In September 2015, Kelley Clayton was brutally murdered in her upstate New York home, in what turned out to be a murder-for-hire plot orchestrated by her husband, Thomas, who was well known in the community as a former minor league hockey star. ABC News correspondent Deborah Roberts reports details of the complex case that shocked the small town and documents the trials of Thomas and hit man Michael Beard, who were both convicted of first- and second-degree murder in connection to Kelley’s death and sentenced to life in prison without parole. “20/20” airs Saturday, Jan. 4 (10:00 – 11:00 p.m. EST), on ABC.
“20/20” features police body camera footage from the night of the murder, the audio from Thomas’ 9-1-1 call when he discovered Kelley and video of a police interview with an eyewitness. “20/20” includes interviews with Kim Bourgeois, Kelley’s sister; Steuben County Deputy Dean Swan, the first officer on the scene of the crime; Greg and Lucky Miller, the couple who hosted the poker game the night of the crime; Chemung County District Attorney Weeden Wetmore, the special prosecutor on the case; Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard; Jim Vaughn and Brian Kozemko, New York State Police Investigators; Andrea Spirawk and Abbe Tipton, Kelley’s two best friends; and Mike Strobel, announcer for the Elmira Jackals, the minor league hockey team Thomas used to play for.
While Thomas was attending a weekly poker game at the Miller home, Kelley was at home with their two children, a 7-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son. After Thomas returned home from the game, he called authorities claiming that he found Kelley dead. But when authorities arrived, they found no sign of forced entry and quickly began to suspect Thomas. After Lucky told authorities that during the poker game Thomas borrowed her phone to make a call, police discovered that Thomas had been in frequent contact with Beard, who used to work for him and had recently been let go. Beard confessed that Thomas paid him $10,000 to kill Kelley and led authorities to the murder weapon. Beard later changed his story during his own trial but was still convicted. Police say Thomas’ motive was fueled by his multiple affairs and desire for freedom from Kelley. Thomas filed for an appeal, claiming that the prosecution failed to prove he is guilty of his wife’s murder, but just last summer an appeals court upheld his conviction. (Rebroadcast. ABC OAD: 11/09/18).
“20/20” is anchored by David Muir and Amy Robach. David Sloan is senior executive producer.