Assistant State Attorney Angela Mason, who would have prosecuted Flanders had his case gone to trial, was among those interviewed for the Dateline program. She said she thinks the case draws attention from a national audience due to its “unusual” set of circumstances, including polygamy, the church, a baby and Flanders’ fleeing to Arizona.
FORT WALTON BEACH — A notorious Okaloosa County criminal case will be featured tonight on NBC’s longest-running prime time program, “Dateline.”
The show, set to air at 9 p.m., will document the case of James Flanders, a disgraced former Fort Walton Beach pastor who pleaded guilty in April 2016 to the October 2011 killing of his “sister-wife” and mother of his then-infant child, Marie Carlson.
Michele Nicholson, spokeswoman for the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, said a production team from Dateline, including true crime correspondent Keith Morrison, traveled to Fort Walton Beach several times in January and February to interview officials and others about the case.
“The Flanders case resonates across the spectrum because it involves a fallen ‘man of the cloth,’ a preacher who was trusted and admired, yet involved in a secret love triangle that led to death for one of those involved,” Nicholson said in an email to the Daily News. “People are drawn to true crime stories like this one because essentially they involve a yearning for justice, as well as some element of fear we can all relate to — how well do we really know someone?”