Jurors Review Confession in Stephanie Crowe's Murder

The defense aired the videotaped confession Friday during Richard Tuite's retrial

By Andie Adams and Paul Krueger
|  Friday, Nov 15, 2013  |  Updated 5:08 PM PDT
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Tuite's Attorney Puts Blame on Michael Crowe

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Michael Crowe Speaks Before Testifying

Michael Crowe, a man once accused in the murder of his sister, Stephanie Crowe, spoke with NBC 7's Sherene Tagharobi before testifying in court. The man convicted in Stephanie's murder, Richard Tuite, is now being re-tried in San Diego.

Tuite's Attorney Puts Blame on Michael Crowe

Michael Crowe, a man once accused of killing his little sister, Stephanie Crowe, testified in court on November 14, 2013, in the retrial of Richard Tuite, the man who was ultimately convicted in the murder. Tuite's attorney argues that his client is innocent, and Crowe is the real killer.
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Jurors heard a 15-year-old videotaped confession Friday in the retrial of Richard Tuite, accused of the 1998 killing of local girl Stephanie Crowe. 

 
But it was not Tuite confessing on the tape.
 
It was Joshua Treadway, a friend of Stephanie’s brother, Michael Crowe.
 
Treadway was in the courtroom Friday, listening to his teenage self confess to murder.
 
Tuite's defense team said Michael, Treadway and friend Aaron Houser are responsible for Stephanie’s death
 
In the days after Stephanie was found stabbed to death inside her Escondido home, the three boys became prime suspects in the case and were actually charged with her murder. 
 
Among the evidence against them was a 1998 taped confession by Treadway to Escondido police. 
 
Treadway told investigators that Michael talked with him and Houser about killing Stephanie for about two weeks. 
 
“Michael always talked – you know, he hated his sister,” Treadway said during the taped interrogation. “He was jealous and stuff like that. I don’t know what the motivating fact was. I don’t know what would drive someone to the point of wanting to kill someone.”
 
He also described how Houser asked him to get rid of the murder weapon.
 
“And he told me, if you’re a real friend of Michael, and you’re a real friend of me, you’ll clean the knife and you’ll get rid of it,” said Treadway on tape.
 
However, when that confession and others were first presented in court years ago, the judge ruled the confessions were coerced and threw them out. Charges against the boys were dropped when Stephanie’s blood was found on Tuite’s sweatshirt. 
 
Prosecutors insisted that Tuite killed the girl, and he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 2004. 
 
Eight years later, a federal appeals court voided the conviction and ordered a retrial.
 
Tuite's retrial has been under way all week, and his defense team is trying to prove his innocence. On Thursday Tuite's attorney painted Michael Crowe as the real killer in the case, arguing that he was a hateful teenager who often complained to friends about his popular little sister.
 
In an exclusive interview with NBC 7 Thursday, Michael Crowe called the defense theory “an argument that comes out of the inability to accept reality.”
 
“It’s the kind of thing that people who just can’t accept the truth,” he said. “The kind of conspiracy theory… there are conspiracy theories on all sorts of things. Just one more of them, like Sasquatch.”

The retrial resumes Monday.

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