Return to Transcripts main page
ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
New Evidence in Jennifer Hudson Family Murders?; More Bad Business News; Pastor Supports Gay Marriage
Aired November 10, 2008 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, lockdown for William Balfour. Police say he`s the only suspect so far in the shocking triple murders of Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson`s family. Did he really confess to his girlfriend to killing this entire family? If so, can police use that confession against him? Why isn`t more evidence surfacing in this gruesome crime?
Plus, a manic Monday for the U.S. economy. Circuit City short circuits and files for bankruptcy. DHL lays off nearly 10,000. As the economy crumbles, President-elect Obama has one tiny formality to attend to: his first Oval Office visit with the current president. On the agenda: how the new administration should handle the economic mess that comes with the impressive new digs.
And an 8-year-old boy in Arizona guns down his own dad and his dad`s friend. What could possibly have motivated a boy this young to commit such a crime? Is it our culture of violence, the easy access to guns, or both that`s to blame?
And canine candidates for first dog lining up. We`ll show you the contenders.
These issues and more tonight.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Police say an 8-year-old Arizona boy shot and killed his father and his dad`s friend. Authorities trying to figure out a motive. Meantime, can you believe they want to charge this 8-year-old child as an adult?
Also, a status update on the horrific murder of anchorwoman Anne Pressly. "America`s Most Wanted" now on the case, and they dug up some new information they will share with us.
But first, violence is so out of control in this country even superstars like Jennifer Hudson are not immune. Dramatic developments tonight in the case of the triple murder of the Oscar winner`s family.
At a hearing today, William Balfour, the husband of Jennifer Hudson`s sister, was ordered to remain behind bars at least until December 3. That`s when a new hearing has been scheduled. He has not been charged in the murders, but he is the only person of interest.
The decision comes after a witness reported seeing Balfour with a gun that matches the description of the murder weapon used to mow down Jennifer`s mother, brother and nephew.
Mike Walters is the assignment manager of TMZ, and Steve Greenberg is a criminal defense attorney.
Mike, let`s start with you. You`ve been following this case since the start. What did we find out today?
MIKE WALTERS, ASSIGNMENT MANAGER, TMZ: You know, Jane, here`s what`s interesting about today. This is a first time that they have used investigation evidence to use against William Balfour. Today they actually argued with a piece of evidence from a former girlfriend about seeing him with a gun.
The importance here, obviously, is that they brought in this murder to hold him and try to provoke his parole. The -- right now the point is, is that they`ve now used the murders to hold this guy into custody when, before, it was all about other violations.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Now, what about this talk that he may have said something incriminating to a girlfriend? We certainly don`t want to make any assumptions. We have to remind our viewers this man has not been charged with anything, so he deserves the presumption of innocence. But we`re hearing talk of some sort of alleged confession.
WALTERS: Right. In this investigation, they -- they obviously spoke with several people that were involved, one being the former girlfriend of William Balfour. And what we`re hearing is that he told her several things.
Now, whether or not he confessed to the murders, I can`t tell you that. But what I can tell you is she definitely said that he told her that -- that some of the stuff about being near the house, being at the house, and also she did say that she saw him with the weapon that looks like the one used in the murders, a silver gun.
VELEZ MITCHELL: So, Steve, you`re a criminal defense attorney. Why no charges? His alibi doesn`t add up. He appears to have been seen with a gun that matches the murder weapon. Isn`t that enough?
STEVE GREENBERG, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, it`s not enough. First of all, in Illinois, they`ve got as long as they want to charge him with murder. So they`re not under any time pressure. And they`re holding him. They`re squeezing him with this parole hold.
But let`s look at the evidence, and let`s look at what they really have here. They have some girl who came up, weeks after the fact, and said, "Well, he made some statements to me." Maybe they fit the crime, maybe they don`t. We don`t know exactly what she said those statements were.
"And I saw him with something that`s a silver gun." There`s a lot of silver guns out on the streets in the city of Chicago. That`s not going to be enough to prove anything.
OK. So he has an alibi that doesn`t -- doesn`t pan out. Big deal. That doesn`t mean he did it. They need positive, affirmative evidence. They need fingerprints. They need eyewitnesses. They need a confession. They need something more positive than all of this speculation.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Well, what about a motive? What about -- what about a motive? And I want to go back to Mike Walters, because he is the estranged husband of Jennifer Hudson`s sister, who lived there -- correct me if I`m wrong -- and they were having domestic disputes, a write-up until the incident.
WALTERS: Right. I mean, right from the first minute we reported on this story, the Chicago P.D. said William Balfour is a person of interest. There has been domestic problems. He might be driving this kind of vehicle. And Julian, the young child, could be with him. So they`re the ones that said in the beginning that it could be domestic.
But I got to go back to what you said about the timing. Remember, something that came up today was the fact that now, if his parole is revoked, he could be incarcerated for four to five more months. And like you said, you know what? They don`t -- they don`t have to charge him. Now they have time, and they need time to make sure this is deadlocked. It`s a very public case. It`s a big deal out of Chicago. It`s a celebrity that`s involved.
And so, yes, now if they revoke his probation or parole, I`m sorry, they will have four to five more months to figure out this whole murder -- everything that`s going on.
VELEZ MITCHELL: I hear you, Mike. Let me go back to Steve Greenberg, because he has another hearing December 3. And you know, with these cases, all we ever hear are hearings, hearings, hearings, hearings, hearings. Why does he need to have another hearing? He just had one today.
GREENBERG: Well, the parole process is different than a regular criminal case. Today`s hearing was just a probable cause hearing to determine whether or not there was a reason to hold him. He`s entitled to a full hearing in front of a parole officer where he can cross-examine the witnesses.
You mentioned something about we`re hearing evidence about the case today. That`s because in Illinois, you have to have a parole hearing within ten days of any alleged violation. So they had all this old drug evidence and drug allegations. Those were stale.
VELEZ MITCHELL: No, no, they weren`t that stale. Let me tell you, this guy`s record is vile. He did seven years in prison for attempted murder, vehicular hijacking, possessing a stolen vehicle. When he got out...
GREENBERG: Right, but...
VELEZ MITCHELL: ... then he was caught with crack.
GREENBERG: But then they left him out.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Then he was caught with crack, and he fell through the cracks because he...
VELEZ MITCHELL: He was allegedly caught with crack, but they didn`t revoke his parole at that time and throw him back in the slammer.
GREENBERG: And they didn`t throw him in jail either.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes. Had they done that this past summer, maybe we wouldn`t be here right now.
WALTERS: Sorry. It was on the front seat of his car. It was on the front seat of his car.
I have to interject for a second. They found it on the front seat of his car, and they didn`t violate him. So in other words, I was shocked that they -- at least it was going forward today.
And one other thing I have to add is that today`s the first time he`s actually on the record denying being involved in the murders. He actually said -- he defended himself in this hearing today and said, "I was not involved in the crime. Nor did I have a gun that looked like the murder weapon."
VELEZ MITCHELL: Mike, hang on. Steve, hang on. We`re going to be back in just a second. Thirty seconds, as a matter of fact.
VELEZ MITCHELL: We`re back with the latest developments in the triple murder of Jennifer Hudson`s mom, brother and 7-year-old nephew. Listen to what authorities had to say at a press conference immediately following William Balfour`s hearing earlier today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Balfour contested to all the allegations made against him. However, the hearing officer are being found that he was indeed in violation of those conditions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ MITCHELL: All right. That`s what we were talking about, that he was in violation.
But I want to look at the big picture. Steve, you are a lawyer in Chicago. That is a crime-ridden area, and a lot of people have told me, "Hey, the only reason this is getting any attention is because Jennifer Hudson`s family is involved. This happens all the time."
GREENBERG: I think that that`s a little bit of a shallow way of looking at it. It the cases get attention. It`s certainly getting a lot more attention because it was Jennifer Hudson.
Mr. Montez (ph) is the chairman of the parole board and would not have been there today if it was just some normal person in the neighborhood who was the victim of this crime. It`s clearly getting a lot more attention because of that.
You said something also that the police said this was probably domestic related. You know, there`s an old saying in our business: it says just because I beat my wife doesn`t mean I killed her.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Isn`t that a lovely saying?
GREENBERG: Well, but it`s a...
VELEZ MITCHELL: Let me go back -- let`s take a look at this guy`s record. And I think we have it. It`s not just his adult record where he did time for attempted murder. His juvenile record is absolutely astounding. He joined a gang...
GREENBERG: Which you shouldn`t have.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Well, OK, but we do. He joined a gang at age 11. He`s been -- the juvenile record includes possession of controlled substance, criminal trespass, possession of cannabis, possession of controlled substance, on and on and on and on.
What is the big picture here, Steve? I mean, we cover these cases over and over again. There are these pockets of high crime in every city. We all know, whatever city we live in, what those pockets are. What do we need to do to bust that situation open? We have a new administration. We`re taking a fresh look at everything.
I personally think we`ve got to change the dynamics. We`ve got to bring in not only more law enforcement, but better education, really turn those kids around because when you join a gang at age 11, as this person of interest has, your life basically is over from the start.
GREENBERG: Absolutely. I`ve handled cases of people who couldn`t walk to school without joining a gang, because they had to walk through rival gang territory.
They got to do something about it. They got to get guns off the street. I may be a defense lawyer. I am no fan of guns. They got to get the guns off the street. No one is going hunting with a Glock.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Absolutely.
GREENBERG: That`s the start.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes. I agree with you there. Go ahead, Mike.
WALTERS: That`s one of the things, though, that is stuck against the wall today in this hearing. They actually were -- are thinking about violating him on the fact that he`s been around neighborhoods where drugs are sold and pushed.
So in other words, yes, I mean he`s a gangster disciple from the area, and he went back to his neighborhood after he was arrested in 2006 with the crack cocaine. And, of course, he went back to his neighborhood. That`s where he`s from. But in the parole, he`s not supposed to be there.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Right. We have to end it right there. We want to continue -- we want to have both of you back. We want to continue this dialogue that focuses on solutions and find out how we can stop this violence from happening again, not just discuss the violence that`s already happened.
The president and president-elect had their first official meeting today in the White House. We`ll give you the lowdown in just a bit.
And more questions and answers in the case of an 8-year-old Arizona boy who shot and killed his father and another adult. What made the kid pull the trigger? Answers for you next.
VELEZ MITCHELL: We`ll have the very latest in the tragic beating death of anchorwoman Ann Pressly, a reminder that the war on women continues to rage in this country.
But first, as President-elect Barack Obama went to the White House today and met with President Bush, our economic problems continued to spiral out of control. Take a look. Take a look at this.
This is a line outside New York`s Pier Hotel. Thousands of people desperately seeking one of the 200 job openings there. Doesn`t that kind of remind you of those famous bread lines during the depression? Take a look at that.
Word just in, global delivery company DHL slashing 9,500 jobs. Circuit City, filing for bankruptcy. Insurance giant AIG`s rescue package now hits $150 billion, about double what it started as.
Ali Velshi is CNN`s senior business correspondent. Eamon Javers, the financial correspondent for Politico.
Ali Velshi, let`s start with you. Put all these horrific numbers into perspective for us. Because it feels like it is getting worse every day.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, October was the month of the financial crisis. It kind of hit at the end of September. And every day in October seemed horrible. November now we are coming out of that financial crisis a little bit. Our interest rates are going lower. Businesses can borrow money.
But we are seeing companies failing. We`re seeing jobs lost. We`ve lost 1.2 million jobs so far this year, Jane. And there is some speculation that we`ll lose another half a million jobs before inauguration day.
So this is what happens at this point in this economic cycle. We`re going to see home prices continue to go down. We`re going to see jobs continue to be lost. And the problem is if you don`t have a job, you`re not paying taxes. You`re not buying things. You`re not -- you`re not helping out the economy. You`re a net recipient. So it`s a hard hole to dig yourself out of. That has to be priority No. 1 for the incoming president, Barack Obama.
VELEZ MITCHELL: And Eamon Javers, you`re with Politico. Imagine the awkwardness of today`s meeting, even though there were all smiles on camera.
EAMON JAVERS, POLITICO: Right. Absolutely.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Barack Obama meeting President Bush, thinking, "This is the guy who`s giving me all these problems that are getting worse and worse every day before I even take office."
And Bush thinking, "Oh, my gosh, my disapproval ratings are the worst in history. And everybody loves this guy."
I wouldn`t even want to be in that room. The tension would kill me.
JAVERS: I would love to be a fly on the wall in that Oval Office today, to see what these two men had to talk about. There is so much history hanging on this moment.
And to see Barack Obama, who spent the past two years really beating President Bush over the head with charges that he was basically an awful president, coming in today, everybody is all smiles. Barack Obama is patting the president of the United States on the back. Everybody has kisses all around and big smiles for the cameras.
That`s sort of a heartwarming thing, though, about transitions. I mean, the election season is over. The silly season, as we call it in Washington. Now the business of governing has to happen.
And in the United States of America, we don`t have transitions of power between rival parties with tanks in the streets. We have it with photo-ops like this.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Yes.
JAVERS: And people shake hands and smile. And that`s one of the great heartwarming things about this time of year.
VELEZ MITCHELL: They`re patting each other on the back. Well, you know, maybe they all took acting lessons. I don`t know.
You know, like, even Sarah Palin weighed in about the many trillions of dollars of debt that the Bush administration racked up. Listen to this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I think the Republican ticket represented too much of the status quo, too much of what was had gone in these last eight years that Americans were kind of shaking their heads at going, "Wait a minute. How did -- how did we run up a $10 trillion debt in a Republican administration?"
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ MITCHELL: Fascinating to come from a Republican.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Ali Velshi, there`s a big economic summit coming up and, also, the whole issue of the stimulus package. I mean, what occurs to me not being an expert in economics is that you have to rob Peter to pay Paul. If you`ve got all these trillions to be spent...
VELEZ MITCHELL: ... where is the money for education and health care?
VELSHI: Very good point. And that`s one of the things. Just like if you have -- you know, you have anything that`s of value if you multiply it, you don`t create more value. You just create more stuff. And each one of those things is worth less. That`s what happens to our money.
Here`s the bottom line. There`s this economic summit coming up this coming weekend in Washington, world leaders. Some people call it a second Bretton Woods, harkening back to a time after World War II when world leaders got together and sort of reshaped the world`s economy. I don`t think we`ve got any such lofty goals to come out of this one.
First of all, it`s President Bush who can`t really do more now during his tenure to help the economy. More importantly, the stimulus package, it won`t be like the last one. You won`t get a check. The idea here is what will the government do to help stimulate the economy in a broader fashion? Will they create jobs? Will there be bridges and roads projects? Will it be part of Obama`s alternative energy plan that he thinks will fuel the economy for the next 15 or 20 years?
I think the discussion going on with -- with the president-elect Obama and his advisers is do we do everything we wanted to do right now while we`ve got goodwill and all the control of Congress? Or do we do one thing at a time and make sure that it succeeds? I think that`s the issue right now. What do you do to get out of this pickle that we`re in economically? And we`re waiting with bated breath to see what their solution is.
VELEZ MITCHELL: As -- as you were talking, we continue to look at those photos that are absolutely astounding of a line around the block...
VELEZ MITCHELL: ... of the Pier Hotel. It does remind me of those old black and white photos of the Great Depression. Take a listen to the reaction of one DHL employee from earlier today to the slashing of 9,500 jobs. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re taking away everything from me, my family, my friends, this whole town. I`m sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ MITCHELL: Circuit City declaring bankruptcy protection. Eamon Javers, the holiday season is coming up. What kind of a nightmare is that going to be?
JAVERS: Well, that image you just showed was just totally heartbreaking. And for Circuit City and DHL, these are big brand names. Consumers know these names. And the question is, in terms of consumer confidence, are we going to start to see a spiral of insecurity here?
Because earlier in September, we were talking about a Wall Street crisis. It was fairly well contained to the financial sector. Obscure names involved that don`t impact most people`s average, day-to-day lives.
JAVERS: Now we`re talking about Circuit City. We`re talking about DHL. These are companies that people have interaction with. They touch them. They feel them. They see them every day. And those companies laying off, and images like the ones you just showed are pretty dramatic.
VELEZ MITCHELL: We`ve got to go, but interesting observations, both. And of course, we remind you that the holiday season, about 50 percent, if not more, of all consumer spending takes place during that time.
Over the weekend, Prop 8 protests continue in California. The outrage over the same sex marriage ban. We`ll be back in just a moment with the very latest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DREW BARRYMORE, ACTRESS: This cannot happen. We have to change it. This is so wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ MITCHELL: Day five of outrage in California over the gay marriage ban. You just heard movie star Drew Barrymore joining thousands of angry protesters desperate to overturn Prop 8. Even Governor Schwarzenegger said he hoped the state supreme court would overturn the ban.
Reverend Susan Russell of the All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena has been protesting right along with the gay rights supporters.
Reverend Russell, exit polls showed three-quarters of weekly churchgoers voted to ban gay marriage. Now, you are a person of the cloth, and you were fighting to give gays the freedom to marry. Why?
REV. SUSAN RUSSELL, ALL SAINTS EPISCOPAL CHURCH: Absolutely. In a nutshell, I think it`s because, as a person of faith and a patriotic American, I believe in both the freedom of religion and the freedom from religion.
And while I`ll defend to my last breath the rights of those who think that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, they don`t have the right to write their theology into our constitution.
And because people of faith have been so much on the side of promoting bigotry and exclusion regarding gay and lesbian people, I think it`s critical that people of faith, with another perspective, stand up and speak out now, and that`s what we`re doing.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Why does the Mormon Church and its members care what gays do in terms of marriage or in the bedroom?
RUSSELL: You know, I`d encourage you to get a Mormon on and ask them, because it boggles my mind. We married 43 couples at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena between June 17 and November 4. And I guarantee you, there`s not a single one of those holy, wonderful marriages who`s a threat to any heterosexual marriage.
VELEZ MITCHELL: How would you describe those marriages? Because I understand you performed about a dozen yourself. So what would you tell those who want to ban it about those marriages?
RUSSELL: You know, I would say at this point, my four clergy colleagues and who`ve had the privilege of doing these weddings were invited into holy moments with couples. Some have been together as long as 30 and 40 years, against tremendous odds. And finally, get the opportunity to hear those words, "in the name of the holy spirit and by virtue of the power invested in me in the state of California."
It`s just wrong to take those rights away from people who love each other and want to live together until death do them part. So...
VELEZ MITCHELL: Speaking of California, Governor Schwarzenegger says now he hopes that the state supreme court overturns Prop 8, but he actually rejected same-sex marriage legislation, so he`s kind of had a change of heart. Do you congratulate him or do you say, "Hey, you`re part of the whole problem, because if you hadn`t rejected the legislation, we wouldn`t be here"?
RUSSELL: It is a both/and. Absolutely. I think it`s never too late for the Holy Spirit to change people`s hearts and minds, and we`re thrilled to have Arnold on board. And I think that we need to come together as fair-minded Californians, across faith and denomination and political, and all kinds of other lines, and say that writing discrimination into the constitution is just plain wrong. We need to fix it and we need to move on.
The segment you just showed about the economic challenges we`re facing, we wanted to support family values. We need to support families who don`t have money for health care or food for their children. We cannot afford any more to be distracted...
VELEZ MITCHELL: Oh, yes.
RUSSELL: ... by trying to take rights away from a few gay and lesbian couples who want to live together, happily ever after.
VELEZ MITCHELL: I could talk to you all night but, unfortunately, we`re out of time. It could have a huge economic impact on California, as well.
VELEZ MITCHELL: Thank you so much. Please come back and join us.
Police say an 8-year-old boy in Arizona has shot and killed two men, including his own dad. What possibly could have been the motive? We`ll talk about that next.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Arkansas police continue to look for leads in the murder of anchorwoman Anne Pressly. More from the front lines of the "War on Women" coming up.
But first, a shocking story in Arizona, a young boy is accused of shooting and killing his own father and father`s co-worker and he`s only 8 years old. Police say the third grader confessed to planning and carrying out the murders but authorities don`t have a motive yet. We`re going to debate all this in just a moment.
But first, here are the facts for you from Joe Dana at our affiliate KTNX in Phoenix.
JOE DANA, KTNX PHOENIX: Sunday mass at the Romero family`s church in St. Johns, a time for the community to draw strength from faith and each other.
KAREN VAUGHAN, CHURCH PARISHIONER: The message was to pray for each other and to keep the closeness of our community.
DANA: The service was led by father John Paul Sauter who recently presided over the wedding of the now deceased 29-year-old Vince Romero. According to the Associated Press, Romero had taught his son how to shoot a rifle.
And police say Wednesday, at the family`s home, for reasons still unknown, the boy opened fire, shooting several times, killing Romero and Romero`s co-worker who was renting a room at the house; the tragedy, difficult to bear for the family`s religious leader.
JOHN PAUL SAUTER, ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST CATHOLIC CHURCH: I think there is a fund for both families. Excuse me.
DANA: The eight-year-old boy is now in custody of the county. Friday, a judge ruled the boy`s mother and grandmother have visitation rights. Police say social workers will likely be counseling with the third grader to understand the psychological state he was in at the time of the shooting.
VAUGHN: I don`t think we`ll ever know why and it baffles the community. But we`ll all pull together.
DANA: Pulling together, in support of a prominent, well-respected family.
SAUTER: They`re just very good, religious people.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The young boy has been charged with two counts of premeditated murder. Police are pushing to try the eight-year-old as an adult while they begin investigating whether the boy was abused in the past.
Here is my issue. This child is eight-years-old. How can anyone consider charging this child as an adult? He`s eight years old. The fault lies in whoever gave this young child access to a gun.
Tragically it appears that would be one of the victims. Dad wanted to train his son to hunt and it appears he did hunt his own father.
Joining me now, Lisa Bloom, anchor of "In Session" and Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor and author of "And Justice for Some." Wendy, you heard it right there in the news report. People are like how could this have happened, why?
Well, to me the answer is totally obvious. A child was given a loaded gun.
WENDY MURPHY, NEW ENGLAND SCHOOL OF LAW: Well, you know what, Jane, it`s not first time we`ve heard of an eight-year-old accidentally killing somebody because a gun is lying around. This was execution style; one victim killed upstairs, the other on the front steps. So it sounds like it was more planned.
And I`m all, you know, all over this gun issue. And I`m on your side with who gave the gun, who taught this child that this was a good thing to do.
But, you know, there is more to the story. Because this isn`t just about the child together with a gun, there is a bigger package of information here, including what was so rageful in this child. What was so horrible in his life that this is what he thought he had to do? Was something going on behind closed doors that was just so horrific this was his only way out? That`s the story yet to be told.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well Lisa Bloom, anchor of "In Session" at that age, an eight-year-old child often wants more than anything else to be with his mother. Now the father had full custody of this child and there was a stepmother involved.
Is it possible that this child simply wanted to be with mom and we don`t know the facts, but hypothetically, is it possible that this child just wanted to be with his mother and said I`ll do whatever it takes?
LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR OF "IN SESSION": Jane, everything is possible. The idea of abuse is clearly possible. That`s usually why children kill intentionally when they do kill. But I`m going to be investigating this and finding out further.
But this case falls at the cross hairs of two parts of the American criminal justice system that are completely out of keeping with the rest of the western world. And that is, that we are awash in guns. Arizona does not even require trigger locks or require keeping loaded guns away from children.
And we are the most punitive system in the western world against juveniles. I mean, the world has to be laughing at us that we would consider charging an eight-year-old as an adult. Are you kidding me? This child can`t drink, vote, drive, own property, sign a legal contract. And we`re going charge him as an adult for murder. Are we out of our minds?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, anyway Wendy Murphy, he`s confessed. So I don`t see necessarily a child --
BLOOM: Without a lawyer.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, that`s another aspect of the case, you`re right, Lisa Bloom. But I don`t necessarily see a trial. I see a sentencing and then a decision by the judge. And correct me if I`m wrong, ok, are you going to go to juvenile or you`re going to go to adult?
MURHPY: Yes, I mean, it is really odd that at age eight you could be transferred to adult court; that happens to be the case in Arizona. It`s not the case in most states. And Arizona recently changed their juvenile justice laws so that even say if the kid was 14 and was tried in adult court you can sometimes switch them back so that they get rehabilitation and treatment.
Look, this child is fixable because he`s eight. The way our law works, you`re barely, barely considered capable of making moral, reasoned judgments at age eight. So we`re not going to lock this kid up for life there`s no question about it.
The reason people are saying he could be transferred is because it was execution-style and two human beings are dead. And you can`t be frivolous about that because next week it`ll be a nine-year-old, a 10-year-old, an 11-year-old. You have to be clear.
Human life is valuable. This kid is not going to prison for the rest of his life. But let`s not be frivolous about it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes and Lisa, to your point, gun sales have shot up and this is a political point, --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- since Barack Obama has been elected; gun sales up eight percent for the year in anticipation of his election.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And more than 108,000 background checks for guns purchases this October versus last October. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 9/11, when that happened, when the riots happened a couple of years ago, sales peaked during those time periods but nothing to what we`re seeing today; no comparison.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Lisa Bloom, are they right? The Obama administration is going to make it tougher to buy guns?
BLOOM: Well, Obama never said that so I don`t know where that is coming from. Except people are just concerned about it in general but I can`t imagine how even people who are pro-gun would not be in favor of trigger locks and keeping guns away from small children.
And the idea that there is no minimum age in Arizona for teaching a child to shoot a gun, are you kidding me? These are not toys. Do you think an eight-year-old knows the difference between a toy gun and a real gun? No matter how many times you tell them, you mean to tell me a third grader is incapable of making a mistake? I mean, we`re just out of our minds if we allow children to have loaded guns at that age.
And that`s what happened in this case and I just have to add that I think it`s shameful that the authorities in Arizona would interrogate an eight-year-old boy without an attorney, and without a parent. And how difficult is it to get a confession from a child under those circumstances?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I agree with you, 100 percent.
Now Wendy Murphy, we also have to take into account the fact that dad was an avid hunter and apparently there was some discussion about teaching the young boy to hunt.
We have to include that in our debate about gun violence in this society. I cannot tell you how many times I`ve covered and I`m sure all of you have covered stories where a hunting weapon was used to kill a human being.
When are we going start realizing that when you have a gun in the home, for whatever reason, it increases by a tremendous amount the chance of a human being, being killed?
MURPHY: It does, and in Connecticut just a couple of weeks ago an eight-year-old accidentally killed somebody with a gun. I think this was a .22 caliber if I`m not mistaken.
MURPHY: It was not a hunting gun. But you know what --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, but dad was an avid hunter and was talking about that issue and training his son.
MURPHY: I mean, it`s ridiculous to teach an eight-year-old to do anything with any kind of gun, even a BB gun. I mean, eight is too young; that goes without saying.
The bottom line remains this was not a kid who accidentally killed his father. This was an execution style slaying. So let`s stay focused on that fact that --
MURPHY: -- although, lots of people love their guns and they`re sloppy about it. That`s not this story. This is a kid who wanted to execute two men. And he did it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we will find out why and we will also continue our dialogue about gun violence. And I hope both of you join me again. I know you both care deeply about that issue.
BLOOM: Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you so much, Wendy and Lisa. Thank you.
Anchorwoman Anne Pressly`s brutal murder remains unsolved, there is a war on women and guess what, we`re losing. Get the very latest when we come right back.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It has been 21 days since Arkansas anchorwoman, Anne Pressly, was found bludgeoned in her home; she later died. The killer remains on the loose.
Here on this program, we promised -- we promised not to let this story slip away. Fortunately "America`s Most Wanted" is doing the same. This weekend they featured the Pressly case on their program and we are lucky enough to have one of their reporters join us now.
Michelle Sigona from "Americas Most Wanted."
You`ve got some new information. And what is the very latest?
MICHELLE SIGONA: We do Jane and thank you so much for staying on top of this case.
And just this past weekend at our hotline we flied in one of the lead investigators. And he was there. He was working the phones with our hotline specialists for five hours, taking in leads.
And he was actually dispatching crews on the ground in Little Rock to be able to flush out the information that we received into our hotline. And from what investigators tell us and also from our leads, is that we got in some pretty specific information that they are still working on today.
So hopefully something will come out of those leads that did get on Saturday night.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Definitely it seems like they`re not close to finding anyone --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: From the sense that I`ve gotten. And I would think if you bludgeoned someone that they never even regain consciousness that there would be blood everywhere, therefore there would be bloody footprints, there would be DNA of this perpetrator, there`d be maybe skin under the victim`s fingernails. I`m not hearing anything about forensics.
SIGONA: Well, here`s what I can tell you. What investigators did actually confirm to us this weekend is that they did collect evidence from the scene. And they are still processing that evidence. What kind of clues, you know, hard, concrete clues have come up from that, they`re not saying.
But as you did mention, this was a very brutal crime scene from what investigators tell me. And that they said that there was a lot of blood there. And at first, they first thought that Anne was actually stabbed but then they realized that she was actually beaten to death.
So this is just a very traumatic scene, especially for her mom to able to come in and find her like this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, you spent a lot of time with the police and the detectives. Let`s take a listen to what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The detectives that are working in the case are looking at every little email, every little fact, just to see if it`s related. We know it is a male. But beyond that, there`s really not anything that the public needs to know that will help us in that investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are the cops being too tight-lipped? They`re not telling us anything.
Or what they`re doing, Jane, and as you know, you`ve been covering cases for so long now, is that a lot of times they`ll collect all of these clues and all of these things and keep things very close to the vest, hoping that someone will come forward with their golden nugget to be able to match up the information.
I can tell you, I can confirm that they did in fact take surveillance tape from a local gas station where Jane`s credit card was used after 3:00 a.m. on the morning of the attack. Basically from what I`ve learned, from the manager and from the cashier it shows a vehicle pulling up, filling up their tank, whether it was a car or truck, I don`t know. And it`s right next to Interstate 30, which is about five miles away from Anne`s house.
I can also confirm to you on your show tonight that we did in fact talk to a local fitness center. They have a surveillance tape which -- surveillance camera actually, which actually shows the road that goes all the way out to Anne`s house.
Now, what is exactly on that tape or what the police have found, have pulled from that, they`re not saying yet.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michelle let me jump in and ask --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why haven`t they released these tapes? I mean, if there is even a shadow of a person that could spark somebody`s memory.
SIGONA: I agree. And at this point, they`re still -- what they`re telling us is that, "Look, we`re just really trying to be very careful. This is a very high profile case. We don`t want to make any mistakes; we don`t want to put the wrong information out there."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to jump in, her door was open, her backdoor was open, --
SIGONA: You`re right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And no sign of forced entry, and I hear the two dogs were in the house. What does that tell you?
SIGONA: That`s right.
What that tells me is that, first of all, maybe she did know this person. Or people. We don`t know if it is one person, one suspect or two people or three people for that matter. And that, you know, if this was some sort of random attack, we don`t know if this person has been lurking around; if they checked the back door or if she accidentally left it open.
So it`s really hard to tell.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re almost out of time. Was she dating anyone? Have they eliminated the people around her?
SIGONA: At this point she was not seriously in any relationship with any guy. She did, of course, go out with friends. She did, of course, at certain points probably had gone out on dates before but no serious relationships.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You were fantastic. Thank you for covering so much information.
SIGONA: Thanks Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re doing a great job. Thank you.
SIGONA: You`re doing a great job. Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You too. Thank you very much.
If you have any information that could help Little Rock police find and arrest Anne Pressly`s killer, call the Crimestopper`s tipline at (501) 371-INFO. You do not have to leave your name, a $48,000 reward now being offered.
And now another shocking development to report related to the Natalee Holloway case. Holloway went missing of course, during a senior trip to Aruba in 2005. Her body has never been found. The former suspect in the case, Joran Van Der Sloot, the man reportedly last seen with Holloway on the night she disappeared and who was caught on tape, saying she died his arms has been caught on tape yet again. This time it seems he was arranging to bring Thai sex workers into the Netherlands to work as prostitutes.
Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor and author of "And Justice for Some" joins me again.
Wendy, the idea that Joran Van Der Sloot would be involved in something like this doesn`t surprise me one tiny bit. This is the kind of slime bag that this guy is.
MURPHY: Oh, my goodness. You know, Jane, look, the saving grace is, to the extent there were five people out there who thought he couldn`t have killed Natalee because he`s such a nice boy from a nice family, I think we now know the truth about his character.
He spends time engaged in a business that is degrading and violent toward women. He wants to sell them like cattle, what a shock.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I`m wondering if he could face charges for this incident and it could be one of those O.J. situations where he does the time, but for a different crime.
MURPHY: Yes, I couldn`t care. Put him in some jail somewhere for something. I would be happy. But it also could help to continue very slowly, mind you, to build a pile of evidence that ultimately might bring about some justice for this poor family.
I mean, the virtual confession that we got last year --
MURPHY: And now this where, you know, it goes to his character, his attitude towards women, who knows. Who knows? I hope that these filmmakers keep doing this work because obviously the Aruban law enforcement officials didn`t do their job.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well yes, the guy who has pulled both of these scams off and not scams but stings, I should say, deserves an award and a job here at a major network because he`s doing an amazing job of getting the story that nobody else could get. This is the same person who got Joran to do that confession that was also secretly videotaped.
So what shocks me, Wendy, is that he fell for it again. I mean, he fell for being befriended by people and then spilling his guts once and he fell for being befriended by the people working for the same guy again and spilled his guts again about this particular crime.
MURPHY: Yes. And, look, Jane, we have all thought that this guy was a likely killer and kind of a skuzzy guy. No one ever said he was a genius and I think we`ve proved that now too.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but you know, what`s interesting is that so many people plot for years and years and years to pull off the perfect crime and they`re caught. And, unfortunately, as one of the attorneys for Beth Holloway said it appears that somebody pulled off the perfect crime in Aruba unfortunately when it comes to that poor girl who has never been found.
MURPHY: Either the perfect crime or somebody got paid the perfect amount of dough.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Al right, Wendy, thank you so much for your insights as always. We`ll have more on this developing story for you tomorrow night and Nancy Grace will bring you the very latest at the top of the hour. So don`t go anywhere.
Canine candidates for top dog are up next. We`re going to tell you all about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Malia is allergic so it has to be hypoallergenic. There are a number of breeds that are hypoallergenic. On the other hand, our preference would be a shelter dog but obviously a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So who will the Obamas choose as their first pooch? Applicants coming in from the North Shore Animal League, candidate Giuseppe (ph) and Amigos de los Animales nominated Beba (ph) dumped at a Puerto Rico shelter. Both candidates vow they are hypoallergenic.
Joining me now, author and animal welfare advocate, Carol Rafael Davis (ph). Carol, hi there, girl. If you could talk to President-elect Obama right now, what would you say to him?
CAROL RAFAEL DAVIS, ANIMAL WELFARE ADVOCATE: I would say that there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of dogs in our nation`s shelter system howling right now, yes, we can! Yes, we can!
They want change and they want change in America as well. And they would like it and we would all like it in the Animal Protection Movement if we could have change in the way Americans bring companion animals into their home -- through adoption, the only ethical choice, rather than putting money into the puppy mill industry.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And there are hypoallergenic dogs at the shelters? Explain that.
DAVIS: Yes. Here is something that our new president might not know and that is that 20 percent of the dogs in our nation`s shelter system are pure bred dogs and many of those dogs are hypoallergenic dogs.
Like this dog here who happens to be my dog -- we`re not going to sacrifice him. But he is from the Los Angeles Shelter System. He is a Bichon Frise and he`s one of those hypoallergenic dogs that was homeless and doesn`t even understand why he was homeless.
A lot of people buy dogs, give them away as gifts or go to the pet store or go online and get a dog from a puppy mill. They don`t realize they don`t have the time to take care of it and the dog gets dumped in our shelter system.
There are dogs like these in the shelter system and it`s time with the foreclosures and all of these dogs getting abandoned right now because people can`t afford to keep them and they can`t afford to keep their homes or their dogs, it`s time for all of us to roll up our sleeves and help out and help empty the shelters and take these dogs out of the shelters.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you and your pooch look absolutely fabulous and I think your message is, president-elect, you can adopt and still get a hypoallergenic dog. No problem. We have solved the problem right now.
DAVIS: The girls can get the dog of their dreams, absolutely, and get it in the shelter from a rescue organization.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s right. Don`t shop, adopt. Carol thanks so much and thanks to your pooch as well.
DAVIS: Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There are lots of people, you know, talking on TV, but too few are saying anything that really helps you make sense of the world, like what we just said. I`m trying to change that by keeping it real.
Jane Velez-Mitchell, see you tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. with more "ISSUES."