Dateline | December 07, 2012
>>> the range of emotion katherine pierce experienced after the mistaken identity murder of her husband scott had gone from devastation to relief when his killers were caught. and then to anger when she realized that if a double murder investigation six months earlier had been handled differently, clifton bloomfield might have been in jail instead of in her kitchen.
>> dna evidence could have prevented him from killing scott and it infuriated me. i couldn't believe that such a minor, insignificant detail from a previous murder could have saved scott .
>> that detail she's talking about, the dna that linked bloomfield to the yi murders. the dna taken from under mr. yi's fingernail. it sat in the albuquerque police crime lab with no tests being performed to identify it for months. the match didn't come until after scott pierce was dead. katherine pierce thought the process had failed her, so she filed a lawsuit against the city of albuquerque , its police department , and various detectives, including the man who had helped to quickly solve scott 's murder, detective mike fox . it's kind of ironic, you find her husband's killer in less than 48 hours and still get sued for not finding him earlier.
>> one of the pitfalls of a police officer , they never like the police, they like the firemen better.
>> by 2012 , the lawsuit was headed for trial. katherine was dreading having to revisit the time of scott 's murder. she had already done it once in this video, assembled by her attorneys as they prepared her case.
>> you moved on a little bit.
>> moved on because i don't want to relive it.
>> did you feel at all bad suing the police department that brought in your husband's killer in a couple of days?
>> no, i don't feel bad. for me it was more about bringing awareness to what the police are doing or not doing in this case. all i want is for them to do their job all the way through.
>> you talk to police, they say one, we did do our job, brought the guys in the minute we knew they were suspects. dna is not like it is on television, we don't have an answer in fifteen seconds.
>> and i do understand that.
>> and we've got a lot of murders, we do the best we can. we wish we could solve every one, close every one right away, but that's not real life .
>> and i know the police department or detectives did not come in and kill scott . i get that. it's not about the albuquerque police department or detectives, it is about giving them more incentive to do their job better.
>> just before trial, the city settled with katherine pierce for close to half a million dollars. her attorneys.
>> the city admitted no liability in that settlement.
>> what's that mean to you that the city settled just before it went to trial.
>> you don't pay a lot of money if you didn't do anything wrong, do you?
>> although it settled the suit, the city defended the work of its police department throughout what it called a complex investigation. to katherine pierce it felt like an ending to a sad strings of what ifs. what if she moved into this house a week later. what if scott hadn't woken up. what if the dna from the yi homicide had been tested sooner. she had what felt like a very long run of very bad luck , and the connective tissue in it all was clifton bloomfield .
>> i am not the monster they make me out to be. but i'm not perfect either.
>> this is clifton bloomfield in an interview in 2009 given to the albuquerque journal newspaper.
>> i've done my share of wrong. i've done plenty of dirt.
>> bloomfield was willing, even eager, to talk about the pierce case, to explain what went wrong.
>> feel bad about what happened.
>> i feel bad about what happened there. the pierce case was a tragedy. imagine a darkened room just seeing shadows and you tell the person to stop, and you have a shotgun in your hand and they continue trying to grab it from you.
>> it's hard to imagine being blase about murder. but clifton bloomfield has committed a lot of them. maybe that's why he tells the story like he was an observer not a participant.
>> he said get on the ground.
>> bloomfield 's version doesn't match with that of katherine pierce , the only survivor of that night.
>> i saw that interview, he exaggerated a lot. he said scott was reaching for the gun. that never happened. scott just lunged, he turned and pulled the trigger, it was as simple as that.
>> tragedy. they had been married a week. another tragedy, he was a nurse. tragedy.
>> and the list of tragedies clifton bloomfield brought about just kept going. faced with the death penalty in the yi murders, bloomfield cut a deal. he pleaded guilty to murder charges and in exchange for a life sentence , he admitted committing two more killings before the yis, before scott pierce . the first was a talented designer, found strangled in his home in 2005 . three days later, the body of an 81-year-old retired school teacher was found beaten and suffocated.
>> he wasn't even a suspect in any of those?
>> no, he was good. he wore gloves. he made it so no traces of him would be left behind, except when he got scratched.
>> so he is not just the guy you brought in on the scott pierce homicide. suddenly he's what, a serial killer .
>> he's his own kind of serial killer . he's not hunting prostitutes or somebody that looks like his mom.
>> he just kills and keeps on killing.
>> he's just killing for the art of killing.
>> how many murders do you think clifton bloomfield has committed for which he's never been charged?
>> i honestly couldn't tell you. ten wouldn't surprise me.
>> bloomfield declined "dateline" request for interview, and despite confessing and pleading guilty , he filed appeal of his five murder convictions. jason skaggs pled guilty to murder in the pierce case and is serving a 30 year prison sentence . meantime, the d.a.'s office in albuquerque freed the two men, the original suspect in the yi murders. one of them settled a lawsuit with the city for nearly a million dollars. the city again admitted no liability. and katherine pierce has atl last been able to move on. the woman that thought she'd never find love again has recently got married, fulfilling one of the wishes scott had for her in their brief time together.
>> when i was trying to talk about forever in our pillow talk , he said i might not live to be an old person. he said if that happens, i want you to move on and find somebody. wow. what a gift.
>> and you did.
>> and i did. i could be dead right now. i know that. it's like being given a second chance. so i'm running with it.
>> that's all for this edition of "dateline." we'll be back next friday at 10:00 , 9:00 central. and i'll see you