The following contains my thoughts on Dateline’s recent episode, “The Stranger.” The full episode, reported by Keith Morrison, can be found on Dateline‘s website.
Of course it is only fitting that the first time I write about a mystery featured on Dateline, that there was no mystery about it in the end. I was hoping to take a “here’s-what-I-think-happened” approach to these cases, but apparently, in the end of this one, they had a confession from the killer. So this time, I just want to share a few thoughts on what was reported and please, if anyone else has any thoughts, I would absolutely love to hear them.
It was no surprise to me that this case took place in Florida. For some reason, the most perplex, gruesome, and horrible cases usually take place in one of two places — Florida or California. I’ve heard it could be something to do with the sun — it is supposed to make people crazy after too much exposure or something. Or maybe, these states just happen to be very populated. That’s probably a more sensible explanation.
Anyway, this story to me is just how her siblings and friends put it in the end of the broadcast — Brittany was too trusting, thought she was invincible, and she almost had too big of a heart. She obviously wanted the best for people, hence why she took Joe Roberts (the “stranger”) into her home. She wanted to care for people who appeared to need it, and in the end, I think that is what cost her her life.
And it’s unfortunate, because she most likely felt she was doing a good thing when she took Joe in and put a roof over his head. (She even gave him the master bedroom, it was reported!) I wish that she had actually taken in a “good” person and not one that turned out to be a murderer. But, I think he was a charmer and knew how to make himself be that “good person,” especially to someone that wants to see the good in people through everything. And I think that he knew that about her, and she was just the sort of person he was preying on when they first met.
It was strange to me that she disappeared on the same day that she was due in court regarding an unrelated (to Joe) incident with another friend. However, this coincidence has me wondering — could Joe’s confession actually hold some truth to it?
I’m always reluctant to believe whatever a confessed killer says happened because sometimes, they’re not always telling the right story. (Take for instance, the Ryan Ferguson case.) Or maybe they’re not telling the whole story. Or they’re making it all up. However, there’s always that possibility that they are telling the truth and I am interested to follow what happens with his trial. What will the defense claim? Someone confesses to a killing another human being, yet pleads “not guilty.” Are we going to hear that he was under the influence of drugs? Or that he was “temporarily insane” when he killed her? Or my personal favorite — he will claim self defense because there was an “argument” and he “had to protect himself.” I’m not sure at this point what man would feel “afraid for his life,” from a woman as kind and big-hearted as Brittany. I don’t think he has a leg to stand on as far as a defense goes, but, we will see what this jury says.
Thoughts? Agree with anything? Disagree with anything? Please share!
Next up — the latest episode of “48 Hours.”