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Family Fears Worst in Psychic`s Disappearance; Zahra Baker Lived Isolated Life; Heroin Plague Hits Pacific Northwest Teens

Aired October 21, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a psychic and her husband vanish into thin air. Family members say this woman was terrified of her abusive husband and was trying to leave them. Now they`re both missing. Tonight I`ll talk to a psychic crime fighter working this mysterious case.

Is our addict nation targeting teens? High-school students nodding off left and right as a heroin plague sweeps through the Pacific Northwest. You will not believe how many high-school students are now in rehab. Tonight, desperate parents are left to wonder, how did my kid become a junkie?

Also, an ISSUES exclusive. Tonight I`ll talk one-on-one with Somer Thompson`s devastated mother. Her beautiful daughter was kidnapped, raped and murdered while walking home from school. Tonight, Diena Thompson shares her harrowing story, and she has a message for predators: we`re coming to get you.

Plus, a battered wife fights back. Brenda Kluebein (ph) says her husband broke her arms and fractured her skull. Then, he threatened to kill her. But she killed him first. Tonight, I`ll talk live with a woman who spent 26 years behind bars for what she calls self-defense.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a family fears the worst. Their loved one, fortune teller Kathy Adams, has been missing for more than a week now. And her relatives say she was trying to leave her allegedly abusive husband. If only the psychic could have predicted her own fate.

Adams` husband of 20 years, John Marks Jr., is also missing tonight. Coincidence?

Cops did a welfare check on the couple`s home last week and, well, whatever they saw -- we don`t know exactly what it was -- but whatever they saw made them think, this is a case of foul play.

Dogs are searching, and dozens of search warrants have been served in an attempt to find these two individuals. Cops did find the husband`s car at a motel about 30 miles south of the couple`s home, but no sign of Kathy or John.

Kathy`s family is thinking the worst and says she has endured years of abuse during her 20-year relationship with John Marks Jr. And her family is frantic, and I mean frantic, to find her. We`re going to talk to a family member in a second. Let`s help find them tonight.

Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

If you`ve seen those two -- we`re going to show the pictures over and over again -- contact police immediately. Somebody may have seen them.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel, but we begin with a psychic investigator by the name of Shellee Hale.

Shellee, I want to tell our viewers, first of all, you`re also a licensed private investigator. You`ve been brought in by law enforcement in the past to deal with missing cases. How were you brought into this case, and what do you know about this couple?

SHELLEE HALE, PSYCHIC INVESTIGATOR: I actually have a forum called psychic crime fighter, and the family contacted me yesterday.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what do you know about what happened? What have you been able to find out?

HALE: Well, Kathy Adams went missing. It`s been almost two weeks. And she had a volatile relationship with her husband. The car was actually found, like you said, about 30 miles away, really close to an airport. I would suspect he skipped town.

They have been very close-lipped on this whole case. I think that they`ve found a great deal of evidence at the house that would indicate that she might be deceased.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I went want to bring in Joey Adams, who is the nephew of the missing woman.

Joey, thank you for joining us. I know you must be very, very nervous and upset tonight, so I thank you for taking the time, Joey.

JOEY ADAMS, NEPHEW OF KATHY ADAMS (via phone): Thank you for having us on, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell us about the relationship between these two. I understand the family believes that Kathy, who I would assume is your aunt, was trying to leave her husband, and she had actually booked a plane ticket to Atlanta in order to leave her husband? And at that exact time she disappears? Tell us what you know about their relationship.

ADAMS: John was a very abusive husband. I mean, this has been going on for a long time. My family actually paid a plane ticket for Kathy to come home on the weekend -- she went missing on October the 8th. And she was supposed to leave John that weekend. And the family hasn`t heard from her since then.

And there was concern Monday morning. Family put a well-being check. It`s unlike Kathy -- she calls somebody every day, whether it be my dad, my mom, sisters. I mean, she`s unlike that, for her to be missing and not be in touch with anybody.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think her common-law husband is capable of violence against her? And have you -- have you heard or seen of any violence by him against her?

ADAMS: He`s been abusive -- there`s been all kind of crazy things. He`s been very abusive against her for the past 20 years.


ADAMS: I mean, beating her up, holding her hostage before.


ADAMS: All kinds of crazy things.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, again, they`re looking for these two people. They are common law married and apparently, according to relatives -- you just heard from the nephew -- a very abusive relationship, which sadly is not a good sign.

Kathy Adams` disappearance is a pattern. She`s allegedly in an abusive relationship. She tries to leave. And her husband goes missing, and so does she. Sound familiar?

ISSUES is monitoring a strikingly similar case involving a missing husband and wife in Kansas City, Kansas. Amanda Sinkhorn`s brother joined us just the other day here on ISSUES.


BRANDON DOW, AMANDA SINKHORN`S BROTHER: She was very much terrified of him. That`s why she came to live with me at my house. I fear that she`s been taken against her will. I fear that -- that she`s been forced to leave her family.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Amanda Sinkhorn is still missing, and so is the man who was allegedly abusing her. My big issue tonight was -- we`re talking about this case now, Kathy Adams disappearing -- somehow what they call a separation assault.

Get this. Seventy-five percent of women are killed after they leave their abusive spouse.

So, Robi Ludwig, this is the key danger point, when a woman finally stands up to an abusive man and says, "I`ve had it, and I`m out of here." Tell us about that.

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Yes. A lot of these abusive men are very dependent on their wives. They need their wives to almost be the bad one, so they can feel like the strong one. But when their wife threatens to leave, they`re faced with their own vulnerability.

And they often feel that their wife is their property; they don`t have a right to leave. So that is usually the danger time for a lot of these women. And, in fact, many of these women have been warned that they are going to be killed if they choose to leave. So they almost sense their imminent death a lot of times.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joey Adams, nephew of the missing woman, did she express fear that, "Wow, if I do leave, I might be in trouble here"?

ADAMS: Sorry. I couldn`t hear you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joey, did your aunt express fears that, if she did leave, she might get into some kind of problem and be attacked by this guy?

ADAMS: She was deadly afraid of him, Jane. I mean, we`re fearing the worst right now. It doesn`t look good. We`re fearing that he killed her. I mean, the police is highly looking for him. They want to question him.

I mean, they can only -- we only know so much. He`s been on the run, hiding. We believe family is helping him. I mean, the last time he was seen was October the 13th in Weld County, Colorado. She was not with him. So I mean, we`re fearing the worst right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I hope -- I hope that`s not the case. And we do have to state for the record that this missing man, this husband, has not been named a suspect or even labeled as a person of interest.

Authorities are saying they would like to talk to John Marks Jr. and like to know where he is and why he disappeared at the same time his common-law wife did and why it happened just at the time when she said she was leaving him for good and was heading to the airport to leave the state.

Anita, Alabama, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Hey, Jane. How are you?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good. What`s your question?

CALLER: Well, you kind of hit on it earlier. I`m thinking if this woman was a psychic -- which I know some believe in them, and some do. I think some people have, you know, powers to see things. And some psychics see the future; some see the past. Could she not see that this man was planning to probably murder her?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`re going to have to go back...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... to our psychic investigator for one second. Shellee Hale?

HALE: Yes. Absolutely. I think she did know. She was actually being secretive about her visit to her family in Atlanta, and I think she was planning on getting away. So I would believe -- she`s not here to say this on her behalf, but I would believe she did know.

KAVINOKY: But Jane...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Darren Kavinoky.

KAVINOKY: ... one of the big lessons that`s -- yes, thank you. One of the lessons that`s really been illustrated here is that there`s no good reason to announce your intention to leave. The best practice...


KAVINOKY: ... if you`re in an abusive relationship, leave. Everything else can be -- can be bought again. It`s not about material things. Just get out.

And I also appreciate the dialogue that we`re exploring the impact of domestic violence as a criminal defense lawyer. I do have to further the conversation by pointing out that there are many instances of false reports of people that use domestic violence allegations to leverage and further other agendas. So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey, hey, hey! This woman is missing, Darren!

KAVINOKY: Understood. But we`re talking about -- we`re talking about her husband, who`s now being essentially convicted in the court of public opinion.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, no, we haven`t convicted him.

KAVINOKY: He hasn`t even been named a suspect.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is it a "co-ink-ee-dink" that they both disappeared just when she says she`s leaving him? I don`t know what happened. I hope they both show up. I hope they`ve gone on vacation together.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But we have to talk about the possibility and show that this is a problem. This pattern crystallizes when the woman stands up for herself and says, "I`m leaving."

And you`re right, Darren. They should never announce in advance. Always leave silently and quickly, and get to a safe house, and don`t let your abuser know your plans.

Coming up, a heroin epidemic breaks out in the Pacific Northwest. You won`t believe how many high-school students have become hooked on heroin. This is an epidemic; it`s a plague. We`re taking your calls on this: 1- 877-JVM-SAYS.

Plus, a shocking plea from Zahra Baker`s stepsister. Why does she want to keep her own mother behind bars?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Adam, did you have any involvement in her disappearance?






UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Catawba County, 911.

BAKER: How you doing?


BAKER: We need the police. We had all that drama last night, and then we -- me and my wife went back to bed. And my daughter`s, I think, coming into puberty, so she`s in that brooding stage. So we only see her when she comes out and she wants something.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What does puberty have to do with anything?

Tonight, earth-shattering insights into little Zahra Baker`s life before she vanished. Like too many girls and boys in America, this beautiful 10-year-old was a child in peril. Relatives claim she was beaten and taunted by her stepmother. They say Zahra was kept isolated from rest of the world, barely let out of her room. Why didn`t anybody help this little girl?

This is a cautionary tale. Kids are too often voiceless, and we must be their voice. Relatives like Brittany Bentley say the child`s step-mom, Elisa Baker, would hit her for the slightest thing. She talked to CBS.


BRITTANY BENTLEY, ZAHRA BAKER`S RELATIVE: Allowed five minutes out of the day to eat. That was it. She was beat almost every time I was over there for just the smallest things. If Elisa would get mad, she would take it out on Zahra.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And now we`re also finding out that Elisa Baker`s biological daughter is scared to death of her own mother. She told a judge that her mom is a flight risk and cannot be trusted. And there`s more.


TARA SERVATIUS, HOST, "THE TARA SERVATIUS SHOW": Everybody in this family is so afraid of Elisa Baker. She`s said to have gone after people who owed her drug money with a posse and a gun. Her own daughter today said, "I`m afraid of her. Don`t let her out. I`ll have to leave the state."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: If everybody saw this and was so scared of Elisa Baker, why didn`t somebody call the cops?

One relative admits she did nothing because she was with hooked on drugs, drugs she claimed she got from her step-mom, who she claims is a drug pusher. So you`re not going to rat out your connection, your supplier. These adults should be ashamed of themselves.

I`m taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to my fantastic, expert panel. We begin with Tara Servatius, host of "The Tara Servatius Show" on WBT Radio.

Tara, what is the very latest?

SERVATIUS: You know what, Jane? I`ve had it with this family. You know what they did today at the landfill? They dug up -- they`re digging up an area 40 yards by 60 yards, because they don`t have a time line.

And the reason they don`t have a time line is because what the family is telling them, the immediate and extended family, is not reliable. So they can`t figure out when this little girl was last seen, because this family is still letting her down to this day. They`re begging people who might have seen her to come forward.

They`re having to tear up this landfill, nine counties worth of trash, just to find a piece of evidence they say that will give them a time line they are desperate, Jane. They are absolutely desperate. And today they were seen pulling mattresses out of this landfill.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my God. So obviously...

SERVATIUS: We`ll find out what this means.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... the time line has to dovetail with the search for her in the landfill, because garbage piles up according to most recent on top.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And so they have to figure out when she disappeared to know how far to go.

This huge clue in Zahra`s disappearance could be at the bottom of this North Carolina landfill. Workers are back at this landfill. It contains trash from the Baker home. Now, the trick is finding whatever they`re looking for.

And Steve Rogers with the Nutley, New Jersey, police force, there`s a lot of speculation that they`re looking for the little girl`s prosthetic leg. She`s a cancer survivor, and she wore a prosthetic leg, which has also disappeared along with her. Thoughts, Steve?

STEVE ROGERS, NUTLEY, NEW JERSEY, POLICE FORCE: Yes. Yes, you`re right, Jane. The fact is, they`re looking for evidence. They`re looking for maybe a weapon, maybe the leg.

And unfortunately -- and I know the police ruled it out -- they`re not looking for a body. But God forbid they may have information that maybe even a body may be there. And that will indeed wrap this case up. They`ll have enough evidence if a body is there. But with the -- if there`s a weapon or clothing or the leg, that will establish a very important time line.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist, Elisa Baker was a nomad. Relatives say she lived in five different places. They call her a drug dealer. This is -- this is a scary lady, and she admits she faked the ransom note.

LUDWIG: Yes. I mean, this -- this woman sounds dangerous. One would think, if you have a child who survives cancer, you`d be so appreciative to have a healthy child. This woman sounds really deranged and really not capable of being a parent.

And there are mothers like that out there. It`s just so sad to hear when we see it in the news.

Thank you, everyone, especially Tara.

Nancy Grace is going to have the very latest on the Zahra Baker search at the top of the hour. She`s going to talk to a retired police captain who has led landfill searches. The very latest from Nancy Grace. Got to watch her at 8.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, "How did my kid turn into a junkie?" That`s what parents across the Pacific Northwest are asking tonight as a heroin plague sweeps through that part of the country. And the scariest part of it all? Your town could be next.

Nearly 50 school-aged children hooked on heroin. I`m not kidding. Forty-two students from just two towns in Washington state had to be rushed into drug treatment by their frantic, devastated parents. These kids are between 15 and 17 years old. What`s a kid that age doing shooting up junk? You can be hooked on heroin for life after trying it just one time.

This is an epidemic sweeping through our school system. How did this happen?

Well, to explain, I`m joined by Mandy Pearson, a 25-year-old recovering heroin addict.

Mandy, first of all, I applaud you for your courage in speaking out honestly about what you went through. And I understand you`re now in recovery. Take us through...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: People don`t understand. They take a look at you, and they say, you look so clean cut, so polished. How did you get hooked on heroin and when?

PEARSON: I was 17 years old. It was basically just right in front of me. I came home from a trip, and my best friend was using it. All my friends were using it. It -- it was everywhere. It was a -- you know, just a phone call away.

And you`re hooked from the beginning. That`s basically what happened with me. And I would do anything to get it. I would lie to my family. I tore my family apart. And yes, it`s just -- it`s everywhere. It`s easier -- it`s easier to get than alcohol.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Heroin. Now, this explains why heroin use is on the rise among young people.

Experts say heroin has now gotten easier to buy than a pack of cigarettes. Pushers are selling heroin in smaller doses. That makes it cheaper, and it allows pushers to get more people, especially young kids, hooked.

So apparently, their -- their idea is, let`s -- let`s flood the market, and we`ll get a lot of people hooked, and therefore, we`ll have a lot of customers.

Mandy, what did -- what did your parents say when they found out that you, beautiful you, were a heroin addict, a junkie?

PEARSON: That`s basically what they said. You and heroin? What? They -- they were shocked. It was, you know, something that they didn`t expect, something that they had no idea, you know, was going on, you know, with me and my friends at school.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where would you shoot up? Where would you shoot up?

PEARSON: Just anywhere. You could get to that point, and you`ll do it anywhere. I did it in bathrooms. You`d go pick up the drugs and you`d go to McDonald`s in the bathroom and shoot it up or pull over in the car and shoot it up in the car. Just anywhere that you could.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How did you finally hit bottom?

PEARSON: My dad found me in the bathroom, and I had overdosed. And he -- I basically realized that I could have died that night. had he not gotten up to go to the bathroom, I probably -- I probably would have overdosed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, so glad your dad found you, and I`m so glad that you are in recovery.

And, again, there`s a sensation among parents: "It can`t be my kid." But it can. Look at this beautiful young lady. She was hooked on heroin. It can happen. Be vigilant, parents.

Mandy, thank you, and please come back soon.

Coming up, an ISSUES exclusive. Grieving mother Diena Thompson talks to us about the tragic murder of her precious daughter Somer.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: An ISSUES exclusive. Tonight I`ll talk one on one with Somer Thompson`s devastated mother. Her beautiful daughter was kidnapped, raped, murdered while walking home from school.

Tonight Diena Thompson shares her harrowing story and she has a message for predators, "We`re coming to get you."

Plus, a battered wife fights back. Brenda Clubine says her husband broke her arms and fractured her skull, then threatened to kill her. But she killed him first.

Tonight, I`ll talk live with a woman who spent 26 years behind bars for what she calls self-defense.

Tonight: it has tragically been exactly one year since 7-year-old Somer Thompson`s body was found in a Georgia landfill. A year since her mother`s existence turned into a living hell. This is a case that`s transfixed and horrified the whole country. This little girl simply ran ahead of her siblings on the way home from school and was never seen alive again.


DIENA THOMPSON, SOMER THOMPSON`S MOTHER: She`s about 3`5, probably 65 pounds, long brown hair, brown eyes -- if anybody can help me find her.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I contacted Diena, Somer`s mother, and gave her the grim and sad news that we had made an identification of the body.

THOMPSON: I hope they get you and hope they make you pay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harrell assaulted Somer and killed her and dumped her body in a dumpster.

THOMPSON: You put my baby in the trash like she`s nothing.

My baby didn`t die in vain.

Please don`t take my sunshine away


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, in a prime-time exclusive, Diena Thompson, little Somer`s courageous mother, joins me here on ISSUES to send a message to monsters like the one who murdered her precious daughter Somer. She will tell us how and why she has made this her life`s work.

As we speak, 24-year-old Jarred Harrell is sitting behind bars waiting to go on trial for little Somer`s abduction, rape and murder. He was a neighbor. Cops say he was hooked on child porn.

Diena Thompson, I`m so honored to have you here, and I know this is a very difficult day for you because it is the anniversary of your daughter`s body having been found in the landfill. I also know you`re a mother on a mission and you want to do everything you can even at this terrible anniversary to stop this hideous epidemic of violence against children.

Let`s go back to this terrible, terrible, terrible day that your precious daughter was kidnapped. You got a phone call that changed your life. First of all, take us back to that.

THOMPSON: I was at work, and a friend was at my house. I it had gotten busy and I hadn`t heard from them to hear that everybody was ok. So I just decided to text and I got a text back that she hadn`t made it home.

So at 4:03 I called my friend and he said, Somer didn`t come home with the other children and that him and the other kids were out looking for her but they were unable to find her. And then, you know, that just turned into the worst nightmare that a mother should ever have to live through.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They talk about a mother`s intuition. Did you have any kind of intuition that day that something horrible had happened?

THOMPSON: Unfortunately, yes, I did. I knew almost instantaneously upon hearing that she didn`t make it home that -- you know, I just knew that she was gone and I was with never going to see her again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She has siblings, a twin and an older sister.

THOMPSON: And an older brother.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are they going through? What are they going through?

THOMPSON: Her twin is really -- he is taking it hard. You know, he just misses her so bad. I mean, you know, I think the only love that -- like everybody says there`s nothing like a mother`s love. I can`t imagine what it would be like to be a twin and lose one because they were together from being conceived inside. I just -- my heart aches for my children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do they ask? Do they understand?

THOMPSON: They don`t like to talk about it. It`s a very sensitive subject. I don`t push them. But if they want to talk about it, I talk about it with them.

You know, things got a lot better when the monster got caught. They weren`t as scared anymore. And of course they go to counseling and we have lots of friends and family in this community. It has been wonderful but not a lot of talking about it. It`s still too new and to -- the scab is too fresh.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`ve never held back, Diena, the very day after your daughter`s body was found, you sent a message loud and clear to her murder. I want to go back to that.

THOMPSON: Oh, yes. That we`re going to get you.


THOMPSON: I want you to know that I will not sleep until this person is found. I hope they get you, and I hope they make you pay for a long, long time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Diena here`s my big issue. You have a message to these monsters. You have dedicated your life to helping other families whose children are abducted and murdered and to prevent other children from being abducted, raped and murdered. What is your message that you want to get out tonight to the United States -- to the world?

THOMPSON: My message is, it`s time for us to reclaim our streets and our children`s innocence. And it`s time for the monsters and the predators to start being scared of us; for us to stop being scared of them and them to be scared of us. We`re coming after you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What was it like when you woke up today and you realized this is the anniversary, the one-year anniversary of when they found your daughter`s body?

THOMPSON: Excruciating pain and knowing that they`re also looking for that poor child in North Carolina on the same day just utterly ripped my heart out. It really does. You only put things in the trash that you don`t want, and I just -- I can`t conceive of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. It`s horrific, and you`re right. There is this case now where they`re looking in a landfill -- that had to -- it`s a bizarre timing and it`s got to be painful timing for you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A day after your daughter`s body was found in the landfill 50 miles from your home, cops pledged to find her killer before he could kill again. Let`s listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a child killer on the loose, and that`s why we`re going to catch this person and bring him to justice. I fear, I fear, for our community until we bring this person in.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, this suspect, 24-year-old Jarred Harrell, was eventually arrested for your daughter`s murder this past March. He`s awaiting trial for premeditated murder, supposed to go on trial in 2011.

But here`s one of the most frustrating aspect of this case. This guy was on the police radar months earlier, two months earlier, two former roommates of his had found child porn on his computer. This is back in August.

Cops, they went to the cops, they said there`s something wrong with this guy. He`s got porn on his computer. Do something. Cops took the computer, but they spent so much time forensically processing it, that by the time they finished processing it, your daughter had been taken by this man allegedly, raped and murdered. What`s your reaction to that?

THOMPSON: I understand their reasoning behind looking at the people who actually turned in the computer, but my thoughts are, if you`re going to look at those two people and those two people are telling you it`s this one other person, then, fine, look at the two people, but you also need to be looking at the third person.

I mean, you know, everybody who`s accusing anybody or doing anything, they should all be involved in it. They should have been checking him out and maybe, just maybe -- you know, I can`t change it now -- but just maybe that would have made the difference.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, when I researched this case, they said, well, we had to get a search warrant for the computer, and we had to do a forensic analysis, we had to send it to -- it was not our jurisdiction. It was a bunch of bureaucracy. And I don`t buy it. You know why, Diena? Because these two former roommates say it`s right on the desktop.

There was a -- an indicator that said "toddler insertion" right there. So all you have to do is press -- get the search warrant that day, press on the computer, and you don`t need to forensically take apart the computer. All you have to do is look at it. It`s right there for your own eyes to see. I don`t buy that explanation.

THOMPSON: Yes. You know, I struggle with that myself a lot because I know that they questioned him in October before Somer disappeared and he didn`t get charged then. You know, I don`t know all the legal ramifications and how the legal system works. I know that it seems kind of unjust to me, you know, how it works that he gets special treatment in jail when I don`t think he deserves to even breathe the same air as we do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unfortunately, your nightmare may be just beginning because you`re going to have to go through this trial. Are you dreading that?

THOMPSON: No. I actually can`t wait for it to get started because I want him to have to face all of his victims and his victims` family members and feel us, you know, feel us burning the holes in his back.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re going to be there every day in court staring at him.

THOMPSON: Oh, without a doubt. Like I said, he should be afraid of me. I`m not afraid of him. He can`t hurt me any worse than he`s already hurt me. Now it`s time for them to be scared of us.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to thank you so much Diena, for coming on. You`re one of my heroes of we have some more here because Diena is part -- a very important part of an incredible ISSUES special investigation which is called tragically, appropriately "Every Parent`s Worst Nightmare". It`s going to air November 4th and 5th right here on ISSUES. You don`t want to miss it because we provide solutions so this doesn`t happen to another child.

Coming up, unbelievable stories of domestic abuse and survival -- a woman who endured years of torture finally killed her husband. And guess what? They sent her to prison for a quarter of a century. Is that fair? Why wasn`t it self-defense? We`re taking your calls 1-877-JVM-SAYS.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: murder in the second degree a felony, that the defendant be imprisoned in the state prison for the term prescribed by law, which is 15 years to life in prison.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Imagine if somebody fractured your skull, broke your bones, bashed your face in and then threatened to kill you. But you managed to kill them first. Self-defense, right? But what if your attacker was your own husband?

Brenda Clubine spent 26 years in prison for killing her abusive husband. After years of black eyes and skull fractures and broken limbs, a jury decided she was guilty of murder and ripped her away from her young son.


BRENDA CLUBINE, IMPRISONED FOR KILLING ABUSIVE HUSBAND: When my jury convicted me for second-degree murder, I knew then that it was over for me and my son. The judge said I have to recommend your son to the California Department of Adoption. He was not quite 3 years old.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at that precious child. His life shattered; his mom`s life shattered. Finally just two years ago after a quarter of century behind bars Brenda was given her precious freedom back.


CLUBINE: It was all meant to be right at this point in time because I have my son and my freedom is just a short distance away now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m ordering her released forthwith. Good luck to you, ma`am.

CLUBINE: Thank you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is an honor to welcome Brenda Clubine. You are my hero for never giving up and for devoting your life to helping Americans understand what domestic violence is really like as opposed to our stereotypes in our head.

Take us back to that fateful moment when you, Brenda, decided to stand up for yourself.

CLUBINE: Well, first of all I want to say that it`s an honor and pleasure for me to be on this show because I think it`s so important that we educate not only the victims but our community.

In one night in a matter of seconds I was forced, beyond my control, to defend my life. My husband said -- asked for my wedding rings because he said, without them, tomorrow they won`t be able to identify your body. So from there I knew that I wasn`t going to get out of there that night. And I knew that I was never going to see my son`s face, that I wouldn`t have that chance.

So my husband had been drinking from a wine bottle and I picked it up and I hit him over the head with the wine bottle. I didn`t even intend to kill him. I just wanted to knock him out and leave. And the ultimate result, unfortunately, was him dying.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, couldn`t you convince a jury -- you`ve convinced me right now. I`m sure you had medical records of broken limbs and all the abuse, maybe photos. How come the jury didn`t see that you are the victim here?

CLUBINE: Well, unfortunately, back then there was no allowing battered women`s syndrome to be admissible in court. Because of that, they just kept saying that the victim wasn`t on trial. So I had no chance. But because of years later, once in prison and starting my group, we got that law changed so that another person would never have to live the nightmare I lived and my sisters as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Your little boy was 3 years old, such a precious child. I saw those photos when you were ripped away from him. He was almost 30 when you finally got out of prison. So what was that like? How did you reconnect?

CLUBINE: Well, you know, it`s getting to know each other. We`re still in that process now. But he`s an amazing young man and I have two wonderful grandsons and we don`t -- it`s not about what was, it`s about what`s ahead of us and where we can build our life from here. And how we can --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to --

CLUBINE: -- try to heal.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to get to this big issue because it`s so important. So many people, when they heard about domestic violence, they go, why don`t these women just leave? And there`s some judgment behind that question.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In reality, it is never that similar. Here`s another clip from this documentary.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why doesn`t she just leave? That`s the question we always ask. Let`s think about the question some more. It assumes that leaving stops his violence when actually leaving escalates the violence.

We have a term for it. It`s called separation assault. It happens so often that when she tries to leave, he intensifies his violence, in fact, she is at 75 percent increased risk for being killed after she leaves.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Brenda, have people ever asked you, why didn`t you just leave? What do you tell them?

CLUBINE: Absolutely they`ve asked me, and that is because people don`t get it, they don`t understand. They don`t understand what it`s like to live in fear 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They don`t understand what the threats are when they say they`re going to kill you, your children, your friends, your family members, the guilt and the shame that goes along with it.

But in my case, I did leave, I left 11 times. I got a restraining order, I filed charges. The problem was, my husband would hunt me down and in two to five days, every time I left he would find me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my gosh.

CLUBINE: So there was nowhere for me to go.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hang on, we`re going to get to more of this after the break and take your calls.



GLENDA CROSLEY, SERVING 15 YEARS TO LIFE FOR KILLING HUSBAND: There were times when I begged him, just stop. Just stop. Why can`t you stop? There were times when he was suicidal and at his lowest, and I cradled him in my arms and I told him he was a good man, we`d get through it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was a clip from "Sin by Silence" -- fascinating documentary, moving documentary about women behind bars for killing their abusive hundreds. And my guest Brenda Clubine served 26 years because she defended herself against a husband who beat her to a pulp and threatened to kill her.

Is that fair? Of course not. Dolores, Indiana, your question or thought, man?

DOLORES INDIANA: Yes, I can live -- I have lived through what some of these women and I can agree with it. My husband beat me lifeless three or four times, and he would tell me he was going to kill me. He would steal my children. And he would take me and he would kidnap me and everything else. This is before they had any felony for wife beating or anything.

But anyway, I would hide knives, pack them in my purse. I was a waitress, and I put in my mind, it come to the point where it was going to be me or him. And it got to that point, I had knives hid all through the house, and I would pack them.

One day he was going to lay me out again. And I stabbed him. And when I stabbed him, I meant to kill him. Within my heart I truly did. Thank God I didn`t, because I would still be sitting in prison.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, Dolores, thank you for sharing your very honest story.

I want to ask Brenda Clubine. Did you try to protect yourself in the same way? Did you -- how did you try to get away from this guy?

CLUBINE: That night or in general?


CLUBINE: I left multiple times, and when I left, it would be when he would be gone because that would be my only safe time to leave. Then he wasn`t pinning me down on the floor or pummeling me or whatever was happening at the time. And when he was gone I felt that I would have a safe bit of time that I could get out, pack some things and go.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: With your kid?

CLUBINE: But the unfortunate --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: With your child?

CLUBINE: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. But unfortunately, I don`t care where I went, and the fact that I didn`t tell anybody where I went, he would find me. I had six jobs in three months; he got me fired from each and every one of them. So that just proved everything that he said about me never being able to survive without him; that I would never make it on my own became very real for me, because I couldn`t make it. So I kept going back.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why do you think he was abusing you? What was wrong with him? What was his psychosis?

CLUBINE: Honestly, I don`t know why he was abusing me. I believe that he had his own issues. I don`t think there`s any excuse for anyone ever to put their hands on anyone. I know there is no excuse. I think that he used -- he used to say that I was upsetting him. I was making him angry, if I just did things right. And I believed those things.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are out of time, we want you to come back. We love you. We`re so glad you`re out.

CLUBINE: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don`t miss tomorrow`s issues, I`m talking to D.C. sniper`s ex-wife, she says John Allen Mohammed wanted to kill her.