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Chavis Verdict Still to Come

Aired September 6, 2002 - 16:10   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's bring in CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who's been covering this trial, watching it. How surprised, if at all, are you, Jeff?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I have to say I'm pretty surprised. This jury hardly deliberated at all -- just a few hours -- maybe four hours. And this was a questionable case.

They did confess initially but they recanted. There was not a lot or almost no physical evidence tying them to the crime. And though they were not convicted of a mandatory life sentence, this is a very heavy penalty that they're facing. They're looking at decades in prison in all likelihood.

And the paradox they face now is that even though they view Ricky Chavis as their tormentor and as the man who got them into this mess and the person who really caused all of their problems, it's really in their interest for him to be convicted, too, because if they are both convicted, they both have a better appeals -- they both have a better appeals situation than if the boys were convicted and Chavis were acquitted.

BLITZER: And we're standing by awaiting the verdict -- the announcement of the verdict in connection with 40-year-old Ricky Chavis, a so-called friend of the father -- someone who had befriended these two young boys.

Update our viewers, Jeffrey, on Ricky Chavis' connection to this very bizarre case.

TOOBIN: Well, what happened here was that these boys lived with their father. One of them -- Alex -- the red-haired boy -- the younger one -- developed -- I wouldn't want to call it anything as kind as a friendship, but basically a sick, sexual relationship with this guy, Ricky Chavis, who was a convicted child molester.

Last November the father was murdered with a baseball bat in his home and then his house was burned down.

Initially the two boys confessed and were charged with the murder. Later, in the grand jury, they changed their testimony and said, "No, no -- Chavis did it and we tried to cover for him."

The grand jury then indicted Chavis for the same crime. So both the boys and Ricky Chavis were facing prosecution for the same murder. Last week the jury in the Chavis case heard that case, deliberated for seven hours and rendered a verdict. We don't know what that verdict is.

Judge Bell just said in about an hour from now we're going to hear that verdict. Moments ago we heard that the two boys were convicted of second degree murder and arson.

So we'll see now in an hour whether that verdict is consistent -- that is, an acquittal -- or would it be another conviction meaning that two sets of defendants were convicted for contradictory versions of the same facts.

BLITZER: A very bizarre case. And we, of course, will be standing by in this courtroom to get the verdict -- the verdict which had been sealed in connection with this murder case involving Ricky Chavis.

Jeffrey Toobin, stand by -- we're going to be coming back to you.

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