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Wife`s Boss Arrested in Daycare Killing; Beer Heir Speaks out about Girlfriend`s Death

Aired January 5, 2011 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, fast-breaking developments in the execution-style murder of a dad gunned down outside his son`s day care. In a jaw-dropping twist, cops have just arrested a well- respected family man for murder. We`re now learning that the suspect worked with the victim`s wife. So what`s the motive for this cold-blooded murder?

Plus, the handsome Anheuser-Busch heir speaks out for the first time since his stunning girlfriend suddenly died at his massive estate. I`ll tell you what this billionaire and the victim`s mom are saying about this mystery.

Then an Idaho man arrested in a bizarre murder and kidnapping. Cops say this guy stabbed his mother to death after kidnapping, raping and assaulting his wife, and stuffing her in the car trunk. Did he just suddenly snap?

And a veteran ESPN announcer is fired after spewing sexist remarks at a female sideline reporter. Ron Franklin reportedly had some choice words for Jeanine Edwards when she tried to join a conversation he was having with two other male sportscasters. What the heck`s going on with women and men in the workplace?

ISSUES starts now.



STEVE SNEIDERMAN, VICTIM`S BROTHER: My brother was murdered. No one should have to face that.

CHIEF BILLY GROGAN, DUNWOODY, GEORGIA, POLICE DEPARTMENT: This case appears to be a cold and calculated murder. Does not appear to be a random in nature. The victim was shot multiple times. What appears to be point- blank range.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news tonight in the horrifying execution of an Atlanta dad right outside his son`s daycare center. The victim`s wife has ties to the prime suspect. Police arrested -- are you sitting down? -- her boss, 48-year-old Hemy Neuman.

The "Atlanta Journal-Constitution" reports the suspect and the victim`s wife worked together at General Electric. Neuman made his first court appearance -- there he is right there in the orange -- this afternoon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you represented by counsel?

HEMY NEUMAN, MURDER SUSPECT: No. I will require a public defender.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Police have not ruled out the possibility of a second suspect. Could the victim`s wife, even unknowingly, be connected somehow to this case? Could the suspect have been obsessed with her, perhaps?

The victim, 36-year-old Rusty Sneiderman, was a Harvard-educated businessman and the father of two. Not exactly the typical victim of what looks like an organized hit.

Rusty was shot dead in the parking lot of his son`s daycare on November 18. He had just dropped off his 2-year-old boy, and he was going to his car when a gunman walked right up to him and shot him repeatedly, execution-style.

Now, a week before his murder, Rusty calls police to report a suspicious person behind his home. Which leads me to the question: was his killer tracking his movements? And if so, why? Does Rusty`s wife somehow hold the key to the motive?

Give me a call: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to Veronica Waters, reporter for WSB-Radio in Atlanta. Veronica, what is the very latest?

VERONICA WATERS, REPORTER, WSB-RADIO: Well, Jane, you laid it all out there. It is a very confusing and speculative case at this point.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m not hearing anything. I cannot hear anything.

WATERS: Can you hear me, Jane? Jane, can you hear me?

Everybody, all we`re hearing right now is that this case is very speculative. Police have said that this victim was targeted. Rusty Sneiderman was targeted. But we cannot tell from what police have had to say whether or not there is any motive.

Now, as we said, the victim`s widow and the suspect in the case actually worked together for the same company, GE Energy. But they did not work in the same office. However, I`m told that, in their jobs where they worked in operations, and quality control, they did have some occasion to actually interact with one another on the job.

How long they`ve known each other, we`re not quite sure. What the depth of that relationship actually is we`re not quite sure. But yes, they did know each other.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But you certainly cannot fault a grieving widow for not wanting to be out in public, speaking about her husband`s murder. She did not appear with her brother-in-law at this extremely emotional news conference back in November. Listen to this.


SNEIDERMAN: Our family has been devastated. My niece and nephew will never know their father. My sister-in-law has had an entire lifetime of dreams ripped from her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now we`re learning that the suspect is the supervisor of the wife of the man killed. OK?

I`ve got to go back to the reporter. Veronica, has the victim`s wife made any public appearances? For example, was she at her husband`s vigil?

WATERS: The vigil that was planned, if you`re talking about the one that was planned for this week, that was actually delayed because of the news of an arrest that happened yesterday. There was a vigil that was scheduled to happen on Thursday.

Now, I do hear from a source that Mrs. Sneiderman was being talked to by Dunwoody police today. But the investigators went home telling us there was nothing to report today.

It`s not surprising that the victim`s widow would actually be brought in to talk to police, as you say. We`ve already identified this suspect was one of her bosses. He`s an engineering manager, one of her supervisors. Of course, police are going to want to investigate what kind of ties were there and whether or not she has any clue as to why this could have happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue: could the motive have been love or perhaps money? It usually boils down to one of those two. No doubt cops are pouring over phone records, e-mails, texts, bank accounts and, of course, the suspect`s work correspondence, trying to find something that may have made Rusty a target.

Whatever the killer`s motive, police say he did not utter a single word before he opened fire.


GROGAN: There doesn`t appear to be any exchange of words between the suspect and the victim. From our witnesses` accounts, the suspect just walked up to the victim and started shooting.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Casey Jordan, criminologist, does that M.O. sound like a cold, calculated hit man, a jilted lover or something else entirely?

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: Oh, it`s absolutely intended and targeted.

And I`ve read that the two of them, both Rusty and Mr. Neuman, did know each other, perhaps casually, through the wife. You are absolutely right that the wife is the key.

The real question is going to be whether or not she was knowingly involved in this, or is completely un -- is shocked as we are to find out about the connection.

It could have been that he was obsessed with her. Or it could have been something completely unrelated. You know, Rusty, don`t forget, was an entrepreneur. It`s possible they knew each other casually and that Neuman invested money with him. It could be money related. But I`m still telling you that the wife knows the answers, and the police don`t want to release what they know yet.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Lisa Bloom, you talk about money. Now what I thought was fascinating is that this suspect said that essentially he wanted a public defender. Now, this guy is a GE operations manager. He`s got to have money to hire an attorney. Why is he asking for a public defender? Maybe he thinks maybe there`s money here.

LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Jane, as an attorney myself, I can tell you, just because people have money doesn`t mean that they don`t spend it all, which is what most Americans do. I mean, he may have a good income, but he could be completely broke and be unable to hire attorneys. Private attorneys are expensive. So that`s probably why he wants a public defender.

Public defenders are very good attorneys, by the way, some of the best.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, what about the wife issue? What are your thoughts? Now I want to stress, this woman is not considered a person of interest. She is not considered a suspect. And as Casey Jordan mentioned, she may -- often men become obsessed with women that they see at the workplace, and the woman has no idea that they`re the subject of an obsession.

JORDAN: That`s correct.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sometimes they do, and they spurn the person.

BLOOM: Highly likely. This has got to be some kind of a love triangle. And I want to trip very carefully, because we don`t know at this point.


BLOOM: But even if she`s not intentionally involved with this guy, as you say, maybe he`s obsessed in her and he sees her in the workplace. He`s interested in her. Maybe she rebuffed his advances. Maybe he never even made an advance but was just obsessed with her. Every woman knows a guy like that or has worked with a guy like that. And God forbid there`s an outcome like this.

But she`s got to hold the answers. She`s got to have some experiences with him, and police have to be talking to her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, this crime is so especially frightening because of the proximity to dozens of children at this daycare. He gunned him down allegedly at the daycare center.

A witness told ISSUES about this whole chaotic scene. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a man on my right, and he was yelling out, "Are you on with 911?" They said, "We`re on, we`re on." And that man to my right was standing over a body that appeared to be dead. I could see at that point that the guy had been shot at least in the chest. So there was blood pooling from all around.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s take a look. Here`s the suspect on the left. We`re going to show it to you in a second. And we`re also going to show you a sketch of the gunman the cops released a few days after the killing. And apparently, they thought he was wearing a fake beard, witnesses did.

Jeff Brown, does this look like the same guy to you?

JEFF BROWN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Actually, it doesn`t. It doesn`t at all look like the same guy. That would be great for the defense. The problem is, though, that there are witnesses that are going to come in the courtroom and say, "That guy sitting over there is the very guy that I saw pull the trigger." So that`s what`s going to carry the day here.

But let me get back to one point: just because he`s asked for a public defender doesn`t mean he gets a public defender. The judge will determine what his assets are, what his income is, how much money he has, and if he doesn`t qualify for a public defender, he can ask for one in the beginning, but he`s going to be told to get a private lawyer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side of the break we`re going to talk about the old-fashioned detective work that led the cops to this suspect and how our panel thinks they got to him. What did they do to track him down? It wasn`t a tip.

Everyone stay right there.

And Mary in Wisconsin, we`re going to take you right on the other side of the break. We`re talking about this daycare center murder. 1-877-JVM- SAYS.

Also, the heir to the Anheuser-Busch fortune, whose girlfriend died in his mansion, speaking out for the first time since the tragedy. You will not believe what this billionaire is saying about his life with this stunning woman.

Plus, more on the shocking developments in the murder, execution style, of a dad who went to Harvard, happily married, we think, outside his son`s day care.


SNEIDERMAN: Our whole family has lost its brightest light, and we don`t know why. Can you imagine that?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you represented by counsel?

NEUMAN: No. I will require a public defender.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: An unlikely hit man, but cops say that`s the guy. That was Hemy Neuman, the man charged with shooting, execution-style, an Atlanta father and Harvard-educated businessman at close range moments after the victim dropped off his young son at the daycare center.

And why would this seemingly successful engineer and father of three want Rusty Sneiderman dead? Does it have anything to do with the fact that this suspect is the boss of the victim`s wife? Is there a connection there?

Mary, Wisconsin, your question or thought, ma`am?



CALLER: I was thinking maybe there was a connection between him and the wife, like they`re saying. And she knew that her husband was in debt maybe? And she took out a high insurance policy on him and made the man think that they would be connected. And went and had him kill the husband.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say a couple things. First of all, you can always have a career as a fiction writer, because you have a very active imagination, and I do applaud you for coming up with all these theories.

But we have -- we do not want to, in any way, shape or form, say anything that impugns this wife, who is a grieving wife. She has lost her husband. She`s not named a suspect or a person of interest. We actually reached out to her. She or her representative, they`re invited on our show any time to weigh in on all of this.

But Casey Jordan, people are going to ask the question, obviously, and I`m wondering how they got to this guy. What do you think they did in terms of old-fashioned detective work to find this man?

JORDAN: I`ll tell you, the one thing that occurred to me when I first covered this case back in November, was the silver minivan getaway car. That did not fit one bit. And that`s not your typical hit man or organized crime. That`s the one thing that just seemed a little bit out of sync.

At the same time, there are so many cameras on the streets these days that I suspect, I don`t know, that they simply went through all of the cameras in every street, looking at every silver minivan, and there might have been a ton of them, until they actually narrowed it down to a license plate that had a driver that got linked to the victim. And...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom, how about could they have looked at the victim and studied the victim and said, "Well, let`s look at the wife and let`s see where she works and let`s go over there and snoop around at the wife`s office and see what comes up"?

BLOOM: Absolutely, because this killing seems very, very personal. The manner in which it was done, outside of a daycare center. I mean, this is a lot of hostility, anger, even hatred towards this victim. So you always want to look at the closest, most personal people: family members, friends, co-workers, and have a circle going outward and outward until you get to strangers. It looks like police never had to get that far.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now the suspect`s home and office are less than ten miles from the murder scene. The shooting was in Dunwoody, Georgia. Very nice area. The GE offices where the suspect and the victim`s wife worked are about nine miles away. The daycare is tucked inside a bustling shopping center, and the shooting happened during the morning rush hour. There were countless witnesses. Certainly, there could have been.

Veronica Waters, WSB Radio reporter, what do we know about the gun, and the fact that whoever this was had some pretty good aim, came right up close and personal, but boom, boom, boom, shot multiple times?

WATERS: You know what? You said it earlier, execution style. This killing was carried out in a manner that did not sound -- did not seem at all unplanned. And Dunwoody police said -- from the beginning said this man was targeted. Rusty Sneiderman was targeted.

There were no words exchanged, as far as anybody can tell, between the victim and the shooter. Witnesses say that the man walked up to Mr. Sneiderman as he was getting back in his car, shot him several times at point-blank range, and then took off. We just don`t know what the motive could have been.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And the murder weapon has not been recovered, right? Yet.

WATERS: Correct.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Has not been recovered.

To Tashawna in Georgia, your question or thought, ma`am? Tashawna?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi. Your question or thought?

CALLER: Hi, how are you?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fine, thank you.

CALLER: Are they not going to give the wife a polygraph test to see if she had any involvement?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent question, Jeff Brown.

BROWN: Yes, they may ask her to take a polygraph test. But at this point, they`re not going to be able to compel her to take a polygraph test. So we`ll see what happens with that.

I think law enforcement, though, as you said, Jane, they`re going to get e-mails. They`re going to get texts. They`re going to get all that information to kind of see what the involvement is.

But, you know, this supervisor for GE, I`ve represented hit men before. I`ve never represented hit men that well employed at GE. You just don`t find that. Most of the hit men that I represented were just not employed, and kind of roaming around looking for work.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, when I say hit man, we`re saying it was done execution-style.

BROWN: Yes, there wasn`t...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Not that the motive is a typical motive of a hit man, who`s usually hired by somebody else to execute somebody. But I don`t know...

BROWN: That`s what the initial stories were, which was interesting. The initial stories came out, saying that he was -- actually, they all thought he was a hit man. And clearly, I don`t think that`s the case.

But I do agree with you that this does have premeditation written all over it. Getting the gun, though, will be crucial for them. They`ll want to...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s breaking news, when Jeff Brown agrees with me on something.

Casey Jordan, let me ask you about the fact that this victim called police before he was killed and said, "Hey, there`s somebody in my back yard. And that`s strange. I think there`s somebody that`s -- somebody suspicious looking at me."

JORDAN: Yes. And it was serious enough that he did call the police. And didn`t just tell his family. And that would subject that whoever killed Rusty Sneiderman, Mr. Neuman or otherwise, probably actually cased his house, followed him for a while. I mean, he knew the routine, Jane.

After Mr. Sneiderman took his child into the daycare center and came back out, is when he was killed at point-blank range. Somebody knew his routine, waited for him, recognized him, knew his car, knew his child. And I think the only real silver lining is that the child was already inside when this happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: As per usual, these crimes often involve toxic secrets, and toxic secrets can lead to murder. It happens all the time.

Thank you, fantastic panel.

Cops say a former detention officer -- he worked in the jail -- went to dinner with his 4-month-old baby and mom and a friend while he held his wife captive in his car trunk after raping her, allegedly, and then he turns around and murders his mother. What on earth caused this alleged rampage?

And the heir to the Anheuser-Busch fortune opens up about his depression and the death of his stunning girlfriend. I`ll talk about that.



HEATHER HIGHFIELD, FRIEND: She was starting a new chapter in her life. She had just gone through a divorce, and she was ready to start things over again.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the billionaire heir to the Busch beer fortune comes out swinging. The girlfriend of August Busch IV was found dead at his amazing, sprawling, huge, massive mansion.

In his very first interview since her death, August Busch is setting the record straight. Now, even the victim`s mom is defending him. She doesn`t blame this billionaire for her daughter`s death.

Busch tells the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch" that he is completely distraught over the death of his longtime girlfriend, a model and a former Hooters waitress, 27-year-old Adrienne Martin.

Busch calls reports that he waited 40 minutes to call 911 completely false. He says he was bringing her breakfast in bed when he found her dead. He told one of his staff to call 911 right away.

Let`s listen to that 911 call.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we need an ambulance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, is that a residence or business?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, what`s the problem?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s -- this girl`s just not waking up. We can`t get her to...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is she -- is she breathing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don`t know. It`s dark back there. I`m going to get a light and try to see.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, all right. I`ll get them going right away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Thanks. Bye-bye.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is the latest in a string of problems for this beer mogul, including bouts with depression, a fatal car accident, and even assault charges.

Straight out to Deb Peterson, a columnist with the "St. Louis Post- Dispatch."

Deb, you spoke with August Busch. What was his explanation of what happened?



PETERSON: I did have the opportunity to speak with August on Monday. And his comment was that he had no idea what had caused Adrienne`s death, that he was devastated and just -- you know, just so down over her death. And his comment was, "I can`t let this take me down."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what about this delay in calling 911? He said it didn`t happen. There was no delay.

PETERSON: He said that he was not aware of any delay. And he said that he found her, couldn`t get a pulse, and called in a staffer, who he said, "Can you get her pulse?" The man`s name is mike. He said, "Mike, can you find a pulse?" Mike couldn`t find a pulse.

And Mike left the room to go call 911. According to Mr. Busch, it was about 30 seconds. He said they were panicky.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did he sound believable?

PETERSON: Hard for me to judge. He sounded very -- he sounded like somebody who was upset by what had happened, who cared about this woman. He said that repeatedly. He loved her deeply. That`s about all I can say.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Both August Busch and the victim, Adrienne Martin, had quite a history. Back in `83, Busch was involved in a deadly car accident that killed a 22-year-old woman. Two years later he was in a police chase that ended when a cop shot out his tire.

Now, the victim, or the woman who died, Adrienne Martin, was a former Hooters model, recently divorced, the mother of an 8-year-old boy, and she reportedly had a heart condition. Her ex-husband, who is a doctor, says she should not have been taking the insomnia medication that she was taking.

What do you know about that, Deb?

PETERSON: I know that August told me that her husband also -- her husband who was a doctor, Dr. Martin, told him that she was taking this medication. The husband told another reporter at the paper that he heard that she was taking the medication from August. So we`re confused on that. And nobody`s been able to -- they have not cleared that up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we do not know the cause of death. Deb, thank you so much.

You won`t believe this story next. It involves rape and murder.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: An Idaho man arrested in a bizarre murder and kidnapping. Cops say this guy stabbed his mother to death after kidnapping, raping and assaulting his wife and stuffing her in the car trunk. Did he just suddenly snap?

And a veteran ESPN announcer is fired after spewing sexist remarks at a female sideline reporter. Ron Franklin reportedly had some choice words for Janine Edwards when she tried to join a conversation he was having with two other male sports casters. What the heck`s going on with women and men in the workplace?


ANDREA DEARDEN, ADA COUNTY SHERIFF OFFICE: Two adult females live in the house. He came here to talk to them. At some point became angry and started stabbing one of them.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a horrific bizarre bloody crime spree is being blamed on a former Idaho sheriff`s deputy. The man in charge of keeping prisoners in line is accused of taking his own wife hostage -- allegedly -- beating her, raping her, tying her up with chains, and then to cap it all, stuffing her in the trunk of his car.

And then it gets even worse. Here he is, 24-year-old Michael Lee with a big smirk on his face -- all right. Cops say after he tied up his wife, Lee took their 4-month-old baby girl and drove to his mom`s house for dinner. His wife is in the car trunk the entire time as they eat dinner. He`s acting like nothing`s wrong.

But then something goes terribly wrong inside the house. Cops say after dinner, Lee then stabs his own mother to death right in front of his baby daughter.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He bound, raped and then kidnapped his wife. Took her to his mother`s residence where he subsequently assaulted the wife`s partner -- the mother`s partner; murdered his mother, all with his 4-month-old child present.

Now, despite her injuries, and having been rape, Lee`s wife manages to break out of the trunk and run for help.

In court today, prosecutors say the truth is Lee -- this guy here -- was plotting to rob his own mother all along, and his wife wouldn`t go along with that scheme. So that`s his punishment for her -- rape? What kind of person does this to his wife and mother?

Taking your calls 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to reporter Scott Evans from KTVV Television; Scott what is the very latest?

SCOTT EVANS, REPORTER, KTVB TELEVISION: What the latest is right now is that we`re still working to gather information to piece together his history.

We`re finding out that he not only worked at the Ada County jail, the very jail that`s holding him now, but he worked in the Idaho department of Corrections system. He worked as a correctional officer for about a year before he quit and then got brought onto the very jail that he`s now in. He worked there for two years before he was fired.

Now, according to the Police Officers Standards and Training Academy, the POST Academy that gives all the certifications here in Idaho, he went through some quite extensive training. But in October of last year, so October of 2010, nine months after he was fired from the jail, he lost his certification.

Now, he does not have a criminal history of any kind. We weren`t able to find anything else beyond that. But what we are learning now is that he was unemployed before this. Detectives have gone over to his apartment, according to prosecutors, and found receipts in his home of the dog chains that he used to bind his wife, as well as tape. And that is all going forward to show that he`s actually planned this in advance.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. EVANS: Now, as you mentioned his plan was to rob his mother. That obviously went awry --


EVANS: Somewhere during the night of the casual conversations that they had before dinner.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. The prosecution says, as you just said, there`s evidence he was planning this attack for a while.

So let`s listen to that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It appears as though Mr. Lee had been planning this for several days as detectives on the subsequent search of his apartment found receipts that tended to show that he purchased the items used to bind his wife several days previously.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But why rape your own wife? That`s my big issue tonight.

Here`s a man who`s obviously down on his luck. He`s fired a year ago. He`s still out of a job. He has a new baby in the house, a 20-year-old wife.

So prosecutors say he wants to rob his mother. But why does that turn into raping his wife and putting her in the car trunk? Could it have anything to do with the fact that his wife recently gave birth? Could the stress have been too much? I can`t understand the sickness of this alleged behavior, Casey Jordan.

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: It`s one of control, Jane. It`s really simple. I think that the chains and the tape may have been meant for his mother. I think that the plot perhaps to rob his mother was to make it look like a home invasion. They would have worn masks or something. He wanted his wife involved to get rid of it.

When she got cold feet and said, "I don`t want a thing to do with this," he ended up perhaps using the tape and chain on his wife. It`s all an issue of control. The rape was simply an extension of that control.

You can say no, but it might as well be yes because I`m going to make it happen with or without you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michelle Golland, we know --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- that one of the leading causes of death for women who are pregnant is murder at the hands of the man who impregnated her, and that includes the post-partum after they give birth. Now, the wife wasn`t murdered here, the mother was. But is there historical psychological frustration and anger on the part of men when a woman gives birth and they feel ignored and become jealous of the child, and all sorts, if they`re not well balanced, stuff happens in their head?

GOLLAND: Absolutely. It`s one of the most dangerous times for women who experience domestic violence, Jane, is the time of being pregnant and shortly after giving birth.

And what we do know is that exactly what the criminologist said is that rape happens within domestic violence cases. And rape of your wife happens. That it`s not something that is done by a stranger or anything like that. But it`s about power and control, and another way to dehumanize you and to make you feel like you have no control over your life or your body.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And when a man is frustrated, because he`s feeling like a loser because he`s been fired and he feels like he can`t feed his family, the one area where he can feel control and dominate is sometimes his own family. So the frustration can turn inward at the family, at the wife, at the mother.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We know this guy, Michael Lee, was fired from his job last year as a detention deputy. And he`s still unemployed and he needs a public defender.

Now, let`s face it, he`s not the first law enforcement officer accused of taking the law into their own hands. We all know about Drew Peterson, remember him, suspected in the deaths of two of his wives. He was a police officer for almost 30 years.

When law enforcement officers are jailed what happens to the people that they put away? And I`ll toss that out to Casey Jordan. I mean, this guy was a deputy at the jail where he is now incarcerated. Could some of those people that had interactions with him during the criminal justice system come back and say, hey?

JORDAN: Well, we don`t even know why he lost his job. It could have been for psychiatric issues. It could have been for using excessive force. But I can tell you that people who have control issues, anger control issues are very often attracted to jobs like law enforcement, corrections officer, military. He would have learned in the academy all of these restraint procedures, to overtake an inmate who might be combative.

So he would have been very adept at controlling somebody. He would have known all the techniques to tie up his wife; probably planned to do it to his mother. And this excessive (INAUDIBLE), this control, this is very typical in domestic violence, domestic rape situations. It`s really all part of the same trajectory.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And we certainly do not want to in any way cast dispersions on law enforcement, even though this guy is a sheriff`s deputy. The vast majority of law enforcement officers are very law-abiding people who risk their lives every day for us.

Jaycee, Idaho; your question or thought?

JAYCEE, IDAHO: Well, my thought is that Idaho is one of the states that is very misogynist. It is run by men for men and we don`t have that much crime. When something like this happens, it generally -- they just really don`t know how to deal with it. But women are very much second- class citizens. They have very few rights.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what? Let me just say this. I don`t think we can ever look at a cultural issue like that and point to a particular state and say the problem is the state.

Now, Scott Evans, you`re there in Idaho. What`s the reaction been to this horrific crime amongst the people in the immediate area?

EVANS: Obviously this is something that was not planned. It`s not a good thing that`s going on. No one is condoning any of his actions. They are looking at the woman as a victim in this, that what happened to her is wrong. What happened to the mother is obviously wrong. It`s murder. So no one is looking at this and excusing any of this man`s behaviors, if he did what police are saying that he did.

Now, I want to give a little bit more light into his background. When he was fired back in January of 2010, there`s only a couple ways you can be fired and then have your certification revoked. And that`s to commit a felony, a misdemeanor or lie when you`re in the certification process or violate the code of ethics.

And since he did not have a criminal history before this, the most likely things are he either lied in the certification process, somehow, some way, or he violated some code of ethics. We`re trying to figure out that right now. We`re working to get those details. But those aren`t going to come right away.

But again, no one here in Idaho that we have heard is apologizing for any of his actions or excusing any of his behavior.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And the good news here is the wife got out. There was a latch somewhere in the trunk which is the case in some newer models. She pressed it. Good thinking, fast thinking. She got out.

Thank you so much, expert panel.

A twist in the Anna Nicole Smith case, you will not believe what a prosecutor is asking a judge to do now.

Plus, a veteran ESPN announcer spews sexist remarks at a female sideline reporter. Well, it boomeranged. We`re going to tell you what happened to him. And we`d like to get your thoughts on that, 1-877-JVM- SAYS. Up next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A veteran ESPN announcer is fired for some sexist comments. But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

Anna Nicole Smith`s psychiatrist and lawyer/boyfriend Howard K. Stern were convicted for conspiring to provide drugs using false names. But they may get off with a slap on the wrist. That`s right. Prosecutors are recommending probation with zero jail time.

The pair is expected to be sentenced tomorrow. Once again, our two- tiered justice system shows its true face. I certainly hope the judge has something a tad more serious in mind. And that is tonight`s "Top of the Block".


RON FRANKLIN, ESPN SPORTSCASTER: If I were an animal, I could be cuddly. I could be aggressive. Maybe even mean at times, because it depends on what kind of task you`re putting in front of me. I don`t want to be the meanest guy in the jungle, or meanest guy in the world. So what can we come up with? I would be a little bit cuddly but also could be very tough.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. He is at the heart of a scandal sweeping through ESPN. Another one, that`s right, for ESPN. That was announcer Ron Franklin in an interview posted on YouTube.

Things are not so sweet for this well-seasoned sports caster tonight. He`s accused of slinging sexist pet names like "sweet cakes" and "sweetheart" at female co-workers. Apparently ESPN has had enough and he was given the old pink slip. Now, the sports network says they canned Franklin after hearing that he called a female sideline reporter "sweet baby" and "a-hole".

Janine Edwards, she`s there on the right, says Ron condescendingly called her a "sweet baby" when she tried to join a conversation he was having with two male colleagues. She responded, "Hey, don`t call me that." And so he said, ok, then a-hole." Who`s the real a-hole now?

Between this and football great Brett Favre being accused of sexting massage therapist, what is going on in the sports industry? Don`t they realize it`s no longer a boys` club? This story is like some ridiculous scene out of the movie "Anchorman".

This is pretty funny, right? "You`re a sweet baby. Don`t call me that. All right, I`ll call you a-hole."

Take a look at this scene from "Anchor Works" and that`s from Dreamworks.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m a professional. And I would like to be able to do my job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, big deal. I am very professional.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Perkin, you are acting like a baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not a baby, I`m a man. I`m an anchorman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are not a man, you are a big fat joke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn. That`s what kind of man I am. You`re just a woman with a small brain, with a brain a third the size of us. It`s science.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will have you know that I have more talent and more intelligence in my little finger than you do in your entire body.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Reminds me of my days in local news. The point, just because somebody thinks they`re brilliant, doesn`t mean that they are. Sorry, dude.

Franklin, a 24-year ESPN veteran, has apologized. We`ll give him that. We have to ask, was firing him too harsh? Or is this boorish behavior just the tip of the old iceberg? This wasn`t his first incident apparently.

Give me a holler on the phone, 1-877-Jvm-Says.

Straight out to Lisa Guerrero, former sideline reporter and chief investigative reporter for "Inside Edition". Lisa, what`s your take on this whole, I`d have to call it a "baby cakes" firing?

LISA GUERRERO, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, "INSIDE EDITION": It sounds very familiar to me, Jane, because I myself after 14 years of covering sports have been the target of some derogatory comments. Once actually from an anchor who was working on ESPN, who had to the next day apologize to me. And then when I worked at Fox Sports Net, I worked on a show called "Best Damn Sports Show, Period" where I worked with a bunch of dudes. There were inevitably sexist comments being hurled around.

This isn`t just about ESPN, this happens in the world of sports. And the world of sports takes its cues from the locker room. Remember, a lot of sportscasters are former athletes, and the ones that aren`t wish they were.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s a macho culture, I guess. We`re going to analyze that.

GUERRERO: It is. Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But first of all, I want to get to my big issue. Was this some sort of karma kickback? Let`s take a look at this guy.

Let`s face it, he`s a senior citizens. He is almost 70 years old. Some sports analysts have speculated ESPN might have already been looking for a way to show him the door. If he had just been let go for no reason, he could have sued for age discrimination and negotiated a very sweet payout.

But by calling females "sweet babies" in a condescending tone, I`ll throw this at Steak Shapiro, radio talk show host for 790 The Zone. Did he hand them a fabulous excuse to get rid of him?

STEAK SHAPIRO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, 790 THE ZONE: Yes, I think you`re on to something. First of all, this is a ten-second incident in a production meeting that took place between two co-workers. This happens in every office in America between two co-workers. And you don`t fire a guy for 25 years on the job.

This is ridiculous. They were probably ready to move him along. If you think a primetime player on the four-letter network is getting ushered out for a five-second, you know, exchange with a female worker, you`re crazy. This is way over the top. The guy was a great broadcaster. And he`s getting the shaft.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`m asking you, Steak, do you think age was behind it?


SHAPIRO: Of course. He`s not a primetime guy anymore. He`s not one of their main guys. You think one of their big talents they`re going to blow out of a job like that for literally -- we`re talking about inappropriate, yes, uncomfortable, yes -- it`s a 10-second incident --

GUERRERO: Obscenities. Jane, obscenities


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait. I`ve got to bring out the big gavel. One at a time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Lisa Bloom, weigh in on this. Essentially, Steak said, he handed them an excuse to get rid of him on a silver platter. This is really about age?

LISA BLOOM, BLOOMFIRM.COM: Yes. I mean I`m going to shock you, because I`m always on the women`s side. And I hate sexual harassment and misogyny and sexual comments like this and it was totally inappropriate.

But after 24 years in the workplace, something is missing from this story. I do not believe that they fired him just for these comments. This would have called for re-education. Give him some sexual harassment training.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Re-education, what is this China?

BLOOM: Something is missing here. Yes, maybe age discrimination or maybe they wanted to get rid of him for some other reasons. But I think, frankly, this was wrong. I think it was too much to fire him after more than two decades on the job for these comments.

SHAPIRO: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I kind of agree. I mean I think what was said was reprehensible.


SHAPIRO: Sexual harassment for sweet baby? Are we seriously that sensitive?


BLOOM: It`s not that bad.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side, we`re going to hear from Lisa.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa, just get it all together, because on the other side, you can explode with your answer.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ESPN has fired a long-time radio announcer for allegedly making sexist and insulting comments to a woman reporter. We told you about Ron Franklin yesterday who supposedly called colleague, Janine Edwards "sweet baby" and (EXPLETIVE DELETED). He apologized after being pulled from Saturday`s Fiesta Bowl.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a star ESPN announcer canned after calling a woman "sweet baby" and an a-hole. 24-year veteran Ron Franklin, 68-years- old given the pink slip from the network after making these sexist comments towards sideline reporter Janine Edwards. And as Lisa Guerrero who`s chief investigative correspondent for "Inside Edition" but also a famous sideline reporter, thinks his firing was justified. Why?

GUERRERO: Well, for years, Jane, we have been criticizing ESPN for being slow on the uptake when it comes to canning dudes, guys, broadcasters that say derogatory comments about female athletes and female broadcasters. They have been getting into trouble for really two decades.

And I think that we, in the media, if we`re going to criticize them for taking too long to act on some of these other issues, for example, Steve Phillips, Harold Reynolds, then we have to apply them when in just a few days they act swiftly and put an end to somebody`s career who made not only derogatory comments to that woman but an obscene comment directly to her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, I agree. This is the latest scandal only to hit ESPN. You mentioned it, baseball analyst Steve Phillips was fired and he had to go to rehab for sex addiction after he started up -- you remember this guy. He had an affair with a 22-year-old production assistant. She allegedly went fatal attraction and stalked his wife and kids.

But she says ESPN totally ignored her complaints. And now she is suing and she spoke to us right here on ISSUES. Listen to her.


BROOKE HUNDLEY, HAD AFFAIR WITH ESPN`S STEVE PHILLIPS: What was just a casual relationship crossed the line into inappropriate questions, comments, suggestions, really putting me in a place where I felt incredibly uncomfortable and I immediately reported it to my female supervisor.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what happened? What did she say?

HUNDLEY: She told me to get used to it kid.

If she had a dollar for every time she was sexually harassed at ESPN, she would be a millionaire.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Steak Shapiro, your reaction?

SHAPIRO: Jane, first of all, the fact that we are comparing a guy who had a torrid affair for months and that going on with a ten-second exchange where he used the word "sweet baby", let`s penalize everybody at ESPN, if you use the word a-hole or you say one off color --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There is something called a corporate code --

SHAPIRO: Why are we even comparing it to --

BLOOM: Here`s the similarity.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom. All right. Lisa, go ahead.

BLOOM: Here`s the similarity, is that a worker has a right to complain in the workplace. I represent employees in these kind of situations. He calls her sweet baby, not that much of a big deal. But when she says she doesn`t like it, it`s not upon him to retaliate by then calling her a worse term, a derogatory put down. He should have stepped back and said you know what, you`re right. Thanks for pointing that out to me.

She has a right to complain in the workplace and not be retaliated against.

SHAPIRO: Not a sexist term. So have your --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let me tell you, this isn`t the first time that he`s been in hot water. Back in 2005, he snapped at an ESPN reporter. Ok. Calling her "sweetheart".

SHAPIRO: Have your supervisor to tell you to behave. But don`t fire the guy. If everybody got fired for using the word "a-hole" at work there would be nobody --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey, listen, when I don`t remember somebody`s name, I call them darling, but I`m not going to do that anymore, because I could get in trouble. I do that because I don`t remember people`s names.

BLOOM: You have to be careful Jane.

SHAPIRO: Don`t objectify me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve all got to be careful.

SHAPIRO: Don`t objectify me.

BLOOM: Right. You should be so lucky.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I did not say that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, fabulous panel. You`re watching ISSUES.