Family under attack stops serial killer

"48 Hours Live to Tell:" A 15-year-old girl and her parents summon the courage to stop a serial killer in his tracks and save an innocent man accused of murder


Nicole Pogasic | Todd and Darlene Ewalt's daughter: My biggest fear, after I lost my mom, was that I was gonna lose my dad. I didn't want him to end up in prison for something that he didn't do. Emotionally, I couldn't bear to lose another parent.

Todd Ewalt: I had been subpoenaed to appear in front of a grand jury the early part of September 2007. As it drew closer, the more worried I was getting.

Det. Geoff Noble | New Jersey State Police: Several weeks after we submitted Adam Lane's knives to our laboratory for analysis, we received word of what the results were. The results showed that not only was Monica Massaro's DNA on his knives, but also Darlene Ewalt's from Pennsylvania. Her DNA was also on Adam Lane's knives.

Nicole Pogasic: I found out that my mom's DNA was on a knife from the newspaper.

I think I called my Dad. I'm like, "So you're clear?" And then it just kind of becomes a blur after that. Just knowing that finally that they have the evidence to clear my father.

District Attorney Ed Marsico Jr. | Dauphin County, Pa.: After we discovered that Darlene's blood was on the knife taken from Adam Lane, I did meet with Todd Ewalt and explained to him that we had found the perpetrator and apologized that he had been a suspect, treated as he believed, somewhat unfairly during the investigative process. And I wanted him to know that we would do whatever we could to bring Adam Lane to justice.

Todd Ewalt: I can't even begin to think of how bad it would have been if Lane was never caught... I think I would have been on trial for the murder of my wife.

D.A. Ed Marsico Jr.: The DNA match of Darlene Ewalt's blood on Adam Leroy Lane's knife was a complete game changer.

We knew that he was incarcerated, that he faced charges in Massachusetts and he faced charges in New Jersey. Since he was locked up, and we knew he wasn't going anywhere, we decided we would defer to Massachusetts and New Jersey before commencing our prosecution here in Pennsylvania.


Jeannie McDonough: Even though he terrified me I wanted to face this guy down. I'm sorry, but you don't come into my house and attack my family - I'm gonna be there. And I'm gonna watch you every step of the way.

Asst. District Attorney Kerry Ahern | Middlesex County, Mass.: We knew pretty much from the outset that this case was not going to go to trial. There was really no defense that he had to offer. He was caught red-handed in the McDonough's house by the Chelmsford police. So at some level, we knew it was going to be a plea. And what it came down was how long of a sentence were we gonna get on this guy.

The one sticking point for Adam Lane seemed to be the sexual assault charge. He was adamant that he wasn't going to sexually assault Shea McDonough. This wasn't about sex.

So I went to the McDonough's and we discussed it. If that was the one sticking point, did they feel comfortable with dismissing that charge if it meant that the plea would go forward on all the other counts and he would receive 25 to 30 years in state prison?

Jeannie McDonough: That meant Shea would not have to get up on the witness stand and recount everything that she went through that night and just traumatize her all over again.

We said, "OK, let's accept the plea bargain and go forward with it."

ADA Kerry Ahern: I would have liked to have seen a longer sentence since that's what we were advocating for. But, we also knew that Adam was gonna face murder charges in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. So at the end of the day, we knew he was never gonna get out.

Jeannie McDonough: I felt compelled that OK, even though the legal battles for us were over, I was gonna see this thing through and I was gonna make sure that I was at every hearing that he was at - that I was with the families of the other victims.


Jeannie McDonough: We went down to the sentencing for Monica Massaro.

I was just heartbroken for Faye and Frank Massaro. Monica was their only child and only daughter. And their whole lives revolved around her.

Shea McDonough: I remember giving Monica's mom a hug and just saying how sorry I was, and just really feeling her pain. And it was hard. It was really hard.

Jeannie McDonough: As we were walking into the courtroom, we noticed this gentleman sitting against a railing outside of the courthouse. And he just looked lost. We learned that it was Todd Ewalt, the husband of Darlene Ewalt. I gave him a big hug. And I just felt, like, awful. Awful. Like, "Why am I here and his wife isn't here?"

Todd Ewalt: I was just really thankful to meet them the first time. To be able to shake their hand and tell 'em, "Thank you."

Jeannie McDonough: For [the Massaros] to finally have their daughter's killer face the consequences for what he had done - I was relieved that they were able to be there and see him sentenced.

Judge: You are sentenced to serve 50 years in the New Jersey State Prison.

Jeannie McDonough: I wanted to know why Lane would go off and start killing people. I started digging, looking for answers. It just snowballed and it ended up turning into a book.

Read more: "Caught in the Act"

It seems like he had a normal childhood and, as far as we could see, that there was no criminal background... The police told me that it was very difficult on his family. We'll never probably ever know why he did what he did.

There was more to write about, because Lane still had to face the charges against Darlene Ewalt, and I was determined that I was gonna be in that courtroom when he was sentenced. I could be there as a reminder to him that, "You know what? You killed those other women, but I'm still here and I'm gonna make sure you get what you deserve."