Dateline   |  August 16, 2013

Under the Desert Sky, Part 11

Toni Fratto speaks to Dateline NBC’s Keith Morrison about Mickie's murder and her role in the crime.

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

heart skip a beat and, in some cases, maybe two.

>>> toni fratto, the ex- junior miss beauty queen was a tiny wisp of a girl in a prison suit when they brought her to see us.

>> i'm keith.

>> we'd arranged our meeting in a small courtroom not too far from her cell. the sheriff's people agreed to let her mother watch from an adjoining room, separated by a thick, plate glass window. she could hear us, we could not hear her. so two lines of communication. ours with toni , hers silently with her mother.

>> we began by talking about kody , the fiance she seemed so afraid to losing to mickey costanzo.

>> there are people who say that you were very jealous and that you manipulated him into committing murder.

>> i was not jealous of micaela. yes, that one thing that i had wrote in my diary, but that was way long early in our relationship. it never was brought up again. nothing ever recent.

>> did you ever say to him get rid of her? get rid of her or you lose me?

>> no.

>> didn't say it's her or me?

>> no.

>> didn't give him that choice?

>> absolutely not.

>> and then we talked about the night of march 3, 2011 . when she and kody took mickey to the desert and ended her life. in your memory, what does that feel like inside?

>> my heart just sinks and, you know, to be honest, it's, like, it takes my breath away. it's hard to breathe and everything. it's not something, you know, you want to sit there and think about.

>> there are differing stories so that's why i have to ask these questions. and you hit her with a shovel.

>> yes.

>> why?

>> because i was told to. i did not want to do anything to her and everything, and he kept telling me over and over again. just do it. it's okay. just do it, and then i just remember him putting her down and him standing over her.

>> she was struggling trying to get free.

>> right.

>> then you backed off.

>> yes. i don't know what he was doing up towards the top of her body. i could not see because he was standing in the way.

>> and she insisted and contradiction to that first confession of hers that she did not help kody with that slashing and stabbing, and that you didn't hold the knife, that you didn't cut her.

>> correct.

>> so it reduced your culpability.

>> yes. i'm not trying to diminish my actions or anything of what i did, but i won't take responsibility for something i did not do.

>> frequently, as toni distanced herself from the crime, she looked through the glass to her mother especially when the question turned to why. i was too much in fear. i was scared, terrified.

>> only reason she was there, insisted. she was an abused woman and she was afraid he'd kill her, too.

>> when you're going through a type of abusive relationship you don't always fight back with your abuser. to be honest, i -- after finding out everything that i know now, i believe i was next.

>> why would he kill you?

>> because i was a witness and i was there with micaela.

>> so why is mickey costanzo dead? you'd have to ask kody said toni fratto.

>> i don't know his motive. i don't know. if i knew i'd be more than willing to, you know, come out and say why so it would make sense.

>> was he just a lunatic or what? i mean --

>> i don't know. i don't have an answer for that.

>> and when he says he doesn't know why, do you believe him?

>> no. he's got to know why. there's a reason why he did this.

>> was this version of her story finally the truth? perhaps, and in any event, mickey 's family would have to be satisfied with what small cons le consolations toni fratto offered.

>> i know sorry is not enough and if i could go back and protect her and make sure this wouldn't happen and everything that she would still be here today.

>> do you see her face now in your mind's eye?

>> in some places, yeah.

>> you'll probably be seeing her for a long time.

>> for the rest of my life.

>> and with that, our interview ended, toni fratto never wavering from her story. the one she told when she cut the deal with the district attorney, the deal that could set her free as soon as 18 years from now, but of course, toni couldn't know, leaving here nor could we that one more little surprise was waiting. kody had said something very interesting just before toni took her deal. something buried deep in the court file, but now about to be revealed. [ male