Dateline NBC will spotlight a disturbing case from Texas. It's about the double shooting of two lesbian teens at a beautiful beach spot in Portland Park, Texas. According to Dateline's description, 19-year-old Mollie Olgin and 18-year-old Mary Kristene Chapa were tragically gunned down five years ago. What looked like a double homicide turned out to be a double shooting, leaving one dead and one survivor. Authorities say the killer was David Strickland. On Dateline's episode "A Texas Twist," viewers will hear from Travis, one of the first responders on the scene.
Late Night At The Beach Turns To Murder For One Teen
Police received a call from a couple who reported seeing two bodies just below a viewing deck at Violet Andrews Park in Portland. The couple told investigators that they decided to go bird watching after they had arisen that morning. Instead, they found two girls in the tall grass, according to a report from the New York Daily News.
First responders quickly descended upon the crime scene for what they thought was a double homicide. One of the responders was shocked when he touched one of the bodies and the woman sat up. That woman turned out to be Mary Kristene Chapa, and the woman next to her was Mollie Olgin, her lesbian girlfriend.
Sadly, Mollie Olgin was dead. Both women had been sexually assaulted and shot. The crime scene was eerie and gruesome. The clothing had been partially stripped away from the victims' bodies, and there was lots of blood on the ground. It appeared that the killing happened late that night.
Detectives say someone living near the beach reported hearing gunshots or firecrackers. It was difficult to tell due to the loud sound of the crashing waves. But what was the motive? It wasn't a hate crime based on race as previously thought. It looked like it was based on the victims' sexual orientation.
Survivor Recounts Details. Was This A Lesbian Hate Crime?
Chapa recovered in the hospital and was able to give a description of the white man in his 20s. A police sketch artist made two composites of the killer.
Two years later, police identified David Malcolm Strickland as the killer and made an arrest. Law enforcement officials alleged that David Strickland's wife tried to cover up what her husband did by sending a hitman letter to Mary Kristine Chapa's father. The contents of the letter were designed to frame Strickland's ex-roommate for the murder, Journal Media Group stated.
"Portland police believe Laura Strickland, the wife of David Malcolm Strickland, wrote a letter and left it at a Sinton home on June 11 detailing the 2012 assaults and shootings of Mollie Olgin and her girlfriend Mary Kristene Chapa. The letter was addressed to Chapa's father and written from the perspective of a hit man hired to kill her by David Strickland's friend and former roommate in Utah, according to arrest affidavits. Court documents also detail David Malcolm Strickland's behavior following the shootings that led police to suspect him."
As word spread about the double shooting online, gay and lesbian groups all reported on the tragic events with a view to bringing about awareness to homophobia and how to fight it. Residents of the community and the LGBT community were hurting. Vigils were also held in Mollie Olgin's memory.
David Strickland was found guilty of Mollie Olgin's murder.
Mollie Olgin and Mary Kristene Chapa had only been dating for a few months. But they were in love and saw a bright future ahead of them. If only they had known what was to befall them at the beach that night.
How could something so beautiful turn so tragic? That's what correspondents of Dateline NBC want viewers to consider as they listen to the case. As secrets spill out, viewers should also ponder if the secrets had anything to do with the shooting.