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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Court Docs: Jackson Died of Overdose; Florida Woman Uses Taser to Rob Stores
Aired August 25, 2009 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM MORET, GUEST HOST (voice-over): Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, murdered. The L.A. County Coroner`s office confirmed what we`ve all been thinking. Jackson had a lethal dose of Propofol in his body when he died. Did somebody kill him? Will cops name their suspect? Was it an accident or just plain murder?
Takes from the rich and gives to the poor. She`s robbing people with a stun gun. She claims she needs the money to feed her starving grandkids.
Then, who is Ryan Jenkins? Tons of you called us, wanting to know more about the reality TV star who killed himself days after cops named him a suspect in his swimsuit model ex-wife`s gruesome murder. Tonight, we`ll speak with the casting director who called him perfect for TV.
Plus, shock, disgust and answers? It`s been nearly two months since Byrd and Melanie Billings were found shot to death in their home. This is the generous couple known for adopting special-needs kids. It`s said that their death may be related to some type of Mexican mafia hit. For the first time, cops are set to release the dramatic surveillance video of that horrific night.
ISSUES starts right now.
MORET: Good evening, everyone, attorney and chief correspondent for "Inside Edition," sitting in tonight for Jane Velez-Mitchell.
Tonight, more stunning revelations come to light about the timeline and the alleged role of Dr. Conrad Murray in the death of Michael Jackson. A single law enforcement source tells the Associated Press that it has been ruled a homicide.
According to the coroner`s preliminary finding, the cause of death is the surgical anesthetic Propofol. A search warrant unsealed just yesterday says Dr. Murray, who tried to revive Jackson on the morning of June 25 and later rode with him to UCLA Medical Center, quote, "refused to sign the death certificate."
It was early last week Dr. Murray posted a minute-long video on YouTube. In hindsight, many people are saying it was a preemptive public relations strike.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. CONRAD MURRAY, MICHAEL JACKSON`S PRIVATE PHYSICIAN: I will be found. I have done all I could do. I told the truth, and I have faith the truth will prevail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORET: There are different versions of that so-called truth. Dr. Murray`s lawyer had this to say about the search warrant, quote, "Unfortunately, much is police theory. Most egregiously, the timeline reported by law enforcement was not obtained through interviews with Dr. Murray."
Let`s go straight out to my guests: Firpo Carr, Jackson family friend and former Jackson spokesperson; Brian Russell, forensic psychologist and attorney; J. Randy Taraborelli, Michael Jackson biographer and author of the newly-released biography, "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe"; and Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor.
Welcome all. First, Stacey, what is Dr. Murray facing here? Is an arrest imminent, in your view?
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, I think we`ve all been waiting for this moment to come. And I think probably now that we have the toxicology report and we know what the cause of death was -- and, certainly, he is the person that administered the Propofol and all the other drugs, so I think we are looking at a manslaughter arrest coming soon.
And I do think -- I do believe that`s the reason why the video was -- was presented last week, because I`m sure his attorneys are well aware of what`s coming down the pike. And certainly, it is a good PR move on his part to humanize him a little bit and let us know who he is.
But I do think an arrest is imminent at this point.
MORET: Brian Russell, it`s one thing to humanize somebody, but what came out yesterday was just unbelievable when you look at this timeline and these various drugs that -- that Dr. Murray allegedly gave Michael Jackson.
First of all, do you agree that an arrest is imminent?
BRIAN RUSSELL, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST/ATTORNEY: I think it is, but I think it`s important as a shrink and a lawyer to try to help our viewers understand this ruling that`s been reported to us from the coroner that this was a homicide.
Really, the charge could still be manslaughter. The homicide ruling by the coroner just means that the death was brought about by the actions of somebody else, and it wasn`t an accident. But it doesn`t mean that the coroner has concluded that it was intentional. So it could still be some kind of reckless behavior, which is what it`s starting to look like, I think, to most of us on the part of this doctor, giving this cocktail of medications in order to help somebody sleep, including Diprivan or Propofol, which should not ever be anywhere outside of a hospital. It`s a surgical sedative.
And it points out a couple of things. One is this epidemic of Hollywood health care that we`ve seen, with Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith and others, where these famous people can get doctors who want to hang with them to give them just about anything they want.
And the other is a more subtle epidemic across the country of folks desperate to sleep, doing anything they can to get sleep. And they really, really need to be a lot more careful than they`re being.
MORET: And J. Randy Taraborelli, you`ve been Michael Jackson`s biographer for years. Talk about this inability to sleep. Michael Jackson spoke to you about it, didn`t he?
J. RANDY TARABORELLI, MICHAEL JACKSON BIOGRAPHER: You know what, Jim? Michael talked to me about not being able to sleep as long ago as about 1993.
You know, this report is just so stunning to me and so upsetting. It`s impossible for me to imagine that this doctor thought it was OK to give Michael Jackson so many drugs during such a compressed period of time.
And it makes me wonder, No. 1, what kind of tolerance Michael Jackson had to this kind of medication. How long had -- had he been taking this kind of medication? And when was it going to end? Why did this doctor not take a look at Michael Jackson`s condition and say, "Listen, you need to be in a hospital. You need to be in detox. You need to be in rehab. This cannot go on"?
Instead, this doctor just continued piling on one drug after another until finally he gave Michael Jackson the Propofol, and Michael Jackson died.
MORET: Last month, TMZ caught up with La Toya Jackson and asked for her theory about Michael`s death. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you still believe it`s a conspiracy?
LA TOYA JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON`S SISTER: It`s murder. I think someone did it. That`s my opinion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORET: In a new development, ABC has announced that La Toya will sit down with Barbara Walters for an exclusive shortly after Labor Day. Then she hosts "The View" for two days. Is she going to proffer any bombshells?
Firpo Carr, when you hear a family member say it`s murder and then you hear these revelations announced in this affidavit, what`s your take on this?
FIRPO CARR, JACKSON FAMILY FRIEND: Well, I have to tell you that La Toya Jackson is probably right on in the eyes of a lot of people.
In fact, that affidavit, I just have it right here. And I just wanted to read something to you real quickly. It says that the officer or the detective who actually is -- was the lead investigator, he has been investigating in murders for 18 years -- pardon me, eight years of murders committed in the commission of robberies, gang-related murders, narcotic- related murders, domestic dispute murders, and all types of felony murders.
So that tells you something right there, that she has good reason to believe that it`s not just manslaughter. Now, that may be the charge, but insofar as murder is concerned, she`s not way off, because that`s why robberies, homicide division of LAPD -- emphasis on homicide -- assigned these detectives.
And incidentally, this detective is also very good at researching and investigating murders committed by doctors using narcotics. So they were - - La Toya is not far off.
MORET: Stacey Honowitz, as a prosecutor, we heard Brian Russell talk about -- about manslaughter. Could this rise to second-degree murder? Could it be more serious than manslaughter?
HONOWITZ: Well, I think a prosecutor is going to try to be very creative. There`s something called implied malice in California. It`s a second -- it`s like a second-degree murder. And I think if they can show that he had a total disregard, a recklessness for human life in this case, then they can try to stretch it to murder.
But I think the easier charge for them to prove would probably be a recklessness, a manslaughter. And I think there`s so many factors that went into this, why you could charge him with manslaughter. From the cocktails that he gave him, from the type of cocktails he gave him, to the setting he was in, to the fact that he wasn`t a trained anesthesiologist, that he didn`t make the phone calls, all of these things taken together as a whole show a definite negligence, a recklessness, a gross negligence.
And I think for prosecutors, that would probably be an easier and better charge to charge him with.
CARR: You know, Jim...
MORET: You know, Michael Jackson`s nurse -- wait, hold on one second, Firpo. Michael Jackson`s nurse, Cherilyn Lee -- and you and I talked about this earlier. I want to bring this up. She said that Jackson asked for Diprivan, Propofol, but that she refused. Her story remained consistent when TMZ caught up with her recently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to know to what extent was Michael using Propofol?
CHERILYN LEE, MICHAEL JACKSON`S NURSE: I don`t know to what extent. All I know is he asked me for it, and I wouldn`t give it to him. So to what extent, I really don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORET: According to the police affidavit, Dr. Murray painted a very different picture. He told cops that Jackson said Lee had been giving him, quote, "a cocktail to help him." Quote, "Murray believed the cocktail to be a Propofol mix." Now, was Dr. Murray trying to throw Cherilyn Lee under the bus?
Firpo, I know you have some clear thoughts on this.
CARR: Yes. Well, you know, there are some things that Ms. Cherilyn Lee said that are inconsistent. At one point she said that, "Wait a minute, Michael Jackson begged me -- begged me for drugs." And then later, she said on the show that she and I appeared on together, she said -- then said, "Well, no, he didn`t actually begged me." She backed off of that. So there`s some inconsistencies there.
And what I`d like to say, too, is that of course it speaks to her credibility. And if this affidavit is correct, then it`s a direct contradiction of what she stated in the past.
RUSSELL: Jim, I don`t know...
MORET: Well, I`m sorry. Go on.
RUSSELL: I don`t know about the nurse specifically, but I think that there is definitely more malpractice to go around in this case than just on the part of Conrad Murray. Going all the way back to some of these cosmetic people, who at some point clearly should have said to this guy, "Look, we cannot alter your face any further and hope to possibly have a safe and effective outcome."
I think that there are others who contributed in many ways, including the provision of these drugs, to the situation in which this man found himself, which was a death spiral, really, of addiction to all kinds of substances, the most lethal -- the most proximately lethal being the Diprivan and the Propofol.
MORET: We`ve got more on the Michael Jackson death probe in just a bit. We`re also talking your calls at 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586- 7297.
Ryan Jenkins, from reality TV star to wanted in his ex-wife`s death. He has a criminal past with women, but did anyone ever think that he was capable of murder?
Then, the investigation into Michael Jackson`s death shifts into high gear. So are cops any closer to naming a suspect?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL GERAGOS, ATTORNEY: It won`t be very long before you see some criminal charges. And I think you`re going to see both criminal charges, and we`re going to see the medical board jump in at the same time and try to revoke licenses. More than just the first...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL JACKSON, POP STAR: This is it. This is it. These will be my final show performances in London. This will be it. This is it. This is the final curtain call. OK? And I`ll see you in July.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORET: Chilling now in retrospect. Michael Jackson seemingly healthy and excited as he announced to final concert tour to throngs of fans back in March. At the time, his adoring public likely had no clue about how insomnia and anxiety were plaguing the pop star.
Jackson`s tortured double life is not unlike that of another iconic international superstar, Marilyn Monroe. In his latest and newly-released investigative biography, "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe," Jackson biographer J. Randy Taraborelli reveals now Monroe`s public saw her very differently from the woman she really was in private.
J. Randy, what in your view is the most striking similarity, if any, between Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson that you`ve uncovered?
TARABORELLI: Well, Jim, both of these people were celebrities who were doing their best to manage their addictions, you know. And while I didn`t know Marilyn and I did know Michael, my heart goes out to Michael Jackson in the sense that we all knew that Michael Jackson was addicted, at least as far back as 2005 during the Santa Maria trial for molestation that you and I worked on together, Jim. I mean, it was obvious that Michael Jackson was coming into the courtroom every day on some kind of medication. He was in really bad shape.
And my question is this: wasn`t there anybody, anybody at all, who could reach this person and help him? He was clearly in trouble. It was obvious to everybody. Why wasn`t there some help forthcoming for Michael Jackson? I just don`t understand it.
And when I see this report and I see this doctor just piling on one drug after another, instead of doing something constructive to help his patient, I just don`t understand it. It makes me very angry.
MORET: Firpo Carr is a former family spokesperson and long-time family friend. Paint a picture, if you could, for us of why no one could reach Michael Jackson to intervene.
CARR: Well, you know, when I`m usually asked that question, I say that Michael was his own man, and that`s a nice way of saying that he was a pretty stubborn guy sometimes. He could be that way.
And the reason for it was that he figured, "Listen, I have done all of this successful work for decades now. I`ve written my own songs. I`ve ascended to the top and the pinnacle of my career. And I did that without anyone -- pardon me -- without anyone helping me. So -- or I should say, that is directly. I`ve been directly responsible for that. So why should I listen to someone else when they tell me that I should stop trying to ease my pain?" And that was it in a nutshell.
And I know that the family really did help, tried to help. Randy went down to Mexico to try to help him. That`s not in the news, but that`s what he did. And the family did so many other things to try to reach him, but he was at the point where he said, "Thanks but no thanks."
TARABORELLI: Yes, Firpo has it absolutely right. That is the truth. Michael Jackson was a very independent person who really felt that he was the person in charge of his life. He felt that he was managing his -- his addictions in the best way he could. He`s got that right.
You know, and that`s part of the real sad story here, is that even though there were people who did try to reach Michael Jackson, he -- he was really responsible for his -- his own demise in the sense that he would not allow the people who cared about him to come to his aid.
MORET: Well, cops say Dr. Murray -- hold on. Cops say that Dr. Murray told them that he gave Michael Jackson a variety of anti-anxiety drugs and sedatives during the early morning hours, and then 25 milligrams of Propofol at 10:40 a.m. on June 25.
Here`s what addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky said on CNN last night. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DREW PINSKY, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: There`s no protocol on earth that would include these substances.
However, what I also draw from this, is that he probably was tolerant and potentially even addicted to these substances and may be in withdrawal, which is why he could tolerate doses that literally will take down an elephant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORET: Murray says Jackson was making repeated demands for Propofol. As he made -- he said, "Give me the milk." That`s what he called it.
Now, Stacey, is that a defense, that "Jackson made me do it"?
HONOWITZ: No. Of course not. He`s not under any kind of duress. He very easily could have walked away.
I mean, the bottom line to all of this is you have a doctor who was financially strapped. I mean, we all heard about it. So there`s a financial incentive to work for Michael Jackson. I don`t know if he was caught up in the celebrity, but he certainly was caught up in the money.
And so the bottom line is, if your employer is making these demands and you don`t want to be fired from your job, you need the money, you submit to them. And that`s what he did in this case.
And certainly, you know, to come up with an excuse of saying, "This is what he asked me," well, guess what? You don`t always have to say yes. You can say no. He didn`t want to walk away from it. And I think that -- that`s what the problem is, when you have celebrity and you have someone that`s working for them who financially needs the money or can`t say no.
MORET: Brian Russell, Brian Russell, jump in here. As an attorney, as a forensic psychologist, you`ve got a -- you`ve got a client. And we`ve heard a description from family friends he was very much his own man. No one could get to him. He hand-picks a doctor and then tells the doctor what he wants, and it`s a laundry list. And apparently, according to the affidavit, he got it.
RUSSELL: Yes. It`s what I call Hollywood health care. There`s an epidemic of it in this country.
And what Stacey said is absolutely right. As licensed health-care professionals, we have a duty -- a moral, legal, and ethical duty to say no to our patients when it`s in their best interest to do so.
And interestingly, Dr. Drew mentioned that these were doses high enough to take down an elephant.
And one of the things that we`re looking into, of course, the cops and us and the media, are how did Michael Jackson come by all of these very controlled substances? And one of the interesting things about Diprivan and Propofol is that that substance is also used in veterinary medicine. Lots of animals were kept there at the Neverland Ranch, and it just makes me wonder if maybe that wasn`t a cover in some ways for bringing Diprivan and Propofol in.
MORET: Wow. That`s a chilling thought. Thank you to my expert panel on this. Obviously, much more to come.
A stun gun bandit terrorizes a Florida neighborhood. And this isn`t just any ordinary robber. She`s a so-called grandma who claims she`s stealing money to feed her grandkids.
Plus, Chris Brown sentenced to five years` probation for assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna. Some say he got off too easily. Is this just another case of a rich star catching a break?
MORET: Welcome back. I`m Jim Moret from "Inside Edition," sitting in for Jane Velez-Mitchell.
This next story is unbelievable. Cops say a stun gun-toting bandit is responsible for a string of robberies and attacks at Florida stores, but the suspect is not your average criminal. She claims she`s a grandmother. Fifty-nine-year-old Rose Tyrka hit up a gas station and a Subway, literally shocking clerks and then demanding money. Check out this 911 call.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a lady trying to tase us!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is she doing that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because she said she has starving grandchildren.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORET: Here`s the kicker. She told victims, quote, "I feel bad, but I`m only doing this to feed my starving grandchildren."
Well, guess what? She`s lying. Not only is she apparently a crook, allegedly; she`s also a liar. Cops say she has no grandkids, just a hefty drug problem. And they nabbed her today.
Straight out to my guest, Josh Rojas from affiliate Bay News 9 in Tampa.
Josh, thanks for joining us. What`s the very latest?
JOSH ROJAS, REPORTER, BAY NEWS 9: Jim, they took her into custody around 2 p.m. this afternoon. What happened was she was on the run since last night, because police knew where she was. They had her vehicle. They traced back her license plate to her home.
She knew she couldn`t go home, and she was running around the city trying to hide from police. They say she jumped over a ditch, broke her foot. Well, she couldn`t last with that broken foot too long, so she had to have a friend drop her off at a hospital in Clearwater. That friend ended up calling the police and saying, "The stun gun granny is at this hospital. You guys might want to go talk to her." And that`s how police took her into custody.
And as you said, we`re finding out she`s no grandma at all -- Jim.
MORET: It`s a great calling card. You know, the stun-gun granny. It sounds -- it sounds like she evokes empathy. She has no grandkids. Did she actually use the stun gun on people?
ROJAS: Jim, she did. And what`s interesting, at the gas station, with the gas station clerk, he actually complied. He didn`t resist at all. He let her take all the money out of the cash register, and then she stunned him anyway. So that`s what police said they asked her, "Why did you do that?" And she couldn`t really give them a good answer.
Now, on the Subway clerk, the Subway clerk says she tried to stun her but, for whatever reason, it didn`t work. She was able to pull away. So she actually didn`t get stunned. Police think maybe she used up all her juice on that poor gas station clerk.
MORET: And this is amazing. The day in which she committed these alleged crimes was a significant day in her life. What was it?
ROJAS: That`s right, Jim. It was this past Sunday, and it turns out that that was also her birthday, her 59th birthday.
MORET: Unbelievable. And she is facing charges of armed robbery. She has a record, though, correct?
ROJAS: She does have a record. She has one prior arrest from 1998, I believe -- yes, 1998 for possession of a controlled substance. Other than that, though, from `98 to today, she`s kept her nose pretty clean. But she is going to be charged with attempted armed robbery of the Subway clerk and armed robbery of that gas-station clerk.
MORET: Wow. It`s an amazing story. Josh Rojas from Bay 9 News, Tampa, thank you so much for joining us.
Coming up, it`s been two months since the horrific murder of Byrd and Melanie Billings. But the details from the entire surveillance video that captured exactly what happened that night, they`re just being released. We`ll have the timeline, coming up next.
And Chris Brown`s sentencing was unexpectedly -- unexpectedly moved up to today. We will tell you exactly what happened in court. Stay with us. More coming up.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) * MORET: Who is Ryan Jenkins? Tons of you called us wanting to know more about the reality TV star who killed himself days after cops named him a suspect in his swimsuit model ex-wife`s gruesome murder. Tonight, we`ll speak with the caster director who called him perfect for TV.
Plus, shock, disgust, and answers? It`s been nearly two months since Byrd and Melanie Billings were found shot to death in their home. This is the generous couple known for adopting special-needs kids. For the first time, cops are set to release the dramatic surveillance video of that horrific night.
Thanks for joining us tonight.
I`m Jim Moret, sitting in for Jane Velez-Mitchell. I`m from "Inside Edition." Thanks for joining us tonight.
R&B star Chris Brown is finally being punished for beating up singer Rihanna, his girlfriend at the time. As expected, he will not spend a single day in jail.
Brown was sentenced today to five years` probation and 1,400 hours of, quote, "labor-oriented service." He also has to complete domestic violence counseling. The singer avoided prison time by pleading guilty to felony assault.
He and Rihanna got into a fight in February, you may recall, on their way to the Grammy Awards. TMZ obtained this photo of Rihanna shortly after the attack. You can see she was bruised and bloody.
According to the police report, "Brown tried to force her out of the car, shoving her face against the window, punching her repeatedly as he drove." Brown reportedly told Rihanna, quote, "I`m going to beat the [bleep] out of you when we get home." Brown bit her ear and finger, put her in a headlock and threatened to kill her.
So after the hearing, after hearing all that, did he get off too easy? Let me ask my guests: forensic psychologist and lawyer, Brian Russell; Florida prosecutor Stacey Honowitz; criminal defense attorney Mark Eiglarsh, and Russell Wetanson of popsquire.com.
Russell, you were in the courtroom. Tell us what it was like in there? What was the mood? We saw Chris Brown on video. And we saw that he`s been very respectful, well-dressed, quiet. What was the sense you got in the courtroom?
RUSSELL WETANSON, POPSQUIRE.COM: That`s right. Today`s sentencing hearing is over, but in many respects this is just the beginning for Chris Brown. And you definitely got that sense today.
The judge handed down the sentence, as you said, including five years` probation, hard labor and a domestic violence class lasting 52 weeks. But the judge also kept in effect the existing stay-away order against Rihanna, which requires Chris to stay away from Rihanna 100 yards unless there are industry events, in which case it`s ten yards.
The judge took special attention and care in presenting this and said to Chris, "Now, listen, I am not one to go for hearsay, but I`m not immune to chatter over the airways," clearly indicating that she`s heard rumors about the two being in touch. The judge was very specific about addressing that today.
MORET: Mark Eiglarsh, as a defense attorney, what do you make of this sentence?
MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think it`s fair. You know, anyone similarly situated, whether it be Chris Brown or John Doe, would receive a similar sentence under these circumstances. Justice as defined by Aristotle is like cases being treated alike.
What people don`t understand is that there`s no case that`s exactly alike. In this case, you had a cooperating victim that didn`t want to see him go to jail. If you compare that to another case where you have a beat- up victim who doesn`t want to see the defendant go to jail, then he got a very similar sentence to those defendants, similarly situated.
MORET: Stacey Honowitz, this judge made it very clear she did not want simply community service. She didn`t want him going to a home and serving meals. She wanted some labor involved here. And some people suggest that maybe he was treated more harshly.
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Oh, no, he wasn`t treated more harshly at all. I`m agreeing with Mark on this one statement. The bottom line is this is what most first-time domestic violence defendants do receive.
And in this case, she wanted to make sure that he didn`t, in fact, just go and, like you said, go to a soup kitchen or do something that didn`t mean anything to him. She wants him to be able to realize that this is punishment. You might not be going to jail, but you have to realize that what you did is criminal.
And how did you do that if you`re not going to go to jail? Do something that`s going to force you to show us that you understand what you did. And in this case, she made it quite clear on the record, "I know that the two of you might be wanting to see each other, but the stay-away order is going to remain in effect, the protective order. You better go out and prove to us that you`re not treated any differently than anybody else, but you`re also not going to be -- make light of this."
That`s exactly what this sentence stood for.
MORET: Chris Brown made a public apology last month on his website. Here`s a clip from that video that he posted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS BROWN, R&B SINGER: I wish I had the chance to live those few moments again, but unfortunately I can`t. I cannot go into what happened and most importantly I`m not going to sit here and make any excuses. I take great pride in me being able to exercise self-control and what I did was inexcusable. I am very sad and very ashamed of what I`ve done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORET: Brown went on to say there was domestic violence in his own home growing up and that he witnessed "uncontrolled rage."
We have a psychologist on the panel. Let`s go right to you, Brian. As an attorney and a psychologist, what do you make of this -- this claim that, look I grew up in a family. There was this kind of violence around me. I wish I could go back and redo it. Is this an honest apology in your view?
BRIAN RUSSELL, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST AND ATTORNEY: Oh, cry me a river. No. And you know what, it`s insulting because the vast majority of people in this country who grew up in abusive households do not go on to do the kind of thing that Brown did.
I agree with Mark and Stacey. It`s not Hollywood justice. This is the kind of sentence that we`re getting all across the country for John Does and famous people all of the time.
Do I think it`s enough? Do I think it`s justice? No, I don`t. Do I think it`s going to be enough to deter this guy from not exercising that control of himself that he`s bragging about in the future? No. I predict that we`ll see this guy in a similar situation again sooner rather than later.
MORET: Well, those are kind of harsh words. Mark Eiglarsh, what do you think? You`ve got a defense attorney. You`ve got a client and you say, "Hey, look, he`s going to do the time." Why would you -- why would you say he`s going to be back here?
EIGLARSH: Well, Brian says that. I almost jumped in and disagreed with him. He`s got five years of probation hanging over his head which means if he does anything, if he touches the hair on a woman inappropriately, he`s going to be launched. He`ll go to prison.
Again, I think that if you had a victim who wanted blood, then you would have a different outcome. We learned from Donte Stallworth that the victim`s say has so much to do with the outcome of a criminal case. Similarly here, we had Rihanna saying, "I`ll cooperate, but I don`t want to see him go to jail." And you know what? That had a lot to do with what the prosecutors doled out.
MORET: Are you frustrated, Stacey, that Rihanna did not want to testify here?
HONOWITZ: Yes, absolutely. I mean, we see it every single day.
You know, these women are beaten and the first thing they do unfortunately is they call the state attorney`s office. First they call the police and they make the report. The police go out, they investigate, they take pictures, they take statements. The next thing you know, we`ve got a phone call in the state attorney`s office. "I don`t want to go forward."
There`s many reasons for it. People don`t want to come into court and testify and have their dirty laundry aired in front of six strangers or 12 strangers that they don`t know. That`s one thing.
Number two, they don`t want to be subject to cross examination and they don`t want people to know what went on in the relationship. Quite often, you know, we try to convince these women, "Please, you don`t understand. If it happens again, when you come to our office, we`re not going to prosecute because you didn`t go forward."
But this is what you see on a constant basis. It`s very frustrating. I wish there was some way that we could get through to these women that it`s so imperative and so important that if this happens to you, if you are the victim of some kind of domestic violence that you follow through and you carry on.
EIGLARSH: Absolutely. We`re going to talk about...
MORET: I know -- wait. Hold on. Hold on. We`re out of time. I`m so sorry. Thank you to my excellent panel though.
Coming up, police say Ryan Jenkins took his own life after being named the prime suspect in Jasmine Fiore`s murder. Who was this man? We`ll talk to the woman who actually cast him on a VH1 reality show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Hi. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell. People across America are grappling with addiction and I`m one of them. In my new book, "I want," I reveal details of my own personal battle with alcoholism and how I finally got sober more than 14 years ago.
It`s a recovery memoir due out this fall. You can pre-order your copy right now. Just click on cnn.com/jane and look for the preorder section.
If you know someone with a substance abuse problem or an eating disorder, this book will help you cope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MORET: Good evening. I`m Jim Moret from "Inside Edition" filling in tonight for Jane.
Before allegedly taking his own life and being charged with murder of his ex-wife, Jasmine Fiore, Ryan Jenkins was a reality show contestant. We`ll talk to the woman who cast him in just a bit.
But first, "Top of the Block" tonight: authorities are set to release surveillance footage that recorded the final terrifying moments before the murders of Byrd and Melanie Billings. The couple had 16 surveillance cameras at their Florida home, which allowed investigators to make a timeline of that tragic evening.
Here is what happened: 7:05 p.m., the attackers drive up to the Billings` home in a red van. Seconds later, all seven of them get out and approach the house. 7:06, Byrd Billings looks toward the front door, raises his hands in the air. Moments later, he`s shot in the leg and a suspect takes him to the bedroom. At the same time, Melanie Billings is in the living room with one of the children and a suspect. 7:07, the Billings are in their master bedroom where they were killed.
The failure to dismantle this extensive system is perhaps the strongest piece of evidence yet that led to the arrests of the six men and one teenage boy who are charged with the murders.
And that is tonight`s "Top of the Block."
Tonight, details continue to emerge about Ryan Jenkins, the reality TV contestant who killed himself just days after cops named him the prime suspect in his 28-year-old ex-wife Jasmine Fiore`s brutal murder.
Jenkins became a reality TV star on the VH1 show "Megan wants a Millionaire" where he earned the nickname "smooth operator." But what made him the perfect contestant? We`ll talk to the woman who actually cast him on that VH1 show in just moments.
But reality wasn`t as bright as his TV career. His rocky romance with Jasmine Fiore ended abruptly in an apparent murder-suicide. After a week long manhunt Jenkins was found dead in a Canadian motel. His mother spoke out about the tragedy on "Good Morning America."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADA JENKINS, RYAN JENKINS` MOTHER: My son is innocent. And I think he panicked. I`m just -- I`m dead, I`m dead inside. I`m devastated. I love him. He`s my only child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORET: Meanwhile, Canadian authorities have been tight-lipped about the mystery blond who allegedly helped Jenkins by checking him into that motel. Who is she and what charges could she face?
Straight out to my panel now: Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels; Brian Russell, forensic psychologist and attorney; Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor; and Stuart Brazell, the casting director who worked with Ryan Jenkins.
Stuart, first to you; what was it about Ryan Jenkins that made him in your view the perfect reality show contestant?
STUART BRAZELL, CAST RYAN JENKINS IN VH1 REALITY SHOW: Well, you know, he was perfect for the show because I was looking for a very specific archetype. This show was a very challenging show to cast because not only are you looking for a charismatic, convivial, full of energy and life, rowdy contestants, but they all had to be affluent, successful with a lot going...
MORET: We seem to have lost her. But while we`re trying to get her signal back, let`s take look at Ryan Jenkins on the VH1 show "Megan wants a Millionaire."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN JENKINS, REALITY SHOW STAR: I`m with Megan alone. It was enough to let her get in touch with my deeper side. And redeem myself for, you know, some of the silly things I said at dinner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORET: There he was, sweet-talking the cameras.
Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels and WABC Radio Talk Show Host, you followed this story. It`s bizarre. I was actually in the -- in the motel room about two hours outside Vancouver yesterday where this man took his life.
What do you make of this bizarre tale? First, getting on a reality show, then allegedly killing his ex-wife and fleeing as he did?
CURTIS SLIWA, FOUNDER, THE GUARDIAN ANGELS: Well, isn`t that what reality is all about, waiting for that train crash to happen except, wait, they did it in real life. Why didn`t they just save it for the cameras? I mean, look, these guys that they look to sort of appeal to America are schemers, skizzes (ph), hustlers and players.
And so when all of a sudden something like this takes place -- and, remember, the woman who interviewed him for the role said he was even snacking on her. I mean, he was already hot to trot on her before he even had the part. What do you expect?
That`s why they call it reality. You get these kinds of people on the show, it build up the ego, put them on a pedestal and then all of a sudden you get reality and then we can`t deal with it. So what do they do? They shut the show down and they say oh, that`s not what we anticipated. Come on. That`s reality.
MORET: Well and in fairness, we can`t reach Stuart Brazell, we lost the satellite -- she in fairness was the casting agent. She did not do any background checks nor was she the person responsible for that.
Canadian police spoke about this mystery blond who checked Ryan Jenkins into that Thunderbird Motel last Friday. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SGT. DUNCAN POUND, ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE: They`re aware of the identity of this female. We do not believe that she is a risk to public safety. We are not seeking the public`s assistance in locating this female. And our follow-up investigation, we will still have to try and protect the integrity of the investigation and not disclose details of the information that we`re gathering at this time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORET: Ok. So she remains a mystery. TMZ says it could be Jenkins` ex-fiancee, something that woman denies.
Stacey Honowitz, I was at this news conference yesterday, the one thing that struck me is just so weird was that the authorities said we don`t even want your help in finding her. We think we know who she is. She`s not a threat to the public. What do you make of that?
HONOWITZ: Well, you know why they`re conducting this investigation, Jim. I mean, she really could be charge with accessory after the fact if she knowingly helped him escape. And certainly she took him in; she harbored him when everybody was looking for him. She`s an accessory in this case and she could be charged accordingly.
They probably do know who she is. They`re waiting to speak with her and then they`re going to decide whether or not because the victim in this case is dead and the defendant, the suspect is dead whether or not they are going to go forward and bring charges. I think they might have to in a case like because it kind of sends a message.
If you are going to help someone who is on the run, who has committed a crime and you`ve harbored him and you help him, then certainly you are responsible in some way. So there might be charges filed against her.
MORET: Brian Russell, the strange thing bringing this a step further is that according to the Canadian authorities we talked to yesterday, if they bring charges, they`re only going to be Canadian charges. With respect to going across the border, they`re not going to have anything to do with the murder unless they can show that this woman was somehow involved.
And Stacey talks about sending a message. What kind of message do you think that would that send if it`s just a misdemeanor up there?
RUSSELL: Well, I think the most important thing is it looks like the perpetrator of the big crime is gone. And as a shrink, I know I`m supposed to say that I don`t want anybody to ever commit suicide, but in this particular case I`m saying, good riddance. I mean, it saved us a massively expensive death penalty trial in California and death penalty extradition from Canada which is a complicated and difficult thing.
I agree, I think that we ought to come down harder if we could here in the United States, if we could get this woman back here, we`ve got to come down harder if it turns out that she knowingly aided and abetted this guy.
But I want to go back real quick to something that you said about the casting agent and how she didn`t know in fairness to her...
MORET: Wait, wait. Hold on. Because we have her back and I really want her to speak for herself.
MORET: Stuart Brazell was the casting agent on that show and Stuart I was defending you while you were gone because I made it clear...
BRAZELL: Thank you.
MORET: ...you`re not the person responsible for doing any background checks. Your job was to cast a TV show. And you said this was the perfect guy for the show.
Right, I am truly just with the creative process. I do the interview, I turn over the tapes and then my hands are done.
Obviously this is a tragedy. My heart goes out to the Fiore family. No one could have seen this happen. No one could foresee this devastating incident.
MORET: And when you talk, I mean, Curtis Sliwa I think disagrees with that. Because he thinks that this is all one big reality show. And I really understand his point but Stuart, did you have any sense of any violence from this guy at all? Any sense, any inkling?
BRAZELL: You know I truly didn`t. I spent a good amount of time with this guy. I was shocked, surprised. I`ve been numb for the past couple of days. I had no red flags whatsoever that he could be capable of this behavior.
MORET: Everyone stay right where you are. We have much more coming up. We`ll have more on this shocking and bizarre murder after the break.
Don`t go anywhere.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM BURT, HOTEL EMPLOYEE: They came here on Friday, a lady went to the place and she was driving a silver PT Cruiser with Alberta plates. And she was -- after she rented the room for the fellow, she just left and we`ve never seen her again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORET: That was a motel employee describing the mystery woman who checked in and then paid for Ryan Jenkins motel room. Jenkins was found dead in that motel room after a week-long manhunt. He faced charges for killing and dismembering his ex-wife Jasmine Fiore.
Why won`t Canadian authorities tell us who that blond is? Brian, a forensic psychologist and attorney, what possible reason could Canadian authorities have for saying she`s no risk, no problems. We think we know who she is, don`t worry about it, we`ll take care of it.
RUSSELL: Well, there`s a chance that he threatened her and maybe they know that he`s threatened her into doing it. Obviously, that would be characteristic -- it would be consistent with other past behavior.
But I just have to point out, Jim, that I believe on HLN we`ve got the smartest viewers in television, but I know we`ve got women out there watching us tonight who think that they would be able to know when a man`s pushing and shoving is going to escalate to life-threatening and severe violence.
But look, Stuart didn`t see it, Jasmine Fiore certainly didn`t see it, I don`t think Rihanna saw it. And if you`re in a relationship where there`s been low-grade violence and you don`t expect it to escalate, you are crazy.
I`m not blaming women at all. Nobody is responsible for being violent to them but the people who`s throw the punches. But you`ve got to get yourself and especially your kids out of harm`s way when you can. Please.
HONOWITZ: Jim, can I say one thing?
HONOWITZ: I think the bottom line is -- I don`t know this, this is purely speculative, but maybe she got herself a lawyer and the lawyer got in touch with the police and the police have been kind of talking to the lawyer and the lawyer said listen, she`ll tell you everything that she knows.
So that`s why they might have come out and said she`s not a risk, we know who she is because maybe they`re trying to negotiate something down the line now for her.
MORET: Ok, Curtis Sliwa, Founder of the Guardian Angels jump in, because...
SLIWA: Well, you saw that Dudley Do Right RCMP Royal Canadian Mounted Police guy with the stiff upper lip. Come on, they`re so soft, they`re weak in Canada. They don`t even want to put murderers in jail. They want to do crisis intervention. And figure out why the furniture is upstairs and rearrange the one with -- they think we`re Neanderthals, knuckle draggers, and that we`re all into the death penalty.
They don`t want to give any Canadian citizens over to us. And their attitude is he harmed himself, good riddance. Leave the woman and leave our Canadian good women alone.
MORET: Well, in all fairness, Curtis, to the U.S. officials and Canadians, Ryan Jenkins was the only suspect ever named or ever believed to be responsible for this.
(INAUDIBLE) the woman as far as Canadian authorities can tell was involved in checking him into a hotel and that`s perhaps it.
SLIWA: Yes, yes aiding and abetting, right, his escape, he`s hiding. Come on that`s a crime as your panel has said an example needs to be set for her. But then again, in Canada they`ve got window shades on their eyes, cotton balls in their ears and zippers on their mouth.
It`s America, they say you should be happy, he hung himself, leave the woman alone.
MORET: Stuart Brazell -- very quickly we have about 15 seconds left. Do you think this will change the way you cast reality TV?
BRAZELL: I hope that we could bring something positive and hope out of such a tragic experience. I think there should be more preparation for the contestants probably counseling during the show and definitely after the show to get them ready to re-enter the real world.
They`ve been through this whirlwind experience. Get ready for that 15 minutes of fame. Fame is seductive. You need to be careful.
HONOWITZ: Or psych evaluation before they can go on.
MORET: It is. Thank you, all. We`re all out of time. Thank you to my fabulous panel for joining me tonight.
I`m Jim Moret from "Inside Edition" sitting in for Jane. You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.