Produced by Judy Rybak and Stephanie Slifer
When Binghamton University student Haley Anderson first disappeared from her off-campus apartment, her close friend and roommate Josie Artin says she wasn’t that alarmed.
“When I first didn’t hear from her, I didn’t think, “Oh, something terrible has happened,” Artin told CBS News correspondent Maria Elena Salinas in an exclusive interview with “48 Hours.”
But the next day, Artin became extremely concerned—especially when another roommate used the Find my Friends app to track Haley’s phone to the apartment of fellow nursing student Orlando Tercero.
Artin went to Orlando’s apartment in search of her friend. When no one answered the door, she climbed through a window and found Haley’s body – but Orlando was nowhere to be found.
Investigators soon located surveillance footage, which captured Orlando and Haley entering his apartment and, hours later, just him leaving with a suitcase. What happened that night, and why did he leave?
“When I learned he was in Nicaragua before we could get to him, the first thing I thought was, “No way. “He got away with murder.”
Haley Anderson, 22, was a nursing student at Binghamton University.
It was early March 2018, and back in Haley’s hometown of Westbury, New York, her mother Karen Anderson didn’t even know her 22-year-old daughter was missing.
Karen Anderson: I didn’t talk to her every day because she was like, “Mom, can you call me every Sunday?” I said, “OK.”
Haley was always fiercely independent says Karen.
Karen Anderson: Oh, she’s such a free spirit. … she was a millennial hippie, just such a hippie. … The way she dressed, her hair … her personality … the way she was with her friends … She trusted everyone. She talked to everybody.
Haley was a straight-A student at Binghamton University, when she was accepted into their nursing program. It meant an extra year of school—but Haley didn’t mind. In March 2018, graduation was just around the corner, and so was a nursing job back home. Karen was about to have her daughter close again.
Karen Anderson: She had worked so hard and done so well and I was gonna give her this — a big party. … she made out this really long list of everyone that she was gonna invite.
Kevin Ocampo: She’s always wanted to be a nurse, more than anything. For her, it was a chance to help other people.
Kevin Ocampo, also a Binghamton student at the time, was Haley’s on-again-off-again boyfriend.
Maria Elena Salinas: Did you love her?
Kevin Ocampo: Yes.
Maria Elena Salinas: Did you think that you might end up together?
Kevin Ocampo: Definitely.
But Haley made it clear; first she needed to graduate and experience some real freedom.
Kevin Ocampo: She always wanted to move to California … get a hippie van. … be out on the road kinda and, like, freelance and work as a nurse.
And while still at school, Haley wanted to be free to date others.
Orlando Tercero was born in Miami, Florida, and raised in Nicaragua – where his family is from.
Orlando Tercero was born in Miami and grew up in Nicaragua. A good student from a well-to-do family, he was also in the nursing program.
Jesse Bua: His dad was a physician. I believe that Orlando got the drive to be a nurse through his father’s career.
Jesse Bua, a nursing student himself, was one of Orlando’s roommates and best friends.
Jesse Bua: He liked to work hard in school during the weekdays. On the weekends he liked to go out, have a few drinks, meet up with some friends, always liked to dance. … also, kind of similar to Haley in that sense.
Haley and Orlando first met in class but didn’t forge a friendship until Haley’s fourth year at school, when they crossed paths at a party at Kevin’s off-campus apartment.
Kevin Ocampo: It was just coincidence that they met in my apartment you know? … Haley recognized him … and so she introduced me to him.
Orlando, Haley and Kevin grew closer. Kevin even invited his new friend to join his fraternity.
Kevin Ocampo: We tried to recruit people … who we … would get along with well, and … being that we were both from Hispanic backgrounds. Me and him were the only two people … that spoke Spanish, so I thought it’d be a good idea.
And for a while it was, until Kevin and Haley took one of their breaks, and Orlando crossed a line in his friendship with Haley.
Haley Anderson and Orlando Tercero
Karen Anderson: They had some romantic— times together, but Haley was very clear from the beginning that she didn’t want a relationship with him. … she … didn’t want to be in a committed relationship.
Haley and Orlando now had their own on-again, off-again relationship.
Jesse Bua: Sometimes they were bickering. Sometimes they weren’t. And other times they would laugh hysterically. And I could hear from my room when she would stay over. And other times, they kept their distances and wouldn’t see each other for a little bit.
But as everyone told us, Haley never completely turned her back on Orlando. Especially after his fraternity brothers pushed him out for sleeping with her, because she was Kevin’s girlfriend.
Karen Anderson: I think Haley felt guilty for that.
Maria Elena Salinas: Did he make her feel guilty?
Karen Anderson: Yes. I found that out. Yes, he made her feel guilty. … Orlando would say … “Oh, I want to kill myself.”
Josie Artin says Orlando started coming around uninvited.
Josie Artin: He used to stop by a lot to come, like, smoke a cigarette on our porch. … He definitely used to drive by.
Maria Elena Salinas: And how would Haley react when he showed up?
Josie Artin: Haley — [nervous laugh] usually I would deal with it for her.
Maria Elena Salinas: You did?
Josie Artin: Yeah, if – because … it’s hard for her to be like, to her friend, “You need to leave. Like this is not appropriate.” So, there were nights where I would have to go out and be like, “Orlando, you need to leave. You can’t just show up at our house.”
Maria Elena Salinas: Why do you think he did that?
Josie Artin: Because he was jealous. … He just didn’t want to see someone else over there.
Maria Elena Salinas: You think Orlando was obsessed with Haley?
Josie Artin: Um, yeah. For sure.
Josie Artin: He was clearly weirdly possessive of Haley, who wasn’t his girlfriend.
Jesse Bua: He definitely liked Haley. … he definitely seemed like he wanted it to be a little bit more than just an on and off — ah, fling.
Then, there was this big red flag. Haley posted a Snapchat video announcing the tires on her car had been slashed. Her childhood friend Sydney Matuszak was a few hundred miles away, when she saw the post and saved it.
Sydney Matuszak: I just was, like, “What just happened? Why would anyone do that?” … How crazy do you have to be so slash someone’s tires?
It happened the day after a party at Orlando’ s apartment, where he learned that Haley and Kevin were on-again.
Kevin Ocampo: I was the one who found her tires slashed.
Kevin had spent the night at Haley’s.
Kevin Ocampo: We wake up. … she walks me out of the door … And … while I’m walking … past her car … something looked off about it.
Kevin Ocampo:And I told her right away, I said, “It must be Orlando.”
Orlando denied it, and even tried to blame Kevin. But Karen Anderson didn’t buy it.
Maria Elena Salinas: So, you’re pretty convinced that it was Orlando who slashed her tires.
Karen Anderson: Oh— oh, absolutely … I said, “Haley, you need to make a police report” … So. the police came over. … they took the— information down and— but she wouldn’t press charges because … it was over $600 in damage and it would have been considered a felony and he would have been kicked out of the nursing school.
For a while, Haley kept her distance from Orlando. But despite warnings from family and friends, she eventually let him back into her life.
Maria Elena Salinas: It was a red flag for you, but not necessarily for Haley.
Karen Anderson: No. Right. She trusted him.
Nearly six months after her tires were slashed, Haley went missing, even off Snapchat. Josie and another roommate named Mishela Topalli, tracked Haley’s iPhone to Orlando’s apartment and then climbed through a window, in search of their friend.
Haley Anderson, center, lived with her close friends Josie Artin and Mishela Topalli.
Josie Artin: I boosted Mishela up first and then climbed in. … and she was a — little ways ahead of me, and basically, she screamed and — yelled to me, like, “Josie, call 911.” And I was like — “Wha— what’s going on?” And — and I — and I walk in there … and — then I see Orlando’s bedroom, and — and Haley’s there.
Josie Artin: I didn’t know for sure that she was dead at the time … She just was so pale, you know?
Haley had been strangled to death, and Orlando Tercero was nowhere to be found.
On the afternoon of March 9, 2018, Karen Anderson noticed two men in a black car, parked outside of her house.
Karen Anderson: And then all of a sudden … they get out of the car and they walk up to the door. …They sat me down at the table … And they said— Haley’s name. … and then … they said, “Suspicious activity.” So, I was like — I just kept staring at ’em and — and it wasn’t processing. And I said, “What do you mean?” … and then they told me.
Her daughter Haley had been found strangled to death, in Orlando’s bed.
Karen Anderson: I was just numb. … I felt angry that I didn’t push … for him to be arrested for that tire slashing and that I didn’t, you know, raise more red flags for Haley with that.
Binghamton Police Lieutenant Cory Minor led the search for Haley’s suspected killer.
Maria Elena Salinas: So, this is the house that Orlando lived in.
Lt. Cory Minor: That is correct.
Lt. Cory Minor : There’s several different cameras on the house. … Those cameras were utilized to track— not only Miss Anderson’s— movements around the property, but also Mr. Tercero’s throughout the day of March 8 and March 9.
The first recording of interest to police was on Thursday, March 8, in the early morning hours, when Haley met up with Orlando.
Lt. Cory Minor: The camera— on the front of the house shows Miss Anderson and Mr. Tercero walking into the residence … on March 8th. … After Miss Anderson walks into the house … she is never seen again. … Mr. Tercero on the other hand, he — is seen leaving the residence several times.
Nearly 7 hours after arriving with Haley, Orlando is seen clearing the driveway of garbage and leaving, alone. Using a receipt they found in his apartment, police tracked his movements to a local pharmacy, where he purchased ZzzQuil and melatonin— two sleeping aids.
Orlando then returned to his apartment, where security cameras didn’t pick him up for another 7 hours. But when they did, he didn’t go very far, says then-Broome County District Attorney Steven Cornwell.
Steve Cornwell: You could see he’s walking in the direction of where the basement is.
Investigators believe Orlando tried to hang himself in his apartment, using hooks that were stored in the basement. But in his failed attempt, they believe he fell and hurt himself.
Steve Cornwell: You can see some blood on the floor. You can see a tie hanging from a doorway.
Detectives also found a note written in Spanish, which begins: “lamento mucho esto. “I’m really sorry about this. I never felt I could be capable of doing this.” He also wrote: “papi te veo pronto” —”father, I’ll see you soon.” His father had passed five years earlier. Investigators thought it read like a killer’s confession and suicide note.
Surveillance cameras at JFK International Airport captured Orlando Tercero with his luggage and a bandage on his head. There, he boarded a plane heading home to Nicaragua, leaving investigators worried they would never capture him.
Broome County District Attorney
But 16 hours before Haley’s body was discovered, Orlando left his apartment one last time, with his luggage, and drove over three hours to New York’s JFK International Airport. With his head bandaged, possibly from that alleged suicide attempt, Orlando boarded a plane and headed home to Nicaragua.
Steve Cornwell: When I learned he was in Nicaragua, before we could get to him, the first thing I thought was, “No way. “He got away with murder.”
It was now up to Nicaraguan authorities to capture a fugitive with dual citizenship.
Steve Cornwell: I don’t know what our relationships are with Nicaragua. But if he fled there, and we don’t have a way to get him back, because he’s a — has dual citizenship, this is not gonna be good.
A “48 Hours” team traveled to Managua, Nicaragua, with the help of risk advisor Nick Copeland and Nicaraguan journalist Alfonso Flores, to retrace Orlando’s steps, starting with wherehe landed.
Maria ElenaSalinas: Who picked him up at the airport in Nicaragua?
Steve Cornwell: To this day, I don’t know.
“48 Hours” has learned that it was his mother who picked Orlando up at Managua’s international airport, and drove him about three hours north, to their hometown of Chinandega.
We decided to drive to Orlando’s hometown as well, mindful of the political unrest and animosity toward the media in the countryside.
Nick Copeland: I’ve advised the high-risk team … So, just be cautious.
For several days, Orlando allegedly hid out in the small town in the house where he grew up, across the street from the church his family once attended. Back in Binghamton, Steve Cornwell wasn’t sure Nicaraguan authorities were even looking for Orlando.
Steve Cornwell: We had no communication with anybody in … the government of Nicaragua at that point for those few days.
Then, four days after his arrival, Orlando’s mother drove him an hour south, to the much larger city of Leon, to get medical attention. According to the police report, Orlando Tercero was brought to a hospital with self-inflicted wounds, implying that he tried to take his own life.
It’s possible that someone here recognized the fugitive – the story had been in the news for days. “48 Hours” was told that the hospital is where police finally found and arrested Orlando.
The next day in Managua, police held a press conference informing the world that Orlando Tercero was in custody and put him on display for all to see.
Orlando Tercero in police custody in Managua, Nicaragua.
Steve Cornwell: They showed Orlando Tercero. We knew he was there. So, you know, my thought was … “What do I do now? … Where do we go from here?”
Now in custody, Orlando had yet to be charged with a crime by Nicaraguan authorities. An international fight for justice had only just begun.
AN UNCOVENTIONAL TRIAL
Less than a week after Orlando Tercero’s arrest, Haley’s family and friends gathered in her hometown in New York to lay her to rest.
Karen Anderson: Everything after that was just a blur, you know. And I just can’t even — I don’t — I mean, the funeral, I can’t even remember who was there.
Just two months later, another heart-wrenching day … the one on which Haley would have graduated from Binghamton University — fulfilling her dream of becoming a nurse
Karen Anderson: It was probably the saddest day … Just you walk in and there’s a picture of her on a chair.
Haley’s father, Karen’s ex-husband, Gordon Anderson, accepted his daughter’s diploma in her honor.
Gordon Anderson accepted his daughter’s diploma in her honor.
Gordon Anderson: I guess the reason why I wanted to do that is because I couldn’t see her walk up and get it. … That maybe by me going up, I would feel a part of her in me.
As Haley’s family was struggling to come to terms with their new reality, the fight to extradite Orlando to the U.S. was in high gear.
SteveCornwell | Former Broome County DA: Our understanding was … that he was gonna be extradited back to us.
Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell immediately took steps to secure a second-degree murder indictment against him.
Steve Cornwell: And I told the family I was optimistic
Maria Elena Salinas: You wanted him to be extradited and face the authorities here.
Karen Anderson: Yes. And I wanted to see him. I wanted to be face-to-face with him.
But it wouldn’t be that simple. Remember, Orlando had dual citizenship in the U.S. and Nicaragua. And an existing treaty does not require either country to extradite one of its own. The effort would stretch on for a year-and-a-half until September 2019, when Steve Cornwell says he got a call from the Department of Justice.
“I thought we had a snowball’s chance in hell of gettin’ a conviction in Nicaragua,” said former Broome County DA Steve Cornwell.
Steve Cornwell: I was told, “Good news, bad news situation.” And I said, “All right, well what’s the bad news?” “They’re not gonna extradite him.”
Maria Elena Salinas: What’s the good news?
Steve Cornwell: They’re willing to try him in Nicaragua. … I thought we had a snowball’s chance in hell of gettin’ a conviction in Nicaragua.
In the U.S., a grand jury had charged Orlando with murder in the second degree. In Nicaragua, he would be charged with committing a crime that doesn’t even exist here: femicide. It is defined specifically as the murder of a woman with whom the perpetrator had a relationship.
Maria Elena Salinas Daniel, you are Orlando’s best friend.
Daniel Urcuyo: Yeah, I am.
While in Nicaragua, “48 Hours” spoke with a group of Orlando’s closest friends.
Maria Elena Salinas: Daniel, do you think your best friend was capable of killing someone?
Daniel Urcuyo: No.
They say Orlando was an excellent student.
Juan David Aleman: [translated] He had the best prospects of our whole high school class.
Maria Elena Salinas: How would you describe Orlando as a friend?
Daniel Urcuyo: He was kind. He was always kind.
Estephanie Moroney : [translated] He’s someone that, if you’re ever feeling down, he finds a way to get the biggest smile out of you.
CBS News contributor Maria Elena Salinas with friends of Orlando Tercero in Nicaragua. From left to right, Ashley López, Estephanie Moroney, Daniel Urcuyo, Juan David Alemán and Hilda Guzmán.
Ashley Lopez: [translated] He was so caring, so respectful.
They simply can’t believe the Orlando they know could have killed Haley.
Maria Elena Salinas: Was he in love with her?
Daniel Urcuyo: I think he was.
Maria Elena Salinas: Do you think he was obsessed with her?
Daniel Urcuyo: No.
Maria Elena Salinas: Did he ever tell you that she rejected him?
Daniel Urcuyo: No, no, he never told me that.
Unlike in the U.S., Orlando was not required to enter a plea. Steve Cornwell was starting to get nervous.
Steve Cornwell: I was concerned – are we gonna get a trial, or is it gonna be a show trial?
Then, a glimmer of hope. Cornwell and his office were asked to assist the Nicaraguan prosecution team.
Steve Cornwell: We had eight days to prepare for trial. Eight days. … And probably the biggest part is to set up a way to communicate.
Maria Elena Salinas: And how did that happen?
Steve Cornwell: So, the Nicaraguan authorities agreed that we could use teleconferencing.
The entire trial would be conducted through teleconferencing. Witnesses would testify from the Broome County D.A.’s Office to a courtroom in Managua, thousands of miles away, where a judge — not a jury — would decide Orlando’s fate. On October 1, 2019, the trial began with Haley’s mother Karen as the prosecution’s first witness
The trial would be conducted through teleconferencing. Witnesses would testify from the Broome County D.A.’s Office [bottom image] to a courtroom in Managua, Nicaragua, where a judge would decide Orlando Tercero’s fate.
Grey Goose Graphics
TRANSLATOR: Did your daughter tell you if she ever had any problems in her relationship with Mr. Orlando?
KAREN ANDERSON: Yes.
KAREN ANDERSON: That he would not stop texting her and following her and driving by her house.
As Karen testified, she got her first glimpse of Orlando on the screen.
Maria Elena Salinas: What did you think when you saw him? What did you feel when you saw him?
Karen Anderson: I felt sad that he ruined so many people’s lives. And then as the trial went on, I became much more and more angry because he acted very arrogant … and almost as if he was there and he was bored.
Haley’s roommate, Josie Artin, also testified:
JOSIE ARTIN: Orlando has always been possessive over Haley.
As well as Orlando’s roommate, Jesse Bua:
JESSE BUA: They had an on and off relationship for a little over a year.
Kevin Ocampo, Haley’s ex-boyfriend, also took the stand telling the judge about that time Haley’s tires were slashed:
KEVIN OCAMPO: At the time I thought it was because I was seeing Haley again.
But it was Binghamton Police Investigator Carl Peters who methodically took the judge through all the evidence, including all the seemingly damning surveillance footage:
INVESTIGATOR CARL PETERS: I viewed the video that was secured from 23 Oak Street. …I saw at about 4 o’clock a male and a female walking into the apartment … Later on, what is clearly Orlando Tercero comes and goes from the doors of the apartment.
And then there was that hand-written note left behind in Orlando’s apartment:
INVESTIGATOR CARL PETERS: In the note it’s written that he did something stupid and he’s sorry. … The motive was likely jealousy.
The judge also heard from Dr. James Terzian, the pathologist who conducted Haley’s autopsy and determined the cause of death to be asphyxiation by neck compression. For District Attorney Steve Cornwell, the evidence was overwhelming.
Haley Anderson and Orlando Tercero were both nursing students at Binghamton University. They had an on-again, off-again romantic relationship
Steve Cornwell: He choked her to death. … He took Haley, who … I believe may have been sleeping … and he choked the life out of her. And left her there to rot … That is a sick, disturbed man that could take advantage of somebody he claimed to love … and kill her because he couldn’t have her.
But Orlando’s defense attorney had yet to present his case—and was about to argue that Orlando was temporarily insane at the time of the crime.
Maria Elena Salinas: Did you at any point feel that maybe he’s gonna get off? Were you worried?
Karen Anderson: The only thing I was worried a little bit about was the insanity plea.
Orlando’s defense attorney, Eduardo Rubi, argued that due to the influence of alcohol, Orlando was temporarily insane at the time of Haley Anderson’s murder. And in an effort to prove it, he called a psychiatrist as his first and only witness.
Dr. Ronald Lopez Aguilar, who was appointed by the court, testified that Orlando told him he had no recollection of what happened, claiming he woke up after a night of heavy drinking to find Haley dead. But the expert couldn’t verify whether any of that was true and said there’s no way to tell what Orlando’s state of mind was at the time of the murder. Instead, he could only say there was nothing wrong with the defendant’s current mental state.
Steve Cornwell: It’s indefensible. It was an indefensible case. … I would say there is absolutely no possibility that he doesn’t remember what happened. There is no evidence that he was drunk or on drugs. There’s no evidence that he had some sleepwalking disorder and, you know, commits murder in his sleep.
After both sides rested, Judge Fabiola Betancourt did something that would never happen in the U.S. before a verdict — she gave Haley’s family the last word:
KAREN ANDERSON [impact statement]: Haley was a beautiful, intelligent and friendly girl. She was an aspiring nurse and had her whole life to look forward to. She was and still is my best friend. So, thank you for listening and letting me speak on behalf of my daughter.
Then, it was over, and Steve Cornwell expected at least a day of deliberation. Instead, the judge shocked him by saying she would return with her verdict after a brief recess.
Steve Cornwell: It was a surprise. That’s not the way our system works. … Here, a judge will normally say, “OK, thank you. I’m gonna, you know, deliberate on my own and write a decision.”
After a tense 90 minutes, the judge returned with a bold statement. Denouncing violence against women and advocating for equal rights, she said Orlando “disposed” of Haley because he did not accept that she had control over herself. Then, came the words Haley’s family had been waiting for: guilty of femicide.Her parents were advised to try not to show any emotion in front of the cameras.
Maria Elena Salinas: When the verdict finally came in and he was found guilty, what did you think and how did you feel?
Karen Anderson: I was — I mean, it’s so hard to say. It doesn’t bring her back and it doesn’t give you that sense of —you don’t really feel better, but you do feel like you can close the book on that chapter now and start trying to move forward and heal.
Karen was once again given the opportunity to address the court. This time, she spoke directly to Orlando:
KAREN ANDERSON: I hope that you get the highest amount of years behind bars because you deserve even more than that.
Two weeks later, Orlando Tercero was sentenced. In her decision, Judge Betancourt said Tercero took it upon himself to “punish” Haley for rejecting him. Then, she punished him with the maximum of 30 years in prison.
Karen Anderson: I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy … that we could work with this other country and that … the prosecuting attorney did such a good job and was so passionate about this conviction. And the judge and – it was just amazing to me.
Steve Cornwell: We owe the Nicaraguan authorities, the prosecutor, the court system. We owe them tremendous thanks and they have my gratitude for the rest of my life. … Thirty years is a long time.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy,” Karen Anderson said of Tercero’s sentence. “The prosecuting attorney did such a good job and was so passionate about this conviction. And the judge – it was just amazing to me.”
Thirty years … it’s a punishment Orlando’s friends find hard to believe he deserves.
Estephanie Moroney: [translated] To see that they gave my friend a sentence that’s the maximum here, right? It’s very hard.
None of Orlando’s friends have seen him since his conviction, but some have received phone calls and letters — including Ashley Lopez.
Ashley Lopez: [translated] I feel like his faith has grown a lot more… in God, so much. He always asks me to keep him in my prayers and to be positive.
They all still support him – and some are even convinced of his innocence.
Estephanie Moroney: [translated]: I stand firm in saying that no… he wasn’t really guilty. I feel like they’re missing something.
Another of Orlando’s high school friends — who asked to remain anonymous — suspects there is truth to Orlando’s defense that he was not in his right mind when Haley was killed.
Friend: [translated]. I don’t know if they were under the effects of alcohol, drugs, or something, but something happened there for him to act in that way.
Salinas asked if she believes that being under the influence justifies murder?
Friend: [translated]: No. No. Nothing can justify that. Of course not. But I also don’t know … in what state the two of them would have been in for him to do that. … I don’t know what might have really happened in that room. I don’t know.
Orlando is still betting on that very question: what was his state of mind at the time of the murder? His defense attorney wants a new psychiatrist to take a look at the case. Will an appeals court allow it? And is there a chance that Orlando could be set free?
Steve Cornwell: He’s a killer. And if he didn’t kill Haley that day, he probably woulda killed somebody else someday. And if he’s ever released, he’ll kill again.
JUSTICE FOR HALEY
On the morning of February 4, 2020, a heavily guarded Orlando Tercero was back in a Nicaraguan courtroom. This time, to appeal his conviction before a panel of three magistrates.
The proceedings began with Orlando’s trial attorney, Eduardo Rubi, still handling the case, and still arguing that Tercero was highly intoxicated and temporarily insane at the time of the murder. He wants a new psychiatric evaluation, this time by a forensic psychiatrist well-versed in temporary insanity defenses.
Orlando Tercero at his appeal hearing.
Josie Artin finds it very difficult to believe that Orlando that can’t remember killing her friend.
Josie Artin: A … nursing student… if you’re strangling someone, he’s gonna recognize — in whatever state, he’s gonna recognize, “This person is dying. I need to stop.”
Karen Anderson: How do you put that power in your own hands and look at somebody and watch them– their breath get taken away from them? It’s so intimate to me and so brutal. I mean, it’s one thing to kill somebody with a gun, but to just take their lives with your hands like that is so — raw and sad and just unbelievable
Rubi also argued that Orlando was wrongly charged with femicide and sentenced to 30 years. In the U.S., he was charged with second-degree murder and would likely have faced a lighter sentence with the possibility of parole. Rubi insisted that the Nicaraguan courts are legally obligated to follow those guidelines.
To everyone’s surprise, the magistrates immediately considered and rejected the request for a second psychiatric opinion. But on the question of modifying Tercero’s sentence? They said they would need time to deliberate.
JUDGE: [translated] In this moment we will not issue a resolution.
Nearly three weeks later, “48 Hours” was back in New York with Karen Anderson, still awaiting a decision from the Nicaraguan court, in what used to be Haley’s bedroom. It’s now a sanctuary for her ashes.
Karen Anderson [in bedroom, pointing at urn]: This is Haley, right here. … I wanted to keep her with me.
Maria Elena Salinas: You said you did this interview to honor Haley.
Karen Anderson: Yes.
Maria Elena Salinas: What did you mean by that?
Karen Anderson: Because I want her death to have some purpose in — in life. … I would like … femicide to be brought to the attention in the United States, seeing as though it’s … probably on the rise and it is a very serious crime.
Maria Elena Salinas: You wish that there was a femicide law here in the U.S.?
Karen Anderson: Yes. … And also … to all of the people who worry … that see …red flags … to make sure you follow through … and take them very seriously to help prevent these things from happening.
On March 10, 2020, nearly two years to the day that their daughter was murdered, Karen and Gordon Anderson were once again at the Broome County DAs office. This time, to hear the appellate court’s decision.
Karen Anderson, left, with Gordon Anderson and their translator, reacts after learning the appeal had been completely denied.
The hearing took over an hour while an officer of the court read the 12-page decision. In the end, it took a nervous Karen Anderson a moment to realize that the appeal had been completely denied.
KAREN ANDERSON [addresses the court]: I appreciate all the work that you have done, in helping to convict Orlando to the fullest extent of the law …
Orlando Tercero’s conviction and sentence would stand. He will likely spend the next 30 years in Nicaragua’s main penitentiary, known for its overcrowding. Every day, he will be fed a small meal of rice and beans. If he wants more, his mother will have to deliver food to the prison gates.
Steve Cornwell says if for any reason Tercero is ever freed, and even tries to step foot on American soil, Broome County will arrest him and put him on trial.
Steve Cornwell: There’s no double jeopardy. So, if for some reason, he was released … the entire case can be tried here … on behalf of the family.
She was “literal sunshine”: A tribute to Haley Anderson
As Haley’s family and friends continue to heal from their loss, they are determined to keep her memory alive
Maria Elena Salinas: What would you say to Haley’s parents if you could?
Jesse Bua: Even though Haley’s time was short, she had touched so many people’s lives that I’ve known and that they should be re — really, really proud of who Haley was as a person.
Josie Artin: One time … We were all sitting in her bed … And she asked us like, “What does depression feel like?” And the idea that someone is just that like, happy, innocent, pure, content.
Sydney Matuszak: I want people to know that she was kind, that she was generous, that she was hard-working. But, most of all, that she loved almost everyone she … came in contact with.
Maria Elena Salinas: How do you want Haley to be remembered?
Karen Anderson: As … the millennial hippie. … that just was quirky … and happy… and you know, as sad as it is that she trusted everybody… that’s a good quality. … you should trust people.
Produced by Judy Rybak and Stephanie Slifer