Investigators build case against husband in his wife's brutal murder: Part 5

Prosecutors' case is in peril after alleged hitman recants his confession.
5:28 | 11/10/18

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Transcript for Investigators build case against husband in his wife's brutal murder: Part 5
Reporter: There is a new color taking center stage in Kelley Clayton's home town. Purple ribbons now dotting the community, a poignant reminder of the young woman's murder. The purple ribbon represents domestic violence awareness. So, the more and more we saw that around town, the more and more we thought that this was a case of domestic violence. They will see purple ribbons, and they'll say, "Oh, purple for mama, purple for mama." Everywhere we go, "Look, that's for mama." Reporter: But no ribbon more prominent than this one, on the arena marquee of Thomas Clayton's former hockey team. Only one man in town seems upset at the outpour- Thomas Clayton, now out on bail. He calls me. He did not mention losing his wife and the situation with his children. What he had mentioned to me was that jail sucks, and how can we put that ribbon up on our building? At no point did he seem like a grieving husband. Reporter: Especially since he continues his now all too familiar trips to area casinos. That's where he spent the entire time he was out on bail, was going from casino to casino. Reporter: And who does he run into -- his poker friends Greg and lucky Miller. He was, like, screaming, "Lucky!" And I turned around and he was, like, arms out. I'm, like -- Reporter: What did you do? I'm like, "Hi." And he's, like, "Hi, lucky. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry." He goes, "I didn't do it." Reporter: Were you frightened at all? I was terrified. Here, I thought I was getting away, out of town. Reporter: More than a year after Kelley Clayton's murder, her accused killer, Michael beard, is finally on trial. Opening statements began in the murder trial of Michael beard. Reporter: In a shocking about-face, he takes the stand and makes a stunning declaration. Michael beard recants his confession and offers up a bizarre scenario about what he says really happened. That, yes, he was at the scene, but he was there to burn down the house for insurance money, and that the killer, the real killer, was actually there, and he saw him. Reporter: Beard now makes an outlandish claim -- that Kelley is already dead when he walks in the house. And just like 7-year-old Charlie, he sees a man who looks like Thomas Clayton. He then hands you the weapon. You run out the door. You dispose of the weapon. Like, you have got to be kidding me. Even though Michael beard had changed his story, the prosecution still had hard evidence against him. They found Kelley's blood on his clothes. He led them to the murder weapon. And his DNA was found inside the Clayton home. Reporter: After a ten-day trial, beard is found guilty of murder. We got it. With beard's confession, prosecutors are thinking, "We've got an airtight case here." Then he recants, and now they've got a mess. Reporter: Remember, beard would have been the star witness. The only one directly linking Clayton to the murder, says special prosecutor Weeden Wetmore. This case really became all circumstantial. We don't have a smoking gun. We have to build our case piece by piece. The man accused of killing his wife back in September appeared in court. The courtroom was packed every day. The biggest story in our area for a while. Tom was cool, calm and collected every day when he walked into court. You would never realize that he was on trial for his wife's murder. Reporter: That could be because Clayton knows the case against him isn't a slam dunk. But prosecutors believe they have an ace up their sleeve. This man, sy ray of zetx corporation, a former police officer who mapped their cell phone movements. Were able to show that beard and Clayton were together at certain points when they shouldn't have been, unless one looks at the homicide, and then it becomes all clear. Reporter: Most telling, a pair of phone calls made on the day Kelley was killed. The first from a used car lot. There was an incoming call to Michael beard from m&m auto. M&m auto has never called Michael beard before. Reporter: It isn't the dealership calling. It's actually Clayton. We can actually put his device in the parking lot of m&m auto when this call was made. Reporter: And then, hours later, Clayton makes a second call to beard from someone else's phone. Yup, lucky Miller's, at that poker game. That was the go call. And that immediately sets things into motion. Beard shortly after that phone call drove out to Clayton's home and committed the murder. We were able to use the records and show the two parties coming together, separating, conversations between the two of them, and lay out the conspiracy to commit the murder, leading up to it. There was no evidence into the content of those calls and sy ray's testimony was skewed in trying to make much more of those calls. It's a pattern that clearly shows Michael beard and Thomas Clayton did this together.

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

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