CSI: Crime Scene Investigation s09e21 Episode Script

If I Had A Hammer…

I never did get to tell my side of the story.
I was accused of a crime I did not commit, I was held without bail in the East Clark County Detention Center, awaiting trial.
I'd never been to jail before.
It's not a place you want to be.
The prosecution called on my cellmate to testify against me.
He told them that I had confessed to the murder of Thomas Harrot.
It was a lie.
In exchange for his testimony, my cellmate got a suspended sentence.
I wanted to take the stand, but my public defender told me it was a bad idea, and I trusted him.
I thought jail was hell.
Then I got to the state pen.
I've been there for 18 years.
After being denied parole in 2000, I began studying the law.
I figured if nobody was gonna help me, I had to do it myself.
And I discovered there were a lot of other innocent men like me in prison.
There were new ways to prove that.
Then two years ago, I ran into my cellmate again, and he revealed to me that the testimony against me had been his lawyer's idea.
Everybody on the ground! That's when I discovered that we had the same lawyer- the late Benjamin Tripp, Esquire.
Your Honors, my court-appointed lawyer conspired against me, and the county prosecutor just looked the other way.
Now, this was more than a conflict of interest.
This was collusion.
I was denied my constitutional right to a fair trial.
Under the law, I'm entitled to have my day in court.
It was 1991, the night of the Rampart Casino fire.
My first solo.
The victim, Thomas Harrot, called 911 to report an intruder in his house.
He was 91 years old and he lived alone.
First officer on the scene found him down on the floor.
Blunt force trauma to the head.
A rock was used to break a window, and that appeared to be the point of entry.
The State Supreme Court has granted Jeremy Kent a new trial.
The standards and documentation have changed substantially since '91, so we're going to reexamine all my old evidence.
The house was demo'd six months ago, but I still have the crime scene sketch, so I can walk you through it.
The house is dark.
There's no car out front.
Harrot hadn't driven since he was 85.
So, to Kent, the place must've looked empty.
Well, it says here two nearby houses were also burglarized around the same time.
The first one was on Crawford, and the second one on Skidmore.
Lights out.
No cars.
And a rock used to break the window.
A witness on Crawford saw a man running down the driveway.
Recognized him as a neighborhood kid and picked Kent out of a lineup.
Other than the rocks, was there any evidence of Kent at the other two houses? No.
The only physical evidence that led to the suspect was the print on the rock that I found right here.
Kent came here to burg the place.
Yeah, and his plans changed when he ran into Mr.
Get out of my house! Old man.
Half deaf.
Half blind.
Harrot wasn'a threat.
There was no need to kill him.
I always thought that tipped the jury.
Did you recover a murder weapon? No.
But the depression fractures on the victim's skull suggested a hammer.
Follow me.
So, there's an alley here.
There was obviously a number of shoe impressions that evening, but this particular one was right here.
It was unique because it was fresh and it was facing the fence.
Now, Harrot's neighbors reported that their motion light came on.
So, I figured that maybe the suspect jumped the fence.
So, I searched the yard.
I didn't find any shoe impressions on the other side of the fence.
So, all you had was an eyewitness who was a half a mile away, testimony from Jeremy Kent's ex-cellmate, and a single fingerprint from a rock.
Back then it was enough.
You got it figured out? Legal just put this on my desk.
I've been subpoenaed BY JEREMY KENT.
He's requesting a pretrial conference.
Yeah, he probably wants to talk to you about how he got life based on a rock.
CSI 921 ·­Òë: У Ô: ʱ¼äÖá:´ó ¬¹Ï»©À²À²À² Someone tried to get in my house.
Are they still there, sir? Sir? I hear someone in the other room.
I need the police.
I'm all alone.
What is your address? I'm dispatching a unit.
Please remain on the phone, sir.
I'll be right back.
No, sir I'm going to see who's out there.
- Be right back.
- Sir! Stay with me, sir When the first officers arrived, the phone was still off the hook.
- Does that mean we have the murder on tape? - No.
The victim's bedroom faced the street, so all we've got is a lot of sirens passing by.
Figure they were going to the fire.
Fortunately, audio analysis has come a long way since '91.
Be right back.
Play it again.
Be right back.
Sir? Stay with me, sir - Listen to the low end of the frequency.
- Does that sound like an engine to you? Yeah.
I think I can isolate and amplify that.
It's closer to the phone than the sirens.
So, it had to be right outside the bedroom.
Three minutes into the call? Cops didn't arrive for almost 25.
Can you match that engine to a specific make and model? Like the, uh, suspect's I can try.
Two depressed circular fractures of the frontal skull.
Sam Barnard conducted the autopsy.
Minimal documentation.
Listed COD as intracranial hemorrhaging.
Can we call Dr.
Barnard for a consult? Passed away in '98.
Loved chili dogs, but his arteries didn't.
All right, two fractured ribs on the left side.
A third fracture on the right, and a dislocation from the vertebral column.
Barnard attributed all of these other injuries to the fall after the attack.
That's ridiculous.
A 90-year-old man may have bones like eggshells, but he can't possibly fall on his left side and his right side at the same time.
Logic dictates that the thoracic injuries were sustained prior to the head blow.
Beaten, then killed.
You couldn't get away with this quality of work today.
I dug up the original ME's notes.
And what did the good doctor have to say about the hairline fractures to the femur and the tibia? He described them as age-related, osteoporotic degeneration.
They could've just as easily been caused by a struggle.
At the time you investigated the Harrot murder, how long had you been employed by Las Vegas PD? Oh, that's all? Prior to the Thomas Harrot murder, you always worked under a supervisor? - Yes.
- So, this case was your first unsupervised investigation? It was my first solo case.
But all my casework was reviewed by my supervisor.
Well, regardless, it was in your best interest to get a conviction? I don't deal in convictions.
That's for the jury.
Still worked out pretty good for you.
Better than it did for me.
Is that a question? Oh, I'm sorry if I'm wasting your time here.
It's just I've been in here for 18 years for something I didn't do.
So, all I've got is time.
You know, I met a drug dealer in here who knew your husband, Eddie Willows.
Apparently, he was a very good customer.
I heard he died.
My condolences.
I'm sorry, what was the question? Were you taking any drugs, legal or illegal, at the time you were processing this crime scene? - No.
- Was it because you were pregnant? How is your daughter? How is that relevant? Oh, I'm laying a foundation.
That's how we refer to it in the legal community.
Now, having a child is a life-altering experience.
Did your pregnancy influence your judgment? No.
So, your condition didn't impose any-any limits to the chemicals you could use in processing the crime scene? No, all the evidence I collected was bagged and tagged, and all the tests were conducted by the experts.
Who, like yourself, are all employees of the Las Vegas Police Department and, thefore, inclined to give their employer the answers they want.
I don't trust your lab results.
EVIDENCE AREA RUG, HARROT RESIDENCE Which is why you can exercise your right to hire the expert of your choosing to reexamine the evidence.
Right, at my own expense.
You see, I haven't earned that much money in the last 18 years.
I got the blood exemplar for Thomas Harrot from cold storage, but the lab wasn't doing DNA back then, so Catherine's got to get a buccal sample from the suspeCT.
What are you looking for? The blood stains that Catherine analyzed are consistent with the victim, but the lab didn't have ALS until 1995.
So, I'm thinking it's possible that there was an area of non-visible blood from the suspect that Catherine couldn't see.
What does that look like to you? A giant sperm cell.
Maybe a big comma.
Catherine never recovered the murder weapon, but she always suspected that it was a hammer.
Speaking of evidence, per the ASCLD regulations, all current evidence examinations must meet the 2009 forensic standards.
You've done your homework.
Which brings me to the only physical piece of evidenCE we have in this case, which is item number CW-2, the rock which you claim you found in Mr.
Harrot's living room.
Now, I was convicted on a five point of minutia match, which, per ASCLD regulations, is far from conclusive today.
Which makes the print more prejudicial than probative.
I maintain that that print belongs to the real killer of Thomas Harrot.
And I am filing a motion with the court to have the rock excluded.
Have you got anything else? EMPLOYEES MUST DISPLAY BADGE WHILE ON PREMISES Hey, we got a big problem.
Bigger than, crime is up, and our budget is down? Jeremy Kent is filing a motion to throw out the only physical evidence linking him to the crime scene.
Ah, the infamous rock, huh? Yeah.
ADA says that it could be up to the judge.
Was your ridge structure faded or broken? How strong are your points of identification? Well, strong enough to confirm an ID and get a conviction.
- Catherine.
- Okay.
It wasn't a road map.
It was a difficult comparison.
Then, let's not take a chance on losing this.
Oh, I know.
I know.
Go back to the rock.
MATCH FOUND I reexamined the rock.
Enhanced the ridge detail in Photoshop, which we didn't have in '91.
I developed a unique pattern within the core and matched it to Kent's ten card print.
Is that a smiley face? You don't see those every day.
He lied.
He was there.
I have something, too.
It's a theory.
Um, we'll need to go back to the scene.
The toe end of the impression was deeper than the heel end, which tells me that the toe exerted more pressure than the heel.
Which wouldn't have been the case if Kent was just standing here.
How tall is he? He's about your height.
I can't see over the fence, unless - I missed that.
- The neighbors' motion sensor light went off, right? Yes.
But you found no evidence of the suspect being in their yard? Right.
Yet something had to set it off.
Maybe he Maybe he tossed the weapon.
Well, I searched the yard, and I went back the next day and searched it again, and The first thing Grissom taught me- people never look up.
Ray! I've seen some crazy stuff in my day, but this has got to take the prize.
- Smoking hammer in a tree.
- Yes.
You remember how tall this tree was back in '91? I think it was just below the roof line.
- Jury's never gonna believe this - No.
unless we document the hell out of it.
So, let's go back and get the video camera and the chain saw.
I sent a copy of the videotape over to the DA's office.
I think we may have Kent's prints in the victim's blood.
Over time, the bark Must have encapsulated the prints like a fossil.
Ray, if this is the murder weapon, we have Kent dead to rights.
According to Wendy, the blood on the murder weapon was from Thomas Harrot.
It's all coming together.
Just give me the results.
I get it.
You're a little touchy because you missed something the first time.
Murder weapon, which was your whole case.
But, as of now, Catherine Willows, you are a rock star.
Am I going to be able to explain this to the jury? You know, I'm available for court testimony, if needed.
Okay? Now, first, I chemically tested the metal part of the hammer, and I found ferric oxide.
While not specific, it does indicate that the hammer was exposed to the elements for a long period of time.
Next, I documented the growth of the tree around the hammer using photos from the original crime scene, and the photos that you took today.
Quercus agrifolia- desert oak- grows about six to eight inches a year, which means that your tree probably grew about nine feet in 18 years.
A bark collar grew around the hammer during that period of time, which confirms that the hammer was in the tree for many years.
And therefore, no one can accuse you of planting it.
Pardon the pun.
Unfortunately, the scientific improbability of getting a viable print or DNA is a completely separate issue, but I'll back you.
Good to know.
- Hey, Catherine.
- Did you get any usable prints off the hammer? Yeah.
Neither one of them is a match to Jeremy Kent.
What? Yeah, I did a visual comparison.
Mandy peer reviewed.
I'm sorry, Catherine.
It just It isn't him.
When Kent discovers you found the murder weapon with someone else's prints on it, he's going to fast track himself to an acquittal.
We have the print on the rock, which still puts him at the scene.
But Kent's prints aren't on the hammer.
So, clearly, there was an accomplice who probably committed the murder.
Who we still need to identify.
Okay, pretrial hearing is in 48 hours.
You're gonna have to reveal the prints then.
It would be nice if Kent would give us a name.
Yeah, well, why would he? He's kept it a secret for 18 years.
Then ask without asking.
Sweat him with the rock evidence.
The judge denied your motion.
The rock's back in play.
I reexamined the rock.
I enhanced the fingerprint and photoed it.
And this time around I found several highly unique points of comparison, including this happy face pattern.
Which is an exact match to your print.
And that print puts you at the crime scene.
You were there.
You killed Thomas Harrot.
Kent, if there's another explanation, other than the obvious, now would be a good time to come clean.
Once you're wearing these, nobody believes anything that you have to say.
Try me.
I was there, but I didn't kill the guy.
I needed to make some fast money.
I broke into those other two houses.
I picked them because it looked like nobody was at home.
The old man's house was my third stop.
I went inside, there's a body on the floor.
I got the hell out of there.
Why not just call 911? Yeah, "Hello, I just broke into a house "and I found a dead body on the floor.
Oh, yeah, yeah, I'll just wait right here for you.
" Look, I was a reckless punk and I messed up big-time.
I broke the law.
But I did not kill that old man.
Somebody else did that.
Why didn't you mention this Because my lawyer advised me not to admit that I was at the scene of the crime.
It was the only honest piece of advice he ever gave me.
You know what would give your story more credibility? If you could ID the other suspect.
Lady, if I would've seen him, that would've been the first thing out of my mouth.
But whoever killed Harrot was long gone by the time I got there.
We're done here.
Oh, sure, yeah.
Why would you admit to making a mistake that cost me the last 18 years of my life? All I want is my life back.
Is that asking too much? Hey.
Thanks for coming by.
Sure, you bet.
So, we're all just passengers on the time TRain.
Well, you got that right.
So, you hit a snag.
Well, Jeremy Kent now admits that he was at the Harrot house.
And when he got there, the old man was already dead.
I call that "perp fiction.
" The problem is, is that his story is consistent with the new evidence I have yet to disclose.
Oh, come on, Catherine, you know I had this guy pegged as the bad guy the minute I laid eyes on him What if he's telling the truth? Wrong place, wrong time.
Oh, you gotta tune that out.
That's all bull.
All that matters is what you got on him.
Now, these guys lie because, well, because they're good at it and because they're hiding something.
And the thing they're hiding is usually the thing that makes them guilty.
A million years ago, uh, back when Eddie and I first started dating, we, uh, went to a party and, um, you know, we drank our fair share and it was time to leave and he tosses me the keys 'cause I'm the responsible one.
So, you know, I'm driving and he starts singing this stupid song, which I've completely blanked from my memory, and one moment I'm just laughing hysterically and the next he has grabbed the wheel from my hands because I almost ran over a man.
And in that moment my life would've changed completely.
Because of a bad decision.
So What makes me any different than Jeremy Kent? You know, Eddie was right.
You are the responsible one.
And if you had hit that guy, you would've called the cops.
Because you would've taken responsibility for your actions.
Now, Jeremy Kent ??? He's a scumbag.
His freedom, his whole life depends upon getting you to doubt yourself.
Don't let him live rent free in your head.
I need your help.
I want to run the case.
The question: Does the evidence support my initial conclusion that Jeremy Kent killed Thomas Harrot? I'll start.
The print on the rock is even stronger than before.
The broken window was the only sign of forced entry and Kent admits to it.
Unknown shoe impression at the victim's yard.
Same size but never matched to any of Jeremy Kent's shoes.
That makes it equivocal.
Archie is still working on the 911 tape, trying to match the engine noise to Kent's car.
Neither one is a match to Kent.
Sounds like that would exclude him.
What if What if he really did kill the old man and a second suspect tossed the hammer over the fence? An accomplice would make sense.
Seven out of ten breaking and entering cases in Las Vegas involve multiple suspects.
That would mean that the second suspect probably touched it last, which is why we only got his prints.
If there was an accomplice, why didn't Kent give him up? Because sometimes there is honor among thieves.
If he knew he was going down, why drag someone else down with him? I don't know about that.
If any of these guys thought they could cut a deal, they'd roll over on their mother.
I think you're both right.
People are motivated by self-interest.
But there are certain human bonds that trump even our base instincts- love, blood, fear.
Right, there's people I love but I wouldn't go to prison for any of them.
My money's on fear.
So, what would Kent have to be afraid of? He wasn't connected to a gang or organized crime.
What about his family? He was living on his own.
His closest relative was an uncle.
Sometimes your friends are your family.
Did you check the prison visitor log? The DA said that he's never had any visitors.
Kent never made it to college.
Most of his friends were probably from high school.
Okay, I'll call the high school, get his yearbooks, see if any of his old teachers still work there.
We find the accomplice, we find the truth.
- Hey, Arch.
- Hey.
- Got your text.
- Check this out.
A forensic auto expert sent me over an engine signature database.
So, I compared the noise on the 911 tape to a Pontiac 6000.
No match.
That's okay.
We have a new theory that Kent had an accomplice.
Maybe the car on the tape belongs to him.
Well, that explains a lot.
Hear that jingling sound? Yeah, like, uh, - keys shaking together.
- Mm-hmm.
That's a heat riser from a '60s or '70s-era Dodge engine.
Now from zero to 27 seconds, PLAYBACK that jingling is constant.
Tells me the car was idling.
Maybe one of them went into the house while the other one waited in the car.
Look, at 27 seconds, the engine revs up and down.
Somebody's hitting the gas.
At 27 seconds, Thomas Harrot was on the phone with the 911 operator saying someone was already in his house.
Listen to this.
At two minutes and 45 seconds into the tape, the Dodge revs and drives away.
And then 10 seconds before that Wait, slow that down.
Play it again.
Car doors slamming? Two separate doors.
There was definitely two of them.
So, we know at some point they were both out of the car.
Question is, were they both in the house? Something about the hammer prints wasn't really sitting right with me, so I reexamined it.
Now, the full print on the shaft, that's a no-brainer, that's clearly not Kent's.
But the partial? That's a different story altogether.
Check out the, uh, the top edge here.
That's not print surface, that's regular skin.
I think the suspect was holding the hammer like this.
You can see the inside edge of my pinky is covering the base.
There could've been other prints, but they weren't in blood so they wouldn't have been preserved over time.
You only got a ten card on Kent.
That doesn't include the inside of his fingers.
Need to get some major case prints on this guy.
That partial could be his.
Thank you, Nick.
You're welcome.
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE Let me guess- you still go through your high school yearbooks? Like you don't? I can't.
I burnt them.
It was very cathartic.
Oh, look, here he is.
Jeremy Kent and Sabrina Littee.
You know, Archie identified a Dodge from the 911 tape.
This could be it.
That's not just any Dodge.
That's a '68 Super Bee.
Classic muscle car.
- We got the license.
- Yeah.
The car is registered to an Arthur Littee from 1988 to 1993.
Want to bet she's his daughter? Maybe Sabrina took Daddy's car out for a night out on the town.
I'll call Brass.
Hello, young man.
I'm a police officer.
I'm looking for Sabrina Owen.
Hey, Mom, somebody's at the door! And tell Sam and Katie to hurry up! - Hi.
- Oh, uh, hi.
I'm I'm Detective Jim Brass, Las Vegas Police.
Are you Sabrina Owen, used to be Sabrina Littee? Yes.
Can I help you? Yeah, I'd like to ask you a few questions about Jeremy Kent.
- Hey! - Hey, hey, hey, guys.
Uh-uh, slow down.
- You're on the pink team.
- Sorry.
Yes, yes.
Jeremy Kent.
Wow, I haven't I haven't heard that name in such a long time.
I'll bet.
Isn't he, um, isn't he in prison? Well, he's trying to get out.
He's been granted a new trial.
I'm just doing some routine follow up.
I know the two of you went to high school together.
What can you tell me about him? I remember he liked to play up his bad boy rep to impress the girls.
Did it work? Did it work on you? Uh, no.
I mean, he definitely tried, so.
I mean, the truth is, I didn't really know him that well.
Then how come he was driving your father's Super Bee the night he killed Thomas Harrot? Mom! We're going to be late! Just a minute.
Okay, look Jeremy and I were dating, but nobody knew.
We kept it a secret.
Why? Because I wanted it that way.
He wasn't my type, and that was the appeal.
You know how it is.
What about the car? So, yeah, yeah, I-I let Jeremy use the car sometimes.
I didn't know how to say no to him.
Where were you the night of the murder? I was at home with my parents - watching news coverage of the Rampart fire.
- Mom! I'm going to need some contact information on them.
Mom, we're going to be late! Just a minute! Mountain View Cemetery, plot 921.
Look, I'm sorry.
Look, my husband's an attorney.
So, don't talk to me, talk to him.
No, no, I understand.
I understand.
I totally understand.
Listen, this is a, uh this is a warrant for the Super Bee.
According to the DMV, it's currently registered to you now.
So, we're going to take the car.
I think we' got something.
That look like blood? What are the odds that's window glass from the house? About the same as finding a hammer in a tree.
The elemental composition of the glass that you found in the car is indistinguishable from the exemplars that you collected 18 years ago.
Also both had traces of diazinon.
Insecticide? Yes, indeedy.
Which was banned in 1999.
So I'll give you a money-back guarantee that this piece of glass was once part of the victim's living room window.
Hey, I just got your results.
She's fast, but she's thorough.
Um, the blood on the glass did not belong to Jeremy Kent.
It was female, and it wasn't in CODIS.
Okay, so, we know that Kent and his accomplice both entered the house through the broken window.
Didn't the getaway car belong to his girlfriend? Yeah.
We have DNA that puts your wife at the crime scene.
You were there with jeremy, weren't you? Don't answer that.
You better come up with some answers or you're not going anywhere.
Jeremy got me pregnant Don't say a word.
My client was a 16-year-old kid who got mixed up with the wrong guy.
But she got herself straightened out.
We've been married for 15 years.
I adopted our son Tyler.
There's no conspiracy here.
And we're here as a courtesy.
So, either you charge her or we walk.
Who are you- the lawyer or the husband? Which one is it? i want to talk.
Not until we have an agreement.
No, honey, I want to talk.
Jeremy got me pregnant.
I couldn't tell my parents about the baby.
He said we could move to LA, start over.
We didn't have the money.
He promised me that he was going to get the money and I was naive, you know.
I was naive to believe him.
So you were with him when he robbed those houses? Sabrina, I am advising you not to say anything else.
I waited in the car.
You didn't wait in the car at Thomas Harrot's house.
I did.
At first.
The house was supposed to be empty.
But then, I heard Jeremy's voice and I knew something was wrong.
So what happened when you went inside? I saw the old man lying on the floor.
And Jeremy was standing over him holding a hammer.
He was already dead.
We have your fingerprints in blood on that hammer.
You're lying.
Get out of my house! I didn't kill him.
No, no, no.
Jeremy gave me the hammer to throw away.
You believe me, don't you? Counselor, why don't you explain to your client the felony murderule Why don't you explain it to her? 'Cause I don't know who you are anymore.
Baby Honey, don't leave me.
Honey, please don't leave me.
Baby, I'm begging you.
Baby, please don't leave me! Oh, God! Sit down.
Sit down.
Oh, my God! The felony murder rule states that when a murder is committed, during the commission of a felony, like a burglary, all the participants can be charged with first-degree murder regardless of who actually swings the hammer.
Let me lay out our case that we have against you and your accomplice.
Due to the granting of your new trial, the lab reopened your case.
We found the murder weapon, a claw hammer.
And we found your print on the base of the handle of that hammer.
And we found your accomplice's print in blood on the body of that handle.
We've identified your accomplice as Sabrina Owen, formerly Sabrina Littee your girlfriend at the time of the murder.
And she's made a full statement implicating you as the killer of Mr.
Thomas Harrot.
You're freaking lying to me.
These are copies of all pertinent documents, as well as a transcript of Mrs.
Owen's sworn confession.
"I saw the old man on the floor.
"Jeremy was standing over him, holding a hammer.
He was already dead.
" I can't believe she would do this to me.
Yeah, you protected her for 18 years and she sold you out in five minutes.
I kept my mouth shut so my kid would have a mother.
Everything I've done I did for them.
Why did you ask for a new trial? You had to have known that we might find out about Sabrina.
No, I didn't.
Not after all this time.
Then why? 'Cause I'm entitled to a fair trial.
But you're still guilty.
I just think it was more than that.
I mean, you've been in here for with your kid, living a normal life.
I think you just got tired of having to pay for the crime all by yourself.
All I think about in here is that kid who has no idea I even exist.
Sabrina never visited me once.
She never wrote.
She never even sent a photo of my girl or boy.
I don't even I don't even know a name.
Your son's name is Tyler.
Did Sabrina cut a deal? No deal.
She's been charged.
She'll stand trial.
So, she'll testify against me.
That's up to the DA.
Well, you tell the DA to make sure that happens.
You're hoping that your son will be there.
Might be the only chance I have in my life to see him.
That's not right.
Maybe not.
But you had a choice.
Thomas Harrot didn't.
I'm saving my sympathy for him.