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What Happened to Murdered Model?; Making Sense of the War on Women

Aired January 12, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, model murder mayhem. Grainy video of "Playboy" stunner Paula Sladewski continues to cause a stir. Police say they`ll soon have a sketch of the mystery man who witnesses walked away from the club with her, as the 26-year-old`s emotional family claims she was stalked inside the sprawling club. And we`ve got new video of Paula and her boyfriend at a concert days before she was killed. Does it tell us anything about this case?

Plus, a major push to find a woman who disappeared after a night in Malibu. Four months ago, Mitrice Richardson vanished after she was released by cops in the middle of the night for not paying a dinner tab. Now the search reaches a fever pitch, as the LAPD joins forces with the sheriff`s department. But is it too little too late? We`ll talk to her desperate father.

Then Young burn victim Michael Brewer speaks out about the vicious attack on him. The teenager talks in vivid detail to detectives about the nightmare he endured when a group of kids allegedly doused him in rubbing alcohol, set him on fire, and watched him burn. You will hear the 15-year- old`s chilling account.

And a very special ISSUES guest. Tonight acclaimed spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson gives advice about the war on women.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, are polices closer to finding the mystery man linked to a murdered model. Police hope to have a sketch of him in the next few days. Witnesses saw this unidentified man with "Playboy" model Paula Sladewski hours before she was viciously murdered and set on fire.

Yesterday, we showed you this video of Paula leaving a Miami club hours before she was killed. Her brother told me his theory, what he believes happened to Paula.


THOMAS BUSSELL, PAULA`S BROTHER: I totally think that she was stalked. I`ve seen the video. I`ve seen video footage for, I don`t know, since Sunday. And I see three men follow her out.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s apparently referring to club bouncers, but police insist they had nothing to do with Paula`s murder.

Her body was burned beyond recognition and found in a Dumpster 12 miles away from that nightclub on Sunday, January 3. Her boyfriend, Kevin Klym, reported her missing. They still consider him a person of interest because he is the last friend or relative to see her alive. But it seems police have now shifted their focus away from Kevin and onto this mystery man seen with Paula outside the club.

There`s also chilling new video of Kevin and Paula days before she was killed. NBC`s "Today Show" aired this footage from, of all things, a Lady Gaga concert. A man says he decided to take his cell-phone camera and shoot some video after Kevin, who was in front of him with Paula, started acting very aggressively. Weird. Does it have anything to do with this investigation?

What`s your take on all of this? Give me your theories. Give me a call: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Now straight out to my fantastic expert panel: Steve Kardian, former criminal investigator. Steve did an undercover investigation into risks women face at nightclubs. We`re going to talk to him about what he found out. And Judge David Young, both a TV and radio personality, with us tonight. Also Dr. Dale Archer, forensic psychiatrist.

And we begin with Lieutenant Neil Cuevas from the North Miami Police Department.

Lieutenant, thanks for joining us. I know you`re very busy trying to find the monster who did this. If you`re working on a sketch of this mystery man seen walking away with Paula reportedly, does that mean you have a better description of him? And if so, please tell us everything, any little detail you can about this mystery individual.

LT. NEIL CUEVAS, NORTH MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, unfortunately, in this investigation, as with -- as with all investigations, there`s always going to be information that detectives can`t reveal so that we can protect the investigation and not jeopardize it.

We can say this: that we have reports of Paula walking away from in front of that nightclub with a person that was described only as a black male. The investigators will be working and are working with those witnesses to put together a sketch composite so that we can release that to the media and identify and locate this individual who could very well have some significant information concerning her murder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I can`t wait, Lieutenant, until you get that description. I personally as a journalist, and I`ve said it for many years, hate using just a race as a description, because it is hurtful and it isn`t helpful in most cases. All it does is really cast a wide paintbrush on a whole bunch of people who didn`t have anything to do with this.

And so it would really be nice to get some more detail so we can start talking about an actual individual. And I know you`re working hard on that.

You heard Paula`s devastated brother say he thinks his sister was stalked by somebody who was inside the club last night. He doesn`t buy the theory that Paula would just walk away with an unidentified man outside the club. Listen to the brother.


BUSSELL: She just walked out by herself and, what, just picked some John Doe off the street? No way.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Officer Cuevas, how do you respond to that?

CUEVAS: Well, Paula was 26 years old at the time of her death. She obviously had experience and contact with certain individuals in clubs. We don`t know why she would have walked away with anyone from that club, and we might never know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you believe she was inebriated that night? Of course, that`s what we`ve been hearing, that she has an inebriated, boozy - - boozy argument with her boyfriend. He was thrown out first. She was thrown out 20 minutes later.

CUEVAS: That`s correct. And it might have been her state of mind at the time, working alcohol, that might have led to her letting down her guard. But we won`t know that until we locate these individuals and get to the bottom of why...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. There`s so many people in this club. Somebody said it could hold at least 500 people, maybe more. Have you been able to talk to everybody who was inside that club to determine whether the mystery man had been inside the club earlier? And you might both be right. Maybe he was inside the club earlier, saw the argument and thought, "Oh, there`s a woman alone."

CUEVAS: Yes. And that`s some of the things that the investigators are looking into. The investigators can say, however, that the individuals that are seen on that frame on the video that was released by the attorney are club employees, and they`re not someone that`s following her out into the street.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now, there was a lot of drama and violence in Paula and Kevin`s relationship. The latest incident was just last month. Kevin was arrested for allegedly breaking Paula`s nose and cheek.

Last year, Paula was arrested for allegedly breaking a bottle over Kevin`s head. Those charges were dropped.

But here`s what Paula`s brother said about Kevin on NBC`s "Today Show." Listen to this.


BUSSELL: He left my little sister there to fend for herself. Now, had he waited outside that club, it was only 20 minutes. Twenty minutes could have saved her a lifetime. So yes, I think he`s guilty of being a coward. I haven`t had a chance to speak to him yet, but I don`t want to talk to him just yet. You know?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So Dr. Dale Archer, the family doesn`t think Kevin is responsible for the murder, but he was allegedly so aggressive at a Lady Gaga concert a few nights earlier that the man behind Paula and Kevin felt the need to capture Kevin and Paula on his cell-phone camera. And here is the video, courtesy of "The Today Show."

And we can`t see any aggressiveness here but what we`ve been told is - - there`s Kevin -- is the reason why the guy behind him started videotaping was that he was acting aggressively.

I`ve been to a lot of concerts. I`ve never seen anybody be so strange that I`m going to pull out my cell-phone camera and say, "I better catch them on camera, because they`re acting so strange." You`ve got to be acting quite strange to have somebody do that.

DR. DALE ARCHER, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes. I think they probably both were acting strange and, by all accounts, they both were very, very intoxicated. Here we have another example of horrible decisions being made in the face of alcohol use and probably abuse.

And I certainly agree with the brother that bad decisions were made. I mean, they got a fight in the club. He had to leave. But he had to know that she was very intoxicated. And he should have at least talked to the manager and said, "Look, she`s not in good shape. Please, please, please let me bring her home." And failing that, he should have waited.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He said he did that. He says he told them to get her and bring her out, and they didn`t.

ARCHER: Well, then I -- then I would think the responsibility would fall onto the management. If you have someone who`s that intoxicated in a club, that they can`t fend for themselves, then obviously, you have to take responsibility for him. So I think there`s a lot of blame to go around.

But again, alcohol -- and remember, Jane, this was at 7 a.m. in the morning. By and large, in this club scene, when you`re up until 7 in the morning, you have something that is helping you stay awake: Ecstasy, cocaine, meth. Something is going on. So I would not be surprised at all if drugs were also involved here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lieutenant Cuevas, quickly, your response to that?

CUEVAS: Well, we don`t know that drugs were involved. We do know that alcohol was involved. And again, that as Steve pointed out, could very well have led her to let her guard down and maybe walk off with someone that she shouldn`t have.

But until we find that person, we won`t know that. We don`t know if she knew this person, if they met inside the club or whatever relationship there might have been.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hang in. We`re going to have some analysis from Judge David Young, as well as criminal investigator Steve Kardian. More on the grisly murder of "Playboy" model Paula Sladewski in just a bit.

And we`re taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. Also, there`s been lots of criticism over how place handled one woman`s disappearance. Four months later, cops are picking up the search for her. I will speak with her desperate father coming up.

But first, who is the mystery man seen with Paula Sladewski hours before she was murdered? Her family is desperate for a break in this case.


PATSY WATKINS, MOTHER: They`ve got to find who did this to my baby. They`ve got to find who did this. Please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I bet they will. I have a feeling.




WATKINS: I lost my baby. She was only 26 years old. I`m just so mad that somebody out there knows something. My little girl left with somebody. I`m just so angry.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did Paula Sladewski leave a Miami club with her killer? Witnesses told police they saw her with an unidentified man. We are hoping to get a police sketch with him in the next couple of days. We`re going to bring it to you as soon as we get it.

Meanwhile, we`re all wondering: why haven`t more people come forward who saw something? Phone lines, however, lighting up.

Shiva, Illinois, your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Hi, Jane. I am not blaming the victim at all, but there is an old John Wayne movie that says -- where he says, "Dance with the one that brung you."

My question is, when are these young pretty women going to realize they cannot be out by theirselves even for a walk down their own street? They need to pair up.


CALLER: When I went to college, we were told, "Pair up at night."


CALLER: "Don`t walk by yourself."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shiva, I think you raise an interesting point. Here`s my point, though, about that, Judge David Young. I don`t want to go back to the 18th century, where when I have to go to the bathroom, a guy has to escort me to the ladies` room, in order to protect me from another man.

How would you like to live in that world, where, if you want to walk down the street, you have to ask a person like me to help you go to your car, because another person like me might attack you?

Aren`t we really putting women in a psychological burka, when in fact, what we should do is address why are men so angry? Why are men killing women and setting them on fire? What`s going on with our culture, and that`s why we`re very delighted to have a very special guest who`s going to join us in a little bit to talk to us about that, somebody who`s truly extraordinary. But I ask you, Judge, right now.

JUDGE DAVID YOUNG, TV/RADIO PERSONALITY: Well, it`s a sad state of affairs. Unfortunately, women are being abused, whether they cause it themselves or society caused it.

In this case it`s particularly troubling, because, Jane, you had an innocent woman who only wanted to have a good time at a Lady Gaga concert with her boyfriend, and this horrendous thing happened to her.

You know, the way that I`m looking at this murder is that this was a professional done it, because the person had to know that by singing the body the way that person did, there`s going to be no evidence, no proof, no way that they could actually have any type of forensic evidence that could ever be deduced for any type of investigation. It`s absolutely disgraceful and disgusting and sickening.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And it didn`t happen at the Lady Gaga concert. That was a couple of days before. But I get your point, absolutely.

Here`s my big issue. Somebody had to have seen something. You cannot tell me that Paula was murdered, her body transported, tossed into a Dumpster, set on fire in a major metropolitan area and nobody saw anything? Paula left Club Space in downtown Miami just before 7:30 a.m. Her body was discovered 14 hours later, 12 miles away, Judge David Young.

YOUNG: You have to believe that maybe the bartenders or somebody who was working there was not necessarily inebriated or on drugs or overdid, overdid it with alcohol, saw something, or people walking the streets, people who were out there. Somebody in Miami, my hometown, must have seen something. And they must have the courage of their conviction to come forward, because you`re talking about an innocent life that was taken.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And Steve Kardian, you have actually done an undercover investigation into the dangers of nightclubs for "Inside Edition."

And you actually went into a New York City hot spot with hidden cameras, and in just one hour -- here you are, partying it up in a New York city nightclub -- five different women accepted drinks from you, a total stranger.

So that, of course, raises the possible that somebody may have dropped a date rape drug into a drink, and that could have impacted her decision making.

KARDIAN: Absolutely, Jane. When I went into that club I was looking for a couple of things. I was looking for what we referred to as a soft target. I was looking for women that were alone, that looked a little bit bored, that had maybe an empty drink. And those are the women I approached.

I didn`t approach the women that were with a group of other people or with a boyfriend. You know, I lecture across the country to women of all ages. And I have to say that anywhere...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why don`t you lecture to men across the country of all ages and tell them to cut this out?

KARDIAN: I do it as well. And what I tell everybody is that wherever you go, whether it be New York, L.A. or a small suburb of Tennessee that, if you drop your guard low enough, there is someone waiting to take advantage of you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I am so sick and tired of living like this. I really am. You know, I`ve been a journalist for 30 years, and I`ve been covering these murders for 30 years. And I am so sick and tired of it being business as usual, another murder. I mean, it`s an obscenity.

And I think that the problem here is that there is -- there`s a cultural dysfunction that has occurred. In other words, this is more than just a series of individual murders. It is a cultural dysfunction. We have to look at all of this behavior together and say, "Are we creating a culture where this is tolerated and accepted?"

And I`ll throw it to Dale Archer. Dr. Dale, psychiatrist.

ARCHER: Yes, I think that the issue here, Jane, is that there is definitely a big difference between men and women. And men, if we go back a hundred thousand years ago to the hunter/gatherer days, men were the hunters, the fighters, the warriors. And women stayed at home and were in the village, and they had to solve problems through rational thought.

So I think that the discrepancy now in a civilized society is very, very apparent. And I think you`re right on target. Women can be the answer to this solution by continually making the point, as you do, that the violence is mainly man against man and man against woman. But men are the operative problem because of the genetics that go into it, but we have thinking brains that can overcome our instinct. And we have to appeal to that nature now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I want to say I`m not attacking men. I`m -- listen, who is devastated? The brothers, the fathers, the sons. This is about all peaceful people coming together and saying, as Howard Beale said, I`m sick and tired of this, and I`m not going to take it anymore.

And we`ve got an amazing person coming up to address the big issue, the spiritual issue. Up next, a very, very guest. Delighted to say we`re going to have author and renowned spiritual teacher, best-selling author Marianne Williamson. She will join me next for an in-depth conversation about the war on women.

And then we`re going to talk about Mitrice. This is a woman who is missing, and her dad is desperate, absolutely desperate, to find this woman.



MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, SPIRITUAL TEACHER: I want to talk to you this morning about your life. How many times do you feel, well, I don`t have the life that you want, so I`m going to imagine the life that I do want.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is internationally-acclaimed spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson. I am thrilled and honored to have her as a guest here on ISSUES tonight.

Marianne, thanks for coming by. You are famous for many things, but among them "A Course in Miracles." You have a new project, "Sister Giant: Rousing the Sloping Giant of American Womanhood." I love that. I do want your insight into what we as women can do to combat the horrific violent crime against women that we report on every day. It`s gotten so bad we here on ISSUES have actually coined the term, "the war on women." Your thoughts?

WILLIAMSON: Well, you know, the problem is that we are always playing catch-up. We`re always in a reactive state when something horrible happens like the two murders -- or the one murder, hopefully not the murder of the other woman that you`ve mentioned.

We need to go back to what you yourself mentioned as a cultural dysfunction. We can`t just deal with this specific horrible thing that happens or that specific. We have an epidemic of violence against women and girls in our society, from partner stalking. We have a domestic slave trade, sex trafficking, domestically as well as internationally that we want to deal with.

And I think that we want to go back to some causal roots. We have to acknowledge, Americans need to acknowledge and to recognize, with all the shame and horror, that we have a very violent society. When you look at the violence on television, the violence on video games, the violence in our movies, the gratuitous violence against women on primetime television.

And there is such a thing as healthy shame. I think as we have this conversation and recognize all the ways in which each of us can play a part, I think, in so many of elements of our society, in recognizing that we`ve made violence sexy, that we`ve given almost a glamour to it in far too many cases, and then we act so astonished when it turns into this sort of societal pathology that truly leads to horrific things like these murders. I think that`s one thing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You have said what I have thought for so many years. We women have to stop subsidizing the violence against us. If we do not want violence in our lives, let`s stop watching all these violent shows. Let`s stop going to these movies that sexually torture women. These "Saw" type flicks that are horrific.

WILLIAMSON: It is so true. You know, there`s one television network that actually labels itself television for women. And there is more -- there`s so much gratuitous violence against women on this television network. And I think that we do need to speak up, and we do need to call sponsors, and we do need to be having this conversation.

And I also think that as -- while this is happening, we need a greater consciousness of the danger to women. I think it`s true what both your professionals and one of your callers said, which is a woman should not be, while this situation is the way it is -- a woman should not be walking alone in these situations.

Even, too, like one your criminal investigators said earlier in the program, that if a woman is even with another woman, statistically she will -- she does not stand the same chance of being accosted. And I think we need to teach our girls this. We need to tech our boys this.

You know, you said something earlier about we don`t want to go back to the century when men, you know, accompanied women. Well, the truth of the matter is, Jane, the violence is the same.


WILLIAMSON: And I think -- I think too many men think that almost it would appear too macho if they said to the woman, "Let me walk you to your car."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you raise some fascinating points. We`re going to take a quick break. Stay right there. Because I think we have to evolve forward. And you`re going to stay with us as we try to help a desperate father find his precious missing daughter who disappeared in Malibu.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A major push to find a woman who went missing in Malibu. Four months ago Mitrice Richardson vanished after she was released by cops in the middle of the night for not paying a dinner tab. Now the search reaches a fever pitch as the LAPD joins forces with the sheriff`s department. But is it too little to late? We`ll talk to her desperate father.

Then young burn victim Michael Brewer speaks out about the vicious attack on him. The teenager talks in vivid detail to detectives about the nightmare he endured when a group of kids allegedly doused him in rubbing alcohol, set him on fire and watched him burn. You will hear the 15-year-old`s chilling account.

And now a desperate and devoted dad does everything within his power to find his missing daughter. Twenty-four-year-old Mitrice Richardson literally fell off the face of the earth after she was released from a Los Angeles county sheriff`s substation on September 17th in the middle of the night with no money, no cell phone and no ride.

Cops had booked Mitrice the night before because she allegedly couldn`t pay an $89 dinner tab at a swanky Malibu restaurant. Witnesses also say she was behaving bizarrely. Police impounded her car that night after apparently finding a small amount of pot inside. Then at about 1:00 in the morning they released Mitrice from custody, by herself. Again, without her car, no cell phone, no money in a remote area.

Police say she passed a field sobriety test, but most disturbing in the wake of this bizarre bust, there were two possible sightings of this young woman. Mitrice`s friends and family accuse the cops of dropping the ball by not better tracking those sightings. Her infuriated mom did not hold back at a news conference two weeks after her daughter vanished.


LATTICE SUTTON, MITRICE RICHARDSON`S MOTHER: This is my daughter, Mitrice Richardson. My daughter, a citizen, was failed by the authorities who are hired to protect and serve us. They are not simply here to enforce and arrest us. But they also have a duty to protect us.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, we will hear what Mitrice`s father, Michael, has to say about his missing daughter and about the massive multi-agency search that went down in the Malibu hills this past Saturday.

Mitrice is an elegant and eloquent woman, as you`re about to see. Her words are a bit eerie in this next clip. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What one technological advancement do you wish had never been invented?

MITRICE RICHARDSON, MISSING WOMAN: Cell phones. Although when you`re stranded, they help contact your family in the need of a spare tire or any need of energy, but they also cause a lot of accidents and they cause a lot of friendships from forming because the chance people get out of class the first thing they want to do is talk on their cell phones. I just wish that cellphones would be limited to just emergencies only.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is so eerie when you consider a cell phone could have gotten her out of trouble that night. A lot to talk about with my very special guest, Michael Richardson, Mitrice`s father.

And back with us, Judge David Young. And we`re so delighted to get the amazing Marianne Williamson, pre-eminent spiritual activist and author of "A Woman`s Worth" to give us advice on this calamity for a family and indeed a community.

Michael, I want to start with you. Tell us what your gut feeling is about your daughter Mitrice right now?

MICHAEL RICHARDSON, FATHER OF MITRICE RICHARDSON: Definitely still alive. Just not in a very good position right now. Definitely speaking out to us, definitely want us to come rescue her and definitely to come find her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right before the intensive search for Mitrice was launched this past Saturday, the sheriff`s spokesman talked about this investigation. Listen closely.


STEVE SHITMORE, L.A. COUNTY SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT: What the sheriff wanted to do is the sheriff wanted to, if you will, give three of his best homicide investigators to this overall search and to this overall missing person investigation. So when he said he was going to open a homicide investigation what he did was that he committed three homicide investigators to the Los Angeles Police Department`s missing person investigation.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there`s still a lot of controversy about how cops handled this case from the start. They let Mitrice out with no car, no phone, no money at 1:00 in the morning. Critics slammed cops for not spotting something was wrong and that would be evidence in police station surveillance video. Apparently there`s no video that`s been released and found.

Plus, two separate sightings of Mitrice in the area -- in the Malibu area later that morning -- cops say they responded to a 6:30 a.m. Call but the mystery woman -- quite possibly Mitrice because it was an African-American -- was already gone when they got there.

So Michael, I have to ask you this. Assuming that your daughter was last seen on foot, what do you think authorities should have done after just missing her in that yard hours after she was released?

RICHARDSON: Well, they definitely should have conducted a type of search that they conducted Saturday, which it was enormous. It was wonderful. But it also scared me. It also alarmed me because again, there was no scent of my daughter walking down the street or anywhere that they said that she came. The only scent that they had was the porch that she was found on the next morning.

So it led me and her mother to believe that, who drove her down there? The only person that could have drove her down there was an officer. There was no scent along those canyons, no scent along the terrain. No scent around the mountains there. But the biggest scent was on that porch there.

So if she was not -- if you couldn`t pick up a scent, then how did she get from the police station to that yard which is very scary to us right now. That is why we`re demanding for a federal investigation.

I just got off the phone with Bach, Sheriff Lee Baca about 30 minutes ago which he now just told me that that request had been denied.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa, ok. So I know Maxine Waters representatives had asked for a federal investigation into why the FBI was not called immediately.

Now, here`s my understanding of it. Even though right now they`re calling it a homicide investigation, even though your beautiful daughter hasn`t been found, reports were that when they were originally asked to bring in the FBI right away as they do in some cases, the powers that be allegedly said there`s no evidence of criminality. Is that your understanding, Mr. Richardson?

RICHARDSON: Yes. That`s correct.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know. I get a sense sometimes, Judge David Young, of minimizing. In other words that you can make one missing person seem very, very important and you can make another missing person seem very, very -- "well, maybe friends picked her up."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, maybe she`s at a friend`s house, maybe she`s mad at her parents and she`s off. See what I`m saying?

YOUNG: Right. This case is an indictment on the system, Jane. This is a classic case of an inept police department. They knew when she arrested this woman that she had psychological issues. And because she had psychological issue, there should have been someone there that had an IQ bigger than their shoe size that said maybe we need to hold her. Maybe we need to make sure she`s safe. Maybe we need to get her evaluated because she`s obviously having horrible issues.

By speaking with people who were in the diner that night, they would have told them that. The fact that they didn`t do that, I think it`s an indictment on the LAPD and I think there should be a federal investigation on the LAPD. It`s why they were selling (ph) that because it was their fault that this woman left alone and basically with nothing at 12:30 in the morning. It`s outrageous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I want to talk about this. I want to talk about another issue.

The impact of all these missing women on women; it creates fear. You know, here on ISSUES Marianne, we talk about the psychological burqa that American women are forced to wear. We put other cultures down for forcing women to wear these horrifically restrictive outfits. But if I`m too afraid to walk on a country road, if I`m too afraid to walk down a ravine in Malibu, if I`m too afraid to walk my dogs in the park because I`m afraid of being abducted, raped and murdered, isn`t that in essence an invisible burqa that we are forcing American women to wear?

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, AUTHOR, "A WOMAN`S WORTH": To be honest, actually the analogy does not actually work perfectly for me. The truth of the matter is, you don`t go walking into Central Park in New York City alone at night. Should New York City Central Park be safe? Of course it should. But there`s also value in recognizing that when situations are not safe, there are appropriate measures to be taken.

And so in that sense, I think women simply have to understand this is a time of high violence towards women in our society. And I think everything that`s been said by Judge Young and by you, it is an infuriating indictment of the police that they would let this woman go when she had no money, she had no car, she had no cell phone.

And I tell you something else that`s in there that outrages me. Notice the behavior of the police when she had not paid an $89 bill. There`s a way in this society in which we react more effectively when property is threatened, when money is threatened, than when a human life might be threatened. Too many times -- not only in this case -- but in many cases with young people, the police do not react; they do not get right to it within those first 24 hours.

Even right now the police with her homicide investigation and they`re on it but in large part, unfortunately, this is because of the light that has been shown on this case by the media.

So this is about all of us being aware that there is a problem, acting accordingly with our own friends, and our own lives, and also making sure that this kind of influence is impacting our law enforcement so that when a woman is even near a situation where she could be in danger, they are right on it. That is their job as her mother said, to protect us.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Marianne Williamson thank you for your wisdom. And I hope you will be a regular contributor to our show. We need you, we need your perspective.

WILLIAMSON: I would be honored by that. Thanks.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We need your advice. Thank you so much.

It`s a horrific story. Another one, another horrific story doused with alcohol and set on fire allegedly by a group of teens. Hear for the very first time Michael Brewer`s own words about what happened.

We`re taking your calls on this. 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. It`s hard to even imagine what Michael has gone through.


MICHAEL BREWER: Someone poured something on me and lit me on fire. I started running.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: A 15-year-old boy burned alive. For the first time Michael Brewer is talking about the incomprehensible horror of being set on fire by a group of other teens who were his so-called friends. We`re going to hear some of his mind-boggling interview with cops.

But first "Top of the Block" tonight.

Johnson & Johnson heiress Casey Johnson was buried today in New Jersey in a small, private ceremony and her fiance Tila Tequila was not there. The debutante turned party girl was found dead in her home last week, but she might have been dead for days. We are still waiting for toxicology reports to find out exactly what killed her. Casey had juvenile diabetes and reportedly battled drugs and alcohol for years.

TMZ reports her death was likely due to her frail medical condition. This is such a sad story.

Her family cut her off because of her wild lifestyle. The girl was worth millions and millions and millions but she couldn`t pay her electricity bill. Her mother takes away her 3-year-old adopted daughter and then Casey dies alone at home. Casey Johnson, definitely a poor little rich girl.

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

"My body was burning. My skin was hanging off." Chilling words from the courageous 15-year-old boy who was brutally burned from head to toe allegedly by a gang of teenagers

Tonight, for the first time we`re hearing victim Michael Brewer speak out in his own words. We`re going to play them for you.

Prosecutors have released an interview cops did with Michael six weeks after this vicious attack. Michael says this boy, a bully named Zeke, was the ringleader who hunted him down and taunted him and allegedly egged on other teens to douse him with alcohol.

Listen to this.


BREWER: He said nobody is going to hit you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But what`s your first memory after that?

BREWER: Just cold stuff all over my clothes. And all of a sudden I was burning.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: After Michael was drenched in rubbing alcohol, a third boy allegedly flicked a lighter. Michael instantly went up in flames. He jumped into the pool for relief. Three boys who allegedly participated in this attack have been charged with attempted murder.

Look at those young faces. They face 30 years in prison if convicted. Look at this handsome boy. We are getting so many new details about what led up to this terrible, terrible attack that has devastated and destroyed Michael`s family and the accuser`s family as well. We`re going to hear more from Michael in just a moment.

First, straight out to my fantastic expert panel. And joining me by phone, Rafael Olmeda, a reporter with "The Sun-Sentinel". Rafael, bring us up-to-date with the very latest details. What is the latest?

RAFAEL OLMEDA, REPORTER, "SUN SENTINEL" (via telephone): Well, the latest is the release of these documents. And we were surprised in some sense that Michael was able to remember as much as he did. He remembers the feeling of being on fire. He remembers what he did to put it out.

But there are other aspects that he could not remember. He couldn`t remember supposedly shaking hands with the alleged ringleader right before this happened, which is something that other witnesses remembered. He didn`t remember the ringleader ordering one of his friends to pour the rubbing alcohol on him. He doesn`t remember a lot of specific details, but what he does remember is enough to give police and investigators a lot to work with.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, well, let`s play some of the tape. Michael says witnesses tried to help him and pull him out of the swimming pool, but he says all he remembers is that he just wanted to stay in the water. Listen to this.


BREWER: This guy called and signing (INAUDIBLE), these guys pulling me out of the water. I said no, leave me, leave me because my skin was, like, hanging.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, how terrible to imagine what he`s going through. The man you hear reports, one of the boys Jesus Mendez admits he used a lighter to light Brewer on fire and told detectives he made a bad decision. Do you think?

Dr. Dale, is it possible that this was a pack mentality? One alleged bully got everybody fired-up and the boys were following his lead?

DR. DALE ARCHER, PSYCHIATRIST: Yes. I think that that`s possible, but also, Jane, we have to look back at the families of these boys. And virtually every single parent there has a long felony record -- drugs, weapons, assault, robbery. And kids learn normal to be what they grow up with.

So here we have young teenagers. Their whole life they`ve been exposed to this type of violence. And for them, this becomes just a part of the norm. So I`m not defending what they did, but we at least have to look at that in order to be able to understand what went on here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I just want to say that ISSUES has no independent confirmation, HLN has no independent confirmation of the records you`re talking about. If you found that out, well that`s -- you found that out but we haven`t been able to confirm that these families have these records.

So we`ll check it out, though. We`ll see what we find out.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: My big ISSUE tonight, bully factor; three teens charged as adults in this horrific crime. Michael says one boy in particular seemed to have it out for him, 15-year-old Matthew Bent allegedly showed up at Michael`s house the week of the attack to yell at his family about a video game. Listen to this.


BREWER: He came to my house. He tried to take my dad`s bike. He threatened me. He threatened my sister.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The teen allegedly shouted at Michael`s dad, bring your punk bleep out here. I have something for you, come out and fight me now. Michael`s parents called the cops and Bent, this young man you`re looking at here was arrested.

Now, he got out of jail the next day and that`s when he allegedly rounded up eight other teens and Michael was confronted at the pool and set on fear.

Rafael, you`re the reporter covering this story, does it seem like this particular youngster who looks like a child to me, was the ringleader and had it out for Michael and if so, why?

OLMEDA: I can`t as a reporter draw that conclusion; I can tell you what I see in the document. And that is that he does seem to hold some sway over this group. He goes after Michael and they all follow him.

But it`s not quite a gang, you know, several of these people were never charged at all because even afterwards and even on the tape police provided Michael still considers them friends. They were never charged with anything at all in this.

Matthew Bent clearly had it in for Michael, clearly wanted to confront him. I don`t know how far he wanted to go. He certainly said to, according to witnesses, said to his friend, Denver, pour the alcohol on him, but what I don`t see is any order that says, "Light Michael on fire." That piece is missing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Hang in there. We`re going to have more on this horrific story. More sound from the boy in a moment.



BREWER: Someone poured something on me and lit me on fire. I started running.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was 15-year-old burn victim Michael Brewer. This is the very first time we`re hearing him in his own voice speak out about the horrific attack he survived.

Phone lines lighting up. Richard, Georgia, your question or thought, sir.

RICHARD, GEORGIA (via telephone): Yes, Jane. I`ve been watching for the last half hour, and I have to tell you, I`m totally fed up with this situation in our country. You know, this is not the first time ...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good, me too.

RICHARD: This is not the first time these youth-committed crimes have taken place. And my point is we are way too soft on these kids. I don`t give a damn how old they are. Each one of these kids, Bent, Mendez and that other wacko, life in prison; life in prison, Jane. And that will put an end to some of this garbage.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. I think you make a very passionate point, Richard, but Judge David Young, will it put an end?

You know, we are very good at crime and punishment in this country. We incarcerate more people than any country in the world and yet next day somebody comes along and does something worse. And the next day we read in the paper or look on TV about an even younger kid doing something more horrific.

Do we have to do something beyond incarceration to address this problem? Do we need to reorder our society from the top down, from the bottom up and completely change our educational system so that we do -- we prevent kids from getting to this point where they could do something like this? Be this unconscious, flying this blind, filled with this much hostility, acting out at this level?

YOUNG: these children deserve life in prison because they are only to get worse, not better. These children who did that are not rehabilitatable and for me to say that is a big deal.

But if my fifth grade teacher Mrs. Kravitz (ph) always said, the behavior is a reflection on the home. We need to go back to the home. We need to start really concentrating on the people who are having children. When babies have babies there`s no supervision. There`s no limits. What do you expect?

You expect what you saw in this case, these three, four to five guys set this pour, innocent child on fire and almost, God forbid, kill this child. It`s animalistic, it`s barbaric. It`s really sad.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t think it`s animalistic because animals don`t do stuff like this. Let`s leave them out of it. They haven`t done anything wrong.

YOUNG: I apologize. And I`m an animal lover.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Rafael Olmeda, Dr. Dale had talked about some problems with these boys` families. What do you know?

OLMEDA: I know that certainly in the case of Matthew Bent his father had been in prison before for -- accused of violent crimes. I know that in the Jarvis family -- very interesting -- about 20 years ago Denver Jarvis sr. had been accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail into a neighbor`s yard in a dispute.

It`s kind of eerie. But to say outright that they`re not rehabilitatable, I don`t know that. I don`t know that that can be said by somebody who doesn`t actually examine the kids in front of them but certainly they have -- they have a very small fan base, to say the very least. There`s not a lot of sympathy from anyone for somebody who could do this with such horrific results.

YOUNG: Doctor, they set a human being -- excuse me doctor, they set a human being on fire. They deliberately set a human being on fire. How can you rehabilitate? When a child is 15 years old and knows nothing but crime and crime in the atmosphere that they live in, how can they get rehabilitated?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there. I think our entire culture needs to be remodeled to stop violence. You`re watching ISSUES.