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This is Jeffrey Roberts with 2020. For more than four decades, 2020 has brought you an incredible variety of compelling stories. Well, now we're going to bring you back to some of the most heart-stopping ones from the 2020 True Crime Vault, and we're going to give you updates on what happened to the people involved. Thanks for listening. Coming up. June 28th, 2000. I'll never forget that date. Leah took off. She was petted toward the high school. And that's the last time that anyone sees Leah alive. Where's Leah? She's not here. He goes, She didn't come home last night? And I said, No, where is she? They found Leah's remains I'm glad he was in a bad condition. I wanted to go back in time. I didn't want to hear the final news. If anyone has a memory to share or anything you wish to say, someone will pay. I just figured the truth will come out, and the real person or persons would be found. Everybody was quick to point fingers at nick being her boyfriend. 2020 will be present, and they'll be in with us. Has it been difficult? How do you think it's been?


I don't know. Law enforcement followed me. The misstatements that they said on that original 2020 episode. I have a lot of frustrations with it. Separate your feet. Separate your feet. I was facing life in prison for a crime you didn't commit. Everything you thought you knew about this case is thrown into question. That shocker that would come next. I haven't spoken out about this. I remained being quiet all these years. I'm John Quineones. It's a mystery that has lingered for 20 years. Leah Freeman vanished while walking home on a summer's night. Her high school's sweetheart under suspicion as both police and townspeople sought answers in her murder. For 10 years, the case languished. Then, Then a new police chief came on the scene. He reopened the investigation and allowed 2020 cameras in to watch it unfold. Nick McGuffin was arrested and convicted in Leah's death. But that wasn't the end of the story. A new attorney would take on Nick's case, examining everything with a fresh eye. Evidence from his car, DNA found on Leah's shoe, a single chip of gray paint found on her tank top. Was it possible investigators had gotten it all wrong?


In 2019, 2020 returned to the small town of Coquille, Oregon, and found a murder mystery still unsolved. There's a lot that happens on the Oregon Coast, and it's a wonderfully spectacular setting. It's also rugged and it's dangerous. Coquille is right by the It's about 15, 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean, a couple hours north of the California border. Coquille is a small farming community, logging, millworking, a town. Coquille is a two-stop life town. It's tucked into the forest. There's a few restaurants and shops, but there's nothing particularly charming about it. This is a really small, close community community. Everybody knows everyone. The body of a teenage female, tentatively identified as Leah Freeman, was discovered. What really split this very tight-knit community apart was a tragic criminal case. It involved two high school sweethearts, Leah Freeman and nick McGuffin. Why did they think you were going to call them? Because they have nothing else to go on, and I'm the boyfriend. It was the signature event that happened in Coquille. It was the event that brought people together and split them apart. Nick McGuffin would become one of the town's most notorious figures nick McGuffin. Mcguffin.nick McGuffin.Miguffin.Killing his girl murder.Nicolas McGuffin, guilty of manslaughter.


He became infamous. My name's nick McGuffin. I'm from Coquille, Oregon. The reason why we're sitting here For me, in my eyes, is to bring awareness to this case. I'm doing this not for myself, but I'm doing this for Leah and for her family to get resolution. I'm an innocent man, and I want the false narrative to go away. I think it was about 2-3 when we moved down to Coquille. My mom works in the medical field, and my dad, he started a business, a produce market. Riding my mountain bike, delivering the newspaper with the big old paper bag on it, and I wasn't the biggest kid. I was Nick's fourth-grade teacher in, I believe it was 1992. He was a great student. He enjoyed learning. He was creative. In high school, I was just like any average student. I wasn't different, really, than anybody else. Nick played for the cokeye football team, and it was a big thing there in cokeye Friday night football, just like it is in most small towns. Nick, the high school kid, he was always in love in a way. He always had a girl. The girls liked him. I had met Leah when I was walking through the gym, and she was in volleyball practice.


She was a freshman, and I was a senior. She sees me looking at her, and she gives me this look. Leah was beautiful. That was my first first impression. She was just a short, bright personality, and A Leah was like a sparkle. She had a glow to her, and it was somebody that I wanted to get to know. They spent some time together and started dating. I know that Leah really cared about him a great deal. I think that when you're young, you develop strong feelings really quickly, especially if it's with an older guy who shows a lot of interest in you. If you saw nick driving through town, Leah was probably sitting in the passenger seat, and he would not let anybody sit in the front seat if Leah was with them. My Mustang was not anything special. It had a little straight six in it. It was a little three-speed transmission. A lot of times, Leah and I would just drive around and listen to music. I tried to say goodbye and I choked. I remember a certain song that her and I always listened to. It was Macy gray, I Try, came out in '99.


We had a lot of deep conversations. We had a future plan. I know we loved each other. I loved her without a doubt. I think that there were times when Leah would get jealous of nick hanging out with other girls or that They would argue about it, but they always seem to resolve it and stay together. He was definitely a flirt. He was into every girl, but he did seem like he really cared about her. I asked Leah if she would go to prom with me. She had a gorgeous white dress. She had her hair done perfectly. I'm glad we went and we got the pictures that we did together. I think Leah makes me look better. He seemed like an okay guy, but still the age difference was there. And then I found out that they were being sexually active. That was disturbing. It caused some conflict between Leah and I because she wanted to see him. She wanted him to be her boyfriend, and I didn't. Together, they were very compatible. It was like any young couple, they had their issues, arguing, whatever, but they both wanted to be together. June 28, 2000.


I'll never forget that date. It started out like any normal day. I got in my Mustang and went to her house. I remember her telling me, We need to clean the outside of the car. We were spraying each other with the hose, splashing each other with soap. I remember we were having a good The decision was made to take her to Sherry's house at 7:00 and pick her up at 9:00. I hadn't seen her for a while. We were still really good friends, but we just didn't hang out as much because she was with nick a lot. She was at Sherry's, and she wanted to go jogging and ask Sherry to go with her. Sherry asked her mom, and her mom said no, because every time you do, nick comes and picks Leah up, and you end up walking home alone. Leah heard and I guess she got mad and started to walk off. So she left, and then I followed her out to the road, and that's when I told her, It's not about you. I guess a lot of it was about the guy she was with. He was trying to take her away to do things that I wasn't really welcome.


She was mad. She had her arms folded. I can actually still picture it. When she was mad, you knew she was mad. Leah took off upset, clearly upset. And she was headed toward the high school, spotted by numerous witnesses. Witnesses along the way. You don't think anything like that is going to happen in a small town. Definitely nothing sinister you would ever think would happen in Coquille. On June 28th, Leah is at her friend Sherry's house visiting. The two get into an argument, and Leah storms out of the home, and that's shortly before 9:00 PM. When I first interviewed Sherry back in 2010, she told me that Leah was very upset when she left her house that night. She was pissed. I remember her saying to me, I'm sorry, I'm not good enough for you. Apparently, it was just shortly before 9:00, 5:00 to 9:00, I guess. This is an overview of the area that we're talking about, Coquille, Oregon. We know from Sherry Leah leaves on foot. She walked down fourth Street and turned left on Central Boulevard. She was seen walking by McKay's Market. We have witnesses that put her at the fast mark.


Then we have a sighting of her at a restaurant that's a little farther up. The next sighting we have is Leah up here by the high school. The people that saw her said she had her arms crossed and looked angry. So she was probably angry about the argument she just had at the house. Right. The next witness says that around 9:30 PM, she sees Leah standing outside a payphone, and there are two men arguing nearby. Next time we see Leah, she's standing outside the gas station, and that's the last time that anyone sees Leah. Several minutes later, the witness hears a high pitch scream. And nobody saw anything suspicious. Stranger pick her up or stranger driving around town. Not to my knowledge. It was nine o'clock. I went to go over to Sherry's to go get Leah. I asked her where Leah was. I said we got in a fight. She left. She's probably walking home. I'm sure that if you just drive to her house, you'll find her. It's not a very big town. You can walk through from Sherry's to the high school in a matter of minutes. So nick gets back into his car and starts driving through the town of Coquille looking for Leah.


I drive too fast, Mark. I had asked multiple people if they'd seen Leah walk by. And about nine o'clock at night, I see nick pull up and he says, Is Leah here? And I said, No. Nobody had seen her. I remember going by the high school. I had a very strict curfew of 10 o'clock. As I was driving back home, came to the stop sign by the high school, and I saw nick driving by in his Mustang. So I drove by Leah's house because I didn't see her. He did call the house shortly after 10:00 that night. He said, Is Leah there? And I said, Leah? No. Isn't she with you? And he goes, Well, it's all right. Don't worry. I'm going to go find her, and I'll bring her home. I went back to Fasmar probably five or six times. Leah wasn't much into partying, but that's what I started to think is maybe she got conned into going to a party. Either that or she went to another friend's house. That vent. He had looked every place that he could think of and couldn't find her. I had even talked to police twice that night.


My headlight was out, and I got pulled over for it both times. I told him that I was looking for my girlfriend, and he told me to get it fixed. After getting pulled over two different times by police, nick decides to go to his friend, Kristen, and ask her to drive around with him to look for Leah. And Kristen drives around with nick for an hour. I dropped Kristen off around 2:00, probably. I decided to go by Leah's house one more time. I saw a glare on her window. I thought it was her TV. Back then, it was 2000. It's not like she could send me a text She couldn't call me on a cell phone. So I thought she was home, and I went home after that. I looked in her room and her bed was empty. Leah's mom, Cori, calls at 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning the next day. I said, Where's Leah? She's not here. He goes, She didn't come home last night? And I said, No, where is she? He goes, I don't know. I went into town as quick as I could. I talked to Cory. We went down to the police Department and we filed a missing person report.


The police has basically told us that Leah was probably a runaway. I knew. I knew something was wrong. This girl had no reason to run away. She had absolutely no reason. None. I handed out flyers with people everywhere, every town. Have you seen Leah? Nick really was He had a bad feeling, I think, in the sense as the days went on, he was getting more scared and more scared and just felt like she would have contacted him. That's what he kept saying. Nobody seemed to know anything. I don't remember what date it was. The police called me. They wanted to talk to me. So of course, I'm going to go in and I'm going to help them. Today is June 30th. It is 13:40 48 hours. This is a statement of nick McGuffin, a missing person case involving Leah Freeman. Nicholas James McGuffin. People tend to think, If I'm innocent, I don't have anything to hide. The problem is, even though you think what you're saying is fine and it's going to be helpful, it can be turned back upon you in a second. How would you characterize your personality? When she's around me, I don't know, she just seems really bright and happy-go-lucky lucky and giggly.


She's just a really good person. I started to have my concerns when I started, I guess, trying to twist my words the way I speak. Does she ever have problems at home? Her parents are divorced. Her depression Maybe it has a lot to do with her childhood. What's the question? Tell me she was happy-go-lucky. She is. I don't have a complete recollection of when they called me back in after that initial interview. I know that they did. I know that they did want to take pictures to see if I had defensive wounds. And I didn't, but I still went willingly. The first week, they actually wanted to look at my Mustang. I signed it over to them immediately. I did not have anything to hide. There was nothing that I was worried about. The night that Leah disappeared, it's about 11:40. The mechanic worked this swing shift. He's driving home. And he saw a shoe lying on the road. He thought maybe one of these kids had left a shoe out there. So he picked it up, took it home. Then when it came out in public that we were looking for Leah, that person came forward with the shoe.


We showed it to Leah's sister. She said, I think that's her shoe. Then, on the fourth of July, just six days after Leah went missing, her other shoe discovered, and it's got blood on it. This point here is where her right shoe is found on North Elm Street. Leah's blood-stained left shoe is found on Hudson Ridge. The distance from where The left, she was found on Hudson Ridge back to the town of Coquille is about 10 miles stretch. When the case first started, Cori felt she wasn't being taken seriously by the police Department. When we had that second shoe with her blood on it, I think everybody felt that this was not going to end well. I don't know if the second shoe gave me more questions or if it solidified the horror that we were about to find out. Skeptical about Custom Beauty? I get it. My feed is flooded with customized this and personalized that, all promising to fix my damaged ends and dull complexion or dry scalp and fine lines. But when pros says custom, they actually mean it. It's no gimmick. Your formula couldn't exist without you. Each and every bottle of pros custom hair and skincare is made to order and personalized with a unique blend of naturally powerful and proven effective ingredients to meet your needs.


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That's betterhelp, H-E-L-P. Com/2020. Honey. At first, they just didn't take it seriously. They just looked at her as a runaway. I don't think they were actively looking for her. We just told them and that she would not ever run away, that something has happened to her. They just didn't listen to the family at all. Then they started to take it seriously once they found that shoe. They went, Wait, something happened. At approximately 3:30 this afternoon, the body of a teenage female, tentatively identified as Leah Freeman, was discovered in the in the Fairview area in Coos County. The area where Leah disappeared from is right in here. Then we've got way over here, about eight miles away, we've got where Leah's body is found on Lee Valley Road. And this eight-mile stretch, that's through backwood, gravely old logging roads up Fairview Mountain. Behind me here is the area where the remains of Leah Freeman was found, just right down at the base of this hill where, evidently, our suspects had disposed of Leah's body. There was a search party assigned to this area. They detected the odor that was consistent with a decomposing human body, and they found Leah's remains.


The body was in bad condition. She was out in the summer heat, six weeks. It's not that hot around here, but on the other hand, it's summertime, and the decomposition, there was animals. So there's a lot of information that would have been there earlier that just wasn't available to anybody, unfortunately. It was August third. I'd gone out to Leverne Park with my friend Janet, letting her grandson play. And all of a sudden, a coquille city cop pulled into Leverne Park. He said, Cori, I need to take you home. I said they found her. He told me he didn't know. But you knew. Yeah. Yeah. I knew, but I still let the denial take over. I wanted to go back in time. I didn't want to go home. I didn't want to hear the final news. I didn't want to hear it. I remember the exact moment I broke down. After being told that, I don't remember anything after that. I just remember that specific moment in time. That's the saddest moment that I've ever gone through. And that I can imagine going through. It was pretty much just like, losing, like literally losing a piece of yourself.


I mean, I know people say that, but that's really how it feels. And I guess I just like the fight that I had I just wish, of course, that it had never happened. But you realize that you have no guilt in this, right? I mean, arguments happen. No, I know. But usually you get a chance to say you're sorry. Fifteen-year-old Leah Freeman vanished off the streets of Coquille five weeks ago. Her death is being treated as a homicide, but investigators are saying little else. How close are we to making an arrest? Can't answer that. I think that everybody was quick to point fingers at nick because he's the most likely person being her boyfriend. They went so hard after nick because he was the only option they felt they had. And then started getting into harassment. I was hospitalized for an anxiety attack, and I was overloaded with stress and lack sleep. Police just aren't able to make any a case stick against nick McGuffin or anybody else for that matter. And over time, there just isn't a single arrest made. We were out of standstill at that point. And as time went by, it slowly became a cold case.


Law enforcement tapered off public perception and opinion, and harassment didn't. The talk around here is about him and that he did it. Worst thing about a rumor mill is that it can start with one person saying something, and by the time it's even gone to one more person, it's just completely changed. That is one of the worst things about living in a small town. I remember him telling me one time that he can't even walk into town without somebody calling him a murderer. One of the times we were at the store with him, somebody came up to us and started yelling at him calling him a murderer. The whole store heard it. There was a suicide attempt. It was a culmination. It's like when a tea kettle boils and it starts to make that hum. You just get an overload, you don't know what else to do. About a year after Leah's murder, nick met another woman, and he began trying to crawl out of his dark depression. I think meeting her was the right thing at that moment. She helped me through a lot of it, and I think I needed that to help me through what I was going through.


It's 2007. My daughter was born. At that moment, you know you need to get things right to be a father. Nick and his daughter's mother got very serious, and he decided to go to culinary school. Nick found his calling, he's an awesome chef. When people your food and they like it, I get the enjoyment out of that. I graduated top of my class, got a job at the casino. I was promoted to head banquet chef, and that was probably the best job I had had. Things were starting to look up. So the case goes cold, as cold cases will. And on the scene comes a new police chief. And he makes it his job. He's going to find the killer. And nick, I think, has thought, Okay, this is finally over. They're going to let me live in peace. Now, with the reopening of this case, police find possible new evidence and possible new suspects. Good evening, and thank you all for coming. Well, nearly a decade has gone by since Leah Freeman disappeared and was later found dead. It's 2008, and by now, it's been eight long years since the body of 15-year-old Leah Freeman was found near an old logging road outside of the town of Coquille, Oregon.


If anyone has a memory to share, please come up and do so. It was a fog that hung over the town for this entire time. And this is all going to get better. We're going to get justice for Leah. The community really wanted to know what happened. They wanted justice. They wanted answers, especially the victim's mom. From Cory Courtright. I want justice. I want for whoever killed her to pay for it because they've been walking free for years, and it's just wrong. I said, We need to reopen this case. We need to solve this. And I said, I don't care where this leads. We need to find the truth. So Coquille is looking for a new police chief, and one of those candidates comes from a desert town in Arizona, 1400 miles away. This blood in the trunk has become a reality game for us. There's a new sheriff in town. When I arrived in Coquille, one of the things that people kept addressing, whether it was talking to our law enforcement, sitting in our restaurant, getting a soda, everybody was talking about the Leah Freeman case. And one of the expectations as a new police chief was, what are you going to do about a chief?


And I'll curse copy you, too, so you're in the loop of that. I think our community is so fortunate to have him. Without a concern? A little bit. He He seems to just have his heart completely in this case. I hope that he might be the reason we get our justice. If we haven't ruled them out, then why aren't we? One thing we did in this investigation is we made no assumptions. We had, I believe it was 903 different names listed in this investigation from a decade worth of tips that had come forward that many were open, many weren't closed out. So what our team did at that point was to prove or disapprove these tips. When they reopened the investigation, I looked at it as that they were going to look at this case properly. I had hopes that they were going to solve it properly. We all refreshed on the case file. We looked at every person that was identified as a possible suspect in this case, and then we went forward. Good morning, everyone. Chief Daniels was very accessible. He held press conferences. We've had 35 law enforcement officers work in this case since January of 2010, and we've worked steady.


He knew the importance of the media's involvement. 2020 had heard that there was a new police chief in town and that he was anxious to solve the case. In fact, he was willing to let us follow the investigation from the inside. 2020 will be present, and they'll be in with us. Do you know exactly, chief, where it was? Was it right by the telephone or in the street? Or where was it? Right here on the street area. So whatever happened, it was obviously taken off for issue by probably involuntarily. The police chief told us he was looking into every possible theory, including one that was on the local rumor mill, that there were two men seen at a gas station very close to where Leah was last seen. So the way I understand that rumor is that two men were probably drinking, that they had hit her, so they couldn't very well turn themselves in. And whether they panicked or just don't have a conscience or they dispose the body and walk away from it. And what about the rumor that's been out there that she was hit by a car? It was an accident.


Yeah, we've investigated that, and I do not believe she died as a result of being hit by a car. You believe that it was murder. Oh, absolutely. No matter which way we went, at the end of the day, it came back to nick McGuffin. When you put it all together, the tally of circumstances, it painted a picture that nick McGuffin was directly responsible for the death of Leah Freeman. I didn't see that when the case reopened, that it would come back on me. I didn't see that coming. This was not a case of DNA that connected nick to the scene. We didn't have physical evidence. We had a shoe that was found in this vicinity where Leah was last seen with blood on it, which was her blood. Investigators also take another look at Nick's Mustang to see if there was any evidence at all that Leah's body had been inside that car. When Leah Freeman first went missing, when they did the search on the Mustang, several weeks later, the trunk was cleaned. There was nothing in there. It had been wiped. There was just nothing there. The police were trying to turn the heat up on nick, so they even followed him to work and parked outside.


We're going to stop by Mr. Mcguffin's residence and see if he's around. When they reopened the case. Hey, Chief. We're sitting on Nick's car over here at the Mill. They followed me everywhere I went. That's what they did. It may have reached back to him by now. We weren't trying to hide from nick. We want to see what he was doing. I think it is him. Who was he talking to? Who was he going to visit? We wanted nick to know, Hey, nick, listen, we're opening this up. To being followed, having cameras on you. What it was was an intimidation tactic to try to get me to react. I was always told to just keep My head held high. People tell me, Just wave at him. So I did that. I don't think he was surprised to see us. And that's the goal. We had witnesses, many, many witnesses, and we developed more witnesses. We'll go and recontact her. We've interviewed over 100, almost 200 people in the last six months. Did you guys confront her with what Nikki told you? With all these witnesses coming forward, police say they're getting information that appears to contradict what nick has said all along, that he had not seen Leah after he dropped her off at her girlfriend's house around seven o'clock.


I basically drove everywhere for that four hours looking for her, and I didn't see her once. We have several witnesses that actually placed nick with Leah after nine o'clock. If he's claiming he wasn't with her after nine o'clock, but we can show he was with her. What's he hiding? But police chief Dannell's key witness would turn out to be somebody who came right out of the blue. So on the night Leah went missing, nick turned to a friend who offered him help Fast forward 11 years, and she becomes one of his most damning witnesses. He just tried to kill me. This guy tried to put a load on me. He tried to have sex with me, and then I got to stop. Some folks don't stop searching till they find the truth. If you've got a detective's eye, June's Journey is the game for you. Play as June Parker in a gripping murder mystery as you find hidden objects to help solve her sister's death. You'll hunt for clues in hundreds of beautifully illustrated scenes set in the Roaring Twenties. New chapters are added weekly. Find your first clue by downloading June's Journey today, available on Android and iOS mobile devices, as well as on PC through Facebook games.


Hey, I'm Nate Thurston, and I'm supposed to write a 30-second ad that tells you everything you need to know about my podcast, Good Morning Liberty, which I co-host with Charlie, my best friend of 20 years. That's a tough feat to accomplish, but let's give it a shot. At Good Morning Liberty, we cover the news every day from an individual liberty perspective. We believe that you own yourself in a tyrannical Political overreaching government is the biggest threat to your liberty. If you agree, you can find a new episode every day of the week on your podcast app or by going to bernilies. Com in your browser. Ten years after the murder of Leah Freeman, a new police chief has arrived in the town of Coquille, Oregon, and Leah's high school boyfriend is facing increasing policing scrutiny. Investigators don't have physical evidence linking nick McGuffin to the crime, but they do have witnesses, and one of them is about to paint nick in a very unflattering light. Thank you so much. Of all these witnesses who came forward to talk to police, one stood out as doing the most damage to nick, and that was his friend, Kristen Steinhoff.


So you're in an unfamiliar car looking for somebody. You don't know. I know what she looks like. I see her like, what's your name? The night that Leah went missing, nick claims that he went to see his friend Kristen around midnight. She told me, If you can't find her, come over later and I'll help you find her. Christine Steinhoff was critical in this case. Think about this. Right after Leah goes missing, that's who he's with. That is critical to where we want to go in this case. Back in 2000, Kristen gave police information about nick that seemed greatly contrary to everything he had told police about his relationship with Leah, that he was loving and concerned. We smoked dope and everything else crack it. I don't know. It was weaker us. We can't really tell the document. Where did you see? Can I ask if you smoked your methadine? He just tried to kiss me. He tried to have sex with me, and then I told him he had to stop. Christine was very valuable to this investigation. Very valuable to us. Do we ever get a complete or she opened up to us? I don't think we did.


But we got enough that brought discredit to what nick was saying. I'm not going to sugarcoat it. When I got there, one thing led to another. Her and I started kissing. It's not a proud moment. Definitely not a proud moment. But we stopped. Kristen and I never had sex. I didn't do drugs that night that she claimed that I did. I didn't do any meth that night. I did smoke marijuana. I mean, there's no sensational thing like they portrayed. I was an 18-year-old kid. It's very damaging because if he loves Leah so much, what is he doing messing around when Leah is missing? It definitely hurt things. This is what nick did This is the time frame that he does it. Even more suspicion turned Nick's way. This really is the same. When police speculated to ABC that Leah might have been pregnant at the time that she went missing. That could have been a motive to pin on nick. She was 15, he was 18. And if she was pregnant, then he could get in trouble for statutory rape. That was one of the investigators that made that comment. You got to remember, we at every angle that humanly possible on this case.


Was there a motive? What could the motive be? That was his thought, but it was never proven. By the road here. The misstatements that they said on that original 2020 episode. I have a lot of frustrations with it. No, Leah wasn't pregnant. It wouldn't have mattered if she was. To say that on TV, it's frustrating. We're not Hollywood. We're real. What struck me, even during the investigation, was that there was no real physical hard evidence against nick, that he was involved at all. Nick was the number one person we wanted to talk to. We asked and asked, but he refused every time. So finally, I just walked up to him when he was parked on the street. I just want to ask you about how it's been. About how it's been. That's all I want to ask you about. Has it been difficult? How do you think it's been? I don't know. I know you've been in there screwed. It's ironic. That's the saying, Hindsight 2020. But I don't think talking to 2020 back then would have They came there with law enforcement, initially. With the 10th anniversary of Leah Freeman's disappearance and death just days away, authorities here in Coquille say they're now closer than ever to bringing justice to this case.


I decided to take it to the grand jury. They called over 110 witnesses. And after presenting all this evidence, they came back and said, We think nick did it. We think he had to be charged. It was August 23, 10:00. It was a normal day at work. I remember I was doing a banquet, and I had forgotten a recipe at my house, so I ran home real quick. I had to go get the recipe. We had a rest team in place. You have team 5 and team 3, and team 8 on the west side, which is past the driveway. The team went out. I noticed I was being followed as usual. We were in contact with the helicopter. We already had surveillance on nick. I was going to check the mail. The team needs to know we got the indictment. When I pulled up to my mailbox, cars everywhere. It came from everywhere. Camera crews came from everywhere. I don't remember much. I just remember them just up front in my face. Separate feet. Separate feet. Separate feet. They took him down, made the arrest. What do you think this is all about? Well, obviously, they said it's for the murder of Leah Freeman.


Did you do it? No, I didn't do it. Love of my life, man. Why did they think you did it back Because they have nothing else to go on, and I'm the boyfriend. When I got arrested, it felt like a nightmare that I was trying to wake up from, but I never woke up from it. When I to Leah's mom and told her that we had arrested nick for this crime, almost a decade later, she cried. She was emotionally upset. I think there was relief. There was some closure. District attorney Paul Frazier and Coquille's Chief of police broke the news to Leah Freeman's mother that police had arrested Nicholas McGoffin for the girls' murder. When I saw nick on TV when he was arrested, it made me sick because it just wasn't nick. Everything was drained from him. I'm not a flight risk. I'm just my family man, and I work hard. And nobody would believe what we were saying. I was scared. I was nervous. I was worried. I was facing life in prison. Life in prison for a crime you didn't commit. So finally, after 10 years, nick McGuffin has been charged, and there's about to be a trial, at the end of which comes a verdict that will shock everyone in the courtroom.


But what we don't see coming is the of Guardian angel who takes up his cause. And by the time she's finished, everything you thought you knew about this case is thrown into question. It's a trauma to everyone. But it's a tight-knit community. When one of our children goes missing, oh, You know, that is a huge, huge thing. And wasn't just one of our children in trouble. That was two. Shortly after the indictment was returned this afternoon, an arrest warrant was issued for Mr. Mcguffin. Did you do it? No, I didn't do it. Why did they think you did it? Because they have nothing else to go on, and I'm the boyfriend. I think a lot of people, by the time this trial came around, by the time nick was finally arrested, had made up their minds that he was guilty, that he had done it. I don't think that applies to everyone in town, but the whole town certainly knew who he was, and everybody seemed to have an opinion one way or another. Tonight, the story of a 15-year-old who wasn't safe, but was her boyfriend to blame. It became a big sensational media story, and it goes national.


2020 does a big piece, and all of that really just increases the profile, increases the pressure to get a conviction. When the piece air, people may very well have formed an opinion on Nick's innocence or guilt. After all, the police were adamant about telling their side of the story, and nick was not. We were concerned that people would have strong opinions one way or the other, and there was a question about whether nick could get a fair trial. In a town this small with a crime this high profile, you're not going to get a jury of people who know nothing about the case. But that's not the standard. The standard is finding a jury of 12 people who can put aside anything that they know and be able to objectively evaluate the evidence presented in court. We followed that up with a survey to be able to determine whether prospective jurors would be able to be fair. And the result was people could be fair. I lost over 20 pounds when I was in county waiting in my trial. At every step in my case, I have been offered deals by the DA to take a lesser charge.


I told them, no, innocent people don't take plea deals. I'll never accept one. On July 7, 2011, 11 years after Leah was killed, a murder trial is finally underway. I argued What happened was they got into an argument. It got physical, and it went bad from there. Nick stated he last saw Leah when he dropped her off at her best friend's house. I was with her until 7:00 that night, and I dropped her off at Sherry Rishols, and she told me to come back at 9:00. We know, based on an interview statement we have now, that that's not true. The state had three Three pieces of evidence that they say showed that nick and Leah fought that night and that he killed her. The first witness, John Lindegren. The evidence will show from John Lindegren, that the defendant actually caught up with Leah Freeman after she left Sherry & Mitchell's house. It was seen in an argument outside on L Street near Sherry & Mitchell's house, sometime after nine o'clock. Did you see Leah Freeman that night? I did, sir. You did see Nicholas McGuffin then? Yes, I did, sir. He did them together? I did.


This timing was important because it coincided pretty close to what Sherry Mitchell was saying in terms of Leah leaving and nick coming to pick her up, supposedly. It put a hole in Nick's story, is what it did. The second piece of evidence the state presented at trial, the shoe that was found near the graveyard, across from the high school where Leah was last seen. Right here on the street area, there's a shoe. So the shoe was tested, sent to the lab, and Leah's DNA and her blood was on that shoe. Based on the fact there's blood on the shoe, a reasonable person would believe there was a violent act of some sort. The state's case against nick is that he was very, very upset that Leah was going to break up with him. Finds her by the high school, tries to get her into the car. She loses a shoe. She ends up with a bloody lip or a bloody nose. She screams, and in an effort to keep her quiet, or in anger, is strangled. Then she's transported to where she's found off on Lee Valley Road five weeks later. But the most powerful piece evidence the state presented is an alleged confession, a statement a witness said nick made in 2002, two years after Leah's murder.


The prosecution's witness, David Brakefield claimed that nick had made an angry statement. Mr. Breakfield, was there a confrontation with the defendant? Several. And what, if anything, did the defendant tell you? Said, I strangle that bitch, and I'll strangle you, too. Did he say anything else to you? I've killed before, and I'll kill again. David Brakefield was never one of my friends. He had dated my daughter's mother for a little bit. I know I never said anything like that. I strangled that bitch, and I could kill you, too. That's powerful stuff, if you believe him. The biggest problem for Brakefield in his testimony is the eight-year gap between the time he says it happened and the time he tells the authorities. This happened back in 2002? Yes. If he made that statement to you, weren't you curious enough to start talking to people about who it was he would have killed? No, sir. You didn't care who he killed? I just tried to stay as far Get away from the situation as I could. In hindsight, I don't know that you could really say the prosecution had a case. We don't know that Leah broke up with him.


It really feels like a leap without any physical evidence to just be like, Well, she's gone, so nick must have done it. They just guessed. It wasn't a case. It was just a theory. During trial, I don't even know how I stayed composed when people They were lying about me the way they were. I mean, you're helpless. At the time, I put my life in my attorney's hand. There was no DNA evidence tying him to Leah. There was no evidence in his car. There was just nothing physically to show that he, in fact, did this, and there wasn't any reason for him to do it. The great filmmaker, Alfred Hitchcock, had a technique that he called the MacGuffin. Hitchcock explained what a MacGuffin is on the Dick Cabbit show. Can you explain what a MacGuffin is? Yes. It's always called the thing that the characters on the screen worry about. The characters in a movie, it would chase all over after this certain object when it really didn't have any meaning at all. So in the movie Casablanca, it was a trance of papers. In Pulp Fiction, it was the suitcase. We happy? Yeah, we happy.


And really, members of the jury, that's what we've got here, is we've got a McGuffin, and it's nick MacGuffin. I After nine days of intense and emotional testimony, both sides rest their case. Now, nick McGuffin's fate lies in the hands of the jury. The jury is ready to burn. Yes. Okay. I actually felt optimistic. I really did. I mean, I had bailiffs. I mean, and there was even a sergeant at the Coos County Jail while I was waiting for deliberations, and they all said, You're going home today. As to count one murder, we find the defendant. This ends up being a stunning verdict that could only happen in two states in America, Oregon being one of them. I knew it was a close case. I knew it could go either way. The defense team is always anxious. We felt felt there was reasonable doubt. We were very hopeful. I was nervous. I was worried. Yeah, it was a scary moment. The mood was so unfriendly. It was just a very tense, tense courtroom. I remember looking down in my mind, I probably was asking God for help. I was praying for the right answer. So the jury comes out from deliberations.


They hand the judge the And when they read the verdict... As to count one, murder, we find the defendant not guilty. When we heard not guilty of the charge of murder, we were ecstatic. I remember nodding my head like, Thank you. Nick's reaction to the not guilty, it was palpable. It was just the relief. And then the hope that the next verdict was also going to be not guilty. As to the lesser included defense of manslaughter in the first degree, we find the defendant guilty. I think I nearly jumped out of my seat. It was almost like a lightning bolt had hit me. He gasped. He jumped. The look on his face was utter Disbelief. It just was disbelief. The second verdict was... I mean, it was a shock. I don't even remember anything that was said after that. The manslaughter verdict was devastating because despite all of our best efforts, we had failed, and we had failed an innocent man. It was hard to believe the verdict. There was no evidence against nick. They just attacked his character. I broke down. I remember looking back at my mom, my dad. I remember looking at my daughter's mom.


We started crying. No reaction by anybody at all, no matter what this verdict is. And I will enforce that rule. One of the things that the court instructs everyone in the courtroom is not to show a response to the verdict, whatever it is. His My daughter's mother was sitting between me and my husband. She was crying. I was doing exactly this, shaking my head. Ma'am, you and you need to please. We're going to go help him right now. I got kicked out of the courtroom. I was devastated for him. I was devastated for his family. No part of me felt like they got justice. I think the verdict was a just verdict. I think it was a right verdict. I was not shocked. I was confident in this investigation. I was confident the jury made the right decision, and I'm confident I sit here and talk to you today. Typically, prosecutors, uncertain about whether they can get a murder conviction, will charge on a lesser count, like manslaughter. The thing that's risky about it is that if you charge somebody with first-degree murder and with manslaughter, manslaughter, you know that you're giving the jury an opportunity to pick one.


In this case, there's even more incentive for the prosecutor to request a manslaughter charge. And it's because Oregon has this quirky law. Because for murder, you need a unanimous verdict. And in Oregon, for manslaughter, you can have two holdouts. We found out that it was 10 in favor of guilt and 2 in favor of acquittal. If this happened in any other state today with two jurors unwilling to convict, it would end up in a hung jury. I mean, if you have two people saying not guilty, that's reasonable doubt. Nick was sentenced to 10 years. I don't think you can prepare for prison. You have to put on an image in there. You have to put on a hard exterior, and you act a certain way, and you live a certain way in there. You find some type of routine. If you don't find a routine, you're going to be lost. Every holiday, I tried to go, his birthday, definitely tried to visit him on those occasions. Every year was hard because my granddaughter, Okay, how many more birthdays without my dad? How many more Christmases without my dad? I remember my daughter had brought a key, and all she was trying to do was to unlock every door she could to where she could touch me, to where she could take me home.


These are letters that nick has written to me down through the years. I had written to him, telling him the things that I remembered about him. I had not seen him since he was 10 years old and in my class. He says, I'm still that same kid inside that you taught back in school. Nick wrote a couple of letters while he was in there thanking me for being the true friend, standing by him, never wavering. Every 2-3 months, I'd get a letter from him and vice versa. There were three consistent messages. His number one was his love for his daughter. His appreciation for people that believe in him and his desire to find out who did this. He never gave up wanting to find out what really happened. That was his while he was in prison. He was cautious in letters. He wouldn't always go into a lot of the details about the case other than that he was really working on it. What we don't see coming is this Guardian angel. He was very optimistic that they were onto something. Everything about the way that the prosecution said this murder happened didn't make sense.


Janice came in and found a piece of evidence that had been, if not overlooked, dismissed. The rest is insignificant. A paint chip from Leah's shirt could potentially solve the case. You're ready with your perfect. As to manslaughter in the first degree, we find the defendant guilty. I thought that I'd be found not guilty. There's just so many unknowns. I've kept telling nick, once we get to trial, the truth will come out, and it didn't. It is frustrating. Like you're in a locked, padded room. You can't get out. You're screaming. Nobody can hear you. Nobody wants to hear you. After the trial, immediately wrote up a 25 five-page packet of the information. There are several other organizations that deal with wrongful convictions. Wrote to every one of them, wrote to all the congressmen, wrote to the President. That was probably 2015, and that's when the Oregon Innocence Project finally took his case. The case was handed to Janice, who would become Nick's number one advocate. I had a really strong sense that nick was innocent because of the evidence that I was looking at. It didn't make sense to me, and that's why I initially got involved.


I remember when I first met Janice telling her, I just want you guys to find out what happened. I want you guys to believe me. We've got multiple witnesses seeing him at the Fast Mart. Janice launched this project in large part because of her own personal experience with the justice system and her brother's experience. Originally, I was working in commercial litigation. I didn't find commercial litigation personally fulfilling. I came to this wrongful conviction type work because my older brother Jason was wrongfully convicted in Nicaragua. Anderson Cooper covered Jason's case. Porcal is a young American charged with drug trafficking, convicted and sent to Nicaragua's notorious La Modelo Prison. During trial, they never presented any evidence that were linked to the chargers against me. I was thinking that it's just a case of mistaken identity, and once they figure out who I am, they'll let me go. I thought that it was going to be as simple as having a conversation with a prosecutor in Nicaragua and that I would take my brother home. I had no idea that it would turn into a two-year nightmare. I have faith that the judicial system in Nicaragua will let me go free.


I remember talking to my husband after Jason was exonerated and telling him, I want to do this for complete strangers. And he said, Then let's do it. She's been instrumental, wonderful in investigating, getting through, and finding the true facts of this case. I mean, she knows things about my case that I don't even know about finding every little nook and cranny. There are so many things about this case that raise red flags. There's no blood, no hairs, no fibers, no DNA connecting this crime to nick. No matter how you view this case, this is definitely not an open and shut case. In 2000, when police found Leah's body, they found this little gray paint chip on Leah's take top. We know that the paint chip either came from automotive paint or from maintenance paint. It doesn't match Nick's blue Mustang. It doesn't match Nick's parents maroon T-bird. And it did not come from Kristen Steinhoff's vehicle. The rumor was that two people were in a car that hit Leah and killed her. But they didn't test it on any of the other vehicles that might have been involved. We eliminated the other individuals as potential suspects in the case.


I don't know where that chip came from, and there's no evidence to suggest that it has anything to do with the case. Police told 2020 in 2010 then that the shoe that had the blood on it was found right in town on North Elm Street. Her shoe was found by the road here with blood on it. That night? That night. And that's how their theory gets started. Because it played into this idea that nick got angry in that spot, and that's where the murder happened. That shoe that was found on North Elm Street had no blood on it, and instead, there was a shoe that was found 10 miles away out in the woods that had blood stains on it. I might be wrong on that, but I don't remember. I'm not saying where the shoe was found with blood. It's not important. I'm not saying that at all. What's important is there's Leah's blood on a shoe, and it was her shoe. Coquille is this small, triangular loop. There were over 20 witnesses who When you saw nick driving around that night looking for Leah. He doesn't have time to commit this crime when you actually look at this.


The night that Leah went missing, I didn't see her after 07:00 PM when I dropped her off at Sherry's. Well, we had one eyewitness that put him and her together near the Mitchell place, around nine o'clock. We know that that can't be true because we have documentation of another Another witness, nick Backman, right here at the number 7 location, who sees Leah walk by the ATM, and the police officers go out to that ATM and pull those records and confirm that that is 9:04 PM. The accusations that my Mustang was cleaned out were false. The police and the prosecution specifically said and told the jury that nick wiped down the vinyl. One of the things that Kathy Wilcox testified to, it appeared that the seats had been wiped. But you can see the vinyl seats. You can see the trash on the seats. You can see that nothing's been cleaned in this car. If there's a body in there, we would expect to find blood, wads of hair, something, fibers. They didn't find anything to tie this car to Leah. I wasn't here when this car was seized or searched. What I was told was when this car was taken three weeks later, that the trunk had been sterilized.


Chief Daniels had access to all of the documentation about the actual evidence in this case. I don't know why he wasn't relying on it. They created an entire theory to convict a man based on evidence that's just wrong. Janice looked at a number of issues, but at the end of the day, most of them weren't going to be enough to set aside his conviction. This is almost straight out of a movie. It turns out a piece of evidence that was there from the beginning could now lead to McGuffin's freedom. They found DNA evidence that finally shows what I've been saying for nearly 20 years. Hey, I'm Andy Mitchell, a New York Times bestselling author. And I'm Sabrina Kohlberg, a morning television producer. We're moms of toddlers and best friends of 20 years. And we both love to talk about being parents, yes, but also pop culture. So we're combining our two interests by talking to celebrities, writers, and fellow scholars of TV and movies. Cinema, really. About what we all can learn from the fictional moms we love to watch. From ABC Audio and Good Morning, America, pop Culture Moms is out now wherever you listen to podcasts.


We've got the exclusive view, Behind the Table. Every day, right after the show, while the topics are still hot, the ladies go deeper into the moments that make The View, The View. The Views, Behind the Table podcast. Listen wherever you get your podcast. Four years after his conviction in the death of Leah Freeman, nick McGuffin has a new lifeline in his quest for freedom. The Oregon Innocence Project has taken on his case. An attorney, Janice Purakel, has found holes in one eyewitness account and physical evidence used against him. But Janice will likely need something more powerful to win a new trial. She's about to find it. Mcguffin's new attorney definitely finds some red flags, new evidence, but the standard is still very high to get a new trial. In this type of work for wrongful convictions, you're always looking for what's the evidence that can prove that my client is actually innocent, and the odds of finding it are slim to none. But if you've got something like DNA evidence, suddenly you've got a real argument to make. When we got into this case in post-conviction in 2015, we started to look at the original DNA testing from 2000.


The state police crime lab were able to pull DNA evidence off of her shoes. Back in 2000, the crime lab reported that Leah Freeman's DNA was found on her shoes, as well as some male DNA that belonged to one of the deputies who collected the evidence. We were surprised when we looked at the raw data from the original DNA testing back in 2000. We were shocked to find out that there was actually DNA from an unidentified male found on both of Leah's shoes, her right shoe and her left shoe. That was a huge moment for our case. They found DNA evidence that finally shows what I've been saying for nearly 20 years. I mean, you're ecstatic that it's happened, and that hopefully the right outcome will eventually take place. Back in In 2000, that was the infancy of our DNA testing. The analyst at the time chose not to actually call out that potential male DNA because she couldn't decide what it was because it was at a very, very low level. The issue is that in 2010, when the trial occurs, they've got much more advanced DNA technology and different protocols that would have required them to turn over something like this.


I was disappointed if the Oregon State Crime Lab would have said, Chief, this is what you have, I would have signed that out to the investigative team to look. Let's find out who that is. District attorney and the defense relied on statements by the Oregon State Police Crime Lab at the time, and those statements did not reveal the presence of this trace DNA. I was surprised because I I have always relied on the crime lab to provide full information to all parties in a case. I knew there was something missing, and we can never get at it. I was angry. I'm going, Whoa, what happened here? Do I think I got intentionally set up by these guys, or was it extreme incompetence that led to this? No, I don't think so. I think it was the scientists made a decision based on the policies and procedures at that time. Had they asked us to re examine that evidence, we would have done so. We don't always have an automatic trigger to go back and do re examination every time we get additional evidence. If the jury in 2011 knew that there was DNA of an unidentified male on the victim's blood stained shoe, the jury would have acquitted.


There is no doubt in my mind. Mcguffin His new attorney made the argument that under the law, they were required to turn over this evidence from the lab, and they didn't, and that that failure should lead at least to a new trial. The post-conviction trial is different than a regular trial. It's just before a judge, and it went for weeks and weeks and weeks. A major reversal tonight in the murder case of Leah Freeman, the coquille teenager who was found dead in the woods after she disappeared nearly two decades ago. The conviction for Nicholas McGovern, who was Leah's high school's sweetheart at the time, has been overturned. The post-conviction court issued the ruling to overturn Nick's conviction on a Friday right after Thanksgiving. I was with my family and got the news by email. Everybody was so excited. This was the moment we had been waiting five years was for when we got this rolling. That was a great day. I get on the phone and Janice is like, Hey. I'm like, Hi. And so, Well, we won. And I said, That's the best news I've had in nine years. And it was amazing. From then on, it was just a a waiting game of when I was going to get out.


We waited and waited and waited But Judge Solomon sends that case right back to the DA's office to make a decision, new trial or not. So now it comes back to me. I have to make a decision. Do I try this case again? I met with the investigative team. Got Mark Daniels on the phone. So you look at this. Nick's already served, 97% of the sentence. So we go back, put this all back together. Retry. You put the family back through this again. For what? But then, they sit down with Cori Covertright, and she just flat told me, I cannot take the strain of another trial. And she asked me not to try the case again. I also took into account it was a 10-2 verdict. We didn't convince everybody. Throw in this unknown male DNA, and it's not Mr. Mcguffins. So there was that issue. We talked it through and we made the decision of, No, don't go forward. And so I dismissed the case. Janice called me and she said, How would you like to go home? And I said, Yeah, I want to go home. I'm ready to go home. And she said, Well, it's happening.


It was December 17th. It was about 2:30. Nick calls me and he says, I'm getting released tonight. Can you be here at 7:00? And I go, Sure. And then my mom, she did a little, they call it a mic drop moment at work. She's like, I'm out of here. I'm getting my son. It was unbelievable that it had finally, finally happened. It was overwhelming to be waiting to be released, knowing that that's the last time I was ever going to have to be in a place like that. An Oregon man who spent nearly a decade behind bars, walked out of prison tonight, finally free after a judge overturned his conviction. When we drove up to the prison, all the media's at the gate. Place is hopping, and there's nick with all his wonderful people from the Forensic Justice Project. I think that was the first time I had cried in a long time and had tears in my eyes. It was wonderful seeing him, knowing he was free. He was beautiful. When you do this wrongful conviction work, you live for the moment you get to walk an innocent client out of prison. And we got that moment with nick after 20 years of fighting to prove his innocence.


I hugged nick, I hugged Janice, I hugged everybody. And then we immediately drove over to his daughter's house and we wanted to surprise her, too. Her mother couldn't keep the secret. They were all excited. My daughter already knew. But it's a 10-year jump I'm really looking forward. You missed everything. But I mean, she's got her dad home. I broke into tears. I was just so happy, so happy for him. We were thrilled, just so excited for him. It was good to see them all again, to know that they supported me through all of this. I did choose to go back to Coquille. I mean, my family's there. It's my home. I mean, the house that my parents still live in is the same house that they lived in when Leo was around. Being Being in Coquille still, that has to be really tough on him because, again, there's still a lot of people who believe one way, and it's not believing that he's innocent. It's hard. I mean, even now, I know all those things. I know all those things to be true. I wish people would look at that. He has been applying for jobs and is having a struggle finding one.


He wants to get back into the kitchen and do his cooking. After my exoneration, trying to get my life back, I had an idea of what it was going to be like, and I was wrong. It's not easy. It's actually really hard. I have anxiety. I don't I don't like going out in public places. I changed in prison. I'm broken, but I mean, mentally, I'm broken. Now that I'm out, it When I look at her, the strength that she has at her age, I think that helps me. Corey still believes nick is guilty. I can imagine that co-kill is as divided in this as they were from the start. They didn't They didn't say nick was innocent. They didn't say that he didn't kill Leah Freeman. I still stand behind the investigation of this case. There's evidence in this record to find this defendant guilty. It's irresponsible that the police and the prosecutor continue to say that nick is guilty and spread that misinformation. They're so busy trying to avoid blame that they have forgotten that they destroyed a man's life. He He was in prison for nine years for something that he didn't do.


In the process of that, they've forgotten, too, that they've allowed Leah's real killer to go free. There's DNA evidence that belongs to someone else. So then the question is, who does this belong to and what does it mean? Let's go find out what happened. Let's solve this case once and for all. He never gave up wanting to find out what really happened. That was his mission while he was in Where is it? That DNA we know doesn't belong to nick, but the question still plagues him. Who does it belong to? Why can't we track this DNA down? Why can't we investigate it right this time? You have a chance right now to clean the slate to make it right. I'm pretty sure a lot of people would want that. I know Leah would. I know her family wants that. I want the truth for them. Nick has always told me that my primary job was to solve this case. He didn't care if he ever got out as long as I would solve it for Leah. My understanding now is, yes, definitively there is a male profile on that shoe, but there are not enough markers to put it into the database to see if we can identify somebody that way.


It is not suitable to put into the FBI's database for forensic samples and convicted offenders. The quality of the DNA was not good enough in 2000. It was not good enough in 2010, and it is still not good enough. The Oregon crime lab is insistent explaining that the sample in question, when compared to other DNA, can only exclude a match. Remember that theory about a car accident involving two suspects? The DA says that very DNA comparison was made with them. That's what we did with potential suspects in the case, and they all came back as not being the donor of that DNA. So here's the question. If the police department is not reopening the investigation, how will they ever get a new suspect? Investigative work needs to be pushed on it. The persons that did this, they deserve to be held accountable for what they did. I believe it was about a year after Leah went missing that my father and I had decided to do It was something in commemoration for Leah. Bruce, my husband, and nick, decided to put in a huge pond in the backyard. It was a good healer for nick.


Leah loved pink, and the rhododendron is back there. The way it's blooming at this time of year, I find it quite amazing because I don't think roadies are blooming like that beginning of February. My idea of maybe Leah letting me know she's still here. We dedicated it to Leah, And I would see him go out in the backyard and stand there and just look in the pond. I honor Leah's memory by never forgetting about her. This is the last photo that I got a take of her. I know that she was happy at that moment. She was a ball of light. None of it's for me. It's for Leah. This is Deborah Roberts. In April 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled that in serious crimes, non-unanimous jury verdicts, like the one that convicted nick McGuffin of manslaughter, are unconstitutional. Oregon had been the last state to allow non-unanimous verdicts. Louisiana stopped the practice after a 2018 voter referendum. As a result of the high court decision, hundreds of convictions in Oregon are likely to be reversed, and the cases could be retried. In January 2023, the Oregon Supreme Court struck down non-unanimous jury verdicts. Individuals convicted by non-unanimous juries are now entitled to request a new trial.


As of 2020, McGuffin had a job as a personal chef. He and attorney Janice Purcal are advocating for the auditing of the state police lab's old cases to see if forensic evidence has been overlooked. Leah Freeman's case remains under investigation. You've been listening to the 2020 True Crime Vault. Join us Friday nights at 9:00 on ABC for all new broadcast episodes of 2020. Thanks for listening. People who disappear without a trace. Where is she? The most notorious. Pure evil. And the most devious killers. There's a Hannibal Lector feel to him. For chilling true crime stories, follow the True Crime, NYC podcast wherever you listen.