48 Hours Mystery: Point Blank
Lucio says there were all the ingredients of a classic murder plot: a love interest, jealousy, and a pretty, young wife who was behaving suspiciously.
"She's a nurse, but she gave no first aid to her husband whatsoever and the reason she says she didn't give any first aid was because she was in shock," Lucio says.
Despite the shock, Lucio says she had the presence of mind to call work and say she wouldn't be coming in. "Who would be thinking about 'I need to call work so they can get a replacement for me at work today because my husband got shot'?" Lucio asks.
Even more troubling to Lucio was that Traci had washed her hands in front of a police officer. What was she washing off? Gun shot residue?
"I just could smell blood," Traci explains. "I'm a nurse. I'm sensitive to the smell of blood and I just had my hands up there and I just walked over to the kitchen sink and I just ran hot water over my hands and I just stood there crying."
It was not only Traci's behavior that aroused the suspicions of Lucio and his partner, Detective Thomas Clipper. It was also what they learned that day about the final weeks and hours of Scott Rhode's life, including the marital problems.
These problems led detectives to the other man, Shawn Michaels, the unit secretary at the hospital where Traci worked. It was the very same hospital where Scott died from the gunshot.
The detectives also learned that Scott had hired divorce attorney Nat Perez. Just one day before the shooting, Scott took Traci to Perez's office, and blindsided her with a plan.
"'I said 'Scott will have custody of the children but you would have liberal visitation.' She just basically yelled out 'What!' and looked at Scott and said, 'You never told me that. You never told me that I wasn't going to have the boys,'" Perez recalls.
And if she chose to fight, they made it clear they would use Shawn against her.
"I said that didn't matter to me. I would do whatever to fight for my children. I didn't feel like I should sign away my children. I love my children. I was a good mother," Traci says.
"And she told Scott, 'We need to go home and we need to talk about this some more.' And she got up. And she pretty much just stormed out of the office," Perez says.
Back home, emotionally drained, they stopped fighting and started talking, says Traci. "I told him I wanted joint custody of our kids. I wasn't doing anything wrong. I didn't deserve to lose my children."
Traci says both agreed they didn't want to put their kids through an ugly custody battle. But later that night, Scott's mood changed again. Traci says he suddenly flew into a rage in the laundry room over her affair.
"He went and got a ball bat. And he wanted to know where Shawn lived because he was gonna go bash his head in and he's screaming at me, 'Tell me where he lives.' 'I don't know. I've never been to his home. I don't know,'" Traci says. "That's when he got physical with me. Grabbed me by the throat. Put his fist up to me. Told me he was just gonna knock the s***out of me. And I said, 'If that makes you feel better, just do it. I'm not having an affair.'"
"And I went into the bedroom and I started packing a suitcase, I was just going to go stay in a hotel. But he started crying. And he begged me not to go," Traci says. "And then he said, 'Come lay down here with me.' And I laid my head on his chest. It wasn't anger anymore… it was just a loving couple just trying to work out our problems."
The next morning, Scott was found with the gunshot wound to the head.
- The War in Chicago
- Unraveling the lies of Jodi Arias
- Murder at Sea?
- Preview: "48 Hours" double feature
- Over the Edge
- "48 Hours" Program Schedule
- Muscle and Mayhem
- The real story behind Miami's murderous Sun Gym gang
- Power and Passion
- Murder at Sea? The disappearance of George Smith
- The mind of a killer: Unraveling the lies of Jodi Arias
- The Writing on the Wall
- "48 Hours Mystery:" Rodney Alcala's Killing Game
- My Dad's Killer
- Extra: More victims in Alcala's photo cache?
- Extra: Meeting Jodi Arias