Return to Transcripts main page
ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Dancer`s Dismembered Body Found; Boyfriend Charged With Murder
Aired January 10, 2011 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a stomach-churning discovery in the hunt for a gorgeous missing showgirl. Las Vegas police have now found the body of the dancer, dismembered and packed into two cement-filled tubs. Her ex-boyfriend is now being held without bail. I`ll tell you the ingenious way cops tracked down this alleged killer. And I will talk to the victim`s devastated and outraged sister.
Also, we`ll dive into the sick and twisted mind of a monster. Cops say this 22-year-old plotted the Arizona bloodbath that took down over a dozen people, including a congresswoman, a judge, and a 9-year-old girl. I`ll play the terrifying 911 types and show you the e-mails that predicted he might do something just like this.
Plus, the big day has finally arrived for Misty Croslin. She`ll find out if she`s going to spend the rest of her life in prison. Could the sentencing finally break Misty? Is this the push she needs to come clean about little Haleigh. Or is it already too late? I`ll have the stunning details tonight.
ISSUES starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CELESTE FLORES-NARVAEZ, SISTER OF DEBBIE: My sister did not have low self-esteem about herself. She was very, very, very positive and highly thought about herself. She -- she loved everything about herself. She had a happy life. She just loved, and when she loved she loved hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, stomach-churning breaking news. The body of stunning and accomplished Las Vegas dancer Debbie Flores-Narvaez, seen here in this YouTube video -- there it is right there -- discovered -- this woman you`re looking at dancing right here, she was discovered dismembered and packed into at least two cement-filled tubs.
Debbie had been missing since mid-December after she reportedly went to visit her ex-boyfriend, Jason "Blue" Griffith. Griffith, who performs with Cirque du Soleil, is now under arrest and charged with her depraved and horrific murder.
Now, Cirque du Soleil wouldn`t comment but directed us to Griffith`s lawyer. That file tape, by the way, that`s not the suspect dancing in those images there.
On Friday, cops reportedly got a tip from a female tipster who said this guy, Griffith, and his roommate tried to leave Debbie`s cement-encased body at her home. Now the tipster, who is an acquaintance of the subject, says she, quote, "freaked out," so they left in a hurry.
Police then found out that Griffith had bought cement and rented a U- Haul shortly after Debbie disappeared after visiting his home. If so, that was a very dumb move on his part, because U-Hauls have GPS tracking devices. Cops say they used the U-Haul GPS to retrace where Griffith drove to that U-Haul and were led straight to Debbie`s body in another Las Vegas house.
Tonight Jason Griffith behind bars, but the head of Vegas homicide says there could be more arrests.
Griffith`s attorney didn`t respond to our request for comment today. He`s welcome to appear on ISSUES any time, of course.
Meantime, Debbie`s sister Celeste, who was so hopeful that she`d be found alive, is not just devastated. She`s furious. And I`m going to tell you why in just a moment. But first, straight out first to Chet Buchanan, radio host with KLUC in Las Vegas.
Chet, so much breaking news. What is the very latest?
CHET BUCHANAN, RADIO HOST, KLUC: Just in the last few hours, big news came out. You know, Anthony Zuiker, the creator and writer of "CSI," couldn`t have written this script any different, had he done it himself. Of course, he was a former tram driver at the Mirage. The show that Jason "Blue" Griffith was in, Cirque du Soleil`s "Beatles Love" show, is also based at the Mirage. Kind of an ironic twist.
But just amazing details that have come out in just the last few hours, many of which you went over. These guys are not rocket scientists. And the sad, tragic, horrible story involved here is that they made not one but two attempts to dispose of this body. And just a terrible, senseless end to a beautiful girl`s life. And just the details are amazing to me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to know about this possible accomplice. What about this accomplice, this possible accomplice?
BUCHANAN: The accomplice would be the roommate, Louis Colombo, who has been talking quite a bit and gave many of the details to Las Vegas Metro Police. He has not been charged with anything yet, but I would look for that to be coming down the road, although sources close to the investigation told me earlier today that there may have been a problem with what -- how they went about gathering evidence on Colombus`s [SIC] side of this. And he may be walking at the very end of this whole thing. Watch for that. That`s breaking news that you will not hear anywhere else, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, his attorney is invited on anytime. And again, as you mentioned, he has not been charged with anything at this time. That is the alleged accomplice, possible accomplice. And we don`t know, really, what his involvement is.
Now, Jason Griffith, the ex-boyfriend of the victim...
BUCHANAN: Well, he`s involved...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... confirmed to cops that Debbie had visited him on December 12. And that was the last day that she was seen alive. Now, here`s what cops had to say about that particular visit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. ROB LUNDQUIST, LAS VEGAS METRO POLICE DEPARTMENT: We have spoken with her ex-boyfriend, and he stated that they did have a short conversation. She then left in her vehicle, and when she left everything was fine and she seemed to be fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Apparently not. Cops say they always had suspected Griffith because the victim, Debbie Flores-Narvaez, had accused him of domestic violence just a couple of months earlier.
Now, cops did some good, solid detective work here, and they have made an arrest. But I want to bring in Celeste Flores-Narvaez, the sister of the victim.
First of all, Celeste, our hearts go out to you and your family. We are so sorry this is the outcome. We`ve covered your story on ISSUES, hoping and praying your sister would be found alive and well. And we`re really, really sad that that is not the outcome.
But I understand that your family is not just devastated, that you`re also angry about how you learned that your sister had been dismembered. Tell us what you`re upset about.
FLORES-NARVAEZ: When I got here on Saturday, Metro Police called me on Saturday morning, about 1 p.m. here Pacific Time, 4 p.m. in Atlanta. They told me that they were going to make an arrest to Blue Griffith for foul play.
I pretty much asked them if there was anything else, and they -- I asked them if there was a body found. They said that they did find a body and that it was most likely my sister`s.
I got the first plane out here, and I went immediately to the Metro Police station. I sat with them as they were making, you know, a press conference, and I told them, that don`t -- you know, don`t -- don`t chase me around. Cut straight to the chase. Be frank and honest with me. I want to know exactly what happened. And they told me they couldn`t. They could only tell me so much, which is basically what they told me at the press conference.
On Sunday morning, I woke up to my mother calling me, asking if it was true. And I didn`t know what she was talking about. She led me to a report on the Internet which basically gave details of my sister being dismembered.
I immediately contact the, and they told me that her body was intact, and that`s all they can tell me. Today, I woke up to basically one of the reporters out here sending me the police report that is pretty much public, giving me details of how my sister was disposed of and how he did it, what he did.
I am extremely enraged and furious that, if it`s police that wrote this report and it`s public, why they just couldn`t be honest with me from the get-go when I asked them to just tell me so I wouldn`t be surprised this way.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: How as your -- what was your mother`s reaction when she called you into the room to tell you that she had found on the Internet that her daughter`s body, your sister`s body, had been dismembered?
FLORES-NARVAEZ: I could barely understand what she was saying on the phone. I had to calm her down several minutes after she calmed down. And I understood what she was telling me. I told her, you know, "Don`t believe anything. It must be a lie." And I told her I`ll call her back.
When I later found out it was the truth, I had to break it down to both of my parents that it was the truth, that the information that I just found out through her was the truth. I asked Metro to please be honest with me from the get-go so I can give them the news in a better way instead of them finding out from somebody else or another source.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s hard. It`s so hard hearing these details about a loved one. The only possible comfort that I can offer is that my understanding, reading this, is that the suspect, the ex-boyfriend, originally claimed, according to cops, that this was not premeditated and then later, apparently, refused to cooperate and denied any involvement in this case.
But it other words, that she was -- she was deceased when she was dismembered. Is that any comfort to you?
FLORES-NARVAEZ: No, it`s not any comfort to me. I don`t care if it`s premeditated or not. I can`t believe that somebody is going to say it`s not premeditated, whether he, God forbid, did that or not. How does he know she was deceased? How does he know? He`s not a medical doctor. He`s -- she could have been alive, and he didn`t know it. I don`t know.
But for him to go out, you know, go through his little plan, his -- his devilish plan of plotting how to bury her or how to dispose of her and dismember her and get rid of her, that that`s -- he planned that out. He planned that out from day one.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Celeste, please stand by. We want to hear more from you.
And again, this man has been accused. He hasn`t been convicted of anything. His attorney is invited on the show any time.
More on this really heart wrenching, horrific case coming up. We`re going to talk to Rachel Uchitel in a moment.
Later Misty Croslin, who`s already facing 25 years for drug trafficking in one Florida county, learns her fate. Is she going to prison for the rest of her life?
But first, a sickening turn of events in the case of gorgeous performer Debbie Flores-Narvaez. Her family, as you just heard, crushed by the news they never wanted to hear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLORES-NARVAEZ: I don`t want to start thinking other thoughts. I have to keep my mind focused that she is OK, and that`s starting to become a little bit more difficult as time passes by.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELICA BRIDGES, FRIEND OF DEBBIE: Debbie introduced him to me as her boyfriend. And I shook his hand. And he had told me before, before he came to the show, that he was a fan of mine and had seen me on the cover of "Maxim" or "FHN," so he wanted to meet me. So I shook his hand. He seemed very nice. And he, you know, went down the line and met all of the backup dancers, as well, and was a complete gentleman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, cops think completely the opposite. They`ve charged Jason Griffith with the murder of his ex-girlfriend, the stunning and accomplished Debbie Flores-Narvaez. Her body discovered dismembered and encased in cement, packed into at least two tubs.
And we`re going to go to Dalton in Oklahoma. Your question or thought, Dalton?
CALLER: You know, my concern is that there was negligence in this investigation and now someone`s dead. What`s being done regarding the negligence in this case to -- to bring some justice to this poor girl?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t know if you`re talking about the complaints of the family. The family said they found out by looking on the Internet that their precious loved one, this woman we`re looking at here, had been dismembered. And for the mother that was a horrific shock.
But let`s -- let`s give credit where credit is due. The cops did solve this case, they say, and they made an arrest relatively quickly. So here`s my big issue: how cops caught their suspect. I mean, it was essentially a perfect storm. A tipster, solid police work, and cops say huge miscalculations by the suspect.
Now, let`s talk about some of those miscalculations. Why would he allegedly rent his own -- why would he allegedly rent a U-Haul using his own credit card? Any episode of "CSI" would teach you that that is a terrible idea.
And we should all know that, when you go to U-Haul and you rent a truck at U-Haul, there`s a GPS device on that truck, and essentially they`re going to know every single place you drive that truck. This guy, Chet, did not know that apparently, even though anybody who`s watched a crime show pretty much should know that.
BUCHANAN: I think the GPS tracker on the U-Haul truck was what surprised a lot of people. But you should know that they`re going to want to get their truck back if you do something wrong to their truck. It was really just a matter of tic-tac-toe.
Also important, if you`re going to commit this crime, don`t go buy the cement with your credit card in addition to the U-Haul truck that same night and then make all these moves. They were, like you said, gross miscalculations on the part of Jason Griffith and his roommate in this thing.
And why do you bring other people in? They tried to leave the body one place. That didn`t work out. Now we`re going to try to take it to another place, because those people are out of town. But they may or may not come home.
Then they also miscalculated, and there are more details coming out later, which I`m surprised have come around, too. I was -- I have a source very close to the investigation that told me to kind of keep it quiet earlier this morning. And then the next thing you know three hours later, it`s printed in "The Las Vegas Sun"...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.
BUCHANAN: ... about these missteps and different things that these idiots went through.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, cops discovered Debbie`s body dismembered and encased in cement in a couple of tubs. We`ve been talking about this.
Let`s bring in Rachel Uchitel, former Las Vegas insider. I`ve got to give you some credit, Rachel. When you were last here on ISSUES you talked about the eerie similarities between this case and that of Jasmine Fiore. Jasmine was the model who dated the reality TV star cops say murdered her and dismembered her by removing her fingers and teeth and then stuffing her body in a suitcase.
Rachel, you made this comparison even before learning about what happened to Debbie. How did you -- how did you make that connection?
RACHEL UCHITEL, FORMER LAS VEGAS INSIDER: I`m not sure, and I hate to -- to be right about it, to be honest with you. My heart goes out to her family. I`m just so sorry.
The one thing I do want to say about the Las Vegas police department is that these guys have a very strict policy about leaking information. These are guys that have been dealing with things since the `60s of, you know, organized crime. So they really know what they`re doing. So, you know, I think it`s horrible the way that Debbie`s family had to go about finding out some of these details. It`s absolutely unacceptable.
However, I think they`re trying to be very tight-lipped, because they`re doing the best they can to -- to follow all the right steps so that they can get the right guy and put him behind bars and do the justice that they -- that they need to do for this case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rachel, you`re a former Hollywood insider, you`ve spent a lot of time in Las Vegas. What really strikes me about this is that you`ve got a suspect who worked at Cirque du Soleil. You`ve got a victim who was this dancer at one of the top Las Vegas shows.
By the way, Cirque du Soleil saying, "The legal situation involving Jason Griffith is a personal matter between him and the authorities. Further questions should be directed to his lawyer."
But isn`t this absolutely stubbing that you`ve essentially got two dancers, two top shows in Las Vegas, who are involved in this horrific case?
UCHITEL: Yes. Yes, absolutely. You know, I`ve spoken to a lot of people in Vegas in the last couple of days, especially today, and everybody is being very tight-lipped. These are people that were well-known by a lot of people in the community. And the more I speak to my friends, the more I realize how close they were to these people.
And that`s -- it`s really scary, and I think, you know, people are just completely stunned about this whole thing. It`s really turned Vegas upside down right now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go back to Celeste, the sister of the victim. Debbie and Blue Griffith had been going out for a year. On December 1, Debbie sent a series of chilling text messages to her mom. Quote, "In case there is ever an emergency with me, contact Blue Griffith in Vegas. My ex-boyfriend. Not my best friend," end quote.
Debbie`s mom says when she asked for more details, Debbie said, "Just hold onto them for your records."
That text would now appear to be a warning, Celeste, that your sister was issuing about her fears of this guy. What are your regrets in terms of her interactions with him? I mean, if we could only go back in time and tell her not to go up to this guy after she broke up with him.
FLORES-NARVAEZ: You know what? I think, when you`re in a relationship, you want to forgive the person after they made one mistake.
As far as her giving us any detail into her relationship, she never did. I wish she would have talked to me. I wish she would have confided in me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hang on right there. We`re going to have more after the break. Two seconds and we`ll be back with you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUNDQUIST: We have spoken with her ex-boyfriend. And he stated that they did have a short conversation. She then left in her vehicle. And when she left everything was fine, and she seemed to be fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was back on December 21. Did cops really believe everything was hunky-dory? Apparently not. Apparently, they had had their sights on the ex-boyfriend from the get-go, because months earlier the victim had accused him of domestic violence.
Straight out to Chet Buchanan, who`s been covering this story in Las Vegas.
What about the accomplice and what about the comment allegedly by the suspect when he was arrested? Initially, he said, according to cops, "Oh, it wasn`t premeditated," and then allegedly changed his story and denied any involvement in her death. Tell us.
BUCHANAN: Well, I think the thing with Blue Griffith was that he was -- he knew he was in trouble, and he was scrambling. And so then, after he knew he was caught, then he -- I don`t know why he would say that in the back of the police car on the way to the justice center, though. That he would tell a police officer that it was not premeditated. Why wouldn`t you just keep your mouth shut and not say anything? Because you already know you`re in deep.
You know now that they have a body. You know they`ve been tracking you. You know they have credit cards putting you at the scene of the crime. You know they`ve got a witness that says that you came to them and said, "Yes, I have a body."
You also know that you have this roommate who has also told police that, at one point during the final night when, apparently, Debbie Flores- Narvaez went to Blue Griffith`s house, that she did not just go there and they talked for a couple of minutes and she left. That it became physical. And at one point the roommate says that he had to pull Blue Griffith off of her, because he had his hands around -- Blue Griffith had his hands around Debbie`s neck.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in then. Let me go to Rachel Uchitel and ask you about what this horrific crime says about Las Vegas. Las Vegas has tried to redo its image as a family destination, and yet you still have horrific crimes like this happening way too frequently.
UCHITEL: Yes, Jane. It`s really scary what`s happening. And the thing is, is within the community, within these -- these local groups of people that all know each other very well, you know, this -- like I spoke about before, this common sense of jealousy and rage is very, very common. It`s unfortunate that, you know, here we are talking about somebody who`s no longer with us.
And you know, it`s going to be really hard to, you know, to look at Las Vegas in a very safe way after a lot of this stuff.
One other thing I wanted to say, though, really briefly about what`s going on here and the evidence. It`s going to be really hard to make sure that they -- that they do this case the right way and it`s not just on circumstantial evidence. Because of their relationship and the fact that they were dating, you know, they`re going to have to get some really good evidence beyond DNA to prove that it was him that did it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`ve got to say, I think this is an amazing case at this point, the way the cops have laid it out if the way they laid it out is the way it happened. They have got a slew of hard evidence against this guy. But again, he hasn`t been convicted of anything.
Got to leave it there. Thank you so much.
The accused Arizona assassin arraigned just hours ago. I`ll give you the very latest on his alleged shooting spree. How many times do we have to go through this before we do something?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ll dive into the sick and twisted mind of a monster. Cops say this 22-year-old plotted the Arizona bloodbath that took down over a dozen people, including a congresswoman, a judge, and a 9-year- old girl. I`ll play the terrifying 911 tapes and show you the e-mails that predicted he might do something just like this.
Plus -- the big day has finally arrived for Misty Croslin. She`ll find out if she`s going to spend the rest of her life in prison. Could this sentencing finally break Misty? Is this the push she needs to come clean about little Haleigh? Or is it already too late? I`ll have the stunning details tonight.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: Hello.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 911, there was a shooting at Safeway.
911 OPERATOR: Ok. What do you mean?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) where Gabrielle Giffords was. And I do believe Gabby Giffords was hit.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, we dive deep into the sick, demented mind behind that terrifying hellish gun rampage in Arizona. Cops say 22-year- old Jared Loughner went on a shooting spree during Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords` meet and greet at a Tucson supermarket. Fourteen people wounded, six people killed including a 9-year-old girl who was born on 9/11.
Here are her devastated mother and father.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROXANNA GREEN, CHRISTINA`S MOTHER: I was so proud of her, and I just want everyone to know -- and I think a lot of people that know us and knew Christina Taylor -- you know, that we got robbed, she got robbed of a beautiful life that she could have had.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Just hours ago, the alleged gunman was hauled before a judge. How many times do we have to go through this, America, before we start hearing the warning bells? His own classmates predicted this guy would do something just like this.
Tonight, Jared Loughner is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder and he could face the death penalty. What investigators are still trying to figure out is, what was the motive for this vicious attack? Could this disturbed young man have had his sights on this particular congresswoman for three long years?
Cops say they opened a safe in the suspect`s home and they found a letter from this congresswoman thanking her accused attacker for attending a 2007 event. They also discovered an envelope; in it Loughner`s signature and the words "I planned ahead my assassination" and this congresswoman`s name. It is it chilling.
Straight out to CNN correspondent Ted Rowlands who just attended the suspect`s first court appearance. Ted, how did the suspect who`s been described as extremely weird and mentally ill behave in court?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I`ll tell you what, he behaved quite well. He was asked a number of questions and each question he was asked he answered with a very clear, strong voice. He absolutely understood everything that was going on.
The judge read the charges. The judge asked him about (INAUDIBLE) he answered. There`s -- the idea that he was going to come in and be a raving lunatic; it was a 180-degree difference. This young man knew what was going on, understood not only what the judge was saying but what his attorney was telling him, and he answered the judge in a clear, clear, strong voice.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Were his family members there? Because everybody is asking, what`s up with the mom and dad?
ROWLANDS: No family members there. And that is one thing that obviously -- his parents may have the key here because what on earth would have pushed a 22-year-old young man to do such a horrific thing allegedly? Getting inside this guy`s mind is going to be difficult for authorities because he`s not cooperating with police.
The parents apparently are to some degree; hopefully clearly they have some insight into this young man and those two I`m sure have a lot to say and know a lot. Whether or not --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, everybody --
ROWLANDS: -- there were warning signs, we don`t know yet.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, everybody said that this guy was -- let`s call it what it is -- a weirdo. Ok. There were a symphony of warning bells before this sickening shooting spree. And ,many people suspected for a long time that something was very off with this guy. Listen to what one of his teachers told CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN MCGAHEE, MATH TEACHER: This guy was mentally disturbed. He was very isolated. I was scared of what he could do. I wasn`t scared of him physically, but I was scared of him bringing a weapon to class.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And he freaked out his own classmates. In one e-mail obtained by "The New York Times", a classmate wrote, hopefully he will be out of class very soon and not come back with an automatic weapon. After several weird outbursts he was actually suspended from school and then eventually dropped out. The college sent him a letter saying he could only come back if he gets a psychiatric evaluation. He didn`t do that.
Dr. Dale Archer, what is your diagnosis? What do you think is wrong with this guy?
DR. DALE ARCHER, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I think he`s clearly psychotic, Jane, who`s probably paranoid schizophrenic. And you`re absolutely right. The warning signs were all there to get help for him because this classmate said he was weird, said he was scary. Said they were afraid he would bring a gun.
The teachers were afraid of him. One teacher said he didn`t even want to turn around and write on the blackboard because he was afraid of what the kid may do. The school when they kicked him out said you need a psych eval to prove that you`re not a danger to others or yourself.
So they did everything right to protect the school but they did nothing to help him. And they did nothing to help others because people like this will get a target in their mind, but it could have been the classroom. It could have been the workplace or in this case it was a political function.
ARCHER: But that`s not really the issue. The issue is that he has a broken --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, the issue is for the people who were gunned down is the issue. I mean if you`re the target it becomes the issue.
Representative Giffords is a Democrat from Arizona, and Loughner reportedly met her back in 2007 when she was holding a very similar event. Perhaps since then he`s been stalking her and developing a grudge against her. She`s still in critical condition. Miraculously doctors are growing more optimistic that she will survive her gunshot wound to the head at point-blank range.
Joining me now is Mary Jo Buttafuoco, author of "Getting It through My Thick Skull". Mary, you were shot in the head by the lover of your then- husband. You know what it`s like to be literally shot at point-blank range. What -- and let`s hope she comes through this -- kind of recovery could this congresswoman be facing?
MARY JO BUTTAFUOCO, AUTHOR, "GETTING IT THROUGH MY THICK SKULL": Oh, my heart goes out to all of these victims. It`s just the beginning of hell for all of them. What kind of a prognosis -- she`s going to have a long, long recovery as well will the other victims of the shootings because bullets do a lot of damage.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what kind of recovery? That`s what I want to know. We all know she`ll have a long recovery. Let`s -- I hope. I hope she gets through this critical phase and has a long recovery.
What I`m asking you, since you`ve been shot, is what kind of recovery? What did you go through? Did you have to go through therapy, physical therapy? What happened?
BUTTAFUOCO: Yes. Physical therapy after I was shot I couldn`t walk. I had lost most of my blood. I had to have transfusions. I lost the hearing in my ear. I had no balance. I weighed 89 pounds by the time I could stand up.
The therapy to get me to walk again and talk again and, you know, my motor functions -- I mean, I was blessed that they came back. In her case, this went through the brain. I did not have it go through my brain. It hit my temporal mandibular joint and went down so it shattered my jawbone. That`s what saved my life from it going through my head.
I don`t know, Jane. The doctors sound very optimistic that it was a clean break, went in one way and came out other and didn`t break apart and shatter. I`ve got a lot of shrapnel in my head. That`s something it sounds like she doesn`t have.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s hope, absolutely we all pray that she`s going to recover completely. But obviously you`re giving us an insight into a long road ahead, a very tough road.
Here`s my big issue -- mental illness, plus drugs, plus a gun. That`s the killer combo we apparently allegedly have here. Loughner wasn`t just behaving in a psychotic fashion, obsessing illogically and rambling. He also had a history of taking drugs.
Officials confirm he failed a drug test when he tried to enlist in the army. And in 2007, three years ago, he was cited for drug paraphernalia. On top of all that, he was legally allowed to buy a gun.
Now, this deadly combination of mental illness, drugs and a gun converged allegedly on this one person, ok? Now we get to look at it with 20/20 hindsight and again his classmates were predicting he would do this. They were like, "We`re afraid he`s going to come back with an automatic weapon."
Steve Kardian, you`re a former police detective. What are we going to do about this problem so that we don`t have to, every few months, cover another one of these horrific national traumas of people who are looney tunes getting a hold of a gun and going on rampages at supermarkets or wherever they choose.
STEVE KARDIAN, FORMER POLICE DETECTIVE: Well, Jane, we see that -- we have a commonality here in that -- was he that good, is the system that bad, or is it a combination of both? Now, we see that in every case that I`ve studied, whether it be Columbine, whether it be Virginia Tech, that somebody knew something. Someone knew something about him preparing to do this. And we need the public --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: He was talking about mind control. He thought he had control over people`s minds. He was talking about conscious dreaming. I mean, it doesn`t take a brain surgeon to figure out this guy was completely nuts. Why was he allowed to buy a gun legally.
KARDIAN: Because in Arizona, you could buy a gun basically with a license. But somebody out there knew that he was planning this, whether -- whether it was a schoolteacher, whether it was one of his friends, whether it was somebody in his family. They knew that he was capable and that he was going to plan out something like this and cause mass casualties.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, we`ve got to figure out a better way, people. There`s got to be a better way to handle this. I don`t think the founding fathers thought of young men who were mentally disturbed and on drugs with Uzi submachine guns. That wasn`t their idea.
Coming up next, Misty Croslin in court, she was the last person to see 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings alive. Did she cut a deal to escape life behind bars? We`re going to tell you just how many years she`s going to spend in the clink next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t want you saying nothing that will hurt you, Misty.
MISTY CROSLIN, HALEIGH CUMMINGS` FORMER STEP MOTHER: I`m not, daddy. There`s nothing against me. I`m telling you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your brother told me to tell you -- well, you`re brother told me to tell you he loves you.
M. CROSLIN: I love him, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to get your brother out, too.
M. CROSLIN: Well, worry about me first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. CROSLIN: I will prove to the world that I didn`t have nothing to do with it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly.
M. CROSLIN: Everybody can kiss my (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I`m going to get on TV and I`m going to tell them all (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s right. I don`t blame you at all. I mean, they -- they need to give you a nationwide apology.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, did Misty Croslin, the very last person to see missing 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings alive strike a secret deal? The 19-year-old escapes life in prison. Misty was in court today and sentenced to another 25 years in prison for dealing drugs.
But she got a huge lucky break. That sentence was on top of the 25 years she already got in another county. And -- this is the key -- they are letting her serve both 25-year sentences at the same time.
So essentially she got no additional time today. Still Misty is going to be 44 when she finally gets out. I know that sounds tough, but she could have gotten 240 years in prison if they really wanted to stick it to her.
Did Misty finally tell investigators something like where the beautiful little Haleigh`s body is? Misty was baby-sitting Haleigh the night she mysteriously vanished into thin air. That was almost two years ago.
Misty has told a slew of different stories about what happened that night and what happened to Haleigh. But she has always insisted she is not responsible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. CROSLIN: I got up because I had to use the bathroom but I didn`t make it to the bathroom. I seen the kitchen light on and I walked in the kitchen and the back door is it wide open. I didn`t notice about Haleigh then until I seen the back door open. And then I go in the room and she`s gone.
And that`s all I know. Is when I woke up, when -- when I went to sleep she was there and then when I woke up she was gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But police have always believed that Misty is a liar. They are sure she knows exactly what happened to Haleigh. Did she finally crack at the prospect of life behind bars? Did the girl police call the key to this case finally start talking?
I want to begin with my very special guest Chelsea Croslin. Chelsea is Misty`s sister-in-law. Chelsea, what is your reaction to the sentencing?
CHELSEA CROSLIN, MISTY CROSLIN`S SISTER-IN-LAW (via telephone): Honestly, I actually -- I mean, I guess I can be happy it wasn`t as -- it`s possible, you know, I expected a lot more, and much bigger heartache today.
So when we heard 25 we -- we think that that`s definitely the best that we could have hoped for. So hopefully something else will come out in the end, you know, and it might be less time in the end.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And look at her. Boy, she has changed while inside jail awaiting all these sentences. She looked like a child when she first came in. And she`s -- she`s gained weight. She`s -- my heart does go out to her just on a human-to-human basis.
This -- this girl was, what, 17 when this all started? Did Misty cut off her nose to spite her face? Or did she strike some kind of deal? She refused to give cops any answers about what really in the end of the day happened to this precious child. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. CROSLIN: When Haleigh`s found, I will be let out of jail because that the only reason they`re keeping me in here, the only reason they set me up and all that stuff. And that`s why my bond is so high and it`s not right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know.
M. CROSLIN: This has to be -- me being in jail has nothing to do with Haleigh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Art Harris, she only got 25 years and it`s going to be served at the same time as her previous sentence. That`s very light considering she could have gotten 240 years. Did she cut a deal? Are we going to find out in a couple days what happened to little Haleigh?
ART HARRIS, ARTHARRIS.COM (via telephone): I tell you, Jane, that she was made aware that things could go very, very well for her if she gave up some information, and she is -- she`s thinking about it.
But what my sources tell me is she`s afraid of implicating other people in the family close to her. And I can tell you that Joe, Cousin Joe Overstreet, now says that he was not at the trailer, that he stayed at Chelsea and Timmy`s house and they were the ones who drove the van that night.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Well, that`s a very, very inflammatory thing you`ve said there. And Chelsea Croslin is on the phone. I want to give you, Chelsea, the opportunity to respond to that.
C. CROSLIN: Well, honestly -- honestly, it would be -- probably the best thing that ever happened to me my entire life besides the day my children that were born if I was the one that had Haleigh with me here in Massachusetts or anywhere.
I don`t know what happened to her. I have been willing to take lie detector tests. So does my husband. The cops don`t believe we had anything to do with it. And that`s why they hadn`t lie detected us. That would be my dream come true, for Haleigh to come home.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, hold on now. I want to bring in Kim Picazio, who is a former attorney for the mother of little Haleigh Cummings. We have all been trying to figure out if this plea deal, if it ever did happen, would go down.
The lightness of this sentence, Kim, does it speak to you that, hey, Misty made some kind of deal with the authorities and more will be revealed like what really happened to Haleigh?
KIM PICAZIO, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR MOTHER OF HALEIGH CUMMINGS: Right. Well, at first I said, well, Misty had a very good day in court today. I did get an opportunity to speak with Misty`s attorney, Robert Fields, who`s been representing her the entire time.
I don`t believe there`s been any type of new information given by Misty. I think that they`re still in that pressure stage. I think now at this time they`re going to let her sit there and she, of course, can come back to the court and apply to have that sentence reduced but at this point, after speaking with her attorney, I`ve also stayed in contact with law enforcement, I do not believe that there`s been any major breaks in information in the case.
However, I do know that they are looking at different angles, new witnesses pop up all the time. They are still investigating. But unfortunately for Haleigh Cummings, we do not have a conclusion today.
HARRIS: And that --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: An undercover drug bust landed Misty and many of her family members behind bars. You`re look being at video -- in a second you will be -- of the sting, ok. Now, once they were locked up, people finally started talking. This is the undercover video.
Misty`s brother told cops Haleigh was tied to a brick and her body was dumped into a Florida river. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOMMY CROSLIN, MISTY CROSLIN`S BROTHER: Tell her I got to something that I should have done awhile ago.
FLO HOLLARS, GRANDMOTHER: Do what, baby?
T. CROSLIN: Tell her I have to do something that I should have done a long time ago.
HOLLARS: Said he`s got to do something that he should have done a long time ago. And I don`t want to hear the answer to it because I already know it.
T. CROSLIN: I`m just scared. I don`t want no one to hurt my kids.
HOLLARS: I know it. I know it. Oh, my God.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, cops brought Misty in handcuffs down to the banks of the St. John`s River and they grilled her, they pulled up a blue cooler, cinderblocks, rope, but they did not find the little girl`s body.
I have to go back to Kim Picazio. I don`t understand why she would have gotten such a light sentence if she hasn`t given any more information. They clearly have leverage on her.
PICAZIO: She does have an appeal that is pending before the Florida Supreme Court for habeas corpus. I believe there are groups that are attempting to say that the mandatory minimum struck too harshly in this accord on a teen girl with literally no priors that were scorable (ph).
And I think that they were looking at that. Here this judge must have been under some heat to say that you know what, you can`t charge this girl for -- just in order to pressure her to give information in a different crime.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. More on the other side. We`re just getting started. We`re taking your calls.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MISTY CROSLIN: That girl there she`s real nice. She did my hair. Can you see it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I see it. It looks good. I had mine done like that.
CROSLIN: She had to do it through the little bars but she did it for me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She done it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don`t cut it.
CROSLIN: I`m not cutting it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don`t cut it at all.
CROSLIN: They can all put this on TV and kiss my (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Not so cocky now. She`s going to be 44 before she could get out. Tonight, Misty Croslin in court; she was facing life behind bars but she got a lucky break. She can serve her two 25-year sentences at the very same time.
My question is, why so lenient? Did she finally strike a deal and give cops critical information about Haleigh?
Lynn, West Virginia, your question or thought, ma`am?
LYNN, WEST VIRGINIA (via telephone): Hi.
LYNN: I have two comments regarding the case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.
LYNN: My first is that I honestly don`t think that Misty could have masterminded any of this by herself. I think she`s just a small pawn of a (INAUDIBLE). I think part of her was afraid for her own life.
And secondly, I have mixed feelings about the actual murder of Haleigh. I don`t think that one crime should be substituted for another crime. I know that, you know, she messed up in dealing with the drugs and the pills and everything. But the --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ma`am, I agree with you entirely. In fact, that`s my big issue tonight, extreme punishment. Even though she got a lucky break today, Misty is still going to be in jail until she`s 44. This is a teenager who was pushing about three grand worth of pills.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROSLIN: They`re not going to put me away for something I didn`t do. And I didn`t have anything to do with Haleigh. If I knew who did, I would tell. I told them everything that I can tell them. They need to leave me alone about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Levi Page, there`s a growing chorus of people saying hey they should not punish her on these drug charges because they believe she was somehow involved in something nefarious involving little Haleigh Cummings.
LEVI PAGE, CRIME BLOGGER: Well, I`m not of that opinion. I think that Haleigh Cummings is dead, according to the police. They say this is a homicide and she`s not going to come back in 25 years and suddenly come back to life.
So Misty Croslin can whine all she wants about the sentence but it`s a bunch of bullcrap. She`s lying. She failed multiple polygraphs, a voice analysis. And her grandmother Flora Hollars (ph) said she`s going to school and making A`s so she`s growing a brain. How about she grow a conscience and tell what she did to this child?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t know, Kim Picazio, what she has to lose by speaking. Nobody can get to her if she has something that she`s afraid of. She`s behind bars. They can`t get to her.
PICAZIO: I agree. There`s been a lot of theories. And I do know she tried to contact family members to try to secretly tell them her confession so that they get the reward money. There`s all of these things going on.
To tell you the truth, I believe that the cops have enough forensic evidence to know when and if she tells the truth, and all we can do is sit back and hope that maybe in three years, she`s matured, she`s grown up and maybe she will have a jailhouse confession to a roomie. Who knows? That`s probably where this case is going to end.
It`s my understanding after speaking with a friend of mine and a colleague, Robert Fields, her own attorney, that they are no closer today to making charges in the Haleigh case and surely you cannot charge someone in an effort to pry out information from another crime.
And thank God the constitution does not allow that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The mystery persists. That`s where we have to leave it. You`re watching ISSUES.