Return to Transcripts main page
Can Wisconsin Prosecutors Produce Enough Evidence to Put Avery Behind Bars in Killing of Teresa Halbach?
Aired December 6, 2005 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight: Can Wisconsin prosecutors produce enough evidence to put Steve Avery behind bars in the brutal killing of 25-year- old photographer Teresa Halbach? Also tonight, the one-year mark of the murder of a college student, Johnia Berry. Her killer tonight still on the loose. And tonight: We asked for your help last night to find 12-year-old Texas girl missing Teke Buggs. Side-scan sonar has picked up an image in a Texas river. Is it the little girl?
Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Tonight, divers search the chilly waters of Brazos River near Orchard, Texas. They are looking for a missing 12-year-old girl, Teke Buggs, Teke last seen Friday night in her own home, sleeping on her own family`s couch. And tonight, it`s the one-year mark of the murder of a beautiful college girl, Johnia Berry. One long year later, her killer still walking free amongst us. Her parents and police refuse to give up on Johnia`s case. They`re asking for an increase in reward money.
But first tonight -- Steve Avery, remember him, the man accused in the murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach? In Wisconsin today, in a courtroom, as prosecutors try their best to persuade the judge there is enough evidence to put Avery on trial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL KUCHARSKY, CALUMET COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: We collected pornographic material. We collected ammunition that we found in the bedroom. And then at one point, we found a key that appeared to be from a Toyota vehicle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Let`s go straight out to reporter with Wisconsin Public Radio Patty Murray. Patty was in the courtroom today. Today was a preliminary hearing in the case of Steve Avery. Patty, what happened?
PATTY MURRAY, WISCONSIN PUBLIC RADIO: Well, the first and foremost thing that happened is the judge ruled there is indeed enough evidence for Steven Avery to stand trial for the murder of Teresa Halbach, the mutilation of her corpse, and as a felon in possession of a firearm.
And one of the most compelling pieces of testimony came from Sherry Culhane (ph), a DNA analyst with the state crime lab here in Wisconsin. She gave the first public declaration that authorities have evidence showing that the remains found on Steven Avery`s property were those of Teresa Halbach. Up to now, we`d been told the remains had been identified only as those of a woman with DNA similar to Halbach`s. But that confirmation came today that her DNA did match some bloodstains found in the cargo area of her SUV, which was also found partially obscured on Steven Avery`s property, his auto salvage lot that belongs to his family. And in evidence today in court, his DNA was also said to match a stain found near the ignition in Teresa Halbach`s car.
The prosecution also entered Teresa Halbach`s death certificate into evidence today. That death certificate was issued by the county coroner, and it lists the cause of death as a homicide.
GRACE: Everybody, today the preliminary hearing goes down on 43-year- old Steven Avery. It`s trial 101, easy as pie. A preliminary hearing is when a judge decides whether there`s enough evidence for the defendant, in this case, a murder defendant, to stand trial before a (INAUDIBLE) jury of 12. There`s a grand jury proceeding, as well, where citizens decide on evidence put up by the prosecution alone. That is a closed-door proceeding whether to indict.
Back to Patty Murray, reporter with Wisconsin Public Radio. Patty, why did they go forward with a preliminary hearing? It`s in the open. The defense has a right to cross-examine. They basically put forth their whole state`s case in front of the defendant. It`s a dry run for the defense. Why did they go this route, Patty?
MURRAY: I can`t get into the mind of the prosecution. I can tell you that the defense did come forward today with very detailed questioning. They raised a number -- the prosecution and the judge himself raised a number of objections, that the questions from the defense side were going beyond the scope of a preliminary hearing. So we saw some very detailed questioning done there. It seemed like the defense was asking a lot of questions about how the investigation was handled.
GRACE: Sure they were, Patty! They`re getting ready to tee it up for a jury trial. Here is what the victim, Teresa Halbach`s, relative had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAMELA STURM, TERESA HALBACH`S SECOND COUSIN: Well, it was so unusual because there were branches leaning up against this vehicle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you do then?
STURM: I looked to see if there were license plates on the vehicle, and there weren`t any on the front, so I went to the back, and there weren`t any in the back.
I said, Nicole, Nicole, come here, come here. And she came running. And I said, Look at this vehicle. This has got to be the vehicle. It`s camouflaged, even. And she said, yes, I think it is.
And I told Mr. Pago (ph), I believe we`ve found the vehicle in Avery`s salvage yard. And he said, Could you read the VIN number to us? But don`t touch anything. Don`t touch anything. Try not to touch anything. So my daughter read the four last numbers. She could see those. And then he said, Well, could you read the rest of the numbers? And she read those off to me, so I told Mr. Pago the VIN number.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Oh, gosh. That is the cousin of the missing 25-year-old photographer, Teresa Halbach. Can you even imagine your relative, your loved one, having been missing for days on end, and then you, a relative, a loved one, find her car out in this auto salvage lot, obviously intentionally covered with other parts of old rusty cars, hidden out there?
Straight back to Patty Murray with Wisconsin Public Radio. You were telling me that Teresa`s DNA, her blood, was found inside her car, in the ignition, as well. What witness testified today to that?
MURRAY: Her name was Sherry Culhane, a DNA analyst with the state crime lab. And Teresa Halbach`s DNA was found on the bloodstain in the back of her car. Steven Avery`s DNA was the match to the blood found near the ignition switch.
GRACE: Patty, who else testified?
MURRAY: We heard testimony from Leslie Eisenberg (ph), a forensic anthropologist. We heard testimony from, oh, I think, three people, three officers who were involved in the investigation. It took a week to search that auto salvage lot. Hundreds of police, law enforcement were involved in that search. Dozens of search warrants were executed.
GRACE: Now, the cousin testified, as well. Where did that fit in?
MURRAY: She came on first. She was the first witness called to the stand. Her name was Pam Sturm, Teresa`s second cousin. She`s a cousin to Teresa Halbach`s father.
GRACE: You know, interesting, Patty. Why did a relative find Teresa`s car? Why didn`t police find it?
MURRAY: I don`t know. I don`t know how extensively that the auto salvage lot had been searched up to that point. Teresa...
GRACE: Oh, hold on. I`ve got an answer. What, Ellie (ph)? What, Ellie?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The cousin was part of this volunteer group that was searching for Teresa.
GRACE: Oh, she was part of a volunteer group, Patty. It`s not because the police were derelict in their duty. Volunteers had joined together, and this cousin, who was at the preliminary hearing today, testified under oath, was part of that volunteer group. With me, Patty Murray. She`s been on the case from the get-go, reporter with the Wisconsin Public Radio.
Joining me right now, I`m hearing in my ear, from Green Bay, Wisconsin, is a very dear friend of Teresa Halbach`s. Ryan Hillegas is with us. Ryan, thank you for being with us.
RYAN HILLEGAS, FRIEND OF TERESA HALBACH: Sure. Sure. No problem.
GRACE: Were you in the hearing today?
HILLEGAS: I was at the hearing, yes.
GRACE: Did you see Avery in there?
HILLEGAS: I saw him, yes.
GRACE: What was his demeanor?
HILLEGAS: You know, he really didn`t have much of an expression on his face, and you know -- which I guess is to be expected a little bit. But he didn`t really make any gestures at anybody.
GRACE: Did he meet anyone`s eyes?
HILLEGAS: Sure. You know, he looked around a little bit. And I noticed that he had, you know, looked back at his family a few times. But you know, there wasn`t really any, I mean, vengeful, you know, people glaring at him from our side. I mean, we`re all trying to be as classy about this as we can, so...
GRACE: Ryan Hillegas, at the beginning, it couldn`t be determined whether these remains that were found burned and charred bones and teeth in Avery`s auto salvage lot belonged to Teresa. How did it hit you when you realized it is her DNA, the DNA match made up to a prior doctor`s exam she had recently had?
HILLEGAS: Well, I mean, I guess it`s -- you know, we`ve all been expecting things like this. And you know, of course, the more news we get, the harder it gets. But I think the important part now, you know, is that the judiciary committees and everybody can, you know, go through the trial and get this stuff figured out, and you know, and put whosever to blame to blame, you know?
GRACE: I want to go straight back out to Patty Murray, reporter with Wisconsin Public Radio. Patty, who was in the courtroom today?
MURRAY: Well, there were representatives, of course, as we just heard, from Teresa`s family. There were people from Steven Avery`s family. And there were quite a number of media. I actually was not in the courtroom. It was being carried live...
MURRAY: ... on local television. It`s big news in northeastern Wisconsin.
GRACE: Well, you know what? It`s big news everywhere when someone like Teresa Halbach can`t walk around in broad daylight and do her job. And then you have a guy like Avery now charged not only with murder one but mutilation of a corpse and a weapons charge.
Joining me right now is Patricia Saunders, clinical psychologist. Patricia, cops in court today. Elizabeth (ph), could you roll that footage please? This is the preliminary hearing of Steven Avery. He is suspect number one, now formally charged in the death and mutilation of 25-year-old Teresa Halbach.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS FASSBENDER, SPECIAL AGENT, WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: Mr. Avery told us that sometime between 8:00 and 8:30 in the morning, he made a call to the "Auto Trader" to see if he could have a picture taken of that Plymouth Voyager in question to put in the "Auto Trader."
Eventually, he indicated that he made some other calls to "Auto Trader" and to Teresa Halbach, attempting to determine whether she was going to come out to take those pictures of that vehicle, and that at about 2:00 to 2:30 in the afternoon that day, she, in fact, did come out that day and took a picture of that vehicle, that when she did that, he came out of the house, saw that she had taken the picture and was recording the serial number on the vehicle, and that he went out to that location, outside of that van, and paid her $40 in cash.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And after that, Halbach never seen again.
Everybody, just here in at Headline News studio, I have the formal complaint, the formal charges against Steven Avery, the death of this girl, Teresa Halbach. You`ve got murder one, intentional homicide, mutilating a corpse. What do you say to that, Ray Giudice? Ever defended one of those, buddy?
RAY GIUDICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, I haven`t, Nancy. I would suspect that because this is not a death penalty case, that the state is looking to tack on extra years. There`s a 12-year penalty for mutilation of a corpse in Wisconsin.
Based on the complaint, which I read earlier in the day, and this very thorough preliminary hearing, it seems to me the state is extremely confident in its case. I think they`re holding all aces. So I -- your earlier concern about showing your case to the defense, I don`t think they`re too worried about that.
GRACE: You know, though, Ray, you`ve handled a lot of homicide cases, certainly a lot of preliminary hearings. You`ve never had a guy charged with mutilating a corpse. Ray Giudice, do you ever just sit in your seat as defense counsel and look over at this guy and really take it in that you`re defending a guy charged with mutilating the corpse of a 25-year-old girl?
GIUDICE: Well, Nancy, of course, when I have that role, I`m defending a citizen accused of a very serious crime, and I`m there to make sure the state crosses its T`s and dots its I`s and does its job.
GRACE: Mutilating a corpse. That`s what I asked you.
GIUDICE: Well, Nancy, that`s a tough charge, and I think, of course, one of the reasons the state`s putting this in is because of all this gruesome post-murder evidence that they`re going to be able to get in. From what I read, my understand is that they`re going to be able to prove that the bone chips that they have found, they can put together almost the entire skeleton to show that it`s been mutilated viciously.
GRACE: Tiffany Koenig, veteran defense attorney out of Des Moines, what do you think about this charge, mutilating a corpse? Have you seen a photo of this girl, Teresa Halbach, minding her own business, working that day? Mutilating a corpse!
TIFFANY KOENIG, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, certainly, I`ve never represented anybody with a charge of mutilating a corpse, but I have to agree you have a job to do and you have a job to defend and to make sure that the state dots their I`s, crosses their T`s.
GRACE: That`s the best you can give me.
KOENIG: Well, that`s the job that we have.
GRACE: Everybody, tonight -- it went down in a Wisconsin courtroom today. We were all helping to look for Teresa Halbach, the 25-year-old girl last seen out taking photos for "Auto Trader" magazine. Today in court, family and friends watched as Steven Avery underwent preliminary hearing.
Patricia Saunders, this is the tip of the iceberg for friends and family of Teresa Halbach. This is just the beginning.
PATRICIA SAUNDERS, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes, it is, Nancy. And I`m really concerned about the graphic images that these poor folks are going to be carrying around in their minds probably forever. You`re talking about mutilating a corpse. This is a man who was found with handcuffs, legirons, and images on his PC of bondage, torture and death. This is also a man who was found guilty of animal cruelty where he threw a living cat into a bonfire. We`re talking about sexual sadism, so it`s certainly consistent with dismemberment and mutilating a corpse.
GRACE: Very quickly, before we got to break, to Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, forensic scientist. Why was an anthropologist called to the stand today, Doctor?
LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Well, first of all, remember that the skeleton had to be identified as from an adult female. That`s number one. Number two, the anthropologist had to determine if the entire skeleton were present. And number three, the charge of mutilating a corpse -- there would probably be tool marks on that skeleton, either from a device such as an axe or a saw or something of that sort. So that`s the role that the anthropologist plays.
GRACE: You know, it`s hard to reconcile what you were saying with that picture of that smiling face of Teresa Halbach. Very quickly, everyone, we`ll be right back.
Today, friends, family and an estimated 20,000 police officers come together for the funeral of New York police officer Dillon Stewart, Stewart gunned down in the line of duty here in New York last week, shot near the heart while pursuing a car that ran a red light. But he ignored his wound, continued pursuing the driver. Now that suspect facing charges of trying to kill a cop in the past. Officer Stewart a beloved father, a beloved husband. He is a true blue hero. Tonight, we salute you, Officer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STURM: When we came into the property -- and there were three roads leading into the property, so we went on the center road. And there are quite a few huge buildings there. And it looks like a huge quarry. And evidently, it`s 40 acres, and it`s just a lot of vehicles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was your intent?
STURM: We were going to look in each and every vehicle to make sure that Teresa wasn`t in there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Before we take you to the mystery surrounding college co-ed Johnia Berry, I want to go over the timeline in this case regarding Teresa Halbach, the amateur photographer. October 31, Teresa goes to Avery`s salvage yard for a photo. She works for "Auto Trader." November 3, she`s reported missing, a full three days later.
November 5, her vehicle is found hidden there in the auto salvage lot. November 8, Avery says he`s being framed. Remember, he was, in fact, wrongly convicted before and did hard time before being exonerated. November 9, Avery arrested, charged with firearms possession. November 10, burned human remains found in the auto salvage lot, that being teeth and bones. November 11, Avery charged. December 6, around 7:00 PM Wisconsin time, the judge binds Avery over for felony trial.
Very quickly, back out to our reporter. Patty, what comes now?
MURRAY: Steven Avery is set for arraignment, I believe it`s January 17. That will be his next court appearance.
GRACE: And what will happen at that court appearance?
MURRAY: That`s his arraignment, and there is also a motion to have his bail reduced.
GRACE: Bail reduced from what to what?
MURRAY: I`m sorry, Nancy. I can`t tell you exactly what his bail...
GRACE: Bail reduced? Why should his bail be less, now that he`s charged formally with murder one?
MURRAY: I can`t answer that. That`s just the motion they`re going to be making in court.
GRACE: I couldn`t answer that one, either, but I`m sure a good defense attorney would come up with something.
Everybody, this is a shot of Steven Avery, now bound over for trial in the murder of Teresa Halbach, 25-year-old amateur photographer. Stay with us.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a man who just walked in the store. He`s heavily bloodied. He`s big. Looks like he`s been in a fight.
JASON AYMAMI, JOHNIA`S ROOMMATE: I just felt somebody stab me right in my chest...
911 OPERATOR: Somebody stabbed you?
AYMAMI: ... and hit me in my face. And the first thing I did was get up and run. And she was screaming very loud.
911 OPERATOR: I didn`t have any time. I just got out of there.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back. I`m Nancy Grace. Thank you for being with us. Tonight, the one-year mark of the death of 21-year-old co-ed Johnia Berry.
Straight out to Lori Tucker with WATE. What happened in the case, if you could explain to the viewers that are just joining us?
LORI TUCKER, WATE REPORTER: Oh, this is such a sad, sad case, Nancy. This beautiful 21-year-old college co-ed doing her master`s work at the University of Tennessee, had only been in Knoxville for about six weeks when, in the middle of the night -- actually, it was closer to 4:00 o`clock in the morning -- on December 6, 2004, someone entered her apartment that she was sharing with a platonic friend, a male, and began stabbing both of them. Her roommate, Jason Aymami, did survive. He fled. You heard him on that 911 tape a few minutes ago. And Johnia Berry, unfortunately, did not.
GRACE: With us is Johnia`s mother and father. Joan Berry, I thought for sure by now, one year passing, this would be solved.
JOAN BERRY, JOHNIA`S MOTHER: Yes, Nancy. We pray for that every day, but it`s been a long, long year.
GRACE: Tonight is the one-year mark of your daughter`s death. Do you have faith it will be solved?
BERRY: Yes. I can`t give up. I definitely have faith that it will be solved. That`s our prayer.
SOPHIA CHOI, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hi there. I`m Sophia Choi at the CNN Center. We want to bring you up to speed on some of the big stories making news right now.
An 11-year-old girl is caught in a dramatic right-to-life battle in Massachusetts. Her father is pleading with judges to keep her on life support. But here`s the tragic twist: If the little girl dies, her father could face murder charges. How`s that? We`re going to tell you, on "PRIME NEWS TONIGHT."
And the hotter-than-ever housing market may be cooling down. A growing list of people with high-price real estate saying take this home and shove it. Could that same mood be good for you?
And parents, listen up. The holidays are here and company is coming. But what if the kids are unruly? Well, here comes the super nanny to help. She`s got some strategies on how to keep the little sugarplums under control, on "PRIME NEWS TONIGHT," right after NANCY GRACE. Stick with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOAN BERRY, JOHNIA`S MOTHER: I`m so (INAUDIBLE) with the work you`re doing. To be honest, of course, like any mother or any parent, I would like for it to have been, you know, the day of to have, you know, found the person that did this. But I understand these things take a while and that we have to be patient.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Johnia Berry, just 21 years old when she was murdered in her own apartment. Chillingly, she went from door to door to door, to five different doors, I believe, knocking, begging, while she was bleeding, for people to help her. And tonight, I will make that plea on her behalf.
Please help us solve the case of Johnia Berry. The tip line, 865-215- 2243. Somewhere out there somebody knows. Somebody knows something to crack this case.
I`m going to go straight out to Johnia`s father who is joining us tonight, Mike Berry. What happened the night Johnia was killed? Do you recall when you learned of the incident?
MIKE BERRY, JOHNIA`S FATHER: Yes, Nancy. We got a call at 5:00 in the morning on Joan`s cell phone. And she answered it, and whoever had called asked for me personally. And so, when I picked up the phone, he said it was someone at UT hospital and my daughter had been a victim of a burglary.
And I said, "Well, is she all right?" And he said, "No, I hate to tell you this, but she didn`t make it. And we need you to come up here to identify the body."
GRACE: Oh, good lord in heaven.
M. BERRY: So I said Joan -- I said I need to talk to someone in charge. You know, I didn`t know whether this was a prank call or what. So finally someone came to the phone and told Joan that it was somebody identified as our daughter and that she was at UT medical center.
GRACE: Back to Johnia`s mother, Joan Berry -- everyone, tonight is the one-year mark of the death of this beautiful girl, minding her own business in her own apartment, going to school, working two jobs at night.
Back to Johnia`s mother, Joan Berry, Joan, do you remember getting that call?
J. BERRY: Yes. I`ll never forget that, Nancy. They said that they had a young lady there and they thought it was our daughter. And since it happened at 4:00 a.m. in the morning, she had no identification on her. So they needed someone to come and identify the body. I prayed all the way from Atlanta to Knoxville that it wasn`t Johnia, but...
GRACE: Did you believe in your heart it wasn`t her and you would get there and somehow, miraculously, Johnia would be OK and there had been a big mistake of some sort?
J. BERRY: For a little while, yes, but, as we got closer and closer to Knoxville, I knew that, if it had been a mistake, that my son would have called. Both of my sons live closer, so they both got there before I did. And when we didn`t get no call, I told Michael, I said, "It must be true or Tim or Kelly would have called."
GRACE: When you got to the hospital, what happened?
J. BERRY: When we pulled in the parking lot, our younger son was walking through the parking lot. And I got out of the car immediately. And I said, "Is it Johnia?" And he said, "Yes, Mom, it`s Johnia." We never got to see her, no.
GRACE: Tonight is the one-year mark of the death of Johnia Berry. We need your help. Her parents are searching for answers. This was a girl, beautiful on the inside and on the outside, studying hard, working two jobs. The reward now nearly $40,000.
This is what Johnia`s brother has to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY BURKE, JOHNIA`S BROTHER: "Is she OK?" I`m sorry, I`m sorry, she said. And I repeated it again. "Mom, is she OK? What happened?"
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Everybody, the loss of Johnia Berry is bad in itself. Her parents struggling with that. But tonight you can help us. Someone knows the answer to this riddle: What happened to Johnia Berry?
Straight back out to Lori Tucker, Lori, give us the circumstances surrounding her death.
TUCKER: Well, Nancy, Johnia had just been Christmas shopping. In fact, I know that she had talked to her mother, Joan, not long before she got back home to her apartment that evening on December 6th. She had been at Walgreen`s. And she has little nieces that she was just crazy about and was shopping for them.
Loved children, you know, had been studying child psychology, as I mentioned earlier, finished college in three years, was going on to her master`s degree. This gal had a lot going on in her life.
But, at any rate, she was shopping, went home. And, from all indications, things seemed pretty normal, went in, was settling in for the evening. In fact, was wrapping presents in the living room and was talking to her roommate. And then they turned in, went to bed, and that`s the last that we knew.
GRACE: Joining us now, a special guest from Knox County Sheriff`s Office, Sheriff Tim Hutchinson.
Sheriff, thank you for being us. What is being done tonight to find this girl?
SHERIFF TIM HUTCHINSON, KNOX COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: Well, thank you, Nancy. And what we`re doing tonight -- the family has worked hard. And we`ve asked the attorney general, Randy Nichols, to increase the reward. He has signed off on that and sent it to the governor in Nashville.
They, I believe, will agree, as well, to increase the reward. And we`re trying to get that up. And, as you said earlier, we`re trying to spark some interest. There are people out there that know who was involved in this murder. There are people out there. And I`m sure they`re talking about it some. But we need to get -- someone in that group needs to get that information to us.
GRACE: Sheriff, it`s my understanding the roommate has been cleared, correct?
HUTCHINSON: At this point, yes, the roommate has been cleared.
GRACE: OK. Was anything stolen out of the apartment? Was Johnia molested in any way?
HUTCHINSON: She was not molested, and there was nothing stolen out of the apartment.
GRACE: OK, something is not right here. OK, you don`t have a molestation. You don`t have a theft. What is the motivation to go in and stab this girl? What`s the motivation? Nothing was stolen.
HUTCHINSON: Well, we don`t know if someone broke in to actually steal something and she confronted them. From what the mother said, she would definitely be a fighter. We believe that. We believe that`s what caused some of the wounds, as well.
GRACE: Still, still, Sheriff, Sheriff, a burglar suddenly -- of course somebody`s home. It`s 4:00 a.m. in the morning. They`re asleep, for Pete`s sake. Of course somebody`s going to be home.
But the reality is, more often than not, when a burglar realizes somebody`s home, they run. They get out of there. They`re skedaddle. They`re gone. They don`t suddenly launch an attack on a screaming woman. They leave.
HUTCHINSON: That`s the case most of the time. It is not the case all of the time. And, again, we`re leaving everything open. We`re not going to fixate on just one particular cause.
We have looked many different directions, whether this was someone that knew her from where she went to school in Johnson City, or from somewhere else, or whether it was just a group of people that are on drugs that go out, break in cars in the evenings and nighttime, break in garages, try to find open doors to go in homes and steal things at nighttime, as well.
So, again, you know, we`ve interviewed over 400 people. We`ve taken DNA from over 100 people.
GRACE: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! You did a blanket DNA from an entire group of people? What group of people -- from which group of people did you get DNA?
HUTCHINSON: We have done -- we`ve retrieved DNA from most everyone that we suspected that came in from the calls from the different media reports where we get tips coming in from the composites that have been sent out and from individuals that we know were close to her, either in Johnson City or here.
Also, some that we suspected that were breaking in some cars in that neighborhood at nighttime.
GRACE: But what are you going to compare it to? Do you have any DNA?
HUTCHINSON: Yes. We have DNA that was recovered in three locations at the residence.
GRACE: What kind of DNA?
HUTCHINSON: It was from blood. And it was recovered some in her bedroom, some in the front room, and some, I believe, outside the back door.
GRACE: In her bedroom. Now, see, right there, there`s another indicator. Whoever went in went straight in her bedroom. I am telling you, no molestation, no robbery. The motivation in this should be a tip- off as to who it is.
You know, Ray Giudice, is there going to be a problem with taking blanket DNA from over a hundred people? I`m all for it. I don`t have a problem. They can take my DNA. But is that a problem at trial?
GIUDICE: Well, constitutionally it`s a problem. I mean, I`m sure the sheriff has received waivers from these folks. And some probably volunteered. It sounds like it was consensual and was done properly. And it sounds like they have very systematically eliminated the type of people that they believe would have come into contact with this young lady, friends, ex-boyfriends, classmates, things like that.
I think the sheriff is right. This case is going to get solved by one of the inner circle from the assailants, who he has either spoken to or will, in a night of drinking and binging drugs, or whatever. That`s how these cases break, Nancy, after a year. Or, of course, in the alternative, the jailhouse snitch.
GRACE: OK, and very quickly to Joan Berry, Johnia`s mother, she was working two jobs, right? Where was she working, in addition to going to school?
J. BERRY: Johnia was working at Peninsula Hospital. And she had a holiday job, just for the holidays, at Zales Jewelry in the mall. So she didn`t have time for...
GRACE: Was she working in the psych ward at the hospital?
J. BERRY: She was working with adolescents at the hospital. Johnia liked working with children and youngsters.
GRACE: Everybody, we`ll all be right back in the story of Johnia Berry, today marking the one-year mark of her death. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURKE: It`s a shame that they had to rush out and put a flyer out, saying, please, you know, rest easy, it was a domestic situation, which it wasn`t. So yes, it was very hard for us to take, and I think our whole family was angry about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Less than a year ago, the parents of Johnia Berry approached me at a book signing and handed me a photo of this girl, begging for help. Tonight, on their behalf, I`m doing the same to you.
Please help us find -- help us crack the case of this girl, a 21-year- old co-ed murdered for apparently no reason.
Elizabeth, could you show me the video of Johnia`s apartment? Take a look at this video. See if it rings any bell to you. This 21-year-old stabbed to death in her own apartment went knocking from door to door to door to get help. She bled to death there in the hallway.
There is a tip tonight -- reward close to $40,000. Our tip line: 865-215-2243.
And, very quickly, to Sheriff Tim Hutchinson, was it a good neighborhood, a bad neighborhood? What?
HUTCHINSON: No, it`s a good neighborhood. It`s West Knoxville, West Knox County, and it is a good neighborhood. And we generally do not have these kind of crimes in this neighborhood. And so, you know, we worked very hard on it. We want it solved as much as anyone.
GRACE: I know you do, Sheriff.
And, very quickly, before we go to our Texas story, back to Joan Berry, Johnia Berry`s mother, if you could speak out tonight to someone that holds the key to your girl`s case, it is holding back, what would you say?
J. BERRY: Please, just -- we need answers. I mean, Johnia never had any enemies; everyone liked her. Nobody can say anything bad about her. We need answers.
It`s hard enough living without Johnia. And then it`s really hard living without knowing why this happened. I mean, there`s no reason that will ever be good enough for this.
GRACE: And how is your son handling this?
J. BERRY: There`s no words to explain how we handle this. We just kind of live from day to day. He`s worked very hard helping with Johnia`s case. We have a Web site for Johnia. It`s JohniaBerry.org that has a lot of information about it, so...
GRACE: Everyone, the tip line, 865-215-2243. Thank you to Johnia`s parents.
We are quickly switching gears. I want to take you to a Texas story that we were very disturbed out, very concerned about, that we broke for you last night. Straight out to Dan Cotigan, KTRH Radio reporter.
Bring us up-to-date regarding Teke Buggs. Are you with me, Dan?
DAN COTIGAN, KTRH RADIO REPORTER: Can you hear me?
GRACE: Yes, go ahead. What`s the update?
COTIGAN: Well, the most recent information is that they were searching a river, the Brazos River here, near Orchard, Texas, which is in Fort Bend County, where this little girl went missing. A scan sonar from a side of a boat thought they picked up some anomalies. It could have been a body.
So they went in, got some divers today, took a look at those spots that they targeted. And they didn`t find anything. Now, I did speak with one of the searchers who said they didn`t do as much on the dive as they wanted to today, and they`re hoping to go back and do it again tomorrow.
But there is a problem. Apparently there are thunderstorms coming and some heavy rain, and that could complicate the search efforts.
GRACE: Let`s go out to Tim Miller. You know Tim from Texas EquuSearch, a crime victim himself, after the murder of his daughter. He is there in Texas helping to search for this 12-year-old little girl.
Tim, where are you searching?
TIM MILLER, EQUUSEARCH DIRECTOR: Well, we had been in that river a lot. And the river, the currents there were stronger than we anticipated down at the bottom.
And the water is river water. It`s real muddy water and stuff. So we couldn`t really locate the object that we actually saw in the side-scan sonar. So we`re trying to bring some other equipment in to do that.
MILLER: But we`re also expanding this search on the ground also. You know, the river is very close to the house. It`s something we`re going to keep our eye on every single day in case something should float.
GRACE: Very quickly, to forensic scientist Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, side-scan sonar, what is it?
KOBILINSKY: Yes, Nancy. It`s a small, torpedo-shaped structure that is submerged into the water, attached to an on-board computer through a cable, and emitted from the sides of this missile-like structure.
There are short pulses of sound waves. The sound waves strike an object. It`s reflected back and captured as an image on the computer, very good resolution. You get a very sharp image of what is sitting on the surface there underneath the water.
GRACE: And, boy, do they need it, Dr. Kobilinsky. I`m a diver, and, in murky, muddy waters, you can`t see this far in front of you sometimes. They`ve got to bring in that sonar. Tim Miller, with Texas EquuSearch, doing that for local police.
We`ll all be right back in the story of 12-year-old Teke Buggs, now missing since Friday night.
But quickly, to tonight`s "All-Points Bulletin." FBI and law enforcement across the country on the lookout for Alfredo Ramirez Rosas, wanted in connection with the `93 murder of an 82-year-old woman, Mildren Stallones.
Rosas, 37, 5`9", 210 pounds, black hair, brown eyes. If you have info, call the FBI, 713-693-5000.
Local news next for some of you, but we`ll all be right back. And, remember, live coverage of the Saddam Hussein murder trial 3:00 to 5:00 Eastern, Court TV.
Please stay with us, everyone, as we remember tonight -- we remember Sergeant Daniel J. Clay, just 27, an American hero.
GRACE: We at NANCY GRACE want very much to help solve unsolved homicides, find missing people. Take a look at 24-year-old Tyesha Bell. She vanished from Aurora, Illinois, 2003. If you info on this girl, Tyesha Bell, please call the Carole Sund Carrington Foundation toll-free, 888-813- 8389. Please help us.
Tonight, we are covering the story of a missing 12-year-old girl. Her name is Teke Buggs.
Straight back out to Dan Cotigan with KTRH Radio. Dan, can you tell me about a burned-out area next to Teke`s home? I mean, she disappeared off her own sofa fully clothed, 10:30 p.m. Last time she was seen, watching TV Friday night.
COTIGAN: Police say it`s called a burn pile, which is exactly that, a pile of debris, tree limbs, who knows what else. And it`s something that could become a factor in this. Now, police have said it may not be related, but it could be. And it was set on fire around the same time that she disappeared.
GRACE: Oh, yes, that`s a coincidence.
To Tiffany Koenig, defense attorney, Tiffany, I understand that the mom, the live-in boyfriend, everybody has gone to talk lie-detector tests. Why are they not normally allowed in criminal trials?
KOENIG: Well, polygraphs have been determined to not necessarily be that reliable. And, really when it comes down to it, people can try to fake it.
And in this particular case, I`d be concerned with the fact that, obviously, these family members are upset because they`re still looking for this little girl. And I would say that the polygraph may not be as reliable as what it could be if they were under normal circumstances.
GRACE: To Ray Giudice, I have a lot of faith in lie-detector tests. I think they`re very difficult to beat, but they are beatable.
GIUDICE: They`re beatable, Nancy. There are really good screening devices for eliminating a subject or putting somebody into the circle of suspicion.
But, as far as evidence in trial, the Supreme Court across the country have ruled they`re not reliable. There`s been too many examples of dueling polygraphs where, you know, there`s two or three polygraphers from each side, giving totally different test results. And you know that. That`s the history of the polygraph.
GRACE: Thank you to all of my guests tonight. Our biggest thank you to you, for being with us, inviting us and our legal stories into your homes.
Coming up, headlines from all around the world. I`m Nancy Grace signing off for tonight. Hope to see you right here tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. Until then, good night, friend.