The Pharmacist (2020) s01e01 Episode Script

Justice for Danny

[mellow instrumentals.]
I'm Dan Schneider.
And I'm a pharmacist.
I can almost remember every piece of my life.
And it's kind of a crazy story.
If you keep it focused, we can go from the beginning.
Okay, I can tell I can try to tell a story, but how far do you want me to go before I stop? You know, what's your next question? [crew member.]
You can go all the way to - Okay, okay.
I'll try, I'll try.
- [indistinct chatter.]
[slate board claps.]
I've never tried to be an actor though.
- Don't be an actor.
You're a real guy! - [laughs.]
[ladder creaks.]
I guess some people would call me obsessive, if you want to call it that.
You know, I have, like, hundreds of hours of videos and cassette tapes from wiretapping phone conversations about what happened to me.
[cassette rattles.]
Let me just tell you something.
It was very inappropriate, the way the police went about doing what they did.
Well, once again, Mr.
Schneider, I resent the implication.
[clicks off recorder.]
My son was murdered buying crack in the Lower 9th Ward.
The police have the attitude that it's another drug deal gone bad.
And these kids maybe got what they deserved.
[police sirens wail.]
You are not going to dictate to me.
I'm talking.
You don't talk to people like that who just lost a son.
We lost a son.
We just lost a son.
He didn't lose a son, okay? He didn't lose a son! [Dan.]
The New Orleans Police Department was corrupt and almost none of the murders were ever solved.
But I was determined to get the killer off the street and if the police wasn't gonna do it, I was gonna do it.
[dramatic instrumentals.]
[reporter 1.]
In other news, a St.
Bernard family is on a campaign for justice.
[nail gun clicking.]
I wasn't gonna let 'em knock me down.
Twenty-three-year-old Danny Schneider was gunned down in his pickup truck.
Police say that they have little to go on.
Schneider's parents are grief-stricken.
He was a good kid.
He didn't deserve this.
In my fight to get Danny some justice, I promise I will work hard to try to save other lives.
At first, my mission was to get justice for my son.
But then I started noticing, in the drugstore, an unusual amount of high-powered opiate prescriptions.
[reporter 2.]
Chalmette pharmacist Daniel Schneider says he's taken a leave of absence from his drugstore job to crusade against the illegal use of OxyContin.
There was a certain doctor using her license to virtually decimate my community.
- Not only did I see malpractice - [pills shake.]
I saw corruption, I saw conspiracy.
People were dying every week.
- [cameras clicking.]
- Eighteen, and 20, and 25-year-old kids.
I could see my son's face in their face.
- [sirens wail.]
- [voice breaking.]
I couldn't save my son.
But I can save some other kids.
And I'm not gonna let this drug continue to kill.
I started realizing that there was a bigger mission here.
It was produced by Purdue Pharma.
- And I saw this opiate epidemic - [pills rattle.]
in its infancy.
[pill shatters.]
We were creating addicts all over this country.
Purdue could have done things to stop this, but they saw the profits.
Not only were they white-collar criminals they were white-collar murderers.
My son's killer paid a price.
What about Purdue Pharma? What price have they paid? They gave birth to a crisis that killed hundreds of thousands of people.
- What price have they paid? - [dramatic instrumentals fade.]
[mechanical clicking and whirring.]
[mellow instrumentals.]
[mellow instrumentals fade.]
[slide clicks.]
[somber piano melody plays.]
Bernard Parish, it's right next to New Orleans.
We used to call it God's Country.
Kind of sandwiched between the Mississippi River and, really, the swamps.
Bernard was basically middle-class.
We have two major oil refineries, and fishermen and crabbing and oystering.
Somebody's always selling shrimp on the side of the road.
My dad used to take us, when we were little, me and my brother He'd tell us on a Sunday, "We're gonna take a ride to the end of the world.
" He would drive us down, way down deep into the parish past Chalmette, Meraux, Poydras and Violet.
Way down to the end where Delacroix Island was.
And it was the Gulf of Mexico.
And he'd just say, "Here's the waters.
" [waves crashing.]
"Here's the Gulf.
This is the end of the world to us.
" And we always thought that was the end of the world for everybody.
[indistinct yelling.]
I started out in football as a lineman.
I actually had pretty good hands and I had great speed.
[slide clicks.]
- [sentimental instrumentals.]
- But I was blind as a bat.
- [whistle blows.]
- We had a tremendous football season.
When I saw Annie, she was just the cutest thing.
I was a grade lower than him.
I liked his personality.
I don't think I won her over because of my looks, okay? But we just really fell in love with each other.
We got married a couple of years after high school.
I really didn't know what I wanted to do, to be quite honest with you.
A friend of mine talked about the pharmacists having a great job.
Didn't have a great interest in it.
It's just I had to pick out something real quick where I could reach my goals of having kids and having a house.
I became a pharmacist in 1975.
- [cars rushing.]
- I worked for Bradley's Pharmacy.
You might call it a country drugstore.
I enjoyed being able to interact with the patients, being able to actually feel like I was helping 'em.
I picked pharmacy and then I I stuck with it.
Aw, look who had a bath.
[speaks indistinctly.]
We waited five years before we had our first child, Danny.
[infant cries.]
It was wonderful to have a little boy to play with.
He was a good kid.
Gentle and caring.
He was just always happy.
[gurgles and sings indistinctly.]
Then we had a daughter, Kristi.
My family was very, very close, growing up.
We did all kinds of family vacations together.
There's the old Tin Lizzie.
It was long travels.
We would go across country.
That's the Shenandoah Valley outlook.
[soft instrumentals.]
Here we are out in Alabama.
It looks like the Alabama tree.
Many people thought we were like the Griswolds.
Here we are.
The Griswolds.
[young Kristi.]
Shut up! [Annie.]
We had the same type of car they had.
Danny was like Chevy Chase.
Intercourse, Pennsylvania.
We just seen some Amish people.
- [young Kristi.]
Amish people.
- [hooves clomping.]
As a matter of fact, when we had Christmas, you know, it was like we used to get this big, giant Christmas tree.
A seventeen-foot Christmas tree, we'd have in our house.
It was like Christmas Vacation every Christmas for almost 20 years.
My dad, every year, wanted to get a tree Like the biggest tree you could get.
- [rustles plastic.]
- [indistinct chatter.]
This is 1989.
My friends would come over and relatives would come over and help decorate it.
So it was like a family tradition.
Okay, wait a minute.
[indistinct chatter.]
And it just felt like the perfect life.
We didn't want for nothing else.
We had everything.
[group murmurs.]
The Schneider clan.
- [Annie.]
Where are you, son? - [young Danny.]
Up here.
Going on the plane from [Dan.]
My son was a really good-natured, compassionate kid.
As he got a little bit older, he really became kind of like a peacenik.
He was very creative.
He liked to write poems.
And a lot of my friends had crushes on Danny and it used to aggravate me.
Will he make it? Oh, Lord! - [applause.]
- Almost! Danny was a good dad.
He was a doting dad.
He made sure, you know, the kids had what they needed and wanted.
Later on in life, when I had a few pennies, I really wanted a project with Danny.
Danny and I tore apart this Mustang.
Pulled the motor out and worked on, uh, rebuilding the car.
[engine hums.]
We would go on long rides with that Mustang.
We both loved that car.
[ambient instrumentals.]
Bernard Parish was right down the street below the Lower 9th Ward.
[birds chirping.]
One day, I took Danny to the Lower 9th Ward, which was in the city.
And we drove and saw the house that my family came from.
My family moved out of the 9th Ward during the era of what you might call the "white flight.
" It was racial.
As a child growing up in the city, a lot of African-Americans started started buying homes in the Lower 9th Ward and white Americans moved into St.
And it's like two different worlds.
At that time, it was a real, in-your-face type of racism.
All the time, they would call you a nigger or they would write it on the car or they would write it on something.
That's what we grew up with, you know? It was basically called a city into a city.
This day, I wanna be a girl's [Shane.]
We used to play softball on the levee.
We would have little penny parties, waistline parties.
[women laugh.]
As they would say, a wing dang doodle, when everybody would get together and just basically have fun.
But, in the '80s, the neighborhood had had totally changed.
The housing projects and streets of New Orleans are filled with people who are hooked on crack cocaine.
By that time, the crack epidemic was setting in.
It just got real bad.
[kids chatter.]
[man 2.]
I grew up in the Lower 9th Ward.
And it was a place that we considered as hell.
You see white folks down here, you "Are you not the police? Or are you looking to score something?" The neighborhood that I was in, in the 9th Ward, that's all that came around.
They was all from St.
Bernard Parish, you know, coming down to buy drugs.
- [dramatic instrumentals.]
- [sirens whooping.]
I had been aware at the time that a number of kids from St.
Bernard had gotten shot to death up in the 9th Ward, buying drugs.
And, much as I hate to say it I heard about it and read it in the paper and my attitude at that time, and I'm not proud of it, okay, was Well "Kids shouldn't have been up there.
" [Annie.]
And now we're going into the Schneider house.
Let's see what's going on in here on Christmas Day.
What you got, Danny? [Dan.]
Danny had some difficulty, his senior year.
He barely graduated.
Some people could say these were warning signs, but, at the time, we really couldn't see it.
He went to Nunez Community College.
And even though he was 22 years of age, he was still living with us.
He worked at Pizza Hut at night.
He had purchased a brand-new Ford Ranger pickup truck.
And, uh, he was really excited about that.
His girlfriend had a scholarship to the University of Mississippi, so he would drive back and forth to Hattiesburg every weekend to see his girlfriend, which was a long way.
I think Danny was just struggling with what to do with himself.
[automated voice.]
Wednesday, 2:45 a.
Hey, baby, um Just calling to say I love you.
Um I can't wait to talk to you tonight.
I'll talk to you later.
I hope you're having a good day.
I love you.
[receiver clicks.]
[answering machine beeps.]
[distant police sirens.]
[tense instrumentals.]
Well, I was just downstairs on the computer, doing my own thing and Danny came down the stairs and talked to my parents and said he was leaving the house.
"I'm going to a friend's house tonight to study for a test that I have tomorrow in school.
" [Annie.]
"Okay, don't be too late.
You've got school tomorrow.
" You know, so he said, "I won't.
" He said, "Love y'all," and he left.
He said, "I'll be back soon.
" [Kristi.]
I heard him go out the back door and leave, and that was it.
I'm not sure.
I think it was around 12 o'clock that night.
I was standing in front of my mom's house.
And as the red truck passed us, I could see it was a white guy.
My friend, he said "Who that is? 'Cause he was looking at you.
" I said, "I don't know who that is.
" [tires crunch on pavement.]
[engine idles.]
At two o'clock in the morning, we got a loud knock on the door.
[insects trilling.]
I woke Danny up and said, "Somebody's knocking at our door.
It's two o'clock in the morning.
Who can that be?" You know? [Dan.]
There were two policemen at the front door and they came in and said, "We'd like to come in and discuss something with you.
" - [police siren chirps.]
- [indistinct police radio chatter.]
They said they found our son in the 9th Ward in New Orleans.
I said, "No, my son's upstairs sleeping.
I don't know what you're talking about.
" [Kristi.]
I just ran to his room to see if he was sleeping.
I said, "Okay, well, we'll go get dressed.
I guess we'll get dressed.
" We got into the sheriff's car.
We're going, "Where did y'all say his truck was at?" And, "It's in the 9th Ward.
" We said, "We want to pass where you said his truck was at before you go any further.
" [indistinct police radio chatter.]
Sitting there, watching that scene of the cops around a red truck - and me knowing - [radio chatter continues.]
what just took place It was unbelievable to me.
But it was believable because it's right in my face.
When you're from the Lower 9th Ward you don't snitch.
You don't snitch.
Police department drove past the scene and this all started hitting me in the face that there was a drug deal.
He was buying crack in the 9th Ward.
I couldn't believe it.
They said "Your son was shot.
" And I said, "What hospital is he in?" [stammers.]
And then they had to reiterate, "No, no, he's dead.
" [sniffles.]
So [cries softly, sniffles.]
- [static crackles.]
- [indistinct yelling.]
[indistinct chatter.]
- [Dan.]
at Virginia Beach.
- [cheering.]
[water splashes.]
[young Kristi screams.]
[static crackles.]
[ambient instrumentals.]
I went over there and Annie opened the front door of the house.
And she fell on the floor.
They were beyond Beyond help.
The day after, me and my wife stayed in bed all day.
We thought about committing suicide as a family.
We actually thought about it.
'Cause we just couldn't see a future.
[gears click.]
[Annie sobbing.]
Why did he have to take him so soon? [sobs.]
Why did he have to take him so soon? He could have waited.
[cries, gasps.]
[continued sobbing on tape.]
[wailing sobs.]
I can't answer that, baby.
I don't think he just took him.
I think it just happened, Annie.
[Annie sobs.]
Things sometimes just happen, Annie.
People in the wrong place at the wrong time.
he got a motorcycle [Dan.]
It might have made him a special angel, it may have given him a place in heaven.
[Annie weeps.]
All you can think is that he's in heaven.
- [cheering.]
- And that we're gonna be there with him someday.
I could have just been a little bit more lenient with Danny a little earlier.
I mean, if I could've just sat down with him and said, "Danny, you can tell me anything.
" [Annie.]
I should have been there for him.
[Annie gasps and sobs.]
[bell rings.]
Baby, we were here for him.
He could have came here this last night.
[Annie moans.]
He could have came in this room that last night and said, "Mom and Daddy, I'm in trouble.
I feel like I've got to go up there and buy dope.
Okay? [stammers.]
And I don't want to, Daddy.
Help me, Daddy.
" [Annie wails on tape.]
[Danny and Kristi chatter indistinctly.]
Why couldn't he tell us he was doing that? - [kids laugh.]
- [water splashes.]
So we could help him.
[Annie weeps.]
He was proud.
He was too proud, baby.
He was too proud to admit that he [sniffles.]
was getting addicted.
- That stuff gets hold of you.
- [Annie.]
I should have watched him closer.
- I shouldn't have let him do that.
- [Dan.]
Baby, baby, it wasn't your fault.
[Annie sobs.]
[Annie pleads indistinctly.]
[Annie sobs.]
Dan told me that he didn't even think that anybody killed Danny.
That was the furthest thing from his mind.
He knew Danny was shot, but he just couldn't even think that there was a crime.
One day it hit me, my son had been murdered.
I started moving into the investigation phase, you might say, you know, we There was a killer out there and we wanted to find his killer.
[ambient instrumentals.]
Around the time of Danny's death, New Orleans had a reputation of "the murder capital of America.
" And almost none of 'em got solved.
New Orleans will set a record for homicides this year.
It has, by far, the highest murder rate of any big city in the nation.
The reasons most often cited for the increase: kids, guns and drugs.
[woman screams.]
At the time, the New Orleans Police Department were the poster children for how not to run a police agency.
[reporter 2.]
In the past three years, more than 100 police officers have been suspended, fired, arrested or convicted of a wide variety of serious crimes, ranging from bribery to murder.
If you're a guy in that situation, it's hard to have a high degree of confidence in the police.
[ringback tone.]
- [man on tape.]
- [Dan.]
Hi, yes, is this Sergeant Fanguy? - [Fanguy.]
Yes, it is.
- How are you doing? This is Dan Schneider.
I knew I was gonna have an uphill battle with the police.
They kind of almost have the attitude that these kind of kids maybe got what they deserved.
[Fanguy on tape.]
Once out of every 200 dope deals, somebody gets stupid and then somebody gets shot.
I know, but let me just tell you, my boy was not stupid.
I'm telling you, he did not give the money to the guy, and the guy upped with the pistol and popped him.
- Okay? And - [Dan.]
So you think he tried [Fanguy.]
And I can tell you that, with all the murders we've handled, the white kids coming from St.
Bernard Parish, that's the exact parameters of what takes place and that's the outcome.
But why would my son beat 'em for the dope? My son don't wanna die.
My son is not stupid.
Guess what? None of those other people who got shot and killed wanted to die either.
A sergeant lit into me.
He said, "Your son's a spoiled brat.
He's nothing but a crackhead.
If you go above me or below me, I'll make sure your son's case is destroyed.
" I was shocked that he could talk to me like that, okay? After we'd just lost our son.
It was from that point on that I started recording these guys.
[tapes clatter.]
[tape clicks in tape deck.]
[officer 1 on tape.]
What are you doing calling my house at seven in the morning? [officer 2.]
We're not gonna jerk people off the street and pull them into the station - because somebody wants it done.
- [Fanguy.]
You think you're the police.
You think you have all the theories, okay? I'm not gonna sit here and go through this.
I've been a policeman for 25 years.
My son had been murdered.
Somebody out there took his life.
I was determined to get the killer off the street and, if the police wasn't gonna do it, I was gonna do it.
[dramatic instrumentals.]
While some people are paralyzed by grief and don't know what to do and can't get out of bed and turn to alcohol or drugs or whatever, Dan didn't do that.
Dan channeled all of that grief into, "I'm gonna get to the bottom of this.
I'm gonna find out who killed my son.
" [engine revs.]
The first thing that we did, - we called the TV stations in, - [stapling.]
so we could get publicity.
The St.
Bernard family is on a campaign for justice.
We made a little memorial up there.
We said a prayer.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
All we did was cry all morning.
You just get sick with crying and then you just feel like you have to do something.
Putting up posters, walking the streets, questioning people.
[reporter 2.]
They hope that someone may recognize Schneider's picture and provide a clue to his killer.
He started talking to people and, in fact, canvassing the neighborhood.
At which point in time, I told him that that was probably a really, really bad thing to do.
That he was gonna be the next victim of a gunshot wound in the Lower 9th Ward.
I seen them walking along the block.
I knew they didn't belong in the neighborhood because if it wasn't an insurance man or the bill collector they didn't belong there.
I wouldn't have the balls to go door-to-door on the Lower 9th Ward with a gun on me.
We had officers shadow him.
It was just like, "He's got to be crazy.
What's wrong with him, coming in here, doing all this here?" He was that bold.
He was that bold.
He wanted He wanted answers.
We went and met with some of the churches.
And they prayed with us.
I remember Dan and his wife coming to our family meeting and, um, speaking about the loss of their son.
I just remember that he was very hurt.
I call it a "question mark" pain.
"I can't live with this question mark.
" [Dan.]
Elder Reed said, "You know, Mr.
Schneider, we'll walk the streets with you.
We will go house-to-house, and we'll let you ask the questions and we'll be there with you as moral support and protection.
" I just said, "I'll help you.
" 'Cause I felt his pain.
He was in a lot of pain and he was angry.
And I thought that was a good recipe to get yourself killed in this neighborhood.
[dramatic instrumentals.]
Sad to say, but we haven't really been able to locate anyone who's been willing to come forward who may have witnessed the incident or who may have any information regarding the incident.
So many unsolvedmurders in New Orleans.
Because nobody was coming forward.
What do you do? What do you do? - [Dan.]
How are you doing? - Good, Danny.
Debbie Marino, good, good friend of ours.
She handed me a check for, like, $2,000.
And other people, family members and friends, put in money.
- The reward fund is up to $10,000.
- Ten thousand dollars.
Ten thousand dollars on the table.
[reporter 1.]
Call Crimestoppers at 822-1111.
It was explained to me that the person would be anonymous and that only upon indictment would they actually receive their reward.
[reporter 1.]
And a reminder, you do not have to give your name.
That's one big concern with the family.
They feel anybody in the neighborhood who may know something is afraid to come forward and tell what they know.
When the reward was just at $1,000, it was just like, "Yeah, okay, that's another murder happened, you know, that ain't gonna get solved.
" Well, when $10,000 came up, they had people pulling them flyers down wanting to talk.
[phone ringing.]
Yes? Sergeant Fanguy.
Thank you, Sergeant.
What you got? [Fanguy.]
Uh wanted to let you know that we found out who the shooter was on your son's case.
Thank you.
Do we have any witnesses? [Fanguy.]
We do have an eyewitness.
The kid has picked his picture out.
We're getting ready to take a statement from him.
Uh, he corroborates a lot of things based on evidence at the scene.
And they went out to a young man named Jeffery Hall.
He was about 15 years of age.
Apparently, Jeffery saw it all.
They were questioning me about it, you know, and, um I gave them to the best of my ability, what I could remember.
[solemn instrumentals.]
[Fanguy on tape.]
This juvenile, that's the witness - [Dan.]
- sold drugs to your son before.
- [Dan.]
- [Fanguy.]
He knew your son.
He was walking towards your son when he saw him pulling up, but the other boy was standing there first and he approached your son.
Oh, so somebody beat him to it.
So this guy probably wouldn't have blown my son away.
- He would probably have dealt with my son.
- [Fanguy.]
And, according to the witness, the guy upped with the pistol - and shot him.
- [Dan.]
[crickets chirping.]
So, he just picked the suspect's picture out of a lineup.
And the suspect was a guy named Scarface.
Scarface was a person in the neighborhood who was known for doing bad things.
Jacking, killing, robbing.
Just Anything bad, Scarface did it.
The way he describes how the shooting took place, he'd have had to been there to see it go down.
I'm gonna have the warrant put in the computer immediately.
He could be arrested in the next 30 minutes.
Oh, boy.
You've taken about a thousand pounds off my back, I think.
Well, the next morning, the lieutenant called me and said "Mr.
Schneider, I'm sorry to say this, but, uh your son's murder isn't solved.
We went out to arrest that killer, but we found out that killer was in jail and he had been in jail the night your son was murdered so he couldn't have been the killer.
" The DA told me the case was pretty weak.
Because of all the confusion, it was gonna be hard to actually charge the case.
I mean, he has made contradictory statements, as I told you.
He's really lost a lot of his credibility.
I didn't actually, you know, know the guy.
I knew him, but I couldn't point him out.
You said that you were gonna recommend that the case, at this time, be, uh - [Fanguy.]
- [Dan.]
Just refused.
That the testimony is insufficient to prove this crime.
I didn't trust the cops or the DA.
I thought that if we could get the DA to re-interview this witness, maybe we could get the story straight and have a case.
I said, "I'd like to bring the witness back in.
Can you give me his address?" I started reflecting on where he grew up.
And I found out that the conditions he came up in had been really bad.
It was a struggle every day, man.
You know, Mom had a problem you know, that I didn't understand.
Seeing my mom on drugs was real painful for me.
One time, I was 11 years old Um I took her drugs and her paraphernalia and I took it and threw it away and told her she was gonna get off this stuff.
And she taught me a lesson.
[burner ignites.]
Turned on the stove.
She called some people and held me off and held my arm, held my two legs and she took my hand and put it on the fire, like this.
And that's what really led me to being affiliated in the streets.
Being the age that I was and in that situation I was in it was a constant challenge and struggle for me.
I was scared more than anything.
[chair creaks.]
Danny was hoping that this young man could actually help us find the killer of our son and he believed in him.
[button clicks.]
It's, uh I think it's July 28th.
I, uh need some help today.
Today's an important day [strained.]
in my fight to get Danny some justice.
Today's the day, God, that Jeffery Hall, who is the witness [sniffles.]
The DA's gonna interview him.
I've had a couple conversations with the kid.
He's scared to death.
He's scared of the police.
The people on the street.
He's afraid he might have to appear in court.
I need God to get inside him and get the whole truth.
God help him get in the car with me today.
I need him in court, God.
I need the boy to be brave.
And I need you to protect him.
I know you can't give me my boy back on Earth but you could have an effect on this young man.
He was on my front step seeking answers, wanting answers.
I was already recording a lot of people, so I felt like - that was a great opportunity.
- [tape clicks.]
And I wired my car with a recording device and put it in the trunk of the car with a wire that went to the back seat.
I figured that maybe I could get some revealing information.
- [mellow instrumentals.]
- [clicks.]
It's the corner here.
Jeff, you were riding up here? [Jeffery.]
Danny and them were right here on this block.
So by the time I got down, Danny made the block Scarface, you know, was right here.
Scarface, right here? Okay, but the first night This is where I'm confused, because this is what messes up the case.
They showed him some pictures.
He finally picked out somebody that first night.
- [woman.]
- [Dan.]
Why did you pick out that guy? [Jeffery.]
I was just lying, you know.
I just did.
I was scared for my life.
You were scared and you thought that would get you out of it? That's the damn problem.
The DA can't just disregard that first statement.
Jeffery, you're gonna have to do your best to let that DA know.
You've got to try to come across truthful to him now so that it means a little more to him.
You know, in his opinion, you could just be - [woman.]
Telling him anything.
- [Dan.]
You could be saying anything.
You were lying the first time and you were lying the second time.
- [woman.]
- [Dan.]
And so You just tell the truth.
There ain't no way they're gonna nail you on this.
I'll make damn sure.
Okay? Alright.
[exhales slowly.]
The DA re-interviewed him.
And then, the next day, I talk to the DA and he says, "Look," he says, "It didn't get any better.
He contradicts himself.
" [clicks button.]
"Jeffery Hall is not a credible witness any longer.
" "What do I do from here?" [ambient instrumentals.]
I was told, "You've got to find another witness.
You're not gonna get a prosecution unless you get a witness.
" [NOPD officer on tape.]
It's not a point of going through the motions.
It's a point of making a good case that you can prosecute.
They're not gonna accept this case unless we produce additional witnesses.
We need a witness or we need evidence.
I started looking for witnesses.
I was starting to walk the streets again and put posters up.
Some of the drug dealers had put a bounty out on him to stop him from coming in that neighborhood.
He wasn't sleeping.
He was up constantly, investigating.
And I didn't want him to go in the 9th Ward and get killed.
[crickets chirping.]
Then I wouldn't have my dad or my brother.
I was scared, you know, all the time.
"You have me to worry about and you have your daughter to worry about, okay? And we're still here, you know?" [Fanguy.]
You need to leave the dust settle right where it's at, right now.
I'm trying to help, but I'm not trying to get in your business, okay? He came to my office and put the recorder on my desk and said, "Listen to this.
" [chuckles.]
I say, "You crazy fuck.
" [laughs.]
You know, "We're gonna be scraping you off the street out there.
" [Dan.]
I didn't really believe in guns, and so I chose to go up there without a gun.
But one of my friends was so concerned about me that he decided to ride with me.
He says, "We'll go up there and you can do your interviewing and you can do your questioning, okay? And I'll be in the car with a gun.
" And we pulled over the car and right next to us was a guy, he's a retired drug dealer.
He asked me the details, he asked me the names of the suspects, you know, what corner it was on and all this.
And he says, "Okay.
" He says, "I'm pretty sure I can find out which one it is.
Okay? And verify that they killed him.
Do you want me to have him killed?" [sighs heavily.]
I don't know what world I'm in anymore.
I really don't know what world I'm in.
For a moment [sobbing.]
I actually thought about it.
But I remembered [sniffles.]
I'd promised God that I was gonna do this the right way.
I was gonna do it right.
[engine starts and revs.]
[engine accelerates.]
[Dan sniffles.]
It's torturing me! [crying.]
I can't do it forever.
It's tearing me up.
It's tearing Mom up.
I've set sort of a time limit.
I don't know if I'm gonna wanna stick with that, but I can't torture myself forever, Danny.
You want to give up, but you can't give up because you're looking for the answer.
You're looking to solve the case.
Which doesn't help that much, because you still lost your son.
I asked God to help me quit.
I was anticipating quitting.
I said, "If I haven't found anything by the end of September I promise I'll give it up.
" There were a lot of things I wanted to do during the course of this investigation.
What I really wanted to do, is I wanted to call people in the neighborhood.
And, at the time, there was something called a Haines Directory.
It was a big, thick book and it had all the addresses and phone numbers of everybody in the city, so I took out a map and I drew a circle so many blocks each way, in a circle around the corner where my son was killed, Dauphine and Forstall.
I went home, [sniffles.]
I sat on my bed and I started making phone calls.
- [dial tone.]
- [dialing.]
Then when I called, half weren't home.
We're unable to answer your call, - so speak after the beep and we'll - [beep.]
[automated voice.]
We're sorry, you have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service.
[woman on phone.]
Hello? [Dan.]
Yeah, Miss Smith, this is Dan Schneider.
You don't know me, but my son was killed on the corner of Dauphine and Forstall a couple of months back in a red pickup truck.
Every night, he would sit and call maybe 40 or 50 at a time or something.
Some of 'em weren't very receptive.
[man on phone.]
I be at work too much.
I really don't know.
A week later, I heard something about that, but I don't have any idea.
There was a boy named Scarface arrested for it.
A boy named who? Somebody might've been out there who saw something.
[woman laughs.]
Uh-uh, not here.
A few of 'em were very sympathetic.
I was sorry to hear about it, you know, 'cause, uh - [Dan.]
Yeah, it's - [man.]
When it happened, you know, I I was surprised, you know.
I heard the shot.
You hear shots in this neighborhood a lot.
- That's the way it is.
- [Dan.]
- [man.]
It's gotten so bad, you know? - [Dan.]
So I'm sorry to hear about your son.
If I had heard anything, I would've let somebody in authority know, because my son got killed and I know how it feels.
- [Dan.]
Your son got killed? - [woman.]
My son got killed.
Oh, my Lord.
- [woman.]
Yeah, he got killed.
- [Dan.]
How long back? [woman.]
Uh, two years ago.
- I know how it feels.
- [Dan.]
How old was he? [woman.]
He was 38 years old.
He was my baby son.
My heart goes out to you 'cause I've been through it and I know how it feels.
It's something I'll never get over as long as I live.
I think it was my last call for the day, at the end of the list.
[ringback tone.]
Hello? - [Dan.]
Yeah, Ms.
Madding? - Uh-huh.
You don't know me, but, uh, my name's Dan Schneider and my son was killed down the street from you on the corner of Dauphine and Forstall.
Now how did he know my number? My heart started beating faster on that one.
And I couldn't believe he had actually called the right house.
[tape clicks.]
You were the first one to call 911.
I just called them and told them someone had been shot in a red truck.
I couldn't believe it.
She said, "I saw the whole thing.
I saw it all.
I called Crimestoppers.
" [Shane.]
I called them twice to find out if they hadn't gotten the person and stuff.
I called my wife.
[exhales sharply.]
I said, "I've got something!" [sobs.]
"I've really got something.
I've got a chance.
I can't quit.
" [sniffles.]
And I sat down and I told him what I knew.
On that night I was standing in front of my mom's house.
Me and a guy friend.
I looked to the corner, because I saw headlights, and I seen a little red truck.
And as the red truck passed us, I could see it was a white guy.
I knew he was young.
Your son had the window down.
- [Dan.]
My son had the window down? - [Shane.]
And then you seen Tell me what happened then.
He passed you up, drove down the street.
I saw the dealer flag him down.
And then they went back round the block and they came back again.
And before they could get to Dauphine Street, by the pool, I saw the car stop.
I saw them brake.
And they stopped onDauphine and Forstall.
I saw the dealer get out of the truck and run to the driver's side.
The red truck jacked, like he was trying to get away.
And there was a "pow.
" [gun fires.]
I looked up and I heard a pop and saw the fire from the gun.
And all I know is I heard one shot.
Everybody says he was shot twice.
I say that boy was shot one time.
- I wouldn't go down there to look.
- [Dan.]
All I could see down the street was the truck had come to a halt.
It was like, you know, slanted on the sidewalk in front of the street.
[engine idles.]
After that, I just saw the shooter running and he threw the gun in the drain.
[gun clatters.]
And you even seen his shirt and all? His white shirt? [Shane.]
It had splattered blood on it.
It had splattered blood on it.
I saw the killer.
He saw me.
Well, see, I could put my hand on the Bible and I swear to God God loves the truth.
Scarface wasn't the killer.
Jeffery was.
It was Jeffery.
That can't be [stammers.]
I mean I'll be darned.
Jeffery was the killer.
I mean, I'd heard The police said it could have been Jeffery, but, you know, I did meet with Jeffery.
- I hate to say it, but I believed Jeffery.
- [Shane scoffs.]
[dramatic instrumentals.]
Um [Dan.]
Jeffery said he knew my son - and he wouldn't have killed my son.
- [Shane.]
What? [Dan.]
That's right.
That's what Jeffery told me.
He said he was kind of a friend with my son.
He'd sold my son drugs a couple of times, but that he wouldn't He wouldn't have hurt Danny.
You never did see Jeffery on his bike? [Shane.]
You did see him in my son's truck and get out and walk around the back? - [Shane.]
That's right, and shot him.
- [gun fires.]
And shot him? [Shane.]
And shot him.
After Daniel's murder, Jeffery came back.
'Cause he saw us standing out there.
He said "Titi, you see what I did?" [Shane.]
He said, "Titi, look what I've done.
" - [Dan.]
What he calls you? - [Shane.]
" - [Dan.]
Titi? - [Shane.]
Jeffery was my best friend's son.
I was always "Auntie," or "Tidi," or "Titi," um, to her kids.
Jeffery was the oldest.
His mom had ten more children.
I guess between drugs and babies you know, she didn't focus.
[clicks recorder.]
Did Jeffery ever mention to you why he shot my son? Did he just lose his mind and do it? What provoked it? [Shane.]
He didn't lose his mind.
Peer pressure.
Peer pressure? - Maybe somebody told him - [Shane.]
That's all.
Maybe that was his assignment that day, to kill somebody.
This is the corner right here.
Jeff, you were riding here? [Jeffery.]
Danny and them were right here on this block.
Not only did I find out that Jeffery was the killer but he had betrayed me.
He had lied to me.
It sounds petty, but that almost bothered me as much.
I trusted him.
He was gonna help me.
And he was the killer.
How could this thing get so screwed up? [mellow instrumentals.]
Crimestoppers gets information on a suspect.
NOPD goes to the suspect.
He immediately says it was some other guy, who he probably thinks the police are gonna like more than him.
So the whole thing starts to get really, really convoluted then, because now he goes from the suspect to a potential witness.
I was later told you never make a suspect a witness.
And that's what they immediately did.
"Police 101," they call it.
They should have went in the house, looked for a gun.
They should have looked for blood on the tennis shoes, clothing that had blood on it, blood splatter.
They didn't do any of that.
But I need y'all to promise me that they'll never know it's me that's giving out this information.
- [Dan.]
I understand.
Look - [Shane.]
I don't want my name mentioned.
I'm with you on that.
And I am not gonna mention your name.
I don't want to put you in jeopardy, but I would like a little help, 'cause, apparently, they're not having much luck.
These cops ain't the sharpest guys in the world.
The fear had really set in after that call.
I knew if he could walk the blocks and if he could call me on the phone they were gonna find out it was me.
If those guys find out that you was a witness, then they're gonna come and threaten you or threaten your family members, to let them know that, "If you do testify, we're gonna kill everybody.
" [Shane.]
I didn't know how it was gonna happen.
I just knew in my heart something was gonna happen to me.
[dramatic instrumentals.]
Yeah, I have nightmares - [Dan.]
- [Shane.]
thinking of, you know, what my outcome What might happen to me, what my children Who's gonna raise my children? My mama and my dad's already sick.
My mama has heart trouble.
- [Dan.]
- [Shane.]
It's a lot to think about.
I don't want to give you danger.
You might be the only person that can help solve this case.
So I fear for you too.
I fear for you not only personally I don't want to see you harmed.
But I also fear that if something happened to you, there is no case.
I knew I was gonna have an uphill battle.
[ringback tone.]
Hello? - [Dan.]
Yeah, Shane? - [Shane.]
This is Mr.
How are you? [Shane.]
All right.
[ringback tone.]
- [Shane.]
Hello? - [Dan.]
Yeah, Shane? - [Shane.]
- [Dan.]
It's Danny.
I'm outside with company.
- [Dan.]
Are you? - [Shane.]
- [Dan.]
You want me to call another time? - [Shane.]
Yeah, call me about 9:30.
Call you about 9:30.
- Shane, how are you doing? This is Danny.
- [Shane.]
Right now, I can't talk to you.
No? Got somebody there? - [Shane.]
- [Dan.]
He can be a pain in the ass.
When's a time I might be able to give you a call? - She's not in? - [woman 1.]
She's sleeping.
I'll give her a call later.
This is her daughter? - [woman 1.]
It's her niece.
- [Dan.]
Nicki, I believe? [woman 2.]
How are you doing with your new job? - [Dan.]
Hello? - [woman 3.]
Hello? [Dan.]
My wife was sending letters, and his girlfriend was sending letters.
My daughter was sending letters.
This number is not in service.
I would move! Change my number.
- [dial tone.]
- He would find me.
[indistinct chatter.]
Yes, is this Anne? - [woman.]
This is Sheri.
- [Dan.]
One of the Madding sisters? - [Sheri.]
We're friends with Shane.
- [Dan.]
Do you know her boyfriend? [woman 4.]
My husband got your number.
I can't really remember [Dan.]
Nicki was helping us.
Could you give us the address Leave me alone.
Please stop calling me.
- [Shane.]
Who is this? - [Kristi.]
Yeah, this is Kristi.
Kristi, this is Shane.
Let me tell you something.
Your mom and them is harassing my mother.
Dan called my sister's house.
Now that's making me back off because they're pushing me, you know, close to like I want to do it, but as long as they're interfering and notifying my people They're stalking my little niece, Nicki.
My family is jumping.
They don't want y'all to call.
My mama wants me to press charges against your mother and father.
Understand? - [Kristi.]
- [Shane.]
So the police is on their way soon to my house to press trespassing charges if they come close.
What do you think that's gonna do? My sister.
They're calling my sister.
You know, they're getting in touch with everybody in my family.
That's not fair.
As long as they do that, I'm gonna stay away, Kristi, - and that's on the real.
- [Kristi.]
I know.
It's like agony for us, 'cause it keeps dragging on.
We just want it to be over with, you know? [Shane.]
Well, let me do it at my own pace.
[clicks recorder.]
We were so close to getting her and I wanted her to come forward so bad.
[somber instrumentals.]
After Danny died, everything changed.
My life ended too.
It was Kristi, the sister.
I felt every painthat she felt.
Because I felt like that, too.
[birds cawing.]
I was 12 when my brother was murdered.
We were real close.
And he would be the [chuckles.]
The person that you would want at your party to have fun.
He loved to dance.
My brother loved to dance.
He loved to dress.
And I always think about how we never we never [sniffles.]
got the truth.
And that's a hurtful thing to not know.
Because there's just There is no closure.
It's just always there.
And it'll never go away.
The conversations me and Kristi used to have I felt every pain that she felt.
"Danny was my only sibling.
We talked about everything and anything.
Now that he isn't here, I feel so lost.
It's hard to do anything.
I have to force myself to sleep every night and then force myself to wake up the next morning.
I'm now an only child.
It's so different without him around.
" - [kids laughing.]
- [Kristi sniffles.]
"Nothing will ever completely heal my pain.
But one thing I know for sure and that is the person who killed my brother should be punished.
You are our only hope to put this person away.
" My heart just was so weak for her.
She would cry.
There were many times when she would cry.
I would still try to make an excuse.
At one point, she said "I want to see Danny's room.
" Shane came over to our house in St.
Bernard Parish.
Annie made coffee and snacks.
We brought her upstairs to his room and she looked around at things and [sniffles.]
we cried.
[somber instrumentals continue.]
I just felt a different energy.
This young man had so much going for him.
He didn't deserve it.
It just made me feel I needed to do something.
Because that's something I never got.
I never got that.
[somber instrumentals fade.]
The next day, Shane went to the Police Department and made a statement.
They went out and they arrested Jeffery Hall.
[police sirens whoop.]
That information was critical in terms of identifying the person responsible.
We believe that the 16-year-old juvenile was the actual trigger person in this homicide.
[dramatic instrumentals.]
I got I got swept up.
Got picked up and arrested.
The case went to the DA's office.
Victims and witnesses were interviewed.
We explained the court process to them, 'cause it was important for them to know that they would come into the courthouse uh, there would be many people in the courthouse, including the perpetrator, or the accused.
At which point, sometimes the victim or witness might say, "You know what? Never mind.
I've changed my mind.
" [Shane.]
I was told that Jeffery's lawyer had given him information that it was me.
When I found out it was her, I I was like, "Wow, Shane?" Like, damn.
"You know, I've looked at you as an auntie and this is how you repay me?" You're gonna send me out like this?" You know what happens if you cooperate with the police.
You know, you You wind up dead or you disappear.
She starts getting threats.
Left and right.
"We will kill you if you testify.
" [Terrence.]
These are drug dealers.
All of these guys are criminals, man.
They'll set you up.
You know, they will come around with street sweepers and, if they can catch you on the corner store, they might have five, six, seven, eight kids out there They just didn't care, man.
Witness Protection moved me and my kids.
I had been there maybe about two months.
I come outside.
There's a brick on my car seat, with my windows bust.
My tires are slashed.
And the note said "Bitch, I found you.
" [dramatic instrumental intensifes.]

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