Population Zero (2016) Movie Script

Let's take this video
to the Idaho side of the Park.
But to get to Idaho,
you go out the west entrance.
The west entrance?
Is that the region where, um...
Have you heard of this
constitutional loophole thing?
Is that the region
where that is?
Constitutional loophole?
I'm not following that.
You never read any
articles about that stuff?
- No.
- Okay.
Thanks a lot.
- Here you go.
- Thank you.
- Have a great day.
- I will.
Knows nothing.
No one knows anything.
Yellowstone National Park.
Around every corner
is a reminder
of how still life can be.
How vast it can be.
How true it can be.
Until it isn't.
Yellowstone woke up
to what has to be
the worst crime
in the National Park's history.
A bizarre triple homicide,
where the murderer immediately
turned himself in
and confessed.
First victim
was by the fire.
The second one, I don't know,
maybe 10 feet from it.
This is where
the third victim was shot.
- Okay.
- By the back wheel?
I just really
can't understand
how a man can commit
all these horrific crimes,
you know,
and then just...
Talk about it like he's
reciting the details
of a traffic violation.
Nobody could
have expected
the side swipe that occurred.
We're talking about
a confessed murderer here.
One who showed no remorse,
no regret.
This guy should have been
put away for life.
There is no resolution.
I mean, it's just this thing
hanging over us.
I think most of the country,
most of the world,
hasn't even heard of this.
Well, this whole thing
was swept under the rug.
It's an embarrassment.
My name is Julian Pinder.
As a documentary filmmaker,
I believe anything in life
can be fascinating
when you delve
into the details.
I find characters and I
tell a story through them.
Their words, their actions,
their eyes.
But it's a completely
different story
when the camera turns on you.
It's nice.
How's that?
I first heard of this story
when I received an email
not too long ago.
Three boys were murdered
in a remote part of
Yellowstone National Park.
What struck me was
that the murders took place
on April 27th, 2009,
nearly five years ago.
Why was I being sent this now?
The email came from
I was unsuccessful
in contacting
the source of the email.
But when I did a search,
incredible images
immediately surfaced
of a bear chasing a burnt bison
down a winter road
in Yellowstone.
Incredible and unbelievable.
A chase like none other
seen before.
These images would
prove to be a metaphor
for the Yellowstone murders.
David Drabeck,
Thomas Burnett and Cody Gibbs
were camping in
Yellowstone National Park,
when tragedy struck.
A chance encounter
with a stranger proved fatal
when Williston resident,
Dwayne Nelson,
killed the young men
in a self-described
moment of insanity.
Shocking news of
a three person homicide
early this morning.
The suspect turned himself in
just after 5:30 A.M.
In what has to be
the worst crime
in the National Park's history.
I was here,
and I received a phone call.
It was our family doctor.
There was
an emergency contact thing
in Thomas' wallet.
It was the middle of the night.
I didn't know why
I was getting a call.
I... I dropped to that floor.
And I didn't think I was
ever going to get up again.
First thing was...
Was violence.
Because, uh...
I heard that
someone shot him...
In the back.
And I... was angry.
I was very angry.
It took a while for
grief to set in.
I didn't believe it.
I thought they'd made
a mistake,
came to the wrong house,
had the wrong boy.
I didn't believe it.
I didn't believe it
till I actually saw his body.
On that day
I can remember
pretty much everything.
I remember
the color of the sky,
the calmness in the air.
I was just here at my post.
This particular
ranger station, um,
is the furthest south-west
that you can get to by vehicle
in Yellowstone.
It was just after 5:30
in the morning.
I'd just made myself
a cup of coffee.
He walked out of the woods,
the West Side,
the entrance side.
He left the weapon
outside of the door,
and just walked in.
The way it happened,
you'd think there would
have been some emotion.
But like I said before,
he seemed so calm and, uh...
So normal.
Right here.
This way.
It was right in here
that they parked the truck.
This is where
the third victim was shot,
- by the back wheel.
- Okay.
It's a bit of a clearing here.
And this is where the fire pit
was set up.
Right around here.
This is where the other two
victims were found.
First victim was by the fire,
and the second one,
I don't know,
maybe ten feet from it.
Never stood much of a chance.
The families...
Come and visit them.
They bring flowers and stuff.
But he just wanted
to be outside, all the time.
I mean, he's the guy that
organized all those trips,
every year.
Even when they weren't around,
he'd grab his knapsack
and be gone.
Go off hiking by himself.
He just...
I don't know what
it was about him.
I guess he found
something in nature that...
That put him at peace,
I don't know.
But he loved it.
This is, uh,
Thomas and Alicia.
- Great looking couple.
- Yeah.
And Thomas on his wedding day.
That's a great shot.
And another one of
Thomas and Alicia.
This one over here,
this is, uh...
This is all the boys together.
Thomas, Cody and David.
Oh, you know.
I'll show you this, actually.
I took that on the morning
that they left.
They did that trip every year.
Well, David didn't actually
join them until
the third year.
But, uh...
This was their...
This was their fifth year
doing the trip.
You know, they'd all come
over here in the morning,
and they'd have breakfast,
And then they'd leave.
Thomas, he was the one
with the pickup truck. So...
And that's that.
It's all right.
I built a business
that I...
Wanted to leave to him.
You know, I respect what he
did and what he loved,
but I thought at some point
he's gotta grow up and accept
who he is and...
You know?
At least make a life
for himself.
Make a career for himself.
- Drive safe.
- Will do. Bye.
- Love you, mom.
- Bye.
He was going off to...
Yellowstone the umpteenth time,
and it was just...
He was on my last nerve
that day.
We'd had a little spat
at dinner the night before,
and then he go... traipse off
to the...
To the Park,
and I just, you know...
The last thing I said
was just, you know,
"good luck finding a career.
In the woods."
Or whatever I said. It just...
There are
only four people
who truly know what
happened that night.
Three of them are dead.
The only eye witness account
comes from Dwayne Nelson,
the man who pulled the trigger.
You know, once the suspect
is talking,
they don't shut up.
It's like they need
to get it out.
But let me tell you something.
With Dwayne,
he gave us everything.
It was almost like the...
It was rehearsed.
I'm standing outside
the Cheyenne Police Station,
where Dwayne Nelson will
soon be moved to the Courthouse
to attend a preliminary hearing
in a case that is being dubbed
"the Yellowstone murders."
A bizarre triple homicide,
where the murderer immediately
turned himself in
and confessed.
I just really can't understand
how a man could commit
all these horrific crimes,
you know.
And then just talk about it
like he's, uh...
Reciting the details of
a traffic violation.
If you could say
something to Dwayne Nelson,
and you had that opportunity,
what would you say to him?
If I could
say anything
to Dwayne,
I would say that i
want my son back.
I would say that
I want Cody back.
Out of the way.
He's never offered
me an apology.
He's never taken any
responsibility for his actions.
What will I have to say to him?
We're live now.
He will pay for the murders
of these boys.
And he will understand
what it feels like
to have something
taken away from you.
If I could even just...
Understand why
this person did this,
then I could maybe
move better to forgiveness,
Because it's just so...
Senseless and random.
It shook my faith
for a very long time.
Cheyenne Police
spent three months
looking for a motive.
They found none.
With Dwayne's confession,
they were certain
of a conviction.
There were still questions
that needed answering.
I canceled my flight home
and headed to
Cheyenne, Wyoming,
where the hearing
took place years ago.
I think the only
regret I have is...
Is maybe the, uh...
The over-confidence
that we were...
That it was a done thing.
A surefire
win for us.
But I, uh...
I honestly didn't think
that it would go through.
I wouldn't call it arrogant,
but certainly,
it seemed like
an easy case to me.
You wanna take
your feelings out of it,
but we're talking about
a confessed murderer here.
One who showed
no remorse, no regret.
We had murder weapon.
We had fingerprints.
Security footage,
and a population
screaming for justice.
And who wanted him
put away for life.
And at that time, there was
no doubt in my mind we were
gonna do just that.
The fact that
I got the Nelson case
was a surprise.
My first, uh...
Murder trial.
And I knew it was
gonna be a big deal.
And it was a big deal.
Dwayne's case was very unique.
What you had here was
a classic plea pardon case.
There was no logic
to his motivation.
Absolutely none.
Which set it up
for an insanity plea.
I wanted to change
the location of the trial.
I wanted to, uh...
Make sure that we had
an impartial jury.
He wouldn't stand for it.
The loophole was
brought up to me
almost exactly 24 hours
before we went to the hearing.
So we looked at it.
We looked at it,
we danced around it,
it was a conversation.
And, uh...
And then we looked into
the legalities of it.
Then we ran with it.
Will the defendant
please rise.
Based on Federal and
District Law,
the Constitution and with no
legal precedent to draw from,
I have no choice but to
side with the defense.
Mr. Nelson, you are free to go.
The murder trial
in Cheyenne this morning
has taken yet another
unexpected turn.
During today's
preliminary hearing,
confessed murderer,
Dwayne Nelson,
was acquitted of all charges
due to what can only be
described as
a flaw in the system.
...an unusual case.
And families are
understandably shocked
with the Judge's decision.
Imagine a murderer
being allowed to
walk the streets as a free man.
That's exactly what took
place here today.
I remember there was
absolute confusion
and shock.
All hell broke loose.
Right? It was...
We weren't prepared for that.
I wasn't prepared for that.
This guy should have been
put away for life.
It was so far beyond logic.
So far beyond reason.
It was... it was...
Beyond justice.
And the worst part
was feeling the shift.
You know, 'cause it
was like Dwayne
was no longer the bad guy.
I was.
And it was
the assistants that came in
and gave us the news initially.
So they could be the recipients
of all of our grief and all
of our anger at that moment.
And then the head team came in
and explained to us
what had happened.
The loophole
in the law changed everything.
And unless we could prove
that the murders
were premeditated,
or that a felony was committed
leading up to the murders,
this crime could not
and cannot be tried.
You need a motive.
We need motive
to move the trail,
to get him out from under
the protection of
that goddamn loophole.
We had
covered all the bases.
We had looked for
any connection
between Dwayne Nelson
and his murder victims.
But there wasn't any.
Dwayne was from North Dakota,
and the boys were
from Rapid City.
So, as Dwayne confessed,
it was an isolated incident.
There was no motive.
We were all regular...
People who didn't
even understand
half of the system
to begin with.
And once we began
with the whole
State line, Federal,
the State...
I think we just assumed
that they would work it out.
I don't think anyone
really understood
the ramifications of this.
I think there was a feeling,
certainly in me,
and I know in a few
of the others, was that
this was just maybe
the first step
in crossing this huge hurdle,
and that we would
stick with it,
and there would be appeals,
and everyone would throw
their weight behind this.
And as the weeks,
and eventually months, passed,
and we realized,
"No. No, this isn't...
This isn't changing.
This really is not changing
in our favor."
There was an incredible
amount of anger.
I don't feel guilty for
adhering to the Constitution.
I don't feel guilty
doing what's right
according to the law.
Right? I don't feel guilty
for letting a man walk
because the Constitution
says that he should.
I'm doing my job.
The Court did their job.
We all did our job on this.
He walks.
He's supposed to walk.
The fuck are we on?
Left on the main street.
Daniel Matcek was
a local Yellowstone
newspaper reporter.
He covered the hearings
and spent a lot of time
researching the murders.
It's a small town,
and I've lived here
my whole life.
And nothing like this has
ever happened before.
So I have a responsibility
to tell the story.
I actually call my article
"The Inconceivable Truth".
It's so funny that it
became a constitutional debate.
Three boys were shot
and killed.
In cold blood.
This is not
a constitutional issue.
It became
a constitutional issue
because Dwayne made it
a constitutional issue.
There's three dead boys,
and no one went to jail for it.
No one was punished for it.
What did he do?
Six months for illegal
possession of a firearm
in a National Park?
It's a joke.
That is a joke
to those families.
I am still angry.
I'm still in shock.
I still feel completely
betrayed by a system that
not only did I think
that was on my side,
but I was assured
it was on my side.
Who came up
with the loophole defense?
I don't recall.
I don't recall.
We started throwing around...
It was an idea that...
Looked more and more
interesting the more
we looked at it.
And we started to run with it.
But you don't recall
who came up with the one--
I don't recall.
I find that impossible
to believe.
- You find that
impossible to believe?
- Yeah.
Look, uh...
It was the basis of
your entire--
I was told that you were
coming in here
to talk to me
about practicing law
in Cheyenne.
Well, this is part of it.
Not specific elements
about specific cases. Okay?
You want that stuff?
If you want it,
you can go down to the Court,
there are Court records,
you can take a look
at all that stuff.
Okay? It's all there for you.
- Okay.
- All right? Are we good here?
Can we just back up a little?
'Cause I'm good.
I'm good. All right?
Thank you very much.
I appreciate you coming by,
I really do.
Thank you. Thank you.
I went
to the Courthouse,
but was denied access
to the records.
I was told the documents
had been sealed,
but they couldn't tell me why.
Investigating the loophole,
was much easier.
The Constitution is
the Supreme law
for every citizen living
in the United States.
But the Constitution
that protects us
also let a murderer go free.
Article three, Section two
of the Constitution...
This, however, does not clarify
where the jury
should come from.
So the sixth amendment
was written,
requiring that
the jury must be...
So based on the Constitution,
any person charged with murder
must be tried
before a local jury
that comes from
the State and District
in which the crime took place.
Yellowstone National Park,
established back in 1872,
recognized as the first
National Park in the world.
It is predominantly situated
in the north-west corner
of Wyoming.
But approximately nine
percent of Yellowstone
overflows north into Montana,
and west into Idaho.
The strip of the Park
located in Idaho
is where the law and
civil rights collide.
Yellowstone Park is not
governed by State law.
It is ruled under Federal law.
So any crime committed
in the Park
must be tried
at the Courthouse
in Mammoth Hot Springs.
Or in Cheyenne at
the Federal District Court.
So what does this all mean?
The jurors must be drawn
from this small strip of land
of approximately
50 square miles.
There is only one problem.
No one lives here.
You cannot select a jury of 12
from an area that has
a population of zero.
Hello, sir.
Can I ask you a question?
Sorry to interrupt you.
I know you're in the middle
of your meal there.
But, uh...
You or anyone from your herd
happen to have
been in the region
where there's, uh,
a supposed
constitutional loophole,
near the Idaho side?
Or any of your family
or associates?
Deutsch? Speak Deutsch?
It's just right up here.
So if these maps are right,
I think this is pretty much
the line here.
So somewhere around here...
Is the loophole in
the Constitution.
And somewhere around here
is the no loophole
in the Constitution.
So the boundary is
kind of right there.
Most people,
when they hear about it,
they focus on the simple
matters of the case.
Broad strokes.
The murders, the hole
in the Constitution.
And understandably so.
I mean, these are
the boldest parts of the case.
But you can't,
and you really shouldn't
miss the kind of
mind boggling things
that happened from the murders
up until the Court hearing.
All right?
Number one.
Dwayne turns himself in
voluntarily almost immediately.
Number two...
He confesses,
within his rights,
without representation
or legal counsel.
Number three...
He refuses
to plead insanity.
Number four, he refuses to move
the trial.
Now if you add all
those four things up,
and he goes away
for a triple homicide,
you can say, "fine."
But he didn't.
He got away with it.
And not because he
had a fair trial,
or there was reasonable
doubt raised.
But that there was
a hole in the Constitution.
An overlap.
Now you consider those
four things again.
Without them,
he goes away for
a very, very long time.
So you're suggesting that
Dwayne knew exactly
what he was doing?
That's exactly what
I'm suggesting.
Of course, the only person
that's gonna know
the answer to that
is Dwayne.
Why haven't there been
further investigations
into this?
Well, this whole thing was
swept under the rug.
It's an embarrassment.
A hole in the Constitution!
No, I think the right people
leaned in the right places
to make sure that this
all went away
before it became
a National uproar.
So the Government basically
helped a guilty man go free,
is what you're saying?
No. I'm saying
Dwayne helped himself.
This cover up
is just a happy consequence
for him.
When you dig
into Dwayne's past,
you're gonna find a broken,
shattered man.
I don't know.
I watched his interrogation,
his confession.
Was that a man on the edge,
or a man in complete control?
The only person who really
knows what happened that day
is Dwayne.
I decided to head
out to Williston, North Dakota,
to see what the people of
Dwayne's hometown had to say.
Have you heard of
the Yellowstone murders
and Dwayne Nelson?
- Yes.
- Yeah.
You have.
Can I just ask you a quick
question about them?
- Oh, no.
- No?
We really don't wanna
answer any questions.
Okay. Thanks very much anyway.
No, I'm really not interested.
No? Okay, well, thank you.
Sorry, not right now.
I really must run.
- Okay. Thank you.
- Sorry.
Ever heard of Dwayne Nelson
and the Yellowstone murders?
Uh, yeah. Sir, I don't
wanna talk about that.
Can you just answer
just maybe on... no?
People in town were
reluctant to speak at all.
But those closest to Dwayne
before the murders
welcomed us with open arms.
- Hi, Rachel?
- Hi. Yeah.
How are you? Julian.
- Julian? Hi.
- Yeah.
This is Adam.
Come on in.
I'll take your coat.
Okay. Thank you very much.
So you knew Dwayne?
- Yeah.
- Yeah?
- Dwayne and Carol. Yeah.
- Okay.
- They were like family.
- Were they?
- Lovely couple.
- Okay.
After graduating
high school late,
Dwayne married his sweetheart,
Carol Harson, at the age of 23.
She met Dwayne...
Actually we were
in the car together.
And we were going to, uh...
To the bar and...
It was winter
and the car got stuck.
And, um...
I was driving, and she was
out trying to push the car,
and Dwayne came by
and he was sort of like
a knight in shining armor.
I wasn't too sure
about him at first.
He, uh...
He was really quiet.
Like really quiet.
And smart.
But he, uh...
He just was...
He wasn't what I thought
Carol would go for.
He was a great family man.
Him and Carol, they were...
They were close, and...
You know, I...
He's the kind of guy
that you'd wanna
emulate, I guess,
is a good word to use.
You probably had it
growing up, too, that buddy,
you know, that you could
just conversate with.
You know?
There was no dead space
when you spoke with him.
Oh, us going back.
Bear took us into Yellowstone
many times.
I would...
I would tag along when
my family didn't
want me around,
or whatever.
And Dwayne...
Dwayne and Bear,
they went in
pretty much all the time.
Sorry, "Bear"?
Bear, his dad.
He called Bear.
Yeah. He was, uh...
You know, sometimes you get...
When the husband's watching TV,
you know,
the wife's always complaining.
"He's not with us enough.
He's not with us enough."
But you know, Carol,
she just...
She let him be him,
and he let her be her.
Five years
into their marriage,
Carol gave birth to
their first child, Lily.
However, when Lily was only
there was a deadly accident
in their home.
A fire erupted
in their kitchen.
Dwayne heard his child's
screams from outside,
and ran to try to save her.
But the fire had
raged too long.
Lily was already dead,
and Dwayne suffered
third degree burns
on his hands and arms.
It's devastating
when your child dies like that.
I can't imagine myself,
but for them...
It was horrible.
I think Carol somehow dealt
with it better than Dwayne,
in a way.
The scars that he had,
that was like his memory
of her.
He just shut down.
It's remarkable,
I think that their
marriage survived that.
Because lots
of marriages don't,
you know.
When you lose a child, it's...
It's a terrible,
terrible thing.
He was ecstatic, you know,
when Carol became
pregnant again.
You know? But, um...
He was, um...
Absolutely terrified of
losing another child.
If that was
gonna happen, you know,
you'd want it
to happen to like,
and evil person, you know.
But I mean, he was...
He was one of the good guys.
It's terrible.
Then Carol was diagnosed
with cancer.
And she was
four-and-a-half months
She had to make a choice.
Take the chemotherapy and
risk the health of
her baby, or...
When Carol died,
that was it for Dwayne.
He still lived in town, but he
practically disappeared.
Could you
tell me about how
the death of Carol affected you
on a personal level?
She was my best friend.
And I still miss her.
It was hard.
It was hard.
The loss
is just so deep,
that anything you say
is stupid.
You know?
It's gonna get better?
You're gonna say that to him?
It's gonna get better?
'Cause it's not gonna
get better.
I wasn't in touch
with him much,
you know, at that time.
But you know,
that's life, right?
I mean, people drift apart.
That's what happens, man.
Everybody leaves everybody
in the end.
Uh, the baby was...
It was not...
Quite right.
It was premature.
And, uh...
His little lungs
weren't formed properly.
It's understandable that
such a series of tragedies
would change a person.
For him, it...
He had to find a reason
why these things happened.
It was inconceivable
that it could just...
That that could just happen.
I don't blame him
for thinking that.
What I do blame him for
is what he did.
What I blame him for
is the fact that he
sought out a way
to punish us all
for what he thought
happened to him.
There was no way
of contacting Dwayne.
Any numbers I managed to dig up
rang without a machine.
There were no
email addresses, nothing.
Through further research,
I found a PO Box
located in a small town,
just outside
of Windsor, Ontario.
He was living in Canada now.
The more research I did,
the more questions were raised.
After his wife passed,
Dwayne spent a lot of time
at the local library.
We were all
so broken up about it.
After Carol passed,
he never really recovered,
I think.
I didn't wanna pry too much.
And he wasn't the kind of
person who made you
feel comfortable.
He liked it here.
He didn't talk to anybody.
We just left him alone.
Quiet. Quiet guy.
It's a small town,
we all go to church, and...
I think when we found out that
Dwayne had done these things,
there was a real feeling
of betrayal.
How could somebody that
was part of our community
have gone so wrong?
I'll tell you. It was all
anyone talked about
for a long time.
But nobody really wants
to talk about it anymore.
They were three young boys,
you know, and...
I don't know, it's...
I've got a lot of
mixed feelings about
the whole thing, obviously.
Why would he...
Do that?
You know?
He knows what loss is.
Right? He knows what loss is.
He lost Carol, he lost Lily.
You know, these boys,
they're someone's son.
Right? He knows what it's like
to lose a child. He knows.
I was still confused
as to why a seemingly
good natured,
hard working family man
would brutally murder David,
Cody and Thomas.
Three young men,
who by all accounts,
were innocent.
Cody, growing up, was lovely.
He was smart and funny.
Very, uh, very happy kid.
Very open kid.
And wonderful
with other children,
whether they were younger,
older, or his own age.
He was always...
A very compassionate child.
Thomas met Cody at...
They were doing...
They were both going
for their Bronze Cross.
They were trying
to be lifeguards.
And they were both
in the same...
I think they were both in
the same instructor's class.
And they hit it off.
And the next thing I knew,
they were really good friends.
So do you remember
how David met
Cody and Thomas?
David met
Cody and Thomas
in junior high.
He was, um...
He was always very...
Full of life and mischief
and jokes.
He liked to pull
practical jokes on us
and things like that.
I caught them
trying to take the canoe.
And they didn't know
how to use it,
and they weren't wearing
life jackets.
I gave them a rather stern
talking to,
and then immediately jumped
in the canoe myself
to show 'em how to do it,
and capsized the canoe.
That's probably the...
That's probably the most
I've ever seen Cody laugh.
The very nature
of a documentary
is truth and reality.
But what truth
are you presenting?
A murderer's, a Judge's,
your own?
It's a perception of the truth.
What was the real story?
What really happened?
There was no doubt that
Dwayne's story
was heartbreaking.
There was an unrelenting
feeling that something
was missing.
It wasn't that
everything didn't add up.
It added up too perfectly.
Yeah, roll it, man.
It's fine. Yeah.
- Just come over here for
a minute and watch this.
- Okay. What you got?
I want you to see this, man.
Look at this.
When did they
start going up there?
I think Cody and Thomas
were going out there
for a few years
before David joined them.
Did David spend
much time
in Yellowstone on his own?
No, he didn't.
I mean, not to our knowledge.
No, he wasn't the outdoors-man
that Cody was.
In Dwayne's confession
he states that it was David
who suggested the site
that they moved to.
I remember that, but...
Like I told Patrick,
that had to be a mistake.
Cody must have suggested it.
I mean, our boy
wouldn't have known
to go to that spot.
Dwayne specifically said
that it was David who
suggested that site.
I mean, we've got the--
you know, he could have
gotten the name wrong.
Yeah, then he might not
have as well.
I've got the confession
right here.
A transcript of the exact
confession that Dwayne says,
"I was gathering to leave
when Dave suggested
something a little different.
About an hour..."
And blah, blah, blah.
"...that Dave stumbled across
a large area of these
on previous trips."
"Dave suggested
something a little different."
- That's what Dwayne said.
- Okay.
And everything Dwayne says
is so precise
and so specific.
So, wait. You're thinking
there's a connection
between Dwayne and Dave?
A motive?
I'm just thinking that
everything so far
is so clean and so clear,
and this is really
the only whisper
of something that
doesn't compute.
So what are we
doing at 6:27 A.M.?
We got a call
from Theresa Fitzgerald.
The librarian?
The librarian.
She received
a visit last night
as she was closing up,
from Dwayne Nelson.
Theresa hasn't spoken
to anyone in years and years.
And we go to visit her,
and a few days later,
suddenly Dwayne shows up?
You think he's following us?
Well, obviously
he knows about us
and he's worried
about something.
He definitely worried
about something.
I don't know if
there's that much to tell.
So did you feel threatened
at all when he came in?
Oh, no.
No, he's very polite.
It was just a shock.
But he did ask you if you'd
been talking to anyone?
Yeah, he did.
And I told him
about the documentary,
but after all, I only really
talked about Carol when
you interviewed me.
See, what's weird is that
I've contacted everyone
we interviewed,
and Dwayne hasn't tried to
get a hold of any of them.
So I'm wondering
what I'm missing here.
I don't know.
I don't know if there's
anything more to tell.
He came in in the morning,
left at night.
I told him he could...
Sign out anything he wanted,
but he said he preferred
to be in the library.
Was that to be closer to
his wife, do you think?
- Oh, I assumed so.
- Yeah?
The only other people
spent that much time here
are students doing research.
Did he ever take any of
the books home
that he was reading?
Uh, nope.
Not that I can remember.
And if you don't
check a book out,
is there any record
of what you've been reading?
No, of course not.
Do you have any idea
what he was reading?
Like I said, he just
sat in the back.
Where was that again?
Over in the corner there.
Why did Dwayne come back now?
According to Theresa,
he stopped visiting the library
about a year before
he committed the murders,
and had never been back since.
So what was he doing here?
The answer was staring
me in the face.
Something so obvious,
I'd missed it on
the first visit.
Of course he was looking
at the law books, man.
What else are you gonna do
in your local library
law section?
You don't
go to the library,
hoping to find an overlap
in the Constitution.
I mean, one that will allow
you to get way with murder?
No, you don't.
But he must have known about
this loophole beforehand.
Otherwise, it's just
what he says.
It's a bunch of, you know,
that let a guilty man go free.
But, Julian, there are
a ton of cases
where people have gotten off
on ridiculous technicalities.
Yeah, but if we find a motive,
then we can prove Dwayne
orchestrated the entire thing.
Presuming there's
one to be found.
It's like what
Matcek said, man.
It's not a guy who's crazy.
He's in complete control.
Patrick, sorry to
bother you again,
but I just got back
from the Williston Library,
and it seems Dwayne
was just there.
I also found out that Dwayne
spent a lot of time there
before the murders,
in the law section.
I mean, he was looking
at law books.
He was doing research there.
Doesn't that indicate
some sort of premeditation,
or a motive,
or something suspicious?
Okay, but he
comes out of hiding,
and he goes directly
back to the library?
Isn't that also suspicious?
Okay, no. Patrick, I get that.
But can I just ask you
another question here?
There had to be a motive.
There had to be a link between
Dwayne and one of the boys.
I kept coming back
to David Drabeck.
According to Dwayne,
he was the one that
took them all to
the so called "zone of death."
I hope David's mother
might have some answers.
Any connection maybe
through construction?
One more quick question.
Um, did David ever go to
North Dakota for any reason?
Have any friends or family
up there?
And who are we talking
about, Mrs. Drabeck?
What was her name?
Mrs. Drabeck, would you be able
to send me that letter,
do you think?
Earlier today, I got this
letter from Nancy Drabeck.
She sent me the letter
that Kayleigh Brighton sent her
now Kayleigh Brighton...
Is not a photographer.
Kayleigh Brighton...
Is an Environmental Biologist,
at a University that happens
to be right above North Dakota.
Come around here, man.
Check this out.
I typed in Kayleigh's address
earlier today.
And she lives right above
Regina, Saskatchewan.
The three boys are
from Rapid City.
Check out this route.
Look at that.
Right in the middle.
Williston, Dwayne's hometown,
right where we are.
You're ready for
a road trip, buddy?
What are you
hoping to find?
There's a missing link
between Dave and Dwayne.
And I know this girl's got
some answers for us.
Do you realize how
ridiculous this sounds?
This one girl?
And what does this have to
do with Dwayne and Dave
Well, you saw the map.
And I've just got
a good feeling about it.
What do you think
she'll tell you?
I have no idea, man.
But I have three hours
and 26 minutes
to figure it out.
She knows something.
I can't see anything in there.
It's a fucking pig, man.
Look at this.
Hey man, we're looking
for Kayleigh Brighton,
What's the camera for?
Well, we're just hoping
to talk to Kayleigh here
for a second.
What do you wanna talk
to my wife for?
Listen, man,
we drove a long way.
I'm just wondering if
I could talk to Kayleigh
for a second.
Shut your camera off.
Okay. But is she here?
Is she... she your wife?
- Shut your camera off.
- Hey, man.
Listen. Hey, hey, buddy. Hey.
It's up to her,
you understand?
Okay, buddy.
I don't want you
going up there shoving
a camera in her face.
Also, you know, when you
go up there, you make sure
that camera's off.
I'm sorry what
happened to the guys.
But the thing is we don't
have the Internet here.
We didn't. So I just heard
about it on the radio.
That's how we heard about it.
- Right.
- But we...
My parents let me know.
And it was a tragedy.
Definitely devastating.
I mean, I just can't believe
that happened.
Yeah, it's a real shock
I'm sure, to hear that
- about a friend.
- Yeah.
So, okay.
You got me alone.
I don't even know what you're
looking for though.
I mean, to be honest,
I don't know what
I'm looking for either.
I'm just chasing every lead.
But you have no idea
about who Dwayne is, or...
No, I have no idea. I'm sorry.
With, um...
With David, we worked
at camp together,
we hung out with
the same friends.
And I might have been
with him for 10 days total.
And you guys never had
a relationship
or anything like that?
No, we were just friends,
that's it.
All right, Julian,
let's get you miked up.
Here you go.
What are you doing with this?
I watched this
a bunch of times.
I know there's something...
She's like--
She's hiding something
for sure.
Dude, you're reaching, man.
Everything checks out.
It's off, man. Something's
wrong with this.
Come on, man.
It's a dead end.
You know it is.
Here, take this.
We got work to do.
when you're searching for
something so hard,
you'll connect the dots
with wavy lines
and convince yourself
they're straight.
Sometimes they just don't
connect at all.
There's Patrick right there.
- How you doing?
- Okay, good. You?
Could I see those case files
for a moment?
I can't give you
those case files.
I could look at them
in your office
if you want, even.
I'm sorry,
but they're private files.
I know they're
private files, Patrick.
- But could I just look at them,
maybe for a second?
- Sorry, I'm late.
I know there's something
in there, man.
Patrick, maybe I can schedule
something with your assistant?
I had actually accomplished
what I had originally
set out to do,
which was to document
this bizarre murder case.
My opinions had changed,
but a theory is
just speculation.
Without proof,
without an interview,
without any shred of motive,
I was left staring
at the obvious.
This was simply
a freak occurrence,
nothing more.
- Adam.
- What?
Look at this.
We got a package, man.
- Wake up.
- What is it?
Wake up. Come on.
Come on, I'm trying to sleep.
Take this.
Adam, here. Come on.
Take the camera. Let's go.
Come on.
- You rolling.
- It's rolling.
There's nothing in this.
It's a joke?
Do you have a phone on you?
I do.
There's two videos here.
Wait, wait,
wait, wait, wait.
I wanna get one
with all of you.
All right. Come on, you guys.
- Yeah?
- Yeah.
This is something.
- Good?
- Yeah, great.
It's the annual Yellowstone
Boys' Weekend.
All right?
Who the fuck got this?
Holy shit.
No, no, no.
No, no!
Holy fuck!
Ad, who the fuck
dropped this off, man?
Let's figure this out.
Here. Right here.
Let's go down to
the front desk...
- Hello, sir.
- Hi.
- How are you?
- I'm good.
Can I ask a big favor of you?
- So this is this morning?
- Yeah.
Okay. That's 5:15.
- Yeah, there he is.
- Yeah, yeah, yeah.
He's gonna come out over there.
And this is
my door here?
That's Number 15.
Who the fuck is that?
You don't have any other--
nothing where we can
see someone's face?
You might catch his face
on the other...
Who is that?
Is it Dwayne?
All right. This good?
Yeah, it's great.
I watched the videos
for two days straight,
and I didn't catch anything.
But then, anything in life
can be fascinating
when you delve
into the details.
The director,
the crew.
Kraft services...
And beautiful America.
Come here.
- Come here.
- What do you need?
Set up the camera
over here and look at this.
All right,
all right, hold on.
- Quit fucking around.
- I'm coming, dude.
Put that down
and look at this.
Check it out.
You gotta see this.
Yeah. All right.
What am I looking at?
Just leave that alone for now--
Yes, yes.
Look at this, look at this.
You gotta see this.
- What am I supposed to be looking at?
- What's that?
- See that logo right there?
- Yeah, on his jacket.
- Yeah, have you seen
that before?
- No.
You've seen that before.
- Okay.
- Look.
At Dwayne's house,
which is right here...
Look at this.
What's that right there?
That's the same logo.
Yeah, what's that?
That's a water
filtration system
that every house in
this area has.
It's the same company, man.
- It's ENRG. Look at this.
- Whoa, whoa.
That's the same
company, man. ENRG.
It's a fracking company.
Jesus! That's Cody's dad, man.
We might have just
found the motive.
Raymond fucking Gibbs.
Wait, wait, wait.
We were looking at
the wrong guy the whole time.
The City of Williston has
avoided the current
economic crisis
due largely to the success
of an old fashioned oil boom.
Improvements in drilling
have introduced the process
of hydraulic fracturing,
otherwise known as "fracking."
It's a controversial process,
but it's used in abundance
in North Dakota,
specifically in Williston.
Fracking is
a destructive process
that is used
to extract natural gas
from rock that lies
deep underground.
A well is drilled,
and millions of gallons
of toxic fluid
is injected.
A mix of water,
sand and chemicals,
at a high enough pressure
to fracture the rock
and release the gas.
Fracking is currently exempt
from major environmental laws,
including the Safe
Drinking Water Act.
Toxic spills and gas leaks
are far too common.
It's a process that destroys
our land
and puts us all at risk.
I recently filmed a documentary
"Trouble in the Peace".
In it, I examined this
very same issue
in a small farming town
in northern British Columbia.
A single father's struggles
to protect his daughter
from the dangers that
a fracking company
have brought to his community.
It's difficult. And yeah,
sometimes it's
really discouraging
and we think...
Why bother anymore?
And it's... I don't know.
I don't wanna be a coward.
Dwayne Nelson's
daughter died
from an unexplained fire
in the kitchen sink.
Dwayne's wife developed cancer
after receiving a clean
bill of health a year
and a half earlier.
Dwayne's son was born
with several birth defects,
likely caused by harmful
chemicals ingested
during pregnancy.
Was all this
just a coincidence?
Or were these murders
an elaborate act
of revenge?
Please enter your password.
- Still rolling?
- Rolling.
You have one saved message.
Okay, get this.
To review your messages--
first saved message.
End of message.
To replay this message,
press one.
Isn't there some
kind of law
that's protecting him?
Like a double jeopardy
or something like that?
What's "empanelled" mean?
But with a motive, then--
Holy shit. Okay.
Yeah, unless he gave us
that footage out of guilt,
and he wants to confess.
Okay, thanks a lot,
Patrick, I appreciate it.
Like hell.
What do you mean?
Like hell we're gonna give
the footage to the authorities
- and let them handle--
- we're gonna give the footage
to the authorities.
"We" who?
Us. You and I.
We're gonna do
the Dwayne interview
because we have
the opportunity to do it.
If you do this, I'm walking.
But we're here to do
the Dwayne interview.
That's the whole point
of this story.
Get the fuck out
of my way.
Fuck off.
- Come on, soldier.
- Yeah, yeah.
This is insane, dude.
What do you mean
this is insane?
This is what
we came here for, man.
Do you realize
the guy is following us,
and he's a murderer?
We came here with a purpose.
We are following a story.
A purpose to stay alive.
You heard Patrick, all right.
If he admits to a motive,
he's not protected anymore.
So we're gonna walk away now
after all this time?
Yeah, we're sitting ducks.
We came all this fucking way.
You know what? Fuck you.
Stop being a pussy.
Things finally started
to makes sense.
The more I thought about
all the events,
the more I began to comprehend
how Dwayne got away with murder.
There was the connection
to Raymond Gibbs and his son.
But Dwayne killed three boys.
That was the scary part.
Ingeniously scary.
If he killed Cody alone,
it's far easier to draw
the lines together.
So he diluted the motive.
Kill Cody, you have murder
and motive.
Kill them all, it's a random
act of violent insanity.
Adam did have a point.
I decided to take a copy
of the footage
and a letter to the cops,
in case anything happened.
When I started
this documentary,
it was a passion project
based on a crazy story.
It's not a story,
it's a tragedy.
But I never thought
it would lead to this.
I never though I would
fear for my life.
That's it, right there.
When I get there,
shut that down.
He was very,
very adamant about...
The fact that he'll tell us
where to set up and what to do.
You all right?
I'm fine.
I know you don't wanna be here.
Dude, I'm fine.
Jesus! Where the fuck
does this man live?
All right. Shut it off.
Let's do this.
Where's your camera guy?
It's just me and you.
This isn't an interview, is it?
No, it's not.
- Where is your son?
- Oh...
Just leave my son out of this.
Okay, you've got
something to say,
so why don't you just say it?
You don't need me here.
It's not true. I do need you.
I think that if you
see something
that is completely
wrong and unjust,
you have a philosophical
moral obligation
to speak up against it,
even if you cannot change it.
You've seen my film.
I've seen
a lot of things, Julian.
And nothing's changed.
But an eye for an eye?
Is that really your answer?
Are you even now with Raymond?
If a child is ripped away
from you like that...
There's no replacing it.
There's no eye for an eye.
But you are a murderer now.
I didn't ask to be
a part of it.
But as I man,
as a husband and as a father,
you do what's necessary.
You found it necessary
to kill three innocent boys?
These people get away
with murder every day.
Hell, you made documentaries
about it.
But you're
just sitting there...
You're sitting there
and you're judging me,
just like everyone else.
Those people, they...
They manipulate the laws.
And you can speak up,
you can...
You can protest.
It doesn't matter.
I'm just the first guy
to play their...
Their game by their rules.
Are you saying
that you planned
and carried out the murder
of Raymond Gibbs' son?
Julian, I'm saying
Raymond Gibbs hasn't
suffered enough.
It still doesn't hide the fact
that you killed Thomas Burnett
and David Drabeck.
Do you think I'm a monster?
You murdered three boys.
And you filmed it.
Yeah, I watch that film
every day.
I watch that film every day.
Because if I didn't,
I would not have
the strength to...
Okay, Dwayne, we'll take
a break if you want.
Dwayne! Jesus!
Dwayne! Oh, shit! Adam!
Holy shit.
Holy shit, dude.
- Call an ambulance.
- Are you okay?
Call an ambulance.
I am, I am.
What the fuck.
His kid's in the back.
What did you do, man?
...camera guy?
It's just you and me.
That's good.
This isn't an interview, is it?
No, it's not.
Are you saying that--
I wanted something good
to come from this.
I thought that I would
find it in the truth.
Raymond Gibbs
hasn't suffered enough.
Some people
congratulated me on
getting to Dwayne.
Cornering him into the truth.
Jesus! Fuck!
Dwayne! Holy shit! Adam!
But there's more to it
than that.
Holy shit.
Holy shit, dude!
Are you okay?
Call an ambulance.
I am, I am.
What the fuck.
His kid's in the back.
Dwayne's son
had died two months earlier.
About the same time I had
received the anonymous email
about the Yellowstone Murders.
Losing his son
was the final straw.
Dwayne was clinging
to his son's life
more than he was
clinging to his own.
When I returned home,
I had another email
from chasingbisonbear.
No subject, no message.
That image was always
a metaphor for me.
The chase through Yellowstone.
But I never fully understood
if I was the bear,
or if I was the bison.
The hunter or the hunted.
Now I realize I was neither.
I was just the guy
with the camera,
who captured the story.
...or whatever.
And Dwayne...
Dwayne and Bear,
they went in
pretty much all the time.
Sorry, "Bear"?
Bear, yeah. Barry was his dad.
Dad's just a...
Barry was his dad.
Unlike me, Dwayne actually
looked up to his father.
I should have
paid more attention
to the email address
from the beginning.
Two names appear under
the handle "Bison Barry".
One, a sports director
from a University
radio station in Cleveland,
the other a part time writer
for the West Yellowstone
back in the '70s.
His full name,
Barry Robert Nelson.
Father to Dwayne Nelson.
What caught my eye most
was one article in particular,
written back in 1978.
"Idaho - Population Zero."
...as the Yellowstone murderer
was found dead in his home
early this morning.
Police have yet to reveal
the full details
surrounding his death,
but early reports
suggests suicide.
The whole time,
I believed that Dwayne
wanted to admit the truth.
But as way to cleanse his soul.
Now I know that this was
all part of his plan.
Everything from the get go
had been on his terms.
The murders, the loophole.
Even this film.
He wanted revenge, he got it.
He wanted the truth out there,
he got that, too.
He used me,
he used the Justice System,
he used us all.
I struggled a lot with whether
I should release this film,
and whose story
I was trying to tell.
I wanted something good
to come from this.
I thought that I would find it
in the truth.
The truth was worse.
One man picked a fight with
a multi-million dollar company,
whose fracking process
was poisoning his home
and killing his family.
But nobody won here.
Not at the expense
of a man's life,
his family's,
and three young men.
I think there's a lot more
to it than even
Dwayne's letting on.
You know, maybe something that
can shed a better light.
That's Dwayne.
He's just gonna bottle it up
and tell you what you need.
Bye bye.
- Muah!
- Muah!
I love you, dada.
Love you, dada.
Oh, so sweet.
The fact that he
could kill those three boys
seems unreal to me.
You know, you put a man
through what he went through,
I guess everybody would
have a breaking point, so...
Yellowstone National Park.
Around every corner
is a reminder
of how still life can be.
How vast it can be.
How true it can be.
Until it isn't.