Dateline   |  August 30, 2013

Poison, Part 4

Elisa confessed to police that she murdered her husband. But, she said, it wasn't her idea. She had help. Another killer was still out there.

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

>>> there is a purity to confession. a real cleansing of the soul. and now after months on the lam elisa mcnabney was offloading the secrets of a lifetime. she didn't hold back. yes, she killed larry , her husband of nearly seven years, she said, but it wasn't her idea.

>> i said, i don't know what i'm going to do and she said we have to kill him and i said i can't kill him.

>> she said? who was this other woman who pushed elisa to commit murder? turned out detectives had already talked with her. remember sarah dutra, the young secretary, elisa 's friend who came in with her little dog and had been so helpful to detectives after larry and elisa disappeared? now elisa was saying that killing larry was sarah 's idea. elisa told the story this way, larry was a heavy drink her and drug user , he was abusive, she claimed and she feared for her life. one day she said she confided in her young friend sarah and sarah said there was just one thing to do, kill larry mcnabney. and now in this three-hour long interview, elisa went into detail after gruesome detail after how she and sarah did it. elisa and larry were at a horse show in los angeles , she said, and sarah flew down to meet them, or rather to meet elisa since larry didn't like sarah , said elisa .

>> and what did you guys decide to do with him?

>> we said if we -- if we kill him, nobody's going to miss him.

>> were you going to do it like that day? or were you going to do it at some time in the future? or when were you guys planning on doing it?

>> right then.

>> that was september 9 , 2001 . according to elisa , larry had already passed out after ingesting a little horse tranquilizer on his own for fun. so sarah decided, according to elisa to just give him more. and no one would ever find out.

>> oh, god, it seemed like a good idea at the time. but oh, my god, it's so horrible to think of taking somebody's life.

>> while larry slept, said elisa , she and sarah squirted drops of horse tranquilizer into his mouth. but larry didn't die. instead, the next day on september 10 , larry got up, showed his horse. and then went right back to bed.

>> that morning, she like lied there and i thought he was dead. so i woke sarah up and i said i think he's dead. and she said no, he's not dead.

>> but he was so heavily drugged, he couldn't walk.

>> so we went down and got him a wheelchair. and i got him dressed and put him in a wheelchair and i rolled him out to my truck -- our truck, and we drove.

>> this by the way was september 11 , 2001 . everyone else in the known world preoccupied elsewhere. elisa and sarah slowly drove through california with larry slowly dying in the pack seat of the truck.

>> we stopped in yos yosemite and sarah started digging a hole. and i said, we can't put him in there, he's alive. we can't do that.

>> so she said, they drove on. they thought larry would die in the car, but he didn't. so when they finally made it back to larry and eliselisa's home near sacramento, larry was slipping in onand out of consciousness still alive.

>> and then when 6:00 in the morning rolls around, the sun starts to coming up a, i go over there and he's dead.

>> that was the morning of september 12 .

>> and sarah says well we can't leave him lying here. so you know, we take this sheet that he was lying on and we wrapped it around him. and then we took duct tape and wrapped it around him and he was like in a crouch position. and then in my garage, he had this wine refrigerator, you know, like a regular refrigerator? but he ordinarily had wine nit. so we took the wine out of it and we took the racks out of it and put him in.

>> they stuffed larry 's body in the refrigerator while they decided what to do with him.

>> we talked about burying him in the backyard. we talked about burying him over in at any trainer's, we talked about burning the body.

>> but they couldn't quite decide. so they kept larry 's body in the refrigerator for three months, then they decided to take it to las vegas , find someplace there to bury it.

>> how much did he weigh?

>> he weighed a lot.

>> i have a hard time seeing the two of you picking him u.

>> we laid the trailer tire down in front of the refrigerator, opened the refrigerator, laid the jag up really close to the trailer tire, and then it was really only likes that much difference so we just pushed --

>> the whole tire into the trun income.

>> yes, and he was like this. so we put him in the trunk. and he was like this.

>> en route to las vegas , with their two dogs in the back seat, larry in the trunk, along with two shovels. once there, sarah hung out at a hotel with the dogs, elisa went out looking for a burial place for larry . but when she started digging, she said, the ground was too hard.

>> and so i went back to the highway te hotel and told her i can't do it. and all this time he's in the trunk and that's not good, you know.

>> so elisa said they drove back to california . so at 4:00 in the morning, she drove out to a vineyard, dug a hole and buried him.

>> how deep a hole did you dig?

>> not deep enough, obviously.

>> that was elisa 's story. and just a few hours after she finished telling hit, california detectives hauled in sarah dutra, the alleged driver of the whole plot. and her story? well, it was a little