Video: A murderous plan

By Chris Hansen Correspondent
NBC News

This report aired Dateline Saturday, March 4

There’s a poem called “The Footprints of God,” that is very close to Jackie Thomas’ heart. It’s the story of a person who feels abandoned by God in times of anguish, but then realizes God’s been present every step of the way.

“In deepest sleep one night I dreamed
that on the beach I walked
God was by my side each step
And quietly we talked.
“My precious child,” God answered,
When your life had pain, I knew.
The single set of footprints
Were the times I carried you.

The poem is an inspiration to Jackie and is a testament to her belief. And although hers is a story of a murderous plot, a clandestine meeting of unimaginable consequences, and a police interrogation leading to a startling revelation. But first and foremost, hers is a story about faith.

Jackie was deeply religious, even as a teenager, when she met her future husband Rick.

Jackie Thomas: The minute I knew for sure was the minute he showed up at our back door one morning dressed to go to church. And I’d never invited him.

Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent: So you knew then that this was the guy?

Jackie Thomas: Oh man, my heart skipped, yeah.

They were married when she was 18 years old, he 19. They bought a small ranch house in a Houston suburb. Jackie soon gave birth to their first child. Another daughter, Kristi, soon followed. Kristi tells of a happy, comfortable childhood  and the continuous sound of laughter.

Kristi Thomas: My mother would make dinner and that was our time to sit around and just talk about our day. And there would be times that we would laugh so hard that none of us could eat. Dinner was just ruined because we were laughing so hard.

Rick was the unequivocal leader of the Thomas clan — as committed to his family as to his job as a Houston firefighter. His impressive list of achievements included a citation of bravery for one of the lives he helped save in three decades in the department.

Hansen:  What kind of a husband was Rick?

Jackie Thomas: Very attentive, very loving. He has always wanted to give me any and everything I ever asked for. And it’s amazing.

They were a traditional family with a traditional marriage. At home, the images displayed on walls and mantle pieces, collected over time, attested to a life well-lived.

Then a phone call that would change everything. The voice on the line? Rick Thomas. On the other end, a man with a criminal background named Toby.

Rick Thomas: ...said you might be able to help me on a little problem I have around my neighborhood.

An acquaintance had told Rick that Toby was a microbiologist who had access to toxic chemicals.

(Videotaped) "Toby": He explained to me that he had a dog in his neighborhood and that he wanted to kill the dog but it had to be done in such a way that if an autopsy would be done on the dog, that they wouldn’t discover the cause of death. That right there got my attention because I really don’t know anyone who’s had an autopsy done on their dog.

Rick Thomas:  It’s a female dog.  And what I’d rather do is feed it something... 

"Toby":  What’s the weight on the dog?

Rick Thomas: Oh, it’s a big dog.  I mean, it’s a Rottweiler.

"Toby": Well, do you got approximate weight?

Rick Thomas: Let’s say—well he— she’s a big one, I’d say 130-140.

"Toby": Good God, that’s a big ass dog.

Rick Thomas: Oh yeah.

Rick Thomas’ next phone call came a week later. It was October 15, 2003. The day was coming to an end, the people of Houston were returning home after a hard day’s work. Inside a fire station, one of their bravest and finest had changed his story. It wasn’t a dog he wanted to kill, Rick told Toby. What he had on his mind was murder.

Rick Thomas: Let’s eliminate the animal situation and let’s just say it’s a person.

"Toby": Alright, I can deal with that.

There was a substance that was just right for the job, Toby said an odorless and tasteless poison that could kill a human being within minutes.

"Toby": I’ve done other things similar to this.  And I’m telling you right now, I have never been arrested even, okay?  And I’m a little bit concerned. I’m really uncomfortable with the idea that if this is someone that you want to go ahead and take out that you’re doing it.

Rick Thomas: Right.

(Dateline interview) Hansen: In the phone conversation you actually suggest to him that he may want to be someplace else when she meets her demise.

"Toby": Be somewhere else, be seen. If possible be on video somewhere else.

Hansen: Have an alibi?

Johnson: Exactly.

Hansen: But he wasn’t concerned about it, was he?

"Toby": No. He said he had the perfect plan.

(Videotapes) Rick Thomas: Well, I would be the one fixing food.  I would be the one fixing her a drink.  And no one else would be around...

"Toby": Okay, how are you gonna administer this drug and have an alibi and be somewhere else?

Rick Thomas: Well, to be honest, that’s why I was wanting it to try to look like a heart attack.  Because if and when it takes place—you know, I will be the one actually—making it look good, actually doing CPR on the person...

"Toby": Okay, well this is gonna be obviously somebody you have access to  at the house and everything.

Rick Thomas: Yes.

"Toby": Okay.  What’s it your old lady or something?

Rick Thomas: Yes.

And there it was. The target of Rick’s murder plan was none other than Jackie, his beloved wife for more than 30 years. Toby would hand over the poison at a local restaurant. Jackie seemed as good as dead.

On the 16th of October 2003, at about 7:30, the meeting between Rick Thomas and Toby was caught on undercover video.

(Undercover video) Rick Thomas: Toby?

"Toby": Hey, Ricko, how you doing?

Rick Thomas: Good. Good to see you

"Toby": I got, put enough for 150 pounds, male or female. They’re inside two, they’re inside rubber packets. It’s in two plastic bags, so they won’t get wet or anything.

Rick Thomas: Okey dokey (hands over money)

And with these words, Rick Thomas handed Toby $5,000 in neatly-bundled $100 bills.

"Toby": Okay, well just go ahead and get out of here.

[Rick gets up and leaves]

"Toby": Take him out. Take him out. Take him out. Get him.

Seconds later, an upstanding citizen, husband and father was upstanding no more. The decorated firefighter, thrown face-down on the ground was hand-cuffed, arrested for soliciting the murder of his wife.

"Toby," it turned out, was an undercover cop for the DA’s office who specialized in murder-for-hire cases. Rick Thomas had walked head-on into a well-planned sting operation.

The cameras kept rolling— this time in the interrogation room. And Rick Thomas, the man who’d escaped countless fires, was looking desperately for another way out.

Across the United States each year, hundreds of people are caught on undercover police video trying to arrange their spouses’ murder.

Very few of them fit the profile of Rick Thomas. He’d been happily married to his wife Jackie for more than 30 years. A veteran firefighter, he was in the business of saving lives, not taking them.

And yet it was Rick Thomas, who, on the night of October 16, 2003, lay face down in handcuffs, accused of planning the murder of the woman he’d vowed to love.

Richard Thomas was brought to an interrogation room at the district attorney’s office. Evidence that he wanted to poison his wife was overwhelming: the taped phone conversations, the surveillance video leading to his arrest. His first interrogation would be videotaped as well. Investigators knew Thomas wanted his wife dead. The question was why?

The officer, who’d led the undercover sting and who wanted “Dateline” to hide his identity, now led the interrogation together with another officer. The accused faced them shirtless and visibly shaken.

(Interrogation video) Rick Thomas: I don’t understand what’s going on.

Undercover officer: Okay. You’ve been charged with criminal solicitation. All right? You’ve paid $5,000 to an undercover officer to procure poison with which to execute, murder or otherwise kill Jackie, your wife.

Rick Thomas: I don’t remember...

(Dateline interview) Undercover officer: He starts to fake amnesia. Couldn’t remember anything...

Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent: Fake amnesia?

Undercover officer: [He] didn’t know who we were. Didn’t know where he was. Had been suffering from blackouts for the last two weeks. Which is exactly the period of time he had been talking to me.

Undercover officer: ...and he gave you a packet that contained a deadly poison.

Hansen: Did you believe him when he talked about having amnesia?

Undercover officer: Well, no. There were no clinical symptoms of amnesia a few minutes ago or in any of the conversations we’d had over that period of time. And he wasn’t very convincing.

(Interrogation video) Rick Thomas: If I’ve done it, then  I probably...I would say, ok, I did it. But I don’t remember doing any of that. I don’t remember hardly anything the last week. I don’t hardly remember anything this week…  I don’t know what’s going on.

Undercover officer: Richard, Richard, won’t work. Don’t put yourself in a worse light than you already are, okay?

Rick Thomas: I, I don’t...

Undercover officer: Okay. Wait, wait.

Rick Thomas: Okay.

Undercover officer: You have had no problems at all up until the time when you’re arrested. You planned. You thought. You explained. You had no problems. If you try to pull that now, you’re just going to look like an idiot.

But despite the pressure, and confronted by the very person from whom he’d bought what he thought was poison, Rick Thomas persisted.

(Interrogation video) Undercover officer: ...And tonight, you brought that officer $5,000.

Rick Thomas: Well, I had, yeah, I agree.  I had $5,000.

Undercover officer: Okay.  What was that for?

Rick Thomas: Emergencies, things like that.

Undercover officer: I just told him it wouldn’t work. “Try again.” And he starts again, and I go again “Let’s back up.”

The undercover officer says that faced with interrogators who refused to buy into his defense, Rick Thomas began to crack slowly, but surely.

(Interrogation video) Rick Thomas: The only thing I can say is I’ve been under a lot of mental stress.

Officer: I know you have. But it doesn’t impair your judgment at all .

Rick Thomas: I don’t know, I...

Officer: You’re throwing away your own life here. You’re throwing away your retirement. You’re throwing away everything.

Rick Thomas: And what good will it do?

Officer: It may do you a helluvalot. But I don’t know. Because I don’t know what you’re going to say. I am giving you the opportunity. I really want to hear you, and everything, I’m begging you, but shortly I am going to go home, all right. And you’re not.

Maybe it was the realization that what awaited him was not a return home but a night, maybe years, behind bars, but after about 10 minutes of denial, Rick Thomas took a deep breath and started talking. 

Rick: My wife is extremely sick... and I wanted to make her feel better and not suffer like she is.

Officer: Okay. I understand that. Now you’re talking. Talk to me.

Rick: There’s no excuse in what I did. None.

Officer: Was she aware of it?

Rick: No, she’s not aware of it. Not aware of it at all.

Officer: All right. When did you intend to carry it out, the…

Rick: Whenever would have been convenient.

Officer: How long have you been thinking about this?

Rick: I can’t... I don’t know. Didn’t want her to suffer no more.

A mercy killing: that’s what Rick Thomas confessed it was all about. But investigators were suspicious. Just minutes before he’d claimed he had amnesia. Was this another lie, another way to justify his crime?

Rick Thomas was charged with solicitation to commit murder, a crime that carried a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

On the night he was arrested, his unsuspecting target, the wife he said he wanted to release from her suffering, was visiting a neighbor after hours of preparing food for a family celebration the following day.

Jackie Thomas: My friend came in and said, “A DA’s outside. And he wants to speak to you.” We thought it was a joke.

Hansen: A district attorney?

Jackie Thomas: Yeah.

Chris Hansen: A criminal prosecutor?

Jackie Thomas: Yeah, and we thought it was a joke.

Jackie Thomas remembers her disbelief as a Houston district attorney sat in the house she’d shared with her husband for more than 30 years, and told her this: “We’ve arrested your husband for trying to buy poison to kill you.”

Jackie Thomas: And I went, “No,” and I said, “you’ve got the wrong man. There’s a lot of Rick Thomases or Richard Thomases in Houston, you know.

Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent: Did you think this had to be a big mix up

Jackie Thomas: I really thought they had the wrong person. I really did. And they kept saying, "No, we have the right person." And it took me a long time for them to convince me that what they were saying was true.

Hansen: You were in denial.

Jackie Thomas: Just couldn’t believe it. I felt like everything had been cut off. I didn’t know what to do.

It’s hard for Jackie to recollect in detail the next few hours and the next few days. When the world around you crumbles, there’s a certain haze and a lot of tears.

Hansen: How do you even process that information?

Jackie Thomas: I didn’t. I couldn’t. For days I could not. All I could do was cry.

Jackie’s daughter Kristi rushed to her side.

Kristi Thomas: My mom was just sitting in the living room watching TV, crying. And just a little bit later, the news came on. And it was all over the news.  It was absolutely surreal. It was, it was like I was looking at somebody else’s family, not mine. My mind wandered the whole time thinking, “What if I’m going to have a dad in jail for the rest of his life?”

For now, Kristi says she had to comfort her mother, keep the prying media out of the house, and deal with friends and relatives who’d come to support the family.

Kristi Thomas: It was almost like a funeral. Everybody came over. Everybody was trying to console my mom and me and my sister.

With consolation, came advice.

Jackie Thomas: Oh such confusing advice. You know, tragedy takes a family and can tear it apart in a second.

Hansen: I imagine some folks were saying, “Leave him.”

Jackie Thomas: Oh yeah.

Hansen: “Let him rot.”

Jackie Thomas: Oh yeah, oh yeah. I truly was on my knees praying. I wanted the Lord to help me sort out what I was supposed to do, what direction I was supposed to walk.

Jackie heard what her husband had said in the interrogation: that he wanted to kill her because she’d been so sick.

Jackie Thomas: I truly was given up. I really did.

For years, Jackie had struggled with diabetes, but lately her health was getting worse and worse. She says that chronic fatigue, debilitating muscle aches, and an extremely painful skin condition made her life a living nightmare.

Jackie Thomas: Along with all the hurt and pain that I was going through at the time, of course it brings depression with that too. I truly started just to lose hope.

Hansen: How did he react to the state you were in?

Jackie Thomas: He waited on me hand and foot. You can ask anybody, he’s always done that.

And none of her illnesses had been life-threatening. How then, Jackie wondered, could a man so devoted scheme to kill her?

Hansen: As sick as you were in those days, did you ever think of taking your own life

Jackie Thomas: You know, my faith in God would have never allowed me to do that.

Jackie thought she’d shared that same faith with her husband. They’d been inseparable. Looking at the framed photographs around the house she asked herself: What did all those images mean now?

Jackie Thomas: I was angry, hurt, confused... I had to process this over and over and over. I had to keep processing it to see if I could make any sense of it.

If she saw her husband, Jackie wondered, what would he tell her?

Hansen: This was your wife of more than 30 years, the mother of your two daughters.

Rick Thomas: Correct.

Hansen: And here you are trying to buy poison to kill her. How did it come to this?

Rick Thomas says that all the footage on him obtained by the police — the phone calls and the interrogation— was just the end of a long harrowing journey. And if people knew his whole story maybe they’d understand.

Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent: How would you characterize your behavior?

Rick Thomas: Crazy. I didn’t know what I was thinking.

Rick says his downward spiral began at the firehouse, after almost 30 years on the force, and one too many injuries...

Rick Thomas: Firefighting is a young man’s job. And it was, it was getting harder. I was beginning to really get down a lot. And... I didn’t see it coming.

Depression. Rick says it ruled his life then. And denial did too.

Rick Thomas: Not wanting to admit you’re sick. I had always been there for other people. And I didn’t have nobody to go to. And it just kept getting worse.

At home he hid his emotional struggles, especially from his wife...

Rick Thomas: I’d go to the store and just sit in my vehicle and just scream and holler and cry. And I’d come home and Jackie would say, “Why are your eyes so red?” “Oh, I had the windows rolled down, the wind was blowing in my face.” Always had an excuse. And I just never could admit it.

He’d tried several anti-depressant medications off and on, but none of them worked, Rick says. By the summer of 2003, he says he was addicted to Vicodin, a pain killer, and he was drinking heavily.

And Rick says his depression deepened from watching his wife Jackie.

Rick Thomas: She is feeling very, very ill. And there would be days that she could barely get out of bed. As her hurting continued, she began saying that she wished she was dead.

And Rick contends she kept saying she wished she was dead— again and again and again.

Rick Thomas: That’s all I could, that’s all I kept thinking. I’d wake up thinking. I’d go to sleep thinking. And, as I said, I’ve been a caretaker and I just have always tried to do what she wanted to do, wanted me to do. And after she said it more than once, that’s when I thought, “I should do that.”

Hansen: That you should do what?

Rick Thomas: Kill her.

Hansen: Kill your wife?

Rick Thomas: Yes. I wanted to eliminate her pain. I didn’t want her to hurt anymore.

Hansen: But none of her ailments were terminal.

Rick Thomas: No.

Hansen: Do you see why some people might not believe that story?

Rick Thomas: Yes.

Hansen: And what do you say to them?

Rick Thomas: They were not living in my shoes. They were not hearing their spouse crying all night long, hurting all night long. And if you cannot walk in my shoes, you do not know what I was going through.

Rick says there’s just one word that aptly describes the fire that raged inside of him: hell.

Rick Thomas: I believe Satan was...was just had a hold of me.

Hansen: Satan?

Rick Thomas: Yes. He had a hold of me and wouldn’t let me go.

We played for Rick some of the undercover audio and video. It was the first time he says he’d heard or seen any of it.

(Videotape) Rick Thomas: So when I do have to call EMS after finding this person I will be the one administering CPR...

(Dateline interview) Rick Thomas: [interrupts] Would you fast forward this please...

Hansen: You did not sound like a man who was suffering from some sort of mental illness. You sound coherent and anxious to get this done. How do you square that?

Rick Thomas: Being scared half to death, I guess. I did want it done and then just for the heartache to be over.

Rick defends his loss of memory during the interrogation. He says he still doesn’t remember most of what happened— or perhaps, doesn’t want to.

Hansen: Can you see how somebody might say after seeing the video tape, “Ok, he gets caught, he claims amnesia. He gets called out on amnesia. Then he says, “Ok, mercy killing.” The story shifts as they shoot down your defenses here.

Rick Thomas: All I know is that your mind can play unbelievable tricks on you.

The undercover officer who pretended to supply Rick the poison to kill his wife says the only trick in this case is the one Rick Thomas is trying to play on those he wants to convince he’s telling the truth.

Officer: He wasn’t drinking that night. He didn’t appear medicated. He appeared to be intelligent. He had devised a plan and was able to show up on time and bring the money and discuss the issues.

Hansen: You know many people who suffer from mental illness can appear quite coherent.

Officer: Sure.

Hansen: Is it possible that mental illness played a role in this case?

Officer: There’s no evidence that it played any direct role in his behavior or the crime itself, no. He said he had depression. Well, you walk down the street probably eight out of ten people have depression. But eight out of ten people don’t come to me about killing their mates.

The undercover officer says he relied on facts. And the facts on the audio and video showed a man intent on murder. No more. No less.

And Rick Thomas’ motive?

Officer: Actually I just thought he wanted to start over. I got no indications of anything else other he was about to retire and he just wanted to unburden himself of some things.

Hansen: There was no other woman in this case.

Officer: No evidence to that at all.

Hansen: There was no big life insurance policy that we know of.

Officer: None.

Hansen: Is it possible that mercy killing was really his motive here?

Officer: Oh, it’s possible. Well, if she really was that sick, he was not lacking for a support group to assist him. There were plenty of people he could have gone to. And he went to a killer.

A devoted husband turned cold-blooded murderer. For Jackie, that was an image too horrible to contemplate. She had to hear for herself what Rick had to say, face to face.

Husband and wife— perpetrator and target— were about to meet in a jail house visiting room...with consequences neither of them expected.

Jackie Thomas: And I was very mixed emotions to look at him and see him at that time. I didn’t know if it was the right time or not. 

A week had passed since Rick Thomas’ arrest, a week full of incomprehension, grief and conflicting advice. And come what may, Jackie says she realized that if she wanted to understand what really happened and why, she had to confront her husband.

She’d never been to a jail before. It was hard she says to enter the window-less visiting room—much, much harder to recognize the figure slouching behind the Plexiglas.

Jackie Thomas: I had never seen him look that way ever. And I prayed to God I’d never see him look that way again.

Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent:  And what did you tell him?

Jackie Thomas: I didn’t tell him really anything. He immediately just put his head down and cried. He didn’t know I was coming. And... I saw it. It was an absolute empty... look. He he didn’t even resemble himself.

Hansen: Did he say anything to you?

Jackie Thomas: “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry I brought this mess on you.”

But yet, before his arrest, Jackie didn’t remember seeing Rick depressed. And she didn’t remember saying to him she wished she were dead. But she says Rick insisted she had, and he wasn’t the only one.

Jackie Thomas: Not just Rick, but other people told me, “Do you realize how many times you said that? You said it in front of us.” And I was shocked, just really shocked to hear that I had said those things.

For Jackie that was proof enough her husband was telling the truth. She didn’t know if her marriage would survive this ordeal, but Jackie says she instinctively knew this: one — that her husband was mentally ill and that it was that mental illness that led him to plan her death. And two — Rick needed help.

And who would help him?

She would.

Jackie Thomas: I don’t think there’s anybody alive on this earth right now that knows Ricky Thomas like I know him.  And I feel like I kind of let him down in that area.  I didn’t cause this.  But I know I let him down in that area.

Hansen: But Jackie, had this not been an undercover detective, he might very well have gotten his hands on poison and killed you.

Jackie Thomas: I really, in my heart, believe that my husband could have never have done that to me. 

Some would call that denial, but Jackie says her belief in Rick was guided by her faith.

Jackie Thomas: I prayed constantly. I prayed for Rick, I prayed for myself. I asked God to give me those answers. And he did. He showed me.

The sign, Jackie says, came over dinner with one of her best friends...

Jackie Thomas: I will never ever forget the night we were talking. And she looked at me and said, “Don’t you realize that God is a God of reconciliation?”

Could it really be that Jackie would stay married to the man who, mentally ill or not, had wanted to kill her?

Jackie Thomas: I took my marriage vows very seriously. I did not just make a solemn promise to Ricky. I swore before my God that I would be with this man...

Hansen: But there’s nothing in the wedding vows that says you have to stick with a guy who tries to go out and buy poison to kill you.

Jackie Thomas: He was not doing it because he disliked me or hated me or wanted me out of his life. He was doing it because he wanted to help me.

My heart told me I wanted to stay. I love this man. I’ve loved this man since the day I met him.

Hansen: But you got a guy who is on videotape paying an undercover detective $5,000 to get poison to kill you.

Jackie Thomas: But we keep going back to that. We need to get past that.

Hansen: I understand, but that’s a hard, that’s a hard thing for people to get their arms around.

Jackie Thomas: I’m sure it is, but I will tell you once again: I believe in my . They say “in sickness and in health.” They do say that. “And good times and in bad times.” This was a bad time and this was a sick time.

The undercover officer, who in his career has foiled more than 200 murder-for-hire plots, wasn’t surprised by Jackie’s decision. He says in the many similar cases he’s handled, more than half the spouses do the same thing.

Officer: They start feeling guilty. They may have contributed to this situation. We often do that when we are faced with something that’s really horrendous, you know... It’s God’s will.

In a bizarre way, he says, catching Rick red-handed might have been the best thing that happened to him and his wife.

Officer: I feel great for them. We stepped in at the right time. Saved her life. And, as ironic as it may sound, saved their marriage.

Jackie hired a lawyer to defend Rick. She bonded him out of jail and checked him into a mental hospital where Rick was diagnosed with major depression disorder. He says the ensuing psychological treatment allowed him to finally confront his illness... and his guilt.

Hansen: Was there ever a moment where you couldn’t deal with the guilt?

Rick Thomas: Oh yes. You start thinking about it... and you start hating yourself then.  I prayed that the Lord would lift the guilt off of me.

After Jackie made it clear to the prosecutor that she would stand by her husband, even testify in his behalf, Rick got a plea deal for the minimum punishment by law: two years, down from 20. He was paroled after six months.

Hansen: That time you spent in prison did you ever think, “I deserve this”?

Rick Thomas: Of course, I had committed a crime and I needed to pay for that crime.

Hansen: Did the punishment fit the crime?

Rick Thomas: A lot of people probably would say, “No.”

Hansen: What do you say?

Rick Thomas: That I was extremely blessed in the short time that I did have to serve. It’s in the past. The Lord’s forgiven me. I’ve asked for forgiveness. And Jackie’s forgiven me.

Hansen: You know a lot of women would very likely say, “The hell with this guy. I want out.”

Rick Thomas: Right. And many people told her that.

Hansen: Your wife has stuck by you.

Rick Thomas: Yes, she has.

Hansen: How do you repay that kind of loyalty?

Rick Thomas: I thank God for her every morning. Every morning. She is a angel on earth.

Hansen: How did you change as a woman as you went through this?

Jackie Thomas: You know, when the rug gets jerked out from underneath you and all you have to stand on is faith, I wanna tell you, you realize that you should have been standing on that faith a long time ago. It has given me new hope, new life, a new way to smile, a new way to love.

And after 30 years of happiness that now seems so distant, followed by a nightmare that made time stand still, Jackie’s faith seems to have given her and her husband Rick a new beginning.

Hansen: When you look into your wife’s eyes, what do you see?

Rick Thomas: True love.

Hansen: When you look into your husband’s eyes, what do you see?

Jackie Thomas: Adoration. Respect and honor. Love. Everything anybody would ever want.

Hansen: Are you closer today than at any other time in your 30+ year relationship?

Jackie Thomas: Absolutely. I believe that many couples, if they just held on through the hardest part of their life, would find the same kind of renewal.

You don’t have to give up. There is hope. And even families that are torn apart can come back together. And they can live in forgiveness and they can go on.

There’s a poem, “The footprints of God,” now closer to Jackie’s heart than ever. She says that in its meaning she and her husband, found the strength to face whatever is to come. Together.

Jackie Thomas (reading):  “...The single set of footprints was the time I carried you.”

There was a time when we couldn’t walk; and during that time God was carrying us. And we feel that God carried us. He carried us ‘till we could stand on our own.

Rick Thomas will be on probation until the end of April. He says his struggle with depression is not over. He sees a therapist on a regular basis.

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