No One Saw A Thing (2019) s01e02 Episode Script

Conspiracy of Silence

(newscaster) It is said that there are no secrets in a small town.
But in Skidmore, those who know who killed Ken Rex McElroy won't say.
(man) Nobody deserves to be murdered.
However Ken McElroy terrorized the town of Skidmore, Missouri, for more than ten years, then in broad daylight, with more than 45 people watching, Ken McElroy was gunned down and killed.
But nobody saw a thing, and nobody did anything.
(woman) This town was so full of sin.
It was proud they had killed him.
(reporter) If they catch somebody, would you feel that justice has been done? No, because there was a whole town.
(man) That was the one mistake that they made.
They didn't kill his wife.
I would've killed his wife.
(dramatic music) (reporter) Mrs.
McElroy, I know this is upsetting to you.
I turned around and and he had been shot.
And I opened the door and they said The man told me to stay in there, they wanted to shoot me too.
(reporter) Yes.
I am.
I have been wondering why they haven't done anything.
(female reporter) Yes, I do.
Yes, I do.
(Richard laughs) Nothing.
(female interviewer continues) (Trena) Oh, yes.
(Trena) They haven't done nothing.
(reporter) Not in Nodaway County, no.
(Trena) I don't know what their problem is, but I know who did it.
I do not know.
(reporter 2) No, I do not want to go out of county.
I don't believe that I'd be safe there.
(reporter 3) (Richard) Can we take a break just a minute, fellas? (dramatic music) (Kirby) Trena was devoted to Ken, in a sick way, clear all the way through to the end.
After McElroy was killed, she she was still fighting for him.
(reporter) This is the tale of a small farm town, Skidmore, Missouri, and the bad brazen bully who terrorized its people.
Kenneth Rex McElroy was 47 years old, and was known far and wide as the meanest man in Nodaway County.
(reporter 2) His widow, Trena McElroy, says he was a loving father and a kind husband.
She was there at the D&G bar with him when he was shot.
(Cheryl) The first time I actually had anybody ask me anything about Ken McElroy was when I was a freshman in high school.
My mom asked me if I had seen Trena McCloud get on and off the school bus and go with anybody, and I hadn't, 'cause I wasn't paying attention.
(Leona) My daughter and her used to go to school together.
So she says "That girl's gonna get in trouble," and I said "What do you mean?" She said she met Ken McElroy down at the Four Corners from Maitland.
She couldn't wait till she got in that truck with him.
(Cheryl) We started hearing that he was picking Trena up from school and then taking her back to get on the bus going home.
And it wasn't long after that that she dropped out of school.
(Leona) She loved him.
She followed him.
I mean she followed him.
They were lovers.
Over his life, he had five wives, and anywhere between 16 to 19 children.
That's a lot of McElroys.
(Toni) Well, it's really no big secret that Dad was seeing womn that were a lot younger.
Fourteen I would say was probably pretty close to average.
The story on it was that they wanted to get married, and parents said no, he's 'cause he was still married at the time he was asking about it.
(Toni) Dad hooked up with Trena, they were kind of sharing Dad for a minute, and Trena got upset because Dad would not stop seeing his wife, and that's when the whole rape thing came in.
(reporter) They began seeing each other when she was 14.
At 16, she accused him of rape.
(Tom) They said he raped her.
You know, I don't know that for sure.
You know, he'd asked for consent from her parents again, and they said, "No, you can't marry him", and next thing you knew their house burned down.
(fire crackling) (Toni) None of that was true.
That was made up (bleep).
I don't believe my dad burnt down their house.
There was a lot of stories that circulated around Trena's family.
Mom told me they were bull(bleep).
(reporter) Is it true that when you were still a schoolgirl, sixteen years old, that your husband raped you? No.
This is not true, no.
(reporter) He was charged with rape.
Yes, he was charged with it.
But it's not true.
-(reporter) You brought the charge against him? -Yes.
And it's not true.
(reporter) Why did you do it? Jealousy.
I was jealous over him, but it's not true.
(reporter) Was your parents' house burnt down? No, it was not burnt down, it was defaulty wiring.
And the record should show it's defaulty wiring.
It was It was just a charge to more trouble, like everybody usually did.
-More trouble.
-(reporter) Including you, you gave him trouble.
And it's not true.
It wasn't true at all.
(Steve) When the law enforcement was closing in on him to arrest him and charge him with statutory rape he fled to Kansas and married her, so that she couldn't testify.
They might have been in love.
I don't know.
(reporter) What people are gonna ask, Trena, that how can we believe her when she says her husband was a fine man, if she says she was lying when she said her husband raped her.
'Cause he was a fine man, and he never did nothing like that.
He never had--He never had to do anything like that in the first place.
He was a nice-looking, well-mannered man, and he never had to do anything like that.
It's untrue.
(engine revving) (Kirby) Well, I know Ken Rex had two wives.
Alice and Trena.
It was an odd setup.
They lived together.
Their kids got on the same school bus everyday.
(Toni) My mom was pretty young.
She was about 14 when Dad started seeing her as well.
The relationship between Trena and Mom was kind of different, I mean almost like sisters if that makes sense.
I felt they were with Dad because they loved him.
I'm sure there were people who really objected to it.
There's two churches in the town, so I'm sure the churchy people didn't like it.
(Kirby) None of the townspeople thought that was a good idea 'cause none of us were raised that way.
In fact, it's against the law.
You can't be married to two people at the same time.
Bigamy, or whatever it's called.
But Ken Rex wasn't a man that followed the laws anyway.
(Trena) He was just totally different from anybody.
He was.
He was fearless.
He wasn't afraid of anything.
(Toni) To be quite honest, the time that we lived with Trena and Mom and everybody, I don't remember anything bad.
I mean, I remember us kids chasing each other through the house, swimming in the horse trough outside, chasing lightning bugs in the field.
Mom and Trena they always cooked.
They made pies and put them in the window.
(Kirby) I've heard Ken Rex was really a great dad.
But at the same time, they've had to have witnessed abuse to their mothers.
It wasn't like all the time.
But yeah, there was abuse.
We never saw the abuse.
You might see a black eye or something later, but you didn't know where it came from.
It was never done in front of us.
(Kirby) I don't know if she even knew she was abused.
You know, you grow up, you just think that's the way the world is.
(female interviewer) I don't know.
They've always been this way towards my husband.
(female interviewer continues) I do not know.
They've I don't know.
(intense music) (reporter) You say that 50 or 60 people saw the gunman who fired at your husband.
Yes, they was all there.
I looked at them to see what they was looking at.
They were just staring and laughing.
(reporter) The gunman.
Who was that? (gunshots firing) (glass shatters) (Bill) By the time we got it, see, the investigation people had stripped the inside.
When it came in, it had two bullet holes through the side of the box over there that came up, there was holes in the back of the cab, the front of the box, and in through the windshield, through the back glass.
Side glass was blown out.
New seats from the bloodstains.
And then, there was specks of blood all over the inside, of course, and we had to clean all that up.
(Juarez) Who has a town of 400 people and better than 60 of them are gathered around a pickup truck, and you've got people shooting a man sitting inside of it, but yet there's not one person that saw it.
First thing I think about when I think about Skidmore is what happened to my dad and my family, and pretty much how it transformed our lives.
The day my father was killed, I was 13 years old.
I remember we was on our way to my dad's house.
The phone call it came, and I seen the reaction on my mom's face.
I don't know how else to put it, other than the fact that I knew.
(gunshot fires) (intense music) I didn't feel it on the ride up there like that, because I was just not sure what to feel.
But there's a lot of things that throughout these 37 years that I forgot.
Maybe I don't wanna remember.
You know what I mean? I put that part of my life behind me for a reason.
The things that you don't ever forget is that blood running down the streets, you don't forget the bone, the hair, the flesh.
You'll never, ever, forget seeing your father's meat and flesh blown all over the inside of a pickup.
You can't erase that memory.
That is something you'll never get rid of.
(crickets chirping) (Ken Jr) I remember us all sitting at the farmhouse, all the kids, and them all telling us, you know he went to heaven.
And I remember standing at the back door looking up at the sky.
All the kids were crying a lot.
I mean, I was pretty young, so that's about all I can remember of it.
(Cheryl) You know, I don't blame those kids for being upset 'cause their dad was shot.
I can't imagine being them, growing up with the McElroy name, and having to be associated with all that.
(Juarez) Pretty much when you start looking back at things, you understand where people were created and why they were created.
I think that Ken Rex McElroy's upbringing had a lot to do with the man he became.
He was the 13th out of 14 kids.
You're fighting for food, your place at the table, you're probably fighting for your space in the bed.
You're fighting for everything.
(Cheryl) He was uneducated back then and some now.
Poor families were looked down on, felt sorry for, and he didn't like that image.
I think that he refused to feel inferior to anybody.
There's not a lot of money in the house.
Your father is probably pretty abusive.
Not only to you, but to the brothers and sisters that you love.
(Toni) My mom said that my dad did love animals.
She knew that he had love for animals a long time.
Grandpa kind of proceeded to beat that out of him.
The one story was where he was in the barn, and Grandpa was wanting him to do something that was abusive to an animal, and my dad, I guess, had refused multiple times to do what was being asked, and so Grandpa would keep punishing him until he would finally get him to break and do what he would request.
In a situation like that, it's pretty easy to grow up to be a bully.
(man) People call him a town bully, that's not right.
He was a rural terrorist.
(Toni) Do I believe that there was bad things that Dad did? Yes.
He wasn't a perfect man by far.
But they planned that murder.
They went in, they had a town meeting, they all sat down together, they decided that they were gonna do it, and they done it.
(gunshot fires) (Ken Jr) I mean, when you've got the law, you've got the judicial system, everybody in the area, they're related to one another everybody covers for everybody.
the Nodaway County prosecutor.
Baird, how would you describe the situation with the investigation at this point? (David) So, whenthe day of the shooting of Ken Rex McElroy, we have to move out of 2018 and back to 1981.
And I say that because it's a change in technology.
We did not have cellphones, we did not have texting, we did not have any of the things that we take for granted today.
Well, we started off with a NOMIS squad, which started on the Friday of the shooting which was the 10th of July.
(David) NOMIS is a major case squad made up of law enforcement throughout northwest Missouri.
When NOMIS is activated, it's activated for a five day period.
It's designed to be short, quick, get in, get out.
We had anywhere from 18 to 25 officers working nearly around the clock and thereafter on all day shifts.
(reporter) How can you have this many people near where a murder was perpetrated and not have anyone say that they actually saw the person who did it.
I can't really answer that.
(reporter) Has that been one of the stumbling blocks thus far, or what? That's been a big stumbling block.
(David) The process is that you start with what you know at the center, and then you see how far it expands out.
The only real witness they had was Mrs.
(newscaster) Trena McElroy told reporters she knows who killed her husband.
But Mrs.
McElroy accused authorities of not working to solve the homicide.
(reporter) Just tell me what happened, right, I mean there was tension in the air in that place, right? I seen a man go across the street, go to his pickup, take the gun out, and I seen him shoot it.
(reporter) Who was that? It was Del Clement.
(Charlie) Del Clement was a rancher in the Skidmore area, lived out west of town.
And as far as why he would have a reason to kill Ken Rex McElroy, I wouldn't have a clue.
(gunshots firing) (Trena) He shot two times while I was in there.
He shot two more times when I was getting out.
And I don't know how many more.
(reporter) You're absolutely positive it was Del Clement -who shot your husband? -Yes.
I seen him shoot it.
(Charlie) She said she saw Del Clement.
She saw him holding a long gun of some type.
Sure, I believe her.
No reason not to.
(reporter) Trena says she saw who killed Ken.
Trena is a liar.
Let's make it plain.
(Tom) If you knew Skidmore, you knew that there was lots of trouble between Ken Rex McElroy and Del Clement.
(newscaster) Del Clement, the owner of the D&G bar, was one of the shooters, according to McElroy's wife.
He denies it.
(Charlie) The Clement family, they were pillars of the community.
(Britt) Del, he was the cowboy.
And he was the big cowboy in this area.
I mean at the rodeos, he was the pickup man.
All that.
Good cowboy.
(Charlie) He was the one who walked into the bar that day and told McElroy to get the hell out of town.
(reporter) Had there been bad blood between Not that I know of.
I never did know my husband even talking to the man.
The only thing that we did here that if my husband went into town, they would lose $60 a day in their tavern.
(reporter) Because nobody would come in the bar.
So the suggestion is that Ken Rex McElroy was bad for the D&G's business.
The rumor was.
The rumor, yeah.
The rumor was.
But, he never caused no trouble.
My husband never caused no trouble with nobody.
(Cathy) Don't believe everything you hear in Skidmore.
OK? One thing people in Nodaway County are free with is opinions.
(laughs) Small towns are small towns.
Everybody's got their thought of how it happened, why it happened, who did it.
How do you tell the truth? How do you find the truth? You've gotta look at it logically because there's so many emotions involved in anything like this.
She was a very staunch supporter of Ken Rex McElroy.
She rode around in the trucks.
Had guns in her hand.
Trena was very devoted in a twisted way.
They were his backups, you know a lot of time they went to a bar, they'd sit outside with their shotguns, you know, in case there was trouble.
It'd be like Bonnie and Clyde.
It's her word against Del Clement's, I guess.
a vigilante group killed McElroy.
One resident said he hopes the case is solved soon so the town can return to a normal life.
(reporter) Except for McElroy's wife, no one has come forward to point out a suspect in his killing.
(newscaster) Authorities believe that half of the town's citizens saw it, but no one will come forward.
(David) I did not anticipate that we would not have witnesses, testimony, and evidence within a relatively short period of time.
You know, it's frustrating for a prosecutor, it's frustrating for the officers, but that's, you know, the situation that we're in now.
(Steve) There's a bit of pressure on law enforcement whenever a crime goes unsolved.
There's a bit of pressure.
(David) Understand that the prosecutor doesn't really have anything to do with the investigation.
The investigation is done by law enforcement.
My reports come from the state investigation, which in this case was NOMIS and the sheriff's department.
(reporter) Ken McElroy was shot and killed last Friday over in Skidmore Missouri, and since that time I know the Northwest Missouri Major Case Squad has been called in.
What has your investigation been focusing on? I can't really comment on that at this time.
NOMIS called almost immediately for a coroner's inquest.
Coroner's inquests are sort of a mini grand jury.
It's six people that are in panel, they hear testimony, and their job is to determine whether or not a crime has been committed.
(David) And the statute says that if they come back and say, "We find this was by criminal means", and name a specific individual, that, in effect, becomes an indictment based upon their findings.
(Steve) It was a way for independent individuals unrelated to the case to hear the testimony of Mrs.
McElroy, to determine if they would believe her statement and her testimony as to this is how the incident occurred.
I'm not sure you could find a true impartial jury in Skidmore, Missouri.
-(female reporter) Were you in town the day of the shooting? -Yes.
(female reporter) Where were you? Just a block, the little white house on the corner, but I didn't hear, see, or anything, 'cause I was working out in the garden, and I just didn't have any care.
(Trena) People's afraid to say what they seen because they're afraid what's gonna happen to them and their family.
(reporter) Counselor, who shot him? His wife says that Mr.
Del Clement shot him.
Now, the prosecuting attorney has said well it seems that, and I understand this is the allegation, that probably he was shot by more than one person.
And they've tried to make something of that, as far as I read in the news media, Mrs.
McElroy says that could well be.
But she said I saw one of the people who shot my husband.
(Steve) She went to the coroner's inquest and and she testified that she saw Del Clement grab a high powered rifle out of his pickup truck and fire the shots that killed her husband.
(David) I'm gonna play defense now.
He had a motive.
So did 30 other people.
Who's your eyewitness? Trena McElroy.
Now, the truth is The truth is that, um, at one point we had another witness who we were prepared to take in front of the grand jury who then got an attorney, recanted, and wouldn't testify.
I can't put on that he previously told the officer here's who it was.
(Trena) One person was gonna go up to testify.
And I heard that when he went up to testify, uh, the prosecutor was gonna put him in a room to put down what he said, well when he went back, his fence was cut and his cattle was took.
They was gone.
They had drove them out of the lot.
So now, I'm back to Trena.
(reporter) Trena McElroy says she saw who did it.
Do you believe her? I don't.
No, I don't believe her.
Because I think if she actually saw who done it, uh I think probably there would have been something done about it.
(Steve) While the investigation into the murder of Ken Rex McElroy was going on, Trena and her kids disappeared.
The whole McElroy family went into hiding.
Maybe they thought they were next, maybe they felt their lives were in danger.
Who knows? (Ken Jr) Right after the incident, you know, there was a time that people would drive by at night and they'd shoot into the house.
-(gunshots firing) -(engine revs) At 13 years old, you know, that's not something you're used to growing up with.
It's like a war zone in a small town.
Everybody was meeting at the house, and us kids were sitting outside by the tree, and a Jeep drove by and fired a gun.
And my sister yelled, "Oh, my God!" And the bullet had hit right above my head.
They attempted to shoot at me and my little brother, and the bullet I mean literally grazed my brother's ear.
You're out in the middle of nowhere, and they try to kill us.
The emotion was to just pack up and get the hell out.
to have a murder case in which there's anywhere from 50 to 70 witnesses, and you don't make a case.
(David) As a prosecutor, my role is to be fair and just to everyone, it was my estimation that we could not prove and convince 12 jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that a particular defendant committed this crime.
But it's always possible I'm wrong.
It's always possible that jurors would disagree, and would in fact, make the determination that this evidence is sufficient.
And so one of the ways you can do that is by using a grand jury.
(newscaster) In a little town in northwest Missouri, a grand jury will meet tomorrow, and is expected to consider an unusual murder case.
The victim's widow says she can identify the killer, but at least some people are asking if it isn't really a case against an entire town.
(intense music) (David) Normally, you don't have a grand jury in a county of this size.
In all the years that I was prosecutor, the only time I had the grand jury was for the Ken Rex McElroy investigation.
(newscaster) A grand jury is being convened, but unless the town breaks its code of silence, an indictment isn't likely.
A statesman once said, "You can't indict a people.
" Well, you can't indict a whole town either.
(David) The problem with any witness in any case is making sure that that witness' testimony is believable to a jury.
Based upon the evidence I had, I had no reason to disbelieve her.
Why did the grand jury not believe Mrs.
McElroy? I do not have an answer.
(reporter) Could your husband ever get a fair trial in that county? No.
No, there's too much prejudice.
Too many talk, everybody just talked.
And a lot of them didn't know my husband at all.
They just heard rumors and stuff.
(reporter) They had a grand jury, and it sat for a long time.
Grand jury on what? (reporter) On the into the Looking into the murder of your husband.
Came up with nothing.
Oh, there's a lot of people that seen it.
(reporter) You will probably not be surprised to learn that so far no one's been charged with the murder of Ken Rex McElroy.
(Steve) This grand jury decided that there wasn't enough evidence to indict anyone.
The coroner's inquest was an exercise in futility.
Local investigations have so far come up with zero.
A person, or persons, unknown, shot and killed Ken Rex McElroy.
Really? (stammers) Was that the determination? They were no doubt told by Trena who pulled the trigger.
So for them to come up that determination is is it's a bit ridiculous.
(reporter) McElroy's wife, Trena, says she knows who killed her husband, but police refuse to act.
(interviewer) Why haven't charges then been filed against at least that suspect? Well, homicide is a very serious crime, and carries a very heavy penalty and we need time for a thorough investigation before charges will be filed.
(Richard) There has been a conspiracy of silence.
You cannot tell me that 40 to 70 people standing on the sidewalk, and a man is in his truck, and he's shot four times in the head, that somebody did not see who shot him, and nobody has come forward.
Now, I've had some people who tell me, "I know who did it, but I'm afraid.
What would happen to me if I tell you who shot Mr.
McElroy?" I can tell you, but I don't want to go under oath or go before a grand jury.
These people freeze up.
They're not going to say anything.
(Charlie) It's quite a conspiracy to buy into.
I don't believe it for a second.
(Steve) The thing of it is, we don't know what happened in that grand jury courtroom.
None of us were there.
Nobody knows what's been asked, nobody knows what's been talked about at all.
They're totally secret.
A lot of people told me in the town that they really don't care if the man who shot, or the people who shot McElroy, are ever caught.
Do you think that they'll get their wish? Generally said, "no witness, no case".
And in fact whoever, or how many ever shot him, they're free today on the same principle he lived by: "No witness, no case.
" after Ken McElroy's death.
A death some say has erased the fear that reigned while McElroy lived.
(Steve) After Ken was shot, it was almost as if Skidmore was trying to forget the legacy that he gave to that town.
(reporter) Skidmore killed its bully, and most are happy he's dead, but the town is uncomfortable with how it was done, and the notoriety that followed.
It's over and done with.
We'd like to start forgetting about it.
I hope and pray that they never find out who did it because I think the fellow got what he deserved.
(Charlie) I'm very sympathetic to those people.
The wheels of justice turned too slow or weren't turning at all.
I'm very sympathetic to the fact that they took justice into their own hands, vigilante style, and got rid of the problem.
(Britt) They did what had to be done.
I appreciate that.
I respect that.
I respect that kind of courage.
Was it good? No.
Was it justified? Only because there was no justice.
(reporter) A lot of people in Skidmore feel that-- that whoever whoever killed him was justified, that since the law couldn't protect them they had to take the law into their own hands.
I don't think that anyone is ever justified in taking the law into their hands.
That's why we have laws.
The same laws which protect the citizens of the United States, anyone including the laws which would protect Mr.
And at this point, you know, it remains an active case and will be handled as such.
My personal opinion is anytime that there is a crime for which a person is not held accountable, then justice was not done.
(reporter) Do you think there is a kind of conspiracy of silence? (Juarez) I believe without any shadow of a doubt that there was a major cover-up here.
Not only by law enforcement, but of all the people in that town.
(Ken Jr) When he got killed and they got away with it, at that point, they felt protected.
They felt that, you know what, there ain't a whole lot we can't do here, that we're not gonna be able to get away with.
(Toni) I get a little angry sometimes in this whole scenario, because that's how it was done.
I know the sheriff and them were involved.
I don't care what anyone has to say, whether it ever comes to light.
I know they were involved.
I believe that it was a conspiracy, I mean, till they hold to this day, and they're gonna keep holding it until the day they die.
So, if this is a town divided between those who despised McElroy, and those who disapprove of murder, it is also a town united by fear on both sides.
A fear that is holding truth hostage.
(reporter) Do you feel that whoever shot your husband is gonna be charged with murder? They're not gonna do anything in that county to him.
(reporter) Yes.
(reporter) What is the significance, if any, of the FBI's entrance into the case? Really, I don't know.
I know that Mrs.
McElroy, by and through her attorney, contacted the FBI in regards to allegations that we were not fully investigating.
I know that in response to that, the FBI is making routine checks into it, and that is about the entirety of my understanding of their investigation.
(newscaster) Trena McElroy named her husband's shooter, but neither a coroner's jury, nor a grand jury, decided there's enough evidence to file charges.
Now, the FBI is getting involved.
(Trena) I mean, they're all in it together.
It was set up, and they're all gonna stick together.
I mean, every one of them seen it.
(Robert) The FBI became involved when Gene McFadin who represented McElroy, and his wife Trena, contacted the FBI.
When the federal government gets involved it becomes, for some people, more serious.
Suddenly having the federal government present inquiring through the FBI, I'm sure had an impact on the community.
(newscaster) FBI agents came to town dressed like farmers.
And now few will talk to outsiders at all.
(Robert) My strategy was to subpoena the individuals who were present when McElroy was killed.
The FBI then sent out agent, maybe as many as 10, to subpoena the people who were present during the murder of McElroy.
Of course, they were obligated to respond to the subpoena by being present.
And they were asked, each of them, what they observed when McElroy was killed.
And they told us what they saw.
(reporter) The fear has been replaced by a new anxiety.
There could be federal indictments, and some of the town's leading citizens could face a long and costly trial.