|Ronnie Hendricks (Cuerorecord.com)|
The small town police force had long believed that Shelley's live-in boyfriend, Ronnie Hendricks was responsible for shooting Pam and staging the scene to make it appear to have been a suicide. Shelley was shot in the head, the case was quickly ruled to be a suicide after Hendricks' family members told police Shelley had a prior suicide attempt when she lived in Arkansas. Hendricks family members statements to police were conflicting, to say the least. Hendricks told police he had been on the porch with Pam's two children when he heard a gunshot from inside the house. He claims he ran in and found her in the bathroom, bleeding from a gunshot wound. He insists that he began CPR in an attempt to save her life, but "blood was coming out from everywhere". Hendricks isn't the only family member to claim they performed CPR before the paramedics arrived. Yet none of them had blood anywhere on their clothing?
Siegler and McClary's first stop in town was to meet with police Sgt. Carl Bowen. Bowen remembers the scene well. He pulled out the case file and walked them through the case. There was little in the way of evidence, because the scene wasn't initially treated as a crime scene - instead, it was quickly ruled a suicide. No gunshot residue tests were performed on Shelley or Hendricks. They did have the gun used in the shooting. Ronnie Hendricks gun. Siegler made a list with two sides, one listing the things pointing towards suicide and the other with things that pointed to murder. They began to methodically go down the list on each side. They talked to Pam's family and friends about the alleged suicide attempt in Arkansas. They quickly ruled this out. Pam and Ronnie were known to fight constantly, and Ronnie had a record of abuse. It was also known that Ronnie didn't particularly like Pam's two children from a previous relationship. He did not get along with 11 year old Kayla, who is now 23 years old and appeared on the program last night.
Kayla told Siegler and McClary what she remembers from that day 11 years ago. Hendricks came home in a foul mood. He had words with both Pam and Kayla, and he slapped Kayla which was the last straw for Pam. Pam asked Ronnie's stepfather if he would help load their belongings on his trailer and drive them back to Arkansas. He agreed to help. Pam Shelley was leaving Ronnie Hendricks. Her things were packed, on the trailer - why in the world would she shoot herself in the head 15 minutes before she was planning to leave this situation? Ronnie's account of the situation changed greatly from his first police interview after the shooting, where he said he wasn't in the house when the shot was fired. Now, he claims he was in the house.
His family's accounts just don't add up. First responders clearly recall that nobody was performing CPR on Shelley, and nobody had blood on them - and they most certainly would have if they had done CPR. McClary and Siegler were joined by a seasoned detective to help with the case. He's known to be a master at interviewing suspects. They sent the one piece of evidence they had to the lab - the gun. They wanted to see if any touch DNA existed on the handle or the trigger. The results confirmed their belief - Pam Shelley's DNA was not on the gun, not on the trigger. No fingerprints, no DNA - and she supposedly shot herself with this gun? Even more telling, Ronnie Hendricks DNA was not on the gun. No fingerprints either. This was HIS gun! One would expect his prints and/or DNA to be present. This gun was wiped down, that seems clear.
The saddest part of the show was now 23 year old Kayla going back to the house where the killing occurred 11 years ago. This was her first time back, and she barely held herself together. But she did, and she walked the team through what she remembers from that awful day. They re interviewed all family members and noted the inconsistencies in their statements. After the gun testing results came back, Siegler wrote up her report on their findings and presented it to the county district attorney's office. Sgt.Bowen had reopened this case back in 2008, but at that time they did not feel they had enough evidence to successfully prosecute Hendricks. This time, the outcome would be different.
Siegler, McClary and the production crew arrived in the summer of 2012 and began investigating this case. By the end of 2012, Ronnie Hendricks was arrested and charged with the murder of Pam Shelley. His trial is slated to begin on September 9th of this year. Now that's pretty impressive! It would be selfish to expect such positive outcomes each time these two set out to catch a killer - but one can dream. I think TNT has hit the crime/reality TV jackpot in pairing these two. Kudos!