Dateline   |  April 19, 2014

The Beauty and the Beast Mystery, Part 4

A discovery in the Pattisons’ garage leads to Scott’s arrest. At trial, the prosecution lays out its case, anchored by a bombshell from Scott’s phone records.

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

>>> it's funny in criminal investigations how sometimes things fall into your lap from the most unexpected places. and that's what happened in the middle of july 2009 . lisa had been dead for a couple of weeks. detective mike davis had been at his desk preparing subpoenas for the pattison case when he took a call from a manager of a local burglar alarm company. he told the detective that one of his salesmen had just gotten off the phone with a customer who had questions about how his home video surveillance system worked. the customer was scott pattison . did the cops want to know something more about this? detective davis said indeed he did, but then he explained how they'd been out to the house and checked out the video setup and noticed when he popped the tray on the recorder there was no dvd. no dvd, no pictures, right? well, detective davis almost fell out of his chair when he heard what the burglar alarm man said next.

>> he said, well, you don't need one that records to a hard drive . and my mouth just kind of opened up.

>> a hard drive . the detective got a warrant and screamed over to the pattison house where the reporter was -- recorder perched still untouched in the garage. what a video festival the detective was about to have.

>> this is july 2, 2009 . this is looking from his garage to the side here.

>> the unblinking camera documented scott 's run to the landfill at 5:00 a.m . then its motion detectors came alive again an hour and a half later as he got back home to hook up with dillon and his employee as they headed to the job site. the camera was showing the same thing scott had previously talked to the detective about. so he's a good storyteller, good accounting of his day.

>> sure.

>> then scott 's time line went haywire. remember, scott had told the cops he didn't get back to the house that morning until 11:30 , just a few minutes before he came upon lisa in trouble.

>> i came home ballpark 11:30 probably.

>> but what did scott 's surveillance system have to say?

>> a completely different story.

>> who's the head?

>> that was mr. pattison .

>> no question?

>> no question at all.

>> the time was what?

>> 8:32 a.m .

>> not 11:30 . 8:32 a.m ., scott pattison is walking through the door. you guys are looking at this together and what are you say ing?

>> he really did it. he really killed her.

>> there's scott again, this time in a change of clothes, a t- shirt and shorts, talking into his cell phone outside the garage. zap forward again, 11:40 , scott has changed again, back in work pants. then at 12:10 , he's on the move. his pickup truck backs into frame and off he goes to the hospital with lisa in the back seat. when wabash county prosecutor bill hartley laid eyes on the video, he knew he finally had a case.

>> i got goose bumps . i'm, like, oh, my goodness.

>> in september 2009 a grand jury convened, and a week later scott pattison was indicted for murder. detective davis handcuffed scott at his mom's house and escorted him to the wabash county jail.

>> anything to say, scott ?

>> i'm not guilty.

>> the state of indiana versus scott pattison went to trial in late october 2010 . the key, prosecutor hartley told the jury, was the time line and scott 's own security camera video was the star witness against him. no cameras were allowed in court, but the proceedings were audiotaped.

>> he had been home that whole time.

>> hartley had brought the weight bench into the courtroom. he planted it right before the jury. crime scene investigator jason page demonstrated to the panel how lisa should have been able to wriggle out from the barbell and it hadn't fallen on her throat with bone crushing force. a demonstration he later repeated for "dateline." first securing the hooks.

>> how much effort do you have to expend to get these hooks to catch again?

>> just a flick of your wrists.

>> then you're out of trouble.

>> then you're out of trouble, yes, sir.

>> failing that, the investigator says, lisa could have used her shoulder to shimmy off the bench to the side.

>> could you wriggle out from under there?

>> yes, i could. you do it like this.

>> but, if someone had been straddling over her, sitting on her chest and prevented her from reracking that bar -- you're in a bad situation.

>> you're in a bad way.

>> dead or unconscious within 30 seconds?

>> i don't want to speculate, but i don't think it would take very long.

>> if the government's theory that scott had straddled his wife and killed her is correct, the question arose for the jury, why do it? the prosecutor said money wasn't a small thing for scott and divorce would have cost him.

>> he owned some nice trucks and this business. he's probably concerned he's going to have to split some of that up with lisa .

>> then there was the business about being dropped from lisa 's insurance policy . his share? $250,000 windfall. but investigators had excavated another rich mine of clues and that had to do with the other woman that scott had admitted to having an affair with. the jury heard scott claim it was all over by the time of lisa 's death.

>> do you still have a relationship with that female?

>> no.

>> but the prosecution responded that it wasn't, not by a long shot. and the real headline grabber was that the other woman was a prominent person in the county, a former chief of staff in the mayor in marion county , the wife of a local police officer. in exchange for immunity, prosecutor hartley put her on the stand and she testified that she was still involved with scott on the day lisa died.

>> september 2009 , were you in love with scott ?

>> yes.

>> did you tell him that?

>> yes.

>> did he tell you he was in love with you?

>> yes.

>> to underscore the point in bold strokes, the prosecutor introduced scott 's phone records, the logs reveal that on july 2nd , the day of lisa 's death, scott and stacy, who was away on vacation, exchanged no fewer than 130 text messages . plotting those lovers' calls and texts on a time line and you see that not only is stacy the person on the receiving end of scott 's 10:00 a.m . call caught on the security cam video but she's also getting a text message from scott that's three characters long while he's at the wheel driving his dead or dying wife at the hospital.

>> to me, that was huge that here he is driving his wife to the hospital but he's got the state of mind to think about his girlfriend and send her a text message .

>> so there it was. a divorce in which scott would likely lose part of his business, a life insurance policy from which he'd gain a bundle, and a continuing relationship with a girlfriend with whom he seemed still very much involved. add up the circumstantial pieces of this puzzle, hartley said, and lisa 's death was no accident. it was now the defense's opportunity to chip away at the case.