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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Will Casey Anthony Plead Insanity?; New Developments in Anchorwoman`s Murder
Aired May 13, 2009 - 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, death penalty drama, as risks emerge in the dream team defense. The only death-penalty- qualified attorney on the team walked off the case after butting heads with Jose Baez. The man claims Baez wouldn`t let him pursue a mental-health defense for Casey. Does that mean an insanity plea? And would a jury actually believe Casey`s crazy? We`ll analyze the accused killer`s troubled lot and compare it to other cases of mothers who became murderers.
Then, stunning updates in the murder of beautiful Arkansas anchor woman, Anne Pressly, who was savagely raped and beaten to death in her own home. Accused killer Curtis Vance goes on a courtroom tirade, and now he`ll undergo a mental evaluation. So could we see an insanity plea in this case?
And an intense trial begins for the murder of Imette St. Guillen, the gorgeous grad student who was killed three years ago in New York City. Accused of the atrocity, Darrell Littlejohn, a bouncer at the bar where she was last seen alive. I`ll tell you why he could be trying to pin the blame on the bar`s owner. And you won`t believe the bizarre connection to preppy killer Robert Chambers.
Plus, seismic developments in the Anna Nicole Smith case. Former boyfriend Howard K. Stern and two doctors yanked into court to face charges they illegally supplied the starlet with drugs. I`ll tell you what pleas they entered. Could this reopen the case of Anna Nicole`s death?
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, startling developments in the Casey Anthony murder case. Casey`s defense team rocked by sharp criticisms from a lawyer who left the case and now says he locked horns with Jose Baez over which strategy would best defend the 23-year-old mom accused of murdering her adorable toddler, Caylee. This top death-penalty-qualified attorney tells Nancy Grace he did not agree with lead defense attorney, Jose Baez`s, game plan for the case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERENCE LENAMON, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR CASEY ATTORNEY: Prior to me withdrawing, I had some significant disagreements with Mr. Baez about what I believe the approach to the case should be. Nevertheless, I withdrew from the case.
Well, I mean, I think that you can look back on some of the conversations we had prior to this and you can just kind of take the next step and see that we had a difference in what I believed should have been the approach, which is mental-health-related.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mental-health-related? Some people are translating that to mean this attorney wanted Casey to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. But that would require admitting that she did it. So should we infer that this former member of the defense team may have been gotten information that further incriminates Casey?
Team Baez has hinted at another strategy they may use to explain Casey`s strange behavior. It`s called ugly coping. The defense appears set to argue that Casey`s hard partying in the days after her daughter vanished was just her ugly way of coping with the trauma of her daughter`s disappearance. Will jurors buy that? Do you buy that at home? Was the defense team better off claiming their party-loving client had mental- health issues?
Straight to my expert panel: Paul Callan, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor; Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney; Dr. Dale Archer, clinical psychiatrist; Brenda Wade, clinical psychologist; and Stacey Honowitz, Florida state prosecutor.
Stacey, we start with you out of Florida. When this attorney says he left the case after a disagreement over their approach, which was mental- health-related. Does it seem likely he`s saying he thinks Casey should plead not guilty by reason of insanity?
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA STATE PROSECUTOR: Well, certainly Jane, I wasn`t privy to any of the conversations, but you heard it on national TV last night. He left because his approach, and his defense was going to be totally different.
And when you talk in terms of mental health, and you`re talking in Florida, you are definitely talking about an insanity defense. Some people say diminished mental capacity. But in this case, that`s the avenue it sounds like he wanted to pursue. And realistically, it`s left up to the client to make her decision which lawyer she wants.
So I`m sure at some point there was discussions between Casey Anthony, Jose Baez and this other lawyer. But certainly, the disagreement led him to withdraw, because he didn`t think that the avenue Jose Baez was going down was the right avenue for this client.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, we all know the most infamous case of a mother murdering a child is Andrea Yates, actually five children there. But in pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, she admitted drowning her five children in a bathtub in 2001. Whether she did it or not was never an issue. Yates` verdict was announced in 2006. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In cause number 880205, the state of Texas versus Andrea P. Yates, we the jury find the defendant Andrea P. Yates not guilty by reason of insanity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Paul Callan, when you plead not guilty by reason of insanity, you`re admitting you committed a crime, but saying you were insane and you didn`t know right from wrong. You didn`t know what you were doing. Would that strategy ever be used by an attorney who believed his client is innocent of the crime?
PAUL CALLAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, no. That`s why it`s absolutely stunning to me that this attorney, Lenamon, would get on national TV and say he was considering a mental-health defense.
A lawyer, when he withdraws from a case, should keep his mouth shut. He shouldn`t be on national TV, telegraphing that maybe they were considering an insanity defense. Because that says right away, she`s guilty, and she`s going to say she -- she did it because she was crazy.
Now, he might have meant something else. Maybe he`s talking about the coping defense. But certainly, it`s very, very foolish for him to say this on national TV.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there are several -- go ahead.
All right. OK. We can`t hear you. We can`t hear you. So I hear what you`re saying there, Darren. We`re going to get you back in the conversation. You went off into outer space there for a second. Sorry, viewers.
By now, almost everybody has seen the pictures of Casey partying in the days after Little Caylee went missing. The photos stunned just about everybody. Nobody could comprehend how a mom could go out and have fun after her child, her precious child disappears.
So, you know, my question, and let me ask this to Dr. Dale Archer. Wouldn`t mental health issues be a perfect explanation for this kooky, bizarre behavior? She doesn`t know what she`s doing, doesn`t know right from wrong. In other words, she could claim insanity to explain her incriminating behavior while still claiming she didn`t commit the crime.
DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: Well, that wouldn`t be insanity, because insanity has to take place at the time of the crime. So I think the ugly coping strategy in this case, if the defense is going to use it, I would have one really big question. I mean, if she used that for coping then, what is she doing to cope now? What, are they smuggling a beer bong and a camera to her cell? Because I`ve seen no grief in her whatsoever. And I haven`t all along.
And Cynthia Sommers is the classic case where her ugly coping, where it worked. And it was found to be an accidental death. But she was actually grieving the loss of her husband. I see no grief in Casey.
HONOWITZ: I -- Jane, what I don`t understand is that ugly coping defense, the pictures that we`re seeing, it`s my understanding is those pictures were when the child was missing. So the announcement had not even made that this child was found dead. So she wasn`t grieving. What was she doing at that time? The child was just missing at that time, and she had not even reported it.
HONOWITZ: So it doesn`t make even sense in the chronological order that they`re trying to bring out. It doesn`t make sense.
CALLAN: You know, Jane...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead, Paul.
CALLAN: Lawyers -- lawyers have another word for the ugly coping defense. It`s called consciousness of guilt. And that`s exactly what gets charged in court when you act inappropriately after your child disappears. It`s consciousness of guilt. So that -- that defense is going to blow up in a big way if they try to go forward with it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, listen, guess what. Darren Kavinoky has returned from outer space. We have him back. You know, this happens sometimes on live television, people. The signal goes away. And now you`re back. We`re happy to have you.
DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Glad to be here.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We were just talking about the idea that possibly his mental-health issue wasn`t pleading insanity, but rather explaining her weird behavior by saying she was insane but still didn`t commit the crime. In other words, presumably there are insane people out there who have been accused of crimes they didn`t commit.
KAVINOKY: They`re factually -- and as I said before, Jane, it may be unfair to Monday morning quarterbacks, but with that in mind, let me get out my shoulder pads and my helmet and engage in some of that.
In this particular case, you`ve really got two different tracks that you could possibly be going down. The insanity defense concedes that you actually committed the crime.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, no, no, I`m saying it`s a possibility that she could argue she was innocent of killing her daughter, but she is nevertheless still insane.
KAVINOKY: But the point there, Jane...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s why she behaved in a strange way. Because you can be crazy and not kill your child.
KAVINOKY: Exactly. That`s exactly the nature...
CALLAN: But that was before the body was even found. So basically, you`re saying that she started the ugly coping before we even knew that there was a death. So how do you explain that? It doesn`t fit.
HONOWITZ: You can`t explain it. That`s what I said, you cannot explain it.
CALLAN: I agree.
HONOWITZ: She knew. But when you bring it into a courtroom, the time here is going to be that she`s out dancing and doing all this before the body reported is this child. So chronologically, it doesn`t make sense.
ARCHER: No. And what are you coping with?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And she says the child, she believes, is alive because Zanny the nanny took the child. And she claims that she was going to the clubs doing her own investigation in her attempt to find the child on her own. Brenda Wade, give us some sanity here.
BRENDA WADE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: You know, the key here is that any parent who had lost a child, or is missing a child, would certainly have been grief-stricken. As a parent, you don`t wait until you find a body to grieve, if your child is missing, not if you have appropriate bonding and attachment with your child. You`re going to feel that immediately.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s a big "if."
WADE: We`ve seen many cases of missing children where the parents are completely grief-stricken before they know what`s become of the child.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Fantastic panel. Even one who went up to Mars and came back. More Casey Anthony defense drama in a moment.
Be sure to tune in for "NANCY GRACE" tonight, 8 p.m. Eastern. She will have the very latest twists and turns in the Casey Anthony case. And right here on ISSUES, we will have much more analysis. Do you think a jury would buy the argument that Casey was insane? And what about that ugly coping thing? Give us a holler: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Let me know.
Then, beautiful 24-year-old Imette St. Guillen sadistically murdered after a night of partying in New York City. A bar bouncer now on trial. I will tell you all about today`s shocking testimony.
But first, speculation that an insanity plea for Casey Anthony was once debated. Here`s a look at one of her more emotional moments behind bars.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASEY ANTHONY, ACCUSED OF MURDER: Can someone let me -- come on!
CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY`S MOTHER: Casey, hold on, sweetheart. Settle down.
CASEY ANTHONY: Nobody`s letting me speak. You want me to talk, then...
CINDY ANTHONY: All right. I`ll listen.
CASEY ANTHONY: I`m not in control over any of this. I don`t know what the hell is going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An Orange County grand jury has issued an indictment. And a case (ph) has been issued on the following charges: first-degree murder; aggravated child abuse; aggravated manslaughter of a child; and four counts, providing false information to law enforcement. There is no bond on these charges.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Casey Anthony charged with the murder of her 2-year- old daughter, Caylee.
New revelations suggest Casey`s defense team will not be claiming mental-health problems. But her story brings up the question, what psychological factors do play a part in bad mothering?
I`m back, taking your calls on Casey and other mothers who have been charged with crimes against their own children. The phone lines lighting up.
Linda in Washington, D.C., your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: I have one of each, actually. My comment is, I don`t know how Jose Baez even walks around. Since usually he has his feet in his mouth. But my question is, now that the death penalty is back on the table, does that qualify her to receive any kind of state funds to hire a death-qualified attorney?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stacy Honowitz, want to take it?
HONOWITZ: I don`t know. I really don`t know.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Does anybody know?
HONOWITZ: ... and then say now, "I don`t have any money, because now I, you know, have this other lawyer. I need a death penalty lawyer, qualified lawyer."
CALLAN: Under the Constitution, the test is whether she can afford any attorney, regardless of the charge. And if she cannot afford Baez, or she cannot afford a death-qualified attorney, yes, she could get appointed counsel. The court`s very friendly to that in a death penalty case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve all been hearing that all these experts are going to be paid for by taxpayers. Haven`t we?
CALLAN: Yes. We`ve heard that. We`ve also heard a huge controversy about who`s paying the lawyers. Remember, there were going to be hearings on this particular issue.
CALLAN: I think a lot of these lawyers are working for free. And she hasn`t needed court-appointed counsel.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Tiffany in Connecticut, your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: Hi, Jane. Thanks for taking my call. My question was, could Jose Baez be possibly intentionally sabotaging her case so that he can give her a chance at ineffective assistance of counsel?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa, that -- that`s heavy duty. Listen, I have to ask a related question. Today he continues his depositions, even without his death-penalty-qualified attorney there, because they don`t have one that they`ve revealed yet.
And he was talking to an investigator for the Department of Children and Families, who interviewed Casey twice, and this investigator, according to published reports, mentioned that Casey referred to her daughter as "that child."
Let`s bring in the shrinks on this one. I mean, Brenda Wade, doesn`t that suggest emotional detachment? So couldn`t Jose Baez be creating more problems for his client by bringing all this up in these depos?
WADE: You know, Jane, I do think that that says something about the quality of the bonding, the attachment between Caylee and her child. And we all know that her mother was taking a large amount of the responsibility for Caylee.
So one of the things I`ve often wondered about in this case, because I can`t help wondering about these things being in my profession, one is, how attached was she to her daughter? What kind of closeness? What kind of bonding? Which is what we`d use as a definition of healthy mother/child relationship was there? And then how does that interact with what is going on with Casey?
WADE: We know Casey is a very troubled child.
KAVINOKY (ph): The point at that point is she already knew the child was dead. That`s why she was detached. Because when she was giving that statement, the child was already dead. So of course she was detached from her.
WADE: I think she was detached long before that, Jane, quite frankly.
HONOWITZ: One thing. You know, the state listed these investigators as witnesses. And if they intend on calling them in court, he has every right to depose them. So he`s not calling them on his own. The state listed them as witnesses, and now he wants to find out if they`re called in court, what are they going to say. And now we`re hearing what, in fact, she said to them. So that`s why he`s taking their depositions.
CALLAN (?): You know, I would agree with that completely. And I think we`re being unfair in criticizing Baez. You know, lawyers -- you know, what people don`t understand about depositions is, the whole idea is to find out what the witness is going to say at trial, so you don`t ask a question that will hurt your client at trial.
So Baez is doing what a good lawyer would do. And that is, exploring all the details of the potential testimony.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to ask these questions. He`s taken a lot of hits. And he`s obviously working hard. Let`s call it that.
HONOWITZ (?): Well, he`s taking hits.
CALLAN (?): We have to give him credit for that.
HONOWITZ (?): ... representing somebody who is so unsympathetic.
CALLAN (?): But one of the problems in it, Jane, is there`s going to be a new lawyer coming in who`s going to be the quarterback on this. The death-penalty-qualified attorney. And so taking the depositions when there`s another lawyer that may be taking the lead may ultimately prove to be irresponsible.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I`ve got to move on.
Just this weekend, 23-year-old Belinda Magana was arrested in connection with the murder of her 2-year-old son, Malachi (ph). Magana claimed her child disappeared last Sunday, Mother`s Day. But when authorities started searching for the little boy, they found him in a shallow grave 35 miles away. They arrested the mother and her boyfriend in connection with the murder. She`s just been arrested. She hasn`t been convicted of anything. So I`m not judging her guilt or innocence.
But Dr. Dale Archer, there are so many cases like this. We always assume the natural instinct of a mother is to protect her children. How and why do some mothers lose that instinct?
ARCHER: Well, I mean, I think it`s different in each case. Andrea Yates was totally psychotic. And then you have Susan Smith, who they said she had borderline personality disorder. So you have different psychiatric diagnoses that can explain this. It`s not a one-shoe-fits-all type of phenomenon. Mental illness definitely a key hallmark that is running through all of these mothers.
And I think Casey Anthony may be the exception. Because the only thing that I see in her is absolute sociopathy. I don`t really see any other psychiatric symptoms there.
WADE: I completely agree with Dr. Archer on that, Jane. But the thing I want to add is that, in these troubled economic times, there are more mothers under duress, and we need to all be alert to the fact that parents are suffering right now. And children are at risk.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to thank my excellent panel. Great insights from both of our psychological experts. We`ll have more analysis on the Casey Anthony case in just a moment.
A shocking twist to the murder of TV anchorwoman Anne Pressly. Is an insanity plea in place?
And dramatic developments in the Anna Nicole Smith drug conspiracy. Howard K. Stern dragged into court today. We`ll tell you what happened.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the spotlight tonight, Curtis Vance, accused of the horrific beating death of beloved news anchor Anne Pressly, back in court yesterday, telling the judge, "I want new attorneys."
Vance faces charges of murder, rape, burglary and theft. But he claims his lawyers are keeping him in the dark about crucial DNA evidence that police say places him right at the crime scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You say the world needs to know the truth. What is the truth?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the truth, Curtis?
CURTIS VANCE, ACCUSED OF MURDER: The DNA says I was innocent (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Vance complained about his attorneys. They asked the judge for a mental evaluation of their client.
Meantime, Pressly`s parents, Patty and Guy Cannady, were in the courtroom reminding everybody that Vance isn`t the victim here. Their beloved daughter, Anne, is the victim. Pressly`s mom found her bloodied body unresponsive back in October. She later spoke to "The Today Show" about her daughter`s alleged killer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATTY CANNADY, MOTHER OF ANNE PRESSLY: This gentleman took my daughter`s life. And it`s just tragic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What hell for this family. Hopefully, they will find justice for their precious daughter soon.
Joining me, Dana Bradley, reporter at KARN News Radio.
Dana, thanks so much for joining us. What is the very latest in this tragic case?
DANA BRADLEY, KARN NEWS RADIO: Well, Jane, the very latest, Curtis Vance had another hearing yesterday. And he doesn`t trust his lawyers. He says he does not believe that they`re being open and up front with him.
He mentioned something about the DNA, that he read in the newspaper, that his DNA evidence was found at the murder scene of Anne Pressly. He said he found it out by reading it in the newspaper, and his defense lawyers never told him anything about that. But he is requesting new attorneys. But Judge Christy (ph), as I said, not right now.
Other things need to be worked on. They are requesting that he does get a mental evaluation before his actual trial begins in September.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So you say Vance doesn`t trust his attorneys. He wants new ones. He stopped talking to his current attorneys. In his last court appearance, it came out that Vance had been speaking with cops on at least two occasions without his lawyers present and over their objections. Which would seem to me like a very dumb thing to do. Why is Vance talking to cops without attorneys?
BRADLEY: Well, of course, we don`t know why. But we can only -- we can only suspect that he just maybe -- maybe just has some things that he was thinking about or wanted to know and maybe had some questions. And if at that time, when he was speaking to the cops, he wasn`t trusting his attorneys then, maybe he thought the cops might be able to tell him something that his attorneys were not telling him.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s happening with the other rape case, and how has all of this impacted this community? I understand that so many people converged on court for this.
BRADLEY: Well, as far as the community goes, Jane. I think we`ve all just been waiting for these hearings, waiting for the trial so we can hear the facts. He said mum`s been the word since the very beginning of this thing. And we always hear it as it comes out, inch by inch, piece by piece.
As far as the rape case in Mariana (ph), he is set to go to trial in June on that case. So he`s back and forth in and out of court.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I understand, though, that the victim in that case came to this court.
BRADLEY: Yes, she did. I think she`s going to be very upfront and upfront and personal at the case of Anne Pressly. Kind of just there for support for Pressly`s parents, and for her friends and relatives. But also because she`s going to be a prime witness in this case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Just to imagine what it must be like for Anne Pressly`s parents to have to go in there and kind of experience all of this all over again and be face-to-face with the man they believe killed their daughter.
Dana, I want to thank you so much for joining us.
A grad student brutally murdered in New York City. I`m going to tell you about this case`s bizarre connection to the infamous preppy killer. You won`t believe the link to so that infamous old case, next.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The intense trial begins for the murder of Imette St. Guillen. The gorgeous grad student was killed three years ago in New York City after a night partying. Accused of this atrocity? Darryl Littlejohn, a bouncer at the bar where she was last seen alive. I`ll tell you why he could be trying to pin the blame on the bar`s owner.
Plus, seismic developments in the Anna Nicole Smith case. Former boyfriend, Howard K. Stern, yanked into court to face charges he supplied the starlet with drugs. Could this reopen the case of Anna Nicole`s death?
More courtroom drama in the Anna Nicole Smith case in moments.
First, stunning news that a top lawyer says he left Casey Anthony`s defense team after lead attorney Jose Baez disagreed that mental health issues should be part of the defense strategy. Does that mean Jose Baez is completely ruling out the possibility of claiming insanity for his client?
I`m back taking your calls: Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor and Dr. Dale Archer, clinical psychiatrist. And the phone lines is lighting up with Marcy in New York, your question or comments.
MARCY IN NEW YORK (via telephone): Hi, I was wondering what is going to happen, what if Casey somehow by a miracle got off on temporary insanity? What about all the other charges that are pending against her? What is going to happen?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent question, Stacey Honowitz?
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, first of all, it`s not a matter of he`s got to plead the charge of insanity. Because you have to give the state proper notice to get their experts to then evaluate her, because of course, the prosecution cited she was sane when all this happened.
So if by any chance he decided to plead insanity, and for some reason she was found not guilty by reason of insanity, not just the one charge, but all the charges fall.
But again, he`s got to plead it. They`ve got to give the state reasonable time to get experts to evaluate her. Because the state`s position is, she was sane during all of this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And remember, we`re hearing that the defense could use the ugly coping strategy. Listen to defense attorney Linda Kenny Baden on NBC`s "Today Show" defend Casey Anthony`s infamous party pictures.
All right, we don`t have it. But essentially she said, oh, this is very similar to what happened with Cynthia Summer. Now, Cynthia Summer is a woman who was charged with her husband`s murder after she went to town partying and even getting breast implants immediately after her husband`s death.
Then her conviction was later overturned, and the argument there is that this is a perfect example of ugly coping, that everybody grieves differently when you lose somebody you love. That we`ve been -- we`ve been debating, Dr. Dale Archer, whether this is going to fly in the courtroom in the Casey Anthony case.
DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: No, I don`t think it will fly. And I think the big difference is, in Cynthia Summer`s case, she did grieve the loss of her husband and then she went on that party binge.
In Casey Anthony, again, I have seen no grief in her whatsoever. And I think the other important point in the Cynthia Summer`s case, it was ruled an accidental death, of course, reopened, she was convicted and then she got off.
So it`s much more complex. And I think that the -- to go back to the insanity very quickly. Insanity speaks to the time of the crime. So if you`re going to use the insanity defense, it means that she was insane when she committed the murder.
Competency speaks to whether you`re able to aid in your defense at the time of the trial. So there are two very different issues there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and Stacey Honowitz, the distinction I was making is, could they argue that she is innocent? She did not kill her daughter. But that she is also insane, or almost insane, and that`s the explanation for her bizarre behavior in the wake of her child`s disappearance, not calling the cops and going out partying.
I mean, insane people can be not guilty.
HONOWITZ: Well, listen, they can say she`s not guilty and they go forward with the charge and don`t plead insanity. And then during the trial when the state introduces those photos, and they say, is this really the sign of someone? Then they go into their theory about ugly coping, or whatever.
So the bottom line is, that`s a strategy they might try to use at trial. But again, when we said earlier chronologically, it doesn`t match up. They hadn`t even found the child yet to say it was.
HONOWITZ: It was the case...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I like what you said, Stacey, "or whatever." Stacey, Dr. Dale, thank you both.
Now, to astounding twist and turns in a gut wrenching case that terrified young women everywhere. It has been three years since the murder of the beautiful 24-year-old grad student, Imette St. Guillen. She was brutally raped, tortured and suffocated after a night of drinking and New York City bar-hopping. Bone chilling details of what happened to Imette on that cold February night back in 2006 now coming to light in the courtroom.
That`s where 44-year-old Darryl Littlejohn is on trial accused of Imette`s sadistic murder. Littlejohn who has a rap sheet a mile long dating back to when he was 12 was the bouncer on duty at the bar where Imette was last seen. Witnesses say he escorted her out when the bar closed.
When cops found Imette`s naked body by the side of the road, they discovered a sock in her mouth, packing tape over her nose, her hair had been chopped off. And she had been bound with plastic ties -- a sick, sick, sick, sick murder.
Meantime, there is the eerie connection between that now shuttered bar that she left at 4:00 in the morning called "The Falls" and another infamous New York watering hole, the one where preppy killer Robert Chambers met his victim. It all came out in court today.
So will this weird link to a very famous case from 23 years ago, you`ve got to remember the preppy killer case, will that factor into the jury`s deliberations.
Straight to my amazing panel: still with me Paul Callan, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor; and joining me, Thomas Ruskin, former NYPD investigator; as well as Scott Shifrel, a court reporter with the "New York Daily News."
Scott, what evidence do prosecutors say they have that links this former bouncer Darryl Littlejohn to this sadistic killing?
SCOTT SHIFREL, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: They have a lot of DNA evidence that they found at the scene where the body was dumped in Brooklyn. They also have cell phone tower transmissions that show they say that Littlejohn was at the scene shortly before the body was found.
They have two victims in Queens that are going to testify, or expected to testify, who -- one who Littlejohn was actually convicted of abducting. And a second one that they believe was raped by Littlejohn.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Earlier today, Littlejohn`s defense cross-examined a key witness, Dan Dorrian, the manager of the bar where Imette was drinking that night. The defense wants jurors to believe Dorrian had a role in the murder and then tried to pin in on their client.
He of course, denies all those assertions, but this manager Dan Dorrian did admit on the stand to misleading cops when they questioned him shortly after the crime. And the reason he says he was afraid of bad publicity because of what happened to his dad.
Now, follow closely here. Dan Dorrian`s dad, is the owner of another New York night spot called Dorrian`s Red Hand, a very famous place, 23 years ago. The Upper East Side pub was the site of a fateful encounter between 20-year-old Robert Chambers and his victim, Jennifer Levin.
The clean-cut Chambers who you see there and there is Levin as well, came to be known as the "Preppy Killer." He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the strangulation death of this beautiful young woman there, 18-year-old Jennifer Levin in Central Park, a very famous case.
Dan Dorrian said he didn`t want to get involved in this crime, because oh, it reminded him of all the bad memories he had of his father`s ordeal with the "Preppy Killer" case.
Is that, Paul Callan, a legitimate explanation, or could and should he face charges related to lying to investigators?
PAUL CALLAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, no, I think it`s a legitimate explanation. He basically said I didn`t tell cops the whole story because of the embarrassment that the first case had caused. And now the defense, Joyce David, his defense attorney is trying to say, "Whoa, this is part of a conspiracy by the New York City Police Department to frame my client for murder." And she`s implying that Dorrian is the murder in the case.
Boy, that`s going way out on a limb to try to prove a defense of the case. And I`m a little skeptical about the ability to prevail on that theory.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, Thomas Ruskin, its one thing to defend your client and say he`s not guilty and it`s another thing to point the finger at somebody else. Kind of reminds me of the Casey Anthony case with "Zanny the nanny."
Is it crossing the line to do something like that, to point to the manager and say, he did it?
THOMAS RUSKIN, FORMER NYPD INVESTIGATOR: Well, it`s not crossing the line; it`s what criminal defense attorneys and defendants do every single day. What we`re forgetting here is the New York City Police Department were investigating a second homicide in the Dorrian bar.
And when they went to speak to Danny Dorrian, who was the manager of that bar, he lied to them. And he deceived the cops saying and using this crap excuse that he really just didn`t want to be dragged into it. He had mental anguish over the past homicide that happened right after they left one of his other bars.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: He was probably very young when all that happened. He doesn`t look like a very old guy. So 23 years ago, who knows how old he was.
RUSKIN: He was a kid.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: He was a kid.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Darryl Littlejohn was on parole during the time he held down the job as bouncer at The Falls bar. That turned out to be a violation of his curfew. It was also a very lucky break for cops because they were able to arrest him on those grounds after he was allegedly linked to Imette`s murder through DNA and other evidence.
You know this, of course, begs the question, what was he doing working in a quote, "security" position if he had a criminal past?
Now, Scott Shifrel, you`re the "New York Daily News" reporter, apparently no background checks were required at the time. But, you know, people are saying, had the bar done an investigation, they would have learned Littlejohn has been a career criminal since the age of 12. He spent 20 of the last 27 years in prison on ten separate convictions.
SHIFREL: Not only that, they didn`t even know his name, they called him D. Some guy named Tony got him for Dorrian, he said on the stand. So...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Didn`t he pretend to be some kind of marshal, this guy, this defendant? Didn`t he run around with handcuffs and say, hey, I`m a marshal? And make up all sorts of stories?
SHIFREL: He often dressed like a cop. And actually, that`s one of the things that the prosecutors think link him to the Queens cases. When he abducted the one girl and allegedly raped and abducted the other one. He pretended he was a cop. He had cuff links -- excuse me, handcuffs.
SHIFREL: And he said he was...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let me say one thing. Anybody who says that this girl should not be out drinking at 4:00 in the morning, that`s nonsense. Let`s not blame the victim.
SHIFREL: Right. And Jane, a little...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Only frat boys have the right to make mistakes?
That`s crazy, thank you, excellent panel, we`re out of time. But come back soon, Paul Callan we love you.
Amanda Knox sex-game murder trial takes a strange turn as if it weren`t strange enough already.
And Anna Nicole Smith`s former boyfriend dragged in front of a judge on charges he supplied the starlet with drugs. Do you think this will reopen the case of Anna Nicole`s death?
Give me a holler, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, I want to hear you, sound-off next.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Anna Nicole Smith`s former boyfriend faces off with a judge today. I will have the details.
But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.
A stunning development in the Amanda Knox murder trial that could really shake things up. Knox is on trial in Italy -- she`s an American girl -- for allegedly killing her roommate in what prosecutors call a drug- fueled sex game.
But apparently we can add into the mix a dose of official corruption. Get this, this is wild. The chief prosecutor has been accused of wiretapping reporters in a different murder case. So he`s charged with abuse of power, obstructing justice, and illegal wiretapping.
The verdict in that case expected in three weeks. If convicted, that prosecutor could face ten months behind bars. Meantime, though, he`s been allowed to continue prosecuting the Amanda Knox case.
So could Knox use this as a basis for an appeal? This case just gets weirder and weirder. So, of course, we`re going to stay right on top of it.
That`s tonight`s "Top of the Block."
Courtroom drama erupted today in the conspiracy case against Anna Nicole Smith`s former boyfriend, lawyer and handler, Howard K. Stern. Striding into court today, Stern faced down drug conspiracy charges. Prosecutors allege Stern, along with two of Anna Nicole`s doctors, provided drugs to the former Playmate, a known addict. Smith later died of what was ruled an accidental overdose. When asked if his plea was not guilty, his lawyer stepped up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, your honor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: California`s attorney general claims Stern, all with the two doctors concocted an elaborate plan using fake names to furnish the former Playboy playmate with thousands -- we`re talking thousands -- of pills. Authorities charge Smith was drugged to the point of stupefaction. Stern`s lawyers call the charge baseless.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE SADOW, HOWARD K. STERN`S ATTORNEY: Every one of the people in this case contends there was no crime because in fact, there was no crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But let`s not forget, there`s this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNA NICOLE SMITH, REALITY TV STAR: Huh? Huh?
HOWARD K. STERN, ANNA NICOLE SMITH`S BOYFRIEND: Is this a mushroom trip?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: "Is this a mushroom trip?" And she didn`t have the answer to that question. That`s Howard K. Stern behind the camera. And that`s a zonked-out Anna Nicole Smith.
After her death, Florida investigators found 11 different prescriptions in her hotel room; eight reportedly in Stern`s name. Toxicology tests revealed three anti-depressant drugs, a human growth hormone, and chloral hydrate, a very powerful sleep medication -- knocks you out. Is that why Stern and the two doctors were asked today in court to provide a handwriting sample?
Joining me, once again, he`s back, the one and only Paul Callan, criminal defense attorney and Dr. Michael Stein, addiction specialist who runs Brown University`s Addiction Research Unit and author of "The Addict: One Patient, One Doctor, One Year," and one of our favorites, Kim Serafin, senior editor of "In Touch Weekly."
Kim, dare we ask what is the very latest in this case?
KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": Well, what we know is they all pled, all three pled not guilty today. And as you showed, Howard K. Stern`s lawyer is really saying, look, there is no crime. Howard will not be convicted of a crime because there`s no crime. He didn`t write prescriptions. He`s not a doctor. These charges are baseless against him. He`s not going to take any plea deal because he didn`t do anything.
And I think what the interesting charge is that now he`s going after Jerry Brown, the California`s attorney general, saying, look, the only reason he`s doing this is because he wants to be governor. I don`t know how well that`s going to play with people.
The reason "In Touch" has been covering this story for years, the reason so many outlets have been covering this story for years is not because Jerry Brown wants to be governor.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, exactly.
It`s because Anna Nicole Smith is absolutely fascinating. And we can never get enough of her because they broke the mold when they created Anna Nicole Smith; truly an amazing, amazing character in so many ways.
Florida investigators found 11 different prescriptions in Smith`s hotel room. Eight -- 8 of them allegedly in Howard K. Stern`s name. Her estranged dad told E! he blames Stern for her death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD HOGAN, ANNA NICOLE SMITH`S FATHER: I blame him for bringing her the stuff, for not helping her get off of it. And in my book, if someone ODs and you bring them the drugs, aren`t you liable?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Dr. Stein, what about the defense argument Anna Nicole Smith was an adult capable of making her own decisions. Nobody told her what to do. Where does personal responsibility end and criminality begins when it comes to furnishing somebody with prescription drugs?
DR. MICHAEL STEIN, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: I don`t know the details of Anna`s medical history or her motivations. But certainly who`s taking a large number of medications, they`re prescribed to other people, and certainly by multiple doctors, there`s a problem. It raises the larger problem of prescription drug abuse that is now an epidemic in America.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you there. There are so many people popping so many pills. And as a recovering alcoholic myself, I can tell you very clearly, if you are taking a mood-altering prescription drug more than what the doctor recommends and for an illegitimate reason you may be just as much a crack addict as the crack addict down the road.
Let me ask you this question -- go ahead, doctor.
STEIN: Yes. Just to back you up on this, you know, Vicodin, which is a common painkiller that`s prescribed by doctors, is the most commonly prescribed drug in America at this point. And so there are 11 million people in the last year who have used it for recreational purposes. That`s 15 percent of our 12th-graders. So this drug is out in the circulation of our country.
And that`s just one drug. All of its pain killing relatives and many of the sleep medicines as well that are addictive are part of a very, very dangerous and lethal brew.
PAUL CALLAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, of course, Jane, in this case we have a death that was clearly caused by the use of these drugs. And I think when you look at Howard K. Stern`s involvement, if his name is written on these prescriptions and he was supplying all of these pills for her...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got it. We`re going to be back in a second to finish that sentence.
Stick right there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADOW: What I said -- and I`ll say it every time I`m here -- is Howard K. Stern didn`t commit a criminal act, period, under any set of circumstances.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Howard K. Stern and the two doctors pleaded not guilty today to charges of furnishing Anna Nicole Smith with drugs unlawfully. They have not been charged in connection with the former playmate`s death.
Here`s what cops said in 2007. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF CHARLIE TIGER, SEMINOLE POLICE DEPARTMENT: Based on extensive review of the evidence that this case is an accidental overdose with no other criminal element present.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Paul Callan, Broward County, Florida state`s attorney`s office, says it`s looking at all the evidence California authorities are collecting, looking into the possibility of filing criminal charges in Smith`s case. What are possible scenarios?
CALLAN: Oh, this is a very dangerous situation for Howard K. Stern and for the other doctors involved because if they`re found guilty in California of prescribing and conspiring to prescribe these drugs and these were the drugs which she took which killed her that can create a situation where you have a reckless manslaughter. And you know, the statute of limitations is not gone yet. And clearly, Howard Stern, knowing her tendency to abuse drugs, was in a position to know how dangerous it was to give her these drugs. So I think he`s got -- he`s in a tough spot.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but I had so many problems with some of this stuff. I just want to get to the calls.
Kim -- Susan in Missouri, your question or thought, ma`am.
SUSAN, MISSOURI (via telephone): Hi, Jane.
SUSAN: as a recovering addict myself I know that Anna Nicole...
SUSAN: ...would have gotten drugs wherever she had to with or without Howard. I think he`s been getting a bum rap from the start and he`s lost enough: Anna, Daniel, and Dannielynn. I think we need to give the guy a break.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kim Serafin, what about that? If you take a look at her TV show, her reality show, it was all about her, let`s face it, being kind of kooky and zonked out and acting maybe a little intoxicated. That was part of her shtick, was it not?
SERAFIN: I think it was. But I think going back to that clip that you played at the beginning of the segment where she was in that clown makeup that so many people have seen, that does not look like her shtick. That looks like she`s out of control. And I think that`s what remains in people`s minds. And how many times like that were there out there that we didn`t see on videotape?
And I think that that`s sort of where Howard Stern has come into this, people thinking that he`s been an enabler. Where, also as you mentioned, we`re talking about thousands of prescriptions, not just one or two here and there -- thousands over the years. And he was really the one that was closest to her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to admit, Dr. Stein, you are 100 percent right. It`s a huge problem in America. We need to look at it.
Thank you, fabulous panel.
Got a question or comment, cnn.com/Jane. You`re watching ISSUES.