An Accused Man Dead: Murder or Suicide?

August 22, 2014
On August 28, 2013, Traivon “Trai” Asterino, 35, was discovered face down in a field, dead from a gunshot wound to the chest. Trai’s death was ruled a suicide, but his wife, Michelle, says he wouldn’t have killed himself, and she’s accusing his ex-fiancée, Mysti, of murdering him. Michelle says since Trai’s death, Mysti has been slandering Trai’s name by claiming he was a pedophile — an allegation Michelle says she refuses to believe. Mysti denies any involvement in Trai’s death and says the day before it happened, her 13-year old daughter revealed that Trai had been molesting her for years. Since then, she says her 9-year-old daughter — Trai’s biological child — has made the same claim. She says she believes Trai was consumed with guilt and took his own life. Dr. Phil sorts through the details and accusations in search of answers. Did guilt drive Trai to commit suicide, or was he murdered? Then, hear from Trai’s mother, Leonna, who makes a shocking revelation about her son’s past. What does she believe happened to Trai? Plus, Dr. Phil meets with Mysti’s daughters backstage for a very candid conversation — and then has some strong words for both Mysti and Michelle. Can they put the mudslinging aside and focus on the welfare of the children? This program contains strong sexual content. Viewer discretion advised.








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Traivon Asterino, now deceased, with his wife, Michelle MichelleMysti, Traivon's ex-fiancéeLeonna, Traivon's motherMysti's 13-year-old daughterMysti's 9-year-old daughter

Suicide or Murder?

“Trai and I were together for about three years, and we raised two daughters. Even though Trai and I broke up, anytime I needed Trai to help me with the children, he would stay with the girls. I trusted him with everything. He was their father,” Mysti says. “One morning, I woke up and at 3:40, I had a text message from Trai, and it just said, ‘I’m sorry.’ I checked the computer, and I saw the post he left on Facebook. The post said ‘Don’t shed tears for me. I don’t deserve them. I love all my children. I hope one day they can forgive me. If not, I understand.’ I got a very sinking feeling in my stomach.”

Mysti says she learned from Trai’s mother, Leonna, that his body was found in a field near where he lived, with a gunshot wound to the chest. “Trai committed suicide,” she says.

“It was the worst day of my life,” says Trai’s wife, Michelle, who was married to Trai for five years and has a son with him. “In my mind, Trai’s death was not a suicide; I believe it was murder. Mysti murdered Trai.”

“I did not kill Trai,” Mysti says. “Michelle is pointing the finger at me because of her own guilt.”

“In my eyes, Mysti is a cold-blooded murderer, and I think she needs to go to prison for the rest of her life,” Michelle says.
 
Trai’s mother, Leonna, says, “Traivon was not murdered. He took his own life because he did not want to go to jail. He knew he had done wrong. He knew that the offense that he had done was punishable by life in prison.”


The Secret

Mysti says the day before Trai’s death, her 13-year-old daughter revealed a secret that would change everything –- a secret that Michelle doesn’t believe.

What secret was Mysti’s daughter keeping? And, Mysti and Michelle face each other on Dr. Phil’s stage. “You are a sick, sick individual.”

A History of Sexual Abuse?

Leonna reveals that her son shared his secret with her before he took his life. “At least a week before it happened, he said, ‘I’m in really deep trouble, and if police come after me, I’m going to kill myself first.’” She says he told her, “Mom, I’ve got something to tell you. Promise you’re not going to tell anybody.’” Regarding Mysti’s 13-year-old daughter, “He said, ‘I was trying to teach her how boys like it.’” Leonna says her son also had a history of suicide attempts.
 
Michelle says the stories have changed and don’t add up.

Mysti reacts: “Let me explain something to you. If I had the opportunity to kill him, I swear to God I would have. I would easily have traded five years of my life for manslaughter compared to the life sentence that he gave my kids,” she says.

Dr. Phil asks Michelle, “Do you believe that he, in fact, molested these children?”

“I don’t, no,” she says.

In a previous interview, Mysti reveals, “When Trai was 16, he was caught molesting his older sister.”
 
“His sister said, ‘Trai touched me here,’” Leonna remembers. “I didn’t know how to handle it. I didn’t know what to do.”

“Trai spent a year in juvenile detention for molesting his older sister,” Mysti says. “Given Trai’s past, it doesn’t surprise me that he molested again.”

Michelle explains why she blocked Mysti, Mysti’s children and Leonna from Trai’s funeral. And, why did Mysti want to go to his funeral?

How much did Michelle know about Trai’s history?

What did Mysti know about the man who would become her children’s father? “I made a mistake, and I have to live with that every single day.”


Dr. Phil grows frustrated. “Will somebody put these children’s interests first? Somebody? Anybody?”

The Children’s Side

Dr. Phil sits down with Mysti’s 13-year-old daughter. He asks her what her understanding is about why she and her mother are talking with him.

“I feel as though we’re here because Michelle has been making our lives terrible and blaming me, telling me it’s my fault that Trai had died, and she’s been making our lives a living hell, so we’re here to confront her and try to finally get some closure, so I can get the help I need.”

“You know that Trai is now deceased. How do you feel about that?” Dr. Phil asks.

“I’m happy,” she says, growing tearful. “I’m glad he’s gone.”
 
“Why is that?”
 
“Because he’s not hurting me anymore,” she says.
 
“Did you want to go to his funeral?” Dr. Phil asks.

“Yes, so I could see his dead body again and to make sure the he was not actually coming back, and I wanted to say my last words, just goodbye, but they wouldn’t let me,” she says.
 
Dr. Phil asks the teen about her history with hurting herself. She admits she’s cut herself and tried to hang herself.

“Did you want to die, or did you just want the pain to stop?” he asks.
 
“Both. I wanted to die because I felt as though it was all my fault, and I was just a whore and a monster, and that he was doing it because of me,” she says, adding that she doesn't want to hurt herself anymore. “I have family and friends, and I have a life. I’m an awesome person. I’m probably one of the best people I know, even if other people don’t realize it.” She says she’s happy to be alive because she has a little sister to look out for.

Dr. Phil asks her 9-year-old sister to join them.

She tells Dr. Phil that she believes they’ve come to the show to confront Michelle.

“That’s not going to happen,” Dr. Phil tells her. “I kind of have a rule: Adults need to deal with adult issues, and kids need to deal with kid issues. Kids don’t deal with adult issues, so that’s not your job. Your job is to be 9 1/2 and just be happy, and go to school, and get an education and have a good time.”

The women react to Dr. Phil’s conversation with Mysti’s daughters. And, does Michelle believe they were sexually molested? “If you interact with those girls again, I’m going to report you to Child Protective Services.”

Dr. Phil tells the women that they all need a lot of healing. He urges them to keep the children in mind. “You two need to stop. You need to stop this battle between you because the children are paying for it,” he says.

He tells Mysti, “I completely believe your daughter, when I talked to her. What I want to start is a process to have her fully and completely evaluated at every level, and based on that evaluation, I may very well recommend to you that she have a placement somewhere for period of time, and if that’s the case, we’ll discuss that, and it will be your decision and your choice, but it will be our gift.”
 
“Thank you,” she says, growing emotional. “Nobody can ever make me feel as bad as I do myself. I take full responsibility for what has happened to my kids.”