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What evidence doesn't lie? It actually tells a story. Tonight, you're there at the crime scene, you can almost recreate the crime right there on the wall, a mystery scrawled in blood, three cryptic letters. What would you make of this? Is that a word? Is that a person? The clues pointed to so many different directions that it was a total mystery. The case, the murder of a former model and flight attendant when she got dolled up.

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Oh, my God. Gorgeous. Did she write these letters? She really fought for her life. Was this a hint to who killed her? You've got this message saying, this is my killer, just like you would see in a movie. And the ending that was just like a movie to. I can't believe what people do to each other. Written in blood. If you round sun and water is your thing, Florida's West Coast should be high on your Check-Out list of places to live.

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It was for Karen Pinnell once the one time model and flight attendant got sand in her shoes. She never looked back.

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She loved the beach diving, boating, wildlife. And I remember just, you know, jumping off the boat and going to these little islands and having picnics and coming back at sunset. And there's just so much fun.

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My good friend Catherine Malet worked the counter at American Airlines in Tampa with Carrie. If you were a frazzled passenger who isn't these days. Karen, was the antidote exactly the right agent to bump into to get you on your way?

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Karen was very pretty. She was smart, smiled all the time.

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Funny, but when they always capable and reliable, Karen didn't show up for her Saturday morning shift on October 11th, 2003. Clearly something was wrong.

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Her boyfriend temperament had tried calling her at home when she wasn't at work or answering our calls. I began to get worried, but it was a couple of hours before I really got panicky about it.

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The boyfriend drove over to Karen's condo in the quiet town of Oldsmar. The front door was unlocked, a bad sign, he said. He stepped inside and looked to the right to the kitchen.

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I saw her body and I knew immediately there was no doubt in my mind she was dead.

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I picked up the phone and I called nine one one years ago before the it was Karen Pernell's sprawled on her back bloody a murder victim in her own home. Pinellas County homicide detective Michael Holbrook would lead the investigation when the first deputies arrive on scene. Temperatures in the front yard. He's hysterical. He actually threw up in the front yard that he was so upset over finding his girlfriend.

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Deputies gave him the shaken boyfriend a chance to collect himself in the back seat of an air conditioned patrol car.

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That's where he placed a call to Karen's friend Catherine with the unimaginable news, says Catherine, it's Tim.

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I'm at Karen's apartment. She's laying on the floor. There's blood everywhere. And she's been stabbed, stabbed, stabbed. It's a horrible way. It's really a horrible way to die.

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Carrying the baby of the family with five older brothers suddenly gone, she'd been especially close to her oldest brother, Mike.

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My brother called me. I was at the airport and said, you better sit down. Karen's been murdered. Any theories about what had happened? I don't know. I was trying to figure out the why. And relying on the police to do what they needed to do and what they had to do was plenty, they processed the crime scene, filmed every inch of Karen's home, knocked on doors, tried to figure out just who their victim was.

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Detectives Holbrook and Larry know and began with the man who made that 911 call.

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The first thing as lead investigator will do is talk to the people closest to her. In this case, we had Timothy Parmenter finding his girlfriend. We took Mr. Perminder back to the office and talked to him extensively.

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Tim, a car salesman, gave the detectives a rundown of where he'd been in the hours leading up to the terrible discovery.

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He said he'd popped in briefly on Karen the night before to drop off a gift, a photo calendar of kittens that he knew his cat lover girlfriend would find irresistible. Tim said he left around seven thirty, and that was the last time he saw Karen alive.

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Wouldn't it have been your routine to spend the night? Not on a Friday night now, because she had to work the next day. She had to go and work early.

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After saying goodbye to Karen, he said he ended up spending the night with friends about an hour to the north. Is he seeing anything at this point, Detective?

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Like you can't do it. I know boyfriends are often figure suspicions. I want to talk to a lawyer. Is any of that stuff coming out of.

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No, he's being more than cooperative. While Tim says he was off with his friend, there appeared to have been a frenzied struggle at Karen's house. Forensic Specialist Anna Cox assessed the bloody aftermath. She put up a heck of a struggle. And what are you looking at?

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She had defensive wounds the way her body was contorted. And I just remember thinking she put up a heck of a struggle. She really fought for her life.

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Do you suck in your breath and say, oh, my goodness, or have you seen everything at this point? Oh, I can't believe what people do to each other. And it was it was terrible. It's terrible.

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Around Babcock's the crime scene, tech found the security bolt on a sliding glass door had been dislodged and there were other signs of tampering. There was a cable box that was open. So then you start to think to yourself, somebody's trying to cut the wires. There was a knocked over birdbaths. So there was evidence outside that at first you need to think to yourself. I think that this might be a burglary and Karen's overturned purse on the stovetop supported the breaking in theory, Anna Cox took an inventory of everything at the crime scene, a pizza box, a garden club, a grocery receipt, all routine findings so far.

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But it's what authorities spotted next on the wall just above the body that would turn this case into something out of the movies, a three letter message in blood. And you didn't have to squint to make it out either. R, o, c on the victim. Karen's right hand index finger was clearly stained with blood. Are Ossy what was the murdered woman trying to tell the cops? All these theories were running through my mind.

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What does that mean? Is that a word? Is that a person? Is that a thing? The clues pointed to so many different directions that it really was it was a total mystery. There's a concept in the law known as a dying declaration, with those three letters scrawled in Karen's own blood lead to the apprehension of her killer. Coming up, you've got this scrawled in blood message saying this is my killer. Absolutely.

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Who or what was our policy when written in blood continues for?

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The camera always liked Karen Pinnell. She was both hard to miss and hard to forget. Just ask her boyfriend, Tim Parmenter, who was smitten right away when he met her at the VW dealership where he worked. Would you think of her? Oh, she's gorgeous. She was beautiful. You were pinching yourself. You thought you were the luckiest guy around. Oh, yeah. Karen was one of the best women I've ever known. I thought she was the one.

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I thought she was a person that I could settle down with.

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Settling down hadn't been part of Karen's growing up. She and her five brothers had been raised as military brats and moved bases along. Now that family was gathering from far flung parts of the country for her funeral, shocked and in mourning for the lost sister who'd long been there.

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All the boys kind of got involved in our own stuff. But then there was Karen. She was really what connected all of us to the family unit. What does it tell us about her? She was a lot more important to us than we knew. I think she was always more interested in family as a whole, and she wasn't herself.

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Brother Mike wasn't alone in thinking his kid sister could have been a sky's the limit person. She could have been anything she wanted a scientist or a doctor or whatever. She was just really nimble minded.

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Well, her friends loved her and she was hard not to love, even harder to forget what a cruel fate she'd suffered at the hands of a killer.

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Unknown during the viewing, there were visible stab wounds on her hand, you know, so we kind of. Pull the flowers down a little further. A few days after the murder, her many friends at the airport said their goodbyes. There's a chapel in the main terminal in Tampa at the airport.

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There were so many people there from all different airlines, the security people. It was incredible.

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Meanwhile, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Department investigation was moving quickly on several fronts. First, they validated boyfriend Tim Storey. He said after visiting Karen early that evening, he spent the night with a friend, a George Solomon, in Moon Lake, about an hour to the north that he did, in fact, go up to where George Salvo was staying with his girlfriend in Pasco County.

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And this was confirmed through interviews with George as well as George's girlfriend. George gave us a timeline that was consistent with what Perminder gave us.

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Tim's story about the night of the murder checked out. He even voluntarily came clean on something right from the start. He had a record he'd done time. Now, early on in your life, Tim, you get involved in trouble. That was going on with you. I was running an escort service and got stupid, started it up small, basically running an ad out of a newspaper, getting a small office. And it just expanded from there. It ballooned.

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What kind of money were you pulling down per week? I was grossing about six to seven thousand dollars a day. A day in your household at that time, 20. And that's the trap. Why am I even going to school when I'm making this kind of money? Why go straight to the newsroom? And it ended up in a gunfight. Yes. Or. Tim says he was worried he'd be painted as a bad guy right away because of his sordid past.

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So he promised to cooperate in every way possible. The cops took him up on it. I allowed them to photograph me, removed all my clothing. I allowed them to go to my home, take anything that they wanted.

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And there was nothing about his clothing, his car, his person that led us to believe that he was involved in any other way than he said he was, that he came over to see her and found her and was devastated.

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Tim Perimeter's alibi had checked out and police also dismissed any clues, pointing to a home invasion. After all, Karen had been stabbed 16 times and attacked so ferocious it could only be a crime of passion. Now, the detectives were desperate to figure out what their biggest clue of all Ormat, those three letters written in blood are Ossy.

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So this is a pretty creepy scene. I mean, you've got this scrawled in blood message saying, this is my killer, I'm now dead. But you find this guy. That's what I'm suggesting, isn't it? Absolutely. That's what I'm suggesting.

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I mean, just like you would see in a movie, Detective soon discovered how those letters on the wall oracy were, in fact, connected to the victim lying beneath the rock. It turned out was a person, the name of a man who had spell trouble for Karen in the past. Rock was an ex-boyfriend who care for now, had had problems with previously and whoever and wherever this rock was, he'd just become the prime target of the investigation into her murder.

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OK, well, there it is. That's that's what she meant to write, was rock. And then they have to follow that lead. And off they go to find rock.

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To find rock. Coming up, mission accomplished. Find him. They do. What do you think she saw in you?

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The bad boy kind of thing. But what would they find next? I'm looking at murder. Somebody is talking to me about a murder.

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When Dateline continues, we get support from Audible. We're all fatigued from screens. And listening is a great way to occupy your mind while giving your eyes a much needed break. As a leading provider of spoken word entertainment and audio books ranging from bestsellers to celebrity memoirs, news business and self development, Audible has been a lifesaver for me during the last few months. Every month, members get one credit to pick any title to audible originals from a monthly selection and access to Daily News Digest and guided meditation programs.

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Lately, when I'm trying to fall asleep, I'm listening to Memoirs and Misinformation, the new novel by Jim Carrey, which is narrated by Jeff Daniels. What a reunion. It's kind of a weird fever dream of a book, but in the best way, there are thousands of titles for you to choose from. Try it out. I promise you, there's something for you on Audible to start your free 30 day trial visit audible dot com slash dateline or text Dateline to five hundred five hundred.

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Again, that's audible dot com dateline or text Dateline to 500 500.

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Oh. A stomach churning crime scene within, at first glance, cryptic message written in blood are ossy, but it wasn't a big mystery for law.

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Oracy was the unusual but proper spelling of Karen Parnell's ex-boyfriend, Rock Harpic.

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So tell me about the former boyfriend known as Rock Oracy Letter scrawled in blood. Who is he rocko's?

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An ex boyfriend. He'd had a little bit of legal problems, a little bit of substance abuse problem rockhead, a personality as big and as loud as the pipes on the Harley's.

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He loved to cruise. He worked at an auto body shop handling insurance claims. When he met Karen, she was on a downward spiral after being married for five years. She'd recently gotten a divorce and a doctor had just given her some awful news. She had multiple sclerosis, 38 years old, to be a young, divorced woman with this awful diagnosis. What do you think that did to her? That's a lot to put on your shoulders, right?

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I think that really affected her self-esteem. Frankly, I think it may have had an impact on the kind of men that she was attracted to.

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Karen came to rely on Rock to take her to doctor's appointments and give her injections. But when she took the step of asking him to move in, her friends and family thought she was asking for trouble.

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She worries this the way ahead for my sister. I think that the bad guys. But I think that's true.

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And is it my place to say, well, you need to go find somebody that is going to offer you a better future? You can't dictate terms to your kid sister. No, you can only fix yourself. And as it turned out, rock wasn't a fix for Karen either. Their relationship soon took an ugly turn.

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This seem to get along for a while. And she was happy. And he turned into not a very nice guy. He was a little creepy, was tough on her. There was some unexplained bruises. And I used to tell her what, you know, what are you doing? He did not deserve her, but she wouldn't listen.

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The fights got worse and police were called three separate times to intervene. One time, Brock allegedly broke down the front door. It was the last straw. Karen filed a domestic battery complaint and Rock moved out to Implementor says that even a year later, Rock was still harassing Karen about a rolltop desk he'd left behind.

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She was starting to get scared of him towards the end. In this issue he had was I got a valuable piece of furniture. I want it back. Right. But Karen said that that was a ruse trying to worm his way back in. Is that the way she saw it? That's the way she portrayed it to me.

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Detectives Holbrook and Melbourne knew they had to confront this rock, so they tracked him down and paid a surprise visit. He wasn't happy to see them.

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I'm in the garage at my home in Northport, Florida. Black, unmarked, shows up when I'm like.

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Well, everybody knows what that is I'm thinking now, what the heck's that? Detective Holbrook identified himself and said they needed to talk to talk about his friend Karen.

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We sat down on the porch and he goes, well, she's dead. Of course, this just doesn't even register. So I just said, you just need to tell me what's going on.

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What the detective wanted Rock to do, the talking.

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He asked about his troubled relationship with Karen Rock, indicated that he was using drugs and that and Karen like to drink and that they fought often.

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But Rock said he savored the good times with Karen, too, when she got dolled up. Oh, my God. Gorgeous, picture perfect.

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What they do, they got a place where there's some sparks there. Rock could you feel something going? There was she was all that. She was just all by herself and she was just ready to go. She looked hungry for attention and she was alone. And it was perfect.

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It was a perfect setup. What do you think she saw in you? What was working from her side?

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Probably the bad boy kind of thing. I wasn't your conventional straight laced kind of guy.

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Rock was open with the detectives, even came across as a good guy, but conceded there had been screaming matches with Karen and a few rip roaring fights, but said she was the instigator.

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She'd get violent, she'd get physically violent. This stuff, things would happen, but nobody ever got arrested.

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But they'd come out and they would address the issue.

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As Rock tells it, she gave as good as she got, that he dodged a few pieces of thrown crockery. She was ready to stand up for herself at the drop of a hat. She was a tough girl, Rock remembers Karen playing hardball about that rolltop desk. Here's to not liking her attitude.

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I did call her on several occasions about my role to the desk, that stupid desk, and it was bugging me. I mean, it was a nice piece of furniture and I really wanted to get it back. And she pretty much said. You left, you're not getting it. He never did get that rolltop was still in Karen's condo in Oldsmar on the night she was stabbed to death. Now, Detective Holbrook pointedly wanted to know if Rock had been there, too.

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He says, where were you on such and such a day? And I'm like. Well, first of all, I'll have to look at the calendar, because I don't know where I was that day, but I guarantee you I wasn't in Oldsmar. So we go from there to discussing. Where I was, who I've been with, where I've where I live, so you get a serious grilling, right? He ends up telling me that we found your name in blood on the wall, our ossy.

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Yeah.

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So obviously, I'm a suspect, and I. I acknowledge that. I mean, I'm looking at. Murder. I'm getting somebody talking to me about a murder rock waived his right to a lawyer and agreed to give fingerprints and swabbing it looked as though police had strangely found yet another coöperative boyfriend of their victim.

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I said, if you're looking for fingerprints, they're all over that home because I lived there for a year. So you're going to find them.

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Did you lose your patience with them? That's it for today.

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I did lose my patience when they cut the end of my finger off taking a fingernail. You take the end of my finger off. Now we're done. Now I'm done.

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Roc's cooperation had an edge to it. Was he really trying to cover his tracks? Detectives were determined to find out. Coming up.

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The CSI of our scene. I remember thinking, wow, I wonder if that's why I wrote these letters. Were those three little letters really what they seemed when written in blood continues? The handwriting was on the wall and Forensic Specialist Anna Cox was intent on breaking down the key piece of evidence implicating Karen Parnell's ex-boyfriend, rock perpetrator. Those three letters in blood are Ossy.

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You would spend hours looking at these letters.

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I did. We actually cut the sheetrock out of the place and took it into your lab.

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Yes. I have to look at those letters and everything about them using a high powered microscope.

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And I did an analysis of the specs of blood that stained the wall as Karen was stabbed 16 times.

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That flung spatter served as a gruesome canvas for the letters oracy, then written over it.

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When the letters RLC were written on top of it, it just skimmed right over it and didn't disrupt it at all.

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Here was her central observation. Since the specks of blood weren't smeared, that meant rock must have been written after they dried.

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But how long after they have a special machine that I use to make some spatter? In her lap, she used animal blood to test how long it took for spatter to dry on a similar surface.

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So once I came back and was able to apply spatter to some sections of some cardboard, then I was able to get some blood and to start writing the word rock. I must have written this word a million times over different areas of spatter in the lab.

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It took at least 20 minutes of drying time before the forensic specialists could write without smearing the spatter, she concluded. There must have been about that much time between the attack on KARREN and the word rock being written on the wall. Next, she looked for fingerprints in the letters themselves. Sounds impossible, right?

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If she's writing and applying pressure to the wall, you would think that there would be some type of transfer of rich detail, rich detail.

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We all have it unique tell tale patterns on every human finger in hand. But Anna wasn't finding that here. Rather, she detected an unusual hint of a pattern, something almost like polka dots.

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And I thought back to myself, the garden gloves on the counter that was missing its match, missing its pair.

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A garden glove was found in Karen's kitchen. Just one clue. The meat was never located. It had a distinctive dot pattern on the interior side where the palm and the fingers were.

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It's like that rubber and it's got those little things that stick up for gripping purposes. So when you're gardening, it doesn't slip. And I remember thinking, wow, I wonder if that's what wrote these letters.

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Cox bought similar gloves at a hardware store and after several more days of testing, was satisfied that her hunch was correct.

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Anna Cox had come up with two important findings. The message in blood had likely been written with a gloved hand, and it had been scrawled at least twenty minutes after the onset of the attack on Karen. She reported her results to the detectives, who by then had learned another pertinent fact about their victim.

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Karen was exclusively left handed, and Karen's left hand did not have blood smeared on it.

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Not only that, when the autopsy report came in, it suggested Karen couldn't have written anything with either hand from what the medical examiner was seeing on his table.

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Was this a victim who was going to be able to dip in her own blood and write oracy on the wall? No, absolutely not.

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Over 90 percent of her spinal cord had been damaged by the knife once she was incapacitated, incapacitated. It wasn't her. She didn't write that.

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The evidence was overwhelming. Karen Pinnell did not write the letters. Are Ossy in blood? It was a huge turning point in the case and the best news possible for the ex-boyfriend, Rock Harpic.

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They confirmed 100 percent that she could not have done that. She couldn't have done it. She would have been physically incapable of doing that. And it surely wasn't me. I mean, why would you write your own name on the wall?

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Police agreed implicating yourself in a murder just made no sense. Rock got more good news after police checked out his alibi that he was home on the night of the murder.

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We got his cell phone records and the cell towers. He's hitting off around the same time that we know Karen was killed. He's in North Port, Florida. And that's a good, you know, hour, hour and a half away.

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And you went over all these alleged beefs that he might have had with her. Absolutely. Boyfriend girlfriend. Yep. And he had moved on.

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Detectives Melvin and Holbrook were ready to move on to her. They officially cleared rock. It was a major development. Karen's ex had suddenly gone from being a prime person of interest to a victim himself, a victim of the real killer who tried to frame him for the crime and was still out there somewhere. Whoever killed her did know that somebody named.

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Somebody knows my name. He's part of the story here. That's right.

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But if you think about this, this is it's not even a smart thing to do.

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Rourke was right. The pool of suspects had suddenly narrowed to a small handful of Karen's intimates who knew about him and also knew the unusual way he spelled his name are Ossy. Detectives Holbrook in Melbourne were about to take a hard look at all of that.

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Coming up, a surprise in the crime lab. A new clue emerges from something so ordinary it was almost overlooked.

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You could walk right by and think it has no importance at all. It ended up being crucial in this case.

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Could a box of pizza help solve this puzzle when Dateline continues? Oh. Police had reached a startling conclusion. Karen Pannell did not write the name Rock on the Wall, her killer hat, but those three letters were still a gift to police because investigators figured he had to know. Both Karen and Rock detectives started questioning the other men in Karen's life.

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Karen had nicknames for her boyfriend's car guy that was temperamental. Another one that she referred to as Dr. Pilot.

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Doctor Pilot, a British Airways captain had recently been sending Karen romantic texts, but he was aboard a flight over the Middle East when Karen was killed. So he was ruled out, as were most of Karen's known male friends. All could prove they were nowhere near her house in Oldsmar that night. Every boyfriend except Kagen, temperamentally the one who reported finding Karen's body, she can't just keep breathing.

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I don't know.

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Tim was inconsolable during that nine one one call and later would tell detectives he'd lost the love of his life, the woman he was hoping to marry. But the people who knew Karen best started telling police a very different story.

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I'm not sure why she stayed in that relationship or she even began a relationship like that.

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The relationship began with Tim trying to sell Karen a new car. But police learned he also sold her a bill of goods about himself, saying he'd been a Navy SEAL involved in top secret missions, never mentioning the sordid truth about his criminal past. Karen told me that he explained his scars as he got injured on a mission super commando stuff. Well, I think that would have been his impression of himself. So why are you lying to her?

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You're giving her a crock. There's really no excuse for it. I mean, other than if you're an inmate or you're a convicted felon, no matter how good you do, no matter what you do, there's always going to be that spectre hanging over you.

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It was several months into the relationship before Tim finally revealed his ugly secret. He was a felon who had spent more than a decade behind bars, not a Navy SEAL, but a violent one time pimp, the self-described escort king.

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I said been waiting for the right time to tell you this. And she was flabbergasted.

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I think that she she became frightened of me. So why don't you just shake hands and call it quits? Because I loved her, Karen's friends and brothers say she told them she was afraid and when she tried to pull away from Tim, brother Mike says those fears were quickly borne out. Did you ever hear evidence that she was not being treated well? Yes.

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And she called me and said that Tim had choked her. And I felt like after that conversation that I had convinced her to to file a police report.

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But no report was filed. Still, Karen's co-workers could tell something was terribly wrong. She had bruising on her neck.

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And in fact, one of her friends at work remembered her missing a day or two. And then when she didn't come in, she wore a turtleneck. And over the summer months here in Florida, you don't wear turtleneck then. While Detectives Holbrook in Melbourne chase down every lead, the crime lab made another big discovery.

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Unlike the melodramatic and bogus message in blood, this evidence was something forensic tech Anna Cox almost passed right over a pizza box on Karen's kitchen counter.

[00:33:07]

You could walk right by and think it has no importance at all. It ended up being crucial in this case. Cox was able to lift a clean fingerprint from the box. It was Tim Fermenters and it blew a hole in his minute by minute account of the night Karen was killed. He had initially stated that he wasn't there when the pizza was delivered.

[00:33:26]

He told the officers in the initial interview. I was out of there at seven thirty.

[00:33:29]

Well, his fingerprints were on that box.

[00:33:33]

And you had a receipt saying it was delivered at Eight Forty-Eight.

[00:33:36]

Yes. So he has now put himself right right there at the scene and right there in the last crucial hours of her life.

[00:33:45]

It's a poor set of facts for him.

[00:33:48]

And then Tim's time, his alibi took another hit. He'd first said he was home when he called his friend George just after nine thirty. Detective Melvern found evidence proving otherwise. Once we get the phone records back and the cell tower site locations back, we are putting him at her house. So the the tower is catching him out in a lie? Yeah, absolutely. There's no one one phone call in the morning. It hits off the same tower that he was hitting off when he called George at nine thirty six the night before, which is directly north of Karen Parnell's house.

[00:34:22]

Malvin and Holbrook could think of only one reason for Tim to lie about those times. It was that Karen's car guy was the killer. They brought him to headquarters again, this time for an official and much more aggressive interrogation.

[00:34:37]

And he gave the same timeline as he gave previously. We went through it again with him, and he held true to what he told us.

[00:34:43]

And at that point we started attacking this story.

[00:34:47]

Tim had a simple explanation for the timeline problems.

[00:34:51]

He was confused with sort of co-operation, confused, confused. We don't want to take you to him when you lie. When the pizza arrived, I was still there, eight forty eight delivered, and it was right after the pizza. I would say I was there for maybe another 10, maybe 15 minutes. Why do you tell cops seven, 30? I'm horrible at times and days. And the problem was, is that making a mistake became a I'm hiding something.

[00:35:26]

Cops call your mistake a lie. Of course.

[00:35:28]

And why you lie about the times he was released from a dirty, dirty house now. Now he's making to racing to keep track.

[00:35:42]

Tim had been tripped up by his own statements, and Detective Holbrook says his suspect knew the charade was over.

[00:35:49]

He put his face in his hands and he literally covered his face for two or three minutes.

[00:35:56]

Tim ultimately looked up at us and the car salesman guy that we knew his temperament had completely left the room.

[00:36:04]

What did you see in his eyes when you see in his face? The first thing I thought was the Satan just walked into the room. Coming up, I knew I was innocent, was he juries, you really like to see forensics? The DNA, the blood samples and they didn't have it. If that was the biggest concern for me, the trial and the verdict when written in blood continues.

[00:36:33]

Oh. Detectives were now convinced that Tim Burm, the boyfriend who pledged to help solve Carabineros murder, was really the killer. But Tim says police had nothing on it and were only targeting him because of his criminal record.

[00:36:55]

I didn't do it. I knew somehow some out there and I knew I know my whole line.

[00:37:02]

Detectives arrested him and sent him to the county jail. State Attorney Bill Lowery got the case. What about your accused, Timothy Premotor, who?

[00:37:11]

See, I think Timothy Parmenter is a psychopath, just someone that who had, I think, gotten lucky to be with Karen. Now, once you got past the superficial aspect of him and realized what he really was like, she wanted out of that relationship and that ultimately led to her death. Prosecutor Lowry says Perminder thought he could outsmart the cops by acting the bereaved boyfriend, playing it to the hilt at the crime scene.

[00:37:41]

But the prosecutor says momentum got thrown off his tear stained script when he called Karen's best friend soon after making that 911. One call says, Catherine, it's Tim. I'm at Karen's apartment. She's laying on the floor. There's blood everywhere.

[00:37:55]

And she's been stabbed, stabbed, stabbed. Not she's dead. I don't know. She's dead. She's been stabbed. And he tells her on the phone, according to Catherine, that she's been stabbed. OK, well, she has been stabbed. We didn't know that at that point in time. So he knew something he shouldn't have done something crucial. He knew something he shouldn't know because he's the one who stabbed her prosecutor.

[00:38:18]

Louris sized up his case, a rejected lover with a violent history, a man, the evidence showed was at the scene of the crime and had lied about it. He charged with first degree murder and decided to seek the death penalty. Then, just weeks before the trial was scheduled to start, Tim's friend George Solomon, his sleepover alibi witness, recanted his story and how he tells me this whole news story that Paramatta had admitted that he killed Karen that night, blurted out a confession when he got up there.

[00:38:53]

So that's a holy cow moment for you. It is.

[00:38:55]

Death penalty cases can sometimes take a torturous path and reaching a courtroom. This one had taken four long years. And despite building a strong circumstantial case, prosecutors did not have a murder weapon or other physical evidence linking Tim Parmenter to the stabbing defense attorney, Dudley Clan.

[00:39:15]

You have a complete lack of physical evidence, no bloody fingerprints, no bloody footprints out the door.

[00:39:24]

But Prosecutor Lowry was confident about the evidence he did have.

[00:39:28]

Frankly, I think circumstantial cases are sometimes the best because they don't why? The circumstances don't lie. People lie.

[00:39:36]

And that's the case Lowry made to the jury. The circumstances showed Tim Perimeter was the only one with the motive and the opportunity to kill Karen. And everything he did afterwards was fabricated to cover up his horrendous crime.

[00:39:50]

The issues in this case were the murder of Karen by the only person that really could have done it. And that person lied about all these things. And, you know, there's no reason for a person to lie about the death of their loved one, if that's really true.

[00:40:08]

Defense attorney Klap countered with common sense, arguing that Karen's killer must have been just drenched in blood after such a frenzied attack. And there was no forensic evidence to show that his client was that person.

[00:40:21]

In order to buy the state's case, you have to make assumption upon assumption upon assumption. That's not what our system is about. How did I do it?

[00:40:34]

How on earth did not one single drop of blood get on my clothing, anything like that, or in your car, which was ripped apart? Right. And that's why I agreed to let them look, get what you want because I knew I was innocent.

[00:40:53]

The defense also tore into the credibility of the state's star witness, George Solomon, saying it was ridiculous to think Tim would get an invitation to spend the night with him after blurting out a murder confession.

[00:41:05]

Hey, I killed somebody just now or whatever. Oh, really? Oh, OK. Well, come on, let's go see my wife and kids. No way.

[00:41:17]

A confident Tim Parmenter decided to speak directly to the jury. He took the stand in his own defense.

[00:41:23]

The attitude was, look, you've got to get up here and talk to these people.

[00:41:28]

How do you remember him on the stand? I think he was calm. I think he answered the questions as best he could. Very simply. I think very completely. We felt that we had made a showing that the state had not met the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

[00:41:47]

Mike Parnell had waited four long years to get justice for his sister, but now he wasn't sure what the jury would do.

[00:41:55]

There were times that I felt the evidence was very circumstantial in this day and age. We know that juries you really like to see forensics write the DNA, the blood samples, and they didn't have it. That was the biggest concern for me.

[00:42:13]

But it took the jury just four hours to find Tim Parmenter guilty of first degree murder. He was spared the death penalty by the judge who ordered him to serve a life sentence with no chance for parole.

[00:42:25]

How are you doing? I'm fine.

[00:42:27]

I spoke to her at Florida's Liberty Correctional Institution. The convicted murderer says he's the victim of a justice system that was tilted against him from the start.

[00:42:36]

Did you murder Karen? No, because this would be a great time to relieve her family of a lot of remorse and just fess to it. And I understand that. But I did not kill Karen. I did not. And I'll probably spend the rest of my life here. And when I'm 80, if I'm still alive, I did not kill Karen. I'll pay for it and I am paying for it, but I didn't do it. The detectives who cracked the case say they might have believed him if only he hadn't tried so hard to fake his alibi, starting with those three letters written in blood.

[00:43:13]

So this Hollywood touches, I think of it, oh, rock did it. The dying declaration, it bit him bit of heart very hard.

[00:43:23]

He outsmarted himself and that's why he's in prison. Rock Harpic is free to ride his Harley these days, but it still eats him up that a man he never met tried to frame him for murder.

[00:43:38]

If you could sit down and talk to him just the way we're sitting here, what would you what would you say to him? I am restrained, correct? I couldn't get to him or tie you to the chair in this scenario. Well, I would not be a good communicator in that conversation mode with him sitting there. I couldn't do it.

[00:43:56]

Mike Parnell couldn't do it either. He'd rather not think about Tim Fermenter and the last moments of his precious baby sister's life. I'm not interested in remembering Karen's associated with that crime. It's been a long ordeal for you.

[00:44:12]

Mm hmm. I want to remember, Karen, it as a brilliant, beautiful young woman.

[00:44:20]

She was maybe the smiling person, someone who loved her friends of the beach and died too young.

[00:44:33]

That's all for now, I'm Lester Holt, thanks for joining us. The Meet the Press Chuck Todd cast, it's an insider's take on politics, the twenty twenty election and more candid conversations with some of my favorite reporters about things we usually discuss off camera. Listen for free wherever you get your podcast.