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Murder in the family

Police had a suspect from the start -- but they also had undeniable proof that he couldn't have done it.
Image: Murder in the Family

After years of a domineering husband putting her in her place, the Miami woman was starting the first day of the rest of her life with a new hairstyle and a manicure.

Maggie Locascio had finally taken the step. The next day, the divorce would be on its way to being final, a last deposition in court.

As she drove her Mercedes back to the nice house in Coral Gables, we don't know if she was thinking about the end of her 28-year marriage or her next chapters.

Her son, Ed Locascio Jr., had been urging her to call the marriage quits for years.

Ed Locascio, Jr.: She cried a lot about it. But afterward, I think she knew it was for the better.

But once the garage doors closed, Maggie Locascio only had a few minutes of life remaining.

Homicide detective John Butchko found a disturbing crime scene when he arrived at 2806 Granada.

Det. Butchko: There was an alarm that sounded, which indicated that the victim was in the house with the alarm on. It was a very bloody, violent scene. There were bloody footprints into a kitchen and bloody fingerprints on a wall.

Maggie lay dead on the kitchen floor. She'd been bludgeoned in the head -- an awful wound -- then stabbed, kicked, even choked by her killer.

Butchko: There was indication that the victim resisted, that she fought back.Dennis Murphy, Dateline NBC: So it could have been a home intruder at that point?Butchko: Yes, it could have been. However, there seemed to be more to it than that.

An icon of the cruelty of this murder, a barometer of the rage in that kitchen, was a black metal police baton found on the floor. It had been used to bash in Maggie’s head.

Murphy: Did the nature of the death tell you anything about who the perpetrator was?Butchko: Yes. It seemed to have been done in anger. It appeared to be somebody that would have some sort of relationship, as opposed to a stranger."

Her son, Eddie Jr., was in medical school running some lab experiments that night so he didn't get home to Coral Gables until after 10. By then, there were flashing cop cars, gawkers, and police lines.

Eddie elbowed his way to the front.

Eddie Locascio Jr.: Finally, I asked, “Where the hell is my mother?”

The son didn't get any answers.

He was taken to the police station, where detectives put him in a room and started asking him questions.

The detectives began to piece together the unhappy soap opera of the Locascio family.

Maggie, the 45-year-old victim, had been an accountant with a master's degree. But had mostly been a stay-at-home mom since son Eddie Jr. came along.

Edward Locascio Sr., the husband and father, was an accountant, too, and he'd done well with investments. A family with a net worth estimated at up to $6 million.

But the house was bitterly divided. Mother and son joined against a cold, abusive husband and father, at least by Eddie Jr.'s account.

Dennis Murphy: You call your father “Ed.”Eddie Locascio Jr: Yes.Murphy: Rather than “father” or “dad,” or “pops.”Eddie Locascio Jr: Right.Murphy: It seems a little bit funny, you know?Eddie Locascio Jr: Yes.

There’s nothing funny at all about his childhood or his memories of his father, as he tells it. Ed Jr. was bookish, happy to find sanctuary in a library. The father berated him for not being more than a scrub on the track team he coached with fire-breathing intensity.

Eddie Locascio Jr.: One of the kids who he actually coached came up to me and told me, “You're so lucky to have a father like Ed." And I was absolutely shocked.

The obvious question to the detectives was: what's up with this husband, described as an abusive character, in the final stages of a bitter divorce. Did he have the motive and the rage to actually beat and stomp his wife to death?

Det. Butchko: Ed Locascio was abusive to her. He'd threatened her before. Dennis Murphy: So in the ranking of possible suspects he's moved up ahead of the unknown intruder at that point?Det. Butchko: He was a strong suspect.

The detectives asked the son who he thought might have done it and he didn't hesitate.

Eddie Locascio Jr: I think my exact words: “I can't believe the bastard finally did it.”Dennis Murphy: “The bastard finally did it”? Meaning?Eddie Locascio Jr.: Ed…Dennis Murphy: Your father?Eddie Locascio Jr: Right.

But Ed Locascio Sr. had an airtight alibi. He was at his condo on Miami’s South Beach when the murder occurred. A security camera picture proved it.

And something else: the cops had had extraordinarily good luck in finding a trove of evidence in a gym bag ditched in a neighbor's shrubs near the murder house.

There was DNA, and not the husband's; forensic clues were just waiting to be matched up with a killer out there.

Maybe it was the guy in the white pick-up who did an illegal u-turn out of the scene as officers screamed up?

Who murdered Maggie, of that very unhappy Locascio household?

It was the first minutes of Halloween morning 2001 and police were taking their photos, measuring blood spatter stains, trying to understand who had so viciously murdered the homeowner lying on the kitchen floor.

They knew early on the victim Maggie Locascio and her estranged husband, Edward Locascio, had been living apart for several months. She'd gotten a restraining order against him.

They called the husband at his Miami Beach condo telling him only the briefest version of the truth to lure him over to the house.

Dennis Murphy: They told him there was trouble at his house?Det. Butchko: Yes, there was a problem there with the alarm. He needed to come there.

When he arrived at the street outside, Edward Locascio, the husband, seemed -- to the detectives talking to him -- quite placid, even incurious, about why the home of his wife and son was marked off as a crime scene.

Down at the police station, he told detectives he and he wife were split and he hadn't kept up with her lately, what with the ugly divorce proceedings and the restraining order.

When the cops finally told him his wife had been murdered, they noted that his reaction was blank. Nothing.

Unbeknownst to the husband, the detectives were interviewing his son, Eddie Jr., in a room down the hall. They would pass in the hall afterward.

Eddie Locascio Jr.: An officer was escorting him one way and me another way. And we crossed in a hallway and I think the look on his face as he saw me was one of both anger and surprise. Murphy: Did he say anything to you?Eddie Locascio Jr.: “Are you OK?”Murphy: Did you reply?Eddie Locascio Jr.: No.Murphy: At that moment, you believed that he had killed your mother?Eddie Locascio Jr.: Yes.

But there'd been hostility between the father and son for years. A son who despised his dad and suspected the worst of him didn't add up to evidence against Edward Locascio Sr.

The father, the victim's husband, said he'd been at his beach condo miles away when Maggie was murdered and the timecoded security tapes of comings and goings at his building showed he was telling the truth.

So Locascio wasn't the likely killer -- but cops are trained not to lock onto one suspect early to the exclusion of other possibilities.

And now one of the first officers responding to the burglar alarm that night was thinking back to that white pick-up truck he'd seen near the Locascio house.

The driver had pulled an illegal u-turn, and if he hadn't been running hot to the scene, the officer would have pulled him over.

The white-pick-up would be a detail they would pursue.

But bigger, more immediate evidence had fallen right into their laps the morning after the murder.

Sgt. Massington: We received a phone call from one of the residents here that they had found a small sports bag in the bushes between the houses.

The gym bag turned out to be a cop and prosecutor's dream. Inside the bag was a knife, the killer's bloody clothes, and the victim's stolen credit cards.

Lab experts had every reason to hope for some solid DNA evidence, hairs, fibers, maybe even a fingerprint.

Then something a little odd happened. Two days after the murder, police got a call from Edward Locascio saying someone broke into his accounting office. The police checked it out and found nothing stolen -- just some papers scattered around the floor.

But the so-called burglary turned out to be a turning point in the murder investigation because the detectives used that opportunity to talk to Locascio's employees about their boss and his family. One family member in particular came up.

Det. Butchko: One thing we learned was that he had a brother that lived in North Carolina and during that next day we actually found out that his brother had a white pick-up truck.

The brother, Michael Locascio, lived in Charlotte, N.C., and in a heartbeat, police officers there were searching his white Chevy pick-up. The upholstery had been ripped out. The inside of the cab had been hosed down.

Det. Butchko: I believe he had blood all over him and that would be the motive for tearing the seat cushions out of his car and for washing out the vehicle.

Michael Locascio, it would turn out, was the obverse image to his brother's success: a mostly unemployed guy, addicted to pills, and once busted on a fraud charge.

The investigators kept Michael Locascio squarely in their sights as the lab experts processed each bit of evidence from the scene.

The police baton, known formally as an ASP, yielded no fingerprints. But prosecutor Gail Levine said the killer did leave his mark behind.

Gail Levine: He thought he was smart enough to have used gloves. And he didn't bleed. So he thought he was OK. Well, then it came back, and bingo, as they say, there was DNA on the ASP and there was DNA on the inside of some latex gloves that were in the green bag that he tried to throw away.

The DNA matched Michael Locascio.

Just two weeks after the murder, he was charged with killing his sister-in-law, Maggie Locascio.

Dennis Murphy: Eddie, how do you even take that information in? The detective is telling you “we believe we have your mother's killer and he is your uncle.” Uncle Michael?Eddie Locascio Jr.: At first, I was optimistic about it, actually. Because I thought “Well, there must be some link to Ed.”

And the son wasn't the only one thinking that way. The detectives and the prosecutor all saw the hand of Eddie’s father -- Ed Sr. -- behind the heinous murder.

Gail Levine: I think in most cases, it's the “we got it” and it's scientific. It's DNA. It's everything we need. But In this case it was “We got one. Now we’ve got to get another.''

It sounded straight-forward. Who had the motivation? The temper to dispose of Maggie Locascio? Easy: the husband, Ed.

But that isn't the way the law and evidence work.

And maybe there was something that no one knew about between the accused Michael Locascio and the victim, his sister-in-law.

While Michael Locascio was going on trial for murder, his brother Edward was going to work and dating.

Michael Locascio was charged with the bludgeoning and stabbing murder of his sister-in-law Maggie Locascio in her Miami home.

He was facing the death penalty.

Four-years had passed since the murder, as Locascio changed lawyers and delays dragged the case out. Prosecutors were hoping that Michael Locascio would stew in his juices, to think about being injected to death. They were hoping he'd flip and testify against his brother.

That's what Locascio’s son certainly wanted.

Eddie Locascio Jr.: For a long time that's why we were holding the hope that Michael Locascio would say, either he himself would confess to committing the murder and saying how Ed was connected to it, or how a payoff was to be made. He never did.

So the trial was on. Michael Locascio was charged as the lone killer, but the prosecutor made it clear she thought the brothers were in on it together.

(In trial)Prosecutor Annunziato: Maggie Locascio and her husband Ed were involved in a contested divorce. Her husband and his brother -- this defendant -- decided to end the marriage, not by waiting for the judge's ruling, but by murdering her.

And the facts were bad for him.

The white pick-up truck leaving the scene was like his white pick-up recovered at his home in North Carolina, the one police found with the upholstery ripped out.

And most damning of all was that gym bag recovered near the crime scene with the murderer's bloody clothes, a weapon and also Michael Locascio’s DNA on a latex glove.

Locascio's defense attorney made a familiar argument in criminal trials: the lab work was flawed, the motivation wasn't proven.

(In court)Fleisher: The state's case is based mainly on DNA and circumstantial evidence, the DNA evidence in this case is highly suspect...

But the jury took only six hours to convict Michael Locascio of first-degree murder.

They recommended to the judge that he impose a life sentence, but Eddie Jr. made an impassioned plea to the judge that his uncle be sentenced to death.

Eddie Locascio Jr.: We do not believe that you should show this killer any mercy, just as he showed Maggie no mercy when she begged him for her life.

Eddie Locascio Jr. was both brilliant and tortured.

He graduated from college at 19 and was accepted at the University of Miami Medical School, where he was one of the top students. But Eddie was also living a role out of an ancient Greek tragedy: the son determined to bring down the father, avenging the death of his quiet, much put-upon mother Maggie.

Mother and son had found solace together against Edward Locascio Sr.'s quick angers and nasty belittlements.

Eddie Jr. was getting through his studies at a double-time pace so he could get his medical career up and running and get his mother away from the father he called "Ed," never “dad.”

Eddie Locascio Jr.: Something that drove me really hard to study for was, you know, eventually to become financially independent.Murphy: So you could make the money, as soon as possible, to get her out of that situation?Eddie Locascio Jr.: Right.

His mother's first step had been the restraining order, and the second step was getting a good divorce lawyer.

In Florida, it's 50-50, and there seemed to be enough community property to share: a net worth estimated at up to $6 million.

While the divorce was working its way through the court, the judge ruled that Edward Sr. would have to pay his wife $5,400 a month.

Murphy: And they freeze his assets, huh?Gail Levine: They freeze his assets because in order to pay the alimony, he starts to take it out of the joint assets. Judge said “No. You're supposed to take that out of your income.” He doesn't want to do that. He wants it all for himself.

Like Edward Sr., Maggie so she knew how to read the books on the family finances, knew the accounts where the money was invested.

And she knew that her husband hadn't disclosed their true net worth to the judge.

She was going to tell the judge, in effect, that Edward had been squirreling away some money from the court -- and from her.

Murphy: So she could say in her deposition, look, this is what this marriage, this guy is really worth?Gail Levine: Exactly. She had actually been a CPA and she was finding every single account.

But hours before that courtroom confrontation, she was murdered by her brother-in-law from North Carolina. That was the jury's finding.

The day after his wife's murder, Edward Locascio’s lawyer did go to court -- to have his divorce case dismissed, his assets unfrozen, and to declare him sole beneficiary of the estate.

Eddie Locascio Jr.: How someone could have such an utter lack of regard for human life that immediately after this woman that he was married to for 28 years, after he murders her, then right away he moves to cash in on the money that he murdered her to obtain?

Eddie Jr. pursued his father into civil court to keep him from getting his hands on the family money. Eddie, the medical student, found himself in courtrooms as much as classrooms.

Eddie Locascio Jr.: I had to basically teach myself how to become a lawyer and I actually would go to probate court and I had to defend on various occasions against motions from his attorneys to unfreeze his assets. And I actually prevailed on those motions.

Eddie Jr. was winning against his father in civil court, but he was having less luck with the criminal case.

Even four years later while his uncle was awaiting trial, the prosecutor cautioned Eddie Jr. about getting his hopes up of ever nailing the person he regarded as the mastermind of the crime: his father, Ed.

Eddie Locascio Jr.: She said, “we'll probably never arrest him. He'll probably get away with it.”

Pushed by Eddie Jr. and his aunt, the prosecutor went hard after some heretofore reluctant witnesses.

The investigators went through the evidence one more time and in November, 2005, they thought they finally had it.

Edward Locascio Sr. was brought before a judge and charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy in the killing of his wife, Maggie.

Five-and-a-half years after his mother Maggie Locascio had been found beaten and stabbed to death in her home, a year after his uncle had been convicted of the murder, Eddie Locascio Jr. was staring across a courtroom at the man he saw as the evil architect of the crime: his father, Edward Locascio Sr.

The moment had been long in coming.

The conviction of the brother, Michael, had been a prosecutorial snap. He'd left his DNA on tools of the murder.

It wouldn't be that easy with the brother, the husband, the father: Edward Locascio Sr.

Dennis Murphy: You've charged him with first-degree murder, but you don't have a great case against him.Gail Levine: Every single prosecutor says, "What’s the defense case going to be, and where are my weaknesses?" and I was aware that I had a circumstantial case.

Gail Levine and her co-prosecutor were telling the jury that the buttoned-up, middle-aged accountant before them was tired of his wife, didn't want her to get half in the pending divorce, so he got his ne'er-do-well brother to do the dirty work.

(In court)Prosecutor: A pact was formed, a blood pact between brothers, a silent pact ... with this defendant advising and inciting his brother, Michael, to murder Maggie.

The jury was introduced to the stomach-churning crime-scene photos, and the police baton used to bash in Maggie Locascio's skull.

Murder news that the defendant -- the victim's husband of 28 years -- seemed to take in stride when detectives told him.

(In court)Prosecutor: Did he ever say “What's going on at my house?”Sgt. Hoff: No.Prosecutor Levine: The officer wearing the badge that says, Miami-Dade homicide says, you know, “Your wife is dead.” And he has no reaction?Dennis Murphy, Dateline NBC: That's an important moment.Prosecutor Levine: Extremely important. And very, very telling to the detective that was sitting across from him.

How Locascio reacted, or failed to react, and what he said about his wife would become buildings blocks in the circumstantial case against him.

One of the key prosecution witnesses would be a former employee in his accounting office: Gudilay Gonzalez.

(In court)Gudilay Gonzalez: He was talking on the phone with his brother Michael. He hang up the phone and he said to me, "Man, my brother's crazy." And I said, "Why?" He goes, "Because he told me that if I ever wanted to have the bitch killed, he could have it done and no one would ever find out."Dennis Murphy: Is that the kind of quote you can build a case around?Gail Levine: Well, we thought that that statement that he used to this young woman was a powerful statement. Again, his conscience speaking to us.

But if Edward Locascio had, in effect, hired his brother to kill his wife, where was the contract, the agreement about money, perhaps, to be paid at some future time?

Unfortunately for the prosecution, there was no evidence like that, but it did have records of phone calls, brother-to-brother calls in the months leading up to the murder.

It was unusual for the two of them.

Gail Levine: Between Michael and Ed, there had been no contact, except for birthdays. Now, there's a barrage of phone calls.Dennis Murphy: So, they've gone from "Happy birthday. I'll call you next year at the same time" to a lot of calls.Gail Levine: Thirty-nine in six weeks.Dennis Murphy: But, again, it's circumstantial. You don't know what they said.Gail Levine: I know what they said. They were planning a murder.

After Locascio’s brother was arrested for the murder, Edward Sr. learned that his secretary Gudilay Gonzalez had been talking to the cops about all those overheard phone calls between the brothers. Her boss, she testified, went nuts on her.

Gonzalez: He went like this (slam) like . "Because of you my brother is going to be in prison. And he could die."Ms. Levine: Did he attempt to grab you by your throat?Gonzalez: Almost.Ms. Levine: What did you do?Gonzalez: I went and I called Detective Estopinan.

Detective Julio Estopinan had taken the secretary's original statement. He works undercover now so the judge asked that his face not be shown as he testified.

(In court)Gail Levine: When you got the cell phone call from Miss Gonzalez, could you describe her demeanor to you on the phone or her attitude?Detective Estopinan: She was very angry -- scared.

Then came a long awaited moment.

Prosecutor: The state calls Edward John Locascio.

If this had been Greek tragedy or Shakespeare, the confrontation between father and son might have taken place with swords on a battlefield wet with blood.

But here in the district court of Miami, Eddie Jr. -- who'd been fighting for his father's indictment for years -- took the witness box. The man he called "Ed," the accused, sat at his table.

The prosecutor led the son through testimony focusing on his recollection of years of his father's physical and mental abuse of his mother.

There was the time his father threatened to strike her with a heavy piece of sculpture.

Ed Locascio: It was too heavy for him to throw at her. But he was able to pick it up. And he was going to throw it at her.

And five-months before Maggie Locascio’s murder, the son told the jury about the blunt, simple threat his father had made, almost a promise.

Ed Locascio Jr.: He told her "I will kill you. I will end you. And I will destroy you." And after that, he proceeded to-- as-- he would usually do bump into her with his chest and told her, " I could kill you with one blow.”

And the prosecution put an exclamation point on its depiction of Edward Locascio Sr. as a menacing bully by calling his former mistress.

Eleanor Salazar, a masseuse, had been outside Locascio’s Miami South Beach condo the night of the murder.

She testified that she spotted Locascio’s brother Michael -- the now-convicted killer -- trying to get in the apartment a little after 11:30 that night.

In court, the girlfriend testified with the help of a translator.

Prosecutor: And what did he tell you?Salazar: That I couldn't tell that to the police.Prosecutor: What did he say?Salazar: That if I called the police, something worse than what happened to his wife would happen to me.

And the same condo security camera that gave Edward Locascio his alibi – that he was home when the murder occurred miles away -- turned out to be a doubled-edged sword, because that security cam verified the mistress's story about the brother showing up.

Michael Locascio’s appearance was time-coded at 11:41 pm.

He's seen ringing the buzzer repeatedly. What was he doing there two hours after murdering Maggie Locascio? The security tape shows him walking away, his shirt soaked. Had he just hosed down the interior of his bloody pick-up, as the prosecution suggested?

Gail Levine: Clearly, Michael would have never come back to the apartment to report, or to get help, if Ed wasn't aware. So, really the pieces of the puzzle were big pieces that fit together.

All along, the prosecution's theory of the motive was this: Edward Locascio had decided that his wife Maggie had to be killed the night she was, otherwise, the following morning she'd tell the divorce judge where he'd stashed away millions in secret accounts -- money that he would lose in the impending settlement. The brother, argued the prosecution, was dispatched to fix the problem.

The prosecutor -- with help from the medical examiner -- brought the murder of Maggie Locascio vividly into the courtroom.

As the medical examiner testified as to what the wounds told him about the violent attack, he stuck pieces of color tape to a mannequin, each color representing the different ways he believed Michael Locascio tried to kill his sister-in-law.

She was initially hit on the head with an unbent baton that ultimately became bent and was rendered useless.

Eight blows to the head with a metal police baton.

Then, she was savagely slashed with a steak knife, a finger all but severed.

Defensive wounds were evidence she fought back, but the medical examiner said Michael Locascio began choking her.

Prosecutor: Pushing her into the wall until she gives up, stamping on her stomach or chest and then walking away, there leaving her to die.

The bloody footprints leaving the murder scene were clearly Michael Locascio’s.

Had the prosecution convinced the jury that it was his brother Edward who had caused them to be there and was, therefore, guilty of murder, too?

The defense was about to argue its case, saying -- in part -- star witnesses shouldn't sleep with lead detectives.

"Ed and Maggie Locascio just wanted to get divorced, nothing more, nothing less. Little did they know that brother, Mike, had other ideas," said defense attorney Bob Amsel in court.

Edward Locascio's defense attorney argued that the prosecution got it right in the trial of Michael Locascio, the brother.

It was Michael who indisputably murdered his brother's wife. He was the criminally bent, drug-addicted brother, claimed the defense, with a warped idea about how to help his brother out of a failed marriage.

No conspiracy at all. Edward Locascio was not his brother's keeper.

Dennis Murphy, Dateline NBC: So your theory of the crime is, in some crazed manner, he's doing his brother a nice thing?Bob Amsel, defense attorney: Right.Murphy: By killing the wife?Amsel: That bloody scene was not a contract-type murder. When Mike killed her, he did it with such passion and such rage that it defies imagination that he was doing that to help his brother.

The defense had to paint jurors a different portrait altogether of Edward Locascio, Sr: that he wasn't the abusive bully of a husband and a father.

That there were family snapshots of happy times when Eddie Jr. even had a smile.

And he wanted jurors to think about the son's possible motivation for going after his father: money.

With his father behind bars, Eddie Jr. would get everything. Millions.

Amsel: You're clearly seeking all of your father's money, aren't you, in the civil side of the case?Eddie Locascio Jr.: Technically. I mean it passes as if...Amsel: Answer “yes” or “no.”Eddie Locascio Jr.: No.Eddie Locascio Jr.: Well, well. Technically it passes. Yes. I'm sorry: yes. The answer's “yes."

And what about the prosecution's depiction of a suspiciously indifferent Edward Locascio when authorities informed him his wife had been murdered?

Another Locascio brother testified that Edward Locascio was, in fact, devastated by his wife's death.

Al Locascio: He was very upset, very sad. I didn't think he could keep things together.

In a circumstantial case, maybe the most damaging testimony was the story told by Locascio’s secretary.

She said after a phone conversation with his brother Michael, he blurted out: “My brother's crazy ... he told me that if I ever wanted the bitch killed he could have done it.”

Now, the key words there were: "the bitch," crude shorthand in Locascio’s office for his wife.

The defense told the court that that damning quote had a dubious history.

The secretary, in a follow-up sworn deposition, watered down her initial recollection of Edward Locascio’s outburst.

He hadn't used the words: "the bitch," she said, rather he had said: "someone." The brother was crazy enough to kill "someone." Quite a different thought.

Now, here in trial, the secretary reverted to the original version, the one with "the bitch."

Bob Amsel: You're the one who told this jury that you actually did lie under oath.Gonzalez: I’m telling the jury today that if I lied about the “bitch” word was because I didn't want to get myself more involved in this case and I wanted to get out of it, plain and simple.Bob Amsel: Your choice is that when you want to lie under oath, for whatever reason it is, you'll lie under oath, right?Gonzalez: You continue accusing me from lying. Bob Amsel: I'm trying to ask you a question.Gonzalez: And I’m answering your question.Bob Amsel: Well, I don't think you are.Gonzalez: Well, maybe you're not happy with it.

And there was something else about the secretary and her story. She had become intimately involved with the lead detective on the case, Julio Estopinan, in an affair that turned out to be a cringing embarrassment and ethical taboo for the prosecution.

Amsel: She is literally sleeping with the lead detective in this case for a year, a year and a half.

The defense berated the detective for living with his star witness in a pending first-degree murder trial.

Amsel: You see nothing wrong with that?Estopina: I explained that-that it is wrong.Amsel: So if it's wrong: why didn't you stop it?

Was the affair with the cop why the secretary had changed her mind and gone back to telling the more damaging story about hearing Locascio say the brother could “kill the bitch” for him?

Amsel: Isn't this why your testimony changes over time?Gonzalez: No. Amsel: Because of your relationship? Gonzalez: It has nothing to do with my relationship.Amsel: You want to make him look good and make his case for him.Gonzalez: No.

The prosecution's best evidence of a brotherly plot was thin. What the prosecution characterized as a barrage of phone calls – 39 in six weeks -- between the usually distant pair.

Prosecutor: The strongest part of my case was that any juror would necessarily have to guess what was said between Ed and his brother .

The defense argued that Maggie Locascio’s murder had never been about money. Edward Locascio may not have been happy to split his millions with his wife, but he was loaded, and killing his wife just to hang on to more of his wealth simply didn't make sense.

What did add up, the defense told the jury, was the picture on that condo security camera of a wild-eyed brother fresh from a bloody murder.

Amsel: I think that's about someone who is sick, who has lost his mind, who is panicking, how in the world could that be part of this conspiracy? The last place you'd go to is back to your brother, the last place.

So what was it: Edward Locascio Sr., a plotting murderous husband?

Or the unwitting victim of an unguided missile of a crazy brother?

Edward Locascio wouldn't take the stand to explain himself.

The prosecution and the defense had rested.

Each side had one last chance to summarize its case for the jury.

According to the prosecution, "He had a plan. And that plan was for her to die. He was the one that needed this done, not Michael Locascio.”

The defense replied that "the very idea that Ed Locascio a man who is undoubtedly smart would use someone like Michael Locascio, a man whose life is spinning out of control is absurd."

Edward Locascio Sr. was on trial for his life.

His fate was in the hands of the jury.

The central question for jurors to resolve was the relationship between the two brothers. Had Michael Locascio acted alone when he killed his sister-in-law? Or was it a conspiracy between the two?

It was a question that led them to wonder why prosecutors had been so long in bringing Edward Locascio Sr. to trial.

Tammy: They had a pretty difficult case to bring. All circumstantial. There's no evidence. No physical evidence. No DNA.Dennis Murphy, Dateline NBC: Maybe then, the defense's theory the crime is accurate, that the brother was a crazy off by his own. And the other brother wasn't involved?Robert Cedeno: That's what made it difficult.

The prosecution had asked the jurors to understand the accused's motive and state-of-mind through stories told by witnesses, like the secretary Gudilay Gonzales.

She testified that after a phone call between the brothers, she heard her boss Ed blurt out that his crazy brother would kill his wife for him if he wanted.

One juror thought that outburst actually spoke to Edward Locascio's innocence.

Robert Cedeno: I felt that anyone who's premeditated a crime of this type isn't going to blurt something like that out to somebody in their office. It didn't make any sense.

And jurors wondered why the secretary had changed her original story about that phone call and had lied under oath in a later deposition, as she admitted, she said for fear of getting dragged into a murder investigation.

Murphy: Robert, did it bother you that she amended her story a little bit?Robert Cedeno: Very much so, very much so.  It implied that the detective somehow influenced her giving testimony.

And all the jurors thought the son Eddie Jr.'s depiction of his father as a domestic brute was both poignant and credible.

Evan Booker: Your son calling you, “Ed”? Bob Hovde: That struck me very strange that this is the way that family grew up.

The string of phone calls between the brothers, where previously there had been few, were points for the prosecution.

Tammy: I would have liked a little more information on what was being said in the phone calls. But for me, it was the key evidence.

As for that security cam picture of Michael Locascio at his brother's condo door the night of the murder: these jurors didn't buy the defense's spin that it showed how out of control the wacky lone wolf brother was.

Robert Cedeno: I thought it had more to do with what went wrong after the murder than really coming back to report anything to his brother ... It was one of the more incriminating pieces, I think.

For two days, the jurors had gone back and forth, trying to get into Edward Locascio's head but they didn't have irrefutable evidence that showed them what was going on there.

On the third day, they reviewed the motive again.

Evans Booker: At the end of the day, Michael didn't have a motive.

They sent out a note. They had a verdict.

Waiting to hear it, Edward Locascio Sr. looked grim.

Across the courtroom, Eddie Jr. gripped his grandmother's hand and closed his eyes.

(In court)Clerk: Verdict, we the jury find the defendant Edward Stanton Locascio as to count one, first-degree murder, guilty of first-degree murder as charged … So say we all.


Eddie Jr. took in the words he'd been waiting almost six years to hear. His father shook his head; he now faced a possible death sentence.

Murphy: It has to be a densely complicated emotion. It's your mother, it is your father, and yet, you want this verdict. Ed Locascio, Jr.: What we wanted to have come out was the truth. Because so many -- for so many years, my mother and I had suffered in silence.Dennis Murphy: Your father, found guilty of murdering your mother. Did you also believe that he should be put to death?Ed Locascio Jr.: We certainly didn't oppose the state's desire to seek it. To me, it was like flipping a coin. Either way, he's going to die in prison.

The jury was out only a few hours in the penalty phase.

Clerk: The jury recommends to the court that it impose a sentence of life imprisonment upon Edward Stanton Locascio without possibility of parole.

Edward Locascio would not be put to death.

He was taken from the courtroom and never looked once at the son who called him "Ed."

Locascio never told his story to the jury during trial, but six months into his life sentence behind bars in a high-security lock-up, he talked to Dateline.

Dennis Murphy: Mr. Locascio, you were convicted of, in effect, putting your brother up to kill your wife. Did you do that? Did you have your wife killed?Edward Locascio: Absolutely not. Even to the point of her death, I always thought we were probably going to get back together.

At trial, you'll remember Locascio's defense was that his brother was a lone-wolf killer who took it upon himself to fix Locascio's messy divorce. Now, after the verdict, Locascio has a different theory.

Dennis Murphy: Do you accept that your brother Michael did it? That he killed Maggie?Edward Locascio: I could never see my brother doing that. No. And I can't even -- it's so surreal.

Edward Locascio believes it was a member of his family who killed his wife. Not his brother, Michael, but -- get ready for this -- his son, Eddie Jr.

Dennis Murphy: Are you implying that Edward Jr. might have been responsible for the death of your wife?Edward Locascio: Yes.Murphy: That he might have killer her?Locascio: Yes.Dennis Murphy: And his motivation would have been what?Edward Locascio: Money -- and to keep me out of the house.Dennis Murphy: He'd kill his mother that he dearly loved? He was a mama's boy.Edward Locascio: Yes.Dennis Murphy: And he would get rid of her and get you put into the state prison system so he could have the money? That's the--Edward Locascio: Yes, sir. He lied throughout this thing. And it's taken me a long time to say this. There was a love/hate relationship between Eddie and his mother. Absolutely.Dennis Murphy: The way Eddie tells it, it was a love/love relationship. And you were the odd person out in that household.Edward Locascio: It's just the opposite. She and I were hooked at the hip. Dennis Murphy: You know, people who are watching you tell this story, believing that you're guilty as charged, that you conspired with your brother to have your wife killed and now hear you laying off the crime against your own son. They'd say how poisonous is this guy?Edward Locascio: That's their opinion.Dennis Murphy: Talking about Eddie, of course, and the bad blood. Eddie, your son, tells the prosecutor you should get the death penalty.Edward Locascio: It's incredible, isn't it? That's pretty vicious for your own son to say something like that, right? That's a sad -- that's a sorry, sad son.

Police and prosecutors say Eddie Jr. was thoroughly investigated and cleared after the murder.  Knowing now what his father is saying about him, Eddie Jr. says he is a desperate man saying desperate things.

Dennis Murphy: I think I know the answer to this. Will you ever see our father in prison?Ed Locascio, Jr.: No. We didn't want to have anything to do with him before the divorce. And I certainly don't now that he's murdered my mother.

Eddie Locascio Jr. is back in medical school.

His father and uncle are in Florida prisons for life without the possibility of parole.

Both are guilty of murdering a woman who only wanted a fresh start, new chapters to a life that would never be written.

Both Edward and Michael Locascio are appealing their convictions. A judge has awarded Eddie Locascio Jr damages in the civil suit against his father. How much he'll be able to collect is still unclear.