Former Marine Nicolas Morelos were built with a status as a no-nonsense boss — who made his share of opponents at work.
“He was tough,” his brother John Morelos told “Dateline: Secrets Uncovered,” airing Thursdays at 8/7c on Archiweekend. “He was — excuse the word what — a tough a–, very local, intimidating with a.”
While serving as the director of maintenance at Marana Aerospace Solutions, he was recognized to get his share of HR complaints from individuals who bristled at his gruff and demanding management style. But Morelos designed a different of impression on most of the women at his Arizona workplace.
He was recognized to be a small ladies’ man, romancing most of the women there until finally settling lower with fiancé Kristina Trepanitis.
“I just felt like I can’t believe I become his bride-to-be,” Trepanitis told “Dateline” correspondent Josh Mankiewicz. “I was excited. I anxiously waited 4 decades for him.”
Trepanitis saw a softer side to Morelos, who loved to see, have a tendency to his plants, and spend more time with his beloved dog, Smokey.
However the couple would not allow it to be lower the aisle. Morelos was wiped out inside a hail of bullets at his home on This summer 18, 2016. He’d been shot eight occasions, including once to the center of the brow, based on investigators.
The 45-year-old’s violent dying left investigators wondering if the man who’d always made an impact had finally made the incorrect one, angering an worker or perhaps a scorned former lover.
“The list was very lengthy,” Pima County Sheriff’s Detective Jennifer Garcia told producers of the possible suspects.
Trepanitis discovered your body after she grew to become concerned that Morelos hadn’t sent her his usual hello message and went to his Tucson home to evaluate him.
“I focused on him. He only agreed to be lounging there and that he only agreed to be, just filled with bullet holes,” she stated. “This may be the man I had been designed to marry.”
Within the home, investigators found bullet holes within the wall, 11 covering casings, and Morelos naked on the ground from the bed room with what made an appearance to become a cold-blooded execution.
“They shot through his window and assassinated him,” Garcia stated, before adding the killer had also rose in with the window to complete from the bloody assault.
However the assailant also left out some telling clues, including bloodstream around the damaged glass from the window pane and also the stucco around the outdoors of the house. Investigators also found bloodstream in the closet as well as on the mouth area wash cap present in his bathroom.
“The floor was very sticky also it smelled very heavily of make-up, therefore we felt at that time that whomever did this attempted to wash up whatever tracks they left,” Garcia stated.
Morelos’ large rug within the bed room have been cut along with a large part of it had been missing, with what investigators believed was another make an effort to hide evidence.
Regardless of the hail of bullets, no neighbors reported hearing any gunshots, leading investigators to theorize the killer had used a silencer to handle the deadly assault early in the day hrs.
To find out who had fired the fatal shots, detectives started to explore Morelos’ personal existence. Certainly one of his ex-spouses had once threatened to kill him and the other ex-girlfriend had previously broken into his home as they was asleep with a brand new girlfriend, based on “Dateline: Secrets Uncovered.”
A number of Morelos’ coworkers were also on his listing of past romances, including Claudia Banks, who told investigators that they broke rapport together with her serious boyfriend to get along with Morelos.
“He was awesome. He actually was,” Banks stated of Morelos, who she dated for six several weeks.
The relationship wasn’t well accepted by another lady named Jessica, who had worked in the aerospace company coupled with been dating Morelos for around six several weeks before he kicked her out and moved Banks into his home.
“I know he was having an affair with Claudia,” she told investigators throughout an interview. “When she got caught together with her, um, after which he kicked me out, after which moved her in.”
But regardless of the heartache, Jessica, who stated she’d been home together with her youthful daughter during the time of the murder, was adamant she didn’t want Morelos dead.
“This shouldn’t occur to anybody,” she stated through tears within the interrogation tape. “Nobody deserves that.”
Investigators also investigated the coworkers who’d clashed using the 45-year-old at work and interviewed safety inspector James Lapan, who stated Morelos had given him difficulty for parking inside a restricted area and taking advantage of an individual tablet pc during work hrs.
Although Lapan accepted he “never got along” with Morelos, he stated he couldn’t consider anybody who may wish to physically harm him.
Investigators ongoing to look for solutions, but it might be Morelos’ brother John who finally got the break that will blow the situation available.
While speaking using the HR director Shaun Manley at Marana Aerospace Solutions, John found that Lapan — who’d filed past grievances against Morelos — had bandages on his left arm soon after the shooting. And just 11 days prior to the murder, Johnson told “Dateline: Secrets Uncovered,” Lapan had arrived at his office with concerns about Morelos.
“He stated when I do not handle it, he’s their own method of handling things and merely screwed out of my office,” Manley remembered.
Investigators believed it may be the end these were searching for, but Lapan said the night Morelos was wiped out he’d attended bed together with his wife, Sareena, around 9 p.m. and also got in the next morning around 5 a.m.
But he made one admission: Lapan have been transporting with an affair with Morelos’ ex-girlfriend Jessica.
When government bodies spoke to Sareena, she stated she understood concerning the affair which she’d been attempting to mend their marriage. Sareena also confirmed that her husband have been at home asleep at time Morelos have been performed.
It appeared just like a stalemate, but John had a tip from another friend that Lapan have been to some Tuscon shop to get something to correct a silencer.
After securing searching warrant for his home, investigators discovered 18 boxes of .45 caliber bullets, two spent covering casings that matched those available at Morelos’ house, a clear box that when held a silencer, and two work pants that appeared as if they’d bloodstream stains in it.
Additionally they found carpet at the back of the Lapan’s van that matched the rug obtained from Morelos’ bed room, based on the episode.
Lapan was arrested while carpooling to utilize Jessica.
The situation against him increased when Sareena contacted prosecutors to confess that they had lied about Lapan being home during the time of the murder.
Sareena — who stated she found the courage in the future forward after watching an eternity movie a good abusive relationship — told government bodies that even though the couple choose to go to sleep around 9 p.m., she got up later and left the home.
The following morning, she saw him back in the home while she is at the shower.
“When he’d are available in, his arm was bloody and that he just checked out me and stated, ‘I was home through the night so we labored out today,’” Sareena told “Dateline: Secrets Uncovered.”
Sareena stated she decided to mislead police force officials for him “out of fear,” describing a controlling and abusive relationship together with her husband of seven years.
Investigators were also in a position to match Lapan’s DNA towards the bloodstream present in Morelos’ bed room.
Lapan was discovered guilty and sentenced to existence imprisonment in 2018, local news station KGUN reported at that time.
Prosecutor Jonathan Mosher told “Dateline: Secrets Uncovered” there have been an unusual number of texts between Jessica and Lapan the night time prior to the murder, where Lapan texted her in regards to a dog and she or he responded, “His dog … his name is Smokey,” apparently a reference to Morelos’ beloved companion.
Government bodies didn’t have enough evidence for connecting her towards the crime, though.
“I can’t prove that they had participation, however i can’t rule it either,” Mosher stated.
To understand more about the situation yet others enjoy it, stay tuned to “Dateline: Secrets Uncovered” Thursdays at 8/7c on Archiweekend or stream episodes here.