Heart of Darkness on Investigation Discovery spotlights the case of Sara Raras, who was murdered by Ardale D. Tickles. It was orchestrated by her mother-in-law, Emilia D. Raras.
On November 15, 1998, Sara was found stabbed to death in her home in Howard County, Maryland.
Police considered her husband, Lorenzo Raras, a suspect because the pair were in the midst of a divorce and custody battle over their 1-year-old son.
Lorenzo accused Sara of trying to remove him from his son’s life.
When an inmate at the Baltimore County jail contacted police and told them that his 19-year-old cellmate confessed to killing Sara, they made him wear a wire to record the conversation.
On the tape, Tickles can be heard saying he broke into Sara’s house through a window and attacked her with a hunting knife.
He said Sara’s mother-in-law offered him $5,000 to commit the crime.
Emilia and Ticklers were arrested and charged with Sara’s death.
Police said Emilia, who worked as a nurse, confessed to hiring Tickles, but she said it wasn’t her intention to kill Sara.
An investigation revealed that Emilia feared Sara would win custody of her grandson and she would lose contact with him.
After the trial, it took a jury 18 hours to convict Emilia of first-degree murder and solicitation to commit first-degree murder.
She was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Tickles also received a life sentence, but he could be eligible for parole in 2024.
Heart of Darkness — Mommy Dearest, airs at 9pm on Investigation Discovery.