In October 2013, Shay’s 19-year-old brother, Connor, was convicted of murdering Shay’s boyfriend and sentenced to 20 to 60 years in prison. In a Dr. Phil
exclusive, Shay and her parents share what they believe happened that night and why they feel Connor was acting in self-defense. Should Connor have received a lesser sentence? And, Alisha says her husband was verbally and psychologically abusive but never laid a hand on her — until she left him, and he did the unthinkable. Plus, Mort, 71, admits he has given more than $100,000 to his fiancée, “Keri,” whom he says he has only met in person once. Is he being scammed?
A Deadly Fight
In the early morning hours of February 23, 2013, Shay says she got into an altercation with her boyfriend, Andrew, and then told her brother, Connor, about it via text message. This prompted a heated text exchange between Andrew and Connor that led to a physical confrontation at Andrew’s apartment, which ended with Andrew dead from multiple stab wounds, including one to the heart. In October 2013, Connor was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 20 to 60 years in prison.
Shay, along with her parents, Randy and Judy, say they’re desperate to prove the teenager they know and love isn’t a cold-blooded killer. They claim Connor didn’t intend to murder Andrew — he was attacked and acted in self-defense. Should Connor have received a lighter sentence?
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Shay and her family explain what they believe happened that night. “I lost my two best friends in a matter of seconds.”
“I feel awful about what happened to Andrew, but my son didn’t do anything illegal that night.”
Dr. Phil notes that during Connor’s trial, one of the most damning pieces of evidence was that after stabbing Andrew, Connor did not call 911. Instead, he reportedly ran from the scene, drove home, threw the knife out the window of his vehicle, woke up Randy and told him what happened. Then, instead of calling 911 from their home, Randy and Connor drove back to Andrew’s apartment to check on him.
Dr. Phil asks, “If someone had made that call sooner, would Andrew still be alive? Hindsight is 20/20, but the prosecution made a point of all this, correct? If he said it was self-defense, once he had incapacitated him and was no longer threatened by him, he could’ve called for assistance, but instead he ran and threw away the knife.”
“He was afraid afterward, but he never thought that wound was something that Andrew would die from,” Judy says.
See the heated text messages between Connor and Andrew.
“I personally think him saying, ‘I’m stopping for gas’ was like saying, ‘You still have time to apologize to me. You still have time to make this right,’” Judy says.
“But you understand how a prosecutor uses this and how a jury hears it,” Dr. Phil says. “He goes from location A to location B. He shows up, opens a deadly weapon, puts it in his pocket, and then goes to the guy and then says it’s self-defense.”
“I understand how it appears, but you can legally put a pocketknife into your pocket in our state. You can open it in our state, so what he did, yes, it doesn’t sound that great, but what he did was legal,” Judy says. “He was afraid — he was hoping to God he didn’t have to use it.”
“I’m not a lawyer, and I’m not saying it’s illegal, but I’m telling you, from having debriefed thousands of jurors, they’re looking at state of mind, and he went in with a deadly weapon,” Dr. Phil says.
Was Andrew violent with Shay? And, was Connor injured in the fight with Andrew?
“How is Connor doing?” Dr. Phil asks.
“Horrible,” Randy says. “They’ve diagnosed him as severely depressed, post-traumatic stress, and so he’s not doing well.”
“My experience, having spent most of my professional career in the court system as a trial science consultant is that juries tend to get it right. They almost always do, and if the result is unjust, it’s generally because of what they were told or not told,” Dr. Phil says.
“There were tons they weren’t told,” Randy says.
Ambushed and Almost Killed
Alisha says her husband, Dennis, never laid a hand on her or threatened to kill her, but his verbal and psychological abuse hurt just as much — and after she worked up the courage to leave him, he did the unthinkable. On August 6, 2013, Alisha’s estranged husband showed up at her job and shot her five times before turning the gun on himself. Alisha is now a quadriplegic.
Alisha and her brother, Kurt, join via satellite from Shepherd Center, one of the nation’s top rehabilitation hospitals for spinal cord and brain injuries. Alisha tells Dr. Phil, “I remember everything. I remember walking into my place of employment, and when you walk in, there’s an elevator with three floors. I was waiting for the third floor. I kind of felt somebody behind me, and I turned to look. And he was standing behind me, with a gun pointed at me, with the most evil look in his eyes that I’ve ever seen … And he started shooting, and I fell to the ground. I begged him to stop. He shot a few more times. Thank God the elevator door was open. I managed to get my head to the elevator, let it bang into my head against the wall a few times to play dead. I believe he shot me one more time, and the next thing I knew, he shot himself in face and fell to the ground.”
Alisha says she and her husband were estranged for about five-and-a-half months prior to the shooting. She says after separating and receiving hundreds of harassing text messages from him, she tried to get a restraining order against him, but the judge wouldn’t grant her one. “She said he wouldn’t harm me, that there was no harm. She saw no reason to grant this,” Alisha says.
“Because there was no threat of physical violence,” Dr. Phil surmises.
“Correct,” she says.
“Some people just don’t understand two things: Number one, that abuse can be just as hurtful if it is verbal, and emotional and environmental, in terms of being controlled and isolated, and they don’t understand how quickly it accelerates from that sort of abuse to physical and life-threatening abuse,” Dr. Phil says. “We know that one of the most dangerous times is when you are separated from your abuser. It’s called separation assault,
because abusers want to control, they want to dominate, they want to get a really tight grip on you to make sure you do what they want you to do, and when that grip loosens, then they panic, and they go to the next level, they go to something desperate. Alisha, thank you so much for coming and sharing your story.”
At the end of the show, Dr. Phil has a surprise. “Alisha, I know you have an overwhelming amount of medical bills, and when Aflac heard your story, they wanted to help. Aflac provides protection that allows people to focus on recovery because they know that they will have money to take care of whatever they need. While you focus on getting better, Aflac stands behind you so that you can stay ahead of your bills. Alisha and Kurt, Aflac wants to give you a check for $25,000 just to help you.”
Aflac’s chief operating officer, Teresa White, offers the check to Alisha and Kurt. “We hope that this can help you in some small way with your bills,” Teresa says.
“Thank you very, very much,” Alisha says. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Hooked by a Catfish?
Seventy-one-year-old Mort says he’s in love with his fiancée, “Keri,” whom he met online and to whom he has given more than $100,000. He says “Keri” is currently stuck in Malaysia, while attempting to collect her $2.75 million inheritance, but his daughters, Kim and Ann Marie, think their father is being scammed by a catfish
. Dr. Phil digs for answers in search of the truth — is “Keri” a con artist? There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the woman in the photos that Mort believes to be “Keri” is named Keri Davis, and there’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever that she is in any way associated with this scam. Someone has stolen her image off the Internet and decided to use it, is what it appears. We are showing these pictures knowing this woman in these photographs is not a scammer.
“I think I’ve sent ‘Keri’ money 500 times.”
Mort’s daughters, Kim and Ann Marie, believe he’s being scammed by a catfish.
“I believe my dad is very gullible. If you come to his house to sell him a vacuum cleaner, he’s going to buy it,” Kim says. “My dad was looking for a companion. This was a guy who did not know how to turn on a computer prior to this. I definitely called * on the whole ‘Keri’ story. He told me, ‘I wish you would mind your own business, because you don’t know the whole story.’ I believe there are five guys sitting around a table, high-fiving every time the money arrives.” Kim says her mother passed away last year, and they haven’t been able to bury her ashes and buy her a headstone because Mort wired her mother’s $40,000 life insurance policy to Malaysia. “I believe that he’s going to continue sending money if we can’t prove if this is s scam or whether she’s real,” she says.
“I first heard about ‘Keri’ about a year and a half ago,” Ann Marie says. “I was shocked when I heard he was sending her money. I said, ‘Dad, I’m sorry, but I think this is a scam.’ He truly believed it’s not a scam.” Regarding their mother’s ashes, Ann Marie says, “We haven’t buried her yet. We feel really bad about that.”
Dr. Phil reviews what Mort knows about “Keri:” She says she’s an only child and both her parents are deceased. She’s part Malaysian. She went to Malaysia for her mother’s funeral and learned there that she inherited $2.75 million. She owns a home in Rapid City, South Dakota. She’s an unemployed registered nurse, and she’s stuck in Malaysia while trying to get her inheritance to the U.S.
“How much have you sent her?” Dr. Phil asks Mort.
“A lot of money,” Mort admits.
Dr. Phil does the estimates, according to Mort’s records. He reads a total of $138,873. “Did you ever decide, maybe you ought to just go to Malaysia and see about this?” he asks.
“Yeah. I don’t have a passport,” Mort says.
“Well, you can get one for less than $138,000,” Dr. Phil quips.
In a previous interview, Mort says he was banned by Western Union from wiring any more money to “Keri Davis” in Malaysia. So he found an alternative — he taped envelopes filled with cash inside magazines and sent them to Malaysia via UPS.
Back onstage, Dr. Phil points out that smuggling cash out of the U.S. is a crime. “The penalties for doing that, bulk cash smuggled out of the U.S. without reporting it, are imprisonment for a period of up to 5 years, and they can seize all the money and any of the property associated with the person who’s sending the money … They’re being very, very rigid about this because they don’t want people sending money out of the U.S., and it gets to the Taliban or other enemies of the United States.”
Dr. Phil turns to investigator Doug Kane. “They take this very seriously.”
“Absolutely,” Doug says. “UPS has been put on notice. They see this continuously. They report that to the federal authorities, and there are actively probably about a hundred investigations going on right now on this type of smuggling.”
Ann Marie adds, “I couldn’t figure out how he was sending it, since he was banned at Western Union and everywhere else, so I asked our local UPS guy if Dad was sending any packages, and he goes, ‘Yes, he is.’ And he called his supervisor, and I got on the phone with her, and she said that they had been investigating Dad for quite a while.”
“That’s not good,” Dr. Phil says to Mort.
Dr. Phil has new information for Mort. “‘Keri Davis’ is a made up persona.” Will Mort agree to stop sending money overseas?
Dr. Phil reads several compassionate tweets about Mort from women on Twitter who learned about his story. “You’re in front of millions of people right now … I’ve got a sneaking suspicion you’re not going to be as lonely as you were before you came here,” he says.