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A deadly triangle in Tennessee

by Tim Uehlinger, Dateline Senior Producer

We had just a few hours to make it all happen.

In March, I flew down to Knoxville, Tenn., with Today's Matt Lauer for an exclusive interview with the husband of a student teacher -- a husband charged with murdering her teenage boyfriend.

From the moment we arrived, it has been one of the most unusual stories I have ever covered.

When we landed in Knoxville, Matt and I were greeted not by the accused or his attorney, but by the news that prosecutors in Knox County had attempted to block the interview, citing the possibility of too much pre-trial publicity. This is unusual; it's usually the defense arguing that the accused is being harmed by public notoriety. After the judge eventually decided there were no grounds to stop the interview, the defendant was moved from his cell to a small conference room within the confines of the Knox County jail, and the interview was allowed to take place. It was one of the most compelling and emotional interviews I have ever witnessed: the defendant fully and freely admitted he had killed the 18-year-old boyfriend. But the story got stranger still.

In the last two months, correspondent Natalie Morales and I were assigned to follow up and expand on this unusual tale, and as you'll see, the ins and outs of the story only raise more questions. Was the accused a cold-blooded, pre-meditated murderer? A sympathetic character who snapped under the pressure of being caught up in a tragic love triangle? Or was it all an accident? The defendant again sat down for an in-depth interview, and this time, told the story of a marriage gone haywire--a couple who all the while had projected the image of the ideal, all-American family.

We went to great lengths to cover all sides of this story. It is a tale so disturbing that some people connected with the case wouldn't talk at all. But in our report, the story of the teenage victim is told, and for the first time, the former student teacher at the center of the case has her side presented. The former student teacher agreed to, then cancelled, a scheduled interview. But her attorney says the 29-year-old educator was trapped in "a classic, loveless marriage." There is a lot more to this story than appeared in the headlines, and we have it in a Dateline exclusive.

"A Deadly Triangle" premieres tonight, Monday July 16, on Dateline NBC at 10 p.m.