To Catch a Predator Wiki
Advertisement

"I'm not going to hurt anyone!"
Conradt's last words.

Louis William "Bill" Conradt Jr. was a predator who was supposed to be caught during the Murphy, Texas investigation. He shot himself before police could apprehend him. His death and fallout of his sister's lawsuit ultimately resulted in the cancellation of To Catch A Predator.

Biography

Bill Conradt was born in Terrell Texas, and had a sister. When he grew up he was in the closet about being bisexual. Conradt played football. He attended University of Texas for undergraduate education, and Texas Tech Law School for his juris doctrine. He was formerly the District attorney of Kauffman County. He was a fifty-six-year old assistant district attorney for Rockwell County, and still lived in Terrell, Texas. His friends and family described him as respectable, and good prosecutor. [1]

Chat

Conradt contacted someone he believed to be a thirteen year old boy named "Luke". Conradt solicited pictures of "Luke's" penis and initially sent him explicit images in return. He pretended to be a 19-year-old college student named Wil. The images weren't specifically of Conradt but all but one had a pornographic aspect. Conradt would eventually send a picture of his own penis. He also expressed a desire to do many sexual acts with the decoy, asking things to him like holding his penis and having sex multiple times.[2] Eventually, a voice actor was brought in to play Luke over the phone. For unknown reasons (perhaps due to having second thoughts on whether he should actually meet and molest the boy), Conradt stopped responding to phone calls and instant messages. It was then decided by police to confront Conradt at his home in Terrell, Texas.[3]

Death

A warrant for his arrest was signed and in the afternoon, because in Texas the crime occurs when the solicitation is made and not when the perpetrators show up to the house. The Terrell police (where Conradt resided) made a decision to use a SWAT team and perform a tactical entry (on suggestion by Dateline). Once the SWAT team arrived, they feared Conradt was aware of their presence and now was destroying evidence. The SWAT team broke the door's lock and swept through the house. They finally encountered Conradt in a hallway. Holding a Browning .380 handgun, Conradt said some variation of "I'm not going to hurt anyone" and shot himself.[4] Recovery of all of Conradt’s digital devices showed images of child pornography, namely ten images on his laptop.[5] Also found was a workbook titled Investigation and Prosecution of Child Sexual Abuse (from a recent district attorneys' conference), suggesting Conradt had read it thoroughly and, understanding that he had already committed the crimes of online solicitation and possession of child pornography, suspected he would be arrested and chose to take his own life.

Fallout

The Murphy Police Department and its chief Billy Myrick came under fire due to the handling of the arrest because it was perceived that they had been taking orders from the Dateline NBC news crew on how to conduct the bust. This was vehemently denied by both parties until footage acquired by Esquire Magazine had shown Murphy officers taking commands from Chris Hansen and Frag as well as the Dateline crew set out in front of Conradt’s house five hours before an arrest warrant was obtained, setting up a catering service in front of Conradt's house, turning it into a sensationalist media circus rather than a controlled surgical arrest. Esquire also detailed a deputy's reticence with going through with the bust to Dateline's producer and the desire to inform other officials with greater authority on whether to proceed. The producer told the deputy that, "You're working for Dateline now."[3] Apparently, the Dateline crew in Texas had travel arrangements to return to New York on the day of the ill-fated bust and wanted to get footage of Conradt’s arrest before they left, leading them to push for the arrest to happen that day.

Conradt’s sister would sue NBC for $109 million, but was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.[6] The Collin County DA’s Office would also decline to pursue charges against the other men caught in the sting. This would force the end of the segment on Dateline NBC and would lead to the firing of Myrick in 2008.

It was also shown that had Conradt not taken his own life and went to trial with the evidence the police had, much of it would have been thrown out because the warrant had an incorrect date for serving and an incorrect county. It was likely he would have been acquitted or had the case thrown out.[4]

Conradtwarrant

The arrest warrant used in the bust. The city and county of execution are incorrect and the date of execution was over three months before the November bust.

Trivia

  • PJ was fond of using the “Luke” name for their male decoys.
  • It deserves mentioning that while Perverted Justice inserted timestamps in all of their chatlogs showing time and date, the dates were conspicuously missing from Conradt's chatlog.[2]
  • Chris Hansen admitted in a 2021 interview that he does not feel accountable for his suicide, saying "I don't feel responsible for it. I sleep well at night and did after the fact."[7]
  • There are conflicting opinions on Conradt's last words. The general consensus is that it was him trying to tell the officers he wasn't going to hurt them, or, knowing why the police were there, he meant that he was never actually going to hurt a young boy, despite already committing the crime of online solicitation for sex with a minor.
  • Audio and bodycam footage of Conradt's last words and suicide were captured but have never been released to the public. Photographs of the crime scene with Conradt's blood and gun on the ground can be found online.

Gallery

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_of_Bill_Conradt
  2. 2.0 2.1 http://www.perverted-justice.com/?archive=Inxs00
  3. 3.0 3.1 https://web.archive.org/web/20200310080334/https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a3269/to-catch-a-predator/
  4. 4.0 4.1 https://archives.cjr.org/feature/the_shame_game.php
  5. https://www.myplainview.com/news/article/Child-porn-found-in-house-of-prosecutor-caught-in-8613787.php
  6. https://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=5238922&page=1
  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jdp3lU2K5o
Advertisement