The dog trainer, the heiress and the bodyguard
Mark Stover, Linda Opdycke and Michiel Oakes (CBS)
On Oct. 28, 2009, at 2:30 a.m., Michiel Oakes is captured on Linda Opdycke's security cameras leaving her home. His destination: Mark Stover's house.
"It was put up or shut up time," says Oakes.
He says Stover was obsessed with those wedding photos.
"I was supposed to deliver them to him or else..." he tells Peter Van Sant.
"And the 'else' was?"
"My children were frequently mentioned as the 'else,'" he replies,
Oakes didn't have the photos, but he went anyway - thinking he could reason with Stover. Just in case, he says he went prepared for the worst.
"I was always armed in every meeting with Mark Stover," he explains. "I had worn my Kevlar vest to every one of those because he was getting progressively less patient with me."
Oakes says he parked down the road and walked to Stover's house. Once inside, Oakes says Stover left him alone. Moments later, he returned with a gun.
"He caught me totally by surprise and shot me in the vest and he was not wearing Kevlar and he was shot," he says.
Asked what gun Mark Stover was killed with, Oakes tells Van Sant, "His own gun."
"So what are you telling me? You shot Mark Stover in self-defense?"
"Absolutely," says Oakes.
Oakes says the next thing he knew, he was outside and staring into the ferocious face of Stover's guard dog, Ding.
"The dog came at me and I had to shoot the dog," he explains.
Soon after, employee Stephanie Poor arrives for work. She sees a man at the top of the driveway.
"I saw who I thought was Mark going into the house, coming out of the house putting stuff in the back of the hatch," she says.
"What made you think it was Mark?" asks Van Sant.
"Because it was his hat and his jacket and why wouldn't I think it was Mark?" she replies.
Having put on Stover's trademark hat and coat, Oakes loads the dead body into the back of Stover's station wagon and tears off.
"It was the worst moment of my life. I wanted him to be alive still," Oakes says. "...I would never harm anybody for any reason except to defend my family, myself."
But Lead Detective Dan Luvera isn't buying it. He says he doesn't believe that Mark Stover threatened Michiel Oakes' children.
"No, not at all," he tells Van Sant. "I don't think it happened..."
In fact, Det. Luvera doesn't believe any of Oakes' story.
"I believe Michiel Oakes went to Mark Stover's house that day with a mission... and that mission was to kill him," he says.
After fleeing, Oakes drives Stover's station wagon to a parking lot. A woman calls police.
911 Call: There's two vehicles facing back to back...looks like somebody's transferring something back and forth.
Was it the body? If it was self-defense, asks Luvera, why did Oakes move it? Why didn't he call police? And why did he drive to meet Jennifer Thompson - his second wife who he divorced in 2009 - just hours after the shooting and tell her this disturbing story?
"The tension was so thick, the unspoken was so loud," Thompson tells Van Sant. "He was
noticeably agitated and not OK."
They went for a walk down by the water's edge.
"I said, 'Are you OK?' And he said, 'No. I think I'm in trouble,'" Thompson says. "Michiel told me if the police saw what was in the back of his car he'd go to prison for life."
Thompson says Oakes then implied that whatever he'd done, he'd been hired to do it.
"Michiel told me that it was a job gone bad," she says.
Now Thompson believes he was talking about a murder for hire.
"I believe Michiel Oakes is the hitman," she says. "He took on a job to go take someone out..."
Thompson believes that Michiel Oakes had long been a killer in waiting based on his unusual philosophy.
"He felt there were evil bad people who needed to be removed, taken away... taken out," she tells Van Sant. "Not everyone was capable of taking those people out. He prided himself on being one of them."
"Your ex-wife claims ... you describe what had happened earlier in the day as a job gone bad. A job implies you were hired by someone," Van Sant remarks to Oakes.
"Yeah, well, I think she has an interesting approach creatively speaking," Oakes says. "I believe my exact words were I had a meeting... something went dreadfully wrong and I will be blamed for it..."
He got that right. Oakes was arrested and charged with the murder of Mark Stover. But investigators weren't so sure he acted alone.
"Did you want to talk to Linda Opdycke?" Van Sant asks the detective.
"Oh, most definitely," says Luvera.
"Did she agree to speak with you?"
"No, she did not."
Linda Opdycke briefly spoke to police the night Oakes was arrested. The next day, on her attorney's advice, she refused to answer any more questions. Michiel Oakes was freed on bail, but the lovers were forbidden by court order to see each other or communicate.
"I think Linda Opdycke knows more than what she's telling," says Det. Luvera.
For example, how did Michiel Oakes know to put on Mark Stover's trademark hat and coat the morning of the murder? "Linda, it all comes back to Linda," says Luvera.
"Investigators believe that you must have given Michiel details of Mark Stover's life - what hat he wore during the day, what car he drove," Van Sant points out to Linda.
"That's simply not true," she replies.
"The implication that Michiel was hired by someone to go over and kill Mark Stover," Van Sant continues. "Was it you?"
"No. Absolutely not," she replies.
But Mark Stover's niece, Julia Simmons, believes Oakes was played by a master manipulator.
"I'm sure Linda just had him wrapped so around her little finger, she coulda gotten him to do anything," she says.
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