Dateline NBC Recap: David Pietz’ Story of Ambition and Double Life Leads to Guilty Verdict (11/20/13)

On the day Martin “David” Pietz was sentenced to 18 years of imprisonment for murdering his wife Nicole, the victim’s mother (Gael Schneider) forgave her former son-in-law and stated that she won’t let him rule her life anymore. Dateline NBC provides the details behind Gael ’s stinging words (her photo appears in this recap).

In the early days of February 2006, Nicole Theresa Pietz’s lifeless and naked body was found near an abandoned trailer pack situated at the end of a Seattle airport runway. She was already strangled to dead for over a week, probably on the Saturday night David made a missing person report after his wife failed to show up at two friends’ dinner party. The detective who first saw the body shared that the victim was not dumped but laid out gently into and under vines. Nicole’s death came as a shock, not knowing what kind of evil blighted the sunshine person that family and friends describe her to be.

David blamed Nicole’s addiction to prescription medicine. Nicole’s drug addiction started with a medical condition back when she was young; it had her taking big amounts of pain killers. After several surgeries and a rehab stint, Nicole overcame her addiction and should have been cited 8 years of sobriety had she not died.

An audio recording of David’s interrogation had him mentioning an addictive prescription drug Nicole was taking following a recent injury. Investigators found proof of an empty pill bottle which should have contained at most 56 pills. The bottle was prescribed two days prior to her death. David also claimed seeing Nicole for the last time the night prior to their dinner; the last time he spoke to her was at noon on that ill-fated Saturday when Nicole called him at the gym where he worked (Bally Total Fitness). David and Nicole both worked for this company: he, as an ambitious yet effective salesman and she, as a successful corporate woman holding a plum position.

Through it all, Gael was with David especially when the latter publicly appealed for Nicole to come home (as her family was made to believe that she had a drug relapse) followed by pleas for help in searching the victim. The absence of solid evidence left Nicole’s case unsolved until in 2010, two cold case detectives picked it up and found more proof that eventually led to David’s arrest. During this time, David was working in a bank after being fired for sexual harassment in Bally and after leaving another job in a different gym.

Prior to 2010, other detectives have established David as a man who lived a double life: one, as a great saleman who loved his wife dearly and the other as a cheater who made advances to women and who constantly wanted Nicole to be more sexually active with other people (threesome included, which Nicole found appaling). In fact, a person close to David admitted to seeing him mix an ecstasy pill in Nicole’s drink.

The revival of Nicole’s case also yielded proof that Nicole was killed on the last night David claimed to have last seen her: among others, a retainer found in her mouth (she only used this at night), her wedding band left on the bathroom counter (which she usually took off at night) and the absence of drugs in Nicole’s body (proof that she wasn’t addicted again). Moreover, David’s former colleagues revealed that his marriage to Nicole was for his convenient rise to the corporate ladder. Nicole was the only person in love in this marriage.

During David’s trial, the prosecution team worked hard to convince the jury that the suspect was a sex-addicted philandering man who used Nicole’s addiction as a cover-up for his crime. Although the absence of physical evidence made the journey more difficult, the prosecutors still managed to show testimonies of affairs and David’s possession of Nicole’s missing diamond bracelet, David’s romance with another woman during his engagement to Nicole, and damning evidences from a phone company and the gym’s security camera which proved that David made the call to himself at the gym using Nicole’s mobile phone.

David’s defense team tried hard to establish that somebody else killed Nicole. The team depended on the testimony of Nicole’s doctor who prescribed her latest pain killers and tied it to a story that had Nicole involved in a dangerous activity: she didn’t take her medication but handed such to tough and dangerous people. Their conclusion: Nicole died as a result of her secret life.

The jury sided with the prosecution and found David guilty of 2nd degree murder. After 7 long years, Nicole’s family found justice. Gael, who started believing David’s story, will never allow David to fool her again.

That’s our recap of Dateline NBC today, 11/20/13. We’ll have another recap next week. Until then, please check our Dateline NBC archive HERE. 

Image Credit: Dateline NBC