Former hockey star's young family shattered by wife's murder at home: Part 1

Thomas and Kelley Clayton were starting a successful life together, when Thomas came home to find his wife brutally bludgeoned to death in their home.
7:45 | 11/10/18

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Transcript for Former hockey star's young family shattered by wife's murder at home: Part 1
Reporter: The finger Lakes region of New York state, known for its breathtaking scenery, lush wineries and brilliant fall colors. It's just a nice, laid-back community. Very easygoing, a nice place to raise kids. Reporter: 18 years ago, a new game skated into town. The Elmira jackals, a minor league hockey team. Yeah, Hannah! Reporter: Bringing a fury of energy and excitement to the area. When the jackals arrived, it really gave the community, the town, something to really rally around on those winter Friday nights and Saturday nights. Suddenly you had 4,000 people kind of going downtown. A lot of them maybe grab a drink afterwards. Jackals forward Tom Clayton knows how to get under his opponents' skin. Reporter: One of the big stars, number 18, Thomas Clayton. He's looking to take his game to the next level. If you can get one of their top guys off the ice for two minutes, five minutes, you know, it gets that job done. Tom was chippy, aggressive. His job was to go out there and instigate trouble. He would slash other players, he would just try to get them agitated to the point where they would draw a penalty. He was an instigator on the ice. And now we've got a fight behind the play. It looks like -- He would start fights. Reporter: Here he is scrapping it up with a rival player. Clayton coming back at him. What do you want to do? You want to fight someone. Just like when you're a little kid and you just get so mad you want to fight, you know? Reporter: Cocky, animated and intimidating -- Clayton helps to keep things in perspective. Reporter: -- The hockey sensation would soon meet his match in Kelley stage. Kelley was definitely outgoing, spontaneous. She cared about everybody. Fashiona crazy at times. Loyal. Sassy. Definitely sassy. Didn't put up with anything. Reporter: A local girl, she spotted Tom from the stands, says sister Kim bourgeois. At a game is when she first saw Thomas Clayton. And she thought he was cute. She went out that night to a bar after that game with her best friend. He was sitting at the bar, and I asked him, "Do you have a girlfriend?" And he said, "Who are you asking for?" I said, "Not me." He said, "The blonde? She's unbelievable." Reporter: Were they smitten with each other? Yes. Very. He was known as a bad boy. He would have a harem of girls following him. Reporter: What was it about him that attracted such attention? Tom was very good-looking. He was smooth. He'd try to make you feel like you were the most beautiful girl in the room. Reporter: The relationship grows serious quickly, and they marry in 2006. The following year, Tom's hockey career crashes when he injures his leg. He was looking to really try to put that behind and move on and start a family in the area. Reporter: First with baby girl, Charlie. Hi! You gonna give a smile? Reporter: And three years later, son Cullen follows. Were they happy? She was very happy. And as far as I knew, he was happy, too. She loved him. I know that my sister truly, truly loved him. Reporter: And Kelley, as a mom, was she having a great time as a young mom? She was a great mom. Very involved in both of their lives. Reporter: Tom is a successful businessman, owning rental properties and heading up a local servpro franchise. They do cleanup in homes and businesses after fires and floods. He was a fairly high-ranking operations manager. Reporter: Were they doing well financially as a family? They were doing extremely well. They had purchased a home that Kelley loved. She was so excited. Life appeared to be wonderful for Kelley, Tom, Charlie, and Cullen. Reporter: That is, until one autumn night, after a night of poker, Tom Clayton finds something sinister has happened in his home. 911. Help me, help me. My wife, she's dead. How long has she been down? I don't know. I don't know. I just got home. Sir, you need to calm down so I can help you. Is she beyond cpr? Yes. Sir, why do you think she is beyond cpr? Just trust me. I was on duty, on patrol here in the east corning area at the time when the call came in. Reporter: What do you hear? The call came in as a woman down, a medical situation. Reporter: Steuben county sheriff's deputy Dean swan gets the call that night. He drives me along the route to the family home in Caton, New York. Caton is quiet. It's very rural. It's extremely dark. Lots of back roads, open fields. You really can't see much when you're driving there. Reporter: What were you thinking? En route up there, something was wrong. I just had a gut feeling something was wrong. Reporter: As he approaches the home, deputy swan switches on his new body camera. What you're about to see is realtime footage of the scene that night. Let's turn our red lights off. We're close enough. When I pulled up to the scene, I saw a gentleman at the front door. I just started asking questions about what's going on. How are you doing? I'm okay. What's going on? Tom just came -- I'm the neighbor. Tom just came and got me out of bed. Reporter: He was pretty frantic? Yes. He was visibly shaken, very flustered, and he couldn't get much out. Okay, what happened, though? His wife -- his wife is in there. Okay. Reporter: The deputy, a 20-year veteran, enters the house looking for Tom. Anybody else in the house, Tom? Just you? I got the kids out there at the neighbor's house. Reporter: Completely unprepared for what he is about to see. Okay, where's she at? Over there. Whoa. Whoa. Okay. Some sort of blunt force trauma had occurred. I want you to have a seat. You don't need to see that anymore, okay? There was blood splatter on the ceiling, on the walls. Yeah, there's blood all over. She's been dragged. This was a hods -- homicide. That's when I started to interview Tom Clayton. Tom, where were you when this all went down? Playing poker with my buddies. I came home and my daughter said there was a robber in the house and she saw them. Yeah, you got to chill out there, man. Let me see your hands real quick, man. And you ain't hurt or anything? Okay, good. Okay. Reporter: Tom, visibly shaking, is checked for weapons and bloodstains, and directed to the back seat of the squad car. Take it easy. You're not in trouble. Just sit right there. I'm going to leave the door open. Just sit right there. Relax. We've got a crime scene. We have a possible homicide. Nobody's going in right now. We've got to clear this house. Reporter: Deputy swan inspects the rest of the house. The intruder and possible killer could still be inside. I was afraid the robber could possibly be in the house. He said there was a robber in the house. Just cover me. I'm gonna go upstairs. I gotta go up and clear it. That's when I searched the home to make sure in was nobody there. I've gotta clear over here. The kids' rooms are over here. There's blood in the kids' room. Okay, kids' rooms, this one's clear. Reporter: As they search the home, guns drawn -- There's blood all over up here. Reporter: -- The trail of evidence begins to tell a twisted story of its own. I'm trying not to step on anything. Okay, clear. Let's get the hell off this. House is clear.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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