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Steve Hayes Found Guilty on 16 Counts; Mom Charged with Negligent Homicide after Son Drowns in Tub; Judge`s Stripper Sex Scandal; Mexican Pirate Attack

Aired October 5, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, an emotion-packed verdict in the gruesome Petit home invasion murder trial. Steven Hayes, guilty on 16 counts in the brutal rape and murder spree. The devastated sole survivor opens up about his heartache, nausea, and disbelief that this creep was not found guilty on all counts. Next up, will Steven Hayes be sentenced to death?

Then sex, drugs and a stunning case of hypocrisy? Cops say a married federal judge bought cocaine, marijuana, and other illegal drugs from a stripper he was having sex with. There`s just one tiny problem. She was an FBI informant. So will the judge end up alongside the very crooks he sent to prison?

Plus, a couple allegedly ambushed by Mexican pirates while Jet Skiing near the Texas/Mexico border. Tiffany Hartley claims her husband was shot in the head and she was chased away by gunfire before she could rescue him. His body still hasn`t been found. Now, Mexican police are questioning the wife`s story. I`ll talk to a witness about what went down.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news in the Connecticut Petit home invasion trial. Payback for evil that destroyed a family.

After listening to heartbreaking, grisly, gruesome testimony for days, the lone survivor, Dr. William Petit, today heard the words he had been waiting and praying for, for more than three years. Steven Hayes, guilty on 16 counts: guilty of kidnapping, killing and raping Petit`s wife Jennifer; guilty of kidnapping and killing their two daughters, Michaela and Haley; guilty of kidnapping and beating Dr. Petit nearly to death.

This means career criminal Steven Hayes is now eligible for the death penalty, which is the next phase of this case.

But incredibly, one verdict came back "not guilty." More on that in a moment.

For Dr. Petit, this is just the beginning. Defendant No. 2 is not set to go on trial until next year.


DR. WILLIAM PETIT, HOME INVASION SURVIVOR: There is some relief, but my -- my family is still -- still gone. It doesn`t bring them back.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That poor man. Unbelievable the grace he has shown in all this. We`re told defendant Steven Hayes stood at the defense table today and looked down as the verdicts were read. The Hawke and Petit families each held each other for support.


RICHARD HAWKE, JENNIFER HAWKE-PETIT`S FATHER: On behalf of our daughter, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and for Haley Elizabeth Petit and Michaela Rose Petit, we say for them that we are pleased with the verdicts. We feel that, as far as the trial has gone, justice is being served.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So many people shattered by this horror. Take a look at this really creepy photo we got that shows Steven Hayes in the back of a police car. This is a man who will never again experience life outside of prison. And we`re so happy about that.

The question is, how will the Hawke and Petit families endure three more trials? Think about it. If you include the death penalty phase of each case. Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel. We begin with "In Session" producer Michael Christian from TruTV.

Michael, you were with in court today. Paint a picture of the emotions inside that courtroom as this verdict was read.

MICHAEL CHRISTIAN, TRUTV`S "IN SESSION": Well, as you know, Jane, it is always so tense just before a verdict. You can just feel it in the air. The jurors filed into the courtroom. They had been out for approximately 4 hours and 15 minutes. They looked serious as they came in but not overly somber. They looked confident and comfortable with themselves. They stood in unison as the court clerk went through every count, asking the foreperson how they found them, guilty or not guilty. And on every count, save one, the foreperson said guilty.

Now, they didn`t particularly look at the Petit family while the jurors were standing. They glanced maybe once or twice at the defendant, Steven Hayes. For the most part, they were focused on the clerk and focused on their juror -- their foreperson who was answering the questions.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I was shocked at the one "not guilty." It was the biggest surprise of the day. The jury found Steven Hayes not guilty of one count of arson.

Now, reporters asked Dr. Petit what he thought about that. Listen to his answer.


PETIT: I don`t -- I don`t think so. I mean, I don`t know that I completely understand it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t understand it either. It`s mind-boggling. There is surveillance video of this sicko, monster, Steven Hayes, buying the gasoline that was used to set the Petit home on fire. And he reportedly admitted to a jail inmate that he poured the gasoline around the house.

Now, we also know, Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, the jury asked, when does arson begin, when you pour the gasoline or strike the match? So does this "not guilty" verdict on this arson count shock you, Wendy?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, you know, it`s dumb. It`s not the first time I`ve seen jurors do something dumb. And I`ll tell you what I think the explanation is, because I`ve seen these kinds of things. This is the sort of case, Jane, where you don`t even really need a prosecutor. You could have put a robot up there to put the evidence in. It was so overwhelming, just incredibly strong at every turn on every count.

And the problem for the jurors in cases like this is, they spend all their time, day after day. T they go into the deliberation room, and you know, they`re like -- they`re either going to feel like a rubber stamp or they feel like they`ve actually produced some value by thinking about it. And sometimes they`ll just vote "not guilty" for some absurd reason to make themselves feel like they actually decided something that mattered.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. You know, I have to say that it really bugged me, because this is one of the most hideous crimes that I`ve ever covered. I`ve been a journalist for 30 years. And this is a case that really honestly gave me nightmares, Casey Jordan. I think many of the people at home feel the same way.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And it seemed like a total slam dunk.

So there is a little sting to have even one "not guilty." It just hurts. It hurts when you see the torment that this family has been through, an entire extended family, that they would say not guilty on the arson count.

JORDAN: Oh, but Jane, you know, I`ve got to give it -- I`ve got to give them credence because they have to be logical, not emotional. And I think what they did was an element analysis. They sent a note to the judge. They really wanted to understand, does arson start with the spreading of the gasoline or with the striking of the match?

And there is no evidence that Steven Hayes actually struck the match or lit the lighter that started that fire. He spread the gasoline, absolutely, but it is believed that Jeremy Komisarjevsky, who`s not yet come to trial actually started the fire.

So from a legal standpoint, element analysis, he`s not guilty of arson if he didn`t strike the match. The jury was thoughtful. They were careful. And I honestly don`t think it makes a bit of difference in the end in what`s going to happen to Mr. Hayes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, maybe it will help them if these folks appeal, which obviously they always do, and especially when it comes to death penalty, there`s automatic appeals.

Let`s talk about the death penalty. Even if Steven Hayes gets the death penalty, which I think is pretty likely at this point, it could be a very long time until that execution is carried out.

Hayes is going to join ten other men on Connecticut`s Death Row if he gets the death penalty. Now, some of these crimes go way back to the late 1980s. Since 1976, Connecticut has only executed one person, and that was about five years ago.

"In Session" correspondent Beth Karas, prosecutors turned down offers from both defendants to plead guilty in this case if they could only get life instead of death. So these prosecutors really want the death penalty. How and when will this death penalty phase of this case play out?

BETH KARAS, CORRESPONDENT, TRUTV`S "IN SESSION": Well, the death penalty phase will begin in two weeks. It will be Monday, October 18. The prosecution will incorporate everything the jury has already heard in the guilt phase, and they are alleging three statutory aggravators, one with of which is the heinous, cruel, depraved nature of the crimes charged.

Also, that he`s been convicted of burglary in the third degree in the past. And also that he created a grave risk of death in committing burglary in the third degree. So those are the aggravators. They`ll -- they`ll -- mainly it`s going to be the defense attorney`s opportunity to present evidence in mitigation and to humanize Steven Hayes. And the phase could last anywhere from one to two weeks. The same jurors will be back.

But Jane, I want to add one thing about the arson charge you`ve all been talking about.


KARAS: He -- Hayes was charged as a principle and accessory for a lot of the crimes, but only as a principle for arson. And Casey`s analysis is exactly right. They did not have the option to consider him as an accomplice. If so, I think there would have been a guilty verdict, because pouring the gasoline was enough.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I understand what you`re saying. But I don`t think you have to light the match to be an arsonist, if you pour gasoline over a child! Oh, my God.

KARAS: But they asked that question. They asked the judge yesterday. They asked the judge, "Is pouring gasoline starting a fire?" The judge said no. That`s an element of arson. I`ve got the -- I`ve got the crime here. So I read the jury instruction, and they were -- their hands were tied. They followed the instruction. So I`m sure they did it with some regret.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And now with this death penalty phase, Wendy Murphy, are we going to have to hear friends of Steven Hayes come on and say, "Well, you know, back in 1985 he -- he gave me a ride somewhere. He was a good guy"? I mean, are we going to have to endure that?

MURPHY: Yes. Well, he may have been a Boy Scout. He sure was a cute baby once, too. I`d be surprised if there`s one hour worth of testimony in his favor, much less two weeks.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, apparently nobody showed up in court to support him during the entire length of the trial. So good luck finding people to talk about what a great guy he was. He`s a monster.

All right. We`re taking your calls on this. They`re lining up on the other side of the break: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

And please rise for the honorable hypocrite? A veteran judge, a tough-on-crime judge accused of buying and using a slew of illegal drugs from a stripper he allegedly paid for sex. Little did he know that, well, the stripper was moonlighting as an FBI informant. Oops!

Plus, more on this horrific Petit home invasion murder trial on the other side of the break.


PETIT: There is some relief, but my -- my family is still -- still gone. It doesn`t bring them back.




PETIT: What matters to me most is my family, and my memories -- my memories of my family and trying to do good things through our foundation. I don`t know, over the last couple of weeks, I just kept trying to tell myself that good -- good will overcome evil.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news. A guilty verdict for Steven Hayes, accused in the horrific Petit home invasion. Wife and mother Jennifer Hawke-Petit and daughters Michaela and Haley were brutally murdered. Their dad, Dr. William Petit -- you just heard from him -- barely made it out alive. Listen to this 911 call from his neighbor.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve got Bill Petit here who`s hurt, my neighbor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s at your house?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. He`s right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. What`s wrong with him? What`s going on, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got -- there`s somebody else here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, who`s this? Who`s on the phone?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officer Milicich, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey is right, I`m down here, 295 (DELETED). You two get in the house, get in the house. I need a 101 here now. Head injury.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And tragically, that was with not the first 911 call that came in about this case. The bank teller had called 911 before that, right, Beth Karas?

KARAS: Yes. The bank teller had called 911 within five minutes of receiving a note from Jennifer Hawke-Petit that was passed to her when she took $15,000 out of the bank for these two assailants. Steven Hayes, this defendant, is the one who had driven him there.

And the teller conferred with a manager. They looked at the note and the manager called. And that was a very calm 911. We have a woman in the bank. She has just left. Her name is Jennifer Hawke-Petit. She says her family is being held hostage, that they will be killed if the police are called.

So that was a very clear, very first 911 call that was played.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And look at her right there. They knew that she was in the bank. That woman is about to be killed. You`re looking at her right there. And her grace and her dignity.

And she mentioned that she -- she`s a victim of a home invasion, and they`ve got her kids and her husband back at the house. And somehow, it couldn`t be arranged to save them. It`s a horrific tragedy.

The police elected to set up roadblocks at the perimeter down the block from their house as opposed to going in, and they say they had good reason. But still it just -- it`s heart-wrenching that you see that woman there. And she was in the bank, and they took her back to the house. And she was ultimately raped and murdered.

Brenda, Virginia, your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Oh, my thought is that this is a very heart-wrenching case, and my heart just goes out to the family. You would think that the police were with were so close, yet, they did nothing to help this family. And it seemed like their actions -- you know, they should be reprimanded, because they could have helped save this family.

And the verdict, it couldn`t have been any better. And I certainly hope that the other guy that did this, he is also found guilty, and he gets the death penalty. I don`t believe in the death penalty, but these two, they definitely deserve it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Wendy Murphy, this has brought the death penalty back to life, you might say, in Connecticut. I mean, it`s been there, but it hasn`t been used.

But even those who are opposed to the death penalty, when they hear the details of this case, the rape, the murder, the arson, the beatings, the terrorizing, they say fry them.

MURPHY: Yes. And I`m against it. I just agree so much with that caller. I wouldn`t vote for the death penalty with a cool head, but I`d sure pull the, you know -- pull the lever on these guys with a rageful heart.

And that`s the issue that always kind of causes people to change their feelings. When you get a case like this where your emotions are so strong, and you think to yourself, should these people live? Why should they live? They are animals. I know you take offense at that, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, please with the animals, my God!


VELEZ-MITCHELL: They`re monsters. Call them monsters.

MURPHY: They are mud and slugs and monsters. Fair enough.

And it does seem to me that, if you cannot function in a civilized society, why should you be allowed to function in jail where we also need some amount of civility?

You know, this case is just so creepy, because so much of the extra violence was indeed gratuitous. And everyone said in the beginning -- and these guys told cops, "Oh, we wanted money. We did this because we wanted money." Well, they got money. And so what was all that extra stuff about?

MURPHY: Why people -- I know there`s been speculation about the husband and insurance, but I`ll tell you this much.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is pure evil.

MURPHY: The reason people feel bad is there`s so much gratuitous violence.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pure evil. We`ve got to leave it there. Pure evil. WE encountered it. Now, hopefully, we`ll get pure justice.

A wife and her husband go Jet Skiing near the Mexico-Texas border. Only one of them comes back. She claims he was murdered by pirates.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A van pulled up, and she went with them, and she hollered, "My other kids!"

And I went upstairs, and he was in the bathtub, and I took him out.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, death by distraction? A 1-year-old boy drowned to death inside a bathtub. And his mom, nowhere to be found. Cops say mom didn`t notice because she was too busy typing away on the computer. Police say Jessica Botelho was out on the patio for 40 minutes, pounding away on her laptop.

Meanwhile, her 1- and 2-year-old sons were playing in a full bathtub all by themselves. When mom finally came back to check on the boys, her 2- year-old son said his little brother was sleeping in the tub. These details are horrifying.


HULK MAYBERRY, NEIGHBOR: She came downstairs banging on the door yelling, "Help, help, my kid." Whenever we opened up the door, her kid was pale white, blue, foaming at the mouth.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. Mom tonight charged with negligent homicide, but family members -- get this -- they say this mom put her babies in the bathtub and left them alone several times a day to help calm them down.

Former prosecutor Wendy Murphy, this doesn`t sound like some one-time- only misjudgment. It sounds like a pattern of abuse to me.

MURPHY: Yes. And, you know, I think, Jane, that had they not known about this past behavior, she might not be facing homicide. She might be facing something, but they might not have thrown the book at her.

Look, this is obviously a mom who is dangerous, because she has no interest in taking care of her children.

And you know, I don`t think it`s really fair to say, "Oh, this is all about she`s addicted to the Internet." Because you know what? A mother like this, if she wasn`t on the Internet, she`d be watching that dopey show about New Jersey people. She`d be doing something else, ignoring the kids. And that`s the problem, you know.

And the fact that this child is dead, how many other mothers are doing exactly that same thing? They just luck out, because the kids manage not to drown? It`s outrageous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I say Internet addiction, because I`ve investigated several cases where parents are so obsessed with, let`s say, playing a video game on the Internet their kids are off in the corner starving to death. That`s a real case.

So negligence or murder?

Jessica Botelho was supposedly an overwhelmed mom. But nobody puts their kids in the bathtub unattended to calm them down. Now, this woman -- this is frightening -- she told her brother in the past that the kids were driving her crazy, and she was going to kill them.

So my question to Casey Jordan, criminologist, do you think this is a coincidence or was that maybe some kind of red flag, a sign of things to come?

JORDAN: Well, it`s a flag. I mean, you have a mother who wants to have some way of getting the kids out of her life in terms of just getting them in the bathtub. Kids are pretty happy in the bathtub. They like to play and splash around. And they usually have bathtub toys.

But a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old, as if the 2-year-old could look after the 1-year-old? And the idea that she`s done it a number of times? That`s why she`s looking at negligent manslaughter. They`re not going to let her get away with this because of the past pattern.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: and what about these relatives, Wendy Murphy? I mean, if they knew that this was a pattern, could they be held in some way, shape or form liable?

MURPHY: You know, it`s an interesting question. I think we`re at a place in our legal history where we`re starting to talk about bystander responsibility. The fact that we all owe a duty to help protect kids, especially from bad parents. And you know, we`re still toying with how to do that. You know, sometimes we feel comfortable butting into families and their lives, and other people say, no, it`s their private business.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Leave it right there.

You won`t believe this. A judge -- oh, my God, drugs, sex. You won`t believe it!


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Sex, drugs, and a stunning case of hypocrisy? Cops say a married federal judge bought cocaine, marijuana, and other illegal drugs from a stripper he was having sex with. There`s just one tiny problem. She was an FBI informant. So will the judge end up alongside the very crooks he sent to prison?

Plus -- a couple allegedly ambushed by Mexican pirates while jet skiing near the Texas/Mexico border. Tiffany Hartley claims her husband was shot in the head and she was chased away by gunfire before she could rescue him. His body still hasn`t been found. Now Mexican police are questioning the wife`s story. I`ll talk to a witness about what went down.

Tonight -- a whirlwind relationship allegedly filled with drugs, guns and forbidden sex between a tough-talking, law and order federal judge and a stripper. Sixty-seven-year-old judge Jack Camp went from sitting on the bench to having a stripper sitting in his lap for a lap dance. Now, he`s at the center of a sordid -- and I mean sordid -- sex and drug scandal.

This crime-fighting judge is accused of taking cocaine, smoking marijuana, and even snorting up crushed-up prescription painkillers with a lady of the night. The formerly well-respected married judge, famous for quoting Shakespeare and wearing suspenders, allegedly bought lap dances, sex and drugs from a stripper he met at the Gold Rush Show Bar in Atlanta.

They reportedly began a relationship that lasted several months and revolved around sex for money and drugs. The judge and his stripper girlfriend allegedly met drug dealers in dark parking lots to score.

What he didn`t know was that his exotic dancer was moonlighting as an informant for the FBI and wearing a wire. Wait a second. Where does a stripper wear a wire anyway?

Judge Camp was arrested Friday night at the Velvet Room, a popular hip-hop nightclub in Atlanta -- did I mention he`s 67 years old -- just minutes after he allegedly handed an undercover law enforcement agent 160 clams to buy cocaine and roxycodone (ph), a narcotic pain medication.

And his lawyer has the nerve to say this has nothing to do with his being a judge? Really? Seriously? Can you spell hypocrisy?

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel; I want to begin with WSB Radio reporter Veronica Waters. Veronica, I really want to know what is the very latest?

VERONICA WATERS, REPORTER, WSB RADIO: Well, the very latest, all quiet on the western front today so far Jane. We haven`t heard from the judge publicly, and we haven`t heard from his attorney much since the appearance after court yesterday.

Of course, as you said, his defense attorney Bill Morrison says this is not a case about corruption. It`s about a case of a personal matter between the judge and his wife. Of course, the judge and his attorney say that he will be pleading not guilty when he has his first appearance in court.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, the nerve of some people. That`s the -- it just boggles my mind and it brings me to my big issue tonight: hypocrisy court?

This judge, this very judge, is known for his ultra strict sentencing. Yet his attorney, as you just heard, says, this isn`t about Judge Camp being a judge. Listen to this.


BILL MORRISON, ATTORNEY FOR JUDGE CAMP: This is really a case between Judge Camp and his wife. It it`s not a case about Judge Camp being a judge.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Just about him and his wife. Give me a break. I mean, what about -- Tanya Acker, trial attorney, all the people that he handed out very harsh sentences to for very similar crimes? Shouldn`t he now have the book thrown at him?

TANYA ACKER, TRIAL ATTORNEY: That`s absolutely right, Jane. And you know, as an initial matter, this is not a case where he was being arrested for cheating on his wife. He`s being arrested for possessing illegal substances, which by the way under the federal sentencing guidelines I`m certain that Judge Camp has sentenced lots of young men and women to decades in prison for.

So it`s not about infidelity. This is not a sex court. He was carrying illegal drugs and he was possessing a firearm so as to abet that crime. That`s problematic. You know, it`s really -- we`re in a really tough spot when American citizens don`t feel that the people who are dispensing justice and sometimes very, very harsh sentences aren`t at the same time abiding by those same rules. It`s not right. It`s not fair and it is hypocritical.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And get this. In 2009, Judge Camp sentenced former Dr. Phil Aften (ph) to ten years behind bars for prescribing drugs to famous professional wrestling star Chris Benoit. You remember that tragedy. He was on a slew of prescription drugs when he killed his wife, his son and himself. We covered that story here on ISSUES. But that`s just one of many examples of this judge`s tough sentencing when it comes to drug cases.

Wendy Murphy, I`ve often complained here on ISSUES of a two-tiered system of justice -- one for the rich, famous, the Hollywood stars. I hope we`re not going to add judges to that list of people who seem to get away with it all.

WENDY MURPHY, AUTHOR, "AND JUSTICE FOR SOME": Well, I tell you, it`s an interesting issue because the fact that he`s a judge and we`re all watching I think it will be very difficult for them to give him a big discount. Not just because of hypocrisy and his code of conduct and that there`s an extra violation of the public`s trust. But, you know, when the public sees a guy in charge of the system violating it in this big way -- these are felonies -- either you smack that guy and you send him away and you treat him like everybody else, or the entire public, the universe of people who should be respecting law and order, won`t. They won`t.

They`ll say, "Why should i? Why should if he didn`t have to?" He got his hand slapped. It creates incivility. People become -- they rise up around this. They really do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s basic unfairness.

Jim, Oregon, your question or thought, sir.

JIM, OREGON (via telephone): Well, my question is, can any of the people that he threw in jail come back and say that he was possibly under the influence when he made his decisions to have them thrown in jail and they can have a new case or a new trial?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Great question. Tanya Acker, take it away.

ACKER: Well, the standard for getting a new trial is very high so it would be quite difficult. It could be quite difficult for one of those convicted criminal defendants to prove that they were only convicted because this judge was stoned or under the influence of some substance. That could be a really tough standard to prove.

But all that being said, the fact that this person did carry -- had in his hand the livelihoods of all these people who he convicted and now may have been doing exactly the same thing, that`s problematic not just on a legal basis but as your other guest said on the public policy standpoint as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And we`ve got some more really salacious details for you.

Judge Camp was allegedly getting deep into the drug scene. He -- get this -- allegedly bought a pill crusher, perhaps as a gift for his stripper girlfriend, so they could grind up the prescription pain medication and snort it which you know gives you a much more intense high. And sometimes he allegedly took loaded guns to these drug deals.

Camp was allegedly carrying a semi automatic handgun supposedly to protect the stripper/lover during these drug deals. And he was -- cops say he was carrying two guns the night he was busted.

Will you tell us, Veronica Waters, what went down the night he was busted? Lay it out for us.

WATERS: Well, the night of the bust, it was just a few days after what appears to be the first recorded telephone conversation between the CI -- the stripper and the judge. They set up the buy. They went to the parking lot. And the judge is said to have gotten money from the ATM to make the buy. He gave it to the stripper. Interestingly enough, telling her, I`m going to let you pay him because you have a record and I don`t.

This woman, the FBI says, has a felony drug conviction. I`m sure as a side note that the defense is going to be looking at the motives of his chief accuser here. Anyway, they met in a parking lot, did the buy, and she tells the judge, you hold the drugs. I don`t have any pockets. The judge does. He puts them into his pocket. A moment later, FBI agents move in and make the arrest.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, a follow up question, Veronica, is it true that the judge`s wife was in court to support him?

WATERS: I did not attend the hearing, but I do know -- I believe his wife was there because I do know that some family members were there. He did smile at his supporters, gave them a sort of wink and a nod, if you will. To show his support because keep in mind he had been behind bars since his arrest on Friday night.

He had attorneys that he was able to hire over the weekend, but he had been held in federal custody since Friday night so that was his first time to sort of say, buck up to the family, I`m going to be ok. Of course he`s released now on an unsecured $50,000 bond.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Wendy Murphy, we only have a couple of seconds. But, a wink and a nod; he might not be winking and nodding if he gets sent to prison with the same people that he sentenced to prison, that`s not a fun situation.

MURPHY: Yes. That would be a fun meeting. I`d like to be a fly on the wall when he meets one with of his own defendants. But you know, these buy/bust cases are impossible to defend because it`s like having a videotape. He`s going to have trouble.

How much do you want to bet that tomorrow he announces he`s going into an addiction treatment center with that Wisconsin prosecutor?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. You`ve got it. You`ve got it. Prediction, I know, you have a crystal ball.

Thank you, expert panel.

An abducted 8-year-old girl rescued in California. I`m going to tell you what saved her.

And the shocking story of a couple jet skiing near the Mexico/Texas border ambushed by pirates, the wife claiming they shot her husband. Now it`s a horrific tragedy. Some people are buying it. Some people have questions. I`m going to talk to an eyewitness about what went down, and I want to hear your thoughts on this very controversial case, 1-877-JVM SAYS.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They came at them and they started shooting at them. Of course they start to go faster and they kept shooting at them and shooting at them until hit -- the husband and they started shooting at her also he released the body.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Coming up, a couple gunned down by Mexican pirates? That`s in a minute.

But first, "Top of the Block" tonight. This is every parent`s worst nightmare: a strange man approached a group of kids and tried to lure them into his truck last night. An 8-year-old girl began walking with him when two witnesses yelled get away. Then suddenly cops say this man, Gregorio Gonzalez, snatched her into his car and sped off.

An amber alert was issued, and thankfully today, a fabulous, smart, alert motorist spotted the suspect`s truck with the little girl inside.


CHIEF JERRY DYER, FRESNO POLICE DEPARTMENT: He cut in front of the suspect vehicle, cut him off. Alisa took the moment of opportunity, opened up the passenger door and jumped out and ran. And another Good Samaritan stayed with her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: These people did everything right. They didn`t waste any time. They had a gut feeling. They sprang into action. Because of them, this precious child is safe and sound and the suspect is behind bars. Well done. And the amber alert, it works.

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

Switching gears tonight, a tale of terror on the lake: a young wife tearfully recalling the nightmare when pirates ambushed her and her husband, shot him point-blank in the head, and killed him. Twenty-nine- year-old Tiffany Hartley says she and her husband David were jet skiing on a lake that sits on the Texas/Mexico border.

Ok, the border goes right through the water, when a group of Mexican bandits attacked them. Here is a portion of her frantic 911 call.


911 OPERATOR: Were you shot at --


911 OPERATOR: -- on the Mexican side --


911 OPERATOR: -- or the USA side? So it was on Mexican side, ok. Did you see anybody?

HARTLEY: There were three boats.

911 OPERATOR: Three boats.

HARTLEY: Three boats. And they came back looking at me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tiffany says the pirates shot at her, too, but she escaped the spray of bullets unscathed. The alleged ambush happened five days ago. David was reportedly wearing a life vest. So far, David`s body is still missing and there`s been no sign of his jet ski.

Well, now Mexican authorities are questioning whether this attack even took place. They say no evidence, no crime.

Now, Tiffany appearing on CBS fired back.


HARTLEY: As far as we know, we don`t think they have been looking, and there is -- we understand the possibility that the people who did this probably have him and that`s why maybe they can`t find him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Meantime, Mexican authorities say they are indeed searching. So many twists and turns, a very mysterious and tragic case. I`m taking your calls, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

I`ve got to go straight out to our anonymous Good Samaritan witness who helped Tiffany. Are you on the phone?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, tell us what you saw, exactly what you saw. Paint a picture of what you saw.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, WITNESS WHO HELPED TIFFANY HARTLEY: I was out in my backyard, just watering plants, when I noticed this boat out. It was a nice day. This jet ski started to come my way towards the shore, and I noticed there`s -- there was a boat behind it, but it turned around as it got closer.

The lady was, like, looking over her shoulder, and when she got close enough to speak to me to where I can hear her, she asked me if I spoke English.

I did, I nodded yes. And I said, yes. And she asked me to call -- to call authorities and possibly an ambulance, her husband`s been shot.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So do you question her story? Or do you feel that this is legitimate? I mean, did you get a sense that she was genuinely terrified and that she`s for real?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m -- I would say she looks -- she looks for real. I mean, her -- her -- her sobbing, being frantic and jittery, and I mean those feelings don`t just arise. You would really have to be a good actor to come up with something like that.

And really in a situation like that, it`s something you don`t play with, especially when it regards a family member.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Stand by then sir. Mexican authorities now say they are looking for the jet skier who went missing after this alleged ambush.

This morning on NBC, David Hartley`s mother pleaded for help from "On High".


PAM HARTLEY, MISSING JET SKIER`S MOTHER: Call your Congress, call anybody that you can to have them get us over there. He has to come home. President Obama, help us. President of Mexico, help us, please.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. As Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez from the Zapata County, Texas area joins me by phone. Sheriff, what do you make of this claim by the Mexican government that maybe this didn`t happen? I understand that this area is rife with problems and there have been similar kinds of attacks in the past -- Sheriff?

SIGIFREDO GONZALEZ, SHERIFF, ZAPATA COUNTY TEXAS (via telephone): Yes. We -- we had some problems in April, we had some problems in May where we had the U.S. fishermen going over to Mexico on the Mexican side on the Falcon Lake, the beautiful Falcon Lake, fishing and they got accosted by what I call pirates, individuals that were -- you know, they had -- they had boarded Mexican fishing -- commercial fishing vessels and had gone after the U.S. fishermen for -- for money or whatever they had.

These -- these people, Mr. and Mrs. Hartley, they happened to have gone to that same area and on the way back I feel that this is the same fishermen -- or the same pirates that -- that shot at them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you think it`s a legit? You feel like the Mexican government is just basically creating a red herring -- no pun intended -- by this?

GONZALEZ: Well, I mean, look, we -- I called 30 minutes after the call from the witness that made that call to my office, the 911, 30 minutes after that I was already on the phone with the Mexican consulate in Laredo, Texas asked them to please send some rescue units to the area to look for Mr. Hartley.

I mean, we tried our best. We also have boats in the water on the U.S. side. We had the helicopters in the air.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m going to ask you to hold on, sheriff. They still haven`t found the body. That`s the big problem.

On the other side of the break



911 Operator: Are you sure that your husband got shot?

HARTLEY: Yes. He was hit in the head.

911 OPERATOR: Ok. Was he thrown out of the jet ski, that he`s in the water or something?

HARTLEY: Yes, he was thrown off the jet ski and I couldn`t pick him up to get him on mine. He`s just too big.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The frantic chilling 911 call placed by Tiffany Hartley. She said she and her husband were ambushed by Mexican pirates who shot and killed him, while Mexican authorities say they`re not buying her story. Her husband`s family had no doubts. This from NBC.


NIKKI HARTLEY, SISTER OF MISSING JET SKIER: 150 percent, 1,000 percent; there`s no doubt in our mind we stand behind her. She`s not a sister-in-law, she`s a sister.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Edward, Texas, your question or thought, sir?

EDWARD, TEXAS (via telephone): How are you doing?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How are you doing?

EDWARD: I`m ok. I have basically one question. All right. If it did happen, don`t you think there would have been -- some shots would have been heard? You had one witness that say he saw her, and he saw boat behind her. But you would have heard shots.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You raise a very good question, Edward. Casey Jordan, there`s questions about why the body hasn`t surfaced. He`s a very big guy, supposedly wearing a life vest and the jet ski hasn`t surfaced. And nobody heard shots apparently.

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: Well, if you`ve got three boats and two wave runners out with the motors sounding, you probably wouldn`t hear shots. I think the most interesting thing about the body not being found, or recovered yet, if he was wearing a life vest, his body really should have floated. And I don`t know exactly how the current goes with the lake, or the wind was going. But eventually it would have washed ashore or have easily detectible. He was a big guy.

If the life vest somehow came off of him, within three to seven days the body should float. The theory would exist that if this crime happened exactly as Mrs. Hartley is describing, did the pirates take the body with them, perhaps to hold as ransom, perhaps to see if they could get some money out of the Hartley family to return the body to them. And maybe they took the wave runner as well. They could have sold it for profit. So there`s a bunch of ways this could have happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sheriff Gonzalez, there`s some reports that she said that -- well, let`s listen to it. Tiffany Hartley told NBC how she came close to being shot herself. Let`s listen.


T. HARTLEY: When you`re looking at the end of a barrel of a gun, and wondering if they`re just going to shoot you, too, and wonder if your families are just going to never know where you are, I mean, his mom knew we were there, but it`s not anything for David not to call her for a few days.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, she said she was looking at the barrel of a gun. What do you make of it?

MURPHY: I don`t buy any of this. Please, first of all, I want to know if she was having an affair and did she have a life insurance policy before I even pass judgment. But my sense is that this is nonsense.

And I realize that, you know, it`s fresh and so forth. But look, you`re kidding me that these pirates, which historically in that area, the months earlier, were like teenage gangs, they take, you know, money. They don`t want to shoot people in the head for no reason. That makes no sense. And are you kidding me?


MURPHY: Not only does the guy die --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The jet ski is valuable.

MURPHY: But my point is, my point is, what are they doing? What does the pirate want? If they want bodies and jet skis, isn`t it a little convenient that they got him, managed to take his body and his jet ski and she didn`t even get a scratch?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t know, I wasn`t there. The secret is in the lake. We`re going to stay on top of this story. You`re watching ISSUES.