tv Dateline MSNBC August 3, 2019 1:00am-2:00am PDT
ready and us, as a family unit, anyway, he asked, if paul attacked jennifer, wouldn't she will sit down with them and it tell them what happened one day. have put up some kind of a >> reporter: tell them the fight? tragic story of a man and a woman who sank in the undertone of what once was love. >> we got an outcome that nancy deserves, but it's also not a why were there no defensive winning hand for anybody. and brad lost his life as well. there's many things that were marks or scratches on paul lost, lives that have been zumot's body? forever changed. >> that's all for now. did the prosecution even have a for all of us at nbc news, thanks for joining us. case? paul zumot wasn't going to take any chances. in fact, he was determined to tell the jury his side of the my dad on the phone told us jenny was gone. >> a house in flames. the body of a woman inside. >> we have a body. i need a medic. story. so gerados assigned a female colleague to question paul. >> but it wasn't the fire that killed her. it must have been a strategy, whispered courtroom observers. she was dead before it started. the way to show the jury that paul could, in fact, interact well with a woman. >> accidents will happen. this was no accident. >> who wanted her dead? but those observers were her boyfriend said he knew. mistaken, said geragos. >> there's people after us. >> well, i generally -- i don't >> what does that mean? >> they're trying to get us. think direct examination is my >> but police knew better. strong suit and i was concentrating on cross-examination of the >> strangulation is a very personal killing. that's a very angry killing. >> hello. welcome to "dateline extra." so paul zumot looked the jurors
in the eyes and told them, i did not kill jennifer schipsi, did not burn the house. then he told them how despite i'm craig melvin. at first, a fatal fire that their roller coaster struck a young couple's home appeared to be an accident. relationship, he truly loved jennifer. his love letter presented a then investigators took a closer letter she had written him and look, and what they discovered about this fire and this couple left them with "burning he broke down then, a flood of suspicion." tears. here's keith morrison. >> i was so relieved. i thought, you know, if there >> is everybody out of the was any way this jury thought this man was responsible for house? this, now they know for sure >> i don't know, but it's on that he's not. fire. but he's so obvious to me that he's telling the truth. >> but listening to all of this with his experienced ear was >> the fire in the cottage on prosecutor gillingham. addison avenue was hungry, >> you must have been rather pleased when you heard he was devouring almost everything in going to testify. the bedroom. >> i think that's an >> we'll have fire department on understatement. the way. i was very, very pleased. >> more than that, it was a gift, said gillingham. do you see smoke coming out of an unexpected opportunity. the windows? why? >> it's pouring out of the well, the prosecutor had paul house. right where he wanted h imfor as >> within minutes, the long as he wanted him. there were hours of questions,
firefighters knocked it down. tough questions, baiting the smoke clearing. questions, questions designed to the sooty water running in the make paul crack and reveal what gillingham believed to be a controlling personality and a streets. red hot temper. >> my plan was to go through how and then as the mop-up began, the word flashed out like something electric. the house was occupied. someone didn't get out. and up through the ashes, a he acted when he was angry. mystery flared like a stubborn that he could have no good ember that glowed and smoldered answers for. for instance, why all those text and demanded an answer. messages are deleted. and those are questions he could the inhabitants of the rented not answer because he had not cottage, as investigators soon considered those questions. learned, were two young, beautiful people. the successful glossy types that you might expect to see on a reality show. their names are paul zumot and jennifer schipsi. jennifer, an ambitious, award-winning real estate agent who lived like a rock star, or >> after three long days in the so said her buddy roy. >> she's like, i'm knocking them out like dominos. i just worked out, went to hot seat, paul zumot's testimony was finally over. starbucks and on my way to a had he persuaded the jurors that meeting, and it's only 6:33. >> so paul seemed to be the he was innocent? >> do you feel he got a little right kind of guy for jennifer, said roy. chippy or arrogant on the stand? >> i don't think he got arrogant, but i think clearly he was tired and exasperated. >> because he was an he wanted to tell his story. he was being cut off. but the jurors once they got the
entrepreneur. case said they were determined to look at the evidence, not just courtroom theatre. >> everyone was very committed to going over the evidence and discussing each of the witnesses and he seemed like he was a very and each of the crucial pieces driven person. of evidence.in and that's definitely a quality that jennifer was looking for. >> jordanian-american paul zumot, sleek, attractive, educated, engaging. >> and it was crucial, they paul owned a local hangout, a decided, to compare very cafe. carefully the different time unusual place by north american lines claimed by the prosecution standards where customers could smoke flavored tobacco pipes called hookahs. and the defense. this man was a fan. >> so we analyzed the timeline >> he's a good-looking man. he looks good, smells good, he's for the entire day, from his witty, he's smart and he's just affectionate. >> so love at first sight? testimony where he said he was and then other pieces of well, maybe. said their friends. testimony and evidence to either >> from the minute he told me validate or contradict. >> the jury took less than 14 about her, he always talked hours and came back with a about how wonderful she is and verdict. guilty. >> all i remember was i heard how she's perfect. that word guilty, man. and it was just like, this relief, this release of tension. >> he definitely was very >> i was very shocked by the charismatic and liked to joke verdict. i think a lot of people were around. shocked by the verdict. because i mean, if you sat through the weeks and weeks of >> and money? trial. it just -- it's inconceivable there was a lot of it around how they could get to the result apparently, too. that they got to. and jennifer and paul worked >> but to the jurors, the issues hard to get it. about text messages and whether paul had jennifer's phone all afternoon wasn't as important as they seemed only too happy to zumot on the stand. spend it. that's what made the difference. >> when jennifer and paul first his tears, for example.
got together, paul took jennifer >> sometimes i feel like i'm too cynical, but it was universally to new york city. >> and i remember he was like a kid in a candy store, just planning all of these elaborate, wonderful things that they were held opinion, i think. going to do together. the entire jury believed that it >> they were passionate, these was a manufactured moment. beautiful people. they both had strong >> what was the problem with his personalities. their love burned hot. testimony? >> jennifer was a strong, independent woman, and she would not accept anyone disrespecting her or even looking at her inappropriately. one was when he broke down on the stand and to me it didn't seem genuine. and the other portion of his and she was very strong-willed. >> me, like i always did, told him you need to be careful because girls can be evil. testimony was when he had the so he said, no, she's different. i love her. opportunity to tell us where he was and what he was doing, he chose to basically lie to us three times. i already love her. and we were able to prove he she's great. lied to us by the hard evidence we had with the phone records and with the video surveillance and those items. and i just -- to me, that hurt him very badly. >> if he hadn't testified, i can't say for sure, but i don't >> and so in september 2009, paul and jennifer moved into the
charming little cottage on addison avenue here in palo think i could have convicted alto. time to play house. him. >> inside his jail cell, his paul started to think about friends say, paul zumot is marriage. and for paul's 36th birthday, trying to say strong, waiting for his sentencing, his lawyer jennifer planned a party full of working on a motion for a new promise. trial. >> she invited most of his close >> paul is optimistic this is friends to dishdash, one of his favorite restaurants, and i think they had over a dozen all going to get resolved. people, almost 20 people or something. and he's still sad. he still says pray for jennifer. >> today, the palo alto cottage has been repaired. and jennifer created a cute table setting. she created a perfect party for paul. new love perhaps growing in there? cake and everything. the young people still come to the cafe to socialize and smoke hookah. his brother runs the place now. >> in fact, people who were and paul? there described the party as gone. like the romance that burned too bright before it vanished with its victim in a cloud of smoke. almost like a wedding reception. >> and i can still hear a voice it lasted through the evening, and see her smile. i know she's -- i know she's here. that's all for this edition of "dateline." into the wee hours of the morning. and now, here it was, just the very next evening, and it was gone in ashes, all of it. the excitement, the glamour, the promising future up in smoke along with the house on addison and the person inside. >> we have a body. i need medics. we have a body badly burned.
>> i'm natalie morales. >> and this is "dateline." >> the next day, jim schipsi was driving with his parents to a dinner engagement. she was home with the kids. his phone rang. it was an old friend. her husband out with friends he picked it up. when it happened. >> i said, jake, you're going to tell me something bad, aren't >> he said something about his you? kids tell evening him there was a robber. >> all they told us was there and he said, jim -- was an intruder. >> he just kept repeating your >> their home, so deep in the name? woods, now shrouded in a mystery even deeper. >> yeah. >> this is a real who done it? said it like three times. i said, jake, hold on. >> very much so. i've got to pull over. >> police had suspects. i didn't want to hear it. >> i remember kelley not wanting i didn't want to hear what he to be home alone. had to tell me so i gave the phone to my dad. >> they also had a problem. and he told my dad. my dad hung up the phone, and he >> why would this guy go up and held out his arms and my mom and we were like all holding each other, and he told us jenny was gone. >> it was his jennifer, his daughter who died in that fire. and now along with almost unbearable grief, something else started to burn inside jim. something searing.
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>> while the deadly fire was burning at his home on addison avenue, paul was at his hookah lounge just minutes away. someone called, told him about the fire. he rushed over but could only pace helplessly back and forth as firefighters did their job. soon after that, he sat down with the palo alto police to help sort out what happened, though, as you can see on the video recording, sat is probably not the best description. paul was full of nervous energy and frantic questions. at this point, nobody had told him that jennifer was in that fire. >> i'm worried about my house. what about my girlfriend? what caused the fire, and i don't care about this. i just want to know about jennifer right now. >> i'm not sure i know anything
more than you do. my job is to talk to you and find out what exactly you know because you probably know more than me at this point. >> no. no. >> so, together, police and zumot talked about the hours before the fire. where had she been? what had she and paul been doing? >> well, yesterday was my birthday. we went out, and everything was fine, you know. >> who's "we"? >> me and her and all of our friends. >> who is her? >> jennifer. >> your girlfriend? >> yeah. >> paul explained that he spent the afternoon at an appointment in san jose and got back in time for his cafe to open in the evening. >> there was traffic, i got to the cafe because that's when they open. i had to log into the computers. as soon as i sat down -- i have a hookah lounge. my landlord calls and says your house is on fire.
i flew through the red lights and i'm here. i'm really frustrated and confused and exhausted and i want to know what happened. i care less about the house but jennifer's safety. i cannot think anything right now. i just cannot think anything. >> then in the middle of his conversation with detectives, paul's phone rang. it was jennifer's mother who told him she hadn't seen or heard from her daughter. you can see what happened. paul fell to pieces. >> yeah, i know. i know. i know. i can't find her. they're not telling me anything. >> to this point, he told detectives that he had been clinging to the hope that jennifer might be with her mother. anywhere but at home. but she wasn't with her mother. wasn't anywhere.
and that's when the officer broke this news. >> i don't know how to tell you this, man, but there's a body in the house that's been burned. and we have no way of knowing who that is. [ crying ] >> i have to get out of here. get me out of here, please. [ crying ] >> okay. and i'm trying to be as sensitive as i possibly can because i understand that this is your -- i don't know that this is jennifer. >> i hope not.
i hope not. >> listen, we have not confirmed who this is, okay? >> it's a really odd set of circumstances, okay? we need to figure out, is this on purpose? is this an accident, okay? this is just -- unfortunately, this is just the beginning for all of us, okay, to try to answer some questions. okay? >> but of course, it had to be jennifer. and it probably wasn't an accident. as that news sank in, paul began to think about who might have wanted to harm jennifer and came up with some potentially helpful information. two brothers, hisham and tony ghanma. they'd already threatened her, said paul. ed their there had been a confrontation just weeks ago. >> what happened is, he called me and said he was going to kill me. he spoke in arabic. i speak it fluently. so we called the police. >> he and jennifer filed restraining orders against both brothers. >> now she was scared from him. literally scared from him. i'm scared from the guy. so i know those guys like this.
now yesterday she walked home and she said, hey, somebody probably was stalking me. >> had the brothers killed her, too? police listened, and then had paul give them his clothes for forensic testing. questioned by police, his home destroyed, his girlfriend dead, paul zumot was very nearly in shock, said his friend. >> his mind was, are they sure jen for the gone and, oh, my god, she's never coming back? >> as the weeks went by, paul was in a kind of daze. >> the gist of our conversations for the first few weeks is that jennifer's not coming back. he was completely distraught about the fact that jennifer was in that fire. >> meanwhile, as those same weeks went by, investigators went quietly and steadily about their task, picking through the cinders of the fire and coming to the conclusion that none of it smelled right. literally. coming up -- >> was gasoline there? >> no question at all. it's in her hair. you can smell it, and you can smell it when you walk in just with your own nose. >> investigators now knew the
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rosie was trained to identify some of the tools of arson -- kerosene, oil, gasoline. rosie stopped in her tracks. she'd apparently found something. chuck gillingham is a deputy district attorney in palo alto. was gasoline there? >> no question at all. it's in her hair. you can smell it when you walked in just with your own nose, and the remnants of the gas can was found next to her right hip. there was still enough remnants of the gas can to identify the type and make and model of the gas can. >> wow. that's like somebody leaving a gun beside the body with their fingerprints all over it, isn't it? >> no fingerprints and no physical evidence beyond that. >> but it was so clear that it was an arson? >> correct. and the arson was not at issue. >> no, it was cold-blooded murder that was at issue because jennifer schipsi did not die in the fire.
according to forensic experts, she was dead before the fire started. the method? a particularly intimate form of killing. death by strangulation. >> strangling someone is a very personal killing. it's a very angry killing. it's not like shooting someone from a long way away, i don't imagine. you're touching the person and feeling their life's blood ebb from them. >> who could have been so angry with jennifer? paul had told detectives that he and jennifer had taken out restraining orders against those brothers, hisham and tony ghanma. men part of his inner circle who he had considered former friends. >> they're trying to get us. they are trying to harm me. >> who is that? >> hisham. >> the guy you have a restraining order against? >> several restraining against him. he hit me.
he has a restraining order against me. >> and just one night before, after paul's birthday celebration, paul told police some guys in a truck tried to follow jennifer home. >> she had broken her heel and she says somebody was stalking her. it's fine. it's okay with me but we had people threatening us in the past, okay? i don't know what's going on. i believe that's what caused the fire. i believe somebody was threatening us. >> so was paul zumot on to something? detectives went to talk to the brothers and, of course, checked to see where both men were the day of the fire. and there was no doubt they were nowhere near the fire. they had alibis. >> at the time of the fire, we know exactly where both of them were. one of the ghanma was in their cafe, and he's on videotape and the other was at fry's electronics and home depot 20 minutes away. we have videotape and receipts
from both of those locations. >> so once the ghanma brothers were in the clear, cops do what they always do in cases like this. it's practically police work 101. they took a closer look at the victim's boyfriend paul. and there was a curious moment in that police interview the day of the fire when paul admitted he wasn't always the best sort of boyfriend. >> me and my girlfriend were broke up, and thanks to palo alto pd, put a restraining order on me because they said paul threatened me, blah, blah, blah. i said, no, she came to the cafe and broke the door. we always have problems like this. i never touched a girl in my life. you can see the police reports. >> suspicious? sure. but as they asked around among the couple's friends, police learned a few things that put paul's behavior into context. maybe he wasn't any more to blame than she was. >> their relationship was chaotic. there's no disputing that, absolutely. but he was no more violent in the relationship than she was. whether it be physically, verbally, emotionally. >> as police gathered evidence, bit by bit, asking around about paul, one of them noticed something a little odd.
paul told a friend, also a policeman, by the way, two slightly different stories about his whereabouts the day of the fire. first conversation, day of the fire, reported the cop friend, paul said he wasn't home all day. then, second conversation, next day, paul said he stopped briefly at home en route to his hookah cafe. as we say, odd. but people's memories can be tricky. was that one little difference enough to add up to suspicion of murder? police apparently thought so, especially once they added that to the rest of what they discovered. paul was arrested. >> i'm going to wait for my attorney. >> what's that? >> i will wait for my attorney. >> okay. >> they charged paul zumot with arson and murder, which struck
some observers as strange. after all, there had just been that one little inconsistency. and though paul and jennifer did fight sometimes, they seemed crazy in love, too. paul had been shopping for a diamond ring, for heaven's sake. >> there was a part of paul that was mourning his girlfriend, and then there was a part of him that was -- he didn't understand why he was in custody. and he didn't understand why he couldn't just cry for his girlfriend and for his life that had just changed 100%. >> it certainly did. paul zumot was taken to jail to await trial on a charge of murder in the first degree. big mistake, said paul zumot. >> when i first saw him, he -- all he was really still telling me is, you know, me being in custody, all of this is going to blow over with. you know, they're going to realize i'm not the person who did this, and this will be over with. coming up -- drawing back the curtain for a peek of life with paul.
i'm richard lui with the top stories. south korea's air force and army conducted a live-fire exercise in advance of joint training with u.s. forces. the exercise is a response to north korea's claim it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that can be placed on an icbm. those exercises involved long-range missiles and surface to surface missiles. secretary mattis issued a statement saying any threat to the u.s. from the country will be met with a massive military response. for now back to "dateline extra." welcome back to "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. on the surface paul zumot and jennifer schipsi. >> in the days after the fire on addison avenue, after paul zumot was charged with murder and hauled off to jail, events in palo alto seemed to freeze somehow. in confusion and denial from paul's point of view and unrequited grief from the people
who loved jennifer. >> it hurt. it hurt a lot. >> unrequited partly because for some reason, even though he'd been arrested, paul wasn't entering a plea, which is what this was all about. candlelight vigils outside of paul's hookah lounge by jennifer's friends and family. >> we decided to stand in front of his establishment every night until he made his plea. >> eventually, no surprise, paul did plead not guilty. and prosecutor chuck gillingham found himself sifting through the records of a two-year romance studded with restraining orders, bitter quarrels, scratches, bruises, 911 calls. >> these are two people who had makeups and breakups and she gave verbally as good as she got. >> after one of their flare-ups, paul was ordered to attend anger management classes. went to one the day of the fire, as a matter of fact. so why did people who fought so much stay together for so long. there was an audio recording of jennifer herself. gillingham got hold of it. listen to her explanation. >> he wins your heart so the first couple of months is amazing. sweeps you off your feet. candles everywhere, flowers, not money items but just romancing, sweet talking and parading you around and wanting to introduce you to everybody. it gets me loving him and admiring him that he admires me, and then it makes me trust his opinion and what he says about me and thinks about me so then as soon as he gets to that point, he flips it and calls me ugly, fat, a gold digger. >> by the way, the person she's talking to is hisham ghanma. one of the brothers he told police she and jennifer were afraid of. here she was confiding in him. mind you, it's a phone conversation that was recorded a few months before the fire, but then she was not happy about paul, not at that point, anyway. >> i have pictures of the damage that he did to all of my
furniture. he kicked in my car. somebody saw him at starbucks spit in my face on my way to work. >> but things clearly changed after that. remember, they were all lovey-dovey and paul was even talking marriage the night before the fire. and now here he was not more than a year later on trial for her murder, listening to the prosecutor take the jury inside the last days of paul's relationship with jennifer. how did gillingham do that? jennifer's cell phone. detectives discovered -- and this was rather curious -- that most of her text message history had been deleted. but law enforcement has changed a lot. it's had to, to keep up with high tech. the palo alto cops managed to find a phone expert all the way across the country in new hampshire who had a very deep look into that cell phone and was able to pull up thousands, literally thousands of deleted text messages between jennifer and paul in the last few months of her life. and, oh, boy.
from jennifer, you're nothing but a selfish cold-hearted scam artist liar. furious. that didn't read like any old quarrel. and the timing? jennifer sent that text to paul right at the end of the elaborate birthday party she threw for him when she had perhaps 12 hours to live. look into that cell phone and was able to pull up thousands, literally thousands of deleted text messages between jennifer and paul in the last few months of her life. and, oh, boy. from jennifer, you're nothing but a selfish cold-hearted scam artist liar. furious. that didn't read like any old quarrel. and the timing? jennifer sent that text to paul right at the end of the elaborate birthday party she threw for him when she had perhaps 12 hours to live. she was so upset about something
that she refused to go to the hookah lounge after the party. walked all the way home on a broken heel texting all the way. jennifer -- good, stay away from me. i just got home. paul, i'm staying away this time for good. what a way to end my birthday. >> for jennifer to walk home alone at night with a broken heel and upset, she had to have been -- i don't even know if i've ever seen her that mad. >> but that was the night before. angry messages buzzing back and forth. then, as the cell phone revealed, the pair made love during the night before jennifer's morning text messages again turned red hot angry. the subject seemed to be a debt she claimed he owed her. >> right around 10:30, 10:45 into 11:16 in the morning she's now referring back to those text messages and telling him, he
better bring a check and don't come back or she's going to the san jose police department to file a charge by 3:00 that day. and that's the last text message anyone has with her, the last contact she has ever with anyone. >> and just before noon is when paul lost his temper and choked her to death, drove to a gas station, bought a can of gasoline. later, returned home and torched the house. and somewhere along the way, said the prosecutor, he erased it all of those angry text messages she sent him. >> every single one between the defendant and her, every single one is gone. months worth. >> and then paul used jennifer's cell phone to send fake texts to her friends so they believed she was still alive. to support that claim, he introduced an expert witness who testified that texts from paul's phone and texts from jennifer's phone were hitting some of the same cell towers all afternoon. so her phone must have been right there with him in his car, which is why when she missed a meeting with her friend roy, the texts he got from her didn't
make sense. they weren't a sensible response to the message he sent her. in fact, he got the same text twice. >> she didn't show up, and her phone was off. so as soon as i got that repeat text message, i was kind of worried because she wasn't responding to what i was saying. >> jennifer was nowhere to be found. jennifer was dead. >> now what prosecutor gillingham wanted the jury to think about is what happened or didn't happen much later after the fire. here was the scene, house burning, paul standing on the street outside watching the fire. at this point he supposedly didn't know if jennifer was inside or outside, whether she was alive or dead. but -- in the time that he was there, he made 38 calls and text messages, two of which went to
jennifer, and neither occasion did he leave jennifer a message. he left messages for others and spoke with others, text messages, for instance, the same friend multiple times. but in that two-hour period, at no time does he leave that location to look for jennifer perhaps, to go to the other side of the blocked off street. >> you know, if he called her and texted her once, surely that's enough. i mean, she'll call him back. >> the cell phone records actually bear out that he's a person that would call or text her 200 to 300 times a day if he wasn't around her, able to get a hold of her. his silence especially at the crime scene was deafening. because there was no text message, and i did to the jury, he stood at that location because he wanted people to see him there. >> how could the jury be sure that paul was guilty? the prosecutor offered her. remember rosie, the skillful police dog trained to alert to the faintest whiff of accelerant of the sort used in arson fire? she alerted when she smelled some of paul zumot's clothes. suspicious? yes. though, not exactly ironclad evidence. as you'll see, courtesy of paul's high-profile defense attorney, the man famous for defending scott peterson.
his name, mark geragos. >> i've had many a client who i have no doubt was capable of the acts that he was accused of. this is just not one of them. coming up -- in the last hours of jennifer's life, something was caught on camera. does it prove paul is not guilty? >> so you had sex last night with her and videoed it? >> yeah. >> anybody who watches this is never going to have the impression that this was somebody who was ready to kill her. >> when "burning suspicion" continues. no matter what i wore, i worried someone might see my bladder leak underwear. so, i switched. to always discreet boutique. its shape-hugging threads smooth out the back. so it fits better than depend. and no one notices. always discreet.
hello, and welcome back to >> defense attorney mark geragos has made a name for himself defending clients in difficult and highly celebrated cases, not the least, the scott peterson trial. but defending paul zumot would present its own set of challenges. zumot was accused of killing his girlfriend jennifer schipsi and then trying to hide that fact by burning the house down. but as the trial began, he had also been pegged by the prosecution as an abuser, a violent man, an image geragos set out to change. >> they both were passionate, romantic at times, hot at times, as you would characterize it. i don't think it was a one-way street, by any means. >> for a start, geragos tried to weed out possible jury members
who might have been unduly swayed by angry text messages or stories about zumot's temper. >> what jurors do or what you want to get a jury to do is to want to help your client and to kind of walk in the shoes of your client. >> and then when he presented his case, geragos set out to reframe the events after that infamous party the night before the fire. >> the party was at a place and it was for paul's birthday. and it was planned by jennifer and the -- and maybe 14 to 18 of their close friends that were there. and by all accounts at the party, everything was great. >> and the argument later, the angry texts? that was just a way that paul and jennifer always were, said geragos. his proof? after those angry text message exchanges, here's what happened, as zumot described in his police interview. >> we talked, we smoked hookah. everything is fine. we did what we did, you know. and we slept together and we took two xanaxes. she took two more before me and we went to bed. >> so you slept together that night? >> oh, yeah. made up and then we video ourselves. i mean, honestly, i probably
shouldn't be saying that but that's -- her phone, her video. >> so you had sex with her last night and videoed it? >> yeah. >> sure enough. when police looked at jennifer's cell phone, there was a video. she and paul having sex after their fight hours before she was murdered. >> so enthusiastically that anybody who watches it is never going to have the impression or take away from that that this was somebody who was ready to kill her. >> and as for that cell tower evidence that the prosecutor gillingham presented that seemed to show that paul had jennifer's phone with him and sending out fake messages in her name? that was nonsense, says geragos. >> that was one of the pieces of information that was imploded. we went and got the engineer, the actual engineer from the carrier to come in and say he looked at the evidence and what this guy said was the phone pinging off the same towers was not. it was just merged data from the cell phone. >> why is that important? because, says geragos, the prosecution's own timeline should have cleared paul zumot. investigators said jennifer was strangled several hours before the fire started, and it was lit no earlier than about 6:30 p.m. but early in the afternoon, after paul had left the area,
geragos says, jennifer was still alive, sending real, not fake, text messages herself from her phone. >> by all accounts, she was alive at 1:17. >> okay. >> and at 1:17, paul was not at the house. >> so where was paul? trying to pick up paperwork at the palo alto police station and then at the hookah lounge where he appears on security camera video footage around 1:37 p.m. and then from there he headed to his anger management class about 18 miles away. on the way, he stopped at the restaurant depot seen here on camera around 3:30. >> why is that important? because, says geragos, the prosecution's own timeline should have cleared paul zumot. investigators said jennifer was strangled several hours before the fire started, and it was lit no earlier than about 6:30 p.m. but early in the afternoon, after paul had left the area, geragos says, jennifer was still alive, sending real, not fake, text messages herself from her phone. >> by all accounts, she was alive at 1:17. >> okay.
>> and at 1:17, paul was not at the house. >> so where was paul? trying to pick up paperwork at the palo alto police station and then at the hookah lounge where he appears on security camera video footage around 1:37 p.m. and then from there he headed to his anger management class about 18 miles away. on the way, he stopped at the restaurant depot seen here on camera around 3:30. so there simply wasn't time in between, said geragos, for paul to go to the cottage, strangle his girlfriend and douse her body with gasoline. a solid alibi, said geragos. his client simply couldn't have killed jennifer, and he couldn't have started the fire. how could he have been in two places at once? and as for rosie, the yellow lab who alerted to a gasoline smell
on zumot's clothes, those clothes were sent to the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms, and they showed no evidence of gasoline at all. >> the atf has a protocol and the atf also put out a protocol that said they put out a protocol that said you never take a dog alert, a single dog alert and draw a conclusion. and, in fact, if the atf says negative, you should not allow in the dog alert. >> so why would people believe the dog over the atf? >> i think once again you get into this idea that people have dogs, they kind of ascribe supernatural powers to dogs. i have two large dogs and one -- having been through a couple of cases with dog evidence, as much as i love my dogs, i'm certainly not going to want to convict somebody and put their liberty at stake based on dog evidence. >> still, as he presented his case, geragos had a problem. and he knew it. >> what it came down to was the character assassination block of the case. the first two blocks of this
case revolved around the -- what so-called scientific evidence, and that was absolutely destroyed. and then you ended up with the character assassination block. some courtroom observers believe the defense had already created a reasonable doubt that testifying was in fact, risky. especially for paul, said his friend. >> knowing paul the way i know paul and the way he could be interpreted incorrectly, i was very nervous about paul taking the stand. >> risky or not, paul was determined to tell the jury his side of the story. >> i thought, you know, if there was any way this jury thought this man was responsible for this, now they know for sure that he's not.
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