Dateline   |  December 07, 2012

‘A Shot in the Dark’, Part 3

Police find the man who was the intended target the night Scott Pierce was killed, and a new suspect emerges as a result.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> it was just a few hours into a sunny saturday morning in albuquerque , june, 2008 . katherine pierce was in a police car being taken home from the hospital where her husband of six days, scott , had just been pronounced dead. from the start she had been treated as a suspect in her husband's murder. katherine 's story was that a shadowy figure had broken into their home in the middle of the night and had then killed scott , but for some reason spared katherine 's life. detective mike fox was working homicide for the albuquerque police .

>> it didn't quite seem right that this random person just happened to break in and was looking for a guy named manny .

>> manny . it was the name that was about to break this case. it had to do it turned out not just with katherine pierce and her husband but with the house . the piece of property they had just bought as they began their life together. the couple had moved in just a month before the murder, a month before that question asked by the intruder in the middle of the night about where to find manny .

>> you knew who he was talking about.

>> yes, i knew exactly who he was talking about. house from.

>> yes.

>> they moved out how long before?

>> almost exactly a month prior.

>> suddenly the murder case moved off katherine pierce and onto the presumed target that night, a man named manny . it turned out he was known to the albuquerque police and within hours after detectives put out word they were looking for him, manny called police . he offered to come in, sit down, and help out any way he could.

>> i'm guessing the first question is who's looking for you that wants to kill you.

>> yeah, who would want you dead. he says jason scaggs, only one i think would want me killed.

>> they worked together at a roofing company. originally from california, scaggs was an ex-marine, former truckers, with a minor criminal record . some of the story manny was telling police added up. at 6'3", only 200 pounds, he matched almost exactly the description given by katherine pierce of a tall, slender intruder. but he was not as far as police knew a killer. to detectives, a home invasion that ended in murder seemed to be outside jason scaggs' criminal skill set.

>> if he was the guy in katherine pierce 's house with the shotgun, he was a rookie.

>> and that didn't really match up with the gloves and some of the other things that were kind of popping in our head of somebody that might be more experienced.

>> they tracked his cell phone .

>> the cell phone was pinning off el paso , texas.

>> sounds like a guy on the run.

>> yeah. is this guy heading for mexico?

>> turned out el paso was just the closest cell tower to the campground where he was spending the weekend with his wife. and not only did he say it, his employer backed him up. even with what seemed an air tight alibi, detectives brought in scaggs.

>> jason , would you say your name and date of birth.

>> my name is jason scaggs, 5-12-73.

>> he stuck to the story of a weekend camping trip at the lake. what he didn't know, his wife had already been interviewed and she told a completely different story of what they did and when. detective fox broke that news to jason scaggs.

>> at that point i could see we had the right guy.

>> how can you tell when you have the right guy?

>> when a person is cooperating with you, they have a certain demeanor. when you start to turn things on them, start to show that what they're telling you isn't the truth and that i know it and you can see a change in the eyes, it all starts to unravel.

>> you can tell?

>> oh, yeah. it is probably the most exciting part of the homicide investigation is breaking a murderer with their own words.

>> to detectives, it was looking more and more as if jason scaggs had been the man with the shotgun in katherine pierce 's home.

>> the woman in the house describes you.

>> i have never broke into anyone's house . i have never shot anyone in my life.

>> i think it was by accident.

>> i have never shot anyone in my life. never. i have never shot a human being in my life and i have not broke into anyone's home.

>> we're working to solve this.

>> you'll find out it wasn't me. it wasn't me. i wasn't in their house .

>> police kept hammering away, and that's when jason skaggs changed his story. he said he wasn't the man in katherine pierce 's home and he wasn't the person that pulled the trigger on that shotgun and killed scott . but he did know exactly who it was.

>> when we come back, this case takes another hair pin turn. look at what police are about to find. a dufflebag, a gun and gloves. do these belong to the killer? who was in the house that night? when "a shot in the dark " continues.