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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Toddler Taped to Wall by Mom; Verdict Awaited in Connecticut Home Invasion Case
Aired October 4, 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, heartbreaking photos of a tormented toddler taped to a wall by his own mother and her boyfriend. She held the helpless, terrified boy still while her boyfriend stuck his little body to the wall. Cops say the couple was high after a night of partying. The most outrageous part of this whole obscenity: the slap on the wrist this mom got.
And the search for Kyron Horman heats up. His desperate mother pleading for money so they can jack up the reward. The 8-year-old vanished four long months ago. Were searchers told to look for bones? If little Kyron is dead, can cops move prove it?
Plus, tragedy and scandal in Chicago. A father of two famous kids accused of murdering his wife. Alan Gustav (ph) told prosecutors the 58- year-old schoolteacher committed suicide. He claims he rushed to her side as soon as he heard the shots fired. So why are cops saying he waited 90 minutes to get help? Could a secret affair be a motive for murder?
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, outrage after a teen mom and her teen boyfriend used duct tape -- duct tape -- to stick a little 1-year-old boy to a wall. You wouldn`t torture your own enemy like this, much less your own flesh and blood. A precious toddler, not even 2 years old. Look at this! This is sick. He`s crying and screaming.
Meantime, prosecutors say mom and dude thought it would be funny. Ha, ha, ha -- not!
Cops say the 18-year-old mom and the 19-year-old boyfriend were high on pot after a night of partying. We`re not showing you their faces but only in order to shield the toddler victim from becoming identified.
Not only did they tape the poor child to the wall, in another humiliation they also taped his sippy cup -- look at that -- just out of reach, frustrating the child. Is this sadistic or what?
And I`m asking you, was the worst insult of all the ridiculously light sentence handed down to this mother? She got ten days in jail. Ten days! Which she was allowed to serve on weekends, plus two years probation. Ten days!
The boyfriend is another story. We`re going to get to him in a moment.
Give me a call. I want to know what you think about this: 1-877-JVM- SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Why would anybody do this or allow their boyfriend to do this to their own child?
All right. Straight out to my fantastic panel. We begin with "In Session" correspondent Jean Casarez.
Jean, what is the very latest on this case?
JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, TRUTV`S "IN SESSION": She got ten days in jail on weekends so she could continue the supervised visitation she was having with her son, James. The mother of this little 22-month-old boy pleaded guilty, was convicted of pinning her little boy to the wall while the birth father duct-taped almost his entire body. What was she convicted of? Negligent child abuse.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s unbelievable. I mean, really, there`s something stomach-churning about these photos. The sadism, the desire to humiliate and frustrate and taunt your own child.
And mom`s not the only prize package in this sickening story. There is the charming 19-year-old boyfriend who reportedly lived with mom for a month. Check out this series of photos. They have taped the tiny tot`s fists shut in one photo. The boyfriend is trying to make the little boy raise his middle finger in an obscene gesture, which the child, of course, is way too young to understand.
Now, this creepola, who is grinning through all of this, by the way, was convicted of intentional child abuse and got a three- to five-year prison sentence. When cops investigated this case, they also found a gun in the home. This guy has got a rap sheet, oh, surprise, surprise.
But Wendy Walsh, psychologist, why on earth would this mother allow this to go on and giggle and laugh and hold the child to the wall as her boyfriend is taping this kid to the wall?
WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, she`s doing it partly because she`s high, and she`s not really there.
But secondly, you know, this is a family system. Maternal instinct doesn`t exist. Parenting is learned, and she obviously was not loved when she was a kid, because she thinks this is funny. This is torture, this is cruelty. This is inhumane.
And this child is going to grow up to have one of the most common injuries in our culture right now, attachment injuries. Disorganized attachment. He`s going to be afraid of anyone he loves; he`s going to be afraid to love, because they could be a killer or a torturer.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s going to have nightmares about this. Oh, my God. Put yourself in this kid`s shoes. Take yourself back to that age when you`re a little toddler and try to remember if have any memories at all? If they were something like this, wouldn`t that haunt you for the rest of your life?
Anita, Alabama, your question or thought, ma`am.
CALLER: Hi, Jane.
CALLER: I am so disgusted by the way parents, it seems like especially moms, are treating their kids nowadays. I don`t think that this little boy should be given back to the mom, considering they were using drugs in his presence and then taping him up like that. What if he starts screaming? Were they going to tape his mouth?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes. I agree with you 100 percent. To recap and review, cops found drug paraphernalia, what looks like a bong, inside teen mom`s home. Cops say she and the boyfriend were high on pot after a night of partying this past New Year`s Eve.
Here`s my big issue: PUI. PUI, parenting under the influence. OK? You should not smoke pot when you`re taking care of kids. Simple logic. You would be amazed at how many people don`t get that simple logic. Now, the 18-year-old mother was sentenced to just ten days in jail, which she got to serve on weekends, and two years probation.
If caught with a DUI, you often get sentenced to 12-step meetings. Given that she was caught PUI, parenting under the influence, Vikki Ziegler, family law attorney, shouldn`t she at least have been sentenced to rehab or 12-step meetings before she allows -- she can get her paws on this kid again?
VIKKI ZIEGLER, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: It`s terrible, Jane. As a family law practitioner, you know, it`s heartbreaking to try to save children, because the everlasting effect from this incident, we don`t know what`s going to happen to this child.
Nebraska has very light laws when it relates to neglect. And that`s what she was charged with and convicted of. It`s a misdemeanor offense, so she was not going to get much time in jail.
So I agree with you. She should go -- she has a drug problem, which she clearly does. She should get the help needed. She should have this child only on a supervised basis with mandatory reviews, and if not, the state should take this child away.
And that`s also why we should have safe-haven laws. If she couldn`t handle this child, she should have been able to drop off the child somewhere safe. She should not be parenting this child in the future.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it gets worse. Among the evidence photos in this gruesome abuse case, pictures of a closet where the little boy was allegedly kept when he misbehaved. Now, we`re delighted to have Randy Ritnour, who is the Gage County attorney who prosecuted this case and brought a lot of this information to our attorney -- attention.
Sir, what else can you tell us about her behavior? Because looking at this closet, now I`m starting to think, well, it wasn`t a one-time-only misjudgment on New Year`s Eve because she was high on pot. This looks like a pattern of abuse by this mother.
RANDY RITNOUR, PROSECUTOR (via phone): Well, I can tell you what you have there is you have a situation where you`ve got a guy who came into her life for about four weeks. She was a young mother before that who had never had any real contact with law enforcement.
And they do have an 1184 investigative team is what it`s called, a child abuse investigative and treatment team that kind of keeps an eye on young mothers and other individuals that we may have problems with in the community. Her name had never come up.
Suddenly, in this four-week period, this guy who actually had been bonded out of jail for some weapons theft, came into her life, and I don`t know how they connected. In any case, he influenced her in a pretty significant way.
From what our investigation showed, the young man was the one who instigated the discipline, where he actually shoved this child into a dark closet, shoved a five-gallon bucket in front of the door, and kept that kid in there for up to 30 minutes at a time.
RITNOUR: Now, I mean, if you take a child and stick them in the dark in a closet, an 8-year-old, they`ll scream because they`re terrified. You can imagine what this did to a 2-year-old.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my God.
Now, there`s a gun in the evidence photos. This guy has a rap sheet. Is that a real gun? And -- and how did that allow you to lock him up?
RITNOUR: It turned out that these guns that were laying around loose in the house were, in fact, some of the stolen firearms that he had stolen from the other residences that he had been charged with earlier.
In this particular case, what we did was when we found all of this and found out that there was pot that night, the child was taken away. The young man was incarcerated again. The mother was charged, as well. She was originally charged with felony child abuse. What we then did was got the mother to cooperate with respect to several areas having to do with prosecution of the young man. And...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So she flipped and got her boyfriend locked up for three to five years, but I`m still questioning, sir -- we`re going to take a break and think about this and answer on the other side of the break. Why she wasn`t sentenced to some kind of drug rehab, given that, if you`ve got a DUI, you go -- you`re often sentenced to AA meetings. Why wasn`t she forced to deal with the root cause of this, which is her being high on pot?
Everybody, stay right where you are. We`re just getting started on this sick, sick case. And give me a call: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.
The mother of two famous children shot to death. Her husband claims she committed suicide, but cops say he murdered her. Could a secret love affair be the motive for murder in this sensational case out of Chicago?
Plus, more on the shocking story of a toddler tormented by his own mother and her sicko boyfriend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM MORET, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": As parents, you play games with your children. This wasn`t a game. This little kid was -- was close to being tortured.
This was not the only incident. They also confessed that they had also put the child in a closet from time to time and locked him in a dark closet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sick parenting. PUI, parenting under the influence. Outrage tonight in the wake of a hideous story about a teen mom and her teen boyfriend duct tape a 22-month-old little boy to a wall while he`s screaming and crying. The tape applied directly to the child`s bare skin in places.
Oh, and then let`s take pictures of this tortured toddler, OK, who`s crying and screaming, because it`s so funny! Who are these sick, sick people?
Candy, Arkansas, your question or thought, ma`am.
CALLER: Yes, ma`am. I have a 22-year-old -- 22-month-old, and there is just no way that I could ever do that to my daughter. I just don`t know how this mother could allow something this terrible to be done. It`s just ridiculous.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s awful.
And Randy Ritnour, you are the prosecutor who prosecuted these parents. Why no 12-step meeting for her or rehab or something that could go to the root problem, which is that she`s getting high while she`s got a 22-month-old?
RITNOUR: Well, I don`t know if you received an obvious probation order, but essentially, within the terms of probation -- they may not be spelled out by the judge -- the terms of the probation do include whatever kind of treatment the probation officer determines is appropriate for this child. So if -- she would have to undergo a drug abuse evaluation.
And if it turned out that, in fact, that was determined to be one of her key issues, she certainly would have to undergo it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Jean Casarez, we`ve covered so many of these cases, and it always seems to me like the wife, the mother, the female sometimes falls under the influence of some bad-ass boyfriend who comes into the picture and then basically perverts the whole family situation. We`ve seen it so many times.
CASAREZ: Which is no defense, because there`s an intentional act right there that she did.
What I find interesting is the judge`s sentence. He really looked at what is in the best interests of the child. And normally we`d say, well, take the child away from the mother. He determined the child should have those visits with the mother. That`s why her ten-day is sentence is on weekends.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, while this sicko toddler-taping stunt is an appalling example of irresponsible parenting, mixing a mother with marijuana can have deadly consequences. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you saying that a medical condition could cause her to drink?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we don`t know. Did she have a stroke and then have alcohol? You have to -- if you believe the circumstances the way they are now described, you have to believe that a woman with five children in a car is smoking pot and drinking out of a bottle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You probably remember that famous case. That was the attorney representing the family of wrong-way driver Diane Schuler. She`s the 36-year-old mom who cops say got wasted on booze and pot and then got behind the wheel, killing herself and five kids when she drove the wrong way on the Taconic Parkway in New York.
So back to this duct tape case. Want to bring in criminal investigator John Lucich. Now that the child is back with the mother and getting state visits, what should those child service investigators look for when they`re visiting the home to see if the abuse might be continuing?
JOHN LUCICH, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Jane, it`s a lot more than just abuse here of some type of substance. This woman has invited someone into her home who`s a known criminal.
And I`ll tell you this: the guns lying around the place should have been a tip-off. It`s more than just the drugs. I mean, she`s bringing dangerous people into this kid`s life and just abusing her son because of the drugs. But there`s just so much more that this woman is doing, just than the drug abuse itself.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Now, this is interesting. Cops say that she actually showed these horrific pictures to a friend who had the good sense to call cops.
So, Wendy Walsh, psychologist, do you think on some level the mother wanted to get caught by showing these incriminating photos to a friend?
WALSH: She may or may not have on some unconscious level. But on the other hand, she also is so unconscious because she`s so disconnected.
You know, people like this, Jane, believe that, oh, little kids don`t remember. They cry. It`s not going to hurt them. But the truth is, at this early, preverbal stage, memories are stored in our body as feelings, and how we behave for the rest of our life is related to those feelings.
This child was abused, terrorized. Look at the pictures. How unsafe is that environment? Do you see any -- what do you call those things you put on the electrical outlet to keep it protected? All it`s going to take is one paper clip and that kid is going to kill himself by sticking it in the electrical outlet that`s right there beside him.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: People who have very little power over their personal lives often find it really, really enjoyable to lord over the most powerful -- powerless member of their family, and that is a child.
Thank you, fantastic panel.
It has been four months since Kyron Horman vanished. In Portland, a new search underway, a desperate mother. What are cops looking for? Could it be bones?
A jury deliberates in the hideous Petit murder trial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a lady who is in our bank right now who says that her husband and children are being held at their house. She says they are being very nice. They have their faces covered. She is petrified.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is she still in the bank?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, she is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The countdown is on for justice. We`re on verdict watch in the Petit family murder trial. The jury began deliberating more than five hours ago. Tonight, still no verdict. So will this monster be sentenced to death?
This prominent Connecticut family picked at random, brutally tortured and murdered inside their home, the mother raped and strangled, the two daughters tied their beds, doused with gasoline, and burned alive. This devastated father the only survivor.
Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky arrested fleeing the scene. There are these two suspects. Sick. Hayes is facing 17 charges -- he`s the bald one -- including murder, kidnapping, sexual assault and arson. Tonight, an outraged father, the survivor, waits for justice and demands the death penalty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON BUCCHI, TREASURER, THE PETIT FAMILY FOUNDATION: I think -- and I`m sure most of your viewers would agree -- that if you don`t prosecute this as a death penalty, what could you ever prosecute as the death penalty?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s a spokesman for the family. The trial has been felled with tremendous emotion, jurors and even some reporters breaking down in tears during closing arguments.
There is the father there in the black vest and the gray hair.
Joining me now, "In Session" producer Michael Christian from TruTV who`s been inside the courtroom.
Even the defense, Michael, admits these two monsters committed these crimes. So why hasn`t the jury turned around a quick verdict?
MICHAEL CHRISTIAN, PRODUCER, TRUTV`S "IN SESSION": You know, Jane, they`ve been deliberating for 2 hours and 15 minutes so far. They went home today a little after 4:30, which was the plan if they didn`t think a verdict was imminent. They were asked if it was. They said no. So they`ll be back tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. Eastern.
But you know, you`ve got to remember a couple of things. The first thing is, jurors almost never reach a verdict as quickly as we all think that they might, because they know so much less about the case than all of we outsiders. We show a lot of stuff that hasn`t been brought into evidence.
The other thing is you`ve got to remember, a juror -- if the jurors have been doing what they`re supposed to do -- and there`s no indication that they haven`t -- they have not discussed this case with anybody.
Now, I`ve been a juror three times. And I know you get back in that room, and even if you`re all more or less in agreement, you want to discuss the case. You want to say, "Hey, I was particularly moved about this, or I had a question about that." There`s 17 counts here. If everybody has a right to finally have their say, it might take a little bit longer than we might have thought. I`d be surprised, frankly, if it doesn`t happen tomorrow being, but that`s reading tea leaves.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This suspect is playing the blame game, the attorney for Steven Hayes trying to blame the partner in crime, who hasn`t gone to trial yet. I don`t know if that`s possible. This man admitted to raping and murdering the mother. I think that is one of the six capital counts. How is that going to play out in terms of this guy possibly getting the death penalty?
CHRISTIAN: Well, you know, Jane, he -- his attorney has pretty much conceded everything. The only thing that they`re not conceding is that Steven Hayes is the one who`s directly responsible for the deaths of Michaela Petit, who was 11, and Haley Petit, who was 17, the two daughters. They`re fighting those two capital counts.
But everything else they`re pretty much admitting that they did it. But you have to remember some of these things, the jurors can find Mr. Hayes guilty as a principle player, meaning he instigated this act, or as an accomplice, meaning he went along with it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`ve got to leave it there.
CHRISTIAN: ... hoping, if he`s found as an accomplice, he`s better off...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s not an accomplice. Thank you so much, Michael!
Kyron Horman, next.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The search for Kyron Horman heats up; his desperate mother pleading for money so they can jack up the reward. The 8-year-old vanished four long months ago. Were searchers told to look for bones? If little Kyron is dead, can cops prove it?
Plus, tragedy and scandal in Chicago: a father of two famous kids accused of murdering his wife. Allan Kustok told prosecutors the 58-year- old school teacher committed suicide. He claimed he rushed to her side as soon as he heard the shots fired. So why are cops saying he waited 90 minutes to get help? Could a secret affair be a motive for murder?
Tonight -- fast-breaking developments in the hunt for 8-year-old Kyron Horman. Search teams pan out and search a very familiar spot again. And did one searcher really blurt out, we`re looking for bones?
Plus, Kyron`s mom makes a desperate plea for the return of her son, her message to her son`s abductor. The sheer anguish and pain is written all over the face of Kyron`s mom Desiree Young; this poor woman clearly at the end of her rope. We all understand why. Kyron vanished June 4th after a school science fair.
Kyron was last seen with his stepmom Terri Horman and she -- she`s the redhead right there pressing the button -- she is not talking and she has not been named a suspect. Now Kyron`s mom is hoping cold, hard cash will convince somebody out there to come forward. Listen to this lady`s appeal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DESIREE YOUNG, KYRON HORMAN`S MOTHER: I don`t know what else to do. I am -- it`s been four months now, and Kyron is still not home. And I would like to appeal to everybody and ask everybody to help me get the reward increased.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is a woman who is clearly being tortured by not knowing what happened to her precious little boy.
And what brought cops back to nearby Sauvie Island over the weekend? Remember, this island was searched right after little Kyron disappeared reportedly because of pings from stepmom, Terri Horman`s cell phone. Are cops turning up the heat on this possibly cold case?
Taking your calls, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.
Straight out to my fantastic panel but we begin with investigative reporter Michelle Sigona. Michelle, you`ve been on the phone all day. What is the very latest?
MICHELLE SIGONA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: I can confirm from the Multnomah County Sheriff`s office that they did, in fact, organize and execute two searches over the weekend, Jane; one was on Saturday and one was on Sunday.
Saturday`s search had more than 175 people there; Sunday about 113. Although they would not say specifically, what they were going out there to find, they did focus and target their efforts on one area of the island in the central portion. And during this particular time over the weekend, they used ATV, ground units, K-9 units to be able to go out there and to really to scour the land and look over things.
This week I`ve also confirmed that the task force that`s been in action and hopefully was working to be assembled over the last couple of months -- it now looks like it will be intact this week and moving forward.
There were some problems with some agencies having some financial cutbacks of money and personnel. That`s why they weren`t able to get this to get this more quickly. And this weekend there is another fund-raiser for Kyron.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, let`s focus in on Sauvie Island -- Sauvie Island, significant because right after little Kyron disappeared cell phone records allegedly revealed stepmom Terri Horman might have been on the island the day Kyron went missing. The island`s only five miles from Kyron`s school.
Investigators have tried to pin down Terri`s whereabouts the day this little boy vanished, asking anybody who might have seen her white truck on the road to Sauvie Island or at a local grocery store to come forward.
Bruce McCain, you are a former captain at the very he sheriff`s office investigating this case. The sheriff`s office says no new leads led to this weekend`s search. But what is it about Sauvie Island that brings them back over and over and over again?
BRUCE MCCAIN, FORMER CAPTAIN, MULTNOMAH COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE (via telephone): Well, a couple of things, Jane, and first of all, we really should not confuse this search and rescue effort this weekend with the task force, though I do think they`re connected. One thing about this island, it`s a very, very flat, low-lying island, right on the Willamette River with a lot of marshy areas. One thing about going back in October is that the water levels have actually dropped substantially from what they were in June. That`s actually giving them more access to the land.
But frankly what this is really all about, in fact, Victoria Taft -- you have as your panel -- we talked about this on her show. In fact, Jane you and I on Friday discussed the very issue about this disintegrating task force. What you`ve got is the sheriff trying to put out some kind of a public effort to make it clear that they`re doing something quite visible even though there`s no new leads.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait, are you saying that this is a PR job, this search of Sauvie Island?
MCCAIN: Yes, absolutely. There`s no urgency on this investigation anymore, Jane.
MCCAIN: As a matter of fact --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why? Do they believe the child is dead? Is that why?
MCCAIN: This is the problem, Jane. At the same time you and I were on your show Friday you heard the mother talk about saying that she knows that Kyron is alive, yet she`s never been able to explain why she knows that. The sheriff`s office spokesperson was standing a few feet from her and did not refute it even though the very next day they`re out there digging through the mud and the brush looking for this kid`s body.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ll tell you why -- because they don`t want to break a woman`s heart.
All she has right now, Victoria Taft, is hope. This poor woman has been through hell. And if I was standing next to her and I was a police officer, I wouldn`t tap her on the shoulder and say, "Hey, your little boy is probably dead." I wouldn`t do that. I don`t know anybody who could.
VICTORIA TAFT, HOST, "THE VICTORIA TAFT SHOW", KPAM 860: Well, you know, Jane, one of the things that`s going on in this case is that the parents of Kyron, Kaine Horman and Desiree Young, have both made statements publicly excoriating Terri Horman for whatever involvement she may have in the disappearance of Kyron.
And it seems to me that if they wanted to level with the parents they would say to them -- to Desiree and to Tony, to some extent -- to amp down the criticism and to get real because this is what it`s looking like. It looks like it`s going to be a recovery operation. Nobody wants to tell anybody`s parents that; nobody wants to tell them that. But you know it`s looking more and more like that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And it could take months and months and months no matter how hard they search. I mean look at little Caylee Anthony. She was ultimately found less than a mile from the Anthony home. Thousands of people searched and they didn`t find her because the cops believed she was under water.
Now, Desiree Young --
SIGONA: Also, Jane, it doesn`t matter --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.
Sigona: -- I`m sorry, it doesn`t matter if this is a PR move, I don`t think, or whatever the case may be. It`s getting the case back out there again. A lot of times an investigation, especially when children go missing or there`s a cold case, investigators will do things to go back out there and to retrace their steps and to make sure they`re not missing anything and to put the case back out there again. I don`t think there`s anything wrong with this whatsoever because guess what, we`re covering it again and we`re putting his face there.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Yes. But the question is, why is it a cold case? We`ve heard so many things, so many developments. I mean Desiree Young, the mom, sent a message to the person who took Kyron. Let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HORMAN: We`re coming to get you. We will bring justice to you and we will bring Kyron home. You cannot escape.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And this brings me to my big issue. Where the heck is the grand jury? I few weeks ago, we heard that stepmom Terri Horman, who is not a suspect but who`s obviously been the focus of the investigation and her best friend Dee Dee Speicher, who`s not a suspect, appeared before the grand jury. But it wasn`t known if they actually testified.
We heard about gym workers who testified that Terri Horman was very upset with her husband, Kyron`s dad, for insisting that Terri`s oldest son move out of the family home.
So I have to go back to Victoria Taft. You`re in that area. What the heck happening with this grand jury?
TAFT: Well, the grand jury is not doing anything with respect to this case that I`m aware of at this point. And as Bruce can well attest, there are certain time periods in which they`re impaneled and then they`re released. They can be called back to undertake any additional information.
But here I just want to point out a couple of things that --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, quickly.
TAFT: -- Desiree said. Yes I will. And that was that she just didn`t know what else to do. She said that three times in that news conference on Friday --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hear you. I`ve got to get to a caller. Jeannie, Montana, your question or thought.
JEANNIE, MONTANA (via telephone): Yes. Hi Jane. You know, when it came to the Caylee Anthony case and Haleigh Cummings, you could tell from the press conference that Casey and Misty country were guilty. But when it came to the stepmom, Terri Horman and Kyron, during that press conference there were no tears. She acted skittish. She went from person to person, like it was a joke.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. But let me -- hold on. I think you`re making a good point. Drew Findling, criminal defense attorney, this woman is a cipher. You can`t figure her woman out. She is not a suspect but she`s clearly the focus.
DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, absolutely and she is going to remain the focus. But at the same time I think you learn a lot from what Kaine said. If you look at his interviews over the weekend, he says, be patient. Be patient. He`s obviously getting that from law enforcement.
And what you`re dealing with is the possibility, if there`s going to be an arrest and indictment without a body, because that can happen, they have to say they tried everything they could to recover a body. Otherwise they`re going to be very susceptible to a defense in a trial if they do not find the body.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hope this is not another case of no body, no case. Thank you, fantastic panel.
The heartbreaking suicide of gay student Tyler Clementi sent shock waves across the country. His tragic death, jumped off a bridge after being videotaped in a sexual encounter with another man.
What can we do to save another tormented teen`s life?
Plus, a father of two charged with murdering his wife. He says it was suicide. Wait until you hear this guy`s excuse for not getting an ambulance for his dying wife.
And this is the father of two very prominent people in Chicago: one, a TV sports reporter; the other, a football star. Call me. 1-877-JVM-SAYS.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If anyone was having a down day, they looked at Jeanne and she -- she`d pull them up. And so she was -- she`s just an incredible, integral part of our staff.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: A father claims his wife committed suicide but cops say it was murder. That in a moment.
But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.
Is hate becoming an American value? Tormented gay student Tyler Clementi tragically jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his sexual encounter with another man was secretly live-streamed over the Internet. A candle light vigil held in his honor highlights not just tolerance but civility on and off campus.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tolerance implies that you don`t agree with someone, that you don`t like someone but you put up with someone. And I think Rutgers current movement which we`re calling "civility movement" this semester is more about acceptance.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. This doesn`t only happen at Rutgers. Tragically Tyler is just one of many who have taken their own lives after enduring ignorant, anti-gay, cruel bullying. It`s time we wake up and teach understanding, compassion, and acceptance and coexistence before we lose another young life.
That is tonight`s "Top of the Block".
Also tonight -- wild story out of Chicago: money, sex, lies. A seemingly perfect family ripped apart by a heinous murder: the son, a star quarterback; the daughter, a gorgeous blonde sportscaster. Did their loving father shoot their mother in the face and then try to make it look like a suicide?
Allan Kustok is behind bars tonight charged with first-degree murder of his wife. He says he heard a gunshot and found his wife, 58-year-old school teacher Anita, in a pool of blood in the bedroom with a gun in her hand. But prosecutors say he pulled the trigger. That man there.
Kustok sat waiting with his wife`s body for more than an hour before driving her to the hospital. He did not call 911. He didn`t call for an ambulance. Why not?
Tonight -- the couple`s two children, one a famous Chicago sports reporter, here she is reporting for Fox Jox Chicago and the other a former college football star and former NFL player shown here on the Northwestern Football Web site, both stand by their dad.
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PETE RUSH, KUSTOK, FAMILY ATTORNEY: The Kustok children know that their father could not have committed the acts that the state`s accused him of.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: What hell for those two. Prosecutors say Kustok cleaned his wife`s face and tidied up the scene, he wrap his wife`s body in a sheet and then drove her to the E.R. himself. He reportedly told police his wife would be too proud to ride in an ambulance? Really? Seriously?
The medical examiner ruled Anita was murdered in cold blood. Tonight, was a sordid secret love affair motive for murder? I`m taking your calls, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.
Straight out to my fantastic expert panel; we begin with investigative journalist, Michelle Sigona. Michelle what is the very latest?
MICHELLE SIGONA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well at this particular point Jane, he has been moved from one facility, from the Cook County Jail, to another facility because he used to be employed there. And so authorities believe that he did know some of the ins and the outs of that particular facility and they felt it was within their best interest to be able to move him. That`s one thing.
Another thing is that there are some reports coming out that there may have been an alleged affair. And that`s something also the investigators may be looked into right now as a possible motive.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A five-year alleged affair.
SIGONA: A five-year alleged affair.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to get to that in a second. Yes --
SIGONA: Sure and then that -- that is -- that particular point. And then also at this time he is charged with first-degree murder. And as you mentioned, that autopsy did come down last Thursday, which indicated that it looks like she may have been murdered. And another odd thing about this case was that the gun was found in her left hand, but authorities say she was right-handed.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Always a bad sign. The medical examiner ruled Anita Kustok`s death was not a suicide, you just heard it, homicide. Bullet trajectory evidence proves there`s no way Anita could have shot herself. The autopsy shows she was lying on her bed and someone standing over her shot her through the cheek in the head.
Also Anita was right-handed as you just heard from Michelle Sigona. The bullet went through the left side of her face, proving this was not self-inflicted. Listen to this.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I found it striking that according to him she was lying on her back with her arms crossed and a weapon of significant power and weight was still in her right hand.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: John Lucich, criminal investigator, Allan Kustok also says when he found his wife dead he just decided to fire the rest of the bullets off into the armoire in the bedroom for some reason. Now, do you think he might have done that to have an explanation for why they might find his prints or gun powder -- prints on the gun, gun powder residue on his hands?
JOHN LUCICH, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Oh, absolutely. That`s probably why he did that. He`s trying to think of the best way to cover this up. Now remember, this is the woman that he found like this with a gun in her hand.
I used to carry a .357 and shot it on many occasions. This is a very powerful gun. That when you shoot yourself, it`s going to recoil far away from you and send that gun right out of this woman`s hand.
The fact is that she`s right-handed also. He would not have found her like this. This gun at hand would have been way off and the gun would have been in her hand. His story doesn`t match and he`s covering up.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, the big issue tonight, did Allan Kustok have a secret sex life? Could that be the motive for murder? The "Chicago Sun Times" reporting he was possibly having an affair with a local woman for five years.
And Drew Findling, police reportedly questioned the woman. What do you think?
FINDLING: Well, here`s what happens in these cases. And you know, you usually see this with the generation that`s old. The young kids know everything about communication. But you hear a 59-year-old guy, I`m going to tell you right now they`re going to text messages. They`re going to go to phone calls, they`re going to go to e-mails, they`re going to go Facebook. They`re going to do everything to look for circumstantial evidence because we`re hearing summaries of what was said but until we see these videotapes taped and we didn`t really know what he said.
But very difficult to deal with paper evidence, phone calls, messages, things like that, they are doing that right now and then they`re going to go talk to this alleged girlfriend and say look at this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Apparently they`re already talking to her --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And also they`re saying he surfed the Internet looking for sites for married men looking for sex.
All right. Stay right with you are, more on Anita Kustok`s shocking murder after the break.
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PETE RUSH, KUSTOK FAMILY ATTORNEY: The Kustok children know that their father could not have committed the acts that the state has accused him of.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a stunning murder. Did a perfect family have deadly secrets? I`ve often said secrets can be murder. Allan Kustok is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife Anita.
He says she committed suicide but prosecutors are convinced he pulled the trigger. Why? Was a secret love affair with a woman the motive? Mounting money problems? Could that have played a role? How did the seemingly idyllic marriage end in murder?
Irma, Texas, your question or thought ma`am.
IRMA, TEXAS (via telephone): Yes, thank you. I`m thinking if it`s been proven that the dad was having a love affair, why wouldn`t they think that their father is actually guilty? I -- you know, unless there`s an inheritance or something of that sort.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think you`re making a good point, ma`am.
Drew Findling, these are adults. They have busy careers. She`s a famous sports reporter. He`s a former NFL player. They`re not at home watching their parents. How would they know?
FINDLING: Well, look, they`re still kids. And they`re still kids that love their parents and love their father. A lot of people have affairs, and it has nothing to do with whether or not they murder anybody. So I don`t think the fact that he has an affair is going to be the reason to determine whether or not this happened.
And they`re kids. They still love their dad. That`s why they take the position that they do, like any kids would do.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s talk about the money issue. They live in a gorgeous brick home with a well manicured lawn, two fireplaces. It was spacious. Everybody in the neighborhood thought these were the perfect family members living inside this home.
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BETH GLAVIC, KUSTOKS` NEIGHBOR: Very nice family. I never met the wife but the husband was always outside and walking the dogs and very friendly, very cordial. Keep up their house very nice. It`s just very sad.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Dad was a youth football coach. Mom taught gifted kids. Brilliant schoolteacher. But the seemingly ideal family had some dark secrets. Behind the closed doors of their beautiful homes they reportedly had massive money problems. There were mortgages, second mortgages being taken out over and over again, short-lived jobs. Dad had even take a job at the local jail, John Lucich.
That`s one of the reasons he was transferred because he knew all about the jail since he worked there. What do you make of the money issue, them being way over their heads on their mortgage?
LUCICH: You know, when you take a look at the accumulation of everything, relationship problems, money issues, these are all things that can make anybody snap. This guy, what`s got him in such trouble right here is because of his own statements. You know what, until this is adjudicated in the court of law, we have to understand he is presumed to be innocent.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course.
LUCICH: But his statements alone, the fact that he was the only one in the house, the fact that he was standing over the body. He waited 90 minutes. She couldn`t have been like this after she shot herself. That`s what`s going to convict this guy down the road if that`s in fact what happened.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: If he gets convicted. And also he didn`t call 911.
Michelle Sigona, 20 seconds.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did she have an insurance policy? Could that be a factor in this case?
SIGONA: That is a question that I did ask investigators. They have not answered that question yet. But of course, I`m sure that that`s something they`re looking into right now, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, you can`t collect on a suicide. But not everybody knows that. That`s a possibility as well. You never know. All right. Again, innocent until -- you know, he deserves the presumption.
Thank you, fantastic panel.
You`re watching ISSUES.