Dateline   |  March 28, 2014

The Mystery on Bridle Path, part 9

While waiting for a new trial to begin, investigators discover the identity of Mr. 603. It isn’t who anyone expects. How will it impact the case against Steve DeMocker?

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

>> narrator: it had always been an issue in the case against steve democker, that one fascinating clue that could break the case wide open , who was mr. 603? that's what people were calling the mysterious dna found under carol 's fingernails after he was murdered. one thing for sure, it was not steve 's.

>> we exhausted so many man hours and looked at any and all alternatives.

>> narrator: and then, it was during the long months of waiting for a new trial to begin. the prosecution had an idea. what if that 603 sample was a simple mistake? what if something just got mixed up in the lab? so investigator mike lachey looked up the autopsy zone just before carol 's and submitted a sample from that for retesting. and nearly three years after carol 's murder, a call from the crime lab .

>> the sample dna that we sent had matched the dna under carol kennedy 's fingernails. we finally were able to discover and verify who mr. 603 is.

>> narrator: mr. 603, it turns out, was another dead soul, the man lying on the autopsy table before carol got there. it was his dna . maybe on one of the coroner's instruments that ended up under carol 's fingernails. mystery solved. one more doubt removed, said the prosecution. but for steve 's defense team, it was further proof of a shoddy investigation.

>> the come bntamination, not only potential contamination, there was dwactual contamination in this case.

>> narrator: the case against steve had an even bigger flaw.

>> you cannot put steve democker in that house where there was a horrific murder a bloody murder , you can't put him in the house.

>> no dna , no blood?

>> you don't find any dna on him of carols anywhere. you don't find his dna anywhere in the house.

>> narrator: but a full five years after carol 's death, steve was still in jail, and the case finally went to trial again. new defense attorney , a new prosecution team. who, it soon became clear, had during the long delay spent some call time honing their argument against steve .

>> carol kennedy had no enemies. this was not a burglary or a robbery. no valuables are missing, no overwhelming evidence in this case points to the defendant. and at the close of that evidence, we will ask you to returning verdicts of guilty on all charges and especially first-degree murder.

>> and now the prosecution had more evidence, like steve 's google searches during the month before carol 's death. damaging, to say the least.

>> there is some information to determine how to kill and make it look like suicide and there was some information on the term how to make a homicide appear as a suicide.

>> narrator: those e-mails and text messages, carol and steve arguing in the days before her death, read to the jury. crime scene analyst claims that the blood spatter indicated the killer was left-handed.

>> with the position that i think is the most comfortable position, i would think that they're swinging from the left.

>> narrator: and steve was left-handed. remember the golf sock in the garage? it was made, said the prosecution, for a now missing left-handed club. so here at last, was the state's theory about how steve killed his ex-wife. days before the murder, said the state, he dropped off that club at carol 's house, supposedly for her to sell in an upcoming garage sale . but left the golf sock in his garage. and then night of the murder, he sneaked into her house and used that club to kill her. though such a club was never found, the golf sock was evidence it existed, said the prosecution, and the shape of carol 's wounds confirmed it. then to bolster an alibi, as his ex-girlfriend renee girard testified for the prosecution, steve allowed his cell phone battery to die, something he never normally did.

>> in general, there was usually a battery in his phone and an extra battery either charged or being charged.

>> did you ever know him to be -- to not have a phone at the ready if he needed to use it?

>> i didn't.

>> narrator: renee also revealed that after the murder, steve revealed something that in hindsight seemed very significant.

>> we took a walk on the golf course and he picked up a bag on the way out the door one evening and as we were walking, he told me about the bag and what he was going to do with it.

>> narrator: a get away bag, which she said he buried on a golf course . and sure enough, with renee 's help, detectives found the bag on the golf course . inside were cash and clothing and a cell phone and a pen light. also after steve was arrested, they conducted more searches. in a storage building a book on how to cover your tracks and live as a fugitive. in a parking garage , yuma, arizona, there was something in the parking garage .

>> they believed that he had recently purchased it.

>> narrator: and inside these locked cases, they later learn that steve had maps, clothing, hair dye , makeup and $15,000 in cash. charlotte who still believed her father was innocent reluctanti y ily testified for the prosecution, she had to testify she knew he was thinking of running, and she had to at mitt that she wrote the anonymous e-mail.

>> at one point, your dad held up a piece of paper to that glass window and wanted you to write down what was on that paper?

>> yes.

>> and you did?

>> yes.

>> what were you supposed to do with that piece of paper?

>> i was supposed to write an e-mail with the things that i had copied down, i believe. in the hopes that it would be investigated further.

>> what did that mean to u you? i mean did you believe it?

>> i did. i believed that that was what he had been told by someone in the jail and that, you know, it was very emotional for me. and i wanted it to be investigated.

>> how did you get the information out?

>> i sent an anonymous e-mail.

>> narrator: anonymous, so that it could not be traced back to her or her father. her oldest sister katie wasn't aware the e-mail had come from charlotte, but she was at the center of the story about life insurance . steve had signed a disclaimer saying he would not benefit from the proceeds of carol 's life insurance . but katie was forced to testify that wasn't true.

>> my father was asking me for various things related to that money.

>> narrator: once carol 's life insurance paid out, katie transferred her share to her grand parents.

>> you knew your grand parents were going to use that for attorneys fees?

>> yes, that was my understanding.

>> narrator: a man who plotted to kill his wife, plotted his escape and used his own children to fund his defense and even hoodwink his lawyers in court. the case looked strong, the prosecution rested.

>> your honor, the state has rested.

>> narrator: now it was time to hear from the defense. and no surprise, it had a quite different theory about carol kennedy 's murder, a theory that had nothing whatsoever to do with steve democker.