The verdict is in on a high-profile murder case in California. A reality-television star was stabbed to death in her home by her boyfriend. But he says you've only heard half the story.
In Redondo Beach, California, Loredana Nesci's real-life drama exploded into murder. She was a rising star in the world of reality television.
A vivacious, brilliant lawyer who starred in her own series, "Loredana, Esq." on the Sundance Channel. But on a sunny California morning, the legal diva was discovered dead in a grisly scene right out of a horror movie.
Loredana Nesci had everything going for her. Once a Los Angeles police officer, she had a thriving law practice and a reality TV series that showcased her skills as a tough attorney and a tender mom. Her live-in boyfriend Robert Reagan and their son Rocco often appeared on the show.
"She was very hard-working. She was very goal-oriented. She was very driven," said Redondo Beach Police Investigator Clinton Daniel. "She wanted to conquer the world, and I think she had the drive and the energy to do it."
So who could possibly want her dead?
The family lived in Redondo Beach, California, legendary home of surfers and sun-worshipers. But on Wednesday, July 22, 2015, 911 gets a very strange call.
"It was a very bizarre 911 call," said Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Allyson Ostrowski. "He just says 'I need police' and he gives the address of his residence. And then he hangs up; 911 calls back trying to ascertain 'Do you need medical, do you need fire?' And he's just silent on the other end of the phone."
911 Operator: "Hello. This is the Redondo Beach Police Department. You dialed 911? What's going on, sir? What's going on? Sir, can you tell me what's going on, please?"
"You can sort of hear him on the other line, but he's not talking. He's not answering their questions," said Ostrowski.
As officers roll up on the house, police have no idea what they might encounter inside. They knock on the door and no one answers. They had arrived at the house within three minutes of the 911 call. The cops suspect somebody might be in danger.
Once they do go in, they find a slaughterhouse. Loredana was dead in the master bedroom with a ghastly jagged gash in her abdomen, and a razor-sharp 15-inch "Rambo"-style hunting knife on the floor next to her lifeless and bloody body.
Robert Reagan returns to the gruesome scene moments later. He first tells police it was all a horrible accident that occurred after a violent argument. Then Robert places the blame on victim, telling cops it was all Loredana's fault.
"He claims that during the course of that argument, she slapped him. He hit her back by way of a slap, and then she punched him," said Allyson Ostrowski.
"He claimed that he had then gone into the bathroom to hide because he was afraid of her," said Clinton Daniel.
"And finally when she calmed down, that's when he came out of the bathroom," said Ostrowski.
"And he said that she had armed herself with this large hunting knife," said Daniel.
"According to Robert there was a struggle to gain control of the knife," said Ostrowski.
"He claimed that the knife accidentally went into her," said Daniel. "She gurgled and then she stopped making any noise and he knew that she was dead."
The entire deadly fight happened with their 5-year-old son Rocco asleep in the room down the hall.
Investigators comb the scene, trying to make sense of it all. They want to know, could Robert Reagan be telling the truth? Is that really the way it went down? Could this possibly have been an accidental death?
"In my investigation I kind of gave him the benefit of the doubt," said Investigator Clinton Daniel. "Maybe she is somebody who gets upset and arms herself when she argues with whoever she's in a relationship with. Maybe she is that person who's so passionate that when she gets upset and it gets to hitting each other, that all of the sudden a weapon of some kind comes out."
For Reagan's good friend Greg Jacobson, there's no question what really happened.
"He just went through a tragic accident where he was in a domestic scuffle, that his girl pulled out a knife and she ended up dead," Jacobson told Crime Watch Daily.
Why are you so convinced that it was an accident?
"I don't believe that in any way he attacked her," said Jacobson. "He's not that kind of guy. He's just very passive and he's a pacifist. And she would say negative things to him, disparaging things to him. And he would just laugh it off."
There was one part of Robert Reagan's behavior that he couldn't laugh off. As police later learned, he waited nearly five hours to call 911.
"He was literally within an arm's reach of a phone to call 911, and he didn't," said Allyson Ostrowski.
"I think that he didn't know what to do, and he certainly didn't do what she should have done, which was call 911 and get help for her," said Clinton Daniel.
What was Robert Reagan up to during those five missing hours? For one thing, he called relatives from San Diego for them to come and get little Rocco, he said to protect the child from what was now a house of horrors.
What did the brother and sister say? What did they think they were walking into?
"That there had been an argument and that Loredana was dead in the home, and that he was claiming it was an accident," said Ostrowski.
In court Robert Reagan insisted that Loredana Nesci was stabbed accidentally after she pulled a knife on him. But the prosecutor told the jury the evidence just didn't back up that story.
Turns out, the smiling couple in the spotlight had a dark secret. When the TV cameras weren't focused on them, friends say, they were constantly at each other's throats. Even their neighbors knew something was seriously wrong.
"I've heard a lot of noise and arguing coming from that kind of area so I always thought it was them that was arguing," a neighbor told a reporter.
"They bickered quite frequently," said L.A. County Deputy D.A. Allyson Ostrowski. "They were not shy about arguing in front of their family or their friends."
"They were almost polar opposites," said Redondo Beach Police Investigator Clinton Daniel. "He didn't have a job. He had this fantasy of starting this vodka business that wasn't going very well, that he owed lots of people money. He never held a consistent job. And it was almost as if she took care of him for years."
Despite Reagan claiming this was an accident and that Loredana was to blame, cops arrested Reagan. After going through the bloody crime scene, Robert Reagan was charged with Loredana Nesci's gruesome murder. His bail was set at $1,020,000.
Loredana Nesci has two brothers in law enforcement. As they follow the case, they had to endure the unendurable: learning the grisly details of their beloved sister's death.
"We've dedicated the majority of our lives to preventing such senseless crimes. And now we find ourselves faced with this type of senseless crime facing our family," said Loredana's sister Salvatore Nesci told Crime Watch Daily affiliate KTLA-Los Angeles.
The trial isn't a "whodunit" -- it's about whether Robert Reagan is lying. And the prosecutor wastes no time ripping into his story.
The first bombshell is that Reagan has a history of domestic abuse. Police were summoned to his house during a previous marriage years before. Jurors even heard his terrified ex-wife Vivian on a 911 call, in which she accused him of hurting her.
The prosecutor is just getting started. The jury also learns about a crude comment Reagan made to police officer Clinton Daniel when the officer first questioned him.
"I thought maybe to play on his emotions a little bit and say 'Well, she has a family. What do I tell her family about how their loved one died?'" Daniel tells Crime Watch Daily.
"And the defendant said 'Tell them that I'm a [----] man,' and that was all recorded, it was on tape, there was a transcript," said Ostrowski.
"And that that was an odd answer to me. That's almost like a defiant answer, of you know, I took care of, you know, what was going on," said Clinton Daniel. "It just didn't strike me as a guy who was remorseful and sad that his girlfriend was now laying dead in the bedroom."
Robert Reagan does testify in his own defense.
"In his testimony he described what happened as a tragic accident and that he loved her," said Allyson Ostrowski. "He teared up a little bit during his direct examination with his lawyer."
But prosecutors want to know if this was just a tragic accident, why did Robert Reagan wait nearly five hours to call for help after Loredana was stabbed?
"He took a shower, he covered her up, he claims he went into Rocco's room and stood over his son's bed and cried for several minutes," said Ostrowski. "And that he sat and cried and thought for an hour, and then he called his sister and asked her to come up from San Diego to his home to pick up Rocco. He was able to gather musical instruments to give to his brother, get some dog food together to give to his sister to take his two dogs."
Reagan also took time to write a check for $3,200 to his brother to help take care of two sons from a previous marriage, as if he was planning to go away for a long, long time.
"If it's an accident and the mother of your child has just taken a knife into her abdomen, your first reaction should be 'Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, don't die, please don't die,' and get her help, right?" said Ostrowski.
But what seals Robert Reagan's fate is the horrific physical evidence. He claimed Loredana fell on the knife, then rolled off the bed, and that's what created the large gash in her abdomen. But the autopsy indicates that she'd been stabbed at least four times, had a gaping 7-inch gash, and prosecutors say her insides looked like Swiss cheese.
"I think that he stabbed her and I think that he thrusted the knife into her body multiple times," said Allyson Ostrowski.
And there were blood smears on a sliding-glass door on the opposite side of the bed from Loredana's body.
"It almost looked like a bloody handprint," said Ostrowski. "They weren't clear handprints like you picture when you see one in ink. But they were transfers of blood that a criminalist testified could have been transferred from a bloody hand."
The jury finds Robert Reagan committed murder. But because they believe he did not premeditate or plan the crime, he's guilty of second-degree murder. Before he's sentenced, the people who loved Loredana Nesci get their say. Her elderly dad doesn't hold back his heartache and anger.
"She was trying to escape, but she was trapped by brutality," John Nesci told the court before sentencing. "Everything was stolen from her and from all of us. I will always be tormented by the brutal death that my daughter suffered with indescribable pain and fear."
Loredana Nesci's brother, a police lieutenant in Connecticut, has worked many violent crimes, but never one so painfully close to home.
"Who was Loredana Nesci? A human being that was murdered in the most brutal manner possible, left to die on a cold bedroom floor while Robert Reagan showered," said Salvatore Nesci. "Robert clearly showed us how much he cared about my sister when he made no attempt to summon medical attention for her. In fact his musical instruments and a bike were more important to him than the mother of his own child."
Then finally, as Robert Reagan sits stone-faced, the judge hands down his sentence.
"You are callous, you're cruel, selfish and brutal, and now it's time for you to pay. For the second-degree murder of Loredana, you're sentenced to the state prison for 15 years to life," said L.A. County Superior Court Judge Mark S. Arnold.
Robert Reagan maintains his innocence. But for Loredana Nesci, the legal diva who worked so hard for success, justice has been served. Still, her heartbroken family will have to live with the torment forever.