tv Backstabbed in Thailand MSNBC January 10, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
[ phone ringing ] lisa called me on the phone. >> hey, kim. >> she asked me did i want to take a trip with her. >> i told kim that i was looking at expanding my nail business and i just needed to go to thailand. to go and pick up some products. mm-mm. i couldn't tell her all the details. >> i just thought i was helping lisa.
>> y'all bringing these products. >> kim had no idea that she was talking to a major drug smuggler. >> okay. >> i wasn't thinking about whether it was fair to her. i wasn't thinking about the jeopardy that i was putting her life in. >> i just shot somebody. >> it definitely was a betrayal. >> i don't mean to laugh about it. but i was really sick. in 1993 i got out of the military. i had a stellar career. a few medals.
a few awards. soldier of the year. but i wound up getting a disability from a ruptured eardrum during gunfire. so i had to leave what i loved. moved to alabama, went straight to work at the post office, and had a pretty good life going. you know, as far as a second career goes, anyway. i met this lady at the donut shop. as i was, you know, sitting at my table. and we got acquainted. kim was a nurse and a good-looking woman. i became friends with her, and from friends started dating her. i spent a good bit of time over at her home. she had two children. i got along with them quite well. but she had an ex-husband. i don't think he too much liked me being around his ex-wife. >> hello?
>> he would call her and she'd put it on speaker phone so i could hear what was going on. and i mean it was some vicious things this guy was saying. who's that in your house, who the hell is in there, and i'm going to come in there and i'm going to kick their ass. this was becoming a daily event. one particular night after we had sat down to eat supper i heard a pop. and it was a pretty loud pop, like a big crackle. and went and looked out of the door. she just started screaming. "my car's on fire." her children were starting to cry.
i really didn't know what to do. her car was pretty much engulfed in flames. my car was on fire also. i just knew we needed to get out of the house. i just grabbed their little hands. i was afraid that the flames might lick out and hit one of her kids. i could feel the girl shaking as i was carrying her hand. and she was like, don't let my dad kill me.
[ siren ] they picked them up that night because they knew he was the one who fire-bombed our car. he stayed in jail for a week. but they still let him out. the police came. they gave us a court date. one of them told me quite frankly, i'll never forget it, he said, you have to protect yourself. you don't have to tell me but once to protect myself because i'm going to do that. i started carrying my pistol. i'm walking outside every night now, checking the perimeter, you know, making sure nobody's creeping around the windows. i mean, this guy has me kind of, you know, tight and tense. i heard the back gate one night.
we didn't know who it was, but more than likely it was him. this time, though, i was a little bit more prepared for him. i'm going. i'm going to catch him in the back yard. and wait for the police to come down here and do something about this. i was getting a little jumpy. everything about that night was weird. dog barking weird, and just the whole feel of the night was different. i didn't know what had hit me, but later on i found out it was
a brick. i staggered just a little bit, and then i automatically pulled out. that's when we had our little incident. yeah. [ gunshot ] i fired on him. and fired. and fired again. and it was over almost as quickly as it started. i didn't mean to kill him. i really didn't mean to shoot him. but when he clocked me in the head with the brick, it was almost an automatic response. ♪ i was charged with manslaughter. i had never been in trouble with the law, period.
i told no one in my family. the post office found out. they put me on administrative leave. i was waiting on a trial date. waiting every day. it was too nerve-wracking. so that's how i wound up being free when her cousin called. [ phone ringing ] >> hello? hey, lisa. how are you doing? >> and it was like, lisa wants you. you know, and i'm like, lisa? who is lisa? you know, she's like my cousin lisa.
>> lisa, come on down. i want you to meet kim. >> i met lisa at one of ann's family functions. >> kim was my cousin's girlfriend. and my cousin is a girl. >> nice to meet you. this is my uncle. >> i didn't have any judgments or whatever. it wasn't my lifestyle. you know, and i knew that very clearly because i like men. but i was very cordial to my cousin, and i was very cordial to her friend. >> she seemed to be a nice enough girl. and i was like, hmm, give me the phone, you know. and i was like, hello? >> hey, kim. >> she just started talking like we were chums. >> how are you feeling?
you okay? >> i was very aware of the situation that kim was involved in. >> i'm doing good. under the circumstances. >> i know. it's a big mess. >> she was like, well, you know, everybody in the family knows what you're going through, and i just thought i'd call and check on you. >> make sure you're all right. hanging in there. >> i just began to talk to her about if you had an opportunity to get away from here and travel and go someplace so you can get your head together, do you think that would be a good idea for you? do you think that would be great for you? >> she said, well, i've got a trip that i'm going on. >> i'm trying to get my nail business off the ground. >> i told him -- this is what i told kim. in asia they have a product that when you put it on your nails the product is so hard that it won't break. >> right.
>> i need to go to thailand. >> thailand? >> and see if i can find that product. >> i didn't want to go alone. that's what i told her. i didn't want to go alone. because it's a foreign country. >> she knew i'd been in the military. she knew i'd traveled and needed somebody to go with me. >> that's what i told kim. i remember that now. i don't mean to laugh about it. but i was really sick. >> mm-mm. i couldn't tell her all the details. because then that meant that i would have to admit to somebody that i was in the drug business. and that was not going to happen. three months previous i had a nail client who knew that i was in a really bad situation. i had $12,000 worth of debt from when i was married, and it was more than i could imagine because i was a single parent working part-time, taking care of three children by myself. >> feet off of the table. >> my nail client told me that she had a friend who had some businesses and maybe her friend could give me some part-time work.
>> zuna was nigerian. she carried herself like a businesswoman. she appeared to be doing very well. zuna told me that sometimes she uses people to go to other countries to bring back products and different things like that. that was the word. to bring back products. then she asked would i be interested in going to thailand. yes, i would be very interested in going to thailand. even though i knew that it could be drugs, i didn't care what it was. i was just very desperate. and i just went for it. the first trip i would be accompanying somebody who would be bringing back some products to the united states. it was kind of like on-the-job type training to see how it was done. the second trip was going to be
a really big deal because i would be the person carrying the drugs and i would get paid. this business opportunity would give me $15,000. zuna was supposed to organize a companion for me because two people traveling together looks less suspicious. but she couldn't find a person that would be free. >> hey, kim. >> i wanted to go. it meant a chance for me to get away from the enormity of what had happened. but i had a problem -- >> i can't go nowhere, lisa. i have bond. >> i was on bond at the time. you don't leave from the state. and if you leave from the city, you have to tell your lawyer. >> this trip is really short. it's just one or two days. >> two days? >> i thought it would be no problem to go to thailand just for two little days. i'm like, when we leaving?
>> i left my kids with my mother. she took good care of me, so she could take good care of them. i remember my kids saying mommy, don't go. please don't go. i said, i'll be back soon. i'll be back. >> it was a good day. i was getting up out of alabama and on my way for a little adventure. aside? "sir"? come on. you know who i am. progressive insurance? uh, i save people an average of over $500 when they switch? did you pack your own bags? oh! right -- the name your price tool. it shows people policy options to help fit their budget. [ scanner warbling ] crazy that a big shot like me would pack his own bags, right? [ chuckles ] so, do i have the right to remain handsome? [ chuckles ] wait. uh-oh. or squish away.ors. they show s all our problem areas...
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in one place at one time. that night i thought we would get to know each other a little bit better. i thought she might talk to me a little bit more. but she didn't. >> i was very nervous. because i was supposed to be in charge of everything. and so i just wanted to get this done, pick this package up so that i could get home. [ phone ringing ] >> hello? >> when he finally called me, he said i'm supposed to meet and you bring you a package. and i was like, yes, i've been waiting on a package. are you coming? are you calling to say you're on your way with the package? and he was like, no, it's going to be a few more days. a few more days? we don't have a few more days. i have to be back home. he just made me so angry that i
just threw the phone down. i'm not talking to these people anymore. i really don't care. >> we're going to have to get up out of here pretty soon. i'm thinking about my pending manslaughter trial. my lawyer calls me faithfully. and i can't miss that call. i picked up the phone, and i'm like, hello? this is a friend of lisa's. how are you doing? >> kim had no idea that she was talking to a major drug smuggler. and at that moment i was kind of like, she might find out what's going on. >> he's like, "hello, ma'am." i'm like, are you guys coming? >> i'd know in a minute if he was going to say i'll be there with the drugs or i'm bringing the drugs. >> i said -- >> lisa's upset.
and you know, she's ready for her products. >> what was really amazing about it is that she kept saying you're supposed to bring this woman's products. >> are y'all bringing these products? >> she came here to get products. she just kept saying that. products. she never said anything else. >> she's ready for the products today, man. >> he's like we're coming and don't worry. and i was like, okay. well, good. >> okay. >> after kim had talked to him, she just said -- >> they're bringing you your products. >> and i was like in my mind thinking, thank you, jesus. i'm serious. the next morning he came to the hotel room. he knocked on the door. >> he was tall. i recall him being sweaty. and he seemed like he was in a rush. >> ready? >> well, where is it? >> he didn't have any luggage. >> bangkok. >> bangkok? >> we need to go.
>> i was told that i wasn't going to bangkok. >> never said anything about -- >> i started to feel like something is not right about this trip. >> do you even have our tickets to america? >> yes. they're in bangkok. >> she was still angry. she had been frustrated for a couple of days. and i wasn't frustrated. >> could we go? we're getting late. >> because this guy was there, fitting to get us to our destination. and that's all i cared about at this point because i had more pressing issues that was always, you know, not far away from my thoughts. >> we flew from haijai to bangkok. we just went wherever he told us to go. and we went to his hotel room. and i said, you have the product? and he said yes. i need to pack this in your suitcase. and i was fine with that.
>> he had, looked like a mini suitcase. he put it into lisa's luggage. >> then he had this duffel bag. >> let's go. >> wait. you have to take this one. >> what? >> you have to take this. >> what do you mean i have to take that? >> you have to take this. >> i said i'm not taking that bag. no, i'm not. that wasn't the deal. >> i came to get one bag. >> i agreed to come here and pick up luggage. i picked up my luggage. you packed it in my suitcase. and that's all i'm going to do. >> don't tell me what to do. >> lisa just went off. >> i know why i came here and i have what i came for and i'm not taking that. >> right about now i'm about fed up with all of this. >> i'm not taking that. >> he said, well, can she carry it? and i was like, no, she's not carrying anything. she's not supposed to carry anything. she's my traveling companion. now kim probably has an idea
something is really wrong here. >> i didn't understand what was going on. but i had an uncomfortable feeling. >> you know you're wasting your time. >> what are you doing? i'm not supposed to get that. what are you doing? this isn't part of the deal. >> he took out five or six balls that were all wrapped in gray duct tape. and it didn't look like nail products. >> i don't even know what that is. i can't take that. she can't take that. >> i never had an inkling that lisa would be involved in drugs. but once i realized that she was, it pretty much all started coming together. i knew then why she was so upset the last couple of days.
it was all really just coming to me, the realization of that this is something bad. >> you have to take the -- >> i'm not -- >> what's wrong with you? >> i was supposed to take one bag. do you understand english? >> i never thought about the repercussions of being caught. >> i came to get one bag! >> i was thinking about the repercussions of not getting home. i'm thinking about my pending manslaughter trial. if i'm not there, how is it going to look? i knew that i was going to go to prison for it if i didn't get back. i mean, i jumped bond. because i'm not in the state. i'm not in the country. i really would have looked guilty. >> i'm not taking that bag. what don't you understand about i'm not taking that bag? >> all the time -- >> he is the key to us getting out of thailand.
>> i'm the one who -- >> i'm not taking it. so how about that? >> i told him. i said, i'll carry it. i just flat out said it. >> i'll carry the bag. >> and i was like, saying to myself, i can't believe she's saying she'll carry this bag. >> it was more important to me to do anything i could to get back to my home. well, once i agreed to take the bag, things seemed to lighten up quick. he handed our tickets then. you know, everything all fine and dandy. he put the balls in the bag. he had some towels on the bottom of the bag. then a couple of my clothing articles. seemed like he knew what he was doing. >> i don't know at that moment if she knew exactly what she was getting herself into. >> i had no clue of what type of
drugs it was. i knew that it was not kool-aid. >> soon after we packed the bags or whatever, it was time to leave to go to the airport. everything happened so quickly. >> zip. that's it. >> ready to go. because my dentures fit well. before those little pieces would get in between my dentures and my gum and it was uncomfortable. even well fitting dentures let in food particles. just a few dabs of super poligrip free is clinically proven to seal out more food particles so you're more comfortable and confident while you eat. so it's not about keeping my dentures in, it's about keeping the food particles out. try super poligrip free. say they'll save youfor every by switching,surance companies you'd have like a ton of dollars. but how are they saving you those dollars?
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it was time to go, and he told us that we needed to arrive at the airport not together but separately. maybe he did it so if one person got caught the other person could get through. i left first. i was very afraid. very afraid. i think i would have felt more comfortable if she had gone first and i had come behind. >> i wasn't thinking about the risk. i was thinking, she's going to do it, he's acting like it's
okay, what is it going to kill me to take this bag? if she can do it i can do it. >> when i arrived at the airport, there was an x-ray scanner and there was nobody in line. and i was very, very nervous at that time. i tried to act like i was just normal. i walk up to the scanner, put my luggage up there, and just wait for it to scan through.
>> on the taxi ride over i only was thinking about getting home. that's the only thing on my mind. if i didn't get back to the south, my life would literally be over as i had known it. >> when my luggage went through, i could see my luggage being scanned. it stops for a minute. and my heart kind of stopped beating for a minute. it just looked like i had a bag of maybe a folded shirt or something. it didn't look like anything what would make somebody suspicious. she just looked at me and smiled and told me to walk through. i felt like, oh, wow, i'm safe again.
>> i wasn't worried about those balls being seen in the x-ray machine because the way the african guy meticulously packed it i thought it would be secure. one bag went through, which was my carry-on bag i came with. the girl who was, you know, checking the bags looked at it, slid it through no problem. the second bag went through, and she checked it. you know, they have to pause it to check contents or whatever. well, it didn't just pause. it was at a stop.
actually, the only thing i saw was the outline of the balls. she looked at it. and i'm kind of trying to, you know, just be cool, calm, you know. and she said, ma'am -- >> ma'am, is this your bag? >> and when she said that, i just stood there. w the 88th southern parallel. we had traveled for over 850 miles. my men driven nearly mad from starvation and frostbite. today we make history. >>bienvenidos! welcome to the south pole! if you're dora the explorer, you explore. it's what you do. >>what took you so long? if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. >>you did it, yay!
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ma'am, is this your bag? >> there was nobody in line but me. who else bag is it? you know, that's what i'm thinking in my mind. but i'm like, it's my bag. and she just said ma'am -- >> ma'am, can you please stand over at the wall? >> i thought, well, my goose is cooked. an officer grabbed my left arm. another guy walked up, put his hand in the small of my back. he's like, "ma'am, can you come with us, please?"
and it just went down. from there. >> i'm walking through the airport like i own the airport. i have my nice little heels on and my suit on like i'm a professional businesswoman. and i'm just sauntering through the airport or whatever. i was expecting to see kim on the plane whenever i got to the plane. i was expecting to see kim sitting right beside me. >> they took me in a room, told me, you know, sit on the bench. five or ten more officers came in the room.
they were all standing looking at me. it was extremely hot. no fan, no air. they took the stuff out of the duffel bag. one guy was from drug enforcement agency. he had like a -- i guess it was a pocket knife he pulled out. he just popped one of the bags, popped it out. it had powder on it. that was the first time i saw what was inside. he had some kind of little test tube or whatever, and liquid stuff.
i remember it turning blue. i do recall him saying "this is heroin." they weighed all the little packages. it was eight kilos. it really felt like a tragedy. and i guess i could call it a tragedy because it felt very much so, like the end of my world. >> i only had 15 minutes, and that plane was going to be taking off. i saw these three thai men walking towards me.
and i wasn't really paying them much attention because i was just trying to be professional, look like i had it all together. and then finally when they were close to me that's when one of them said -- >> ma'am, can i see your passport? >> my heart started beating really fast. and he said to me -- >> ma'am. >> i need you to come with me. in my mind i began to pray, lord, whatever it is you want me to do for you for the rest of my life i'm going to do it. on the outside i was acting nonchalant. like i was still in control of the situation or whatever. but on the inside i was like, they got me now. they got me.
the custom officer took this long tool like a nail-like-looking thing, and he just began to do this. powder started coming out. he poked it again and powder started coming out. they started saying "heroin. heroin." and i jumped up, "who put that there? who put that there? and the little thai man kept saying, "you know." >> you know. >> and i said no, i don't know. who put that there? who put that there? and he just kept saying, you know, you know. heroin. >> heroin. >> and i kept saying, no, i don't know heroin, heroin. no, they didn't believe me. now they're getting ready to take me off to jail. that's what i'm thinking.
but they stopped in this room where i saw kim sitting there. >> i was like, damn, the thing i thought -- i thought she was already on the plane gone. i definitely had a feeling of relief. i wasn't by myself anymore. >> i tried not to look at kim. i couldn't face her. i just couldn't. on our way walking out of the airport the custom agent said to me, lisa venette taylor, you want to tell me how i catch you? when we catch miss hood i look in computer and i find you. he traced our whole -- our whole
trip and saw that we had sat beside each other. i don't know what's going to happen to me. i don't even speak the language in this country. i told my family i was going to chicago. i'm just going to disappear and nobody's really going to know where i am. urgent diarrhea. now there's prescription xifaxan. xifaxan is a new ibs-d treatment that helps relieve your diarrhea and abdominal pain symptoms. and xifaxan works differently. it's a prescription antibiotic that acts mainly in the digestive tract. do not use xifaxan if you have a history of sensitivity to rifaximin, rifamycin antibiotic agents, or any components of xifaxan. tell your doctor right away if your diarrhea worsens
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started questioning lisa about what the hell just happened. >> do you know what kind of shape i'm in right now? how am i going to get back for my trial? >> i started bombarding her with questions. >> how are you going to figure it out? >> i told kim that i was sorry i had gotten her involved in all this, that was never my intention, to get her caught up in this situation. but that was it. >> it definitely was a betrayal of my trust. but regardless of how she misled me -- >> i'm sorry. >> -- i had carried it. she did not force me. once you make a decision, you've got to live and die by it. my first night in the jail i
thought about my manslaughter trial. i'm thinking about how the authorities would think about me being arrested. and i knew that those people would think maybe she wasn't defending herself, maybe she's some big bad drug dealer, you know, maybe she's some gangster, and i knew my goose was cooked on that. we spent four days in the jail. after that fourth day they took us to lard yao women's prison. >> i never imagined that i would be in a place like that. i never imagined that i would have to deal with anything like that.
>> the embassy came to visit. the lady came and told us they had made contact with our family. she told me my family already knew because they had heard about it on the news. it made me feel sick. i mean, really. my head spinning. you know, it's my parents, my loving parents that i had tried desperately to always make proud. and they learned at the same time that not only was i arrested for drugs, but i shot somebody. [ crying ]
i most definitely wish i had told my parents. maybe i had never left and went on a trip to clear my head. maybe i could have cleared my head if i went home. actually, any wife, husband, or human person can use progressive's name your price tool to take control of their budget. and while the men do the hard work of making money, she can get all the car insurance options her little heart desires. or the women might do the hard work of making money. [ chuckling ] women don't have jobs. is this guy for real? modernizing car insurance with -- that's enough out of you! the name your price tool, only from progressive. where is your husband?
i remember cold water. and human waste is just floating around our feet. it was just total degradation. >> my mother would send me pictures of my children. and they might have a smile on their face. but then i'd look at their eyes and see something was missing. i knew that that wasn't a look that they had in their eyes before i travelled and before i
had done this horrible thing. and i think my daughter went through some depression and different things like that when i was gone. because she -- my mother told me that she would just stay in her room and cry. she cried most of the time. and i did that to her. when you go to prison, life changes, even for the family. and no matter how much i tried to protect my children from the hardship of everything that happened to me, they experienced all of it. and that's the sad thing for me.
we've seen each other a few times, and that was it. >> i don't like lisa. i don't want to see her ass no more. i don't want nothing with her. lisa wanted to be a part of my life when i got out. i let her know quick, get the [ bleep ] home. >> since i've been home, i've been so busy getting my life back in order, i didn't think about the effect that it had on kim with her lifestyle coming back and the quality of life that she could have, even now. >> my life will never be ruined as long as i got breath in my body and god in my life. but she screwed it up pretty good. >> i just want to tell kim that i'm sorry, and her family that i'm sorry for all the hardship and the pain that i caused them, and all the suffering that they
had to go through because of me and the poor choices that i made. my ambition to try to do this well exceeded my talents at it. >> what? >> i felt complete regret and foolishness for even trying to take something like this on. it was just way beyond my league. two colombian guys they come to the room and they pull the packages out of the suitcase. they laid them on the bed and sprayed them with anti-d