Nantucket, Mass., is a smudge of an island south of Cape Cod. It seems pretty close to perfect on a summer day. It has gorgeous scenes, drop-dead charm and the elegant simplicity that says serious money.
It’s so real, so enchanting, that tourists swarm the place every summer. But not so long ago, a visitor slipped into paradise with a different agenda and a deadly mission
911 Call: My sister's not answering her phone.
It was Monday, Oct. 25, 2004, a grey day. Officer Daniel Furtado of the Nantucket Police Department was on patrol when the radio crackled at 1:15 p.m.
911 Call: We'll send someone right away.
It was just a routine domestic inspection, or so it seemed. Furtado met up with his partner at the cottage on Hawthorne Lane.
Officer Daniel Furtado: It's a nice quaint little neighborhood. Everything's like a Norman Rockwell painting.
His partner knocked on the cottage door, no answer. It was the first hint of trouble.
Furtado: I proceeded to a bay type window. I peered inside the window.
Furtado didn't know it then, but he was looking at a crime scene.
Furtado: I noticed a female lying down on the ground. At this time I was in shock. I turned towards my partner. I told him that we have a female down inside.
Furtado's partner kicked the door in. The body was on the living room floor.
Furtado: I noticed some blood around the body and around her hand. I was a little scared because I didn't know who else was in the house.
Adrenaline surging, the two of them searched the cottage.
Furtado: We proceeded through the house, checking all the bedrooms and the basement. It was all clear.
All clear, but horrifying. There was blood in a bedroom, in the living room by the body and in the same room, an overturned stool.
Furtado: It was a disturbing scene. I've never seen a woman stabbed before.
Furtado had been out of the police academy for all of a year at that point. The only homicides he'd seen were on TV. But if he was a stranger to homicide, so was Nantucket. There hadn't been a murder on the island since 1984.
Furtado: It doesn't happen here. It can't happen here. And that was kind of the way it was up until that day.
Within minutes, Hawthorne Lane went from Norman Rockwell calm, to commotion.
Furtado: There were lots of officers, lots of EMTs. We were trying to do our best to figure out what exactly happened, and who could have done this.
Who was the killer? Where was the killer? What in the world was the motive? Before police officers could answer those questions, they needed to know more about their victim.
She was Beth Lochtefeld, 44 years old and a successful businesswoman from New York who'd sold her company for a tidy profit and moved to Nantucket just months before.
Tom Lochtefeld: She was just a genuine person.
Smart, vibrant, adventurous, Beth's brother Tom describes her as that and more.
Tom Lochtefeld: She had this way of engaging people that was just unlike anything I'd ever seen. She would hold your stare and you couldn't escape it. In many ways, many people didn't want to escape it.
The third of five children, Beth was raised in Peekskill, N.Y., 50 miles north of Manhattan.
But when school was out, the family headed to Nantucket where Beth’s father, an artist, has had a gallery. So if it was summer, Beth was on the island.
Don DeMarco: One of the most unique people I've ever known in my life.
Don Demarco opened a restaurant in Nantucket in 1979. Beth applied for a summer job as a dishwasher. “Busting suds" she called it.
Don DeMarco: I think she was probably washing dishes for a week or two. And then became a waiter. She was one of the lead people and admired by everyone.
A few years later, Demarco wrote and staged an amateur musical. Beth sang a solo.
Leslie Costello: She was game for everything.
Leslie Costello met her almost three decades ago. They were freshmen together at the University of Notre Dame.
Leslie Costello: The last time she was in California, we were going to go out surfing. She'd never surfed before, she'd boogie-boarded. I said, ‘You know you might have more fun boogie-boarding.’ And she goes ‘Oh no.’ Hoda Kotb: She wanted to go for it. Leslie Costello: ‘I want to go for it. I want to learn to surf.’ So off she was, you know, always willing and wanting to embrace a new experience and with joy.
After college, Beth traveled the world then moved to Manhattan, eventually settling in a Greenwich Village apartment and starting her own company. In this video, trying to inspire college students to follow their dreams, she talked about those early days.
Beth Lochtefeld: ‘Hard work, you work your fingers to the bone, your nose to the grindstone. That blood, sweat and tears.’
She chose a tough gig, helping architects navigate the city's byzantine building regulations.
Hoda Kotb: That seems like the kind of business for a savvy, hard-edged type woman. That doesn't sound like the woman you're describing, really.Leslie Costello: Oh, you know what? She was enormously successful because she was hard-working and she was honest and she shined, people just could trust her. Hoda Kotb: When I think of Beth, she had money in the bank; she had great friends like you. She had a family that was incredible. But it sounds like there was just one part of her life that was missing, love. Finding someone to spend her life with. Did she talk about that?Leslie Costello: Uh-huh, she did. She wanted a family. And yes, it was something that she wanted, yes.
Late in the summer of 2004, that dream would suddenly seem to be within reach. Beth would meet a man who appeared to have everything she wanted.
Six weeks before that gruesome discovery on Hawthorne lane, Beth’s life had taken an exciting turn.
Bernadette Feeney: She was thinking this could be the guy, absolutely.
It was a dazzling day in September 2004, Labor Day weekend. About noon that Saturday, when the sand play on Nantucket’s beaches was in full swing, the phone rang at Beth’s cottage on Hawthorne lane.
Bernadette Feeney: I said, "Hi, you know what? I think I'm looking at your future husband right now." And she said, "Really?" And I said, "Yeah". And she said "I'll be right over."
Bernadette Feeney, homemaker, amateur actor, and now matchmaker, had only known Beth for a few months. Not long, but long enough.
Bernadette Feeney: She told me she had been successful in every part of her life except for love. She really wanted to have a child. She always thought she'd meet him first. And it just didn't happen.
So when Bernadette’s old friend Tom Toolan came to stay, she introduced him to Beth.
Bernadette Feeney: There was a connection. It was electric.
At 37, Thomas Toolan III was a walking, talking swoon-machine: tall, broad-shouldered and preppy. Bernadette calls him ‘Tommy.’ She'd known him since he was in diapers.
Bernadette Feeney: He was four years younger and the same age as my brother. So he always felt like a little brother to me. And we were, I can't even tell you how close we were
Home for both families was an apartment building in Brooklyn, New York.
Bernadette Feeney: We used to go up and down the elevator in our pajamas, he was a good kid.
Toolan went to private schools, then Columbia University. After college, he sold cars for a while and then landed a job as a broker at Smith-Barney. Other jobs in finance followed, including a stint as a bank executive on Wall Street. He seemed to have it all, with charm to spare.
Bernadette Feeney: I was always happy to see him walk in a room, you know. It's like ‘Oh Tommy's here.’ You know he's fun and we'd always dance together. And he was the type of person who would walk in a room and everyone's like ‘oh’ you know. David Heilbroner: Like I say, he was the perfect neighbor.
David Heilbroner and Kate Davis were Tom's neighbors in Manhattan for almost five years.
Heilbroner: Nice smile and always dressed really well.Kate Davis: He almost had a kind of teddy-bear-like, lovely quality that's hard to find.
Even though he lived in New York and she in Nantucket, Tom and Beth started seeing each other immediately.
Bernadette Feeney: She was intrigued you know. He could talk about Wagner and he could talk about all her you know literature and everything. And she was thrilled he wasn't talking about football.
Tom was smitten too from day one.
Bernadette Feeney: He just said ‘My gosh, she's a great gal. I mean she's an amazing gal.’
Both of them seemed ready to fall, and fall hard.
Bernadette Feeney: He gave her a watch and he said, ‘This is a watch because it's Tom and Beth's time.’
Very soon, there was talk of rings, and marriage. Beth's brother says it was Tom doing the talking.
Hoda Kotb: So he had proposed to Beth several times…Tom Lochtefeld: Yes.Hoda Kotb: …in the first several weeks of the relationship?Tom Lochtefeld: Yes, yes. And it was, "Oh, this guy loves me." You know, it was flattering, I'm sure.
Her good friend Leslie Costello says Beth was talking marriage too, but thinking kids.
Leslie Costello: That was where Beth was vulnerable. That was what she wanted.Hoda Kotb: She bit that hook.Leslie Costello: It's a powerful hook, And she said, ‘Well you know I'm 44, I don't know if I'll even be able to have kids.’ And he said, ‘Oh, I'm not daunted by that.’
Two weeks after they met, Tom and Beth flew to California. Tom, an investment consultant, had meetings there. Beth tagged along. And Leslie, who lives in San Diego, jumped at the chance to meet him. But the encounter was not all it could have been.
Leslie Costello: He was distant and very formal. I just remember feeling like, ‘Oh well, this is not a guy that I'm going to relate to and is not going to open up his life and we're not all going to be sharing our lives together."
But For Leslie, the visit ended on a touching note after all.
Leslie Costello: It was as I was dropping her off and heading back to San Diego. It was sort of the last thing she said to me was; you know ‘Would you be my Maid of Honor?’ And I said, ‘I would be honored to be your Maid of Honor.’
But during that trip, Beth began to notice things about Tom that made her uncomfortable. As they left California, after she'd introduced him to several good friends, he said something that upset her.
Bernadette Feeney: He said, ‘What did they say about me?’ And she said something like, ‘They thought you were really sophisticated and, you know, charming and this and that.’ And he said under his breath, ‘Boy, I really should have been an actor.’ And she said that comment just went right into her gut. You know, like she got the creeps.
Back in New York, Leslie got a call from Beth. The wedding talk was history.
Leslie Costello: She said, ‘It's over." And she said that the trip back was really awful, and he'd had eight beers before he got on the plane. They get back to New York, and it was late, and she said, ‘I went to bed.’ They had planned to return to Nantucket together at this point. And he just said, "I'm not-- I'm not going with you. And it's over."
Beth went home to Nantucket alone. She wasn't alone for long. Tom quickly patched things up and raced to the island to be with her. He brought his dog and professed his love to her.
Bernadette Feeney: And they were so in love, everyone saw them together.
By now Tom Toolan was sure of one thing; he wanted to share his life with Beth.
Bernadette Feeney: And he hugged me and he said 'Thank you for giving me the rest of my life.’
In the fall of 2004, weeks before she was murdered, Beth Lochtefeld was a woman in love. Her brother tom remembers the exuberant phone calls.
Tom Lochtefeld: She was just over the top. Hoda Kotb: She was? Tom Lochtefeld: Absolutely; just head over heels. This was typical Beth fashion.
His name was Tom Toolan and Beth seemed to have a lot in common with him.
Tom Lochtefeld: He comes from a Catholic family His parents are educated just like our parents.
Toolan’s childhood friend Bernadette Feeney says the two of them couldn’t get enough of each other.
Bernadette Feeney: They were together constantly from the minute they met. And it all went so fast.
So fast it took Beth a while to see another side of her new boyfriend. But over time she noticed that he was drinking more than she liked. And she confided her worries to her brother.
Tom Lochtefeld: You know, I can't remember the exact words. But it was, ‘Well, he's experienced, you know, problems with drinking in the past. And we're working on that.’ You know, Beth was. Hoda Kotb: She was a fixer.Tom Lochtefeld: Yeah, she was a fixer is right. Her idea in life is, ‘I'm going to help everybody I can.’ And she was going to help him and get a nice boyfriend in the meantime.
Beth had known about Tom's struggle with alcohol from the start. The day they met, he told her about a drunken exploit at a Park Avenue antique show three years earlier when he was caught trying to steal a Roman bust worth $80,000.
Toolan pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and his attorney described it as a harmless drunken prank. The incident cost him his job, but not his new love.
Tom Lochtefeld: She said, ‘The first day I met him, he told me about this incident. He was drunk and he admitted his mistake.’Hoda Kotb: She saw a guy who was telling her his flaws and being completely honest with her and she thought it was very revealing.Tom Lochtefeld: Yes, absolutely.
But there were things in his past that Tom Toolan did not tell his new girlfriend. There were stories about other drunken incidents and other women. And a jealous streak that was a far cry from his image as buttoned-down banker.
Becky Hammonds: I thought wow; flowers, how nice! You know he's such a gentleman.
Becky Hammonds, a bartender at Blondie’s Sports Bar, dated Toolan once.
Becky Hammonds: We had plans to go to dinner at the New York Athletic Club and I thought, well that's nice. That's a nice date.
But it didn't turn out that way. Dinner was pleasant – and then came drinks.
Becky Hammonds: That's when he accused me of being lascivious with the bartender. I was just having a conversation with the bartender about the fact that I was a bartender and he was a bartender.
They got in a cab to go home and Becky says Toolan became aggressive. When they reached her street, she didn't wait around.
Becky Hammonds: I jumped out and I ran. I literally ran across the street, because he was getting out of the cab. I left him in the middle of the street with the cab driver yelling at him, trying to get him to pay the fare.
Afterwards she told friends he was a strange guy.
Becky Hammonds: I really think it was just the alcohol
When she met him later, Beth didn't know anything about that side of Tom, didn't have a clue about his drunken rages. But after a few weeks, as the troubling signs emerged, she told Leslie that she began giving him ultimatums.
Leslie Costello: He'd start drinking and then he'd get really ugly. She would tell him, ‘You're a good guy, but when you're drinking you're an idiot, and you need to decide between alcohol and me.’
In those first few weeks, Beth was willing to overlook a lot, because she was happy.
Bernadette Feeney: She said she felt so good in his arms; he was protective. She told me, ‘This is the first time in 15 years I'm with a man that wants to be with me.’
And if things needed to be fixed, then Beth would fix them. It was what she did. But some things in life are beyond repair.
By October, the headlong romance between Beth Lochtefeld and Tom Toolan was four weeks old and showing signs of wear and tear. She was worried about his drinking and while he was determined to take the next step and get married, Beth’s brother Tom says she was holding back.
Tom Lochtefeld: She said to me, ‘I think I'm going to give him the four seasons test and see how it goes before I commit to any, you know, marriage.’
Beth was spending her first fall on Nantucket as a full-time resident. As always, she had projects on the go, including one close to her heart, an inspirational book she was writing, with art by her father. It contains one haunting line, “Nightmares are possible when dreaming.”
In late October, a week before the discovery at Hawthorne Lane, she went to New York to visit Toolan. On Wednesday, October 20, she and Toolan met up with her brother for drinks at the Harvard Club.
Hoda Kotb: If you were a stranger sitting at the table next to you, would you have thought they were just another happy couple?Tom Lochtefeld: You know they were a couple. But I don't think I would necessarily classify it as happy at the time.
By now, Beth’s brother was beginning to have questions about his sister's boyfriend. That night he remembers being especially puzzled about what Tom Toolan did for a living.
Tom Lochtefeld: ‘He's a consultant,’ was her description of it. And I tried to get out of him for at least an hour exactly what he did. And at the end of the conversation I kept scratching my head.
Beth's brother says Toolan was drinking that evening, but he was on his best behavior. Afterwards, Toolan and Beth headed back to his apartment. Old friend Leslie Costello believes Toolan's behavior suddenly changed.
Leslie Costello: He put her into a headlock and was walking down the street saying, ‘I want to beat your head in.’ Beth said, ‘I just went back to his apartment to just get my Palm Pilot and my cell phone and get out of there. And I wonder if I shouldn't have just left that stuff behind and left at that moment.’
Whatever the reason, once Beth got to Toolan's apartment, she stayed. And things got worse.
Leslie Costello: He got very violent with her that night and he sexually assaulted her. It's a confusing thing when somebody that you're supposedly close to violates you. My guess is that she was probably in a state of shock. And why she didn't leave that next day, I'm not exactly sure.
By Friday, October 22, Beth was determined to leave New York. Friends and family say it was clear she was ready to call it quits with Toolan. But by now something else was becoming clear, he wasn't going to let that happen.
Leslie Costello: He wouldn't leave her, he followed her. She said, ‘We ended up in the Met, the Metropolitan. I was standing there looking at this painting, it was an incredibly dark painting, thinking, ‘This painting reminds me of Tom Toolan.’ Hoda Kotb: As bizarre as it sounds, that was the moment Beth told Leslie, that Tom picked to propose to her. He chose the most public place possible, a gallery in this world-famous museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He'd proposed to Beth before, but never like this. Leslie Costello: He pulls this ring out, gets on his knees and you know proposes to her again. And she said ‘I didn't feel safe enough to say no.’ She knew she was in a dangerous situation, so she said to him ‘I need more time.’Tom Lochtefeld: And apparently Tom Toolan flew out of control and said ‘Well if it's not now, it's never.’ And she said, ‘Well then it's going to be never".
Beth left the museum; Toolan pursued her.
Leslie Costello: He was screaming ‘I'm going to get drunk with my friends.’ She was just going to go back, get her stuff and get out. And at the last minute, he hopped in the cab with her and they ended up back at his apartment.
At some point, Beth’s brother says she left a message at his home, saying she was coming to stay because she'd broken up with Toolan. She called again later and this time he spoke to her. In retrospect, he says she sounded terrified.
Tom Lochtefeld: She was speaking in this just very sort of measured, sort of like she was on drugs. ‘Tom and I have decided that we're going to try to work it out. And I'll be spending this evening in the city. I won't be coming out tonight.’
A minute later, the phone rang again.
Tom Lochtefeld: It's Tom Toolan. He said, 'Your sister and I are trying to work it out. I just want you to know that I love her very much.’
Beth's brother was baffled. What was going on?
Later he would learn the horrifying details. Beth's ordeal began back at Toolan's apartment, after she'd rejected his proposal.
Tom Lochtefeld: He picked up her bag. He threw it across the room against the television and said ‘you're not going anywhere.’ At that point, Beth started to fear for her life.
She tried to reason with him. They got some dinner. Then she decided to lie down.
Tom Lochtefeld: Tom Toolan let her sleep in his bed. And he slept across her legs, perpendicular to her, so that if she got out, it would wake him up and he would move.
Around 4:00 a.m. she finally got away and took the stairs down to the street.
Tom Lochtefeld: She was afraid the elevator bell might wake him up or afraid that maybe the elevator wouldn't come in time for her to get in before he realized she was gone.
It was Saturday Oct. 23. Beth headed straight to the airport; she was going home to Nantucket. At 8:00 a.m. she called her brother; it would be the last time they talked.
Tom Lochtefeld: She said, ‘He didn't really want to break up. I left while he was still sleeping and he called me. I accepted the first call. I told him that it was over, that we were done. ‘And since then the guy's called about 50 times and left these voicemails.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, boy, okay.’
When she arrived in Nantucket, Beth made inquiries at the police department about taking out a restraining order against Toolan, but she didn’t file the paperwork. She was afraid to go home. She was afraid he was going to follow her.
On Monday, Oct. 25, Beth ran errands in the morning and returned to the cottage at Hawthorne Lane. She was supposed to pick up her nephew from school.
But, sometime after noon, her landlady saw her car hadn't moved. The landlady had seen Toolan in the yard earlier -- she even spoke to him briefly. Suddenly worried, she called Beth’s brother Peter. He called the police. A short time later, Beth’s body was discovered, she had been stabbed to death.
Hoda Kotb: When you heard the words, Tom, that your sister had been killed, what was the first thought you had?Tom Lochtefeld: This can't be, this can't be. I mean, how could this happen? You know, Peter kept saying she was murdered. He murdered her. ‘Tommy, he killed her. He killed her." Just disbelief.
When stunned family and friends gathered to mourn her, strangers shared their sorrow. Officer Furtado, who was first on the crime scene, calls her Nantucket’s daughter.
Officer Furtado: The people that didn't know Beth asked around about who she was. They found out that she was a really, really good person. And the whole community at that time just mourned for Beth.
Toolan was arrested within hours of the murder. He was picked up in Rhode Island driving a rented car. Bernadette Feeney, the friend who introduced Tom and Beth, could not contain herself at his arraignment.
Bernadette Feeney: It was the reality hitting me. This really happened, you know. And he walked in and it was like they were bringing in King Kong, a monster. And I felt as if it's my fault that she's gone.
On Feb. 10, 2005, Toolan was charged with first-degree murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
He pleaded not guilty.
Tom Toolan's trial was big news on a small island. It had been two-and-a half years since his whirlwind relationship with Beth Lochtefeld ended with 23 stab wounds in her Nantucket cottage.
The facts of the case were undisputed: Toolan flew to Nantucket on Monday, October 25 and stabbed Beth Lochtefeld to death. That afternoon, he was arrested in a rental car in Rhode Island; Beth's blood was on his clothes.
But Toolan had pleaded not guilty to murder one and the defense was going with a high-stakes strategy. Instead of arguing that Toolan didn't do it, his attorney would tell the court he was insane at the time, and so not criminally responsible for the murder. Toolan's attorney Kevin Reddington began by hinting at the turmoil that lurked beneath his client's polished persona.
Kevin Reddington: See Tom Toolan? Looks great, he's got a suit on and a tie. Hair slicked back. Certainly, someone may say, ‘Doesn't look crazy to me.’
But the “Master of the Universe” act was just what Reddington declared: an act. Tom Toolan was a mess, he said, plagued not just by alcohol abuse but drug addiction too.
Reddington: His drink of choice would be Absolut vodka right out of the bottle. Drink a fifth a day. He was on the prescriptions legally, he was taking them illegally.
When Beth broke up with him, Reddington told the court, Toolan snapped. The drinking and drugging and significant mental issues, all of it exploded.
Reddington: The evidence will show that Thomas Toolan was suffering from a mental disease, a defect, at the time of this incident. That he was a person who was well within our legal definition of insane.
And who better to tell the jury about the defendant's demons than the defendant’s mother.
Dolores Toolan: My name is Dolores Toolan
She recited the sorry facts of her son's life.
His battle with drugs…
She told the court that she and her husband tried to straighten him out, sending him to rehab several times beginning in 1999.
But if Dolores Toolan put a human face on a man accused of murder, she also set the stage for the insanity defense.
Reddington: Did you at some point receive a phone call from your son?Dolores Toolan: Yes.
She described a conversation with Tom two days before the murder and told how he was inconsolable over the breakup with Beth.
Dolores Toolan: He said she's gone, she's gone. She's taken all her stuff. She just left, I was asleep and she just left.
The next day, Sunday, October 24, the Toolans visited their son. He was in terrible shape.
Dolores Toolan: His whole body exuded the smell of alcohol.Reddington: How about his appearance?Dolores Toolan: His tongue was totally swollen and his words were very slurry.
That established Toolan’s state in the days before the murder. Now for the day itself. The defense set out to prove that Toolan was too far gone to be responsible for murder.
When Toolan was picked up in Rhode Island four hours after the murder, he'd been drinking in the car. Sobriety tests later put him at twice the legal limit.
Benjamin: Multiply that by six.
A forensic toxicologist, doing some complex calculations, estimated Toolan's blood alcohol level was .30 at the time of the murder.
Reddington: Where does the .30 fit in?Benjamin: That fits in the next level above confusion to the stupor phase.
So, the defense argued, Toolan would have been profoundly impaired at the time of the murder. And that was just from the drinking. Don’t forget to add in the drugs.
Hoda Kotb: How much did drugs play in Tom Toolan's life?Kevin Reddington: He would take whatever drugs that he could get his hands on.Hoda Kotb: Such as…Reddington: Methamphetamines, Benzodiazepine, Paxel and Zoloft. He would take dog tranquilizers if he was able to get a prescription for the dog.Hoda Kotb: Dog tranquilizers?Reddington: Yeah.
And there was more: the defense revealed that Toolan had spent years fighting depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, that in the late ‘80s he'd even attempted suicide. The defense was ready for the knockout punch.
The defense called a neuropsychologist to the stand. His testimony was critical.
Dr. Donald Davidoff: My opinion is that he has profound frontal executive dysfunction.
That meant Tom Toolan could not control his impulses and if he could not do that, the defense argued, then he could not be held criminally responsible for Beth’s murder.
Hoda Kotb: So how does excessive drinking and excessive drugging turn into a person who was insane and killed somebody?Kevin Reddington: It's like the perfect storm. You have the frontal lobe defects. The person is unable to control their emotions and the executive function. Couple this with the lowering of the inhibitions through the alcohol. You have all of these swirling together inside this man's head. And that's what happened in this case.
The prosecutor was ready for the insanity defense and he had a very different take on the events leading up to the murder in beth Lochtefeld's cottage.
He set out to prove that Tom Toolan knew exactly what he was doing that day, and that he was so outraged by the breakup that he planned and carried out a cold, calculated killing.
As evidence of premeditation, prosecutor Brian Glenny told the court that on the night before the murder, security guards at New York's LaGuardia airport stopped Toolan from boarding a plane to Nantucket because he was carrying a 10-inch knife.
Frank Pulizzi: I asked him why he had the knife in his coat.Brian Glenny: And what did he say, if anything?Pulizzi: He said that he forgot it was in there.Van Johnson: He had it to cut a birthday cake. Lorenzo Tyner: He was having lunch with his sister in Nantucket and that she wanted him to bring a knife.
The prosecutor presented evidence to show that the next morning Toolan boarded another plane, without a knife. And as soon as he landed in Nantucket, he went shopping for knives.
It all added up to a calculated plan the prosecutor argued, by a man who did not appear intoxicated on the day of the murder.
Ask the clerk who sold him the knives.
Dugdale: I would have said he was sober
The rental car agent at the Nantucket airport.
Glenny: Did he seem intoxicated at that time?Earnsberger: No.Glenny: Would you have rented a car to him if he appeared intoxicated to you? Earnsberger: Not likely.
The prosecutor played a security tape from the airport at Barnstable, Mass. After the murder, Toolan left Nantucket by plane, arriving here about 1:15 p.m. Jurors could see him renting a car, walking out to get it and driving away in a grey Chevrolet Impala.
Glenny: You're able to see how he's walking. And he's not falling, he's not stumbling. The persons that are interacting with him are interacting in a normal way
And then there was audio of Toolan in the back of the state trooper's car after he was arrested in Rhode Island.
Toolan: Can you tell me what's going on, officer?State Trooper: I said we'll discuss it when we get back to the barracks
Even though Toolan had been drinking in the car, the prosecutor argued, he was still coherent…
Toolan: Can I be told why this; why, why, I'm in this situation sir?
…and capable of thinking clearly.
Now, the prosecution was ready for its expert witness, a forensic psychiatrist to wrap up its case.
Glenny: Were you able to form an opinion concerning the criminal responsibility of Thomas Toolin III on or about October 25 of 2004 in respect to the killing of Beth Lochtefeld?Kelly: On that date, he did not have a mental disease or defect.
While tourists wandered through Old Nantucket town, looking for souvenirs, Tom Toolan was on trial for the murder of Beth Lochtefeld in a courthouse around the corner.
The case was now in the hands of a jury, twelve men and women. And on this small island, it was no surprise that some were acquaintances, some colleagues. They'd spent ten days sitting a few feet from an impassive defendant, the man they were now going to judge.
Hoda Kotb: So, day one. Tell me your first reaction when you saw him.Arlene:I thought Tom might have been an attorney. I wasn't really sure who he was.Hoda Kotb: He looked like an attorney.Hoda Kotb: But he kind of looked the part I guess. He had the suit and the hair.Arlene: And a poker face.Hoda Kotb: And a poker face.Betsy: I thought he had a baby face. He looked as pure as are driven snow.
But was this baby-faced defendant capable of planning and executing such a gruesome act?
Jeannie: I went home the first day and just literally climbed under the covers.
She and the other jurors had a tough job. Instead of deciding whether Tom Toolan killed Beth Lochtfeld, they were really being asked to decide if he was crazy or calculating.
Hoda Kotb: Do you guys think that he was insane in any way?Arlene: Do we think he's normal? No, we don't think he's normal.
For some jurors, the brute force of the act and the pictures that revealed it were hard to handle.
Betsy: We were looking at an intimacy of violence that we shouldn't have been looking at. It was like we were looking at something that no one should have to look at. And there's an intimacy of love. This was an intimacy of violence; it was just too traumatic to watch.Judge: It’s not unusual for the first day of deliberations to have everyone totally exhausted.
Day one of the deliberations ended without a verdict.
Arlene: We needed the evening to sort of go quietly and let, you know, kind of let it set in, you know, resonate with ourselves.
Day two; that it was a gorgeous day at a Tony island resort barely registered here. Inside, the jury asked to see the airport video of Toolan.
Jeannie: We wanted to see it with our own eyes. So, we wanted to see him walk. We wanted to see, you know…Hoda Kotb: If he looked drunk, if he seemed drunk.Jeannie: Yeah. It's like you couldn't pin down an expert to convince you a hundred percent. You wanted to sort of see it for ourselves. And turn to the other people and say, are you seeing it the way I'm seeing it? Are you getting the same impression from this video that I'm getting?
Finally, late that morning, the word went out. The verdict was in.
Hoda Kotb: Do you get butterflies every time?Glenny: Yes you do.
The courtroom suddenly seemed too small for a big drama.
Kevin Reddington: I mean, you know, you can hear a pin drop in the courtroom. The emotion is palpable. I think obviously it's high stakes.
High stakes with subtle hints.
Reddington: You can tell if the court officers surround the defendant. You know, you figure things aren't going that well.
Guilty of first-degree murder. Guilty of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
A stoic Tom Toolan.
A distraught mother and for a victim's family -- relief, but no rejoicing.
Jim: We are relieved that that this troubled, vengeful and dangerous man can never harm another innocent person.
Tom Lochtefeld, like the rest of his family, won't allow himself to live with hatred or anger. But unbearable loss, that's different.
Hoda Kotb: What did you lose the day Beth died?Tom Lochtefeld: I lost (crying) my best friend in the world. She was someone when I had something good happen to me, like a promotion or some good news, I bought my first house, she was always the first person I'd call. And when something good happens to me now, I'm thinking that she should still be the first call, but it can't be anymore.
Beth Lochtefeld is buried not far from the courthouse where Tom Toolan was convicted. Here on the island she loved until a killer came calling.
Just minutes after the verdict was announced last month, the judge issued Tom Toolan's sentence: life without parole. Like all first-degree murder convictions in Massachusetts, Toolan's will be automatically appealed.