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Hello, everyone. This is Andrea Canning. This is another episode of Talking Dateline. I have the honor today of interviewing Josh Mankowitz, or Mank, as you may know him, for his episode called Losing Faith.


Hi, Andrea.




So this story, Losing Faith, is if you haven't heard it or seen it yet, it's right below this one in the list of podcasts. So you can go there and listen to it and then come right back here.


Yes. I'm very excited to talk about this episode because it was so wild. And also, I am coming to you right now from a shoot. So for anyone who may end up seeing this on video, maybe not. If you do, I look like I'm in a black hole because all the lights are off because they're setting up for our next interview.


Let me just say I'm at home now, but I'm just back from crime con.


Oh, yeah.


Where you and Dennis and what's his name were really missed.


Oh, that Keith guy?


Yes, that's his name. I could not remember.


Yes, that's right. Well, that's so nice to know. Was it fun?


It was great. It was great. It was a lot of people.


Yeah, it was good. That's wonderful.


Let's go.


Let's go on to Losing Faith. The title is Losing Faith because of the last name of this couple, Faith.


Right. Because we.


Lost Jamie Faith.


Because Jennifer lost faith in, I guess, her marriage, and because Darren, the killer, lost faith in the woman that was the one that got away all those years ago, who we thought he had another shot at, and it turned out she was manipulating him all the way.


Yeah, there's a lot of meaning to losing faith. A lot of meaning in the title.


The thing that's great about this episode, and the thing I like about all stories that are like this, is that there's a point where you think to yourself, if you're a regular date-line viewer, you think like, Oh, yeah, I know what's going on here. Then you're like, Oh, wait, I didn't realize that. Then you think, Okay, now I understand what's going on. You're like, Whoa, wait a minute. Really?


This was a wild one. Really wild. I mean, this is the date line that makes you lose faith in humanity for a moment.


I agree. It is astonishing. A lot of questions are answered in our story, and a lot of questions were answered in the investigation. Like, what really happened? Okay, now we know what really happened. But why she wanted to do it that way and why this is some lifelong thing of hers, which she did with her ex-husband, which one of the things that came out in the trial that's not in our story is that she did this thing in high school. Didn't try to get anybody killed, but I think got persuaded one boyfriend to beat up the new boyfriend to beat up the old boyfriend. I mean, there's this-.


This is her MO.


This is her thing. Yeah, and it's not just that she wanted her husband dead. It's that she wanted to manipulate someone else into doing it and thinking that they were on the side of the angels for doing that. That is a weird, creepy thing that I can't remember seeing before.


And also I thought to myself, how does she get these men to just do what she wants or consider doing what she wants? What is it about her that they seem to be under her spell?


I mean, she's clearly very smart because she knew exactly what buttons to push with Darren Lopez to get him to think, not only I'm going to drive 640 miles, 10 hours, whatever it is, to Dallas from my home and kill this guy, but I'm going to feel good about doing it because I'm protecting someone... I'm not, you know. I might be technically breaking the law. He's thinking to himself, but I've got a defense here, which is this guy is a horrible, horrible guy who's bringing in other men to rape his wife, and he completely bought into that. That plan only worked because she knew what to say to him and how to say it.


Yeah. And I think she really prey on his vulnerability that this is a guy who's so highly decorated in the military. And the poor guy clearly, and I say poor guy, I don't want to make him a victim because he did do something incredibly horrible. However, I do feel like she prey on that PTSD or the trauma that he had likely experienced from all those years in war and all those horrible things that he would have seen over there. So while, yes, he did a very bad thing, and there's no excuses for that. She found the right guy to carry out her evil deeds.


I don't think there's any question that this wouldn't have happened without her lying to him about what Jamie did. The prosecution made a couple of arguments. One is they argued, No, he didn't think he was on the side of the angels. He just wanted her after all these years, and he'd had so much misery in his own life. He thought like, The universe owes me a debt, and the debt is I get to finally be with this woman that I've been thinking about ever since high school. Because he had been thinking about her. In the military, there's a form you have to fill out which tells them, the military, our military, some secret things about you that won't be on your dog tags and that you won't reveal. Not your middle name or your hometown, but something like… The security questions your bank asks you. And she was one of his security questions like, Who's your first girlfriend? Jennifer Faff. Oh, wow. She was a part of his life.


She was on his mind.


Yeah, for many, many years, this wouldn't have happened if she hadn't known exactly how to apply that pressure. One of the prosecutions arguments was he wanted her back. This wasn't about anything she did. This is about his seizing an opportunity, killing the guy, killing Jamie and that now he's going to be in. But the other argument is that she twisted him into her remotely controlled weapon. I think that's accurate. I mean, he's the gun, but it's her hand on the trigger, even though Darren's holding.


Yeah, highly manipulative.


Their argument was, even if you believe everything that Jennifer said, even if it turns out that it is true, that Jamie was going to bring in other people to rape her and maybe kill her in the process, and that that was his plan and had happened before, and the bruises and the cut lip and all the stuff that turned out to be so utterly, totally phony, even if that is true, there's a million steps between not doing anything and calling the police. Just because Jennifer says don't call the cops, it'll get worse. That doesn't mean you don't call the cops.


The argument could be you call the cops and you say, look, she says don't call the cops and she says it'll get worse and she says she'll deny it. So you got to be ready when you go over there.


Yeah, absolutely.


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Dateline, of course, is very serious, serious content, but occasionally we do get moments of humor- Yes.


-that bring some levity in a very dark and serious situation. There were actually quite a few in this episode. First of all, there's party favors at the funeral. Okay, that was very bizarre. That was quite something. But it was that book that she made. Then one of the ladies that you interviewed, who was quite funny, she said however long they'd been married, she's like, Yeah, I'm not doing a Valentine's book for my husband at that point. I thought to myself, Yeah, I probably wouldn't do one. I love my husband, but I probably wouldn't do one of those either. Now you realize it was very likely all for show for all of her friends and family to see. Look how much I cared about him.


Because it's not like the thing you announce on Valentine's Day. I'm giving this to my husband, right? I mean, it's a private thing between the couple.


Right. Your other funny line was, how do you arrest Rambo? Because he's got to be the most decorated, I feel like, person, suspect that we've had on date line.


He was fearless and he was great on the battlefield. He took care of injured Iraqis as well as injured American soldiers. He was a guy with a big heart, which is one of the things that got used against him. He'd had this miserable time. His marriage broke up. He was really isolated during pandemic. So she comes along at exactly the right time. Now, that was serendipitous. I don't think she knew his previous situation, but once she figured it out, she definitely used all of that against him. And yeah, he's exactly the last guy that you want to approach on ground and walk up to the door of his place and knock on the door.


Yeah, absolutely. Who knows what's on that property? Right. I mean, this was one of the messiest houses I've ever seen on a date line. I wondered if it goes to his mental state, almost.


Yeah, the way the police looked before the search warrant and the way it looked after the search warrant really weren't terribly different. Normally, after law enforcement executes a search warrant, you can definitely tell stuff moved all over the place. But in this case, yeah, that house was a… It looked like a bomb hit it. I think it was a huge relief to law enforcement that he happened to leave his property in a truck with one of his daughters and clearly wasn't expecting anything. Then he got stopped and it ended up being he was taken into custody without any issue, without any shot fired, which was great, good for everybody. But yeah, that house, that tells you a little bit about how he was living, about how much he let himself go during that time. I'm surprised because he had daughters living with him.


Yeah, which is sad.


I'm wondering whether they at some point said to him, they saw that as a sign that something was wrong with him.


I think something was wrong with him.


Oh, yeah, no. I mean, look, there's no question he had a traumatic brain injury, which he suffered overseas, and he suffered from PTSD. I mean, those things are not an issue. He was an injured vet. That ended up getting used against him, definitely. Now, should he have made different choices? Prosecution would say yes. As I said before. There's a lot of stops on that train between doing nothing and killing Jamie, and he didn't take any of them.


Yeah. One of the interesting things about this story, too, is he goes out to walk his dog, Jamie, with Jennifer, and he's gunned down. And there's so many witness accounts of... Because this is a busy neighborhood, and people are out starting going about their day. And one of the clues that really just stood out that was so misleading in the beginning was the T in the back window because you're in Texas, you're in Dallas, you're thinking Texas Rangers. Has to be. And it was so wrong, and it was leading them in the wrong direction.


That was one of the things that made us pay attention to the story right away. It looked like it was T for Texas, but it was T for Tennessee. All you need to know about what neighborhood Oak Cliff is is that people heard the shots and they didn't lie down on the floor and cover their ears. They came outside immediately, and one of the neighbors took a picture of the truck driving away with his camera.


Those are the neighbors you want.


By the way. Those are the neighbors you want. They stayed with until the ambulance and the cops got there. Then afterwards, they made all this food for the family, and then they set up that GoFundMe, a good chunk of which ended up going to the actual killer. But the neighbors' hearts were absolutely in the right place.


From the beginning. They were great. Wasn't Jennifer one of the… She was one of the ones who was saying that there was the Texas Ranger sticker, right?


Oh, yeah. Well, that was the- Which is so bad.


That is.


So bad. That was one of the great moments, was the TV interview in which she goes on with Maria Guerrero from NBA 5 in Dallas. And she says, I'm afraid this isn't going to get solved. This truck with the Texas Ranger sticker, let's all find it. We mean, law enforcement needs help. And then that day she's calling Darren.


That day. Take it down. Take the sticker off. I think there's a part of her too, that just loves, and I'm just guessing here, loves the attention that you get from her being this victim, quote-unquote, victim.


Yes, clearly there's something going on there. It wasn't just that she wanted her husband dead or she wanted out of the marriage. It was that she wanted him dead in some violent way that involved somebody standing up for her, even though that turned out to be absolutely 100 % untrue.


Like her white knight or something is going to come in. Yeah. And someone in your story, they really said exactly what I was thinking, and it goes to what we've been talking about. Jennifer, just dump the guy. Get divorced. This is so traumatic and convoluted and evil, and he doesn't have to die. You can just.


Leave him. Right. But that, we mean, one sense is that that clearly wasn't the agenda. This wasn't about getting out of the marriage. This was about whatever it is, some way that she feels when somebody stands up and defends her, even if the reason that she's… The thing she's being defended for doesn't really exist. Darren tried to make that his defense. And the prosecution's rebuttal of that was, Okay, yes, you can kill someone if somebody else, if that third party's death or significant injury is imminent. Not the next day, not hours from now, not tomorrow, like imminent. It's happening right now. Yes, you can shoot another person. But in this case, their argument was it didn't qualify.


Yeah. And just when I thought I had heard all the he or she could light up a room, we got a new one. Lit up the bowling alley.


Yeah, that's right. That's right. Yeah. I mean, it turns out that Jamie Faith was exactly the guy that everybody thought he was. He was this like… He was a sweet guy, goofy, loves Hawaiian shirts.


Hawaiian shirts, dog tracks, gold chains.


Yeah. I was friends with these two very attractive women, but nothing. There's not a chance in the world that anything would happen between them because he just wasn't that guy. He was like this sweet, nice, faithful guy, which he almost certainly was.


Faithful. There you go again.




This one, I mean, this was… Wow! This was a crazy one.


I can't think of too many others which are this crazy. It's this thinking, instead of divorce, let's come up with an insane plot to get out of this marriage.


You know what? It's one of those episodes that really makes you think about, like there's so many layers to it about why is she doing this? What's wrong with her? Does she have personality disorder?


Even after she was convicted, she wrote Jamie's family a letter from the Slam saying, No matter what you hear, I had to agree to certain things. I took this plea to protect my daughter, so I'm not really admitting, Navy. I love Jamie. I could never hurt him, that thing.


Oh, I'm sure they so much appreciated that letter.


Yeah, man.


Not. Yeah. Well, losing faith was a gosh, an interesting one. Thank you so much, Josh, for giving us your insight into this incredibly twisted story.


Thank you for taking time away from a shoot to talk date line with me.


Always. Don't forget, Date Line airs Thursdays at 10:09 central and Fridays at 9:08 central on BBC. And each week come back here for a new talking date line. Until then, thanks for listening.


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