Goodnight, Sugar Babe: The Killing of Vera Jo Reigle (2013) - full transcript

The discovery of the mutilated body of a mentally challenged young mother begins a journey into madness that is so unbelievable the mastermind behind the crime ultimately got away with murder. Revealing for the first time how and why it happened filmmaker J. David Miles ventures into the insane mind of a small town crime family's matriarch and uncovers a conspiracy that continues to elude law enforcement to this very day. By going straight to the murderers themselves for interviews it is a true crime investigation like you have never seen, unveiling an alternate motive to what was presented in the courtroom that is as bizarre as it is heartbreaking.


(Somber piano music)

- (Narrator) Vera
did as she was told

and went with her killers,
knowing she was going to die.

- (Nicole) Then
he was just like,

"Get your coat and shoes on now.

"We're leavin', we're
goin' for a walk."

- When they told her to
put her shoes on, you know,

she kinda, she was
like yelling, "Why?

Ya know, like, "Why?"

"Why do you want me
to get my shoes on?"

And Zachary went
up to her and said,

"Just get your
"effin' shoes on."

- (Narrator) Had she
been given one final wish

it would've been to say
goodbye to Willadean,

her precious little girl.

But instead her
last farewell came

from the baby's grandmother
who knew this was the end.

- And as I laid my head
down all I seen was a vision

of Danny, Nicole, and
Vera's purple hoodie,

of them walking
outside on the porch.

And I said, "Goodnight, Vera,"
and she said, "Goodnight."

She said, "Goodnight, Sugar
Babe," and I said, "Goodnight."

- (Narrator) She had
15 minutes to live.

(Ominous rock music)

♪ I've got no sugarbaby now

♪ Got no sugarbaby now

♪ All I can do is
seek peace with you

♪ And I can't get along this way

♪ I've got no sugarbaby now

♪ I've got no sugarbaby now

♪ All I can do is
seek peace with you

♪ What more can a poor boy do

♪ Who'll rock the cradle

♪ Who will sing the song

♪ Who will rock the
cradle when I'm gone

♪ I've got no sugarbaby now

♪ I've got no sugarbaby now

♪ All I can do is
make peace with you

♪ And they'll send you
to your mama next payday

♪ Who will rock the
cradle when I'm gone

(train whistle blows)

- (Narrator) The case began
on a cold spring morning.

- They had her layin',
instead of having her layin'

on the rails they had her

layin' in between the tracks.

- It's like, here's the two
tracks, she was in the middle

and he was goin' so
fast with the train

that he looked down and thought

that it was a baby deer.

- And the engine and
eight cars went over her.

- He stops the train,
gets out, and walks back

thinking that he was gonna
find the carcass of a deer.

Because the train, the
cars were still over her,

looks under, sees
that it's a human.

(Phone buzzing)

- (Officer Biggs) Findlay
Police Department, Biggs.

- (Chris) Hello, this is
Chris with CSX Railroad.

- (Officer Biggs) Yes.

- (Chris) Hey, we
just got a report

that we have a train
stopped over near

Central Parkway.

Right in between there
across from Blanchard River.

- (Officer Biggs) Okay.

- (Chris) We got a report
that we have a train

stopped right now
because they see a

naked female body laying
in the middle of the track.

Appears to be deceased.

- (Narrator) The location
of this grizzly discovery

could not have
been more symbolic.

On a train trestle in the
center of Findlay, Ohio,

a town once designated by
an official act of Congress

as Flag City, USA.

It was known for its
good schools, low crime,

and famous sports stars.

And little girls dream of
becoming homecoming queens

and cheerleaders.

(Crowd cheering)

- (Crowd) We're in it to win
it so let's take the floor

of (mumbles).

(Spectators cheer)

- (Narrator) But now
someone had taken a knife

to this picture of
all-American bliss

and left one little girl
under the central overpass,

slashed, bruised,
and slaughtered.

- After I found out, you
know, she got murdered

and everything it broke my heart

because me and my sister
did everything together.

(Somber ambient music)

- (Narrator) Two months
earlier Findlay Police

responded to a
domestic violence call

at 300 Center Street.

This was not the first time
Vera's abuse had been reported.

But if anyone was
paying attention,

they would've seen the
violence getting worse.

- I was there a few times
when the cops was called.

They'd come,

be like, "We need
to speak to Vera,"

and Zachary and Cheri
and them would tell her,

"Don't say Zachary
did anything."

Or be like, "You
fell down the steps."

"You did it, it was your fault."

- (Narrator) Only this time
the quote "I tripped and fell"

excuse would not work.

A problem soon solved
with a better lie.

- When her boyfriend,

oh what is his name?

- They said it was a
black dude, that I guess

she was supposedly dating,

but I believe he was
a created character

as they call it in
the video game world.

- I can't even think of
his name now but it's...

Demetrius Jones I think it was.

- She made up the Desmond
Thompson guy from Lima.

- And he had busted her nose.

'Cause she had to go
out to the hospital

'cause she had a bump
here and they said

she might have a
concussion and bleeding.

- They come up with
this story sayin'

that Vera had a
boyfriend, a black man,

that was out of
Lima or somewhere

and he come up here
and got in a fight

and punched her in the
face and broke her nose,

but that's not true.

It was her son Zachary.

- He came downstairs,
went straight to his mom,

asked her what happened.

Cheri just came up
with an excuse sayin'

that Vera was the one that
pushed her own daughter

into the coffee table.

And Zachary just listened
to what she said,

went over to Vera,
and swung his fist

and hit her right in the face.

- (Narrator) Even more
chilling is what happened next

when Zach and Cheri
brought in a third party

to finish the beating.

- Zach had got a
hold of his Aunt Sam

and when Vera didn't give
her a straight answer,

Sam, Samantha, just
straight up punched her

in the face again.

- And broke her nose.
- And broke her nose.

- (Narrator) This January
assault is a glaring example

of how the system failed Vera.

- They talked to me
and Vera both together

'cause Vera wouldn't
talk to nobody

unless I was there
in front of her.

- She wasn't allowed to
talk unless she was told

to talk by Cheri.

Nobody else, just Cheri.

Cheri had to be the one to
tell her she could talk.

- That astounds me to this day.

That the police did it or

wasn't there a
social worker there?

I mean, it's just
sort of Police 101

that you say, "I wanna
know what she's gonna say

"and I know that woman's
gonna get in the way,

"so I'm taking her somewhere
else and she's staying there."

They could've done that.

They could've said,
"No, you're not coming.

"You're stayin' there."

- (Narrator) Except
telling Cheri no

is easier said than done.

Is easier said than done.

- You can tell me to do
something but that doesn't mean

I'm gonna listen to ya.

(Somber piano music)

- (Narrator) To say that
Findlay P.D. was familiar

with 300 Center Street
is an understatement.

Even on the day of the murder,
earlier that afternoon,

police were dispatched to
break up a neighborhood brawl.

- The cops wee there
earlier because of a fight

that I guess broke out,
'cause I was woken up.

- (Narrator) And while
they knocked at the door,

Cheri was busy inside.

- How I got woken up
was Cheri, my mother,

sent Vera up to wake me up.

- They had to hide Vera

'cause the police
woulda taken her out

if they'd have seen
how bruised up she was.

- (Narrator) But the police
were not there for Vera.

They'd been called
to a street fight.

- There was a fight
between Danny and my kids

with the people down the street.

- Zachary, Garth, Chuckie,
Danny, and Nicole.

They all went down there

- Danny had got outta prison,
like, three weeks before

all this happened.

- (Narrator) A detail
that made the officers

immediately worried.

- Like, when I first met him
I was actually kinda like

intimidated 'cause he
has tears on his eyes.

- That lets other inmates know
once you walk in the door,

See this?

I killed once,

I will do it again.

- (Narrator) The
fight was finished

by the time police arrived.

And while they interrogated
the other gang,

the Brooks boys were in the
house getting ready to flee.

- You can't tell me Daniel
and Nicole's the only one

that escaped the house because
they don't know Findlay.

They're from Tiffin.

- He had went over to, um...

Dave and Sam's to hide
out, is what I heard.

'Cause they, I remember
seein' 'em jump out my window

and told Nicky, "Let's go.

And they jumped out the window

and went over to Dave and Sam's.

- (Narrator) Playing
a much greater role

would be the third person who
jumped out Cheri's window,

her son Zachary.

- (Nicole) Me, Danny,
and Zach were actually

running from the police
because Danny had pulled out

a knife on one of the
Brooks's neighbors.

Zach had a warrant and I knew
I had a warrant in Tiffin.

- (Narrator) In that short
run from the Brooks house here

to the Schwabb house there,
Zachary, Danny, and Nicole

began a chain of events that
would end five hours later

with Vera dead on the tracks.

- And they ran to
this house right here

and that's where Cheri
even admitted they were at,

was right here, and how
close is that to the tracks

where Vera was murdered?

- (Narrator) But right then
police had one priority,

to find the guy running around
Findlay flashing a knife

and wearing a teardrop tattoo.

(Somber piano music)

In the first news reports
it seemed that Daniel Bixler

was some crazy distant cousin
who blew in from Tiffin,

a town 25 miles east of Findlay.

An impression
supported by the fact

that only three weeks
before he had been released

from Allen correctional
after serving

almost three years in prison.

- He admitted he was in
a gang at the prison,

the 211 boys as he called it.

- (Narrator) Once free,
Danny went on a spree

of escalating violence,
beginning at this park where,

in an act of twisted
chivalry, he attacked

a teenager who had refused
to give up a park swing

to his new girlfriend
Nicole Peters.

It was this assault charge
that sent the fugitive couple

on the lamb, fleeing Tiffin
before Danny got arrested.

- Yeah, he ran away from it.

That's why he came
to Findlay, to hide.

- (Narrator) The reason Danny
felt comfortable turning

to Cheri is obvious.

He was not a distant
cousin at all,

but a close member
of the family.

Best illustrated by
Cheri's relationship

with the other Danny
Bixler, his father.

- Oh yeah.

Danny and I go,

they call us the
kissing cousins.

- (Narrator) From this
incestuous romance,

Cheri conceived the first
of her nine children,

Scottie Emmons.

- Scottie Emmons belongs
to Danny Bixler, Sr.

Her mother's sister's kid,
he would be her cousin.

- The incest kind of stuff
that's in our family.

- (Narrator) In 2008, Big
Danny stabbed his wife's lover

and led police and sheriffs
from three different counties

on a high speed chase
in an 18-ton semi.

- When he gets a
temper, both of them,

when they get a temper,
you can't handle 'em.

- Even Danny had said
it's in the Bixler blood.

I'm meant to kill, I guess.

- (Narrator) For a
homicide that started out

with a naked dead
woman with no ID,

with a naked dead
woman with no ID,

no witnesses, no murder
weapon, no suspects,

and no apparent
motive, Findlay police

solved the case incredibly fast.

- She had been to
the hospital before.

- She had been to
the hospital before.

There was a social
worker involved.

She had bruises.

She had been beat.

So, it's not like, you
know, this was a surprise.

- I will make sure that they
now that Desta Bixler, uh--

- Danny, when he was drunk,
he kind of basically told her

- Danny, when he was drunk,
he kind of basically told her

every single detail

about the murder.

- While we were drinkin' they
were smokin' all my cigarettes

- While we were drinkin' they
were smokin' all my cigarettes

so we decide to go down
to the gas station,

which isn't that far from here,

and so we walk down there and
we see the train has stopped.

And then I'm, like,
sittin' here thinking,

And then I'm, like,
sittin' here thinking,

like, why is the train stopped

at like three-somethin'
in the morning?

I asked the lady
at the gas station,

I'm like, "Do you know
why the train stopped?"

I'm like, "Do you know
why the train stopped?"

I'm like, "Was there somethin'
wrong with the engine?"

Just bein' nosy, and she's
like, "No, they found a body."

And I looked back at Danny
and he's just staring.

And I looked back at Danny
and he's just staring.

Like, he's froze

and right then I knew.

I knew everything that
was bein' said was true.

I mean, I was scared.

- (Narrator) In addition
to Desta's information,

police also learn
that there had been

an eyewitness after all.

- Across the street

from the Brooks's home,
there was a camera out there

from the Brooks's home,
there was a camera out there

for surveillance

and they seen them
walk across the street.

- (Narrator) The grainy
video shows three figures,

- (Narrator) The grainy
video shows three figures,

Danny Bixler, Vera
Reigle, and Nicole Peters,

in a single file
line walking south.

- They did have the
knife towards her.

- They did have the
knife towards her.

If she was screamin' or
anything that they would

stab her right then and there.

- (Narrator) Confronted
with this mounting evidence

Danny first tried to
push blame on others

then started making
damning admissions.

Then started making
damning admissions.

By mid-afternoon he
and his interrogators

were driving back
to the train bridge,

returning to the scene

of the crime.

- (Narrator) There he
pointed to the spot where

just 18 hours earlier he
threw the murder weapon

into the water.

- The blade that he used
was from the kitchen.

- The blade that he used
was from the kitchen.

- Danny tooked it
outta my knife set

and he was playin' with it
and twirlin' and all that.

- (Narrator) For her part,
Nicole was more tightlipped

- (Narrator) For her part,
Nicole was more tightlipped

and to this day
exactly what she did

at the tracks remains a mystery.

But she still was not
as skilled at lying

as the Brooks family
and it did not take long

for her to implicate
herself as well.

For her to implicate
herself as well.

The detectives had
caught the murderers.

- The people that were
charged were Daniel Bixler,

- The people that were
charged were Daniel Bixler,

Nicole Peters,

and then people that
lied to the police,

which there's quite
a few of those.

Zachary Brooks, Cheri Brooks,

Shannon Brooks,
and Michael Brooks.

And then they have a juvenile
son that also participated

in lyin' to the police and
his name is Chuck Brooks.

- (Narrator) And so
everyone zeroed in on Danny,

the out of control
ex-con, and Nicole,

his bloodthirsty girlfriend.

His bloodthirsty girlfriend.

- (Judge) How old are you today?

- 18.

- (Judge) How old were you when
this offense was committed?

- 17.

- Some girls go
for the bad boys.

Like a Bonnie and
Clyde kinda thing,

Like a Bonnie and
Clyde kinda thing,

but with a evil
twist. (Chuckles)

- (Nicole) I've known
him since I was younger.

I met him at the Seneca County
Juvenile Detention Center

and I used to hang
out with his brother,

Richard Bixler a lot and
that's how I met Danny.

- She was obsessed
with this man.

- She was obsessed
with this man.

Like, she'd constantly
talk about him.

Everything, all of her
letters were about how much

she was devoted to him,

how much she loved him.

She cared about him a lot.

- They had only been together
for, like, a week and a half.

- They had only been together
for, like, a week and a half.

So, he was out for
a week and a half

and then they started dating
for the other week and a half

that he was out and then boom,
he was right back in again.

(Piano music)

- (Narrator) An indication
of how authorities struggled

with this bizarre case
from the very beginning

is that they did not inform
the public for a day and a half

is that they did not inform
the public for a day and a half

after the body was discovered.

- Vera's mom didn't
even find out about it

from the police or anybody.

They went directly
to Cheri first.

And I think that's a
bunch of crap, you know.

The police department
wouldn't go directly

The police department
wouldn't go directly

to her own mother?

- No, 'cause Cheri
already identified it.

Because Cheri told the police
that Vera's parents died.

Because Cheri told the police
that Vera's parents died.

I'm supposed to be dead.

I've died like three
different times

in three different states.

- Cheri.

- (Narrator) These deceptions,
which she hones over time,

- (Narrator) These deceptions,
which she hones over time,

come in two types.

Lies to protect

and lies to instigate.

What happened next

is an example of the former.

Is an example of the former.

- We met Larry one time
because he stopped out front

of our house and
Samantha, Schwabb,

was at our house
and she went outside

and smacked Larry because
they got into a fight

because they owed
money to her and stuff.

Because they owed
money to her and stuff.

And he started talkin' to us

and then next thing I know
he started hangin' around

our house like a leech.

- The Larry Spencer
guy shows up,

- The Larry Spencer
guy shows up,

this guy who's been at the house

once or twice suddenly is,

is being accused
of takin' Vera away

and probably killin' her.

- Because I've talked
to Larry and Larry said

that they tried to
tell the detectives

that they tried to
tell the detectives

that it was him that killed her.

- (Narrator) To those who
knew about Vera's life

inside the Brooks house,
the story on its face

was ridiculous.

- They said, "Oh, she took
off with her boyfriend.

Well, she wasn't really
allowed to have a boyfriend

except for Zachary
'cause she wasn't allowed

to go anywhere with anybody.

- They wouldn't even let
her have a cell phone.

- They wouldn't even let
her have a cell phone.

- Cheri said that
she didn't need one

because then she could
get a hold of her mom

or she could talk to
whoever she wanted to.

- (Narrator) After Danny
and Nicole were arrested,

- (Narrator) After Danny
and Nicole were arrested,

the cover story was modified
to fit the changing situation.

- She'll basically
change the story up

and she'll basically
confuse everybody.

- And she's tryin' to
cover up a murder, period.

- (Narrator) The witch's
spell had worked like a charm.

- I believe that my own mother
had this set up perfectly.

She knew exactly how to do it.

- She can get away with shit.

There are certain
things that she's done

in her life that

shoulda been put
her behind bars.

It was pretty much (hand
smacks) slap on the hand,

go ahead, walk away.

- (Narrator) Gone were any
questions about what role

- (Narrator) Gone were any
questions about what role

she and her family
played in Vera's death.

- You just not wanna
say my name on there

sayin' that I had
anything to do with this.

- (Narrator) Now it was as if

- (Narrator) Now it was as if

they were just
passive spectators.

The only thing
people wanted to know

was how they could sit there
and watch Danny and Nicole

do something so barbaric.

- I asked her a million times.

- I asked her a million times.

Cheri, why didn't you call?

Why?

Why?

- I mean, even a
five year-old knows,

- I mean, even a
five year-old knows,

if somebody's being hurt
you call the police.

- (Narrator) And as the
accusations intensified,

the truth of what happened
got further and further away.

- Like someone's really gonna
be there to help me say,

- Like someone's really gonna
be there to help me say,

"Hey, go get the phone over
there off of my computer stand

"so I can call the cops."

You know, they're not gonna,

Nicky's not gonna
give me the phone.

Nicky's not gonna
give me the phone.

Dan's not gonna
give me the phone.

Scottie sure in the world's
not gonna give me the phone.

And Shannon, her fat ass
was sittin' on the couch

playin' with her phone.

- I wish I would've had...

my phone working because it was,

well, it was dead
and I had no minutes

even though I know you can
call 911 off of it, but...

(somber piano music)

- No matter her age,
Vera was still a child.

- If there's a way she could
do it, she would do it.

- If there's a way she could
do it, she would do it.

You know, never
complained, always help.

She'd help ya any way she could.

- If you told Vera
something she'd do it.

I mean, she didn't question.

Almost to the point
that it was too much.

Almost to the point
that it was too much.

I wish she could've maybe

stood up for herself
a little more.

- She was mentally challenged.

She was slow.

- And Cheri and them end up
talkin' her into movin' in

with them and, you know,
and then she end up

with them and, you know,
and then she end up

hookin' up with Cheri's son.

- (Narrator) For Vera,
her old life was gone,

like she had joined a cult and
got separated from her past.

Like she had joined a cult and
got separated from her past.

- When Manson put
ideas in his minions

to where he's pretty
much the puppet master

and he's doing his puppets to
do his dirty works for him.

- Brooks family being
like the Manson family,

yeah, I would have
to agree with that.

They are like that.

- They're a family
that makes sense,

whatever she meant by that.

- Yes.

- It's a cultish type of
thing and I really believe

they saw her as an easy target.

- We was at the Salvation
Army and she came in

- We was at the Salvation
Army and she came in

with the Brookses and she
seen me and she kinda lit up

because she'd always
smile, ya know.

Like that, ya know.

And she'd come over,
she put her hood up

and then as she walked
by, "Can't talk.

And then as she walked
by, "Can't talk.

"Can't talk. Can't talk."

- She had stopped and I
put my arms around her

and gave her a big hug and
asked her where her baby was

and she said,

"Oh, she's at home," but
boy she just run away.

"Oh, she's at home," but
boy she just run away.

I mean flat run.

It wasn't no
stoppin' and talkin'

and that's not Vera.

- 'Cause they didn't want
her to talk to no one

about what was happening

about what was happening

at the house.

That's what they were afraid of.

- They basically did not
allow Vera to maintain

a relationship with her parents.

- (Narrator) It didn't take
long for people to see a change.

- (Narrator) It didn't take
long for people to see a change.

- Before she started
datin' Zach she was happy.

- She was pretty much outgoing.

I mean, she loved to
sing, she liked to dance.

I mean, she loved to
sing, she liked to dance.

- Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton.

She liked all the older country.

- But once she moved
in with them it just,

- But once she moved
in with them it just,

she changed real quick.

- What I can't see is
the Vera that I knew

willingly massaging
Cheri's feet.

- That was her job there,
was to rub her feet.

She has foot problems,
diabetes or something.

But that was her job.

- And when she did Mom's feet
if she did somethin' wrong

- And when she did Mom's feet
if she did somethin' wrong

Mom would hit her
with the itchy stick.

- Well, Cheri had this like, uh,

it's not a backscratcher but
it's a little bit thicker.

She'd just whap her
alongside the head.

"Don't touch my baby."

"Don't touch my baby."

- And Vera would just keep
tellin' her, "I'm sorry,

"I'm sorry."

- She'd say, "I'm sorry,
I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

Why she was sayin' I'm
sorry for, I don't know.

Why she was sayin' I'm
sorry for, I don't know.

Because I guess she just felt
she was doin' somethin' wrong.

- (Narrator) They even
made her sleep with a pig.

- You're allowed to have
a pig live in a closet

to where he urinates

to where he urinates

and has feces all over?

- (Wilbert) "Oh no, I'd
never make her sleep

"with the pig."

- Of course she did.

She made her sleep with the pig.

She made her sleep with the pig.

- They had the cops
called continuously.

Children's Services
called continuously.

And God knows why
nobody done anything,

you know to even
remove the baby itself

- Exactly.
- Out of that home.

- Exactly.
- Out of that home.

I don't understand that.

- She was such a frequent
flier as well call them

that you could answer the phone

and as soon as she
says the first word

you know who it is.

You know who it is.

You eventually become kinda
desensitized to them calling

and it's not that
people mean to do that,

it's just that you know
that the major problems

are ones that nobody's
gonna cooperate.

Are ones that nobody's
gonna cooperate.

- Vera told the cops, "No,
I'm not movin' back home

"with you guys."

And the cop said,
"How old are you?"

- Vera's cognitive level I
would compare to my daughter

- Vera's cognitive level I
would compare to my daughter

who's eight years old, okay?

I wouldn't expect the police
to take my daughter's word

for it, you know what I mean?

- Because Vera even told
CPS when CPS asked her,

- Because Vera even told
CPS when CPS asked her,

"Vera are you endanger here?

"Do you like it livin' here?"

Vera said, "I love Cheri.

"I love stayin' here with
Cheri and her family."

"I love stayin' here with
Cheri and her family."

She says, "Cheri's my family.

"She helps me out

and I would never leave Cheri."

- They came back
here and told me

that they talked to her and
because she was 24 years old,

that they talked to her and
because she was 24 years old,

even though her mind was
an eight year-old mind,

they couldn't do anything
because she was 24 years old

and she made her choice.

It was her bed, she
needed to lie in it.

It was her bed, she
needed to lie in it.

- (Narrator) It
was total control.

- And they'd make her do, like,
just pretty much everything

and nobody else would get up

and do somethin'
around the house.

And do somethin'
around the house.

It was always her.

- They actually treated
her like a slave.

- They wanted her as a
slave and her SSI check

that she got first of the month.

- That was legal.

They got that done.

They got that done.

Don't know how they
did it and who,

I mean they must know enough.

- 'Cause it sounds like they
got a pretty good racket goin'.

Maybe I oughta go on SSI

and have people
stay here with me

and have people
stay here with me

and they sign over
their paychecks to me.

- And each of 'em gettin'
around 700 a month?

Comin' in to one place?

- Cheri's on disability,

all of her kids
are on disability,

all of her kids
are on disability,

and then everybody else
that moves in with them

are on disability.

- (Narrator) But more
than Vera's money,

Cheri wanted her womb.

- Everybody that gets pregnant
that lives in that house,

you know, Cheri says,

"Oh, I hope you have
a girl," you know.

- (Narrator) Vera
Jo Reigle was killed

because of two
conflicting motives.

- I have four kids of my own.

- I have four kids of my own.

I have three girls and one boy.

Well, when I first
had my first daughter

she said she wanted it
because it's a girl.

- 'Cause in her mind any
girl that she could get

- 'Cause in her mind any
girl that she could get

she was gonna get.

- (Narrator) The
primary motive was based

in Cheri's obsession
with baby girls,

an abnormal perversion
that began in childhood

when she, like Vera was sexually
abused by her own father.

When she, like Vera was sexually
abused by her own father.

- And he molested her
quite often, I guess.

- (Narrator) The man who
nicknamed her Sugar Babe.

- That's her number one name
right there, Sugar Babe.

- That's her number one name
right there, Sugar Babe.

That's what everybody calls her.

- Since I was a little girl
my dad gave that name to me

before I was put
in a foster home.

Before I was put
in a foster home.

- I actually felt sorry for her.

She did tell me about,
you know, her experiences

with her father and
how he had raped her.

And I began to kinda
understand a little bit

of how this woman come
to be the way she is.

- (Narrator) As a young child,
Cheri and her three siblings

- (Narrator) As a young child,
Cheri and her three siblings

became wards of the state.

- She was put in
the children's home,

taken away from her mom, when
she was, like, three years old

and then she came
back when she was 16.

- (Narrator) It was then
she made her first attempt

- (Narrator) It was then
she made her first attempt

to take someone else's baby.

- She told us when she
come home and she was 16

that she had a baby
over here in Tiffin

that she had a baby
over here in Tiffin

and that Welfare
wouldn't let her have it.

- And my mother would always
say, "Did you have a baby

"while you were in
foster care because if so

"while you were in
foster care because if so

"I'm gonna go get it."

- Because it was Cheri's
baby and that would've been

my first grandbaby so
I was gonna get it.

But Bea and them said no
it wasn't Cheri's baby

it was a foster baby there, too.

It wasn't her baby
in the first place.

It wasn't her baby
in the first place.

And then we talked to
Sandy and Sandy Schneider

says, that's the welfare
lady that was takin' her case

and stuff, said that
she is an obituary liar

and stuff, said that
she is an obituary liar

and that's why, she's
a fantasy world,

she lives in a
fantasy world like.

And that way whatever she thinks
that's what really happens

And that way whatever she thinks
that's what really happens

in her world.

- Well see, she'll tell ya
somethin' totally opposite

than what everybody
else is tellin' her.

She'll lie.

She'll lie.

- She many, many
times has done it

and people have
fallen in her trickery

and they believe
everything she said.

And they believe
everything she said.

- Because she's convincing
about everything.

I mean, she convinces
everybody everything.

(Somber piano music)

- "Who will hold your
hand as each one walks out

"of your home to pain
that will put my mark

in your hand," and I'm
talkin' about Cheri

losin' all of her
kids one at a time.

- I'm really confused about
all that because I thought

once you have kids taken
that you're not allowed,

once you have kids taken
that you're not allowed,

especially if you have five.

You have all those kids
taken and then you have

a second round of kids and
you're allowed to keep those?

- They removed
Maria and two other,

well Scottie was
one, Michael was one,

well Scottie was
one, Michael was one,

and then there was another
one but I don't know the name.

- Which was Joshua, Michael,
Maria, and little Cheri,

was all taken away from me.

Was all taken away from me.

- (Narrator) In
three of the cases,

she lost custody at least
in part due to reports

of sexual abuse.

- My sister was comin'
over to pick her up,

wantin' to take her
out to her house

wantin' to take her
out to her house

and railroad tracks is
right beside her house,

so there was a train goin' by.

She didn't hear
my sister knockin'

and she was even
hollerin' out Cheri's name

and she was even
hollerin' out Cheri's name

and Cheri didn't
answer and she said

when she walked in there Cheri
was supposed to be givin',

little baby bathtub thing there,

and she was holdin' the
baby up like this here

and she was holdin' the
baby up like this here

suckin' its penis.

- She's sick enough that
she even molested me

when I was younger.

- (Narrator) Cheri's
first five children

were not removed as a group.

Were not removed as a group.

She would have one,
lose it to CPS,

then have another over
and over and over.

- I seen her more attached
when the baby girl was born

than when she was with the boys.

Than when she was with the boys.

I mean, when that girl was born

she wouldn't let her
out of her sight.

Let no one hold the baby

or if someone did
she would, like,

look at them until
they put the baby down.

Look at them until
they put the baby down.

It was just like,

kind of obsess with Maria.

- (Narrator) By all accounts
it was the loss of this child,

baby Maria, that
was most traumatic.

Baby Maria, that
was most traumatic.

- She'll always be my girl,
my little girl, no matter what

in that she's my first daughter
and that I always want her

to know that she's
always welcomed here

to know that she's
always welcomed here

to meet me any time she wants.

- Every other kid she had she
didn't take care of right,

- Every other kid she had she
didn't take care of right,

but Maria, she did
real good with Maria.

We really was proud of her.

She kept her for a whole year.

- (Narrator) But in
the spring of 1987

Cheri reverted to her old ways

Cheri reverted to her old ways

and things went horribly wrong.

- My brother one night
called me up sayin'

that we needed to take
the baby to the hospital,

that she had been molested.

That she had been molested.

She was bleeding
from the vagina.

- Somebody had raped
our little Maria

because when she went
to change her diaper

she was all bloody down there.

She was all bloody down there.

- (Narrator) That night
Cheri reclaimed her baby

but the authorities
were on her trail.

- They told her to take her
to the doctor the next day.

Well, Cheri didn't
take her to the doctor.

Well, Cheri didn't
take her to the doctor.

So, we went over and she says,

"Mom, take Maria home with ya."

- That was at Easter
time one time.

- That was at Easter
time one time.

I took Scottie home with
me and I gave her Maria

to take home for the night.

- And she never let me
take Maria home at all.

She says, "I'll keep
Scottie over here

"and you take Maria home."

"And you take Maria home."

So, I did.

Knock comes to my
door next morning

and here it was the
sheriff wantin' Maria.

(Somber piano music)

(train whistle blows)

- She wanted all of her boys
to at least have one kid

by the time they were 16 or 17.

- (Narrator) An example
of this is Gina Lopez,

a 15 year-old girl with
a troubled family life

a 15 year-old girl with
a troubled family life

who fell in love with Cheri's
second to youngest son, Garth.

- She was like,
"Gimme a grandbaby.

"I like grandbabies.

"I want another grandbaby."

"I want another grandbaby."

- (Narrator) And as soon as
she was carrying a Brooks baby,

like Vera before her, the
stalking and the threats began.

- I had a job at the time.

I was workin' at this
little shop at the corner

I was workin' at this
little shop at the corner

of Center and Main Street.

I was workin' there and
they would follow me.

- Cheri, Zachary,
Garth, and Chuckie,

they all work as a team.

- (Gina) Chuckie would be the
one that always followed me

most of the time.

Zachary would sometimes.

- And then when they
knew it was time

- And then when they
knew it was time

for her to get off
they would send,

it was mostly Chuckie.

They would send him down
to like kinda spy on her

to see where she went after work

to see where she went after work

or if she came
back to the house.

- (Narrator)
Fortunately for Gina,

her pregnancy ended
in a miscarriage

and she was able to
reconcile with her mother

and move to Kentucky.

Putting a couple of hundred
miles between herself

Putting a couple of hundred
miles between herself

and the madness up in Findlay.

(Train whistle blowing)
(somber piano music)

- Vera loved that baby.

That was Vera's pride
and joy right there.

- She was the one that
was always babysittin'

- She was the one that
was always babysittin'

for Stacy's little girl.

She always had her,

so I could see her
really being a mother

to her own child.

To her own child.

- (Narrator) Except
Cheri was in charge

and she saw things different.

- Cheri had a lot of boys.

I think she was really,
really obsessed with girls,

especially since Maria

was taken away from her.

Was taken away from her.

- And I think, you
know, with Vera,

I mean she has a chance to,

you know, she has a
chance to take that one

rather easily.

- Cheri's always wanted
a baby girl again.

- Cheri's always wanted
a baby girl again.

She was gonna have
somebody make her a child,

another daughter, and
then she was gonna try

to take 'em away from her.

- Cheri said, "That's my
kid if you get a girl."

- Cheri said, "That's my
kid if you get a girl."

And she told Zachary
it better be a girl.

- She did tell Zachary
that if it turns out

to be a girl that she wanted
him to sign off his rights

to be a girl that she wanted
him to sign off his rights

to her and he did that.

He said that was fine.

- (Narrator) And this
was not just any womb

- (Narrator) And this
was not just any womb

chosen for the assignment
because Cheri once targeted

Vera herself to
replace her lost baby.

- Yeah, I was there
when she lost Maria.

- Yeah, I was there
when she lost Maria.

'Cause we lived on

Sandusky Street, a white
apartment house there

and her and her ex-husband
Mike lived upstairs.

And her and her ex-husband
Mike lived upstairs.

- (Narrator) For five
months from the time

baby Vera was born in November

until the sheriff took
baby Maria at Easter,

the two little girls
lived in separate units

of the exact same house.

Of the exact same house.

- She was trying to
take over on Vera

when Vera was a
baby and I told her,

"No, that's my baby."

- (Narrator) And so
remarkable, Cheri ended up

- (Narrator) And so
remarkable, Cheri ended up

taking the baby of the baby

she tried to get
24 years earlier,

claiming custody of baby Willadean before she was even born.

- Vera was like way out here.

- Vera was like way out here.

You would talk to Cheri
or you would see Cheri,

"My baby's in there.

"My baby.

"That's my baby, my baby."

You know, it's always "my baby."

You know, it's always "my baby."

- They kept on tellin' Willadean
that Vera wasn't her mom,

that Cheri was her mom.

- And every time Willadean
wanted to come to her mom,

- And every time Willadean
wanted to come to her mom,

like her learning how to walk,

she'd walk around and
she'd see her mommy

and she'd wanna run
up to her mommy,

and Vera would say, "No,
no, no, I'll get in trouble

and Vera would say, "No,
no, no, I'll get in trouble

"if I touch you."

- See, I seen Cheri
after Willadean was born,

maybe, I don't know, four
or five months later.

"You see my new baby?"

I said, "Well, that's Vera's."

"No, it's mine.

"No, it's mine.

"I adopted this baby."

So it was no longer Vera's.

Vera could not do
anything with the baby.

She touched the
baby, Zach hit her.

She touched the
baby, Zach hit her.

That was Cheri's
baby, not Vera's.

- (Narrator) Another
example of Cheri's control

appears in the date
of the child's birth.

- Well, I'm November
3rd, she's November 4th.

- Well, I'm November
3rd, she's November 4th.

- (Narrator) It is here
we glimpse the true depth

of Cheri's madness.

- She gave her castor
oil and orange juice.

- To have the baby
come out earlier

than what it was supposed to be.

- (Narrator)
According to a website

for the castor oil industry,
the recommended dosage

for inducing labor with this
old midwifing technique,

for inducing labor with this
old midwifing technique,

is two tablespoons.

- Because she gave
her that castor oil,

gave Vera three bottles of it.

- And it was about
three bottles, yeah.

- And it was about
three bottles, yeah.

- To make her go into labor

so she'd be there
for her birthday.

- Well, it didn't
happen on her birthday.

It was the day after.

It was the day after.

'Cause she brags about that.

She said, "Well, we didn't
get it on my birthday,

"but it was close."

- So, she was an early
baby and she ended up

with having, in the
hospital for a while

because she had heart problems.

Because she had heart problems.

- Supposedly her original
date was supposed to be

December 6, that she was
supposed to come out.

But she decided she
was comin' out to have

pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes

pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes

with Mawmaw for Thanksgiving.

So she come out early.

'Cause she wanted to
meet her Mawmaw. (Laughs)

'Cause she wanted to
meet her Mawmaw. (Laughs)

(somber piano music)

- (Narrator) The secondary
motive was far more common.

- (Narrator) The secondary
motive was far more common.

- I don't think he really
wanted to be with her anymore.

He wanted to be
with other people

but he couldn't because Cheri
wouldn't let Vera leave.

- And he just said that they
needed to get rid of her

and that he was seein'
some other girl.

- Completely over.

- She wanted Zachary because,
well, they had a baby together

and she wanted
Zachary for herself.

- Zachary, he would get really
mad of her being jealous

and go over the wall sometimes.

- (Narrator) At first,
before she got beaten

into submission, Vera
would fight back.

Into submission, Vera
would fight back.

- Vera sometimes
could be rebellious.

She had a lot of anger.

- Vera could cuss you.

Vera could tear you up.

Vera could tear you up.

- Zachary ain't allowed
to talk to a girl

or look at 'em or anything.

She was always mad.

- (Narrator) And when
she got mad, he got mad.

- He whipped a phone at
her face, like right here.

- He whipped a phone at
her face, like right here.

- Her eyebrow ring
came completely out.

- Like, meat was
hangin' out and stuff.

- I raised my kids
not to hit a girl.

But if they're gonna put
theirselves in a man's place

But if they're gonna put
theirselves in a man's place

then yeah, then do it.

- (Narrator) In a normal
family the father would step in

and stop this kind of abuse,
but not Kevin Brooks, Sr.

And stop this kind of abuse,
but not Kevin Brooks, Sr.

- He's the opposite of Cheri.

Where Cheri was loud and
up front and boisterous,

Kevin was a background
person who liked to stay out

Kevin was a background
person who liked to stay out

of everything and
mind his own business.

- (Narrator) Even when
minding his own business

meant letting Vera get beaten.

- No, he's a arch coward.

- And you think this
thing's happen in one day?

- And you think this
thing's happen in one day?

It's been going on for
moths and moths and months.

- (Narrator) And when it became
clear that they were really

going to kill her, Kevin
looked out for Kevin.

- He already did his 30 days,

- He already did his 30 days,

but he had, at the time,
waiting for his 30 days

to get in lock-up, he was like,
"If you're goin' to kill her

"wait 'til I'm in jail so
that way I have an alibi."

Those were his exact words.

Those were his exact words.

- (Narrator) Crazy as it sounds,

if Vera was going to be saved
it would have to have been

one of the Brooks boys.

- That was Punky.

He was the one that was
killed in an accident.

He was the one that was
killed in an accident.

- (Narrator)
Unfortunately, the only one

with enough balls to stand
up to Cheri was already dead.

- He ran that household.

Punky ran that household.

Punky ran that household.

His dad and mom were
both afraid of him.

- (Narrator) On July 3rd the
summer before Vera's murder,

Punky was walking
with his girlfriend

on a dark, rural highway.

On a dark, rural highway.

- They were heading
towards their town

to go see the fireworks.

- That's not what I was told.

- That's what Cheri told me,
he was goin' for the fireworks.

But yeah, I know he was goin'

But yeah, I know he was goin'

for a drug thing.
- He was goin' to get

Heather's heroin.

- You know, cab drivin' by
couldn't see him, then bang!

- She was really crazy
because of him dyin'

- She was really crazy
because of him dyin'

and the ashes are still at
the house and everything

and she won't bury him.

- My son's layin' up
there on the bottom shelf

- My son's layin' up
there on the bottom shelf

in that box.

- It seems like
she'd gotten worse.

I mean, it's just
like Cheri went crazy.

- I mean, you talk about
Punky, Punky is like wow,

Punky you know, all the
girls went wild for Punky.

Punky you know, all the
girls went wild for Punky.

- (Narrator) From
the night he was hit

Cheri could not accept her
son's death was an accident.

Now she was out for revenge.

Now she was out for revenge.

- The accident happened
20 minutes before

they got any call

and Cheri was all mad about that

and Cheri was all mad about that

and then was tryin' to
put the blame on Heather

sayin' that Heather
pushed Punky.

- Cheri had told Heather, you
know, "I just want the truth.

"Did you push him?"

And Heather looked at her and
said, "No, I did not do it."

- (Narrator) But when it
comes to Cheri's fantasies,

what actually happened
doesn't really matter.

- Heather pushed Punky in
front of the Accurate cab

to help kill my son that night.

- Cheri said that Heather is
the one that killed Punky,

had it set up so that's
why Cheri had Marsi

beat Heather up for it.

- Marsi was, I believe she
was standing on the porch.

- Marsi was, I believe she
was standing on the porch.

She was like standing by Cheri.

Cheri had whispered to
her, she said, "I need you

"to do me a favor."

- That went down crazy.

- That went down crazy.

- Then outta nowhere
Marsi just takes her hand

and starts punchin'
her in the face.

- Then took her by
the head of the hair

and rolled her down the steps

and started beaten
the hell out of her.

And started beaten
the hell out of her.

- They were like,
"Bring her to the road.

"Curb stomp her."

- And at that time
Heather's nose

was like bleeding really bad

and you could see
that it was broken.

- All she kept sayin' is,
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry,"

- All she kept sayin' is,
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry,"

and she kept puttin'
her hands up in the air

and Zachary said, "This
is fucked up." (Chuckles)

- Then Marsi told her, you
know, that'll teach you

to ever mess with
my family again.

To ever mess with
my family again.

- Because you killed Punky.

You had Punky killed and
you took the best thing

away from us all when
you had Punky killed.

- (Narrator) Like his brother
Zach as well as Danny Bixler,

Punky was a member of
the Crips street gang.

- Punky was supposably
a Crip, and Zachary.

- Punky was supposably
a Crip, and Zachary.

- Punky says that he wanted
to get Zach to take his place.

To be able to fight like he does

and they wanna run this town.

- (Narrator) It was then
that Cheri and Zachary

- (Narrator) It was then
that Cheri and Zachary

really turned on Vera.

- At times I live with them
and everything else, you know.

They were gettin'
along great, you know.

"Love you," kisses
and everything else

"Love you," kisses
and everything else

and then all of a
sudden Punky dies,

it's, you know, "I
wanna beat her."

- (Narrator) The pattern
began to take shape.

- There was a candy bar

in the room where they had

Punky's little memorial thing.

- I know (mumbles),
he and Punky,

- I know (mumbles),
he and Punky,

they were really tight together.

- I guess the candy bar
was supposably for Punky

and Vera ended up eatin'
it because she was hungry

and Vera ended up eatin'
it because she was hungry

and they told her she
couldn't get out of the room.

- And Alyssa went off on
her and she actually had her

on the ground and she punched
her, like, maybe twice.

- (Narrator) This game
of trumping up a charge

- (Narrator) This game
of trumping up a charge

to get someone else to beat Vera

was not an isolated incident.

- He was thinkin' of people
who could beat the crap

out of Vera badly, so
he just got on his phone

out of Vera badly, so
he just got on his phone

and he started callin'
people or textin' people

and as soon as they got the
word they came rushin' over.

- (Narrator) Zachary
Brooks, tough new leader

- (Narrator) Zachary
Brooks, tough new leader

of the Findlay Crips, was
texting his dead brother's

old girlfriends to
come over and assault

his defenseless baby mama.

- Crystal pushes her
down on the floor

- Crystal pushes her
down on the floor

and Zachary's yellin' at her,
"Come on, hit her, hit her."

- (Narrator) And they do it.

(Bell dinging)

(train whistle blows)

(train whistle blows)

The location was chosen
for a very personal reason.

- They tried to do the same
identical thing to Vera

that happened to Travis.

That happened to Travis.

Take her to the railroad tracks

and lay her out for the--
- Exactly.

- Train to run over her and
cut her head open and you know.

- (Narrator) Travis
Puckett was the son

of Cheri's baby sister Tabitha.

Of Cheri's baby sister Tabitha.

- My nephew Travis
was 16 years old

and my sister told him to get
the hell out of her house.

- (Narrator) The
same age as Zachary,

- (Narrator) The
same age as Zachary,

Travis became part of
the Brooks boys gang,

hanging out at a local
park riding skateboards.

- He went takin'
off down the road

and that's when he jumped
the railroad tracks.

And that's when he jumped
the railroad tracks.

- 'Cause it was two trains
comin' at the same time,

so he couldn't do nothin'.

- And went Travis went to
jump, Travis slipped under

- And went Travis went to
jump, Travis slipped under

and (hands smack) and
off came Travis's head.

- He looked back like this
to see his brother Curtis

and when he did

the other train came
and that's when he got,

the other train came
and that's when he got,

she says like hamburger.

- And then he was smashed
up like hamburger.

- (Narrator) But
what's important is not

whether Cheri and Zachary
consciously wanted

whether Cheri and Zachary
consciously wanted

to imitate Travis's
death, it's that they told

the killers about their
vendetta against Vera.

- I think she was
thinkin' about it

when Vera accidentally
dropped a brick on her foot.

- I asked her to come
outside with me and help me

clean the rabbit
cage and I had a tarp

clean the rabbit
cage and I had a tarp

on top of the rabbit cage.

- And there was like four
bricks to keep the tarp on there

so that way it
doesn't blow away.

- (Nicole) She told me also
that Vera had thrown rocks,

- (Nicole) She told me also
that Vera had thrown rocks,

big huge like
rocks onto her feet

and that's why her
feet had to be wrapped.

- Zachary come runnin' outside

- Zachary come runnin' outside

and he said,
"What's wrong, Mom?"

I said, "Bitch fuckin'
dropped that rock on my foot.

"I need help."

He said, "What?"

He said, "What?"

I said, "She fuckin'
threw that rock on my foot

"and it hurts.

"Get it off."

- Zachary and all
them, they're sayin'

that she intentionally did it.

That she intentionally did it.

- And I yelled at her,
said, "You fuckin' bitch!"

I said, "You fuckin' hit
me with a fuckin' rock,

"you fuckin' bitch."

- (Narrator) The
slave had committed

a fatal error.

- Nope, she didn't apologize.

She never apologizes.

- (Narrator) From this point
on things went downhill.

- (Narrator) From this point
on things went downhill.

- It all happened,
events after that.

After she got the
bricks, was on her foot.

- The rock hit on
Cheri's foot and then

- The rock hit on
Cheri's foot and then

that's when they
were going to plan

on throwing Vera on the tracks.

(Train whistle blowing)

- Cheri made a little joke
about wanting to drug Vera

with her sleeping pills and
Zachary wanted to get her high

and everything and
then mix those together

and then let her walk
the tracks at nighttime.

Eventually she would
fall over and lay right

Eventually she would
fall over and lay right

in the middle of the tracks.

- When she said you
need to cut her up

and put her on the tracks,
then she looked towards Vera,

smiled, and turned back.

Smiled, and turned back.

- And there would be
no way of the conductor

to stop the train in time.

- She thought if she did
get squished by the train

- She thought if she did
get squished by the train

then there wouldn't
be any fingerprints

because you would be
like hamburger meat.

- So basically she
wanted to kill her.

(Train whistle blowing)

(somber music)

- (Narrator) On
Sunday March 20th,

Danny and Nicole ran from
the assault charge in Tiffin

Danny and Nicole ran from
the assault charge in Tiffin

and arrived at the Brooks house.

That evening they met
a being named Vera who,

already living in a
perpetual state of terror,

already living in a
perpetual state of terror,

could no longer be
considered human.

- She stayed in her room 24/7.

She barely ever came out
unless Cheri called her.

She barely ever came out
unless Cheri called her.

- She was basically like this.

Wouldn't look you in the eye.

Wouldn't talk.

If somebody walked in the house,

she'd go to the
bedroom by herself.

She'd go to the
bedroom by herself.

- If she's sitting there
and just curled up like this

and looking up like
this every now and then

and then going
back down, I mean,

you get this idea
that she was probably

pretty much psychically
dead anyway.

Pretty much psychically
dead anyway.

- (Narrator) Meanwhile,
Vera's baby daddy

had found a kindred
spirit bonding

with his long lost Crip brother.

- They seemed very
dependent on each other.

They seemed very close for
just knowing each other

for that little of time.

For that little of time.

- (Narrator) For
the next four days,

they unleashed an animalistic
rage that is hard,

but not impossible, to explain.

- Cheri Brooks and
the entire family

- Cheri Brooks and
the entire family

was telling Danny stories.

- (Narrator) For the past
three years he lived here

at Allen Correctional.

- Guys who in prison
had been raped

when they come out it's
like they wanna get revenge

when they come out it's
like they wanna get revenge

on somebody.

- (Narrator) And gang
bangers and their bloody code

of survival is very, very real.

Of survival is very, very real.

- Well, I know she's
all about the Crip stuff

because when we were at
dinner she was talkin'

all about Punky bein' a Crip.

And she had a blue bandana
around his flowers.

- (Man) Do you think
Cheri thinks she's a Crip?

- (Man) Do you think
Cheri thinks she's a Crip?

- Yeah, for sure.

- (Man) So, as far as
this gang affiliation,

who's the first Crip
amongst the Brookses?

- Punky.

- (Narrator) This is
why when interviewed

- (Narrator) This is
why when interviewed

for this project, Danny's
response was so chilling.

- When he mentioned
something about Punky,

they all get this thing of

thinkin' that she's
disrespectful to Punky.

- (Narrator) But she was
being accused of more

than just disrespecting Punky.

Than just disrespecting Punky.

Zachary and Cheri told
Danny, who was in prison

when it happened, that
she had murdered him.

In their most
vicious lie of all,

knowing full well
how he would react,

knowing full well
how he would react,

they convinced Danny it
was Vera who pushed Punky

in front of the cab.

- Oh my God.

- No, but that

is just messed up
just to tell anybody

Vera was the one to push
Punky because there was a lot

Vera was the one to push
Punky because there was a lot

of people that would
take up for Punky.

- (Narrator) So not
only was Vera a threat

to Cheri's precious
baby, Willadean, she also

killed the Brooks gang's leader.

Killed the Brooks gang's leader.

Now Cheri wanted
something done about it.

- Nicole was just another
opportunity for her

to do her mind games with.

- She wants to be a
people pleaser so bad.

- She wants to be a
people pleaser so bad.

She wants friends so
bad that she just,

she couldn't see
it comin' at all.

Especially not with someone
as conniving as Cheri is.

- From what she
either says or does,

- From what she
either says or does,

everybody else follows and
just does what they're told.

- It was like the
female Charlie Manson.

Like if Charlie Manson had
a girl form it would be her.

Like if Charlie Manson had
a girl form it would be her.

- Cheri is the one
that told him to do it.

He did say that.

- Since she knew
Danny was in the Crips

and she believes
that she is a Crip,

and she believes
that she is a Crip,

she pretty much put
into Danny's mind,

like, hey, help us out.

- (Narrator) Then Cheri's
little helpers got busy.

- Chuckie's pad lock
from his school locker

- Chuckie's pad lock
from his school locker

was sitting on the stand
and they just happened

to pick it up and
hook it to the belt

and all of a sudden
that's when they started

and all of a sudden
that's when they started

hittin' Vera in the head
and the body with it.

- It was their weapon
of choice after that.

That and a big long paddle
with a number 3 on it.

- Nicole took the paddle
and beat Vera's ass

and Vera had a
bruise on her ass.

And all Vera had
on was a t-shrit

and her underwear.

And her underwear.

- (Narrator) And the
more Vera screamed,

the more it became sexual.

- I think Nicole gets
off of a lot of violence.

- And Nicky was like, like
she was gettin' real excited

- And Nicky was like, like
she was gettin' real excited

and then she'd go over
and start kissin' on Danny

like she was bein' turned
on for what she was doin'.

- I think once Danny
started beatin' her,

- I think once Danny
started beatin' her,

he couldn't stop.

He got off on it.

Basically he says, now
this is gettin' fun.

- When she got hit her
hand went up like this

- When she got hit her
hand went up like this

and it accidentally
hit Nicole's boob

and Nicole said, oh,
(hands smack) bam,

right across the face.

Right across the face.

Now you're doin' a
lesbian act on me?

- After the beatings
Vera, they would run up

to the room where
they were sleeping at

to pretty much get it on.

- The idea that after
they had beaten Vera

- The idea that after
they had beaten Vera

they would go
upstairs and have sex

would also indicate
that there was

some sort of real psychological
thrill about this.

- I don't know if you
know, but almost every bone

- I don't know if you
know, but almost every bone

in her face was broke.

A lot of that's from being
slugged for lookin' at Danny.

- Nicole punched Vera right
square in the nose like this.

- Nicole punched Vera right
square in the nose like this.

- Vera was not even
interested in Danny.

That was all brought up
because Cheri kept sayin',

"Yeah, Vera will
sleep with any of 'em.

"She slept with all my sons.

"She'll sleep with Danny, too."

"She'll sleep with Danny, too."

- And then as soon as
they would beat on her,

they'd run right
upstairs and have sex

and then come right back
down and beat on Vera again

like it turned 'em on.

Like it turned 'em on.

- (Narrator) By this
admission, when you consider

whose bedroom was
downstairs, Danny and Nicole

were not the only ones
getting off on it.

Were not the only ones
getting off on it.

- It always happens
in Mother's room

for some reason.

- (Interviewer) All
the beatings were in

your Mom's room?
- Yes.

- Cheri just spoke out.

She just said, "Hit her again."

- She thinks it's cute of Vera
havin' black eyes and stuff,

- She thinks it's cute of Vera
havin' black eyes and stuff,

said she looks like
a little squirrel.

- Like, she wants everybody
to know that she wanted her

to be hit.

- She kept hittin'
her head like this

- She kept hittin'
her head like this

on the dresser and Nicky
kept sayin', "Can I kill her?

"Can I kill her?

"Can I kill her?

- (Narrator) And through it
all, to quote Danny Bixler,

- (Narrator) And through it
all, to quote Danny Bixler,

Vera just took it.

- That's when he pretty
much mud stomped.

It's a southern term.

It's where when they're on
the ground you just stomp 'em

It's where when they're on
the ground you just stomp 'em

until they're
pretty much weakened

to where they can't
even get up again.

- When somebody gets
beat up in prison

they call it that way.

- (Narrator) Her injuries
from the mud stomping

- (Narrator) Her injuries
from the mud stomping

were all too evident
the following day

when, amazingly, they took
a break from beating Vera

and walked her across
the street to lunch.

- Somebody else actually
told us what she wanted.

- Somebody else actually
told us what she wanted.

It looked like her
lip had been busted

right here.

- We talked about it
after we were done.

After they had left we all
says, "Man, did you see

After they had left we all
says, "Man, did you see

"that girl's face?"

- I'd made the comment
to Shane and a couple

of other people, I said, "Man,

"she looks like she went through
the windshield of a car."

"She looks like she went through
the windshield of a car."

(Dramatic music)

- (Narrator) As it became
clear the legal system

was going to
minimize the enormity

was going to
minimize the enormity

of what had happened to
Vera, frustration grew

throughout the community.

This led to the formation
of Voices for Vera,

an activist group dedicated
to bringing the people

an activist group dedicated
to bringing the people

who brutalized her to justice.

- We don't understand.

We don't know why that
there was only two people

that was charged
with this murder.

There was so many
people involved,

and there's only two people
that's bein' charged with it.

Except for lying to the police.

Wow.

- (Narrator) Nor did anyone
in the prosecutor's office

figure out the
author of these lies,

evidenced by how the
judge sentenced Cheri

for passing on
secondhand information

that she herself had created.

- Mrs. Brooks has a relatively
long criminal history,

mostly minor offenses,

those of a minor
nature, but at least one

felony offense,
albeit some years ago.

With respect to Ms. Brooks
involvement in this particular

case it appears that
Ms. Brooks participation

is slightly, and I
underscore slightly,

less serious than that of the
others who've been involved

because it appears that her
crime involves the passing

along of secondhand
information, which nonetheless

misled the officers,
but it appears to be

more of a secondhand information
that she passed along

as opposed to
firsthand information.

- (Narrator) Not only
was the court fooled

about Cheri's role in
making it the cover story,

no one even bothered
to determine

when she told her
family to say it.

- Yes.

- When Vera was sleeping

from her bruises, 'cause
I had to actually do

her dang feet that night.

- Yeah, there was one
night I had to do her feet

because Vera was too wounded to.

- (Narrator) Scottie is
talking about Thursday

following Vera's mud stomping.

- I believe yes, I believe he
did do her feet that night.

- And that's when she said
if they would kill her,

"I hope they don't."

Like, you know, throwing it off.

That we would have
to have a cover story

to protect this family.

- They had to think of
something and put blame

on certain people to still
try to keep certain members

of the family out of it.

- The secondhand
information means

that Shannon told me
that they took Vera

up to the tracks and that
they degutted her like a fish

and that they left
her up there to die.

And Shannon said,
"Don't worry about it

"because she deserved it."

- It's like this.

You're looking at this
hand while something else

is going on in this hand.

But you're pretty much more
interested in this hand.

- That's probably
what was in her head,

was to take Willadean
away from Vera,

get Vera out of
the picture so that

she could have Willadean
as her own child

and have her raise it

as hers and Michael's

and it's not her child.

I mean, there's nothin' wrong
helpin' Vera with the child,

givin' it baths,
helpin' her feed her

and helpin' her change her,

you know, taking care
of her, but she didn't

have to kill Vera,
have Vera killed

just to take her baby from her.

- (Narrator) Yet,
incredible as it sounds,

this absurd projection
of Cheri's own motive

became the basis of the
state of Ohio's case

against Vera's killers.

- The official
version of events,

Danny Bixler
indicated he was upset

with Vera Jo for spraying

pepper spray in the home.

- Not that Shannon
had no involvement

in Vera's murder, she did.

- (Nicole) It's not only
Cheri that was manipulative.

Shannon Brooks, Michael
Brooks's wife, also

said that she was
three months pregnant.

She was never pregnant.

- Cheri, I guess,
while I was gone

had told Danny
and Nicole that...

I had miscarried.

I never told her
that I was pregnant.

Not one bit did I say
that I was pregnant.

- (Narrator) Except, based
on these Facebook timestamps,

this claim is a demonstrable lie

because in addition to
posting she was pregnant

two days earlier, Shannon
was talking to Cheri

two days earlier, Shannon
was talking to Cheri

about it the morning
of the murder.

- If you go with the flow,
nothin's gonna happen to ya.

However, once you
go with the flow

you do get involved into it and

there's sometimes
no turning back.

- (Narrator) And then
she saw a way out.

- They had said that
Vera had sprayed

the pepper spray
upstairs to where

it was really bad.

- No, Vera never did, but yes,

Shannon did come back furious.

- At Vera.

- (Nicole) Shannon was
like, "That little bitch,

"if she made me lose
my baby, I swear to God

"I'm going to kill her."

"I'm going to kill her."

And when she got back she
said she had a miscarriage

and that she had to get
a D&C and everything else

that goes along
with a miscarriage.

- (Narrator) Nicole
had clearly developed

- (Narrator) Nicole
had clearly developed

a bond with Shannon, but she
didn't understand the game.

- Vera caused it.

Blame everything on Vera.

Vera already caused
everything else.

Vera already caused
everything else.

Vera can cause this, too.

- (Narrator) And
with Danny and Nicole

accepting plea bargains,
the judge responded

to criticism from
Voices for Vera.

- Obviously the facts and
circumstances of this crime

- Obviously the facts and
circumstances of this crime

have been the subject of much
media and public attention.

- Then to hear the judge
say, "Oh, we're gonna provide

"adequate punishment for
the ones involved in this."

30 days deferred with
five years probation

30 days deferred with
five years probation

and two and a half
years reserved.

Dude, put 'em in jail.

- Many interested
persons have spoken out

in the news media.

- You think this is one
step toward some justice?

- You think this is one
step toward some justice?

I mean, what's going
through your mind?

- I'm hoping it's one
step towards justice.

- Others have used various
forms of social media

to express their views.

To express their views.

It is of course the right
of all of our citizens

to speak freely and openly,
especially on matters

of great personal
and public interest.

But while the sanctity of free
speech is beyond question,

But while the sanctity of free
speech is beyond question,

it must also be
remembered that opinion

unconnected to fact, the law,
or for that matter, reality,

must be rejected.

- (Narrator) But what is the
reality the court accepted?

- (Narrator) But what is the
reality the court accepted?

- Daniel Bixler, Shannon
Brooks, Zachary Brooks,

Garth Brooks, Cheri
Brooks, and I agreed

to kill Vera Jo Reigle
on March 26, 2011.

We agreed to do this
because Shannon Brooks

said Vera Jo Reigle
caused her to miscarry.

- (Narrator) Only, was
this really the motive?

- (Narrator) Only, was
this really the motive?

Well, I guess if you
believe the source

used by Nicole's lawyers.

- Nicky's lawyer had came
to the house to talk to me

and was wonderin'
why was Vera killed?

And was wonderin'
why was Vera killed?

Was it because of jealousy
because Nicky thought

she wanted Danny?

Or was it 'cause
of the miscarriage?

And I said, well, for one,

And I said, well, for one,

Vera always will and
always will love Zachary.

She went to her
grave lovin' Zachary.

- (Narrator) So imagine Cheri's
delight at being presented

- (Narrator) So imagine Cheri's
delight at being presented

with a smorgasbord
of her own lies.

- Vera was killed
later on because of

the miscarriage of Shannon.

- (Narrator) But events
leading up to the murder

- (Narrator) But events
leading up to the murder

paint a very different picture.

For example, the first
time Vera got stabbed

wasn't even that day.

- She went into the bathroom

and Danny and them followed her.

And Danny and them followed her.

The first stabbing was when
Danny stabbed her in the leg.

- Well, Cheri said
she took her finger

and stuck it in the hole,

the hole of her sore
where they stabbed her.

- My finger went that
far into her leg.

- My finger went that
far into her leg.

- (Narrator) This
is no nightmare.

This was Vera's
final day of life.

- That is one of
the ones that were

mean to Vera.

- Yes.

- Yes.

- She had to pick up the dog
poop of Jackson and eat it.

- I think they said
Chuckie made her eat

- I think they said
Chuckie made her eat

the dog poop.

- They're all sadistic.

They're all...

They all had to have been.

- I'm talkin' about
they took a plunger

- I'm talkin' about
they took a plunger

and put it up (grunts).

- They sodomized
her with it, yeah.

- She was completely naked.

She was her on her
menstrual period that day.

They took a toothbrush,
they raped her sexually

They took a toothbrush,
they raped her sexually

with the toothbrush.

- And then she had to
use it for her mouth.

- (Narrator) The
following morning,

five hours before
the Mace incident

they were trying
to stab her again.

They were trying
to stab her again.

- Daniel actually

gave me a knife and
asked me if I wanted

to slice her, you
know, cut her up.

- (Narrator) This
was during a visit

from Punky's baby
mama, Angel Might.

- I do know Zachary
was hitting her

and then I can't remember
if it was Danny or Nicole

and then I can't remember
if it was Danny or Nicole

or both of them that actually
started hittin' her, too.

- And tellin' her to, you
know, "Shut up, bitch.

"Be quiet.

"I'm hittin' you," you know.

"Shut the fuck up."

You know, just hit her.

- Her and her mother
and her brother

sat there for 45
minutes they said,

watching this episode goin' on.

- Not only Nicole

and Danny,

but then also little Chuckie
started gettin' into it,

'cause I saw him with a
fishing pole striking Vera.

- Cheri had made up
this thing, I don't know

how true it was, but
supposably Vera had given

little K sour milk.

- She had gave Little
K the same milk

that he went to bed on
instead of comin' out

and rinsin' the cup out
and givin' him fresh milk,

she just went on and gave
that to him and told him,

"Get back on the couch
and lay back down,"

and covered him up.

- She was scared.

- All cru, I mean all...
- All crunched up

in a little ball, like
in a fetal position.

She lifted her head once
and I saw a cut on her nose,

a split lip.

- (Narrator) A half hour after
Angel and her mother left,

the street fight
between the Brookses

and the rival
neighborhood gang broke

out and someone
called the police.

This sent Danny,
Nicole, and Zachary

running to his Aunt
Sam's, Samantha Schwabb's.

They hid there in the
basement until the police left

and were next seen
two hours later

walking in an alley
three miles away.

- I was gettin' ready
to leave to head over

to take my kids someplace
and they was walkin' up

the alley towards my
house and they were like,

"Where you goin'?"

I said, "Well, we're leavin'."

He goes, "Can you give
me a ride to my house?"

- (Narrator) George Speck
lives by the Brooks gang's

favorite hangout,
the skateboard park.

- Nicole Peters, Danny
Bixler, and Zachary.

- (Narrator) His house is
also near something else,

the railroad tracks
where Vera was murdered.

- Danny, Nicole, and Zachary
was at Samantha Schwabb's house

over here, and walked down
these tracks around 4:30.

Now, are you telling
me that they did not

go and try to scout out
a place to kill Vera

five hours later?

- (Narrator) From the bridge
they continued down the tracks

toward Alan Cap's
apartment, which is beside

that rail line, too.

So in addition to
casing the murder scene,

they were also
plotting their escape.

- (Nicole) And we
just started walking.

We were gonna walk
to somebody's house

and they were supposed
to take us to Kentucky.

- (Narrator) We know
this was their plan

because the following
day after Vera was dead

and Danny and Nicole
were arrested,

Zachary started
desperately calling Gina,

trying to use the escape
route for himself.

- Every time he'd call I'd
be like, "No, you don't need

"to be comin' down here.

"They're just gonna put more
stuff on you for runnin' away."

- Now mind you, Danny nor
Nicole knew George Speck

or Alan Cap, so who's
the ring leader?

And where is his sentence?

When is he going to get
charged for all of this?

- (Narrator) By the time
the three co-conspirators

were riding across town in
the back of George's pickup,

they already had a cover story,

the murder scene scouted, and
an escape plan ready to hatch.

By 5:15 the Brooks house was
filled with pepper spray,

forcing a complete evacuation.

- The Mace was upstairs but
it was comin' downstairs

once Danny opened the door.

- All the windows were open.

They were airin' the house out.

- (Narrator) Hospital
records show Shannon arrived

at the ER at 5:32 p.m.

Around the same time,
while the Brooks house

was being aired
out from the Mace,

Danny and Nicole walked
over to his sister's place.

- He told me that they
just asked him all day

to do somethin' about her.

- (Narrator) But was he
in a rage strong enough

to kill Vera?

- They were just, you
know, sayin' how much they

just didn't want
her around anymore.

And I mean, I just
figured that they would

either kick her out
or something like that

or just tell her to
get her kid and leave,

but that wasn't even, obviously,

that wasn't what
they were thinking.

- (Interviewer) From what
I've been told is that

you were gettin' this kind
of pressure before the Mace

ever went off.

- (Narrator) So by elevating
Shannon from bit player

to a starring role,
prosecutors got it backwards.

Like breaking her nose
for pushing the baby

into a coffee table, or
beating her to a pulp

for eating Punky's Kit Kat bar,

they needed a rationalization
to blame the victim,

an excuse to punish her.

That means Vera was not killed

because they accused her
of setting off the Mace.

They accused her of
setting off the Mace

for a reason to kill her.

- (Narrator) At nine o'clock,
Zachary summoned Danny,

Nicole, and his brother
Garth to Scottie's room.

- I overheard the things,

I was pretty much like, nah,
they're not really gonna do it.

- (Narrator) This meeting was
to decide where to kill Vera.

Danny wanted to do it in
a park they checked out

earlier in the day, which
he felt was more secluded.

- You remember that park, Alan,

that me, you, and
Garth went fishin' at?

- It's right over there by,

you know where
Center Street's at?

- (Interviewer) Yeah.

- That park that goes
down Center Street.

Right by the bridge.

- (Narrator) But Zachary wanted
to go back to the bridge,

insisting they stick to the
plan of having the train

turn Vera's body into hamburger.

- They wanted everybody
to think that the train

- Hit her.
- Hit her.

- (Narrator) As the
murderers went into action,

Vera began to panic.

- When they told her
to put her shoes on,

she was like yelling, "Why?"

You know, like, "Why?

"Why do you want me
to get my shoes on?"

And Zachary had went
up to her and said,

"Just get your effin'
shoes on," ya know?

So she--

- Zachary and Danny.

And then Nicole had come
in and she was standing

right by Vera's
door and she's like,

"You need to put your
damn shoes on right now."

And then Vera didn't hesitate
and she put her shoes on

and Zachary said he
was gonna go with 'em.

- (Narrator) But apparently
this was no comfort

because judging Vera's reaction,

she was just as scared
to leave with Zachary.

- I think she knew
what was gonna happen.

I was sitting on the
couch right by her room.

She was lookin' at me
for, like, a way out.

Like, she was tryin'
to tell me to help her.

- (Narrator) When it became
clear Shannon was no help,

she reached out to Scottie.

- She knew what's gonna come.

That's why she asked me
to come along with her.

- Because she felt safe with him

and she wanted Scottie
to walk with her.

- But I told her hold up,
I would have to go upstairs

real quick to get my shoes.

Well, as I got upstairs

I pretty much was stopped

from leaving.

- I was supposed to say Danny.

It wasn't.

It was Zachary who stopped me.

- My mother.

But, like I said, Zachary's
the one who stopped me,

not Danny, even though
I told the police

it was Danny.

- That I think he
already knew what was up

and he wanted to protect me.

- (Narrator) Scottie
was not the only one

prevented from going.

- When Zachary was
told to go upstairs

to get Scottie, it
was right at that time

that she told Zachary,
"No, you're not gonna be

"a part of what
they're gonna do."

- (Narrator) Then they
hustled Vera outside,

ignoring her pleas for her life.

- She said, "I don't wanna go.

"I wanna stay here,"
and she was cryin'.

Vera was cryin'
wantin' to stay home.

Nicole said, "No,
you're goin' with me now

"or I'm gonna crack your head
right here on the porch."

- (Narrator) The temperature
was below freezing

that night, yet Danny
wore a borrowed pair

of dark blue gym
shorts out of respect

for their former
owner, Punky Brooks.

He also wore a
blue Crips bandana

signaling this was
official gang business.

- The ones that they
believe happened first,

'cause then there was
over, like overlay

where people had
stabbed the same areas,

from what I heard, the
first ones were weaker,

coming from a weaker
person, a female possibly.

- She was cut from
almost ear to ear

in a very sort of sawing motion,

it was described
as by the coroner.

- (Narrator) This
initial failed attempt

as Vera's recovered
sweatshirt shows,

happened while she
was still dressed.

- In one final act of humiliation that forced her to strip.

- Yeah, they found the
clothes scattered around

in the trees and
stuff, in the bushes.

They found, like, her panties
and I think her shirt.

They took 'em off and
then just threw 'em.

Didn't even try to hide that.

- A full day to day and a half

before the murder
actually happened

that they were completely
messed up the whole time.

Like, there was not
one sober moment.

- He was heavily using
alcohol, marijuana, cocaine,

and by his own account, an
excessive amount to ecstasy.

- (Narrator) When
questioned about why Vera

was made to get naked,
Nicole Peters replied,

"It wasn't working at first."

Asked what his girlfriend
meant by this odd statement

Danny Bixler explained,
"That knife was dull as hell

"and she couldn't get
it through the clothes."

Which, by strange coincidence,

is the exact same reason
given by Cheri Brooks.

- The only thing I
can think of is if

you take your clothes
off, well then

you get to get to the bare
skin and it'll go faster.

- (Narrator) These details told

in separate jailhouse
interviews by two people

Cheri had not spoken to since
the night of the murder,

are something only the
killers would know.

- When they were
stabbing at her,

maybe it wasn't that she was
dyin' fast enough for 'em

because of the clothes.

When ya stab somebody
that snags the clothes.

- (Narrator) So what appeared
to be a staged sexual assault

was actually just laziness
and they needed Vera's help

to make it easier to kill her.

- It's almost as
if he's attempting

to minimize his conduct.

There's 21 stab wounds but
he said he only did six.

But an examination of
those six stab wounds

is also very telling.

First the legs.

Why was she stabbed in the legs?

He said it was to keep
her from running away

so they could
continue the abuse.

She couldn't get out
of that situation.

- (Narrator) Then he
mounted her from behind,

reached around and
cut her throat.

- They tried to cut her head off

but couldn't get
through this bone here.

So, it's like cut from here
to the spine bone back there.

- I think they laid
her out on the tracks

after they slaughtered her neck

to make it look like the
train cut her neck like that.

- (Narrator) And then they
fled, leaving Vera behind,

still alive.

- They left her to bleed out
on the railroad tracks alone,

naked and in the
cold, and from there,

he told the detectives,

he went to party.

- They were celebrating, yeah.

- They called me up
and then they told me

what they did.

I thought they were messin'
with me, so I walked

back to their house
to see if it was true.

- I look at Nicole and she's
got this big smile on her face,

you know, and she puts
her arms out like this

like she wants me to hug her.

And she's like, "It's
done, it's done.

"No more."

And I was scared.

And she just comes
in and hugs me.

- When they did come back
Danny went over to Zachary

and patted him on the back.

- When I go back
in the living room

and Danny's in there
high fivin' Zachary

and then they go
into Cheri's room

and they're both
kind of laughing.

- And I got there,
they were talkin' about

how they killed her and stuff.

I didn't believe it 'cause
after they said they did it,

Cheri was talkin' about
how she was with Larry,

her boyfriend.

- And then that's
when Nicole had said,

I got my first teardrop.

I finally got it.

- She says that to Cheri
and she gives Cheri a hug

and Cheri hugs her back and they

start laughin'.

- (Narrator) And why
wouldn't they celebrate?

To them Vera was the
abuser of baby Willadean,

killer of Punky,
smasher of Cheri's feet.

Now that evil bitch was
out of Zachary's life

and she left without
taking Cheri's baby.

- They came back
and switched clothes

and then pretty much
went out to get drunk.

- Cheri called me and said
Danny wants to come back over.

- While Vera's body
was still warm,

Nicole was visibly excited.

- She was excited and ecstatic.

She wasn't sorry.

You could see that in her face.

- She was smiling
and happy and just,

you know, I've never seen
somebody that happy before.

- (Narrator) But on the tracks,
something was happening.

Vera was becoming an angel
and she had a few surprises.

Using her last ounce of
energy she pulled herself

off the rails and
contracted into a ball

only 12 inches high.

- She curled up in
a fetal position,

that's the way she always
slept, in the fetal position.

- (Narrator)
Miraculously this allowed

the front of the train,
which police later found

to have a 13" clearance, to
pass over without touching her.

- I started feeling
like something was wrong

when Zach decided to pretty
much drink the entire,

one entire bottle
of vodka to himself.

- (Narrator) The angel
started haunting Zachary

whose actions the rest of that
night speak for themselves.

- Zachary said out loud that
he only wanted to get drunk

just so he can forget about
the whole entire thing.

- And he looked all depressed
and upset about something.

Like he was involved deeply
with his own thoughts.

- Zach was doing,
like, weird stuff like,

like hit his head
on walls and stuff.

- And I was talkin' about him.

I'm like, so, why is he so sad?

And I'm like, "What's going on?"

And that's when
Danny decided to say,

"Well, I slit her throat."

And I was like, "What'd you do?"

He's like, "I slit
that bitch's throat."

- (Narrator) So it was
Zach's guilty conscience

that led Desta to
confront her brother,

which ultimately
broke open the case.

- They're sick.

They need help.

But when it's their time and
they have to meet their maker,

hey.

- (Narrator) And when
it came to motive,

on the final day of
court, the judge admitted

he still had no idea
why the murder happened.

- As we grapple to
make sense of this,

perhaps as some have suggested,

that our community has
failed Vera Jo Reigle

and I'm sure that debate
will continue, but we must

also not forget that
there were those

who were directly responsible
for Miss Reigle's death,

and in particular
defendant Daniel Bixler

who is here today for
the court for sentencing.

The evidence reveals that
on March 26th of 2011

the defendant assumed the
role of self-appointed judge,

jury, and executioner.

For what?

Jealousy, revenge,
unfocused rage,

some perverse sense
of family honor?

It doesn't appear
we'll ever really know.

♪ Of mine

♪ I'm gonna let it shine

♪ This little light of mine

- (Narrator) In the
end, Vera is an angel,

one who's wretched
life and bad death,

shines a light on
the rest of us.

- And Your Honor, at this
time I'd like to read a letter

that was found in
Vera Jo's purse

after she was murdered.

And this is what it says.

It says, "I love you Willadean.

"You are a good little
baby girl to us.

"I'm glad to be your mommy
and I'm glad that I had you

"on November 4th at 4:16 a.m., six pounds 2 ounces,

"19 inches long.

"Mommy loves you."

- (Narrator) Worse, by
not getting convicted

of a major felony, Zachary
still had parental rights

to Willadean.

- Oh yeah, or they would not
be makin' a reovocation plan

for Zachary to get
his daughter back.

- (Narrator) A case
already being discussed

when Zachary's friend
Alan Cap arrived

at 10 o'clock on the
night of the murder.

- Alls I heard is
somethin' about them

wantin' to kill
Vera about custody.

- She had that in her mind
that that's her kid now

and Vera had it but
that's her kid now

and she's gonna keep it.

And she had to

get rid of Vera because
Vera wanted to move out

and take the baby, too.

- Like, I was right here
and then their room's

like right here.

They were all in a group
talkin' about killin' Vera.

- Like, if Vera dies
then Zach gets custody.

- (Narrator) But why at this
moment were they celebrating

Zachary getting sole custody?

According to the
lawyers, it was all about

Shannon's phony
miscarriage, wasn't it?

- They were talkin' about
Zach havin' custody.

They never said
anything about Shannon.

- (Narrator) A version
of events confirmed

by the killer himself.

- (Interviewer) And did they
give an indication of why

they wanted this done to Vera?

- (Narrator) It is a hope
Cheri still holds strong

as she sits in
great anticipation,

waiting for the return of
her lost little baby girl.

- I added Daddy to
the picture. (Laughs)

Had to copy her daddy there.

'Cause I'm gettin'
ready to frame it.

Still have to show him
Zachary and her look alike.

♪ It is nearing the end of two

♪ And I just passed
your birthday

♪ The first one that
you spent underground

♪ And I really missed you

♪ So to feel close to you

♪ I visited your grave site

♪ But I just felt
further from you

♪ Further than I understood

♪ I

♪ I

♪ I miss you, but

♪ I

♪ I

♪ I miss you, but

♪ And I'll be fine if heaven

♪ Isn't just a cloud

♪ And I'll be fine if we
don't decay underground

♪ Forever

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