Fatal AttractionDateline NBC
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- 4 Mar 2021
In this Dateline classic, Beth Lochtefeld seemed to find everything she wanted in a man – looks, money and he was crazy about her. But what she saw, was not what she got. Hoda Kotb reports. Originally aired on NBC on July 19, 2013.
I didn't see it coming. It was shocking. I had a bad feeling. She did say he has a gun and I'm afraid he might use it. A story of sand, sunsets and fatal attraction. She had so much to give. She would make everybody feel special, successful at everything except love. Then she found him. She said she felt so good in his arms. He was handsome, sophisticated and crazy about her. There was talk of marriage.
Then suddenly there was talk of trouble.
She was frightened enough not to go home. She had fear that something would happen to her. It did. My sister, she's not answering her phone.
How did love go so wrong? In a surprising twist, it would take not one but two trials to discover the truth of a sudden. He wasn't convicted of killing my sister anymore. Nantucket, Massachusetts, a gorgeous smudge of an island off the coast of Cape Cod. It's simple and elegant in a way that says serious money. The beaches are pristine, the food phenomenal, and the shopping bag your credit cards. As the setting for romance with its surf sunsets and sea breezes, Nantucket is 50 Shades of fabulous.
But then the fog rolls in, dense, mysterious, and everything changes, suddenly, it seems anything is possible in this moody place, maybe even sinister things.
No one is reported to be your emergency. Hey, we got an emergency. My sister. She's not answering her phone.
It was Monday, October 25th, 2004, a gray day.
Officer Daniel for Tardio of the Nantucket Police Department was on patrol when the car radio crackled at about 115 in the afternoon.
A call had come in. She was supposed to leave and pick up my phone today. You know, she won't answer her cell phone. OK, I'm going to send him over right now.
It was a routine matter, or so it seemed. Frittata was dispatched to check it out. He met his partner at Hawthorne Lane. There were two houses on the property. Both were owned by longtime island resident Barbara Cadillac.
I said, excuse me, are you Miss Elizabeth Rockefeller? And she said, no, she's over there and pointed towards the cottage.
The officers walk to the cottage and knocked. No answer. It was the first hint of trouble. I moved around to the bay window and I looked and at which time I saw someone laying on the ground for Tato was looking at a crime scene. I turned towards Sergeant Coakley and I told him that we had somebody down inside frittatas partner kicked in the door. The body was on the living room floor. A woman stabbed to death for Tato had never seen anything like it and was hit by a wave of fierce emotions from shock to all to.
That's pretty much how it went. And then the police training kicked in, adrenaline surging. The cops pulled their weapons out. Immediate thought was to draw a weapon for our safety. So with weapons drawn, we proceed to clear the house. It was all clear. But horrifying, there were signs of a struggle, blood in a bedroom and in the living room by the body officer for Hurtado radioed in. I made the comments, just get here.
It was for today's first homicide, but if he was a stranger to homicide, so was Nantucket. There hadn't been a murder on the island for two decades.
That doesn't happen here. It can't happen here. And that was kind of the way it was up until that day.
Her name was Elizabeth Locke Default. But everyone called her Beth and she was an unlikely victim. She was 44 years old, a successful businesswoman from New York who sold her company for a tidy profit and moved to this Nantucket Cottage just months before.
Beth had this incredible gift of making people feel comfortable around her. Beth's brother, Tom Lacto, felt I would be with her.
We would go into the store to run an errand. She'd be chatting up the clerk at the counter, getting into a conversation. I'd be like, Come on, Beth, let's go.
Yeah. So what are you doing? Smart, vibrant, adventurous. Beth was certainly all that and more. But what Tom remembers most is her way with people.
It sounds like your sister made the other person feel better, bigger, you know, more loved. It's a gift. She would make everybody feel special.
The third of five children, Beth, was raised in Peekskill, New York, about fifty miles north of New York City. My mom stayed home, cared for us. My dad was home at five thirty for dinner at six o'clock.
But when school was out, the family headed to Nantucket, where Beth's father, John Locke to Feld, was a well-known local artist. And for years, if it was summer, Beth was on the island.
She was game for everything. Lesley Costello met Beth more than three decades ago. They were freshmen together at the University of Notre Dame.
The last time that she was in California, we were going to go out surfing and I said, Beth, I think you she'd never surfed before. And she was she'd boogie board had plenty. I said, you know, you might have more fun boogie boarding because I know she wanted to go.
I want to go for it. I want to learn to surf. So she was always willing and wanting to embrace a new experience with joy.
After college, Beth settled in New York and started her own company. In this video, she talked about those early days out of work. You worked your fingers to the bone, your nose to the grindstone, but blood, sweat and tears.
She chose a tough gig, helping architects navigate New York's business team, building regulations.
That seems like the kind of business for a tough, savvy, hard edged type woman. It doesn't sound like the woman you're describing, really.
Oh, you know what? She was enormously successful because she was hard working and she was honest. You know, she shined and people just could trust her.
But it sounds like there was just one part of her life that was missing. Just love finding someone to spend her life with that. You talk about that.
She did want a family in early September 2004, that dream suddenly seemed to be within reach.
She was thinking this could be the guy. Absolutely.
It was Labor Day weekend, a sunny day on Nantucket. Bernadette called her friend Beth. I said hi. And I said, you know what? I think I'm looking at your future husband right now. And she said, Really? And I said, yeah. And she said, I'll be right over.
Bernadette Feeney had only known Beth for a few months, not long, but long enough.
She told me she'd been successful in every part of her life except for love.
So when Bernadette's old friend Tom TULLEN came to stay at her Nantucket home, she introduced him to Beth. It was the connection. It was electric.
The minute she walked in, it was like, whoa, Beth had finally met Mr. Right. But people aren't always what they seem to be or pretend to be.
There was a lot to like about Beth's new beau, but there was also something a little troubling, especially after he met Beth's friends. She said something like that. I thought you were really sophisticated and charming. And he said under his breath, boy, I really should have been an actor when Dateline continues. In September 2004, Beth Lakotah Felde was a woman in love, her brother Tom remembers exuberant phone calls about the new man in her life. Of course, she was over the top.
I met this guy, friend of a friend.
And of course, I had learned after many of those phone calls to try not to get too excited for her.
At 37, Tom TULLEN was a walking, talking swoon machine. Tall, broad shouldered, preppy. And Beth had a lot in common with him. He liked literature.
He liked music. He was good looking. And he came from a Catholic family whose parents were still married 30 years later. That was a big attraction for Beth.
She saw someone who she thought was like minded, I guess in many ways. Yes.
Tom Tulis, childhood friend Bernadette Pheeney had introduced the couple. Bernadette had known Tom since he was a toddler. They'd grown up in the same apartment building in Brooklyn, New York.
He was four years younger and the same age as my brother. So he always felt like a little brother to me. And we were I can't even tell you how close we were.
Tom went to private school, then Columbia University after college. He sold cars for a while, then landed a job as a broker at Smith Barney. Other jobs in finance followed, including a stint as a bank executive on Wall Street.
He seemed to have it all with charm to spare should come in the corner of some corner of Manhattan saying, Oh my gosh, I'm just waiting for him here. I just have to thank you. Is is unbelievable. We're having so much fun.
Tom was smitten, too, from day one. You just said, my gosh, the great gal. I mean, she's an amazing gal.
Even though Tom lived in New York and Beth in Nantucket, they started seeing each other regularly. Beth, at 44, was eager for marriage and a family.
Very soon there was talk of rings, although Beth's brother says it was mainly Tom doing the talking.
As a matter of fact, it's my understanding that that first day he said, I'm going to marry you. And she was like, Yeah, right.
Beth may have hesitated as she learned more about her new man. He told her he'd had drinking problems. But for Bernadette Feeney, playing Cupid, Tom's drinking hardly seemed like a deal breaker. I knew that he had a drinking problem. And regardless, I know a million people with drinking problems.
Other friends had misgivings. Lewis GWAR Nazia taught Beth Japanese martial arts on Nantucket and she confided in him. She as well.
I met somebody. I says, Oh, that's great. And she says, But he smokes and drinks. I going, Wow, that doesn't sound like a good mix for you. And she's well, he's a little crazy. And then she had to subdue. Well, I'm a little crazy too.
If she was making excuses for him, she had her reasons. She said she felt so good in his arms.
He was so protective.
She she was she told me this is the first time in fifteen years I'm with a man that wants to be with me.
And besides, Beth was a fixer when she would date guys.
A lot of times she would say to herself, well, he'd be really great except for this, but I think we can work on that.
No surprise then that Beth decided to work on Tom's drinking problem with him, I believe.
Yes, she was trying to help him dry out. And he told her he wanted to stop and he wanted to dry out.
Two weeks after they met, Beth and Tom flew to California together. Tom, who was now working as an investment consultant, had meetings there and Beth decided to tag along. It was their first extended trip together. And for Beth, it was an eye opener. Now she saw things she could not dismiss. He's a mess. She said he couldn't get on the plane.
They they missed the plane. I said, what was he doing? What do you mean? She said, I just stood back and watched him. And he was just walking in circles in the hotel room, smoking cigarettes, not packed, just a mess.
Beth wanted to introduce Tom to her friends on the West Coast, top of the list was Leslie Costello. Beth's college friend Leslie lives in San Diego and she was eager to meet Beth's new beau, but she was less than impressed. He was distant and very formal, and I didn't understand him.
The trip ended badly. They were in a taxi and he had a temper tantrum. And I guess she said, let us off here. Whatever she said, he turned and he, like, really yelled at her. And she said it was like a little bit scary. And he was drinking. She said he had had eight beers by the time you got to the airport and got on the plane.
Bernadette says that on the way home, Tom asked Beth what her friends thought of him. He said something chilling during the exchange that followed, something that troubled her so much. She told Bernadette about it right away. He said, what do they say about me?
And she said something like, I thought you were really sophisticated and charming in this. And and he's and he said under his breath, boy, I really should have been an actor.
And she said that just went right into her gut.
It was at that point, perhaps, that she began asking who was the real Tom TULLEN. She told family and friends that she was going to give the relationship, the Four Seasons test, to see how things stood in a year. But it was becoming clear that Tom TULLEN was not inclined to let one season pass, let alone for. Coming up, a troubled relationship becomes a terrifying one. Why she didn't leave that next day, I'm not exactly sure when Dateline continues.
In October 2004, Beth the Felde went to New York to be with her boyfriend, Tom TULLEN, by then the two had been dating for six weeks, but the relationship was fraying. Beth was beginning to see a troubling side of this new guy, and she had started to give him ultimatums. He'd start drinking and then he'd get really ugly. She would just say that you're a good guy, but when you're drinking, you're an idiot and you need to decide between alcohol and me.
And he would, you know, apologize and say, you know, I choose you and I want you.
I you know, I don't want the alcohol. That week, Beth invited her brother to meet her boyfriend. Perhaps she wanted his take on Tom.
First impression. You see him walking?
Well, he had longish blond hair sort of comb back and a double breasted blue blazer on. He looked like something off of the Love Boat Captain Stubing, you know, but very pompous, very I don't know.
He seemed fake to me that night over dinner, Beth's brother kept asking Tom TULLEN what he did for a living, and he couldn't really tell me to my satisfaction what he did.
Oh, I'm an investor. This, that. Well, what do you invest in? And then he couldn't really give me an answer.
That's Brother says TULLEN was drinking during dinner, but not to excess. Afterwards, TULLEN and Beth headed back to his apartment and on the way home, Beth told friends something shocking happened. She'd seen him drunk, she'd seen him angry, but she'd never seen her new boyfriend like this.
He'd put her into a headlock and was walking down the street saying, I want to beat your head in. She shared with me, you know, I went back to his apartment to just get my Palm Pilot, my cell phone and get out of there. And I wonder if I shouldn't have just left that stuff behind and left at that moment.
Little did Beth know that TULLEN had apparently been aggressive with at least one other woman after he'd had a few drinks. I thought, wow, flowers. How nice. You know, I thought, this is a really such a gentleman. Becky Hammon's, who is working as a bartender at a New York sports bar dated Toolan once we had plans to go to dinner at the New York Athletic Club.
And I thought, well, that's nice of my state, but it didn't turn out that way. Dinner was pleasant. Then came drinks. That's when he accused me of being lascivious with the bartender because I was just having a conversation with the bartender. They got into a cab to go home. And Becky says Toolan tried to grope her when they reached her street. She didn't wait around.
I jumped out and I ran. I literally ran across the street.
And now, four years later, Beth locked. AFLD was in a frightening situation with the same man. But that night, instead of grabbing her stuff from Julian's apartment, when she got there, Beth stayed. And Leslie says Beth later told her that things went from bad to terrible.
And then he got very violent with her that night and he sexually assaulted her. And I think that Beth was probably sort of in a state of it. It's it's a confusing thing when it's somebody that you're supposedly close to violates you, eh? My guess is that she was just probably in a state of shock and why she didn't leave that next day, I'm not exactly sure.
By Friday, October 22nd, two days after the dinner with her brother, Beth had decided to leave New York, friends and family say it was clear that she intended to call it quits with Toolan. She'd even left a message at her brother's Connecticut home saying she was coming to spend the night. But by now, something else was becoming clear. Tom TULLEN was not going to let Beth go. He wouldn't leave her and he followed her and she said, we ended up in the Metropolitan and she said I was standing there in front of this painting.
And it was an incredibly dark painting, thinking this painting reminds me of Tom, too.
And as bizarre as it sounds, that was the moment Beth later told Leslie that Tom TULLEN picked to propose to her.
He chose the most public place possible, a gallery in this world famous museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He'd proposed to Beth before, but never like this.
He pulls this ring out, gets on his knees and proposes to her again. And she said, I was not she didn't feel safe enough to say no. She knew she was in a dangerous situation. So she said to him, I need more time.
She was like, so upset because he said, you know, it's now or never. And her response to him was it has to be never.
And these were words right out of best mouth. Beth rushed out of the museum. TULLEN pursued her. He was screaming, I'm going to go get drunk with my friends. She was just going to go back, get her stuff and get out. And he at the last. It hopped in the cab with her and they ended up back at his apartment at some point that night, Beth called her brother. In retrospect, he says she sounded terrified.
Her words were very measured. She was talking very slowly and enunciating very clearly, unlike her. And she kept saying, I'm here with Tom in the city and we're trying to work things out. And I didn't even think to ask her, are you OK? Or cough twice if you are in trouble or something like that.
He had no idea his sister was in danger. That was sort of tired. I didn't want to deal with the breaking up, making up kind of thing.
Later, from family and friends, he would learn the horrifying details of Beth's ordeal that night. It's my understanding that he was holding her at gunpoint. Beth's brother says he has no proof of that or other details of exactly what went on that night. But he's pieced together a story from various accounts. He held her captive. She tried to get away.
He was either drunk or tired. And he ended up she was laying down on the bed. He ended up laying on her legs, too, and then going to sleep or passing out himself to prevent her from leaving, at which point she slipped out and slipped away. And I understand that she didn't even want to use the elevator because she was afraid the ding might wake him up. So she ended up taking the stairs.
It was around 4:00 a.m. when Beth managed to escape from the apartment. Where was she going to go?
I know she just wanted to get straight to LaGuardia, get the next flight to Nantucket and get away and get back to her home.
It was now Saturday, October. Twenty third at eight a.m., Beth called her brother. It would be the last time the two spoke. She mentioned that she had broken up with him and that he had called her about 50 times since on her cell phone and the guy wouldn't stop calling her and did that, raising the alarm bells with, you know, just a guy who's who's heartbroken.
So I was thinking, well, she's going to go off to Nantucket. It's all going to be over and everything's going to be fine.
Except that was not going to happen. Tragedy was two short days away.
Coming up, a surprise visitor and a panicked phone call. He just said to me, Barbara, lock your door.
Don't go out and calling the police when Dateline continues. After a terrifying night when she was held captive in Tom Tolan's New York apartment that locked AFLD had managed to escape and get home to Nantucket, her island refuge. She called her friend Leslie the morning she got back, but she did say he has a gun and I'm afraid he might use it.
I'm not going to stay here tonight. I'm going to go spend the night at my brother's house.
That same day, Saturday, October. Twenty third, Beth stopped by the Nantucket Police Department to ask about filing a restraining order for her to get to the point of even stopping at the police department. That probably tells you all you need to know about what was going on inside of her. Yeah, yeah, I would think so. I mean, I think she had very well-founded fears, especially after the incident in New York where he held her captive.
But Beth did not file the paperwork she spent that night and the next at her brother Peter's home. She was frightened enough not to go home.
I would have to say she had fear that something would happen to her.
On Monday, October 25th, Beth returned to her cottage in the morning, collected Tom Tolan's clothes, parceled them up and mailed them back to him. She returned to the cottage and chatted with her landlady, Barbara Chotisak.
It was just after ten thirty.
She came in the yard and we were talking in the driveway. She's going to work on her computer and we were going to meet again around one o'clock. Beth went inside the cottage to work, and that's really that's the last I saw of Beth. Barbara continued to garden a short time later. She was filling a wheelbarrow when suddenly she heard a voice behind her. And the voice said, is there anyone here in this house? And I just turned around and looked up and I looked right at him.
The man oddly dressed for Nantucket in a hat and long overcoat was inquiring about Beth Locke to Feld's cottage.
And I said, I don't know. Something about him bothered her because I knew Beth had been seeing someone.
And I think she more or less told me that I think it's over. And I said, well, I guess this is the boyfriend has come back.
He moved toward the cottage door. Barbara went to her house to have lunch, but she was uneasy.
And as I said, it was an intuition.
Barbara says she called Beth's brother Peter, but couldn't reach him. She says she called Beth's parents and couldn't reach them either. She knew Beth was planning to pick up her nephew before 1pm, but Beth's car did not move. And then she noticed the shades in Beth's bedroom. Windows have been drawn. I had a bad feeling and a bad feeling.
She called Peter locked the felt again, and this time she reached him.
I told him that there was someone in the yard and I think it's best boyfriend. And he just said to me, Barbara, lock your door. Don't go out. I'm calling the police.
No one has come to talk to you about our house. Now, she won't answer her cell phone.
It was then that Sergeant Daniel Furtado of the Nantucket police arrived at the cottage and with his partner made the discovery. Beth locked Infeld's body on the living room floor.
It was just weeks after she thought she'd found the love of her life and dreamed of a new beginning for the lock. The felt family life would never be the same.
What did you lose on that day? I would have to say I lost probably my best friend and confidante, aside from my wife. She was she is my closest sibling. We always got along really well.
Leslie Costello got a call that same day.
When you heard the news, how was it told to you he killed her? And I remember just being in shock. I didn't see it coming. I didn't know it was coming. I was it was shocking.
You know exactly who he was. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Tom TULLEN was arrested within hours of the murder picked up in Rhode Island, driving a rented car with bottles of beer and vodka in the car with him, his bloody clothes in a bag on the backseat. The Rhode Island state police videotaped his arrest and recorded his voice in the cruiser. Situation Toolan was held without bail and arraigned a month later. Bernadette Pheeney was in the courtroom. She could barely contain herself.
It was the reality hitting me sitting there that this this happened. This really happened. And he walked in and it was like they were bringing in, you know, King Kong like a monster, you know? And I felt and it's just, you know, like it was my fault, you know.
And she's gone and was charged with first degree murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He pleaded not guilty. Ahead, lay a trial and explosive revelations about a man finally stripped bare of all pretense.
Coming up, what seemed like an open and shut case was anything but like the perfect storm of all of these swirling together inside this man's head when Dateline continues. In June 2007, while tourists wandered through old Nantucket town looking for souvenirs, Tom TULLEN went on trial for the murder of Beth Locke to Feld in a courthouse in the center of town. He'd pleaded not guilty. All rise.
The defendant was as smartly turned out as ever, looking like the successful executive he'd long wanted to be, the sort of guy who'd fit right in on this Tony Island.
But the defense would argue that Tulane's polished exterior was nothing more than a facade for a profoundly troubled man. They wouldn't say that he did not kill Beth Locke to Feld, but they would argue that he shouldn't go to prison for it.
He was, they said, not guilty by reason of insanity.
My dearest to Alan's attorney, Kevin Redington began by hinting at the turmoil that lurked within Tom TULLEN six told.
It's good to have a suit and tie and slicked back. Certainly someone they say doesn't look crazy to me.
But the Master of the Universe Act was just that. Redington declared an act because Tom TULLEN was a mess plagued not just by alcohol abuse, but drug addiction to his drink of choice would be absolutely vodka right out of the bottle.
Drink a fifth the day he was on the prescriptions, legally, he was taking them illegally.
When Beth broke up with him, Redington told the court, TULLEN snapped the drinking and drugging and even deeper troubles, all of them combined, to push him over the edge.
The evidence will show that Thomastown was suffering from a mental disease or defect at the time of this incident, that he was well within the legal definition of insane asylum in Sweden.
And who better to tell the jury about the defendant's demons than the defendant's mother?
My name is Dolores Toolan. She recited the sorry facts of her son's life. At some point, it was apparent to you that he had an alcohol problem.
Yes, I would say when he was 16, 17, his battle with drugs.
Did you know if he had occasion to make purchases from places other than groceries? He got some prescriptions on the Internet.
She told the court that she and her husband tried to straighten him out, sending him to rehab several times beginning in 1999.
And how long was he in Hazelton for?
A month now to describe TULLEN state in the days before the murder.
Did you at some point receive a phone call from your son? Yes.
She described a conversation with her son two days before the murder. He was inconsolable over the breakup with Beth and he said, she's gone.
She's gone. She's taken all her stuff. She just said I was asleep and she just left.
The next day, Sunday, the Doolan's went to Manhattan to see their son. He was in terrible shape.
His whole body exuded, you know, the smell of alcohol. The defense believed that established TULLEN state in the days before the murder. Now for the day itself, when Toolan was picked up in Rhode Island hours after the murder, he had been drinking sobriety tests later, put him at twice the legal limit and multiply that by six.
A forensic toxicologist doing some complicated calculations estimated that at the time of the murder, TULLEN blood alcohol level was point three.
Oh, the point three.
So where does that fit in? That fits in the next level above confusion to the stupor phase. So the defense argued Toolan was profoundly impaired at the time of the murder and that was just from the drinking. Add in the drugs.
How much did drugs play in Thompson's life? He would take whatever drugs that he could get his hands, such as methamphetamines, benzodiazepine, Paxil, Zoloft.
There was more. The defense revealed that Toolan had spent years fighting depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, that in the late 80s he had attempted suicide and finally the defense was ready for its knockout punch, involved a neuropsychologist.
My opinion is that he has profound frontal executive dysfunction.
Davidov testified that years of substance abuse had brought about that mental defect because of it.
TULLEN could not control his impulses.
And so the defense argued he could not be held criminally responsible for the murder.
It's like the perfect storm. You have the frontal lobe defect persons unable to control their emotions. And the executive function, coupled with the lowering of the inhibitions through the alcohol, you have all of these swirling together inside this man's head.
The prosecutor's job was to blow that argument away, to argue that Tom Tullah knew exactly what he was doing when he murdered Beth Locked, baffled that he was so enraged by the breakup that he planned and carried out a cold, calculated killing.
The calm of the present to you, ladies and gentlemen, a timeline as evidence of premeditation.
Prosecutor Brian Gleni told the court that on the night before the murder, security guards at New York's LaGuardia Airport stopped TULLEN from boarding a plane to Nantucket because he was carrying a 10 inch knife. When asked about the knife and offered a series of stories, he said that he forgot it was in there.
He had it to cut a birthday cake. He was having lunch with his sister in Nantucket and that she wanted him to bring a knife. The prosecutor presented evidence to show that the next morning Toolan boarded another plane bound for Nantucket, this time without a knife. But when he landed, he went shopping for knives. TULLEN may have been drinking that day, the prosecutors argued, but he was used to consuming quantities of alcohol and drugs without showing it. And the prosecutor called witnesses who would testify that Toolan didn't seem drunk.
That's what the clerk who sold him the knives testified that he was sober and the rental car agent at the Nantucket airport.
Did he seem intoxicated to you at that time? No. Would you have rented a car to him if he appeared intoxicated to not likely.
The prosecutor played a surveillance tape from the airport at Hyannis, Massachusetts. TULLEN flew into the airport after the murder, arriving at about 115 jurors could see him renting a car, walking out to get it and driving away in a gray Chevrolet Impala. You're able to see how he's walking and he's not falling. He's stumbling. The persons that are interacting with him are interacting the normal way.
And there was audio of TULLEN in the back of the state troopers cruiser after he was arrested in Rhode Island.
The prosecutor argued Toolan was coherent, he was capable of thinking clearly and of distinguishing right from wrong despite the alcohol.
Dr. Martin Kelly, police and the prosecution also had a forensic psychiatrist whom they thought would deliver their own knockout punch.
Were you able to form an opinion concerning the criminal responsibility of Thomas two on, the third on or about October 25th of 2004 in respect to the killing of Deathlok?
To focus on that, he did not have a mental disease or defect.
And so the prosecutor told the jury Tom TULLEN was criminally responsible when he stabbed Beth. Lakotah failed to death.
The testimony took nine days in all. As the summer arrived on Nantucket, the surf and sea beguiling visitors, the stores beckoning shoppers inside the Nantucket Superior Court. The jury in Tulane's murder trial got the case coming up.
The end of the trial.
The defendant, guilty or not guilty, but not the end of the story. When Dateline continues. The jury in the Tom TULLEN trial took five hours to reach a verdict, do you get butterflies every time? I guess you do. As family members and jurors return to their seats, the courtroom suddenly seemed too small for a big drama.
You can hear a pin drop in the courtroom. The emotion is palpable. I think obviously it's high stakes. Foreperson, has the jury reached a verdict?
High stakes with subtle hints.
You can tell, you know, off the court officers surround the defendant. You know, you figure things aren't going that well, say, around foreperson. Is the defendant guilty or not guilty? Guilty.
Guilty of first degree murder, guilty of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. A stoic Tom TULLEN, a distraught mother and no rejoicing from the victim's family.
We are relieved, but this troubled and vengeful and dangerous man can never harm another innocent person.
Tom TULLEN was sentenced to life in prison, and that's where things stood for four years.
But in August of 2011, everything changed. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court overturned Tom Tulsans conviction. The court said there were flaws in the jury selection process and ordered a new trial.
The trial got underway in June 2013, this time at a courthouse on the mainland in Barnstable, Massachusetts, for the lock. The Feld family going through it a second time was deeply disappointing and worrying.
All of a sudden, he wasn't convicted of killing my sister anymore, and he was so far as I was concerned.
But for Tom, to Lenny was an incredible second chance. This time, the defendant looked thinner than he had during the first trial. And this time a new defense attorney argued the case.
This is not a whodunit. This is not a lawyer when a case. This is a life.
Robert Shut-off opened with an admission that the first defense team never made explicitly that Toolan did kill Beth Lakotah.
FELDE What the jury had to decide was why this is a difficult issue to look at the somebody's mind and figure out what was going on in that body. Was he a common criminal? That's the issue. It was the insanity defense all over again, dressed up a little differently, presented in court by an attorney who was keenly aware he had an uphill battle on his hands.
The real question is, is anyone willing to let somebody who's done something this horrific, quote unquote, off the hook because of the problem with their drug abuse, alcohol abuse and underlying mental issues?
The prosecutor, Brian Gleni, had the gloves off once again, 52 days, ladies and gentlemen. Fifty two days from the time of Elizabeth death, Rockefeller met Thomas Toolan until he stabbed her 23 times until she died.
Gleni told this new set of jurors just what he said during the first trial that Tom TULLEN knew exactly what he was doing the day he killed Beth.
Lakotah felt it was a choice that he made knowing it was wrong. And he understood that at the time, and he still chose to do it. That's what criminal responsibility is this time.
The trial was considerably shorter and this time when the jurors went out to deliberate, they were back the same day the defendant, Thomas E. Toolan, is charged with murder.
Is he not guilty or is he guilty?
The jury has found him guilty. Not guilty of what? Please, Mr. Greenberg.
Guilty again on all counts and stoicism from the defendant sentenced again to life. He is appealing his conviction. Beth sister Kathy read a statement in court.
This verdict cannot bring this back, but it does bring a measure of justice for Tom MacDonald felt it was satisfying, even though for him the first conviction was the one that mattered.
On that day, we all took a walk up to Beth's gravesite after the conviction. And I just remember feeling that it was a beautiful June day and it felt like, wow, this is finally I'm finally not upset to be here anymore.
And it was it was good again. For those who were close to Beth, Lacto felt there's a real sense of closure this time. The trial behind him, Beth's father, the artist John Locke, to help finished the book he and Beth had worked on together. It was published after she died. He illustrated her words and dedicated the book to Beth and her dreams, the dreams she lived and those that died too soon with her. That's all for now.
I'm Lester Holt, thanks for joining us.