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tv   2020  ABC  May 20, 2022 9:01pm-11:00pm PDT

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( ♪♪ ) ♪ walking on ♪ ♪ ♪ this story begins on a quiet sunday night in rural texas, where a husband and wife are sitting on a couch watching tv. >> tonight we have our eye on the tropics and a tropical depression. ♪
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>> the events that happened on this sunday night, this family will never be the same, and i believe maybe even the community will never be the same. >> a double murder is sending shockwaves through a normally quiet north texas community. the hunt county sheriff's department is investigating the murder of a husband and wife who were found dead inside their rural home in royce city. >> we'll never know every detail of what took place in that house that night, but we do know that the family of this couple is still reeling from the pain of what happened there almost 17 years later. ♪
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october of 2005 marked kind of a new beginning for the woodruff family. >> both the kids had left for college. and they were empty-nesters. >> charla, the older daughter, was in college in arkansas. and their son brandon had just gone off to school at abilene christian university. >> the parents, dennis and norma, were in the process of moving. they were moving out of the suburbs of the dallas-fort worth metroplex and going to a place that's more rural. >> they were moving to a place called royse city, who's motto is "a friendly touch of texas." >> they were attempting to save money with the two kids in college. >> they'd accumulated credit card debt, so they were downsizing. >> financially, they were stretched. 300 grand in debt. >> the woodruffs, dennis and norma, really did not like to
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deprive their children of anything. >> in 2005, the woodruffs had been married for 23 years. they were high school sweethearts. >> dennis told me one time, he said i would not ever want to live without norma. and i knew it was true love, him saying that. ♪ >> growing up, brandon and charla were like a lot of kids who are not very far apart in age. >> at times they got along really well. but, i mean, there were times they fought. i have seen many of them. >> brandon was a character. he was definitely the center of attention. he was kind of more of the pampered child. you know, he was the baby. >> play it for pawpaw! play it. >> in a minute!
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>> i think one thing that kind of sums up brandon a lot, is there was open casting calls for the "dennis the menace" movie. >> hey mister wilson! >> he auditioned for it. he show -- showed up probably with 2,000 other little kids. >> mischievous, impish, blonde, little brandon, he would have been a natural for it. didn't get the part. >> charla was an amazing person. she was very thoughtful. >> anything that needed to be done, charla was going to do it. i mean, she was very dependable. >> she's 13 months ahead of brandon and adorable in her own right. >> the woodruffs had raised their children at a very nice home in the city of heath, which is a bedroom community of dallas. >> you, kind of, have these mcmansions. and yet, on the other hand, you'd still have people who were
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much more of a cowboy culture, a ranching culture. >> norma, charla, and brandon loved animals. >> their house was kind of like a wonderland. they had animals galore. >> norma was, you know -- jeans, t-shirt, get her hands dirty. >> she was a cpa by day. but her heart was in the ranching kind of lifestyle. >> dennis and norma were completely opposites. >> dennis did more of like the cooking, cleaning. >> he loved music. >> oh, he loved the divas. >> dennis had what was called a dolly room. >> he had a dolly pinball machine. he had dolly wigs. he had dolly dresses. >> i remember going into the dolly room for the first time and just never seen anything like it. i mean, it was full dolly. amazing. ♪ >> he was just the funniest person you'll ever meet.
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>> dennis and norma were completely involved in their kids' lives. >> norma, she loved working with her kids with 4h, future farmers of america. >> 4h and future farmers of america involves kids adopting an animal when it's very young and raising it. grooming it, feeding it. >> you get involved in 4h when you are like 4 or 5-years-old. this is the lifeblood of these communities. >> every september the town has its annual farm and livestock show. >> charla and brandon were very successful in raising and showing animals. brandon in particular. getting blue ribbons, getting grand champion designations. >> brandon woodruff had dr. dolittle's gift of talking to the animals. and that's what he excelled at. and these animals thrived under his care.
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>> always had dogs, cats, birds, horses, lambs. >> rabbits and sheep, and cows, he had a cockatoo. >> he got it from norma. norma had a love for animals like no other. >> for norma and dennis, their new home in royse city had plenty of space for their menagerie of animals. >> they were very busy moving things from their home in heath, which they still hadn't sold to royse city. this was very much a do-it-yourself move. and norma had a big truck that could pull a horse trailer. >> it's a lot of going back and forth. there's still some animals at the heath property. >> this was more rural and they were set apart from the rest of the community, a little more isolated. >> for dennis and norma, yes, it might've been a tiny step down. but for them, hey, this is worth it.
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>> charla and brandon were both hours away at college, but they hadn't heard from their parents since sunday night. it was now tuesday, which was odd since they normally talked to their parents daily. >> there was a lot of people concerned. >> charla called me and said, "have you talked to mom and dad?" and i said, "no." and she said, "i talked to them sunday night, and i haven't been able to talk to them since. i've called their work, and i get their voicemail. i called their cell phones, i've left messages." >> there is no reason my parents should not have answered the phone all day, monday or tuesday. ♪ >> charla called me and i just remember a sound i will never
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fo forget. it was like a scream. ♪
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>> reporter: charla and brandon hadn't heard from their parents since sunday night, and it's now tuesday. >> they're not answering their phone. they're not at work. this is ringing alarm bells. >> they call a family friend to check on them essentially. >> the house was locked. the windows were locked.
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>> so family members say, "do what you have to do. just get in that house." so he did. and he sees the last thing he ever could have imagined -- norma and dennis slumped over on the couch, covered in blood. they're clearly dead. this friend is in a state of shock. >> he called back and said, "they're both here, and they're both dead." and i just remember -- i couldn't think of what to say to him. i was so shocked. >> my son, randy, came over, came in the house, and he just said sit down. and then randy told me that they had found dennis, and he was dead.
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and they said that norma was also dead. >> that's unthinkable. >> my mom just made really fast decisions. so what my mom had decided to do was she was gonna send somebody to go to brandon, and then her and linda were gonna go to charla. >> charla called me, and i was just a kid, so i answered the phone. i just remember a sound i will never forget coming from her mouth. that's -- it was almost like a scream. >> there's certain parts that still, like, really hurt. and the hurt in her voice that day hurts. >> she knew immediately. >> we all assumed that it was carbon monoxide because they moved into a new place. >> all the windows appear to be secure.
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>> meanwhile, the police walk in, and they find an absolutely gruesome murder scene. >> two victims on the couch. >> two law enforcement agencies became involved. you have your local county sheriff, and then you have your texas rangers. >> i don't try to get emotional, but sometimes emotions do come into play. i could picture my own parents in that situation. what would i do if i found my parents that way? this kind of hits you hard as an investigator. >> the condition that dennis and norma are found in is very significant from a law enforcement standpoint. >> norma has been shot multiple times, and there's a huge gash across her neck. >> dennis had been shot in the face once and stabbed nine times. >> this would indicate to me that the person killing dennis
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or stabbing dennis is stabbing him to inflict additional injuries after he was dead. >> looked like the killer had a personal issue with dennis for some reason. >> what begins to take shape very quickly is that the woodruffs knew their killer, that they trusted their killer. >> dennis still had a cup in his hand that he was using as a spit cup. neither one of 'em appeared, you know, to be alarmed or frightened or scared or trying to flee or defend themselves in any way. just like somebody had walked in and just boom, boom, and they're dead. >> nothing appeared to be taken from the house. >> you've got jewelry. you've got televisions. you've got computers, laptops at the scene that you have -- things that are valuable that could easily be taken and pawned. so whoever came and did this wasn't interested in taking the valuables.
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>> the house was locked from the inside, which would indicate that the perpetrator actor had a key or had some way of obtaining access to the house to lock it up. >> the only thing that we knew when we walked out of the autopsy is that we had a large caliber projectile, either a .44 or a .45-caliber projectile. so although the .45-caliber projectile is not something that's uncommon in the state of texas, those are rather large projectiles. >> so police believe that dennis and norma had been dead for a couple of days. >> another clue that makes investigators think this was not a stranger is the fact that there's a trail of blood from where the bodies are into the bathroom. and that suggests that maybe whoever was in the house was comfortable walking into that bathroom and perhaps cleaning up -- and cleaning up the crime scene. >> everybody gathered at my
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home. the whole family was at my house. >> brandon seemed so upset. >> he was kind of more of a rock than charla. >> charla was absolutely a basket case. i mean, she just really was having a hard time functioning. >> it was awful. one of those things like, "this is not happening to me. how could it happen to me?" and i just kept thinking that i was gonna wake up from some bad dream and that my mom and my dad were gonna be there. >> at this point, the family still had no real details about what happened to norma and dennis. but as luck would have it, a reporter knocked on the door of the family members and asked them to comment on the murders of dennis and norma. >> we didn't know who to think that might of done that. we couldn't imagine anybody
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doing that. >> there's no one that i could think of that would want to hurt them. because they were good people. >> it was very traumatizing at that point. i think the entire rest of my high school, i slept with a knife under my bed. before that, i never thought bad things could happen to people because it never happened to us before. >> as soon as we learned that it was somebody, you know, the questions go through your head like, "was somebody having an affair? just, they had a bad neighbor? somebody that came to work on their place?" i mean, we went through lots of scenarios. >> i couldn't imagine anybody hurting 'em. the individual definitely had some issue with dennis. no doubt. >> do you think that it's possible that either one of your parents were having an affair with somebody? >> two years ago, there was this lady that, like, is really obsessed with my dad.
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when big tobacco's products were found out to be killers, they promised smokers safety. they called it a filter. but this filter wasn't safe or useful, just small and made of microplastics that have endangered us all. for far too long, they have polluted the earth. they're literally everywhere. there's no need to search. big tobacco, you'll have to answer for your despicable ride, for your wake of destruction. your one little big lie. it's only been four days since norma and dennis's bodies have been found, and the emotions are still very raw. the pain is so deep. this is a tight-knit family. they've all gathered in arkansas to pay their respects. >> everyone had come in and
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filled this church. there were so many people. it was so sad. honestly, it was one of the hardest things i had ever done. >> the funeral was very emotional. that was very special, and the songs were really great. they played one with dolly, "when i get where i'm going." it fit dennis and norma. ♪ yeah when i get where i'm going ♪ ♪ there'll be only happy tears ♪ >> brandon and charla, at the funeral, they had their arms around each other, holding each other up. >> charla, she was very upset. um, brandon was very stoic. >> i was just in shock. you're numb. >> but i was in a shock there for a long time, you know. but my -- i've learned to deal with it. but my grief was really bad for a long time, especially when i
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went to the cemetery. i've lost my mother and dad, my husband. but there's nothing like losing your child. >> from day one, the family's in constant contact with investigators on this. the family members all agree to be interviewed by the police. and this is a very important part of an investigation like this. >> this crime scene does scream out that it's someone that knows the family. >> they must interview everyone connected with the family because it helps them build a timeline. timeline is everything. they need to find out what was happening around that time. that will help them glean the events that took the lives of norma and dennis.
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>> brandon and charla are both interviewed by a texas ranger named jeff collins and by a sergeant at the hunt county sherriff's department named terry jones. >> the interviews of family members are recorded, and they're in black and white which, if you go back to 2005, probably is not uncommon in police depts. >> it was hard being interviewed because just lost the closest people to you and you're having to go through and talk about everything. >> we have to know as much as we possibly can about your parents, what i call the good, the bad, and the ugly. >> it was just painful to even get through 'cause you're not ready to talk about anything yet. >> do you know of any problems that your parents may have been having that -- >> they -- >> and would they confide in you if they had any problems? >> i think that they probably would and -- or say something. >> what kind of parents were your parents? >> um, the best. like -- >> okay. and was there a relationship, a very loving relationships?
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>> yeah. like, they always did, like -- i thought it was gross. [ laughter ] >> that's your parents, huh? >> they always do all that, like, kissing stuff and all that stuff. >> mm-hm. >> they were always together, like, always. >> as investigators are speaking to family and friends, they're able to put together a picture of norma and dennis's last weekend. >> they were still in the process of moving from the heath home to the royse city home. brandon, like a dutiful son, would come down most weekends to help them in that process. so brandon came down that weekend. >> when is the last time that you actually saw your parents? >> um, it was sunday. like, we ate dinner that day. >> mm-hm. >> uh, but we ate at the house. um, and i know my dad left about 6:00-something. >> okay. >> and he got back -- it was just right down the street at milano's pizza. >> okay. >> and we ate dinner, and then i left. >> right after you ate? >> yeah, because i was already running late, and i had to go and feed all the animals at the old house. >> after that, he drives to pick up his friend, robert, who is a classmate at college.
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>> once he picks up robert, they decide that rather than going right back to college, they're gonna go dancing. and that's what they did. >> now, charla, on sunday night, was in arkansas visiting her grandmother opal, who's norma's mother. >> we know you're saying that on sunday night between 8:45 and 9:00 is when you know that your mother talked to her mother. >> right. >> your grandmother. >> my grandma hung up the phone. she said, "your mom told you to be careful going home." so i was like, "all right." >> and as far as anyone knows, that's the last time anyone had spoken to norma. >> when charla gets back to school, she attempts to contact her parents, which is sometime after 11:00 that night on sunday. and she's unsuccessful. nobody picks up the phone. >> so investigators are able to hone in on that time between 9:00 and 11:00 as being the most likely period of time on sunday night that they'd been murdered. >> do you suspect anybody of
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this? >> i -- honestly, i don't because, in my own opinion, i don't know how any human could do something. like, i think a freak would have to do this. >> if there's anything at all that you can think of that you -- that we need to know or that you can -- even if we don't need to know, talk to us, you know. get it out. and then -- because it may mean something to us later. >> during the course of their interviews, both charla and brandon both bring up the name mike etherington. they each suggest to the police that they should -- they should talk to mike. >> he was a kid that brandon hung out with. he was in the ffa with him. they had a best friend group, and he was one of the best friends. they were just thick as thieves. >> something went wrong after they graduated, and they started to get further and further apart. >> my brother's gonna come in here and tell you there's one
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kid that keeps causing him havoc. and don't let him forget you -- don't let him forget to tell you about it. >> who's that? >> mike etherington. >> all right. >> about two or three weeks ago, and at about 11:00, i get a text message saying, "i've grown up a lot since high school. remember my name, michael etherington. you're going to need it one day." well, that was followed by about 16 to 18 text messages until 4:00 in the morning. >> detectives ask for the spelling of his name. >> what's mike's last name again? >> like, e-t-h-e-r-i-n-g-t-o-n. >> it turns out investigators were already speaking to him. and mike etherington had a lot to say. >> it's a big, long, little story. ♪♪ hi neighbor. did you switch to t-mobile home internet yet? trim your hedge. it's $50 bucks a month, with no price hikes. bam! ♪♪ it runs on t-mobile's wireless 5g network so all you gotta do is plug in one cord. t-mobile 5g home internet. just $50 bucks a month.
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neighbors in this quiet community near royse city are on edge tonight, the day after cops found a couple murdered here. police aren't saying how the couple was murdered, but say the woodruffs died violently. >> as word gets out about this double murder, members of the community start calling the police trying to help. and one of the callers was mike etherington, the same person brought up by both charla and brandon. >> mike etherington. >> michael etherington. >> clearly at this point, charla and brandon have no clue that mike is already talking to law enforcement. >> while mike's first conversation with police wasn't recorded, eventually, he comes in and the police take a videotaped statement. >> you know we're investigating capital murder. >> mm-hmm. >> and um, i -- i believe you contacted us just because of some current concerns that you had. >> yes, sir. >> he's been friends with brandon for years. they grew up together. >> we were both in 4h, we were both in ffa.
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i was president of ffa, he was president of 4h. >> brandon and mike were extremely close for most of high school. they were part of a tight group of four guy friends. >> they would call themselves the [ bleep ]-kickers. >> we were all really, i mean, really close, like, brothers seriously. everywhere we go, you find the other. >> these guys would dress like country guys. i mean, they wore jeans, they wore cowboy boots. s they looked very texas. >> mike etherington is a fascinating interview, if for no other reason the fact that he comes to the police. they don't have to knock on his door. he essentially describes how brandon was kind of an attention seeker. >> he's always the crazy one. you know? >> i have pictures in the yearbook where senior year he put on his, his sister's old cheerleading outfit.
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>> mm-hmm. >> had his face painted and stuff, and he'd go to the games, and you know, he'd get down and he'd be the clown. >> but then mike tells investigators how he thought brandon started to change their senior year, he started hanging out with wealthier kids in town instead of their core group. >> gone were the cowboy outfits. >> started wearing all these preppy clothes, you know, like armani. he'd always brag about his clothes, you know, "my shirts better than yours. it's a $92 armani shirt and stuff. >> mike tells police things came to a bit of a head when brandon got into a fist fight with one of his friends. >> they're just fighting and scuffling all over the ground. brandon's shirt is torn to shreds. >> here we are in the middle of a murder investigation, and you're hearing about these very juvenile spats that are going on. i'm sure police are wondering. okay. so, how does this play into the fact that brandon's parents are murdered? >> things start to take a more serious turn. >> he begins to describe some
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really dark stuff. mike described that brandon was cruel to animals. >> he goes, "i went ahead and i got the shovel, hit the mom cat over the head." and i was like, "what are you gonna do with the kittens?" he's telling us that he's gonna throw them out on the bridge. >> and in a homicide context, that's hugely significant. >> brandon denies ever killing a cat and throwing kittens off an overpass. >> mike has his own version of the relationship between brandon and brandon's parents. >> he goes, "i hate my [ bleep ] parents." blah, blah, blah. he goes, "they're always doing this crap to me. you know, and just need to go to hell and stuff." >> he says that brandon had a post on myspace, where he said he hated his parents and wished they were dead. >> it had been said on there, you know, "my parents, i hate 'em. they need to go to hell." you know that, "i wish they'd just [ bleep ] die and go to hell." >> police sit up and take notice of this comment. >> one of the things that's
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interesting is comparing the interviews between brandon and charla. >> okay. um, what kind of parents were your parents to you? >> but the way that brandon describes the family life and charla describes the family life, it's almost like two different families. so brandon kinda describes this idyllic relationship with his parents, and how they never fought. and charla describes that their family had issues, that their dad sometimes wasn't on his best behavior. >> my dad, whenever i was younger, had a very bad temper. >> mm-hmm. >> okay. >> a huge temper. >> she says that brandon inherited that temper. >> charla tells police that when the two were little, there was emotional and sometimes even physical abuse. >> she describes how he would beat her with a buggy-whip. >> he would beat the snot out of me, too. >> he came in, and did all the horse whip thing, and, he, all you heard was just me screaming bloody murder.
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>> brandon has denied ever abusing his sister. and charla has said as they got older, their relationship got better. >> when you have people tell you that, there was an abuse issue, that you would listen to that very intently. >> interviewing brandon is critically important, not only just to try to put together a list of suspects, but also to eliminate brandon as a potential suspect. and so establishing a timeline is critically important. >> based on what brandon is saying and what police already know from other people, it appears brandon is the last person to see his parents. >> at 7:00 p.m., you left the, um, uh, your, the parents' house over in royse city. >> mm-hmm. mm-hmm. >> and you go over to feed -- feed the animals and the parrot and all that. >> right. >> how long does that take? >> um -- >> um, how long does it take to get from royse city to -- >> to get to royse city -- >> to heath. >> to heath, maybe 20, 25 minutes. >> okay. >> 30 at the most.
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>> okay. >> i might've been there at the most for 30 minutes, maybe at the most. >> so you think probably by 8:00 p.m. then, you're headed towards denton? >> yeah. >> so far brandon is just answering all the questions. and then ranger collins drops a bomb. >> i've got an eyewitness that -- that saw you in heath at 11:00 p.m. on sunday night. the neighbor has contacted us and said "on sunday night, i saw brandon at the heath address." >> apparently a neighbor around the heath house tells police that he specifically remembers going to bed and he hears a noise. >> i got up and looked out the window and i saw it was brandon in the -- in the white truck. >> this neighbor is sure that it was sometime around 10:00 or 11:00 pm. >> so this raises huge, huge questions. brandon said he was at the heath
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house at 7:20-7:30 p.m. the neighbor says it was 10:00 p.m., 11:00 p.m. >> brandon, did any -- did anything happen with you and your parents? >> no. >> your -- >> th - there's like, that's the dead truth. >> all right. >> like there's -- i -- no, that's crazy. >> i know, an - and but i've seen crazy stuff happen. something flies off. something snaps,okay? >> i'm asking you brandon, straight up, is if something happened with you and your parents, get right, and that's the way you get help. >> but it didn't. >> okay. you're -- so you're telling us straight up -- >> i am telling you 100%. >> that you -- that you -- you did not kill your parents? >> no. that's [ bleep ] crazy. >> after they interviewed him, he was a prime suspect. he couldn't believe that they'd think he did it. i felt the same way. the way -- way brandon felt. police get a phone call from someone who's missing a gun. and they quickly learn that it could be the same type of gun and caliber of gun that they believe was used to commit this
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>> brandon has been dating a hgh school classmate named morgan lee on and off for two years. >> they were kind of like an it couple when they went anywhere, they made a statement, because they were dressed to the max. always from what i saw, he treated her very well. her family was very loving of her and him together. >> morgan's mother, michelle lee, really adored brandon. >> i loved brandon to pieces, because i really felt he was a good guy. >> brandon and morgan, they loved horses so they rode horses together. >> he could let his stallion horse get in the arena and they would literally play. brandon would run after him and
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the horse would spin around and then he'd chase brandon. >> brandon came home from college that weekend, and on saturday, he went to visit morgan. >> morgan needed a lamb so morgan and brandon went on this big adventure where they went and got a lamb. >> he was there kinda early, morgan's still sound asleep and i said, "well, just go up there and wake her up." and pretty soon they come down and, you know, they're laughing and cutting up and acting like they do. >> days later—when brandon's parents are found dead -- michelle and morgan are fiercely by his side. they meet him at the airport when he flies home from school and drive him hours to be with his family in arkansas. >> michelle and morgan lee who by their accounts, they say that brando was visibly upset, that he was just destroyed by the news.
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it looked like he'd kind of cried himself out. >> sometime after that, michelle lee discovers that something is missing from her home. >> we had old western gun and cowboy decorations in the house. >> i mean, this is classic texas, right. they've got-- some decorations, which include a colt long .45 -- handgun that's on display, along with live ammunition. that was, oh my gosh, old as dirt. >> the gun was wasn't loaded, but the bullets were in the belt that went around the perimeter. i didn't even know the gun would work. it looks like it was right out of, you know, tombstone or something. and, sure enough, the gun was gone and the leather loops that used to hold the bullets in place on the belt they were
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broken and there were bullets missing. he could have taken that gun last weekend. i was like, "you're crazy. don't even think like that. brandon wouldn't do that to his parents." >> it is possible that it could have been stolen prior to brandon being there by someone else. >> i had a lot of inner struggle with, do i share this with law enforcement people, that a gun is now missing? and i had to make a decision quickly. >> she told us she had in her possession, an old western style holder that had, uh, kind of the bandolier, the, the bullet loops in, in the, uh, holster, but no gun. >> michelle's first conversation with police isn't recorded, eventually she comes back in and the police take a videotaped
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statement. >> i said "first and foremost, i want you to know that i love brandon woodruff. and i don't want to appear as though i'm accusing him of anything. it just really bothered me that i had. >> mm-hmm. >> a missing gun and that brandon had been at our house the same weekend that his parents died. it was absolutely the hardest thing i have ever done. i don't want you to think that i think brandon did anything because i'm telling you this. >> she felt guilty for coming forward with this information and wanted to protect brandon and spoke very highly of brandon and then would turn around and say, "but this is strange." >> tests were done on the slug found in the couch with bullets
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that still remained in the lee home and those experts said these are consistent. >> so the odds are reasonable that the weapon is the weapon used to shoot them. but to absolutely corroborate that, you couldn't do it till you actually find the weapon. >> the police at this point are putting together an affidavit for brandon's arrest. >> detectives have cleared charla, as well as people brought up in the investigation—including mike etherington and the woman who was supposedly obsessed with dennis. >> in this case, the fact that brandon had some pretty big holes in his timeline according to his interview with the texas rangers, and combined with the fact that he had been in a home that at some point in time had a gun stolen from it, that -- that was -- that was pretty much it for him. >> it was just like a normal morning. i was getting ready for school
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and then all i remember just a swarm of police coming into our house. i just heard my grandmother scream. >> and i said "what in the world are y'all doing" i told him that, you know, that we loved him and, you know, i believed in him. >> i had the radio on in the car and i heard that brandon woodruff had been arrested it just gave me goosebumps. >> the brandon that i knew, i would never, ever imagine that he would harm his parents, let alone kill. >> i was shocked. never in my life would i imagine my little brother would be arrested for anything, much less the murder of our parents. >> i did not think he did it. they made a mistake and it was gonna be cleared up soon. >> it was the most horrible
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thing to see brandon with his wrists shackled, he had his ankles shackled because brandon always was the one on the other end, he was the one that could put a collar on any type of dog and have 'em sit, stay, come at his command, and now brandon was the one that was in chains. >> the family kinda started splitting. um, immediately the woodruff side definitely believed that there was some kind of mix up. um, the johnston side? i don't know at what point, but at some point, you know, they very much believed that he did it. >> you have yet to hear the whole story. >> there were wild revelations still to come during the investigation of this case. >> investigators called me and said, "are you sitting down?"
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we're talking about somebody who went in with very quick precision, and murdered two people. >> this is the house where the woodruffs were murdered. >> they had rumor, innuendo and suspicion, but they had no hard evidence. >> i hate to tell you this, mike. >> are you sitting down? we found where brandon was getting all of his money from.
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>> you have these two separate lives that brandon was working so hard to maintain. at some point those two lives had to collide. ♪ brandon was wonderful with animals. i mean, he's almost like a horse whisperer. >> brandon would ride, and it was always just a little more fun and free. >> he had different ways of doing things with his horses that was just, almost magical. they jived. i mean, they were together. >> he's got the horse kneeling for him, he's doing this, the horse is kneeling. and he was only 17, 18, he was doing that. >> he had the patience and the understanding of these animals to deal with them on their
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terms. he had a love for horses and the horses knew. >> he just had a gift. >> but now 19-year-old brandon is behind bars, accused of killing his own parents. >> it's a horrible situation. you can't believe it. he always assured me, you know, that he's going to be okay. "they're going to find out the truth, and i'm coming home." >> brandon's supporters say he shouldn't have been arrested in the first place. they point to brandon's myspace page and they say that nowhere does it say he hates his parents like mike etherington claimed. >> there is no evidence that that statement that mike made about him saying that ever happened.
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>> ranger collins puts mike etherington's statement about the myspace page in the probable cause affidavit. and you know, they go look at it, it says, "oh, i love my parents. lol. you know, seriously i do." >> investigators reach out to myspace to see if the page could have been altered but they don't keep records to show if anything was changed. >> now they need to go back to mike and say, "wait, where's this post where brandon supposedly said 'i hate my parents. i wish they were dead?'" >> supposedly it had been said on there, you know, "my parents, i hate 'em. they need to go to hell." you know, that, "i wish they'd just die and go to hell." um, well. >> now you're -- now you're saying supposedly. but over the phone you said that was on there. >> because, i did not see with my eyes. >> all right. man, you -- give me just a minute. mike. i mean. >> this is more than a huge problem for the investigators, because they've included that in their affidavit for probable
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cause that brandon committed these murders. >> if somebody says, you know, he hates his parents and wishes they're dead, we call that a clue in the death of somebody's parents. right? but then they find out that he heard that he -- that -- that brandon had put that up, which is a completely different thing. that's hearsay. that's unusable. >> well, here's the thing, though, that you got to understand, because you were on the telephone and i was -- i was in the room on the speakerphone. >> yeah. >> listening to you give out that information, and that information was very matter of fact. >> exactly. >> firsthand knowledge, and that's not what you're telling me right now. >> exactly. >> this is not a good, good thing. >> you know, i've seen all that on tape. they knew they shouldn't of never arrested brandon in the start. >> i mean, um, i hate to tell you this, mike, but i'm just about ready to -- >> oh. >> -- strangle you. you -- you know what i mean? >> i don't, i understand that 100%. it's just -- >> and i just want to step out for just a moment, and i just want to regain my composure. >> this investigator is so upset, and for good reason.
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yes, a posting on myspace "i hate my parents and wish they were dead" would be very important to proving your case, but it's still a good case without it. >> so at this point in the investigation, it is absolutely critical that law enforcement speak to as many people as possible. this includes his friends in the area, as well as his friends at the university. >> and you don't mind us taking a look or going over to your dorm room. >> okay. it's a little messy right now. >> brandon's roommate, eric gentry, said that brandon's dagger was missing from his dorm room. >> so he had this dagger, kind of medieval looking dagger, and he brought that to school and had it in the closet. >> when's the last time you seen it? >> uh, month or two ago probably. >> now you've got a connection
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to brandon with a colt 45 revolver. and you've got a connection with brandon to at least one knife. and they're both missing. >> abilene christian university, this is a very strict school. it's a christian school. there are rules. no drugs, no alcohol, no sex of any kind, and there are curfews. >> he had a lot of friends at acu. he got involved in the theater department. >> we have this thing called freshman follies. he did some little skits between each act. >> might i say, y'all are looking fantastic today. >> he loved it. in fact, he really wanted to get involved in the theater and drama, um, here at acu. >> brandon was never a good student, but he always got by. at college, you know, staying out too late, sleeping in, missing classes. his grades were falling. >> if you miss three or four
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classes, you're just out of the class. you don't get credit for anything, you know. and that's how brandon was flunking out. >> my name is janssen barnett, and in october, 2005, i was a student at the university of north texas. and i was dating a boy named robert. he was attending acu, and that's where he met brandon. >> police are interested in talking to janssen and robert who were both with brandon on the night of october 16th. they say brandon was supposed to give robert a ride back to abilene christian university that night. >> sunday comes, and he calls 5:30, 6:00-ish. about 5:30, he goes, "well, we're gonna leave, and around 6:00 or so." and i was like, "okay." then, he -- he called again. he's like, "well, it's gonna be a couple more hours." >> he knew that we would be
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calling him. he wasn't answering his phone for whatever reason. i think just to a point where we pwere just kind of frustrated. >> i called him at 10:00, and he answered. and he was kind of, you know when you run or when you kind of get caught in doing something, you're gonna breathe hard? like -- like you got like, excited or something. well, he was breathing hard. > brandon finally tells robert martinez, "you know what? i'm not gonna pick you up at your girlfriend's house. i'm gonna pick you up at a denny's," which is outside of dallas. >> i think by the time we finally met up with brandon, it was probably between 10:30, 11:00. >> but that is not what brandon told police just days earlier. >> so you think probably by 8:00 then, you're headed towards denton? >> yeah. >> okay. >> it's one thing to be off a few minutes, it's another to be off three hours, and that's clearly what you have here. >> i would've never have questioned sunday evening until he got arrested. then it was like, okay. i wonder if this is why he wasn't answering.
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>> and brandon did something else later that night that has police wondering too. >> there was two suitcases in the back, and i go to open brandon's, and he flipped out. >> did he really? >> he goes, "no, don't open it. don't open it." r depression can leave you down and in the dark. but what if you could begin to see the signs of hope all around you? what if you could let in the lyte? discover caplyta. caplyta is a once-daily pill, proven to deliver significant relief from bipolar depression. unlike some medicines that only treat bipolar i, caplyta treats both bipolar i and bipolar ii depression. and, in clinical trials, feelings of inner restlessness and weight gain were not common. caplyta can cause serious side effects. call your doctor about sudden mood changes, behaviors, or suicidal thoughts right away. antidepressants may increase these risks in young adults. elderly dementia patients have increased risk of death or stroke. report fever, stiff muscles, or confusion, which may be life-threatening,
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this is the house where the woodruff's were murdered. brandon says he had dinner with his parents that night. and then we know that brandon's mother norma was still alive at 9:15 that night because she made a phone call to her mother. >> you had several hours of missing time that -- that brandon was not accounting for. and it was during those hours of missing time that the murder was committed. >> the timeline the state put out didn't make any sense because they're saying, "okay, we're assuming that the
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woodruffs were killed around 9:15." it would've taken brandon 23 minutes, if he had left -- if they had died right at 9:15 and brandon immediately got in his car and drove toward the heath house. that doesn't work because they also said somebody had to clean up the crime scene. >> brandon got to the denny's in dllas at 11:00. and robert martinez is saying, "what's going on?" so they end up going to alex rulli's house in plano. >> y'all hung out a little at your dad's house? >> we hung out for a little bit at my dad's house, and then we went, uh, to the club, station four. >> what time did you get there? >> um, probably around 12:00, 12:00 or 12:15. so we all kind of branched off and everyone went solely over to friends. so i didn't see him much that night or anything. but we left probably 2:00, 2:30.
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>> this is kind of the weird part. brandon, um, drove this dodge ram pickup, just a single cab. he got back that monday and he had a new truck. and -- >> what kind of new truck? >> uh, chevy 2500, i think, or chevy 1500. >> and you had never seen him in his truck before? >> no, but he had told me he had got a new truck. he'd be like, "i got this new truck." and tuesday we rode around in it just so -- he was like, "show me your new truck." and so we went out and rode around. >> it was a new, um, chevy four-door. i don't know if it was a chevy or something. >> did he indicate to you that was his truck? >> yeah, he said it was his. >> that was norma's truck, which meant you don't take this without permission. you only use this when i know you're using it, and then you bring it home. >> the truck. my mother would never, ever, ever let my brother drive that truck to abilene. >> are you sure about that? >> positive.
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>> okay. that was kind of her pride and joy, that truck? >> yes. >> when police ask alex if anything stands out from that night, he describes a strange incident when they're driving home from the club where he's in the back seat. >> there was two suitcases in the back, and i opened the first one. we were just kind of playing around with stuff in there. and i go to open brandon's, and he flipped out. >> did he really? >> he goes, "no, don't open it. don't open it." turned around and he really wuld not face forward. >> and he's driving? >> he's driving. so we're like, "turn around. calm down. we're not gonna open your suitcase. just drive." >> the investigators, when they heard about brandon being so protective of his bag, they assume maybe there's a murder weapon in there. they got possession of that bag, and they sent it straight to the lab. there was nothin' in it that would indicate that it was involved -- that brandon had any involvement in the crime. >> what's he afraid of them finding? but it later turns out that there's something else in that bag that he's desperate for certain people not to learn about. >> when i asked him the next day, you know, "why'd you freak out like that?" he said he just had some, uh,
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gay stuff in there or something that he didn't want his friend to his see 'cause he -- he said rob was straight and didn't want him to, you know. >> he's telling us that, no, i'm straight, i've got a girlfriend and all that, but we're hearing from friends that he is gay, which we don't care one way or another. but if you're going to lie about something little like that, are you going to lie about something big? if you can lie about your sexual orientation, you might lie about something big. >> to make a statement like that is ridiculous. >> everybody lies, especially about sex. are you kidding me? >> is he lying or is he coming out of the closet? >> if you've known anyone who has struggled with coming out, it's one of the hardest things to do. it takes a monumental amount of strength.
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>> i noticed brandon dressing, like, a little different. and i had noticed that he was, like, a little more feminine. i was like, "i've always known." >> now, one person in brandon's family who appears to not know about his sexuality was his sister charla. >> i said, "brandon, are you gay?" and he said, "no." >> and what she says next will forever change their relationship. >> i said, "you were part of this, and there's no doubt in my mind that you had something to do with this." who's on it with jardiance? we're managing type 2 diabetes and heart risk. we're hittin' the trails between meetings. and putting the brakes on fried foods. jardiance is a once-daily pill that...not only lowers a1c, it goes beyond to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death for adults with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease. and jardiance may help you lose some weight. jardiance may cause serious side effects including ketoacidosis that may be fatal,
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prime changes everything. days after brandon is arrested and charged with murdering his parents, his sister charla visits him in his jail cell. >> my grandmother comes running out and says that he wanted to see me, so i went back there, and i sat down, and i grabbed the phone. >> it's an emotional conversation.
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charla seems to be struggling with what authorities say are inconsistences in brandon's timeline, and the parts of his life he hid from her. >> i think mainly what she confronted him about was he lying to her about being gay. i feel like she probably did feel some betrayal. >> after confronting brandon, she immediately reaches out to police. >> now you said you went and visited him before you came down here. >> i said, "brandon, are you gay?" and he said, "no." i said, "are you gay?" and he said, "no." >> charla returns to police and basically says, "look, if my brother has been lying to me about his sexuality, he could be lying about anything." >> i said, "and a lot of people are saying you're gay, if you lie about little things, but you're telling the truth about the big thing, they're gonna know you're a liar, and they're not gonna believe you." you need to tell the truth. they've already marked you as a liar.
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and i said, "brandon, i'm scared for you. they have evidence against you, and you're screwed. you have no doubt in my mind that you did it." >> she kind of launched into that's false tautology. "well, if you're lying to people about being gay, brandon, you know, they're gonna say you're gonna lie about the big things too." >> okay. and you know what? we don't care if he's gay or not. >> no. >> that doesn't -- >> i don't care if he's gay. >> that doesn't have anything to do with anything, really. >> he could be lying about -- this is the whole thing. >> i think, brandon's mindset was not only scared, i think, confused he's finding out that people that brandon thought he could rely on were kind of backing away from him a little bit. >> obviously i don't want to lose my brother, but if that has to happen, it has to happen. more than that, i don't want to lose my own life. >> right. >> and if they let him out, i'm gone. >> why do you say that? >> because if he really did this, i don't know who he is.
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>> according to family and friends, brandon underwent a major transformation in the year before his parents were murdered. >> when brandon came back from abilene christian college, brandon was different. a lot different. his appearance was pristine, um, he had a gorgeous tan. he had highlighted his hair. morgan was like, "wow this is different." >> he said that he would be in the next, like, armani catalog. and so i know my dad was looking forward to that. he was really proud of him. >> in fact, at some point, he even mentions that he's flying to new york because of some modeling gig, sort of builds up this image as, "i'm a model, i'm glamorous, a picture he painted of affiance and success.
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>> freshman year of college brandon is really focused on presenting himself as coming from wealth. he displays these very expensive clothes. the problem is, dennis and norma woodruff don't come from money. they've literally had to downsize their house in order to pay for the college. >> brandon is 18-years-old. it's a private college. he is with some wealthier people. he wanted to fit in. >> he was somehow affording all these clothes, and he would go and he would spend $300, $400 at the mall. he would spend crazy amounts of money. and i always assumed he was getting it from modeling. >> when asked where that money was coming from, all of his friends said, "well, he's modeling, and he's going to new york and he's going to florida, and he's doing these modeling gigs."
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>> investigators called me and said, "are you sitting down?" and she said, "we found where brandon was getting all of his money from." >> what we found was that brandon had been going to florida and not modeling, but he was part of these productions. i mean, he was working, but it was just a different industry than what everybody was led to believe. >> that different industry ranger collins is talking about? brandon was getting paid to appear in gay pornographic films. >> i was very much shocked when i found out that brandon was doing the movies. it's one thing to be, uh, gay, but it's another thing to -- to be portrayed in a film. >> brandon had this extra cash he was going to somehow have to justify getting. given he's at abilene christian university, number one, he's not gonna want to advertise he's making porn. number two, he's not gonna want to advertise he's making gay porn.
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so to explain his money or his clothing, i think he thought, well, you know it's kind of like modeling. i think it was a little bit of a -- of a white lie fib on his part, because, i don't think he wanted to be expelled. >> then, in june of 2008, more than two years after the murders, brandon's aunt kathy makes a startling discovery in the barn at the woodruff's old house. >> today is june 12th, 2008. we are laurence drive in heath texas. >> remember, in 2005 dennis and norma were in the process of moving out of that house in heath. >> it was a very long cleaning out process. >> that barn was a mess, there was a ton of crap in there. >> somewhere among all these boxes, in a very bottom box, she found a very small, dagger-like
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thing. >> she found that, and she had to turn it in. of course, you know, it just made trouble for brandon. >> the police knew brandon was at the heath home, because the next-door neighbor saw him there. brandon admitted he was there. they had searched the place. they sent eight guys down there, a k9 team, multiple agencies, but they didn't find anything of evidentiary value. >> this dagger is unique. it's -- it's ornate. and it's almost like a pirate dager. and when they forensically examine it, they find human blood on the dagger. and in that human blood is dennis woodruff's dna. >> the medical examiner could not say one way or the other if this is the murder weapon. but eric gentry told investigators the dagger is the same one brandon had in their dorm room. there are so many questions in this case that only brandon can answer. so i paid him a visit and
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finally, in march of 2009, 3 1/2 years after the murder, the trial is under way. >> brandon was charged with capital murder. the state waived the election to seek the death penalty. so that meant if brandon was found guilty, he was facing life in prison without parole. >> based on the evidence that was presented to us, it was very clear that it was someone that the woodruffs knew. they were comfortable in their home. >> our strategy was to chip away at the state's case by pointing
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out at every opportunity that they had no case. they had rumor, innuendo, and suspicion, but they had no hard evidence. >> the state paints a picture of brandon as a liar living two lives, deceiving both his friends and his family. >> brandon's mother had a truck that they talked about throughout the trial. this was her prize possession, was this truck. so when brandon went back to school the night of the murder, he told all his friends that his mother gave him her truck. >> another motive that's presented by the prosecution is the financial motive here. brandon is a -- is a free spender. he projects himself as coming from wealth, which he does not. he's about to fail out of school. and this gravy train that he's been on where his parents are essentially supporting his college education is about to come to a crashing end. >> my dad had told him that he
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had one semester to do right. and if he failed out of school, then, um, he was coming home. my parents weren't gonna fund him going up there and just being a slacker. >> dennis was talking to his sister on the phone, and he said, "we're gonna have a meeting tonight with brandon, and we're gonna bring up all these questions that i have for brandon -- his gay lifestyle, his failing grades." and that's the day the homicides happened. >> the hunt county sheriff's department is investigating the murders of a husband and wife who were found dead inside their rural home. >> you have these two separate lives that brandon was working so hard to maintain. this -- the persona over here and the persona over here. at some point, those two lives had to collide. and it's my belief that that
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collision took place in the residence on the night that dennis and norma woodruff were murdered. >> look, there's a lot of -- of theories. like the double life, the financial motive, all the rest of it. this case comes down to the timeline, and it comes down to brandon woodruff lying about it. from the perspective of the prosecutors in this case, these people are murdered between 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. and brandon woodruff cannot account for his whereabouts. >> brandon's neighbor randall lunz, who lived right here, says he saw brandon out here during the 10:00 news that night. that would mean between 10:00 and 10:30. when you factor in the drive time, brandon would have had between 20 and 45 minutes approximately to commit the murders. when the jury breaks to
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deliberate, they need to ask themselves, "did brandon have enough time to commit those brutal murders of both his parents, clean up the crime scene, and get to the house in heath?" >> the jury deliberated for five hours. >> i remember standing up for them to give the verdict and thinking that it was gonna be not guilty. and when it was guilty, my grandma just broke down and ran out, and i just ran with her. i did not want her to by herself after that. >> well, it said guilty. and it -- it cut through me like a knife. but there's nothing you can do. >> he was sentenced to life without possibility of parole in texas state prison. >> it's 5:30 in the morning, still dark out there. i'm about to take off on a 2 1/2 hour drive from dallas to
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a state prison in east texas. brandon dale woodruff now calls this place his home. inly aeed talk to us and telus t how long have you been in here? >> uh, about 15 years, 16 years total. >> what has life in prison been like all these years? >> some days it's good days. some days it's bad. it's prison, so you just wake up every day and hope for the best, so. >> what is the real story? >> that i'm innocent. i did not kill my parents at all. >> brandon, i have interviewed a lot of people in prison and in
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jail, and so often they say, "i didn't do it, i didn't do it." why should we believe you? >> i think that you should look at the totality of the evidence. >> brandon pushes back against the accusation that he purposely lied about his timeline on the night of october 16th. >> i told a lot of people that i really don't -- couldn't consider myself staying there for a couple of hours. but, you know, i fed the cats. i fed the dogs. i got ready to go that night. um, so maybe the, you know -- it did take a little bit longer. i wasn't one to sit here, look at my watch every moment of every day. so, um, i did the best i could. i told them where i was at. i told them what i did. and that's just the truth. >> but what about the story that brandon wanted his mother's truck? >> my mother would never, ever, ever let my brother drive that truck to abilene. >> i mean, the neighbor said that i drove it all the time. i got a ticket in that truck, and now all of a sudden this
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truck is this huge deal. and it's like -- i mean, it doesn't make any sense to me. >> brandon, almost three years after the murders, uh, someone finds a dagger in your old parents' house. >> yes, sir. i don't know of how anybody could actually look at a -- and i'm calling it not a dagger but a sword because it's about this big. >> did you use that sword to kill your parents? >> no, sir. no, sir. >> did you know it existed? >> no, sir. >> did you use that gun that was taken from your girlfriend's house to kill your parents? >> absolutely not. no, sir. >> brandon admits he was struggling academically at acu, but he says that is no reason to kill his parents. you had dropped some of your classes at the university, and investigators said that your parents were angry and that you killed them because they were going to cut you off financially. >> yeah. no, sir. not -- absolutely not true. school just wasn't my thing. but never once did my parents
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ever tell me they were gonna cut me off. never once did my parents says, "this is your last chance." >> brandon has spent his entire adulthood behind bars. to this day, there is a strong group of supporters who say that jury got it wrong and brandon is an innocent man. >> hear his appeal. >> brandon's case has about as many red flags as you could ever expect to see in a wrongful conviction. help us right this wrong. if your moderate to severe crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis symptoms are stopping you in your tracks... choose stelara® from the start... and move toward relief after the first dose... with injections every two months. stelara® may increase your risk of infections, some serious, and cancer. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you have an infection, flu-like symptoms, sores, new skin growths, have had cancer, or if you need a vaccine. pres, a rare, potentially fatal brain condition,
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i know brandon was wrongfully judged. and murder? now, i know brandon didn't do that. someone else is letting him take the blame for it.
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>> shame on texas justice. judges of the texas court of criminal appeals, do your job. >> in april of this year, a small but vocal group went to deliver an online petition to the texas court of criminal appeals asking that brandon be granted a new trial. basically just asking them to go ahead and reopen the petition, vacate the judgement, or they'll realize brandon is innocent. >> set him free! >> brandon's case has about as many red flags as you could ever expect to see in a wrongful conviction. the theory of the state's case was brandon is leading a double life. he is portraying to his conservative friends at college that he is straight man, that he has, you know, a loving girlfriend back home, when in fact, you know, he has boyfriends. >> do you feel you were charged, prosecuted, and eventually convicted in large part because
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you're gay? >> i do believe that that's a major factor. i felt like the investigators were able to use that. they would say, "well, did you know that he was dancing in gay bars? did you know he had a boyfriend?" >> when we did the general voir dire of the panel, we were asking about people's views on homosexuality. i'm not entirely certain you get entirely honest answers on that. >> but the $64,000 question that they asked was, "do you feel or think that being homosexual or gay is immoral?" guess what? in 2005, people still felt that homosexuality was immoral. 'cause 8 of the 12 jurors on brandon's case specifically said it was immoral. >> but they were allowed to serve on the jury after promising the court that they could still be fair to brandon. >> we all want to have confidence that if somebody's convicted of something, that it had 0% to do with that. >> it turns out that eight members of the jury polled said that they believed homosexuality
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was morally wrong. do you think that played into your conviction? >> i think it played a part, which is sad. it's sad you would even have to ask that question. that does not make you who you are. your sexual identity, your orientation, none of that makes who -— i'm brandon. i'm not gay brandon. i'm not, you know, straight brandon. i'm just brandon. >> abc news spoke with several jurors who said when it came to deciding guilt or innocence, brandon's sexuality was not a factor for the jury. >> i don't recall that issue coming up as we were deliberating of anyone saying, "well, i think he's guilty because he's gay." that wasn't even a discussion. >> no, no. that would be unfair. >> the prosecution's case against brandon relied heavily on a timeline they say proved brandon was at the scene of the murders that night.
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but the innocence project points to cell phone records they say further compress the window of opportunity to commit the murders. >> the friend that was in dallas waiting for brandon to come pick him up, he called at 9:49. we know that at 10:10 that morgan called brandon. so if you look at these times brandon is talking to people, then literally the only way that could've happened between 9:20 and 11:00 is if brandon kills his parents in, at the most, 19 minutes. like, he has to act fast or he is taking calls during the course of committing these murders. that's the only way the timeline makes sense, that he does something to one of his parents, and then takes a call and chats with morgan like nothing's wrong. >> in addition to the timeline, the other biggest potential breakthrough in this case is dna evidence from norma.
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in norma's hand, police found a clump of longer blonde hairs. now, that would normally be an indicator that she had somehow grabbed her attacker and that she pulled his or her hair. and that's the hair that's in her hand. law enforcement never tested that hair. and one of the things that we've been fighting for in the case is trying to figure out who has that hair because we want it tested. >> the idea of testing the hair that's located in or around her hand, it's a very savvy move by the defense because that could be hugely significant for an apellate court in determining whether or not brandon gets a new trial. >> the innocence project has brought brandon new hope. but can his relationship with his sister ever be healed? the pair haven't spoken in 17 years. >> i mean, my own sister told the ranger, "well, if he could lie about something so small, then he could lie about something big." and it's not -- it's not true. >> it still brings tears to your eyes. >> yes, sir.
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i'm sorry. >> if you could talk to charla right now, what would you tell her? ♪prodigies♪ ♪party♪ ♪lobby♪ ♪join us♪ ♪sorry♪ ♪i'm dazzling, shining 24/7♪ ♪clouds rolling♪ ♪is this heaven?♪ ♪i be like sheesh♪ ♪sunset on the beach♪ ♪make me want to pull up on miami with the heat♪ ♪i don't know 'bout you♪ the first-ever corolla cross. ♪♪ toyota. let's go places.
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um, but i really don't even believe he did it. i've gone back and forth over the years, but mainly, my heart stayed at, "i don't think he did it." >> we all still are f -- a family unit, and we all love one another. people can live with what they think, i can live with what i think, because i know the truth, and the truth's going to come out. >> we wanted to believe that he was innocent, even though we thought -- i thought in my heart of hearts that brandon could very, very well be guilty. >> no matter what brandon has
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done, did do, he's still brandon. he's just -- he messed up. and i wish he hadn't have. >> it's hard living every day without my mom and my dad here. he's my only brother and my only sibling, and my parents are gone. and i feel like, "yes, he was found guilty. he is in prison, but i have no answers. none." >> after the guilty verdict, charla, your sister, reads the statement that says, "the horror and pain came back and leaves me at a -- at a loss for words. brandon, you made me plan a funeral." your sister said, "that thought still disgusts me." >> i'll never forget it. >> yeah. and it hit you hard. >> very. because i know i didn't kill my parents. and i just wonder why is she publicly so against me?
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for what reason? >> if you could talk to charla right now, what would you tell her? >> i would tell her that i didn't kill mom and dad. i didn't. i didn't. >> do you love your sister? >> yes, sir. >> how often do you think about your parents? >> every day, john. >> so once a person is tried and convicted, they can go up on direct appeal. after direct appeal, the conviction is considered final. that's already happened in brandon's case. his case is, in the eyes of the state of texas, done. >> now his only chance to get out of prison, is if he can prove to the texas court of criminal appeals that he is 100% actually innocent. and i -- that's a tough row to hoe. >> as it stands right now, if we don't have a break in the case, then there's nothing we can do for brandon.
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>> the real uphill climb is that -- is that every arrow of suspicion points directly at him. >> if you get out of here, what is the first thing you'll do? >> give my grandmother a big hug. that's the first thing. >> yeah. >> that's the very first thing, is i'll probably pick her up. >> you think that'll happen? >> yes, sir. >> you'll ever get out of here? >> yes, sir. 'cause i'm not going to stop, and i'm going to keep fighting, and i'm going to keep fighting to prove my innocence. brandon's family remains divided. >> to keep the peace, they have decided to agree to disagree. >> from all of us here at
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