5 Things To Know About The Host Of 'A Fatal Confession: Keith Morrison Investigates'
Here are five interesting things to know about the popular broadcast journalist.
Keith Morrison, whose gravitas and distinguished voice has captivated so many true crime fans over the years, will explore a controversial Texas case in the upcoming Investigation Discovery special A Fatal Confession: Keith Morrison Investigates.
1. The special follows the case of a 16-year-old who says that he signed a false confession.
In 1993, when he was just 16 years old, Daniel Villegas signed a confession in which he admitted to committing a double homicide in El Paso, Texas.
Days after the drive-by shooting, Villegas was arrested and confessed to killing Bobby England and Armando Lazo, according to The Hollywood Reporter. But shortly afterward, he recanted the confession to a social worker. Despite his changing story, and the fact that he had an alibi, he was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.
Morrison became intrigued by the story after it was brought to his attention by a Dateline producing partner. "What attracted both of us was what seemed a quixotic attempt on the part of a legal amateur to overturn a long-settled case. Once we looked, we couldn’t look away," Morrison told CrimeFeed.
"False confessions have been an interest of mine for years: why they happen, what rules could change to prevent them, and why they’re so hard to undo."
John Mimbela, a businessman, heard about the case years later and started a campaign to get Villegas a new trial. Villegas was tried again for the murder of the two teens after an appeals court ruled his confession had been coerced.
The special features interviews with family members, law enforcement, John Mimbela, and Daniel Villegas as Morrison fights to find out the truth about what happened to Villegas.
2. Morrison has been producing award-winning journalism for over 50 years.
Morrison began his media career in the 1960s in his native Canada. In 1973, he joined the Canadian CTV Network, where he was a correspondent, producer, and news anchor, according to his bio on NBCNews.com.
In 1986, Morrison joined NBC as coanchor of the 5 P.M. and 11 P.M. news on KNBC-TV in Los Angeles. He later joined NBC News as a West Coast correspondent for NBC Nightly News and Today, where he was a key contributor to coverage of the student uprising in Beijing and the Tiananmen Square massacre.
In 1992, he returned to Canada to host a program there — but he came back to NBC in 1995. In addition to true crime, Morrison has covered wars, national politics, and current affairs, and reported on major world events from 9/11 to Columbine.
3. He has had many surreal moments talking with murderers – including the preacher who killed his wife and put her remains in a Tupperware container.
Morrison told TV Insider that one of his craziest experiences with a murderer involved a preacher who killed his young second wife. “He chopped her up into little pieces and put her into Tupperware containers and drove out into the desert and buried her remains,” Morrison told the publication.
He said that they had a cordial conversation, but what struck him about the preacher was that “essentially his tone was, 'I don't see what all the fuss is about, I'll see her again in heaven. I mean, we'll be together again and she'll go back to being my wife.’”
"Killers, like most people, generally want to make a good impression when they understand they are speaking to a large audience," Morrison told CrimeFeed. "That they rarely tell the whole truth, or very much truth at all, is a given. I’m less interested in judging than I am in understanding."
4. But he says it’s easy for him to stay positive, even when covering murders.
“There is a time at the beginning of almost every story when I think to myself quite strongly, ‘Why the heck are we doing this? Why are we invading people's privacy at a moment of extreme crisis in their lives when they feel awful about so many things and poking our noses in, in a kind of, I don't know, just a nosy way?’” he told Today.
“And I always go through more than a few moments of doubt and uncertainty about what we're up to at that stage of the story," Morisson says. "And then later on, I recognize that people are only too happy to tell their stories and that we can be of some use to them. And at that stage telling the story becomes a real pleasure.”
5. He’s been parodied on Saturday Night Live.
Morrison has a sense of humor about people who mock his signature deadpan delivery. Saturday Night Live created a skit in 2008 in which Morrison was played by comedian Bill Hader hosting a show called “The Mystery of the Chopped Up Guy.”
Morrison told CrimeFeed that he thought that the parody was "hilarious." He added, "Nothing makes your day more than being parodied by Bill Hader."
Morrison also appeared as himself on Seinfeld and on an episode of Late Night With Seth Meyers.
Watch A Fatal Confession: Keith Morisson Investigates on Sunday, July 7 at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery!