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Shocking Claims in the Michael Jackson Probe

Aired July 15, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN ANCHOR: Tonight, shocking claims in the Michael Jackson death probe. The LAPD flatly denying a report that they`re already treating the "King of Pop`s" death as a homicide.

The LAPD`s chief told CNN this just last week.


CHIEF BILL BRATTON, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT: Are we dealing with a homicide, are we dealing with an accidental overdose? What are we dealing with?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, was Michael Jackson murdered? Is this a homicide?

Then, an inside look at the Jackson family secrets. Joe Jackson spills it all, from how they`re coping with Michael`s death to the fight with Debbie Rowe over the kids.

And a tidal wave of developments in the vicious double murder of a Florida couple with a dozen adopted children: seven people thrown behind bars all facing murder charges; but cops still on the hunt for others. And now, the DEA is in the mix. Is there more to this case than meets the eye?

And with nine young special needs children now orphans, a trust fund has been set up. But who will get custody of the kids?

Plus, breaking news in the murder of adorable 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan, just released autopsy reports indicate she may have been buried alive.

ISSUES starts now.

Tonight, a special effect gone horribly wrong: shocking video of the accident that changed Michael Jackson`s life forever. Coming up, we will show you behind the scenes footage of the 1984 Pepsi commercial shoot when his hair and scalp caught on fire.

Also, stunning revelations emerging about a secret Michael Jackson was reportedly hiding from his own family. Britain`s "Daily Mirror" publishing an interview with Michael`s brother Tito about -- get this, are you sitting down -- a military-style raid at Neverland by the family.

It was reportedly an intervention staged by the siblings to confront Michael about his suspected addiction to painkillers. Tito reportedly says they had to force their way past Michael`s security guards and storm in to surprise him. This is his own family.

All this as speculation swirls over whether the Michael Jackson death probe has been classified as a homicide. LAPD chief, Bill Bratton, made a passing suggestion just last week.


BRATTON: Are we dealing with a homicide, are we dealing with an accidental overdose? What are we dealing with?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: TMZ citing multiple law enforcement sources reports cops are treating the case as a homicide. But the LAPD is denying that report tonight.

Meantime, after a visit to the office of Jackson`s long-time dermatologist, Dr. Arnie Klein, to retrieve medical reports, just yesterday the coroner`s chief investigator tried to clarify.


ED WINTER, ASSISTANT CHIEF CORONER: We are not investigating the doctors. We are investigating Mr. Michael Jackson`s death. And we`re contacting all of his doctors.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All this as an ABC News special exposes graphic images of Michael Jackson`s body that appear to tell more than one story.

Here, Joe Jackson, talks about a family history of a skin disease.


JOE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON`S FATHER: I had the same thing, you know. There is no cure for that. And he did not show the pain itself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These never before seen photos of Michael Jackson from 2002 show splotchy skin on his legs and around his ankles.

DR. DEBRA JALIMAN, DERMATOLOGIST: From looking at the photographs it looks like Michael Jackson does have vitiligo.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We will analyze that photograph -- that same dermatologist told ABC News, quote, "It looks like there are multiple puncture points from IV placement" end quote.

Wow, so much to talk about.

Straight out to my amazing expert panel: Jim Moret, attorney and chief correspondent for "Inside Edition;" Dr. Cathleen London, board certified family practice physician; Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney; Ian Halperin, investigative journalist and author of the fascinating new book "Unmasked: The final years of Michael Jackson."

Ian, I was up until 1:00 in the morning reading your book. And I wasn`t reading it with sunglasses on. But I like your shades.

Now, we`re going to go to the assignment manager for TMZ, Mike Walters. Mike, you`ve got so many breaking stories tonight. What is the very latest?

MIKE WALTERS, ASSIGNMENT MANAGER, TMZ: Well, Jane, I want to be clear and specific with what we reported. I know you just talked about it. But I will give it to you again. LAPD is treating Michael Jackson`s death as a homicide.

Now, we also reported that Dr. Conrad Murray is the focus of this investigation. I can tell you there is strong evidence stemming from the house, which is oxygen tanks, Propofol, a stand near the bed, all this stuff is strong evidence that Michael Jackson, during this death, he died from Propofol.

We`re told the primary death -- the primary thing in this death is going to be Propofol. Now, again, Dr. Murray, we`re told that Dr. Murray, there is strong evidence that he administered Propofol to Michael Jackson.

Now, you know and I know in California and in Los Angeles this has to go to the district attorney. There has to be criminal charges, if any -- I don`t want to convict anyone. We`re telling you what`s happening up until now.

There is no case yet but we`re told the district attorney has met with LAPD. There has been conversations, but it isn`t to that point yet. But the focus has become Dr. Murray -- giving this strong anesthesia, Propofol, to Michael Jackson. And in fact, Michael Jackson`s death will come out as primary cause -- Propofol.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well Mike, I just want to say, CNN cannot confirm anything that you`ve said. And we do invite Dr. Conrad Murray...

WALTERS: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ...or his attorneys on our show at any time to tell their side of the story.

And Jim Moret, his attorneys have said flat out, Michael Jackson, was not given Oxycontin or Demerol by Dr. Conrad Murray. But when asked hey, did he give him Diprivan/Propofol? They would not comment one way or another.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are your thoughts?

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": My thoughts are he`s under investigation and I think that there is a question about whether Michael Jackson died from Diprivan, whether or not Dr. Murray gave him the Diprivan. And I think that the LAPD doesn`t have to say right now whether it`s a homicide or not.


MORET: The toxicology reports aren`t out. They`re not final. It`s not to say that they`re not open to it. We heard from the police chief himself. Is this a homicide, is it an accidental overdose? They`re still leaving the door open.

There has been no official word. But they may, in fact, be covering this and handling it internally as if it is a homicide. But they`ve not officially stated that yet.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Darren Kavinoky, how do police procedures change when an investigation becomes a homicide investigation? We already know that LAPD robbery-homicide investigators are doing the investigation?

DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, absolutely. And the most telling thing to me is that search warrants have been issued and acted upon.

In order to get a search warrant, law enforcement officers have to go and convince a judge that there is probable cause that the area to be searched is going to contain the fruits, instrumentalities or evidence of a crime.

MORET: Right.

KAVINOKY: So there`s got to be some -- some notion somewhere that a crime has been committed and that there has to be enough evidence to convince that judge. Otherwise, there is no warrants that get issued.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, everybody hold that thought.

I`m going to show you shocking just released video of Michael Jackson`s Pepsi commercial accident when we come back in just 30 seconds. It is a shocker.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, the shocking video we told you about at the top of the hour. "US Weekly" magazine has obtained footage of the 1984 Pepsi commercial shoot that went terribly wrong for Michael Jackson.

I want to caution you that it is quite disturbing, take a look at it. It happened during the sixth take of the shoot. A pyrotechnic special effect fires too early and Michael Jackson, there you see it, his hair, his head, his scalp catches on fire. That has got to be beyond extraordinarily painful.

You see people moving in to try to put it out. This is a moment that changed Michael Jackson`s life. What a dramatic moment stemming all the way back to 1984.

Author Ian Halperin.

IAN HALPERIN, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, Jane, let me tell you one thing about all of this. Now is not the time to dig up the skeletons about Michael Jackson. The world is in mourning. His family is in mourning. We`ve got to focus on a proper investigation.

And I learned today there are three people under investigation right now by LAPD. Two of them are doctors and one other person. I have confirmed that today. And right now, we also got to care about the welfare of these children.

You know, Debbie Rowe, she put -- basically put these children up for auction and then you have the Jackson family who says they want to make them entertainers and put them on the world stage. Where is California child welfare? They`ve got to step in right now and save these children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ian, Ian, Ian, Ian, I like what you`re saying in terms of you`re covering a lot of ground.

But I want to get specific. I want to talk about that intense video we just saw and the significance. It happened in 1984. Michael Jackson himself said that`s why he became hooked on pain killers.

We know how pain -- let me go to the Dr. London for a second -- You know how painful it is? You pour boiling water on your hand making a cup of tea and you`re in pain for days. Imagine what it`s like to have you`re scalp on fire.

DR. CATHLEEN LONDON, FAMILY PRACTICE PHYSICIAN: Let`s say for argument`s sake that he had chronic pain from this.


LONDON: Most burns you heal and you are okay. Let`s say that he had chronic pain. That still does not explain the kind of drug abuse we are hearing about. And I am talking about what the doctors did.

Again as a physician, you have a responsibility to help protect your patients. Chronic pain patients, you have them come in frequently. You give limited amounts. You do narcotics contracts. You make sure they are not doctor shopping. That is your obligation.

If you can`t do that, if you are star struck by your patient, you shouldn`t treat them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you a question.

Go ahead. Who wants to talk?

DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I just wanted to jump in on this, Jane. Here is the problem.

Michael Jackson, an incredibly talented man and somebody who publicly admitted that he suffered from addiction issues. He sought treatment for those addiction issues back in the early 1990s. We know that people who suffer from the disease of addiction never get well in the sense that they can successfully return to normal drinking or normal drug taking.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right, right.

LONDON: Correct.

KAVINOKY: So once the cucumber becomes a pickle, there is no going back to the cucumber again. Where were the people in Michael Jackson`s life who knew that he had returned to drug abuse?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course. And I want to talk about that.

But let me ask you this, Dr. London. We are assuming that if it turns out it is Diprivan, that that`s going to have to be a homicide of some sort?

LONDON: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Or some kind of criminal investigation because you can`t give Diprivan to yourself.

But my floor manager, Bob says, why not? If there`s a time release on the IV drip, couldn`t he somehow figure out how to do it? Couldn`t you argue he figured out how to do it himself?

LONDON: So the big warning, even in little tiny drug guides that residents carry, the number one thing you see is must be monitored because of apnea, when you stop breathing. Even -- I can`t imagine that he would do that to himself that he knows he needs to be monitored on that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but it is a great defense argument, isn`t it?

All right, everyone, more on the Michael Jackson death investigation in just a moment. Will we see criminal charges in this case? 1-877-JVM- SAYS; that`s 1-877-586-7297 -- give me your take on all of this.

Then, a Florida couple shot dead in their home. Seven people charged with murder; cops still questioning others. Now, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration latches on to the case. What did drugs have to do with any of this? We are going to analyze the fast-breaking development.

But first, the Michael Jackson death has everybody asking, was it homicide? Was it an accidental overdose? Was it something else entirely? Here is Jackson`s long-time friend on the star`s battle with drugs.


URI GELLER, MICHAEL JACKSON`S FRIEND: I was the only person, I believe, in Michael Jackson`s career maybe besides his father that shouted at Michael. I screamed at him. I used the words, "Michael, if you continue this, you will die. Michael, if you don`t stop, this will kill you."




MICHAEL JACKSON, "KING OF POP": I`m doing well and I am strong. As you may already know, after my tour ended, I remained out of the country undergoing treatment for a dependency on pain medication. This medication was initially prescribed to cease the excruciating pain that I was suffering after recent reconstructive surgery on my scalp.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Jackson in `93 telling fans about treating his addiction to pain killers. In an interview with Britain`s "Daily Mirror," Michael`s brother, Tito has been thinking about a military style intervention that the siblings allegedly pulled off storming into Neverland, get this, quote, "We had to act. We bust right into the house. And he was surprised to see us to say the least. Some of us were crying. We kept asking him if it were true, what we had heard, that he was using drugs.

He kept denying it. He said we were overreacting. We also spoke to a doctor and he assured us it was not the situation. He said he was there to make sure Michael was healthy."

Ian Halperin, you have investigated Michael Jackson in depth for years. How badly was he hooked on drugs at around the time of his death?

IAN HALPERIN, AUTHER, "UNMASKED": Well, it was terrible, because there were a lot of enablers around him. I have said all along, Jane, I am not even going to look at the autopsy report. To me, it was greed that killed Michael Jackson.

The people around him kept enabling him with drugs; wanted to stabilize him so he would not have any control over his business affairs.

What Tito Jackson is saying today, with all due respect to Tito Jackson who is a wonderful human being. I don`t buy it. For one reason, if they wanted to get to Michael, they had ample opportunity.

It is funny. Now, everyone is coming out of the woodwork, especially in the Jackson family. You have La Toya Jackson on one hand saying they couldn`t get to Michael Jackson and then issuing stories in the U.K. media that they think Michael Jackson was murdered.

Where were these people when Michael Jackson fell to the ground? Nobody was there to catch him, catch Michael. It is unfortunate, with all due respect to the Jackson family, and I express my deepest sympathy to them -- nobody really was there for Michael. And he had no one to turn to.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Cathleen London, isn`t it true that addicts often hide their addiction especially from the family members. Because the point of that article was that he never did drugs around family. So when they confronted him he was...

LONDON: They will push away family and anyone trying to help them. This is where the disease of addiction kind of controls the person. We have a lot of people who he wouldn`t even talk to when they were trying to help him. They`re very good at keeping enablers around, absolutely.

But still -- going back to the whole Propofol and self-administering, you`d need -- you still have to be able to get it. That`s still criminal. And how can that not be then part of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But let me just ask you. Could he administer it himself? Hypothetically, yes or no?

LONDON: No, because you do a different dose to go to sleep versus stay asleep.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re saying no.

HALPERIN: I agree with that wholeheartedly. He had enablers around him. People wanted to keep Michael. You know what happened here? Michael was in the wheelchair.

I announced December 24th, 2000, he had six months to live. Everyone turned a blind eye. Instead...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But you said it was other stuff. You didn`t say it was drugs. You said it was a bunch of medical ailments.

HALPERIN: No. I always said he was addicted to prescription drugs as well. I said he had medical ailments. Instead of helping Michael Jackson, what happened was they tried to prop him up like an injured athlete, put him up with drugs and get him on a world stage to do 50 concerts.

They should have had Michael Jackson in a hospital not with these doctors but with the top medical experts getting proper medical attention.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Thanks Ian. I love it.

I`ll just go to Bridget, Virginia who`s been waiting a long time. Bridget, your question and thought, ma`am?

BRIDGET, VIRGINIA: Yes I was wondering if anyone knows the last time Michael saw Quincy Jones and Berry Gordy, mentors whose opinions he may have valued and possibly could have changed his lifestyle?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, well, Jim Moret. We are talking all about the family trying to help him. But what these other people -- what about Berry Gordy? What about Quincy Jones? What about Diana Ross? What about Liz Taylor?

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": I would actually defer to Ian. He was inside...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Ian. Take it away.

HALPERIN: The only person who was sincerely interested about Michael Jackson`s welfare from the get-go was Liz Taylor. Liz Taylor urged him to go into rehab. Liz Taylor was out for his well-being, his best interest. Unfortunately, Liz Taylor became gravely ill the final few years of his life. She could not overlook Michael Jackson`s life anymore.

She was extremely concerned about him but, yes, where were all these other people who have come out of the woodwork since he died pretending that they cared so much about Michael Jackson? The only people who really cared about him was his children and Elizabeth Taylor.

I will tell you one thing, these people who are coming out of the woodwork now they should be ashamed of themselves. Michael Jackson needed their help. Where were they when he fell down? They certainly weren`t there to catch him. And it`s atrocious.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Jim Moret -- 5 seconds -- they weren`t at his funeral either?

MORET: No, but you know what, his sister did try an intervention and failed. I believe his brother when he says that he tried as well because Michael had a lot of security him and could keep people out when he wanted to.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Dr. London, thank you so much.

The rest of the panel, stay right there.

Seven people charged with murder in the brutal slaying of a Florida couple in their own home. Cops aren`t done yet; details coming up.

And a gruesome report on the murder of 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan has investigators thinking she may have been buried alive. I`ll have an update.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In late December, 2008, global headlines speculated Michael Jackson could be fighting for his life. Reports suggested he was suffering from emphysema and chronic intestinal bleeding.

At the time, Jackson`s spokesmen called the reports a complete fabrication and assured the world Michael was in fine health. Six months later, the "King of Pop" was dead. The man who triggered that media firestorm with his stunning claims about Jackson`s health is here with me once more, Ian Halperin, investigative journalist and author of the new book "Unmasked: The final years of Michael Jackson."

Ian, I`m holding the book in my hands. I was up until past 1:00 in the morning reading this. It is fascinating, it`s a page turner.

You say you spent more than five years inside the Jackson camp researching your book. What did you learn about Jackson`s health that no one else was willing to admit? And do you believe something other than a drug overdose killed him?

HALPERIN: Well, first off, Jane, I started this investigation because I was furious in 2005 when Michael was acquitted. I thought we had another O.J. Simpson case on our hand and that a guy was running loose because of high profile lawyers who got him off.

Four years later, thousands of interviews later, I conclude unwaveringly, Michael Jackson was a victim of extortion, is definitely not a child molester. It is all in the book as you read, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me just say that having covered the Michael Jackson trial where he was acquitted of all counts, I think you make a very compelling argument.

We can`t go into it; it`s hundreds of pages long.

HALPERIN: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I will say, people, if you have your doubts and you are not sure, read this book because I think that you make a very compelling argument.

But go ahead. I want to know about Michael Jackson`s death and what killed him. Let`s get to that.

HALPERIN: What happened back in early December, 2008, I was contacted by two of the closest aides to Michael Jackson, who were concerned about his health and well-being. They provided me concrete medical evidence, corroboration that Michael Jackson was extremely frail, had debilitating illnesses, was a candidate to die at any time and they were worried that the enablers in his camp were hiding it, were urging him to make a comeback tour instead of getting him checked into a hospital and getting proper medical attention. They used me, these people because they knew I was doing a...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who are these enablers? Everybody is talking about the puppet master? Who`s the puppet master?

HALPERIN: Well, obviously, Dr. Klein; he has to be held accountable. And LAPD -- the only problem I have -- I always said...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait, wait, wait. LAPD?

HALPERIN: I will not comment right now on what is the cause of death. I am going to wait -- I`m going to let the judicial system do their thing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Quickly -- who is Dr. Thome Thome?

HALPERIN: Dr. Thome Thome apparently is Michael`s official spokesperson and publicist. He is not a doctor. I proved that in the book.

Since I have made these claims, I did a search with the American Medical Association. There`s never been a doctor who has existed under that name. Now he goes under Thome Thome.

And the fact is, Michael Jackson surrounded himself with a bunch of undesirables. These people should have never been in contact with Michael Jackson. That`s what I prove in my book. And Michael would have approved of my book coming out because my book vindicates Michael Jackson. It`s a tribute to Michael and his fans and it gives all the answers to what went down.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me just say this. I have to say this -- I want to give Dr. Thome Thome -- whatever his name is -- a chance to come on the show if he wants and tell his side of the story.

I don`t know him from Adam. And Dr. Klein as well.

HALPERIN: I hope when he they come on the show, you get me on the show as well because I will disprove whatever they say.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`ll do a debate.

Ian, thank you so much.

HALPERIN: Thank you Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to talk more Jackson with you in a moment.

Breaking developments in a grizzly Florida double murder: seven people now under arrest. A tidal wave of developments in the vicious double murder of a Florida couple with a dozen adopted children. Seven people thrown behind bars, all charged with murder, the cops still on the hunt for others. And now, the DEA is in the mix. Is there more to this case than meets the eye?

Plus, breaking news in the murder of adorable 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan; autopsy reports indicate she may have been buried alive.

Tonight, shocking developments in the brutal murder of a Florida couple, seven -- count them -- seven people arrested. A person of interest at this hour being questioned and the DEA, that`s the Drug Enforcement Administration, is involved.

You will not believe the latest. All that, in moments.

But first, it could be the custody battle of the century. Who will become the guardian of Michael Jackson`s three children?

Joe Jackson, Michael`s father, speaking out on what should happen to his grandchildren. He wants to raise them as strong Jacksons. But listen to what he told ABC News at an exclusive interview just last night.


JOE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON`S FATHER: Michael was never beat as they call it. Everyone spank their kids when they do wrong, not beaten. Katherine spanked Michael more than I did. I was working two jobs and she was at home with him the most.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow, Joe was actually saying that he didn`t beat Michael but Katherine Jackson slapped him around. Could this pointing of the finger at Katherine actually sabotage her chances of getting custody of the kids?

What are his motives for throwing the mother of his own children under the bus?

Meantime, TMZ reporting Debbie Rowe is not looking for more cash from the Jackson family but a continuation of spousal support agreement. That echoes the statement issued by Rowe`s attorney. They also report she doesn`t want custody of the kids. She just wants to make sure the agreement, which some claim, involves large sums of cash, be upheld by the Jackson family.

So was her concern over her kids really just concern over her checkbook?

Straight out to my fantastic panel: still with me, Ian Halperin, author of "Unmasked: The final years of Michael Jackson;" Jim Moret, chief correspondent for "Inside Edition;" Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney; and joining us Judy Kuriansky, a.k.a. Dr. Judy, clinical psychologist.

Dr. Judy, I need your help on this one. Why is Joe Jackson coming out just days before the big custody hearing, saying hey, it was Katherine who used to slap Michael around? I mean, does this hint at a rift between Katherine and Joe?

DR. JUDY KURIANSKY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I think there has been a rift between them for a long time, they don`t live together. There is a rift between Joe and all the rest of his children.

Joe in my view has a lot of dysfunction around him. And at this point, he comes out and he`s first trying to look for business all the time from Michael. And it`s been said in any case that whenever he tried to approach his son`s house, it was always over a deal. So I am very concerned about his dysfunction.

I would also not think that Debbie Rowe should, in fact, take care of those kids. She has not had anything to do with them all this time and her stepping in would be very unsettling for those children.

IAN HALPERIN, AUTHOR, "UNMASKED: THE FINAL YEARS OF MICHAEL JACKSON": Well, let me jump in here for a second. And what Joe Jackson is saying is unequivocal nonsense. He is not the person to take care of the kids. Everything he`s been spewing. He is money-oriented.

I want to give a message to Joe Jackson tonight. I have a file on Joe Jackson like this. I won`t release it with respect to the Jackson family and Michael Jackson but I am urging Joe Jackson to back down now. Do what`s right for the children...


HALPERIN: ...and to give up and let`s get proper authorities here.


HALPERIN: California child welfare involved to take care of these children.


HALPERIN: That`s the point.

KURIANSKY: I would agree. Joe Jackson should have nothing to do with the children. He`s been accused of abusing...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ...even Katherine?

KURIANSKY: I think the kids would be better off with the three sisters. Michael appreciated his sisters and they are bonding with her.

HALPERIN: Well, I think these kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on one second. I want to bring Jim Moret in here. In fact, I actually did say I thought that Janet Jackson would be the best choice. She seems like the most grounded of all of them.

KURIANSKY: And I agree.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here is one thing that`s fascinating to me. Is that we always look at these Jacksons because they have a tendency to show up en masse as a unified group.

But in fact, they are not. There has been a lot of conflict between them and different agendas and all sorts of things. And this example of Joe sort of lashing out at Katherine is just the latest example of it, Jim.

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Yes, look, every family has a bit of dysfunction.


KURIANSKY: Yes I have noticed that but that`s not fair.

MORET: This family is under a microscope. And Joe Jackson...

KURIANSKY: Every family has dysfunction.

MORET: Of course, every family has one person that you -- come on...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Even yours? Jim?

MORET: Of course, even mine, of course, absolutely. I will go on the record.


MORET: But let me tell you something, every time Joe Jackson says something he`s causing a controversy at a time. He`s talking at inappropriate times about -- about record deals, about making his grandchildren go on stage and perform when he should be grieving for his son.

They should be working toward resolving the custody issue. The interest of the children should be first and foremost on everyone`s mind.

HALPERIN: I agree. Here, here.

KURIANSKY: And he should not be pointing the finger at his wife.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, let me just -- hold on -- I want you to hear more of Joe`s inappropriateness. In an ABC exclusive interview last night Joe Jackson spoke about his grandchildren. Listen to this.


JACKSON: I don`t know. I keep watching Paris. She wants to do something, you know. And as far as I can see, is that -- well, they say Blanket, he can really dance. That`s what they are saying, he can really dance, Blanket.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you seen why could Blanket dance, really?

JACKSON: Not yet. But I`m trying to wait and see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you think they might have a little bit of the entertainer in them somehow?

JACKSON: Well, they`ve got a lot in them and it just got to come out and you know. They are Jacksons, of course.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ian Halperin, God help us.

HALPERIN: Jane, let me tell you something straight here. And there again, I have a file on Joe Jackson like this. It isn`t pretty. I will release it if he keeps going forward. These kids are being exploited. Michael would be the most upset person the way that it was handled, his memorial.

He always shielded these kids from the public. He didn`t want them to have to deal with the paparazzi. The first thing the Jackson family does is they un-lift the veils and put them in front of 33 million people. Michael Jackson would not approve of what`s going on now.


HALPERIN: These children need immediate attention. And I am urging California child welfare to step in and intervene.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, all right, all right, you`re starting to sound like Gloria Allred, who I love.

KURIANSKY: I would agree with you as a psychologist that these kids absolutely need some psychological help with being thrust in front of the public and confusion and having a grandfather like that who wants to exploit them.


Let me ask you about Debbie Rowe, another gem. Debbie Rowe was saying here, she doesn`t want money, Darren Kavinoky, but they just want the spousal support agreement that she and Michael personally agreed to several years ago to be honored.

Isn`t that the same thing as wanting money especially when Michael Jackson in his will says, I specifically omit to provide for Debbie Rowe.

DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, that`s very interesting. That`s a pour-over will and that`s designed to deal with anything that`s not contained in the Michael Jackson family trust. If you pay attention to that will -- it very specifically references that family trust -- that trust remains secret.

And all of this is designed to avoid California`s probate courts and we may never know what`s in that family trust but that pour-over will specifically says, as you point out Jane, Debbie Rowe gets nothing. That`s been omitted from that trust.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I guess what I am saying Jim Moret, is last night when this letter was announced, I read it and I said, wait, if you read between the lines she says she -- Miss Rowe has not accepted and will not accept any additional financial consideration beyond the spousal support she and Michael personally agreed to.

It`s a very, very cleverly written sentence.

MORET: Well and you said last night, isn`t this semantics and does spousal support continue after death? And the reality is that depends on the agreement. We don`t know what the agreement is between them. We haven`t seen the agreement.

However, look, it`s hard to know what her motivation is. She may very well have felt that Michael Jackson was a great father. And by all accounts, he was. But he`s not there anymore. And maybe she doesn`t feel comfortable with Joe Jackson interjecting himself into their lives. It`s very difficult to tell.

I do believe that both sides are trying to work out an agreement to keep this out of court and to keep the battle out of the public.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to thank my fantastic panel.

We have been talking about the nightmare of addiction for a while on the show. In my new book, "I Want," I dive deep into my own personal battle with addiction. I`m now 14 years sober, thankfully; one day at a time. It`s a recovery memoir due out this fall. You can preorder your copyright now. Just click on and look for the preorder section. It is my very personal story. And it does contain some real shockers.

Coming up next on ISSUES, gruesome news on Nevaeh Buchanan, the adorable 5-year-old brutally murdered last month. Cops say -- this is hard to even think about -- she may have been buried alive, poor child.

And the murder of a Florida couple takes some jaw-dropping turns. Cops charge seven -- count them -- seven men with murder. But they`re still investigating others. Is there more to this crime than meets the eye? Why is the DEA involved?

Call 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297; sound off to me next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The Feds step in to investigate the murder of a Florida couple. We will analyze what it means for the case.

But first, "Top of the Block" tonight:

Disturbing -- and I mean really gut-wrenching, nauseating disturbing news in the murder of this adorable 5-year-old Michigan girl, Nevaeh Buchanan. Just released, autopsy reports indicate this poor child may have been -- and it sickens me to say it -- buried alive.

Little Nevaeh vanished in May and fishermen discovered her body ten days later encased in cement in a shallow grave on a riverbank near her home. The partial autopsy results found particles inside her nose and her lungs suggesting she was buried alive.

It`s a sick world you know that, a really sick world sometimes. And it`s hard to deal with.

Meantime, cops still have not charged anyone with Nevaeh`s murder. So the killer could still be out there.

We will stay on top of any breaks in this horrific story. That`s the least we can do for this child, is bring her killer to justice.

That is tonight`s "Top of the Block."

Fast-breaking developments tonight in the double murder of Melanie and Byrd Billings, the Florida couple known for adopting children with special needs: the Drug Enforcement Administration, the DEA is now diving deep into the double murder probe of this slain couple. The question is why? Why the DEA?

On top of that bizarre news, the number of people who may have been involved in the execution murder of Melanie and Byrd Billings just keeps growing and growing. Seven men, including one unidentified juvenile currently behind bars; but the sheriff says they`re looking at even more and one of them is a woman.

Cops are now talking to Pamela Laverne Long, a woman with many aliases, who they say is a friend of murder suspect Patrick Gonzalez, Jr. She is considered a person of interest; she is not in custody -- I have to repeat that -- not in custody, not a suspect.

Authorities are also narrowing down the search for another person of interest whose job may have been to disable the extensive video surveillance system on the proper. But if so, that person didn`t do their assigned task, because security camera video caught the whole thing, the entire monstrosity on tape.


SHERIFF DAVID MORGAN, ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA: We are pursuing an avenue in this investigation that because of this operation, we believe that the system should have been disabled by someone, again, that has yet to be identified for an arrest affected in this case.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are hearing that a news conference is coming up in less than 20 minutes.

Meantime, a trust fund has been set up for the many children of Melanie and Byrd Billings. Some of those kids reportedly witnessed the intruders invading their home to kill their parents. What kind of emotional trauma did they endure as a result of that?

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: Jayne Weintraub, criminal defense attorney; Steve Kardian, former criminal investigator and director of Defend University; Judy Kuriansky -- Dr. Judy -- clinical psychologist; plus Rob Williams, news anchor and morning host of News Radio 1620 AM, Pensacola, Florida.

Rob, you have been tracking this case from the very start. People are wondering why is the DEA involved and why are they holding a news conference again in 20 minutes. What is the very latest?

ROB WILLIAMS, NEWS ANCHOR, NEWS RADIO 1620 AM, PENSACOLA, FLORIDA: Look, you are going to have to change the script number one. My source at the sheriff`s department told me we don`t un-arrest anyone but the number of people under arrest is going to go up, probably by one, for sure, and maybe even two.

That news conference, by the way, 9:00 Eastern, 8:00 Central time; so in just a little bit coming up. And one of those people could well be as you pointed out, Pamela Long, a woman with six different names. I don`t think she has been married that many times.

As far as the IRS or -- excuse -- the DEA, Sheriff David Morgan told me in an exclusive interview first thing Monday morning, hey, we have the FBI in on this, the IRS, the DEA and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. It is a federal alphabet soup but they`ve had meetings pretty much everyday. That`s why the DEA is in on this case.

Just about anywhere you go these days, drugs, crime, it`s one and the same. Jane?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes. It`s actually fascinating stuff.

The sheriff said that the suspects practiced for an entire month before this home invasion. But even with all that preparation, something stuck out. Listen to this.


MORGAN: The execution was basically flawless for the entry into the compound, the entry into the house and the exit from the property. The one gaping hole that would not have made this a perfect operation, if you will, was the fact that the security system, surveillance system, was not disabled. So it begs the question why was it not?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is a question we have been asking since the start. How could such a supposedly well-prepared group of attackers not realize there was a surveillance video system?

Now, Steve Kardian, you are the criminal investigator -- they are saying that the person of interest they are looking for is quite possibly the person who failed to disable the security video system which could have been done remotely. If so, is this a person who simply got cold feet and decided not to help? If so, why didn`t that person then contact the authorities to prevent his family from being devastated?

STEVE KARDIAN, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: It is possibly that he did get cold feet, Jane. But he is going to have a problem because he didn`t renounce himself. When you renounce yourself, you have to report to law enforcement your illegal activity up to that point. He or she has a big problem on their hands.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what you are saying is if you step away from a crime and say, you know, I`m getting sick to my stomach, I can`t go through with this, I`m not going to do my part. If you don`t go to the authorities and say, "hey, sheriff, here is what`s going to go down, whatever, in a couple of hours, you have to stop it," you can still be charged?

KARDIAN: Exactly. If you had information based upon what was going to occur in that criminal activity and you backed out and did not report it to the authorities, you are still just as responsible as if you had committed that crime.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Jayne Weintraub, what`s amazing is that there were seven people at least and they apparently were rehearsing this monstrosity for quite a while, for weeks. And yet nobody spilled the beans, it didn`t get to law enforcement authorities. Nobody heard about it to intervene.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, because as Steve was just talking about, nobody was withdrawing from the conspiracy where legally you are required to renounce yourself and address it to the police officers or in some way notify the authorities before you are legally withdrawn.

But you know Jane, while this is a tragedy obviously to the children, that doesn`t bear on the motive for what`s going on here.

Frankly, all I hear about is that DEA, Drug Enforcement Administration, not the Federal Bureau of Investigation. What does that tell me as an experienced criminal defense lawyer who was a prosecutor? It tells me there is a connection to drugs or someone was an informant in that house, one of the deceased probably was.

There is medium-sized safe. What does that tell you? Who has a medium-sized safe?

And this was such a militant activity here, this execution. This is not a drug-style execution by these defendants. If you listen to the kid (ph) at first, the arraignment this morning, he`s talking about he has six children, he was in the military. These are clean-cut, almost right to life people, these defendants. This is a vengeful, jealous rage, in my opinion. And I think that there was a very specific reason other than robbery.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rob. Rob, you want to weigh in on this quickly?

WILLIAMS: Yes, I have my hip boots on. These people are bipedal air thieves, they`re scum bags, they`re going to go down. The death penalty in Florida, you have a choice. You have a choice: you want to get extra crispy in old sparky the electric chair or do you want death by lethal injection? That`s where it leads. Five of these people are going to go.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But what about Jayne Weintraub`s thoughts about this giant safe? How did they know there was a safe there?

WILLIAMS: It`s medium-sized.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. How did they know there was a safe there?

WILLIAMS: It could be a locked up file cabinet. We haven`t seen it yet. All I`ve heard is it was taken it to that auto -- kind of auto shop in Fort Walton Beach where three or four of the guys worked or hung out. We`re going to find out more.

VELEZ-MITHCELL: We`ll be back in a second. More in a moment.



ASHLEY MARKHAM, VICTIMS` DAUGHTER: They have asked. We`ve shielded them as much as possible and that`s probably my fault. I know that they need to know. They have asked questions. It has been talk about with the ones who have asked questions.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The Billings family posted these pictures of their adorable children on their MySpace page.

Dr. Judy, this has to be beyond traumatic for these children, many of whom are special needs children. Police say three of the kids saw the intruders in this horrific home invasion where they were all wearing black with masks, ninja style. One of them ran to a neighbor to get help. What are these kids going through?

Dr. JUDY KURIANSKY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Big trauma, Jane -- huge. Because not only are they youngsters, but some of them as you said, with special needs. They have a real hard time understanding reality.

They see ninjas coming in and killing the parents. This is going be really devastating. Fortunately, there are a number of them and when you have a lot of kids, they can help each other through it but they`re going to need a lot of therapy.

They`re going to feel guilty that they couldn`t save their parents because one of them ran for help. And because they saw it happen, the intrusion, even more traumatic than just hearing about it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what strikes me -- and I want to go to the phones in a second -- what strikes me is how emotionally immature all of this is. This is something, Judy, that is like out of a bad B movie; people dressed in black and charging around. It makes me sick to my stomach but there is an emotional immaturity that is factored into this.

This is not what mature people do. And it is just, these are adults. Seven people?

KURIANSKY: Well, there`s seven children who are involved and actually what`s very interesting about it is that you have this band group, the band of monster mentality here. When you have seven people, it reminds me of "Ocean`s 11," the movie where everybody planned some kind of heist. So this kind of made me think...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in here.

Jim, Michigan, you have a quick thought?

JIM, MICHIGAN (via telephone): Yes, Jane. Thank you for taking my call. I would like to know what kind of people would do something to little kids like that, would go and kill their parents. I would like to know what go through their mines.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re talking about that right now.

Judy -- the immaturity.

KURIANSKY: It`s the immaturity and also the group mentality that happens. One of these monsters had seven kids of his own and was given an award for service to mankind and was in search of one of the kids. So this is such a distortion and it is coming from, as the caller said the group mentality.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to leave it right there. Thank you panel.

You`re watching HLN.