Return to Transcripts main page
ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Mayor`s Niece Lived with Cleveland Strangler; No Leads Yet in Somer Thompson`s Murder; Chloroform Found; Wrong-Way Report; Pot & Booze
Aired November 9, 2009 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, stomach-churning new allegations in the case against the alleged Cleveland Stranger. At least 11 bodies have been found, women murdered and left to rot. Now, a major bombshell from city hall.
The mayor of Cleveland admits his niece was dating Anthony Sowell and living in the corpse-filled house. This woman says the two did drugs together until she moved out just last year. You will not believe what else she`s saying.
Plus, living a nightmare. Somer Thompson`s mom speaking out on the third-week anniversary of her daughter`s murder. The 7-year-old abducted, killed, dumped in the trash, the killer still on the loose. Now cops searching for Somer`s pink lunch bag. Could this be the key to finding her killer? And what about those construction workers who reportedly say they talked to the little girl?
And an earth-shattering discovery in the Casey Anthony case. The FBI now says a bottle and a syringe found near little Caylee`s body contained traces of chloroform. With this new evidence, are prosecutors alleging that Casey Anthony injected her own daughter with chloroform? Is this the smoking gun prosecutors need?
Also, toxic secrets of a soccer mom. The boozed-up woman who killed eight people, including herself, while driving the wrong way on the highway, was allegedly nauseated on the side of the road just minutes before the fatal wreck. Now published reports quote family members as claiming the wrong-way wife smoked pot on a regular basis. Remember: her husband said there was no way, no how his wife was intoxicated during the wreck. Even saying he never saw his wife drunk. So what really happened in the minutes before that horrific crash?
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, he`s accused of being the Cleveland Stranger, with 11 corpses found on his property. And there is a shocking new bombshell development in this killing spree that is beyond belief. Get this. The girlfriend of suspected serial killer Anthony Sowell is speaking out, and guess what? She is the mayor`s niece.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORI FRAZIER, NIECE OF MAYOR FRANK JACKSON: I lived with him from 2005 to 2007. He didn`t kill me, but he killed all these girls.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you ever there when he had other women there or...
FRAZIER: No. He did it when I wasn`t -- he did it when I wasn`t there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: How in the world did the mayor`s niece, Lori Frazier, live with rotting bodies and not know it? You will hear her explanation in just a moment.
As for her uncle, Mayor Frank Jackson, he said, quote, "My niece would probably fit the same profile of many victims, so she is fortunate, very fortunate," end quote.
Mayor Jackson was just re-elected last week and has promised to investigate why it took cops so long to bust Sowell.
But we have a question for the mayor. When exactly did you, Mayor, find out your niece was living with a monster in a pile of bodies that was producing an overwhelming stench?
Also tonight, new accusations that police missed several chances to arrest Sowell. His neighbor says just two weeks ago, he found Sowell, Anthony Sowell, naked in the bushes, standing over a woman who was bloodied, bruised and also naked. The neighbors say he called cops but insists the cops never came to interview him. How is that possible?
We`re also hearing from more of Sowell`s alleged victims. One of them recounted her nightmare for CNN`s Susan Candiotti.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TANJA DOSS, ALLEGEDLY ASSAULTED BY SOWELL: He caught me off-guard. He leaped on me like this.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So you`re on the bed here?
DOSS: I`m on the corner of the bed. But when he grabbed me, pushed me back up on the bed like this, OK? I`m trying to -- trying to finagle up out of it, but I couldn`t. So I held my breath and tried to take my, you know, just my neck forward, but he had a grip on my throat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What an extraordinary interview. Tanja says her history of drug-related crime made her too scared to report it to cops. We`ve heard similar stories from other alleged victims. Tonight, here on ISSUES, we will look at the major role drugs and drug addiction played in this particular case.
And I also want to hear from you about this horrifying case. What`s your theory? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
I want to welcome my fantastic panel: Ken Sealy, addiction specialist, famed interventionist and author of "Face It and Fix It"; Joe Tacopina, noted criminal defense attorney; John Lucich, former criminal investigator. And we`re delighted to have Judge Greg Mathis of "The Judge Mathis Show."
But first, straight out to famed investigative reporter Michelle Sigona of MichelleSigona.com.
Michelle, dare we ask, what is the very latest?
MICHELLE SIGONA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: The very latest, Jane, in this investigation is the eighth and ninth victim were just identified about an hour ago, and they are, unfortunately, Janice D. Webb and also Kim Yvette Smith.
In addition, an indictment. Prosecutor`s office filed an indictment against Anthony Sowell today, charging him with one count of attempted murder, two counts of rape, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of felonious assault. Now, this is based off of the incident that happened September 22, 2009. That`s when that woman allegedly fell off of his balcony and -- excuse me, that was the October 20 incident. This is the incident where the woman went to police, and they were trying to track her down for about a month before they got together with her. And then were able to go and serve that search warrant on October 29, 2009. I have that indictment right here.
In addition, there`s an FBI serial killer team on the scene right now. It`s a team of top scientists from the FBI. I have an entire serial killer report from the FBI on my Web site at MichelleSigona.com that your viewers can read.
And one other thing. I just got off the phone with the Coronado Police Department. The police chief there says a woman has come forward from the East Coast claiming that Sowell had raped her in 1979. And so they`re trying to piece together some of that information right now.
And what he says is that the statute of limitations in California only goes for ten years, but they`re still trying to pull up some information for this woman and trying to give her closure if this did, in fact, happen to her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my God. Where does it end? How many more victims are going to come forward?
Right now, as we speak, in Cleveland, a vigil is about to get underway, and it may have already started. Judy Martin, director of Survivors Victims of Tragedy Inc., who is basically a victims rights advocate, is there at the vigil.
Judy, can you hear us?
JUDY MARTIN, DIRECTOR, SURVIVORS VICTIMS OF TRAGEDY INC.: Yes, I can.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can you paint a picture of how close is the vigil to the house of horrors, first of all, and can you paint a picture of what`s going on there? What is the mood and who`s gathered?
MARTIN: Well, there are about 100 people, 150 people gathered so far. We`re right across the street from the house where all the bodies were found.
As I`m sitting here, I`m sitting here right on the corner. I can see people pulling up and being dropped off so that people can go park their cars and walk back.
We`re here for the victims of this horrible tragedy. We`re also here for victims of cold cases, because we need to bring attention to all of this. But we can`t forget about all the missing persons that may be in this Cuyahoga County and elsewhere that are not in this house. We hope they`re not. We hope that they`re found, but we need a missing persons department in Cuyahoga County so this doesn`t happen again.
We need to know when there`s a cluster of missing person cases. We need to know when someone lives in a suburb that goes missing in Cleveland or vice versa. We need this information traded and exchanged and collected in one place so that we can collate all of this information.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Judy, we need law enforcement to take it seriously when a woman disappears, no matter what. No matter whether she`s a drug addict, no matter whether she`s a street person, no matter whether she`s a prostitute. It doesn`t matter who you are. We are all citizens of this country, and we deserve to be treated with respect by law enforcement, and they admittedly have a very, very difficult job.
Now, I want to get back to the mayor`s niece, because this is a mind- blower.
MARTIN: We also need to listen to the families. When families come forward and say that there`s something different about this. If this person never took off before or was gone for a few days, the families know when something`s different and law enforcement needs to listen to the families. If they had listened to the families who said that...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. Judy, I want to bring in -- I want to bring in Judge Greg Mathis from "The Judge Mathis Show." Listen, there are calls now, judge, for a federal investigation, because so many people said that the relatives of missing women claim cops would joke and belittle them when they asked for help finding their missing family member.
The mother of the first woman identified inside this house said the cops told her, quote, "They told me to wait awhile because she would return once all the drugs were gone." Ha, ha, ha. She was found dead in the house of horrors. What do you make of it?
JUDGE GREG MATHIS, "THE JUDGE MATHIS SHOW": First of all, it`s my belief that many in law enforcement and in other parts of society devalue the lives of the poor and the minorities. Whether they`re on drugs or not. You know they value the lives of all the Hollywood drug addicts, so I don`t think it`s as much involving drugs as it is devaluing the life of the poor and the minorities.
Secondly, it`s hard for me to believe that 11 missing women could be reported in the same neighborhood and you not be able to find any of them or be able to investigate in a manner that would reveal any tips. That`s hard for me to believe.
And thirdly, I think that the sex offender registry law should be changed or amended.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
MATHIS: This is a perfect example of how the neighborhood should have known. The neighborhood should have been instructed that there was a sex offender in their midst.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s not just the cops. It`s everybody. Now, let me just say this. With all the bodies piled up inside Sowell`s house, it`s really unbelievable any woman made it out alive.
Alleged victim Tanja Doss says she was there drinking with Sowell when he just snapped. Listen to her. It`s amazing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOSS: He was still choking me. He was like, "(EXPLETIVE DELETED) you could be another (EXPLETIVE DELETED) in the street dead and wouldn`t nobody give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) about you."
I started crying. I was like, "Why you got to act like that, Tony?"
He said, "Oh, you think I`m playing? (EXPLETIVE DELETED), take your clothes off."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: She didn`t report it because her background isn`t squeaky clean, she said. So many of the victims that have been identified have one thing in common. Ken Sealy, we only have a couple of seconds before the break, but we`re going to discuss this more on the other end. Is that they were drug addicts, and they had criminal history. And that`s why he picked them.
According to one woman, he said, "You`re just another crack bleep. Nobody`s going to care."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the other people that...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. I`m asking Ken Sealy.
KEN SEALY, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: Yes, Jane, thanks. The part that I`m seeing in this and that disappoints me is that the mayor`s niece was there for two years. Why didn`t he see the red flags and take action on them? And maybe a lot of lives could have been saved. Two years is an awful long time, Jane, for somebody to just sit there and watch their niece`s behavior. So I mean, she had to be down there with them to be living with that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jane -- Jane, that`s...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: None of it makes any sense, people. None of it makes sense that you could live in a stench-filled house for two years with bodies rotting next to you, doing drugs, and you don`t notice it?
More on the alleged Cleveland Stranger in just a bit. We`re also taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.
Plus, do prosecutors have the smoking gun in the Casey Anthony case? Investigators found a syringe with traces of chloroform. Can it be traced to murder?
But first, rocked by tragedy. An entire community searching for answers. A vigil going on as we speak. Family members in Cleveland mourning the loss of their mothers, their sisters and their daughters.
(BEGIN VIDE CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As we stand here in front of this home, where we -- they found your daughter, what is that like for you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s hard. Because I want to burn it down. I really would like to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOANNE MOORE, VICTIM`S SISTER: Something in my heart is telling me that my sister is one of the victims. I don`t -- I don`t want it to be true. I pray, and I cry, and I pray and I cry, and I talk to someone. And I miss her. I just miss her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s a heartbreaker. That is the sister of a victim, but here is my big issue tonight. All you have to do in this case is follow the drugs. Most of the victims who have been identified so far had criminal records and a history of drug abuse. Sowell allegedly used alcohol and drugs to lure them into his house of horrors.
Take a look at his mug shot. Is this the face of a drug-addicted killer? One alleged victim says Sowell`s eyes glowed like the devil when he attacked her.
So Ken Sealy, you`re the addiction specialist. When you`ve got drugs involved, are people likely to ignore the stench of death if they`re craving that drug? Are people likely to put themselves at risk, knowing that this place is creepy, "But if there`s drugs in there, I`m going to go in there and I`m going to get those drugs"?
SEALY: Yes, you`re absolutely right, Jane. They don`t care. The addict does not care what is happening. They`re going to do what`s necessary to get their fix. They`re just not going to stand by and say that, "Well, I won`t go there." They`ll kill people to get their drugs.
And you put it so clearly: follow the drug. Follow the drug, and you will find where the problems lie. We can help so many people.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Yes, I mean, John Lucich, you`re the criminal investigator. It would seem that he was aware of the fact that nobody was going to look for these women and that he allegedly picked his women very carefully. Women with drug issues.
JOHN LUCICH, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: There`s no doubt about it, Jane. In fact, you know, this is a failure of all levels of government. It`s more than just a police department here. We had the Health Department involved when they went to the sausage place, no doubt. We had DEP involved when they came out and replaced the sewer lines.
And even after three years, this smell doesn`t go away and no one keeps looking?
And we had a parole officer allegedly go to the front door, and no one smells anything in this house, enough to get a warrant? Everybody failed these people, no doubt about it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joe Tacopina, how will this federal investigation unfold if there is a federal investigation into how police handled this?
JOE TACOPINA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Look, it`s very tough. I`ve been involved in a number of these, Jane. It`s very tough to -- to sort of pin this on the police. I mean, I understand the frustration. Police work is an imperfect science.
But let me say this. Unlike cases involving missing children, for police to really ramp up an investigation regarding a missing adult, they need clear evidence of foul play.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Can I just say this, Joe?
TACOPINA: Yes. You can say it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A woman was naked, beaten and bloodied in the bushes outside Sowell`s house, and he was standing naked on top of her.
TACOPINA: Right. I mean, that`s...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s pretty clear.
TACOPINA: Jane -- Jane, that`s according to -- that`s according to one witness`s alleged statement that he made to the police. If you ask the police, according to their records, and I`ve read all the statements the police have made, they`ve spent -- they`ve spent numerous hours on an almost daily basis, looking for a lot of these women, doing everything I could. Missing adult case is much more complicated.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why don`t you just go into the house? Why don`t you just go into the house? Go into the house because it smells.
TACOPINA: We don`t live in that society where we can just go into the house.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait. You can`t get a search warrant if you find a naked woman out there on the ground and the stench...
TACOPINA: Well, they didn`t find the naked woman. That`s the problem. They didn`t find a woman.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The ambulance took a naked woman away.
TACOPINA: But not from his property. There`s no -- there`s no direct link to his property. You can`t just say, "Let`s go into the house." I mean, it`s great; it sounds good on TV, but you can`t just do it like that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what? We`ve got to leave it right there. But obviously, we will get back to this. We will stay on top of this, and I thank you, fantastic panel. Very disturbing stuff.
Switching gears, every day this week we`re going to be saluting the troops on HLN. Today, Robin Meade brings us a special message from one very proud military mom to her soldier son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBIN MEADE, HLN ANCHOR: Thanks, Jane.
Our military salute today is from Angela Gaffner to her son, Corey (ph) Gaffner. Angela says that Corey (ph) is a wonderful young man with a lot of love in his heart for his family and for his country.
ANGELA GAFFNER, MOTHER OF COREY (PH): Hi, Robin. This is Angela Gaffner out of Texas, Specialist Corey (ph) Gaffner`s mom. And I want to say that I am so proud of my son for representing our country. I just want to tell my son to stay strong and be safe, and I want to let him know that I love him very much.
MEADE: So sweet. Corey is engaged to be married around this time next year.
Back to you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thanks, Robin. A bombshell in the Casey Anthony case, next.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: An explosive new lead in the murder of 7-year-old Somer Thompson. Cops scoured this abandoned house for evidence. It is the last place Somer was seen alive. Take a look at it there.
Now "America`s Most Wanted" reports construction workers were at that site, and they admitted to cops they did see little Somer. They say she came in through the gate, spoke to them, and then left.
How did Somer just vanish into thin air? Her mom admits she might have willingly gotten into a car with a stranger.
Here is mom on ABC`s "Good Morning America."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIENA THOMPSON, MOTHER OF SOMER: That was one of the hardest questions I had to answer from the investigators. They asked me did I think she would willingly get into a car with someone. To hear the word "yes" come out of my mouth got me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Plus, police frantically searching for this pink Piglet lunchbox and this pink tote bag. There are the missing items. They believe little Somer was carrying these bags when she was abducted. Could they be the key to finding her killer?
Straight out to my guest, profiler Pat Brown.
Pat, as a criminal profiler, tell us, could this killer have kept Somer`s lunchbox and bag, and if so, why?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, Jane, sometimes they do keep these souvenirs because...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can you hear us?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, I got to say that quite often, the criminals involved in a case like this will keep an item as a keepsake. And Pat Brown, can you hear me now?
BROWN: I can hear you fine.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Pat, what -- we were talking about this tote bag and the lunchbox. Now, why would a criminal theoretically, hypothetically, keep it?
BROWN: Well, sometimes it is a souvenir. They love that crime that they committed so much, they just like keeping it on their fireplace so they can look at it and say, "Look what I did. Isn`t that exciting."
But other times what will happen is they`ll dump those items in a separate place, which is a smart thing to do, not with the body, so that those things will be somewhere else. So they just may simply not have found them.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Somer`s mom says she will not rest until her daughter`s killer is found. Here she is on ABC`s "Good Morning America."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMPSON: I feel like there`s a piece of broken glass in front of me, and I`ve got all the pieces to the broken glass, except for this one huge piece, and that`s to catch the monster who did this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Another possible lead, a sex offender was arrested in Georgia.
Now, he was caught following two young boys home from school. Authorities say there`s no evidence linking these cases. But Pat, police say there was a similar M.O. What`s your take? Could these be connected?
BROWN: I`m not overly impressed, Jane, because simple fact is the M.O. is always the same when you`re going after children. You look near schools and near where they`re playing, like at the playground.
If he wasn`t in town that day, if he wasn`t visiting his cousin on that street, I`m not going to buy that`s connected at all.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what about these construction workers? We hadn`t heard about them until today. Suddenly, oh, the abandoned house has construction workers and they talked to the little girl? That`s strange.
BROWN: That`s kind of creepy, actually, yes, because one of the things I wonder about -- now Somer`s father actually said that her body was found with soot on it. I don`t know if this is true, Jane, but if it were, that would be very, very interesting. Because if she were killed in that house, and somebody from -- just walking down the street grabbed her and dragged her into that house, wasn`t connected with that location, he`d just leave her there and keep on running.
But if somebody connected to that location killed that child, he wouldn`t want her body found there. He`d have to move her into a trash bin, not right in front of the house, a trash container someplace else that -- so that it wouldn`t be connected with the home.
So that`s very interesting to me. I`d be looking very carefully at who was at that particular house that day.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you know they are interviewing all those construction workers. They have not eliminated anyone. Sadly, they do not have any suspects in this case.
Thank you, Pat Brown.
From one tragedy to another. New evidence has been released in the Casey Anthony case. You will not believe the shocker.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: An earth-shaking discovery in the Casey Anthony case. The FBI now says a bottle and a syringe found near little Caylee`s body contained traces of chloroform. With this new evidence, are prosecutors alleging that Casey Anthony injected her own daughter with chloroform? Is this the smoking gun needed to convict Casey?
Also, toxic secrets of a soccer mom: the boozed-up woman who killed eight people, including herself while driving the wrong way on the highway was allegedly nauseated on the side of the road just minutes before the fatal wreck.
Stunning new bombshells in the Caylee Anthony murder case. Prosecutors released tons of new evidence and it will shock you. This empty Gatorade bottle was found near little Caylee`s body. Inside, traces of the knockout drug chloroform but also inside the bottle, a plastic baggie holding a syringe. Get this, in that syringe, more traces of chloroform as well as testosterone.
Also revealed: photos of a baby doll found inside Casey`s car; prosecutors say more traces of chloroform were found on this doll. Why is this evidence so very significant?
Investigators already discovered that somebody searched how to make chloroform on the Anthony family computer. Somebody also searched the term "neck-breaking." Investigators also found high levels of chloroform in the trunk of Casey`s car.
Is this a slam-dunk for the prosecution? Is this syringe the smoking gun? Casey still maintains she left little Caylee with the nanny named Zenaida Gonzalez that nobody can find.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE ANTHONY, CASEY`S FATHER: Hey, gorgeous, how you doing?
CASEY ANTHONY, ACCUSED OF MURDER: I look like hell.
G. ANTHONY: You know something? You really need to keep your spirit high for all this.
CASEY ANTHONY: I have. I haven`t been crying while I have been in here.
CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY`S MOTHER: What message do you want me to give to Zanny and to Caylee? What do you want me to tell Zanny?
CASEY ANTHONY: That she needs to return Caylee?
CINDY ANTHONY: What do you think her reasons are?
CASEY ANTHONY: Mom, I don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course, prosecutors say Zanny is fiction.
Straight out to my expert panel and joining us, WDBO radio reporter Drew Petromo as well as criminal defense Joe Tacopina.
Drew, you have been tracking this case from the very start. Connect the dots for us. Why is this new chloroform evidence so very significant?
DREW PETROMO, REPORTER, WDBO RADIO: Well, chloroform has always been very important to the state`s case against Casey Anthony. You hit on it earlier. The search is on Casey`s computer for how to make chloroform, also chloroform was found in the trunk of Casey Anthony`s car.
So if they can somehow tie this syringe and this Gatorade bottle back to Casey Anthony, like you said, it`s a smoking gun that would prove that or at least show, probably convince a jury that it was Casey Anthony that injected her.
Of course, toxicology cannot prove that that`s how she died. The medical examiner ruled it a homicide but by unknown means because the remains were so far gone along. So the state has a lot of work to do but if they can prove that this syringe was Casey Anthony`s, that she bought it, that she bought the Gatorade bottle, it would be very big for their case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: John Lucich -- you`re the criminal investigator -- chloroform could be used as a knockout drug and as this information was coming in, there were theories that well, maybe she wanted to go out dancing and she wanted the child to go to sleep and she put a little chloroform on a cloth and didn`t realize what she was doing. But when you bring in the element of a syringe, you are talking about a totally different situation, are you not?
JOHN LUCICH, CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Yes. But the problem here is that the body`s been decomposed and we just have bones left over.
This woman was the last one to be seen alive with the baby. She lied to investigators and she was the one driving the car that had the chloroform in it, that had the DNA and the little piece of hair that came from a dead Anthony and since Casey`s alive, we know it must have come from Caylee.
This last piece of evidence is just another nail in Casey`s coffin and that`s the point we need to get to.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Remember Cindy Anthony`s chilling 911 call. She talked about smelling a dead body in her daughter`s car. Listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CINDY ANTHONY: I found out my granddaughter has been taken. She has been missing for a month. Her mother finally admitted that she`s been missing.
Get someone here now.
911 OPERATOR: Your daughter admitted that the baby is where?
CINDY ANTHONY: That the baby sitter took her a month ago, that my daughter`s been looking for her. There`s something wrong. I found my daughter`s car today and it smells like there`s been a dead body in the damn car.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cindy later took that back and blamed the smell on rotting pizza. However, now there is more disturbing evidence.
Joe Tacopina, coffin flies discovered buzzing around a bag of trash found in Casey`s trunk. Experts say the flies are drawn to decaying flesh. You know, cadaver dogs hit on Casey`s trunk, investigators tested the air in the trunk and found signs of decomposition. Prosecutors say further testing of a hair showed there was a dead body at one point, decomposing in that trunk.
Casey`s dad, you know he`s a former cop, he told investigators he smelled death in the car.
So Joe Tacopina, the defense is likely to argue a lot of that is junk science.
JOE TACOPINA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But how do you argue against coffin flies?
TACOPINA: You know, I mean, coffin flies. These are flies. If there was pizza in that car, you know, flies would be on that car. I don`t think that`s the fact that wins the day for the prosecution, Jane.
What I think wins the day and I think we don`t need to really go much further than this. Yes, the chloroform evidence is bad. Especially because it looks like there was one search for it on a computer and two, injected into a doll almost like as a practice.
But when you think about it, why would you really need chloroform on an infant? Chloroform really is something that disables and renders someone helpless; probably not going to get that level of struggle from an infant if you wanted to kill an infant.
But here`s the kicker. The fact that she waited a month to tell authorities that her daughter was missing by some babysitter is the fact that no 12 jurors will come together and say, "You know what, there`s a reasonable explanation. This case hasn`t been proven beyond a reasonable doubt." I don`t think there`s any way she gets around that fact.
The rest of it is circumstantial evidence like a chain-link fence with each additional link, the fence gets stronger and stronger Jane. But that is the fact -- the fact that she waited 30 days, I don`t see anyone being able to accept that. I can`t.
LUCICH: She didn`t even wait 30 days, her mom...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is the big circumstantial evidence but the evidence we`re getting in today is really forensics. Tracy McLaughlin worked with bounty hunter Leonard Padilla. He`s the one who first helped bail Casey out of jail, then sort of turned on her.
She told investigators, this helper of Padilla`s, that she was very alarmed when a conversation with Casey turned to chloroform.
Listen what she had to say.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRACY MCLAUGHLIN, LEONARD PADILLA`S STAFF: I bring up GHB, I don`t know if you guys have ever heard of it. I`ve used it before. I know a lot about it. They call it a date rape drug now.
So I brought that up and asked her if she`d ever heard of it.
She said, "Oh, yes." I mean if I would have said have you ever heard of LMS, QP, she would have said yes. That`s how she was, she agreed with everything.
And I said, it`s in a liquid form, you can take a cap and you take a little bit too much and your out.
And she said, "Like Roofies." And I said yes or ether. And she said, "Or chloroform."
(END AUDIO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Pat Brown, it`s clear Casey was acquainted with chloroform.
But here`s what I don`t understand, the testosterone, because to me, I think as a defense attorney, I would argue well, hey, some bodybuilder who was using testosterone killed this child.
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, that would be a good defense. And if Casey knew somebody who used testosterone, they will try to blame it on him. But it`s far more likely that she needed an implement and if she knew somebody who used testosterone, was familiar with that fact, she would have simply stolen it from him.
So I don`t think that takes her out of the picture. Let`s face it, we would have to have Zanny in the house looking up stuff on her computer, Zanny in the car and Zanny at the crime scene.
The problem with Casey is she got too clever for her own good. She`s so grandiose in thinking she planned this fantastic scenario to get rid of her daughter as opposed to just doing something quite frankly, really simple.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And she locked herself into this defense that may not work and it`s the Zanny the nanny defense. I`m sure we`re going to be repeating that phrase over and over again in the coming months.
Thank you, fabulous panel.
Here`s a question for you. Does Chris Brown have any shame? He attacked Rihanna nine months ago but now he thinks Rihanna should have kept the details of the assault to herself. Maybe he should have thought about that before punching her in the face.
Plus, explosive new details in the drunk driving mom who killed eight people in New York. New reports say her husband is changing his story that his wife was always clean and sober.
What do you think? Give us a holler. 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297; I want to hear from you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL SCHULER, HUSBAND OF DIANA SCHULER: My heart is clear. She did not drink. She is not an alcoholic.
DOMINIC BARBARA, DANIEL SCHULER`S LAWYER: She was diabetic.
SCHULER: Something medically had to have happened.
BARBARA: She had a bump on her leg which was traveling towards her brain.
SCHULER: She is not an alcoholic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s meet today`s winner, Tommy from Arizona. Tommy says he was a beer and whiskey blackout drunk. Drinking cost him everything: three marriages, his house. Rock bottom came when he was homeless and dying of his disease.
Then he found a clinic that helped him kick the habit. Now married for seven years, Tommy says he has been sober for 23 years and he`s happier than ever.
Tommy, for sharing your really, really amazing, heartwarming, inspiring story of recovery, you`re going to be getting an autographed copy of my new book "I Want" plus a chance to win a trip here to New York city to visit me on the set of ISSUES. We`ll have a fun time but a sober time.
You know, if you`re struggling with addiction or know somebody who is, please check out my new book "I Want" at cnn.com/Jane. I promise you it can help.
Coming up, published reports claim that Diane Schuler, the mom who killed eight people, including herself, after allegedly driving drunk and high in the wrong direction down a freeway, smoked pot daily despite her husband`s claim that she was a perfect sober mom. That, in a moment.
But first, "Top of the Block" tonight: Oh, Chris Brown has been taking steps to try to resurrect his career after assaulting ex-girlfriend Rihanna. Here`s what the pop star had to say to MTV about that terrible incident.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS BROWN, SINGER: What was I thinking? What is wrong with you; that`s what I was thinking with myself. That`s my thoughts basically now.
It`s like how do we get past it, how do you, Chris -- like talking to myself -- how do you, Chris, go from point A to point B. How do you learn from your mistake, turn it into a positive and help other people with the situation. And at the end of the day, become the person that you want to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So far, so good. However, Brown went on to talk about his fans and their perception of him. Believing public opinion is split 50/50 on him. Earth to Chris: you appear to be stuck in a celebrity vortex. It`s really not about the fans. It`s about right and wrong and you can`t determine that by polling your fans. Only you can make it right.
That is tonight`s "Top of the Block."
Are you ready for this? New claims about wrong-way drunk-driving killer mom paint her as a drinker and a regular pot smoker. Shocking? Not really. Outrageous? You bet.
"The New York Post" reports five days after Diane Schuler smashed her mini van loaded with kids, including her own daughter, into an oncoming SUV, her husband denial -- I mean Daniel -- told cops she quote, smoked marijuana once in awhile to relieve the stress of work and the kids.
But it gets worse than that. Diane`s sister-in-law now claims Diane smoked pot on a quote, "regular basis," that she quote, "didn`t believe in medicine" and would quote, "smoke after the kids went to bed".
As for the drinking, "The New York Post" claims husband Daniel has now admitted to cops that Diane had two strawberry daiquiris two nights before the deadly crash. What`s more, during the deadly drive, that day witnesses say they saw Diane apparently new nauseated outside her car, leaning over by the side of the road throwing up.
If these new explosive revelations are true, why then hold a news conference a week later and make this categorical statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULER: I go to bed every night knowing my heart is clear. She did not drink. She`s not an alcoholic. Listen to all that? She is not an alcoholic and my heart is rested every night when I go to bed.
Daniel and his media-hustling lawyer then went beyond denial, insisting the toxicology report which showed Diane with a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit was wrong.
My head`s spinning. Is yours? Give me a holler and let me know.
Welcome back to my fantastic expert panel and standing by on the phone, Irving Anolik, he`s the attorney for the Bastardi family, two members of their family were killed, wiped out, in the car that was hit when she was going the wrong way.
Mr. Anolik, what is your reaction to this new report claiming Diane was a regular pot smoker?
IRVING ANOLIK, LAWYER FOR BASTARDI FAMILY (via telephone): Well, I`m not a bit surprised at all. Because I heard the original statements from Dan Schuler when he was with his lawyer, Dominic Barbara, proclaim that notwithstanding with the autopsy reports, that there were substantial huge amounts of liquor, vodka, in the deceased`s system and that there was a strong amount, huge amount of marijuana in her system.
I was amazed when they said that she was not an alcoholic; that she didn`t use drugs, and I branded them as out and out liars and perpetrating a hoax upon the public. I think that it was -- to say the very least, an outrageous statement. I`m surprised that an attorney at law would even give currency (ph)...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sir, we`re all confused as to why they decided to hold this news conference.
Let`s recap and review. When the horrific story first broke, tox reports showed Diane Schuler had smoked pot as recently as 15 minutes before she plowed head-on into the SUV with the Bastardis in it.
Attorney Dominic Barbara for the husband of the woman driver was asked about that. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA: My client is a public safety officer in the Nassau County under the Police Department. I will not allow any questions about marijuana use at all. Marijuana use is not a crime anymore. It`s a public health violation but I don`t want that answered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ken Seeley, you`re the addiction specialist. They`re carrying on, beating their chests about she`s not an alcoholic but they refuse to answer any questions about pot smoking. What does that tell you?
KEN SEELEY, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: You know, I like the way you talked about it, Jane. You know, with these secrets, like your first book says, "Secrets can be Murder". I understand where Dan wants to protect his wife`s, you know, innocence or protect, you know, the way he respects her. But in all honesty, he`s killing people by hiding the secrets of the reality.
If he comes out and tells the truth, so many more people could get help. I just don`t like that people are burying the truth. Come out, be truthful, tell what`s really happening. I mean, it`s evidence. We have all the evidence we need.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joe Tacopina, let me ask you this.
Why hold this news conference? Could it have been that they`re afraid of criminal charges and a lawsuit? And they figured well, the best defense is a good offense and figured, well, the best defense say good offense and we`re going to come out and make all these statements that she`s got a lump in her leg just moving up and down or whatever?
JOE TACOPINA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, I generally don`t find that to be helpful in trying to dissuade prosecutors from going forward -- quite frankly press conferences is sort of get the interest of law enforcement officials, particularly when you don`t answer questions at press conferences.
I mean, you know I don`t understand the purpose of having a press conference saying -- it`s like denying everything. Well, what about marijuana? Oh that I can`t answer. I mean, it`s almost -- might as well just say yes, ok, fine, you caught me. She did marijuana.
TACOPINA: You know, I don`t get quite frankly why you hold a press conference and then not answer the questions that are pertinent to this investigation.
Look, Dominic is a good lawyer. He sort of will have some method behind his madness perhaps, but I quite frankly don`t get you why you hold a press conference. And look, he looks -- the husband looks ridiculous. You know...
TACOPINA: ... she had -- her blood alcohol levels. They can be off those tests, but not off by like from zero to 2.3.
Everyone, stay right where you are. We`re going to have more on the wrong-way driver and some cops as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOMINIC BARBARA, ATTORNEY FOR DANIEL SCHULER: She had numerous medical conditions, problems. One of them was an abscess which was almost two months old. She had diabetes at various levels. She also had a lump on her leg; and the lump on the leg -- we`re not sure what it was -- but it was moving.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, it would be funny if it weren`t so tragic that he`s using these bizarre excuses. And we did call him to try to get a comment on these latest reports. And you know, he`s normally -- he loves the media. But he`s not talking tonight.
Debbie, Illinois. Your question or thought.
DEBBIE, ILLINOIS (via telephone): Yes. I was calling to ask if they had done toxicology on the children to see if there was any marijuana in their system to prove that she was smoking it in the car.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. That`s a great question. Irving Anolik...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Was there any tox tests done on the kids?
ANOLIK: None whatsoever. Of course, they were not driving. So it would be almost irrelevant. But another thing I might point out is that Dan Schuler said that there was always a bottle of vodka...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Vodka, yes.
ANOLIK: ... in his car when they went to the mountains and back.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I have to disagree with you. It wouldn`t be irrelevant because there`s something that we`re all familiar with called a contact high.
ANOLIK: I know.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And if she was smoking pot in the car and the kids were exposed to it, they might get a contact high, that they might have traces of pot in their system.
I know because I`m a recovering alcoholic and I have to stay sober. And if I even get a whiff of pot if I`m jogging or whatever I go in the other direction, I don`t want to even smell it.
NYPD cop, let`s talk about the NYPD now. This is another case. An NYPD cop by the name of Andrew Kelly refused a blood alcohol test soon after running down a minister`s daughter. Seven hours passed; then he finally took the test. His blood alcohol registered zero. There was an uproar.
That trick of the trade apparently didn`t work for a second NYPD cop, Kevin Spellman, involved in a very bad accident, refused a breathalyzer twice at the scene; his blood drawn five hours later.
But this guy registered a 2.1, at least two and a half times the legal limit. So even though they waited five hours, Joe Tacopina, he still came up drunk.
Now, what about the trusty dashboard video? Remember Wynona Judd`s 2003 DUI arrest and the sobriety tests? Remember these scenes? We`ve seen these so many times with people stopped and they`re interviewed and they`ve got to walk a straight line and then they keel over. There she is. She`s sitting down. She can`t handle it.
Why not do that for the cops, Joe Tacopina? Why don`t we have this system in place so that we can see for ourselves whether these people are drunk or not?
TACOPINA: Well, you know, let`s not jump to the "cops are covering up for the cops" argument right now. The cops are the ones who arrested these two cops.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, they didn`t know they were cops when they pulled them over. Let`s face it.
TACOPINA: Oh, they knew it in about three seconds later. They knew when they notified Internal Affairs to come to the scene that they were cops. So Jane, the cops who made the arrest were cops.
Now listen, not every New York City Police Department cruiser is equipped with one of these cameras to -- you just don`t have it. I have plenty of cases where there are individuals who are not police officers who don`t have video of their interviews.
The cops have said, the ones who are at the scene, are saying that they had all the indicia of alcohol intake. So the cops aren`t trying to cover for these guys. And quite frankly sometimes those cameras don`t always help. You have someone who`s totally intoxicated who can walk a straight line.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, when you see them go like this...
TACOPINA: Yes, yes that helps.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right...
TACOPINA: If they fall on their face, it helps.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re out of time. You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.