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Not Guilty Verdict for Andrea Yates; Missing Girl`s Body Found in Utah
Aired July 26, 2006 - 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: -- not guilty by reason of insanity. A Texas jury hands down a verdict in the Andrea Yates trial. There`s no question she murdered her children one by one by drowning them all in the family bathtub, locking the doors so the kids couldn`t get out of the house, waiting until her husband left, to avoid detection, fighting to hold each one of them under water, their bodies were bruised with the struggle, and then calling police after the murders to confess.
Not guilty? Why? What will her new life be in a Texas mental facility? What about her then-husband and his brand-new wife? Everybody has moved on except those five children.
And tonight: We tried to help find a 5-year-old little girl in Salt Lake, Destiny Norton. She was found in the basement of a neighbor`s home just down the street. Guess what? The neighbor has a rap sheet. And why didn`t police find Destiny the first time they went to the home? She was there. Was she alive? And could she have been saved?
First tonight, to Texas and the Andrea Yates trial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The state of Texas versus Andrea P.A. Yates, we the jury find the defendant, Andrea P.A. Yates, not guilty by reason of insanity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Joining us there in Texas -- she covered the trial from the get-go -- Beth Karas from Court TV. Beth, explain to me the verdict and what it means in Texas, not guilty by reason of insanity.
BETH KARAS, COURT TV: It means that these 12 jurors, six men and six women, believed that Andrea Yates did not understand that killing her children was wrong and she didn`t understand that it was wrong because of her severe mental illness.
GRACE: OK, let me get something straight. Beth -- yes, no. Isn`t it true that she, in her confession, which I have right here, told police that she thought about doing this a couple of months before but wanted to wait until her husband wasn`t home because she knew Russell Yates would stop her?
KARAS: Oh, that`s part yes and part no. She decided the night before to kill them...
KARAS: ... but everything else is true.
GRACE: Yes. I have in my hand the confession, in which she states on page 14, "There was an earlier time when you filled the bathtub with water and you were going to do that. Is that correct?" "Yes." "How long ago was that?" "That was two months ago." "Were all the children home?" "Yes. Rusty was there, too." "Did you think Rusty would have stopped you?" "Yes."
KARAS: No. Her explanation for filling the bathtub with water, which she made more than one time -- I`m not sure which doctor was leading her through, or police officer was leading her through that confession. But she says that she was concerned there may be a water shortage and she thought she`d better save some water. She really wasn`t thinking of drowning the children. She has said more than once she thought about drowning them just the night before. But she didn`t fill the tub in early May, two months earlier. That`s true.
GRACE: Yes, I will repeat what the cop, Detective Mehl, said to her. "There was another time you filled the tub and you were going to do this, and you didn`t do it. Is that correct?" "Yes." "How long ago?" "Two months." "Were all the children home?" "Yes, and so was Rusty." "Do you think Rusty would have stopped you?" "Yes." "Why didn`t do you it that time?" "I just didn`t do it."
My point is, Beth, I don`t care how many confessions she gave and how her facts varied, isn`t it true that in her statement, she says, as she filled the bathtub with water three inches from the top, she intended to kill her children?
KARAS: She said -- well, yes, the police officer said, You were going to do that? I guess "doing that" means killing the children, yes, although she has later explained that that was not her intention that day. But that is in that statement, yes.
GRACE: I want to go out to Dr. Holly Phillips, internist, joining us in Manhattan.
DR. HOLLY PHILLIPS, M.D., INTERNIST: Hello.
GRACE: Dr. Phillips -- thank you for being with us, Doctor. It`s a pleasure to have you on.
PHILLIPS: Great to be here Nancy.
GRACE: We`ve heard a lot about Andrea Yates`s condition, and I`m going to talk tonight about the children`s condition, the five children that she drowned one by one. In fact, the one that fought the most was Noah. I believe he was about 7 years old. And I believe he was the one that she said she was having developmental problems with, that she didn`t think the children were behaving. They were having developmental problems. He was the last one. He tried to run. He didn`t make it. And he struggled the longest. When cops got there, unlike the other children, who were covered up with sheets in the bed, he was still in the tub, face down in the tub.
What does a person go through when they drown to death?
PHILLIPS: Well, certainly, there`s nothing pleasant about that experience, although we would say from a medical perspective, one of the very heartening things in the situation is that most of the children, pretty much within one minute of being submerged in the water, would have been unconscious, and so they would not have experienced the actual death via drowning.
It`s likely that the oldest son possibly witnessed some of the other children being drowned, had a better understanding of what was happening, and hence put up the greatest fight. But initially, when a person is drowned, they try and hold their breath. Eventually, they breathe in some water, and breathing in the water creates asphyxia, where there`s not enough oxygen getting into the brain. The person becomes unconscious, and eventually, when the oxygen levels get low enough, they`d go into cardiac arrest. But they would not experience those feelings because they would be unconscious.
GRACE: Take a listen to the verdict that went down in the courtroom today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In cause number 880205, the state of Texas versus Andrea P.A. Yates, we the jury find the defendant, Andrea P.A. Yates, not guilty by reason of insanity. Signed Todd Christopher Frank (ph), foreman of the jury.
In cause number 883590, the state of Texas versus an Andrea P.A. Yates, we the jury find the defendant, Andrea P.A. Yates, not guilty by reason of insanity. Signed Todd Christopher Frank, foreman of the jury.
RUSSELL YATES, ANDREA YATES`S EX-HUSBAND: The prosecution has spent five years trying to come up with a motive, and you know, missed the most obvious one, that she was psychotic, you know, so -- you know, they really haven`t shown anything. The first time they said she wanted to get out, you know, of a trap, whatever, you know, and this time, they said she wanted to run off with me into the sunset. Well, you know, those are very different, so you know, make up your mind. I mean, the only explanation for her behavior is that she was psychotic, and I understood that right after the tragedy. I`m, like, yes, that`s what happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Joining us now from Texas, a very special guest, one of the defense attorneys for Andrea Yates, Wendell Odom. Sir, thank you for being with us. There`s no doubt about it, you and your defense team did a brilliant job in the courtroom. And thank you for being with us tonight. Where will Andrea Yates go from here?
WENDELL ODOM, ANDREA YATES`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The first stop for her is going to be at the maximum security mental institution in Vernon, Texas, and then, depending on what they decide, she`ll either stay there, or she could go to another one of the in-house prison hospitals -- or not prison hospitals but mental hospitals in the state of Texas.
GRACE: First of all, isn`t it true that she has to go be evaluated at -- let`s see, where is she evaluated first?
ODOM: The first place she goes is Vernons. And everyone -- it`s not only an evaluation, it`s a processing center, as well.
GRACE: Let`s go out to Court TV`s Jean Casarez. Jean, I`m taking a look through the confession, and in the confession very clearly Andrea Yates states that she waited until her husband left. She locked the doors so the children could not escape. She took each child one by one, saving the eldest until the last, that she then called the police, called 911, told them they needed to come, that she had done something bad, and then called her husband to come home.
Now, the legal definition for insanity is whether you knew it was wrong at the time of the act. Explain to me, is there a chance that she will walk?
JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: Well, the fact is Nancy, under Texas law, she could walk in time. You know, a lot of people today are saying, Oh, she`ll never get out, but those are really subjective opinions because under Texas law, she will go to a state mental hospital -- and Nancy, Texas has nine of them -- and there she will spend her time. And it will be a lot of rehabilitation, the point of a hospital. There will be therapy. Her medication will be looked at. She will go on field trips, everything to help restore her health, her mental health, in every way that can be possible.
At some point, because the court will have continuing jurisdiction over her case, she could go before a judge with doctors, with an attorney, to say that she is no longer a harm to herself or others, and at that point, she could be released. Take John Hinckley, Nancy. It took 21 years, but now he has home visits three and four nights at a time with his family.
GRACE: Take a listen to what the prosecution had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2001, the Houston Police Department, together with the district attorney`s office, the medical examiner`s office, tried to infer why Ms. Yates killed her children from the evidence that was available to us. We consulted with mental health experts and ultimately concluded that Ms. Yates was not insane when she killed her children because she knew it was a sin, because she knew it was legally wrong, and because she knew that society would disapprove of her actions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This case has always been about bringing justice for those children, and it has been very emotional, looking at those photographs. This time was just as difficult as the first time. And you`re right, it`s something that I`ve lived with for five years. It`s something I`ll live with for the rest of my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Let`s take a look at the amenities at North Texas State Hospital, where Andrea Yates will be -- dayroom with television, music therapy, cinema classes -- I wonder what that is, cinema classes -- group gym course, group and individual therapy, on-site movie theater. It`s my understanding that there is co-ed dancing and co-ed interaction.
To you, Eleanor Dixon, what do you make of this facility?
ELEANOR DIXON, PROSECUTOR: Well, its certainly sounds a little bit like camp, although I know she`s in a mental health facility. However, it wouldn`t be as horrible as being in prison, where you don`t have visits from your family regularly, where you`re not allowed to watch movies, where you can`t go to the vending machine and get a Coke, like I believe she`s able to do. So come on! I mean, yes, this does sound a little bit like day camp.
GRACE: Let`s go out to the lines. Let`s go to Theresa in Kentucky. Theresa, hi. What`s your question, dear?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. First of all, I want to thank you for keeping the focus of this trial on the five murdered children.
GRACE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to ask you, does Rusty Yates plan on continuing to support his wife? And what is his reaction to this trial verdict?
GRACE: Theresa -- Rosie (ph), do we have a picture of the new Mrs. Yates? Listen, Theresa, there is no way -- well, I don`t know. I imagine the new Mrs. Yates -- there you go -- would not be too happy with the family budget including the old Mrs. Yates. These two got married in the same church as Rusty and Andrea Yates. This is a recent photo. They haven`t been married that long.
And what`s interesting to me -- let`s go back out to Beth Karas -- today, Russell Yates stood on the courthouse steps and said she was psychotic, OK? Beth, I don`t think you can have your cake and eat it, too. He can`t say she was psychotic, let her have not guilty by reason of insanity, without admitting that you allowed your children, your five children, including an infant, to be in the home under the care of a psychotic! Those are his words, not mine. I mean, why not leave the kids alone with a meth addict or a crack freak?
KARAS: You know, he has been under fire for five years. In fact, the district attorney`s office did investigate him to see if there was anything criminally negligent, homicide, child endangerment, something that could stick against him, and nothing did. But he was prepared for this onslaught and he has answered these questions repeatedly, including to you earlier today, that there was just nothing that he saw or any mental health expert saw that would indicate the children were in danger.
She used to attempt suicide on herself, but she was never outward in her actions, her violent actions, nor did she vocalize it. She did not vocalize her homicidal ideation, which she started having after the first child was born, when she thought about stabbing him when he was an infant. That`s Noah, who was 7 when he was killed.
I did get information in the last hour that Rusty Yates and his mother were visit going to visit Andrea in jail today. He has seen her a couple of times since the trial began and -- I mean at the jail. And of course, his new wife doesn`t come to court. And they do continue to have a cordial, friendly relationship.
GRACE: Let`s go back out to the lines, Rosie. Let`s go to Amy in Pennsylvania. Hi, Amy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. I`m a Ph.D. psychologist, and I work in a state hospital with a forensic unit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The jails are filled with mentally ill people and psychotic people that are just as sick as Andrea Yates. Why does Andrea Yates get one of the precious -- the privilege of being in one of the precious few places in a state psychiatric hospital versus someone who`s just as ill as her but didn`t kill their five kids? I`m mad!
GRACE: Interesting question. What about it, Wendell Odom? With us tonight, one of Andrea Yates`s defense team, Wendell Odom. He`s a veteran defense attorney. Why Andrea Yates?
ODOM: Well, I think that anybody that`s found not guilty by reason of insanity is going to go through the same process that Andrea is going through. So the answer to the question is, everybody that goes through this process with this result goes exactly and does exactly what happens to Andrea.
GRACE: There you are seeing footage of today in court, Andrea Yates, not guilty by reason of insanity.
Let`s go out to Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist, joining us tonight. Robi, the legal definition is whether you know right from wrong at the time of the incident. When you -- I`m not saying the woman had not had a mental illness in the past. I`m not saying she didn`t have post-partum depression. But insanity, under the law, whether we like it or not, is whether you knew the crime was wrong.
ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Right, and if somebody is psychotic or delusional, they could actually know that killing their children is wrong, is wrong in the eyes of the law, but there`s a specific reason that they`re doing it. They`re doing it because they believe that their souls will be saved or God told them to do it. There could be a whole host of reasons why a mother who`s insane would act in this kind of dangerous way. And in fact, many women who kill their children are viewed as insane because children very often are seen as an extension of the mother.
GRACE: Very quickly, everybody, let`s go to "Case Alert." We`ll all be right back, live in Texas. It is confirmed as of tonight the Phoenix serial shooter strikes again, the intense manhunt still on for two separate serial killers stalking the desert city, the latest victim shot while riding his bike over the weekend, police now linking the shooting to 34 others since May.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SGT. ERIC MEHL, HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: We were also talking earlier, and there was one other time when you filled the tub with water and were going to do this and did not do it. Is that correct?
ANDREA YATES: Yes.
MEHL: How long ago was that?
ANDREA YATES: Two months ago.
MEHL: OK. Were all the children home that time?
ANDREA YATES: Yes. Rusty was there, too.
MEHL: So Rusty was there, too? Do you think Rusty would have stopped you?
ANDREA YATES: Yes.
MEHL: So you filled the tub with water that time. What is it within yourself that stopped you from doing it that time?
ANDREA YATES: Just didn`t do it that time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Not guilty by reason of insanity is one of the alternatives offered in Texas, to Texas juries, and that`s what they came back with today in the case of Andrea Yates. As we all know by now, Andrea Yates was convicted a couple of years ago in the drowning deaths of three of her five children. Make no mistake about it, she drowned all five one by one, but the state elected to go forward with three of those murders. Not pictured in that shot you just saw was 6-month-old baby Mary. This is not to say -- thank you, Rosie. Mary`s body was covered in bruises, where this infant tried to live.
This is not the first time a "not guilty by reason of insanity" has shocked the conscience of the country. Roll the footage, please. There you go. I don`t know if you remember this. I do. I was in law school when Hinckley tried to shoot our president, Ronald Reagan. And whether you`re Republican or Democrat, this struck fear in the hearts of everyone. Did manage to maim Brady for life, still in a wheelchair. There he goes. And look, he`s dressed in full suit. Must be one of his supervised visits home.
Out to our lawyers, Jan Ronis and Michael Farkas (ph). First to Jan Ronis. Jan, let`s be real with the viewers. If she is stabilized with medication, she will walk free, no more co-ed dancing nights there at the mental health facility.
JAN RONIS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I guess that`s a theoretical possibility. But it seems to me that the level of her psychosis and the diagnosis -- and all the psychiatrists seem to be unanimous in their opinion...
GRACE: Oh, really?
RONIS: ... it`s going to be a long haul for her. It may not be ever. Maybe it`s going to be 25 or 30 years. But what`s lost in the debate the law, Nancy, does recognize that some people aren`t responsible for their acts because of their underlying mental instability. And the jury made the right decision based upon this history, so...
GRACE: Well, I appreciate the sermon, but right at the get-go, you said all the experts agree. And believe me, I don`t want to put an insane woman, an insane lady in with general population. They would torment her the rest of her life. That is barbaric.
But I think you are incorrect, Jan. All the experts don`t agree. In fact, Michael Welner (ph) and Park Dietz disagree. Welner stated that Yates was simply overwhelmed and frustrated, angry with the children for misbehaving, tired of being a mom, raising her kids alone all day. The confines of the relationship, the church, the previous living in a school bus, for Pete`s sake, drove her to do this act. In fact, Welner points out -- he`s a psychiatrist -- not us, that it was only until after she was arrested that she began, two days later, to begin discussing Satan and that she really killed the kids for altruistic reasons, Jan.
RONIS: Right. Well, I guess what I should have said, by a preponderance of the evidence, the psychiatrists were unanimous in the preponderant decision that she was insane. And if she wasn`t insane, it`s really kind of hard to imagine who could reach that standard of trying to prove that they didn`t know what they were doing wrong in the United States. I mean, this woman had a history of it. She`s been delusional since her incarceration, since the first conviction. I mean, the record is just replete with her mental instability and her psychosis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSSELL YATES: (INAUDIBLE) that, you know, people made mistakes along the way. I mean, you know, there were things we could have done. There were things the doctors could have done. You know, I have my own thoughts on all that. But certainly, nobody did anything along the way deserving of murder or life in prison or death penalty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEHL: How did you see drowning your five children as a way to be punished? Did you want the criminal justice system to punish you, or did you...
ANDREA YATES: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Andrea Yates, giving a full confession to the drowning deaths of each of her five children, systematically holding them under water until they struggled no more.
To Sheila in Alabama. Hi, Sheila. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to know, if she killed all five of her kids, why was she just charged with three? Did the other two not matter?
GRACE: Good question, Sheila. I think it was strategic. I think the prosecution thought -- there`s their little clothes the day they were killed -- that if they didn`t get the result they wanted on the first three, they could try again with the other two, Sheila. We`ll confirm that when we get back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How far did you fill it?
ANDREA YATES: About three inches from the top.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About three inches from the top. After you drew the bath water, what was your intent? What were you about to do?
A. YATES: Drown the children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Back out to Wendell Odom. He is one of the defense team for Andrea Yates. As you know by now, all you legal eagles, Andrea Yates found not guilty by reason of insanity, NGBRI. In a lot of jurisdictions, there is not such a thing. There is simply not guilty, guilty -- well, you`ve also got guilty but mentally ill in some jurisdictions, Wendell.
You`ve got a complete not guilty, guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity, guilty but mentally ill. What was your standard, Wendell, that you had to show? Explain the preponderance.
ODOM: Well, we have to show by preponderance of the evidence that she did not know that her conduct was wrong, and the big issue there is not illegal, but wrong. She had to think that it was not wrong, what she was doing.
And you`ve got to remember, this is a Texas jury. This is a Houston, Texas, jury. These aren`t a bunch of liberal people. They`re not going to find anyone...
GRACE: Well, hold on. Hold on. The foreperson broke down and started crying.
ODOM: You`re darned right they broke down and started crying, but that`s what I`m saying.
GRACE: ... seeing these pictures, too.
ODOM: These aren`t just your average people. This is a Texas jury that said this lady was crazy, and she was.
GRACE: Well, you know, I don`t know about that, Wendell, but I do know that you guys did a brilliant job with this jury in obtaining that verdict.
To Beth Karas, Court TV`s news correspondent, Beth, is it correct that Andrea Yates went to the doctor that day?
KARAS: No. She went to the doctor on June 18th.
GRACE: Thank you.
KARAS: That`s the last time she saw Dr. Sayeed (ph), who testified for the prosecution. She killed her kids on the 20th.
GRACE: I`m sorry, I couldn`t hear. What day did she go to the doctor?
KARAS: June 18th, two days before.
GRACE: And he did not think that she was in psychosis at the time? He let her just walk out?
KARAS: He said he saw no signs of psychosis. He told her to have positive, happy thoughts.
GRACE: No signs of psychosis. Her husband said she had no signs of psychosis. Back to you -- go ahead, Beth.
KARAS: Well, Park Dietz ultimately conceded on his cross-examination that she was psychotic on the day she killed the kids, and other nurses who were caring for her at the same time that Dr. Sayeed (ph) was caring for her said that she was very psychotic. So there was a division of people who had contact with her in what they believed.
GRACE: Right, yes, I`m familiar with that. Beth Karas has been on the case from the very, very beginning.
To Eleanor Dixon, as Beth has pointed out, there was a split amongst the shrinks, many of them saying that she was suffering from mental illness and vice versa. So what do you see regarding planning and execution of the crime?
DIXON: Well, as prosecutor, you`re looking at what she planned to do. For example, she took the dog to the kennel, so the dog wasn`t there to distract her. She took the bathmat out of the bathtub, so that, you know, created an easier method by which to drown her children.
As we said before, she waited until her husband was out of the house. She locked the doors. All these little steps. And I think if you look at all these little steps, it shows that planning and then the execution of the plan. Pretty good for somebody allegedly suffering a psychosis.
GRACE: It disturbed me that all the doors were locked so the children couldn`t escape, even if they wanted to.
To our internist, Dr. Holly Phillips, Dr. Phillips, you described the drowning process earlier. And regardless of the fact that the last face you see before you die is your mother holding you under, what type of pain, or is there any pain to drowning?
PHILLIPS: There is an initial pain. There would be an initial struggle, with the exception, I think, of the very small infant. When children are infants and under the age of 2, there`s likely no struggle at all.
GRACE: Oh, Doctor, guess what? On her body, on little Mary`s body, it was covered in bruises.
PHILLIPS: Right. That could have been from the force with which the mother put her in, but it`s unlikely that the infant would have, with her own strength, been able to fight.
It is a horrible situation to even imagine, but likely they would have been unconscious very quickly and they would not have experienced the pain of cardiac arrest that comes with drowning.
GRACE: To Wendell Odom, Yates` defense attorney, Mr. Odom, who paid the bill for Andrea Yates` second defense?
ODOM: We did.
GRACE: The defense team itself?
ODOM: The people that -- this was a pro bono for the defense team. The doctors volunteered their services. And there were two anonymous donors that contributed money to allow us to fly people in. But, no, this was footed by the people here and the ones that thought this was the right thing to do. And the county did not pay for this defense.
GRACE: I wanted to point that out to our viewers. Regardless of what side of the fence you`re on tonight, the defense did this, according to them, pro bono, for free.
I want to go back out to Court TV`s Jean Casarez. Jean, a lot of people are concerned about the possible release of Andrea Yates, and I agree with them. Holding your children down, one by one, under the water, while they struggle, locking the doors so they can`t escape, waiting until you`re alone in the home, requires premeditation.
And my concern is, once she gets on the meds -- in court, she was totally coherent. She was totally coherent, Jean -- I know you`ve read this, like Beth and myself, full confession. Knew her address, knew the DOB of each of her children, knew how long she had been married, totally coherent.
What I`m concerned about is her being coherent, and coming up with a plan to take her meds, get stabilized, get released, then go have another baby or, God forbid, end up in a day care.
CASAREZ: Well, you know, Nancy, she`s going to a hospital. And one of the reasons you go to a hospital is to get better. Maybe she will never get out, but I think the possibility is there.
To go back to John Hinckley for a second, remember, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity for trying to kill our president. And a judge back in December of 2005, just a few months ago, agreed to allow him to have three-night and four-night home visits with his family, so that`s what`s happening at this point, just another step to possibly have his release at some point.
GRACE: Wendell Odom, it is possible your client is going to be back on home visits. It`s entirely possible.
ODOM: That`s correct. I mean, I don`t know a lot about the procedure, but I would assume that, at some point in the distant future, she would be eligible, if she`s treated properly, to maybe do a home visit. But I don`t think that`s anywhere in the near future. I think that would be a long time, and it would have to be okayed through by the particular judge in this case.
GRACE: Michael Farkas, this is just wrong. This is wrong. Those children experienced such terror at the hands of the one that is to love them the most. All five, wiped out, gone, and in a manner of death most adults, if they could choose, this would be last on their list, maybe somewhere before burning alive. She can get out. Hinckley`s out.
MICHAEL FARKAS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, the jury in this case and the experts who testified in this case did not dwell on these types of emotional, heart-wrenching facts, and there`s a reason for that, not because the facts of the case should be denigrated or ignored, but because this trial, as is every trial in the country, revolves around evidence and testimony and, especially in an insanity case, the opinions of experts. That`s what happened in the case.
GRACE: Well, what are you -- I told you she`s going to get out, and you`re talking about something completely different.
FARKAS: I don`t think so, Nancy.
GRACE: Please be responsive.
FARKAS: I don`t think I`m talking about something different, because to say that she might get out one day does not negate the importance of having the ability to plead insanity in a case. You can`t take away that right.
GRACE: Which leads me to another question. I`m glad you said that.
Back to Wendell Odom, is it true that the jury had no idea what the sentence would be if they came back with not guilty by reason of insanity? They didn`t know.
ODOM: We`re not allowed to tell them under Texas law. They think probably -- like you do -- that she can just walk out in the very near future. That`s not the case. This judge will keep her from leaving for probably the rest of her life, and that`s what`s really going to happen here.
GRACE: Let`s go to Ann in North Carolina. Hi, Ann.
CALLER: Hi. My question is: If she filled the tub up with water to supposedly drown these children once before, and she did not succeed in doing it the first time, how come, if she did it the second time and she did succeed, how is that not considered premeditation?
GRACE: That`s a really good question. What about it, Eleanor?
DIXON: Well, it certainly does seem to show premeditation. And what the defense was arguing is that she just didn`t know it was wrong. But I would use that in prosecuting the case to say, "Look at this pattern of behavior. She`s premeditating and planning everything."
GRACE: And interestingly, Lady Justice is supposed to be blind. Rosie, do you have the shots of the men that have been convicted of killing their children? All the way from Scott Peterson killing unborn Conner, Cesar Rodriguez, he killed all of his children. A guy named Adair Garcia, he killed all of his kids, guys, by lighting a charcoal grill in the living room. There`s Caesar. I`m on Adair Garcia.
Joel Steinberg, who beat his child, his little girl, Lisa, to death. Her last words were, "Mommy, make me pretty," OK? I`m talking about Joel Steinberg. And then of course -- there he is, thank you. And then Marcus Wesson, he killed his entire family. IN fact, a visitor to the -- eek! -- a visitor to the home saw coffins stacked up in the dining room. They had no idea it was for their children.
They all got life behind bars or the death penalty. I guess moms get a special excuse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The FBI and the police, I know they`ve done their jobs. We got him. We got our child back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to say thanks to everybody for showing their support. I want to thank the FBI and the police. The simple fact of the matter is, they`re the ones who brought my baby home to me.
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GRACE: We tried here at Headline to do our best to help find 5-year- old Destiny Norton, and I want to thank you for your thoughts and prayers on behalf of the family. This little 5-year-old girl, who wanted green streaks in her hair, was found 150 feet from her own home in the basement of a neighbor.
To Lisa Rosetta, reporter with the "Salt Lake Tribune," Lisa, thank you for being with us. How was Destiny found?
LISA ROSETTA, "SALT LAKE TRIBUNE": Destiny was found by officers who finally were able to obtain a search warrant Monday evening and go through the basement of Craig Gregerson, who is now considered the suspect in the Destiny Norton case.
They had been looking at him as early as Saturday. They had taken him in for several hours of questioning. And apparently something had happened during that questioning that made them want to look into him further.
It is my understanding he returned to the police department on Monday for a polygraph test. And whether or not he failed that test, we don`t know; the police department will not confirm that.
What we do know is he never returned home. And by that evening, police and the FBI had a search warrant and were scouring his apartment, and, about 8:30 that night, found her body in the basement.
GRACE: A couple of quick questions for Lisa Rosetta with the "Salt Lake Tribune." Lisa, is it true police had been to the house before but did not find the body?
ROSETTA: That is our understanding, Nancy. We are hearing several different stories right now. The police have confirmed that they had searched through the home. They will not say specifically whether or not they went through the basement cellar, though they`ve indicated that perhaps that didn`t happen...
ROSETTA: ... because of the search warrant.
GRACE: Lisa, well, let me ask you a couple of quick questions before we have to go to break. It`s my understanding that Craig Gregerson, age 20, saw the little girl in the back yard, lured her out, and immediately put his hand over her mouth. I mean, what is the mode of death?
ROSETTA: So far, our understanding is she was suffocated. The autopsy results are back. We don`t have a copy of those autopsy results, but it is our understanding in reading the probable cause statement that was filed when he was booked at the Salt Lake County jail that it was suffocation.
I want to go out to Mark Lunsford, the father of Jessie Lunsford. Nine-year-old Jessie Lunsford, as you know, a judge in Florida just halted the jury selection for John Evander Couey, who will be soon, I hope, on trial for the death of little Jessie.
Mark, did you know this guy has a record of domestic assault? The incident that resulted in a conviction is punching his mother-in-law in the face. Now, there have been a lot of other allegations that he beat his wife, broke her nose, kicked her in the head, punched her in the stomach when she was pregnant causing a miscarriage, threw the baby across the bed, a lot of allegations that are in his domestic violence filings by his wife.
The conviction is for beating his elderly mother-in-law. He`s living 150 feet from this little girl.
MARK LUNSFORD, DAUGHTER JESSICA ABDUCTED AND MURDERED: Well, I`ll tell you, it`s kind of hard for me to talk to you after seeing these pictures of Destiny and being reminded of my own daughter.
My message is to the family: You find the things that went wrong, and you fight back. Don`t sit at home. Don`t take this lying down. There`s a reason these things happen, and you need to find these reasons, and fight back, and keep it from happening to another child. Destiny`s in a better place now, and no one will ever hurt her again.
GRACE: You know, Mark, when I first heard about little Destiny, I was trying to imagine a little 5-year-old girl, asking to get green streaks in her hair, which they let her do. I think they were all back around the neck, I`m not sure, but look at that. She`s like a little angel. Look at that little snaggletooth face.
Mark, it just seems that people slip through the cracks and we only find out about them until they commit a heinous crime, Mark.
LUNSFORD: It does kind of seem that way, Nancy, and that`s why I encourage parents to find the things that went wrong, the cracks, the loopholes, whatever made it possible for this crime to happen, and to fight back. Don`t sit at home. Don`t take it lying down. You don`t have to.
GRACE: Spoken by Mark Lunsford, the father of little Jessie. He has his own Web site you can find online to fight crime.
Let`s go to tonight`s "All Points Bulletin," Rosie. FBI, law enforcement on the lookout for Sherry Halligan in the 2003 murder of Dennis Campbell, Lagrange, Illinois. Halligan, 48, 5`3", 108 pounds, blonde hair, green eyes. If you have info, call the FBI, 312-421-6700.
Local news next for some of you, but we`ll all be right back. And, remember, the arson leads to deaths of Michigan children, 3:00 to 5:00 Eastern, Court TV.
GRACE: Welcome back. Let`s go to the lines, Rosie. Let`s go to David in Oregon. Hi, David.
CALLER: Hello, Nancy. My question is, real quickly, do the parents know this suspect at all?
GRACE: I don`t think so. Let`s go to the family spokesperson joining us, Jeannie Hill. Jeannie, did they know him?
JEANNIE HILL, MISSING DESTINY`S FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: They did not know him. He was very much a recluse.
GRACE: And question: How are the parents tonight? I saw they were crushed earlier.
HILL: They have totally crushed by this, but they are so grateful for everyone out there coming together.
GRACE: And, Jeannie, you`re our link to them. The mom was on with me earlier when we were still looking for Destiny. And if you could just pass it on, we`re all still praying for them very, very much.
HILL: I will do that, Nancy, thank you.
GRACE: Jean Casarez, what now?
CASAREZ: You know, what...
GRACE: First of all, do they have the death penalty? That`s my burning question. And what`s the mode of the D.P. there?
CASAREZ: I do believe they have death penalty, but formal charges have not been filed yet at this point. And I`m sure they are still doing every bit of forensic investigation that they can on this man, but next would be formal charges.
GRACE: FYI to local prosecutors, two aggravating circumstances: one, attack on a child; and, two, felony kidnapping, to go along with that asphyxiation. Just a thought.
Very quickly, let`s go to Headline`s Glenn Beck. Hi, Glenn. What`s on the show?
GLENN BECK, HOST: Thanks, Nancy. As I see the coverage of Andrea Yates, I am so torn, because part of me says this woman is such an evil monster. And another part of me says we may have just given her the ultimate sentence.
Now, let me retract that. We may have given her something worse than the death penalty. We may have entered into a territory where it`s cruel and unusual punishment, and I think you`ll agree with me. I`ll tell you about it, coming up next.
GRACE: No, Glenn, I don`t agree with you. The five children got the worst sentence: the death penalty. But I`m willing to listen. That`s Headline News`s Glenn Beck.
Everyone, let`s remember Lance Corporal Michael Ford, killed, Iraq, just 19. He joined the Marines after watching President Bush speak about the war. He wanted to go into law enforcement. Leaving behind a large and grieving family, Michael Ford, American hero.
Thank you to our guests. And thank you for being with us, inviting all of us into your home. Nancy Grace signing off tonight. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.