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The Mysterious case of Lieutenant Lee Hartley

The Mysterious case of Lieutenant Lee Hartley


In Jacksonville, Florida, a young Naval officer dies of painful and baffling death.

Was someone out there to kill the Lieutenant, or was he a random victim?

The killer has covered his tracks well.

In this case case, there really was no immediate crime scene.

NCIS investigators searched for the killer for 13 years.

We had no physical evidence. So there was a tremendous amount of pressure on this moment.

It all comes down to one last, desperate chance to uncover the truth. A Navy lieutenant is rushed to a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. The sailor Lieutenant Lee Hartley is gravely ill. He falls in and out of consciousness, close to death and unresponsive.

He was having neurological symptoms hallucinations, tingling of the hands and the feet, you.

Know, where you are.

Along with significant weight loss, nausea and vomiting, other gastrointestinal symptoms.

Emergency personnel are baffled by Lieutenant Hartley's mysterious symptoms.

Nothing infectious.

They did multiple tests, but everything came back negative. Okay.

Doctors worked frantically to save the young Lieutenant's life, but it's too late.

Despite everything they tested for, he passed away.

A 37 year old officer in the US. Navy, lieutenant Lee Hartley, died, leaving his young wife Pam, and a slew of unanswered questions. To solve this mystery, doctors call in agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service good afternoon.

And CIS.

Special Agent Jerry Whitaker leads the investigation.

At the time of Lee's death, his medical condition remained undiagnosed.

The unexplained death of a US. Serviceman is not something NCIS takes lightly. They will need to take a hard look at the autopsy results. NCIS forensic specialist Lou Elliopolis meets with the medical examiner at autopsy.

He had findings that were essentially nondescript. He had some minor ulcerations of the gastrointestinal tract. He had a little fluid around his heart. But all those could be attributed to acute shock near the end of his life.

I need to get a copy of all the reports.

The Me. And Elliopolis believe the cause of death lies somewhere in Hartley's bizarre symptoms.

The symptoms he was demonstrating pointed towards possibly heavy metal poisoning.

How do you ingested that?

Probably through food or possibly in some type of liquid, maybe water.

The autopsy confirms their suspicions. The cause of Lieutenant Hartley's death a lethal dose of the heavy metal arsenic.


Arsenic is odorless. It's tasteless. It can be placed in people's food or drink. And then when you have a person that dies, it mimics natural disease processes or infections. And sometimes it's missed.

The report actually showed levels that were over 100 times what would normally be.

Found in tissues looking more and more like a homicide.

It was very evident that this was not an accidental ingestion of arsenic. And somebody had to have given the arsenic to Lee Hartley.

NCIS must now track down Hartley's killer. NCIS agents have investigated many homicides on base and at sea. But poisoning deaths are rare. As the special Agent assigned to the USS Forest, Hall Whitaker is determined to find out who's behind this bizarre murder, he heads to the hospital to speak to the last people to see Hartley alive.

We interviewed all of the attending physicians, anybody that transported them to the hospital.

What can I do for you?

Well, I just wanted to come by and talk to you a little bit about Lieutenant Hartley.


Whitaker hopes Hartley may have told his doctors who was trying to kill him, but Lieutenant Hartley and his doctors had no idea that he had been poisoned.


We were shocked by the toxicology. Frankly, it never occurred to us.


If the person doesn't recognize that someone is there to kill them, then they start to treat the individual symptoms. Instead of looking at the overall symptoms as the potential for arsenic poisoning.


Doctors can't get NCIS agents any closer to solving this baffling mystery. Back at the field office, whitaker meets with Special Agent Walter O'Brien. With over 22 years of experience investigating homicides, the veteran agent will help Whitaker track down the killer.


Howard Got in system. It wasn't by accident.


The hardly murder. It's like nothing O'Brien has seen before.


Denominators for both the sea. In this case, there really was no immediate crime scene in a shooting or a stabbing or in most crimes, you seize the crime scene. You look for all types of evidence.


No crime scene, no witnesses and no suspects. The investigators have the deck stacked against them before they even get started.


All right, let's go.


Their first move interview the person closest to Lee Hartley, his wife, Pam.


Mrs. Hartley, I'm Walter O'Brien from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.


When we went to interview Pam Hartley, we went to find out more about their relationship, about their way of life, about her relationship with Lee, and about Lee himself, for that matter.


What we're trying to do today is just get some information from you.


He hopes Pam might provide any clues to who could have done this to Lee.


Did he say anything about why he thought he was sick? Did he give any indication?


She was shocked, surprised that he died of arsenic poisoning. She was very distraught.


Did he ever have a situation where there was any hostility or anything like that directed against him?


No, they seemed fine. According to Pam, Hartley Lee had no enemies. But there is another possibility you don't.


Want to put any blinders on. An obvious theory is that the wife did it.


Could Pam Hartley have poisoned her husband Lee? NCIS agents will have to eliminate the lieutenant's wife as a suspect.

They had been married for just approximately a year, and he was approximately ten years older than her.


Agents decide to take a closer look at the Hartley's relationship.


One of the initial things that we did in the investigation is what we call neighborhood inquiries. So we would interview as many people as were available at the time. Jerry Whittaker with NCIS.


I wonder if you had a few minutes, I could ask you a few questions about one of your neighbors.


Yes, sir.


How was their marriage?


Neighbors say the Hartleys were the picture perfect couple.


Is there anything unusual about their relationship?


It was a consensus of those people that this was a very loving, typical all American marriage. Okay, thanks.


It seems Lee Hartley's widow is an unlikely suspect for murder.


There was no thought in our mind that she might have poisoned him, so there was no reason for us to treat her in any way as a suspect.


And a close look at the toxicology report from Lieutenant Hartley's autopsy seems to confirm that Pam is no killer.


The analysis conducted on these hair samples gave us a timeline when there was an elevated amount in Lee system.


The evidence shows that Hartley was poisoned several times over the last six months. And during that time, Hartley was far from Mayport at sea aboard the USS Forest Hall. Now that they know where and when Hartley was poisoned, CIS agents finally have their crime scene one of the Navy's largest ships.

Did one of Hartley's fellow sailors kill him in cold blood? A 37 yearold naval officer has been murdered. NCIS investigators have determined that Lieutenant Lee Hartley was poisoned with arsenic while serving on the aircraft carrier the USS Forestall.


So we had to determine, did somebody on the ship gave him arsenic? Was there arsenic even available on the ship?


Special Agent Jerry Whitaker heads to the Mayport Naval Base to interview the ship's crew. It's an enormous task.


Remember, there's 5000 sailors on the ship.


Agents will have to narrow down the.


Possible suspects who have the most access to the individual and who might have.


Held a grudge against Lieutenant Hartley. First, investigators tracked down Hartley's roommate to question him about Lee's death.


Obviously, they live in close quarters. They were roommates there for those six months.


Agents know that after months at sea, tempers can flare and petty grudges can fester. But Hartley's roommate says he had no problems with the slain sailor.


Anything else you can tell me about Lisa's Hartley that I haven't asked you or he denied any knowledge of seeing any arsenic, having any arsenal? Called the office. Okay, thanks a lot. No information was obtained that would lead us to think that he was anyway involved in the demise of Lee.


For now, Hartley's roommate is off the hook. But who else could have wanted Hartley dead?


He was assigned to the ship as the ship's disciplinary officer and he worked in the legal department.


Did Lieutenant Lee Hartley make some dangerous enemies while enforcing the ship's many rules?


There are a lot of different rules and regulations on an aircraft carrier, especially the flight deck. But it's probably the most dangerous work site in the world. There's just very little room for air out there.


There's a possibility that one of the sailors, hardly disciplined, may have sought revenge against his superior officer.


We went through every available document and we've interviewed extensively people on the ship. We found nothing that would indicate that anybody, as a result of Lee's official duties, would do anything to cause harm to him.


But agents aren't giving up. They know a sailor in Hartley's position might tell his family something that he wouldn't tell a fellow sailor. NCIS agents pay a visit to Lieutenant Hartley's parents in search of new leads.

And my office down in Mayport asked me to come by and talk to you about your son, Lee.


The visit pays off. Lee's father provides Agent Whitaker with some valuable information.


He had mentioned that Lee had told him that on one occasion on the ship that lead on into one of the spaces, somebody had written some type of threat. What was written on the wall was Hartley as a dead man.


According to his parents, Lieutenant Hartley was reluctant to go back to sea.


He had called and was very upset about going out on the ship.


Was this death threat the real thing or just a prank? Agents returned to port looking for answers.


We interviewed probably his closest shipmates or colleagues. They're in the legal department, and we interviewed every one of those people, and they said, we never heard that before. Normally, if somebody felt threatened, they would communicate that to someone else, but he did.


But why would Lieutenant Hartley tell his family, but not his shipmates, that his life was in danger? Things just didn't add up.


So I think he, on occasion, embellished maybe his activities out there on the ship.


Lieutenant Hartley's story about a death threat might be just that a story. And it's cost investigators valuable time. So far, NCIS has investigated Hartley's roommate, any sailors he may have disciplined, and even a possible death threat on board the ship. But there is an even stranger explanation that investigators have to consider.


So you're kind of starting to develop theories. Another theory could be he could have done it himself.


Our investigators about to uncover the truth behind the poisoning death of Lieutenant Lee Hartley. NCIS agents are investigating the murder of Navy Lieutenant Lee Hartley. It's a rare case of deadly arsenic poisoning. And since Hartley was poisoned while at sea, NCIS at first suspected that one of Hartley's fellow sailors might be the killer. But after running down every possible lead, agents were unable to find a single suspect. And now agents have to consider a second, more bizarre theory.


We had to explore the possibility that he could have self administered it.


Is it really possible that Lieutenant Hartley could have poisoned himself? And if so, why?


And talking to some forensic experts, psychologists with Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, there is some clinical history of people that have ingested arsenic in an effort to gain sympathy from co workers. Is that a logical motivation for Lee? Well, we didn't know, but that's why we had to explore it.


But why would a healthy 37 year old naval officer ingest a deadly poison? Agent Whitaker thinks the answer may lie in Hartley's mental state. During the last few months aboard the.


Forest Hall, I would summarize, Lee is being very disgruntled. He made it real clear this was his last deployment. He was retiring from the Navy.


According to his shipmate, after 20 years in the Navy, lieutenant Hartley was losing his taste for the sailor's life.


He just wanted to get the deployment over with one way or the other and get home and then suddenly get discharged.


With Hartley steaming to get out of the Navy, agent Whitaker pays a visit to the ship doctor in search of answers.


Did you know Lieutenant Hartley?


I did. I saw him five times. The ship doctor reports that in the beginning, lieutenant Hartley's symptoms were far from life threatening. At first, he was complaining of a little bit of a headache. He didn't think it was any big deal, so he just kind of asked for some tylenol. But facing months at sea, lieutenant Hartley's trips to sick bay became more frequent and more suspicious.


Lee's friends knew that, and between his close circle of friends, they kind of felt like maybe Lee was trying to scam the Navy to get off the ship.


Investigators may have uncovered the truth behind Lieutenant Hartley's mysterious poisoning.


The thought that Lee might have done this to himself made me feel bad that he thought that this was the only way that he could get back to see his wife.


Agents take a closer look at Hartley's toxicology report. They notice a pattern to the levels of arsenic found in Hartley's blood.


We're seeing increased levels of arsenic and then decrease. He would recover. He would get sick, come back, recover. Until the final hospital stay in which he died.


It looks as though Hartley was ingesting just enough poison to make himself sick. But he may have made a fatal mistake.


Arsenic in the body isn't accumulates. Most of it is excreted, but a small amount is retained within the tissues. If you have a single exposure, you shouldn't see effects of it. But if you have cancer.


Continued exposure to arsenic in the body, it will tend to accumulate.


Ultimately, the effects are deadly.


It's very painful death. All of your organs just begin to shut down.


Did Lieutenant Hartley's attempt to land in sick bags and out of the Navy instead land him in the morgue?


I applied for a command authorized search warrant to obtain all of Lee Hartley's personal belongings that were still on the ship. Thank you. What the thought of would be some potential evidence contained within the clothing or his other personal effects.


If Hartley was intentionally ingesting arsenic, trace amounts of the toxin would be present in the room.


All of that was sent to the laboratory and tested.


But to Whitaker's surprise, the lab tests all come back negative.


There was no arsenic in any of his personal effects.


Without trace evidence of arsenic in any of his belongings, it's nearly impossible Hartley had handled the deadly toxin himself. It's another blow to the investigation. Agents are running out of options. They decide to take a hard look at some of the items taken from Hartley's room in a desperate search for more clues.


Some of the things that we ultimately recovered as a result of the search on the ship were some personal letters.


Agents hope Hartley's letters can help them solve this deepening mystery. It sounds like Lee was desperate to end his deployment and return home. But that's not all investigators learn.


I could tell from reading those letters he was extremely jealous of her, extremely possessive of her.


And Pam's letters to Lee are even more revealing.


Pam was very resentful of that, that she felt he was very domineering.


Agents now know that Hartley's marriage was not as happy as it seems.


That's when that whole picture dissolves is that she was very unhappy in the marriage. She probably would have liked to have gotten out of the marriage. Somehow she could.


It's a startling revelation, but investigators know a strained marriage is hardly enough to suspect Pam Hartley of murder. And there's one other catch.


Lee initially became very sick while we were deployed. Well, we were pretty isolated out there at sea.


Agents have to wonder, even if Pam hardly had a motive to kill her husband, did she have the opportunity? On a hunch, Agent Whitaker checked the dates of the few port visits Hartley made during his deployment.


One of the port visits that we made was to Benidorm, Spain. In this case, wives did come and.


Visit, and one of those wives was Pam Hartley. And according to one of Lee's shipmates, pam Hartley treated Lee and a friend to a home cooked meal.


They have breakfast together. Pamela made the breakfast Lee and the other ship made. Both were sick for about two weeks.


Back on the ship, both men were treated in sick bay for food poisoning.


When you go back in morning quarterback. It's also some of the classic symptoms of arsenic poisoning.


Whitaker quickly reviews all of Hartley's medical records and finds a shocking and disturbing pattern. The agent finds that Lee Hartley's mysterious trips to sick bay coincide with shore leave spent with his wife, Pam.

So we had to also focus our efforts on could have she been the one responsible for giving him the arsenal?


The investigation has taken a surprising turn. NCIS agents have circled all the way back and found the one person with both motive and opportunity to commit murder. Pam Hartley. Did this officer's wife kill her husband? Lieutenant Lee Hartley has been killed by a lethal ingestion of arsenic. The investigation into this bizarre murder started with a suspicion that Hartley was poisoned by one of his shipmates on the USS Forest Hall. But in a shocking twist, a closer look at his mental state during his last deployment suggests that Hartley might have been poisoning himself to get out of the Navy. And now the investigation has taken yet another dramatic turn. Investigators have matched Lee Hartley's sick bay visits, which surely he shared with his wife, Pam.


You thought you had kind of run across every scenario possible, and that was one that I hadn't anticipated.


NCIS agents returned to base housing to speak with Pam Hartley. But this time, Lee's widow isn't cooperating.


She provided us with information that was reduced to ultimately to a statement. She was a loving wife. I had no idea what caused Lee's death. I was very distraught about it.


But investigators don't buy it. They decide to play a hunch and dig a little deeper into the background of Pam Hartley. Jerry Whitaker pulls her employment record.


Pamela, prior to her marriage, had worked at a laboratory facility over by the Savannah River nuclear plant.


Whitaker places a call to Pam's old boss, jerry Whitaker, NCIS, and makes a shocking discovery about her work at the lab.


They handled various amounts of arsenic there in some of the experiments they did.


Arsenic? The same deadly toxin that killed her husband.


You make the logical assumption if she worked with arsenic that she was familiar with the capabilities of arsenic.


Pam Hartley has gone from loving wife to NCIS top suspect. Agents immediately bring Pam Hartley down to the field office for questioning.


555 this time we need to talk to her as a suspect in the death as opposed to the grieving wife.

But can they get her to admit to murder?


I wanted to go over a few facts of the case with you.


Investigators start from the beginning, retracing the weeks leading up to Lee's death.


Anything unusual about the letters and the tapes?


Agents scrutinize Pam story for any inconsistencies.


It wasn't an accident. So somebody gave him arsenic. You're kind of that logical suspect because you had the most access to them.

After hours in the interrogation room, will Pam Hartley finally crack?


Do you know how that arsenal got in Lee's system?



Did you put it in there?




We spoke with her for about two and a half hours. Initially. You don't have any knowledge of who did it?


Pam hardly sticks to her staff, but NCIS investigators don't believe her.


We wrapped up the interrogation and requested that she take a polygraph examination. We've made arrangements. We have a polygraph team standing by.


Are you ready to begin?




Please remain still while I turn and the instrument on.


During the course of the polygraph, she was asked relevant questions dealing with the death of Lieutenant Hartley.


Do you intend to answer each question about Lee's death truthfully?




Have you ever had any arsenic in your possession?




Did you ever give Lee any arsenic?




She still continued to deny any culpability or involvement whatsoever in his death?




She maintained she'd never handled arsenic and never had any in the house. Didn't know anything about it.


But is Pam Hartley telling the truth?


This is the logical person. She's the one that did it. I somewhat expected him to come out and say, well, she ran dirty on the polygraph and she admitted it.

I've had an opportunity to look at the charts, and it appears there's no physiological responses to the questions, and she passed. All right, thank you.


It's another dead end.


Frankly, it surprised me because, again.



Well convinced that she's the one that caused his death. So now we have to take a step back and see where we're going with this.


Lieutenant Lee Hartley's killer is still out there somewhere.


We've exhausted all the logical leads. There was literally nothing else for us to do.


And especially after the spouse. If one common denominator passes a polygraph examination at some point, now there's nothing left to do.


So we went ahead and closed the investigation.


Agents Whitaker and O'Brien are reassigned. The Hartley case is put on the shelf, and it looks like someone, maybe Hartley's own wife has gotten away with murder. 13 long years pass. 13 years and no answers or justice in the Hartley case. But when the newly formed NCIS Cold Case Unit reopens the Harley case, there's finally hope that the killer will be caught.


NCIS we wanted, in the worst way to go back to his family and be able to tell them this is exactly what happened to Lee.


NCIS Assigned Special Agent Dave Early to catch Hartley's killer.


In my opinion, there was no doubt that Pamela Hartley was responsible for poisoning Lee. It was just a matter of how we were going to go about trying to prove it.


Jeffrey but early faces the same problem as the first agents. There is no physical evidence linking Pam Hartley to the crime.


We realized that we only really have two main avenues left to try to develop enough information to get Pamela charged. So that's coming up with either witnesses or get a confession.


Agent early gathers his team.


Let's go back and look at the years since the death.

Agent Early's first move reinterview everyone listed in the original case file.

So we want to gather as much information as we can about her, learn as much as we can. One of the things that we did is in going back and interviewing everybody that we possibly could that was surrounded with this event, we felt that there may be someone out there that she had confided in, and we needed to find who those people were and interview them to see if that was the fact.


Early knows that over time, loyalties and stories change, and someone close to the Hartleys might finally be ready to talk or already has.


There may be the potential there that they've shared their secret with somebody out there.


Agent early tracks down a few of the Hartley's old friends. They are surprised to hear that NCIS is still asking questions after 13 long years. Surprised and ready to talk. Piece by piece, a new picture of Pam Hartley is starting to emerge.


We found that Pam had made some kind of disturbing remarks and had behaved in a way that really wasn't typical of a grieving widow.


And that's not the only story that comes to the surface.


Was she kind of a party girl?


Was she?


I guess you could say that.


We also found that very quickly after Lee's death, pam had a sexual relationship with another man. We found that to be a little telling that she wasn't the grieving widow that she was trying to convey.


But rumors of new boyfriends are not nearly enough for an arrest. Agents must keep digging. And when early tracks down Pam's estranged brother in Tennessee, his hard work finally pays off.


In the initial investigation, the brother had been interviewed because he had lived for a short time with Pam and Lee and their residence at Mayport. In his statement that he'd given in, he had made a reference to the fact that Pam had joked about hiring someone to kill her husband. And he initially wrote that off as Pam and some of the other wives had been drinking. They were laughing and joking that they all ought to get rid of their husbands.


But this was no joke. Years after Lee's murder, pam's brother is ready to make a shocking revelation. He didn't tell agents everything he knew the first time around.


The brother had admitted that just prior to Lee's death, pam had solicited him and said that if he had killed Lee, she would share the insurance policy money with him.


Insurance money. After 13 years, agents finally have what they've been looking for emotive. Is it enough to prove that Pam Hartley is a killer? NCIS cold case squad has uncovered some startling new information in the murder investigation of Lieutenant Lee Hartley. Pam Hartley tried to hire her own brother to murder her husband. Once again, Lee's widow is NCIS's prime suspect. But armed with only circumstantial evidence, agents have just one hope for closing the case a confession.


Our next phase really focused on Pamela, her lifestyle. We just wanted to get to know her as well as possible, because we knew that we would really only have one shot at sitting down with her and trying to get her to tell us the truth. Can you run a background for me on one of my subjects?


The more agents know about Pam, the better their advantage. In the interrogation room all criminal history she's been arrested, they scrutinized 13 years worth of financial statements, employment history, and medical records.


And once she was processed, she had been to the army hospital in Augusta, Georgia.


On several occasions, agents finally hit pay dirt. Pam Hartley was a frequent patient at a local military hospital.


But why we were able to obtain all of those records and review all of her treatment records for things that she had been treated for over the years.


Agent early pours over Pam's records.


It gave us some insight into her. Since Lisa's death, she had she's actually gotten worse. Going from alcohol abuse to drug abuse.


And had been in treatment several times. To try to kick her drug habits.


NCIS believe they have the ammo. They need to get a confession.


The lifestyle she had experienced over the past few years. Was a direct result of what she had done to lee. Thank you all for coming today. We could go ahead and start our surveillance, get our teams going, collect as much information as we can, and be as discreet as possible. We were going to use that situation in her life. As a means during our interrogation. To get her to confess.


The team of agents initiates around the clock surveillance on pam hartley.


We spent a significant amount of time surveilling pam, trying to get her activities down and doing it very discreetly. When she walks into that interview room with us, that needs to be the first time. That she has any indication. That the case has been reopened.


But there's one obstacle that threatens. Agent early's plan. To get pam in the interrogation room.


During the period of time we were doing surveillance on pam, we realized that her mother was very protective of her. There was really no period of time. Where she essentially let pam out of her sight. So we knew it was going to be very difficult. To come up with a scenario. Where we were going to be able to get pam alone. And have time to sit down with her uninterrupted. And do an interview of her.


A few days later, they get their chance.


We determined she had a specific medical appointment. On a certain day, they know this.

Is the best time to strike.


We were able to come up with a plan. That we were going to be able to intercept her, take her into an interview room, and attempt to get her to confess to killing her husband.


Undercover agents have staked out the local military hospital hey, she's here. Where an unsuspecting pam. Finally makes her appearance.


When pam arrived at the hospital, we had someone intercept her. On the way to her appointment. And basically walk her into an office. Where we were waiting to do an interview. I'm with the naval criminal investigative service. Do you want to sit down? And we just need to talk with you for a few minutes.


Agents confront pam with what they know is.


I want to share with you the results of our investigation.


Evidence of a strained marriage, pam's experience handling arsenic, and finally, her own brother's claim that she attempted to hire him to kill her husband.


We know a lot, pam. She was a little bit stunned, obviously, because no one had talked with her in 13 years about this. It didn't take long at all. Before we fly out, told her we knew she was responsible for lee's death. You killed him, didn't you?


Pan agent early knows that the entire case. Comes down to this moment.


We had no physical evidence, so there was a tremendous amount of pressure on this moment. What did you use to poison Pam? If Pam did not confess to this, there was no case. The evidence clearly shows that you are responsible for poisoning causing his death.


No. I love Lee.


Her denial of killing Lee was almost a whisper. If Pam had not done this, we would have expected a little more strong reply and response and reaction.


And agents aren't buying her denial.


Pam, you got yourself in a situation where you cannot get out of it. We began to tell her, we know you did this. Lee died a grueling death. I think you owe him enough to tell him that you're sorry. And at that point, she became very emotional. She began to cry. She said, I did do it. I killed Lee.


NCIS finally has a confession in the murder of Lieutenant Lee Hartley.


She then spelled out how she did this.


It was rat poison.


Saying that she bought some rat poison at a local feed store and she put it on Lee's food.


Paul just as original investigators had suspected, each time Lee Hartley saw Pam on shore leave, she greeted him with a deadly dose of arsenic.


What was most chilling, I think, was that the night before Lee died, he was in the hospital. And Pam actually brought arsenic to the hospital, mixed it in some apple juice, and actually served it to him in the hospital. And it was that lethal dose that actually causes death. That was enough to put him over the edge.


With a signed confession, NCIS agents arrest Pam Hartley for murder.


I don't know that I was surprised as much as I was relieved. The entire case rested on getting this confession from her.


Pam Hartley's motive for murdering her husband, insurance money. But there's something else that she wanted.


What I saw in Pam was that someone who had basically gone from small town country girl to now being an officer's wife. I think she enjoyed that lifestyle. She enjoyed the parties, going to the Officers Club and kind of being the focal point for the other officers wives. I think she realized that if Lee retired from the Navy, she was going to lose that status. So for her, the only alternative was to get rid of Lee and enjoy.


The generous benefits of a military widow. But why arsenic? Investigators conclude that her experience in the lab taught Pam just how deadly the poison was.


And she knew that there was a good possibility that unless someone was looking for it and conducted specific tests for it, they'd never find it in the human body.


Pam Hartley is charged with murder in the poisoning death of her husband.


Pam eventually pled guilty to seconddegree murder in Florida State court.


I couldn't believe Pam did it. I had a hard time with that, and he didn't convince me that she did it until she confessed.


Pam Hartley is sentenced to 40 years in the Florida Department of Corrections.


I was relieved that we were going to be able to go back and do that and tell the family we have solved Lee's murder.


It was a relief to know, finally know exactly what did happen to Lee and whoever who was responsible.




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