, fester, remember, said the main shooter, the guy that led them to the farm was a local named thomas, with whom fester had been communicating by phone before the murder.
but detectives could find no evidence whatsoever against this thomas or anyone else. and meanwhile, jessica reid kept trying to persuade investigators that nobody else was there besides her and fester, of course. >> i am not lying! if i was lying, i would not still be going on about this. >> reporter: she'd been saying that for months. >> i know what happened and no one will believe me. >> reporter: and though she was right about that, the detectives did not believe her. they still suspected livers and sampson of some involvement. why? remember way back at the beginning of our story, that speck of evidence that csi chief kofoed found in a car connected to nick sampson and spotted near the murder scene? here's the stain right here on the filter paper that kofoed
swiped under the dashboard of the car. a second search of the car, by the way. the first by an officer under kofoed turned up nothing. this was blood from the murder victim, wayne stock. how would it get there? it was the fbi that started asking that question. not of livers or sampson. the fbi's investigation was aimed at the local investigators who handled the case. in fact, at csi chief david kofoed himself. and after months of digging, the fbi concluded that kofoed must have planted that swipe of blood himself. phony evidence to nail down a shaky case. it was a bombshell. david kofoed, division commander of the csi unit in douglas county, nebraska, was indicted on four federal charges including falsifying records and violating livers' and sampson's civil rights. kofoed pleaded not guilty to all charges, defiantly told reporters he'd rather go to
prison than resign, even passed the polygraph and was cleared in an internal sheriff's department investigation. so you wake up one morning and they say you're a criminal. >> well, it kind of was like that, but it was more of a long process. and i didn't do it. i just didn't. and it doesn't make any sense. >> reporter: kofoed blamed the stain on accidental contamination. somehow, he said, blood from the victim, wayne stock, ended up on that filter paper probably out at the murder scene and somehow the kit containing that same filter paper was what he later used on the car. but kofoed did admit he broke the rules, failed to log the evidence properly, even misdated the report. >> i did make a mistake. i didn't follow procedures. and that bothers me. and there's no way around that. that was wrong because i'm a boss, because i'm supposed to set the example. >> reporter: it is a little disconcerting, though. >> it is disconcerting, but it
is also the reason why i say this is ridiculous to accuse me of planting evidence. why would i screw it up? why wouldn't i log the evidence in? why would i make mistakes that point the finger at me. >> reporter: a federal jury in omaha heard the case and took just a few hours to acquit kofoed of all counts. but the state of nebraska wasn't satisfied. appointed a special prosecutor and charged kofoed with evidence tampering. and this time, after a week-long trial before a cass county judge on what one headline called "a dark day for law enforcement" kofoed was found guilty. >> you understand what you were convicted of? >> yes, your honor. >> reporter: at sentencing the career law enforcement man stood up and again denied planting any evidence said the truth would eventually come out. >> i don't believe this is the last of this case for me. i'm going to continue on. that's nothing personal with you.
>> reporter: but the judge, acknowledging he was moved by letters written by livers and sampson asking him to throw the book at kofoed, did just that. >> the defendant has not acknowledged any wrong doing. he's not appeared to be particularly remorseful. >> kofoed would serve two years in federal prison. and he had to pay restitution to livers and sampson for ruining their lives. >> you talk about forgetting to write the report but you don't forget about logging in the evidence. he not only forgot, but he falsified a lot of stuff on the report. that's a bad thing to say it's okay to plant evidence just because the guy's guilty, because how else do you know who is guilty or who is not guilty? >> reporter: no matter whom you believe on the blood issue, there are two people who know in living technicolor exactly what happened at the stock farmhouse that night. and one of them is about to tell us.
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it's a virtual given in legal circles when it comes to cutting a deal for a lighter prison sentence, the first criminal to the court house wins. in cass county, nebraska, the first to the courthouse was accused killer jessica reid. jessica agreed to plead guilty to second degree murder charges in exchange for testimony against her accomplice greg fester. when it came to him, it seemed prosecutors were certain to seek the death penalty. wayne and sharmon stock aroused terrified from their sleep sanctity of their own bedroom easter sunday night and shot to death in cold blood. if ever a case warranted the ultimate punishment thought many nebraskans, then this surely was it. but to all the mystifying moves by police and prosecutors, add one more.
a judge ruled the county attorney actually missed the deadline to seek the death penalty. first degree murder for greg fester was off the table. before long, a new deal was reached. both fester and reid pleaded guilty to murder in the second degree. and in march 2007, not yet a year since the killing, they entered a courtroom. >> reporter: you went to the sentencing. >> i did. the first time i saw them. i didn't think i could feel so much anger and sorrow and sadness. >> i remember thinking i didn't think i could be this mad. >> yes. >> reporter: in the courtroom, jessica reid and greg fester each apologized to the stock family. and then the judge handed down their sentences. for fester, two consecutive life terms plus another 10 to 20 for using a weapon. for reid, the first to the courthouse, remember, no break
at all. the same sentence. two life terms back-to-back. no parole, ever. and for the stock family, ever graceful and remarkably forgiving people, afterwards? the rare flash of anger. >> i hope they live a miserable life because it's turned our lives upside down. they made the choice to go into that house. mom and dad didn't have a choice. my son, who will never know his grandma and grandpa, doesn't have a choice. >> reporter: what really happened that night? what led two wisconsin teenagers to throw away their lives by so callously killing a nebraska farm couple everyone loved? perhaps only two people in the world know what happened inside that farmhouse and why. and one is now speaking out.
>> two people are dead because of me. you know? and i'm -- i have a very hard time with that still. >> reporter: jessica reid is 21 -- 27 now. her demeanor, her presence, as she sat with us in 2010 could easily be that of a kindergarten teacher. instead, she knows she will die in prison and says she is haunted by what happened in that farmhouse. what was it like to watch those people die? >> hell. >> reporter: and when you see it in your head? >> it makes my heart drop. that's one thing in this world that i can't go back and fix. >> reporter: the truth about that night? here it is, said jessica. she and fester, days without sleep or real food, have been driving aimlessly through wisconsin, iowa, nebraska, breaking into homes along the way. in one, she, too, grabbed a shotgun, a .410. so on easter night, there they were both armed, drugged and
wired when they drove down another back road completely at random. and greg said stop. and at what turned out to be the stock farmhouse, in they went. >> greg was like, follow me real quick. so i followed him and we went upstairs and when i turned around, greg had turned on a light in the room. and i seen this guy laying in the bed. and i said, come on, let's go, let's do something. because there was people there. >> reporter: what was the feeling you had as you said that? >> like panic. it was like craziness like god, what if they wake up. you know? >> reporter: but. >> he just turned and went into that room. the guy had rolled out of bed and they were wrestling with the gun. and i just was like startled and my gun went off. and i have no idea where that shot went. >> reporter: sources close to the investigation, though, tell
"dateline" there's reason to believe that whether jessica knows it or not, her wild shot may have been the fatal one. that it may have struck wayne stock in the head with evidence of the blast obliterated by another shot from greg fester's 12 gauge. >> then greg shot the guy in the back of the head. and he went back in that room and shot that lady. he ran down the stairs and i ran after him. and that ring that they found -- >> >> reporter: yeah. >> it flew off and i didn't know until way, way later when they showed me a picture of it. because i knew i lost that ring, but i had no idea where. >> reporter: what was it like in that truck on the way away? >> we didn't say anything. i mean, i started crying at one point and greg just looked at me and he was like, don't do that. you know. >> reporter: but what about those letters? the words found later in that house with reid's belongings, with that cigarette box? words she wrote. boldly admitting to her crimes. "i killed someone. he was older.
i loved it. i wish i could do it all the time. if greg doesn't watch it, i'm going to just leave one day and do it myself." i don't understand it. >> i hate hearing it because it's just kind of like how everything was portrayed. i hate hearing it. >> reporter: because it was how everything was portrayed? >> because i'm not like that. >> reporter: were you like that at the time? >> no. that was my way of showing greg that i was okay with it. because when he told me not to cry, it was like, what? i'm not supposed to feel bad about this? i mean, how can you have no remorse for this at all? >> reporter: it's all a black hole of regret now, of course. except she says for one good thing she did. she refused to implicate two men who had nothing to do with the murders. turned down a golden chance to cut herself a better deal with prosecutors by lying and nailing
nick and matt. do you kick yourself about that sometimes? >> no. >> reporter: why not? >> because when i wake up in the morning, i can look at myself and be okay. they're where they should be on the streets because they didn't do anything. and i'm where i should be. you know. >> reporter: a lot of the members of their family believe that they got away with it. what would you say to those people with their suspicions? >> to stop being suspicious. >> reporter: because? >> they weren't there. they had nothing to do with this. >> reporter: but for the stock family, it's just not that simple. can you believe jessica, they ask? they're driven, they say, by a common sense instilled at an early age by their murdered parents. so they keep asking who and why. who did this? >> i'd like to know the honest truth about everything. i hope some day we can all sit
down and look at each other and say, were these two involved, yes or no, definitely. was the blood planted, yes or no, definitely. i don't know if we'll ever know those answers, but i hope some day we'll know. >> reporter: a postscript? andy has taken over the farm now. without admitting wrongdoing the government settled the cases for $2.6 million. >> and the woman who went beyond the call of duty -- >> i heard homicide. i knew it was important. >> reporter: and two still marvel that poor police work almost did their clients in even as the very same cops brilliantly tracked the one piece of evidence that saved
them and finally identified the real murderers. a simple gold ring. >> had they not been able to trace that ring to its owner in wisconsin, i'm really afraid we'd have two guys sitting on death row for something they didn't do. its owner in wisconsin, i'm really afraid we would have two guys sitting on death row for something they didn't do. i'm craig melvin. >> and i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." there's this pile of leaves and it's where everything else is clear and flat. my heart is racing a million miles an hour. i was using my boots to move leaves and that's when i scream