Was Nebraska Couple's Murder Revenge or Random?

Couple was murdered on Easter Sunday

ByABC News
September 3, 2010, 12:37 PM

Sept. 3, 2010— -- For legendary crime scene investigator David Kofoed, this was one of the bad ones.

"It was like something out of Truman Capote's 'In Cold Blood,'" he said.

Well-liked couple Wayne and Sharmon Stock were found viciously murdered in their Nebraska farmhouse, apparently killed on Easter Sunday, 2006.

The tiny town of Murdock, Neb., where many hadn't locked their doors for years, was in utter disbelief.

"It was, of course, total shock," said former pastor Jon Wacker. "There were all kinds of theories running around."

But to Kofoed, a veteran investigator of the Douglas County Crime Lab, the crime had all the earmarks of a revenge killing by someone the Stocks had to have known.

"We didn't see any indication of robbery...so we thought this has got to be a personal attack," he said.

Attention quickly focused on the Stocks' 28-year-old nephew Matthew Livers, who was reportedly angry at the couple over a money matter. Livers submitted to a polygraph test, which he was told he failed. After initially vehemently denying responsibility, Livers eventually began to break down under videotaped police questioning.

Interrogator: The truth is, you got a gun, right or wrong?

Livers: Right.

Prompted by police questioners, Liver gradually confessed to the crime and implicated his cousin Nick Sampson -- giving many details.

Livers: I put the gun to her face and blew it away... and then as I headed out I just stuck it to him and blew him away.

Livers told police he and Sampson had been driving a tan car that night -- and witnesses came forward who had spotted a suspicious tan car speeding on a road near the farmhouse the night of the murder. Even more damning, the car Livers said they had used had been taken to a car wash within hours of the murder.

"The car was detailed at 5:30 in the morning on that same day," said Kofoed, "which is an awful odd coincidence."

But there was no corroborating physical evidence -- no DNA or blood to link the two men to the crime scene. So, police sent in the CSI lead investigator, Kofoed -- famous in Nebraska for being able to find evidence when no one else could.

Kofoed went into the car Livers said he had used to commit the crime and -- although earlier processing of the car had turned up nothing -- found one single drop of blood from the crime scene. The case was made -- and Livers and Sampson were charged with murder.

But there was this one unresolved detail: a golden ring found on the kitchen floor in the murder house. It didn't belong to Wayne or Sharmon Stock or any of their friends -- and it didn't belong to Livers or Sampson either. It was a minor loose end that would ultimately turn the case upside down.