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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Body of Mitrice Richardson Found
Aired August 12, 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): Tonight, tragic breaking news that`s sparking an uproar. A coroner has confirmed that human remains found in an isolated Malibu park are those of Mitrice Richardson.
She was arrested after not paying an $89 tab at a swanky Malibu restaurant. Cops released her in the dead of night with no purse, no cell phone, no money, no car. Could this have been prevented? And what about the cops insisting she was spotted in Vegas? Mitrice`s heartbroken mother joins us tonight.
Plus a serial stabber has been arrested following a mind-boggling spree of violence across the U.S. Cops say he went on an rampage, killing five men, wounding more than a dozen others. Nearly all of his victims are African-American. Was racism his motive for murder?
And a very special guest joins me on ISSUES. HLN superstar Nancy Grace has a brand-new book. We`ll get Nancy`s take on the disappearance of Kyron Horman and, of course, we`ll hear the latest on Nancy`s adorable twins.
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight tragic breaking news in the search for Mitrice Richardson. Human bones found at the bottom of Malibu Canyon are now confirmed those of missing 24-year-old Mitrice Richardson. It`s just a few miles from the police station where Mitrice was set free in the middle of the night after being arrested for not paying her restaurant tab.
To top it off the family is outraged because they say cops didn`t even tell them that Mitrice`s remains had been I.D.`d.
Cops released Mitrice from jail with no money, no phone, no car and no purse in the dead of night, September 17, 2009. Her mom told ISSUES a jail video showing Mitrice acting erratically and curled up in the fetal position in her jail cell. Why wasn`t that a red flag that Mitrice needed help?
Then two weeks ago, out of the blue, the L.A. Sheriff`s Department announced Mitrice was spotted partying in Las Vegas. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF BILL MCSWEENEY, LOS ANGELES SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT: We have talked to more than 70 individuals who believe they have seen her. That`s based on a photograph and some passage of time in most instances. But that volume causes us to believe we`re on the right track.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, they weren`t on the right track, it turns out. Mitrice`s mother never believed it. She called it wishful thinking. She said she knew her daughter was close by. And she was right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LATICE SUTTON, MITRICE RICHARDSON`S MOTHER: Is this Mitrice in Las Vegas? No. I do not believe it`s her. I have to go back to where we know Mitrice was last seen, and that is the Los Angeles Sheriff`s Department in Malibu, Los Hills.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now cops appear to be slightly backpedaling on the decision to arrest Mitrice that fateful night almost a year ago. Should the soul searching have begun a long time ago? I`m taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.
Straight out to my special guest, Mitrice`s mother, Latice Sutton.
Latice, I am so very sorry for your loss. Our condolences from everybody here at ISSUES. And we certainly can`t imagine what you`re going through right now. And I know that the reason you are speaking out tonight, despite your grief, is because you feel this is the way to achieve justice for your deceased daughter.
How did you find out the remains discovered in Malibu Canyon were, in fact, those of your daughter?
SUTTON: Well, this morning, I received a phone call from the coroner`s office confirming. But I must take you back a couple of days ago when the remains were first discovered by a state park ranger as they were eradicating marijuana fields in the area.
It was not the authorities who alerted us to the possibilities of these bones and what occurred. It was a news reporter. And immediately, I went from San Bernardino to that area, which is not too far -- it`s like right in the center, not too far from where -- between the murals that I discussed on your show before and the last -- the very first sighting of Mitrice, which was behind Bill Smith`s house. That ravine is like midway between there. It`s just unbelievable.
And when I was at the site waiting for those bones to be extracted, I -- you know, once -- I don`t know. Just something in me just knew that this -- this was it.
I know my baby`s spirit. And just having her with me all of her life, I just feel her spirit in me. And there was nothing that could make me believe that she was just caravanting [SIC] around in Las Vegas. Nothing. I knew my baby was in that area.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I`ve got to say this. The L.A. County Sheriff`s Office has just released this. And I`ll show it to you right now. Fifty- page report -- I`m holding it in my hands -- saying they did everything right, legal and reasonable. I want to know is this a whitewash: 57 pages.
They maintain Mitrice was alert, coherent and cooperative and that there was nothing to indicate that she suffered from mental-health problems.
And remember that video of Mitrice in the jail cell? They say they only delayed releasing the videotape because of some technical mumbo jumbo.
But, Latice, we still haven`t seen that video. I mean, it hasn`t been published; it hasn`t aired. You say you saw it, and you say that she was in the fetal position. And of course, witnesses at the restaurant said she was speaking in tongues, speaking gibberish, saying she was from Mars, saying she was there to avenge Michael Jackson`s death. So how could they possibly say that she, to all accounts, was acting perfectly normally?
SUTTON: Oh, I absolutely agree with you. First of all, Jane, I can`t even comment on that report because I`m unaware of that report. As a matter of fact, Ben Jones, who was supposed to be the person who completed that report, I asked him back in April for that report.
This is just -- I believe -- it`s my opinion that it`s just a political -- a public relations move on the part of the sheriff`s department.
Listen, Ben Jones has been out with the sheriff`s department, laughing and carrying on. How in the world could he be objective and write any report about my daughter?
That`s why from the very beginning I`ve asked, I`ve pleaded, I`ve appealed to the FBI to get involved, because no one is truly investigating the sheriff`s department. And from the beginning, there has been questions. And it`s only been questions, because they`ve always covered and hide and give us reason to concern.
And let me tell you something. I did see that booking tape surveillance which, by the way, need I remind everyone that Captain Martin, who was the captain at the time, always said that there was no video footage of Mitrice. And that was an outright lie. He made that statement to reporters, to everyone.
SUTTON: And then three months later, I -- you know, we happened to find out about it. Yes, I saw it. And so it wasn`t delayed because they were trying to clean up anything. They just didn`t want to show it. And I bet they didn`t realize...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we still haven`t seen it. The public still has not seen that tape.
SUTTON: Right. Right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Leo Terrell, you`ve been the attorney for Latice Sutton. What is your take on the discovery of this young lady`s remains and this 57-page report saying that everything was A-OK in the way law enforcement handled it?
LEO TERRELL, ATTORNEY FOR LATICE SUTTON (via phone): Thank you very much, Jane.
Let me sit here and say right now the county of Los Angeles has blood on its hands. A couple of weeks ago, when they did that phony -- I want to make it clear -- phony press conference in Las Vegas, claiming they had credible sightings, in light of what happened the last 24 hours, that was - - let me be clear, an outright lie.
And I echo what Latice said. Ben Jones should be ashamed of himself. The office of independent review is supposed to be an independent investigation. They have developed the Stockholm Syndrome. They have developed a friendship with the people who they`re supposed to investigate.
And I can assure you this, Jane. When we subpoena those tapes, which we will and we have, those individuals and that videotape will be shown to the American public. Because the outright statement that Latice -- that Mitrice Richardson was OK to be released is a lie. I don`t want to mince any words. The County of Los Angeles has lied to Los Angeles and the country about the status of Mitrice Richardson.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Latice, you`re nodding your head -- tell me what`s going on with you right now.
SUTTON: I`m so sorry. I`m just -- I`m looking at the life of my baby flash before my eyes. My future is gone. That`s -- oh, my God!
TERRELL: Latice Sutton should not be on national TV grieving for her daughter, because the L.A. County Sheriff`s Department would not let anyone leave at 12:30 at night.
You know the sad thing about this? One point. The L.A. County Sheriff`s Department lied about the most massive manhunt. She died in the back door of their sheriff`s station. It`s a crime. It`s an outright crime. And the sheriff`s department has whitewashed it.
I`m not going to mince any words. They have lied to the American public about their search for Mitrice Richardson. They lied two weeks ago at that Las Vegas press conference. And I assure you they`ll be brought to justice, because the American public knows darn well they should never have let that woman leave at 12:30 at night.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: How -- Latice, I see what you`re going through. When you -- because you`ve all along said your daughter was in that canyon when everybody was saying she was in Las Vegas partying.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What happened when they -- when you finally got the word, and I believe it would be this morning when the coroner confirmed it that this was, in fact, your daughter, what went through your...
SUTTON: You know, I don`t even know how to express it, Jane. It`s like -- I finally had permission to grieve for my daughter, because it`s like I`ve had to fight all along. No one -- the authorities -- for whatever reason chose not to believe me when I said something is wrong with my daughter. They chose not to believe me when I said, if you released her, you need to find her. She`s lost.
But for whatever reason, they feel that I, the woman who poured her life this child, did not know or was logical enough and was just being over-reactive and didn`t, you know, didn`t know that her baby was lost.
I knew from the moment they said that they released her she was lost. And my spirit told me my baby was in someplace in that terraneous [SIC] area. And I just couldn`t rest. I`ve been crippled because I couldn`t -- I couldn`t rest until I find my baby. I didn`t want to find my baby dead. But my spirit knew because I know Mitrice. I know Mitrice. No one could tell me she was just running around somewhere, choosing not to come home.
Mitrice had no reason to run away from home, because I supported Mitrice in all that she`d do -- did. And whatever I disagreed with, I expressed myself to her. But she always knew I loved her, and we moved on and I gave her my opinions. She -- nothing was secret from me. I knew any and everything that Mitrice did.
Mitrice was a grown woman, and I gave her the freedom to live her life as she chose it as an adult. And you know what? She`s a beautiful person, and she lived it responsibly. And she chose to be beautiful like most women want to be. And it`s most unfortunate that, when she began to experience the onset of mental illness, she didn`t have the help that she needed.
The first responders didn`t help her. I mean, you have witnesses there saying that she`s acting crazy. I mean, from jumping in people`s cars in the valet parking lot to acting crazy, sitting with strangers in the restaurant. I mean, something is wrong with that.
And if they`re telling her, they`re calling in saying, "This woman is crazy. Come get her," then they should have -- they didn`t have the responsibility to say, "She`s OK. Let`s let her go." They`re not professionals.
And let me ask you this. Someone swinging on the wall, you don`t think something -- an adult -- that something is wrong with that person? Now, if it was a child, maybe. But a grown woman swinging on a wall, and they don`t think something is wrong?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that is what you`re saying is on the videotape of her behind bars at the sheriff`s station before they released her. OK.
SUTTON: That is correct, yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to bring in Mike Brooks, OK. You`re the HLN law enforcement analyst. Here`s my question. Why not release the tape? If this report is saying, hey, the cops did nothing wrong. She was acting perfectly -- perfectly lucid and not acting crazy, why not just release the video of what happened behind bars?
MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I`d like to see the video, Jane. And I think one of the reasons probably they haven`t released the video is because of the pending lawsuit.
And I can`t comment on a report, Jane -- I want to take a look at that, too, to make my analysis.
Earlier on "Prime News" tonight we had an "L.A. Times" reporter on who said that he interviewed the jailer there at the station. And he said that the jailer said that she was calm and collected and was fine during booking. So I`m just going on what they told me. But I have to see that report before I`m able to make an analysis of my own.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re just getting started.
SUTTON: Who is the officer saying leaving after Mitrice was released? Who is that officer?
BROOKS: I haven`t seen the report. I don`t know. I don`t know, Ms. Sutton.
SUTTON: And why is this report released all of a sudden? That report has not been given to the family, and they`ve been claiming that it`s confidential. Now all of a sudden, everyone has that report except for me, the mother.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know what? It says "confidential" right on the front. "Confidential" right there. And it was given to the media.
All right, more on the tragic death of Mitrice Richardson with her devastated mother. Next we`re taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.
Plus, an alleged serial stabber made his way across the U.S. before being caught at the airport after being paged. Was he fleeing the country?
But first human remains in a Malibu park have now been identified as Mitrice Richardson. More on this heart-wrenching story next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF LEE BACA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY: It`s to my sadness and disappointment that I am reporting to you that it is the confirmed remains of Mitrice Richardson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to the father, he was not even notified -- is it proper to notify someone at a news conference?
BACA: Let me confirm that. Am I missing a point here with you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes. I just want to know.
BACA: I just get informed a half an hour ago. Do you expect me to tell the father immediately?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody tell the father...
BACA: We just did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... other than by news conference?
BACA: We just did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: An angry exchange between the L.A. County sheriff and a reporter who wanted to know why Mitrice`s family was not notified about the identification of her remains. The sheriff says they reached out as soon as they found out but had to leave Mitrice`s father a voicemail. And there`s controversy now about whether that`s appropriate, to leave a voicemail notifying a father about the death of his daughter.
Want to go to Carla Hall, a "Los Angeles Times" reporter who`s been all over this story.
Carla, this report released, 57 pages, that exonerates the sheriff`s department. It says "confidential," and yet we`ve got it. It was released to the media. But Latice, the mother, says she has not been able to see this report, even though she asked for it. What do you make of that?
CARLA HALL, REPORTER, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": I don`t know why they haven`t allowed Latice to see a copy of it. But also, let me just say to Latice that I`m so sorry that things have turned out the way that they did.
In terms of the report, I don`t know why it hasn`t been released to the family. But you`re right: the report does exonerate the sheriff`s department. It says that they followed everything by the book.
What Sheriff Baca said today at the press conference is that, "Even though we followed a policy, maybe we should have done more."
I think what you`ll see more is a lot of investigation into whether they should change their policy about how they release female detainees at a sheriff`s station.
And on -- and also, I think you`ll see them trying to figure out is there another way to ascertain whether somebody needs to be held for a mental-health exam.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Alison Triessl, I`m in the news business, and I can`t understand the explanation of why they didn`t release the video. "The delay in releasing videotaped recordings was due to the time required to convert a multiple track video recording to several -- a single track" -- I don`t know what they`re talking about. If you want to release a video, we all know you can release the video.
HALL: Well, I know why they haven`t released the video. I`d be very curious to see...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Alison.
ALISON TRIESSL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: They`re not releasing it because of the pending lawsuit. We all know that.
And the question of they followed everything by the book, then they have to have change the book, because this is -- these were citable offenses. These were not serious. She clearly -- they had a couple hours to observe her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUTTON: There were remains found in the Malibu Canyon area not too far from the first sighting of Mitrice in the back of Bill Smith`s home and not too far from those terrible murals depicting African-American women in terrible sexual explicit positions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The sheriff says at this point there is no evidence of foul play in the death of Mitrice Richardson. But what about that x- rated mural? We`re going to show it to you, with Mitrice`s likeness found near the scene of her remains.
Now, certainly, if somebody is going to go to such lengths as to put together an X-rated mural, couldn`t that mean there`s some sicko out there who saw Mitrice and possibly killed her? You`re looking at this mural. It`s not too far from where she was found, and it has, really, a likeness of Mitrice in sexual pornographic poses.
Stacey Honowitz, Florida prosecutor.
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Sure, I mean, we can speculate and say that maybe there is some kind of connection. Certainly it is coincidental that the likeness is so unique. But they said there`s no evidence at this point of foul play.
And I think everything that we`ve been hearing tonight about the investigation to the sheriff`s office, the investigation into her death, all of these facts are going to unwind because of this lawsuit. All these things that weren`t given in the very beginning are going to have to be given during this suit to see.
And I think the sadness in all of this is, even though procedure was followed, it took a case like this to set an example of changes that need to be made. And your previous guest was right. What`s going to happen now is changes in their policy and how they treat the mentally ill is going to have to be changed because of what happened to this young lady.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Linda, Oklahoma, your question or thought, ma`am.
CALLER: First of all, Jane, I just would love to just send out my condolences to her entire family. I can`t imagine how heartbroken they must be by now.
But this story has stunk from day one. I feel like that police department definitely knows something and has known something from the get- go. And I bet you, dollars to doughnuts -- no pun intended -- that we`ll never know what it was, because they are so tight-lipped in the police departments.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I mean, look, a series of mistakes may have been made here. Mistake No. 1, should cops have even arrested Mitrice? I mean, after all, $89 food tab. And, you know, the grandmother reportedly offered to pay the bill with a credit card over the phone, but they wanted a signature.
And so I got to ask you, Mike Brooks, even the sheriff today said, "We`ve got to rethink that whole situation."
BROOKS: Well, if a merchant calls the sheriff`s department or any law-enforcement agency to come out because someone has failed to pay a tab or a board bill, they have a duty to take some kind of action and they did. They arrested her.
Right now, again, I have not seen a report on all the specifics of the particular arrest, who was interviewed, what they said. But right now, it looks like the arrest was at least proper.
SUTTON: Let`s go back to the release. Let`s go back to the real issues. In the police`s manual, the sheriff`s manual, it says they release when it is safe and prudent. I`ve asked the lead sheriff, Baca himself as well as their counsel what was safe about releasing Mitrice at 12:38 a.m., knowing that she did not have access to her car, because...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news: remains found in Malibu Canyon have now been identified as those of Mitrice Richardson. She is the young graduate student, 24 years old, last September went to Malibu, ate at a restaurant, racked up an $89 bill, didn`t have the money to pay, was arrested, then was released in the dead of night from the Lost Hills sheriff`s station and after one brief sighting was never seen again.
The debate, why was she arrested over the $89 tab and why was she released in the dead of night when critics of that decision say she was having a breakdown and experiencing mental problems.
Let`s take a look at what happened the morning Mitrice disappeared. She spent about two hours in the jail. She was released just after midnight September 17th. Around 6:30 a.m. two miles away a Calabasas resident reported seeing a woman on his back porch. Police arrived and she was gone but it was determined that that woman was Mitrice. Ok. This week her remains were found about two miles away.
Now, Allison Triessl, what I find fascinating about this report that exonerates the police; it says they went, they answered that call and they searched but didn`t find her. That`s it. You know, very brief; whereas they go into tremendous details about other things.
I would like to know how much did they search when they went to that person`s house? How far did they search -- because this girl was found two miles away? So maybe if they had searched a little more diligently, they might have found her that day before she ended up in that canyon.
ALISON TRIESSL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it`s great that they exonerate themselves. However, this poor family and this gal who -- these were citable offenses -- is dead. So something went very wrong.
They were able to personally observe her for several hours. They get a 911 call saying that she`s acting crazy, she`s saying bizarre things. They had plenty of time to observe her and, frankly, if anything good comes of this, they`ll put some type of mental health counselor in these substations to help these people.
To release her -- no cell phone, no wallet, no keys, after midnight, no bus service -- it`s outrageous. How this report can say they did nothing wrong when this poor girl is dead is beyond -- it`s beyond words. Unbelievable.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean here`s possible mistake number two. Why didn`t cops realize there was something wrong with Mitrice and put her on an involuntary hold that`s called a 5150? There were reports she was speaking in tongues saying she was avenging Michael Jackson`s death and she was from mars. And then again her mother claims she saw this videotape in jail where her daughter is acting very, very strangely in the fetal position and jumping.
The restaurant workers said she was, quote, "acting crazy". Now, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LATICE SUTTON, MITRICE RICHARDSON`S MOTHER: I specifically told the deputy, this is uncharacteristic of my daughter. My daughter does not go places and not pay a tab. I continuously reiterate it. Something is wrong with my daughter. She appears to be in a crisis state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Latice, I want to ask you about this that was in the report. The confidential report that was released to the public but hasn`t been given to you yet says that the cops talked to you and Mitrice`s grandmother at the restaurant. Quote, "Neither Ms. Sutton" -- that would be you -- "nor Ms. Harris" -- the grand mother -- could complete a credit card payment transaction to the restaurant`s satisfaction or travel to the restaurant to pick Ms. Richardson -- i.e., your daughter -- "up." What do you say to that?
SUTTON: I say that they are very slippery and very creative with their words where a couple of words in part may be accurate; a lot of it is inaccurate. They spoke to my grandmother. My grandmother was physically unable to drive to the area and that`s why my grandmother contacted me. And I called the restaurant and said, I will pay the bill and sign the receipt and fax it over to you because the restaurant required a faxed signature. But by the time I contacted the restaurant Mitrice was already put in the patrol car and was in transit to the station.
If you go back to the communication tapes, I contacted the station before my daughter even arrived. There was an officer --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: They`re implying basically that you could have picked her up and you didn`t. And I want to give you an opportunity to respond to that.
SUTTON: Yes. That is absolutely ludicrous. There is no way that I would refuse to pick up my daughter. First of all, I live more than 80 miles away. When I got the call and the restaurant manager told me that it was too late, she was in transit. My next phone call was to the sheriff`s station to find out what Mitrice`s bill amount was and when they were going to release her. And they led me to believe that they were not going to release her until the morning time.
And just having put my youngest daughter to bed -- this was a school night. Just trying to be responsible, trying to do the best thing that a mother could do. I figured if they`re not going to release her until the morning, that I would wake my youngest daughter up at 4:00, we`ll get there by the time they release Mitrice and then I`ll get my youngest to school and get my oldest the help that she needed.
But I was never granted the opportunity because I was misled.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sheray, Arizona, your question or thought ma`am.
SHERAY, ARIZONA: Yes. (INAUDIBLE)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Your question or thought ma`am. Go ahead.
SHERAY: Ok. My sister, she was murdered in Tucson, Arizona -- I`m sorry, in Goodyear, Arizona. She had went to Arizona to surprise Arizona to visit with her grandchildren. She ended up in Sedona, Arizona, where the people at the hotel just put her out. She had just gotten $20,000 from her insurance money from her job.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What does this have to do with this case?
SHERAY: they found her body dead -- they found her skeletal remains in Goodyear, Arizona, 30 miles away. She is a mental patient. I have been trying to talk to the police. The police had her in the car. I said something is the matter with my sister. They still took her to the airport, dropped her off at the airport. She never returned back to Cleveland and she had been missing for eight months and they found her dead --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, first of all, my condolences to you, ma`am. I think -- listen, as we wrap this up, I want to go back to Alison Triessl because you`re also -- you run a recovery center as well as being an attorney. There seems to be a theme here that, you know, maybe tone deaf, a little heavy-handed, taking situations that could be petty crimes and turning them into major tragedies.
TRIESSL: Well, things certainly have to change. You know, I practice in Los Angeles. When there is a sign, when there is a clear sign that there is mental illness afoot, the officers need to be trained to do something. There`s got to be a counselor there. And they`ve got to make sure that this person is safe and that this person won`t hurt themself or they won`t hurt somebody else before they release them into the dead of night. This will repeat.
TRIESSL: Jane, there`s an -- there`s an interesting thing in the report that talks about how the people at this station were actually not technically trained to decide whether she should be held on a mental health evaluation hold, that there are other professionals that they`re supposed to call in. So it seems like the question is when do the people in the station know to call those people in for an evaluation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think this can be a learning experience, let`s hope. That means that your precious daughter, Latice, did not die in vain. We want you to come back.
We`re going to stay on this story. We`re going to see what happens in terms of your lawsuit and all the inquiries that are undoubtedly going to come out of this.
Thank you so much and again our condolences.
SUTTON: Thank you for having me and her death will not be in vain.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you. Thank you Ms. Sutton.
Turning now to stunning new developments tonight in the search for a serial killer: authorities believe they found their man in Atlanta just minutes before he tried to flee the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF JOSEPH PRICE, LEESBURG POLICE DEPT: Was arrested without incident at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport on charges related to the serial killings -- excuse me -- and assaults in Michigan, Ohio and Virginia. He was arrested without incident prior to a scheduled flight to Tel Aviv.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Abuelazam is an Israeli national here in this country on a valid green card. He`s now suspected of stabbing 18 men, five of them tragically killed, murdered. One stabbing victim explains how he narrowly escaped.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ETWAN WILSON, STABBING VICTIM: Where is Pearson Road? I said that`s Pearson Road right at the right? He said, thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then?
WILSON: He stabbed me. I pushed off of him and ran. Ran to the first house I see with a light on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s my honor tonight to be joined by Elzora Minor, Arnold`s mother; and Kareem Minor, the victim`s brother. We`re so sorry that this horrific thing happened with your son and your brother.
I want to start with the brother. How is Etwan doing and are you relieved that a suspect is behind bars tonight? Sir.
KAREEM MINOR, VICTIM`S BROTHER: Excuse me?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s your reaction to the arrest?
MINOR: Well, you know, it`s like -- it`s not closed yet. It`s just that we know that progress is here. Now we need answers. What was the motive, you know.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, that`s a very good question. Nearly all the victims were African-American men and most were very vulnerable. The suspect -- seen there -- believed to have been stabbing 18 men; five of those victims dying tragically.
For this family, Arnold Minor is one of those victims. Arnold Minor was 49 years old and on his way home from his mother`s home in Flint, Michigan. He was stabbed to death less than a mile away from his home.
I`ve got to ask you what exactly, Kareem, happened to your loved one. I`ve -- I`ve heard these stories where people some are sliced open with a knife. What happened to your loved one?
K. MINOR: Well, we suspect that he was -- he was about to help someone, you know. We don`t have the details of how it actually happened then. But in the process of him trying to help someone, he was punctured twice, one in the chest and one in the abdomen.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is just horrific.
Mike Brooks, they got this guy. He`s a real sicko.
K. MINOR: Yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I`m just so -- so grateful they did. We`re going to stay on top of this story.
MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Good old-fashioned police work. Timely that`s for sure.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nancy Grace up next.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the spotlight tonight I am talking to a very, very, very special guest. She just released her second mystery novel, the sequel to her debut thriller "The 11th Victim" brings back heroine "Haley Dean". The beloved character managed to survive a murder attempt in the first book. So now the former prosecutor has returned to find herself fighting crime in front of the camera; kind of sounds like somebody I know.
Joining me now a woman who needs absolutely no introduction, the fabulous host of HLN`s "Nancy Grace" and the author of a stunning new murder mystery -- you`ve got to read it -- "Death on the D-list."
Nancy thanks for joining us. I`m always thrilled to have you on our show. Congratulations on the new book. I am totally hooked on the plot.
NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST, "NANCY GRACE": What? Excuse me. I was reading.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I`m going to read it like three times. Haley Dean gets thrown into this wild new adventure and, of course, it involves the TV industry. And as I was reading it, boy I though, that reminds me of this one we know. That reminds me of this one we know.
GRACE: Absolutely not, JVM. None of these characters are patterned after anyone real except for Mike Walker from the "Enquirer". But in this book he works for "Snoop" magazine.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I couldn`t help notice that there were some striking similarities in this book. I mean, Haley Dean, the main character, a former prosecutor coming back to New York from Atlanta. She enters a new arena to fight crime in the world of TV.
Come on Nancy there is a resemblance there.
GRACE: Listen, listen Jane, yes, there is a resemblance but Haley Dean is a lot -- she`s a finer more braver person than I could ever be. She always says the right thing. She`s always calm, cool, collected, even under stress. And I`ve never been accused of that, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Me neither.
GRACE: Never been accused of always saying the right thing.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, I`ve got to tell you, this is my opportunity to ask you about the subject that all of America wants to know about. And that is your twins.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I know we have some great, great photos that we`re going to run.
GRACE: Jane -- tonight, I had to sneak out barefoot. No shoes. Because if the twins see me wearing shoes, they know I`m leaving. So I have to walk by as if -- that`s them putting -- they were decorating the Christmas tree.
That`s Lucy at our church playground. There they are -- that`s Christmas morning. That is Christmas morning. They were going crazy. And there they are again. We were decorating the Christmas tree. And they would just get wads of tinsel and just throw it. And I thought it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
Now back to tonight; I had to make a getaway. I was soaking wet because I just bathe them and got them all ready for bed before I leave and they ran down to the playroom and then I snuck out barefoot.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh boy.
GRACE: I literally backed out backwards. Because I know all these specialists and these shrinks, these Park Avenue shrinks will say, no, you`ve got to be honest with your child, say mommy is leaving for work and I`m going to be back. No way. I tried that. Its complete BS whenever you have your first kid, don`t do it. Lie.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well -- that ship has sailed. But yes, I think it`s an excellent advice.
GRACE: You never know, I thought the same thing at age 47 and then surprise, although it wasn`t quite a surprise but yes, it can happen, Jane. Things happens.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh I know you`ve experienced a miracle and pretty, pretty amazing.
GRACE: Yes, two.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You were a prosecutor. You host your own show here on HLN. You write best-selling books. You`re a wife. You`re a mother to twins and on September 13th you are premiering a syndicated program "Swift Justice with Nancy Grace".
Nancy, I do not understand how you are doing all of these things at the same time.
GRACE: Listen, you`ve got to make hay while the sun shines, Jane Velez.
But here`s the deal. Here is how I do it. I follow one rule. The first thing comes first. My main job description is mommy. Then after that, everything falls into place.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh that`s -- that`s really -- that`s true. You`ve got to keep your priorities in order. And if you --
GRACE: That`s just the way my mom was.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- if you get out of balance it really doesn`t help anything. It doesn`t help the career. It doesn`t help -- balance will keep --
GRACE: Look, all those -- look, I had 47 years to be free, single, foot loose, fancy free, go to dinners, climb mountains.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Prosecute. Put people away.
GRACE: Put people away. You name it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lock them up.
GRACE: But now this is a dream that I`ve always had. I never thought it would come true. As a matter of fact, you know, "Death on the D-list" is about Haley Dean. Hey, stay away from that chick because you people drop like flies. You get around Haley Dean, you`re dead. It`s over. She`s like Jessica Fletcher in "Murder She Wrote." Everybody just died but in this book Haley Dean comes alive.
And you know, Jane, I`ve told you this story in private that I always wanted to have a little girl and name her Haley after Haley`s comet for once in a lifetime. I never thought after my fiance was murdered so long ago that I would ever have a family and I did.
But when they were born, Lucy and I almost died and I always felt that my grandmother helped pull me through, Lucy. So Lucy became Lucy and not Haley. So Haley Dean will forever be on the pages of this book.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she`s quite a character and I`m just so impressed by your amazing abilities to do it all.
GRACE: Hey Jane Velez, let me make something straight to you. Once and for all, I`m going to clear the air. This is not about you. You do not die in this book. Nobody is patterned after you. Ok? I know you`re going to think it`s all about me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well --
GRACE: And that goes for -- in fact I put a note in the back to our boss Ken Jautz (ph) and Sean Walters (ph) this in not about you. It`s on page 282. Check it out.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, I got to ask you one quick question because everybody wants to know your take on Kyron. I mean, everybody wants to know that. It`s a serious case. And we want to know.
GRACE: Ok. As if you haven`t already figured out, while the stepmother Terri Horman has not been named a suspect or really even a person of interest I believe that if you lie in the middle of a homicide investigation then it takes on a nefarious nature. And especially in light of the fact that she raised Kyron since he was a little boy, I believe that there is something extremely wrong with that. And if I were the police, I would have already arrested her for solicitation of murder for her husband.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side -- hang in there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are back with the one and only Nancy Grace. Nancy, you prosecuted violent crimes for ten years in Atlanta and you had a perfect record -- 100 felony convictions, no losses at trial. How did you do that?
GRACE: Well, the only thing I can say is that everyone that I ever prosecuted was guilty, guilty. There is no doubt about it. No, no. Really. Don`t laugh. I`m serious.
I`m talking about murders, multiple murders, child molestation, aggravated child molestation, rape, sodomy, homicide, drug trafficking -- they did it. So I can`t really take credit for winning those trials.
Also aside from the jury reaching a verdict that was truthful, not only that, I never was, I never got over being afraid, Jane. I always thought that the jury could hand down the wrong verdict. I went into every single trial be it shoplifting to triple homicide thinking it could go either way.
So I think when you are, you get too cocky and too full of yourself and too pleased with yourself, that`s when things start going wrong.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Nancy we have to leave it right there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I want everyone at home to read your book, "Death on the D-List". I`m reading it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s a page turner. We all love you. You are my hero.
GRACE: Likewise. Likewise.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So happy to have you on.
GRACE: Jane, thank you. Bye, friend.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bye. Talk to you soon.
Well, we`re going to switch gears and go back to one of today`s breaking stories. A suspect has been caught in the serial stabbings and murders that terrorized three states. What a relief.
I`m joined by Robi Ludwig psychotherapist. What do you make of this suspect, an Israeli national who comes to the United States and then attacks allegedly a whole bunch of men, 18 of them, then tries to flee back to Israel?
ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: You know, it`s very scary. There are some theories that suggest that serial killers have some kind of military background. I don`t know if that`s true for this particular man but I do know if you are an Israeli citizen many of those people have served some time in the military. Perhaps, you know, if you have some kind of personality structure that can throw somebody over the edge.
He also seems to be the type of serial killer who targets a specific kind of group; they call that a mission-oriented serial killer. Somebody who believes they are targeting a certain group because they`re on a mission to rid the world of a certain group they feel is offensive or dangerous in some way.
So it sounds like there is some odd kind of delusional thinking going on with this man but of course I would need to speak to him first before having any further ideas.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course.
Elzora Minor, you are the mother of one of his victims. Do you feel this was racially motivated given that most of the victims were African- American men?
ELZORA MINOR, VICTIM`S MOTHER: I have no idea. Was it racial, or not? I don`t know. I`d like to know, though.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes. You know, it`s interesting because one of the victims who was not African-American says, "No, this guy was just filled with hate. He sliced me up." This was a white male who was sliced up by him and luckily survived but said this was a man he came face to face with just filled with hatred.
We are so sorry for your loss. Our condolences and we are so happy that the person that police believe is responsible has been put behind bars and we hope that that family and all the others find justice.
You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.