Dateline   |  April 07, 2014

The Girl With The Blue Mustang, Part 7

Jennings says he's being framed — and insists he is innocent.

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

>>> i think about michelle every day. we try to remember the good times we had with michelle and the beautiful smile that she had.

>> she's still part of our lives. she's still in our hearts.

>> reporter: by the summer of 2002 , michelle o'keefe would have been 20 years old, halfway through college, so they tried to remember her life, all of it so good until that one day. and then a recollection of that night would stab his heart or hers, and blackness would settle as sure as if they had spotted raymond jennings himself at the neighborhood grocery. it had to be him. why couldn't anyone make a case? summer came again. 2 years, 2 1/2 and then 1 blistering august morning raymond jennings responding to a deposition notice walked into rex parris ' office.

>> he shows up with this paralegal who is acting like he's an attorney, but he's really not an attorney. a real attorney wouldn't have let him enter in the first place.

>> reporter: but here he was friendly, chatty as ever in the face of the audience parris had assembled.

>> the local newspaper was there, and, you know, i had security people there, and the parents were there, and he was literally enjoying the attention.

>> there's no evidence whatsoever. if that was the case -- it's going on three years -- why am i sitting here talking to you? how come i'm not in jail? i pray every day if they come and arrest me and charge me for this crime, come and do it.

>> here's this guy who is incredibly charming and articulate. he's an amazingly glib person, you know, given his level of education.

>> i understand why i didn't see the person that did shoot michelle because of the fact the van was in my way, and he did not step out from that van.

>> where did he go?

>> you got to find him and ask him. i don't know.

>> reporter: parris went to work on what jennings saw and when he saw it. cell phone records confirm michelle and her friend jennifer entered the parking lot around 9:23 p.m ., exactly the time jennings told detectives he was on patrol.

>> obviously someone dropped her off. i don't know what time they dropped her off.

>> but it's your testimony you never saw that.

>> yeah, i never seen it. i can't remember seeing any kind of car roll by me, or if they did, i didn't pay attention to it.

>> if anyone else was in the lot, he should have known and see them from where he was standing. he denied that. he would just deny, deny, deny any connection.

>> i didn't kill michelle o'keefe. what i did was gave too much information to the police on being sherlock holmes , and i should have never did that.

>> reporter: jennings ' paralegal companion did not interrupt. perhaps he should have.

>> you're doing a very good job at getting underneath my skin. i'm trying to stay nice and calm. you want me to blow up in front of this camera and take it and use it against me. it's not going to happen, my friend.

>> let's try to tell the truth.

>> i am telling the truth.

>> let's start again.

>> reporter: parris went on for hours unraveling the story.

>> the real killer is out there, and i'm not the one.

>> reporter: jennings answered every question.

>> that's the answer you want to keep hearing?

>> reporter: seemed brash.

>> you being a smart ass . i'm going to be a smart ass back to you.

>> reporter: even cocky.

>> you ask a crazy question, i give you a crazy answer.

>> reporter: as he vividly described seeing michelle cling to life when he arrived at the scene.

>> in order for him to have seen that he had to have been there when the shot was fired.

>> reporter: in other words, he knew too much.

>> way too much. way too much. oftentimes people who are not career criminals, there is such a thing as guilt and it's fighting the desire to come clean and i think that was going on with him also.

>> reporter: but there was one other moment during that long deposition which revealed yet another and perhaps unexpected side of raymond lee jennings when he spoke directly to the o'keefe family.

>> my condolences to you. sorry what happened to your daughter. i wish it wouldn't. i don't wish that upon anybody.

>> reporter: the o'keefes listened to it all, every word, they tried to read every facial expression.

>> reporter: you sat in the room while he was being interviewed.

>> uh-huh.

>> reporter: what was that like.

>> it was very d. one time he got frustrated and made a comment to me. you're barking up the wrong tree with me or something like that. i said, well, gee, how do you know all this? how did you know all this information if you weren't there?

>> reporter: what did you feel like doing?

>> jump across the table and get justice.

>> reporter: rex parris had invited a local newspaper reporter to the deposition too. and the next morning the reporter's conclusions were pretty clear.

>> there's a caption underneath jennings "web of lies" and so things started to heat up, you know, and people started to focus their energy, maybe it is this -- maybe it is this guard.

>> reporter: among them was lead homicide detective richard longshore who had been bogged down with other investigations unable to focus exclusively on the case.

>> the deposition helped us quite a bit. we had the opportunity to see again mr. jennings in a different light when there is no jeopardy, he's not facing a potential arrest or anything else, but it gave us again a time line .

>> reporter: but longshore still couldn't make an arrest and it wasn't just the lack of physical evidence that prevented it. something else had intervened. something that no one else ever imagined. a confession and not just one. was it possible someone else killed michelle o'keefe?