tv Dateline MSNBC July 28, 2018 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
no. sometimes real life is better. that's all for this edition of . i'm lester holt. thanks for joining us. i called my mom, and she didn't answer. i pretty much knew in my heart that something was wrong. >> a mother vanished. >> i cried myself to sleep. it was just awful realizing that your worst nightmare had come true. >> a family anguished. >> she's gone. do you have any idea how hard that was? >> now the questions begin. in a southern, gothic mystery. >> the case is puzzling. >> we didn't really know what
had happened. >> who would ever have imagined you'd have a murder in your family? >> soon, there'd be secrets. >> we were dealing with a person that was leading a double life. >> and one of them would prove deadly. >> have you ever said i know that you did this? >> it hurts too much for me to say it out loud. suppose for a minute you were sitting in your car, smack-dab in the middle of tuscaloosa, alabama, and you kept an eye down highway 69 and kept a close eye. you rolled into a town called moundville.
been around for a long time, has moundville. but it's a sad truth as the sheriff says, even here, where everybody used to know everybody, it's not that way anymore. >> so many different people are moving in from around the world and -- >> trying to escape the crowds. >> escape the crowd or running from something. >> oh, yes, where you have gone, andy griffith, mayberry has apparently up and left us. the sheriff fights real crime nowadays. >> the crime you see here is the same crime you would see in any city, just a smaller version. >> neighbors tend to know more of each other's business than they might in tuscaloosa, for example. which can be a bit of a nuisance, as you're about to see, if you need to keep a secret, especially, for example, if your secret is about murder.
to begin with, this thoughtful young woman was just a girl of 17 back in '07 when it things started coming apart in the way things do when parents don't talk about it. kelsey mayfield saw that troubled look in her home's eyes, her mother teresa. >> i could tell she was just very stressed. >> everclear to you what she was stressed about? >> money would be the main thing. she just wanted to make sure she had enough money to take care of her family. >> kelsey's dad had to work two job, neither of which paid very well, just to keep his head above water. >> very hardworking man. it took two jobs to take care of our family. >> but money trouble aside, teresa seemed to have a happy life as anybody could see, including teresa's mother, reba. >> all teresa wanted was to have
a husband that cared for her, somebody she cared for that could have a family. >> and it was sweet and kind of corny, and even after kelsey's two little brothers arrived, she could see the signs of her parents' affection for one another. >> every night before he got ready to go to work he would give her a kiss on the cheek and say goodnight, i love you. >> to the city, she was the softball mom, shuttling kids back and forth. >> i remember there was a time when i had a softball game and my brothers had a baseball game all at the same time. and she stayed 30 minutes at colby's game, 30 minutes at taylor's game and 30 minutes at my game. there was nothing that she would not do for myself or my two brothers. >> then there was that sweltering morning, june 2007. teresa drove off to run errands and didn't come back. kelsey was babysitting the boys.
hours ticked by. she called her mom -- where are you. >> and she didn't answer. and i called her back around lunch and she didn't answer. i called her pretty much all day long. >> her dad was at work. her mom was who knew where. just wasn't like her to do this. >> was she the type of person to take her cell phone with her everywhere? >> yes, it was always attached to her hip. >> you could always easily get ahold of her. >> yes. >> and you couldn't. >> no. >> she called her dad who had by now gone from his day job to a night shift at a local factory. >> i'm sure you told your dad were you worried. >> we kept in touch during the day to see if one of us had talked to her. >> did he seem to be worried? >> he did, and neither of us could get in touch with her. >> at midnight, it was clear something was terribly wrong. scott left work to file a missing person's report with police.
>> what was it like for you that night? >> it was awful. i was very scared when she didn't come home. and i pretty much knew in my heart that something was wrong. >> the next morning, said kelsey, she woke up in a house that no longer felt like home. she called her grandmother reba in her home two hours away. >> she said, is mama down there at your house? i said no, she's not here. and she said, mama didn't come home last night. >> so what was going on in here? >> oh, i'm just turning upside down, you know. i'm just tying in a knot. >> reba called teresa's younger sister ashley at her office, the local circuit court. >> mama called my and said teresa's missing. i said let me make some phone calls. >> right away, ashley called the sheriff of her town and he called sheriff ellis.
>> to see if they knew anything. and his response to me was it's bad. it's bad. >> it certainly was. they had found teresa's truck on a dirt road less than a mile from home. she was slumped behind the wheel, and she was dead. and this much was perfectly clear. it wasn't an accident. coming up, the investigation begins. >> we had to ask ourselves, who would get her to this location, and why was she murdered? >> when secrets in a small town continues. ♪ happiness is powerful flea and tick protection from nexgard. a delicious chew that protects for an entire month. ask your vet for more information. reported side effects include vomiting and itching. nexgard. the vet's #1 choice.
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it was a lover's lane, a quiet, dusty, dead-end road miles from main street moundville, a spot so uncommonly traversed, a car with engine and taillights on could go unnoticed. this is where they found teresa's truck, body inside, gunshot wound to the hid. teresa's younger sister broke the terrible news to their mother. >> when i went to the house, mama was sitting in her recliner, i knelt down on my knees, and i grabbed her, and i said, mama, she's gone.
she's gone. do you have any idea how hard that was? >> teresa's daughter kelsey had spent a sleepless night, waiting in vain for her mother to come home. >> how did you find out? >> my dad came and told my brothers and i. it was just awful realizing that your worst nightmare had come true. for a brief second, i thought she had committed suicide, just because i knew how stressed out she was. but then, i also knew how much she loved her family. >> everybody who knew teresa knew that, even sheriff kenneth ellis who drove out to the crime scene, if that's what it was. corporal mark boyd, alabama bureau of investigation met him there. this case was kind of personal for you, sheriff. >> yes, my daughter and ms. teresa and scott's daughter they played softball together. >> so you see teresa out at the ballpark and things. >> every game.
felt like part of my family was gone too. >> they had a look around the truck. no sign of a struggle. the dusting revealed no viable fingerprints. there were no footprints, not even a loose hair. puzzling. >> was there any thought once you saw the scene that this was a suicide? >> there was things missing that prevented the suicide theory. >> like what? >> if you're going to commit suicide with a gun, it's usually at the scene. >> it was clear teresa had been murdered, shot with a gun, which was now missing. and what was more, her cell phone, the one that was always attached to her hip, was nowhere to be found. >> did it look like it could have been a robbery? >> well, the wallet wasn't taken. the purse was on the console, but the consents of the purse had been dumped out in her lap. >> a clumsy attempt at staging,
you might say. >> yes. >> but there was one important clue the killer left behind. >> we noticed that the only window down was the driver's window. so we figured that she had to have known the person, because she had let down her window. we had to ask ourselves who could get her to this location and why was she murdered? >> someone in moundville had to know something. from there, the investigation went where? >> investigating her inner circle, trying to find a motive. >> and usually, so i'm told in cases like this, the husband has got to be a person of interest. >> yes. >> so, as the family gathered to mourn the loss of their beloved teresa, scott couldn't be with them. he was down at the sheriff's office answering questions. >> he came willingly. >> yes. >> did he ask for an attorney or anything? >> no, he did not.
>> corporal boyd chatted with scott for three long hours and during the whole time he was cooperative and helpful. >> you know, the standard questions that we would ask is, you know, is anyone having an affair? are you having an affair? no. was she having an affair? no. >> good marriage, happy marriage? christian marriage? >> yes. i asked him did they argue. he said no. >> scott answered all of their questions about what teresa was supposed to be doing that morning. he said he phoned her from a job on the farm, a wake up call. then about two hours later she called him but the call faded out. he couldn't hear a thing. >> he said it sounded like she was on the road. >> was it a distress call? no way to now. but there was one thing that call certainly cleared up for investigators. scott could not have killed teresa. he was something like 30 miles away, up near tuscaloosa, had a breakfast receipt to prove it.
>> he stopped at hardee's and had a receipt to show he was there. >> so his family was caught up in the terrible business of grieving. >> i kept wondering why was it happening to our family? >> it was awful. who would ever imagine you would have a murder in your family. >> investigators tried with the help of friends to fill in the dwaps of teresa's last hours. they talked to their friend dawn lavender. she had plans to go shopping with teresa the morning of the murder. >> i'm sure dawn was upset by what had happened. >> she did cry during the interview. she was at her house, waiting on teresa to come pick her up, because she was going to ride with her. she finally got the chance to talk to teresa around 7:00. >> and after that call -- nothing. dawn told the investigators she phoned teresa over and over, and each time, the phone went to a recording. just to be sure of all this, they pulled teresa's cell phone
records and began plotting out a timeline of her whereabouts, but the picture the records painted wasn't quite what they expected. that morning call to scott, the one he couldn't hear? teresa did not call from moundville. >> cell tower shows that it's pinging from up in tuscaloosa. >> wait a minute, how could it be pinging from tuscaloosa? that's miles and miles away. >> there's no way she could make the call and be back to where she was murdered out. >> so curt at this of the cell towers you were able to show that teresa could not have made that call. it had to be someone else using her phone, and what do you now, her phone is missing from the crime scene. >> correct. >> so the person who very likely killed teresa, may have used her cell phone to call her husband, scott. what could that mean? did the killer know scott? and did scott know something he wasn't sharing? coming up.
it's a funny thing about secrets. they can only stay hidden for so long. especially in a little place like moundville. and it didn't take very long for sheriff ellis and corporal boyd to stumble onto a secret scott had been keeping. >> while we was out at the crime scene, scott had had a young lady to come pick up the boys. >> it was only later when the fog of grief had lifted that one of teresa's relatives wondered to police, who was that woman hanging around the day teresa died? ellis and boyd tracked her down, and what they discovered? well, that changed everything, or seemed to. the person they were talking to was scott's mistress. >> he was under the impression that scott was not married at that time. >> what did you make of that
when you heard it? >> we knew that wasn't correct. >> a love triangle? jealous home wrecker kills wife, claims husband? no. not even close. scott's girlfriend thought his marriage was over, his divorce finalized. >> what was her reaction to getting the real story? she must have been upset? >> more hurt, probably than upset, because i think she'd fallen in love with him. >> he'd been lying like a sidewalk. >> that's right. >> and you had no idea that woman was associated with him that way either, did you? >> i had met her once or twice, but i just thought they were friends. i didn't think it was anything else. >> this was betrayal in all capital letters. >> that's a very good word. >> you are betrayed. >> lied to. yeah. taken advantage of in a way. >> kelsey may have been surprised, but teresa's mom and
sister, they knew better, because this wasn't scott's first dance with infidelity, oh, no. there had been others. in stacte, scott and teresa divorced during one of his affairs. that was just after kelsey was born. and then three years later, teresa took him back. remarried him. >> she wanted to have her family back together. that was her whole thing -- family. >> what was it like pour you when scott came into your house? what would happen in here as he walked in the door? >> i tried to be sociable, neutral with scott, but always had that thought in the back of my mind, he hurt my sister, and i would not forget it. ? for a while, things were as teresa had always hoped. but wishes don't always come true. soon scott was back to his old ways with that girl cops were talking to in tuscaloosa. and you know how kbosip can be. scott went from sympathetic figure, grieved widower to cad, and maybe worse.
>> you must have been aware of the fact that there were people suspicious of him. >> it bottered me hearing the bad things that people had to say about him. and i knew that my dad was never capable of doing something like that. you know, i was going to have his back regardless. >> but, to investigators, scott's affair and the fact that he'd lied about it to police was certainly suspicious. ellis and boyd asked the girlfriend to help them out by recording her conversations with scott. maybe he'd let something slip. [ phone ringing ] >> hey. >> hey. >> are you okay? >> yes, i'm okay. they just left. look, all i want to know, did you do it? >> of course not. they told me from the get go, i would be number one prime suspect. because i'm the husband. >> i know.
do you still love me? >> yes, i do. >> if you did have anything to do with her dying, was it because you loved me? >> i didn't have nothing to do with it. no. no. no. i had nothing. my hands are clean as they can be. >> so, infidelity? yes. murder? hmm, didn't sound like it. >> we could prove that he was an adulterer. but we was trying to prove the murder. >> guess there's no crime in being a lying sack of you now -- know what. >> it's not against the law to have a mistress. >> they followed up every tip, tracked down every tenuous lead, knocked down numbers. somebody called scott from teresa's cell phone that morning whether he heard it or not. the investigation dragged on. >> weeks and months dragged by and there was nothing. >> no rest. >> we had no idea how that anger
would get the best of you, not knowing who done this. and you want the person that done this to be punished for it. >> kelsey took on the most difficult job of her life. at 17, she stepped into her mother's shoes, defended her father, tried to maintain something of a normal life pour her little brothers. >> me trying to fill my mother's shoes, those are some big shoes to fill. i just felt like it was my responsibility to help my dad take care of my family. >> so you were able to continue to have a relationship of trust with your father? >> right. >> he was there for you guys? >> yes. he tried to be strong for us. so, you know, we wouldn't have a break down. >> by the first anniversary of teresa's death, there was still no arrest. and the story was old news. so teresa's mother plaster the this poster on doors and windows and telephone poles all around
moundville, hoping it would help dislodge some clue. then the weirdest thing happened. >> we found out just about as quick as we were putting posters up they were being taken down. >> taken down by someone who didn't want teresa's killer found, she presumed. and a dark thought crystallized in reba's mind. was it scott? >> you know, he never acted like a grieving husband. if he had, i wouldn't have had these thoughts. >> so your thoughts actually increased over the course of the time? >> yes. >> but you know what they say about assumptions. it wasn't scott. >> me and my brothers took them down. at first, i was okay with it. but once they put the posters up and everywhere i went i saw my mother's face, it just drove me crazy. it broke my heart seeing her face splattered all over these pictures. >> and so expectations faded again. couple more months went by, and then, a girl who knew kelsey
heard a strange little story. overheard it, actually. a guy saying he saw someone with a gun on a dirt road, around the time teresa was killed. >> did she associate it with this crime? >> well, she knew that ms. teresa was killed down that way, so she just reported it. >> was this the break they were looking for? well, we can tell you this. the tip led to real flesh and blood. in fact, to a quite literal snake in the grass. >> i looked at her and said you need to stay away from that woman. >> when secrets in a small town continues. today... back pain can't win. now introducing aleve back and muscle pain.
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>> i talk to her almost every day, and i miss those talks. >> they took turns talking about the loving daughter, the softball mom, the sweet woman gunned down on that lonely country road. a murder that was still a mystery. >> my family will not stop searching or doing whatever it takes to find out who took teresa's life. >> when scott got up to speak, you can bet people were paying special, close attention. >> yes, she was a loving wife, loving mother and a loving friend to the community. yes, she would do anything for anybody at any time. >> having discovered he was not exactly husband of the year, some people still nursed a lingering suspicion, and yet, here he was devoted to the care of his children and full of praise for his dead wife. >> she did a wonderful job raising these kids.
she was the one who got them to practice on time, got them to ball games on time. >> when sheriff ellis walked up to the podium, he looked at teresa's mother reba and vowed he'd get justice yet. >> ms. reba, i won't quit until we find out what happened to ms. teresa. >> and in fact, even as he spoke, the sheriff along with the corporal will chasing down their first honest to god lead in what, over a year? didn't seem like much, not at first, just an overheard story from a guy in a bar, something about how he and a friend ran into someone with a gun, not so terribly uncommon, mind you, except that it happened around the same time and not very far away from where the murder occurred. so ellis and boyd tracked the kid down and he remighted the story for them. >> they were on a dirt road. and they came upon a snake, a rattlesnake. and they was trying to kill it, find something to kill it with. >> trouble was, they were plumb out of rattlesnake killing
tools, and that's when a suv just happened to pull up on the dirt road behind them. the driver was a woman in her 40s or thereabouts who, said the young man, offered them a surefire way to dispatch that rattlesnake. >> lady in the car had a gun? >> right. >> it was a handgun, inside a ziploc plastic bag. >> i think shy handed him the plastic bag for him to take it out. >> that was a little weird. why would it be in the bag. >> right. >> a peculiar story for sure. but he did recall with absolute clarity who the driver was, because he knew her. knew her name. and here was the most curious thing of all. it was a name you've heard before. dawn lavender. small town moundville suddenly got even smaller. dawn lavender, you'll recall was teresa's friend, the one who
said she waited in vain for teresa to pick her up on the morning of the murder. gait bud eyes, according to dawn, but maybe not so much, said kelsey. >> if our mom saw each other at games or whatever. they would speak. but they weren't best friends or anything. >> they did go out together a couple times. >> i think my mother did it because she was bored and wanted to get out of the house. >> but when they did get together, at least on one occasion said kelsey, it was certainly memorable, and not in a good way. they went out to a local casino one night she said, and her mother came home stumbling. >> i thought she was drunk. and i knew that couldn't be right because she didn't drink. she didn't know where she was at. you couldn't understand what she was saying. she came in, my dad and i got her in the bed. >> how long did she sleep? >> she slept for two days, two straight days. >> what did you think about that? >> thought it was very strange. but shy didn't really remember
what happened. she just knew that she had taken some pills, i believe. >> how did she get them? >> i believe dawn gave them to her. >> remember how teresa was stressed out those last weeks of her life? night of the casino trip teresa told kelsey, dawn gave her xanax, the anti-anxiety medication just to calm her down, dawn told her. and it certainly did that. out like a light, calm, for two whole days. >> i looked at her, said teresa, you need to stay away from that woman. she is no friend of yours. >> and how did strees sa respond to that. >> she said i learned my lesson. >> or maybe she didn't. because the morning of the murder, teresa had arranged to run errands with dawn. and then it all clicked together. dawn on the dirt road, drees sa's window down as if she knew her killer. the sheriff and boyd specked apart dawn's interview with a suspicious eye.
they pulled her phone records, and there at that was, plain as day, dawn's lies caught by cell phone technology. >> it painted a clearer picture, that dawn was in the location of teresa the morning that she was murdered. >> but why in heaven's name would a woman who claimed to be teresa's friend want to kill her? good question, which perhaps they'd get answered once they accused dawn lavender of murder, which they did. she, however, had but one thing to say to police. >> she just kept saying that it was wrong, that we made a mistake. coming up. >> as far as physical evidence, we really didn't have any. >> but they did have a plan. an undercover sting to get the evidence they'd need. ♪
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on june 11, 2010, almost lee -- three years to the day teresa was killed, the sheriff and boyd drove to the wire factory where dawn worked. they told her she was under arrest for the murder of her friend theresa may field. >> she first wanted to know why we were arresting her. then when she got to the jail she said this was wrong, we made a mistake. >> the corporal and sheriff were only too happy to explain how one clue had led to another and eventually to an inescapable conclusion. but the prosecutor had questions. where was the smoking gun? where was the murder weapon? where was even one single fingerprint tying dawn to the crime? >> as far as physical evidence, we really didn't have any. it was truly circumstantial, because we didn't really now
anything about what had happened. >> as far as evans could see, the case was a "maybe", at best. >> she had no reason to kill teresa, so to bring a case against her would be pretty tough, i would think. >> the case with dawn is puzzling. when you're working with a circumstantial case, every piece of evidence is important. >> not that they thought for a second that they were wrong. they believed dawn was the killer. they told the prosecutor not only was dawn the murderer of teresa but that she tried and failed to kill her with a xanax overdose at the casino. >> the sheriff's department believed that was an attempt on her life, but we had nothing to really support that. >> but if tim evans was to get a conviction, he needed more, more evidence. some concrete proof that dawn had pulled that trigger. now you can bit dawn wasn't about to tell them anything, but that doesn't mean she wasn't talking.
>> we had another young lady that was getting out of jail, and she came to us and said that dawn had been talking about the murder. >> but that could have been just gossip, mind you. from a jailhouse snitch who couldn't back it up. but dawn did have a cellmate. >> she was kind of in a jam herself. and she wanted us to try to help her, you know, we can put a word in to the d.a. or put a word in to the judge. >> that was enough to get her talking. >> she needed to get her talking. they equipped her with a digital recorder. as an unsuspected dawn sat in her cell reviewing her case file, her cellmate walked in and waited for some incriminating tidbit. what she got instead was the whole sickening story. here's what dawn told her cellmate about the morning
around 7:00, dawn called teresa with a lie to set the plan in motion. >> i wasn't taking any more vacation days. >> she claimed her car had broken down nearby. could teresa come pick her up. but of course she said yes, finished drying her hair, got into her car, made the short drive to that dirt road, and there standing alongside the road was dawn. >> with calculated, cold precision, dawn lavender lured teresa to that dirt road, shot her in the back of the head and steered the truck to the brush hoping it would stay hidden for a while. >> cold-blooded kill ir. >> really, if you think about it, that's exactly right. >> yeah. terrible looking at it that way,
think. >> it was all there. a prosecutor's dream confession. she even referred to herself as a cold-blooded killer. but there was one question anyone with a beating heart wanted to ask. why? there just had to be an answer. of that, they were sure, but would they ever get it out of her? >> why in the hell did you do it? coming up. >> at some point, she was calling herself a hitman.
>> a hitman, but for whom? another painful revelation was in store for teresa's family. >> it hurts too much for me to say it out loud. >> when secrets in a small town continues. copd makes it hard to breathe. so to breathe better, i go with anoro. ♪ go your own way copd tries to say, "go this way." i say, "i'll go my own way, with anoro." ♪ go your own way once-daily anoro contains two medicines called bronchodilators that work together to significantly improve lung function all day and all night. anoro is not for asthma. it contains a type of medicine that increases risk of death in people with asthma. the risk is unknown in copd. anoro won't replace rescue inhalers for sudden symptoms and should not be used more than once a day. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, glaucoma, prostate, bladder, or urinary problems. these may worsen with anoro. call your doctor if you have worsened breathing,
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>> dawn lavender sounded for all the world like she was boasting as she confessed to her cellmate that she murdered teresa mayfield in cold blood. in fact, in recorded conversations with her cellmate, dawn not only admitted to shooting teresa, but said that she had tried once before. that strange night at the casino when teresa came home stumbling, that was her first attempt at murder. >> why would she want to kill her friend? because, listen to this, the
whole answer to the whole puzzle comes down to one little word. dawn uses it when telling her cellmate what she did. we? she was not acting alone, she had-conspirator. >> i don't know if she was trying to be a show off, because she was calling herself a hit man. >> dawn was a hired gun for -- you guessed it. scott mayfield. >> she was a loving wife, loving mother. >> the man who heaped praise on his dead wife, his grieving children by his side was according to dawn the architect who designed her death, her revelation finally made sense of a trail of disturbing stories the investigators had been running down for months. >> we had one guy that worked around there in moundville, said a fellow offered him $500 to
kill his wife. and a little while later we got a call from another guy's son saying his daddy wanted to talk to me. scott had approached him about killing his wife. >> his response to scott was get a divorce. that's what divorces are for. >> and then a third man told him a story. >> he had told us that scott mayfield had hired him, had given him $15,000 to kill his wife. he did not have any intentions on killing her. he just wanted the man's money. >> but the old saying, two is a coincidence, three is a pattern, which is why even before dawn told her grisly tale on tape, in fact, on the same day dawn was arrested, a warrant was also issued for scott. kelsey was outside mowing the lawn when she saw a cop car whiz by, then another and another. she called her dad on his cell phone. >> i asked him where he was at. and he said the cops have me pulled over.
>> your dad, for heaven's sake was being arrested. had to be a shock. >> i was very confused. so i asked the arresting officer, why are you arresting my dad? and he said it was solicitation and conspiracy. >> to commit murder. >> to commit murder, yes. >> noeshd, he said your father was responsible for the death of your mother. >> mm-hm. >> still, as he sat behind bars awaiting his day in court he assured his children that it was all a mistake. he was innocent. >> what did you expect would happen? >> i thought he would be found not guilty and be able to come home. >> but at that point, the case against scott was almost entirely circumstantial. that was until dawn got to talking to that cellmate, the one with the little recording device. and sure enough, as the whole story spilled out, there was scott's name on tape, proof at last.
>> once the job was done, the car half hidden by the brush, dawn said, she drove to tuscaloosa and dialed a familiar number from teresa's cell phone to let her boss know his wife was dead. >> did you call scott and let him mow that -- know that it was done? >> the only thing left was to collect the $20,000 scott had promised her and go. except -- >> scott never gave you no money? >> but of course dawn didn't keep her mouth shut about what she and scott had done. >> from what i could tell, he was just a coward.
he wanted a divorce, but he didn't want to live with the responsibilities that accompany a divorce. >> in other words, he didn't want to pay her alimony. >> or child support. evil was the only thing you can describe that man. >> and on may 19, 2011, almost four years after teresa mayfield was gunned down on that lonely dirt road, her mother, sister and daughter sat in a courtroom and listened as dawn and scott, having pleaded guilty to both murder and attempted murder were each sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. >> he looked straight at me, like he was looking at a tree or something. there was no emotion. and that's right was there anything from dawn. it was like they were empty inside. >> but for kelsey, it was simply overwhelming. at the moment of sentencing, for the very first time, she saw her dad not as the loving father who took her shopping for her senior
prom dress but as the man who orchestrated the death of her mother. >> have you ever brought up the issue with him? said i know that you did this? >> one day i will. i don't have it in me right now to confront him and tell him what i know. it hurts too much. for me to say it out loud, for my to tell my dad i know what he did and that i, i hate what he did. but he's still my father. and i'll always love him. >> her mother loved him too. loved him through infidelity and trouble, loved him always. even as she loved her children, her family. as she tried her best to make life good while he plotted to kill her. >> a couple years earlier, you had a great, full, lovely family life, and now -- >> there's really not a word that you can use to describe what our family has been through in the last four years.
it's been, it's been a very difficult four years. >> and you've got such a nice, sunny disposition. how do you do that? >> i get my strength from my mother. that's all for now. money is a motive. pride is a motive. love is a motive. lester holt: it's a tale of love turned lethal, featuring an adoring wife-- a pageant queen. she was a whole lot of gorgeous women. lester holt: and at center stage, a charismatic guitar hero. --just charming. you know, everybody loved him. he was playing us both for quite some time. lester holt: two women, one man-- a love triangle with sharp edges. jim, at one point, had told me that he wanted to know what it felt like to kill somebody. in this twisted game of hearts, how many would have to pay the price? she called and let me know that russ was dead.