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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Mom, Boyfriend Charged with Son`s Murder; Cornwell`s Family Hopes to Generate New Leads
Aired August 19, 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, feelings of outrage and betrayal. A mom who led a community to believe a killer was on the loose is arrested in her son`s violent death. Robert Manwill`s mom and her boyfriend indicted on first-degree murder charges. Remember, this is the very same woman who cracked the skull of another one of her kids. Why was little Robert ever in her care?
Plus, the frantic search for Kristi Cornwell extends across state lines. She was just around the corner from her parent`s house, talking to her boyfriend on her cell phone when she suddenly became begging for her life. Her abduction has sent shock waves through her Georgia community. Her brother and mom join us tonight to share their heartache.
Then, a swimsuit model found in a garbage can, her body stuffed in a suitcase. Cops want to question her boyfriend, the self-described millionaire and reality show TV star who claims he turns player girls into princesses. This guy reported her missing and then jumped in his car and could be making a run for the border. So if he`s innocent, why is he running like a fugitive?
And jaw-dropping developments in the Michael Jackson death probe. Is Dr. Murray just one step closer to be cuffed and charged? What does this highly-controversial YouTube video reveal about the role he might have played on that tragic day? Was this a PR stunt that backfired?
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shock, outrage, and a sense of betrayal in Idaho, tonight, as the mother of 8-year-old Robert Manwill is charged with murdering him. Melissa Jenkins and her boyfriend, Daniel Ehrlick, are both charged with murder in his vicious killing.
When the precious 8-year-old boy went missing, the community rallied around the boy`s family and desperately searched for him for ten days. Then little Robert`s body was pulled from a canal two weeks ago, but the search for his killer continued. Sadly, it appeared his own mother may have known all along exactly where he was.
Today, Robert`s mom and her boyfriend appeared in court to face murder charges. The gruesome details of the savage beating Robert allegedly endured at the hands of his mom`s boyfriend were revealed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And/or by inflicting upon Robert G. Manwill extreme or prolonged acts of brutality with the intent to cause suffering, to execute vengeance, or to satisfy some sadistic inclination, by inflicting repeated acts of blunt force trauma or the abdomen and/or head of Robert G. Manwill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And they`re reading that like it`s something that they`re reading in the library. Sick!
The indictment says the mom did nothing to protect her son and even hid evidence of the abuse. Neither suspect entered a plea today. They`re due back in court in September, but could this tragedy have been avoided? The answer is, yes, it was 100 percent avoidable. Had the child not been in that home, he would be alive today.
Remember, back in March, the mom pled guilty to misdemeanor injury to a child, Robert`s half brother, after fracturing the baby`s skull. Robert`s biological father, Charles, had custody of him, but Jenkins was allowed visitation. Should this boy have been left in the care of this woman and her ex-con boyfriend? Obviously not.
So many issues. Straight to my fantastic panel: Mike Gaynor, retired NYPD detective and president of East Coast detectives; Dr. Dale Archer, clinical psychologist; Jayne Weintraub, clinical defense attorney; Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels; and Pat Brown, criminal profiler and CEO of the Pat Brown Criminal Profiling Agency.
Pat, Robert`s mom was indicted for murder for allowing her boyfriend, also charged in Robert`s murder, to beat him to death. The indictment had brutal details.
So do you think the fact that they had those details, the mom flipped on the boyfriend? And will her defense of not doing anything to save Robert be that she was afraid of this boyfriend and terrorized by him, as well?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, I`m sure, Jane, that`s the defense that`s going to be used. That she was one of those women that she just -- she couldn`t do anything about it because the boyfriend had so much control over her.
But let`s face it. We go back to the situation where the little -- the little baby got his skull fractured. Now, I even question that, whether she allowed the boyfriend to do that and took the rap for it. So she may have already known how violent this man was. So I -- yes, I don`t think the defense is going to fly, but sure, they`re going to try that one.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You took the words right out of my mouth. Because at the time of the skull fracturing incident of the little boy, Melissa claims she accidentally hit the baby`s head on a table while burping him. But Curtis Sliwa, in light of all this, you have to wonder if that original incident was a cover-up for this guy, because he`s the father, reportedly, of that little infant.
CURTIS SLIWA, FOUNDER, GUARDIAN ANGELS: Well, it may well have been. But the point is, he couldn`t have gotten into that house unless the mother let him in.
And the 8-year-old boy, unfortunately, who was killed, a judge ordered the father to send the 8-year-old boy to the mother as part of her rights of visitation. And you have to...
SLIWA: And you have to think, how could this judge do this? The boy was safe and sound with his father. This woman, obviously, has a history of problems.
And I`ve got to tell you this. I know a lot of people might not like this. She`ll end up doing time. She`ll end up getting a plea, because she`ll flip on this guy. But I say, tie up her tubes, give her Norplant, never let her have a kid again, never.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Dale Archer, it`s worse than that. The little baby, the one who got it on the skull, he was back living with them. And I`m going to quote "The Idaho Statesmen." Jenkins and her boyfriend, Daniel Ehrlick, had been working to get little Aidan back since Jenkins`s sentencing in March. A friend and neighbor said the couple was taking court-ordered parenting and anger management classes and that Aidan had been back in the home for about two months at the time of Robert`s disappearance.
And this neighbor says that Melissa, the mom, now charged with murder, didn`t care whatever it took to get the kid back. She said that, whatever she and Danny had to do, they would do it. Why on God`s name would they want these kids back if they`re just going to beat them like this?
DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: Yes, no, it`s a horrible, horrible, situation. And I think that the message always has to be, if you are convicted of child abuse for one child, all of the children have to be taken away from you.
At that point, child protection has to call about when you become fit again to be able to take care of your children. And there should be counseling. There should be actual -- an evaluation ongoing to determine when that has occurred. Obviously...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That happened! That happened!
ARCHER: Yes, but child protective...
BROWN: There`s no accountability, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: They did this anger management -- what?
BROWN: There`s no accountability.
ARCHER: You know what?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jayne Weintraub.
ARCHER: I would really like to see, if it did happen, where the report is, saying, "OK, they`re clear, they`re good. Everything`s fine. They can have their kids back."
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: But they have...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, I`m reading it, Jayne. They got it in stages. They got the little baby back first with supervised visits away from their home, then supervised visits at the apartment where they live, and they took anger management classes.
WEINTRAUB: We all know what anger management classes are, Jane, that`s a joke. It`s a couple of hours with somebody who`s not even licensed as a therapist that, you know -- that they have to sit through.
Look, as a mom, I`m horrified by seeing all this. And as a lawyer, there`s plenty of blame to go around here. And what Dr. Archer is talking about, he`d like to see the report. I want to see accountability. How many more murders of children do we have to witness in the court system? This system needs to be indicted. These case workers have to be held accountable. Maybe it`s contemptible. I don`t know. But there has to be an answer to this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shame on child services. I will say it again. This horror story was 100 percent avoidable.
In court today, the judge read the indictment out loud, because accused killer mom Melissa Jenkins is reportedly illiterate and cannot read or write. So listen carefully at home to the graphic details of what her boyfriend allegedly did to her son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By inflicting repeated acts of blunt force trauma to the abdomen and/or head of Robert G. Manwill, an 8-year-old child, date of birth 06/08/2001, with his hands, knees, fists, and/or feet, and/or by other forms of physical force, physical abuse and/or emotional abuse which caused bruising, pain, abdominal bleeding and injuries and/or head injuries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I`m going to read you the boyfriend`s rap sheet. Convictions of burglary, battery, and possession of drug paraphernalia. And he spent almost seven years on and off in an Idaho correctional facility.
So where were the Department of Children and Families with a guy who`s an ex-con and a mom who has a history of...
ARCHER: I think Jayne was absolutely right. What you need is accountability here, and I would want to see the report, and I would want to say, what were your criteria to determine that everything was OK for them to be able to get their children back? That`s what needs to happen, and that`s what I would like to see.
WEINTRAUB: And there are witnesses who said that she would punish her child and somebody else`s child by making them take cold showers, by putting them at nose length to the wall. I mean, this is lunatic sick. This is really a sickness. Where were with home visits? Where was the follow-up? Those are the people that are making the recommendations that the judges rely upon.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And why do people who hate children want to get them back so badly?
Everybody, stay right there. I`ll have so much more on the arrest of Robert Manwill`s mother and her boyfriend in 30 seconds.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a horrific betrayal of Idaho 8-year-old Robert Manwill`s own mom, accused of letting her boyfriend beat the little boy to death.
Look at that beautiful face. Imagine him enduring those beatings. It caused internal bleeding, bruising, swelling of the brain.
After weeks of searching for an unknown killer, cops arrested Robert`s own mom and her live-in boyfriend yesterday. Deputy chief Jim Kearns of the Boise police had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM KERNS, DEPUTY CHIEF, BOISE POLICE: I send a strong message on behalf of the Boise Police Department and all those in this community who were touched by the tragic and untimely death of this little boy. Justice would not be denied for Robert Manwill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Such a betrayal. This community held vigils for Robert. They were terrified for their own children, thinking a madmen was on the loose. And now cops say it was Robert`s own mom and her boyfriend.
This has touched such a nerve with so many people. Phone lines lighting up.
Ivy, California, your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: You know, my heart goes out to this little boy, Robert, who was murdered by this mother and boyfriend, two pieces of trash. They must get the death penalty for this.
But most of all, I blame CPS. They had no right to let her have visitations with Robert, knowing she had already abused a child. They are not doing their job. This has to stop! They put Robert at a risk with her, and see what happened. He`s gone. I am so sick over this. It`s heartbreaking. But I do...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ma`am -- ma`am, you`re very, very articulate. I will say, they have not been convicted of anything. They are simply accused at this point. And we have to make that clear.
Curtis Sliwa, though, the outrage is palpable. How hard do you have to hit a kid to cause internal bleeding, bruising, and swelling of the brain?
SLIWA: Oh, this monster, this cretin with chromosome damage. And you saw him. He was sitting there reading it, because apparently, this degenerate can read. His girlfriend can`t. And you`ve got to say to yourself, what kind of a monster is permitted to come into that house and possibly have hit the other child?
Remember, he wasn`t even permitted to go near the stepdaughter. So who knows what he did to the stepdaughter, never mind the stepson. And then the 8-year-old, it`s almost like, bring in a new victim.
What child services should always do is, when in doubt, you keep the children out. Simple. Common sense. Pragmatic. If there`s doubt, keep the children out.
BROWN: Jane -- Jane, I want to say this. Two issues here I think we`re looking at. One is the fact that this mother picked a violent offender to bring into her home. That should have been a big red flag right there, that she cared less for her children than their love life.
And the second thing is, CPS tends to return those children awfully quickly for that family reunification thing. So they put them in these little programs. They require, oh, maybe you go ten times. Oh, get your child back.
They should have to sit there for a year and work their butts off to prove every living day that they...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Dale Archer, we all know therapy takes years. I`ve been in therapy for years, decades. You can`t do a couple of months of -- I`ve been in therapy for years, decades. OK? You cannot do a couple of months of therapy and make any kind of meaningful change on an issue as deep rooted as sadism toward a child.
ARCHER: No, you absolutely can`t. And I think that, even worse here is the fact that this wasn`t just some minor abuse. This was a fractured skull that she was convicted of. So this is very, very serious.
And you`re right, Jane. I mean, for her to be back, taking care of kids within two months of when this whole thing took place, is shocking. And again, it just makes me wonder, what were the standards that they were using to be able to evaluate and determine when they were fit to be able to take care of kids. I would really like to know, because this makes no sense.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I don`t know exactly how many months. By the way...
MIKE GAYNOR, RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE: If I can interrupt for a second, I might just say that sometimes these standards are pretty minor and these people, the illiterate mother and the ex-convict boyfriend, they know the game to play. They know the answers to give. She may not be able to read, but she knows what to tell child services, obviously, enough to get the kids back.
Yes, as you said, Jane, there were a number of red flags in this particular case. They were overlooked. We spoke about this before. Staffing is a serious problem with child protective services. These are not trained investigators that go out and ask the right questions. These are civil servants that are trying to do a good job, but, unfortunately, they don`t have the techniques that a skilled investigator would have to research a case like this...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, they should get them. If we`re going to spend all this money locking people up, or we lock more people than any other country in the entire world...
GAYNOR: They`re spending so much money, these people are not getting richer.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: How about spending some more money on child services? Because we could prevent these things instead of just waiting for the kids to die and then locking people up.
GAYNOR: Spending money is not the only answer. Spending money in the right direction.
WEINTRAUB: That`s what I`m saying. They`re overburdened. They have too many cases, and they don`t care.
GAYNOR: All true.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t know that they don`t care.
GAYNOR: I couldn`t say that they don`t care. I`m sure they care very seriously, and I`m sure there are going to be a lot of changes made in that particular...
ARCHER: But the rule of thumb has -- the rule of thumb has to be, when in doubt, you keep them out. Just like Curtis said. You don`t ever take a chance by letting a child go back into an abusive environment. You always bear...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But they did. Two kids.
GAYNOR: ... might not be exactly the same.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Here`s the other thing that gets me. Before Robert Manwill was missing ten days, his mom and her boyfriend, who are now accused of murder, actually wore T-shirts, "Find Robert" T-shirts, and I believe we have that somewhere. We`re going to throw that up when we have it.
But that to me, if they knew where the body was, and they are walking around wearing "Find Robert" T-shirts, to me, that takes it to a -- there they are! "Find Robert" T-shirts. Do you see that, guys? That is absolutely going to create this huge feeling of betrayal in the community that they`re walking around with those T-shirts.
Sandy, Illinois, your question or thought?
CALLER: Yes. I wanted to find out, did the biological father try to fight his ex-wife from having visitation rights with the child? And if so, wouldn`t he have a lawsuit against the child services or someone for making him let her have him?
WEINTRAUB: The child and protective services are going to have some kind of governmental immunity from doing their job, and they won`t be held responsible in a court of law.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what I think is interesting? He`s wearing sunglasses. I always find that interesting. When people do interviews and they wear sunglasses, I always wonder, what are they trying to hide -- Dr. Dale Archer?
GAYNOR: The sun was shining, Jane, for example.
ARCHER: Jane, you`re absolutely right. That`s why poker players wear sunglasses, so you can`t read their emotions. So yes, of course, they are trying to hide, or they could be trying to hide something.
BROWN: But I want to point out, Jane, it`s interesting. Sometimes when I`ve been asked about different -- when children have gone missing and the parents have shown up on TV and I show any kind of skepticism, saying, well, we have to look at all avenues, whether the child was kidnapped or whether the parents were involved, people go, "Oh, no, it couldn`t be, because they were wearing those T-shirts and really seeming sincere." Not necessarily.
GAYNOR: Jane, the arsonist is always standing outside the fire, watching and enjoying his work. This is not unusual.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Remember, we haven`t seen the evidence and we don`t know what happened.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Panel, hang in there. Hang in there. Hold those thoughts.
More on the shocking arrest in Robert Manwill`s murder in just moments.
We`re also taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877- 586-7297. Let us know what you think about this complex case.
Then Kristi Cornwell, it`s been eight days since she was abducted practically from her parent`s backyard. Her brother joins us and shares his heart-breaking story.
But first Robert Manwill`s mom and her boyfriend, charged in the adorable 8-year-old`s murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERNS: On Monday, August 3, I sent a strong message on behalf of the Boise Police Department and all those in this community, justice would not be denied for Robert Manwill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to thank our fantastic panel for their insights on this still-developing story. We`re going to stay on top of this nightmare.
Meantime, a young swimsuit model, her body found stuffed in a suitcase.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The desperate search for answers continues tonight in the abduction of 38-year-old Kristi Cornwell. The Georgia mom disappeared just over a week ago. She was walking on a rural road while talking on her cell phone with her boyfriend when she suddenly screamed, "Please don`t take me."
Her distraught family released this home video of Cornwell from about 15 years ago when she had just had her son, who`s now 15 years old. There have been more than 1,000 tips, but the family is hoping this video of the missing woman will generate that crucial lead.
Kristi`s mom has spoken out on national TV, pleading with whoever took her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JO ANN CORNWELL, MISSING WOMAN`S MOTHER: I want them to know that we love her very much and we need her back. Her son needs his mother back. And I need my baby back. And we all need her back. And we believe we`re going to get her back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Imagine the hell that that woman`s enduring right now.
Meantime, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation ended its ground search today, saying they`ve done all they could on that front, but the FBI has now joined the hunt, which has now crossed into two other states, North Carolina and Tennessee. Cornwell`s cell phone, by the way, found on a lawn three miles away from where she was abducted.
And tonight, I am joined by Pat Brown, criminal profiler and CEO of the Pat Brown Criminal Profiling Agency.
Let`s talk about some of these key pieces of evidence here. They`re looking for two vehicles: One, a white SUV, and the other, a gold sedan. And they also say that they suspect that whoever took this woman is from the local area. What do you make of it, Pat?
BROWN: Well, the problem with the van, but I hope it is one of those vans, is that, if it isn`t, people are looking for something that doesn`t exist or just belongs to some other person. So we want to keep their minds open that there could be some other van and not that -- some other vehicle.
The second thing is, it is likely they`re from the area, simply because, what else are you doing around there? So probably not something from way, way, way out of town.
But I want to mention one thing about this crime, which I think is interesting. That it happened so quickly, that it is very likely there`s more than one person involved, possibly more than two people involved. Possibly three, in which case you have one person driving and one or two people to jump out and grab her really quickly and throw her in the vehicle.
In a way, that`s good, because there`s someone to rat the other person out, but, of course, that doesn`t bode very well for Kristi, if she`s with three horrible men who grabbed her off the highway.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It makes -- it makes my stomach turn, just thinking of it. I can`t even imagine what the family members are going through. I really cannot. It`s got to be just a living nightmare that they can`t wake up from.
Let`s take a look at this home video of this missing woman. She`s -- oh, gosh. Her background is fascinating. She taught self-defense courses. She had a degree in criminal justice. She worked as a probation officer dealing with criminals. Now, some people will theorize, well, maybe an ex- con that she just looked at the wrong way is -- is seeking revenge against her. Do you believe it?
BROWN: No, the last time she worked with these people was like 2002. So I think, simply, factor is you`ve got a bunch of guys driving down the highway who are psychopathic in nature and have criminal nature and have criminal behavior in their backgrounds, and they see, look, "Hey, there`s a lady. Let`s grab her. Let`s have some fun."
And they just simply -- it`s an opportunity that they just couldn`t pass up.
I want to mention something else about calling off the ground search. One of the difficult things about this case is there`s a vehicle involved, which means that vehicle can be way out of town in no time flat. And there`s so much...
BROWN: Pat Brown, we`re going to leave it there. Thank you as always.
Model`s body found in a Dumpster. Cops want to question her boyfriend, but he`s nowhere to be found. What is he trying to hide? Where is he?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A swimsuit model`s body found in a garbage can. Her body stuffed in a suitcase. Cops want to question her boyfriend, the self- described millionaire and reality show TV star who claims he turns player girls into princesses. If he`s innocent, then why is he running like a fugitive?
And jaw-dropping developments in the Michael Jackson death probe. Is Dr. Murray just one step closer to be cuffed and charged? What does this highly controversial YouTube video reveal about the role he might have played on that tragic day? Was this the case of a PR stunt that backfired?
A model`s grisly death has police racing to find a reality TV star, of all people, who was also her boyfriend. Some even say they were married, but it`s very complicated.
The nude body of 28-year-old Jasmine Fiore was found Saturday in Orange County, California. This is sick stuff. She`s been strangled to death, stuffed inside a suitcase and tossed into a dumpster like trash.
Hours before that gruesome discovery, her boyfriend walked into a police station, reported her missing, and then he vanished himself. Cops desperate to find 32-year-old Ryan Jenkins, who was a finalist on VH1`S "Megan Wants a Millionaire;" they think he may be trying to flee the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. GARY WORRALL, BUENA PARK POLICE DEPARTMENT: Our fear is that he might possibly be en route to Canada. We were able to ascertain his involvement with the help of the Los Angeles Police Department. Mr. Jenkins reported Miss Fiore missing the evening that we discovered her body. He was the last person seen with her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Jenkins` publicist told TMZ his client was consulting with his attorney and planned to cooperate with police. Guess what, there`s no time like the present, dude. Cooperate now.
According to TMZ, Jenkins was convicted in 2007 of assaulting his girlfriend at the time. He was ordered to get counseling for, quote, "psychological domestic violence and coping skills." TMZ says he was also ordered to get help for sex addiction.
TMZ also claims the day before she died, Fiore exchanged a text message with an ex-boyfriend about a possible rendezvous. Police think Jenkins found out about that text and became enraged. Did this stormy relationship end in murder?
Now to my panel of fantastic experts: criminal defense attorney, Jayne Weintraub; criminal profiler, Pat Brown; Florida prosecutor, Stacey Honowitz; Dr. Dale Archer, clinical psychiatrist; and Mike Gaynor, detective and retired NYPD -- retired NYPD.
MIKE GAYNOR, RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE: Detective.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Detective. That`s why we love you. You`re a detective.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ll start with you. What are the chances that Jenkins could have made it across the border to his native Canada without being caught?
GAYNOR: It`s a good chance. But whether he did or he didn`t, it doesn`t matter. The Canadians will be happy to send him back if this investigation wants him back. And by the way, Jane, these type of cases very often, more than two-thirds of the time, the murder is committed by a friend or a relative or at least someone that they know. The indications are here that this guy is in serious trouble.
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Even more so, Jane, what I call lady in the luggage. Serial killers don`t want to waste their time doing this stuff. When you find a woman inside a suitcase, it`s almost the husband or boyfriend involved because he wants to hide her and sometimes doesn`t have a way to get her out of the apartment.
GAYNOR: Well, sloppy serial killers would do anything too, but most of the time it`s somebody that she knows.
GAYNOR: It certainly seems so in this case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stacey Honowitz, the word "suitcase" also pops up because a roommate said that he had confided in her that as soon as he saw that she had packed all her suitcases and said she was going to run errands, but left with all of our packed suitcases in our car, I knew our relationship was -- I should have known something was up, is what he said. So I think it`s very significant that he says "suitcases" and she`s found in a suitcase, Stacey.
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Yes, well, absolutely. If you want to think that way, that there is significance to how -- if he did it - - how he put her body in a suitcase, then you could put those two together. But I think it`s very interesting that all of these facts that we`re hearing about, the fact that he was jealous, the fact that he saw a text message, the fact that he -- somebody text messaged him back, a quote that I`m not going to say...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s say it, because it`s not obscene.
HONOWITZ: He said "suck it."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. It came in, in her text. In other words, they`re at this poker game in San Diego and she allegedly texted, according to TMZ, an ex-boyfriend in Las Vegas and says, hey, I might want to come see you in Las Vegas. And the theory is that he found out about it and then he took her cell phone and texted him again and said "suck it."
What do you make of that, Dr. Dale Archer?
DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIST: Well, this is the classic case of the abuser, Jane. And he abused one other woman, and then now he`s got a woman that is going to leave him.
So what they do is, first of all, they want to gain control and it`s all about control. And they do it by verbal abuse first, then it`s emotional abuse using love as a weapon. Finally it goes to physical abuse. And in their twisted mind, if they think they`re going to lose them forever, at some point, they think, "You know what, if I am not going to have her, no one else will either," and then it turns to murder.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And obviously, she`s a very attractive woman, and we say to this person of interest that`s being sought, we would love to hear from you. Turn that Mercedes that cops are looking for around and come on the show and tell your side of the story.
Jasmine Fiore`s mom says the victim worked as a commercial and swimsuit model for clients like Howard Stern and Playboy. And as the photo she was a well-endowed beach blond who did some steamy photo shoots, but her mom says Jasmine was trying to make a career change. She recently got a real estate license and was trying to start a personal training business.
Mike Gaynor, we`ve been showing a lot of her provocative pictures. It`s also possible, isn`t it, that she`s crossed paths with some other shady people who might be responsible; can`t eliminate that.
GAYNOR: Absolutely. You can`t eliminate anybody at this time. But, you know, flight is a serious indicator that there may be some guilt attached. So you`ve got a pretty prime, as you like to say, person of interest, in this particular case. The police are going to look all over and investigate any other possibility, but they`re going to center in on this guy. They`re not going to stop until they find him, for sure.
HONOWITZ: Well, I think he probably thought maybe he was pulling one over on everybody by being the one to walk in and report her missing. Like, in other words, "Maybe they won`t look at me." Because I think that`s an interesting fact that he walked into the police department, he`s the one that reported her missing, and now he`s the one that`s gone.
BROWN: Exactly but he didn`t have to do that, Stacey. I mean, why would he do that if he`s just going to run on the other hand instead of knowing or thinking he`d be stopped and questioned?
GAYNOR: He probably panicked.
HONOWITZ: Because if he went in, maybe he thought to himself, you know what, "If I`m the one that`s reporting her, they`ll never going to look at me."
I don`t know. You never know what`s going on in these people`s minds. Why would he stuff her in a suitcase and put her in a dumpster?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m not saying he is responsible. I would find it absolutely brazen. What I can never get my head around -- and I`m not saying he is responsible -- but if he did strangle her and put her in a suitcase, and then throw her in a dumpster, to have the chutzpah -- for lack of a better word -- to saunter into a police station and report her missing, I would be trembling. Cops would take one look at me and they say, "This is the killer, lock her up."
BROWN: That`s a psychopath. They are arrogant, think they can pull the wool over everybody`s eyes. They have no fear like that. So they will do those things.
And he had a great story, he thought. Telling them what happened to her that she left.
BROWN: And she carried her coffin with her.
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This guy comes in and gives the story and they don`t ask him for DNA. They don`t ask him to see his nails. They don`t ask him for a blood sample. Come on.
BROWN: Nothing happened at that point. She was just missing.
GAYNOR: Do we know for sure that this guy...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, guys, hold on. We`re going to debate this issue, but let`s do it one at a time.
I think your point is very well taken.
Dr. Dale Archer, why wouldn`t police, given the fact that this is suspicious from the get-go, just get some info on this guy, get his prints or interview him on tape?
ARCHER: Yes, I think that you`re absolutely right. And I think just some stats to throw out there that every minute in this country, a woman is raped, and every second in this country, a woman is beaten. And most of the time, it is with some significant person in her life.
So I would think that when this happened, automatically, you would have to suspect, this is a boyfriend. Ok. We want to get information from you. So I agree with you.
GAYNOR: But Jane...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let`s talk about his suspicious behavior. Police cannot find the murder victim`s 2007 white Mercedes. They think person of interest Ryan Jenkins may have used it to get away.
Here`s a picture of the car from TMZ. It had a paper tag on it, but police say Jenkins may have removed it and replaced it with the license plate from his BMW. Police say that`s a Canada plate, HLY-275; HLY-275. So if you see this on a Mercedes, call 911 right away, people.
You were saying, Mike?
GAYNOR: Jane, I believe this started off as a missing persons` case, and that was Jenkins` original input. He called up the police over the phone to declare his wife a missing person. Certainly, at that point, you`re not going to scrape anything underneath somebody`s fingernails or take fingerprints.
WEINTRAUB: Don`t you interview them thoroughly?
HONOWITZ: You know how many people or report people missing and they`re not the suspect right away? If you think that this guy wasn`t a psychopath, isn`t brazen enough to do that kind of behavior, then you`re mistaken.
Jane, you`ve been around these guys for a very long time doing defense work. You know that nothing would stop a psychopath from going in and saying, by the way, I`m reporting this person missing, I`m walking right out the door.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve been around a lot of people as a reporter, but I have not, thankfully, had to do what you do, which is come face-to-face with a lot of killers. And I don`t really want to do that. I would rather deal with troubled celebrities, if I have to come face to face with somebody.
ARCHER: But once it`s known that he`s the boyfriend, automatically, he`s got to come under suspicion. Automatically.
HONOWITZ: Yes, but now. Now he`s under suspicion. But at the when time he walked in, he might have just walked in or made a phone call, said, she hasn`t come home.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Stacey, when I`m calling 911 and saying, oh, there`s a car on the side of the road that has a flat tire, they ask me all sorts of information to the point where it`s like hey, enough already.
HONOWITZ: Walk into court with Jayne Weintraub and ask her how many times she cross-examines a cop and says, you didn`t ask him this. You didn`t ask him that. You didn`t ask him that so it happens all the time.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right guys. Got to leave it right there. Thank you, fantastic panel.
Richard Hatch, another reality show, "Survivor," has been rearrested after appearing on NBC. This is the first time he`s spoken out since his tax evasion arrest, a charge he blames on discrimination. What exactly happened this time around?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Jackson`s former doctor takes to the Web to defend his integrity. Now speculation swirls that Dr. Murray`s video was a PR stunt that boomeranged big time. We`re going to delve into this convoluted case in a moment.
But first, "Top of the Block" tonight: more controversy for the original CBS "Survivor" winner, Richard Hatch. Remember him? He was arrested again just months before finishing out his four-year sentence for tax evasion and hours after a live interview with NBC`s Matt Lauer.
Yesterday, Hatch spoke out for the very first time since his 2006 conviction. Let`s hope he made it count, because he was hauled to jail right after the interview. At the time of the interview, he was under house arrest.
According to his lawyer, Hatch thought he was approved to give three interviews. He was only given permission to do one. Here`s what he had to say in the fateful sit-down with the NBC`s "Today Show."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, NBC HOST: You`ve alluded to me that you think because you are a homosexual that in some ways, that negatively impacted your trial and your case. Are you saying to me that if you were heterosexual, you would not have gone to prison?
RICHARD HATCH, WINNER, "SURVIVOR": I didn`t mean to allude to it. I meant to state that definitively.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. So he`s making controversy again, saying his sexual orientation, not his failure to pay taxes on the $1 million he won on "Survivor" and that millions of people saw him win, is why he was sentenced to prison. The government calls that claim of his baseless.
But I am sure we have not heard the last of Richard Hatch, always fascinating. We`ll keep you posted. That`s tonight`s "Top of the Block."
Tonight, the Michael Jackson death probe widens in the wake of a stunning video released on the Internet. Did Dr. Conrad Murray`s attempt to do damage control cause more damage by provoking police? Speculation is swirling about whether his public plea was nothing more than a PR stunt that backfired.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. CONRAD MURRAY, MICHAEL JACKSON`S PERSONAL PHYSICIAN: I have done all I can do. I told the truth and I have faith the truth will prevail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But what is the truth about exactly what happened the morning of June 25th in the hours before Michael Jackson stopped breathing? Was he already dead for several hours before that panicky 911 call? Was a cocktail of sedatives on top of the surgical knockout drug Propofol given to Jackson by Dr. Murray?
Dr. Murray`s attorney says no. But if published reports are on the money that Dr. Murray is the target of a manslaughter probe, you can bet cops are lining up a cast of characters to talk about the time line that fateful day.
For starters, Jackson`s personal chef. She spoke to Larry King about Dr. Murray`s routine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAI CHASE, MICHAEL JACKSON`S FORMER CHEF: Stayed overnight. And normally he would come around 10:00, 10:30, downstairs to get Mr. Jackson`s juices or some sort of breakfast for him for that morning. So around that time, I noted I hadn`t seen Dr. Murray.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Didn`t stick to his usual routine that morning. Another critical witness, Laquisha Middleton, TMZ reports she was ordered to pick up boxes from Dr. Murray`s Houston storage unit a full five hours before 911 was called.
And hey, what about that 911 call and the mystery caller? What did he see? And what was he told to do by Dr. Murray? Who is this person, anyway? His testimony could make or break the case.
And meantime, Michael Jackson`s dermatologist, Dr. Arnie Klein, back on police radar: hours ago, the L.A. coroner`s investigator went back to his office to get more Jackson records.
So much to talk about and to analyze and we`re going to take your calls. Straight to my fantastic expert panel: David Schwartz, criminal defense attorney and former New York prosecutor; Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, professor at New England School of Law and author of "And Justice for Some;" Dan Hill, facial coding expert -- we`re going to use him to analyze that YouTube video of Dr. Murray; and the one and only April Woodard, investigative journalist.
April, dare we ask, what is the very latest?
APRIL WOODARD, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Jane, this thing has more ups and downs than a roller coaster and I`ve been on the ride since the beginning. The latest is that the coroner went to Arnie Klein`s office, spent about an hour and a half there.
This is happening a week ago when they just told us that this whole thing was finished, that the report was done, it was fairly done. So now they`re saying they have information that they have to follow up on.
In addition to that, we have Conrad Murray pleading for people to feel sorry for him and to see him as a human. He`s been demonized up to this point; a little too late in the game now.
Some people are saying that he`s a little late in trying to get the sympathy and show that he has supporters. So all of this is happening right now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, April. Let`s go into the first issue you raised. And that is, the L.A. coroner paid another visit to Dr. Arnie Klein`s office after the search was completed. He spoke to the media.
Listen carefully to how he answered a reporter`s question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last week you said the investigation was complete.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no comment. We`re still -- we got some additional information that we requested and they cooperated fully.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, what`s going on here? They say the coroner`s report was done. Now we`ve got the coroner`s investigators back at Dr. Klein`s office.
WENDY MURPHY, AUTHOR, "AND JUSTICE FOR SOME": Well, look, make no mistake about it, this is an ongoing investigation.
And a coroner -- I represented the medical examiner`s office in Massachusetts for a long time -- the coroner is kind of like an investigator too. It`s not just looking at the body; it`s interpreting things it sees and finds in the body based on, at least in part, the other pieces of the investigation.
So, for example, if some of what we know developed during the search warrants of Dr. Murray`s two offices and homes or any other witnesses have spoken to police since the original coroner`s report was completed, that could make them take another look at some of the biological, medical, and forensic evidence they found during the autopsy.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Hang on. We`re going to analyze Dr. Murray and his facial expressions with an expert in just a moment when we come right back. What was he saying in his nonverbal communication?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: Because of all that is going on, I`m afraid to return phone calls or use my e-mail. Therefore, I recorded this video to let all of you know that I have been receiving your messages.
I have not been able to thank you personally, which as you know, is not normal for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re going to analyze that video. Aside from the fact that it has great lighting and obviously was professionally shot, Dan Hill, you`re the facial coding expert, what do you make -- what do you make of it all?
DAN HILL, FACIAL CODING EXPERT: Well, verbally, he sounds confident, but if you look at his face, you have the look of a man who is struggling to stay emotionally afloat. Sadness is what predominates.
He`s got a vertical wrinkle between his eyes and the corners of his mouth are drooping; sadness as in emotions about loss. He`s lost his freedom. He`s lost his reputation quite possibly...
HILL: ... which has happened that strikes me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I think so.
Wendy Murphy, your analysis?
MURPHY: I see a whole lot of guilty. And it has nothing to do with his drooping jowls. This is like Scott Peterson without Diane Sawyer and he`s missing the fake tears.
DAVID SCHWARTZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I love this analysis, Jane.
MURPHY: Let me just make a point. Anyone who feels compelled to do this also has that Shakespearean protest too much thing going on. Shut up. You`re under investigation. Go away. What are you doing?
Isn`t it convenient that...
SCHWARTZ: Is that a scientific opinion.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: David hasn`t had a chance to say anything.
SCHWARTZ: Are these scientifically reliable opinions here?
SCHWARTZ: Maybe he has sadness because he lost his friend. Maybe that`s why...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: He didn`t say anything...
MURPHY: Oh, please.
SCWARTZ: I mean, give me a break, everyone.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: April, he didn`t say anything about losing his friend. He didn`t talk about Jackson.
WOODARD: He didn`t talk about his friend.
SCHWARTZ: I`m giving another opinion why he said.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why did he say...
WOODARD: This was strategically done by the publicist of the lawyer. This was strategically done by the publicist of the lawyer. And if you listen to every statement he says, there are clear messages that they`re trying to get across.
He says, "God willing." He is trying to say he believes in God. He says, "I told the truth." He`s trying to say that he`s trustworthy. He also said that he`s sorry, sorry to his friends because it`s not standard for him not get in touch with them.
He is responsible; he gets back to his friends. These are all the messages that they`re trying to give across.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. David.
SCHWARTZ: As well he should. He should give those messages because he`s been thrown under a train during this whole period of time.
MURPHY: Excuse me?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time. Let David talk. He`s been waiting the whole time.
SCHWARTZ: There is a court of public opinion and he needs to defend himself, because there is a jury pool out there and...
MURPHY: Oh, you mean he can manipulate the jury pool and lie. It`s your constitutional right to lie on YouTube?
SCHWARTZ: You have no idea. You`re always easy to conclude it`s a lie, Wendy. How do you know he`s lying?
MURPHY: There`s a constitutional right to shut up. There is no constitutional right to...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I`ll tell you what. I`m going to give Dan Hill the last ten seconds.
HILL: Ok. There`s two things here. One is, I`ve looked at Drew Peterson. He is nothing like Drew Peterson. Drew Peterson was preternaturally calm despite the fact he quite possibly committed those murders. This guy shows the right emotions at the right time. A bitter defiance when he`s saying he didn`t do it and he`s very...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there, people. Great debate. Thank you.
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