TRANSCRIPT: '20/20' Interview with Tommy Lynn Sells

Below is an uncorrected transcript of an interview "20/20" conducted in 2004 with convicted serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells.

INTERVIEWER

OK, Tommy, you know why we're here. So, let's get right to it. You have been questioned about the murder of a boy in Lawrenceville, Illinois.

TOMMY

No.

INTERVIEWER

OK.

TOMMY

See, I read that, too, and, and uh-

INTERVIEWER

You haven't been officially questioned, you're right. Let me start again.

TOMMY

OK.

INTERVIEWER

May I?

TOMMY

Yeah.

INTERVIEWER

When you heard about the murder of a boy in Lawrenceville, Kansas, excuse me. When you heard about the murder of a boy in Lawrenceville, Illinois, you indicated that you may have committed that crime.

TOMMY

The only thing I've ever said about that murder was that it happened two days before the Springfield, uh, Missouri murder.

INTERVIEWER

Why did you say that?

TOMMY

Because, I killed someone two days before that, and I wanted to know, was that it?

INTERVIEWER

You mean, you killed someone two days...

TOMMY

Prior to the Springfield, Illinois murder.

INTERVIEWER

Right.

TOMMY

And, and when I heard about that murder, I said, did it happen two days before the Springfield murder? And that's the only thing I've ever said. And, and no one has ever questioned me, no one has ever, period.

INTERVIEWER

Did you commit the murder of the boy in Lawrenceville?

TOMMY

I committed a murder two days before, the Springfield murder. I know this. Is it this murder you're talking about? I'm assuming, got a good shot at it. You know. But, but to be-

INTERVIEWER

Can you tell me, Tommy, what you remember about that murder?

TOMMY

Next to nothing. And, and I tried talking to Bob [NAME UNCLEAR] about this, and uh, y'all, y'all come here in forty-five minutes and you want me to disclose a murder investigation that, I've sat through many, and it takes hours. And, and y'all just want me to try to say that I've done something that I'm not a hundred percent sure, I'm not even forty percent sure. I know I committed a murder two days before Springfield...

INTERVIEWER

Can you tell me what you do remember about that?

TOMMY

I remember getting in a fight with a woman. Well, not a fight, but a struggle.

INTERVIEWER

Where was that? At a diner? At a restaurant-

TOMMY

No, no, during the murder.

INTERVIEWER

During the murder?

TOMMY

Right. OK. And I thought it was her that I killed. But apparently it wasn't. Now, y'all saying it's a boy, and, and you know, it wasn't like I asked for a name and, and, you know, I just went in to a dark room and started cutting. Or stabbing.

INTERVIEWER

Do you remember why you went to that particular house?

TOMMY

Well, see, I wouldn't say I had the right house, but I'm not even sure if I went to the right house. Uh.

INTERVIEWER

Were you looking for someone or something?

TOMMY

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

What were you looking for?

TOMMY

I was looking for a woman, uh, that, that I had got into an argument with at a little convenience store earlier that day. And I had followed her, and thinking this is where she lives. No, go figure that. You know, it's, it sounds awful coincidental, the finger sure points to that one. You know. But, but before I say, yeah, I did something, I want to know I did it. I just don't want to come out here and say, uh, a bag of hoo-hoo, and say this is what you want to hear, this is what I want to tell you. I'm, I'm, you understand what I'm saying?

INTERVIEWER

I do understand, and we only want you to say what, in fact, you remember.

TOMMY

Right.

INTERVIEWER

And the details. But, if you could help us with any details that you remember of that night. You say you followed a woman home.

TOMMY

Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER

And you don't know if you had the right house. What do you, how did you get into the house? Do you remember that?

TOMMY

Uh, through a side door I believe, uh, I believe.

INTERVIEWER

Was the door open, did you break it open?

TOMMY

No, I, like, move, when... A window…

INTERVIEWER

So, a window in the door?

TOMMY

No, no, no. I cracked, I broke the window.

INTERVIEWER

The, a window, oh, you broke a window to get to the door?

TOMMY

I think so. To unlock it.

INTERVIEWER

Do you remember what you were wearing?

TOMMY

Almost have to be dark clothes or blue jeans with a dark shirt. Almost, that would have been typical.

INTERVIEWER

And what about on top, what did you have on top?

TOMMY

I just told you.

INTERVIEWER

Just a shirt?

TOMMY

A dark shirt.

INTERVIEWER

Did you wear-

TOMMY

A jacket maybe?

INTERVIEWER

Anything on top? Any, any kind of a mask, any kind of head covering?

TOMMY

Oh, oh, oh, you're talking further up top?

INTERVIEWER

Sure.

TOMMY

Uh. Typically, yeah. Uh, I, I did wear a, like a toboggan [PH].

INTERVIEWER

A toboggan?

TOMMY

Yeah.

INTERVIEWER

What do you mean, like a ski mask, you mean?

TOMMY

Well, yeah, but, but I very rarely had it rolled down. I kept it, you know, below the, below the ears.

INTERVIEWER

Are you talking about a hat?

TOMMY

No, I'm talking about a toboggan [PH]. I rolled, I didn't, like, necessarily have my, like a robber's mask. You know. But I just kept it rolled, you're not following are you?

INTERVIEWER

I'm not. You're talking like a hood?

TOMMY

I'm talking a toboggan [PH].

INTERVIEWER

I don't know what a toboggan is, I'm sorry, I don't want to get hung up on this.

TOMMY

It's just a nylon, stretch material put on when you're cold.

INTERVIEWER

Gotcha. Like a hat?

TOMMY

Yeah.

INTERVIEWER

OK. So you might have had that on.

TOMMY

Good possibility. I've used one many times.

INTERVIEWER

I think, I think you told Diane Fanning that it was a hood of a sweatshirt. Does that ring any bells?

TOMMY

No.

INTERVIEWER

You don't remember that? OK.

TOMMY

Uh-

INTERVIEWER

Don't remember. OK. What, what do you remember, Tommy, from being in the house?

TOMMY

Well. I, that's like a million dollar question because I've been through so many of them. It's, it's, am I going to tell you about the one that, in Lawrence, Illinois, or am I going, well, Lawrenceville, Illinois, or am I going to tell you about the one that happened in Springfield, Missouri. Or the one, or twenty other ones. Uh. I mean, how many houses is that different? You know, I mean, basically they're set up the same. You go in, there's a kitchen, there's a living room, there's a bedroom. Uh, it's, it's dark. Uh.

INTERVIEWER

Do you remember going for a weapon or anything like that?

TOMMY

I, I do remember grabbing a knife there. Uh-

INTERVIEWER

Where did you get the knife?

TOMMY

From, uh, counter, uh, a, the kitchen counter, cabinet, top of a cabinet.

INTERVIEWER

And what did you do with it?

TOMMY

Well, if we're on the same page here, I would assume I went in the bedroom and killed someone. Or, or attempt to kill someone.

INTERVIEWER

Do you remember doing that?

TOMMY

Uh, yeah.

INTERVIEWER

And who was it that you killed?

TOMMY

Now we're back at square one. You want me to lie? I mean, I'm not going to lie.

INTERVIEWER

Certainly not.

TOMMY

Uh, I wouldn't say we're on the same murder. Has anybody looked to see, uh, has, has anybody else was killed that day with, with the, you know. No one has asked me nothing about this murder in, in, if I give them, on this, this program, and say, if I give... Ask another question.

INTERVIEWER

OK, don't worry about it. Let's just keep going.

TOMMY

Please.

INTERVIEWER

Do you remember, excuse me. You say you remember killing someone two days-

TOMMY

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

...after Springfield.

TOMMY

No, I think it's before.

INTERVIEWER

I apologize. You say you-

TOMMY

[OVERLAPPING VOICES] Now see, you're trying to trick me up here.

INTERVIEWER

...remember killing someone two days... Uh, no I'm not, I apologize, my fault. You say you remember killing someone two days before the Springfield murder?

TOMMY

Without a doubt.

INTERVIEWER

OK.

TOMMY

There, there is one hundred percent no question.

INTERVIEWER

You remember in the course of that murder having a fight with a woman?

TOMMY

That's not a fight, a struggle.

INTERVIEWER

A struggle?

TOMMY

Yes. Now, I tell you this, I, I remember coming out of the bedroom, and uh, I hear someone in the house, and like, kind of, and I get on my knees, but, but, uh, stoop down, and uh, you know, like trying to... [MUMBLES] ...because I thought I'd be in the house by myself. I didn't see no one earlier there. And, and then, then I, I seen that I couldn't avoid this person, and I, I get up, and that's when I notice it was a woman. And I'm like, who...

INTERVIEWER

And what did you do with her?

TOMMY

It was, it was a minor scuffle, uh, like, I went to cut her, but I think I left, left the knife some, uh, I didn't have the knife no more and I, I'm not sure what in the hell happened to it. Uh, so I just kind of like get her off of me, and, and, and took off.

INTERVIEWER

And did the struggle with her continue outside, or was it just inside the house?

TOMMY

Well, no, I think she, uh, I think she tried to follow me. Because there was one more, the one other time where, where I finally just turned round and, and went to, to uh, hit her, and, and, and that's when it stopped, and I went ahead and disappeared.

INTERVIEWER

Outside.

TOMMY

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

Did you, in fact, hit her again?

TOMMY

I'd almost lay money on it.

INTERVIEWER

Do you remember how you got to Lawrenceville?

TOMMY

Uh. I would assume my van, my van-

INTERVIEWER

Your van?

TOMMY

Yes, van.

INTERVIEWER

Oh, you're van.

TOMMY

Yeah.

INTERVIEWER

That you drove in?

TOMMY

Yeah. Lived in. Sometimes.

INTERVIEWER

So you, you lived in a van at that point?

TOMMY

On and off.

INTERVIEWER

And do you know how you left?

TOMMY

In, well, on foot from the house, then I went and backtracked to my van.

INTERVIEWER

You said originally to me that you had seen this woman in a convenience store. What made you angry about her that made you want to go after her?

TOMMY

Just the way she, her demeanor, the way she tried to treat me. Uh-

INTERVIEWER

Which was how?

TOMMY

Well, I was, I was coming out the door, and she was going in the door and, and we kind of like bumped into each other, and I was like, excuse me, and she was like, excuse the hell out of you. Uh, and she, just, f***ing bitch. Excuse me. Just, just being... And, and I wasn't in no mood to hear all that. And that just, that ticked me.

INTERVIEWER

Do you have any recollection if you had blood on your clothes, anything like that?

TOMMY

I would venture to guess, maybe on, on my hands, or, or sleeves. And had I touched me maybe. Maybe.

INTERVIEWER

But you don't remember for sure?

TOMMY

No, no. I'm speculating there-

INTERVIEWER

Do you have any recollection of what you might have done to the woman during the struggle? Do you have any sense of how badly you might have hurt her?

TOMMY

Not bad.

INTERVIEWER

Not bad?

TOMMY

No, I didn't, I didn't put a bullet in her ass like I should have.

INTERVIEWER

You said you went there to kill her originally, why didn't you?

TOMMY

Well, sometimes, man, that's a hard question to answer too. Uh, sometimes getting a loved one is as bad if not harder on, on the person that you're pissed at.

INTERVIEWER

So you couldn't do it, for whatever reason?

TOMMY

You didn't hear what I said. If I was pissed at you, and lord hope that would never happen, it would be more trauma, trauma on you had I take out someone you loved than, than yourself. But, I do remember saying that apparently I went to the wrong room also. So it, it was accidentally the wrong person.

INTERVIEWER

You say apparently you went to the wrong room?

TOMMY

Right.

INTERVIEWER

You don't remember going into a bedroom and killing someone?

TOMMY

Yes, I do. But, when I seen the woman coming at me in, in, like, the hallway from the living room I, uh, I was like, maybe I didn't kill the right person.

INTERVIEWER

But does that mean that you actually remember killing the other person?

TOMMY

Oh yeah, I, there is no question about that, there is no question in my mind that I did kill a person, and I had a scuffle with someone. There is no question.

INTERVIEWER

Do you remember the actual moment that you killed this other person?

TOMMY

Uh-

INTERVIEWER

And how you did it?

TOMMY

Well, with a knife. Uh. Do I remember the actual moment, walk into a room, see the figure in bed, start cutting, bleed. Well, stabbing. Leave. I'm, and then I hear someone, maybe that's why I was distracted from, from figuring out it was not the person I was after. I, because I was distracted hearing a noise.

INTERVIEWER

You said in a letter to Bob Chance [PH] that he shared with us, and I know you knew he was going to share it with us.

TOMMY

Whatever he shared was OK.

INTERVIEWER

OK, you said, um, tell the truth, a woman pissed me off, I figure out where she live, I notice her car, and I think I'm at the right place, and slip in, get a knife, come to her room, see a young child asleep, stab him to death. So, were you, do you in fact recall that it was a young child?

TOMMY

Uh... Apparently. Uh. Maybe I just don't like to say that.

INTERVIEWER

Why not?

TOMMY

Saying it is one thing, writing it's, I don't, I'm not looking at you in the eyes and... It's, living with what I've done is a hell of a lot harder than doing it.

INTERVIEWER

But, if it's something you want to talk about, and if it's something-

TOMMY

Hold , hold it, I never said I want to talk about this.

INTERVIEWER

OK.

TOMMY

I'm being pressured to talk about this. Y'all bringing out demons that I left behind and, and I don't know how to deal with this s**t no more. You know, _______ this thing do, this does not do nothing.

INTERVIEWER

Uh-huh.

TOMMY

Talking about it is the hardest thing in the world.

INTERVIEWER

Why are you willing to talk about it now, Tommy?

TOMMY

Uh, maybe try and make amends where I did do something wrong.

INTERVIEWER

How would this help you make amends by talking about this?

TOMMY

Uh, well, it's kind of like when the rangers and I started out on, uh, bringing closures to crimes, it was just, we was just bringing closures, getting loved ones, uh, uh, a piece of mind on what did happen. But now, uh, it's like uh, our conversation has, has went north, and, and uh, uh, I believe their motive gets to be something beside my motive, and, and I still have a want to, to, to bring peace to someone's life I done wrong to. If, if, if there is such a thing to knowing, people, like the San Antonio murder, you know, they say they feel so much better now that it's, it's closed.

INTERVIEWER

So, so help me out, if you can, because it would lead-

TOMMY

I'm trying.

INTERVIEWER

No, I know you are, I'm going to ask another question. It might lead to helping someone. I want to just go back to a little bit of detail on this. Do you remember what time of day or night it was when you walked into that house?

TOMMY

Late.

INTERVIEWER

How late?

TOMMY

Uh, [CLEARS THROAT], after dark thirty. I'd say, uh, after dark thirty, and before, before daylight.

INTERVIEWER

You don't really know what time it was, then? Other than late at night, you can't say if it was twelve o'clock, one o'clock, two o'clock, something like that?

TOMMY

I don't keep counters and, and time of things I did. You know, a lot of people say you… no.

INTERVIEWER

OK.

TOMMY

I know it was late, and that's the time I mostly strike, is late.

INTERVIEWER

Were you wearing gloves?

TOMMY

Ninety percent of the time, yes. On this one, yes.

INTERVIEWER

What kind of gloves?

TOMMY

I, I had some real tight black ones.

INTERVIEWER

By the way, what is your shoe size? Do you know?

TOMMY

Yeah. Eight and a half. Nine. Uh.

INTERVIEWER

What were you wearing on your feet, do you remember?

TOMMY

[LAUGHS]

INTERVIEWER

Don't remember? I know it's a long time ago.

TOMMY

What was you wearing three years ago?

INTERVIEWER

I'm-

TOMMY

Four years ago?

INTERVIEWER

I'm with you. I just thought you might remember.

TOMMY

Uh, I can narrow it down to, to, uh, cowboy boots, boots, tennis shoes…

INTERVIEWER

Were the tennis shoes any particular color or make that you remember?

TOMMY

Go to Wal Mart and buy them, Pay Less.

INTERVIEWER

Don't recall.

TOMMY

No.

INTERVIEWER

You, you told me before you think you got into town with your van, but you might have left in your van. Is that the best recollection?

TOMMY

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

And then, where did you go from there?

TOMMY

Well, _______, I went from there to Springfield.

INTERVIEWER

Do you remember that trip? Remember driving it?

TOMMY

No.

INTERVIEWER

By the way, why-

TOMMY

I, I stay pretty, I stay pretty loaded in it.

INTERVIEWER

What were you loaded on?

TOMMY

Uh, combination of, uh, heroine was the drug of choice.

INTERVIEWER

And what else?

TOMMY

Well, it depends on, at the time, what was convenient. I know I drank a lot of whiskey.

INTERVIEWER

Any other drugs?

TOMMY

Well yeah, I'm, I'm speedballing all the time, uh…

INTERVIEWER

What were you doing in Lawrenceville in the first place, do you know?

TOMMY

Riding.

INTERVIEWER

Riding? Just driving around?

TOMMY

[CLEARS THROAT] I went from one, east coast to the west coast.

INTERVIEWER

Did you know anybody in Lawrenceville before you got there?

TOMMY

Didn't know nobody in Texas before I got here either.

INTERVIEWER

Did you make any friends in Lawrenceville when you were there?

TOMMY

No, I've made very few friends in my life.

INTERVIEWER

There was a lot of reported use of methamphetamines in Lawrenceville at the time. could that have been one of the reasons you were there?

TOMMY

Uh. No. I, I say no, but if I was there and it was available, not a hard thing to come by, I probably would have found it.

INTERVIEWER

But you don't recall, well, let me ask it a different way, do you recall buying any drugs there?

TOMMY

Uh, never gave that no thought. Uh. Can't recall. Don't recall.

INTERVIEWER

Just to get something straight, Tommy, you know that at 20/20 we did a story about that murder. I think you've heard that, is that right?

TOMMY

Yeah.

INTERVIEWER

Have you ever seen that story?

TOMMY

No.

INTERVIEWER

Did you ever read anything in the newspaper about a murder in Lawrenceville, Illinois?

TOMMY

No.

INTERVIEWER

When was the first you heard of that?

TOMMY

When I asked Diane about it.

INTERVIEWER

After she had told you about it, or mentioned a murder, is that right?

TOMMY

No. Uh.

INTERVIEWER

How did it first come up?

TOMMY

Uh, you would have to ask her that for sure, but I, I do remember that I had wrote her a letter, you know, no, no, no. This, I do, uh, she had wrote me a letter saying that she had, uh seen this on 20/20, and I wrote her a letter back and asked her, did it happen two days before.

INTERVIEWER

And when she wrote you that letter, that was the very first that you had heard from anybody else that there had been a murder somewhere?

TOMMY

Ever, ever. It's not like I get detective magazines and, and try to keep up with everything that's going on. If I know it, I know it. You know, it's like Stephanie [NAME UNCLEAR], when uh, like I said, a woman from, from, well, started hitchhiking from New York going to California, I said, well she's a hippie. You know, I asked one question, and that leads into a, a whole investigation. I ask one question and, and actually you're, you're the first person to really confirm it happened two days before. Everybody like, don't tell him, I'm, I'm, can't tell him nothing. Why? It's just one question. Maybe I could have been thinking about a million other things if I knew this was the murder. I mean no, nobody wants to say nothing, like it's a forbidden thing to do.

INTERVIEWER

Do you have any… Yes? Bear with us, we're changing tape. Thank you.

[BREAK IN AUDIO]

[END TAPE 1]

[START TAPE 2]

TOMMY

You want me to say this is, well, no, no, no, let me rephrase this. It would be very noble if I said this was a murder I committed.

[OFF CAMERA COMMENTS]

INTERVIEWER

Tommy, I'm not trying to get you to say anything you don't remember.

TOMMY

I understand this.

INTERVIEWER

Anything that isn't real. I'm only trying to get to understand from you what you remember that happened. Let me just try to job your memory. This was from Diane's affidavit. She says you, and I'm quoting her, OK, and he is you. She says, he told me he had encountered Julie in a convenience store with her boy. She was rude to him. He wanted revenge and said the best way to get revenge was to kill her kid.

TOMMY

That's, that's very possible. I, when was this conversation I had with Julie, I mean, I mean-

INTERVIEWER

With Diane?

TOMMY

Yeah.

INTERVIEWER

She says it was on July 23rd of 2002, a year and a half ago.

TOMMY

And you want me to remember what I said?

INTERVIEWER

No, what-

TOMMY

If, if I wrote it, it's the gospel.

INTERVIEWER

I, all I want you-

TOMMY

I've never lied to Diane about nothing, so I had no reason to, to bulls**t her about nothing.

INTERVIEWER

OK. She says, I'm, I'm going to quote again, he stated he did not want her son to grow up to be like her.

TOMMY

I… If, if that's what I wrote, I'll stand on it.

INTERVIEWER

He said it was dark, he went into the house, got a kitchen knife, and killed her kid.

TOMMY

So a noble thing for me to do is say this is a murder that I did.

INTERVIEWER

I'm not putting a value on it, noble or not, did it happen? Is that the way it happened?

TOMMY

I believe so.

INTERVIEWER

You believe so, or you know so?

TOMMY

Big difference, ain't it? [PAUSE] I'm ninety-nine percent sure this is a murder that I did.

INTERVIEWER

Why are you not a hundred percent sure?

TOMMY

How many murders have I committed? You can't even… It's, it's unreal. I once sit down with someone that, that, I want to sit down with a, a person that, who, work this out, and say, yes, Tommy, this is one, or we need to find out which one it is. And uh, that ain't happened.

INTERVIEWER

Are you willing to sit down?

TOMMY

Quick. As long as it ain't _______.

INTERVIEWER

So you would sit down with whom? With investigators? With…

TOMMY

Who ever is in charge of this murder.

INTERVIEWER

Let me just go on with Diane's affidavit, if I may. He stated that he encountered the boy's mother and pushed her away and went out the back. She followed him, and he hit her again. He also informed me that there was a broken window involved. Do you remember that broken window?

TOMMY

I said that earlier, didn't I? So, so…

INTERVIEWER

Just give me, just walk me through the details of the broken window again, just so I understand it for sure.

TOMMY

If, if I remember right, I went to the side of the house, like, uh, door, few window panes in the door, I hit, hit the bottom corner, it breaks.

INTERVIEWER

And then?

TOMMY

I unlock the door?

INTERVIEWER

Reached in?

TOMMY

Yeah.

INTERVIEWER

OK.

TOMMY

It don't take rocket science.

INTERVIEWER

He stated that he was not wearing a mask over his face, but was wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

TOMMY

You know, I, I wore many, both, uh, if that's what I'm telling Diane in, in, I'm not going to call Diane a liar.

INTERVIEWER

I understand.

TOMMY

Uh, but I wouldn't say on, on Stephanie's murder, I remember wearing a toboggan. But... I'm trying...

INTERVIEWER

Do you think that the woman with whom you ha the struggle saw your face?

TOMMY

Uh, did she see my face? It would have been, there's a good chance.

INTERVIEWER

Do you have any concern about the fact that she's sitting-

TOMMY

None.

INTERVIEWER

...in prison? None at all?

TOMMY

None.

INTERVIEWER

Because?

TOMMY

Uh, didn't care about her then, what's going to make me care about her now. Uh. Um. There's apparently something that, that I'm either not saying, not wanting to say, not trying to say. Uh. Something happened that, that I still don't give a s**t about what she thinks.

INTERVIEWER

And what about the person that was killed?

TOMMY

Well, see, there's still father, there's still a father, there's still a grandmother, still granddad, it's, it's, it's not so much that, that I really, it just needs to be closed.

INTERVIEWER

Closed for them, or closed for you?

TOMMY

I don't think it can ever be closed for me.

INTERVIEWER

Tommy, do you think there are other murders that you have committed that you haven't talked about?

TOMMY

Many. But, it, it come to the point which the rangers has their own side of the story and, and that's their side, you know... Come to a point that, that we become like rams locking horns, and uh, I didn't agree with their politics, and that was that.

INTERVIEWER

I want to go back to the murder in Lawrenceville for just a minute.

TOMMY

Yes ma'am.

INTERVIEWER

You said as much as you remembered, that you went into the kitchen and got a knife.

TOMMY

Uh-huh. What, what, oh go ahead.

INTERVIEWER

You go ahead, you finish. You were going to say? I'll get to mine in a minute, tell me what you were going to say.

TOMMY

Went into another room down, if I remember right, down a little hall, into a bedroom... You know. You just read that I said it was a boy. Now, the boy might have been with her that night, but god I'm having a hard time remembering that.

INTERVIEWER

I guess-

TOMMY

You're putting me on the spot too much.

INTERVIEWER

I'm sorry, I-

TOMMY

No, no, no-

INTERVIEWER

That's what we're here for.

TOMMY

I know.

INTERVIEWER

My question was about the weapon.

TOMMY

Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER

Why would you go to a house intent on killing someone and not bring your own weapon?

TOMMY

I guess you ain't never seen me kill with my bare hands then. Weapon ain't necessary item to, to, your hands is just a lethal weapon as anything else.

INTERVIEWER

So why did you make the decision to go and pick up the weapon if that's the case?

TOMMY

I walked by it, seen it, uh, you want me to give you a murder that we know about that, that I didn't use a weapon in? Uh, McComb, or I mean, Harley… Harley McComb [PH] in Kentucky, uh... No weapon. Young teenage girl.

INTERVIEWER

But, so, are you telling me that you walked in there intending to kill the woman with your bare hands?

TOMMY

I walked in there intending to do something, yeah.

INTERVIEWER

To whom?

TOMMY

Well, maybe once I get in there I went to the first room, and there he was, so there I went.

INTERVIEWER

But again, you're saying maybe.

TOMMY

I'm speculating on, on, on, uh, seven, how many years ago?

INTERVIEWER

Seven.

TOMMY

Seven. I mean, you remember what you had for breakfast? I'm, I'm... Uh.

INTERVIEWER

But, but in fairness, it's difference when it's a murder than what you had for breakfast.

TOMMY

Well, it is until you let all of them run together. I, I mean, there's thirteen that we know that, that we, we put a coffin in, a nail in that coffin. We know there's thirteen of them that, that we, we went through, and each one of them had their own little P's and Q's, and you had to dot the I's a certain way and cross the T's. This is just another one.

INTERVIEWER

Are you, are you certain, I know you're not terribly certain about a lot of the details here, but, are you certain you came and left in your van? Does that sound right to you? Not trying to trick you up, I'm really just curious.

TOMMY

You can't trick me up because I, if I'm not on nothing, I'm, uh, yeah...

INTERVIEWER

You're pretty sure you were in the van?

TOMMY

Uh-

INTERVIEWER

Where did you park it when you went to he house?

TOMMY

Down the street. Which seemed logical. Now I've had, that wouldn't...[TRAILS OFF]

INTERVIEWER

OK. Yes? Five minutes? OK, fine, we've got five minutes left, just so you know.

TOMMY

You're burning fuel.

INTERVIEWER

[LAUGHS] We're going to keep going, we're going to keep going.

TOMMY

Y'all going to try to do another interview, or is this the only one?

INTERVIEWER

No, you're it for today. You're-

TOMMY

No, I know for today.

INTERVIEWER

Yeah I, we're going to talk to Diane also.

TOMMY

OK.

INTERVIEWER

So, that will be good, that will be good. Um, go ahead and do some, you can pull back, but I want to keep talking, OK. I'm just telling the cameraman to vary the shot a little bit, just so you understand, but we're going to, we're going to keep going. Uh, you said that you saw the woman in the afternoon. Was she with her son when you saw her?

TOMMY

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

You remember that?

TOMMY

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

Tell me what you remember about that scene. Was the little boy behaving, misbehaving? I mean, was there anything?

TOMMY

It wasn't an issue about the boy, it was an issue about me and her.

INTERVIEWER

And how long did you plan to come to the house?

TOMMY

From the moment she got back, uh out the store.

INTERVIEWER

And did you follow her home right then and there?

TOMMY

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

And then what did you do?

TOMMY

Set there and watched the place for a little bit, then took off and done a few other things.

INTERVIEWER

Like what? Do you remember?

TOMMY

Uh, had, had something to eat. No, I don't remember. I can speculate. Uh, I wouldn't say, I could have done numerous things.

INTERVIEWER

You said before you thought, you don't remember, but you thought it was possible there was blood on your clothes, do you have any recollection of getting rid of clothes that had blood on them?

TOMMY

Many times.

INTERVIEWER

How about in this case?

TOMMY

See, we're not just talking about one, one murder here, we're talking many. So, so just to pinpoint one, one thing, one time, is impossible almost. And I could care, so, she, she became water off my back as soon as I walked out of that place.

INTERVIEWER

Uh-huh.

TOMMY

It, it just, just, waste of time. I care less about her and, and her-

INTERVIEWER

And, and just picking up what you said before, when I said to you, why didn't you stay and kill her, your answer was?

TOMMY

I didn't have a knife. I don't know-

INTERVIEWER

But you told me before you could kill people with your bare hands.

TOMMY

Without a doubt.

INTERVIEWER

So why didn't you? Did she-

TOMMY

The, the, that's a million dollar, the elements of being surprised, the, the, uh, I don't, uh... Startled. I had, like, I don't know…

INTERVIEWER

Do you remember hitting her bad enough so that she would have gotten any bruises?

TOMMY

There was a scuffle. Uh, she would have been the worser one, she, there was a scuffle. I didn't hurt her nearly as what I should have.

INTERVIEWER

Was there a scuffle only inside, or was there one outside as well?

TOMMY

Both.

INTERVIEWER

You remember that?

TOMMY

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

And, and I'm trying to remember what you said before, was, did, who was chasing whom at that point?

TOMMY

It didn't matter. I was trying to get away. She was being hard headed, thinking she was going to, I don't know what in the hell she thought. Didn't care what she thought. I had to leave. My element of surprise was, was tooken away.

INTERVIEWER

Uh-huh.

TOMMY

That, that just screw my whole head up.

INTERVIEWER

Tommy, let me ask you a question. How do you go about searching your brain to remember the details about something like this? What do you do, when I ask you these questions, and when someone, when you talk to Bob or you talk to Diane, how do you, what is the process you go through to try to remember…?

TOMMY

The easiest way I've found is I try to just come up with what's, what's there. Because if it's not there, it's not going to be there. But, if I wrote something down today, and you come back and ask me six months from now, then it's, then, then I done wrote it down, like with Diane or Bob, you know.

INTERVIEWER

You said-

TOMMY

It was there.

INTERVIEWER

You said before you're trying to bring some closure to yourself, to others. We only have a minute or so left, tell me, what do you want people to know about this?

TOMMY

About this, this crime? About-

INTERVIEWER

About this crime. And you.

TOMMY

You can't put that in in a minute. Uh I've hurt a lot of people, and sorry isn't going to cover that. But killing me ain't going to cover that either. But you know what, killing me is a whole lot easier to do than making me face it every day.

INTERVIEWER

So is part of this an attempt on your part to get some clemency?

TOMMY

No, I don't give a s**t about no clemency. Hell, I, I have some good lawyers doing their jobs, and whatever the courts decision is, I'm fine with that. But between now and then I'm going to try to do what I think is right.

INTERVIEWER

Somebody watching this might say, what is he talking about what's right, look at what he's done, he hasn't done anything right for a long time.

TOMMY

That's all I got to say about them. Society I, I could care less about their freaking... What I do care about it, is, is some down to earth, good hearted people that I, I've met over...

INTERVIEWER

OK, I think um, I think they've give us the sign, the high sign here. But actually, until they do, I'm going to keep going. Uh-

TOMMY

Push, push, push.

INTERVIEWER

Well, hey, we're here, you know, we've got a short time with you.

TOMMY

Talk, talk.

INTERVIEWER

So if I, I'm going to go at it one more time.

TOMMY

And I'm going to say the same thing if you ask me what I think about...

INTERVIEWER

Did you murder?

TOMMY

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

A child in Lawrenceville, Illinois?

TOMMY

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

You're sure?

TOMMY

Yes. Yes. I've done, I've done told Bob, I've done told Diane too much about it to not be, it would be too much coincidence, it's too, too, yes, this is another one of my murders.

INTERVIEWER

You're sure?

TOMMY

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

And you're willing to talk to law enforcement about this?

TOMMY

Yes. Not the Texas Rangers.

INTERVIEWER

Not the Texas Rangers. I hear you.

TOMMY

We're done with them.

INTERVIEWER

Do you think that over time you will be able to dredge up more details or not?

TOMMY

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

Why, why do you think that?

TOMMY

Because we, we put ourself in a setting where we, we start talking, you know, I ain't got a light shining in my face, I, I'm, it's, it's relaxed, I ain't got someone breathing on me, uh, but, but you know, at the same time, Bob and Diane both has, has been very careful of not saying nothing about it to, to say well, we've told him this or we've told him that. So, so there ain't been no one to talk to.

INTERVIEWER

You're saying all these details you've told them are things you recall?

TOMMY

Yeah.

INTERVIEWER

OK, I think we're done. Tommy, thank you.

TOMMY

You're welcome.

[BACKGROUND NOISE, VOICES]

INTERVIEWER

Well, we thank you, and as I said, maybe we'll be back again. OK, we will do that. And Diane. OK, Tommy, Take care. Will do. OK. When did you send that?

[BACKGROUND NOISE, VOICES]

[OFF CAMERA COMMENTS]

[BREAK IN AUDIO]

[END TOMMY INTERVIEW]

[START TAPE 3]

[OFF CAMERA COMMENTS]

INTERVIEWER

Do you, tell me, you watched the original 20/20 show.

WOMAN

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

Just happened to watch it one night.

WOMAN

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

Reaction to it?

WOMAN

I, I had serious doubts of Julie Rae's guilt after watching that show, and not from anything that was said by Julie or by her supporters, but just by listening to what the people who were prosecuting her were saying, because they didn't make sense.

INTERVIEWER

Why?

WOMAN

Because they were saying, uh, no one comes in with murder in their heart and takes a knife from the kitchen. Well, I happen to know Tommy Lynn Sells, and I know he did it, and I figured if he did it, a lot of other people did, too. And there were so many crimes where they had no finger prints, no DNA, they had nothing to work with at different crimes, uh, that Tom was involved in. So, it seemed to me that that was illogical, and I couldn't understand why a prosecutor would say things that made such little sense.

INTERVIEWER

But did you still think that is Tommy, immediately, or did you think-

WOMAN

Oh no. I, that, that thought did not cross my mind. What had crossed my mind was, that's somebody like Tommy. Because the Rangers have said to me, if you knew how many people like him were walking around this country at one time, it would blow the skirt right up over your head. And that was a nice little phrase, and it stuck with me. So, I'm thinking, it's somebody like Tommy. I was really surprised when he came back at me with the dates.

INTERVIEWER

How did that happen, though. I mean, ultimately, let me ask another question, did Tommy Lynn Sells watch the program that night?

WOMAN

He couldn't have, because he was on death row. On death row they do not have access to television. Now, he has had access to television off and on when he's been incarcerated this most recent time, when he's been down at the [NAME UNCLEAR] County Jail. But up on death row he didn't. And I had gone in to visit him on about the 21st of May. And when, that was shortly before the show aired. And when I visited him, he'd been complaining up one side and down the other about the Texas Rangers. He said, I tell them about something I did, and they always come back yammering at me for details. And so I tried to explain to him that, yeah, they believe you, but they've got other people to talk to. Well, I didn't have anything concrete to throw at him until I saw the 20/20 show. And there I saw exactly what the Rangers must encounter over and over again. People with crazy assumptions that just don't hold water, that say oh, nobody does this. And yet, we have proof that people do do this. So, after seeing the show, I wrote Tommy a letter, because I really wanted him to cooperate with the rangers, because there's a lot of families out there that need closure. So, I wrote the letter to him, and I just talked about the show where a woman was in jail for killing her son. I didn't tell him who she was, I didn't tell him where it happened, I didn't tell him when it happened, nothing. I did tell him about what I heard said. They weren't direct quotes, because I wasn't taking notes, I was watching 20/20 for entertainment. And uh, but I said approximately what I remember they said. And I said, and this is what the rangers face. The rangers believe you, but they have people who are not thinking as clearly who, who need to believe you, too. And he popped back with me in a letter dated June 14th and said, was that murder you were talking about one that happened two days before the one I did in Springfield, Missouri? Say maybe on the 13th? And it just, I, that's the first moment, I thought it could be Sells. So, I wrote back to him, and he was being coy. He wouldn't give me any additional information at that point. But, he did say that there are a lot of people in jail for things like that. And he said, and by the way, you didn't answer my question, was it on the 13th or not? Because I still didn't want to give him any details, because if he really was involved, I wanted him to give me the details. So uh, we had another letter with some more vague comments, and I actually turned in the manuscript for my book and contemplated, well, do I leave this story in there? And I decided ,well, it's part of the Tommy Lynn Sells story , and it's part of my interaction with him, and what brought this all together. So I'll put it in there. And at that point I had nothing but bare bones. So when I went in to see him, [CLEARS THROAT], after he'd been moved in July back to the Bear County Jail, that's when he gave me more details.

INTERVIEWER

Personally?

WOMAN

Yes, face to face, or through the glass, as it were. And so when I got my manuscript back from the edit, from the editor, I inserted that additional information, so it, it was put into the book.

INTERVIEWER

Now is it, it is certainly your feeling that Tommy was never fed any of these details by anybody else, anything he could have read, anything he could have seen?

WOMAN

I can't say that with absolute certainty, but what I can say is this. The show aired on May 30th, or May 31st, one of the two. I wrote to him soon after this show. I got a letter back from him on the 14th of June. That is a real narrow window for someone to be feeding him something. The mail going in and out of death row is pretty darn slow, and uh, he doesn't have telephone privileges like people have in normal jails. So, I can't imagine that someone fed things to him. Is it possible? I suppose. But, I don't know, I just, it just, in this case, doesn't seem likely.

INTERVIEWER

Take me back to when you first watched the 20/20 show.

WOMAN

Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER

And you were sort of thinking that what, what stuck in your craw was basically the assumptions the prosecutors, and ultimately the case against Julie Rae was based on, can you give me that again in terms of what some of those assumptions were that, that bothered you when you sort of, that , turned that show off and thought, you know, this is not holding water to me.

WOMAN

There were no stranger finger prints was supposed to be a reason there wasn't an intruder. Well, um, there were, one scene after another where Sells went in and left no fingerprints. And uh, talking to the Rangers, they said, you'll be amazed at how many cases where they do not have anything like that. You had, uh, and to me the, the most obvious one of all was, nobody goes into a house and takes a knife from a kitchen and kills somebody. Well, Sells has done it in cases they're certain of he's been responsible. He's gotten a knife, he's gotten a baseball bat, he's gotten whatever is at hand. One time he was sitting with Larry Pope out in the [NAME UNCLEAR] County Sheriff's Department, and Larry said, well, if you wanted to kill me, what's in this room you could use for a weapon besides my gun? And Sells went around, one by one, itemizing all sorts of every day items in that office that he could use as a weapon to kill someone. And, so, to say that someone wouldn't come into, would come into a house without a weapon just was ludicrous to me. And that there was no disturbance. Well, there was disturbance where the scene of the crime was. There was a crime was. And the fact that he was intent on getting away would tell me why there wasn't any more. He wanted to get out of that situation. And he does have panic, I'm not sure if it's an actual panic attack, but he does get senses of panic, and wants to get out of scenes quickly. Like the last scene at the Harris home, after killing Kayleen [PH] and thinking he killed Crystal, he could have killed everybody else in that house, there was nothing to really stop him. But he didn't. And why, because he said he got nervous, he got uptight, he had to get out of there. It just was building up inside him, he just had to get out of there. So, he does have those kinds of feelings. And so they, they seemed so sure on what seemed to be no evidence. I mean, it was all circumstantial. Just that she was in the house at the time. They came up with nothing that said to me that this was a woman with serious psychiatric problems like Andrea Yates, for example. It was, uh, something that didn't seem to fit, and didn't seem to make sense from beginning to end. And uh, I just couldn't buy it. I mean, no, I wasn't instantly convinced that this was a wrongfully convicted woman, but as time goes on, I have become convinced.

INTERVIEWER

Have you become convinced that Tommy did this?

WOMAN

What convinced me was the witnesses that placed him in Lawrenceville at the time of this crime. Up till then, I was maintaining a very healthy skepticism because, well, Tommy Lynn Sells is a psychopath, and psychopaths don't always tell the truth. Uh, but when two sets of witnesses come forward and say he was there in this little bitty town that is just no reason to be there, and then when they came up with the connection of him mentioning Winnemucka, I mean, that's a little bit of nothing. Uh, like [NAME UNCLEAR], the Texas Ranger out in [NAME UNCLEAR], he said, I thought we were out in the middle of nowhere, then I went to Winnemucka, and I saw, saw what nowhere was really like. So those, those things combined together, and yeah, I do think he did it.

INTERVIEWER

Um, for Tommy at this stage, uh, why do you think, why do you think he has come forth and mentioned his potential involvement in crimes? I mean, he's on death row. There would seem to be no up side. Why is he stepping up?

WOMAN

Well, Tommy and I have developed an odd relationship, and he considers me a friend. And when I ask him things, usually he answers the questions. And so, when I told him about that, he responded, and uh, with, with the date. And I think, uh, so I, that, when I kept asking questions, then he answered them. He has never confessed to me a crime before that hadn't been pinned to him by law enforcement. And by the same token, there are cases that law enforcement has been suspicious of him that he has denied to me. He said, I didn't do that one. So, I think part of it is because of his relationship with me, and part of it is, I just think it is a relief to him to be able to talk to someone who is not interested in putting him in jail, or executing him, or uh, telling him he's a bad, bad man. I mean, he knows the world thinks that. I mean, there is no benefit to anybody sitting there with that kind of attitude with him.

INTERVIEWER

But why, why would he step forward and in effect even expose himself to more prosecution, more trials, by even stepping up in the Julie Rae case? Why is Tommy doing this?

WOMAN

I think there is a side of Tommy that would like to put things to rest. Uh, and I do think there is a side of him that loves the attention. He does like attention. I mean, if you were in a jail cell for twenty-three hours a day, and you got to get out to go shower, or go to the commissary, uh, you would be dying for attention, too. You know, it's, it's a very lonely life to live on death row. Which is not to say he doesn't deserve that lonely life, but it's something where I think you, you crave human attention, and I think Tommy's craved it all his life for that matter. I think he had a, he had a rotten childhood, and he had a lot of abandonment in his life. And I think he, he's just been that way. Even if he were a normal guy working in a gas station somewhere, there would always be that big yearning for attention. And how he would act that out in acceptable ways, I don't know. But instead, he chose a different way.

INTERVIEWER

Prosecutors are going to say, this is a lonely guy looking for attention, Tommy Lynn Sells is nothing but a serial confessor, there is no truth to anything in this Julie Rae thing, or anything else he has ever confessed.

WOMAN

You know, I've heard comments like that, but on not one of his confessions has been proven false. Not one to this point in time. There have been confessions that they have doubts about, and nobody is certain about, and they have questions, but none of them that he has out and out confessed to has been proven wrong. I imagine it's possible that one will be, but none have to this date. Which says to me, that that gives his confessions some credibility, unlike others who just go on and on and on confessing. And, like with this confession, did he tell me and then go on to tell everybody and try to get all this attention. He had opportunities. People always want to talk to him, from law enforcement to media. But he didn't do anything about it. He didn't make an issue of this. He told me, and he let it go. And nobody bothered him or me about it, un, until two months after the book was out.

INTERVIEWER

That's a long time for the, why did it take so long, that's a headline in your book in many ways.

WOMAN

Well, you know-

INTERVIEWER

Why so long for it to surface?

WOMAN

I was busy promoting my book on a lot of the crimes that everybody agreed on were big news. You know, I was talking on radio stations in towns like that, and uh I was pushing that. But, to me, because there was a real person sitting in jail, this had a life and death aspect to it, and it almost seemed crass to promote it. And I also knew that if I brought it to the forefront, I would come under the kind of attack from the prosecution, uh, that I've come under now. I mean, they're making false statements about me, and they're not bothering to talk to me. Uh, and I would think, if prosecutors are seriously interested in truth and justice, which is what I thought they were supposed to be all about when I learned about them in school, then they would be there, they would be falling over themselves to test DNA. They would have been the first ones to call me and find out what do you know and how do you know it. But instead, they just make up things about me and say them. You know, it's, uh, it's amazing.

INTERVIEWER

Let me talk about that very specifically.

WOMAN

Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER

I mean, I want you to tell me specifically what your experience has been with the prosecutors, what they've said about you, how the, what their reaction has been to when this information surfaced, and ultimately surfaced in, on their desks, or through letters, or through lawyers, it finally surfaced in Illinois, what has been, what was the, the reaction of the prosecutorial authorities to that information and to you? What happened?

WOMAN

I have had no direct contact with anyone in the prosecutors office. Uh, my, my phone number is easy to come by, and I've got a web site with a link to my email. If they wanted to get a hold of me, everybody else up in Illinois seems to be able to, so they just didn't bother. And, and instead, uh, they just call it trashy fiction, and uh, you know, say that uh, that I'm a first time writer, which, you know, that's my third book. And, you know, they, they just don't even look for the truth. And then Len Kirkpatrick [PH] is out there saying, oh, she conspired with the, uh, Rae family to write this book just so they could put this information in it. It's crazy. I never heard of Julie Rae before May 30th, and I was almost done with my manuscript, of last year, I was almost done with my manuscript then. And uh-

INTERVIEWER

I'm going to stop you right there.

WOMAN

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

Pronounce it Julie Ray.

WOMAN

Julie Ray.

INTERVIEWER

Instead of Ree-ah. Pronounce it Julie Ray, just go right back to that point where, where Len Kirkpatrick had said that you had inspired with Julie Rae. Just pick it up from there.

WOMAN

OK. Well, and then Len Kirkpatrick, he said I conspired with Julie Rae's families and supporters to write this whole book about Tommy Lynn Sells and all his, all his adventures in life, just so that I could insert this Julie Rae information into it. And it, it was so ludicrous to me, because the manuscript was pretty much done by the time the 20/20 show aired, and quite frankly, I had never heard of Julie Rae before that. And then the book comes out, I'm still not talking to any Julie Rae supporters until two months after the book is out, which is a year after Sells had confessed to me. And I got an email from Jane Rae, and that is the first thing I, I had contact with that family. And within a couple of days, then a lot of media were calling. But, the conspiracy idea is just crazy. Uh. If anybody thought there was truth in it, talking to my agent and to my publisher might be a good thing. But nobody seems to be concerned with finding out the facts. They just want to spread rumors, and make anybody that has any belief in Julie Rae's innocence look like, um, a fool.

INTERVIEWER

You did have a conversation with Sergeant P [PH].

WOMAN

Yes.

INTERVIEWER

Of the Illinois State Police. What was the gist of that conversation?

WOMAN

He called me up, and he asked me some factual questions, and wanted to know, you know, just what Sells had said to me, wanted to know if I could fax the material to him, which I said I would. And he also, uh, when he finished, he said to me, is there anything you want me to know? And at that point I said to him, I want you to know what I as a citizen think the prosecutors are supposed to be about. Truth and justice are supposed to be important to prosecutors. They're representing the people, and that is what the people want them to do. And when a prosecutor obstructs the testing of DNA evidence, that tells me that prosecutor is more interesting in having a little slice in the win column than he is in truth and justice and the common good of the people he represents. We need to have prosecutors who aren't afraid of the truth, who are not afraid to say, well, maybe I made a mistake. That is the sign of an honest prosecutor dedicated to his job in the way he's supposed to be. Not another lawyer up there just trying to win.

INTERVIEWER

What has been the reaction of the Rae family and their defense team to you? I mean, what has been their contact, what has been-

WOMAN

They've been very nice. Since, uh, the end of June of this year I've had a pretty constant email contact. It's been mostly email. We've had a couple of phone conversations, and we're, we're anxious to meet each other because it's, uh, it's an odd way that our lives have been brought together. And it's not exactly the happiest way, but they, they've been very warm and very grateful, and I have, uh, they've made me feel like I've done something good. And that feels good to me.

INTERVIEWER

Tommy said yesterday, uh, interestingly enough, uh, that Julie Rae had pissed him off, and that's why he went after her, and went after the child, and went after, followed them home and, and from that moment on, had target them, targeted them for, no good… Um. When asked a little later in the interview about whether or not, you know, he cared much about, here is an innocent, potentially innocent woman sitting on, in prison, he said he didn't give a damn. He didn't like her, didn't care about her whatsoever. It seems as if Tommy's motive in terms of coming forward and confessing, virtually, specifically to a crime that took place two days before the Springfield murders is that his, his motive doesn't appear to be, to save Julie Rae. It's something else.

WOMAN

No, he doesn't really care. And I think that in some way it, some of it's doing a favor to me, to ingratiate himself to me, which is really strange, but that's the best spin I can put on it. Um. And no, from the very beginning he has expressed to me, you know, total disdain, so what if she's sitting in jail, there's a lot of people sitting in jail for things they didn't do. Probably some sitting in jail for things I did. So what? You know, who cares. I'm sitting in jail. You know, and I, I got a capital murder, uh, on me, and I've got a death sentence, and I shouldn't. Uh, because he contends that, although he was guilty of murder, he was not guilty of capital murder, and so he should not have gotten a death sentence. So he's, uh, and he's such an odd man as far as motivations go. You just look at the reasons he gives for why he does things. And for such a brutal man, he takes things so personally, and he gets so easily offended, and he is so ready to find ways to point fingers at other people. Like down in Lexington, Kentucky where he killed little Hailey McComb [PH], does he take blame and say, you know, I did a bad thing? No, the responsibility there lies with the neighborhood. If they cared about their children, they would have cleaned up that overgrown area that was there by the park, and I would have not had the opportunity to take her back there, sexually assault her, and kill her. It's not my fault, it's their fault. And it's, it's almost alien logic, and it's hard to listen to sometimes. But he doesn't really think the way you and I do. Everything looks different to him.

INTERVIEWER

He's a psychopath.

WOMAN

Yes he is, and uh I don't think he understands. I think there was a time in his life where Tommy could have been fixed. Uh. But I think once he got out of his early childhood, that was all over. The time was passed. Um. The damage had been done, and there was no turning back for Tommy Sells.

INTERVIEWER

Just to recap one thing. From the time you first saw a 20/20 piece, which set in motion a conversation or a letter to Tommy Sells, how quickly did all the sudden he come back with, you know, that might be me, in effect. How fast did that happen?

WOMAN

That happened in about ten days. And that's mail up, mail back. Because I didn't, I didn't write immediately after the show, uh it was a few days, so the show was on the 30th of May, I wrote a few days later, and, and he wrote back to me, June 14th. And it does take a number of days to go back and forth, because it goes through a screening room, and usually my letters take about five or six days to get to him. So, he responded quite quickly.

INTERVIEWER

What was your reaction when you read that letter?

WOMAN

I sat down and read it again, because I just didn't believe it. And then I pulled out the notes I had on, on Joel's murder, to make sure I'm remembering the date, and I wasn't just getting it mixed up in my head. I mean, it was, it was shocking, it was shocking, because I was not saying, hey Tommy, did you do this, because I didn't think he did. I just thought it was another psychopath running the streets that did this. It didn't seem like something a mother would do, and it didn't seem to fit that mother at all. But it did fit an intruder, a psychopathic intruder. So, I was, I was stunned. I didn't know what to do, or how to deal with it. I mean, I had to think about it for a while, and I wasn't even sure whether it was material for the book. And I thought long and hard about that, because I knew-

INTERVIEWER

Did you think he was lying to you, he was just gaming you?

WOMAN

I thought that's possible, that's always possible with a psychopath. Uh, but it was eerie that he just popped out with the date. He could have come up with a lot of other things that were related to the case that wouldn't have been like a punch in the gut, you know. But the date, so precisely to have the date. Just blew me away. And I wanted to know more.

INTERVIEWER

Well he said, he's absolutely adamant that two days prior to that murder he knows he committed another. Uh. I got the feeling in that part of the world, we could go a thousand square miles and not find that there was another murder committed that day, except for that one. I mean, that's something we're going to try to figure out is just, you know, is, is there a choice of fourteen within that, you know, that he could have committed that, on that date? I don't know, I don't think so. Not in that rural part of the world.

WOMAN

Yeah.

INTERVIEWER

Doesn't happen very often.

WOMAN

No, it doesn't. And with people who spotted him right there in Lawrenceville. And what blows me away is they called the sheriff right after they heard about the murder, and nobody ever came to follow up and get their statement. That's not right.

INTERVIEWER

Now, uh, pretty much we're told that the, the sheriff and all the other investigating authorities had pretty well made up their mind within twenty-four hours that Julie was more likely, that was the likely suspect. She wasn't making sense.

WOMAN

Uh-huh. Well, you know, there, there are problems in our justice system, and some of them are based on money. And people who can afford a very expensive defense team, um, have a much greater chance of acquittal. And there also are biases within the, uh, law enforcement community. And when you have got a bitter ex-husband whose first words are, she did it, and that ex-husband is a cop, well, you've got the bias setting in. It's natural for people to believe their own. But, when you're investigating a crime, you need to rise above that.

[OFF CAMERA COMMENTS]

INTERVIEWER

I'm just trying to think if there is anything else. We have covered, I think, a lot of this. Let me just see...

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