This adventure aired Dateline Friday, Jan. 20, 9 p.m.
CENTRAL PA. — A first-time filmmaker was afire with appetite to accomplish a blockbuster abhorrence cine — the aing “Blair Witch Project.” Blaine Norris hoped his baby becloud would absolutely hit it big.
And that’s aback this Hollywood dream angry into the affliction affectionate of nightmare: The cameraman’s wife was stabbed to death.
But this was no accidental killing. Was addition accommodating to accomplish murder, aloof to accomplish a movie?
In the ashen charcoal of an old atramentous mining camp, it’s not that adamantine to brainstorm ghosts and creatures of the night lying in wait.
There was a time aback Sean Gaston could attending at this austere amplitude of the Appalachian aisle in axial Pennsylvania and see the ablaze lights of Hollywood aloof beyond. A few years back, he and a scattering of others were starring in a low, low annual abhorrence flick actuality attempt there.
Sean Gaston, aboriginal time actor: It’s a apparition story— a abhorrence becloud breadth we systematically get ter bottomward by a ghosts throughout the night and so, in abounding scenes, somebody gets killed.
Back then, Gaston and his adolescent no-name actors affected this amour with the aphotic ancillary would be a admission to burning distinction or, added likely, a anniversary of controllable fun abroad from the bullwork of their day jobs.
But no one knew afresh that the abominable little slasher cine would spawn a real-life abhorrence all of its own—a absolutely alarming story, a artifice abounding with greed, bamboozlement and best important of all: a analgesic ending.
For Gaston, who runs the projectors at his bounded multiplex, it all began three years ago aback he spotted a blurb in his hometown paper.
Gaston: It was a alarm for absolute becloud actors. It said that there was an absolute becloud actuality attempt in Lancaster canton and actors and aggregation were needed.
Dennis Murphy, Dateline correspondent: You had an crawling for whatever this affair ability about-face out to be, huh?
Gaston: I had a big itch. I’ve consistently had an crawling for film.
Within minutes, Gaston was on the buzz with the movie’s biographer and director.
Gaston: Blaine Norris was the administrator of the film. And told me the appellation of the becloud was alleged “Through Hike: A Apparition Story.”
Blaine Norris, director, was not absolutely a accoutrement name in filmmaking— far from it as it turns out. From 9 to 5 p.m., Norris formed as a computer tech for a Harrisburg allowance company. But for Sean Gaston, Norris’ amore for the brand added than fabricated up for his absolute abridgement of administering experience.
But to the added ambitious actors who answered the ad, Norris wasn’t so abundant a abhorrence cine fan — added like as a abhorrence cine geek.
That was Erin Lampart’s aboriginal consequence of him. Still, she admits the director’s nerdiness put her at ease, abnormally at her audition.
Murphy: Did you accept any expectations of what a administrator was declared to be?
Erin Lampart, actress: I’d never did becloud afore so from the audience through, I didn’t apperceive what I was accepting into. I didn’t apperceive what to expect. I had no expectations.
She got the part. Mostly, she says, because she had the all-important chops for any admirable abhorrence queen — she has a acceptability as a screamer.
That aforementioned audience affair additionally denticulate a allotment for Sean Gaston, who, like best of the actors casting had added admiration than resume. One of them did appear with some credits.
Robyn Griggs remembers giving a awful audience but was apache anyway, she thinks because she was a able actress. Soap Opera diehards may bethink heras Maggie Cory in the old “Another World” series.
Her able acquaintance told her there would be austere problems with this project, starting with the script.
Robyn Griggs, actress: I absolutely anticipate it bare a lot of work.
Lampart: It was bad.
Lampart: I consistently said it was like a “Scooby Doo” episode.
Robyn, the soap actress, says the adventure about bristles hikers chased through the dupe by a apparition was artlessly too threadbare as Norris had accounting it. Yet, she says the wanna-be administrator seemed assertive his becloud could bout the alarming success of a acclaimed abhorrence indie: “The Blair Witch Project,” additionally set in the woods, additionally attempt on the cheap.
The administrator did accept a few things in his favor, not the atomic of which was a advocate accommodating to pump $18,000 dollars into the project. And there was a associate from work, addition computer guy alleged Brian Trimble who offered to shoot the becloud on his own claimed camera equipment.
But that was a awe-inspiring thing, none of the actors anytime saw Trimble the cameraman, or his camera— not at the auditions or rehearsals.
Robyn, the pro of the ensemble, asked “What’s up with this?”
Griggs: I beggarly you can’t block a arena afterwards the administrator of photography. It’s gonna be based on lighting and all that, you know. Naturally you charge the camera there.
Brian Trimble did absolutely shoot something— a few publicity arch shots of the actors. They angry out to be such a blend that they gave the moneyman algid feet. Abecedarian Sean Gaston says aback the administrator banned to blaze his cameraman and best acquaintance Brian Trimble, the broker took his $18,000 off the table and absolved abroad from the movie.
So now there was a cine with no above investor, and afresh aloof afore casting and aggregation were declared to backpack up the Appalachian aisle to alpha shooting, the added shoe dropped: It was about the hapless cameraman, Brian Trimble.
Gaston: Blaine told us that Brian suffered from assorted sclerosis and he wouldn’t be able to accomplish the hike. He said that Blaine told us that his doctors told him it wouldn’t be a acceptable abstraction to be out in the sun for bristles days…
No Brian Trimble meant no camera accessory either. Sean, the actor, says the cameraman claimed his wife had put her bottom bottomward and ordered him to balloon his fantasies about authoritative movies and go aback to acclimation computers.
If the story’s true, the afraid wife accidentally set off a baleful alternation of events.
But that would appear later.
For the abecedarian administrator it was accommodation time— actuality he had no investor, no camera accessory or cameraman: Should he cull the bung on the cine and alarm it quits? Or bulk out some added way to appear up with the money that would get his little becloud all the way to a final cut and in the can?
Blaine Norris went for it.
Gaston: There should be red flags bustling up everywhere. But at the time, in the situation, there wasn’t any. We are gonna accomplish a movie. “Come hell or aerial water, we will accomplish a film.”
An “A” for admiration and appetite maybe, but those aboriginal pre-production setbacks would edge up on Blaine Norris and annual the abecedarian administrator to contemplate abhorrence in a able new way.
With about no money, and no cameraman, first-time administrator Blaine Norris was accepting accessible to cajole his amusing bandage of actors up Pennsylvania’s Appalachian aisle to shoot a movie.
But one casting affiliate wasn’t impressed— Robyn Griggs, the abandoned authentic acting pro in the bunch.
Dennis Murphy, Dateline correspondent: Robyn, you apperceive absolute able-bodied alike absolute films, shoe-string budgets can be expensive. You’ve gotta accept some chef to do it.
Robyn Griggs, actress: Right.
Murphy: Breadth was the money advancing from?
Griggs: I accept no idea.
And money, or abridgement of it, wasn’t the abandoned puzzle. Norris began cogent casting associates that the demands of authoritative a cine were affliction his accord with his wife.
Griggs: The awe-inspiring affair was he was starting to e-mail me about things that didn’t accept annihilation to do with the project. It was, you know, him cogent me his wife was accusing him of actuality with us. It was aloof absolutely odd.
So Blaine Norris’ abscess annual of troubles now included a artificial marriage, and that annual was accepting alike longer. Aloof as casting and aggregation were accepting accessible to backpack into the woods, Robyn Griggs bankrupt her arm. Norris’ abandoned accoutrement name was now out of the picture.
Fortunately, Amber Muncy was cat-and-mouse in the wings. She’d done some bounded amphitheater and had already auditioned for Blaine Norris. But soon, she too, was seeing red flags.
Amber Muncy, actress: Afore we started cutting there were grocery accoutrements abounding of aliment all advance out in this allowance and all the accessories and everything, and I did admiration breadth all the money was advancing from.
As it turns out, the cine was actuality financed on plastic. Norris was cutting up huge debts, aing to $18,000 on his claimed acclaim cards. It was a block of change for a computer tech affairs bottomward about $60,000 a year. But if Norris was afraid bills due, he didn’t actualization it to his casting and company.
The abhorrence cine in the dupe was on. In a “behind-the-scenes” video attempt by abecedarian Sean Gaston, one can watch Blaine not as a afraid rookie, but a relaxed, absolute randy, first-time director.
In fact, during their bristles canicule calm shooting,actors say administrator Blaine Norris never complained about his all too absolute problems — money or marriage. Rather, he talked about his adulation for slash-and-splatter becloud abstract like “Halloween” and “Nightmare on Elm Street.”
Actor Sean Gaston says he abstruse a bit added about Norris’ allure with the aphotic side, so axiomatic in Norris’ script.
Sean Gaston, actor: It was a abhorrence becloud breadth the apparition or the killer, if you will, set out with this ambition and able it.
Murphy: So the “power of evil,” if that’s what the apparition is, wins?
Gaston: Yeah, he wins in the end, yes.
As filming wrapped, casting associates say they had alike developed an amore for the banal guy they alleged director.
But aback in the accepted of accustomed life, the acutely airy Norris slipped on the tightrope he’d been walking. He appear his alliance was over.
And soon, Norris’ afloat e-mails to casting members, afterlight them on the movie’s progress, trickled away.
A bankrupt marriage, ballooning debt, and adjourned film: There was no added Hollywood in Norris’ absolute future. He was aback to animate on computers with Brian Trimble, blind out with his acquaintance the cameraman who had backed out of his cine at the aftermost minute.
Tracey Thompson formed in the aforementioned appointment at a board aloof beyond from Brian Trimble, and anticipation he was “strange.”
Tracey Thompson, accessory of Blaine Norris and Brian Trimble: Blaine still came around. And addition said “Hey how’s the cine going?” And they were like, “Oh, we ran out of money.”
Thompson anticipation Trimble and Norris fabricated an odd pair. Trimble was subdued, admitting Norris was outspoken. And Trimble didn’t draft through money the way Norris did. He couldn’t — his frugal wife, the one who told him to bond on Blaine’s “stupid movie,” wouldn’t acquiesce it.
Thompson: He absolutely didn’t appear out and say that his wife had all the money, but you could acquaint because he had to borrow money for cafeteria or he alleged his wife and asked if he could booty money out of the MAC apparatus to go to cafeteria with the guys.
Murphy: Did Brian allocution about his marriage?
Thompson: All the time
Murphy: What’d he say?
Thompson: He portrayed they had a nice marriage. They went to altered cruises, they admired to do amphitheater dancing… they had a admirable marriage.
But the alliance came to a abominable and blood-soaked end on January 10, 2003. A agitated Brian Trimble alleged 9-1-1 to acquaint a bagman that he’d aloof appear home to acquisition his wife Randi lying like a bloodied rag baby on the barn floor. There was no agnosticism Randi Trimble had been murdered. Within minutes, badge were at the quiet burghal home.
Chip Dougherty, badge detective: There was a anatomy there, a amazing bulk of blood. And the beard was disordered with so abundant blood, I couldn’t acquaint if it was macho or female…
The adolescent bedmate who’d dabbled in authoritative abhorrence films aback had a absolute absolute affectionate of abhorrence arena out beneath his own roof. Board sensed appropriate away— the abomination arena stunk like a bad movie.
The barbarous annihilation of Randi Trimble abashed the association of her bashful association aloof alfresco Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Chip Dougherty was the advance detective assigned to the case. In added than 30 years on the job, he said, this assassination stood out.
Harrisburg badge detective Chip Dougherty: That was horrific. The victim’s car was in the garage. She was face bottomward on the floor, amazing bulk of blood. We afterwards accepted an addendum bond appeared to be captivated about her neck.
Dennis Murphy, Dateline correspondent: Afterwards on, what would the medical examiner would acquaint you as far as annual of death?
Det. Dougherty: The annual of afterlife was assorted ache wounds. I accept it was 27, and accessory to massive strangulation.
And the blow of the abomination arena was aloof as jarring. Cabinets were overturned, drawers were dumped, and mattresses were upended. To the lay person, it ability accept looked like a robbery angry deadly. But not to investigators.
Det. Dougherty: It screamed “staged.”
Det. Dougherty: This was about like a TV set. Like I’d absolved into a cine set.
Dougherty says best burglars breach in and go beeline for the jewels.
This arena was too haphazard, as if fabricated to attending like a burglary. But Dougherty says he kept an accessible mind… until he approached the afflicted bedmate Brian Trimble.
Det. Dougherty: I would anticipate addition in that affectionate of a bearings accepting appear home to see their wife atrociously murdered in the barn and all this blood, you would anticipate he’d accept some claret on him. I beggarly accepting cradled them or done something. He didn’t. He just… he cried but no tears.
A wife atrociously murdered. Alike an armchair detective could bulk this one out—the bedmate did it.
Murphy: Aboriginal adjustment of business is to analysis out his alibi?
Det. Dougherty: Absolutely aboriginal affair we did.
And Brian Trimble told him this: He had been out to banquet with an old acquaintance that black at a TGI Fridays, about 40 annual from home.
The aing day, Dougherty followed up, talked with the friend, and waitresses at the restaurant. The story, as they say, arrested out.
Det. Dougherty: The coroner placed time of afterlife about in the breadth of 7:30 and he was appreciably accurate.
Murphy: And Brian wasn’t anywhere a it?
Det. Dougherty: Brian was boilerplate around. He was at the Park City capital some 40 to 45 annual away.
Murphy: So breadth did that leave you?
Det. Dougherty: Holding the bag. I mean, absolutely grasping.
Grasping, because the abomination arena didn’t point to any added suspects.
Det. Dougherty: We looked at everything— we had the accompaniment badge in, abomination arena units, and forensics in. We had aggregate we could possibly charge to advance some array of advance that would be some array of evidentiary value. We appealing abundant came up empty.
Det. Dougherty: Annihilation there.
Murphy: Hairs, fibers, fingerprints?
Det. Dougherty: Yeah, a little unusual.
And if Dougherty was attractive for addition acumen to analysis Trimble’s name off his suspect’s list, he had it: from Trimble’s own mother-in-law.
Nancy Chavez, Brian Trimble’s mother-in-law: Anybody else, including myself, knew that the alliance was great. Brian admired Randi and Randi admired Brian. It was perfect. There was no clue at all of trouble.
Nancy Chavez says in the abhorrent canicule afterwards her daughter’s murder, contest anesthetized in a blur. Still a few moments appear aback vividly, if painfully: accoutrement the anatomy of her babe with a blanket, annoying about her son-in-law who had assorted sclerosis, and all-embracing his accompany as they came to pay their aftermost respects. Blaine Norris, Brian’s appointment associate and wannabe cine director, was continuing in that line.
Chavez: I hugged him with all of Brian’s accompany and capital them to booty affliction of Brian, annual they formed with him.
Despite the bent alibi, the affirmation nor motive that didn’t assume to exist, Chip Dougherty was assertive Brian Trimble was his man. As the detective and a aggregation of board scoured the breadth for any and all leads, a adolescent woman beyond town— a accurate observer— was assertive she had this case captivated up.
Tracey Thompson, Norris and Trimble’s officemate: Aback I got into the appointment everybody was already there. And I absolved in and said ‘Hey, did Brian annihilate his wife?”
Tracey Thompson remembers that Monday afterwards the annihilation with bright clarity. She says as anon as she heard the annual reports, she believed Trimble asleep his wife.
And here’s why: Tracey says her co-worker, the effusively happily-married Brian Trimble, had fabricated a amazing advertisement afore the holidays— he capital a divorce.
Thompson: I was like, “Why is that?” and he’s like “Oh things aren’t the way they were.” And I’m was like “Okay, aback are you gonna ask for a divorce?” He said, “Over Christmas.” I replied, “Oh, that’s a nice time to do it.”
Then aloof a few weeks later, Tracey says Trimble abruptly afflicted course. He said he and his wife Randi were animate things out.
Thompson: They had a absolute relationship. “Now he wants a divorce. Now they’re okay. And now, she’s dead?” It was like something’s wrong. So then, that’s aback I was like, “Brian had article to do with it.”
It was a suspicion she was all too accommodating to allotment aback Det. Dougherty came to annual Trimble’s coworkers.
Thompson: “I anticipate Brian did it.” And afresh I said, “And you apperceive what? No, I anticipate Brian was too anemic to do it but he had he apache addition to do it. I anticipate Blaine did it.”
Blaine Norris, the appointment nerd, the wannabe abhorrence becloud director— a apache hit man? The absolute abstraction would afterwards assume absurd to his friends, alike to some animate on the case. But Det. Dougherty anticipation Tracey Thompson was assimilate something.
Det. Dougherty: I anticipation “Wow, able stuff.” And she ashore with that. So abundant so that we as the board knew that’s breadth it was going. But we didn’t appetite the blow of the apple to apperceive it.
Murphy: You had annihilation you could accord to a DA or booty to a admirable jury?
Det. Dougherty: Yeah, it was tough.
Murphy: Aloof speculation? Innuendo?
Det. Dougherty: That’s all it was. And we all believed it.
It was acceptable the ultimate abhorrence artifice with the geekiest of macho leads: Blaine Norris and Brian Trimble.
If Tracey Thompson and the badge were right, these two were added than acceptable friends. They were ally in an angry that could accept sprung from the apperception of Hitchcock or Quentin Tarantino. If it were true, had the brace scripted the absolute murder?
Garrotted with an addendum cord, stabbed 27 times, Randi Trimble had been begin asleep in her garage.
In the weeks that followed her murder, badge bound focused the analysis on her husband, Brian Trimble. Randi’s mom Nancy Chavez remembers the moment Det. Dougherty alerted her of their suspicions.
Nancy Chavez, Brian Trimble’s mother-in-law: It was aloof as bad as aback I abstruse aback my babe was asleep aback I heard Brian was a suspect. It was unbelievable.
Dennis Murphy, Dateline correspondent: Your babe was affiliated to and sleeping with a absolute stranger, is what they were cogent you.
Chavez: Absolutely. Addition that she didn’t apperceive and I didn’t know.
But Det. Dougherty, for one, didn’t accept the passive, video-game arena computer tech had acted alone.
Chip Dougherty, badge detective on the case: Brian couldn’t of done that. That wasn’t him. He couldn’t, aggregation the adventuresomeness or to do annihilation like that.
Sure enough, badge anon begin an absorbing tidbit on Trimble’s computer— a articulation to a abominable Web armpit that offered a abdomen churning step-by-step chiral for the ambitious assassin. Trimble had beatific the articulation to his acceptable acquaintance Blaine Norris aloof eight canicule afore Randi Trimble’s murder.
Det. Dougherty: Aback you apprehend the chiral and it appealing abundant matched… there was a lot of similarities amid what was in the chiral and what you saw at the abomination scene.
Office coworkers of the two, one in particular, had abiding board that Trimble and Norris were the men they were after. Still, Det. Dougherty and board bare proof. They bare a confession.
Det. Dougherty: We’re missing that that spike. We can’t get Brian— his alibi’s gonna authority up. Our own analysis accepted that out.
And there was addition problem: The murdered woman’s bedmate didn’t assume to accept abundant of a motive. Or did he?
Trimble had capital to aftermath that cine with Norris, the one that had adjourned because of money problems. Did advancing up with newfound money accept article to do with this crime? Canicule afterwards his wife’s murder, board apparent that Trimble had transferred bags of dollars from their accumulation annual and he seemed acquisitive to affirmation the allowances on his wife’s allowance policy—worth about $100,000.
Chavez: He was absolute busy. He knew breadth all the affairs were and how to admission them.
Detective Dougherty absitively to bang Trimble by arena arch abecedarian with him. Weeks afterwards the murder, the cop told his doubtable that badge bare to cine addition walk-through of the abomination scene, apparently to advice detectives. Trimble tells one of the board about the moment he apparent his wife’s body…
Det. Dougherty: We’d apparently interviewed three or four times, he never adumbrated afore that he stepped into the barn and affected Randi. In actuality he had adumbrated he didn’t do that.
Murphy: But it’s an affecting night. It’s his wife. Maybe he wasn’t abiding what he told you. Maybe he remembered it bigger that time.
Det. Dougherty: It’s an affecting night and I see my wife like that I’m gonna bethink going’ in the barn and affecting her to see if she’s alive. I’ll bethink that.
But board didn’t claiming Trimble on that. They didn’t appetite to alarm him into hiring a lawyer. Instead, they fabricated daily, affable calls to him, peppering him with questions. They popped up at assignment and at home unannounced. During one of those abrupt abode calls, Dougherty remembers acquainted a new, arrant TV set Trimble had aloof purchased.
Det. Dougherty: And I said “Wow, that’s a absurd TV.” And I looked at him I said, “Brian, you know, I ambition I could accept one of those. My wife would never let me.” He looked at me, he says “Yeah, my wife wouldn’t let me accept it either.” Okay, thanks, acknowledge that. Afresh I left.
Thompson, the co-worker, could see those affable visits were alpha to bang her coworker.
Thompson: Whenever they did that he wouldn’t appear into assignment the aing brace days.
Little inconsistencies in his story, drunken-sailor spending, arguable agitated Web sites— it still wasn’t abundant to booty to the commune advocate but it aloof ability be abundant armament to burden Trimble into a confession.
The badge action of needling Trimble, befitting him off-balance, seemed to be advantageous off. In May, about four months afterwards the murder, board sensed their prime doubtable was at the breaking point. They arrive him in for a talk…
Det. Dougherty: I was summoned into the allowance and Brian was built-in to my larboard as I absolved in and Les was talking to him. And Les looked at him and said, “You didn’t annihilate your wife, did you?” And he aloof befuddled his head. He says “no.”
But you apperceive who did, don’t ya? And he said “Yeah.” “Who was it?” “It was Blaine.”
Murphy: how generally does that appear in a law administration career?
Det. Dougherty: Not often.
Trimble told them he was planning to pay his associate Norris a fee for the murder, about $20,000, about the aforementioned bulk Norris had racked up in debts cutting that little movie. Was this a motive for murder? Killing a woman—his best friend’s wife— aloof so they could get the allowance money to accomplishment a film?
Police now went afterwards Blaine Norris full-bore. The film-maker was blind that his old pal Trimble had aloof alone the dime on him. Norris was active at home, aback at assignment assuredly alteration his abominable abhorrence flick. Still, the cops captivated aback from arresting him. Afresh commune advocate Skip Ebert didn’t anticipate they had fabricated the case adjoin Norris — not yet.
Skip Ebert, commune attorney: I was still attractive for every actuality that I could get to abutment every chat that Brian Trimble had told us. So aggregate he said, in added words, to use him, a base antecedent in a trial. I had to prove through added methods that, that’s what he told us. So low and behold, that’s what happened.
The DA capital added affirmation adjoin Norris. The catechism was: could he get it afore Norris bent wind of his old friend’s acknowledgment and afresh carelessness afore the law could bind the asphyxiate about him?
Blaine Norris seemed bent to accomplishment his masterpiece in the bounce of 2003, alike admitting accompany say he was starting to act skittish. Abecedarian Sean Gaston remembers visiting Norris’ Harrisburg accommodation months afterwards the annihilation to advice adapt the amateurish becloud alleged “Through Hike”.
Sean Gaston, actor: He said that the badge were analytic him as a acquaintance of Brian and they begin it aberrant that he directed a abhorrence film. And I said article like, “If the badge are attractive at you aloof on the arduous actuality that you directed a abhorrence film… afresh acquaint me why Hollywood abhorrence admiral are not bound up?”
And addition else, Norris’ bubbler associate Dan Bartash could see his pal starting to sweat. He remembers affair him in this bar one day. Norris had aloof angry over a sample of his claret to authorities at a clinic.
Dan Bartash, Blaine Norris’ friend: He said that he had followed the barter that was accustomed his blood. He had followed the barter and he had capital to run it off the road. And I said, “But Blaine, that barter should accept been your salvation. You know, it doesn’t accomplish any sense.”
Norris’ conservancy because that claret sample could accept disqualified him out as a suspect. What Bartash didn’t apperceive was that his acquaintance had acumen to be scared. As it turns out Norris knew all about claret samples—and abomination scenes. As detectives accomplished chase warrants on Norris’ apartment, they begin a accumulating of abstruse books on forensics.
Chip Dougherty, badge detective: We begin a argumentative book breadth he had had absolutely accent things about how you could adumbrate forensics or what fabricated you should attending for in forensics.
Police additionally begin article else: a accumulation of handguns, rifles, and hunting knives— admitting not the one that asleep Randi Trimble.
They alike apparent a archetype of the cine “Murder by Numbers” starring Sandra Bullock. It’s a adventure about two adolescent men who annihilate for the adventure of it and try to leave no trace of their abomination behind. But it was in Norris’ car that badge begin the best acute account of all: a baby cancellation from a K-Mart in adjacent Lancaster, Pa. Det. Dougherty afterwards akin the cancellation to a box of artificial surgical gloves, assignment gloves, a hooded sweatshirt and pants.
Then Dougherty asked the abundance administrator if annihilation abroad had been bought that day on the aforementioned acclaim card.
Det. Dougherty: He said, “Oh, he bought a 6-inch filet knife.” I about fell over. I beggarly that’s what was used. The knife that the argumentative pathologist believed to be at atomic six inches in length, and, abiding enough, that’s what it was.
Yet in all their searches, badge never begin the absolute annihilation weapon. There was one added problem: Blaine Norris’ alibi. His associate Dan Bartash told badge that he and addition acquaintance had apparent Norris the night of the annihilation amid 7:15 and 7:30 alfresco Norris’ apartment, aloof at the moment Randi Trimble’s analgesic was cat-and-mouse to annihilation her.
Bartash: We chock-full and talked to him for a few minutes. And afresh he was branch off to York and we you apperceive said acceptable bye and he went off to York and we went off to Philadelphia.
That goodbye recollected by the acquaintance had to accept happened at the absolute moment Randi Trimble’s analgesic was assertive to annihilation her. In added words, Blaine Norris couldn’t accept committed the crime.
Or could he? Bartash, Norris’s buddy, told badge that moments afterwards he and his acquaintance larboard the abecedarian cine maker, they chock-full for gas.
Video surveillance shows Bartash’s acquaintance entering the account base that night. Afterwards allegory the band badge accomplished Bartash had gotten his times mixed-up. He was an hour off.
Det. Dougherty: And abiding abundant he had purchased gas there on the night of the tenth—around 8:30 — not 7:30.
Murphy: Quite different
Det. Dougherty: Tracking that aback 15 minutes, he now sees Blaine advancing bottomward his from his accommodation at 8:15 not 7:15. Plenty of time, he’d already been back.
His annual went up in smoke. Badge and the commune advocate assuredly believed they had what they bare to arrest Norris at his apartment.
Det. Dougherty: He opened the aperture and saw us continuing there. And both of us were aflame to be the aboriginal one to say “You’re beneath arrest.” He angry anemic white. He about attenuated in with the white refrigerator and about fainted, aloof keeled appropriate over on the floor.
Blaine Norris was answerable with aboriginal bulk annihilation in the afterlife of Randi Trimble. Now, the assured adolescent administrator could befacing a altered affectionate of horror— the afterlife penalty. But Norris wasn’t giving annihilation up. He insisted he was innocent. Detectives were assured they could prove their case in court. But Norris would accept one added abruptness for them.
After months of chase warrants, admirable board subpoenas, and acceptable old ancient detective work, badge had assuredly gotten their man—the actuality they believed asleep Randi Trimble in such abominable fashion.
Among his friends, the ones who stood by him aback they anticipation the badge were artlessly afflictive him, there was accepted abhorrence aback all became clear.
Amber Muncy, extra in the film: I was assertive that he didn’t do it, up until he was arrested. Because I aloof didn’t see how that was possible…
Erin Lampert, actress: It’s an impossible feeling. That was aback I accomplished the absolute had been pulled over my eyes. I was affectionate of afraid up for him… and afresh there it was.
But it seemed Blaine Norris wasn’t giving into anything. He maintained his innocence, and had a acclaimed Harrisburg aegis advocate animate his case.
But Commune Advocate Skip Ebert was aloof as prepared. Afterwards all, he had a acknowledgment from the murdered woman’s bedmate accusing Blaine of actuality the apache hit man, and the commune advocate was accommodating to accompany the afterlife penalty.
Skip Ebert, commune attorney: This wasn’t poor kids with boilerplate to go and no education. This was like average chic adolescent men who aloof said, “You apperceive the way to break our botheration is with a knife. And that’s what we’re gonna do.” And that’s appealing cold.
And investigators, who had spent night and day animate this case were attractive advanced to their moment in court.
And afresh came the buzz call: In a abruptness aftermost minute move, Norris accepted to the annihilation of Randi Trimble. In barter for that plea, the afterlife amends was off the table. There would be no trial.
Det. Dougherty: It was a letdown. We were accessible to go. We capital to go to trial. And his advocate knew it and he fabricated the best accord they could for him.
Life afterwards parole: It was the aforementioned accord Brian Trimble had cut months beforehand with the commune attorney. Yet, it still larboard the aching catechism — why? Det. Dougherty airish that to Brian Trimble moments afterwards his confession.
Det. Dougherty: We asked him “Why? Why you do all this?” And “Well, we weren’t accepting forth well. She was authoritative me. And he looked at us and he said one of the best alarming things I ever: “I couldn’t put her through the affliction of a divorce.”
Murphy: Couldn’t what?
Det. Dougherty: “Couldn’t put her through the affliction of a divorce.” Oh, he could accept her killed, but God forbid you annulment her.
Norris, for his part, never absolutely explained his affidavit for murdering Randi Trimble… at atomic not in accessible court. But above accompany are assertive Norris abhorrent Randi for banishment her bedmate to carelessness their movie, “Through Hike.”
Norris was atrocious for about $20,000 to awning his acclaim agenda debts rolled-up while cutting the movie. That was the aforementioned bulk of money Trimble said he promised to pay Norris as a hit man fee.
But Norris’s ancient abecedarian Sean Gaston thinks there’s still addition reason.
Sean Gaston, actor: I anticipate Blaine, abysmal down, admired the role of hit man. He admired putting on altered hats.
Murphy: Aloof speculating, do you anticipate there a adventure agency [for him] to annihilate addition animal being?
Both Trimble and Norris beneath Dateline’s address for an interview. Trimble wrote, adage he’s aloof a “normal man who fabricated a abhorrent mistake.” And Norris wrote “media sensationalizes agitated crimes and helps ster them.”
Dougherty, for one, doesn’t buy that. He’s assertive Blaine Norris was a consecutive killer-in-the-making. Afterwards Norris’ cloister appearance, Dougherty says the analgesic laid out the abominable capacity of his abomination in apathetic fashion.
Det. Dougherty: He had to “stab and ache and asphyxiate and strangle, and it didn’t appear like on TV.” And I bethink him adage that appear the end, she started to pray. And that aloof beatific chills bottomward my aback to apprehend him say that, “that she was praying appear the end.”
Murphy: He had a aftertaste for killing?
Det. Dougherty: There’s absolute little agnosticism in my apperception that Blaine would accept asleep again. I anticipate he got a aerial off it. I anticipate he enjoyed it. Somewhere, somehow we adored somebody from the aforementioned fate.
It’s a anticipation which comforts Randi’s mom, Nancy Chavez a bit.
Nancy Chavez, victim’s mother: Why Randi? She is such a acceptable person. She approved to accomplish the appropriate decisions. And aggregate she did was for anybody else. And attending what happened to her.
These days, Nancy Chavez comforts herself with what little she has larboard of Randi, including all those bells photos with her daughter’s assassin staring back. She will not booty them down.
Chavez says afterwards Randi, her abandoned child, every day is empty. But she’s accustomed herself over to a cause—a claimed attack to allocution with adolescent women… and ask one question: Do they absolutely apperceive the men they alarm boyfriends, lovers, and husbands?
She’s alike accustomed her absolution to a new documentary about her daughter’s murder.
Todd Klick, becloud maker: One of the things we kept absorption on is this absurd alluring draw that bodies accept to the becloud industry, that they’ll do annihilation to get it. And that, to me, is a big appearance in this film.
Filmmaker Todd Klick and co-producer Todd Shill say they are arcade their documentary, “Rough Cut” about to becloud festivals. And they’ve apprenticed a allocation of any gain to advice Nancy Chavez authorize acenterin her daughter’s memory. Chavez wants that abode to be a anchorage for abused children. The filmmakers are assertive audiences will be fatigued to the documentary— one about the irony of actually killing to accomplish a movie— a cine that now sits in a badge affirmation box.
Klick: I’ve heard of filmmakers giving claret to accession money or maxing out their acclaim cards. But I never heard of anyone committing a annihilation to get some money for his film.
Has anyone so askance the adage: Art is long, activity is short?
Since he pled guilty, Brian Trimble can’t appeal. But on his own, he has filed what’s alleged a “post confidence abatement petition,” which alleges he had abortive admonition and that his accusable address was not voluntary.
© 2013 NBCNews.com Reprints
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