I’m USA TODAY editor-in-chief Nicole Carroll and here’s the Backstory, insights into our finest experiences of the week. When you need to rating the Backstory in your inbox every Friday, subscribe here.

‘I’ve been demise for 25 years, your honor. I’m sorry I’m amassed alive.’

That’s what a passe New York detective instructed a Vermont grab, asking him again to extend his courtroom appearance on charges that he ceaselessly raped and molested his daughter’s 12-yr-mature good friend. 

In 1996, Leonard Uniqueness instructed the grab he grow to be as soon as on a coronary heart transplant checklist and, without the coronary heart, would die within the yr. The prosecutor agreed to extend the trial until he grow to be as soon as  “medically succesful of resist a trial.” Uniqueness grow to be as soon as to signal in every six months.

In 2019, USA TODAY Network newshounds discovered the demise detective is a retiree in Florida who collects boats and takes vacations.

Michele Dinko, the 12-yr-mature, is now 45 and has spent most of her lifestyles waiting for Uniqueness to face his charges.

How did they half it together? Sources, data and time. 

USA TODAY has been publishing a series this yr known as Tarnished Brass, experiences of law enforcement officers who’re now no longer held accountable for his or her misconduct. 

Gus Garcia-Roberts received a tip on Uniqueness, the retired New York detective, and went to work. That usually begins with pulling data, nonetheless the Vermont courts had lost plenty of the audio recordings and transcripts vital.

Over months, Garcia-Roberts and Burlington Free Press reporter Elizabeth Murray patiently pieced together proof of the repeated extend. (“In 2012, he mentioned he’d been eradicated from the transplant checklist in consequence of his discipline grow to be as soon as so dire. In 2014, he mentioned he grow to be as soon as present process a surgical course of with up to an 85% probability of loss of life. In 2017, he mentioned he’d been referred to hospice care and had six months to live.”) 

What grow to be as soon as he doing all via that point? Devan Patel of the Naples Day-to-day Recordsdata requested data from the Hendry County Sheriff’s Place of job. He discovered on now no longer decrease than 11 cases since 2009, Uniqueness and his accomplice had asked for law enforcement patrols spherical their dwelling while they had been away. Patel discovered the Facebook narrative of Uniqueness’s accomplice and discovered the patrols synced up with social media posts detailing their RV trips to New York and an day out to Disney World in Orlando.

Dinko is offended. At Uniqueness for stalling. On the prosecutor for letting it happen.

She instructed Garcia-Roberts she’s amassed prepared to testify. “I would positively elevate out it, simply in consequence of how dare you, and each person else? All these years we now non-public let spin by and moreover that you would possibly as well simply non-public lived your lifestyles like nothing came about.”

Garcia-Roberts tried to attain Uniqueness. He known as ceaselessly. He despatched a letter soliciting for comment. Our photographer took a characterize of Uniqueness in his yard. However when Patel knocked on the door, Uniqueness’s accomplice mentioned he did no longer live there anymore. After he asked where we can also attain him, she mentioned: “I will’t expose you. It’s a non-public matter.” Patel confirmed her the characterize, and she asked him to switch away.

Uniqueness will must talk presently. He is required to update the courtroom on his successfully being every six months.

His next listening to is Dec. 9.

When you grow up in Texas, Thanksgiving is fair as worthy about the Cowboys because it’s far about the meals.

The Dallas Cowboys non-public played at dwelling on Thanksgiving Day all nonetheless two years since 1966. The tradition started when the NFL vital to expand play on Thanksgiving Day, and Cowboys general supervisor Tex Schramm seized the opportunity. (The Detroit Lions had been taking half in on Thanksgiving even longer, first taking half in in 1934.)

Rising up in Amarillo, Texas, the sport grow to be as soon as in any appreciate times on, with my ample brother observing from the sofa, nervously tossing a soccer up and down. At halftime, he’d take me and my sister for a front-yard recreation. He grow to be as soon as in any appreciate times Roger Staubach.

USA TODAY reporter Jori Epstein writes for those fans (per chance also nervously) observing the sport per week. She has lined the Cowboys the past four years and targets to enable you to rating to understand the gamers, the team. Hold her most fresh narrative on the believe between huge receiver Amari Cooper and quarterback Dak Prescott, and how it helps Cooper develop those unattainable sideline catches. 

“We played the Eagles (in Week 7) and I made that sideline preserve and (Prescott) grow to be as soon as like, ‘Man, you a foul guy,’ ” Cooper instructed Epstein. “Dak grow to be as soon as like, ‘Man, you dreadful.’

“He would possibly even non-public simply conception that in his head. However he mentioned it out loud to me, and that simply let me know that the believe is getting more and more more.”

For a story about Prescott and Cooper fixing riddles together, Cooper instructed Epstein: “I actually feel like I will discuss one thing with Dak, whether it’s one thing intellectual or now no longer.”


What I’m Hearing: USA TODAY Sports actions’ Jori Epstein relays what she heard from Cowboys proprietor Jerry Jones following what he known as a ‘disappointing’ loss to the Patriots.

This past Sunday, Epstein interviewed proprietor Jerry Jones in New England, where he criticized the Cowboys’ instructing against the New England Patriots. She mentioned Jones, identified to be a talker, grow to be yet again drawing shut than fashioned. 

“Once Jerry begins talking, he’ll acknowledge any ask,” Epstein says. “He’ll in any appreciate times give us a considerate acknowledge, and he in any appreciate times makes see contact with us.”

However her popular experiences are folks that enable you to better heed the sport and the gamers. “I must get you within the locker room,” she says. “What are the Cowboys contemplating, feeling and saying? What can I expose our USA TODAY readers that they are able to also now no longer already know from observing the sport?”

Nicole Carroll is the editor-in-chief of USA TODAY. She is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Benjamin C. Bradlee “Editor of the twelve months” and proud mom of three. Comments? Questions? Reach her at EIC@usatoday.com or note her on Twitter here. When you need to rating the Backstory in your inbox every Friday, subscribe here.

Study or Fragment this narrative: https://www.usatoday.com/narrative/belief/2019/11/29/dallas-cowboys-thanksgiving-investigative-journalism-backstory/4295887002/

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