Dateline   |  December 06, 2013

'Missing Marie' part 6

Eighteen years after Marie's murder, Andre goes on trial. Marcus agrees to take the stand and talks about the day he saw his stepfather choking his mother. Andre himself takes the stand to proclaim his innocence. Who will the jury believe?

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

>>> february 17th , 2012 , nearly 18 years after marie singleton's body was discovered, her husband andre went on trial for her murder.

>> it might be hard to accept, but that man murdered his wife, and he needs to be held accountable.

>> in the weeks leading up to trial, prosecutor john lewin wondered if his star witness would show up.

>> he wouldn't even come out here.

>> marcus was terribly conflicted over the guilt he felt at not speaking up sooner and the love he still felt for his stepfather andre . he didn't like the idea of testifying against andre ?

>> no, he did not.

>> but a day before opening statements, much to lewin 's relief, marcus did show up for trial, but he was to say the least a reluctant witness.

>> in the beginning when i first came to speak with mr. lewin , i defended andre on my family's side and i didn't want to believe that he did it. then i found out that i'm probably going to have to accept the truth, a truth that i really don't want to have to accept even today to be honest.

>> marcus told the jury his harrowing story of the fight he witnessed between his mom and his stepdad six weeks before her murder.

>> they were frantic, and my mom was -- like, she was distraught i guess is the best word, like, she was just, like -- she was screaming, you know, she was, call the police, call the police!

>> compelling, damning, but it turned out the defense had a star witness, too. you think andre was going to take the stand?

>> no. i was -- i was very surprised. i would say shocked.

>> andre 's defense attorney got right to the point with his first question to his client.

>> did you kill your wife, marie jackson ?

>> no, i did not.

>> do you have any idea who did?

>> no, i do not.

>> then andre gave his innocent account of the day his wife disappeared. for starters, he said, though he and marie may have argued six weeks earlier, they didn't fight the day she vanished.

>> when you got home, did you -- did you greet marie ?

>> yes, i did.

>> how did that go?

>> i approached her in the bedroom and embraced her and kissed her.

>> then he said he left marie at home and drove to his son's football game . as for witnesses who said he had bruised lip that day, andre said it happened at the game where he and his son accidentally collided.

>> as i approached him, he was jumping around and he wasn't aware that i was near him, and he jumped and his helmet hit me on the -- on my mouth.

>> andre told the court he didn't know marie was missing until he returned home after the game.

>> and did you try to page her or call her?

>> i did.

>> as for his decision to post flyers at the very beach where marie 's car was later found?

>> i was in the area, picked up some lunch and went down to sit down by the beach, and just pray and try to figure out -- put things together what was going on at the time.

>> did you see marie 's saab ?

>> no, i did not.

>> did you know that marie 's saab was at or near dockweiler beach ?

>> no, i did not.

>> of course, prosecutor lewin thought andre was lying about everything. on cross-examination, he pointed out that when andre left the beach, he had to drive right past marie 's car.

>> is it fair to say that as you're driving, mr. jackson , the main thing on your mind is looking for that car, where could that saab be? is that fair to say?

>> not in that moment where i was driving on a scenic route at the beach.

>> wait, wait, a scenic route?

>> yes.

>> your concern was scenic routes when the mother of your 8-month-old son is missing?

>> lewin also wanted to get andre 's thoughts about why marcus testified against him.

>> are you aware as you sit here of any motive that he might have for trying to say that you're responsible for his mom's death?

>> yes.

>> you are aware. and what is that?

>> the influence by many who pretty much tainted him and telling him negative things about me over the years from his relatives to the law enforcement people who interviewed him.

>> finally, lewin asked a question that seemed to get under andre 's skin.

>> isn't it true, mr. jackson , that marie told you that she was leaving you?

>> absolutely not.

>> that same day?

>> november 11th .

>> absolutely not.

>> had she ever --

>> after three months in court and 18 years after marie 's death, co-prosecutor pae eor pat kerry gave the prosecution's closing argument ?

>> there's only one person in this case who six weeks prior to the murder choking marie . there's only one person in this case who drove right past marie 's car when they were looking for it. there's only one person who left a fresh drop of blood on marie 's car. there's only one person that murdered marie jackson . and he's sitting right there.

>> but the prosecution was pointing in the wrong direction, said the defense attorney in his closing remarks to the jury.

>> the actual evidence does not support the allegation that andre killed marie . it certainly doesn't support it beyond or doesn't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt . why? there's a simple answer. andre didn't kill marie .

>> nearly two decades after marie 's murder, the case was finally before a jury. and just 2 1/2 hours later, there was a verdict.

>> we the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant andre jackson guilty of the crime of first-degree murder.

>> andre jackson was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison . for marcus singleton, this victory was bittersweet. he still wants to hear the truth from andre himself. he knows he says that that may never come, but he hopes his mother would be proud that he finally spoke up.

>> i try to live my life to make her proud of me. i'm never going to give up. never going to give up on anything that i feel is important. and --

>> and that's her.

>> and that's her. that's living for her. that's honoring her and honoring her name.