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Teen Stomped to Death; Josh Powell Claims Wife Left Due to Mental Instability

Aired November 8, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight a culture of violence out of control. A brutal beat-down at a party. Cops say a perverse promise led a pack of teens to viciously ambush an innocent partygoer who did absolutely nothing to provoke the attack. You will not believe why cops say they pummeled Bobby Tillman to death.

And the family firestorm erupts as Josh Powell breaks his silence. Jaw-dropping comments from this controversial husband. He`s actually blaming his wife Susan for vanishing. I`ll talk to Susan`s distraught parents tonight.

Then explosive developments in the search for missing and presumed dead Zahra Baker. The 10-year-old`s biological mom melts down as her father is evicted from the family home. We`ll give you an inside look at this house of shame.

Plus, is rehab finally paying off for Lindsay Lohan? The troubled actress has a shocking reunion with the dad she once demonized at the Betty Ford Clinic. And her mom is making a stunning admission.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a shocking...



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bobby was always there with a smile on his face, happy, and never had any bad, negative energy around him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a shocking and completely, 100 percent senseless act of brutality. A completely unprovoked attack on an innocent 18-year-old boy.

Tonight cops say Bobby Tillman is dead because another teenager decided to, quote, "hit the next person I see," end quote, quite possibly to impress a girl. That next person just happened to be Bobby Tillman, the youngster you saw there a second ago in the tuxedo.

Cops say four young men took part in that brutal beat-down, kicking, beating, stomping Tillman to death, all for absolutely no reason. Zero. Zip.

This all happened in the front yard of a house party in Atlanta in an Atlanta, Georgia, suburb. If that doesn`t illustrate our society`s culture of violence, I really don`t know what does.

Tillman`s mother broke down in court. She`s now lost her only son to this senseless act of violence. I will speak live to her and the victim`s sister in just a moment. Listen to this poor mom.


MONIQUE RIVARDE, MOTHER OF BOBBY TILLMAN: Bobby Tillman was my son. He was my only son. He was my best friend. He was a child of God. He was very loving. He was an angel here on earth, and I was blessed to be his mother.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bobby Tillman was no match for these four suspects. He was only 5`6" and 125 pounds. He died of blunt force trauma to the head and chest.

To say that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time is a vast understatement. Were these young men ticking time bombs just waiting to go off? What could possibly have made them so rageful that they would allegedly stomp Bobby Tillman to death for no reason? Call me 1-877-JVM- SAYS.

Straight out to my two very special guests, one of Bobby Tillman`s best friends, Dominique Smalls, and we also have Bobby`s sister, Fashionee, but we begin with our extremely, extremely special guest, Monique Rivarde.

First of all, our condolences. We are so very, very sorry for your loss.

M. RIVARDE: Thank you so much.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I know that there`s no way we can even begin to appreciate what you`re going through.

M. RIVARDE: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What can you tell us about what happened to your son that night? What do you know?

M. RIVARDE: You know, I don`t know, really, too much more than everyone else does. The D.A. has told me that they will definitely keep in contact with me, you know, to discuss the facts. I have heard several different stories of what happened to my son. But what we all know is the result, and that`s they killed him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell us about Bobby.

M. RIVARDE: Bobby was a beautiful person. He was a wonderful son. He was a mature 18-year-old. He was beyond his years. He had a very wise soul. He was gentle. He was loving. He was a man, you know. He was 18, but he was a man. He had respect for his life, for others` life, for God, and he was a silent hero. To me, he was my angel. He was. He taught me so much more than I think I`ve ever of taught him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fashionee, what was your reaction when you heard that your brother was pummeled, beaten and kicked to death for no reason?

FASHIONEE RIVARDE, SISTER OF BOBBY TILLMAN: I couldn`t believe it. Why would somebody want to do this to someone? I couldn`t believe he died, like, I couldn`t believe it was my brother. I don`t see why they would do that to him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, we have to ask. Was this some sort of sick code of behavior?

Apparently, two girls got into a fight in the front yard of this party. Cops say one of the girls hit a boy, and that boy, presumably, allegedly one the four suspects arrested, said he wouldn`t hit the girl back, but he would hit the next male who walked by. You`ve got to be kidding me!

This monster says, "Oh, I`m not going to hit a girl, but I will beat, stomp, kick another young man to death"? And that apparently passes in some sick portion of somebody`s brain as, what, chivalry? That`s thug, pathetic behavior.

I want to ask Dominique Smalls -- is Dominique there? Do we have her? OK. Well, I`m going to go to Mike Brooks. I mean, what -- what in God`s name is going on with this code of behavior?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Jane, you hit the nail right on the head. You talked about a thug.

Now, this was supposed to be a party. Two girls were supposed to be giving this party. They were expecting maybe 10 to 15 people to show up. Sheriff Miller, the sheriff of Douglas County, said that all of a sudden somewhere between 60 and 80 people showed up. And everything played out exactly as you said.

Apparently, two girls got into a fight. This one guy came up. She hit the male. He said, next dude that walks by, he`s going to hit him. He wouldn`t hit her. So he hits this -- he hits -- the next person to walk by is poor Bobby Tillman. And he hit him, knocked him down, and witnesses said then three other people jumped in on him, started kicking him, started stomping him. This is thuggery, no other way to explain it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bernard Watson Jr., reporter with WGCL, OK, supposed to be ten kids at the party. More than 50 show up. Maybe they got the word through Facebook or some other social networking site. So are these suspects, quite likely crashers who were looking for trouble, who weren`t supposed to be there and who come in and say, "Hey, you know, I`m going to make trouble here"?

BERNARD WATSON JR., REPORTER, WGCL: Well, that`s certainly one of the questions that a lot of people are asking now. The D.A. and the sheriff actually are tight-lipped about the investigation and what`s going on. They say now that it has moved into the legal system they can`t talk as much about it.

As a matter of fact, we haven`t even found out exactly who was the supposed ringleader, who was the person who actually started all of this. But certainly, this is a case that has angered and galvanized this Douglasville community. Folks are upset, and they want justice.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, Monique, you spoke so eloquently today outside court, asking our society to do something about our epidemic of teenage violence. Let`s listen to what you had to say.


M. RIVARDE: My son did not die in vain. Something will be done with about these children attacking each other for nothing. This hatred, this jealousy, this pride is all destructive. And I just pray my son`s death wasn`t in vain.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, to that end, we`re asking, why are young men becoming so filled with rage that they would kill for no apparent reason?

Delighted to have tonight Jamison Monroe.

You run the Newport Academy, where troubled young people work through their demon. Jamison, why are so many young men so filled with rage that explodes in violence?

JAMISON MONROE JR., FOUNDER, THE NEWPORT ACADEMY: Jane, what you`re going to see here is that, when all the dust settles, that this kid who initiated this attack, this wasn`t the first time that he acted out aggressively.

And so what we need to start looking at is those warning signs and figuring out when it is we can step in and get these kids therapy and put them on a tighter leash so that they`re not at a party and they act out when they`re fueled by alcohol. You`re adding fuel to the fire, and some kid ends up dead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to go back to Bernard Watson. Was there alcohol and drugs at this party? Was this an out-of-control wild, rave- style party? There`s conflicting information about that.

WATSON: Well, what we`re hearing is, again, it started off as what was supposed to be a small party. And then you know how it is nowadays with the social network, with Twitter and Facebook. A whole bunch of people started showing up. It quickly got out of hand.

What sheriff`s deputies are telling us is they found no alcohol or drugs at the scene. None were supplied by the people who were throwing that party. At least that`s what sheriff`s deputies had to say. It is unclear, though, whether anybody brought alcohol, you know, to that party or whether some folks there were using drugs or alcohol, as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I wish they did drug and alcohol tests on these suspects, because I have a feeling that it`s a lot easier to stomp some stranger to death when you`re high and you`re drunk than when you`re stone- cold sober.

Everybody stay right where you are. We`re taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

The Zahra Baker breakdown, the missing, presumed dead 10-year-old`s heartbroken biological mom speaking out and her controversial dad is moving out.

Plus, lots more on this cops say totally unwarranted attack and murder of an innocent young man, Bobby Tillman.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of them made the statement they were going to beat up the next guy that showed up, and this little 5`6", 125-pound 18- year-old kid with braces happened to come by. They beat him down on the ground and stomped him and killed him.




M. RIVARDE: I just miss him, and I just want justice done for him. And all I want to say is he is -- he was very strong, and he is, because he`s still in me. So I`m just going to be strong for him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You understand the nature of the charge of murder against you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have the right to remain silent. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A mother mourns the loss of her precious son, a young man looking forward to going to college, his whole life ahead of him, until four teens, cops say, beat him, stomped on him and kicked him to death at a party for absolutely no reason.

I want to go to Dominique Smalls, one of Bobby Tillman`s very dearest friends. Dominique?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I know that physically Bobby was slight. He was 5`6" and 125 pounds. What was he like emotionally? What was his -- tell us about his spirit.

SMALLS: Bobby was great. He was -- you could be with him two seconds you can feel his whole vibe. And just feel close to him. The first time you meet him. He was very spiritual, and he was very sweet and never violent. He would be the one you to lift your spirits when you`re sad or make you laugh. He was just a goofy person you always want to be with.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This was not a moment of miscalculation. This wasn`t some accidental gun going off. This was a kid who was stomped and beaten to death by, allegedly, four guys.

Bernard Watson Jr., reporter with WGCL, I understand you have some new information. But I don`t understand two things. Why did the three other guys jump in and contribute with this guy, who had this insane idea that he was going to hit the next person who passed by, who was a male? And why didn`t the 50-plus people there intervene to stop it?

WATSON: Yes, that is the question a lot of people are asking. When I first started covering this story on Sunday, we ran into teens who were saying nobody did anything. Nobody jumped in to try and stop them or stop the people from beating up Bobby Tillman. And that`s the question people are asking. What prompts a young person or anyone to jump in and beat up an innocent young man?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do any of these guys have a record?

WATSON: Yes. We understand that Mr. Coleman actually has a record with police. We understand that he was arrested for driving without a license. He was put on probation. Then we understand he violated that probation two other times, once again for driving without a license, another time for giving a false name to a police officer and then finally, we understand, he`s been put on felony probation on a drug charge.

But the other three suspects, we understand, have not been in trouble with the law, which again begs the question, which is what we`re trying to investigate tonight, what makes someone do something like this?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue tonight: unfocused rage. Why this monstrous behavior?

We have really got to let young men know that it is OK to express their emotions. You know, girls can cry, but it`s shameful still in today`s world for boys to cry. How about therapy sessions like this one? If we started working with kids in elementary school, encouraging them to talk about their feelings and emotions, would it diffuse the anger?

Because I`ve got to tell you, Jamison Monroe, if they`re convicted, these kids will go away for life, their lives are destroyed. They`ve destroyed their own family`s lives. They`ve destroyed Bobby Tillman`s family. But it`s not going to solve it.

MONROE: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Then the next pack of teens is going to come along and do the same thing. As a culture, we have to come up with something that will deal with the rage with these young boys, Jamison.

MONROE: Right. You`re exactly right, Jane. I`ve been saying this for years, is that we need more life skills taught in our schools, you know.

It used to be 50 years ago our parents taught us our life skills. But now we kind of leave society up to raising our kids: our schools, the Internet, celebrities, God forbid, to be role models to our kids.

So we need to have therapy and life skills taught to our young kids in school so that they don`t pent up all this -- this emotion and then blow off the handle one time and -- and kill a kid.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Monique Rivarde, your son was killed. You say you want him to not to have died in vain. What would you say to the premise that I`m bringing up here that this is a wake-up call to our entire society that boys are being fast-tracked into violence, because they`re not taught peaceful, nonviolent conflict resolution, and at the same time they`re bombarded with thousands, tens of thousands of images of glamorized violence that`s often sexually tinged.

RIVARDE: Yes, I agree. I think that it stems from a young age. It stems from the home or whomever else is in their lives that can help them. And I think if something is done while they`re young, like the gentleman said, maybe in class, it may not help everyone, but if it can help some of them, then it would be less violence.

My son died for nothing. I don`t know why they did it, but whatever it was, he did not deserve it. There would be no reason or justification for it.

And these young men, I want them to go to prison, and I want justice to be served for my son, but if my son`s death can change someone else`s life, can save another young man`s life, then that`s what I pray for. Because it is, it`s horrible.

Bobby was such a good guy. He was my son. He was a beautiful person. And why he was taken from me, why they did what they did and they did not know him, he didn`t know them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there.



JOSH POWELL, HUSBAND OF MISSING WOMAN SUSAN POWELL: A lot of times I just go camping with my boys, you know. Not anything big. I just go overnight, and we do s`mores and stuff like that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The unforgettable s`mores story told by Josh Powell a week after his wife Susan vanished. Josh claimed he took his two young sons camping in subzero temperatures during a snowstorm and that he didn`t show up for work the next day because he forgot the next day was Monday. Hmm.

Well, you won`t believe what this guy is claiming now in a wide- ranging, jaw-dropping interview with the "Salt Lake Tribune."

Among Josh`s bizarre beliefs -- well, claims he believes this stuff -- that Susan left the family behind because of her mental illness. She`s, quote, "extremely unstable." Josh says Susan won`t come back, because her family puts too much pressure on her to be, quote, "perfect, with no fallibility, a saint."

As for Susan`s family, Josh suggests cops should treat them like a, quote, "investigative subject." Unbelievable. He accused them of directing a, quote, "hate wagon." And he calls Susan`s father Chuck a, quote, "puppet master."

Oh, and you won`t believe what Josh`s father has to say about Susan. But first, I`m honored tonight to be joined by Susan`s parents, Chuck and Judy Cox.

I`ve got to say, Chuck, I was flabbergasted when I heard these comments by Josh and his father. What was your reaction to being called a puppet master?

CHUCK COX, FATHER OF SUSAN POWELL: I really have no idea what he`s talking about. It`s ridiculous. We could not believe any of this stuff. It was just so far out there we couldn`t believe he would even say it. I just -- it is beyond belief. And we certainly deny all of the allegations, every one with of them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But how do you feel about it, Judy?

JUDY COX, MOTHER OF SUSAN POWELL: It`s upsetting. It`s just one more thing that is frustrating and hurtful or -- it just takes your breath away, and very surprised that he would do something like this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You were surprised? I mean, this is the guy who said that he went camping with his two young sons in subfreezing temperatures during a snowstorm the night your daughter disappeared? You really are surprised that this guy is saying this stuff?

J. COX: I`m surprised of all the things he`s been saying or doing. We thought he was fine in the beginning, and now this is happening and that`s what surprises me, that it could be this possibility. He was, in my opinion, more quiet unless he really had something to say.

And now, after deciding to open his mouth and say things, it was just shock and very upsetting and hurtful that he said the things that he has said.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And I want to say we reached out to comment from Josh`s attorney. They`re invited on to tell their side at any time. But what I find so bizarre is why he is speaking now, Chuck, when he is reportedly the focus of the investigation. Why not keep your mouth shut?

C. COX: Exactly. If he doesn`t have a credible story -- I mean, the first story, to me, is totally not credible, and we know our daughter wouldn`t have left her children. It`s very frustrating.

We`re waiting for him to come forward to tell the truth, tell what really happened, and to move the case along so we can find our daughter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hang on. More on the other side along with Zahra Baker, up next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Explosive developments in the search for missing and presumed dead Zahra Baker. The 10-year-old`s biological mom melts down as her father`s evicted from the family home. We`ll give you an inside look at this house of shame.

Plus, is rehab finally paying off for Lindsay Lohan? The troubled actress has a shocking reunion with the dad she once demonized at the Betty Ford Clinic. And her mom is making a stunning admission.


JOSH POWELL, HUSBAND OF SUSAN POWEEL: We just miss her and we want her back, and I love her and my boys love her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are they doing?

POWELL: They`re doing ok.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any idea what happened to her?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was Josh Powell a week after his wife Susan vanished without a trace from their Utah home. Josh has not spoken out about her disappearance since then until now. In a chilling wide-ranging, jaw-dropping, head-spinning interview, Josh -- you`re looking at the him right there -- and his father claim Susan took off with a boyfriend and she`s out there somewhere, oh, afraid to come back because her parents, who we have on tonight, Chuck and Judy Cox, are too perfectionistic (ph) about her. This is what they`re saying.

And Josh also claims that Susan is mentally ill and Josh also trashes her parents and basically says that, oh, investigators should take off their velvet gloves and look into the parents. This is absolutely outrageous.

Again, we`re back with Chuck and Judy Cox who have endured absolute hell for an entire year, not knowing where their precious daughter is. And this has got to be, Chuck, like a punch to the stomach to hear this.

CHUCK COX, FATHER OF SUSAN POWEEL: Absolutely. It`s a blatant attack against our daughter and against us and with absolutely no basis in fact anywhere. It`s very disturbing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, this morning on ABC Josh`s own sister was asked whether it`s possible that Susan was having a secret affair with another man. Let`s listen to this.


JENNIFER GRAVES, JOSH POWELL`S SISTER: She was a really big talker. She would have probably come out with something about that kind of thing if it was even in her mind. She never said anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said she can`t keep a secret.

GRAVES: She really couldn`t.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The secret affair theory was introduced by Josh`s father who told the "Salt Lake Tribune" that Susan ran off with a boyfriend. Quote, "Susan`s very sexually motivate and she`s very financially motivated," end quote.

Chuck, I don`t even know what to say about that, but what was your reaction to essentially the prime focus of the investigation, the person of interest, who has not been named a suspect, but the person of interest and his father basically putting down the victim who has disappeared and who cops fear your daughter may be deceased?

C. COX: It`s cowardly. It`s ridiculous, completely self-serving. You can see exactly what they`re trying to do. They`re trying to deflect blame away from what they have done or may have done. I don`t know how it`s going to help them and how can they believe that`s going to help them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go back to Josh`s claim that Susan, the woman who vanished is mentally ill and, quote, "extremely unstable". This is your daughter we`re talking about.

Here is Josh`s sister on ABC`s "Good Morning America". Listen to this.

GRAVES: In the Powell family, my family, we`re the ones with the mental illness documented. My brother, Josh`s brother, has bipolar and schizophrenia. So it`s documented in the Powell family. It`s not, as far as I know, documented in the Cox family. And I never saw Susan display symptoms.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, Chuck, is there some comfort to the fact that Josh`s own sister is splitting with her family and siding with you guys?

C. COX: We`re glad she`s coming forward. I couldn`t say that type of thing because I would appear to be attacking their family. And we`re not going to do that. We want the facts to speak. But the fact that she is saying that, it just makes it clearer and we`re thankful that she can do that for us.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Chuck and Judy, our hearts go out to you. We know that this past year has been hell for you as you attempt to find out what happened to your precious daughter who`s been missing since last December. We`re not going to let this story -- we`re going to stay on top of this story. We will not let it go. Thank you for joining us.


EMILY DIETRICK, ZAHRA BAKER`S BIOLOGICAL MOTHER: I never got to say good-bye; never even got to say hello to her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, Zahra Baker`s heartbroken mother lashing out and pointing fingers; Emily Dietrick furious with Zahra`s dad for not protecting her little girl. It`s been an entire month since the 10-year- old was reported missing and Emily, the biological mother, has lost all hope that her daughter is still alive.

Police found the girl`s prosthetic leg and just last week a bone that may belong to little Zahra. Emily claims Zahra`s father has kept the girl away from her since infancy and she spent most of her daughter`s short life struggling to see her. Listen to this.


DIETRICK: I can`t explain the anger, the hurt. He had no right to do any of it, to keep her from me. And take her from me. That`s not his choice. She fought for life. She fought hard for life. And somewhere along the way due to his decisions, that was taken from her. It was his responsibility to take care of her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Coming up, hear what she has to say about Zahra`s allegedly abusive stepmom Elisa. Now, Elisa is in jail for writing a bogus ransom note. Meanwhile, Adam Baker, her husband, the father of the missing and presumed dead child, was with evicted last week from the family home where Zahra may have spent the last moments of her life.

Cops collected samples from all over that house. They`re testing a mattress they think belonged to Zahra. With all of this forensic evidence piling up, why hasn`t anyone been charged in the little girl`s death? Will police ever solve the mystery of what happened to this beautiful child you`re looking at right here?

Straight out to Tara Servatius, host of the "Tara Servatius Show" on WBT-Radio in Charlotte; Tara, what do you know about the biological mother`s claims that, oh, she searched for ten years for her daughter?

TARA SERVATIUS, HOST, "TARA SERVATIUS SHOW": I`ll tell you this, Nancy (SIC), she may feel bad now, but she didn`t search too hard. I looked over the wires on the weekend; I went back to Zahra`s whole life, all the coverage of her cancer.

She lived for years in Walla-Walla. There was article after article after article in the paper about that. She did Make-a-Wish Foundation. She was at all kinds of benefits for cancer children. She was quoted at least six times, six different articles just in Walla-Walla. There is no way this woman scoured the Internet and missed all of that. If she looked for her, she didn`t try too hard.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s Jane, but it gives me an opportunity to promote Nancy is coming up at the top of the hour. She`s going to have the very latest on this as well.

Now, here is my big issue on this subject. Is it too late for tears? Zahra`s biological mom insists she spent, as you just heard, ten years, a decade, doing everything she could to locate her daughter. Really? Emily says postpartum depression caused her to lose custody after Zahra`s birth.

Here`s what she says about the stepmom who relatives claim beat Zahra on a regular basis for the slightest provocation.


DIETRICK: I can pray to God that she had enough of me in her to never do that, to have enough judge of character to never be forced to call that woman her mother. And I hate the fact that she was allowed to be in any kind of maternal role in her life. I am her mother and was not allowed in her life so why on that earth should that woman have been able to be there and do what she`s done?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Casey Jordan, criminologist, I`m not sure I`m buying this biological mother.


But hypothetically speaking, could it be a motive if she, as she claims, caught up with them just days before the little girl disappeared? Could that be a factor in the child`s disappearance and presumed death, Casey?

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: No, I don`t think that Emily Dietrick has anything to do with Zahra`s disappearance. But there is nothing as expensive as regret. So of course she is going to be very interested in blaming the stepmother.

I find it interesting that she`s not blaming her husband more harshly. What`s also interesting this week is that the stepmother is really going to be throwing Mr. Baker under the bus. She`s already said she can`t believe she`s in jail while he`s out on bond and that he`s just let her take all of the blame for everything.

I think we`re very close to getting some answers because the stepmother is probably going to start turning on him really harshly. If there`s things she knows that she hasn`t divulged yet, I think it`s going to come out very soon.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hope you`re right. Mike Brooks, I don`t buy this mom. Do you?

BROOKS: Jane, where was the interview done? In Australia. How long has little Zahra been missing? If she really cared that much, she would have been here helping to find where little Zahra was and if they did find her remains, she would be here. But no, she`s still in Australia -- tears too late.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Exactly. And I find it very odd that she says she finally caught up with them three days before this child goes missing.

BROOKS: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sorry, lady. Thank you so much, fantastic panel.

The sole surviving victim in the deadly Petit home invasion makes an emotional statement after jurors hand down a death sentence.

Plus, Lindsay Lohan, this is a twist we didn`t see coming, Lilo spends quality time with the dad she once demonized? Is she now finally on the road to recovery? I want to hear your thoughts on Lilo, 1-877-JVM-SAYS. Give me a holler.


MICHAEL LOHAN, LINDSAY LOHAN`S FATHER: My daughter`s back. I believe that. And I think SNL is giving her a great opportunity. You know, as long as she stays focus on what she doing now, only good things are going to come.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight -- a heartbreaking "Top of the block", a jury unanimously condemns Steven Hayes to death for his role in the Petit home invasion.

Here is what the sole surviving victim, Dr. William Petit, had to say about today`s verdict to send this guy to death.


DR. WILLIAM PETIT, HOME INVASION SURVIVOR: I was really crying for loss. Michaela was an 11-year-old little girl, you know? Tortured and killed in her own bedroom, you know? Surrounded by stuffed animals and Hayley had a great future. She was a strong and courageous person. And Jennifer helped so many kids.

I think it`s a just verdict, but mostly I was sad for the loss that we have all suffered.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That man has been through hell. Dr. Petit said not even the death sentence will give him closure on his personal nightmare. Well, Dr. Petit, you are my hero for standing up for your family with incredible dignity and grace and not backing down in the face of evil. And that`s tonight`s "Top of the Block".


LINDSAY LOHAN, ACTRESS: Ordered to go once a week and it wasn`t, you know -- I wasn`t missing the classes just -- I wouldn`t do anything like that. I was working mostly in Morocco, that trip I was working with children. It wasn`t a vacation. It wasn`t some sort of a joke. And I respect you and I`ve been taking you seriously.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, Lindsay Lohan battles her demons in rehab. Is she finally a changed woman? The actress` mom opens up for the very first time on NBC`s "The Today Show" about Lindsay`s progress this time around in rehab.


DINA LOHAN, LINDSAY LOHAN`S MOTHER: Happy, relaxed. She`s just a different person. It really -- you know, she`s been in a couple of facility, but this one to me has really changed her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ll have more of Dina`s stunning interview in a moment. Plus, is the starlet finally mending her troubled, toxic relationship with her outspoken dad, Michael?

TMZ reports Lindsay spent some quality time bonding with dad at the Betty Ford Rehab Center in L.A. She spent an emotional day working through their issues. Michael refused to comment in detail, but after the visit he did say, "I`m an incredibly proud father tonight. My daughter is progressing extraordinarily well."

Michael`s always insisted that Lindsay need rehab in order to literally save her from dying.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: If Lindsay doesn`t get help, do you think she will die?

M. LOHAN: It`s a strong possibility.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That your daughter will die.

M. LOHAN: Anyone can die in her position, in what she`s doing. I just want the people around Lindsay to know that they`re on notice. If something happens to my daughter and you`re around her and you enable her, you`re going to be held responsible, too. My lawyers will make sure of that, and I will as well.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. This is a big story, Dylan Howard, senior executive editor of RadarOnline, what is the very latest on the Lindsay dramarama at rehab?

DYLAN HOWARD, SENIOR EXECUTIVE EDITOR, RADARONLINE: Well, Jane, it`s the second coming of Michael Lohan and I can tell you tonight that Michael Lohan for a second successive day is in Palm Springs and he`s expected to visit his once-estranged daughter Lindsay Lohan.

RadarOnline broke the news last night about this meeting. Michael in what was an emotional reunion with Lindsay. There were tears and hugs. He arrived at Betty Ford Clinic in Palm Springs in California shortly after 1:00 p.m. The pair enjoyed some quiet time together and then they went shopping to a local mall. The pair was spotted at a jewelry store. We can also tell you that Michael returned to the jewelry store later in the day and as we understand it put aside a gift that he had purchased for his daughter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. But Lisa G., I heard they spent several hours at a jewelry store. I think, of all the places to have an emotional reunion, what the heck? A jewelry store in the Palm Springs area for several hours?

LISA G., REPORTER, "HOWARD STERN SHOW": I know. Really, because part of Lindsay`s problem was that she was somewhat of shopaholic. No, I don`t think it was the best place to go, but on the plus side they did spend quality time together. They had been estranged. I think it`s a good thing they are talking things out.

This is going to be part of her healing because the family -- I`ve always said it takes a village to make a drug addict. And sometimes that`s a co-dependent family. So they need to break down all the walls and start from the beginning.

But, Jane, after this I like to see her parents just zip it. It`s enough, already. Go in private, let her heal, let the family heal, and let`s start from the beginning.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree. Here`s my big issue tonight: un-demonizing good old, dear old dad. I mean the fact that Lindsay has finally agreed to see her dad means she could be making a huge step in her recovery.

Jamison Monroe, you`re an addiction specialist, you know that as people get sober, all of a sudden everybody they hated and they blamed for everything, they start realizing maybe they`re not so bad, maybe I`m not so good and maybe I`m to blame.

JAMISON MONROE, JR., FOUNDER, NEWPORT ACADEMY: You`re exactly right, Jane. With Mike Lohan showing up, I think it`s the best thing that could happen to Lindsay right now. Her mother was the ultimate enabler and Mike was the only one that`s going to hold her accountable.

So the fact that he`s there participating in family week at the Betty is going to be the best thing for her over the next few weeks.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. What they say in recovery is that the only thing that has to change is everything. And it is a family affair, because when one member of the family changes, so does everyone else. So they all get readjusted. Everybody gets an attitude adjustment.

LISA G.: I hope Betty Ford tells them to just --


LISA G.: I was going to say, I hope Betty Ford tells them to just keep quiet.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. More on the other side of the break; we`re not going to keep quiet. We`re taking your calls.



L. LOHAN: Thank you. I`m off to Cannes right now. It`s to announce the movie. We`re having a dinner and I`m very excited. So it`s going to work more. I`ve been working a lot but I like it. I just finished some more traffic school so I`ve been in compliance which is really good. My court date is coming up this week.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lindsay Lohan talking about flying to Cannes to promote her movie, "Inferno", where she`s set to star as the infamous porn star, Linda Lovelace. Lindsay flew to Cannes, blew off her court date and wound up in jail. Now she`s in rehab for the fifth time and take a look at a clip of Lindsay`s role in "The Underground Comedy". All right.

I`m just wondering, Lisa G., are these the best roles for somebody who`s trying to get sober? To play a porn star?

LISA G.: I think if you`re -- well, if you`re an actress, you`re not supposed to literally be that person, so she is being an actor. So I don`t think she`s taking it to heart but I think it`s going to be good that she continues to work, because she can`t just live her life in a cocoon.

When you`re in any type of rehab, they slowly want you to get back out into what you were doing into the working world, so I hope to see good things from her. I hope so. I have my fingers crossed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: John, Texas, your question or thought? Hey, John.

JOHN, TEXAS (via telephone): My name`s John.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, John. What`s your question or thought?

JOHN: I don`t have a particular question as much as I do a statement.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, say a statement. Say whatever you got to say.

JOHN: My statement is Lindsay Lohan and her mother are media whores. And as long as CNN continues to broadcast her problems on TV, they will continue to be media whores..

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Well, thank you for that, John. I`ll tell you why we cover this. Because this is an extreme example of what people are going through and families are going through all across the country. And you have plenty of kids who are addicts and parents who are in denial.

Dina used to be in tremendous denial. Her old M.O. was justify, minimize, deny, rationalize. People called her Lindsay`s enabler-in-chief. Listen to this interview from the old "Entertainment Tonight".

All right. Well, actually, this is a video of -- from TMZ of Lindsay out and about and I believe this is in the Palm Springs area when she was given kind of a day pass from Betty Ford to go out shopping.

Jamison Monroe, you run an academy for troubled young people and you`re active in rehab. What`s this with being let out of rehab to go shopping? I don`t get that.

MONROE: It was -- it was a time for her dad and her to bond and so that -- because coming up, I assume, is going to be family week with Mike and Lindsay so that they can reconnect and get back on the same page because they`ve obviously been way off the page for the past couple years. So it was a time for them to get together and spend some cordial time together before they`re probably in deep therapy today, really dealing with some of the deep core issues.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dylan Howard, I`m going to give you the last word. Do you think the former enabler-in-chief, Dina Lohan, has finally seen the light and realized her daughter is a serious addict?

HOWARD: She has and she`s admitted that. The question will be, though, whether or not she`s on board with Michael Lohan. The pair, a former married pair, have been estranged for some time and have been duking it out in court. Is she on board here? All we know is that this is a seismic shift for Lindsay to bring Michael back into her life. That`s why it`s --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there.