Skip to main content

tv   Dateline  MSNBC  February 3, 2019 11:00pm-1:01am PST

11:00 pm
her daughter, veronica is still as determined as ever to continue to do good work and to help children in need. she and james adopted three more children in 2015. it was just what annie would have wanted them to do. he's almost like a marvel comic book arch villain. he's bright. he's clever. evil as can be. >> on a beautiful, sprawling farm, seeds of danger. >> we heard this big explosion. he's just laying on the ground. >> this loving father of three, the farm's heart and soul, killed in a ball of fire. >> they were saying it wasn't an accident.
11:01 pm
>> our assumption was it was a pipe bomb. >> someone finds the dead man had reaped what he'd sown. >> he had messed with a drug cartel. >> maybe the truth lay with the farm's owners, a wealthy clan known for harvesting rice and resentment. >> i wish that there weren't so much hate and anger in our family. >> one family member seemingly held a grudge against the victim. >> he's always the one that had something mean to say. he was always the one that hated him. >> another came gunning for investigators. >> who chases the police? >> but who was hiding the darkest of secrets? >> got chills going up the back of my neck. this is not happening right now. >> a blank sheet of paper hiding a diabolical clue. >> i fell to my knees and started screaming.
11:02 pm
>> there is an eden in the american west. a cornucopia whose bounty daily fills the bellies of millions. great farms employ legions of workers and enriched with their profits, families pass the land down father to son, generation after generation. they live modestly here in california's central valley. multi-millionaires in crop dusters and battered pickup trucks, deeply conservative, self-reliant, tough enough to thrive in a dangerous business that takes guts and brains, too often lives. here among the churning, thrashing machinery the power that helps grow the food of life, death can take a man unawares, even on a sleepy summer day. >> we just looked up and there he was. >> like today.
11:03 pm
a little boy burst from the field of sun flowers next to brandy's place. >> he was beet red, sweaty, he was just covered in mud head to toe. he had his tennis shoes in his hand. >> carrying his shoes. >> he was running barefoot? >> he said he took them off. i think he got stuck in the mud in the sun flowers. >> brandy and her kids live in a rambling house next to one of those big farms. idyllic life out here -- quiet, predictable, until the saturday afternoon that little boy appeared. like magic from the sun flower field. no more than 7 years old or so. so what did he say? >> he said that his dad was on fire and he needed to call for help. >> on fire? how could that be? he was serious. >> he was serious. he was very serious. >> once he started to talk, was he making sense? >> yes. he was able to talk the whole
11:04 pm
time, answer whatever questions i had. there was no hesitation. >> brandy called 911, passed along details as relayed by the little boy. >> what is the little boy saying exactly, that his dad -- >> okay. you said his dad turned something on for the water? i'm guessing maybe an irrigating pump? and it blew up like a bomb. >> as they waited for the fire department to arrive, brandy began tending to the boy, fabian ayala. >> gave him some water to drink. then i took the water and rinsed all the mud off and checked under his shirt to see if there was any major injuries or not. >> were you hurt? >> no. >> not at all? >> uh-uh. >> this is fabian today, who, his family by his side, told us about the last day he spent with his dad. >> he would take me out when he had something to do. >> fabian's dad roberto was a farm manager, a demanding, sun
11:05 pm
up to sun down job so to squeeze in quality time with his family he'd often take one of his three kids with him. a proud man. always pictured with his chest out, his chin up. on july 16th, 2011, that saturday, roberto needed to flood a rice field by turning on a series of high voltage irrigation pumps. fabian by his side in his pickup truck, roberto drove the quarter mile distance from one pump to the next. and then he stopped, got out, walked to the big electrical box. >> he was just going to the rice field when there was this big explosion. i go out and see what happened. he was just laying on the ground. >> so what did you do? i yelled his name out and he wasn't answering so i went to try and get help. >> so what did you do? you ran? >> yeah.
11:06 pm
>> through what? >> the field. the flower field. >> yeah. big, tall -- >> yeah. >> you're running through them trying to -- >> yeah. >> how far did you have to go? >> i don't know. pretty far. >> far indeed. more than two miles running, running, running blindly through the field of golden flowers that closed in about him. >> and i saw the house and i just went toward it. >> do you remember what you said to them? >> something happened to my dad. he was that way and can you help me and they said, yes. they called the police department and they came as quick as they can. >> when firefighters reached the irrigation canal from which little fabian had run for help, it was obvious there was no life left to save. roberto ayala's body must indeed have been on fire just as fabian said it was. why became clear when they found burn holes about an inch wide near the bottom of his feet, an
11:07 pm
obvious sign of electrocution. an electrical box used to turn on a high voltage irrigation pump had apparently shorted out and exploded with such intensity metal fragments blew out the windows and covered the passenger side of roberto's new ford f-250. a miracle little fabian wasn't killed, too. >> translator: we received a phone call that something had happened. >> reporter: roberto's wife fabiola. >> translator: it was when we received the call from the police department and they said they had fabian and fabian was okay but they couldn't tell us what happened to roberto. we thought he was in the hospital. >> reporter: and you didn't know what happened? >> translator: we didn't know what had happened. we called the hospital and the hospital didn't know anything about what had happened. about an hour, hour and a half later, they arrived with fabian. >> it was my dad. my brother just started screaming that he was dead.
11:08 pm
>> what was it like to see fabian in that situation? >> i think someone, being older, wouldn't be able to handle it as well as my brother did. >> reporter: pretty amazing, wasn't it? to run all that way. >> i wouldn't have been able to run that much. i wouldn't even know what to do. to stay strong the way he did. i just -- i wasn't there and i couldn't control myself. i don't know how he did it. >> reporter: farm accidents are as old as the wheel. bad things just happen sometimes. still, sheriff's investigators scoured the area, taking photos and collecting every bit of debris they could find, whether it looked like it was from an electrical box or not. >> one of our jobs for the jurisdiction is to investigate all industrial accidents. >> reporter: because, said the sheriff's detective, in colusa county the sheriff does double duty as the county coroner. >> osha eventually will take
11:09 pm
over that investigation if it is determined to be that type of thing. >> reporter: there was an autopsy, too, routine of course. >> told us that the victim had been electrocuted. he had been burned and he had been near an explosion. >> reporter: pacific gas and electric sent a team over, which confirmed it looked like an accident and, sadly, not unique. >> he said, well, we've seen stuff similar to this. what might happen is the operator will get into the panel with a tool for some reason and cross the leads with that tool and cause a plasma type of explosion and that could have been what happened. here, the other thing he did say is we've never seen anything this big. >> reporter: this is what the electrical box would have looked like before the explosion about the size of a high school locker. and after the explosion, that box was nowhere to be found. all that was left was a splintered post where it once stood. hard to know what to make of that.
11:10 pm
>> on the farm, investigators will continue digging as explosives experts try to determine what exactly happened to roberto. when we return, they unearth the first clue.
11:11 pm
it's just a cough. yeah right. and the earth is flat. ahhh!! treat your cough seriously with robitussin cf max. nothing lasts longer and treats more symptoms for your cough, cold and flu. robitussin. because it's never just a cough.
11:12 pm
11:13 pm
lester holt (voiceover): when people hear the words when people hear the words "fortune" and "california" in the same sentence their minds generally go to some internet sensation like google or apple. but just 50 miles from the silicon valley is the san joaquin valley where fortunes were made long before the arrival of micro chips and semiconductors. the farm roberto ayala ran, worth tens of millions of dollars, all going to just one extended family, the moores.
11:14 pm
>> they were very, very private. >> reporter: this is mary, part of the greater moore clan. her family, like many of the big farming families around here, keeps its wealth private, too. >> i knew that there was money there, but they didn't flaunt it in any way and you weren't told about it. you just knew that it was there. >> reporter: she learned early, she said, that the family fortune was also a tool to keep the descendents in line. >> my dad would say like when i was in high school, if you ever get into drugs or do anything i'm kicking you out of my will. >> reporter: though she could never have inherited the land, that birth right was passed from father to son, not daughter. the custom started with the moore family patriarch, who handed the farm down to his two sons, roger and dusk now in their 70s. each of them had a son born just a year apart, paul and peter, who were in line to one day run the farms as partners.
11:15 pm
cousins but raised more like brothers. here they are in 1978 in cut offs fishing bare handed, latter day huck and tom. in 1980 they were on the same high school football team. roger's son, paul, was smart and handsome and a playboy, while gus's boy peter just two rows down was tough and blunt, hot headed, really. >> pete has a reputation, i think, over in colusa county. his mouth basically has given him a reputation because of the things that he has said. >> i'm a little different than the rest of them. >> reporter: oh, boy. so he is. calls them as he sees them even when it comes to his own family. >> there is too much money involved and everybody is afraid of what they might lose if they say something, even if it's right. >> reporter: there was one family member pete did have a deep connection with. his grandfather, the family patriarch. >> he -- he was special.
11:16 pm
>> reporter: he taught peter about farming, about tending the orchards. >> he had demacular degeneration, so i was his eyes. >> reporter: but when his grandfather, his patron, died, pete's life changed quite suddenly. >> after we buried my grandpa, in short order i was pretty much told by my dad and my uncle that they didn't need my help anymore. i don't know whether it was animosity because i had gotten so close to their dad or what it was. >> reporter: after a particularly ugly fight with his dad, pete was exiled from the land of plenty, moved north of this eden into town and started a landscaping business. >> my wife and i had nothing, i mean, when i say nothing, i mean nothing to do with the moores. >> reporter: and paul? paul remained the family golden boy. his doting grandmother made sure
11:17 pm
he never went without. paul married a local beauty. this is his wedding video. and he waited for the day when he'd reign over the land. but he was never involved in the big questions when and what to sow, what to reap. those multimillion dollar decisions were left up to roberto ayala, who had once been a lowly field hand, but anyone could see roberto was a natural farmer and gradually trust and responsibility and the owners' affection came to rest with him. >> paul and i were the boys in the family. >> reporter: yeah. >> we should have been the next in line. it wasn't fair. it was a slap in the face. >> reporter: and to make matters worse, roberto brought his brother eduardo in as his assistant. the cousins, their birth right withheld, fumed. >> paul would come over and tell me horrible stuff about ed and robert, that robert was saying about me, like he said that
11:18 pm
robert was -- told paul that he was going to get my share of what my dad was going to leave me of the ranch. >> reporter: fair to say though that your nerves were a little bit raw about ed and robert. >> oh, no. i was mad. i'm going to be honest with you. there was a lot of animosity. >> reporter: so much so that one day pete jumped into his truck and drove down to the farm and called roberto out. >> i told him, well let's go. >> reporter: your intention was to fight him. oh, yeah. it settles things. >> reporter: but roberto politely declined. he had a farm to run. the next time pete heard anything more about roberto ayala, it was that he was dead. what did you think when you heard that he was dead? >> well, i was told it was an accident. >> reporter: which is certainly what it was. at least according to the experts from pg&e. but just to be sure, the detective called explosives experts from a neighboring county. >> just to ask them, hey, have you ever heard of an electrical panel like this blowing up?
11:19 pm
and they hadn't. and at their own insistence came out to look at what we had and formed the opinion that it was possibly an explosive device. they, in turn, called atf and fbi. >> reporter: to some, that felt like jumping the gun. last thing he wanted was the big city feds treating him like a country cop crying wolf. >> now i've got atf and fbi showing up. i was a little overwhelmed. i was a little concerned that maybe, you know, we're calling these big agencies for help and really what we have is an accident. we had bomb guys saying it was a bomb, but they're bomb guys. >> reporter: right. >> we're not a hundred percent convinced it's a bomb yet. >> reporter: then, three days after the explosion -- >> we got a visit from paul moore. >> reporter: paul, pete's beloved cousin, the handsome golden boy of the pair told the detective he found something out at the scene of the accident, something that shouldn't have been there.
11:20 pm
>> he came across a piece of metal that he found. it looked like galvanized iron or metal and that piece of metal said to him that there was something more going on. >> reporter: did he have any other ideas about what may have happened? >> he did. he told us his cousin pete had made some threats toward the victim and the time leading up to the incident. >> reporter: and there was more. paul showed the detective texts he received from peter sent from the very rice field where roberto was killed. >> that text was dated and timed the day before. coming up the focus shifts from the nuts and bolts of electrical explosions to an explosive personality. >> pete had a reputation for being a real hot head without hardly an effort pete could tick you off. >> reporter: when "dateline"
11:21 pm
continues. things, i didn't know what was happening... so i kept it in. he started believing things that weren't true. i knew something was wrong... but i didn't say a word. during the course of their disease around 50% of people with parkinson's may experience hallucinations or delusions. but now, doctors are prescribing nuplazid. the only fda approved medicine... proven to significantly reduce hallucinations and delusions related to parkinson's. don't take nuplazid if you are allergic to its ingredients. nuplazid can increase the risk of death in elderly people with dementia-related psychosis and is not for treating symptoms unrelated to parkinson's disease. nuplazid can cause changes in heart rhythm and should not be taken if you have certain abnormal heart rhythms or take other drugs that are known to cause changes in heart rhythm. tell your doctor about any changes in medicines you're taking. the most common side effects are swelling of the arms and legs and confusion. we spoke up and it made all the difference. ask your parkinson's specialist about nuplazid.
11:22 pm
11:23 pm
and the army taught me a lot about commitment. which i apply to my life and my work. at comcast we're commited to delivering the best experience possible, by being on time everytime. and if we are ever late, we'll give you a automatic twenty dollar credit. my name is antonio and i'm a technician at comcast. we're working to make things simple, easy and awesome.
11:24 pm
keith morrison (voiceover): district attorney john pointer's one of colusa's most popular raconteurs. the district attorney is one of colusa's most popular. been in office nearly 30 years. knows where the skeletons are buried and knows just about every prominent family in the county including the moores. >> if i said they were odd, that would be a pretty good way of summarizing it.
11:25 pm
>> odd. >> yes. >> odd how? >> you don't hear a lot about a lot of families but you hear about the moore family. >> reporter: because they complain publicly about other wings of the family or at least complain in such a way that people -- >> complain in a way that other people found out about it. >> reporter: now the two cousins? >> pete i've known for years almost since i've been here. had a reputation for being a real hot head. a lot of mouth. he couldn't back it up. but he had a lot of mouth. without hardly an effort pete could tick you off. >> reporter: so when paul came to the authorities and said, i think pete is responsible for this, did the suspicion seem plausible? >> yes. >> reporter: yeah. >> it did. we knew pete didn't get along with his family. we knew pete had a hot head. we knew pete had access to the property. >> reporter: and for paul to denounce peter who was like his brother, sad, perhaps, but made sense to the da's office, which signed off on the warrant to have pete's house searched.
11:26 pm
it was just a few blocks away. >> went out to grab a bite to eat. when we came home weerks saw them all at the house searching the house. >> mary ellen is peter moore's house. >> couldn't believe it. >> reporter: did you think it had something to do with what happened to roberto? >> well, i didn't think that at first. i said, what are they doing at our house? >> i got out of the house and said what the -- is going on here? two cops came over and grabbed me and escorted me to the front of my house. >> reporter: mary ellen and peter asked investigators what was going on. they were handed the search warrant stating investigators were looking for anything connected to bomb making. >> i said how do you know it was a bomb? we don't even know it was a bomb. >> reporter: that was the first you heard of such a thing? >> because we thought it was an accident. >> reporter: did they seem to be accusing the two of you? >> yes. >> reporter: both of you. >> yes. >> reporter: were you frightened? >> oh, yes. >> reporter: what were you afraid of? >> that they thought we did it. >> reporter: around colusa the raid on peter's house just days after roberto's death was big news.
11:27 pm
the neighbor began sending out real time updates on facebook. >> there was a parade of cars driving around the whole neighborhood. >> as these detectives were asking their questions and as they were ripping my house -- going through my house. >> reporter: when they left? >> they took our computers and our cell phones. we had a business. nobody could call us. >> reporter: meanwhile the whole neighborhood was watching this. >> yes. >> reporter: so the search, said the detective, didn't yield a thing. >> we didn't find anything as far as bomb making materials, instructions on bombs, even anything in remotely close to that like gun powder. >> reporter: sure. >> or anything like that. >> reporter: so if pete was doing something he wasn't doing it at his house. >> not that we could find any evidence of. >> he denied he had anything to do with it. >> yes he did. >> reporter: though pete couldn't and didn't try to deny his hatred for roberto ayala. why did you hate him? >> he was arrogant. he flaunted stuff in my face. >> reporter: still the man had as if this were some biblical
11:28 pm
epic stolen his birth right. lots of people around town knew about that especially the ayalas so when they heard peter moore's house was being searched. >> i thought it was pete all along. >> reporter: why? >> he was always the one that had something mean to say. he was always the one that hated him. that was the only person i could think of. >> reporter: there was a lot of town talk going on. a lot of gossip, rumor. about a week after his house was searched pete got a visit from a friend who had heard some things. >> i was working one day and he saw me and he backs up and he goes what the hell are you doing? i go i'm working. he goes no you're not. he goes you go get in your car. you get to sacramento, get an attorney, pete. they're coming after you. you're their number one suspect. >> coming up.
11:29 pm
though pete in the cross hairs, investigators are about to learn that their victim may have made a very different and deadly enemy. >> the letter implied that roberto had messed with a drug cartel. mucinex cold & flu all-in-one. fights... ...sore throat, fever, cough, sinus pressure, chest congestion, headache, nasal congestion, body pain... all in one. did you really need the caps lock? get tough on cold and flu symptoms. mucinex cold and flu all-in-one.
11:30 pm
in how they craft tatheir orange juice? the corporate executives of coke and pepsi, or the farmers of florida's natural? only florida's natural is always made in florida by florida farmers. great taste. naturally. each day justin at work... walk. and after work. he does it all with dr. scholl's. only dr. scholl's has massaging gel insoles that provide all-day comfort. to keep him feeling more energized. dr. scholl's. born to move. fifteen percent or moreo on car insurance?ou did the little piggy cry wee wee wee all the way home? weeeeeee, weeeeeee weeeeeee weeeee weeeeeeee.
11:31 pm
max. (sigh) ...maxwell! yeah? you're home. oh, cool, thanks mrs. a. geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
11:32 pm
lester holt (voiceover): the bureau of alcohol, tobacco >> reporter: the bureau of
11:33 pm
alcohol, tobacco, and firearms has become something of a legend at solving puzzles, these little bits and pieces, fragments of this and that were about all that was left around roberto ayala's body the day of the explosion. a story in there somewhere thought the atf. agent brian parker was assigned to find out what it was. what does this tell you overall? there was an incredible amount of force in the explosion. >> reporter: most of these pieces were once part of the electrical box. >> you have washers. different types of hardware in here, screws, nuts, wire. >> reporter: other pieces just trash. but a few fragments, just a handful looked like they were pieces from a different puzzle. odd. >> cells from a 9 volt battery, galvanized steel ripped apart. >> reporter: parker sent off the misfit bits and pieces to the west coast crime lab for analysis. >> to determine whether or not there was explosive residue
11:34 pm
present on some of the fragments that were collected out at the scene. >> reporter: like gun powder, gasoline, nitroglycerin? >> correct. >> reporter: then there was this discovered on the fifth day the investigation. the panel box door found 160 feet from the site of the explosion. >> about four feet tall about two feet wide. probably weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 pounds. this where the large hole is would be the bottom of the panel. >> reporter: the forensic scientists of the atf continued their battery of tests hunting for bomb residue, fingerprints, dna and all the while the detective david psalm was on peter moore's tail waiting for him to make a mistake. did he go to ground? did he leave? what did he do? >> he didn't leave. >> reporter: what were people saying around town that you were hearing? >> we were hearing that people were saying they thought pete did it. >> they were following us everywhere. >> reporter: didn't make a secret of it either said mary ellen, from them or the neighbors. >> reporter: how did they start
11:35 pm
to look at you? >> like we were guilty. >> after they raided my house, i spent days crying. days and days, you know, i'd be at work and just crying because you don't know what's going on. you don't know who to trust. >> reporter: how much were you watched? >> i'd wake up in the morning to people outside my house. they watched me get up every day, go put a shirt on, and go out and be in the public's eye when everybody thinks you're a murderer. >> reporter: even some of pete's own relatives seemed convinced of that though his sister mary stuck by him. >> i'm amazed at how much talking goes on there with no actual evidence of, you know, a lot of gossip and people in your business. >> mary placed a call to one of the investigators, told them they were going after the wrong guy. >> he was extremely rude and said you and your family just need to accept it your brother did this. i just broke down in tears because i thought they just didn't like him as a person and
11:36 pm
i think they just, to me, my opinion was they wanted it to be him. >> reporter: four weeks into the investigation, peter moore was not just the top suspect. he was the only suspect. they had no physical evidence, though, that a murder even occurred. but they continued to watch and wait and the weeks slipped by. then a month after the explosion there was news from the atf crime lab. they had found something. >> there was the presence of explosive residue on the metal fragments we submitted. >> reporter: so it was a bomb, a murder. then the very next day -- >> i'm sitting in my office talking about what we're going to do next and the civil deputy walks in with a big manila envelope and he says, i think this is for you guys. it says colusa county sheriff's office, colusa, california, no street address and in the upper left-hand corner says ayala case and then there are eight stamps
11:37 pm
on it. it was pretty light. it was way too much postage. >> reporter: because inside was just a single sheet of paper. an open letter to the cops. what did that letter say? >> reporter: basically it was claiming responsibility for the bombing. >> the letter full of misspellings and bad grammar had been written on a label maker then photo copied. its author claimed to be a military trained contract killer had been hired to kill roberto over a mexico deal gone wrong and that it was ms 13 behind it. >> reporter: what the heck is ms 13? >> it's a violent el salvadorian criminal street gang. >> reporter: and that roberto was supposed to be a target of this group? >> the letter implied roberto had messed with a drug cartel and that ms 13 had been contracted.
11:38 pm
>> the author of the letter taunted the detectives writing the lab results would find military grade powder but no dna which was true so far. the point of the letter wrote its author was a warning. roberto's brother eduardo was next on the hit list. the writer said he had turned down the job to kill eduardo. but a second assassin would soon be on his way. do you think it was a hoax? do you think it was real? >> i didn't know what to think. i had never seen anything like that before in my career except on something similar on tv. >> reporter: one thing about that strange letter was all too obvious. whoever wrote it had inside knowledge because nobody besides the cops knew what the atf had discovered. >> we hadn't told anybody it was a bomb so for somebody to just write a letter claiming responsibility for a bombing that lended credence to the fact that the author of that letter was the real thing.
11:39 pm
>> weird. all too weird. detective salm and the others went home for the weekend to digest what they had read and seen. then monday morning his phone rang, 7:00 a.m. >> hey, we got another one of those letters. i came to work. there was a second letter sitting on my desk. this one was slightly smaller manila envelope or half size. but configured the same way. label maker, address, aayala case, and way too much postage again. >> reporter: huh. what was inside that one? >> it was a diagram of a bomb. >> coming up, invitation from a killer. >> the letter said if you have any questions, place an ad in the sacramento bee. make sure it's the last ad. we gave him as strong a warning as we could.
11:40 pm
keith morrison (voiceover): when "dateline" continues. [music playing] emreplenished,d, fortified. emerge everyday with emergen-c. packed with b vitamins, electrolytes, antioxidants, plus more vitamin c than 10 oranges. why not feel this good every day? emerge and see.
11:41 pm
11:42 pm
11:43 pm
keith morrison (voiceover): on august 15, 2011, 30 days on august 15th, 2011, 30 days after roberto ayala's death investigators received in the mail this hand drawn picture of a bomb. what did you think when you saw that diagram? >> shock. we were amazed. absolutely amazed.
11:44 pm
i had never seen anything like that before. >> the device as shown in the diagram was a two-inch pipe bomb placed next to a one liter soda bottle full of gasoline spray painted black. a large bolt tied off with a fishing line and acting as a drop weight would fall on a rat trap causing it to strike a firing pin. kind of like a rube goldberg device. the author also said there was a second secret triggering device as backup. either way the bomb was designed to go off when roberto ayala opened the door of the electrical box. could have been almost anything. now suddenly agent parker saw how they all fit. those confusing bits and pieces he'd been poring over for the past month. >> it was almost like someone had sent us the cover of the puzzle box. >> reporter: so now they matched the bits to the diagram. >> the first thing i looked for was this bolt and there it was. >> the thing that made it exceptionally clear was the fact that the bolt still had some
11:45 pm
fishing string attached just under the head of the bolt which was how it was depicted in the diagram. >> it would have been hanging from that string as a weight. >> correct. right. so that was very clear that that bolt was in fact part of our device that was described in the letters. >> reporter: and there were fragments of a plastic soda bottle, black paint still clinging to it again just like the diagram. >> there was a spring that was similar to a rat trap spring. there was gasoline on the victim's clothing. that we were able to determine that had no business being in that panel. >> reporter: so if you found the writer of those letters you had found your killer. >> that was our opinion. yes. >> reporter: along with the diagram was a second letter in which the bomber repeated his earlier claim that he was a reluctant assassin. after a career of killing he wrote, i wanted to save a life before i take my life.
11:46 pm
the bomber repeated his warning. roberto's brother eduardo was next. in fact, the whole ayala family was in mortal danger. >> he said i wanted to make sure you get this letter and have time to help these guys. >> reporter: it was sent as if i've been assigned to do something i don't want to happen. i want you guys to prevent it. >> that was basically the gist of the letter. >> reporter: did you warn ed? >> not exactly. there are things in the investigation we could not release. there was information about the letters that we could not release. keeping that stuff confidential was important to the integrity of the investigation. >> reporter: but a man's life might be in jeopardy. >> we did talk to ed. we gave him as strong a warning as we could without going into specific detail. >> reporter: one of those details was that the killer had been given a deadline. >> the letter said i was given eight weeks to do this job and it will be re-assigned in five
11:47 pm
weeks. i wanted to give you guys time to help these guys and do something about it. >> reporter: so you at least had some time. maybe. >> maybe. >> he tells me that they had received a letter and the letter had mentioned me. >> reporter: roberto's brother eduardo. >> they said, be careful. watch yourself. >> reporter: but it wasn't just eduardo in the cross hairs. the letter writer claimed whoever was now driving roberto's now repaired pickup truck, that white f-250 the bomber wrote, is in great danger. and who was that person? roberto ayala's son, jesus. the threat against the ayalas was looking very real. >> it was real. it didn't just look real. it was real. a lot of sleepless nights. >> reporter: because this ex-marine not only had a narm to -- farm to run but as he saw it
11:48 pm
a murder to solve, and now two families to protect. >> going through my mind was just look out. take care of the -- take care of my brother's family. primarily take care of my brother's family. take care of my family. look out for myself. look over your shoulder. >> reporter: the first thing eduardo did was hide the pickup truck. now with the truck out of sight would the killer or killers just find a different or better place for a bomb? >> once everybody was asleep all i could do was think and think and run things through my mind. >> it's somebody sneaky and violent enough to plant a bomb to kill somebody and he did it to one person. there's nothing that is going to stop him from doing it to somebody else. >> reporter: in this second letter the bomber left open one possible line of communication. >> the letter said if you have any questions, place an ad in "the sacramento bee", august
11:49 pm
21st issue help wanted. make sure it's the last ad. >> reporter: and so they placed this classified ad. and waited for a killer to call. coming up, investigators get a fresh piece of evidence. an answering machine message. hig you throw at him. and sockson hewitt, like the biggest tax reform in decades at jackson hewitt we help lots of people like you. no one gets you a bigger refund. otherwise you get $100. that's right. no one gets you a bigger refund. visit jackson hewitt today. ♪ shorten your cold by almost half
11:50 pm
with cold-eeze® lozenges. cold-eeze® can shorten your cold by 42%. it releases zinc ions that some scientists believe inhibit cold viruses from replicating. try cold-eeze® lozenges. moms love that land o' frost premium sliced meats have no by-products. [conference phone] baloney! [conference phone] has joined the call. hey baloney here. i thought this was a no by-products call? land o' frost premium. a slice above. i thought this was a nyou've got to get in i know what a bath is smile honey this thing is like... first kid ready here we go by their second kid, every parent is an expert and... ...more likely to choose luvs, than first time parents. live, learn and get luvs
11:51 pm
hi susan!hs) honey? i respect that. but that cough looks pretty bad... try this new robitussin honey. the real honey you love... plus the powerful cough relief you need. mind if i root through your trash? new robitussin honey. because it's never just a cough. show your gut some love. only activia has billions of our live and active probiotics. a delicious way to enjoy probiotics every day. with 20 years of devotion to gut health. activia. like no other.
11:52 pm
keith morrison (voiceover): who ever heard of such a thing? who ever heard of such a thing?
11:53 pm
letters from a purported killer, plus a diagram of what certainly looked like the actual bomb that killed roberto ayala. was it real? a ruse? a lucky guess? if it was for real, who sent it? was it from the lead suspect, peter moore? or a hit man as the letter claimed, or was it from somebody who wasn't even on detective salm's radar? whoever it was, five weeks into the case it was about the only lead investigators had. so they played along with the guy, placed an ad as requested in the sacramento bee. and, sure enough. somebody responded. cops rushed to see him. perhaps arrest him. >> he was pretty surprised when he got a visit. >> false alarm. it was just an unlucky guy looking for a job. the killer though? the killer never called. so the whole ms 13 thing, the mexico deal gone wrong was just some sort of game. the real bomber was playing it.
11:54 pm
the trouble was, nobody knew the rules or the purpose or where the game might end. more than one way to find a guy brazen enough to sent that material to the cops. >> we had the letters we wanted to get analyzed. we wanted fingerprints. we wanted dna. >> reporter: the letters and envelopes came back clean just as the bomber said they would. what was going on? to investigators one theory seemed the least likely, that roberto was mixed up with a drug gang ms 13. the ayalas are a classic bootstrap story. roberto a very religious man who worked his way up from field hand to farm manager, oversaw the day-to-day operations of a multimillion dollar spread. he knew the land. he knew the machines that worked it. he was utterly committed to that work. what did working that farm mean to your dad? >> that was everything. it was our whole, even our lives and his life, our whole life revolved around it. we were always there and growing
11:55 pm
up. >> reporter: first jobs as kids, right? >> yeah. learned how to drive on the farm, how to pretty much do everything on the farm. >> reporter: tell me about your dad. what kind of a guy was he? >> he was a hard worker. someone to look up to. we admired him. >> reporter: and it did not go unnoticed on the moore farm. over the years, owners roger and gus came to rely a great deal on roberto. they treated roberto more like a favored son than just an employee. how important was family to roberto? >> probably the most important thing. it all revolved around this. we didn't have much but everywhere he went, we went, too. we were always together. >> whatever went wrong, he was the one to go to. he was the one to keep everybody together.
11:56 pm
>> reporter: latino culture celebrated coming of age ritual when a girl turns 15, so when roberto's daughter turned 15 -- >> he went all out. it was his only -- i was the only girl so he did everything he could to make that day the best. >> what kinds of things do you do? >> you have to have your father/daughter dance. you just feel like you're the only person at that moment. like you just feel important. you really do feel like a princess. >> reporter: probably won't ever forget that. but of course for teenagers there is another rite of passage. butting heads with parents. which that last morning may have, pure chance, saved jesus' life. >> for some reason we had an argument that morning so i didn't get to ride along that day. >> reporter: you might otherwise have been there.
11:57 pm
>> i would have probably been the one to get off to go check that. >> reporter: why would anybody want to hurt him? >> i can't find a reason why somebody would want to kill him. >> and this bomber whoever it might be came very close to also murdering fabian. >> if you want my button pushed bring a challenge to it. >> reporter: the da john pointer found fabian's plight to be particularly heart breaking. >> i couldn't imagine 7 years old and seeing my dad blown up. >> reporter: and running all that way. >> people don't understand, it was like maybe a couple miles as the crow flies. but to run through what we call colusa mud which is the rice fields and it's just, i mean, he had to take his shoes off. he was literally covered with it. you could hardly walk through it. for him to run all that way, it was amazing. i remember asking if he knew what 911 was. and he told me and he was right and i asked him if he knew how to use a cell phone. he said yeah. i asked if your dad had a cell phone.
11:58 pm
he said yes he did. i said why didn't you call for help? and he was reaching out like this and he said, i can't. it's in his pocket and he's on fire. yeah. that stays with you. >> reporter: and now these taunting letters from roberto's killer almost taking prideful delight in how he killed the man and almost murdered the boy. who could it be? who would do such a thing? and why? then four days after the diagram showed up, one of the alpha males of the moore clan walked in the front door. roger moore. paul's dad. and like his son, wanted to help catch the killer. and told the detectives he had important evidence to share. it was an audiotape, answering machine messages his nephew pete left on his phone.
11:59 pm
>> reporter: but as police go after more evidence, someone comes after them, leaving a taunting message out in the fields. >> here i am. i'm doing this to you now. come find me. >> when "dateline" continues. hi susan!hs) honey? i respect that. but that cough looks pretty bad... try this new robitussin honey. the real honey you love... plus the powerful cough relief you need. mind if i root through your trash?
12:00 am
new robitussin honey. because it's never just a cough. did you know you can save money by using dish soap to clean grease on more than dishes? try dawn ultra. dawn is for more than just dishes. with 3x more grease cleaning power per drop, it tackles tough grease on a variety of surfaces. try dawn ultra.
12:01 am
a business owner always goes beyond what people expect. that's why we built the nation's largest gig-speed network along with complete reliability. then went beyond. beyond clumsy dials-in's and pins.
12:02 am
to one-touch conference calls. beyond traditional tv. to tv on any device. beyond low-res surveillance video. to crystal clear hd video monitoring from anywhere. gig-fueled apps that exceed expectations. comcast business. beyond fast. [theme music] keith morrison (voiceover): roberto ayala, manager of a multimillion-dollar california farm owned by the powerful moore family, had been killed by a complicated homemade bomb. the prime suspect? pete moore, famously hotheaded, angry, roberto ayala, manager of a multimillion dollar california farm owned by the powerful moore family has been killed by a complicated home made bomb. the prime suspect, pete moore, famously hot headed, angry, because he believed his father might give his inheritance to ayala.
12:03 am
but now investigators are about to hear more about another member of the moore clan. >> reporter: six weeks into the investigation, detective salm and agent parker had an audiotape, texts, letters, diagram, fragments of leads pointing in wildly different
12:04 am
directions, to pete moore or a drug cartel or a crazed assassin, and now they had another lead to work on. >> somebody made an anonymous call to the sheriff's department and said the caller basically stated you need to be looking at paul moore. and -- >> reporter: paul not peter. >> paul not peter. >> reporter: for all the produce that comes rolling out of colusa county, california, its population of humans is small. just 22,000. everybody seems to know just about everybody here. so when a would be anonymous tipster called the sheriff's office, it turned out he wasn't anonymous at all. the detective who took the call recognized the voice and phoned him right back. said, hey, you need to come in and talk to us. the caller as it turned out was this man, dave moore, cousin of roger and gus, with a multimillion dollar spread of his own and a passion for war birds.
12:05 am
dave's step daughter had once been married to paul. this is a video from their wedding day. a messy divorce followed a few years later. >> so david and susan moore came into our office. >> reporter: susan moore is dave's wife. what did they say when they got into the office? >> the first thing they told us was a wiretapping incident. >> reporter: wiretapping? >> yes. >> reporter: dave and sue claimed paul tapped his wife's phone to spy on her during divorce negotiations and, sure enough, here are the court documents. in 1997 paul was arrested on four counts related to tapping both his wife's and in-laws' phones. he pleaded guilty to one count of electronic eavesdropping, a felony. the other charges were dropped, and paul served no jail time. but the wiretapping story was just a prologue to what they were really there to talk about. >> who do you think is capable or responsible for actually
12:06 am
setting up an explosive device in that panel? >> i think, like, probably 90% paul. >> but david and susan couldn't really give a reason why paul would want to kill roberto other than they felt paul just had that kind of personality to do something like that, while pete didn't. >> so you don't think peter is capable of actually developing a very sophisticated device to create an explosion? >> i am doubtful of it. i don't know him that well. that well. but i really wouldn't think he could. >> okay. >> and i also think he doesn't have the moxie to do something like that. >> what do you mean, the moxie? >> just the -- the meanness. >> the meanness? >> yeah. >> reporter: but peter had actually threatened roberto, wanted to fight him. and as far as anybody knew, paul had never done anything like that. nevertheless, based on this new
12:07 am
information from david and susan moore, detectives asked paul to come in for another meeting. which he did quite willingly. took time off on a sunday afternoon and detective salm asked paul directly. do you have a prior criminal record? >> yes. as in drugs and stuff when i was younger. >> reporter: committed felonies in fact. then he said he just grew up and wanted to help now any way he could even if it meant informing on his beloved cousin peter. >> i think pete is a little envious of robert. i think he felt his dad treated robert better than pete got treated and he worked there. he said something about his dad taking him out of the will. >> reporter: one thing, though. paul, like his second cousin dave, didn't think that pete was capable of making that bomb. somebody must have helped him. >> i just don't think pete has the technical ability to do it.
12:08 am
unless he seriously had some help. >> okay. so the type of thing that was done by somebody who is very intelligent, maybe has some know how. >> that's kind of what you guys said and i think that's right. >> who do you think is capable -- >> reporter: but remember, paul's ex-in-laws told detective salm that paul was more likely the guilty party. >> probably 90% paul. >> reporter: so now the detective turned the tables a little and suggested maybe it was he, paul, who was jealous of roberto. >> i didn't hate robert. >> okay. did you not like him? >> i didn't like the fact that he would cop an attitude with me. just over something stupid, you know, and little. >> reporter: detective salm pressed paul about his past. >> you've got several incidents here --
12:09 am
>> i have a criminal record. >> you've been involved in some bad stuff. okay? you cut phone wires. >> i tried to help you guys out through this whole thing. you're going to start to cop an attitude -- >> i'm not copping attitude with you but i'm having trouble with some of the stuff you're saying. >> i know my word -- i was a felon, a drug addict. everybody knows about it. i put up with a lot of [ bleep ] --. >> so this must have put a whole different complexion on paul. >> it did. >> reporter: having thought for sometime maybe peter was your guy. what was that like? >> it's possible we may have somebody else to look at. >> reporter: and indeed they did. attached gps trackers to both peter and paul's vehicles, which produced precisely nothing. more weeks slipped by. eduardo ayala, aware he and his family could be the killer's next target, lay awake at night thinking.
12:10 am
>> i would imagine peter trying to build this bomb. had to do it on a work bench obviously but he's got the shakes. so i think about that. did he or did he have somebody else do it for him? then i would think the same thing about paul. by working side to side with the guy, i could see that he was smart. super smart guy. >> reporter: by the time the rice crop came in the first couple weeks of october the whole case had gone into a kind of stall. atf agent brian parker was particularly frustrated. while the door of the electrical panel had been recovered the box, itself, where the bomb had been placed, was still missing. >> the most logical place where that remains of that panel was, was in the river that was directly behind where the explosion occurred. >> reporter: so they called in an fbi dive team which spent
12:11 am
days mucking through the bottom of the canal next to where the bomb had gone off. agent parker, who had been monitoring the search, had a strange incident as he was leaving one day. >> and all of a sudden the tire went flat. >> reporter: this is what flattened the tire. a home made spike. >> the spike was constructed of a harvester sickle welded to a two-inch washer. further inspection of the area we found another one of these spikes. >> almost like a challenge to us. here i am. i'm doing this to you. now come find me. basically they're coming after the cops. >> coming up, investigators may be able to fight back with new ammunition as they finally turn up scientific evidence on one of the letters the killers sent. >> there was a dna profile on the back of one of the stamps that was affixed to the envelope. . hey, who are you?
12:12 am
oh, hey jeff, i'm a car thief... what?! i'm here to steal your car because, well, that's my job. what? what?? what?! (laughing) what?? what?! what?! [crash] what?! haha, it happens. and if you've got cut-rate car insurance, paying for this could feel like getting robbed twice. so get allstate... and be better protected from mayhem... like me. ♪ stimulant laxatives forcefully stimulate i switched to stimulant-free miralax for my constipation. the nerves in your colon. miralax is different. it works with the water in your body to hydrate and soften, unblocking your system naturally. and miralax doesn't cause bloating, cramping, gas, or sudden urgency. to enjoy the things i love, i choose #1 doctor-recommended miralax. miralax. look for the pink cap. new tide pods 2.0 with upgraded 4-in-1 technology.
12:13 am
your detergent, stain removers, and odor fighters all fit, in the palm of your hand. #1 stain and odor fighter, #1 trusted. it's got to be tide.
12:14 am
12:15 am
keith morrison (voiceover): three months after the bombing, three months after the bombing the fbi dive team found the electrical box in which the bomb had been placed. but after months of sitting in water and mud there was no trace of dna or fingerprints. the only story this peeled metal told was -- this case is going nowhere. >> reporter: now with little hope of finding the key piece of evidence that would put the case away, the detectives tried that good old fashioned tool of policing, shoe leather and tire tread. around-the-clock surveillance of peter and paul moore. aided by tracking devices with a particularly helpful app. >> they're called geo fences. i put a geo fence around where i live, i put a geo fence around the sheriff's department. >> reporter: protection he felt he needed after someone targeted law enforcement with those spikes on the road.
12:16 am
>> if the vehicle or the gps monitor travels into those locations you get an alert. >> reporter: in addition detective salm would routinely log in to check on the where ts of peter and paul's trucks. on the morning of thanksgiving day, more than four months after the bombing, salm turned on his computer to find the gps tracker on paul moore's truck. >> it had gone dead. we had no signal whatsoever. this is also the type of gps that you would call. you know, just like calling on a cell phone. and wake it up. they go to sleep when they're not moving. and where are you? we couldn't get a response. >> reporter: the device may have just died or been found so salm got into his car with his partner, drove to paul's house to see if the truck was there. >> we got to his house. i look in the kitchen window and he's staring at me. okay. >> reporter: hoping paul hadn't recognized him detective salm hit the road. >> as we're leaving town i look in the rear view mirror and
12:17 am
there he is following us in his truck. he pulls in behind us. i speed up. he speeds up. i'm up to about 85 and he is still gaining on me. he pulls in the opposing lane. i slam on the brakes and he keeps going. we pace him. i lose pace of him at 95. i called him in. and chp was actually able to get a stop on him. >> reporter: what was that all about? >> i have no idea. who chases the police? that is the first time that's ever happened to me in my career. >> reporter: so by now your suspicions were ratcheted up quite a bit i would think. >> yes, they were. >> reporter: were you worried about your own safety? >> at parts during the investigation there were concerns for our own safety. we're dealing with a person who is violent enough to plant a bomb. >> reporter: but was that person paul moore? paul had a criminal history to be sure but was he a killer? there were certain things about paul's past detective salm was unable to share with us for reasons we'll explain later that
12:18 am
we discovered in old court records, a saga of smart, expensive lawyering dealing with misdeeds that go way beyond tapping an ex-wife's telephone. 1997, paul was arrested after an incident in san francisco one night. ugly accusation. rape, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, trying to run his alleged victim over with his pickup truck. the charges that could put paul in prison for a decade or more. instead, paul spent nearly three years driving back and forth between his place here in colusa and san francisco engaged in a series of court maneuvers. the result? paul simply got probation after pleading no contest to assault with intent to commit rape but denying blame for the offense. the other charges were dropped. but the conviction put paul on california's sex offenders list, searchable by county.
12:19 am
a fear that someone in colusa was bound to find his secret paul went into compile near santa cruz. as part of the original plea deal paul's attempt to commit rape conviction was dropped, vacated in 2007, seven years later. in exchange paul pleaded no contest to the assault with a deadly weapon charge, which meant paul was no longer a registered sex offender. and the prodigal son was welcomed home. that part of his past was a carefully guarded secret from most of the folks here in colusa county. but pete's past was not a secret. everybody knew he didn't like roberto ayala. and everybody knew he was a suspect. around town could you hear what people were whispering? >> pete. pete, pete. >> reporter: but not paul? >> not paul. >> reporter: then five months into the investigation there was
12:20 am
news of a sort from one of the crime labs. a male leg hair was found under a label of one of the envelopes and the dna came back matching nobody. no one in the moore family or any one of the codis data base anyway. odd. had it been planted there to throw off investigators? then one of these envelopes finally gave up what appeared to be a real clue. >> there was a dna profile from fingerprint ridge detail on the back of one of the stamps that was affixed to one of the envelopes that one of the letters was sent in. >> reporter: what came back from the dna tests? >> a contributor of the dna from the fingerprint material was similar to paul moore. >> reporter: case closed. right? not this time. this time there was a "but." >> similar to paul moore but it wasn't a match. >> reporter: the dna sample was
12:21 am
so minute forensic scientists were unable to build a full genetic sequence meaning the dna may have come from paul moore, but the scientists couldn't say it was a 100% match. while the dna didn't match anyone else in the moore family including peter, the fact that paul couldn't be excluded was nothing that would hold up in court. >> it was beyond frustrating. to hear that we have an almost match but we can't say for sure. >> reporter: still, it did give them an idea. one shot at it. might work. >> coming up, a killer seemingly revealed by a blank sheet of paper. >> got chills going back of my neck. this is not happening right now.
12:22 am
>> when "dateline" continues. -jamie, this is your house? -i know, it's not much, but it's home. right, kids? -kids? -papa, papa! -[ laughs ] -you didn't tell me your friends were coming. -oh, yeah. -this one is tiny like a child. -yeah, she is. oh, but seriously, it's good to be surrounded by what matters most -- a home and auto bundle from progressive. -oh, sweetie, please, play for us. -oh, no, i couldn't. -please. -okay. [ singing in spanish ]
12:23 am
-please. -okay. show your gut some love. only activia has billions of our live and active probiotics. a delicious way to enjoy probiotics every day. with 20 years of devotion to gut health. activia. like no other. for a nasty cold, take new dayquil severe with vicks vapocool. [a capella] whoa! and vaporize it with an intense rush of vicks vapors. [a capella] ahhhhhhhhhh! new dayquil severe with vicks vapocool.
12:24 am
12:25 am
keith morrison (voiceover): the dna evidence that came back as a partial match to paul moore >> reporter: the dna evidence that came back as a partial match to paul moore was not enough to get him charged with roberto ayala's murder. far from it. but it was enough to get some people in town whispering. >> rumors run. rumors are like bad smell. they move fast. >> reporter: eduardo heard those rumors.
12:26 am
heard that maybe paul had something to do with roberto's murder. which placed eduardo in the hitchcockian situation of working side by side with the man who may have murdered his brother. >> i'd look at him just like i'm looking at you, talked to him just like i'm talking to you, and in the back of my mind i'm thinking, you're the one that did it. >> reporter: while that dna result from the stamp wasn't strong enough to hold up in court, it was significant enough to get a warrant to search paul's home. for whatever that was worth, five long months after the bombing. he had done some kind of major cleaning of his house. so we'd actually had conversation about this and -- >> reporter: like what's the point conversation? >> that was one of the things that was talked about. and the decision was made. i didn't want to leave it untouched. >> reporter: sure. but your expectations were not that high. >> no, they weren't. >> reporter: with just this one crack at paul's house, detective salm wanted to make sure they did a thorough search.
12:27 am
so he cobbled together a team of investigators from various law enforcement agencies. >> before we served the search warrant we had a briefing. >> reporter: one of the cops helping him was a detective from a neighboring town, jose "chewy" ruiz. >> actually showed us a diagram of the bomb and that's pretty much what we are instructed to look for. >> reporter: anything related to that. >> yes. exactly. anything related to bomb making. >> reporter: they arrived en masse right after daybreak. unannounced of course. paul waited outside while each investigator took a piece of the house. and in they went. >> i found some manila envelopes, copier, and also a printer. >> reporter: the problem though was that paul's home, owned by the moore family, doubled as the farm office. there were printers and copiers, envelopes, expected to be there, too. as you went around and found those things what were you thinking? >> we really want that one
12:28 am
really, really good piece of physical evidence. >> reporter: what you found so far wasn't it. >> no. >> reporter: okay. so specifically what did you find of probative value? >> i didn't find anything. we took his cell phones. there were two cell phones in the car. >> reporter: but basically nothing. >> no. >> reporter: detective ruiz was assigned to the dining room, which clearly doubled as an office. what did you see? >> i saw a lot of paperwork. there was lots of paperwork. files everywhere on the table. >> reporter: room was full of paper. >> yes. >> reporter: the sun was just breaking over the horizon. long rays of morning light angled through the blinds. detective ruiz was poking through all those papers and office supplies. when a curious thing caught his eye. it was the way that almost horizontal beam of light glanced off a blank sheet of paper. >> i noticed that the white sheet of paper had several impressions on it. >> reporter: impressions? >> yes. >> reporter: you mean writing on it? >> yes. like when you draw something on a top sheet of paper and it goes
12:29 am
through. >> reporter: to the next sheet down. >> yes. and that got my attention right away. i picked it up and it was one of those moments where i was like, hum. i turned it different angles. the paper bowed in half. it was one of those, i was -- got chills the back of my neck. hairs are standing up. i'm like no way. this is not happening right now. one of the officers helping us looked at me. he goes what are you looking at? because it was just a blank sheet of paper. and i was like, you're not going to believe this. i said, you need to go get detective salm now. he's holding this white piece of paper in his hands and kind of has it bent a little bit. he's like look at this. immediately i looked at this and i'm like oh, my god. what he's holding in his hand is an indented writing copy of the diagram that we received in the mail. >> reporter: this is the sheet of paper detective ruiz found.
12:30 am
you can see the indentations of the bolt threads in the middle of the page about a third of the way down. and here's the same sheet of paper enhanced by the atf crime lab. and here is the original bomb diagram mailed to investigators back in august. >> the most amazing thing in the world. this is the smoking gun. >> unbelievable. couldn't believe it. exciting doesn't begin to describe. elated maybe. >> reporter: then what happens? >> i went out and arrested paul moore. >> coming up, pete moore seems to be in the clear, but he's got yet another shock in store. >> there is no scale for this. this changes you forever. before discovering nexium 24hr to treat her frequent heartburn, marie could only imagine enjoying freshly squeezed orange juice. now no fruit is forbidden. nexium 24hr stops acid before it starts for all-day, all-night protection. can you imagine 24 hours without heartburn?
12:31 am
for all-day, all-night protection. (vo) every baby can have the freedom to move their way. in pampers cruisers. with 3 way fit. they adapt at the waist, legs and bottom. for all the freedom to move their way. pampers.
12:32 am
and our shirts from custom ink help bring us together. we just upload our logo, and if we have any questions, customer service is there to help. - [male] custom ink has hundreds of products to help you look and feel like a team. get started today at
12:33 am
who we are as people and making everybody feel welcome. ordering custom ink t-shirts has been a really smart decision for our business. - [narrator] custom ink has hundreds of products and free shipping. upload your logo or start your design today at upload your logo or start your design today keith morrison (voiceover): little colusa california was dumbstruck. little colusa, california was dumb struck. paul moore arrested for the killing of roberto ayala.
12:34 am
few even knew he was a suspect. mary, paul's cousin and pete's sister, got a barrage of texts at work. >> it was bitter sweet. there was a part of me that was relieved that it was over for pete or that he wasn't, you know, mixed in with it. and at the same time i was sad because it was my cousin that we grew up with, you know, and part of my family. >> my youngest sister mary called me on the phone and she said they just arrested paul for the murder of robert ayala. i was in the middle of the parking lot and i fell to my knees and just started screaming. >> reporter: but human nature is a funny thing. suspicion once embedded is remarkably resistant to actual evidence that might disprove it. when paul moore was arrested and charged with the murder of roberto ayala his cousin peter began to experience that particular phenomenon quite personally. around town people still seemed to believe that pete was the murderer.
12:35 am
ironic, perhaps, but for all his bluster, pete has never been in arrested, never been in trouble with the law, runs his own business, has been a good father, and over the years has taken in wayward teens to give them a better start. kids like nick. >> in other foster homes they do it for the money. pete didn't ask for any money in return. he fed me. clothed me. he gave me a car to drive. and now i look at pete like a dad. and anybody that has anything bad to say about pete never really took the time to get to know him because he is a good, loving person with a huge heart. we need more petes in this world. >> reporter: why were the cops so focused on pete to begin with? well, as pete tells it his cousin paul planned the whole thing. set out to frame him. first by lying to him telling him that roberto or robert as pete calls him was out to steal his birth right. >> paul would come over and tell
12:36 am
me horrible stuff about ed and robert like he said robert told paul that he was going to get my share of what my dad was going to leave me of the ranch. so paul would come over and say stuff to me and he knew he was going to make me want to go say something or fight with somebody. >> reporter: and pete? said he was simply blind to paul's manipulation. >> when you're going through your everyday life, and someone has set you up for over a year and a half, you don't know who to believe and so it kept everybody at odds. my life was so spun out of control and i couldn't figure out what was going on. >> reporter: but pete's wife mary ellen said she could clearly see paul was baiting pete. i would talk to him all the time. >> reporter: when pete got home -- >> he would be angry, upset. telling us things we didn't even know if they were true. >> reporter: dave and sue moore told investigators they, too, thought paul had been setting pete up. >> they talk a lot between themselves, too.
12:37 am
and i think paul has been able to manipulate peter. >> reporter: but pete just didn't see it. didn't realize he was being played by his cousin. that just couldn't be. >> we grew up together. we were together every day. our parents bought us walkie talkies when we were 7 and 8 years old. i'd sit in my back bedroom or my bedroom. he lived right down the block on the corner down there and we'd talk to each other until we went to sleep. >> but now peter's cousin paul, the princeling, the golden boy, was about to go on trial for the murder of roberto ayala. as for pete, the person who was treated in this town like he bore the mark of cain -- >> i've had several low points in my life. there is no scale for this. this changes you forever. >> reporter: the next chapter was not a lift from the book of genesis. more like the story of job. >> one thing that is kind of unique especially about colusa
12:38 am
county is every time i've ever had a big case i can go into almost any coffee shop or restaurant and they're solving it for me. >> reporter: those things can get twisted very fast. >> they get twisted really fast. in this case it was constantly you know pete moore did it. you know pete moore did it. my response was well that's not the direction i'm going in. >> reporter: not the direction at all. in fact, d.a. pointer was about to put pete on the prosecution team. as a key witness against paul. making pete work with the same people who at one point were hoping to put him in prison. that uncomfortable fact was irresistible catnip for paul's defense attorney. pete's first day on the stand. >> he said you're a murderer, aren't you, mr. moore? >> reporter: coming up the defense says it was pete who had the motive.
12:39 am
>> peter is the one who has indicated, i've been in landscaping for 20 years, i'm broken down, i want to be in the farming operation. what better way to take out roberto and to take out paul? >> when "dateline" continues.
12:40 am
rex catches everything you throw at him. and so does jackson hewitt, like the biggest tax reform in decades at jackson hewitt we help lots of people like you. no one gets you a bigger refund. otherwise you get $100. that's right. no one gets you a bigger refund. visit jackson hewitt today. in how they craft tatheir orange juice? the corporate executives of coke and pepsi, or the farmers of florida's natural? only florida's natural is always made in florida by florida farmers. great taste. naturally. yeah right. iand the earth is flat. ahhh!! treat your cough seriously with robitussin cf max. nothing lasts longer and treats more symptoms for your cough, cold and flu. robitussin. because it's never just a cough.
12:41 am
12:42 am
keith morrison (voiceover): in the months following roberto in the months following roberto ayala's murder, investigators suspect that peter moore was the bomber and built a case against him. so when peter's cousin paul was arrested, his defense asked an obvious question. what if the cops' first instinct was correct? what if pete did it? peter has animosity toward roberto. peter has made threats to roberto. peter is the one that wants in to the farming operation. >> reporter: linda parisi paul moore's attorney presented in court a mirror image of the state's case acknowledging that
12:43 am
one cousin was out to frame the other, only in her version of the story paul was the stooge and peter the mastermind. >> peter is the one who has indicated, i've been in landscaping for 20 years. i'm tired. i'm broken down. i want to be in the farming operation. what better way to take out roberto and to take out paul? >> to counter that argument the prosecution was forced to call pete as a witness, knowing that would make him a punching bag for parisi. >> she told me, you're a murderer aren't you, mr. moore? i said those are your words not mine. >> she thought she could, by grilling peter, uncover the evil, the monster. >> reporter: assistant attorney general david drewliner was there during the trial. >> i was completely satisfied there was no monster to uncover so i, for the most part, let her
12:44 am
go at him. >> reporter: a courtroom tactic not appreciated by pete. >> after the first day i said, you guys need to get this lady off of me. she's on me like a dog on a piece of raw meat. they looked me right in the eye and said there is nothing we can do for you. this is an open investigation and we have to let her ask anything or the jury will think we're hiding stuff. you you've got to be kidding me. >> one hour of his testimony felt like eight. it was excruciating because i knew what he was going through and i was waiting for him to explode any minute. >> reporter: paul's attorney claimed that pete somehow plant ed the imprint of the bomb diagram in paul's home. >> mr. moore who works at that desk daily? he never notices it? if he is your culprit he never sees an indentation of a diagram he drew and thinks oh, my gosh, thank god i saw that? let me get rid of it. it just raises so many questions. >> it just beggars the
12:45 am
imagination to think that peter would know enough about when the police are going to arrive and know that some junior officer is going to happen to notice this very faint little image of a diagram on a white piece of paper which he never would have seen if the light hadn't been just right on that table that afternoon. >> if i'm peter moore and i engage in this, and they don't find it, all right. my plan didn't work. but if they do find it, it's a home run for me. and there's very little risk to me, peter, to engage in it. it's not like i have to break into the police department and tamper with some evidence. >> reporter: but paul's fingerprints were all over that piece of paper. peter's were not. >> i would agree that that shows that this had been in the house and that he may have touched it and in fact leaned on it in the way the prints were situated
12:46 am
likely as one would have leaned to reach over to open up the window. it was very consistent with that. >> peter of course denied he placed that blank sheet of paper in paul's home. said he hadn't been in paul's house in years. then at the trial defense attorney parisi played a wild card. she confronted pete with this. a video found on one of pete's computers seized just days after the bombing. slow motion video of a rat trap snapping on carrots and the like but ending on the burst of flame as the trap sets off a lighter just like a bomb. >> and i submit to you this video more or less comports with the diagram. >> well, it shows a rat trap hitting a lighter. >> what it shows though is a rat trap just an unusual kind of triggering device. it shows a screw activating the rat trap and then an industry incendiary component. >> reporter: so was pete
12:47 am
investigating bomb making ideas? not a chance, countered the state. >> there is nothing on this hard drive that indicates to me anybody was researching how to build explosives. >> this investigator did the initial search of peter moore's computer. >> sometimes what is not there is more important than what is there. what was not there was anything indicating someone was looking for directions on how to build a bomb. what i saw was somebody who is just surfing the internet aimlessly. there was nothing about that video that was tied into making a bomb. and pete told the court the lap top on which the video was found belonged to his son. who was then forced to testify which did not sit well with pete. >> i tried to keep my kids away from this. and they, once again, tied my hands behind my back and i had no choice. and so my son had to go on the stand.
12:48 am
>> a sense of betrayal deeply felt by the man who speaks his mind. >> everybody pretty much threw me to the wolves. >> reporter: and for three days you were essentially on trial. i mean, your cousin was on trial for murder but it was like you were on trial for murder. >> i was on trial. i was. i was. basically for my life and i had no protection. >> reporter: with pete off the stand the prosecution had a case to make but with limited evidence. they couldn't mention the dna. not conclusive. nor could they tell the jury about paul's previous assault and attempt to commit rape conviction in san francisco. not relevant. in addition linda parisi claimed there was no motive. no reason for paul moore to kill roberto ayala. >> for all of law enforcement's investigation, they could not
12:49 am
come up with anyone who said, i heard paul moore say he wanted to hurt roberto. >> reporter: no. but they did find this document on paul's computer titled "my life" a rambling, self-pitying document. what did i do wrong to be treated this way? i think my dad really thinks i'm stupid. he is always saying how smart robert is. but ultimately the trial came down to a single sheet of blank paper. almost like a rorschach test for the jury. what would they see, paul moore's guilt or a plot to frame him? coming up, a verdict that will divide this tight knit town and rip apart this family all over again. >> we started crying.
12:50 am
12:51 am
12:52 am
keith morrison (voiceover): for much of his life, for much of his life, paul
12:53 am
moore had found ways to charm the folks around them and get away with bad behavior. at his trial here in sacramento paul's defense attorney followed what was by now a familiar script. she accused peter of murdering roberto ayala. >> peter moore has a lifetime of making threats. paul does not make threats to roberto. paul works with roberto. >> which is how parisi presented paul to the jury. of course if you know paul had a deeply troubled history with the law. violent sexual offense in his background. but the jury didn't get to hear about that. nor were they told about the dna. quite possibly paul. that was found on the envelope containing the bomb diagram. excluded. would the jury see the same paul moore prosecutors saw? >> he is almost like a marvel comic book arch villain. he's bright, clever, evil as can
12:54 am
be and he has a flaw. his flaw is his arrogance. >> the jury retired. to think about it. they were not fooled. after just five hours of deliberation they walked back into the courtroom and declared paul moore guilty of murder. the judge sentenced him to life in prison. >> i remember driving away from the courtroom and my wife and i were together and we'd start crying because we knew it was over. i did the job. i went in there and i did my job. i told everything i knew. and it wasn't easy because i basically put away somebody who i loved. >> pete is not so blind that he doesn't see how he was used by
12:55 am
his boyhood playmate the kid he once spent the long, lazy days on the river. the man he treated and trusted like a brother. what do you think paul's motive was? why did he kill robert? he always talks about how robert thinks he is so smart and by killing him he could feel like he got one over on robert. i believe paul is trying to finger me for doing it and him and his dad would have the whole place to themselves. that's what i believe today. it is the only thing that makes sense to me. >> pete wishes the moores could all go back to the beginning when the farm meant family. >> if i had it my way right now i'd be running the ranch. grand kids would be over here and enjoying themselves. it would be like a family run business. >> that is just a fantasy really. the family is divided now more than ever.
12:56 am
>> it's almost like we're all our own worst enemies. i've asked people in the family where does all the anger come from? it's like the whole family is mad. >> i wish there weren't so much hate and anger in our family. and that we just treated everybody like a family is supposed to treat each other. >> paul's father roger despite the quick verdict still thinks his son is innocent and declined to talk to us. his own son convicted of murdering the man whom he treated like a son. other members of the moore family declined our request for interviews, too. even most of those who support pete said they didn't want to stir things up. >> i know some of the people you talk to and i know they backed down and called and told me. i respect them for calling me and telling me but it's all about what possibly might come somebody's way. you know? >> reporter: would it be fair to say that some members of the
12:57 am
family are afraid to talk to us because they are afraid they may be disinherited? >> that is a hundred percent true. nobody wants to do what's right for fear of losing their chance at some money. >> would you want to have this farm? >> no. >> reporter: why? >> too much anger here. >> reporter: rumors, whispers, lies can come disguised as truth just about anywhere, including a small town in the california valley. whispers are still working around town. people still talk. what do you hear them say? >> i guess the most recent one was well pete must have at least been involved. so they've moved some. >> reporter: one of the reasons da pointer agreed to talk to us was to make perfectly clear to
12:58 am
his friends and neighbors that peter moore was in no way involved in roberto ayala's murder. >> and i get the feeling that some people are mad it wasn't me. you're looked at as a murderer, it's not like you can go voice your opinion to somebody because you're a murderer you know? no one will take me serious anymore. and where do i go from here? i don't know. i want peace in my life. i want to be left alone. >> reporter: what is the moral behind all of this if there is one? >> wow, a big question. it's just there is so much involved here. i'd say the moral of the story is be happy with what you have. respect the family that you do have. >> reporter: and the ayalas? >> i was relieved i didn't have to look over my shoulder anymore. i knew at that point that
12:59 am
everybody was safe. >> reporter: since their father's murder, jesus went back to college. and fabian? the boy who ran for miles through the fields of sun flowers trying to save his dad's life has grown into a a disciplined athlete who plays football, baseball, soccer, and wanted to talk to us about his dad. what did he want for you? >> a good career. >> reporter: did you talk about that with him? >> yes. he told me to study hard. >> reporter: what do you want the world to know about your father? >> that he was a good person. like he would always want to do things. he would take me out when he had something to do. >> reporter: you were the apple of his eye weren't you? you loved to be with him? >> yeah.
1:00 am
>> reporter: two families in the great fertile valley of california. one of them worth millions. and the other far more. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." i'm lester holt. thanks for joining us. s. i'm kasie hunt, a special edition for you and to the. the results of which even tony romo can't predict. just in, the president sending more u.s. forces to the border with mexico. plus, we have a brand-new scoop out tonight from axios as they get hands on months of the president's private schedule. let's just say there's


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on