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Ex-Cop`s Abusive Past?; Looking for Insight into Suspected Rapist

Aired March 18, 2011 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight horrifying twists and turns in the brutal murder of an ex-cop`s wife. Police questioning that husband, but he`s refusing to give DNA. Now an ex-girlfriend is stepping forward to say he used to abuse her and even attacked her when she was holding their newborn. Did this guy really point a gun at her and say, "Today you are going to die"? Why was this ex-cop given so many chances?

And a woman is kidnapped, viciously tortured for 13 days. Friend of the victim now say they thought the neighbor accused of the horrific crime was obsessed with her. I`ll talk one on one with somebody who spent a lot of time with this creep. You won`t believe the glaring warning signs.

Plus, addict nation out of control. An ice-cream truck busted for selling hillbilly heroin. Is there anyone we can trust any more? I`m taking your calls.

And I`ll tell you about an incredible movie that will have you questioning everything you eat.

ISSUES starts now.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s like my daughter. Really. With the kids, also. By him, he`s very strange.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight breaking news as yet another woman comes forward with a horrifying abuse story involving that ex-New York City cop whose wife was found dead with blunt trauma to the head and chest.

The ex-cop`s previous lover says years ago he beat her and held his service revolver to her head. So why can`t we find any evidence that this ex-cop was ever charged with anything?

That ex-cop, Eddy Coello, still walking around a free man. There he is in a cap. He showed up at the police station yesterday but refused to give a DNA sample or look at photos.

Coello`s estranged wife, Tina Adovasio, that beautiful woman right there, the mother of four, was missing for nearly a week before she was found dead, strangled, beaten, stuffed in a garbage bag and dumped in a wooded area.

Tina`s landlord says the husband beat her black and blue in the past. Neighbors say the couple could be heard arguing right before Tina disappeared.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard the neighbors, this lady and the gentleman fighting here a couple of days ago. I heard them fighting, you know, constantly in the past few weeks.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Then there`s the issue of that surveillance video that allegedly shows somebody who looks like Eddy Coello dragging out a large bag from the apartment complex, putting it in the back seat of his car and then driving away a couple of hours later.

Coello`s ex-girlfriend, Gloria Perez, is now telling "The New York Daily News" that she knows exactly what Eddy Coello is capable of and that he assaulted and terrorized her for years. I think it`s safe to say this ex-cop`s past is definitely coming back to haunt him.

Straight out to Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst. Mike, you`re tracking this case. What are your law-enforcement sources telling you tonight?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Apparently, Mr. Coello is not cooperating. He was at the 45th Precinct station house. They asked him to look at some pictures. He didn`t want to look at any pictures. They asked him to give a DNA sample. He wouldn`t give a DNA sample. He was only there for about 24 minutes, Jane.

But sources are also saying that when they did the search of the house, we saw the crime scene unit at the apartment just the other evening, that there was no blood found there, but they did find some bodily fluids in his vehicle. That`s all they`ll say right now.

Was this some evidence that will lead -- lead us or lead law enforcement to this guy for this murder? We don`t know. But I tell you, it looks like he is the only -- and I hate to use term -- person of interest in this particular case in this whole gruesome murder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And that`s what the top cop, that`s the phrase he used. So it was New York`s top cop who used that phrase.

Did Tina Adovasio foresee her own fate? Because here`s what she told her divorce attorney. Listen carefully. This is very quick but very significant.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That if something would have happened he would be a guy to look at.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Tina actually told her attorney, "If something happens to me look at my ex-cop husband," the guy in the cap right there. She reportedly even got an order of protection recently after she decided to file for divorce but decided not to serve him with the papers after he agreed to counseling.

Straight out to my very special guest, Brenda Clubine, who was convicted for killing her abusive husband, who had also been a cop, by the way.

Do you see, Brenda, striking parallels between your case and this case?

BRENDA CLUBINE, CONVICTED OF KILLING HUSBAND: Absolutely. This was my story. The only difference, unfortunately, is that I survived. And Tina didn`t.

This -- this person, this perpetrator, this abuser, her ex-husband-to- be, manipulated the entire situation. He`s going to try to do whatever he can to get off. And you know what? He needs and must be held accountable.

And unfortunately, this repeats itself over and over again. And until we start saying it doesn`t matter if they are cops, it doesn`t matter who they are, they`re going to be held accountable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we have to say, we have called his attorney numerous times. No response. Eddy Coello and/or his attorney invited on the show any time to tell their side.

Now, Eddy Coello`s ex-girlfriend, Gloria Perez, has now come forward to describe her allegedly abusive relationship with this ex-cop. She told the "New York Daily News" she was with Coello for three years. She claims he hit her, threatened her life, and she claims he even threw her around even while she was holding their infant son.

Now, here they are before her son was born. She says when Coello was accused of threatening her with his service revolver, cops asked her, "Is Eddy Coello into steroids?" He does look very built there.

Let`s go to Jenn Berman, psychotherapist. Could that explain the sort of rage-aholic style behavior that we`re hearing about?

JENN BERMAN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, certainly steroids could contribute to that problem. But also we know that police officers are particularly high risk for domestic violence. They are two to four times more likely to commit acts of domestic violence, and a study that came out fairly recently they found that 40 percent of police officers self reporting using violence to intimidate in their own home.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. You know, I want to get Mike Brooks a chance to -- he`s a law-enforcement analyst. A chance to weigh in on that, because obviously, we have many law-enforcement officers who are -- who are wonderful people, who save lives.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But what do you make of that?

BROOKS: No. You know, it does happen, Jane. And when I was on the force, I heard about it happening all the time. And that`s when they finally decided to step up and say, "Look, if you`re involved in any kind of domestic violence, we`re going to come after you," because you shouldn`t be threatening anybody with a gun, and because, you know, that`s one of your tools of your trade is your service weapon.

And if you are even thought, mostly -- you have to be convicted for them to fire you. But if you`re thought to have been involved in domestic violence, they`re going to look at you closely and, if possible, they`re going to get you off the force, because you shouldn`t be walking around...


BROOKS: ... with a weapon and doing these kinds of things. I`m just sorry. That`s the way it goes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s analyze his past a little bit. New York`s top cop says Coello is being less than cooperative. Listen to this.


RAY KELLY, NYPD COMMISSIONER: He was asked if he would give a DNA sample. He was asked to look at certain pictures. He refused.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, ex-girlfriend Gloria Perez, which we showed you in "The New York Daily News," says Coello threatened her with a service revolver. His service revolver. That she claims he pointed the gun at her head and said, "Today you are going to die" and made her beg for her life.

And this brings me to my big issue. Did this guy get too many chances? Seriously. Let`s take a look at how many chances this guy got. I mean, if it were you and me, would we be in jail?

We tried to find any evidence that this guy was ever formally arrested or jailed. We couldn`t find anything. And, remember, it`s that ex- girlfriend who`s coming forward. It`s also the woman who turned up dead, his current wife, who just was found beaten to death. In 2006 and 2007 there were domestic violence incidents involving them, and neighbors and relatives claim that he beat her black and blue and even fractured her jaw at one point.

Mark Eiglarsh, why haven`t they arrested him and charged him with anything?

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, a great question. That leads to my big issue. You`re not the only one with big issues. And that is why aren`t more victims of domestic violence coming forward, because that`s how cases begin. Neighbors can scream all they want. But the evidence can equally be consistent with some disturbance. Maybe the victim was the initial aggressor. They don`t have enough evidence.

But when a victim comes forward and says, "You know what? I`m going all out this time. I`m tired of the cycle of violence repeating itself," then things get done. So my question is why aren`t they coming forward? I understand why sometimes. But hopefully, this program will help people come forward.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And by the way...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news here first. We just got a phone call from Eddy Coello`s attorney, who said if the authorities want him to come in, he is available. And we would love that attorney to come in and talk about some of this stuff. We want to be fair. And we`re giving that person the opportunity to tell their side.

Quick point, Brenda? Want to make a point?

CLUBINE: Again, though, we`re blaming the victim. It isn`t the victim here that needs be held accountable. Obviously, this victim did report domestic violence previously. That`s why there is a record it.

And the problem is, is that the risk to the victim increases 75 percent once she leaves. So this tells you, this person was going to kill her anyway because of his behavior.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we have more on the brutal slaying of an ex- cop`s wife in a bit. Let`s point out he`s not been charged, OK, with anything.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Also a woman allegedly kidnapped and tortured by a former neighbor. We`ll talk one on one with somebody who spent a lot of time with this apparent sicko, and you will not believe the glaring warning signs from this guy.

But first, ex-girlfriend of a former cop speaking out tonight. Did he really point a gun at her head and make her beg for her life, saying today was the day she was going to die?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard the neighbors, this lady and the gentleman fighting here a couple of days ago. We heard them fighting constantly in the past few weeks.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think he did this?



ADOVASIO: Without a doubt. Just look at his history. Look at his history.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell us what you know about any type of abuse that happened?

ADOVASIO: Actually it was very quiet. She was quiet about this. Even the children. They obviously feared for their lives.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All eyes on New York cop, ex-cop, Eddy Coello after his wife was found murdered. Coello reportedly abused her for years.

Now, an ex-girlfriend coming forward telling "The New York Daily News" Coello did the same thing to her.

Cops reportedly tried to put the case together against this guy, and we`re wondering, given his long history of domestic incident, we can`t find any record that he was ever arrested and charged with anything. And I wonder, Mark Eiglarsh, why? There`s got be a law against using your service revolver and putting it against somebody`s temple and saying, "Today you`re going to die," which is what this girlfriend is saying he did to her.

Also, she says he`s a deadbeat dad and has not paid child support. OK. There`s two things that I can think of off the top of my head that he could be sought for.

EIGLARSH: Correct. So you`ve got two potential offenses. Now what you need then, law enforcement needs to have, as Mike Brooks will verify, is probable cause. And it needs to be based upon evidence: cooperating witnesses, corroboration. The question is, did they have that? And then once they did, did the state attorney`s office or D.A. have enough evidence to prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt? There are reasons why cases don`t go forward. It`s any of the ones I just mentioned and many other reasons.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And one of them is that the women involved with these men are afraid.

Here`s a quote from Eddy Coello`s ex-girlfriend, Gloria Perez. It really sticks out. She says Coello gave her a wedding ring, but she told him, "You have anger issues, and I will not marry you. I will only be your domestic partner." What? To me that doesn`t make any sense at all.

Now that`s why I want to talk about the power and control wheel, which we talk about a lot here on ISSUES, which really outlines how a domestic abuser controls a female victim, using emotional abuse, isolation, intimidation, threats, economic abuse, children, and also I`ll throw in another one, male privilege. Now, all seem to be involved here.

Could this woman -- and this is my take -- could this woman have been in a sense, this first girlfriend who has just come forward, a hostage or even a victim of Stockholm Syndrome? What`s the difference, whether you`re married or domestic partner? She`s still agreeing to live with a guy who was abusing her.

And her message is she said she thought she was in love, and she was afraid to go to cops and that the lesson that she`s learned is the first time he pushes you, get out. But why it is that so few women learn this lesson, Jenn Berman?

BERMAN: Well, it`s that cycle of violence. It`s -- what happens is you have the tension building phase. Then you have the violent incident and then traditionally after that, the perpetrator then says, "I`ll never do it again. I promise I`ll get counseling." I`ve heard them quoted. I heard a quote that he promised that he would do that. "I will never, ever do it."

And then he is the guy that she always dreamed of and shows up with presents. And it goes on for a little while, and then it starts all over again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It starts all over again. Brenda Clubine, you actually killed your abusive husband, because you said if you hadn`t he would have killed you. Let`s go back to that power and control wheel. How exactly was it done to you?

CLUBINE: Well, he made sure and isolated me. He kept -- he me from family. He kept me from friends. Any friends that wanted to stick up for me, he slashed their tires. He ruined their house.

He made sure that he was in control of our funds, not me. I had no credit. There was nothing in my name. The vehicle was in his name. He made sure that I was completely cut off in every single way. And he threatened me.

When I did get away -- and, remember, I`ve mentioned before, I left 11 times. When I did, I went back, because he would get me fired. I couldn`t keep a job. I couldn`t do any of these things, because he didn`t want it to happen. And this is a problem...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How does a woman get out of this, short of what you did, killing your husband? And by the way, how did you kill him? Did you shoot him?

CLUBINE: I hit him over the head with a wine bottle.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. But short of that, how do you get out of a situation like this? For women watching tonight who are trapped in this, they`ve got an abusive husband who`s in the next room getting a beer, about to come in, and they want to know. They want to learn something. Give them a lesson now.

CLUBINE: Basically, what it`s about is you need to call a hotline. You need to create a safety plan whatever is best for you. Speak to your friend, find out one safe person that you can go to. I don`t care who it is. It may not always be the authorities.

But once the authorities get involved, speak up. Don`t let your fear and intimidation of these kinds of creeps keep you trapped in an abusive situation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ll tell you what, covering these stories for decades, get out of the state. Get far away. Give no warning. Pack up your children, your pets, whatever you need to take, because they are your love, and get out of there and get to a relative on the other side of the country. And then call a lawyer and have absolutely no contact at all.

This couple, they were fighting. They were fighting right before she disappeared. To me right there is part of the problem. And my heart goes out to her. This is not a "blame the victim," her family. We hope that this horror is solved.

And I want to thank my fantastic panel. We`re going to stay on top of this story.

Now coming up, unbelievable story. And ice-cream truck busted for selling hillbilly heroin? Is there anyone we can trust any more?

But first, a woman kidnapped, sadistically tortured for days by a former neighbor. I`ll speak to somebody who knows the suspect well.



LARRY FOWLER, PARKER COUNTY SHERIFF: And all of a sudden the door burst open, and she came rushing out, screaming "I`m here. I`m here." And I hope I never see it again. To me it was a house of horrors.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The female victim in that house of horrors is lucky to be alive, because cops say the man who was holding her hostage could be a sadistic killer. Here he is, 58-year-old Jeffrey Maxwell. Cops say he`s confessed to kidnapping his former neighbor and holding her hostage inside his house for nearly two weeks, beating her and sexually torturing her. A 62-year-old woman we`re talking about.

This guy can really hold a grudge, apparently, because the victim reportedly rejected his sexual advances years ago, and neighbors say she referred to Maxwell as "the bad man." He was a one-time neighbor. OK.

Cops say the woman spent her days chained to a bed or strung up on a rack used for skinning deer inside this house of horrors. And now the families of two missing women are wondering if Maxwell, the guy you`re looking at, did the same thing to their loved ones.

Straight out to Tammy Cantrell, who is familiar with this guy, Maxwell, because he used to eat at her restaurant every Sunday.

Tammy, thanks for joining us. What was this Maxwell guy like? Tell us about him.

TAMMY CANTRELL, OWNER, OLD AGGIE GENERAL (via phone): Well, just your average normal guy, so we thought. You know, he would come in on Sunday mornings and order breakfast. It`s always the same: sausage -- biscuits and gravy with sausage in it poured over hash browns, the gravy poured over the hash browns. And he would go to the corner and sit and eat his breakfast and read the Dallas morning newspaper. And when he`d get done, he`d get up and check out just like any other person.

We all -- the staff and I all thought that he was kind of creepy but, you know, didn`t really give it much thought. We did have eerie feelings about him, but you know, we were cautious.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why did you think he was creepy?

CANTRELL: Just his being. The way he -- I guess the mannerisms. Just -- I don`t know. Something in our gut told us that something wasn`t right. But, you know...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Was he inappropriate in any way?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Anything he said?

CANTRELL: Never. That`s what was so shocking to me, is that he was always, you know, nice, polite to the staff as far as, you know -- I mean, he could be obnoxious, you know, trying to tease us from time to time like most of our customers do, but...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: De he ever say anything of a sexual nature?

CANTRELL: No. Never did. He was never out of line with any of us. That was odd.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. This is a -- actually frightening story. Back in 1987, Maxwell`s wife told cops that he bound her with duct tape, sexually tortured her, drugged her, cut her throat from ear to ear, and dumped her on the side of the road.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The case was never prosecuted. And then nine years ago that woman vanished.

And then there is this woman who disappeared in 2000, Amy -- Amy Smith. Her relatives Maxwell could be responsible, because Smith`s house was burned down, which is exactly what he did to this latest victim.

Now, Tammy, there seems to be lot of red flags with this guy. Did he have any kind of obsession with matches? Was he a smoker? Was he a pyromaniac?

CANTRELL: No, not that we knew of.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So there`s nothing at all weird about this guy that you ever saw?

CANTRELL: Not out of the ordinary, no. We just thought he was loud and obnoxious. You know, he`d sit over at the table. He would butt into other customer`s conversations, you know, uninvited, but just, you know, because of that, he was annoying. And everybody kind of just blew him off. And, you know -- but...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it just goes -- thank you so much, Tammy. Goes to show you can never tell.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fred does not speak for the Christian faith. And that there are many Christian people who are open and accepting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think this will change their mind at all?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No, they`re crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They only say that because they haven`t bothered to crack the Bible and read what the words actually say.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, ISSUES pulls back the curtain on one of America`s most controversial, mysterious and infamous churches. The Westboro Baptist Church is infamous for picketing funerals of U.S. soldiers who have given their lives fighting for our country in Iraq and Afghanistan adding another layer of hell to the grief of the dead soldier`s families.

What goes on behind closed doors at the Westboro Baptist Church? What are the toxic secrets in the family of the Reverend Fred Phelps?

Until now it`s been a total mystery. But tonight the son of Westboro`s founders is speaking out in a prime time live exclusive here on ISSUES.

Nate Phelps left the church. As a matter of fact, he up and left his family altogether, sneaking away at midnight on his 18th birthday. Nate, now a family man himself with, well, he had a wife, he has kids. He`s telling his own personal story of struggle and torment.

Nate, thank you so much for joining us here on ISSUES and sharing your personal story. Now, you claim your father who is the pastor of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church was brutally abusive to you and your 12 siblings. And you also claim that he relied on, quote, "a cocktail of barbiturates and amphetamines to cope with the demands of law school and family". Tell us more about these claims of abuse.

NATE PHELPS, SON OF PASTOR FRED N. PHELPS: Well, yes. I want to clarify that issue of the abuse because I`m getting a lot of feedback from the family that it wasn`t abuse, that it was discipline.

So I would rather say today that he used his fists. He used his knees. He used his feet and he used the -- what`s called a maddock (ph) -- the handle of a maddock, which is about a four-foot long piece of wood. He use that in such a way that it split the skin on the back of the kids` legs and so they bled. That`s the specifics of what he did.

If they want to call that discipline, that`s fine; but I call it abuse.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It sounds like abuse if there was blood. Are you saying that you were beaten in that manner?

N. PHELPS: In that manner and I`m saying that my other siblings were and my mother, as well. Not necessarily that type of violence with the maddock with her but she was abused physically with, you know, his fists on several occasions over the years that we`re growing up there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now we just got a statement seconds before you sat down in your chair and I asked you, who is Shirley Phelps Roper. And you said, "That`s my sister, a year older than me."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: She said, "Thanks for writing. First for your listeners who understand you just pulled a fast one in having a rebel to malign his family because they would obey the commandments of God including the commandment to preach this gospel of Jesus Christ to every human being. You should give them an opportunity to ask questions by following me on @dearshirley on Twitter." She`s pretty up to date on the social networking.

But specifically when we ask about the drugs that you mentioned that - -


VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- your father was taking, the answer is, "Yikes, hell no. His imagination goes on and on. Fact: Nathan was 2, 3 and 4 when our dad was in law school. This lie should not have come out of his mouth. When he decided that he would reject the word of God he would have done well to shut his mouth and go quietly through his days. Nothing he can say will change the fact that God hates F-word" -- for homosexuals, we can`t say it on the air -- "and their enablers and therefore God hates America and America is doomed. Thanks for asking." She ends the note.

Your response to their response to your claims of drug use by Pastor Phelps.

N. PHELPS: Well, it`s one of those interesting situations. They have held themselves up -- they continue to hold themselves up as the moral standard, the moral compass for the entire world. And Shirley just -- you know, she started out -- when I first started talking about this -- she equivocated and she hesitated.

And now she`s gotten to the point she cynically just lies about what happened in that situation and pretends like it`s not relevant. And, in my mind, it is the most relevant aspect of the environment that we grew up in because it`s what -- it`s the foundation. It`s what allows this kind of brainwashing, this type of blind following of my father`s teachings.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now we have some protest video here and we know that there`s a counter protest but there`s the protest, "Too late to pray. God hates F words," the signs. We`ve all seen them.

When did the light bulb go off in your head that -- first of all, these people, to borrow a phrase from Jerry Seinfeld, in fact this is my big issue right now, who are these people? I`ve often wondered that as I had stared at these protests.

And it turns out you`re saying they`re mostly extended members of one family, your family. It`s not like a bunch of strangers who got together. It`s a big family gathering.

N. PHELPS: That`s exactly right. It`s 9 of my 12 siblings and their extended family. I think there`s one other family with, I understand, three or four members. And other than that it`s all related.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Westboro is obviously notorious for protesting at the funerals of U.S. soldiers who valiantly died fighting for our country. Now here is what your dad, the Reverend Fred Phelps, the founder, said about that whole strategy in 2007.


REV. FRED PHELPS, FOUNDER, WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH: They don`t want me preaching that God is punishing America by killing those servicemen. And that`s why he`s doing it and sending them home in body bags, then the appropriate forum of choice would be their funerals.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can you give us some insight into their twisted thinking? Why they`ve decided to connect the issue of gay rights to soldiers who died and who are coming home to be buried?

N. PHELPS: Yes. In a word, it`s publicity. They -- my father can make any connection to anything that anyone has done or hasn`t done in their life and point to that to say that that`s evidence that they`re damned and going to hell.

In this instance he`s convinced that homosexuality is the ultimate sin against God. So, since the United States is taking steps to move in the direction of equality for gays in America, he says that that has doomed America. So anyone who is connected with America, anyone who`s supporting America in any sense is subject to the wrath of God.

So it`s very convoluted and distorted.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think that he has any idea that he may be the very best thing that`s ever happened to the gay rights movement? Because often prejudice and bigotry comes sugar-coated as family values or tradition. But he`s letting the hatred hang out in such a blatant way that actually he has galvanized, in a lot of people`s opinion, the gay rights movement because what he has done here with these horrific protests at the funerals of dead U.S. soldiers is so offensive to so many people that he is actually gathering strength for the opposing side in helping the gay rights movement. He may be the most educational illustration of hatred that I`ve ever seen.

N. PHELPS: Yes, I absolutely agree with that. I think he`s one of the best -- he`s one of the best reasons that America has been forced to get off the fence and address this issue, come down on one side or the other.

But, at the same time, you can`t ignore the fact that he`s done a lot of damage. He`s hurt families, not only in the gay community, but these families of these soldiers. So someone has to speak about that issue as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cindy, Virginia, your question or thought, ma`am?

CINDY, VIRGINIA (via telephone): Yes, ma`am. I agree completely with his son. But my comment is a lot of times I`ve seen him holding up signs saying, "God hates America." And this is the way I feel. They need to get out of America, let them leave America because God loves everyone. That`s what the Bible says and that includes gay people.

And if gay people are willing to fight for our country then I think them -- these people are equal to us. I have a gay brother. I`m proud of my brother. I just -- I hate what these people stand for and I really think they need to get the hell out of America because they hold the signs, "God Hates America" --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, thank you, Cindy and I appreciate your comments.

When did the light bulb go off in your head, Nate that you were living with a very not only unusual but I would say dysfunctional family?

N. PHELPS: Well, that`s a hard one to nail down as far as specific time. I can recall when I was 8, 10 years old having thoughts that were contrary to what my father was putting out there as far as, you know, how the world was -- you know, his theology.

So, you know, for me, though, it was more about the words he said versus the actions that he engaged in and when I saw him mistreating people then it didn`t jive with his message that we were somehow these unique chosen people on the earth. What I saw us is basically behaving just the opposite, that we were thugs and brutal towards other humans. So it just snowballed from there --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If you had to say one thing to your dad, what would you say?

N. PHELPS: You know, that`s a good question. I have -- it`s been 30- some years. I focus on what he`s saying and doing to other people. I`ve never had a relationship with my father. I wouldn`t know what to say to him. I think what he does out there is evil. It`s as simple as that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to thank you for telling your story. I know you`re trying to get a book. I think it would make a great book. And keep telling your story. That`s all I can say.

Thank you so much, Nate.



BEA GIGLIO, STATEN ISLAND RESIDENT: Anybody that stoops that low, you know --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re glad they are busted.

GIGLIO: You`re right.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Talk about addict nation out of control. An ice cream truck operator busted for drugs. That`s right. Cops say the "Lickity-Split" ice cream truck was on its route offering customers to pick their poison, a tasty treat or a taste of powerful prescription pain killers.

Officials say the neighborhood ice cream man, Louis Scala Jr., peddled potent Oxycontin from his truck and made more than $1 million. They call Oxycontin hill-billy heroin, by the way.

That`s not all. The other accused mastermind is allegedly a member of the Lucchese mob family. His lawyer told ISSUES he`s innocent until proven guilty and he plans to fight the charges. Any of the lawyers for any of these people or the people themselves if they are bailed out can come on our show and tell their side.

Prosecutors call this woman Nancy Wilkins the lynch pin, saying she stole prescription pads, the one that doctors write on, from her boss an orthopedic surgeon and then sold those blank sheets for $100 a page.

In total, 31 people accused of conspiracy in this ruthless scheme.

Straight out to Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst; these thugs allegedly took a whole (INAUDIBLE) ice cream, what could be more all- American than a truck going around with that song and alluring kids in. They turned it allegedly into a drug ring. How did they finally catch these guys?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, you know, Jane, as soon as I saw this, this reminded me back when I was in D.C. We had people doing the same thing selling marijuana and crack cocaine.

But this one in Staten Island, 31 people Jane, have been arrested so far in this particular case. They sold at least 40,000 oxycodone tablets between July 2009 and June 2010. So you talk about a drug ring, this is definitely what I call a drug ring.

People say it`s only oxycodone. Come on, it`s a very, very dangerous drug.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And remember they call oxycodone "hillbilly heroin" - - that`s how strong it is.

Now, I talk about how fatal overdoses are now caused by prescription drugs as opposed to illegal drugs and in some states prescription drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death.

I talk about all this in my new book "Addict Nation". Now here`s my take, part of the reason it`s hard to crack down on prescription drug abuse is because prescription drug dealers and users aren`t your stereotypical street kid drug pusher that we often have visualized in our mind. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To tell you the truth I quote-unquote don`t look like a drug addict. You know we`re very good actors when we want what we want. It was very easy.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is a recovering addict who admits that she used, abused prescription drugs. Ok.

Case in point: cops say the lynch pin in this ice cream drug ring, the alleged lynch pin Nancy Wilkins was an office manager for a Manhattan orthopedic surgeon. All right.

We`re going to go to Nikki, the woman you saw there in silhouette a moment ago. You`re a recovering addict and you say you sold prescription drugs illegally and used them abusively. And are you shocked at all by this, this bust of an Oxycontin ring operating allegedly out of an ice cream truck on Staten Island, Nikki?

NIKKI, RECOVERING ADDICT (via telephone): Actually I`m not surprised at all, which is sad. It`s not the first time, like you said before, that we`ve heard about this. I`ve been to Staten Island and frankly I scored drugs in Staten Island.

It`s a very small community, a lot of families. Everybody knows everybody and who is into what and the accessibility of an ice cream truck is frankly perfect for that. It`s right on the streets where the people are. So not only is it easy access but it also saves you hours of going to the doctor and going through traffic, explaining why you need what you want. It just cuts right to the chase, "Give me my pills".

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what about this taking allegedly of the orthopedic surgeon`s prescriptions, they called scripts, prescription pad and then selling those sheets so that people can use them to write up their own prescriptions presumably and go to a drug store.

NIKKI: Right, you could say scripts are as good as money. Stealing them also unfortunately is not a new thing. But now that we have this opiate epidemic that you`re hearing about all the time, you hear in the news a lot about the nurses and patients stealing and getting arrested for taking these pads. And with all the regulation of prescriptions doctors are told --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Ken Seeley, founder of Intervention 911, this is a huge crisis, an epidemic.


KEN SEELEY, FOUNDER, INTERVENTION 911: Yes. This is really bad, Jane. I mean, what`s happening, as you said earlier is people are dying every single day from this epidemic because it`s not like crack cocaine where it keeps you awake. You`ll get so numb from these drugs and they just knock you out and you don`t even know that you`re that far gone and you pop another pill and that`s it. They are dead. There`s no turning back in this.

That`s why we really need to take an aggressive stance in this and stop it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Again, prescription pill abuse is a pandemic, I would say, a pill-popping pandemic in our culture. Thank you so much fantastic panel.

By the way, I talk all about this in my new book "Addict Nation". It really goes into depth why this is happening, why this addiction is spreading. And my book, "Addict Nation" available at; check it out if you got a problem or know someone --



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it walks, hops, swims, crawls, slither, had eyes, a mom and a dad, don`t eat it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, great advice from the commissioner of public health. He is one of the few public officials in the whole country who really is supporting a plant-based diet. Michelle Obama is kind of -- anyway, a new movie about to hit theaters will open your eyes to why more and more people are saying no to meat and other animal protein. "Forks over Knives" makes a great case for eating your veggies.


COLIN CAMPBELL, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: Eating whole foods, it is virtually impossible to be protein-deficient without being calorie-deficient because even if you take the foods that had the least amount of protein in it -- let`s say potatoes, for example or rice. You know, 8 percent or 9 percent, that is the figure that more of us need.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: "Forks over Knives" features incredible of before and after stories of people who had suffered from heart disease, diabetes, other illnesses, turning their lives around with a healthier plant-based died. That means fruits, veggies, nuts and grains.

Straight out to my good buddy, Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary and author of "Farm Sanctuary: changing hearts and minds about animals and food", an amazing book.

Gene, this movie, "Forks over Knives" is as much about people living longer and healthier lives as it is about having compassion for animals, right?

GENE BAUR, PRESIDENT, FARM SANCTUARY: That is absolutely right. You know most people don`t think very much about where their food comes from and most are unfortunately supporting a very abusive system.

This is a great movie. It talks about changing how we eat in a healthy way. Eating plants instead of animals which can save our lives as well as saving animals lives.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One of the people featured in "Forks over Knives" is a 55-year-old man who was diagnosed with dangerously high cholesterol and type-two diabetes. Check out his daily regimen.


JOEY AUCOIN, HAS HIGH CHOLESTEROL AND TYPE-2 DIABETES: This is my daily pill regimen. I have two pills I take for my diabetes, then I have one for cholesterol, one for high blood pressure. And I know it makes me tired. And I just -- I just don`t feel normal. I only sleep four hours a night or so. I just hate taking them.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joey switched to a plant-base plant-based diet for 22 weeks and had a dramatic turn-around, lost 28 pounds. He went from nine pills to two shots per day to zero. And "Forks over Knives" shows his amazing transformation.

Tell us about the connection between cholesterol, high cholesterol and eating too much meat.

BAUR: Well, there is no cholesterol in plant foods. The only way that we consume cholesterol is by eating animal foods. So obviously we take out the animal foods, we also take out the cholesterol. It is healthier. It makes more sense.

You know, the system that raises our food today also is very environmentally taxing. It takes a lot more resources to produce animal foods as opposed to plant foods.

This is a great movie. It will open many people`s eyes and hopefully clear up their veins and improve their lives, as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you`re absolutely right. In fact, meat production is the single biggest cause of global warming far beyond transportation according to a report by the United Nation. Don`t take our word for it; Google "meat production", "U.N. report", "global warming". It will all come up.

Why is that, Gene?

BAUR: Well, you know, to raise animals for food, we first raise a lot of grain and then harvest the grain. That takes a lot of fossil fuels, a lot of fertilizer, a lot of water and other land resources. And then we harvest that, we feed that to animals. And these animals are raised under horrible factory farm conditions and then they`re slaughtered and then they`re consumed.

Now, if we just those plants directly, it would save a lot of resources, it would be healthier, it would prevent a lot of animal suffering, too.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. You are absolutely right. Why don`t more environmental groups have a plant-based platform? Good question. We will answer that in a second.

Stay right there.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do you think meat is important in our diet?









UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of protein.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need protein. You cannot live without protein.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But what "Forks over Knives" points out, has anybody ever been diagnosed with a protein deficiency?

What is this protein thing that we`re sold.

BAUER: Well, it`s -- it`s really a myth that we need to eat animal foods for protein. It`s also a myth that we need to drink dairy products to get calcium. We can get everything we need by eating plants instead of animals.

I have been a vegan since 1985. And I have always gotten everything I`ve needed nutritionally.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. And I have been a vegan for, what, like 15 years. I get all of the calcium I need. I get all the protein I need. Nobody has ever accused me of not having enough energy. That`s for sure.

BAUR: That is for sure, Jane. Same here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Great seeing you, Gene.

BAUR: You too, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And your work at Farm Sanctuary, amazing. Check out "Forks over Knives".

Nancy Grace is up next.