The Dateline NBC episode “After the Storm,” investigates the November 15, 2001 death of Diane Holik. The 42-year-old IBM supervisor was in the midst of selling her large upscale home in Austin, Texas when a man posing as a potential buyer strangled her to death in her house. According to witnesses, Patrick Anthony Russo, 40, claimed he could pay cash for the home. But the married, part-time worship leader had just $1,796.19 in the bank at the time of Holik’s murder. In addition to testimony at Russo’s trial, revelations about his subscription to necrobabes.com (an asphyxiation-type pornographic website) and DNA evidence linked Russo to Holik’s murder. In 2004, he was sentenced to life in prison.
Russo appealed the capital murder conviction in 2007 but was denied. In December 2015, he filed for Grounds for Relief. Russo claims the court violated his right to due process including admitting evidence beyond the scope of the search warrant (nude photos from necrobabes which were not found on his computer), among other things. Russo claims his counsel was ineffective. Russo’s claim for Grounds for Relief was denied. Keith Morrison’s exclusive interview with Russo will air on Dateline NBC on Friday, September 23 at 9pm.