Dateline   |  August 30, 2013

Poison, Part 6

Sarah Dutra stands trial for the murder of Larry McNabney. The defense says Elisa was responsible for the murder. What would the jury decide?

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

>> you attended the trial?

>> yes, 11 1/2 weeks?

>> why? why?

>> our da had talked to us about the important of our family being represented, about our family not being forgiven.

>> talia believed that her father died at the hands of elisa and sarah . and sarah in the months that followed, she adamantly claimed she never went to the police because she was afraid of elisa and of ending up just like larry , a theory that even prosecutor thomas testa found, believable.

>> when i first got this case, people in my office will tell you, that's exactly what i was saying, walking up and down the hall.

>> poor sarah .

>> poor scar aarah, she's just an aid aider and an abetter. b

>> he became convinced that sarah was in fact the woman in charge.

>> sarah did not like larry , she thought he was self-centered, she did not like him around. sarah did not like larry .

>> this sounds like two people who both love elisa and want the other out of the way.

>> that's exactly it. it was a love triangle and one of them had to go.

>> sarah , said prosecutor testa was enjoying a very fancy life with elisa . and larry was simply in the way.

>> if your theory is right, these are two kind of good time girls who have got this great relationship and they're living off the proceeds of larry , why get rid of him? there's no motive.

>> larry was elisa 's golden goo goose, but elisa was sarah 's golden goose . and sarah was going to be cut out. larry told elisa he wanted her gone, he wanted her fired.

>> so it was sarah that had the motive to kill larry . sarah 's lawyer saw it differently.

>> this seems like the classic instance of evil sorry of wrapping around a sweet, young little baby.

>> at the trial, defense attorney kevin klimo portrayed elisa as a black widow , a con artist who wanted her husband dead. and sarah was a pawn.

>> i wanted to call the poli.

>> prosecutor testa introduced ginger miller, remember her? the other secretary who worked alongside sarah and elisa ? she said in the days and weeks after larry vanished, elisa and sarah seemed to feel anything but remorse.

>> they're laughing together, they're shopping together, they're eating together. they're sleeping in the same bed together. she's living at her house.

>> so they were not really working, were they?

>> they were, they would get maybe two hours' of work done a day.

>> what would they do the rest of the time, party?

>> shop, go out, flirt with boys.

>> all the while, spending the firm's money, larry 's money, a lot of money.

>> elisa got a red jaguar, sarah got a red bmw.

>> such close friends or maybe more than friends?

>> they bought matching underwear together.

>> come on.

>> in my first week, they were like, look what we bought? and they both pulled up their skirts and they were wearing matching underwear. they were best friends .

>> they were blowing through money so fast, they couldn't pay the rent payments for the law office . so they moved into elisa and larry 's home. but seemed more like elisa and sarah 's home.

>> larry 's closet was cleaned out. and sarah and elisa made the sinks hers and hers instead of his and hers. they pretty much lived in the house.

>> all this time, remember, larry 's body was still in the garage, still in the refrigerator. and as for the idea of sarah as an innocent child, elisa 's puppet, that was nonsense says ginger.

>> everybody knows that sarah wasn't terrified of her.

>> but at her trial, sarah , the daughter of those devout christians, sat quietly at the defense table, a wide-eyed innocent. elisa wasn't around to be cross examined, so her video taped confession didn't get played for the major. so with no living eye witnesses, no evidence, the case against sarah was entirely circumstantial.

>> first-degree murder, yeah.

>> but would the jury see it the way he did?

>> after four days of deliberation, the jury found sarah dutra guilty of voluntary manslaughter and accessory to murder, not first-degree murder.

>> had she not been a young, attractive, tall blond whose parents were clutching bibles, crying in the first row, one wonders if this verdict would have been the same.

>> sarah was sentenced to 11 years, served eight. and in the summer of 2011 , at the age of 31, she was released.

>> it's painful to know that such little time was given for such a horrific crime and one that seemed so premeditated to me and so thought out and so callous to the end.

>> sarah dutra has not responded to our interview question, and talia says she has for given sarah as much as anything.

>> will i ever forgot what she's done? never, but i don't want to have my whole life to be their cruelty and the things they chose to do to him? i would rather remember the loving times we had together. and they're not going to take that away from me.

>> that's all for this edition of "dateline." we'll be back