Dateline   |  June 14, 2013

Deception, Part 11

While Gabriel and Anna battle on the witness stand, the jury delivers the ultimate fate of Denis Ratte.

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

>>> december, 2010 . 13 years after wendy ratte disappeared. in a prince george courtroom, the battle lines were drawn. but this case wasn't only the crown versus denis ratte. it was brother against sister on the witness stand . what was it like to testify at the trial?

>> it was hard.

>> you looked out there and you saw everybody else who -- in the family who disagreed with you.

>> they're still my family.

>> uh-huh.

>> it was tough for all of them. they all felt i should have been with him more, siding with him more. but i had to make it clear that someone has to defend mom.

>> denis ratte pleaded not guilty and recanted the confessions he made both to mr. big and to the police after his arrest. his son gabriel was one of just two witnesses the defense presented to the court.

>> i got to hold my breath and go through it and hope that whatever i say is going to work for my dad. and i'm utterly aware that i'm the only person there who is speaking in favor of my dad.

>> denis ' defense lawyer hammered undercover detectives about the lack of physical evidence and pointed out lies denis had told mr. big and his gang. proof he told the jury that denis ' confession should not be believed. and after four weeks, the end to the 13-year-old mystery was finally at hand. it took the jury just two hours to find dennis ratte guilty of second-degree murder.

>> so much of my life had been devoted to finding the truth, and now i had the truth. it's not the truth i wanted. but nonetheless, that's what i had. i'm happy i have it.

>> interesting that getting the truth isolates you from the people you love.

>> that's true, but isn't the truth more important? it doesn't matter that my family might be angry with me for the results of where this trial led. the truth is all that matters. and that's how mom led her life.

>> anna knows all too well the truth will never replace her mother's soothing voice. it's what she yearns for most these days. if only she could speak to the spirits the way her mom once did.

>> because i think maybe then i could hear her, maybe then she could speak to me. if i open up enough, she'll come talk to me. but not today.

>> and there was one last moment of melodrama. right after denis was sentenced to 15 years to life, he suddenly turned to anna .

>> as she was leaving, he said to her, "keep looking for your mother."

>> gabriel was not there for the guilty verdict . he had to leave right after his testimony. back to vancouver to his college graduation that very same day.

>> it was such a whirlwind. i was just in the lineup late to get my gown, ready to go to the ceremony and think, oh, my god, you know, what is this life? where are my parents to watch this, you know.

>> his father was in prison, and his mom -- well, his mom -- do you really believe in your heart that there is a possibility that your mother is still out there somewhere? that she -- she's still alive?

>> that's the part of me that is the dreamy, hopeful, optimistic side. you hear the odd story once this a while of someone returning after 25 years of absence, you do hear it. it does happen. so man, whenever i do hear one of those, i just -- my heart fills with optimism.

>> there hasn't been a happy ending for anybody except --

>> yeah.

>> your sister, anna , thinks it's the right ending.

>> it's hard being on the other side of this with her because i'd love to have a better relationship with her.