Dateline   |  March 28, 2014

The Mystery on Bridle Path, part 8

A twist in Steve DeMocker’s trial. His ex-girlfriend reveals the truth about that anonymous email. It wasn’t so anonymous after all.

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

>> narcissistic? that's what it seemed like to the detectives. also seemed to him like steve 's girlfriend renee girard was protecting him. that she knew something and was protecting him. remember the anonymous e-mail that claimed carol's murder was linked to an illegal drug ring? oh, boy.

>> she told me that mr. democker had informed them during one of their in person visits at the jail to bring some pencil and paper, there was a glass between them. mr. democker had brought a document with him that he placed on the glass so that they could view it.

>> narrator: according to renee, steve himself wrote that document, then asked his daughter charlotte, just 17 at the time to copy it down.

>> mr. democker then asked them to send that document, which became known as the anonymous e-mail to mr. sears and to the prosecutor's office.

>> narrator: mr. sears was john sears , one of steve 's defense attorneys. steve 's reasoning, according to steve 's sister, he heard that story from an inmate in that air vent conversation and desperately wanted to get the story out and investigated.

>> the death penalty was still on the table so steve was terrified, we were terrified. i can appreciate when you're terrified, maybe you do some stupid things.

>> it was a mistake and that was a doozy of a mistake.

>> narrator: investigating that fraud led investigators to an even bigger one. remember carol's life insurance money? $750,000 worth? steve 's defense attorney talked about it during his opening statement .

>> he disclaimed, he signed over any interest to the girls.

>> narrator: that statement caught investigator mike lachey by surprise.

>> we had made contact with the life insurance company several times throughout the investigation and we had been informed that the life insurance had not been paid out to anyone.

>> narrator: so, had the insurance paid out? or hadn't it? lachey took another look. a much harder rook look at the money trail.

>> not only was the insurance paid out, but it was paid to the two daughters, who then transferred it to several accounts, including wire transfers to mr. democker's parents account in new york, who then wire transferred it back to mr. democker's defense team.

>> narrator: remember, steve democker was a highly paid financial advisor . the prosecutors now believe he was using that expertise to try to get away with murder.

>> here's a person that murdered his ex-wife, then collected her life insurance of over $750,000 and is using that life insurance to pay his defense team in the murder prosecution.

>> narrator: then prosecutors added fraud to the charges steve was facing. but fraud is certainly not what it was, said investigator rich robinsonson.

>> these girls on their own, believing in their father's innocence, dedicated money they inherited to defend him.

>> how can that be possible?

>> the girls decided to use that money for their dad's defense. there was no fraud. or the insurance company would have been the first one to say, hey, we got a problem here.

>> so is that just piling on on the part of the prosecutors?

>> yes.

>> narrator: the much bigger issue of the defense was that phony e-mail, an e-mail the attorne attorneys presented in court because they said they were duped by steve .

>> suddenly the attorneys were in a legal-ethical kind of posture in relation to their client. out created an untenable situation for the first team.

>> narrator: so untenable for these highly respected defense attorneys, they withdrew from the case. so seven months in, the judge was forced to declare a mistrial.

>> we thought we were sprinting to the finish line . we thought he was going to be home for thanksgiving. then the finish line just disappeared off into the horizon.

>> so emotional. not even a roller coaster, just the intensity of the emotion.

>> narrator: they had to start all over again. the money the girls received from their mother's insurance was gone now, gone to pay for the first team of attorneys. so since steve was pretty much destitute, a court appointed attorney stepped in. right away the new attorneys were impressed by how steve 's family supported him.

>> it's a very large family , very educated, very tight knit group.

>> how uniformly did they support steve through this process?

>> i would say very uniformly.

>> they're all behind him?

>> yes.

>> narrator: but one thing after another, as steve 's second trial approached, there was another huge surprise. the source of the dna found under carol's fingernails was finally identified. that would be mr. 603.

>> reporter: coming up -- the mysterious mr. 603, not who anyone