Dateline   |  August 16, 2013

Under the Desert Sky, Part 10

Toni's diary surfaces and Kody's attorney believes it reveals a motive for murder.

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

>>> the final technique in law enforcement , got two defendants that wanted to take a deal to taf against the other. it looked like that was about to work in the case of the west wendover murder of mickey costanzo . toni fratto appeared all set to tell the world that her fiancee, kody patten, after abusing her for years, forced her to witness and even in a minor way assist in the killing. apparently, like everybody else , she didn't know why kody did it, only that she, toni feared he'd kill her too, if she didn't go along.

>> the question on the lips of every breathing, living soul in wendover, the idea that kody would brutally murder a childhood friend didn't make any sense, and that toni would go to such trouble to visit kody in jail and whisper sweet nothings if she was deathly afraid of him as she claims. people had given up on the idea on getting any kind ever an answer, when suddenly out of the blue a little gift appeared. toni , had been keeping a diary.

>> before she confessed, toni gave it to kody 's parents who turned everything over to defense investigators bill savage .

>> in my opinion there was some valuable information in there with regard to toni 's personality, her feelings. in this little book, toni poured out her fears, her hopes, her deep insecurities and what kody 's attorney thought was just perhaps a motive for murder. this, for example. she worried that kody would leave me for someone else . cheat on me, but kody and i won't last forever. we won't get married. in here she wrote of her own terror that her relationship with kody wouldn't work out, and if so, was there no point in living. i'm very angry today. so angry that i'm trying to overdose after i got off the phone with kody , i went and took four aspirins.

>> in my opinion, a very troubled young lady .

>> a troubled young lady who, in many ways, did not feel worthy, i gather.

>> that's correct.

>> and who loved this guy, but at the same time was terrified of losing him.

>> yes.

>> afraid of losing him to the girl he had grown up with, the attractive and popular mickey costanzo . we might as well break up so he can get back together with her. he will be happier and can see her a lot. a lot more than he will ever see me. they're perfect for each other.

>> toni was jealous of mickey , and if she were out of the picture then kody and toni would be together.

>> she was everything toni wasn't.

>> yes. absolutely.

>> they would be so happy together if i didn't steal him away. i know in my heart he really doesn't love me.

>> the diary disclosed a real animosity that toni had for micaela .

>> right.

>> no one's ever shown me any reason that toni had to hurt micaela , but none.

>> but toni ?

>> toni had reasons.

>> was it possible she was the one that wanted mickey dead? that her big, strong boyfriend was just doing what she wanted? mickey 's sisters remembered.

>> toni used to get so upset if micaela was seen talking to kody and she would just yell and holler and say horrible things to micaela , you know. don't talk to him and call her every name imaginable.

>> an intensely jealous young woman said d.j.

>> he couldn't be around girls especially my sister, but he couldn't go do certain things. she couldn't go do certain things and if one thing that the other didn't like it was world war iii .

>> and kody was, said, christina, on a very tight leash.

>> i must have been doing laundry or something and here kody came walking and said gotta go. i said you can't even talked to me. no, gotta go. she'll get mad.

>> who was the driving force in that relationship?

>> she was.

>> having heard toni 's sworn statement , kody knew his client's story of mickey dying after some sort of accident sounded like the cover-up for a cold-blooded murder and therefore that toni 's testimony could send kody who was still facing trial, to death row .

>> part of toni fratto's statement and what she said that at some point in time at this killing micaela sat up in the grave and said to kody , am i still here? can i go home?

>> devastating.

>> yeah.

>> which is why, just weeks before the trial kody decided to plead guilty to first-degree murder.

>> that was the safest way to go. that was the way that would present at least a possibility that kody would see daylight again, and that would take the death penalty off the table.

>> at kody 's sentencing in front of a packed courtroom he made his case for eventual parole, pleading with the judge for mercy and begging mickey 's family for forgiveness.

>> the unimaginable pain.

>> kody spoke publicly about his fiancee and the woman he protected, and never revealing she was at the crime scene. listen to what he said now.

>> to the court, i just want to say this -- i don't bear all of the blame.

>> did you hear that? toni was not all to blame.

>> was kody implying that she played a role in at least some or most of the horrific stab wounds to mickey 's pretty face.

>> there's no reason and no why -- justification for it. i did it. sorry is not enough, but i -- i -- i apologize for everything.

>> moments later, his sentence, a chance at parole after maybe 25 years.

>> i sentence you for a term of life in the nevada department of corrections . there shall be no possibility of parole.

>> it was justice, said mickey 's family. but an odd feeling lingered.

>> you have to sit there and go -- e on, my god. this person that i knew so well will never, ever have a chance at anything.

>> you're conflicted.

>> i see the good in him. i see what he did. i want him to be punished for what he did, but i see that good side of him.

>> both kody and the prison where he'll spend his life turned down our request for an interview, but toni fratto, different story. toni had a lot to say about that dark night in the nevada desert and just what really happened to her romantic rival mickey costanzo . excuse me, sir