The gruesome murder of law school student Mark Waugh by his best friend Rahul Gupta, an aspiring Indian American biomedical engineer, who was sentenced to life in March 2015, was the subject of the CBS show, “48 Hours,” which was aired on April 2. In the episode, “What Happened in Apt. 1601?,” Richard Schlesinger and “48 Hours” investigate Waugh’s death and the police search for the truth.
Montgomery County, Maryland Circuit Court Judge Richard Jordan gave the maximum sentence to Gupta, then 25, noting that the killer showed no remorse for stabbing and slashing Waugh, 23, on Oct. 13, 2013 in Gupta’s apartment in Silver Springs, Maryland.
On the night of Oct. 13, 2013 – Gupta’s birthday – the two friends along with Gupta’s girlfriend Taylor Gould went out for an evening on the town, heavily drinking at various venues before returning to the apartment where Gupta and Gould lived together. The trio continued drinking there.
At 3:30 a.m., police were summoned to the apartment and found Waugh lying on a bed, covered with blood from multiple stab wounds. Gupta was near him, also covered with blood. The graduate student, who was raised in Virginia, told police he had killed Waugh because he believed his best friend and girlfriend were having an affair.
But in court, Gupta recanted his statement to police, saying he wanted to defend his girlfriend. “I remember thinking how the f*** did this happen. I couldn’t figure it out,” he said. Gupta told jurors that it was Gould who killed Waugh, and said he saw the two walking in from the kitchen with Waugh covered in blood.
“It’s like a horror movie,” said Montgomery County police officer Dean Skiba, according to a press release by CBS, describing the bloody scene in Apt. 1601. “You could see it was up all over the wall, all over the ground.”
CBS described the show this way: Waugh, 23, was stabbed to death in the apartment where his friends, Rahul Gupta, a graduate student, and Gupta’s girlfriend, Taylor Gould, a biomedical engineer, lived. Gupta and Gould, bloody and drunk, according to police, were interrogated immediately afterward. Police thought they would quickly solve the case, especially after Gupta seemingly confessed. “I caught my buddy and my girl cheating,” Gupta told police. “I killed my buddy.”
But then, as the alcohol wore off, everything changed. Gupta insisted he had no idea what transpired. Taylor had a similar story. “I don’t remember what happened,” she told police. “I told you everything I did remember.”
Police struggled to believe Gupta and Taylor completely forgot the events leading up to their friend ending up dead. “They could both remember up until a certain point, but the crucial 45 minutes nobody seems to remember anything,” Detective Paula Hamill says.
Investigators then tried something highly unusual in interrogations that may have changed the face of the case. They put Gupta and Taylor together alone, and monitored their conversations. This conversation ultimately would decide who went home, and who would be charged with murder.
So how does Waugh’s life end? And could anyone figure out who killed him? Schlesinger and “48 Hours” search for answers through interviews with police, investigators, friends and attorneys involved in the case.