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tv   Dateline  MSNBC  August 12, 2018 2:00am-3:01am PDT

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to make sure that he knows that even though his mother's not there, she loved him more than anything. i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." she was there. >> she'd walk into the room and it just kind of brightened. >> and then she wasn't. >> my initial reaction was what happened. >> the mother they adored. missing. in her place, a trail of blood. >> my biggest fear was we were going to find her. >> what police found instead was puzzle. >> in my 28 years, i have never seen that before. >> a missing woman. mystery with few clues. >> did you find any
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fingerprints? >> no. >> hair? >> no. >> anything? >> no. >> did one man have a motive. >> you stole $300,000 and are about to be exposed of it. >> except without proof, how could anyone convince a jury? >> you don't think they had any evidence against you? >> could anyone name anything? >> could anyone solve the mystery? >> we, the jury, find the defendant, david martin hawk -- ♪ hello and welcome to "dateline." when someone goes missing one of the hard oes things for those left behind is not knowing the truth. was it voluntary or foul play? the three children in this story arrived home one evening to discover their mother was missing. but for them, the truth about what really happened may have been the hardest thing of all. here is keith morrison.
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>> the key was waiting for them under the mat, that evening in june, 2006, outside their mom's house. silence. no one home. where was she? she was always on time to pick them up from their dad's place. but tonight he had to drive them. this just wasn't like her. where was she? conrad, the eldest, put the key in the lock, opened the door, chelsa, in the middle, crossed the threshold, stopped. what was this? >> once we took a few more steps in we realized there was something wrong. >> this was the moment, the defining one. nothing the same after this. >> and there was a lot of blood everywhere. >> then the adrenaline kicked in, instinct took over. >> we dropped our stuff. we split throughout the house. >> panic rising now. conrad was 15 now, his little
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sisters chelsa 14 and savannah 10. three kids trying to make sense of a horribly frightening scene. >> i my mom normally keeps it completely spic and span. there was hardly anything out of ordinary. >> now things were anything but. >> where the desk was you could see there were papers scattered around, drawers were, you know, ripped open. >> you went into the bedroom? >> i think that was the first place my sister ran into, and so then she quickly called us in and we followed her. >> what did you see there? >> there is blood on the ground. >> a lot? >> yeah. >> her mom's bed, it was made, but -- >> it was haphazardly thrown together, not smoothed out. >> she would have done it a different way? >> yeah. >> at that point you were upset, i imagine. >> my biggest fear is we were going to find her. that is what scared me the most. we would find her somewhere in
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the house. >> but they did not. no debbie hawk, not anywhere. >> there were some drag marks, some kind of smear marks leading out to the garage where they stopped. >> and debbie's van was gone, too. >> my initial reaction was, oh, my god. what has happened. who could have done this? >> sure. the girls ran to a neighbor's house. conrad called 911. >> we went in my mom's room, the bathroom and there's blood on the carpet. after the initial shock i start to be reasonable and think, let's not overreact here. clearly she cut her hand with a knife or something and she was bleeding and she raced out to the car to go to the emergency room. this is all just a big misunderstanding. >> but it wasn't. there were plenty of misunderstandings to come and dwhaes questions that stubbornly refused to be answered like,
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where was debbie hawk? what happened to her? what happened to the sacred bond that once held three children together? back at the beginning, even the police were confused. >> this case seemed very unusual from the start. >> assigned to the case at the time, police investigator darren madison, along with a kings county d.a. investigator, aaron, both worked other cases here in hanford. out among the suburbs and almond orchards and giant dairy farms that ran across the miles of flat valley floor. but this one did not smell right at all, said madison. >> it appeared she was drug out of the house against her will. in 28 years i have never seen that before. >> whatever happened here must have been planned, thought out. >> it looked like a staged crime scene. her jewelry in her bedroom neatly laid out. just where she put it.
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nothing was missing but her and her van. >> was someone trying to make it look like debbie hawk had been kidnapped or intention, failed intention, perhaps, that she just left home. >> i think it was designed to look like a missing persons case. the bed was made. most crooks don't do that. >> had the perpetrator been looking for something. >> there was paperwork normally put away at least stacked up. it wasn't. it was scattered and this financial document was on top. >> significant? maybe. certainly significant with the sounds the neighbors reported hearing in the middle of the night, the night before debbie's kids arrived at her doorstep and found her missing. >> several neighbors heard a loud scream, a blood curdling type. >> why did nobody call 911? >> that is not the type of neighborhood bad things happen. >> not the type of person that
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bad things happen to. debbie was an accomplished woman, a sales rep with a pharmaceutical firm and with a wide circle of friends immensely popular. >> she was very regal, to us, royalty. she fits the bill as a princess. >> she should have been a kennedy. >> mm-hmm. >> which is why the ribbons that suddenly bloomed everywhere around hanford were royal purple and the people who put the ribbons on and up also joined a search to find her, they walk aid among the river banks, they peered amongst the trees. nowhere to be found. by then, as you can imagine, the whole town knew about the disappearance of debbie hawk. they knew something else, too. two days after she vanished there was a find and it wasn't good. but it wasn't debbie. instead, police found her van. it was parked on the street in a high crime district of fresno, 40 miles from home. the drug samples debbie kept in
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the back, medications for nasal allergies and asthma were missing. and this was weird, the windows were down, the keys in the ignition, the license plate had been replaced with a stolen one. >> it appears whoever left it there wanted somebody to get in and drive off. >> oh, and one more thing the van's back seat was covered with blood. >> at that point whoever was driving the van would immediately become a suspect in debbie hawk's disappearance. >> police were pretty sure that is exactly what the killer wanted. it was a ruse, an attempt to plant blame somewhere else. but around town, some people already begun directing blame at one individual. they thought they knew who did it. >> she had said to me, you know, if anything ever happens to me, you know where to look. >> suspicion runs fast, the truth dawdles along.
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has it arrived even now? someone seemed to hold a grudge against debbie hawk, but who and why? coming up -- >> things like she needs a taste of her own medicine. she's going to get her's. she's going to get coming to her. >> when "dateline" continues. protect your pet with the #1 name in flea and tick protection. frontline plus. trusted by vets for nearly 20 years.
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♪ you couldn't go anywhere that summer of 2006 without seeing those purple ribbons, a vivid reminder of debbie hawk, the mother of three who vanished from her home in hanford, california, leaving only traces of blood. before long, in her absence, debbie was famous as if everyone in town had known the woman her children so loved. >> she would walk into her room and it would brighten. >> never a dull moment. >> she was all for her family, her children. >> these are her parents, angie and bud. >> hard worker.
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she was just -- to me, she was perfect. she was the perfect daughter. and i dearly love her and miss her. >> there's a lot of lives that have been shattered because of her demise. >> demise, yes. no getting around it now. in july of 2006 the case was reclassified from missing person to homicide. a formality, really. they knew from the moment they arrived at the house, said d.a. investigator aaron lebleu, somebody killed debbie. >> we kept up hopes obviously for the family's sake, but it was clear that she was not alive based on the crime scene. >> investigators poked around debbie's life history looking for clues. >> she was very talkative, friendly, likable. she was kind of the life of the the party. >> this is debbie's sister, diane, who recalled how friends
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set her up on that blind date years ago. >> firecracker. >> he was the date, dave hawk. >> she was short and attractive and a lot of fun and pretty good sense of humor. you'd say something and, man, she would pop back with something you didn't quite expect. >> they were married within a year. they built a home among his family's almond groves. >> i think they both wanted to have a family. i think that was like the impetus for the acceleration, i guess you would say, of the relationship. >> though debbie's big sister wasn't sure what she saw in him. >> he seemed very quiet. very opposite of my sister. >> then before long conrad arrived and chelsa and savannah.
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>> i still remember christmases where my brother and i would run around and deliver gifts to everybody. everybody was getting along. those were some happy memories there. >> sadly, a lot of unhappy ones, too. >> pretty much from when i can remember, fighting and arguing were pretty routine. >> after nearly nine years this marriage, like so many others, fell apart. >> we might have been a little bit more different than we were willing to admit early on. >> even at that age i could definitely see, yeah, the water was about to boil over. >> kids were 9, 8 and 4 when the divorce was finalized in 2000. young conrad, chelsa and savannah learned how to navigate the choppy waters known all too well of children of divorce. >> they just couldn't talk to each other really. i tried to step in and help resolve that. >> you were kind of the mediator
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in a way. >> yeah. >> kind of a tough role for a kid to play? >> it was easier to be the mediator than have them yelling at each other on the phone. >> living apart, said conrad. >> my mom was happier than ever. i think all of our lives improved. >> debbie did well enough she was able to buy her own home. >> she could finally start living her life the way she wanted to. >> except there were issues. once after they separated during the squabbles of divorce, she claimed he tried to choke her. >> she said he just looked like a crazed animal and i thought he was going to kill me. and not too long after that she had said to me, you know, if anything ever happens to me you know where to look. >> dave said that choking thing just never happened. that he was never violent with her. >> i've never choked anybody. >> things settled down
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eventually, though there was always some dispute and the things conrad said he heard his dad say about his mom. awful. >> things like she needs a taste of her own medicine. she's going to get hers. she's going to get what she has coming to her. >> in fact, the very night he discovered debbie had vanished conrad told police his dad might have done this. >> i didn't see anything that would disqualify him from being able to carry that out. >> which is why just hours after the kids discovered debbie was missing it was 2:20 a.m. by then. police called dave, woke him up. asked him to drive down to police headquarters for a talk. the phone call was curious, thought investigator madison because dave didn't ask why. >> i've received calls in the middle of the night. my first thought for me is family. what's going on, especially if it is the police department. he didn't. >> and when he arrived in the
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interview room. >> what's going on? >> dave didn't seem to have much of a reaction at all to learning his ex-wife, the mother of his three kids, was missing. >> at this point i have no clue as to where she might be. >> i can tell you what has been going on the last week. >> what did you expect? >> more surprise. any surprise. >> mm-hmm. >> i didn't see that at all. >> of course, people do react in different ways to traumatic news. besides, dave told them he was at home asleep in the early morning hours when police believe debbie must have been killed and the kids say they didn't hear him leave the house. they were there, too, at the time. there was no evidence dave was ever at the crime scene. did you find any dna? >> no. >> did you find any fingerprints. >> no. >> hair, anything? >> no. >> but then they had just begun to uncover the troubling secrets of dave and debbie hawk. coming up --
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a family divided. >> i don't believe he would be capable of doing something like this. >> my suspicion was growing stronger and stronger. >> when "dateline" continues.
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it was a frustrating summer back in 2006 here in the farmlands of california's central valley. the purple ribbon search teams came up empty though they looked everywhere for weeks. police named dave hawk a person of interest. he seemed to have an alibi. all three kids were with him in his house the night debbie vanished. and besides there wasn't a shred of physical evidence to tie dave to the scene of an apparently violent abduction. his own daughter who spent the day after the abduction with dave told police it couldn't be him. >> i don't believe he would be capable of doing something like this. >> then they started poking before debbie disappeared dave >> dave asked the court for a >> debbie asked the court for more time with the children. >> his response was to ask for half custody. the percentages were 65 with debbie and 35 with dave. he wanted to make it an even 50-50. and that is when the battle moved to these, trust funds set up for the childrens' futures the mon came from dave's father but dave controlled the funds and debbie was sure dave was stealing from them to support his own lifestyle. why would she think that?
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well, this was actually the second set of trusts established for the children. several years before a judge caught dave's hand in the cookie jar of the first trust which listed both dave and debbie as trustees. dave was removed of trustee of those funds. during the divorce dave's father gave him sole control of a second quite generous trust fund. but when investigators ran the numbers on that second fund administered only by dave. >> basically there was supposed to be several hundred thousand dollars in each account, instead there was a couple thousand dollars. he had been living off it up to five years at that point. >> something like $300,000 was missing. dave cried poverty, he bought his girlfriend, mary, a $27,000 lexus, took her on vacation to hawaii and used $60,000 to pay off divorce costs and what he
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$1,500 he owed to his kids from the first set of trusts. but here believed the detectives was the heart of the motive for murder. debbie, if she hadn't disappeared was about to expose all that in court. >> you steal $300,000 and you are about to be exposed by it -- >> by a woman you despise? >> pretty good motive. >> certainly another piece of the puzzle. >> there is another strange piece to the puzzle. remember the mess around debbie's desk, documents scattered everywhere were the records from the first set of trusts the one only debbie controlled. >> there was $166,000 in those accounts. >> the investigators in hanford now focused hard on dave, searched his home several times, carted off lots of stuff including a stun gun which, it turned out, he bought a month before debbie disappeared. he told detectives it was for protection for his daughters and
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mary. >> he never discussed it with mary, he never discussed it with the children at all. they did not know it existed. >> they couldn't find anything to connect the stun gun to the crime but it was odd. they also took his computers, of course. and since dave did volunteer work at a local church they seized the church computer, too. even cuffed him outside his house in full view of local television cameras which were now buzzing around endlessly asking, did you do it? >> for the last time, no. i'm getting tired of answering that question. no means no. but the fools at the hanford police department don't seem to understand that. they are on a witch hunt is what is going on. they are on a witch hunt. >> whatever they were on, they couldn't find the evidence to arrest him. dave remained a free man, something that made his own son, conrad, very nervous.
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>> my suspicion was growing stronger and stronger. >> conrad told the police about the night after his mother was found missing his dad was sharing a bottle of wine with his girlfriend. >> they opened and toasted and had wine on the patio with cheese and crackers. i didn't want to jump to conclusions but at the time i thought my father and his girlfriend had really poor taste. >> that summer conrad and his dad spent the summer on the outs, it was after quite some time of not getting along too terribly well. in august, 2006, two months after his mother's disappearance, child protective services took 16-year-old conrad to a foster home. >> there were a few altercations we had, kind of like what my mom had gone through. >> investigators talked to dave's girlfriend, mary. many times and eventually this exchange occurred. >> never verbalized to you at all how much he hated her?
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>> absolutely. >> what did he say? >> it's not going to -- >> an aha moment? well, maybe, not quite. >> early on i thought he is never going to stop until she's dead. it is going to go on his whole life. i never in my life thought he would kill her. never. >> it seemed quite suspicious. most people in town seemed to have made up their minds about dave hawk, but one of them was not the d.a. >> we kept pushing and pushing and we kept sitting back. >> did the cops have it wrong? dave hawk's longtime pastor thought so. coming up -- >> this person who is portrayed as such a monster just simply isn't. >> another side of an accused killer when "dateline" continues. o miralax. stimulant laxatives forcefully stimulate the nerves in your colon.
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students at the university of virginia held a rally the day of anniversary of a white supremacist rally that claimed the life of a woman. u.s. officials identified the man who stole an empty commercial airplane as 29-year-old richard russell. russell died after he crashed the aircraft at a nearby island after being chased by f-15 fighter jets late friday evening. now back to "dateline." ♪ welcome back to "dateline." i'm craig melvin. even though investigators looking into the homicide of debbie hawk had no physical evidence tying her husband dave to the crime, they did uncover some information about possible financial wrong doing on his part. police considered it strong enough to warrant an arrest, but could they get the prosecutor to
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agree? here with more of our story is keith morrison. >> they kept pushing and pushing and we kept sitting back. >> prosecutor larry crouch told his investigators he would not charge dave hawk with the murder of his ex-wife debbie, even after it was obvious this popular single mother had been murdered, even after months of searching around hanford, california, turned up no sign of her anywhere and police convinced themselves dave was responsible. prosecutor crouch would not budge. not yet, anyway. >> we're going to wait until we find the body or give the body more time to come up. >> instead, a year after debbie vanished, dave was charged with embezzling, stealing more than $300,000 from his own children's trust funds. he pleaded not guilty, was released on bail. >> dave, how does it feel to be out of jail? >> and waited for the other shoe to drop.
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now, imagine this, the police, not to mention most of the town, believed their father killed their mother leaving three children caught in the middle. conrad had no doubt his dad killed his mom, a dad he began referring to as dave. >> i tried to cut all ties that i had with him as much as i could. he was nothing to me now. >> but chelsa has been and is her father's staunchest defender. >> why do you think your siblings have chosen the other path? >> i think they're just very upset by what happen and their relationship was not as close to my dad. they were not home or not awake when i was awake. and they were not around him the next day like i was around him. >> chelsa says dave was acting perfectly normal the day after whatever happened happen, no odd
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behavior, nothing to suggest he had been up all night committing a terrible crime. >> so the things that convinced me about his innocence aren't there to convince them. i think they are defending my mom so much so that it's like they're going to point to the most obvious suspect. >> chelsa isn't the only one in this small town who believes dave hawk is innocent. >> i believe what he says, that he had nothing to do with her disappearance. and presumed death. >> sandy brown is dave's longtime pastor and friend. >> this person who is portrayed as such a monster just simply isn't. he is a man who has worked hard in the church. he is a good father. >> as their son prepares to face serious financial charges, dave's parents took over custody of chelsa and savannah hawk. not the way they expected to spend their 80s.
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same way they didn't expect to defend their son. >> he made some mistakes, but nothing of the scope that is generally accepted in the community. >> stan established those trusts for his grandchildren and said dave had the right to use the money how he saw fit to benefit the children. were you surprised to discover how it was used? >> yes. apparently his financial situation was worse than i knew. >> a year passed in this gossipy limbo. now it was may, 2008, nearly two years after debbie's disappearance. her body still hadn't been found and there was no new evidence tying dave to her murder. but prosecutor larry crouch heard disquieting reports from his investigators. >> they started surveilling our office, the police offices, eventually starts driving by an investigator's home. it was getting pretty concerning out there. >> time to move. on may 29, 2008, dave hawk was arrested and charged with
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first-degree murder and a special circumstance murder for financial gain. he pleaded not guilty. when the trial finally began more than a year later dave faced murder and the earlier embezzlement charges together. prosecutor larry crouch offered the jury this theory, that dave snuck out of his house in the middle of the night without waking his sleeping children, maybe even used a ladder to get out of the window, and got someone to give him a ride to debbie's house and entered her bedroom. >> i think he tried the stun gun on her and she screamed very loudly and he struck her with something more than once. at that point, i assume he suffocated her. >> then, said the prosecutor, he must have dragged debbie's body to the garage, put her in her own van, disposed of her somewhere and drove to fresno. and left it in a high crime zone. how did he get back home?
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that accomplice, said the prosecutor, must have picked him up and driven him the 40 miles back to his farm. but really, there was no body, no dna, no forensic evidence to show dave had even been at the murder scene. everybody in town seemed to have a theory, apparently the prosecutor did, too. but proof? so the state tried to build a bridge from dave's alleged financial crimes to a murder, painting him as an evil man who decided to eliminate his ex-wife when he knew the misuse of the trust funds was about to be exposed. enough? well, we shall see. >> there's a number of other explanations for what could have happened other than dave. dave was a convenient ex-husband. coming up -- one of his children is convinced he's not guilty, but can dave hawk convince a jury? >> i told them i wanted to testify. >> when "dateline" continues.
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♪ the alignment of the stars in this case was just stacked against us. stacked against dave hawk. >> at least in the harsh court of public opinion it looked bad for dave hawk as his murder trial approached in hanford, california. dennis peterson and mark coleman were dave's attorneys.
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>> this guy allegedly stealing from his kids, saying bad things about this sympathetic victim and all these things being widely played in the press. >> if there ever was a case for change of venue, this must be it, said the defense. after all, almost everybody seeped to have heard the accusations about dave and every time he had a court appearance purple clad friends of debbie crowded into the public gallery. in fact, during jury selection said attorney coleman he heard jurors tell the judge they had already decided dave hawk was guilty. >> the judge asked them, if i order you to set those opinions aside, can you do it? well, i guess so. >> still, defense application for change of venue was denied as well as the separation of financial charges from the murder charge. defense argued that the embezzlement charges were unfairly prejudicial. >> they wanted to make him look
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like a bad person, a person who was likely to take money from his kids would murder his ex-wife. >> debbie was about to reveal the theft of the kids' trust funds is a powerful reason for murder. >> the fact of the matter was that was already exposed. it had already been filed in open declarations in open court. >> he would gained nothing by getting rid of her at that stage? >> no. >> we have that american saying if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it is probably a duck. but yur saying it's a turkey. >> the burden is on them to prove it's a duck. in this case they didn't. >> no. the defense argued the prosecution had absolutely no evidence dave even left his house the night debbie was abducted and presumably murdered. his daughter insisted he could not have left the house without her having heard him. >> it doesn't seem at all possible.
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>> even though investigators would tell the court the kids slept so soundly it was hard to wake them up when they went to see them one morning, the defense claims that the prosecution's theory of what happened just didn't add up. >> that is just beyond belief that somebody would take that kind of risk, he would sneak down the hallway, open the door, drive the ten or 12 miles over to debbie hawk's house, subdue her, bludgeon her, load her into the van and drive to fresno and get back to his house without getting any blood on him, without being discovered. >> so what did happen to debbie hawk? the defense floated this theory. debbie worked in pharmaceutical sales. perhaps a drug addict had gone after the samples she kept in the van. all of the pharmaceuticals in her van were missing. somebody took them. >> that was a ludicrous idea, countered the prosecution.
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debbie carried very few samples. anyway, if drug theft was behind it why didn't the thief take any jewelry or electronics. no. it seemed to come down to dave. his character, his behavior and his own words and a conversation with a friend police recorded when dave speculated what might have happened to debbie. the defense played it in court. unguarded indication that dave had no idea what happened. >> he basically offered i don't think she is ever going to be found. >> did it work? listen to prosecutor larry crouch. >> oh, no. why are they putting it in? i thought it was harmful. what the jury thought no one could say. then there was inevitably a conversation about whether or not dave would testify. >> i told them i wanted to testify. >> an idea dave's attorney did
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not like one bit. >> dave is a combative individual, he is prideful, he is up ended easily. >> he thinks he is smart and hates for anyone to think he is not smart. he would be perfect fodder for a trained prosecutor. >> and so dave held his tongue in court. he saved his story for us. so you don't think they had any useful evidence against you at all? >> can anybody name anything? coming up -- dave hawk speaks out and so does the jury. >> we, the jury, find the defendant, david martin hawk -- >> when "dateline" continues. ♪ protect your pet with the #1 name in flea and tick protection. frontline plus. trusted by vets for nearly 20 years.
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are you ready to take your then you need xfinity xfi.? a more powerful way to stay connected. it gives you super fast speeds for all your devices, provides the most wifi coverage for your home, and lets you control your network with the xfi app. it's the ultimate wifi experience. xfinity xfi, simple, easy, awesome. ♪ welcome back to "dateline." with no physical evidence tying dave hawk to the crime scene,
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his defense attorneys tried to poke holes in what they saw as a purely circumstantial case. would this be enough to sway the jury? here with the conclusion of the story is keith morrison. dave hawk on trial for the murder of his ex-wife debbie did not testify, didn't tell the members of the jury what he was thinking. he had a sinking feeling he knew what they were thinking. >> always blame the ex-husband. it was an awful problem the day his ex-wife disappeared in a trail of her own blood. the number one suspect was him. that is what the police had been saying all along. that is apparently what a great many people thought in hanford, california. even as he sat here as a defendant in a murder case. even though -- >> i didn't have the motive and i didn't have the capacity. >> you know how it can be, said dave. once people get it in their heads you did something, they will tend to misinterpret
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everything to make you look guilty. >> i was home with my children in another town all night. but i'm being accused of being in another place committing a terrible crime based on financial shenanigans that didn't exist in the first place. >> shenanigans like for example the trust fund for his kids. his father made the terms very broad, said dave, so he could spend the money as he saw fit. any way that would benefit the children. >> the money is to be used for the health, education, support and maintenance of the children. and that's exactly what it was used for and i acted legally in that respect. >> and then since they didn't have any evidence against him, said dave, prosecutors made a case based on misinterpreting things he said. like the time he said to a
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friend, if i was a bad guy, i would throw somebody off a bridge. >> my point was they haven't looked for her. if someone had thrown her off a bridge it would have floated downstream. they didn't look anywhere. >> so did you throw her off the bridge. >> no. i didn't throw anybody off a bridge. >> they made a huge deal about something he supposedly said to his girlfriend about dave. dave said we won't be rid of that f'ing bitch until he is she is dead. >> i might have. i don't that. that doesn't mean i'm going to go kill somebody. >> then there was his own son conrad who, after all, believed he was guilty. and told police he saw dave and mary share a celebratory toast after debbie's disappearance.
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conrad said they didn't get it. >> whenever we open a bottle of wine we raise our glasses and say cheers. it is just a tradition. we were not toasting anybody's anything. >> why have you never been able to persuade conrad of your innocence? >> i don't know. he knows that i was at home the whole time, never left, didn't have any involvement in anything illegal. but he's perhaps angry and needs to fill in the blanks with something. >> maybe he is angry at his dad because his dad killed his mom. >> his dad didn't kill his mom. >> he thinks so though. >> he could be wrong. >> so who did kill debbie? dave has an opinion about that, too. who else wanted her dead? >> maybe the boyfriend that was stalking her. >> stalking her? >> this is somebody who was
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reported to the police and the police swept it under the rug apparently. it was an ex-boyfriend. >> of course, investigators say they did look into that and other leads, too, but they all came back to dave. and one primary motive. so some cross-examination. prosecutors said you killed your ex-wife because she was going to expose your embezzlement of the childrens' trust funds. >> they've said a lot of things. >> were you afraid your father was going to find out what you were doing with that money with the trust fund? your father who lovingly put the money into the trust fund before you siphoned it out. >> i really don't like the way you are characterizing these things. i really don't like the way the prosecutor -- >> whether you like it or not, those are the accusations. >> yeah. and they are not right. they are wrong. they are false. which part did you not understand? >> what part did i not understand? what i understand is you bought
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a $27,000 car using trust fund money. you took a trip to hawaii with your girlfriend. you paid off your divorce attorneys fees and money you took from the first set of trusts by taking $60,000 out of the kids' second trust fund. >> the money was used for the children. >> which child drove the lexus? >> all three children were driven in the lexus. >> which child went to hawaii on vacation? >> perhaps that money was my own money. prosecutor never bothered to figure out what dollar went where, did they? >> you made it hard because you were mixing up the trust fund money and your money all the time. frankly, that is what scam artists do. >> i'm not a scam artist. >> why didn't you get a job. >> i had a job. >> i'm talking about a job that pays enough to support a family which is what a dad does. >> you are reading from a script the prosecutor has given you
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apparently because none of these things are true. >> a guilty man or not? the jury did not take very long to decide. >> we, the jury, find the defendant, david martin hawk, guilty of the murder of debbie hawk. >> guilty of murder and nine financial crimes. dave hawk was sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars. but was that the end of this story? not in the least. his defense attorney appealed the case as high as he could, even trying the supreme court, which declined review. then in march, 2016, ten years after debbie hawk disappeared, a farm hand found her remains in a field in the neighboring town where dave grew up. debbie's father, bud, had a dying wish that she be found before he passed away. he left this earth just a week after that discovery. and the children who held opposing views about their
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father's innocence -- >> it's complicated. >> yep. >> has this created a rift between the two of you? >> yes. >> surely not easy going for the children of dave and debbie hawk. >> we do the best we can. that's all for this edition of "dateline." thanks for watching. i'm craig melvin. >> i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." >> it was a small new year's eve party. we took off and then shortly thereafter we saw the police car. my gut was telling my feet to run back to that house. this can't be happening. >> reporter: when the party ended, the mystery began. >> it was just crazy. i didn't understand what was happening and why. >> reporter: his wife, the


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