Dateline | December 07, 2012
>> did. i could be dead right now.
>> put my face over his so he could look at me.
>> she had to relive it all for the cameras. a new bride, married just six days. then came that horrible night.
>> i see kind of a dark shadow. all i remember was the flash of the gun.
>> she told police a mysterious man burst into their new home and killed her husband.
>> put my hands on his face, told him i loved him.
>> no doubt the story was heartbreaking but puzzling. who was this strange man or as you may find yourself asking was there a strange man at all?
>> brand new bride tells the story of a mystery man, that sends off alarm bells.
>> she was somebody we had to look at.
>> now she's the one under scrutiny. her clothes examined, her account questioned.
>> the detective asked me if i killed my husband.
>> what did happen that night? the truth would be far stranger than anyone knew.
>> i'm not the monster people make me out to be.
>> i'm lester holt . this is "dateline." tonight, a shot in the dark . here is josh mankiewicz .
>> albuquerque, new mexico, a mile high city , famous for its annual balloon festival and the city where a match made in heaven came in 2005 when a friend of catherine bailey set her up with a man named scott .
>> what was it made your friend think you two would be a good match.
>> i am not sure anything other than he was a tall, handsome guy. she knew that's what i liked.
>> he was tall, 6'8", more than 350 pounds. he was a gentle soul, trapped in the body of an nfl lineman. the two soon fell in love and nature played an important role in their lives, both their own good natures and their love of nature.
>> what did you love about him besides the fact he was 6'8"?
>> he saw the beauty in anything. he would stop to take a picture of anything.
>> scott was behind the lens for pictures like these.
>> we would make special trips to the desert when cactuses were blooming. we took a lot of photographs.
>> nature alone wasn't important to scott pierce . he was also nurturing. this big guy had a big heart. he dreamed of one day becoming a nurse practitioner.
>> if i had a plant and it was almost dead, and i was like ready to give up on it, he wouldn't let me because there was a chance it could come back. he just wouldn't give up on anything.
>> in may, 2008 , nearly three years after they were matched, scott and catherine who worked in retail took a big step as a couple, bought a how the in northeast albuquerque.
>> this was your first home.
>> i qualified for it on my own actually, but with his nursing career finally taking off, we're going to be living okay.
>> what appealed to you about the house.
>> it looked very homey, gave us more room. didn't need a huge house. we're both simple people.
>> a month later, they were married.
>> i, scott , take you catherine to be my wife.
>> honeymoon coming?
>> that was going to take a back seat for a little while, which was fine. we had a house, you know? we still had boxes everywhere.
>> that decision to buy that home at that time on that schedule would one day become a choice catherine and others would examine and re-examine. because that new honeymoon the couple put off would never come. just six days after the wedding, scott and katherine 's life took a turn no one saw coming.
>> he stayed up late that night watching a movie, then came to bed. next thing we know, the dogs are barking. i got up, went down the hall, noticed the back door was open. i thought it was 3:00 in the morning. i didn't have my glasses on, and i thought why would scott leave the back door open.
>> so the back door had been open when he went to bed, he probably would have noticed it.
>> yes. his routine was to go through the house and check that everything was locked.
>> then from nowhere, she noticed something strange.
>> i see kind of a dark shadow that looks like he's pointing a long, pointy thing at me. i said scott , stop messing around.
>> thought it was your husband.
>> didn't make sense a stranger would be in my home pointing a shotgun at me. had to be shot playing a trick.
>> tell me about the man with a shotgun. white, black, hispanic?
>> a black shadow . literally all i saw. then it snapped, this wasn't scott .
>> what did you think?
>> your mind works very fast. he said get down on the ground. i did. he says where is manny .
>> what did you say?
>> i said what? what did you say? he said where's manny .
>> then she caught sight of her husband. he had woken up to find a man pointing a shotgun at his wife.
>> he was charging this guy.
>> your husband of six days was coming to your defense.
>> at that point it was kind of a blur. all i remember was him turning very fast, but i saw the bright flash of the gun. and i think that kind of temporarily blinded me.
>> where is the guy with the gun?
>> the only thing i can imagine is that he ran out the back door as soon as the gun went off.
>> she grabbed the phone, called 911, says she found scott on the kitchen floor with a gaping wound in his neck.
>> did you say anything to him?
>> oh, yeah. i told him i loved him. put my hands on his face, told him i loved him. he had his hand up on his stomach.
>> by the time they loaded him into the ambulance and took him away, you didn't have a lot of hope.
>> i wouldn't even say that. i wasn't going to give up hope until somebody told me finally.
>> and minutes later at the hospital, someone did.
>> i remember the doctor finally walking in and he said so tell me what happened. and i said no. is he alive? i wasn't going to play this game. i wanted to know right away. he said no.
>> at age 41, scott pierce was dead, six days after his wedding. and just like that, katherine was a widow. what happened in that kitchen? who was manny ? the mysterious man for whom the killer had come calling. and who held the answers to all those questions?
>> a whole lot of questions in this case. police were quick to set out to answer them, and they started with katherine pierce. when we come back, it's more than her story that's under scrutiny, it's everything, her clothes from that night, her marriage, even a life insurance policy.
>> i knew something was coming.
>> did she have something to hide? when "a shot in the dark " continues. of washington