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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Jailhouse Notes from Casey Anthony Revealed; Kidnapping Attempt Caught on Tape
Aired April 6, 2010 - 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): We now have explosive notes sent from Casey to an inmate pen pal. Two hundred and fifty-eight hand- written pages, bashing her parents, claiming she was sexually and physically assaulted by her brother. How will this affect the case?
A violent kidnapping attempt caught on tape. A woman attacked with a hammer, hit in the head. Tonight we`ll show you how this sicko suspect barged his way into the house by posing as an electrician. What you need to know so it doesn`t happen to you.
Shocking regulations. Olivia Newton-John`s missing boyfriend has reportedly been found alive and well. He vanished five years ago during a fishing trip. Now he`s in Mexico. Did he fake his death? Did he commit a crime? You won`t believe how they tracked him down.
Also, outrage, shock and horror. A 7-year-old girl allegedly sold for sex by her sister and brutally gang raped. Now five males have been charged, the youngest suspect just 13 years old. Is this a complete breakdown of morality? And if so, who is to blame?
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mind-blowing shockers tonight inside Casey Anthony`s top-secret jailhouse letters. Tonight, did Casey admit to giving Caylee chloroform?
Prosecutors just released hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pages of handwritten letters Casey wrote to a fellow inmate she befriended in the Orange County jail. Casey passed notes to convicted drug dealer Robyn Adams who she nicknames Cookie and calls her sister.
In an interview with investigators, Robyn claims Casey admitted she gave Caylee chloroform to get her to sleep. She also claims Casey implied she got the drug from her mom, Cindy, who brought it home from the clinic where she works.
Well, just moments ago, I spoke to Casey`s defense attorney, Jose Baez, who told me, guess what, Cindy does not work at a lab but at a medical office where there is absolutely no chloroform. He calls this woman a jailhouse snitch who is just trying to get out of prison.
But in Casey`s letters, for the very first time, we are hearing why Casey says she did not report her daughter missing for an entire month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CINDY ANTHONY, MOTHER OF CASEY: I found out my granddaughter has taken. She has been missing for a month. Her mother finally admitted that she`s been missing. Get someone here now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Your daughter admitted that the baby is where?
CINDY ANTHONY: The babysitter took her a month ago. My daughter is looking for her. There`s something wrong. I found my daughter`s car today, and it smells like there`s a dead body in the damn car.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In a letter to Casey writes, quote, "I was going to take Casey and move away. My plans got beyond tangled when Zanny wouldn`t tell me where she and Cays were. I had to [Zenaida] to take Cays for a few days so I could put the rest of our stuff together. That`s why I waited to report her missing, because she was and she wasn`t," end quote.
But investigators say Robyn told them Casey later admitted Zanny the nanny did not exist, plus horrifying accusations. Casey accuses her own brother of sexually abusing her.
We have reached out to all of the attorneys involved but have not heard back yet.
I want to hear your reaction. Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877- 586-7297. Do you believe a word Casey is saying?
Straight out to my amazing expert panel: criminal defense attorney Jayne Weintraub; former D.C. homicide detective Rod Wheeler; and correspondent with "In Session" on TruTV, the one and only Beth Karas.
Beth, you have been sifting through these letters, as have I? What are the most shocking passages in your opinion?
BETH KARAS, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION": Certainly, the allegation of sexual abuse by her brother Lee when she was between the ages of 12 and 15 was pretty shocking.
And in the same letter, she says that she started having dreams that were really pretty vivid, and she doesn`t really think they`re dreams, when she was elementary school age. She sees her father in her room doing the same thing. Not as graphic, not as detailed as what she said about her brother, Lee, but she certainly hints around that her father did the same thing to her.
So that, of course, seemed to be a big headline here.
I agree with you, what you said that she ultimately said, "I know Zenaida didn`t have anything to do with this." Another big one. The chloroform also jumped out. And those were points, also that the police took and listed in a separate police report as some of the highlights from these letters. A police report that was drafted about a month ago.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s get into that specific letter about the alleged sexual abuse. Casey`s letter, she makes this horrific accusation about her own family. She writes, quote, "I know what it feels like to be physically, emotionally and mentally abused. I also know what it`s like to be sexually abused. I was to blame for my own brother walking into my room at night and feeling my breasts while I slept. This went on for over three years, before I finally stood up to Lee and told him if he ever came in my room again, I`d kill him. I was 15. I think my dad used to do the same thing to me but when I was much younger."
"I think my dad." So she`s throwing Dad under the bus, too. We contacted Lee and George Anthony`s attorneys for response. We have not heard back.
Jayne Weintraub, Casey, according to many, is a pathological liar. Who`s to say this isn`t also a lie?
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think you have to separate the information here.
First, what we have is a horrific murder of a beautiful young child, which is always tough. But what we have are these letters, these heartfelt letters from Casey which is not released by the defense. This is not part of any defense strategy. This girl is locked up 23 1/2 hours a day. She writes these letters, pouring out her heart to somebody that she thinks is listening. Probably as a journal. It`s almost cathartic.
You have to separate the information in those letters in her handwriting from the information that this girl, Robyn, the inmate, then turns on and adds and elaborates.
For example, there`s nowhere in this handwriting that she admits in any way that she didn`t know Zanny was a real person. That`s Robyn, the inmate, making things up to get her own deal. She`s turning on Casey. That`s added information.
The stuff about the sexual assaults, I have to tell you, Jane, I`m not surprised. In these dysfunctional families, when there`s a murder, particularly, it`s not uncommon to find sexual abuse.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Well, of course, we would love to hear Cindy, George and Lee`s side of this story. I find it particularly fascinating, Rod Wheeler, you`re a former D.C. homicide detective, that the defense did not object to the release of these letters. Could this be a ploy to exact some sympathy for Casey by portraying her as the victim of sexual abuse and incest?
ROD WHEELER, FORMER D.C. HOMICIDE DETECTIVE: You know, Jane, that`s exactly what I`m thinking, and that`s exactly what it sounds like to me. It sounds like what she`s trying to do now is come up with an after-the- fact alibi -- that`s what we like to call it -- an after-the-fact alibi as to why she did what she did.
Let`s go back to the facts of this case. From the very beginning, you know, Casey never cooperated with law enforcement at all. If you remember this case, she told us zero about what happened to her daughter. And it took weeks, I think even a couple of months, before we even found out what actually happened to the little girl.
Now she`s locked up, so now she has plenty of time on her hands, and she wants to write all these letters. What she needs to be writing a letter about is explaining why she killed her -- that child, and she needs to go away to prison forever.
WEINTRAUB: How about the -- Rod, how about the prosecutors have an obligation to examine what`s being said here and maybe admit if they made a mistake and take a look? That`s what justice is about. Taking a look and examining the evidence. You know, it`s not rushing to judgment like they did here in the court of public opinion.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Marie, Canada, your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: Well, I think Casey has shown symptoms of sexual abuse since the beginning, and if you look at that first interview where the parents went to the jail, I think it`s pretty obvious what was going on. But I`m wondering can they differentiate between dad`s DNA and brother`s DNA if the child was, in fact, theirs.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, first of all, Beth Karas, I believe that the FBI did a test on Lee and Caylee had nothing to do with Lee, even though there were sort of urban myths floating around, because her name was "Cay- Lee," that she might have been a combo of that. That has been completely, 100 percent disputed, correct?
KARAS: Yes. He is not the father. She does in one of the letters refer to the father as being a man named Eric, and that`s all she says about him.
WEINTRAUB: You`ll remember, Cindy -- Cindy wanted to adopt the child. I mean, there was all sorts of dysfunction that we knew about and that maybe now it`s getting pieced together. There`s a strong hatred here between Casey and her parents. There`s disruption between the two parents. There was always something...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Jayne, the parents have been there for her every step of the way. They`ve been there for every court appearance. They have defended her vigorously in depositions.
KARAS: Of course.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And this is the thanks they get? This is the thanks they get?
WEINTRAUB: Jane, is it possible that she is a victim, that the parents knew about it and turned a blind eye?
WEINTRAUB: Is it possible there`s more abuse here than we know of, as alluded to in the letter that we see? That`s what jumps out at me on the page.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And it`s also possible she`s a pathological liar. And she`s lied about many other things, and now she`s throwing her parents and her brother under the bus. We don`t know.
WEINTRAUB: Right. She didn`t do this so that it would be released.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, I dare say she`s sophisticated enough to know that, ultimately, these were not going to be flushed down the toilet.
Everybody, stay right where you are. Casey Anthony, sexually assaulted by her own brother? That`s just a start. More on the Casey Anthony bombshells. We are taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586- 7297.
Plus, a frightening kidnapping attempt caught on tape. See how this sicko barged his way into the house, pretending to be the electrician.
But first, secret letters revealed. We`ll give you all the unbelievable allegations from Casey Anthony to her pen pal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you have to say about the new theory that Caylee might be dead and it might have been an accident?
GEORGE ANTHONY, FATHER OF CASEY: Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASEY ANTHONY, CHARGED WITH DAUGHTER`S MURDER: My only concern is that Caylee comes back to us and that she`s smiling and she`s happy and that she`s -- that she`s OK.
CINDY ANTHONY: What do you want me to tell Caylee?
CASEY ANTHONY: That Mommy loves her very much. And she`s the most important thing in this entire world to me. And to be brave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stunners. Page after page. Letters, written to a pen pal in jail by Casey. Casey writes in her letters to Robyn, quote, "I`m an emotional wreck. I`ve gotten good with hiding how I feel with most people, but I can`t with you."
She also writes, "I`m struggling with not trying to take matters into my own hands," whatever that means.
Irene, Vermont, your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: Hi. My thought is the grandmother is in it up to her eyeballs. That last statement that you just made about her carrying the burden or if she -- if she could talk or whatever. I think, and I`ve felt this way ever since this case started, and the body language of the grandmother, that she`s in it up to her eyeballs right down to the alleged killing. And I think, when I`ve seen her body language towards the daughter, it`s like shut up, don`t say anything.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say this. First of all, we would love to have Cindy and George on to tell their side.
Beth Karas, what strikes me is I`m holding in my hands here. The Orange County Sheriff`s Office supplemental report, where the detectives talked to this jailhouse snitch, Robyn. The most incriminating things are not in the 500-some pages of letters. The most incriminating things are in this one page. And those were things that this woman told the detectives.
I`m going to quote here: "Casey Anthony confided to Robyn Adams that there was no Zenaida. Robyn believed this may have been written in one of the letters she kept and mailed to a friend."
Another quote: "Robyn Adams talked with Casey Anthony on a variety of topics. Casey Anthony told her Caylee Anthony had trouble sleeping, and she had to use chloroform to put her to sleep." That would be incredibly incriminating. She adds, "Casey Anthony implied her mother, Cindy Anthony, may have brought the chloroform home when she worked at a local clinic."
But none of these things are actually in the letters, Beth. That`s everything she told the detectives.
KARAS: Correct. And she will, in all likelihood, be a witness at the trial, and she will be cross-examined, I`m sure, very rigorously. And she`s got credibility issues. She`s a convicted felon anyway, which is -- convicted of drug dealing. So she will have some issues that may even keep her off the stand.
But I`ll tell you, there are some things that are pretty damaging to the defense in these -- in these letters. And Jose Baez did tell us yesterday that he wasn`t all that concerned about the contents because she does not admit, of course, to killing her daughter. But there are things in there that the defense can use.
And I just want to point out that what struck me is her repeated reference to when she gets out. She`s very optimistic about being exonerated, that her days are numbered. She uses phrases like that in the letters. So she is being given the impression -- I don`t know if anyone is telling her that or if it`s her read of the evidence against herself -- that she`s going to walk away from this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she may be right; she may be delusional.
George and Cindy Anthony have been dealing with unthinkable horror. They`ve been on an emotional roller coaster. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CINDY ANTHONY: You slandered me on TV.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop.
CINDY ANTHONY: And you perjured yourself with this because she`s not Fernandez. So there you go.
G. ANTHONY: I haven`t talked to my granddaughter. I have not heard my granddaughter`s voice since June 16 of 2008. Do not ask me that again, sir, because I will walk out of here. Do not do that to me again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not trying to make it hard on you.
G. ANTHONY: Yes, you are!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But in many of her letters, Casey bashes her family. She refers to mom Cindy as "evil mother." She talks about George possibly molesting her and accuses Cindy of wanting to benefit from Caylee`s death.
Rod Wheeler, these two have been through so much already. It really blows my mind that she throws them under the bus in these letters. She had to know they`d come out.
WHEELER: Yes, but you know, Jane, this should not be a surprise, because Casey has been delusional ever since the beginning of this case. And the fact that she believes in her heart of hearts that she`s going to be exonerated is really no surprise.
Think about it. All the way through this case, this woman has led law enforcement, her own parents, and everyone down the path of acting like she knew nothing about what happened to this little girl. And it wasn`t until the body was found that cops really gathered the necessary evidence that they needed to charge her. And now she`s trying to say, like...
WEINTRAUB: Really, the necessary evidence to charge her? Rod, she had already been indicted for first degree murder when the body was found. They have no cause of death, no manner of death.
And now -- and now we learn a searcher even told a detective a year ago that the body was moved, obviously, because of where they searched. There was no body where the body was found later. That is a fact.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well -- well, Beth, clarify that. Because that is a subject of contention.
KARAS: Right, right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fifteen seconds.
KARAS: This was a searcher named Joe Jordan. He searched on September 1 at a time when the area was flooded, the area where the body was found. Now, he says that he -- he knows the body wasn`t there, but in his opinion, he says that the body was placed there sometime after.
The defense needs to show her body was there for a long time, though, because she had, like, roots and weeds growing up through the bag.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there. Fantastic panel, thank you so much.
A toxic secret five years in the making. Olivia Newton-John`s ex reportedly found alive and well. Somebody`s got some explaining to do.
Plus, a kidnapping attempt caught on camera.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievably shocking video, an attempted kidnapping caught on camera. You have got see this to believe it.
Check out this surveillance video. You can see a man dressed up as an electric company employee. He walks up the driveway very casually, takes a look around, and then knocks right on the front door.
A housekeeper answers. He shows her some official-looking documents and then shoves his way inside. Take a look at it right there. Right there.
Five minutes later, the camera catches him calmly leaving. Inside the house, the housekeeper survives a vicious attack that leaves her bleeding and begging for help. What happened during that five minutes of hell. The woman`s boss rushed home and found a total nightmare.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN, HOMEOWNER: She`s going to hand him back the note pad right there and says she needs to call us. He says no and rushes into the door.
He takes out his hammer, hits her on the head at least three times. Basically, tries to drag her to the door, claiming, you know, telling -- yelling at her for her to calm down, to behave, because he just wants to kidnap her and get a ransom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: My God. Police are not sure if this particular home was targeted, and this sicko is still on the loose tonight.
Straight out to Rod Wheeler, former D.C. homicide detective. The video to me is so scary. Obviously, everybody watching it says could this happen to somebody else? How common is this?
WHEELER: You know, it`s very common, actually. There`s a lot of unanswered questions here, though, Jane, that we have to really look at. No. 1, where did this guy get that uniform from? Is he actually an employee of the electric company? And if not, why did he choose that particular type of uniform to use to commit this crime?
Now, the other thing we have to look at in this video is when the housekeeper opened that door, she should have never opened the door. This is good information for our viewers. If you are not expecting somebody at the door, don`t open the door.
Now, the other thing the cops are looking at, Jane, right now as I speak is whether or not these types of crimes have been happening in other areas in that particular vicinity. Because a crime like this, a person just doesn`t wake up and say, "I`m going to go do this." This is something that they`ve planned out. So all of these things right now the detectives are looking at and trying to identify who this person could have been.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we forget sometimes, and we become complacent. We hear a knock on the door. We either don`t have a peephole, or we don`t look through it. And we open it, because we want to have faith in human nature.
So the lesson is never open your door to a stranger, ever. Keep your door locked. Get a peephole. Use it.
And also, get another kind of protection for the inside of the door that if -- even when you identify somebody and you open it, they can`t barge in. What kind of protection can they get?
WHEELER: Well, there`s a lot of things they can get. They can obviously get a panic alarm.
But the other thing that`s very important to understand and realize in cases like this, Jane, is simply this: if you`re not expecting someone to come to your home for any repairs or anything like that, simply don`t open the door.
Now, the other thing the viewers need to know is that the police are calling this an apparent robbery case. So apparently, this guy went in for some reason to try to rob this home, and a fight ensued. Cooperate with the person, and then as soon as you can get away, make your break out of there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. But Rod, he`s got a hammer right there in his little tool belt. You could see he`s got the hammer in his tool belt. So obviously, he had it for a reason. And it wasn`t to hammer a painting on a wall, OK?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: He smacked this woman right in the head, and there was blood all over the place.
But some great advice. It`s a cautionary tale. Be careful. Don`t be too trusting. Thank you, Rod.
A five-year mystery finally solved. Olivia Newton-John`s boyfriend has been found alive.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shocking revelations: Olivia Newton-John`s missing boyfriend has reportedly been found alive and well. He vanished five years ago on a fishing trip. Now he`s in Mexico. Did he fake his death? Did he commit a crime? You won`t believe how they tracked him down.
Also, outrage, shock and horror: a 7-year-old girl allegedly sold for sex by her sister and brutally gang raped. Now five males have been charged; the youngest suspect, just 13 years old. Is this a complete breakdown of morality? And if so, who is to blame.
Now to a shocking discovery in a 5-year-old mystery, Olivia Newton-John`s ex-boyfriend who vanished almost five years ago has reportedly turned up alive. He`s alive, everybody -- alive.
Patrick McDermott vanished in the summer of 2005, shortly after breaking up with the beautiful Australian singer. He was last seen aboard a fishing boat off the coast of California.
Here`s what the Coast Guard said shortly after his disappearance five years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, we`re still treating it as a missing persons case. From the start, the investigation has been for a missing person.
Along those lines, through interviews and stuff, it`s -- all the interviews up to this point it`s remained a missing person`s case and until the interviews lead us into another direction we`re still treating it as that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But the missing person explanation didn`t float for long. Accusations flew that McDermott had faked his own death. McDermott reportedly had taken out a life insurance policy worth between $100,000 and $150,000. Over the years, there have been multiple sightings of him at various places, bars and restaurants all across Mexico.
Well, now a group of private investigators hired by Dateline NBC say they have nailed McDermott and they have, quote, "proof of life". How the PI`s claim they tracked down Olivia`s paramour of nine years is pretty amazing.
McDermott`s attorney admits his client has been located. So they`re admitting, "Yes, I`m alive."
I`m sure you`ll have a whole lot to say about this. Give me a holler, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.
Straight out to my fantastic panel: Rod Wheeler, back with us; along with Darren Kavinoky, criminal defense attorney and legal analyst for "The Insider"; Sandra Hope, owner of Mate Check Private Investigators -- a very descriptive company name there. And we begin with Jim Moret, attorney and chief correspondent for "Inside Edition".
Jim, what is the very latest? I know you guys are very hot on this story tonight.
JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Yes. We have an "Inside Edition" producer who was down Sialito, Mexico (ph) which is near Puerto Vallarta. And she found a businessman and also a boat owner, both who say that they`ve seen Patrick McDermott. One took him on his boat several times and he said McDermott even asked to be hired on as a crew member, but he wasn`t hired.
You know, I remember covering the story when it broke five years ago and I went on the fishing boat where he was last seen and things didn`t add up at the time. First and foremost, not only did he leave his wallet, but he had his passport and keys -- everything on the boat. And it was an overnight fishing trip. There`s no reason you would take your passport.
So clearly we and others had questions from the beginning. And now as you say he`s been seen by multiple people alive.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Olivia Newton-John spoke to Larry King in October of 2006, a little over a year after Patrick vanished.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: We don`t know. (INAUDIBLE) Is he dead, is he alive? Isn`t that harder?
OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN, SINGER: It`s very hard to live with that.
KING: Like, missing in action.
NEWTON-JOHN: Yes, it is. I have never experienced anything like it, but I think it`s probably the hardest thing I`ve ever experienced. And I`ve been through a lot of things. I`ve been through divorce. I`ve been through breast cancer. But this is the hardest thing because it`s ongoing. There`s no answers and you have to live with that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: McDermott was reportedly, finally located by a private investigator Phillip Kline (ph) who set up a Web site -- get this, this is fascinating -- FindPatrickMcDermott.com.
Kline reportedly noticed that a cluster of IP addresses near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico were offering tips on McDermott`s presumed whereabouts. So the private investigator reportedly discovered him living under his birth name, Pat Kim.
So Sandra, you are with check mate -- or Mate Check Private Investigations. This is a smart thing to do.
SANDRA HOPE, OWNER, MATE CHECK PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS: It`s a very smart thing to do. Absolutely. We actually have a lot of cases ourselves where people come up missing and they have excuses of what they`re doing and where they`re going. And we find out differently that they have separate lives. They have another person that they`re living with or that they`re on vacation with. Or even in prison and didn`t tell someone.
It happens all the time where they disappear and they don`t tell anybody. And they`re cowards.
It`s really a good thing for Olivia that this happened and that he has gone out of her life, even though she had to deal with such pain.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, now she`s married and she`s moved on. But I`m sure she`s happy that this man that she at one point has had a lot of affection for has been found.
Here`s my big issue tonight: was Olivia Newton-John`s ex running from debt? Patrick McDermott reportedly had big money problems. While he was dating Olivia, he reportedly racked up $30,000 in debt. In 2000, he declared bankruptcy. At the time -- he vanished in 2005 -- he reportedly owed $8,000 in child support. And he had taken out a life insurance policy for $100,000 that was payable to his son.
McDermott`s lawyer has now said that he`s not to be, quote, "hounded by investigators or police", but Darren, you`re the lawyer. Has he broken the law? Is it legal to just disappear? Or did he do something wrong?
DARREN KAVINOKY, LEGAL ANALYST, "THE INSIDER": Well, disappearing has been part of our culture for as long as men supposedly were just going down to the street to grab a gallon of milk and not returning. So it`s not the disappearing that presents the problem. It`s the life insurance piece that really could get him into some legal hot water.
Filing bankruptcy, not a big deal; I mean, legally, there`s all kinds of negative ramifications. But when you`re filing false claims or setting up a life insurance policy so that others can benefit, then the police are going to be very, very interested in investigating that aspect.
And as much as he wants to be left alone, I doubt he`s going to get his wish. I`m sure investigators are going to want to talk to him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey Jim Moret, do you know if the life insurance policy was paid out because if it wasn`t paid out, maybe there is no legal violation there.
KAVINOKY: There`s still an attempt, whether or not it was paid out.
MORET: I`m sorry, what, Darren?
KAVINOKY: I was just pointing out that prosecutors might still be interested in him for attempt, even if the life insurance weren`t actually paid out.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Go ahead Jim.
MORET: That`s correct. Darren is correct. But the latest reports out of Australia and that`s where obviously Olivia Newton-John is from, major interest is focused there, they say the policy is continuing to be paid upon and no claim has been made on the policy. So his son, who was the beneficiary has apparently not received any money under the policy, as far as we can tell.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now he also has child support right Jim. So that`s going to accrue over the years that he was missing because the boy was 13 when he went missing. So, with interest and everything else, he`s in deep financial trouble if they want to pursue him for that, right, Jim?
MORET: Well, not only that, but think about the pain. You`ve got Olivia Newton-John, but think about his son. You`re a father. It`s one thing not to pay child support, but to have your son think you`re dead and you`re not, you just skipped out.
Look, I think this guy -- he has a lot of issues that go beyond the legal issues.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tracy in New Jersey, your question or thought?
TRACY, NEW JERSEY (via telephone): Yes. I would like to know who was the beneficiary on that insurance policy?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Jim, I think you just said it, the child -- the son, right?
MORET: Right, as far as we know it`s the son.
HOPE: I just was wondering, being with Olivia Newton-John, obviously he`s not poor. His debt doesn`t seem to be that overwhelming where he would actually leave someone he loved and cared for just over that amount of money. I mean, what was it? Was it another woman that he left for? I mean, what reason. I just don`t think it was the money reason, myself. I think there probably had to be someone else.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what are you thoughts on that, Jim? You`ve just written a fantastic book called "The Last Day of My Life" about money issues and how they affect you emotionally.
MORET: I`ve got a lot more than $30,000 in debt and I haven`t thought about running away yet.
HOPE: Especially leaving someone that you really love and care for over that like Olivia would --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time.
MORET: You know you`re absolutely right. It sounds like he simply wanted to get away, because the life that he`s reportedly leading down in Mexico is not a lavish lifestyle. I mean, he`s picking up rides on boats and he wants to work as a deck hand; A very simple life. It sounds like honestly, he just wanted to check out and go off the grid, as we say.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, he wanted to drop out and he did. But now he`s been found.
Thank you fantastic panel.
Disturbing new reports in the horrifying death of Aja Johnson: we`re going to have all the gruesome details.
Children attacking and brutalizing other children: a 7-year-old girl brutally gang-raped. Now a 13-year-old boy has been arrested. Why on earth is this happening? Where are the parents?
And we`re taking your calls on this, too. 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877- 586-7297.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A 7-year-old girl? You don`t just take her innocence like that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s a little girl, like, she don`t even have a body.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops say a 7-year-old girl was brutally gang raped. Now a 13-year-old boy -- a 13-year-old boy has been arrested. That`s next.
First, "Top of the Block" tonight.
Horrifying new details in the murder of Aja Johnson: today, a partial autopsy confirmed our worst fears. This beautiful little girl died a violent, unusual and unnatural death; all allegedly at the hands of her stepfather.
We don`t have the gruesome specifics, but we do know Aja suffered cuts on her little neck and her body was badly decomposed. Lester Hobbs was a monster. He stabbed Aja`s mom to death, then he kidnapped and murdered her little girl. Then he killed himself.
Well, in my opinion, at least he got one thing right.
That is tonight`s "Top of the Block".
Turning now to a sickening twist in last week`s horrifying gang rape in New Jersey -- one of the suspects is just 13 years old. How is that possible? Police say a 15-year-old girl prostituted herself to a group of men and boys inside this infamous Trenton housing project. She then allegedly prostituted her 7-year-old stepsister.
Police say at least seven males raped the younger girl. Over the weekend, police arrested three juveniles, ages 13, 14 and 17. How on earth did these kids get so violent, so perverted, so young? Two adults also charged with rape, 20-year-old Gregory Leery and 19-year-old Timerr Lewis. The mayor called them what they are, "monsters".
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DOUGLAS PALMER, MAYOR, TRENTON, NEW JERSEY: I think everyone, not just in Trenton in New Jersey, but across this nation and the world is shocked, outraged and horrified by the barbaric act of monsters -- monster pervert rapists.
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BEHAR: Is anybody going to stand up and take responsibility for this. The suspects` parents, the little girl`s parent? How about the owners of the apartment complex which had become a haven for thugs and junkies? I want your take on this. Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586- 7297.
Some celebrities are so horrified by this case they have agreed to support a "Stop the Violence" rally in Trenton this coming weekend. Rapper Jay-Z and Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons (ph) are reportedly expected to attend as well as the Reverend Al Sharpton.
This rally is being put together by Lighthouse Outreach Ministry and I want to welcome the pastor of Lighthouse Outreach, Wayne Griffith. Pastor thanks for joining us to night.
WAYNE GRIFFITH, PASTOR, LIGHTHOUSE OUTREACH MINISTRIES: Thank you, Jane. It`s great being here.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, I want to get your emotional reaction to this because to me, this is beyond just a sex crime. This is a spiritual bankruptcy on a level that is rarely seen.
GRIFFITH: It`s really is, it really devastated our city. Emotionally people are having challenges. It goes across ethnic lines. And when you talk to a person within the fine city of Trenton, you find emotionally, they really need to be revived.
So the -- the rally that we`re having at the Lighthouse this coming Saturday at 10:00 a.m., it really was a brain child of Shahid Watson (ph) who`s an activist on the city of Trenton who is running for Trenton mayor. But we are supporting it, our church is housing the event. And as you`ve mentioned earlier, various hip-hop artist and persons will be attending or showing support.
But it is a four-fold purpose really. We need to revive the spirit of our city. Trenton is a very historic city, Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas evening and turning the tide of American Revolution. And we really need to revive the spirits of the persons within the city of Trenton.
We`re at a crossroads --
GRIFFITH: -- in that city and so we want to have the "Stop the Violence" rally to really dramatize this particular deadly event -- an ugly event that happened within our city.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes and I`ve interviewed Russell Simmons. He`s an amazing guy. We share a lot in common, our peaceful diet, we`re both vegans --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- and we`re both into spreading peace and making peace a part of our daily life. So I understand why he is going to this rally, because this is horrific. It`s the exact opposite of everything that he has strived to create in his community.
This feels like a case of just mob rule, a kind of lord of the flies. How else can you explain a kid as young as 13, taking part in the gang rape of a 7-year-old girl? The fact that the juvenile suspects were hanging out at this party in the first place shows that they were in the wrong place.
Now, where were their parents? Did the older suspects egg them on? Did these young boys feel pressured to mimic the savagery of the older teens who were there?
Stacy Kaiser, I want to get a psychotherapist analysis. How is it possible for a 13-year-old boy to rape a seven year-old girl?
STACY KAISER, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: You know, as monstrous -- as monstrous as it is, one of the things that we know is neighborhoods, communities, housing projects, even buildings develop their own culture, their own socially acceptable norms.
And it`s really possible that in this place, that was ok. It`s what people were doing, and it sort of became part of the daily routine.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue. This was a complete 100 percent moral breakdown on every level. And yes, it goes back to poverty and the cycle of crime and violence. The mayor himself said this housing project was a breeding ground for crime. Were the suspects, as Stacy just mentioned acting out violence that they saw around them?
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CAPT. JOSEPH S. JUNIAK, TRENTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: The individuals that were in there took advantage of that to the point of a sexual assault, and rape against a child, threatening to kill her if she screamed.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rod Wheeler, we can`t lock up everyone. We can`t send every 13-year-old way for life. That`s not going to solve the problem. What is at the heart --
ROD WHEELER, FORMER D.C. HOMICIDE DETECTIVE: That`s right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- of this problem, Rod?
WHEELER: You know, I think you mentioned it earlier in the past. That first of all, let me take my hat off to the pastor at the Lighthouse Project for doing what he`s doing and Jay-Z for getting involve in this. But I`ll tell you, it takes the entire community, Jane. The police cannot do it by themselves. The mayor can`t do it by themselves.
Look, in Washington, D.C., just this past week, we had ten people shot with an AK-47; the youngest suspect, 14 years old -- 14 years old. So this is a problem that`s a national problem. We need to address it, and it`s going to take people such as the "Stop the Violence" project that the pastor is doing, working with law enforcement and government, to try to bring our communities back.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I do feel that public housing projects are part of the problem. And I`m not saying to eliminate them, but they`ve got to be reinvented. They`ve got to be reinvented in a way where people who are living there feel invested and so they protect their units, they take care of their units, and they get rid of the troublemakers. And that`s really part of the solution.
Everybody, stay right where you are. We`re just getting started on this horrifying gang rape. Where were the parents? Where were the parents?
CAPT. JOE JUNIAK, TRENTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: Somehow, someway during those -- during the incident the individuals that were in there feel it`s ok at that point to start touching the 7-year-old.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: A 15-year-old girl accused of prostituting herself and her 7-year-old stepsister. The younger girl and her family plan to move right away. She told the mayor, quote, "Everybody`s staring at me. They know it`s me." Imagine what that poor child is going through.
Tonight we just -- our thoughts and our hearts go out to her.
Kate, Canada, your question or thought, ma`am.
KATE, CANADA (via telephone): Hi. It`s a comment I have, Jane, and that is in case like this when the crime is this bad, children against children, I think the parents of the perpetrators really should be investigated and sometimes even charged as well. Because there`s no moral responsibility or ethical responsibility brought to the parents for their children anymore.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree, Pastor Griffith. I think that they`re going to try to charge kids as adults now. This is happening more and more. We talk about this. Then they send them away for a long time when really their parents are the ones who dropped the ball.
PASTOR GRIFFITH: True. It starts at home. We have -- earlier we had mentioned what is the problem, the heart of the problem is a problem of the heart. And you have children with no moral compass. You have parents that are not adequately training their children. And so they are basically almost raising themselves. And it is terrible. And we have to hold the parents responsible and we have to make sure that we protect our children.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re in the community. Do you know who the parents of these suspects are? Is there any attempt to go up to them and talk to them and find out what their story is, if they even have parents or if it`s just a teenager perhaps with a single mom?
PASTOR GRIFFITH: In this case it`s the parent -- the single mom, the grandmother basically said that the child had some mental issues, and so therefore she should have received some care because of that.
But yes, contact has been made. We as clergypersons are in contact with families, and we`re trying to make sure that we address this issue. And it is a task of the entire community, the political structure, the educational structure, the religious structure. And as faith-based leaders we just feel that we are obligated to be at the vanguard of trying to make sure that these children are looked after. So we`re doing our part.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Police went to Rowan Towers last week. They were armed with 50 warrants unrelated to these rapes. 50 outstanding warrants at a complex that`s just blocks from the New Jersey state capitol building.
Police arrested 27 people at this project, mostly women for minor infractions. Residents say they`re used to a whole lot worse. Listen to this.
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MARCI RUBIN, NEWS 12, NEW JERSEY: Residents of Rowan Towers call this building troubled, saying they`re often plagued with things like drugs, gangs, gun violence.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: In fact, Rod Wheeler, the unit that they were using for these horrific acts was known as a trap house where people would do drugs and they would have sex. And they were playing musical chairs with the apartments, moving the drugs from one unit to another when the cops swept through. So everybody had to know this was a problem.
ROD WHEELER: Oh, yes. It`s a problem. It`s not only a problem there in Trenton, Jane, but the reality is it`s a problem in many communities here in the United States just as the pastor indicated earlier. And again, it`s going to take the parents to step up to the plate, working along with people in these communities to get rid of the problem. And that`s what it`s going to take.
Look, we can lock people up all day long --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got to stop the vicious cycle.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, fabulous panel.