Dateline NBC Investigates Nebraska Murders

By  | 

It was a case that brought down a Douglas County crime scene investigator and resulted in the accusation of murder charges for two innocent men. Friday night a national audience got an in-depth look at a double-murder case in Nebraska.

Dateline NBC's Keith Morrison delved into the 2006 Easter Sunday murders of Wayne and Sharmon Stock of Murdock, Nebraska. The sudden and cold blooded murders shook the small community. The couple was found dead in their rural Cass County home, shot to death.

The suspects were cousins Matthew Livers and Nicholas Sampson, relatives of the Stocks. "My rear end was going to be in the frying pan, they were going to be going for the death penalty," Livers said.

Livers said during interrogations he was coerced into confessing to the crimes. "I thought if I told them what they wanted to hear that I could go home."

But in the process, Livers also implicated his cousin. Even today, Nicholas Sampson can only guess why. "To make himself look better," Sampson said. "He was using me as a scapegoat."

The two men spent nearly five months in jail, but evidence found at the Stock home helped clear the cousins. When two Wisconsin teens were charged in the Stock homicides, Livers and Sampson were set free.

"I just went crazy, crazy, praise the Lord crazy, thank you, thank you, praise the Lord type of thing," Livers said. "Best day of my life."

The handling and gathering of evidence during the case came under scrutiny, leading to the downfall of Douglas County crime scene investigator David Kofoed.

"I did make a mistake," Kofoed said. "I didn't follow procedures and that bothers me and there's no way around that. That was wrong because I'm a boss, because I'm supposed to set the example."

Today, the Stock children are coping with the deaths of their parents and trying to resurrect their lives. "One thing I always heard from mom was take responsibility for your actions, be responsible," said Andy Stock.

"I can hear mom and dad say, "Tami, you can let this eat you alive or you can go on and be the best that you can be, and do what needs to be done," daughter Tami Vance said. "So we can dwell on it, but we choose not to."