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Another Acid Attack; Bandits Use Baby as Prop in Robbery

Aired September 10, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight an ISSUES primetime exclusive. I`ll talk one-on-one with that beautiful mother who had skin- burning acid thrown on her face just last week. She`s now scarred for life.

Tonight as cops hunt down her twisted attacker, two new acid attacks rip through Florida. Is this skin-burning torture part of some sick new trend?

And how low can criminals go? An innocent baby used as a prop in a terrorizing home invasion. Three gutless robbers tricked an innocent family and held them at gunpoint. Tonight, horrifying details. How can anyone use their own child as an accessory?

Also, a Hollywood star admits stabbing his ex-girlfriend 20 times. But he claims it was all a big mistake. Whoops? Huh? Tonight, the actor from the smash hit "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" takes the stand. How can you accidentally stab someone 20 times?

Plus, massive new developments in the Casey Anthony case. Tonight, the lead homicide detective is grilled by the defense team, and he`s not holding back. This is the same cop who claims Casey`s car smelled like a dead body. Tonight we`ll examine his stunning claims that little Caylee was possibly abused.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight breaking news. Another horrific acid attack. This time the victims are a mother and her child in Florida, and once again, nobody knows what the heck sparked this most vicious of assaults. We`ve got to figure out what`s behind this senseless, hideous war on women.

Tonight on the heels of this latest attack, an ISSUES primetime exclusive interview with Derri Velarde. She is the Arizona mother who had acid thrown in her face just last week by a mystery woman. You`re going to hear the whole story from her, the victim`s mouth, right now.

This nightmarish trend started nearly two weeks ago when somebody threw acid at 28-year-old Bethany Storro in Vancouver, Washington, while she was getting something out of her car. The suspect, again, a woman.

Then four days later Derri Velarde experienced the same thing as she pulled into her parking spot at her home in Arizona. Here`s the just- released 911 call from that attack.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nine-one-one emergency.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse me, somebody just threw acid on my mom, and I don`t even -- she just pulled out of the car. She just got home from work and somebody threw acid on her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable! We`re going to hear about that courageous 18-year-old daughter who called 911.

Now, this time the suspect was lying in wait, and again it was a woman. Derri Velarde told the CBS "Early Show" that she feels this was a planned attack.


DERRI VELARDE, VICTIM OF ACID ATTACK: It was definitely planned for me. You know, it was premeditated, if you can use that word. It was -- but then again, no. There`s nothing that I`ve done, that I can think I`ve done that would anger somebody to this extent.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And who the heck is this woman? You know, we`re talking about three acid attacks within two weeks in three different states. With three apparently different suspects. Two of the suspects are women. So I guess now we have a war on women by women. That`s terrible.

When will this sickening trend end?

Straight out to my very special guest, Derri Velarde, the second victim in this sick acid-throwing trend.

First of all, we`re so happy to see that you`re on the mend. You look amazing. You don`t look like this just happened to you last week.

VELARDE: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Very happy. Very happy.

VELARDE: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to get to your medical condition in a second, but first please describe for our audience in detail exactly what happened at your carport last week.

VELARDE: OK. Well, I was -- I was just arriving home from work, and I have kind of odd hours. I work at a gym in the day care. So they`re three and four-hour shifts, and I get home anywhere between 11 in the morning, anywhere from 11 to 1.

So that day in particular I got off at 12:30, and I stopped in the office complex to speak with the manager, and then I pulled into my parking space. I got in about 1.

And I noticed the woman standing in the car port, you know, behind my carport. Not that unusual. I just noticed there was a woman standing there. I pulled my car into my space. And I noticed her walking up towards the back side of my car just casually as if she had a drink in her hand. She was approaching my vehicle. And I thought she was going to say something to me. I thought maybe she was a neighbor and was just going to approach me. I didn`t feel any kind of threat or anything.

And then -- the she juts stopped abruptly and looked at me like as if she was going to call me a name. And, you know, at that point I knew she was angry with me. But it was all within seconds she -- she threw the liquid in her glass onto my face. She went like this, and it splashed up on my face.

And I thought for a split second -- I thought she threw water at me until it instantly started burning. My skin was just on fire. It was the most intense pain. And I just started screaming.

I jumped out of the car, and I saw her just kind of almost casually jog away. I do remember, like, she -- she just left the scene, not running quickly and not jumping into a vehicle. She just kind of ran away. And I believe that`s why she probably had like running clothes on and looked really casual like she had just come from the gym, you know.

And so I ran in the house, and I was screaming for my daughter so that she could hear me before I got to the door, because I wasn`t sure if it was going to be locked. And I knew I needed to get inside. And so the door was unlocked. She met me at the door.

I threw my purse and my keys down, and I just started dousing my face with water because it -- the acid got on my eyelid. I was afraid it got in my eye. Yes. The pain was so intense that I couldn`t tell if it was just my eyelid or if it was actually burning my eye.

So I just started flushing my face with water, and I just continued to do that until my body started to hurt to the point where I couldn`t take it anymore. So I had to rip my clothes off. And that`s when my daughter`s boyfriend helped me. He turned on the water, and I jumped in the shower. And he started just pouring shampoo in my hair, because he could see the acid was just dripping off my hair onto the skin.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Try to describe the pain. Try to describe the pain.

VELARDE: It`s extremely intense. I mean, I`ve had five children with no epidural. You know, I know what pain is. But this was -- this was the most intense pain I`ve ever felt.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, your courageous daughter, 18 years old, had the presence of mind to immediately call 911. With every second that passes, the acid is burning through your skin.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: As you just said, you decide to jump in the shower. But get this. You heard it. The 911 operator didn`t think you getting in the shower was a good idea. Listen to the 911 call. Astounding.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do I do? She has acid all over her body.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just wait for the paramedics. Hang on one second. I do have the address.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s in the shower right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, tell her not to go in the shower until we get the information.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said not to go in the shower until we get the paramedics. She said not to go in the shower.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell them not to have her in the shower.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You believe the shower might have saved you from more serious injuries because it diluted the acid, washed it off.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s similar to that boy who was set on fire in Florida. Jumped in the pool. That saved his life. Paramedics and police agree with you. Getting in the shower was a good idea.

How do you feel about this 911 operator repeatedly, not just once but several times urging your daughter to get you out of the shower?

VELARDE: Well, I was -- I was hurting and I was in pain, and I was confused, and the shower was more comforting. It was making me feel better, like I was getting it off. So I was very confused when my daughter started telling me to get out of the shower.

I got out of the shower but I was out for maybe two, three minutes, and it just didn`t feel right. I was still on fire. So I took it upon myself to get back in. And when the officer got there right then also, he told me, yes, get back in the water immediately. It was a little upsetting.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Later the operator said, "I`m not a trained health professional. Please wait for the paramedics."

I think these operators may need more training in this particular type of assault.

VELARDE: Yes, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because this is not a situation where you can wait to see the doctor. You`re on fire. You`re burning up.

VELARDE: No. Yes. Yes. My clothes were disintegrating when the police got there. My clothes were disintegrating on the floor. So that would have been my skin. You know, they had holes in them, if I had just let the acid sit on my skin. You know?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, I`m sure she was doing her best, that 911 operator, but if you`re telling someone repeatedly get out of the water, you should know what you`re talking about or get a supervisor in there immediately. You know, you can`t always wait for the experts to arrive.

Now, we`re so happy that you`re improving rapidly.

VELARDE: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Want to go back and show our viewers what you looked like when you spoke out from your hospital bed right after the acid attack. Check this out.


VELARDE: Just looked at me with these eyes as if she was saying something.

It immediately just started to just burn. I was on fire. And I just kept screaming, "Somebody poured acid on me. Call 911."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Derri, you`ve speculated that your attacker, quote -- this is your quote, "wanted to make sure she disfigured you so that no one would want you," end quote. Let`s face it, we have to say: you are a very attractive woman.

VELARDE: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK? So there could be some kind of jealousy there. You said initially you had no idea who this person was, never saw her before. But apparently, you`re having second thoughts. You think "maybe I did see her." What are your theories? Has your memory been jogged at all?

VELARDE: No. Actually, it hasn`t. I mean, I said from the beginning that I -- I do not know her. Like I didn`t know her face. When I saw her, I didn`t recognize her. But I`ve always said there was a slight familiarity. Just a very, very slight familiarity, almost as if I`d seen her around the complex before or maybe the gym that I work at. You know, just in passing. I do not know her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, now I understand that you`re in the process of getting a divorce and that you also recently started a new relationship.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, one thing police say about these acid attacks, they`re personal. They`re vicious. It`s somebody with a grudge.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The question is why would they have a grudge against you? Have you wondered about whether you might have a romantic rival from either a past relationship or a present relationship?

VELARDE: Well, yes. That seems to be, you know, the theory. It seems to be where -- where it`s headed. And the quote earlier when you said, you know, that she -- she wanted to disfigure me, I got that from the detective when he first spoke with me, when I very first met him. He said before he even arrived at the scene he said, "I can tell you right now these kind of attacks are very personal in nature, and -- and it`s usually done to a woman, because they want to make sure someone else doesn`t want you." That`s what I was told.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If you had one thing to say to your attacker, if she`s watching right now, what would you say to this mystery attacker?

VELARDE: You know what? I don`t have much to say to her at all, except for that she -- whatever she was hoping to do to me, she did not succeed. She -- she didn`t rob me of anything. I`ve given her nothing. She -- she didn`t take anything from me, if that`s what she wanted. So about all I have to say.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did you get anything out of this experience? Sometimes we learn the most from horrific incidents in our lives. And we - - if it doesn`t kill us, it makes us stronger, as they say.

VELARDE: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Going through the divorce, I somewhat started to feel isolated. You know, I don`t know. It was just hard for me. I don`t have any family in Arizona. I just have my friends around.

And so this experience actually has been a huge blessing. It`s -- I have so much support now that I guess was out there that I didn`t realize. So I guess it just taught me I need to reach out a little bit more. Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is a wonderful lesson, and it really warms my heart...

VELARDE: Yes, absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... that you could take something so negative and make it positive.

VELARDE: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are a very courageous woman.

VELARDE: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we wish you the very best in life.

Thank you so much.

VELARDE: I appreciate it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on these acid attacks in just a minute. And your daughter, too. Way to go, 18-year-old, to call 911 like that.

Plus, surveillance cameras capture a home invasion with a shocking twist. The perps brought along a baby as an accessory. You`re going to see the astounding video.

But first, this sick trends, acid attacks around the country. What is behind these horrific assaults?


VELARDE: I opened my car door and I saw a woman, you know, walking up with what looked like a drink of water in her hand.




BETHANY STORRO, ACID ATTACK VICTIM: I have my ups and downs. You know, I think about what happened, and I get frustrated and ask why, of course, all the typical questions, why did this happen to me? And then I`m OK. I`m sorry.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was the first acid attack victim, 28-year-old Bethany Storro. Acid thrown in her face on the streets of Vancouver, Washington, again for no apparent reason. Then four days later the attack on Derri Velarde. You just heard from her.

Here are police sketches of the female suspects in each attack. Mesa, Arizona, police working on the theory that Velarde`s attacker was acting like a copycat.

Straight out to my expert panel. They`ve all been listening to this extraordinary interview with the Arizona victim.

Cooper Lawrence, you`re the expert in psychology. What could possibly motivate somebody to do something this vicious to an apparent stranger?

COOPER LAWRENCE, PSYCHOLOGY RESEARCHER: Well, this is really endemic of a larger situation we have going on in this country where we have a rise in female aggression and female violence. So this is just another way.

You know, it has to do with what women feel comfortable with. Women don`t maybe pick up a gun. They`ll pick up a cup of acid a little easier.

So it`s the same -- it`s the same under -- underpinnings of it. It`s the same interest in aggression, interest in criminal behavior. But that`s the tool that they use.

And women are motivated by something different than men are. Women are motivated by jealousy. They`re motivated by romantic rivalry. They`re motivated by something other than what men might be motivated for: greed, a different type of aggression. But it`s still aggression. And we`re still seeing it more and more.

The U.S. Department of Justice says that just 25 years ago it was one woman for every ten men. Now it`s one in four.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In terms of...

LAWRENCE: That`s how many more women we have acting aggressive. In terms of criminal behavior in this country, getting caught, going to jail, more women than ever before.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And this is an epidemic of violence in our country. How many times do we have to say it? By the time a kid reaches 18, they`re going to see hundreds of thousands of incidents of violence on television, including 40,000 murders.

We are literally conditioning a nation to respond to any problem they have with a violent solution. And this now has also sucked in women, who were the exception, who were the ones who weren`t doing this. And now, sadly, women are also a part of this epidemic of violence, as perpetrators, not just as victims.

But now a mother and her son are in Florida experiencing the same horror. And it turns out the very latest attack involves a man, a male suspect: 50-year-old Frederick Rogers. And I think we`re going to see his picture there. Allegedly splashed a mother and her child with acid while they were in their car. That woman is hospitalized with burns covering 30 percent of her body.

Police again do not have a motive. They don`t have a motive in any of these three cases, and they don`t even know if there`s any connection between the suspects and the victims in any of these cases.

Mark Eiglarsh, does this appear to be a copycat situation?

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It`s the first thing that came to mind when I was reading these different occurrences. I didn`t think that the gentleman in Florida had anything to do with the one that we just talked about.

The other thing, by the way, Jane, is we don`t know, while a woman did commit the offense you just talked about, we don`t know enough about that case to know whether a man was behind it, a jealous man, someone who wanted revenge and said, "Hey, woman, this is what I want to you do." We just don`t know.

One thing we do know is the attitude of this victim is extraordinary.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just was so -- honestly, I got tears in my eyes when she said that this attack was a blessing, because we get so depressed, you and I and everybody else. We`re covering all these horrific stories. And when we see somebody respond like that, it really gives us hope.

Dale, California, your question or thought.

CALLER: Yes. I was the charge nurse of a burn unit for several years. And it is almost impossible for a person to do this to someone without getting acid on themselves. So I would be tracking E.R.s, med clinics, things like this. Are the police doing this?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m under the impression from talking to the police that, yes, they are tracking everything. They`re going to hospitals. They`re seeing if anybody was admitted with burns to their fingers.

Thank you, fantastic panel.

Up next, a Hollywood actor charged with attempted murder after stabbing his ex-girlfriend more than 20 times. Why?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, terror for a family of six during a home- invasion robbery by a bunch of bandits armed with guns and a baby.

Cops say surveillance video shows three suspects entering a New York apartment building: two teenage men along with a woman in her mid-20s. She is carrying a sleeping toddler under her arm.

One victim, the dad says, his son thought the woman was a relative, so the boy let her in. Cops say the female bandit and a baby were a decoy, allowing the two other thugs to bust in, tie up the family, hold guns to their heads, and make off with an iPhone and cash.

Former prosecutor Robin Sax, what kind of low life would use a baby in this manner, basically risking the child`s life for a robbery?

ROBIN SAX, FORMER PROSECUTOR: This is the lowest form of low in criminal behavior. People can almost understand robbing for money and that kind of game. But when you make it a home-invasion robbery and a baby as a decoy, that just ups the ante beyond belief.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and all for what? An iPod so they can listen to their favorite songs? You can`t really sell an iPod, I don`t think. I mean, I would say, Robin, it`s probably drugs, right?

SAX: Yes. I mean, it would seem to me that they were looking for a greater amount of cash. Anybody who brings a baby is showing some sort of desperation and willingness to commit the crime on the fly. This may have been something that wasn`t planned.

But still, it shows complete reckless disregard not only for their own needs but for this little child that could have been caught in the crossfire.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This isn`t the first time surveillance cameras caught crazies using bizarre M.O.s. This summer, cops arrested a the Catwoman, the 28-year-old who dressed up in a cat disguise to rob several Manhattan boutiques, and she even reportedly purred as she went about this.

Then there was the bouquet bandit, a flower delivery man who turned to robbery. The brought bouquets of flowers to bank tellers and, after getting the cash, left the flowers as thank yous.

But this goes beyond, because you`re dealing with a child that cannot say no, psychologist Cooper Lawrence, to be used as a prop.

LAWRENCE: Well, you know, you`re making the assumption that she values life or that she values motherhood. She doesn`t. You know, to her, the baby is just something that she was saddled with that she has to -- she couldn`t find somebody to care for and she has to go on this robbery. That`s what it seems like. It doesn`t seem like she`s thinking at all about the care of this child, the development of this child. These -- these aren`t people that really value life the same way the rest of us might.

When you`ve got the criminal behavior and the criminal mind, it says you grew up in a very specific environment that most of us can`t relate to. But the people that do grow up like that, the people that grow up in these environments where there`s a lot of stress, a lot of drug use, a lot of criminal behavior, this is a no-brainer for them. They wouldn`t even think twice about bringing a baby. What`s the big deal?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Robin Sax, could she face additional charges if and when she`s caught, because of the baby?

SAX: Absolutely. There are child endangerment charges that can easily be stacked upon.

I don`t know that I think that this was an inconvenience factor. It seems to be a personal decoy to have a sleeping child. It doesn`t seem like -- it was, you know, it`s known the child was asleep so it seemed to have worked out that way.

But there are enhancements, and certainly goes to callousness. And definitely that child being removed from that home.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I can only hope and pray that somehow she was forced to engage in this and didn`t think it up herself or willingly participate, because I want to have hope for humanity. It`s an unbelievable...

LAWRENCE: But it shows she doesn`t value life, Jane. She doesn`t value life. She doesn`t value her child`s life or what could possibly happen to the child during a robbery.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. You`re right. Thank you, fantastic panel.

Up next, a Hollywood actor goes on a rampage, stabbing his ex- girlfriend 20 times. You will not believe why he says he did it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A Hollywood star admits stabbing his ex-girlfriend 20 times. But he claims it was all a big mistake. Whoops, huh? Tonight the actor from the smash hit "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" takes the stand. How can you accidentally stab someone 20 times?

Plus massive new developments in the Casey Anthony case. Tonight the lead homicide detective is grilled by the defense team. And he`s not holding back. This is the same cop who claims Casey`s car smelled like a dead body. Tonight we`ll examine his stunning claims that little Caylee was possibly abused.

Tonight dramatic and shocking testimony in a Hollywood star`s stabbing trial. He had a key role in the smash hit "The 40-Year-Old Virgin". His name is Shelley Malil and he`s accused of trying to murder his ex- girlfriend. Kendra Beebe says she was outside her California home when Malil suddenly walked up and stabbed her more than 20 times.


KENDRA BEEBE, STABBING VICTIM: He had his hand behind his back and he starts walking up to me. And then I thought, "Oh, my God, he`s going to hug me." And then I thought, "Oh, no" -- as he got closer -- "he`s going to punch me."

And then -- then I see like this flash of silver and he goes bang, bang, bang. So I screamed at the top of my lungs like, help, help, like 911, call 911.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sounds like a nightmare. Most people remember Malil from the hit comedy "The 40-Year-Old Virgin". He was one of those guys who worked in that electronics store with the star. He also appeared on episodes of "Scrubs" and "The Office". But these days his main role is criminal defendant.

Malil insists he was acting in self-defense when he stabbed his ex- girlfriend. Listen to this.


SHELLEY MALIL, ACCUSED OF STABBING EX-GIRLFRIEND: It wasn`t my intention to killing anybody or hurting anybody. It was my intention to get the hell out of there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: He claims he didn`t even know it was his ex- girlfriend that he was stabbing. But her testimony seems to blow all of those excuses out of the water. You`re going to hear more of her disturbing account from the stand in a moment.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel; but first, to Vinnie Politan, host of "PRIME NEWS", Vinnie, this is an extremely strange story. Give us some of the stranger details.

VINNIE POLITAN, HLN HOST, "PRIME NEWS": Well, he`s saying it`s self- defense and he just wanted to get out of there, right Jane?


POLITAN: But he went over to her house. And he went over and the testimony from her is he goes over, approaches her and starts stabbing her. His defense is that he`s trying to fight someone off. He doesn`t know that it`s her that she`s stabbing.

The other strange thing here, Jane, is that there`s actually two knives because there`s an initial attack. That knife is gone. Goes into the house, gets a second knife and continues the attack with that second knife.

So to say this is self defense, to me, is bizarre, strange and contrary to any common sense when you look at the facts of this case. But he got up on the witness stand and that`s what he was talking about.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sounds like this guy needs a script doctor, but we`re not going to make jokes about this. Look at her. Look at her -- this is the stabbing -- look at these knife marks all over her body. Look at this.

POLITAN: The major thing is she survived, Jane. She survived this attack and was able to testify about it -- absolutely miraculous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue. Was it a mistake for Malil to testify? His explanation as we just discussed, is all over the place. He told the jury he went over to his ex-girlfriend`s house to apologize for stealing stuff from her home and to warn her that he had e-mailed naked photos of her to her own employees. Who exactly does that? Obviously somebody with a grudge.

Malil also said he had been drinking heavily and went over there to make up after an ugly break-up. When he got there he said she was drinking wine with a male friend on the patio. Malil says she stepped on her foot, she screamed, the friend ran inside. Malil said he was convinced the guy was going for a gun, so he grabbed a butcher knife.


MALIL: I don`t know what it was, but someone was hitting me with something and all I had was this knife. And I -- I just went like -- like bananas with the thing. I was just -- I -- whatever I did with my hand, it was basically to get that person away from me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Mark Eiglarsh, you`re a criminal defense attorney. I don`t know how anybody could mount a successful defense given what he has said so far. He claims he had no clue that he was stabbing his ex-girlfriend. Wouldn`t her female screams, the female voice screaming, stop, give it away?

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. That`s one thing. Also, let me get this straight. Outside of her home, it`s so dark -- I mean, it must be so charcoal dark that he cannot even tell after, what, 13, 14, 15, 16, all the way up to 20 stab wounds that it`s a female and somebody he`s been intimate with? It just doesn`t make any sense. I`ve got two words -- plea bargain -- oops, too late.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Except that he is an actor and actors are known to be charismatic and charming and he was apparently, Cooper Lawrence, psychologist, able to elicit laughs and chuckles from the jurors. So can he use his acting skills to basically convince the jury that this bizarre story is real?

COOPER LAWRENCE, PSYCHOLOGIST: I don`t think he`s that good an actor. And the thing that struck me is when you`re watching his testimony -- when you`re watching his testimony, you see no affect. You don`t see any remorse. You don`t see him saying, "My God, I did this."

He`s kind of like I was stabbing, I grabbed a butcher knife, here`s how it happened. As if he`s in some role, which tells me there`s something pathological going on with this guy. The fact that he happens to be an actor has nothing to do with the fact that he also happens to have some serious psychological issues.

The fact that he`s obviously a liar -- I mean this whole story doesn`t make any sense. And his whole demeanor on the stand, I hope the jury is taking that in and realizing that his matte-of-fact nature about this shows that he really doesn`t -- he has no remorse for any of this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say two things. They`ve shown in Hollywood it is very difficult to convict any stars of serious crimes. I think we know who we`re talking about here. We know the big stars we`re talking about, right? O.J. Simpson, perhaps.

LAWRENCE: This guy is not at that level at all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No. But what I`m saying -- O.J., let me tell you, O.J. wasn`t that big a star either, ok? He didn`t win an academy award.

EIGLARSH: Jane, you`re missing the issue. The issue is you have an eyewitness here. It`s not a whodunit. He`s there and his own testimony is going to hang him. He says that somehow his sole objective was just to get away, yet he`s stabbing 20 times. That doesn`t make any sense at all.

POLITAN: And the bottom line here is he came to her house.


POLITAN: He came to her house. It`s one thing if he is somehow approached by someone. But he is the one doing the approaching. He went straight to her. She gets stabbed 20 times. This is a common sense case. But he`s got no other defense so he`s got to go up there and say something.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you don`t think it was a mistake for him to testify, Vinnie?

EIGLARSH: No. He had to.

POLITAN: I think he had to because if you`re going to say self- defense, number one, you have to testify. And number two, after she testified, I was ready to convict and I`ve got to guess most of the jurors probably were. So he`s got to get up there and give them some alternative and hope to reach one -- one juror perhaps to get a hung jury here but I don`t think it`s going to happen because it doesn`t make common sense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We all remember this guy. If you saw "The 40-Year- Old Virgin", there were these goofy sort of co-workers of the star Carell. And they were always plotting to get him you know what because he was a virgin, right? That was the whole game.

Now, Malil claims he was struck first and swung the knife in self- defense. Again, his victim, the ex-girlfriend, was stabbed more than 20 times.

Listen to more of her riveting testimony.


BEEBE: Shelley stabbed me again after I had been stabbed all those times. And so that last one really bothered me because like you got me, man, you won. That last stab really hurt.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cooper Lawrence, at the end of the day, this sounds like a classic case if you just take away the whole actor Hollywood factor of what usually happens when intimate partner violence occurs. The woman breaks up with the guy. The guy is angry and seeks revenge. If I can`t have her, nobody else can.

LAWRENCE: That`s exactly what`s going on here. And there`s two ways people react to traumatic events. One is called internalizing behavior. The other is externalizing behavior.

Internalizers are one to go and get drunk. They become depressed, they don`t leave their house. Externalizing people do something like this. I mean you hope they don`t get as violent as this but they do want to hurt the other person.

He went over there with the express interest of hurting her because that`s the only way that he can quell his -- the fact that she rejected him. So you wonder is there a little narcissism going on here. The fact that he`s an actor tells me possibly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, you think? You think?

LAWRENCE: So this is a level of narcissism more than just --


LAWRENCE: Oh, yes, I mean duh, right? This is more than just I should be on the cover of a magazine. This is, "How dare you do this to me. Do you know who I am?"

And for him, he said do you know who I am with a knife.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And it`s obvious this relationship ended not amicably. Malil e-mailed naked photos of his ex-girlfriend to her employees, which is very nasty.

The victim`s mom testified that he was a controlling and jealous boyfriend. Listen to this.


LAUREY MANNING, VICTIM`S MOTHER: One day my daughter had an outfit on and he said to me. He said, "You can see through that. Look it. Look what she`s wearing." I couldn`t see through it. She dresses the way people in San Diego dress.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Vinnie Politan, I`m going to give you the last word on this one.

POLITAN: The last word I think is going to be guilty at the end of the day for this guy. He`s an actor. He`s going to go up on the stand. He`s trying to put on a performance. The problem is what he says has to match the rest of the evidence and it has to match what you think what happened here.

I think common sense tells us all jealous boyfriend, inner rage with a knife. She was a very credible and believable witness. I think the jury is going to believe her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got it. But the wild card is he`s an actor and he`s Hollywood and you know what they say. Forget about it, Jake, it`s Hollywood. We`ll see.

Fabulous panel thank you so much.

Coming up sparks fly in the Casey Anthony case as the lead detective is grilled by the defense. Could his testimony be life or death for Casey?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you have to say about the new theory she might be dead, it might have been an accident?

GEORGE ANTHONY, CASEY ANTHONY`S FATHER: Shut up, shut up, shut up.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight Casey Anthony`s defense dream team grills the lead detective in this explosive case. Will this detective be a star witness for the prosecution? And how might the defense trip him up?

Detective Yuri Melich led the desperate months-long search for missing 2-year-old Caylee Marie Anthony. He is the cop who first sounded the alarm saying little Caylee`s dead body could have been inside the trunk of her mother Casey`s car and that Casey was a person of interest.


YURI MELICH, DETECTIVE: I actually went into the car to smell what the smell smelled like, briefly just before I came into the child abuse center. I was a homicide detective for two years with the Lawrence County sheriff`s office. In my experience the smell that I smelled inside that car was the smell of decomposition.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Boy, he offers good testimony. Was Caylee`s tiny body in that trunk? Casey`s parents George and Cindy both initially said the family car their daughter drove smelled like death.


G. ANTHONY: I got within three feet of my daughter`s car and the worst odor that you could possibly smell in this -- in this world and I`ve smelled that odor before. It smelled like a decomposed body.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But then the parents try to take it all back saying the smell must have come from rotting pizza and other garbage left in the car.

Now lead detective Melich took the stand two years ago coming face to face with Casey Anthony insisting he eyeballed both her trunk and the trash and smelled it, the trash in the car and they were two different smells. He said the trash did not cause the odor in Casey`s trunk.

Plus, Casey is getting a new star attorney. Can that new lawyer save her from the death penalty?

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel. But first to Vinnie Politan, host of HLN`s "PRIME NEWS". Vinnie what is the very latest?

VINNIE POLITAN, HLN HOST, "PRIME NEWS": Well, this is an absolute key witness in the case. And you`re talking about a pre-trial deposition here, Jane. So this is the defense, their opportunity to lock this guy into some testimony.

And for the defense, this may be the most important witness, because what does the defense have to do here, Jane? They`ve got to paint a picture that the defense looked one place and one place only, did not explore other avenues of this investigation and knew all along that they wanted to charge Casey Anthony in this case.

So I think a lot of what could have happened today inside that deposition may very well be a big part of the defense case when it`s time for them to put everything all together.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Detective Melich dug up a whole lot of incriminating evidence against Casey Anthony in the beginning of this investigation. And one of the most thing -- the damning thing that he brought up, Detective Melich testified Casey`s neighbor gave police a chilling tip right after little Caylee vanished. Listen to this testimony.


MELICH: She had her car backed up to the garage. They thought it was just odd the fact that she backs it up. She normally goes nose in. She came over that day and asked to borrow a shovel. So he loaned her a shovel. He continued to work out in his own yard, this being the neighbor. Didn`t see what she did with the shovel.

About an hour later after he was done working in the yard and taking a shower she returned the shovel to him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Mark Eiglarsh, they also found dirt in the trunk of Casey`s car. If the dirt matches the dirt in the woods where little Caylee`s body was discovered, is that game, set match for the prosecution?

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nothing is game, set, match at all with any team, but certainly with this defense team. But it`s yet another compelling piece of evidence in what is nothing more than a puzzle. Each little piece of evidence serves as a piece of the puzzle.

Going back to what Vinnie say, he`s absolutely right that this witness is key, the lead detective. They`re going to explore a number of things like how many hours did you devote to finding the true killer, this Zenaida Gonzalez? Why didn`t you continue to look for the true culprit? Why did you focus only on innocent, sweet Casey Anthony?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But former prosecutor, Robin Sax, isn`t one of the tricks to get him to deviate from earlier statements? He testified in a pre-trial hearing a long time ago and now he`s doing this deposition. And then he`s going to take the stand and testify again, I mean, everybody who`s a human being eventually is going to have some discrepancy in what they say given that it`s been so long since the crime occurred.

ROBIN SAX, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, I`m sure Mark and Vinnie would both agree that, yes, defense strategy 101 is to create inconsistencies and what would appear to be lies even though they will be inconsistencies between one story, one report, one testimony from another.

The defense strategy here is going to be throw anything up. And all they need is one juror to hang the thing up and that`s what they`re going to hope for. And if they can come in and -- and try to make it look like a pre-prejudiced plan on behalf of the detective, that`s the first place where they can attack the case.

But it`s problematic when you have Casey`s own father talking about that smell and the detective confirming it. What do you do with that?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well let me --

EIGLARSH: Jane -- to further -- to further that point. The law here in Florida that jurors are going to be informed too, is that reasonable doubt can come from a number of different places. And one of them is from the conflicts in the testimony.

So if this detective does conflict with prior testimony including but not limited to this deposition, no question the defense is going to exploit that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, this brings me to my big issue. Conspiracy theory, all right? I think they`re going to go big time for a conspiracy theory.

Cindy Anthony, the defendant`s mom, made it clear she believes all of the evidence we`ve just discussed was planted by cops. She even went so far as to tell Casey she doesn`t even believe the body found in the woods was that of little Caylee. Cindy says she believes Caylee could still be alive.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you`re clear about that?

CINDY ANTHONY: Oh, absolutely. I -- I still think Caylee`s alive.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I`ve got to say, I think that this is going to be a fascinating trial. And on the other side of the break, we`re going to talk to Beth Karas about this conspiracy theory because it does bear a resemblance to the O.J. Simpson case.

The garbage in, the garbage out, where a dream team -- and there`s a dream team here -- managed to convince the jurors that there was evidence planted which would have involved a vast conspiracy. Are they going to do the same thing here?

I want to get everybody`s analysis on the other side of the break, next.



GEORGE ANTHONY, CASEY ANTHONY`S FATHER: Hey, gorgeous, how you doing?


G. ANTHONY: Well, you know something? You really need to keep your spirit high through all this.

CASEY ANTHONY: I have. I haven`t been crying while I`ve been in here.

CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY ANTHONY`S MOTHER: What message do you want me to give to Zanny and to Caylee? What do you want me to tell Zanny?

CASEY ANTHONY: That she needs to return Caylee.

CINDY ANTHONY: What do you think her reasons are?

CASEY ANTHONY: Mom, I don`t know.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight Casey Anthony`s defense dream team grills the cop who led the frantic search for two-year-old Caylee Anthony. Detective Yuri Melich uncovered a slew of incriminating evidence against Casey Anthony.

And the phone lines are lighting up. Nick, New York, your question or thought.

NICK, NEW YORK (via telephone): Hello, Jane. Thank you for taking my call.


NICK: Ok, Jane, I have a problem with this Casey Anthony case. Why should the taxpayers have to foot the bill for this young woman who has lied and totally misled her parents, and her parents are devastated? They didn`t even know for 30 days that their precious granddaughter was missing.

And then all of a sudden now then she`s throwing her father and brother under the bus and, you know, telling them --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think you raise a good point. Beth Karas, the taxpayers are paying for the defense. And now there is a new lawyer, a new defense lawyer. Tell us about that.

BETH KARAS, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: That`s right. There is a new defense lawyer who has expertise in cross-examining medical experts. There will be a number of doctors of various disciplines in this case, a lot of different areas of forensic science.


KARAS: So this witness will bring that to the table. But taxpayers do pay for the defense. That`s the law when a defendant is indigent. The state is looking to execute her, or at least put her in prison for the rest of her life. And she is entitled to a full defense. So the taxpayers have to pay for it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to get back to this conspiracy theory, ok? Mark Eiglarsh, don`t you see it coming together? It has to involve Roy Cronk, the meter reader and the cops. I mean the way you could see it, the defense possibly crafting this conspiracy theory, and we`ve gotten hints of it from Cindy, well, the body was put there afterwards, and all along they knew where the body was. And they finally let this Roy Cronk discover the body even though he and everybody else denies it.

EIGLARSH: All right, first, Cindy. I wouldn`t put much into what she has to say. She`s not necessarily part of the defense team. And they know better what`s going to resonate with jurors.

Second of all, I don`t know necessarily they`ve locked themselves into a defense. What we do when we take deposition is we decide where the defense is going to go. Which witness says certain things during deposition that we can use at trial?

So there`s certain things you have to say. Number one, she didn`t do it. The body must have been there when she was in jail, placed there while she was in jail, and also somehow Cronk must have been involved. There`s certain things you must say but I don`t think they`ve locked in anything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Beth Karas, do you think they`re going to do the conspiracy theory?

KARAS: Well, I do think they`re going to try to point the finger elsewhere. I don`t know that it`s any broad conspiracy involving the police. The police go where the evidence leads them. And Detective Melich got involved from day one when the body was discovered missing and Casey was telling all kinds of lies.

SAX: But the police officer from the beginning -- the police officer that Casey Anthony had the relationship with.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you fabulous panel for joining me tonight.

The beautiful wife of a successful business owner leaves her husband`s cafe and vanishes without a trace. Nancy Grace investigates next.