Christopher Waide, who is serving a 48-year prison sentence for the murder of a Colorado teenager, told ABC News' “20/20” in an exclusive prison interview that tarot cards convinced him to confess.
“The cards were saying to me that my guilt over that would destroy me unless I let it out,” Waide told “20/20.”
Lea Porter was 19 years old when she went missing on June 3, 2014, in Westminster, Colorado. Her body has never been found.
Waide, now 26, claims Porter attacked him with a knife in his apartment and he tried to stop her but ended up choking her to death but police don't believe his story. Porter was a petite, 98-pound woman, and when asked why he didn’t try to call the police or try take the knife away from her or thrown her on his bed, or run away -- anything short of killing her -- Waide told “20/20,” “I will admit that that is what I should have done.”
One big issue with Waide’s story is that even before he was arrested he confessed twice to killing her. The first time was after Porter had been missing for about a week and her brother, Maxx Porter, came to Waide looking for answers. When Maxx Porter got Waide to admit to killing his sister, he punched him in the face, called 911 and forced Waide to confess to the 911 operator.
“I’d like to confess to a murder,” Waide is heard telling the operator.
Waide, who is obsessed with tarot cards, told ABC News he confessed to Maxx Porter because of what the cards had shown him and because he wanted to unburden himself to Lea Porter's family. Waide never told police or Maxx Porter this, but he said his plan was to commit suicide.
“The reason that I didn’t commit suicide was that Lea’s spirit came to me and told me not to,” Waide said.
After he confessed to the 911 operator, police bought him in for questioning, during which Waide confessed to the killing a third time. Waide told detectives he had put her body in a duffle bag and placed it in a dumpster near his apartment.
Authorities have searched a landfill for 40 consecutive days but have not yet found Lea Porter’s body. But they did find a pillowcase containing her cell phone, wallet, ID and her clothes. Waide maintains that he’s telling the truth.
“I’ve told police what I did with her body, which was to throw it in the dumpster,” he said.
Although authorities don’t believe Waide’s self-defense story, they were hesitant to take the case to jury without a body so prosecutors offered him the plea deal of second-degree murder in exchange for giving prosecutors information about what happened to Lea Porter.
Today, Waide is known at Colorado’s Sterling Correctional Facility as Prisoner #170598.
Prior to the murder, Waide was majoring in criminal justice at a college near Denver because he wanted to become a police officer. He denied studying criminology to learn how to commit murder, but said his classes did help him some in the interrogation room.
“In that, I kind of knew what to expect from -- in their line of questioning,” Waide said.
Robert Wells, one of Waide’s professors and mentor, believes Waide learned how to manipulate a crime scene from his class.
“His efforts to clean and purge the crime scene, those are things he could have learned right there in my class,” Wells told ABC News.
For two years, Lea Porter’s mother, Rene Jackson, has not given up on finding her daughter. She is still searching for her in the dusty mountain trails of central Colorado.
“It’s devastated me,” Jackson told “20/20.” “I struggle to live with this every day, and so, you know, I look forward to the day that I get to meet my daughter. And until then I’m going to try and find her.”