Sunday: A snag in the St. Guillen investigation?Video: Snag in grad student murder investigation?
Police have a man in custody in connection with Imette St. Guillen's murder, but have yet to charge him. Is he a suspect or a scapegoat? Dateline's Rob Stafford reports on the latest developments, and sat down with Imette's mother and sister to talk about the unbearable wait for police to find a killer and how they have coped since getting the terrible news.
Preview Rob Stafford's Sunday report, by clicking on the video above. Click here for more photos related to this case .
Is this what a killer looks like? (Dennis Murphy, Dateline correspondent)
So this chatty guy in a polo shirt, early 60s, is talking about his field, quality control work on commercial jet engines, and I drift out of the conversation for a moment and wonder if this is what a killer looks like: A wife-killer? Specifically, could this confident, articulate man have done what the authorities had charged him with: the second degree murder of his wife of more than 10 years, shooting her in the chest four times with a handgun he said he kept in a bag in his Florida sunroom.
Could this meticulous, problem-solving, engineer actually have made a blunder that would never have tripped-up any self-respecting killer on "Law and Order" or "CSI"? Did he actually wrap his wife's body in one of their king-sized bed sheets, weighed her down with concrete blocks from the garden, and then dump the corpse in the bay off their waterfront home? And then toss the murder weapon a few feet off their home's backyard seawall?
Could anyone be so stupid? That rhetorical question would become a building block of Don Moringiello's defense.
"Five Doors Down," a report on the Moringiello murder case in Florida, airs Dateline Saturday, 8 p.m. on NBC.
For better, for worse, for poison? (Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent)
The statistics on this crime are alarming. It happens hundreds of times a year in this country. And those are just the cases we know of.
Fortunately the vast majority of the murder-for-hire plots are not carried out. That’s because police usually find out and launch a sting operation, catching the suspect on hidden cameras. Those damning tapes make for strong evidence in court and as we have seen, fascinating television.
During our past investigations we became aware of a case in Houston, where a decorated, veteran firefighter was caught on tape trying to buy poison to kill his wife of 30 years. For more than a year we pursued the tapes and ultimately the man accused in his crime. As you’ll see Saturday night, we ended up getting more than we could ever expect.
The firefighter, Richard Thomas and his wife, Jackie both sat down with me recently in Texas to tell their story. It is one of betrayal, unbelievable accusations and ultimately forgiveness at a level rarely seen.
How does a man go from being a hero in his community, a respected husband and father to being heard and seen on tape plotting with a man he thinks is a microbiologist to get just the right type and amount of poison to kill his wife? Richard Thomas went from the firehouse to the jailhouse.
For his wife Jackie, these were obviously some of the darkest moments of her life. You might think she’d testify against him, help put him away for a long time. But, that is not what happened. Thomas did go to prison, but for a lot less time than the maximum penalty called for, mostly because of Jackie’s help. Now the couple is back together living under the same roof, happy and holding hands. How could she be so forgiving? Join me for what could be one of the most unusual set of circumstances a family has faced and survived together.
"For Better, For Worse" airs Dateline Saturday, March 4, 8 p.m.
Why parents must mind MySpace
Earlier this year, Dateline's Rob Stafford brought you a report on the hidden dangers of posting personal information on social networking Web sites such as MySpace.com. Here are related stories that came across the wire on MySpace... all of the reports were published within the last few days:
Dateline is continuing to investigate this story.
Buying a car? Why airbags and crash tests matter (Matt Fields, Dateline producer)
By no means am I a car salesman or safety engineer, but through these reports, I have learned a little something about the importance of crashworthiness when it comes to how well you or your car might hold up in a nasty acccident on the highway. And to most people I know, safety is important.
The advice I give is always the same: Once they've selected a category (SUV, minivan, midsize car, etc), I refer them to four Web sites: iihs.org and nhtsa.gov for safety information. As well as consumerreports.org (you'll have to pay for this one) and jdpower.com for reviews and reliability information.
But, if there is anything I have learned in my many trips to the Insurance Institute's Vehicle Research Center in Ruckersville, Virginia, it is that airbags make a huge difference.
Just watch the slow-motion crash test films comparing cars with and without side impact airbags and you'll know what I mean. When you see a 3,000 pound SUV-like barrier come barreling in, smacking the crash test dummy's head at 31-miles-per-hour, you know how bad the result could be if that were you sitting in the seat. And then to see how much protection you can get from those little inflatable curtains that drop down from the roof, or sprout out of the seat, it's remarkable.
I know it's just one test and one glimpse of the entire safety picture. And yes, all cars must meet federal motor vehicle safety standards. But there's no denying the pictures — those airbags can and do save lives.
And if you happen to ask me what to buy, I'm going to tell you to get something you really want to drive, but more importantly, get something that is most likely to keep you safe.
This Sunday, at 7 p.m., Dateline has the latest crash test results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Seven popular midsize cars were put through front and side collision tests.