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The Hazelwood Files: Inside the mind of a convicted murderer
Author: Jessica Noll, Kaitlyn Ross
Published: 3:19 PM EDT August 2, 2017
CRIME 4 Articles

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ROSWELL, Ga. – “There were three people in the parking lot; two of them are now dead. You are the only person who walked out of there,” Det. Jennifer Bennett tells a shaking, rocking Jeffrey Hazelwood inside the Roswell Police Department’s interrogation room.

“I didn't do it.... I didn't,” Hazelwood pleads with her.

Almost a year later, during his trial, he faced 15 charges, including two murder and three felony murder charges, as well as aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and aggravated sexual battery.

He pleaded guilty, but mentally ill.

Psychiatrists testified that the now-21-year-old was taking anti-psychotic, depression and anxiety medication, and that he was hearing voices weeks prior to the murders. Hazelwood, however, never testified in court. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in May.

His voice remained silent. His story never heard in his own words. Until now.

11Alive has obtained never-before-seen footage from his hours-long interrogation, his utter denial and ultimately, his confession in killing 17-year-olds, Natalie Henderson and Carter Davis on Aug. 1, 2016. The pair were found behind a Publix grocery store on Woodstock Road, in Roswell, Ga.—both shot once in the head.

PHOTOS | On the scene: Teens murdered behind grocery store

EXPLORE

The Hazelwood Files: Inside the mind of a convicted murderer

CRIME
Chapter 1

The interrogation

It’s Aug. 3, 2016—two days following the grisly discovery of Henderson and Davis.

Hazelwood, then 20, is led into the small two-chair room. He sits in the chair facing the camera at the end of the table for the next four hours.

He looks around the room. His eyes fixate on the ceiling.

The officer who brought him to the room asks him his name.

“Do you want me to call you Jeff or Jeffrey?”

“Whatever works,” he says with a smile and brief laughter.

“OK, Jeff, we'll be right back with you.”

Bennett enters the room and Hazelwood shifts in his chair.

Dressed in an orange and white striped jail outfit, he is curled in the fetal position, knees to his chin and his hands in his lap, shaking and fidgeting uncontrollably—his long, brown hair conceals much of his face.

Alone in the interrogation room, he wraps his arms around his knees, he starts sniffling; his hand begins to quiver and he starts to gasp and cry.

“I loved her…”

“I don't know what's going on… It’s all my fault… I don't know what to do anymore, I don't know what's going on,” he says to himself, crying.

Bennett walks in and asks him what is wrong.

He talks about his marriage and how it was falling apart.

She quietly listens to him, with an understanding nod.

“And these things in my head won’t go away… the voices. I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know what’s going on.”

“He's standing right over there!” he says, pointing to the other side of the room.

Once he calms down, together, they recall his timeline from Sunday, Aug. 1.

He worked his job at Walmart from 2 to 11 p.m., and then hung out with his girlfriend. They went to Roswell Park to star gaze. Had sex in her backyard on a blanket—went inside and watched TV. At 2:30 a.m., he headed to his grandma’s house.

The detective tells him that there was a crime in Roswell.

“It’s horrible, horrible,” he says.

The crime, she tells him, occurred directly between his girlfriend’s house and his grandma’s house, further revealing to him that she has his car driving in that location on video.

“I have you pulling into where the incident occurred," she says. "I have you getting out of your car and walking around a little bit. I have you walking towards where the incident occurred. And I have you on video where the where the incident occurred. Tell me why you were there when that happened.”

“I'm scared to say something. It was awful. They were both covered in blood. It was awful! Awful! Awful!” he tells her sobbing.

“What did you see?” she questions him.

“They were laying on the ground, blood was everywhere, it was everywhere. They were on the ground. The guy only had on boxers, the girl had nothing. It was weird.”

“The voices that I hear, they're not real, and the things I touch, they're not real, so I didn't think it was real,” he tells her.

“But it was real… When did you go to the gas station?” the detective tells him.

“What do you mean? I don't remember this. Gas stations have video cameras. I know what kind of car you drive. I have you on video. You and your car. At what point did you go there?”

He tells her that he found a gun with bullets, in a case and inside a bag, behind the QT, but only after he found the two teenagers behind the Publix.

She challenges his tale, saying that if there was a gun behind the gas station, employees who take their smoke breaks out back would have found the gun before he allegedly did.

“Where did the gun come from?” she probes him, as his crying become more frequent and at a higher pitch.

“I don’t know…”

She asks where his grandpa’s gun is, and he only answers with “I don’t know.”

The detective tells him that he’s making up a story.

“I'm not making up a story,” he whimpers. “I found it! I didn't take it!”

She doesn’t believe his tears or his story.

“Why can't you be honest with me?”

He mumbles under his breath and into his trembling hands.

Later in the interview, he begins to tell the detective about a man named "Matt."

Matt, he tells her, wanted to practice with his grandfather's gun, so he gave it to him.

“That guy, he scares me. I don't want him going after her… He scares me.”

“You story is getting all messed up at this point,” she tells him, unscathed by his emotion.

His legs begin shaking and he curls his body up tightly and pushes his head to his knees.

The detective tells him to stop and think for a minute before talking again, about how he already established a timeline, which matches perfectly with the surveillance video they obtained—and now his story isn’t matching that.

She tells him that he saw the cars pull into the parking lot and then he pulled in and parked in a different area. He rebuts it.

Shaking his head… “I didn’t do it,” he whispers.

“Did you know them? she asks him.

“No.”

“Did you recognize them when you saw them?”

“No… They were covered in blood.”

“You followed them in to the parking lot,” she tells him.

“What do you mean?”

“I have you on video. I have you on video camera. There’s a camera pointed at the parking lot. There are cameras in that entire shopping center.

So, I have them pulling into the parking lot.

You pulling into the parking lot.

You park at a different location from where they park.

You walk around your vehicle.

You go towards them.

You shoot them.

Then, you run away.”

He shakes his head no.

“You leave and then you go to the gas station, and you pump gas into your car, in a gas can, and then you come back to the Publix… and you go back to the bodies.”

“I didn’t shoot them,” he says softly.

“There was no one else in that parking lot.”

“I heard the shots,” he pleads.

“There was no one else in that parking lot.”

“I heard the shots,” he whispers.

She reassures him that she has watched the entire video and that he is the only other person, other than two dead bodies, in the parking lot.

Businesses close, employees go home, no one enters the parking lot until the two teens.

“And then you enter the property. There are only three people on the property and two people are dead.”

“I didn't do it. I didn’t. I wouldn't do that,” he says.

“So who did it?”

“I don't know…”

Right now, she tells him, lying is going to get him in trouble.

“What happened when you got out of the car and went back there? What made you mad? What made you dislike them so much? What made you want to hurt them?”

“I didn’t,” he cries.

“What about those people made you want to do that to them?”

“I didn’t. I didn’t. I didn’t. I heard shots.”

“I can see you firing the weapon…”

“It’s not me!”

“You shoot them and then run back to your car.”

“It’s not me!”

“Who else was there then? Tell me who else was there.”

“I don’t know!”

“So, some invisible person shot them while you were walking towards them?”

He sits, just shaking, repeating, “It wasn’t me.”

“Why did you need to wear a mask? Did they know who you were?”

He denies wearing a mask.

But she reminds him that they found the mask he was wearing in the back of his car.

He attempts to explain that he was afraid of someone in the parking lot.

“If there some crazy person in the parking lot, you thought you could put a little plastic Halloween mask on your face and you would be OK? That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard, Jeffrey. Are you kidding me?”

He admits to taking their jumper cables from the victims, but denies taking the victim’s wallet. However, he used it at the gas station after they were killed.

“You stepped over her bloody, naked body and dug through her car and stole her wallet? And you stepped over his bloody, naked body and got his jumper cables out of the back? Or did you step on his bloody, naked body? Did you step on him?”

After adamantly denying his involvement, the detective picks up a stack of photos in a file folder and begins sorting through them. She holds one up and asks him if that’s what Carter looked like after he killed him.

He shutters, shielding his face.

He turns away from Bennett and hides his face in his hands, facing the wall, crying and mumbling.

“You think you're a horrible person? Why are you a horrible person?”

“I robbed the dead.”

“What about robbing them of their lives?”

“Did you do this? Did you put her like this?” she questions him, pushing a photo towards him, forcing him to see Henderson’s dead body.

“People don't fall down with their legs spread apart like this,” she says, as she punches the photo down on the table.

What should happen to the person who did this to them, she questions him.

“Should they go to prison forever? Should they go to the electric chair?”

Annoyed and defeated, she tells him, “‘I didn't do it’ is not a sufficient answer anymore. Because that's not true.”

His feet, donning matching, bright orange socks, shake up and down and his hands vigorously shake against his legs, he asks her to see the video she is referring to.

She holds up a photo from the surveillance video.

“That's you, running away, after the first time you shot them.”

The only thing he can say is, “I didn’t do it. I didn’t.”

He agrees with her that the man he’s afraid of and who “actually” killed the two teenagers, is the “bogeyman.”

His hands and feet are in a rhythmic flutter as she shows him photo after photo of evidence that incriminates him and no one else.

“Who shot the gun?”

“I don’t know!”

“Do you have a twin?”

“No!”

He tells her again that he went behind Publix because he was curious to see what they were doing.

When he makes his way to the back of the grocery story, he sees them undressing. He says they were standing in the parking lot, taking off their clothes—and then heard the gunshots.

He’s afraid, he tells her, that he was afraid of the man who shot them.

“I didn’t see the other guy.”

But the detective reveals to him that whoever shot them was holding a gun to their head when they were shot at close proximity.

“You didn’t just hear it. You heard it because you did it.”

“They fell like nothing…”

“They fell like nothing? That’s what happens when you get shot in the head. You die, immediately. All brain functions stop,” she shouts at him, while looking down at her cell phone.

For another, five minutes, he continues to tell the story of the “other man” and that he “didn’t do it.”

“How do three people go behind a building; one person comes out; two of them are dead; and a random person pops up and shoots them?” she probes. “Was he taking his clothes off in the middle of the parking lot too? No, because he wasn’t there.”

They argue about the validity of his story.

I have the video of the parking lot. I am not going to give you the pleasure of showing you shooting people again.”

As she leaves the room, he mumbles, “I didn’t do it; I couldn’t.”

With his arms crossed, his hands stop shaking, but his leg continues to rock back and forth into his other leg, but still situated in a fetal position in the chair. He silently stares at the floor.

His hand tick returns a few minutes later, while he remains alone in the interrogation room. His fingers curl up inward, facing his chest and they begin to quiver.

After Bennett returns to the room, Hazelwood begins asking about the “fancy people” from the TV show—his fingers tremble in front of his face.

She asks if he’s referring to the detectives? No, the other ones, he says.

He tries sounding out a word.

“A lo, lo, a lo-wyer… a lower, lower, a lawyer? There I go.”

So, at this point, you want to speak to an attorney?”

Chapter 2

The investigation

This is a timeline of what happened Aug. 1-12, 2016 according to the police files.

Aug. 1, 2016

3:12 a.m.
Two vehicles enter the shopping center from the northeast corner, following each other. They travel around to the back of Publix, near the loading dock on the west side of the shopping center, then make a U-turn and travel back to the other side of the building.

Hazelwood is on foot and walks towards the northwest area—off camera—where the vehicles drove to. He’s out of view for approximately 20 minutes.

Hazelwood is seen wearing a red shirt, dark jacket, light pants and dark shoes, and is running back to the east side other shopping center.

An hour later, he re-enters the east side of the scene, wearing a white mask, and is then seen walking out, carrying something.

5:53 a.m.
A delivery truck driver calls 911 and tells dispatch that there’s a vehicle parked behind Publix with two bloody people laying on the ground.

6:03 a.m.
Officers arrive on the scene and find two deceased bodies and two vehicles. They set up a perimeter around the backside of Publix.

6:30 a.m.
Det. Reid obtains surveillance video from Publix, as well as UPS.

8:45 a.m.
Police contacted Natalie Henderson’s (girl)friend who was supposed to meet her at the Publix. Detectives discuss known relationships Henderson had with others.

10:25 a.m.
Carter Davis, of River Ridge High School, is positively identified as the deceased male by Officer Joseph Cordero. However, both victims’ wallets are missing from the scene.

10:45 a.m.
Dets. Robinson and Koch contact one of Henderson’s other (boy)friends in Roswell. He was taken to the police station for an interview.

Police search his home with a signed search warrant.

11:55 a.m.
Dets. Robinson and Bennett interview the (boy)friend.

12:43 a.m.
Dets. Farabaugh and Marbut contact Davis’ father, Jeremy Davis at their Woodstock, Ga., residence, where he signed a consent form for police to search their home.

3:14 p.m.
Police analyze Henderson’s (boy)friend’s cell phone.

3:29 p.m.
Det. Reid and Sgt. Harris interview Henderson’s (girl)friend at the Roswell Police Department.

Aug. 2, 2016

The medical examiner performs both sexual assault kits on both victims, but also their autopsies, showing that they were both shot once in the head. Their deaths are officially ruled homicides.

11 a.m.
Detectives go to the gas station, Flash Foods, to obtain video footage of the suspect using Henderson’s debit card. In the video, Hazelwood puts gas into his silver Honda Passport, and then fills a 1-gallon gas can. He is wearing a white “V for Vendetta” mask.

7:37 a.m.
Police analyze Henderson’s cell phone.

Sgt. Ratliff and Det. Reece identify Jeffrey Hazelwood and girlfriend Kelsey.

Aug. 3, 2016

12:25 a.m.
Police find Hazelwood’s vehicle at Kelsey’s Roswell home.

5:25 a.m.
They observe Hazelwood leave Kelsey’s home and go to a QuikTrip on Woodstock Road in Roswell.
Sgt. Lanier gives the command to detain Hazelwood.

Police put him in handcuffs and search his car, where the white mask is found in the back of his car, and two long guns and a small gas can in the back seat. He was taken to the police department for further questioning.

6:52 a.m.
Police execute a search warrant at Kelsey’s home.

11:28 a.m.
Det. Bennett interviews Hazelwood at the Roswell Police Department.

1:40 p.m.
Police execute search warrant at Hazelwood’s grandparents’ house, where he resides in Roswell.

Aug. 4, 2016

10:56 a.m.
Det. Marbut interviews Henderson’s (girl)friend, who signs a consent to search her cell phone.

12:11 p.m.
Det. Bennett interviews Hazelwood at the Roswell Police Department.

11:08 a.m.
Police analyze Henderson’s (girl)friend’s cell phone.

7 p.m.
Hazelwood is taken from the police department to the Fulton County Adult Detention Center.

Aug. 5, 2016

10:25 a.m.
Det. Farabaugh contacts employees at Waffle House on Alabama Road NE, in Roswell about Hazelwood. Video shows him at the restaurant.

11:45 a.m.
Farabaugh contacts employees at Sam’s Mart in Roswell, regarding Hazelwood—video was found showing Hazelwood’s car.

Aug. 9, 2016

9:34 a.m.
Police perform an extraction of Carter’s cell phone with a signed search warrant.

9:58 a.m.
Police perform an extraction of Hazelwood’s cell phone with a signed search warrant.

Aug. 10, 2016

12:02 p.m.
Police perform an extraction of Kelsey’s cell phone with a signed search warrant.

Aug. 11, 2016

1:43 p.m.
Police perform an extraction of Hazelwood’s cell phone with a signed search warrant.

Aug. 12, 2016

5 p.m.
Detectives interview the owner of the mask at the Roswell Police Department.

Chapter 3

The confession

Just days after the two teenagers were found murdered behind the Publix, a friend of Hazelwood’s came forward.

In an exclusive interview with 11Alive, Hazelwood's friend, who did not want to be identified, said his friend is not a bad person, but that he does bad things due to his mental state.

"Jeff is a caring person," the friend said. "He cared about animals and he cared about people, but mental illness makes you do things you would never do. He heard voices. Imagine hearing voices in your head."

RELATED | ‘Jeff is not a bad person’

Hazelwood was living with his grandparents for years after his mother, who was a drug addict, was found unfit to be a parent, according to court documents.

His grandparents sought psychiatric help for their grandson beginning when he was young.

PREVIOUS | Documents reveal details of Hazelwood's childhood

Over the past decade, however, police were called to Hazelwood's home eight times, including one instance when his grandmother suspected him of stealing a gun; and another when he told her that he was going to “blow and hurt people.”

Another incident was documented when a neighbor called police after seeing Hazelwood swinging a sword and throwing knives in the front yard.

RELATED | Police called to suspect's home 8 times since 2007

Dr. Selig Cynman, Hazelwood's former doctor, testified during the trial that he treated him as a teen for three years and that they had met for approximately 82 sessions.

In those sessions, Cynman testified that Hazelwood's symptoms included:

  • A fear of being spied on
  • A belief there were cameras in his room
  • Hears voices
  • Depression
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Trouble sleeping

Hazelwood told psychiatrists he had heard voices just days before killing Henderson and Davis.

He was, however, ruled competent to stand trial after a psychiatrist confirmed diagnosis of five mental illnesses, resulting in hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and anxiety.

Psychiatrist Christian Hildreth, a forensic director for Central State Hospital, testified that Hazelwood suffered from psychosis.

LISTEN | Hildreth's description of Hazelwood's range of symptoms

Furthermore, Hildreth said Hazelwood's medical team had not been able to pinpoint a mental health diagnosis for Hazelwood.

“We have struggled with putting a label on his mental illness,” he said.

Although Hazelwood has a previous diagnosis of Asperger's disorder, Hildreth said, “he never quite fit into the full spectrum of an autistic diagnosis.”

Following Hazellwood’s arrest, his attorneys claimed that he was not given his medication in jail. In a court hearing in February, Hazelwood's appearance was noticeably unstable.

During the proceedings, he seemed to shake uncontrollably in his handcuffs and appeared to pet an imaginary animal.

But by April, attorneys said Hazelwood's medication was under control and he seemed much calmer in court—his hair cut and answering questions to the judge.

Hazelwood’s attorneys said that he pleaded guilty, but mentally ill, in an effort to continue treatment and remain under psychiatric care.

PHOTOS | Hazelwood pleads guilty but mentally ill

Hildreth testified that Hazelwood had shown progress since arriving at the hospital for treatment in February.

It’s early in the morning on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016.

Bennett is told she’s been requested by Hazelwood and he would like to talk to her.

A day earlier, Hazelwood met with an attorney.

Just before 12:30 p.m., Hazelwood enters the all-too-familiar interrogation room, where he’s met with the detective before. With handcuffs on, he sits slouched in the chair. He shakes his hair out of his face and stares up at the ceiling.

After another detective helps remove his handcuffs and waist chains, his hands begin dramatically shaking.

He sits back down, plops his feet up on the chair, and grabs a small, white, Styrofoam cup filled with Chex Mix and begins picking around in it and eating its contents.

She reads him his rights and he signs the piece of paper in front of him.

He questions Bennett about the investigation when she tells him that they have been looking at cell phone records and videos and photos.

“Does it mean you're still investigating me?"

He begins referring to a “Matt,” whom, he says, forces him to drive him around—to the high school.

He tells Bennett that he met Matt and his friend Andrew, before that night, and smoked marijuana together. He says they were both former Roswell High School students. He sold Matt and Andrew drugs for $20, he says.

The next time he sees Matt was the night of the murders, he says.

He starts getting emotional as he details the night as it unfolded, with Matt.

He tells her that he went to Waffle House, sat at the bar and ordered a glass of water.

When he leaves, he says, he saw Matt on the corner, who asks him for a ride.

But Matt takes the reigns.

“You're going to do what I say and that's that,” Hazelwood tells Bennett Matt said to him that night, as they were driving towards Roswell.

That’s when Matt demands that he drives to Roswell High School and drive around.

He says, Matt tells him to park at Publix after dropping him off—but before he gets out of the car, he makes sure to remind him who’s in charge, he says.

“He told me that I was going to do whatever he told me to do.”

“What else did he tell you to do?” Bennett probes.

"You know what he told me to do,” he says crying.

He reveals to Bennett, that Matt, who follows him behind the Publix on foot, tells him, "This bitch has got to die,” referring to Henderson who was inside the car.

He tells the detective that he feared for his life and his family’s lives.

“You should have seen his eyes,” he says with a quivering voice.

Together, he says, they walk over to the car, but he loses track of Matt.

"I pointed it [the gun] at them; I didn't want to use it. I wasn't going to use it! I wasn’t going to."

Matt is by the tree, he remembers.

“What happened next?”

“He yelled at me… ‘Just do it! Do it!’”

“I was so scared. He was behind me. I didn’t want to do it.”

"The voices in my head started going a little bit more crazy than normal. They were yelling at me. I didn’t know what was going on. The next thing I know, I hear, BOOM!”

“He fell?" she asks and he nods, with an, “Mmm, hmm.”

He’s balled up in the chair, his feet up and his arms wrapped around his knees as he describes what happened next.

Matt orders him, he says, to take the car and take her purse.

“He kept on saying I did a good job.”

“He kept on saying, Jeff, f---ing good job,” he repeats, gritting his teeth, while he bounces in his chair.

Sobbing, he says, “I didn’t do a good job.”

After he pumps the gas, he says Matt tells him to drive back to Publix.

“I was kind of weirded out because the cops would be all over the place.”

But Matt, he says, reassures him that no one heard or saw anything.

"I couldn't even look at them."

Together, he says, they open the trunk and Matt tells him to take anything he needs. So, he takes the jumper cables.

“He’s crazy! I know I am at fault, because I did it."

"I was just going to scare them; I wasn't going to do it. He told me to do it."

“He wanted me to kill them.”

Matt tells him how much he loved a girl, but Hazelwood doesn’t know who she is.

“I was thinking, ‘What the f--- is going on?’”

Hazelwood goes back to when he first approached the couple behind Publix. He tells Bennett that he had the gun in his jacket pocket. With his hands in his pockets, he held the gun to his body. His finger, he says, is not on the trigger as we walks around the back corner of the building.

“I kept thinking, ‘I don’t want to do this.’”

Matt tells him to, “Go! Go, beat the shit out of them. Go! And rob them. Go! And kill them.”

The first time that he says he sees the couple, they are getting into the backseat of her car. They had clothes on, but by the time he walked up to the car and opened the car door, he revealed a now-naked couple.

He tells the detective that while Matt yelled at him to kill them, he held back and kept peeking around the corner, hoping that they would see him.

“…hoping they would see someone there and get scared and go away.”

He opens the backseat door on the driver’s side and Carter Davis emerges from the car.

“I just said, ‘Get out right now!’”

They hesitate, he remembers.

Matt is getting impatient, continuously yelling at him

“He kept mentioning my life and my family… Come on! Hurry up! Or your family is going to get it!”

“It was always about my family,” he says with desperation. “Always about my family.”

Hazelwood has the gun in his hand.

Henderson gets out of the car.

Hazelwood tells the detective that he allows them, to put on their underwear while they were still in the car. They remain by the car.

“I was just going to hit them a couple of times and see if that would help… but he told me to kill them.”

He says he hits Davis in the head with the gun.

He says he asks, “Is that enough?”

“No! No, it’s not enough,” he says Matt says in a deeper voice, portraying an English accent.

“What happened when you hit him with the gun” Bennett asks him.

“He fell.”

“He kept telling me to kill them. ‘Kill, kill, kill them. Remember what I can do to your family,’” Hazelwood tells the detective about Matt’s instance for him to commit the crime. “If you want to save your family, you’ll do it.”

He says he was torn because he was listening to him, but “you’re supposed to do the right thing—you need to run. You need to go!”

But, he says, every time he contemplates leaving, Matt threatens his family.

“Remember your f---ing family!” he says in a deep shout and his jaw clinched.

Davis gets up from the ground and starts coming at Hazelwood, he says.

“I was looking at her and the next thing I know, BOOM. He's on the ground; what’s going on?”

“She kind of gasped when she saw him.”

He says he heard another “boom” for her.

“After the boom, did she fall down at that point?” Bennett asks.

“Yes.”

“Do you remember how she was laying when she fell down?”

“On her back.”

He says he did not touch the bodies after they fell.

“I don’t remember that much. I remember that I couldn’t control the animals.”

A half hour later, the detective leaves the room. He wipes his eyes, sniffs and whimpers with his knees up to his face.

Approximately 15 minutes into his solitude, he snatches the cup Chex Mix off the table and begins to rummage through the crunchy pieces again. Five minutes go by and he stands up and grabs the phone book off the interrogation table and begins flipping through the pages, scrolling down each page with his finger. He reads it like a novel. There’s a business card inside on the pages and he slips it into his jail jumpsuit.

After 30 more minutes, Bennett returns to the room. Hazelwood is calm.

She tells him that the other detectives talked to his girlfriend and he immediately starts to sniffle. Bennett says they talked to her about the couple’s religion and spirituality.

“In your car, we found a bunch of feathers. Like, what do feathers mean to you?”

“She can see spirits and guide them into the next world—she can pass them through because she has a portal," he tells her, continuing by telling her that his girlfriend is the descendent of a wolf.

“She is a pure-blood, which would be… she is a directly descendant, whereas with me, I’m half-blood. I’m a half-blood wolf—whereas she made me pure when we consummated our marriage.”

He believes in a religion where all of nature is connected and is God.

“It’s all God.”

"The hawk is one of my favorite animals,” he says smiling. “I like the owl too, but the hawk is better."

“She is a pure-blood wolf?” Bennett questions.

“I know these things sound crazy,” he admits to her.

“No, no, no. No, it’s not crazy. I’m just not familiar, so I just want to understand.”

He tries to explain.

“She is directly descended, whereas I'm just half a wolf or part of a wolf, and human.”

She reveals to him that there was a feather on the scene and wants to know if it was one of the ones they found in his trunk.

“Did you do anything for your religion or anything like that?” she asks him about the scene.

He refutes that any rituals or blessings happened to the bodies.

“I couldn’t even look at them,” he says with his face scrunched up.

She tells him that Aug. 1 is an important day in his religion.

As the interview progresses, he alleges to the detective that his grandfather, who kicked him out prior to the murders, was abusive towards him.

“He threw me up against the wall and punched me in the face. Sorry, I'm ranting. Never mind.”

“No, I want to know why there's tears and you're curled up in a ball crying,” Bennett gives him reassurance.

“Everything went to hell, and I don't know why,” he says sobbing.

Eventually, Hazelwood admits to her that he stole his grandfather's gun a week before Davis and Henderson were killed.

“Why did you take it?”

“I wanted protection.”

“Protection from who?”

“Myself.”

After eight hours, Bennett wraps up the interview with Hazelwood.

“I believe everything you said today. The only question you haven't answered, the only question… I know you've answered every single one of my other questions—and I believe what you are telling me—except for why. There wasn't a Matt,” she tells him.

“How do you know?”

“We have the video, there was no Matt,” she contends.

“He was over in the trees,” he persists.

“You can see the trees; you can see it from the ambient light from Publix; he was over in the trees yelling at me,” he pleads with her.

“Jeffrey, why did this happen? It's the only question that's left, is why?

Is it for money?

Is it for jealousy?

Is it because you didn't like one of them?

You didn't like what they were doing??

Is there not a reason why?” she begs.

“I told you why.”

Chapter 4

Carter and Natalie

As the trial came to a close, Judge Shawn Ellen LaGrua read the letters from both victims’ parents and addressed the court with her own statement.

“I’ve been doing this a long time. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been in a courtroom like this most of my entire career. I can count on less than two or three fingers the number of cases that have impacted me as this one has. And I don’t say that because you all are sitting here. I say that because it’s from my heart, across the board.

The poise, the composure of both the Henderson and Davis families is amazing.

Mrs. Henderson, you said Natalie would never change the world; she already has. This case will have a lasting impact on many, many different issues and causes. It may not have been the way she wanted to impact the world or the way that y’all thought she would impact the world, but she has.

And she’s impacted every person that’s been in this courtroom from the very first day that I handled this case. And she will continue to impact the world. I truly wish, from the bottom of my heart, it was in a different way.

But she has.

To the Davis family, you indicated you found some light. Carter will continue to bring light. And just like Natalie, has made a lasting impact on the folks in this courtroom, obviously on y’all’s lives, but also, sometimes, on a failing system. And they will remain the inspiration, at least to this single judge, to do what she can to make sure these things don’t happen in the future. I can’t fix it; I can’t pretend to understand it. And I can’t imagine what all of you are going through and you have my sincere, sincere prayers and condolences.”

As tearful friends and family watched from the courtroom gallery, parents of both Henderson and Davis spoke about the children they lost.

“Natalie was only 17 years old and had so much more to give and experience in her life.

She will never graduate from high school.

She will never experience college.

She will never get to fulfill her dream of becoming an architect.

Natalie will never experience the incredible joy and love of having children of her own.

She will never get the chance to change the world for the better.

As her family, we will never again hear her beautiful singing or hear her playing her guitar around the house.

We’ll never be able to hear her infectious belly laugh or hug her tightly just as she did with us.

Her daddy will never be able to give away her hand in marriage.

No more opportunities to tell her how much we love her. No more trips as a family with her.

Everything has changed.”

Emotions grew as the Hendersons finished reading their letter, followed by the Davis family.

“How can I tell you of the impact on our life of not having this gift, this incredible energy who is always all in, gone and absent forever?

I think of Carter’s lacrosse teams. He was scouted heavily and was highlighted on a national site for 'lacrosse player to out for'. How can I explain the impact of watching lacrosse without our 'Number 4' on the field?

I think of Carter’s academics. He was gifted in math and science but also was articulate. He planned on studying engineering, researching specialties like aeronautical engineering; biomedical and even structural.

What could he have become?

What impact would he have made?

How can I give words to the impact of losing a talented and smart young man, one who cared about a world and how we treat it.

I think to Carter’s great, humble gift of caring for those who were picked on, had trouble in school or was left out.

He stood up to his friends and aggressors. Never backing down but protecting; helping others treated unfairly. He helped kids do homework, make friends, and feel included.

How can I say the impact that losing this voice, this kind of good and kind character is on our world?

I can’t.”

The judge sentenced Hazelwood to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Hazelwood did not address the families.