Dateline   |  December 06, 2013

'Missing Marie' part 5

There's a DNA hit and the suspect is Marie's husband, Andre.  Marie's son, Marcus Singleton, struggles with a secret he's kept for years. Will he be the star witness against his stepfather?

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

>>> after years of murky speculation that marie singleton was targeted for her work with the cia, the case suddenly came into sharp focus. first, that mysterious letter suggesting marie 's death was related to her top secret job, that turned out to be a dead end , written by a co-worker who just wanted to encourage police to work harder. next, there was the dna . more than a decade after marie 's murder --

>> they tested both the bloodstain on the car and the scrapings under the fingernails.

>> the dna found under marie 's nails and the blood found on the hood of her car were from the same person, a man, and police thought they knew who that man was, marie 's husband, andre , but andre had moved out of california.

>> we did not have his blood test .

>> how did you get a match?

>> well, what we did was, we tried to find him, and we couldn't locate him. we were finally able to track down his son, andre jackson jr., and to get his dna . when we got his dna , we got what you would characterize as a near miss, a familial hit.

>> a near miss, but still enough to get an arrest warrant. the fbi's fugitive task force caught up with andre in tempe, arizona. he wasn't expecting it?

>> no, he was not expecting it.

>> andre also said he didn't do it, didn't kill his wife. but he couldn't make bail, so he sat in a jail cell , even though prosecutor lewin knew the evidence was not as strong as it might be. although andre 's inconsistent statements, the bruise on his face, his appearance at the very beach where marie 's car was later found all seemed suspicious, they might not be enough for a jury.

>> we have to be able to say is a jury going to be able to look at the evidence we have and prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt , do we take this risk or not.

>> even the dna was not absolute proof. after all, andre and marie were husband and wife. to find his dna on her car or even under her fingernails was not necessarily evidence of murder. after andre had been in jail for nearly four years, lewin decided to offer a deal.

>> we offered him voluntary manslaughter. he would have had to serve roughly another year, and he didn't want it. his attitude was you don't have any evidence.

>> so, the case was going to trial. lewin knew he needed more evidence to make the jury believe his theory of the crime.

>> i believe that they had probably some kind of argument. i believe that marie said that she was leaving. i believe that an argument turned violent. and i believe that at some point during the argument andre hit her, and then he made the decision, you know what, i can't let her walk out of here.

>> what lewin needed most was a witness, and no one had seen anything on the day of the murder. yet lewin found there was a secret, buried in the memory of a grown man, who was all of 8 years old when a murder was being committed. marie 's son, marcus singleton.

>> we interviewed marcus in 2004 , really the first in-depth interview that had ever been done.

>> marcus was deeply conflicted between his feelings for his mom and the love he still felt for his stepfather andre . and at first, he had no intention of talking with investigators. but finally he broke down and told the story of what an 8-year-old marcus had seen on october 1st , 1994 , 6 weeks before the murder. it's a story he also told to us.

>> i remember hearing them bedroom and them arguing and her telling me to call the police, kaw the cops.

>> what was happening?

>> i had no idea, none. and i froze because my stepdad told me not to, and that's when she said, you hit me. and then he said, well, you hit me first. and she looked at him like he was crazy. she screamed call the cops, and then she moved towards the bed, and she grabs her. tries to place his hands over her mouth. one hand over her mouth, one hand over her throat and they fall on the bed.

>> young marcus then ran for the phone in the hallway.

>> at this point now i'm leaving to go call the police, and i'm guessing maybe he got off of her to come stop me or whatever because now my mom, she must have gotten free some howe, some way, brushes past me and up the stairs and i guess to the kitchen phone and he comes running past me to the kitchen phone. now my stepsister is leaving her room coming out in the hallway like what the heck is going on. then we hear the clatter like silverware is falling on the floor. we run upstairs and there's a whole bunch silverware on the floor. they're both still arguing.

>> marie ran to the bedroom and locked the door.

>> he knocked on the do are and she doesn't open it, and he kicks the door in. and he putts the door frame back on the door and he closes the door and then it's just quiet for a while after that.

>> somehow during the struggle marie managed to call 911, but the call is cut short.

>> hello?

>> and then a few minutes the cops come. you know, i guess my mom told them everything was okay. they left. and six weeks later --

>> six weeks later, his mother was dead.

>> i hate the fact that i didn't go and call the cops myself. you know, so the cops could have talked to me instead of her.

>> add to that the guilt he feels about the day she disappeared.

>> i hate the fact that i can remember that it was a bugs bunny movie on the television but i can't even remember the last words my mom said to me.

>> you were, what, 8 years old?

>> yeah i hate that, yeah.

>> because, why? you think this is your fault? you've got to know intellectually it had nothing to do with you.

>> i feel like i could have done something to protect my mom. i could have just changed up one thing.

>> and yet even now marcus still couldn't accept the idea that the man he once considered his father had killed his mother. marcus didn't want to testify against andre . lewin had to serve him with a subpoena for a pretrial hearing. marcus ignored it.

>> i got subpoenaed to go to court and said, no, i'm not going. i ripped it up, threw it away.

>> lewin had to do something he'd never done before.

>> i had to have marcus arrested. it was very hard. i've got to have him arrested when he's a victim.

>> it's unpleasant.

>> very unpleasant.

>> lewin , the prosecutor, and marcus , the witness, were at odds. and if the prosecutor's star witness didn't show up for trial, andre could easily walk free.