Dateline   |  August 30, 2013

Poison, Part 5

Police interviewed Sarah Dutra, Elisa's friend and Larry's young office secretary. Sarah and Elisa were pointing the finger at each other. And just days later, one of them was gone... for good.

Share This:

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

>> sarah dutra appeared confused. no little dog to keep her company now. her close friend elisa mcnabney confessed to murdering her husband larry , and sarah just 21 years old at the time, not only helped with the murder, but was actually the driving force behind it.

>> what do you think elisa 's doing right about now?

>> she's telling you about what really happened?

>> are you a cold-blooded killer or are you somebody that got caught up in some stuff and made some mistakes.

>> they confronted her with elisa 's written confession.

>> basically it says i and sarah dutra overloaded larry with horse tranquilizers p.

>> i never knew that she carry it out and taking me along with her.

>> explain that to me, then. why is she doing this? make me believe it, sarah ?

>> she's an evil person, anyone who could kill her husband is evil.

>> sarah dutra broke down and told detectives her side of the story. and in this version, it was elisa , not sarah who was the cold-blooded killer. it was elisa , she said who dosed larry with horse tranquilizer, it was elisa who ordered her to bury him in yosemite even before he was dead.

>> 3 c3 ella enterrarla en el parque laying on the ground for? you know, why is he not laying in bed. and she said, he's dead and i thought oh, my god. what do you mean he's dead?

>> that was the morning of september 12th , after the long and harrowing drive home from the horse show in los angeles said sarah . and through her tears she told detectives how larry 's body ended up in the refrigerator.

>> we put him in a sheet and -- oh, my god. and she said okay, grab a sheet and now let's carry him downstairs. and i'm like, what are you doing? i have to call the police. no, you're not calling the police, you call the police, you'll be so sorry you did.

>> this was the heart of sarah 's version. she went along with the whole awful, crazy thing for one reason, she said, she was deathly afraid of elisa .

>> oh, god. i didn't want to end up like him.

>> was it possible an innocent young woman in the thrall of a con artist and killer? sarah dutra seemed so frightened, so emotional. yes, thought the detectives.

>> i thought a little bit over the top .

>> she was a little over the top ?

>> yeah.

>> you think i'm lying, i'm not lying.

>> you mean she was acting, putting it on?

>> i believe so.

>> after more than nine hours of questioning, sarah dutra was arrested and charged with larry 's murder. it was a classic crime story . two killers, mutual finger pointing. and prosecutors knew they could use each woman's testimony against the other, an easy check mate, that is until elisa took herself off the board. on march 30th , 13 days after her arrest, a jailer found her hanging by the neck in her cell, a suicide.

>> a million questions for elisa . and now that door has been slammed shut.

>> and now sarah left holding the bag. would face murder charges alone.

>> coming up, the prosecutor had to prove that sarah was equally responsible for larry mcnabney's death. but with elisa gone, who's story would the jury believe?

>> when you try only one defendant, it's very easy to, as it was for sarah dutra to point the finger at the one who's not there.