These guys are talking about control.

(two interestin


 

 

 

48 Hours End Game 01.06.07

Run Dates

 

01.06.07 48 Hours End Game

 

 

 

 

date first aired pending 

2 Perry & Janet March

22 Rojas

42 Arthur

56 Sammy - Zippy

 

 

 
   
   
   
   
   
   

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first air date not sure

 

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End game

Jan. 6, 2006
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Perry and Janet March (CBS)

Quote

"His arrogance was like he was laughing at us."
 


Det. Pat Postiglione


(CBS) Janet March seemed to have it all Ė two beautiful children, a successful attorney husband, a dream house she designed herself and an aspiring art career. But appearances can be deceiving and on Aug. 29th, 1996, she was reported missing.

What would follow was an international investigation that would last almost ten years. As Bill Lagattuta reports, the case ended up with two members of a cold case squad who would try to uncover the mystery of what exactly happened to Janet March and who was involved in her disappearance.


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After nearly nine years since the disappearance of Janet, her husband Perry March returned to Nashville, Tenn., to face murder charges. As he walked into the courthouse, there was no telling what was going through his mind.

He might already be looking ahead to his next move, or he might be looking back on the series of events, stretching back 20 years, that led up to this moment Ė back to the day he married Janet Levine and back to the birth of his son, Sammy, and his daughter, Tzipi.

He may have thought about the day he became the lead suspect in Janet's murder, and back to the day he fled with his children to Mexico, to live happily ever after.

Was his legal fight finally over? Until now, he had always managed to outmaneuver everyone and he was about to try again, with a move that would change everything.

Perry March, who first spoke with 48 Hours in 2002, has never wavered in his account of that night and says he did not kill his wife.

March said after he put their two children to bed, he and Janet began to argue. His wife was going away, Perry March says, for 12 days. Sheíd be back on Aug. 27th, just in time for their son Sammyís sixth birthday.

"And she had prepared a list for me, uh, when I was upstairs with the kids. A lot of things that needed to be done. Change the light bulbs, balance my checkbook clean the basement, you know just a various list of things that I had seemed to have dropped the ball on in the course of my ten years with her. And she made me sign her list, that I would have these things done when she got back. And she said 'See ya' and she started her Volvo and she drove off," March remembers.

At midnight, March called Janetís parents, Larry and Carolyn Levine.

"I said 'Perry, donít worry about it. Iím sure if you had an argument, sheís upset Ė sheís probably driving around to cool off and sheíll be back. Call me when she comes home,'" Janet's mother remembers.

But Janet didnít come back in the morning and Carolyn says she became worried at that point.

Speaking about their daughter's plans, the Levines say Janet was focused on her kids, her marriage, a home and her art career; they had watched their daughter fulfill those plans one-by-one.

In 1987, she married her college boyfriend, Perry March. The couple began building a life together, settling just a few miles from her parents.

Janetís parents did help Perry advance, paying his way through law school; Larry Levine later hired him to work in his law firm.

Meanwhile, Janet devoted herself to a promising art career and to her two children, Sammy and Tzipi.

Somehow, Janet also managed to find the time to build a new house for her family, which Perry says she had designed completely by herself; Janet was living the life she dreamed of.

After his wife didn't come home after that first night, Perry March says he "felt that if she didnít make it back the first night that maybe she was really at a hotel, you know, kind of luxuriating quietly."

But after another day went by, Perry March says he became worried enough to call his father Arthur, who was living in Mexico. A few days later, Arthur arrived. There was still no word about Janet's whereabouts.

When Janet didn't return home in time for Sammy's birthday party, Perry says he began to panic. "Because wild horses would not keep her from that birthday party," he explains.

Yet for all their worrying, neither Perry March nor Janetís parents called the police until two weeks after Janet disappeared.

"Carolyn and Larry would not let me report it. They were very concerned that if we reported something to the authorities it would end up embarrassing Janet," Perry claims.

But the Levines say it was Perry who didnít want to call the police. "Perry insisted he didn't want to go to the police. He wanted to go see a private investigator," Larry recalls.

Perry says that is an outright lie and that he didn't contact the authorities because he "loved these people."

But the Levines maintain their version of the story. "But Perry kept telling us maybe she went there, maybe she went there," Larry says. "He told us a story and unfortunately I believed him," his wife Carolyn adds,
 



Carolyn couldnít help thinking about the conversation she had with Janet on the day she disappeared. "She asked me to go with her the next day to see a divorce lawyer. I was concerned for her marriage. It never occurred to me that I should be concerned for her life," she recalls.

At first, Nashville detective Mickey Miller treated Janet's disappearance like any other missing persons case. "The first thing we did is start checking credit card accounts and things of that nature," he recalls.

But Janet didn't leave any kind of trail. Then, just a week into the investigation, police found Janetís car, parked in an apartment complex just a few miles from the March house.

Inside the car were a lot of her personal effects, including her passport. This was no longer just a missing personís case Ė now it was a homicide investigation and the prime suspect was Perry March.

The fact Janet wasnít reported missing for two weeks was working against investigators. "It gives somebody, whoever committed this crime a chance to dispose of the body. And, of course, you lose evidence with time," Det. Miller explains.

Police searched the March house from top to bottom, vacuuming all of the floors, checking bags and even processing the hardwood floors for fingerprints and palm prints.

But it was what police didnít find that bothered them the most: "One of the items specified by the search warrant was a computer inside the home," says Miller. "Perry said that when Janet left that she had typed out a note basically the contract between the two of them for him to sign."

That list was practically the only piece of evidence that backed up Perry Marchís story. But police didnít believe him. In fact, they wanted to get their hands on the computerís hard drive. Because they believed it would show that Perry, not Janet had written the list. The problem was the hard drive was missing. Someone else had gotten to it first.

Perry March denied removing the hard drive, saying the only two people who could have done it was Janet's father Larry Levine or his own father Arthur.

Perry Marchís father was staying at the March house shortly after Janet disappeared but he denies removing the hard drive. As for Larry Levine, he says he "had nothing to gain by trying to get at it."

Meanwhile, police were also concerned about something else they didnít find: the tires on Perry Marchís car. Six days after Janet disappeared, March replaced the tires with new ones.

Det. Miller says that according to the tire company, the tires did not need changing. "In fact they questioned that, why the tires were being changed, and Perry said he just didnít like the type tires that were on the car at the time and he wanted a different brand," he says.

As investigators struggled to come up with enough evidence to charge Perry March, he stopped cooperating with the police. Then he packed up and moved to Chicago, taking with him his two children.

The Levines immediately filed for visitation rights with their two grandchildren but Perry March fought them for two years.

In 1999, once the Levineís were granted visitation rights, Perry March was nowhere to be found Ė he had moved to Mexico.

Asked why he left the country, March tells 48 Hours, "I moved to Mexico because I needed to get the hell out of dodge and start a new life and get out of their clutches."
 



He and the children were already far away in Ajijic, the Mexican town his father Arthur had retired to years earlier.

Arthur and Perry March were living in a Mexican paradise. One year later, Perry March and his children moved into a house along with his new bride, Carmen Rojas and her three kids.

At the time, there were still no criminal charges against Perry March. Asked if he thinks his son was being unfairly accused, Arthur March joked, "Is the pope Catholic?"

But thatís not what Janetís parents believed. Larry Levine says he was "100 percent, unconditionally positive," that Perry had killed his daughter.

The Levines won a wrongful death suit against their son-in-law, and then showed up in Mexico with legal papers granting them visitation rights to see their grandchildren. But before Perry March showed up to try and stop them, the Levines took their grandchildren to Nashville and fought for permanent custody.

But their victory was short-lived. Thanks to an international treaty, a federal judge forced the Levines to send the children back to Mexico and their father.

Reunited in Mexico, Perry March and his family had a lot to celebrate; besides the return of his children, his wife Carmen gave birth to a daughter, Azul.

But Perry March and his family were totally unaware of what was brewing for him in Nashville.

Back in the United States, Pat Postiglione was determined to seek justice in the disappearance of Janet March. Sgt. Postiglione and his partner, Bill Pridemore of Nashvilleís cold case squad took over the case, six years after the disappearance.

Evidence such as the missing hard drive, Perry March changing his tires six days after Janet went missing, as well as his lack of cooperation, convinced detectives March had killed his wife.

But detectives still had one major obstacle. "Do we have a body? No, we don't have a body. Do we have anything that indicates she's dead? Blood for example. We had nothing like that," Postiglione recalls.

The Levines, meanwhile, had never given up. They have been relentless to get custody of Sammy and Tzipi and justice for Janet.

Some eight years after Janet mysteriously vanished, the detectives decided it was time to take a shot.

In Dec., 2004, a secret grand jury indicted Perry March for murder. And as it turns out, the Mexican authorities were also building a case against him for visa fraud and were glad to cooperate. They kicked him out, handing Perry March over to the FBI, who transported him to Los Angeles.

From there, detectives Pridemore and Postiglione escorted him back to Nashville. Back in Tennessee, March was booked on murder charges; he pleaded not guilty, and in the hearing one month later, he was unable to make bond set at a whopping $3 million.

He was placed in an isolation unit at the county jail to await trail. Behind bars, he might not have had much time to socialize, but Perry March quickly made an unlikely friend.

March told Russell Nathaniel Farris he had a plan that could solve both of their problems. "He starts telling this person how good life is in Mexico. How you fellow inmate would enjoy life in Mexico," Postiglione explains.

And then, Perry March made one of the biggest mistakes of his life. "He befriends Nate Farris and solicits him to kill the Levines," says Det. Pridemore.
 



Farris played along, but secretly went to the police. Facing attempted murder charges of his own, Farris agrees to cooperate.

Authorities gave Farris a digital recorder to tape his conversations, hoping to listen in on Perry Marchís plan to commit double murder.

Over two days, Farris recorded a number of conversations with Perry March.

"When we heard him talk about, 'make sure you do it when the kids are not there,' we just found it incredible," recalls Postiglione.

Next, March could be heard giving Farris the Levines' street address. Why would Perry March want the Levines murdered?

Det. Pridemore's theory: "With his hatred of the Levines, he starts calculating how much better his case will be if they were gone."

And what was Farris supposed to get out of this? A one-way ticket to the good life in Mexico. The deal was that if he killed the Levines, he could live in luxury in Mexico, with the help of Arthur March, according to his son Perry.

"My dad will stash you as long as it's necessary," Perry March could be heard telling Farris. "He'd love ya, trust me. My dad would take care of you like a son."

Perry March and Farris cooked up a code name to be used in contacting Arthur March in Mexico: "Bobby Givings."

When detectives took Farris out of the isolation unit, Perry March believed he made bond and was out on the street. In fact, in a room at a Nashville police station, Farris was making phone calls to Arthur March.

"The first conversation. They were in discussions about killing the Levines five minutes into the first conversation," Postiglione explains.

"You know about our agreement?" Farris could be heard asking Arthur March.

"No, Iím sorry, I donít know anything. He said you call and I was just to listen and you would talk," March replied.

"I know, know things have been hard because of the Levine people, man. Itís time that all this s--- is dealt and done with," Farris said.

As Perry March sat in a Nashville jail facing trial for one murder, he thought his new pal Russell "Nate" Farris was making good on his promise and committing another.

"He thought he had Nate wrapped around his finger. The truth is, Nate had him wrapped around his finger," Postiglione says.

Using the alias "Bobby Givings," Farris made phone calls to Perry Marchís father in Mexico about the hit on the Levines and it didnít take long for Arthur March to implicate himself in the murder plot.

"Tell me what you need and Iíll take care of it if I can, possibly," March told Farris.

"The first conversation they were on, within five minutes into the conversation, they're discussing guns," says Det. Postiglione. "Within five minutes, Arthur doesn't flinch."

"Okay, you gonna take one or two out?" March asked Farris.

After two weeks working out the plan, Farris called Arthur March to tell him it was all over and that he had killed the Levines.

Farris then gave Arthur March his travel plans for their rendezvous in Mexico.

"In his mind, he's picking up Nate. Who just killed Larry and Caroline Levine. In his mind the job is done. So he's there to pick him up. Until the FBI agent approaches him [at the airport]," Postiglione explains.

Arthur March was arrested and brought back to Nashville; father and son were together again, this time behind bars and both charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
 



The Arthur March we had known over the course of this story has always seemed full of life, always a force to be reckoned with. When 48 Hours meet with him months after his arrest, he seemed a totally changed man.

Arthur March denied conspiring with his son to have the Levines killed. "I never talked to them. Never talked to my son about it," he said.

"When you listen to those phone calls, it sure sounded like you were in on it," Lagattuta remarked.

"Well, it does. I have a big mouth. And I probably said something things I shouldn't have said," March replied.

But Arthur March had only begun to talk. Facing the rest of his life in jail, Arthur was about to give police the kind of break they never dreamed theyíd get.

"He offers to give, to plead guilty to the conspiracy charge. To give us all the information and cooperate with the investigation pertaining to Janet's death. And testify against Perry if necessary," Postiglione explains.

In exchange for a lighter prison sentence, Arthur March agreed to tell all he knew about his daughter in-law Janetís disappearance in a videotaped deposition.

"The first time that Perry told me about it was at the house when he asked me to clean up. He was afraid there was some blood stains," Arthur March testified during the deposition.

"Did Perry tell you that he had killed Janet?" Lagattuta asked March.

"Yes!" Arthur March replied.

March said his son had told him they had had an argument. "She grabbed a butcher's knife or a kitchen knife and came at him, and he picked up a wrench, small wrench. And hit her with it. And he hit her too hard, and she, she was dead," he told Lagattuta.

Arthur March says his son told him it was an accident and that he believes that version of the story.

As the weeks went by, Perry March kept up the charade that he had nothing to do with Janetís disappearance. Then two months after she went missing, Janetís burial site suddenly didnít seem so safe anymore. The heavily wooded area where her body had been placed, was about to be developed. Fearful that she would be discovered, Perry March needed to cover his tracks, and so he turned to the one man he knew who would be there to help him: his father.

"The only thing I did was help him remove the body from where he had buried it," Arthur March recalls.

The body had been buried just a few miles from the March house. "I picked it up, the body, and it was nighttime. I had one little flashlight. But I got it done," Arthur March explains.

Perry March, meanwhile, sat in the car while his father went to get Janetís body. They put the trash bag containing Janet in the trunk of the car, and according to Arthur, drove to Kentucky.

Arthur March dropped Perry off at a motel and continued on, looking for a remote spot to dispose of Janet.

"I was gonna put it in water, like a stream. But I found there wasn't enough water in it. So that's when I took it back, and I saw this pile of brush. And I got the idea, 'Well, that's the best way to get rid of the body, 'cuz nobody'll ever find it.' And that's what I did," Arthur March remembers.

And he was right. Arthur March later tried to help detectives locate the spot where Janet was buried but they never were able to find her body.
 



Still, with what Arthur March told them, detectives were finally able to piece together the puzzle that eluded them for 10 years. "He said he's following the creek all the way along. As he's driving back, he looks up, and low and behold, there's this brush pile," Postiglione says.

"And he takes parts of the body, disposes in the brush pile. Drives back. Tells Perry, 'Don't worry about it. It's taken care of. Go back to sleep.' Perry just sleeps through this whole thing. While his dad is out there disposing of his wife," Det. Pridemore adds.

Asked how he could do something like this to his daughter-in-law, March tells Lagattuta, "Because at this point in time, she was not my daughter-in-law anymore. She was just a dead body."

"She was just a dead body. It was over. I had taken care of the body in such a way that nobody would ever find it," he says.

With the startling confession of Arthur March, detectives Postiglione and Pridemore believed they have a solid case against Perry March, despite not finding a body.

In the summer of 2006, ten years after Janet vanished, Perry March finally faced a jury for the murder of his wife.

Setting the stage, prosecutor Tom Thurman says Perry March killed in a rage.

With no direct evidence to connect Perry March to the crime, defense attorney Bill Massey argued that with no body, there was no murder.

Prosecutors may not have a body, but they do had Arthur March, the man who says he buried the body.

Asked how March reacted to his father's testimony against him, Det. Pridemore says, "The way I looked at it is, as if it was some stranger up there lying."

Another key witness was Perry Marchís jail house "buddy," Nathaniel Farris.

Along with Farrisí damning testimony, jurors also heard the audio tapes of Perry March plotting to kill the Levines.

"You take your time at it, you donít make any mistakes, you go carefully, you figure your reconnaissance, you do what you need to do," Perry March could be heard in a taped conversation with Farris.

But despite the incriminating evidence, Marchís attorney kept insisting no one knew what happened to Janet.

The defense told jurors Janet left the house alive that night and that there was an eyewitness: her son Sammy, who they say was up in the window and as sheís backing out.

"She told me that sheíd be back soon," Sammy testified.

The defense introduced a television interview from 2001, with Perryís son Sammy, saying, "She came in and gave me my goodnight kiss. And then I got out of bed and went to the window to wave to her when she was driving away in the car."

The last person to take the stand was Perry March himself, the man who for ten years had proclaimed his innocence but suddenly had nothing to say.

"I choose not to testify," he told the court.

After one week of testimony, the jury began deliberating. After just ten hours of deliberations, jurors found March guilty on all three counts: second degree murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.
 



The irony is that prosecutors may not have had enough to convict Perry
At the age of 45, Perry March will most likely spend the rest of his natural life in prison. Convicted both of conspiracy to commit murder and second degree murder, the judge sentenced Perry March to 56 years.

"Iím sorry and sad that our grandchildren have had to live ten years without their mother and with the person who took her from them," Janet's mother Carolyn commented after the sentencing.

Sammy, now age 16 and Tzipi, age 12, are living with their grandparents Carolyn and Larry Levine in Nashville.

As for Arthur March. the man who helped convict his own son, the judge rejected his plea agreement of 18 months, and sentences him to five years.

And two Nashville detectives were happy to finally close the book on Perry March.

"His days are done in terms of Perry March, Perry March, Perry March. That's over. And now maybe the attention will be on Janet versus on Perry. It was a satisfaction of knowing that finally some justice for Janet so to speak, sheís finally gonna get some justice," Det. Postiglione says.

"There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about my daughter," Carolyn comments. "She had so many talents. She was a very caring, compassionate person. Every parent thinks their kid is special. But she really was."


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Arthur March died of natural causes in federal prison on December 21st. He was 78 years old.

Perry March will be eligible for parole in 30 years. He'll be 75.