Shocking interrogation video shows moment police trick man into confessing he murdered wife
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Featured Image Credit: Hernando County Sheriff's Office
Footage taken from law enforcement's interview with murderer Merl Mackey shows the moment he was tricked into confessing his crime.
It was November 1981 when Evelyn “Laverne” Mackey was last seen alive by her family, before she vanished from her home in Hernando County, Florida.
Her husband initially claimed she had travelled to Ohio to take care of her brother’s sick wife, but when he began to come out with conflicting statements, police were left with no answers as to where she could be.
Detectives were suspicious Mackey wasn't 'telling everything' he knew about her whereabouts, but Detective George Loydgren later told Criminal Confessions there was 'no physical evidence' or 'sense of any crime scene'.
The case went cold for more than 33 years, until an inquiry into Laverne’s disappearance was reignited.
Investigators interviewed multiple witnesses and became convinced Laverne hadn't disappeared of her own accord. They decided to try and get more information from Mackey by claiming that a plane crashed in South America and that they might have found Laverne’s remains, meaning he might be entitled to money from the airline.
Police told Mackey he needed to go over his statement regarding Laverne's disappearance to get the money, and once back at the station, he was asked to authenticate his previous interview transcripts.
Mackey initially stood by his claim that he didn't know where Laverne was, but the detective indicated that he knew that wasn't the case.
“When this story finally gets told, you’re gonna look like such a flippin’ animal. Such a flippin’ low life,” Det. Randy Williamson said. “Give me the damn body. Because without the body, it looks like first-degree murder in every way, shape, form, or fashion. It’s the absolute truth, and then you add the coverup to it afterwards.”
The detective decided to try and encourage Mackey to present Laverne's disappearance as an accident, that he might have been 'afraid' to come forward for, after which he claimed she hit her head while he was fishing and fell into the water.
He initially said he'd grieved over the fact he 'didn't jump in and save her', but he then revealed that he'd gone to measures to hide her body, rather than seek help.
Mackey claimed Laverne was not breathing and was bleeding 'pretty bad', so he tied an anchor to her body and 'watched her sink'. However, he had unknowingly admitted to murder when he described the blood as 'spurting' from her head, indicating she was still alive when he tied her up.
In spite of Mackey's confession, the case was out of the detectives’ jurisdiction, meaning they didn't have the authority to arrest him.
They presented the case to Florida’s Eighth Judicial Circuit Assistant Attorney Brian Kramer, after which a grand jury indicted Mearl for first-degree murder in 2015.
Investigators were never able to recovery Mackey's body, leading to the assumption that he may have lied about where he'd hidden it.
However, Mackey did plead guilty to second-degree murder, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He died in 2020 while still behind bars.