Stacey Rock on Ex-Husband's Trial: 'He's Nobody That I Knew'
In first interview since ex-husband's trial, Stacey Rock calls crime "horrible."
Dec. 3, 2008— -- During the summer, the murder trial of an ex- husband scorned captivated the city of Newton, Mass. Jim Brescia, 46, was convicted of hiring a hit man to kill Ed Schiller -- estranged wife Stacey Rock's old beau -- and sentenced to life in prison.
Schiller, then 38, and Rock, now 40, were high school sweethearts who had rekindled their romance after Stacey's divorce from Jim Brescia was underway and he had moved out of their home. In her first interview, Rock told "20/20" co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas that she never wanted to believe that Brescia was involved in Schiller's death.
"I couldn't allow myself to believe that," she said, crying. "I mean, it's horrible, and you know, devastating, that Ed's gone. But it can't be because of me, you know?"
Even during her marriage to Brescia, Rock says she had feelings for her first love. "Ed was always on my mind," she told Vargas. "I always loved Ed. I started having dreams of him."
When the two reconnected, Rock said her ex-husband was jealous, but she didn't think he would harm Schiller.
Looking back, Rock said that she "should've known that if he could get away with it, he would have no trouble doing it."
She said that seeing her ex-husband during his trial, "He's nobody that I knew. There were points where I wanted to levitate, and go hit him."
Stacey Rock on Marriage: 'What Have I Done?'
One day in January 2006, Schiller arrived for work at his office around 7:30 a.m. and parked, as he did every day, in the garage next to the office. Moments later he was shot execution-style as he sat in his car.
The murder stunned Newton, a city of 80,000 people that had just been named "the safest city in America." Beyond the shock, there was heartbreak for Rock.
"I had just spoken to Ed on the phone, and I imagine that it happened right after he hung up," she said.
The two first met when he was a senior in high school and she was a sophomore.
"He was just my soul mate," Rock told Vargas. "I just remember seeing him and being like, yeah, love at first sight."
In 1992 the two started living together, but friends say the relationship imploded into bitter jealousies and passionate arguments. Eventually Rock asked Schiller to move out.
"He was very bitter about how they ended their relationship, and Stacey moved on, and I don't think Ed was ever able to really do that," said brother Carl Schiller.
Rock passed through a series of jobs including receptionist, waitress and bartender. While tending bar at the Wayland Country Club she met Brescia, nine years her senior. She said that she found security and safety with an older man and that the age difference "was definitely one of the things that he pushed, and I believed."
"He was persistent," Rock said. " Kind of charming, funny. He seemed really nice."
After a very brief courtship, Rock became pregnant, married Brescia and settled into a comfortable suburban life with her husband, who was a successful middle manager at a defense contractor. The couple soon had three children, but Rock says she felt both intimidated and ignored by her husband.
"He worked a lot," she said. "Money was very, very important to him. He was a little quiet and sullen, very set in his ways."
She says she soon had regrets.
"I can remember asking him why he didn't kiss me, you know," she said. "He wasn't very affectionate. I didn't feel like he liked me. I remember going, 'oh my gosh, what have I done?"
During this time, Rock sent a postcard and then a letter to Schiller.
"I just wanted him to know that I love him," she said, crying. "And I called him. ... The first time I heard his voice, I was just so in love. And he loved me still."