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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
DNA Confirms Remains are Missing Girl, 5; LAPD Detective Charged with Murder
Aired June 9, 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 the cement-encased remains of a young girl are those of little Nevaeh Buchanan. Could a beer can reportedly found in the shallow grave lead cops to the monster responsible?
Meantime, a mother in the hot seat. Jennifer Buchanan confronted about her bad judgment in allowing convicted sex offenders into her 5-year- old daughter, Nevaeh`s, life.
Then, another intense clash over the infamous Casey Anthony`s jailhouse meltdown tape. Casey`s defense tries to delay the judge`s ruling on that video, claiming they need time to investigate leaks. But are they just buying time for Casey`s new powerhouse death-penalty attorney to get caught up on the case?
And heartbreaking news in the search for little Haleigh Cummings. Mom Crystal closes down the Haleigh "Bug" search headquarters. Does this mean the family has lost hope?
Then, cops say one of their own female officers is the cold-blooded killer in an unsolved case. L.A. detective Stephanie Lazarus charged with murdering the wife of her ex-boyfriend way back in 1986. Investigators finally got a break, matching DNA from bite marks on the victim to Lazarus. How did she outsmart her fellow cops for two decades?
Plus, police in Thailand hunt for clues in the mysterious sex death of David Carradine, but his ex-wife comes forward with disturbing details of a sex-fueled star obsessed with bondage. Don`t miss this outrageous story.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news tonight, as our worst fears are realized. It is Nevaeh Buchanan. DNA confirms that the badly-decomposed remains of a small child found buried in a shallow grave, covered with cement, along the banks of a Detroit river last week are those of the missing 5-year-old girl.
Now the investigation turns to hunting down the monster, the cretin who did this to little Nevaeh. Tonight, a new and possibly critical piece of evidence that surfaced, reports that a beer can found in that shallow grave, along with the child`s remains, is being tested -- tested for saliva, tested for fingerprints, tested for DNA. Beer and cement, what kind of profile emerges from those facts about this killer?
What does all of this now mean for Jennifer Buchanan, Nevaeh`s mother? Will she face more tough questions like she did last night on "Nancy Grace?"
Here is part of that interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GRACE, CNNHN ANCHOR: You said 6:30. And then 30 minutes later, that puts it at 7. Isn`t that correct? You still haven`t seen your daughter. The daughter is gone. You said it gets dark around 8 or 9, yes? No?
JENNIFER BUCHANAN, MOTHER OF NEVAEH: Nine, 9:30.
GRACE: Oh. So now it doesn`t get dark until almost 10 p.m. That`s not true.
So your child is out. It`s been 30 minutes since you last saw her. Did you think, "Maybe I should check on my preschooler? See if she`s dead or alive?" I mean, did that cross your mind?
BUCHANAN: Uh, no, because I knew that she was upstairs at her friend`s house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tough but necessary questions. Jennifer Buchanan has been questioned about that timeline by the media, the police, and the FBI. Here is what she told two local Detroit radio hosts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You met with the police and FBI at least five or six times. I know one interview lasted about five hours. Do you feel like a suspect?
J. BUCHANAN: All my interviews -- all my interviews last about that long. My very last one lasted seven hours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel like a suspect?
J. BUCHANAN: No, no, because I know I`m completely innocent. I know I had nothing to do with my daughter`s disappearance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meantime, two of Jennifer`s pals, both convicted sex offenders, both persons of interest in this case, have now been thrown in the slammer. Cops say they violated the terms of their parole by being in contact with Jennifer`s daughter, who is now dead.
So many fast-breaking, gut-wrenching developments. Straight out to my expert panel: Judge Karen Mills Francis, host of "Judge Karen" and former Miami-Dade County Court Judge; Dr. Judy Kuriansky, Dr. Judy, noted clinical psychologist; Bradford Cohen, criminal defense attorney; Drew Findling, Atlanta criminal defense attorney; and Dave Murray, special assignments editor at the "Toledo Blade," who joins me by phone.
Dave, you`ve been tracking this case. Dare I ask, what is the very latest?
DAVE MURRAY, SPECIAL ASSIGNMENTS EDITOR, "TOLEDO BLADE": The very latest that you reported, and that is that they`ve identified the body as that of Nevaeh. And the community is -- even though they knew that this is probably the case, the community is shocked. We have reporters and photographers up there with the family, and they`re having a very difficult time with this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I think we all are. People don`t realize that it`s not just the community and the family. It`s the police. They have their own kid. Those people right there near the river, collecting evidence. They have children. They`re feeling it. The reporters are feeling it.
Everybody is devastated when you get the news and you know for sure that that beautiful child, whose face we`ve been seeing on television for weeks now, is dead.
Nevaeh`s uncle, Michael, reacted to the heartbreaking news about the DNA match just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BUCHANAN, UNCLE OF NEVAEH: So a lot of -- a lot of sadness inside, but at the same time I`m happy for all the help our family`s got, so I just wanted to let everyone know, thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Judy Kuriansky, how could anybody even attempt to find closure, the family, the community, when there could be a killer out on the loose in that community?
DR. JUDY KURIANSKY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: No question about that, Jane. When somebody is on the loose who has done such a heinous crime, murdering a child, covering it in cement, throwing in a beer can, you`ve petrified the entire community for what can happen to their kids. And you also have alerted them and alerted all mothers and fathers to what can happen to their children. There`s been a rage of these case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Judy, what do you make of the cement and the beer? Because I know you are amazing at psychological analysis. When you see those two pieces of the puzzle, what does it tell you about this killer?
KURIANSKY: Well, it tells me for sure that these are men who have absolutely no concern for human life, that they are extremely callous, that they are very crude, also, as human beings with no respect, and disrespect for anyone at any age. Frightening, too.
And I am concerned that it`s a really -- we`ve heard about cases where the -- the children are put in suit cases, which are available to people and water coolers, as we`ve heard cases about this. This is cement. So it shows something. There`s construction in the history there and there`s also, potentially, some kind of crook. The mafia does these kinds of things. These are what you psychologically look for.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The first thing I thought of when I heard the beer can is alcoholic.
KURIANSKY: An alcoholic, exactly.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That the remains have been positively identified as Nevaeh. Investigators have to determine a cause of death. That may prove difficult to impossible. There were reportedly no outward signs of trauma.
If Nevaeh was buried for almost two weeks in hot weather, evidence showing signs of drowning or strangulation could be gone.
Drew Findling, criminal defense attorney, you have covered so many of these cases. What are we going to do about finding cause of death with this badly-decomposed body?
DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, obviously, they have preserved the integrity of that crime scene to the best possible degree they can. We know that they have employed the use of the FBI in this case. So they have, from a forensics standpoint, they have the options of going local or they have the options of going federal in terms of an autopsy.
I would not be surprised to see them do everything possible. Again, we`ve seen, Jane, that there was a very quick DNA response, and I know on this show before, you questioned in other cases why it takes so long. But we`re now seeing that locals are not hesitating to draw on federal and bigger agencies to help them get a quick turnaround. And there`s a great lesson to be learned, and I think we`re going to see that in the autopsy, as well.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, you`re absolutely right. We thought it was going to be weeks, but it was just days. Now, of course, let`s go to the two persons of interest in this case, two paroled sex offenders who were initially named persons of interest in the case, back in the slammer, both.
Roy Smith and George Kennedy, both pals of Nevaeh`s mom, admitted that they violated their parole by having contact with Jennifer`s 5-year-old daughter Nevaeh, the child who is now, tragically, dead. Both will now finish their original sentences.
Now get this, people. For Smith, that means he could spend an additional 35 years in prison. And for Kennedy, it could mean he will spend possibly 13 more years in prison.
Now, listen to what Jennifer, the mom, said about Kennedy on Detroit`s Channel 955 radio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J. BUCHANAN: I`m pretty sure that probably someone associated with George or his girlfriend or a few other -- I don`t know. I don`t know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would they -- why would they want to hurt Nevaeh or take Nevaeh?
J. BUCHANAN: I don`t know. That`s a question only that -- who did it can answer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would they do it because they wanted to get back at him for something?
J. BUCHANAN: Maybe. Or maybe George might have owed someone money. I don`t know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that something you know about?
J. BUCHANAN: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Her doubts, Judge Karen Mills, come a little too late.
Last night, even, on "NANCY GRACE," she was saying everyone deserves a second chance. You don`t give convicted sex offenders a second chance by putting them with your child. You don`t give an alcoholic a second chance by putting a bottle of vodka in front of them.
In fact, if these guys had nothing to do with the murder of Nevaeh, she`s also destroyed their lives. They`re going back to the slammer for years.
JUDGE KAREN MILLS FRANCIS, "JUDGE KAREN": You know when this child was first reported missing, what she said to the press was that George Kennedy was like a father to this child.
Now she`s been backpedaling and she`s saying, "Oh, no, he was never with her by himself. As a matter of fact, any time he came over to visit, I would meet him outside and leave Nevaeh in the house."
And you know, I just heard today on the radio that the child`s name, Nevaeh, is heaven backwards.
FRANCIS: And now she`s in heaven. And I think it`s atrocious. And when she says that probably somebody associated with George had something to do with it and he owed somebody? Why would somebody take revenge against this little girl?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the question. We will analyze more of this shocking tragedy on the way. Does Jennifer Buchanan bear blame for putting Nevaeh in harm`s way? Give me a call: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Let me know.
Then, in the wake of David Carradine`s bizarre death, more outrageous claims emerge about the star`s dangerous obsession with bondage.
But first, cops hunting for the killer of little Nevaeh Buchanan. A community torn apart, demanding answers. Here is the man who discovered her body last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUY BICKLEY, FOUND CHILD`S REMAINS: Pure evil. That`s not even mean. That`s not even (UNINTELLIGIBLE). That`s not even a psycho. That`s literally pure evil. A little kid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. DALE HAYFORD, BUCHANAN FAMILY PASTOR: We`ve got the hurt (ph) and just now have to deal with it. We have to lean on each other and lean upon God.
It hurts for everybody. It hurts for the nation. This is not fair. It should have never happened. It hurts for this community who cared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what closure can we have when a killer is still out there and has not been identified? Heartbreaking developments in the case of Nevaeh Buchanan tonight. The buried remains have been determined to be that of the beautiful little child you are looking at right there, holding her diploma. It`s just absolutely nauseating. That little child you`re looking at right there is dead, the victim of murder.
Phone lines lighting up.
Debbie, California, your question or thought, ma`am.
CALLER: Hi, Jane. Thank you for taking my call.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thanks for calling.
CALLER: I have a comment, and then I have a question.
CALLER: My comment is that these animals...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t call them animals. Listen. Everybody calls them animals. Animals don`t abduct and kill and pour cement. Animals are innocent. Let`s call them monsters. Let`s call them cretins.
CALLER: OK, there you go. They`re just -- they`re beyond humans. And they prey, and molest, and kill our children. And they get slaps on the wrist. They are put back on the streets. And they`re out there to still prey on our children.
And I -- my question would be is where is our politicians and our lawmakers to change laws to where these men or women when they get a first offense, one shot only? They should get life in prison when they molest a child. If they murder that child it should be an automatic death penalty.
KURIANSKY: Well, Debbie`s bringing up an interesting point here because from a psychological point of view, it is very difficult to reform child abusers. It is a really hard thing to do. And so I understand and can empathize with her saying that there needs to be some really strict treatment of these people, and psychologically it`s hard to change them.
BRADFORD COHEN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: But there is -- but in the state of Florida there is the Jimmy Rice -- the Jimmy Rice Act. And essentially what that says is that, even when an individual is done finishing his sentence on a crime, a sexually-motivated crime, they could be held longer than that if they determine that he`s still a threat to society and a threat to children.
So there are some laws that are enacted that do help these victims in this situation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: George Kennedy was convicted of forcibly having sex with a teenager when he was 28 years old. He got a sentence of 2 to 15 years. He served only 13 months, and he was released in April 2003.
COHEN: Well, but...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Roy Smith was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual assault after a woman claimed he raped her twice in 1991. He was sentenced as a habitual offender and was ordered to serve 15 to 50 years in prison. He was let out in February 2008. Just February 2008. This occurs less than a year later.
FRANCIS: We can have laws, and we can talk about the legislators and the politicians, but when are parents also responsible here?
In this particular case, this woman knew that a boyfriend and two of his friends were sexual offenders. Even if she didn`t know that, she`s also got a 5-year-old girl in an apartment complex with 180 other apartments, riding her bicycle along the road, and it`s dark outside. Where`s the parental responsibility?
DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: e don`t know -- you know what? We do not need -- we do not need to be questioning this mother right now. Find that offensive. I find putting her on TV and pounding her with questions...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s putting herself on TV.
FINDLING: She is a -- she is a mother, and she is being taken advantage.
COHEN: We don`t know what her involvement is yet. I take exception to that. Who can sit and second-guess this...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: At the very least it`s bad judgment, and that`s why she`s being questioned.
COHEN: Well, absolutely. Bad judgment.
FRANCIS: She was not the custodian of this child. Her mother was the legal custodian of this child, because guess what? She had served two years for home invasion/robbery, and she had just gotten out of jail two or three months ago.
COHEN: ... anyway, because we have the psychologist saying earlier this man -- we don`t even know a man did it. Did we not learn in California it wasn`t a man there?
And as far as politicians -- as far as politicians, it`s interesting he says that because we don`t know what the mother -- what the mother`s involvement is in this. So to not attack her, to say, OK, let`s just have her take a walk, we`ve already seen that she showed bad judgment. Where does it go after that? I think the mother is someone that you need to look at. You always start closest to the family and move out.
FRANCIS: This is not 1950. This is not 1950. We`re real used to it now, seeing when something happens to a child, it`s usually a parent or a boyfriend real close behind that child.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sometimes it is a stranger abduction. We had the Couey case and we had other cases where it was a pedophile who lived in the area who took the child. We don`t know at this point.
But I will say this is a cautionary tale. And we have to be careful. These children are precious. They`re fragile. Anything can happen to them at any time. We can never let our eyes off our children.
FRANCIS: Thank you, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to thank my excellent. For the very latest developments in this story, be sure to catch "NANCY GRACE." She`s up next at 8 p.m. Eastern.
And here on ISSUES, a veteran LAPD detective charged with viciously biting, beating and shooting to death the wife of her ex-boyfriend more than 20 years ago. How did this femme fatale allegedly outsmart her fellow cops for two decades?
Then David Carradine`s ex-wife comes forward with shocking details about the star`s obsession with bondage games. You will not believe it until you hear it. It us truly an amazing story, and we`re going to hear from one of his former wives.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, a cold case cracked wide open as an LAPD detective is charged with murder. That`s right, an LAPD detective.
Twenty-three years after a brutal slaying, veteran detective Stephanie Lazarus in court today to face down the charge of murder for allegedly killing her ex-boyfriend`s wife way back in 1986. Sherri Rasmussen was brutally beaten, repeatedly bitten, and shot multiple times in her home more than two decades ago. Cops finally got a break, matching DNA from bite marks on the victim to Detective Lazarus.
The victim`s dad, who long believed this veteran cop was his daughter`s killer, spoke out today through his attorney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN TAYLOR, ATTORNEY FOR VICTIM`S FAMILY: The family would like a formal inquiry to go forward that looks at the activities and the investigation that was done by the LAPD during that time frame.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A nice way of saying, "Why didn`t they do this a long time ago?"
Sherri`s father claims Detective Lazarus threatened his daughter shortly before her murder. Cops were reportedly dismissive of the dad`s demands to have that female detective investigated.
So was this a cover-up to protect a fellow cop, or did Detective Lazarus simply outfox her fellow cops?
With me, Claudia Peschuitta, reporter for KNX 1070-AM. Claudia, what is the very latest?
CLAUDIA PESCHUITTA, REPORTER, KNX 1070-AM: Well, as you mentioned, LAPD detective Stephanie Lazarus made her first appearance in this case today, this morning. Her arraignment was actually postponed, so we don`t know how she`s going to plead. Her attorney made no comment outside of court. So she`ll be back in July for a chance to answer to these charges.
It was very bizarre to see an LAPD detective in orange jail garb, shackled at the waist. And she said very little, actually, during the hearing.
Also at the hearing were the parents of the victim, Sherri Rasmussen, who was found beaten and shot in the San Fernando Valley condo that she shared with her husband, John Ruetten, back in 1986.
Now, this is a very interesting case, because around the time of the murder, a couple of burglars struck in the area, male burglars. And at the time, police pursued the theory that Rasmussen had been the victim of a botched burglary. The case went cold. Nothing happened for years.
Now that murders are down in Los Angeles, detectives are going back and reviewing these old, unsolved cases. They reopened the Rasmussen case earlier this year and found they had DNA evidence from the crime scene.
When they tested that evidence, it turned out that it came back for a match for a woman, and that`s when they started looking for potential female suspects. Eventually, they focusing in on Detective Lazarus, who at one point had dated Ruetten, the victim`s husband.
And according to police sources quoted in "The L.A. Times," an undercover officer actually trailed Lazarus and found a discarded plastic utensil or some other similar item so that they were able to get saliva off of it. And according to police, they got a match from that DNA to the DNA found at the crime scene.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow, that is fascinating. And I understand that the family says that, truly before their loved one was killed, she approached, allegedly, and said, "If I can`t have John, nobody can."
PESCHUITTA: Yes. Attorney John Taylor, who`s representing the parents of the victim, Sherri Rasmussen, says that they gave investigators information early on indicating that Lazarus might be a suspect in this case. Not giving a name, but...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to have to leave it right there. But great reporting. Thank you. Come back soon.
Casey Anthony craziness, next.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Heartbreaking news in the search for little Haleigh Cummings: mom Crystal closes down the Haleigh-bug search headquarters. Does this mean the family has lost hope?
Plus police in Thailand hunt for clues in the mysterious sex death of David Carradine but his ex-wife comes forward with disturbing details of a sex-fueled star obsessed with bondage.
Shocking developments tonight in the bizarre death of legendary actor David Carradine: did his strange sexual appetite lead to his untimely death? I will speak to one of his ex-wives in moments. You do not want to miss that interview.
But first, just when we have thought we have seen everything, and I mean everything, in the Casey Anthony case, guess what? We haven`t. We can now add a car chase to the mix. A shocking 911 call have released of two local woman who claims Cindy and George Anthony chased them in their car after a dust-up at little Caylee`s makeshift memorial site.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CALLER: Yes, we`re, I`m turning left on Lee Vista, we`re turning right on Lee Vista Boulevard, we`re being chased by George and Cindy Anthony.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We will play more of that bizarre and intense 911 call in just a moment. Also Casey`s defense team unveils a new strategy, to block the release of that potentially damning video of Casey Anthony.
The video reportedly shows the accused murder melting down in jail, rocking back and forth and hyperventilating after learning a child`s remains were found near her home, but before anybody knew those bones belonged to her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. A witness describes Casey`s emotional and panic breakdown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. TAMMY UNCER, ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: She collapsed into the chair and started to -- what appeared to be hyperventilating. She lost her breath -- we told her a couple of times take some deep breaths. She was -- got really shallow breathing. Her hands started to sweat; she started rubbing them profusely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Casey`s attorneys are lashing out at jail officials saying they set Casey up in order to get a sensational video.
Meantime, you know all those stories where we say all the time sources say, sources say, sources say? Well now the defense claims prosecutors keep leaking damaging tidbits to make Casey Anthony look bad. They`re arguing that means she cannot get a fair trial and they vow to find out who is planting those leaks with the media.
Straight to my fantastic expert panel: Drew Findling, Atlanta criminal defense attorney; plus Terence Lenamon, a former attorney for Casey Anthony who argued against the death penalty for Casey Anthony; Karen Mills- Francis, host of "Judge Karen" and retired Miami-Dade County court Judge.
Judge Karen, we`ve got to start with you. Casey`s defense now wants a delay of two more months before the judge decides on whether to release Casey`s jailhouse meltdown video.
JUDGE KAREN MILLS-FRANCIS, HOST, "JUDGE KAREN": So what is this about?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So the defense can investigate media leaks.
Now, I have to say frankly I am sick and tired of talking about this video that we still haven`t gotten a chance to see. Both sides keep arguing about it and delaying. You`re a judge. Why doesn`t a judge just issue a ruling already?
MILLS-FRANCIS: Remember what happened? March 4th, Baez asked the judge, please don`t release the video yet. I haven`t had a chance to take a look at it. It takes him a week to go pick up the video.
Then he says, "Well, judge, I think it would be -- it wouldn`t be right. It would be inhumane and cruel for the public to ever see this video." I don`t know what the strategy is but before I was a judge I was a criminal defense lawyer. And if I knew that there was evidence and when my client heard that some bones were found of her missing child and she broke into tears and was hysterical, I don`t want a jury to see that. Don`t you think if she sat there stone-faced -- that the prosecutor...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, consciousness of guilt, Judge, because nobody knew that those were the bones of Casey`s...
MILLS-FRANCIS: No, this was -- listen, it`s on the same block where I live. I`m looking for my child -- I`ve been looking for my child. One block away from where I lived, you found the bones of a small child.
The first thing I`m going to think is oh, my God, maybe this is her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
MILLS-FRANCIS: I don`t think there`s anything unusual about it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, you know what? I got this from one of your former producers, Judge Karen...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: They saw me using my mirror and they sent me this. They said this is used to be Judge Karen`s. I consider it a very, very lucky gavel.
MILLS-FRANCIS: Are you using it against me already?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, of course, of course.
Terence Lenamon, you were Casey Anthony`s death penalty attorney, there`s a lot of people who think this is all just a delay strategy so that the new death penalty attorney, Andrea Lyon, can get up to speed on the case and they just keep stringing along so that this case can start in 2012 or 2013.
TERENCE LENAMON, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR CASEY ANTHONY: Well, I think there are a couple of things going on that no one is looking at really. Number one, one of the things that`s going on here is that Ms. Lyon is now in control of the case. And she has to get a working knowledge of the case and by doing that she`s got -- I mean, I think there was 10,000-plus pages of discovery released in the first year, so she`s got a lot of catching up to do.
Number two what`s going on is that she`s an excellent trial lawyer. She`s also an excellent appellate lawyer. And I think what she`s going to do is she`s going to give this judge an opportunity to either correct some mistakes she`s already made or take a hard look at what she`s going to do.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And by the way, that`s her on the right in the dark hair. Linda Kenny-Baden is the blond on the left behind Baez and the woman -- Baez, move your head a little bit so we can see that lady.
Anyway, she is there she is. You can see her right -- there she is walking out right there. We`re talking about Andrea Lyon, a high-powered death penalty lawyer who has never lost a case in terms of having anybody go to the death penalty.
LENAMON: I think what she`s going to do is she`s going to give the judge an opportunity to correct some mistakes she`s already made. And I think that this video objection is more geared towards the change of venue than actually the video itself. Because the judge releases this and he`s playing into the hand that they`re going to argue that the state`s playing into and that`s release, release, release, where she is going to try to put a stifle on the judge.
And there`s an old saying that Judge Francis knows -- that Mills- Francis knows more than anything and I (INAUDIBLE) in front of her and that is that a good lawyer makes a good judge.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Drew Findling, just thoughts on this whole delay.
DREW FINDLING, ATLANTA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think Terence is spot on. All she has to do -- and I know Terence will agree with this -- is just say, "Judge, this is now a death penalty case."
FINDLING: "We didn`t ask for a late notice in the death penalty. I need the following time to catch up." And the judge will give her as much time as she needs. However, she`s being smart by using it on other issues.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, speaking of time we`re out of it -- panel, thank you so much.
Heartbreaking, frustrating developments tonight in the desperate search for the 5-year-old Florida girl Haleigh Cummings.
The Haleigh Bug Center -- the headquarters dedicated to finding that little girl painted purple after her favorite color -- you`ll see it there in just a second, close up; there it is, purple -- has just been shut down by Haleigh`s mom.
Crystal Sheffield said she closed it because she`s been ill, suffering several seizures every since her young daughter disappeared. That is certainly understandable; that woman has been through hell.
Haleigh vanished four months ago from her father`s double-wide trailer. The case has garnered national attention but sadly none of that national attention has really helped. It hasn`t led to finding little Haleigh.
Is this case going cold?
Straight to: Bradford Cohen, criminal defense attorney and Kim Picazio, the lawyer for Haleigh Cummings` mom, Crystal Sheffield.
Kim, we just heard a very disturbing report that cops admit they still have not analyzed all the evidence they`ve gotten in little Haleigh`s disappearance. Why the heck not?
It`s has been four months since she went missing. I find that to be extremely disturbing. And what`s your take on it?
KIM PICAZIO, LAWYER FOR CRYSTAL SHEFFIELD: Well, my take is that -- all right, we can`t know exactly what evidence they`re talking about. It could have been evidence that -- was on the back burner that they had other priorities to go through first. And I will say that I was optimistic that they did have a roundtable discussion.
They brought in all of the major law enforcement authorities to re- look at the evidence, to re-strategize and to get a second opinion. I thought it was a great move.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, but why are they admitting that they haven`t analyzed all the evidence? What case could be more important than this?
I mean with all the resources they have, we`ve seen hundreds of people searching, you`d think that they would put out all to stops, and in four months analyze every single last piece of evidence.
BRADFORD COHEN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I have to agree with your other guest. It`s not likely that this evidence was something that they would do right away. We`re talking DNA, things of that nature.
When you`re looking at this case as a whole, you have so many players and everyone`s leading to a dead end. They thought this fiance might have some information that keeping leading to ends. It`s a very difficult case -- so the smartest thing they could have done...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Guess what -- they already got married. She`s not a fiance anymore, they got married.
COHEN: Yes, now they are husband and wife, right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Which of course, a lot of people found it very strange, why would you marry...
COHEN: It was strange...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ...the very young woman who was watching your child when the child disappeared on her watch.
COHEN: Allegedly watching her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, no. She said she was watching her.
PICAZIO: That`s right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, that`s -- that`s the weird thing.
COHEN: Yes, that`s one of the questions.
PICAZIO: That`s what she says.
COHEN: Yes, that`s what she says.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me ask you about that, Kim Picazio.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There are inconsistencies in her story according to all the published reports from police sources, et cetera. Why can`t she offer a straight story about a very contained situation?
She says she was at home in a double-wide trailer watching Haleigh and little Ron Junior and that`s it. So how can you have inconsistencies in a story where the entire play, for example, occurs inside a trailer?
PICAZIO: I cannot even imagine. And I believe that the police and the FDLE have been at a stumbling block because of these inconsistencies. They`ve actually stated that she is the one that is holding up their investigation.
So if we could get down to the bottom of getting the truth from Misty Croslin, who is now Misty Cummings, I think that we could make some headway in this case and we are desperate to make some headway. So we`re hoping that...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`ve got only 15 seconds. What happens with the custody battle over Ron Junior?
PICAZIO: We`re still pending a DCF investigation and actually we`re doing some great co-parenting between counsel, myself and Mr. Cumming`s counsel. We`ve been attempting to get some key new indications between the parties at least through the attorney`s and we`re trying to do right by this other child.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, that`s -- that`s extremely important. And good luck with that.
Kim, Bradford, thank you.
PICAZIO: Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Gorgeous American exchange-student Amanda Knox, known as "Foxy Knoxy", on trial in Italy for the murder of her roommate. Will the accused coed-killer take the stand?
And jaw-dropping new claims emerge about David Carradine`s dangerous sex life. Could these claims of an obsession with bondage affect the investigation into his mysterious death?
Give me a holler at 1-877-JVM-SAYS. What do you think about all this claims? 1-877-586-7297, sound off.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: More allegations emerge about David Carradine`s dangerous sex life. You won`t believe the bizarre details.
But first "Top of the Block" tonight.
Seismic developments in another bizarre sex game gone wrong case: a very pretty coed Amanda Knox on trial in Italy for the gruesome 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher. Meredith`s distraught family took the stand this weekend. They cried, they wept as they recounted their last conversation with their precious daughter. Hours after testifying the victim`s family released a 2007 music video featuring Meredith.
There she is. Eerily this was filmed just weeks before her death. There is the music video. I`m seeing it for the first time right now with you.
Prosecutors originally said Knox and her boyfriend stand Kercher to death during a drug fueled sex game but the coroner now says Kercher died by suffocation. Prosecutors will now use that to prove the death was not an accident.
The trial could get even more dramatic this week in a move that could make or break this case; Amanda Knox reportedly will take the stand. That`s a big deal. Here on ISSUES we will have all the details from her sensational testimony.
That is tonight`s "Top of the Block."
And now, to absolutely astounding new details surrounding the death of "Kung Fu" actor David Carradine and his apparent livelong obsession with sexual bondage. The "Kill Bill" actor`s naked body was found hanging; his hands, neck, and genitals bound by rope in a Bangkok hotel room closet. The sight so terrifying that the maid who found him ran screaming from the room.
Thai cops believe his death may have been a kinky sex game gone horribly wrong -- horribly, horribly wrong. A seemingly solid theory since in the days following his death a parade of Carradine`s exes have come forward to comment on his apparently insatiable appetite for bondage.
In one moment I will speak with Gail Jensen, Carradine`s third wife who was married to the actor for 11 years. She also spoke with RadarOnline where you can see more of their wedding pictures. So what is her take on what some call kinky and perverted, others call magic and premeditation? I will find out.
Meanwhile, autopsy results not due back for weeks yet new details are emerging suggesting that Carradine was tied up with traditional bondage knots. The question remains, was somebody else there that fateful night?
Straight to my expert panel: Judy Kuriansky, Dr. Judy, clinical psychologist and sex expert -- we need you tonight, Judy; Mike Walters, assignment editor for TMZ -- always glad to have you.
But first a very, very special guest, David Carradine`s ex-wife Gail Jensen joins us on the phone. Gail thanks for joining us.
GAIL JENSEN, FORMER WIFE OF DAVID CARRADINE (via telephone): How are you, Jane?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m doing good. How are you doing tonight?
JENSEN: Ok. Just kind of still shocked.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m sure.
JENSEN: And by the way, it was 15 years.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, 15 years you guys were together. I believe, married for about a decade.
Tell us about David Carradine`s obsession with bondage. Give us some examples of how he used to tie himself up at home.
JENSEN: Well, I`ll give you one particular one, and I think it`s been already out. I was working at Universal Studios and it`s pouring rain and he took a yellow, you know, legal pad and drew arrows all the way through the house. It was a giant house. And down the stairs and I opened the editing room and he had himself tied up like Jesus with toys and the whole thing and I just said, "You`ve got to be kidding, David."
So I left him. And my friends were coming over. So I took them down to the editing room and we just all laughed.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you showed your friends?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what was David wearing at the time?
JENSEN: Just his Speedos.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because he liked to wear his Speedos.
JENSEN: He loved to wear Speedos. He wore them everywhere; even riding his horses.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, apparently he would plan this bondage ritual for weeks, go to the hardware store and get materials?
JENSEN: That`s right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell me about that? What kind of materials would you get from the hardware store for bondage?
JENSEN: What I discovered was he got the nylon rope like quarter inch and pulleys so he could pull himself up. And I don`t know how he managed to do it but he wasn`t a genius. And he would just meditate. I really think it was -- for him it was a form of meditation and relaxation, away from stress. I never really considered it like that dangerous. And this is such a shock to me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But it did have a sexual component, let`s be real.
JENSEN: Oh, of course.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell us about that.
JENSEN: I`m sure he was dreaming, having good dreams in his mind.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So in other words he would use this as a form of sexual release.
JENSEN: Exactly, escape, uh-huh. Release.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And as the wife, that didn`t bother you, you figured he`s not cheating on me anyway, right?
JENSEN: Right. Exactly.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, Gail, I want to thank you for your candidness and for joining us and my condolences. I think your explanation that it was meditation and relaxation for him is interesting.
You know, Carradine`s fourth wife, Marina Anderson, also made a very shocking allegation last night on "Larry King Live."
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOY BEHAR, CNN GUEST HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": You allege Carradine engaged in incestuous relationship with a very close family member.
What were you talking about?
MARINA ANDERSON, DAVID CARRADINE`S FOURTH WIFE: That`s what the document says. It`s -- I think, pretty clear what the document is saying.
BEHAR: That`s quite an accusation.
ANDERSON: Well, I stand by my document.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Walters, what do we know about that?
MIKE WALTERS, ASSIGNMENT MANAGER, TMZ: You know, there was a divorce with her when she printed some stuff, you know, as a declaration about their marriage and why it ended. And some of the stuff was that he practiced sexual deviant activity that sometimes was life threatening is what it says.
There was also, you know, a part about a family member; it doesn`t get into detail about it. It`s just like these are the witness why we divorced. But I think it`s interesting, you know, you just had Gail on. And I spoke to her earlier today and what`s really interesting about that part of the story is the non-sexual part and the genitals. We didn`t get into that part.
DR. JUDY KURIANSKY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: That`s very distressing to hear Gail talk about it. This woman sounds like she smokes and drinks. She was an enabler to allow him...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: More in a moment. Back in a second.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the shocking death of actor David Carradine -- was it a kinky sex game gone awry or something more sinister? What do you think?
Phone lines are lighting up. Kim, South Carolina, your question or thought, ma`am?
KIM, SOUTH CAROLINA (via telephone): Hello, Jane. I was wondering if this sexual act is a single-person act or do you need one or more people to follow it through?
KURIANSKY: The answer to that is that it can be a single-person act, or it can be two people. I have heard from teenagers where they strap belts around each other`s neck, stand back to back and then lean forward so that they`re choking each other so the oxygen is out of their brain and then they try to release. Sometimes this has ended up in death.
So it can bee -- you could do it alone, auto-erotic asphyxiation where you hold your own neck or strap yourself up or tie yourself like he likely did, or with two people. This is no fun and games. This is no magic in meditation. It is absolute poppycock to call it that. That is an absolutely perverted behavior and it is dangerous and deadly.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. TMZ reports the knot around Carradine`s neck was a typical knot used in the bondage community that allows the person to escape easily if they`re losing consciousness. But as you just heard, Dr. Judy is not buying any of that.
Mike Walters, what do we know about the second autopsy and insurance?
WALTERS: Yes, you know, they`re doing a second autopsy today. One of the reasons that his family has gone and done this and wanted it done here in Los Angeles is the reason that if it`s considered a suicide or the medical examiner says it is, remember, they get no life insurance against the policy. Now, if it`s considered an accident, some insurance even pays double for any sort of accident. A sexual accident is not discriminated against in that fashion in most policies.
This is very important right now whether or not it`s considered a suicide or accident, so this money gets paid to the family from his life insurance policies. That`s where, you know, this whole thing is right now with that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Judy, I mean, you`re very adamant that this is all very dangerous. Is there any way to have this kind of safe play? Why do people do it?
KURIANSKY: Ok. There are two levels really of this bondage. There`s submission and dominance, it`s called, where there can be couples who encourage each other to be the boss and they may tie up with fur, mind you...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Not fur. Oh my God.
KURIANSKY: I know you wouldn`t like that. Or scarves, ok, and have it be sex play, but then you cross the line where it really becomes perverted and deadly. So there are really two levels of that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we are crossing the line to ending the show.
You are watching ISSUES on HLN.