Who Killed the Radio Star?Dateline NBC
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- 26 Nov 2020
In this Dateline classic, weekend boaters just off California’s fabled Catalina island discover a body floating in the water. The victim turns out to be a well-known radio personality. What happened to Steven B. Williams? Keith Morrison reports. Originally aired on NBC on June 3, 2012.
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Oh, hey, 96 KPK with the burden to be had a huge crush on him. He had this amazing voice, very gregarious, very charismatic, and I think that passion that he had for people came through. He was the guy the whole town woke up to morning deejay Stephen B, who is so funny.
And he had such a great love of music. He's lovable. I mean, you just everybody loves Stephen B.. But soon it was fatally clear that not everybody did.
They came upon a body floating in water, shot them one time in the back of the head. I felt like I was in some made for TV movie.
It's like this can't be happening. What did happen? Tonight, the hunt is on a gleaming yacht. I thought, why did you get on that boat? A scheming businessman and a missing fortune.
You're a multimillionaire and you don't have any money from high seas adventure, heart stopping murder.
I don't think I'll ever get another case quite like this.
Who killed the radio star? Today is Tuesday, and here's what happened on this day in history. Down below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, on the far side of California's Catalina Island is a silent current. Strange how it flows up to the swelling coastline of Santa Barbara. Then just before the open sea turns back to glide again past this storied island with one sunny day in May 2006, someone in it, I have a saying that I'd rather be lucky than good.
Ken Clarke is now retired, but used to be a detective with the L.A. Sheriff's Department, had been at it a long time, as had his then partner, Robert Martindale. But nothing like a case that literally floated on a lonely reach of ocean out by Catalina would never have had the case at all, except and we were lucky that we had some boaters leaving Newport Beach, going to Catalina Island, and they came upon a body floating in water.
It just happened. That's a big ocean out there. Absolutely.
So the chances of it being seen are what, a needle in a haystack?
Very slim. The sailors had spotted a flock of shrieking seagulls perched on top of a body, looked like it had been in the water for some time. It was in extreme decomposition, faint, bloated and barnacles attached themselves. Barnacles are ready. Absolutely. Yes. There was no I.D. on the body.
It was labeled a John Doe and taken to the L.A. coroner's office, where initially it was believed to be a drowning victim.
But who was he identifying that John Doe posed a huge challenge? We can only say it was a human being. That was it.
There was one odd thing. Medical examiner pointed to the man's left hand. Three fingers were missing and clearly had been said the examiner, for years. When the victim was young, he had an accident where he severed three fingers on his left hand, which at least offered a slim chance of getting an ID. We were hoping if someone were to call and that my friend is missing, tell us something about him. And then another piece of luck. Someone did call looking for a friend he hadn't seen for weeks.
Our friend, who had lost three fingers in a junior high school woodshop accident. And just like that, John Doe had a name at a whole remarkable life. Our victim we identified as Steven Bailey Williams, Steven Bailey Williams, better known to his friends, family and fans as Steven B..
All 96 kpk e Friday morning with a burden to be a D.J. with a distinctive voice and personality that had made him famous in the 1980s as part of the hit Denver based radio show Steven B. in the Hawk Safe.
Step over here and say a few words to the radio people around the country. Well, I think we can keep this short and simple, get a real job.
He was really at his professional zenith in Denver that Johnson and Steven were friends for more than 30 years, and they were the guys that really pioneered to man morning radio. They were funny. They were great writers. They were great comedians.
We've been over here, KPK for about what years when he was 18. You know who gets when you're having a good time? That's true. He's lovable.
I mean, you just everybody loves to even be young. Sylvian Knowland had a big crush on Steven P. when they both worked in a Hawaii radio station back in the early days. So she worked up her nerve.
I went in and asked him if he'd be my date to the Beach Boys concert, and he turned me down and I was just like, devastated, you know.
And so I was sitting in my little sales cubicle and I was the general manager walks in and he goes, I think you need to know something. And I said, What?
And he goes, Well, if you were a boy, he would have gone. And I'm like, Here I am from West Virginia 18. I'm like, well, that. And he goes, he's gay.
It's like, well, OK, well, I can accept that then, you know, so and that very day, Sylvia and Stephen began a warm, lifelong friendship. Many afternoons spent lingering at this coffee shop and many memorable evenings for those dinners, like, oh, Stephen's an amazing cook.
If you were patient, he was good. He was a phenomenal cook. But you had to be geared to eating it like ten, thirty or eleven because he was the type of person, if you would talk to you, you would have his undivided attention. So by the time we would eat, it's like everybody's drunk.
And then somewhere in the middle of the 90s, the radio business seemed to tire of Stephen's huge deep voice and happy star. You got a job in the winery business for a while, then went home to care for his ailing father in Southern California. And in 2003, when his father died.
So he was devastated. And then in the depths of his despair, a window open to a whole new set of possibilities. Steven made a new friend who just bought a yacht planned to sail around the world with Stephen, like to go along, be the chef. Did he know anything about saving? Nothing at all. What did you think about that? He's excited about this. It's a nice diversion. It's something for him to focus on. After his dad died.
I thought it was amazing. I said I. I think it's awesome. I was really excited for him.
But now the dream, the voice, the happy go, lucky charm all gone. What happened to Stephen being the fall overboard in the harsh white light of the pathology lab, the coroner peered down at the body and made a pronouncement. Stephen B. did not die of accidental drowning. Couldn't have because there was a bullet in the back of his head. When we come back, murder who might have wanted Steven be dead, clue number one, a multi-million dollar inheritance.
He was bad with money and he was trying to manage the estate when who killed the radio star continues. There is so much promise in the air that spring of 2006, OK, child of the Zodiac, here is your astrological forecast. The second act of a radio man Taurus. It's daytime time when you were required to wear a red flag on your butt. All that fun on the radio was over. Yes, but now he was all set to sail the world, live a dream, and then he winds up floating face down seven miles off the coast of California's Catalina Island, a bullet hole in the back of his head who wanted him dead and why.
Detective Ken Clark and Robert Martindale started by asking his friends, what did you find out about him?
The thing I noticed about this case, and I give the credit to his friends, was he was surrounded by a group of very close friends that knew a lot about him. These are lifelong friends.
He was just a great sounding board, somebody I'd call if I was angry, if I was frustrated, if I needed advice. You could talk it out or talk you up. He could do both and usually at the same time.
And recently, Steven had found a sounding board of his own, a new friend named Harvey Morel. Oh, he's just a quiet, easygoing guy. He came up to him and said, oh, my gosh, I'm such a huge fan of Stephen. Being in the heart is even thought that was awesome. Steven soon became fast friends with Harvey and his wife, Debbie. What you think of Steve?
He was so funny and he had such a great love of music and he loved the cook. I thought, oh, this man is going to be perfect. Public this.
Oh, yes, the boat. Harvey headed to the L.A. Yacht Club, a 69 foot beauty called the Elum Marai. Harvey and Debbie had big plans for that boat. They talked about it ever since their first date. What do you want to do when you retire? And I said, I want to sail all over the world.
It was her dream of a lifetime. And now Debbie actually found the man who shared it. They married at the dawn of the new millennium right here on the front porch of their new Texas home. All that adventure to look forward to. And now Harvey had invited Stephen to go along as chef on their beloved yacht.
Steven moved aboard, lived with them on the boat. But before they set sail, there was some work to do. He'd bought this kind of basically old rusty tub, right?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Greg Libano helped Harvey fix up the old fashioned all the stainless steel trim. Felt a connection with Harvey, too.
He was a Wall Street guy, investment banker, rejecting society a little bit like you.
Yeah, yeah. I'm an outlaw mentality. That's what we want.
You know, though, as Greg watched Harvey pour money into the boat, the flat screen, the teak, the fifty thousand dollar washer dryer, holy cat, you can buy another boat for 50 grand.
Sure. He just wanted the biggest and the best of what he could get.
You know, before Harvey dropped out, he'd been in the investment banking business, had some old stock investments that finally paid off, he said. And so he ploughed the money into the boat. Along with what is still working. Debbie was able to contribute. He says, don't worry. You know, so what if you have to work another year?
He said that? Yeah. What did you think? It's like, well, OK, work another year.
But by that time I'm in it. The boats bought. He's already sunk so much money into it. So it's like that's just get this done. Can't walk away. That can't walk away. Now let's get it done.
They did not ask Stephen to kick in the chair, which was probably just as well, given how steep it was with money.
The creative side of his mind worked very well, but he was not a good money manager. Even Baby Williams, as his friends told the detectives, I'd lived hand to mouth most of his life. He was a radio guy, make good money and spent it for. That's not a strong signal that his friend, Doug Johnson, he was bad with money and he was paperwork averse. He would just forget to file his taxes for a few years. How many years would he go?
His record was eight.
And then Stephen's father died and the bad money manager was suddenly confronted with a windfall. Stephen inherited nearly two million. So now he'd have to manage real money. He was trying to manage the estate, trying to get things organized, which for Stephen was an almost impossible battle. But happily, there was Harvey, the ex banker, to help him get the money socked away, a nice, safe tax haven offshore.
Steven had said he's helping me with stuff. He's a retired financial planner or an investment banker. Just the sort of person I need, right? Yeah.
And boy, this would be a real great help, but that was just business, but really caught Stephen's imagination was sailing around the world.
That is if the boat ever got finished, because every time he turned around, it was a new computer being put in or new paintings and fireplaces and satellite systems and to.
Bathrooms and its full kitchen that well, never seemed to end two years past three years, Stephen, waiting and waiting. He had wanted to go to culinary school, that Harvey kept saying all, we're going to set sail, so we're going to set sail soon. And then one day, without a word to anyone, Steven simply disappeared.
Coming up, the questions began. Where was Steven and what had happened to his newfound fortune?
I said, how could this be? I mean, you're a multimillionaire and you don't have any money. When Dateline continues. We get support from Norton LifeLock this holiday season may feature more merriment with our devices than ever before as we stay connected with family, friends in a blizzard of online shopping. But all that online activity can mean more chances of exposing your personal information. In fact, 64 percent of adults admit to risking online privacy for convenience. Whether you're buying gifts or getting something special for yourself, you may not even know that your identity has been compromised or that your information has been sold on the Dark Web.
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And I said, no. I said, You're not taking my son. And I grabbed my son and I hold on to him. And it's like he was holding on to me even tighter than usual. He was holding on to my clothes. I didn't know what to do. If I go, it might be the last time I see my son search for do no harm wherever you're listening right now and subscribe.
Partly cloudy with a slight chance of rain through tomorrow, high today, around eighty five tonight. Fifty five right now, 76 in the spring of 2006, Stephen B. Williams was ready, eager. Any day now, he'd be setting off to sail around the world. And then suddenly, without saying a word to any of his lifelong friends, he vanished. I was worried sick and we were all kind of having the same access that he had just dropped off the radar completely.
His friends called each other, compared notes. No one had seen Steven for weeks.
So I called Harvey and I said, hey, Harvey, we're all really concerned about Steven. Have you seen him? And he's always over in Hawaii. He went to Hawaii. Now, that was strange because Harvey told another friend, Stephen went to Mexico, but do you think I thought Stephen would have gone to Mexico at gunpoint? I mean, that was it was completely out of character for him.
Then Harvey's friend, Greg, the stainless steel guy, said he noticed something strange about Stevens usually cluttered cabin. It was completely sterile, just nothingness and not one loose object. It was as if Stephen had never set foot in here. And then those boulders made their shocking discovery. Stephen face down in the ocean, a bullet in his head. What was it like to get that news?
I was awful. I felt like I was in some made for TV movie. It's like this can't be happening. None of us could believe it was happening.
Detectives Ken Clark and Robert Martindale wanted to have a look at Harvey Morillas boat, Steven's last known residence, and they wanted to talk to Harvey. They got a search warrant, brought a whole team to the harbor, seized the yacht. When you first walked in, was it clean?
Absolutely clean. Clean enough for you.
And these are my words, eat off the floor, pristine, in fact. And for all the diligent efforts of the forensic people, there was no sign of Steven Bay's existence, no evidence he'd ever set foot on that yacht.
They did find some high tech navigational equipment, which they hoped would tell them where the boat had been. But when the expert analyzed it, he said it was never connected. It was never turned on.
There was a manual for a handheld Garmin GPS, but only the matter where we went.
We searched and we searched and we searched and we just didn't find the GPS, nor did they find RV moron. He seemed to have disappeared. And that's when they started digging into Harvey's background. Just who was he anyway?
Some said he was as wealthy as 12 million dollars and more, though, when detectives talked to the neighbors here at the yacht club, at least one of them wasn't quite so sure that Harvey was for real.
She says, me and my husband, we have money. We live on our yacht. I knew when I saw Harvey that he was full of it because no one dresses like Gilligan and the skipper. When I lived on a yacht and yacht, Harvey always showed up. These are her words.
He showed up in costume and Harvey's employment history turned out it was not quite as gold plated as Harvey had been letting on.
As the detectives discovered, everything Harvey's been involved with throughout his career in banking or stockbroking has gone belly up. Everything he's involved in seems to have some type of fraud involved. One con after the next. I don't think he's ever actually had a bona fide job where he's been there for a period of time, which led to an obvious question.
What kind of job have you been doing managing Steven's inheritance? So, you know, and remember, shortly before Steven vanished, somebody broke into the trunk of his car where he kept all his personal paperwork, his passport, his trust documents, all stolen.
And I said, please tell me that the document between you and Harvey, you know, wasn't in there. And he goes, What document? And I said, well, you know, for him investing your two million dollars, I said, you have something documented, right? And he goes, no. And I said, you gave some man you just met a couple of years ago, two million dollars and you got nothing in writing.
He told the detectives, of course. And they took a good look at Harvey's boat and soon learned something that probably should have been obvious all along.
That fancy dolled up top with its pricy power winches, its expensive electronics, its polished teak washer dryer fireplace was paid for practically every dollar by the unwitting Steven B..
That answer turned up in meticulous detail in Harvey's own ships lecture. He put cortizone letters one point seven million to that yacht.
So almost the whole amount he took from Stephen went right back into that Yehud.
No wonder, said Stevens friend Sylvia. No wonder the last time they went out to lunch, she had to pick up the check. He was so embarrassed.
And I said, How could this be? I mean, you're a multimillionaire and you don't have any money. And he said, well, Harvey's got it all tied up in these offshore accounts.
The detectives discovered Harvey Marshall had put Stephen's inheritance money to an offshore bank account in the British Virgin Islands, just as he said he would. But then he secretly brought it back to the US in small increments and used the money to refurbish the boat.
Harvey just sucked up all that money, all of it.
Steven, by his own admission, a lousy money manager trusting vulnerable after the death of his father was said detectives, the perfect mark. Steven was no match for this man at all, nor apparently was his wife, Debbie. I was really very much in love with Harvey. But as she now began to discover, the man she loved had quite a house in Vail, Colorado, which he told her he owned outright, actually belonged to someone else. The money she said up when she went back to work, vanished.
The auto insurance he told her he bought for her didn't exist.
And what he said was a 25000 dollar diamond ring. He slipped on her finger when he proposed a fake cubic zirconium.
Yes. Who was that man she married and believed she loved? I don't think Harvey even liked me.
You know, love is not only blind in my innocence.
It's also deaf and dumb, but devastating as those lies were. Debbie couldn't bring herself to believe Harvey could kill. I never once thought it would it would be Harvey that would have hurt Stephen.
And in fact, there was nothing definitive tying Harvey to Stephen's murder. No sign of any violent struggle, not a drop of Stephen's blood anywhere on the ship, if only the detectives could talk to Harvey. It turned out they just missed him.
An employee of the yacht club told investigators Harvey was standing nearby in plain sight, observing as the cops scoured his boat. But by the time they heard that Harvey was gone, gone from friends and in knowing his past, there was some speculation that he would go south and he had some dealings in Belize before.
And we believe that's possible. He was heading.
So they put out feelers, believes the Virgin Islands, Harvey's old haunts down there. But the trail went cold, Stephen's murder apparently unsolved.
When we come back, a mysterious stranger surfaces hundreds of miles away.
The more he talked, the more intrigued I became. Could he hold the key to the case? Did you ever get any money from Stephen and put it in your account when you killed the radio star continues.
It was September 2006 when the smooth talking stranger walked into Pete's auto dealership in Great Falls, Montana, and got himself a job as a used car salesman. He was quite the character, wasn't your typical car salesman persona, Joe Percentage was the finance manager at pizzano. He was at the dealership the day the new guy started. He was very sure of himself to the point of a little bit smug in Montana, where you have a lot of down to earth meat and potatoes people where they're very friendly towards one another.
Having somebody with a smug, cocky attitude isn't going to go over very well at times.
Still, Joe was friendly in the way Montanans are known for. He gave the guy the benefit of the doubt. One Sunday evening, they got to talking. Joe says the new salesman told him how he used to be a successful stockbroker at a beautiful lakefront home in Texas. They even looked up his property on Google Earth. So why on earth, Joe asked, would someone leave all that and come to Great Falls? He had shared that his wife and a couple of her friends had taken their yacht down to the Gulf of Mexico.
And we're going to go sailing for the weekend.
During that time, a storm ensued and a boat was capsized and his wife and her friends all perished along with the boat. So it shared that looking at large bodies of water, which is more than you can bear. And he wanted to get as far away from that kind of environment as he could.
And who did this tragic past belong to? Joe said the wealthy salesman told him his name was Harvey Morrow. Harvey was quite chatty with Joe. But one thing Harvey didn't know, Joe, his attentive audience was a former police officer at Harvey's amazing story made Joe's antenna buzz a little.
The more he would talk about the loss of his wife and his boat, the more intrigued I became.
So on his way home that night, Joe took a little detour, drove by the hotel where Harvey said he was staying. And when I go by, I didn't find his SUV at that location. And he said, which I didn't think suspicious at the time, but I still, for whatever reason, drove around, see a few other motels or motels to see if I found his vehicle and I located his vehicle at a place called Imperial In. Violet, Harvey lie about something as benign as where he was staying, but Joe got home that night, he went straight to his office and turned on the computer.
I entered Harvey Morrow's name and Google and I was surprised what I had found, a simple Google search.
And there it was, a news article describing the murder of disc jockey Stephen B. Williams. And Harvey Moore was listed as a person of extreme interest.
But if Harvey Reed was a fugitive, I wouldn't have changed his name. Maybe it was an awful misunderstanding. Still, Joe called the captain of Cascade County Sheriff's Department in Great Falls and told him what he learned. And it wasn't long before Sergeant Clark in California returned to his desk and saw the red light on his phone. There was a message, he said, I understand you might be looking for Harvey Morrow.
Wow. What do you think when you heard that message? Well, I was happy.
It was another stroke of luck. You go to Montana because I'm looking for you down in the British Virgin Island. Everyone I talk to in Southern California says that's where you like to go. That's where you're going to be.
Unfortunately for you, again, lucky for me, we got a retired cop that is not going to have a bleeding heart.
He's going to have sympathy and empathy and he's going to say, OK, great, but behind the door, he's going to go run you on the computer and go, oh, my goodness.
Charges Clark and Mark Vaile boarded a flight to Great Falls, Montana, to pay the elusive Harvey a visit. Joe helped arrange a little meeting of the car dealership. They told Harvey, I said, I need you to go back out there and get just one particular vehicle prepared that one of his customers were coming back to look at it. And Harvey stepped out front. Officers from the Cascade County Sheriff's Department were waiting for him.
They just walked in and said, Harvey, there's some guys from California you want to talk to. You put your hands behind your back. You're under arrest. Click, click. That was that. That was it's very civilized.
Very civilized. You should always like to do in Great Falls. I was I was impressed. I was very impressed. Police searched Harvey's Land Rover, discovered guns and ammunition. They loaded him into the back of a squad car, took him to the local sheriff's department, eager to hear what he had to say.
And I left for my folks.
Dispatcher Russell heard how much money could have. I don't know. What was your estimate? What would you think? I have no idea as over a period of time.
And so we wanted to key in on him. How much money did you have? How much money did you spend? Where did the money come from? And things of that nature? He was very vague. It became pretty frustrating.
Did you set up Steven's trust fund? You lost? Did you set up Stephen's trust fund? Stephen took care of his own stuff. Did you ever help Steven with his finances after his father's estate?
So, Steve, did you ever get any money from Steven and put it in your account? Will you put his money back and forth? How many times did you receive money from Steven? It wasn't more than once. I don't remember. You remember how much money you have from Steven? You know, he was very vague.
I believe he talked to us thinking he's going to outsmart us in that interview.
Was he trying to prevent you from getting him on the record, pinning him down in a way that you could use it against him later?
I felt that you're asking questions of the Harvey. You're a banker now. You should know the answers to these questions. And I want to talk anymore. You know, I mean, you're not telling me anything you want to finish. And I think I got a lot to tell you and I do. And I will tell you to tell it to me.
But I tell you, it tells you where, of course, he was going to need one. Harvey was extradited to California, charged with first degree murder. But for all the evidence that Harvey and stole from Steve Harvey, evidence of murder was pretty thin beast without another stroke of luck.
And that's exactly what they got, a missing piece of a puzzle discovered at last.
You said you need to look at the data that's in this GPS when Dateline continues.
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In September of 2006, though, Johnson was walking on the beach thinking about his friend of 30 years, the murdered one time deejay, Stephen B. Williams. And I see this light on the beach. Now, what can that be?
I dropped my cell phone and it had landed face up and the panel was lighting up. And I walked over to it and I picked it up. And it was Ken Clarke, the Detective Clark, calling to tell me that they had arrested Art. And it was a real great sense of relief.
It was almost indescribable, which is perhaps where the movie version of this story would end. The real life is not quite like that. For all the suspicion of Stephen's friends, the murder case against Harvey Mara was rather weak. No evidence sufficient to prove that Harvey shot Stephen, dumped his body. We're looking for Stephen's DNA on the vote, knowing that his his death was caused by a gunshot wound.
It was pretty obvious that there should be something that said this is where it was, but there wasn't no blood, no gun, no significant fingerprints.
What they needed couldn't find was something that put the two men together on the far side of Catalina Island, where that current would have caught the body, carried it round to the spot where boaters saw floating facedown in the water.
They hunted everywhere for Harvey's GPS, but they never found it. Months went by.
Harvey sitting in jail. No luck for the investigation now and then a phone call. It was the commandant of Harvey's Yacht Club. He says, I found a hand-held GPS in the library of our club.
The commandant told them someone in the club had found the GPS wrapped in a napkin and hidden in the back of a club library.
And he says that cabinet is in a position where Harvey Moreau always sits and reads all the time. And he showed us a garment, 60, which exactly matched in the way it looked all the manuals that we had recovered months earlier on that yacht here. It was the device they search for on the boat and couldn't find it. And he said, you need to look at the data that's in this GPS.
Amazing thing. The GPS preserved in his memory in almost infinite detail, its very last trip, which was as follows, May 4th, 2006, around 2:00 p.m., the GPS headed out toward Catalina Island. Went to the back side where it seemed to putter around aimlessly in the middle of the night, then returned back to the dock six a.m., May 5th, that little device seemed to pinpoint the place in time of Stephen's murder. But how could detectives be sure the GPS belonged to Harvey and was on his boat, and then do you know?
But again, when Harvey bought the G.P.S.. He took a friend. I was with him in the car when we picked it up.
And it was such a cool GPS. I've got one myself. That GPS was a pivotal point in the investigation that really kind of sealed this whole case together.
But though the GPS evidence told detectives where Harvey's boat was the day Steven was killed, how could they be sure Harvey and Steven were together on the boat at precisely that time? Electronic data is fascinating nowadays. Oh, very fascinating. Our cell phones, we can follow that signature.
We were lucky again, lucky this time because of blackjack, blackjack, cell tower, Catalina Island, where both Harvey and Stevens cell phones ping together just where the GPS said they would be, after which Steven's cell phone went straight to voicemail and the Harvey sailed right back to his dog the next morning, where he was late for a prearranged fishing trip with his friends.
They basically said he looked disheveled. He looked as if he had been up all night. He was not himself.
One question left exactly what happened on that fancy boat. The last moments of Steven Beas life.
Doug remembered Steven was angry over Harvey's handling of his money. He had said that he was going to have a come to Jesus with Harvey.
He was going to confront Harvey about the money. Did Steven confront Harvey over his lost fortune? Is that what led to this? We believe they were both on deck and he walked up behind them and just walked up with the gun in the back of his head and pulled the trigger. Which can explain the lack of blood evidence he's just pushed right over or he fell over. It took five years and over 30000 pages of evidence to build the case against Harvey Morreau, most of it hinged on a financial motive, all of it circumstantial.
The detectives felt confident about the case they had so carefully assembled. Well, Harvey, all the while maintained his innocence. Then the very first day of the trial, the bombshell they didn't see coming.
Coming up, I thought, oh, my God is being set free so many years and so many cons. Was there about to be another when who killed the radio star continues? It had taken five long years to get to this point. Harvey Morrow was finally being tried for the murder of Steven B. Police and prosecutors felt confident. That is, until the defense gave its opening statement and things took an unexpected turn.
During the opening statement, it was said that the money that Harvey got from Steven was money that was owed to Harvey and a that happened many years ago.
Harvey loaned money to Steven's father back in the 80s. The defense told the jury they had a promissory note to prove it. Hadn't you encounter that along the way?
No, it was part of the trust packet and the trust. At this point, the numbers I'm getting from the court were over 3000 pages of documentation. Quite frankly, we missed it.
They missed evidence that seemed to show Harvey wasn't stealing from Steven at all, had no motive to kill him. Certainly the whole case against Harvey, Fragile to begin with, seemed in danger of falling apart. And amid doubts about the new evidence, the judge declared a mistrial.
I thought, oh, my God is being set free that Harvey wasn't set free. Instead, the state appointed to the case its third prosecutor in five years.
This was my first case of this particular type prosecutor, John McKinney.
How do you get ready quickly?
His first task to address that alleged loan between Harvey and Steven's father, the issue that caused the mistrial. He spoke to Steven's best friend and heard this. So I know it's a complete fiction, so I know it's fraud. And sure enough, when Prosecutor McKinney took a closer look at that loan document, Stephen's father's signature didn't match classic sign of a con job, said the prosecutor.
Even the idea that there had been any sort of relationship between Monroe and Steven William's father was nonsense, right? Bogus.
Couldn't have possibly been, couldn't have possibly been, and wasn't corroborated by any evidence whatsoever.
It's pretty much done now. He was ready for the new trial. He showed the jury check by check how Harvey drained Steven's accounts all one point seven million in just three years to dress up a boat that was never going to sail anywhere.
The boat wasn't properly outfitted for a trip around the world.
In fact, it was outfitted in such a way that suggests that it was just going to be a showpiece.
It was going to be part of his con, part of the image that he liked to sell to people.
Then the prosecutor took the jury through the GPS and cell phone records and explained how that evidence put Steven and Harvey together on the far side of Catalina Island, after which Steven vanished and Harvey told conflicting stories about where he supposedly went.
I think the most damning evidence in this regard was the fact that despite having a history of calling Mr. Williams on a telephone over the years that they knew each other, he never called his phone one time after the day the victim went missing, that didn't mean Harvey killed Steven.
The defense said Steven B was so depressed about losing his career and his father about getting older that he killed himself. And the medical examiner testified it was possible Steven could have shot himself. What was your opinion of the idea that he might have committed suicide? I think it was incredulous. I don't think he would have done it.
Still, it was another explanation and the jury would have to consider it. So now the courtroom waited and whispered, but, Harvey, take the stand.
I told the investigators that I thought he was going to testify and they didn't think so. They thought I was crazy. What made you think he would?
Well, he's a con man and he likes to talk. And con men think they can talk themselves out of any situation.
He was right. Sure enough, Harvey was confident, self-assured, had answers for almost everything. He didn't steal Steven's money. He said he came up with a story that no one had heard before his testimony, which was that Steven actually owed him his entire inheritance to pay back a whole different loan.
This second loan was verbal, said Harvey, done on a handshake, undocumented, naturally.
But Mr. Morel thought he could sell it. He is a con man, and he told it with a straight face.
Would jurors believe him? Steven's friend Sylvia worried.
And I was thinking, Oh, my gosh, what if he calls these people, you know, the way that he con Steven?
And perhaps there was reason to worry. The jury stayed out for almost two full days.
No, it was a it was a long couple of days, I'll tell you that.
And then finally, we the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, Harvey Morreau, guilty of the crime of willful, deliberate and premeditated first degree murder of Steven B Williams.
Oh, my gosh. They're all holding hands. And when they read it, we all started crying. And just we're so grateful.
And Steven's many friends poured into the courtroom the day Harvey was sentenced. Die Johnson read a statement for all of the things he had to say to Harvey for years. He ate his food, lived and worked under what he thought was a common goal the whole time, stealing from him and ultimately taking what was most precious, his life. You worship a false God, the God of arrogance, ego and greed. Today, our nightmare ends. Today, yours truly begins.
Harvey was sentenced to life without parole. After, which is now ex-wife, Debbie invited us down to the pier where she took Harvey's fake engagement ring and the other costume jewelry given her and. I threw them into the water as a tribute to Stephen that his friends, Steven was part of my family. He's part of the family you get to pick. I can open a great bottle of wine and sit there and think about Steven. The pain fades, the memories are sustained.
And that's the part that, you know, that I'll just keep with me forever.
The only way that I can kind of deal with it is I knew that he was eventually going to get on a boat and sail around the world. So I just kind of think of him out there.
You know, he's out there somewhere out there, like the happy go lucky free spirit on the radio. That's a good one. The man they called Steven be have a good weekend. Five. That's all for now, I'm Lester Holt, thanks for joining us.