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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Father of Missing Zahra Baker Arrested; Kaine Accuses Terri of Unimaginable Harm to Missing Boy

Aired October 25, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, fast-breaking new developments in the desperate search for Zahra Baker. Cops have now arrested this little girl`s father. Tonight, will the dad and the child`s allegedly abusive step-mom be charged with murder? We`ll go inside the investigation. Did police find anything in this landfill?

And a new battle explodes in the frantic search for Kyron Horman. Kyron`s father blasts his estranged wife, claiming she abducted his son and may have caused unimaginable harm. Tonight, Kyron`s step-mom, Terri, fights back, and she wants visitation rights for her daughter. Can this lady really be trusted around children?

Also, from hiccups to handcuffs. The young woman who made national headlines with her uncontrollable hiccups is now charged with murder. Could Jennifer Mee face the death penalty?

Plus, blood-boiling outrage. A high school cheerleader was kicked off the squad because she refused to cheer for a player who attacked her.

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, fast-breaking news. Zahra Baker`s step-mom, Elisa, is dragged out of jail and taken to the latest site where investigators are furiously searching for the child`s body.

HLN affiliate WSOC report cops are following up on a, quote, "promising lead" in an area less than a mile from where person of interest/step-mom Elisa -- you`re looking at her right there in pink -- lived three years ago.

Elisa Baker is reportedly inside a red SUV that`s about to appear on your screen in new video that has just come in. So look for a red SUV. It`s coming up.

Meantime, Zahra Baker`s father has just been busted on a slew of charges. Arrested and thrown in jail, Adam Baker faces eight different counts, including assault with a deadly weapon and five counts of writing bad checks.

Now, those charges are not officially connected to his 10-year-old disabled daughter`s presumed death, but it is not just a coincidence, I don`t think, that he`s arrested after investors do an exhaustive search of a landfill and come up empty-handed.

Do they think Zahra`s dad knows a lot more than he is saying? Are they putting pressure on him to spill his guts about exactly what happened to his, child who witnesses claim was abused by his wife?

Zahra`s allegedly abusive step-mom, Elisa, is locked up for what cops say is a stunt directly related to Zahra`s disappearance. Elisa -- there she is again -- was arrested after cops say she admitted writing a bogus ransom note that was found the very day this couple reported the child missing to 911.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADAM BAKER, FATHER OF ZAHRA: The police were out here last night. They found a ransom note for my boss`s daughter. And I got up a little while ago, and it appears that they took my daughter instead of my boss`s daughter.

We had an officer out here last night, and he ran through who he thought it may have been, like an ex-employee or something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So many fast-breaking developments just coming into ISSUES. Cops are saying that the dad, Adam Baker, asked police to notify the Australian consulate in Atlanta about his arrest. He`s originally Australian. Is he trying to turn this into some kind of international incident?

What do you think of all these latest developments in this horrific story about a disabled child in peril? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586- 7297.

Straight out to Tara Servatius, host of "The Tara Servatius Show" on WBT Radio out of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Tara, what is the very latest?

TARA SERVATIUS, RADIO SHOW HOST: Well, Jane, you wrapped it up. Adam Baker has now been arrested.

Here`s the thing, Jane. These aren`t new charges. This isn`t from yesterday. I told you in the beginning our sources were telling us they would leave Adam Baker out of jail while he was still useful to them. And when he was no longer useful, he`d be heading to jail. And that`s where he`s going. They didn`t find what they need at the landfill.

And now you`re seeing Elisa Baker being paraded around. She`s at a new site they`re searching. They`ve got promising leads. It looks to me like they`re done with Adam Baker. They`ve put him in the jail. And now, heck, playing them against each other? Now it`s Elisa Baker that they`re driving around?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And I have to wonder if they also thought this dad might have been a flight risk. If they`re on the verge of a break in this case and they figure, "We`ve got to have him locked up behind bars because he could disappear," Mike Brooks?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: No. I guarantee that they had him, as we say, in pocket the whole time, Jane, finding out who he talked to, where with he was going, who he was seeing. No, they had it the whole time he was out.

But the bottom line is, they had paper on him all along. Very similar type charges that they`re holding her on. He`s not cooperating with police anymore. Why not lock him up, try to put a little bit of pressure on him, if any, and find out if he talks?

And who is coming forward possibly to make the best deal? Who knows what the real information is?

And why do they have her out there? Where did the information originally come about this site from where she lived three years ago? Was it from her? Is she out there to say, "Well, this used to be here. That used to be there"? And who knows what else she might know?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I think it`s interesting they`re searching an area where she lived three years ago. They just moved to the new family home from which the child disappeared just over a month ago. So they don`t know that area as well if they wanted to hide something. They would go back to an area that they knew a lot better to hide something. So it makes sense.

Two days after little Zahra disappeared, her father went on ABC, and he was asked if he thinks his wife, that woman right there, could be responsible for his daughter`s disappearance. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BAKER: I wouldn`t like to think so, but going off what I heard so far, it could be possible. I didn`t talk to her very much when I called the police. Just about every officer in Hickory came to the house, and I haven`t really seen my wife since then.

I just hope I can get my daughter back. I miss her so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He sounds just like Mel Gibson. Is he also acting? By saying that he basically -- did he implicate his wife just then? Did he say, "I don`t know if she did it," and did she respond in kind by implicating him back? Could that be the reason he was just arrested on unrelated charges?

Stacey Honowitz, if they`re taking Elisa down to the search site, out of jail, down to the search site, could that indicate she`s now talking about what really happened with this child? And could she also be implicating him in the process, trying to lessen her role?

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, absolutely that`s probably what`s going on.

I mean, we can speculate until the cows come home, Jane. But the bottom line is, when you heard him call the police, he certainly didn`t sound like a frantic father looking for his daughter. You know, "I think the ransom note was for somebody else," as calm and a cool as a cucumber.

And now that she`s out and she`s in custody with these police and taking them to a certain place, there might be a time where they`re pitting each other against each other. She`s got information. Maybe she is trying to implicate him. Maybe he did know more than he originally let on to. And these are where breaks in the case come about. When people are incarcerated, pressure is put on them to speak. And in this case, I think that`s probably what`s happening.

That`s where these leads, promising leads, are coming from...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what?

SERVATIUS: And from the players themselves.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What strikes me, Tara Fields, family therapist, they are both accused of writing bad checks. So if they`re in on that together, writing bad checks, that`s not a coincidence. That means they do bad things together. So could they have done something bad together with this child, Tara?

TARA FIELDS, FAMILY THERAPIST: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Totally.

FIELDS: The other issue...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead, Tara.

FIELDS: The other issue. Sure.

SERVATIUS: Fields?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

FIELDS: He`s also got assault charges against him, too. I mean, this is the...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, I know the problem. We`ve got two Taras here. OK, I was...

That question was to Tara fields, family therapist. Go ahead.

FIELDS: Yes, absolutely. I mean, one of the things to keep in mind is these are two people who have no impulse control. You know, they may have not planned a lot of things. They were passing checks. The next thing they know, maybe they`re on drugs, maybe they`re angry, maybe they have this hare-brained scheme where, let`s just get rid of our child. Who knows?

The bottom line is, these are sociopaths. These are people that have no impulse control. And they`re dangerous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go back to Tara Servatius, because Tara Fields, the family therapist, mentioned maybe there`s drugs involved. Again, what do you know about this step-mom and drugs? Spell it out for us?

SERVATIUS: Well, we had that big break in the case when the daughter -- or the daughter of the husband -- the wife of the husband -- it`s a long story -- was buying drugs from Elisa Baker. Are you going to tell me that the husband didn`t know this? That he wasn`t involved in any of the violent incidents that she was involved in?

I mean, she was charged. The family turned her in. I mean, he knew about all of this. He absolutely did.

So you know, like we said from the beginning, this guy was headed for arrest as soon as he was of no further use.

And one more thing quickly, Jane. You know that Elisa Baker just got a new whiz-bang attorney. She is a specialist in capital cases.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, boy.

SERVATIUS: And all of a sudden, this was over the weekend, she`s got a promising lead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s the car. By the way, there`s the red SUV that they think Elisa is in as she is taken down to what could be a crime scene.

Everybody stay right where you are.

We`re taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

But first, more on little Zahra Baker. And we`re also going to talk about Kyron. We`re going to talk about Kyron Horman. His step-mom -- it`s another step-mom -- the last person to see this child alive. Should she be allowed to see her other children?

Again, we`re going to continue on with Zahra Baker and her step-mom. Both of these children missing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Catawba County 911.

BAKER: Hey, how you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m good.

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

BAKER: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ten days ago Zahra`s father, Adam Baker, tells a news reporter no, he has nothing to do with his own daughter`s disappearance. And what did he think about Elisa`s involvement? Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think happened to Zahra?

BAKER: I don`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think your wife might have had some involvement in all of it?

BAKER: I don`t know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, breaking news tonight. Zahra Baker`s stepmother dragged from jail and brought down to the newest search site. Cops reportedly following up on a promising lead.

And Zahra`s dad is put in jail on a slew of charges, none of them officially related to Zahra, but nobody thinks it`s a coincidence that both of them are behind bars tonight, Stacey Honowitz. If the charges -- the accusations against this woman is true, OK, she`s allegedly a drug abuser or a drug seller, a drug pusher. She...

HONOWITZ: Dealer, dealer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Allegedly, according to witnesses -- dealer. Dealer. She allegedly, according to witnesses, beat the child and ridiculed the child for her prosthetic leg. She admitted to writing a fake ransom note. What more do they need?

HONOWITZ: Well, listen. We all know that, in death cases, in homicide cases, you don`t need the body. We`ve seen that in several cases.

But I mean, you need something more than just the fact that a ransom note has been written, and she beat the child at one time. I mean, you have to have some -- you have to have a nexus, probable cause to think that she killed this child. So there`s got to be a little bit more. And that`s what they`re searching for.

Are they looking for blood evidence, forensic evidence, anything like that, clothing? And that`s what they`re doing right now. They`re going to a scene, because they got a promising lead. And as I said earlier, the promising lead is from probably the players themselves. He`s now in custody. She`s been in custody. Some pressure is being put on her, and she`s taking them somewhere.

So like I said, just the fact that she beat the child at one time and wrote a fake ransom note is not enough for homicide. We`re going to have to wait and see if there`s any kind of forensic evidence or an admission from somebody that they saw her actually do something with that child.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How many more kids have to go missing and never found, and nobody else is charged? I mean, how many kids have to go missing and are never found and nobody is charged? How many times do we, as a culture...

HONOWITZ: It`s a great question. It`s a wonderful question. But the fact of the matter is, Jane, in order to get into court and to have a homicide charge, there has to be evidence. We can speculate. We have circumstantial evidence that could get us into court. But there`s got to be a little bit more. And that`s why the investigators...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s no probable cause right now.

HONOWITZ: There`s no PC.

HONOWITZ: Let`s listen to this as possible evidence. Step-mom Elisa Baker called 911 about 5 a.m. on October 9 to report a suspicious fire in their backyard. Nine hours later, her husband Adam calls to report that his disabled daughter is missing.

Here`s a short clip from Adam`s really bizarre five-minute-long 911 call. Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long has she been missing?

BAKER: We checked in there last night about 2:30, and she was there. And all this happened last night around 5 a.m. So I don`t know if they set a fire in the yard to distract us to go out, and then they snuck in the door. Or I don`t know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Brooks, do you think that the fire was set in order to bring authorities to the home so they could discover the fake ransom note, or was it set to destroy crucial evidence?

BROOKS: I think they set it -- did you hear that? They. Was the fire set so they could sneak in?

Look, you`re not going to set a fire, knowing that first responders, police and fire, are going to be coming to your house and then you`re going to take somebody right then? I`m not buying that story. They`re setting up their own alibi. And, you know, that`s why he says "they."

What does he know? What does he know about that? He wouldn`t know what`s going on unless he`s the one that set all this up. You know, I`m just not buying this. Were with there any other witnesses that time of the morning? Probably not. But I`m not buying any of his story at all, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, this reminds me so much, Tara -- Tara Fields, family therapist, of the Haleigh Cummings disappearance. OK? What they did in that disappearance is they stuck Ron and Misty in jail. They got them on drug charges. There`s another parallel there. This woman is accused of dealing. And then they let them sit in the clink for a while.

But unfortunately, it has not resulted in the discovery of what happened to little Haleigh, even though both parents, the -- Misty, the de facto step-mom, and Ron are going to jail, prison, for hard time. It didn`t work, Tara.

FIELDS: Yes. It also doesn`t work in terms of bringing these children back to life.

And just in a broader sense, you know, I`m not a legal person. And listening to these stories, I just wonder, where were the people who saw these children being abused? How did these children end up staying in such sick, toxic families?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ll tell you why. The biological mother let her go! Where`s the bio mom?

All right. Got to leave it right there.

SERVATIUS: She abandoned her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nancy Grace all over this story. She`s going to have the very latest at the top of the hour, in-depth analysis.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DESIREE YOUNG, KYRON HORMAN`S MOM: I`m going to get you. We will bring justice to you, and we will bring Kyron home. You cannot escape.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, stunning new developments in the Kyron Horman case. Nearly five months after Kyron vanished, his father, Kaine Horman, is determined to keep Kyron`s step-mom, his estranged wife, about to be divorced, Terri Horman, away from their young daughter.

In court papers, Kaine Horman says he believes Terri, quote, "abducted and may have caused unimaginable harm to Kyron." Strong words. No wonder he doesn`t want Terri near their little girl. Little Kiara is almost 2 years old now. She hasn`t seen her mom in months. Her mom is Terri Horman, the step-mom of Kyron, who took him to school the day he disappeared, and she has been under a cloud of suspicion ever since.

The big question tonight: can Kaine Horman keep Terri away from their daughter, since she has not been charged with a crime and not even officially named a suspect?

Joining me now, Bruce McCain, attorney and former captain with the sheriff`s office investigating Kyron`s disappearance.

Bruce, what do you think? Can they keep Terri away from her baby girl?

BRUCE MCCAIN, ATTORNEY AND FORMER CAPTAIN WITH SHERIFF`S OFFICE: Well, Jane, actually, I think it`s going to be very difficult for the court not to approve some type of limited, perhaps case-worker-supervised visitation.

I can only speak as a lawyer here in Oregon, but Jane, the law in this state -- this is not about Kaine`s rights or Terri`s rights. The first statutory priority the court must look at is what is in the best interest of the child.

And believe it or not, we have case-supervised visits occurring all the time in the state in which a government employee takes the child or children, goes to a public place, not overnight visits, and has the other non-custodial parent sit down and visit with those children in the best interest of the children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right.

MCCAIN: I think that`s ultimately what`s going to happen here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Let me just say this. Now Kyron`s father believes that Terri -- this is what he says cops told him -- hired a hit man to try, or tried to hire a hit man to kill him, Kaine, her husband. So she hasn`t been charged with that. That`s the problem. She hasn`t been charged with anything. She`s not even officially considered a suspect. Why not?

MCCAIN: Well, Jane, you know, you hit on a really important point, because the very next sentence after that unimaginable harm sentence, he does state unequivocally, with no conditions, that Terri hired a hit man to murder him.

The problem is, he may have to prove that in court, and that`s going to create a nightmare for the district attorney and the sheriff`s office, because that`s all based on hearsay.

So if Terri`s lawyers are smart, they might say -- they might call Kaine`s bluff and say, "Your honor, we`re not going to listen to hearsay. Bring those investigators in. Bring their notebooks. Bring their tape recordings, their wiretaps." That`s the last thing investigators want to have happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right.

MCCAIN: So this whole divorce discovery process could blow up the other way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Very briefly, here`s my big issue. What the heck happened? I mean, we had all of these new leads. We had the search of Sophie (ph) Island. We had the grand jury. We had Terri Horman. We had DeDe Spicher, her friend. We had police saying, did you see these two in this car? But nothing has come of anything. What happened?

MCCAIN: Well, Jane, frankly, to borrow the president`s analogy about driving this into the ditch, this investigation has been in the ditch for some time now.

The Sophie (ph) Island search was basically a P.R. gig in order to get 200,000 and something thousand dollars in overtime, which worked ,by the way. But right now there`s no criminal suspect. As you know, there`s never been a physical criminal crime scene here. Right now, there`s a million dollars in the hole. There`s nowhere to go.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it there. Bruce, thank you.

From hiccup to lockup. You won`t believe what hiccup girl is charged with.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: From hiccups to handcuffs, the young woman who made national headlines with her uncontrollable hiccups is now charged with murder. Could Jennifer Mee face the death penalty?

Plus -- blood-boiling outrage. A high school cheerleader was kicked off the squad because she refused to cheer for a player who raped her.

Stunning news as the infamous hiccup girl is back in the headlines; but this time not for a hiccup, for a stickup. In 2007, Jennifer Mee became world famous when she could not stop a severe hiccup spell that lasted five long weeks. Then it suddenly stopped. Could she have fooled the nation with a hiccup hoax?

Listen to this. It`s not that difficult. That`s what some are asking in light of the shocking new development. Now, this 19-year-old girl is accused of luring a guy named Shannon Griffin to a location where two other suspects allegedly robbed him at gunpoint and gunned him down, shooting him several times. He died.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF CHUCK HARMON, ST. PETERSBURG POLICE DEPT: Our victim, Mr. Griffin, had a dialogue with a Jennifer Ann Mee that had started within the last week. They exchanged several back and forth on a social networking site on the Internet. Led up to a series of phone calls where she enticed him to come down and meet with her at this particular address.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops say Griffin, the man right here, met Jennifer in front of a vacant home and walked with her behind the house where he was ambushed by two men. Griffin allegedly struggled with his attackers and he was shot to death. Police say the three suspects -- and you`re looking at them there -- have admitted their involvement. All of them are charged with fist-degree murder.

Lisa Bloom, this is an astounding story because what are the chances of this teenage girl, being world famous for something as bizarre as hiccups, and then suddenly becoming infamous for something as hideous as murder?

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it`s a shocking story. It`s as if balloon boy went on a bank robbing rampage, right? We think of her as this sweet, innocent girl who we all saw a couple of years ago on the talk shows with those hiccups that she couldn`t control. It seemed real. Now we look back and say was it a hoax.

It did seem real to me. Either she`s a terrific actress or she had a real medical condition. But you wonder what that sudden fame might have done to her or what kind of person she was to be accused of such a hideous crime such as this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I don`t know. I thought about it, and at first I bought it. But then I started to see if I could pretend to have hiccups. I mean, it`s not that difficult. Seriously.

Now Jennifer was famous only for as long as she had her hiccups. And you raised it Lisa. This brings me to my big issue. How did she get from hiccup to stickup?

Cops believe this was Jennifer`s first time participating in a robbery. How did she go from the beloved hiccup girl to a murder suspect? Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was kind of I guess recently kind of bouncing from place to place and she had been living in an apartment with these two individuals. There was some notations she might have been dating one, but her current boyfriend is apparently in the Pinellas County jail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Maybe Jennifer became popular after her five minutes of fame and in doing so attracted the wrong crowd. It`s also possible that after the rush of media exposure faded it kind of raised the bar and created a need for her to have that level of excitement.

You know what happens, Mike Brooks. If you can`t get excitement doing something positive, you`ll get excitement doing something negative.

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Sure. She received all kinds of letters, for a while she was in her 15 minutes of fame. But did you hear what he said, Jane? Her current boyfriend is in the Pinellas County jail. Then she hooks up with these two guys?

I`m -- what kind of person is she attracted to? What kind of person does she reach out to? Was it her fame, or is she just attracted to the wrong kind of person?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dana, California, your question or thought Dana.

DANA, CALIFORNIA: Hello, Jane. I`m from California. Yes, I have no doubt that she had a hiccup disorder. That was not the problem. I do also believe she`s like any other person who makes bad choices and she made a really bad choice. That`s all there is to it.

I do think that -- it`s great to point out that anybody can go astray, but please don`t spend too much time on this. She`s a bad girl and she doesn`t deserve all the attention.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, Dana, we`re spending time on it because it`s a fascinating psychological study. Look at that girl`s face.

Now, Lisa Bloom, I don`t know if you can see it, but her mug shot, it looks like she`s channeling Al Capone. She doesn`t look remorseful or scared or worried. She looks like, hey, bring it on. Go ahead.

BLOOM: Well, you know, I don`t make a huge judgment about snapshots and about booking photos. I mean you can`t tell a lot by what people look like. Murderers come in all shapes and sizes. She is presumed innocent and she`s only been charged, she hasn`t been convicted.

So I think we have take a deep breath and not just hiccup our way through the story. I mean we don`t know what the facts are yet. This is a preliminary story so far.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, they say she didn`t obviously pull the trigger. She was the setup person. And she was allegedly walking away when the struggle occurred and shots were fired.

Listen to this and you can decide if you think she`s guilty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARMON: The felony murder rule allows for somebody to be charged if they conspire to do that or at the actual act when the thing occurs, like she was. She was well aware this was going on and knew about it. Regardless of who was holding the gun in the eyes of the law they all get charged the same.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Brooks, I`ve often railed against these long sentences given to nonviolent drug offenders and they`re clogging up the prison system. But when it comes to somebody who is involved in a crime of violence and there was a gun involved, I am absolutely intolerant. And I do believe -- I don`t care whether she was just luring him -- she is as guilty of murder as the others.

BROOKS: She is. And it`s not like she`s the unwitting person who had no idea about these two guys and met this person -- no. She was involved in the conspiracy just like you heard from the sheriff.

I tell you what, she better strike a deal after we find out -- again, what Lisa said, presumption of innocence -- but after we find out what`s going on with the real story, she better be the one to step up and turn a deal and roll on the other two or else she could go away for a long time. Or possibly be eligible for the death penalty, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well that, I mean, Lisa, I`m not sure that I would go for the death penalty for her.

BLOOM: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you think?

(CROSSTALK)

BLOOM: You know what, Jane --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Somebody died and was shot three times.

BROOKS: And it`s Florida.

BLOOM: Let me say this. We are the only first world country that imposes the death penalty in felony murder cases meaning on somebody who doesn`t pull the trigger in a murder case, somebody who`s just part of the conspiracy.

Yes, she is guilty of murder if somebody else in the conspiracy commits murder. But to put her to death would be very extreme, especially given her young age. I think we`re jumping way ahead of the facts. We don`t know what she knew, we don`t know when she did it --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She admitted her involvement, Lisa --

BLOOM: What?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- according to published reports, she admitted her involvement.

BLOOM: Yes. According to the police and again, you know, we know law enforcement side, not her side.

BROOKS: Lisa, come on.

BLOOM: And she`s presumed innocent. And many times people say later, I didn`t tell that to the cops. I just want to hear both sides of the story before I jump to conclusions about guilt.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Judy, New York, your question or thought.

JUDY, NEW YORK (via telephone): Hi. Yes. My thought is, I don`t believe that she ever could have hiccups for that long. My son had hiccups for 48 hours. He`s an adult. And he had to be hospitalized. His esophagus, the doctors were with amazed. They had to give him medication to stop it. They said there was -- his esophagus, he was in very bad shape.

They said he couldn`t have made it much longer because his heart was having -- he was having problems breathing. You know, I believe she lied about this and I believe she did, you know -- she`s guilty.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Well, I agree with you, Judy. I find it odd. It`s a brazen thing. Let`s listen to her hiccupping again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there anything you want to tell folks?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, I don`t know. I`m starting to wonder, Lisa.

BROOKS: I don`t know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, look, look.

BLOOM: I`ll tell you, Jane. You know what`s fishy about the story? That she said after five or six weeks that she tried a variety of home remedies and then it just stopped. That`s a little odd to me. Was this ever medically documented? Apparently other people have had hiccups for a number of weeks but it`s definitely a bizarre story. I`m a little suspicious too.

BROOKS: I am, too. You never heard a sentence interrupted by a hiccup.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Exactly.

BROOKS: I`m just saying.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If you really have the hiccups and we`ve all had them and frankly as a broadcaster you can relate to this, both of you. I`ve had hiccups on the air and I`m terrified I`m going to say, coming up -- so you would -- you know that it happens while you`re talking. It doesn`t just happen between sentences.

BROOKS: It does.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can you be charged with --

BLOOM: Maybe she`s an Oscar-worthy actress. Maybe she missed her calling. She convinced "The Today Show".

BROOKS: Really.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, it`s bizarre and crazy but it`s not funny because there is a man who is dead -- an innocent man who was simply on the Internet --

BROOKS: He was lured to his death.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And look at this girls face. That troubles me. It troubles -- that expression troubles me.

BROOKS: I`m with you, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fantastic guests -- yes thank you so very much.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now a question of a high school cheerleader forced to cheer for a man whom she believes attacked her. We`re taking your calls on this, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Plus, a new boozy drink wreaking havoc on college campuses. And you can buy it anywhere. Is that loco?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything was going fine. The music was playing. people were having fun. And then all of a sudden all the girls were puking everywhere. Girls were outside like on their back and people were so drunk they didn`t know what to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A young woman forced to cheer for the man who she says assaulted her. That`s next.

But first, "Top of the Block".

Our toxic, addict nation has a new weapon, alcoholic energy drinks trashing kids all over the country. Nine students at Central Washington University had to be rushed to the hospital. Cops say at least 50 -- 5-0 - - students became sick from drinking souped-up caffeine-filled booze called "Four Loko" (ph).

Ok, this stuff is referred to as blackout in a bottle. Experts say one can of these alcoholic energy drinks can have as much alcohol as a six- pack of beer and more caffeine than four cups of coffee. So you`re not only trashed but you`re hyped up to do something really dumb. That`s totally loco.

And that is tonight`s "Top of the Block".

Tonight, there`s a growing outrage as a young victim says she is violated over and over again. A Texas high school cheerleader gets kicked off the squad for refusing to cheer for her attacker. The girl says three teenagers raped her at a party in 2008. She was 16 at the time. She is not being identified because she`s a minor.

Now, one of the suspects, star athlete Rakheem Bolton, pleaded guilty to simple assault in her case, not rape but simple assault. Ok, so four months after the incident, the victim, the cheerleader, refused to cheer for Bolton, her assailant, at a basketball game.

Let me be clear. She didn`t want to cheer for the boy that she contends violated her, the boy who admitted to simple assault in connection with her case. For that, she was kicked off the cheerleading squad.

Well, surely Rakheem Bolton was punished, right? No. Think again. His one-year sentence in jail was suspended. So the girl decides to hey, I`m going to sue the school for kicking me out of cheerleading. Guess -- it gets crazier. Not one but two courts ruled against her, saying she was out of line.

Where is the justice for this girl? She`s a victim, for goodness` sakes.

I`d like to welcome my fantastic panel. I`ve got to starting with Liz Seccuro, who is joining us by phone. She was sexually assaulted when she was a 17-year-old college student. Liz, what is your reaction to this story?

LIZ SECCURO, SEXUALLY ASSAULTED WHEN SHE WAS 17 (via telephone): Jane, thanks for having me via phone. I`m flabbergasted by not only what the school has said but the rulings and the upholding of the ruling. It`s absolutely out of control.

I mean, this is a woman -- and I`m going to re -- I think the ruling said something to the effect that she was a cheerleader as a quote, "mouth piece" for a school to quote, "disseminate speech," namely support for its athletic team and her silence apparently quote, "constituted substantial interference with the work of the school because as a cheerleader Ms. X was at the basketball game for the purpose of cheering, a position she undertook voluntarily," end quote.

Well, I don`t think she chose to be raped voluntarily. And the fact that this girl has the moxie and the guts to continue to go to school here with this thug and his accomplices, I -- I cheer her. That`s what I say.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes and -- and I have so many questions. And once again, I want to be -- I want to be careful here. He was not convicted of rape. He pleaded guilty to simple assault.

(CROSSTALK)

SECCURO: Yes, just a simple assault. Correct.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that`s an important distinction.

SECCURO: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I have to wonder also, Stacey Honowitz, because I`m outraged by this. But by the same token I have to wonder, why did the grand jury decline to indict him on sexual assault charges?

Now, apparently they did a rape kit so I -- I`m just wondering, could there be something we don`t know about this? Because it`s outrageous.

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, it is. And we don`t know the ins and outs of the case. But the second grand jury did hear evidence and they did indict. And certainly there was a case against the first D.A. saying that somehow they messed up the investigation.

So I don`t know if they didn`t put certain evidence in, if certain evidence was missing at the time that originally went in front of the grand jury. In any event, the second grand jury did hear evidence and did indict. And while everyone is in an outrage, you have to remember it was a negotiated plea where they say the victim approved.

On the other hand, what your caller just said, it can`t be put in any better words than what she just said. The idea that she had the gumption to still remain at the school and to try to maintain her composure and really stick up for herself and say, this is what someone did to me, and I`m not going to stand on a sideline and support a person who attacked me. And it doesn`t matter whether it`s sexual, if the guy punched her in the face and she didn`t want to go ahead and support him, that is her right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. That`s what bugs me.

HONOWITZ: So we stand here and it`s an outrage. It`s an outrage.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s not -- it`s not just about she says she was raped and he ended up pleading to a lesser charge of simple assault. It`s also that it doesn`t matter what he did --

HONOWITZ: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- if he slapped her. If he`s convicted of anything in connection with her, why should she be forced to cheer for him?

I want to go to Gerry Dickert, who is editor of the "Silsbee Bee Newspaper". Was she a cheerleader before the alleged attack?

GERRY DICKERT, EDITOR, "Silsbee Bee NEWSPAPER" (via telephone): Yes, she was.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

DICKERT: And I think it`s important that we better understand the timeline of everything that`s happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Tell us.

DICKERT: And when the girl -- when this incident took place initially with her being asked not to -- kicked off the cheerleading squad, Rakheem Bolton and Christian Roundtree, the two young men who have since been indicted, had been no-billed by grand jury prior.

So the reason he was back on the basketball court in the first place was because he had been no billed by a Hardin County (ph), Texas grand jury. It had been found there was not enough information.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Later. Later. So later, he pleads guilty to simple assault. Why is it that -- is he still with the team?

DICKERT: Oh, he actually I believe has quit school. When he was indicted --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. More on the other side -- this is outrageous.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are we doing here today, Gene?

GENE BAUR, PRESIDENT, FARM SANCTUARY: This is the Walk for Farm Animals in New York City. People are coming together to raise awareness about the cruelty of factory farming and encouraging citizens to think about their food choices and ultimately to make more humane, compassionate choices.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What an incredible event yesterday. I was part of the Walk for the Farm Animals. I was about one of 1,000 people who walked around Central Park in New York City, led by NBA great and health guru, John Salley. There were marches all across the United States.

It`s all to speak up for the billions of voiceless animals -- there`s me and John Salley -- confined in cruel factory farms which is also, by the way, a huge threat to our environment and this was a sign that I was holding. It says "Compassion begins with you". How true.

Returning now to the young assault victim -- kicked off her high school cheerleading squad for refusing to cheer for her attacker. Why has nobody stood up for this girl? Not her school, not her coach, not the judges who tossed out her lawsuit.

J.D., Hawaii, your question or thought, ma`am? J.D.?

J.D., HAWAII: Yes. Hello.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How you doing, all the way there in Hawaii? Good to hear from you. What`s your question, ma`am?

J.D.: I don`t have a question, but I believe that women are our greatest judges, and when, you know, especially a young girl like this is in a situation, groups of women should come to her side and say hey, we`re not cheerleading for the boys today.

But unfortunately, women don`t want to discuss all this stuff either, and it just makes the victim never heal even more, and then we`re going to have a young girl that will never trust women or have good friends again, either.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you, J.D. Get this. A female cheerleading coach was the one who dismissed her from the squad.

Here`s my big issue. Do we have some kind of pro-attacker attitude in this country? Just last week we blasted a Yale fraternity for this outrageous chant encouraging rape. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No means yes, yes means (EXPLETIVE DELETED). No means yes, yes means (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ll spare you what the bleep means. We criticize parts of the Middle East for how they treats women, wives who cheat were being stoned. How about what we`re doing, we`re stigmatizing female victims in this country?

Tara Fields, family therapist?

TARA FIELDS, FAMILY THERAPIST: Absolutely. If we ever wonder why professional adult athletes get away with what they do, with no remorse, no second thoughts, this is where it begins. This is where it starts, where the message is you`re special. You play football, you`re male.

And I can`t applaud this young girl and her parents strongly enough for saying so much has been taken away from you, but the one thing you have control over is your voice, and your action. And her action to say at least I will not applaud him, and that her parents had her back, that is a wonderful lesson for all the parents out there. Fathers and mothers, to say at least support your children, and let them know what they`ve done isn`t wrong.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think what she should have done also is gotten a restraining order against him and said I don`t want to be in the same room with him, then he should not have been able to play while she was cheerleading. That`s how it should have gone.

FIELDS: But that wouldn`t have happened. That wouldn`t have happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re out of time.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END