Dateline   |  July 06, 2013

Shattered, Part 7

Investigators start to hear stories disputing Eric's sunny take on his relationship with Justine.  

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

>> while justine 's parents had admittedly never been overly fond of eric , they always tried to keep an open mind about it. yet a few days after the funeral, they say he blurted out just some awful things.

>> he told me, i never wanted to get married or have any more children or anything anyways. he thought he would be just fine without justine in his life.

>> and in their grief, as the friends and family gathered, stories started to tumble out. and not your typical recollections about a loved one that suddenly passes away. justine 's friends had never shared with each other what they call their violent eric stories. they worried if they spoke about them they would lose their friendship. yet now lauren is talking about the day that eric stormed into an apartment the two sisters were sharing for a summer.

>> he pinned her against the door and so i came out and said, get your hands off of her and he was extremely startled to see me. i said, if you don't get your hands off of her i'm calling the police. get out of here.

>> kathleen, her teacher friend, remembers vividly a few months before the wedding justine confiding in her she was scared of the man she was about to marry.

>> i encouraged her to walk away . i gave her the option to come live with me and she denied that, telling me that she feared for my well-being. if she lived with me.

>> for you, too?

>> yes.

>> did you ever say to her, justine , this is a crazy situation? you've got to get yourself out of this.

>> i did. i told her she could do better. she was beautiful. she was young. she still had her whole life ahead of her. she could meet somebody else. she told me she had invested too much time in the relationship, nobody else would want her, she would never find anybody else, which i just thought was crazy.

>> while eric denied having any stormy physical fights with justine , there was talk of other women in his life.

>> did you hear stories that he was running around on her?

>> i did.

>> how did she deal with that?

>> i think she just tried to push it to the back of her mind.

>> do you think she was happy?

>> i don't.

>> and when investigators looked at eric 's cell phone records, there was one call in particular at 11:46 the night justine died, that caught her attention. it's a call to the mother of his two children.

>> it ended with eric asking her if there was any chance for them romantically, and she said, no, not as long as you're married or that you're married. he said that he thought he made a mistake in getting married.

>> is that important to hear or is that just somebody shooting a breeze with an old girlfriend?

>> well, the timing of it is very peculiar and the fact that it's only an hour and 10 or 20 minutes before our victim's alleged call for help .

>> but that woman, alison crawford, says that midnight call that had gotten investigators suspicious was being misinterpreted. she's a nurse at the very hospital where eric 's mother lay dying and says it only made sense for him to call her.

>> i believed that it was easier for eric to ask me questions about his mother.

>> even the part when eric told her that his marriage had been a mistake and asking if they had a chance as a couple wasn't out of the ordinary and certainly not a watershed moment signaling he was going to kill his wife, if that's what investigators were thinking.

>> i think that it was dramatized for reaction, and i don't think that it was really looked at as just two people exchanging information. i think we underestimate our emotions and the things that we say when we're upset, and i think that it's very easy to go from point "a" to point "b" and not really know how you got there.

>> and if we talk about eric feeling he has regrets in his life, this is not a one-time conversation with you?

>> no. we talked many times and throughout many phases of his life so that would not have been uncommon?

>> including after he got married?

>> correct.

>> and even though eric tried to call her many times that very day, she points out they had two children together, so of course they'd talk. it didn't mean there was still a romantic connection between them.

>> eric and i cared for one another for a long time and then he decided to choose another path and we became co-parents. i've always cared for him. i will always care for him in a different way now.

>> but it's still there?

>> we have children together. there will always be a connection.

>> yet another woman would tell investigators that she did have a romantic connection with eric . she says she'd slept with him a few days before the marriage to justine , then again a few days after the funeral. steve confronted him about the rumors running around on his daughter.

>> i said, there was never any other woman? he said, there was one after justine was killed. i got drunk one night and slept with a woman.

>> and while eric would say later he was only acting out of grief, it was when steven swartz, ever the businessman, started looking into the couple's finances that he got really worried. it was starting to look as though his daughter may have just been a piggy bank that got cracked open on a cold back country road .