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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Where is Missing Teen Mom?; Fifth Body Found on Long Island Beach; Daughter`s Corpse Posted Online; Casey`s Defense to Target Dad; Killer Whale Back in SeaWorld Show
Aired March 30, 2011 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a head-spinning twist. Could the investigation into the disappearance of a 19-year-old mom lead to the suspect in another explosive case? Cops say Jeffrey Maxwell abducted a neighbor, tortured her and sexually assaulted her for nearly two weeks. Now cops are asking could he be connected to this other missing woman? We`ll talk live with that missing teen`s mom.
And a devastating discovery. The body of a fifth woman found on the beaches of Long Island. Was she yet another victim of the Craig`s List serial killer? Could it be Shannon Gilbert?
Plus, an unimaginable act. An EMT rushes to a crime scene and later posts a gruesome picture of the murdered 26-year-old woman on Facebook, forcing her family to relive this horror. Now her parents are suing the man, and I don`t blame them. I`ll talk to this distraught family live.
Then, unbelievable developments in the Casey Anthony case. Tonight here on ISSUES, an exclusive interview with George and Cindy Anthony`s attorney. He`ll respond to new suggestions that Casey may be planning to throw her dad under the bus. He`ll deliver a message from Casey`s parents you`ll want to hear.
ISSUES starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONICA CAISON, CUE CENTER FOR MISSION PERSON: To bring some kind of resolution. We don`t use the word closure but definitely a resolution to where this child is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A deepening mystery has a Texas family reeling and begging for answers. Where is Shonda Townsend? The 19-year-old mom vanished nine long months ago, and the trail appears to have gone cold. Her heartbroken family members are my very special guests tonight.
Police suspect foul play. Could Shonda have become a victim in the escalating war on women? Look at this beautiful young lady.
She was at a friend`s house for the Fourth of July holiday. She texted her mom that she was on her way home. That was the last anybody heard from her.
Tonight, in a very disturbing twist, investigators say they want to ask this man, Jeffrey Maxwell, if he knows anything about Shonda`s disappearance. Maxwell is in jail tonight, accused of raping and torturing a 62-year-old woman for 13 days. He is also being investigated in the disappearance of two other women, including his ex-wife.
Now, cops point out this sicko lived just a few miles from Shonda. Could he be involved? Cops say they`re investigating the possibility, but her family does not think so. Why not?
Straight out to Carolyn and Lena Rittenbury, Shonda`s mother and sister-in-law.
First of all, I want to thank you both so much for coming on our show. And we cannot begin to imagine how hard the last nine months have been for you. We want to help find out what happened to your loved one.
First of all, let me start with Carolyn, Shonda Townsend`s mother. What have the last nine months been like for you, Carolyn?
CAROLYN RITTENBURY, SHONDA`S MOTHER: It`s been very hard. Very hard.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, law enforcement says -- and let me go to Lena for a second. I see you`re closing your eyes, and I know that somebody often will do that when they`re going through something unimaginable. Can you tell us what`s in your heart right now, Lena?
LENA RITTENBURY, SISTER-IN-LAW: It -- like my mother-in-law said, it`s very hard. I just believe that there`s a lot more out there that somebody knows, and they`re just not willing to open up and let it out. And I just think that they -- it -- it needs to be. It needs to be opened up, and people need to talk.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what do you think that this Jeffrey Maxwell is not involved when law enforcement says they want to investigate?
Now, this Maxwell is accused of abducting and raping a former neighbor, holding her hostage and just terrible, terrible vicious violation over the course of 13 days, along with burning down her house. And he`s also being investigated for the disappearance and presumed murder of his wife and the disappearance of another woman who lived in the area.
Your daughter once lived, reportedly, within five miles of this creep. That`s why cops are looking into him. What are your thoughts on any possible connection?
C. RITTENBURY: I don`t think that he`s -- I don`t think that he -- he acts alone to me. He`s -- he`s an alone person. And Shonda`s car would have had to have got back to Mineral Wells, where it was located on the 6th of July. And that would have had to make him all of the way back to Witt, where the last place that the phone pinged off of. It`s just kind of a hard scenario to think that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So -- all right, well, let`s give our viewers a little context here. Shonda spent the Fourth of July with friends in Mineral Wells, Texas. Now, they left the home that evening and texted her mom that she was on her way home. Here is one of the investigators.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She returned back to Mineral Wells between 9 and 10 at a friend`s house here in Mineral Wells. And then at 11:50 p.m. we have video footage of her being at an EZ Mart in town, and that`s the last known time that we know that she was in Mineral Wells other than cell phone record.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We heard other than cell phone records. What do her cell phone records show? We -- from what I can tell, it`s Fourth of July. She`s with a friend. Shortly after midnight, she texts you and says, "Hey, Mom, I`m coming home." And she disappears, and then her car is found, and the stereo is ripped out. And it looks like, with the doors open, somebody has been in there.
hat do you know about this situation? Have you gotten any cell phone pings? Have cops told you about cell phone pings? What information do you have about where your daughter`s car was found?
C. RITTENBURY: I really don`t have anything. They don`t tell me a lot. And I have one ping off of the Pidendale/Salesdale (ph) tower, and that`s towards our house. It`s about 15 miles from our house. There was a ping off of a tower.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Give us -- give us an idea here of how far away your daughter was when she was at this party. How far away from your home, and then where her car was found, how far away from your home?
C. RITTENBURY: Twenty-five miles from my house is where the party was at, the house she left. And then from that house it`s six miles, city blocks, to where the car was found.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now police noticed Shonda`s car parked in a residential area before she was even reported missing. Her 1997 gray Toyota Camry resembles one we`re going to show you here in a second. Police say they found it with the passenger door and trunk open and the stereo missing. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE GOMEZ, KTBH NEWS RADIO: She never made it home. Subsequently investigators found her abandoned vehicle next to a crackhouse with the stereo ripped out of it, the car essentially gutted. And investigators have been scouring the area ever since but, Nancy, they found no trace of this beautiful, teenage mother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to mention that your family is hosting a benefit concert for Shonda, the missing woman`s adorable little boy, Hayden. The event is called Hope for Hayden. It`s April 9 at the sheriff`s complex there in Mineral Wells, Texas. And if you want to take a donation, you can send it to the Shonda Townsend Fund, P.O. Box 1154, Mineral Wells, Texas 76068.
Carolyn, last question: how is this little boy faring? What do you tell Shonda`s 2-year-old son, Hayden, when he ask says, "Where`s Mommy?"
C. RITTENBURY: I tell him that we don`t really know where she is. She`s just missing. Someone got her. And he prays, and he asks God to bring his mommy home.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I have to say that my heart goes out to the two of you. Are police giving you the kind of information you need? Are they -- it`s been nine months. Are you getting the kind of updates that make you feel like they`re doing everything they can?
C. RITTENBURY: No. No.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what would you say to -- why -- do you call law enforcement?
C. RITTENBURY: Yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what do they tell you?
C. RITTENBURY: Most of the time -- "Oh, I`ll have to go to someone else to get that information. I`ll call you back." Sometimes I get a call back. But not very often.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did your daughter have a boyfriend? Who is the child`s father? Have they eliminated those people?
C. RITTENBURY: Yes. The child`s father is in the correctional prison.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Was he in prison when she -- when she -- was he in prison when she went missing?
C. RITTENBURY: Yes, he was.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So he can`t -- he can`t be involved. Did she have a boyfriend, quickly?
C. RITTENBURY: No. He had a girlfriend, though, that -- that her and this girl really had a lot of trouble between each other all the time.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hmm. Interesting. So would you like police to investigate that further?
C. RITTENBURY: Yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. But have they done it?
C. RITTENBURY: No. Not that we know of.
L. RITTENBURY: Not that we now of.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Hang tight. We`re going to take your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. And we`re also going to talk to experts on the other side of the break.
HLN law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks will analyze this case.
Plus, George and Cindy Anthony`s attorney will join me live tonight in an exclusive interview. He is delivering a message from Casey`s parents about a controversial turn of events in this case. It`s a real explosive development.
And much more on this wonderful teenager, Shonda`s, disappearance. We`re trying to do everything we can to find out what happened to this beautiful young lady.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOMEZ: She never made it home. Subsequently, investigators found her abandoned vehicle next to crackhouse with the stereo ripped out of it, the car essentially gutted. Investigators have been scouring the area ever since, but Nancy, they found no trace of this beautiful, teenage mother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Could an accused sexual predator be behind the disappearances of multiple women in Texas? Jeffrey Maxwell, charged with torturing and raping a 62-year-old woman for days inside his Texas home, and now police are asking, could he have more victims?
Now, all of this is happening in the rural areas outside the Ft. Worth metro area. And you can see a map there. This is the general area. Google Earth map of where it`s happening. And we`ve just been talking to the parents and relatives of 19-year-old Shonda Townsend, who went missing nine long months ago in the same general vicinity.
Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst, you`ve been listening to all this. What is your analysis? Do you think there could be a connection between -- and we`ll show his face -- Jeffrey Maxwell and the disappearance of Shonda?
MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Jane, I`ll tell you, law enforcement would be remiss if they did not look at this guy very closely, just because of the proximity of where Shonda went missing to where -- and where she lived to where Maxwell lives.
And Jane, how many cases do we see where predators like Maxwell, that this isn`t the first time? Just because they got caught, that`s not the first time they may have done something like this.
And just because, you know, relatives may say, "Oh, well, we don`t think that our girl may have known this guy," it doesn`t mean that, you know, he didn`t stalk her, you know, didn`t know her. But it`s something they have to look into. But as we know, the longer it goes on, the less likely it is that you`ll find her.
But Jane, I was -- last week I was down in Dickinson (ph), Texas, talking with Tim Miller of Texas EquuSearch about when his little girl went missing. And he kept on police, demanding answers constantly, and that`s what people have to do, especially in small towns like that. They have to demand answers, and they have to keep on law enforcement about their missing loved ones.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I agree. And it disturbs me that these women, who are suffering so much, say they really are not getting the kind of information and updates that they would like to from law enforcement.
Now, this sicko -- I think we can say that for sure -- Jeffrey Maxwell, is accused of using a deer-skinning device to restrain his 62- year-old victim while he raped her repeatedly for 13 days after allegedly kidnapping her. Police say the woman used to live near Maxwell and had repeatedly turned down his sexual advances. Two days after she went missing, he returns and burns down her house and killing a family companion animal.
A tip led police to Maxwell`s home, and they actually heard screaming when they went in to arrest him. DNA tests are being done on several bloody pieces of evidence taken from this home. So we`re wondering, could there be any links to Shonda or another missing woman, Amelia Smith, who vanished in 2000 following a fire at her home in Parker County.
Again, he seems to target women, allegedly, who live in the same area as he does. Debra Opri, Shonda Townsend lived within five miles at one point, but nothing of hers was burned down. So what are your thoughts on any possible connection?
DEBRA OPRI, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Well, I agree with Mike. You start with him. But I believe you don`t finish with him.
What you really need to pay attention to is we have this woman disappearing, last being seen at a food store, wherever it was, and then you have a car that`s been ransacked. So somewhere around the way she was removed from an environment, whether she was removed from a car to a car.
And if we`re starting with this guy and he is the most suspicious person to begin with, it`s sad to me, as a family law attorney, that he`s even allowed to live in an environment around children and young women. So that makes me sick to begin with.
But you -- if you start off with the DNA and the forensics and all this, it`s a starting point. I would like to know about that crackhouse. I would like to know who there knew anything about the car and who went into it and work backwards that way, as well.
As far as the reaching out in the community efforts to communicate and provide information to these women who -- everyone who loses a child, a missing person, they should have some middle man between the law enforcement and the victim`s family.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Like who? A lawyer like you? Maybe they can`t afford a lawyer like you.
OPRI: No, no, no. A middle person, i.e., a social worker, some -- some organization that they can communicate with and who can provide information. It`s very upsetting, Jane, because when your program, for example, becomes the key avenue by which people get information, and you get a cattle prod response from law enforcement.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me tell you the reason why we do these stories. We do these stories because it does put law enforcement on notice: "Hey, don`t put this in the cold-case freezer and forget about it."
There is a beautiful, young woman who is missing. I pray to God that she`s alive somewhere. But her family, obviously, we`ve got them here. They`re devastated. I want to go back to Carolyn.
Carolyn, if you could say one thing to law enforcement, what would you tell them? Ten seconds.
C. RITTENBURY: That someone come and talk to me and let me know what`s been going on.
L. RITTENBURY: Yes.
Come and talk to her. Look at these women. They`re suffering. They deserve answers.
Thank you, fantastic panel. Keep us updated.
An EMT rushes to the crime scene, then posts a horrific photo of the murdered woman on Facebook. I`m going to talk with the victim`s family. They are outraged about the violation of their daughter, who was already murdered.
And a fifth body discovered on the beaches of Long Island.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELISSA BARTHELEMY, MELISSA`S MOM: We want her home, and we want to get justice. And we`d like to get it out there to these girls that are, you know, working in that type of profession that don`t think you can`t go home to your parents, because there`s something called unconditional love. And you can go home, no matter what happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Those poor people. A serial killer still on the loose in Long Island and now a very dramatic and sad development. He may have claimed a fifth victim.
After a long night of searching, police found human remains along Ocean Parkway. Could it be missing woman Shannon Gilbert? She is believed to have been a prostitute, just like the four other women whose remains were discovered in the same area back in December.
Police think they were all lured by the so-called Long Island Craigslist Killer after answering ads posted on Craigslist. And the last person to see Shannon Gilbert alive saw her running in terror in this exact area.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUS COLLETTI, GILBERT ASKED FOR HIS HELP: I haven`t slept in two nights. I could have saved that girl if I had known something was going to happen. I could have kept her from getting out of here. That weighs heavily on your mind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Back with me HLN law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks. Mike, do you think police have found Shannon Gilbert?
BROOKS: You know, Jane, there`s such -- such a similarity between the other four and Shannon Gilbert. That -- in the same area, which is just unbelievable, on the beach there that, yes, I think most likely it could be Shannon Gilbert.
And, you know, there`s no such thing as closure, Jane. But I hope for her -- you know, for her relatives` sake that it is Shannon Gilbert. But the other question is are there other women out there? Because if you look at all four of these women, Jane, who disappeared, I mean, one of them was last seen in July 9, 2007, in Manhattan.
So you`ve got them last seen in Manhattan, last seen Jersey City, last seen in Babylon, Long Island, on the north shore. You`ve got others, you know, but all the same area. One in Suffolk County in a hotel.
But the last person who saw Shannon Gilbert, the last customer, if you will, that she had, apparently has been checked out by police, and they don`t believe he has anything to do with it.
But my -- my thought, Jane, is if we found five, could there be more?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes. And police in this case have not had any new clues.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: They resumed the search after the ground thaw. Now it`s spring. And back in December the bodies of Melissa Barthelemy, Amber Lynn Costello, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, and Megan Waterman, all four women discovered. All four had kind of a similar look. All were murdered, their remains all unearthed at this very same deserted beach. At least it`s very deserted in the winter time. Ocra Gilgo (ph) beaches. You can see it`s a very remote area there of Long Island. Gilbert still remains missing.
But these latest remains, this body was found just a half mile away. So my question is, is there a war on young female prostitutes? And what is the psychology, Mike Brooks, of a man who would target specifically female prostitutes through Craigslist?
BROOKS: You know, it`s hard to say. But when you see people and when you find this many women, and you look at a profile of someone who likes a type. There`s a -- you know, when you look at a lot of people that are serial killers, and this is a serial killing, these are serial killings, they usually find someone who has a certain type, Jane.
But, you know, the one thing they`re going to have to take a look at, go back, look at all the Craigslist. It`s like finding (UNINTELLIGIBLE), but it`s not over yet.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold it right there.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: An unimaginable act: an EMT rushes to a crime scene and later posts a gruesome picture of the murdered 26-year- old woman on Facebook forcing her family to re-live this horror. Her families are suing them and I don`t blame them. I`ll talk to this distraught family live.
Then unbelievable developments in the Casey Anthony case: tonight here on ISSUES an exclusive interview with George and Cindy Anthony`s attorney. He`ll respond to new suggestions that Casey may be planning to throw her dad under the bus. He`ll deliver a message from Casey`s parents you`ll want to hear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA WIMMER, CAROLINE`S MOTHER: This is the second anniversary of my daughter`s murder. And I just want to get by day by day.
RONALD WIMMER, CAROLINE`S FATHER: I found my daughter. I`d seen what she looked like. She was horrible. And I know these people at night they`re all looking at her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a heart wrenching legal battle for the parents of a 26-year-old woman who was found strangled with a hair dryer cord inside her New York apartment. And now her grieving, distraught parents are taking on social network giant Facebook to get haunting photos of their daughter`s murdered body off the Internet.
One of the first responders to Caroline Wimmer`s murder scene two years ago was a paramedic named Mark Musarella. Ok. This Musarella character did the unthinkable. There he is. He took pictures of Caroline`s dead body with his cell phone and then he posted them on Facebook.
And now Caroline`s parents, they are so furious they are suing Facebook and a number of other people and institutions trying to get the social networking site to turn over the images even though Facebook says they are not online anymore. Now the paramedic was fired, was banned from ever being a paramedic again and he was ordered to serve 200 hours of community service for posting the gruesome images. And the man who killed Caroline, Calvin Lawson, he is in prison for 25 years to life.
But that`s not enough for Caroline`s devastated family. They are haunted. They will never forget the image of Caroline`s dead body on the floor of her apartment and they don`t want a photo out there reminding them at the crime scene floating around the Internet. Oh, no.
Straight out to my very special guests: Caroline`s mother, Martha; Caroline`s sister, Christina; and their attorney, Ravi Batra. I want to thank you all so much for being here and I know this has been such a long two years for both of you.
Martha, what was your reaction when you first found out there was a photo of your daughter lying on the floor in a crime scene, the worst moment of your life caught in a photographic image and posted on Facebook.
M. WIMMER: I was simply traumatized by it. We were -- it felt like we were victimized twice. First by her murder and then by this monster taking her picture, taking it home, and putting it on the Internet. There`s no other way to -- go ahead.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead. You go ahead.
RAVI BATRA, ATTORNEY FOR CAROLINE WIMMER`S FAMILY: Go on Martha.
M. WIMMER: It was just so difficult. It`s so difficult to go on every day thinking that somebody is looking at her picture. I can`t understand why Facebook won`t give us back her picture. It`s not their property. It`s our property. I don`t need her picture out on the Internet.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I certainly --
BATRA: In fact, Jane --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.
BATRA: Jane, let me just share with your viewers the lawsuit. In addition to suing traditional defendants for money, however, we have sued non-traditional defendants, New York City, the Fire Department that controls the regulations of EMT`s and Facebook, not for money but for injunctive relief. Facebook, in particular, a $50 billion giant, was given something which is un-American. They have absolute immunity under a law passed under 1996 Communications Decency Act.
And let me tell you a message that came in earlier today at 4:00 to my office which confirms the latest hoax that Facebook is committing upon America and the Wimmer family. A person who calls himself Dennis called my office and left a message. Among other things saying that he, himself, he downloaded the image or images from Mark Musarella`s Facebook and he`s going to send them out to other friends of his -- I assume equally sick.
Why would anybody want to see --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who is this sicko?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who is this sicko who is going to take this -- you`re saying -- let me see if I understand you right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re saying that somebody who knows Mark, the medic, paramedic, who was fired for taking the photo and posting it on Facebook, he`s got the photo and he`s sort of threatening you, hey, watch out because I`m going to spread this gruesome crime scene photo of this poor --
BATRA: You got it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- dead murdered woman, I`m going to spread it all over the Internet and he called you today and threatened that?
BATRA: He did. And he left a message for me. He made a reference to the Streisand effect and the person in my office who picked up the call and took the call said, "What are you talking about the Streisand effect? He went on to explain it. You know, about a prior incident where Barbra Streisand`s house was accidentally displayed and it became a big issue.
The fact of the matter is Marty and Ronald, the parents of Caroline, sweet Caroline, two years ago went looking for a lawyer and they couldn`t find a lawyer who was willing to take on Facebook. I was the only crazy one to do this --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in here.
BATRA: -- because we`re not suing Facebook for money.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I understand that. Christina, what is your big fear? Your sister is the murdered woman. What is your biggest fear regarding this photo being out there?
CHRISTINA CRISCITELLO, CAROLINE WIMMER`S SISTER: My biggest fear is that people are looking at it. I sat through the trial. I sat through the autopsy photos. I know what she looked like. Her murderer kicked her in the percent face repeatedly leaving huge gashes all over her face, she was beaten, was black and blue all over her body. The hair dryer cord was from the end to end wrapped around her neck and -- sorry.
And this is what he took a picture of and put on Facebook. And people can see this and view my sister as this beaten, mutilated woman. And it kills me. It absolutely destroys me. My sister was beautiful. I miss my friend. I miss my best friend. I`m sorry.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What a terrible violation. What a terrible violation. I am so sorry.
CRISCITELLO: -- what she looked like. Do you have any idea -- my sister was dead for two days before they found her body. Do you know what a body looks like after laying dead for two days? I do. And I don`t want anybody to see my sister that way. I don`t. I don`t.
I want them to remember her as the beautiful girl that she was. She was so beautiful inside and out. She didn`t deserve this. And I would --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I feel your pain. I really do. I think it`s disgusting. And I don`t know what kind of world we live in where sickos somehow find some kind of pleasure in looking at gruesome photos of suffering of other people. It`s a sick world that we live in -- a sick world.
CRISCITELLO: I know cops and I know firemen and I know EMT workers. And I don`t understand. They are supposed to be our heroes. They`re supposed to help us. They`re supposed to be our protectors and not our destroyers and not our betrayers. I feel betrayed.
When my mother called 911, she called for help. We didn`t call 911 to be betrayed.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think this guy should have been put in jail? He got 200 hours of community service.
CRISCITELLO: Absolutely. That`s it. That`s a misdemeanor. How would he feel if it was his child? I don`t know if you have children, but could you imagine that picture? A two-day old corpse with gashes on her face and she was purple. The cord was wrapped around her neck --
BATRA: Well, Jane, you can tell the agony.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have to say something here for legal reasons. We`ve contacted Facebook, which says the gruesome photo of Caroline isn`t on Facebook anymore from what they can tell. And that the fired paramedic`s Facebook page has been taken down. They claim just legally, we`re stating both sides which we have a legal obligation to do that this lawsuit is without merit.
Now, we tried to find the photo of Caroline today online. We did a lot of Google searches and we found nothing. But again, back to Christina, I think your whole point is this photo should never have been taken. It was a violation of the law; official misconduct which is why this guy was convicted. Your point is if it`s a stolen image in a sense, why should it be out there? Is that your basic argument, Christina?
BATRA: Let me jump in there because it`s really a legal issue. We have sued Facebook for again to be subject to court because no one is above the law, not even Facebook. Not even with CDA which is Communication Decency Act. And Congress wants to --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you this question. Ok.
BATRA: Ok. We are suing Jane --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Some people say it would open a Pandora`s Box because it would allow government or private corporations to come in and start demanding other things from Facebook. Your response to that?
BATRA: Very simple. Nobody is above the law. You know, even corporations have to be good neighbors. And the fact that Facebook has absolute immunity makes them above the law and absolute power corrupts. If a jewelry store cannot resell stolen jewelry, neither can Facebook depict and allow a picture of --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re out of time. But we are going to stay on top of this story.
BATRA: -- downloaded, that was stolen by Mark Musarella.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Our hearts go out to you.
And unbelievable story in the Casey Anthony case next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE ANTHONY, FATHER OF CASEY ANTHONY: I don`t know why you`re going in this direction because right now I wish you could change places with me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your honor, I will object to Mr. Anthony challenging me rather than answering questions.
G. ANTHONY: I will challenge you.
Ok. I`m going to cut to your chase right now so you can get away with all these questions, ok.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have anything to say about the new theory that she might be dead? It might have been an accident?
G. ANTHONY: Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That poor man.
Tonight just when you think you have heard it all, an explosive new theory about the murder of little Caylee Anthony. Some trial analysts are now buzzing, claiming that Casey`s defense might have shifted strategies to point the finger at the murdered child`s own grandfather -- that man, George, you see crying right there.
How on earth did they arrive at that bizarre conclusion? And could Casey actually go for it.
Two new witnesses were recently added to the defense witness list. One of them is a woman who claims George shoved her during a confrontation with protesters outside of the Anthony family home in September of 2008. Check it out.
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G. ANTHONY: Get off my property. Get off my property. Get of my property.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get in the house.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: I guess the head spinning theory goes like this. If George pushed the woman, you saw that there, is he capable of violence? Could they use that woman`s testimony to somehow point the finger at George?
The legal eagle pundits add that George might go along with this head- spinning logic and plead the Fifth during the trial and voila, Casey walks free. This is the theory any way.
As if things weren`t bad enough for this poor guy, George. Luckily he does have an advocate in his corner vigorously denying that he had anything to do with his granddaughter`s murder.
Joining me tonight in an ISSUES exclusive: the attorney for George and Cindy Anthony, Mark Lippman; Mark, thank you for joining us.
MARK LIPPMAN, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE AND CINDY ANTHONY: thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What was George`s reaction when he heard about this devastating new theory that is out there?
LIPPMAN: He was outraged. As far as -- it`s a theory that`s been thrown around in the past and certainly it`s raised its head again. But based on the theory that was presented certainly he was definitely outraged and it necessitated us making a statement that we made on his behalf.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me go into some mutations on the controversial theory. Please don`t blame the messenger.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m just laying it out there. Ok. Some wonder has the defense been boxed into a corner with a slew of recent rulings against them by the judge that make it possible that the jury can be convinced that little Caylee`s dead body was in Casey`s car trunk. If so, does that mean that Casey`s defense team now has to explain how the killer had access to that trunk? So are they kind of in a position where they can`t argue the killer is a stranger?
If they pointed to George, the hypothesis goes that could explain Casey`s lying. She could say, hey, she was lying to cover up for her father. And I want to give you an opportunity, Mark, to debunk that theory.
LIPPMAN: Sure. We`re in an interesting position as the representatives for the Anthony family. And certainly we don`t represent Casey Anthony. We just represent George and Cindy Anthony.
As far as any theories that are proposed or promulgated by the defense as to how things happened, what happened, what didn`t happen, certainly I don`t feel it`s necessarily our position to comment. The only position we`ve ever taken is when a theory is proposed where --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second. You are coming here to state your case. George was outraged by this report that was published. So now you`re saying you can`t comment -- you can`t comment on the case itself -- but how does George feel about these theories?
LIPPMAN: Well, just like anything else, a defense attorney and I`m a criminal defense attorney as well, has the job to zealously represent their client. And certainly I`m not saying how the defense is doing their job or what they`re doing but when in this type of case the theories are popping up left and right by analysts as to what they believe the defense is going to do and that theory then leads to people repeating over and over that my client murdered somebody, certainly that`s when we have to take a stand.
If this wasn`t the press case that it is and that particular statement didn`t receive the press that it did over and over, we never --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m sorry. We`ve run out of time. That`s a long sentence. I guess you are upset. You`re speaking for George.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re going to be back in a second.
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CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY ANTHONY`S MOTHER: I found my daughter`s car today. It smells like there has been a dead body in the car.
G. ANTHONY: I got within three feet of my daughter`s car and the worst odor that you could possibly smell in this world. And I have smelled that odor before. It smelled like a decomposed body.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Imagine the horror for Cindy and George discovering that unmistakable odor and thinking the worst. And now speculation that Casey`s defense team might try to throw George under the bus and certainly Jose Baez, the lead attorney for Casey Anthony is denying that saying there is no change in the defense strategy.
And it is unfortunate that speculators don`t care what it does to the lives of the people involved. There is more than just one victim in this case. And that is for sure. George has been through hell.
Hope, Texas, your question or thought.
HOPE, TEXAS (via telephone): Well, I agree that George has been through hell but I think a lot of it was brought on by himself. If you look at the facts of the case, we know that Lee Anthony cleaned up the backyard in July approximately two or three weeks after Caylee went missing and dumped some pavers in an area where Caylee`s body was found. We also know that George`s family hired an attorney named Casey Dominic to go to that ---
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was a private investigator actually. But yes, Hope, I get your point. Debra Opri, criminal defense attorney she is basically saying that the family is more involved than they seem. I have no idea.
What do you make of this new theory that Casey`s defense team is going to point the finger at George?
DEBRA OPRI, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, I`m going to say this in a very limited way, what I`m going to say. I`m no stranger to media. I represented the parents of Michael Jackson during his child molestation case.
So, Mr. Lippman is best making best use of the media because what those parents are going through, that should not be the last thing they go to the graves knowing. If the father has to get on that stand and testify, guess what? That defense angle is going to require his daughter to get up and say you are a liar. I think this is the worst thing Casey Anthony`s attorney would decide to do. She should leave the parents alone because they have not been charged.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. They are saying, Jose Baez is saying he`s not going to do this. But I mean the point is, why would you put a protester on the witness list? What reason could there be to put this woman who was allegedly shoved by George on the witness list?
OPRI: Jane, you know this. It is create reasonable doubt that maybe, just maybe, someone other than Casey did it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Either they`re not going to do this defense or they are. You can`t have it both ways.
OPRI: I think they are.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You do think they are?
OPRI: I think they are. Yes, I do.
OPRI: And I think it is a big mistake if they do it. I think it is catastrophic to their case if they try to push that angle. I just don`t think they should do it. I think the attorney should be out there in the media.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jose Baez`s defense strategy, there is no change in the defense strategy --
OPRI: I don`t believe it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There never has been. What are they going to do to defend Casey if they can`t get around the fact that the body was in the trunk?
OPRI: They can`t. They can`t, Jane, because with their rulings by the court recently, that evidence is getting in. Unless Casey pulls a rabbit out of a hat and tries to get the jury to believe somebody else may in fact be responsible --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hang in there. We`ll be right back.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is about the dollars and cents these animals are bringing in for SeaWorld. And if they really cared about the best interest of these animals, they would stop breeding them and they would stop forcing them to perform circus-like tricks for the entertainment value.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tillikum the killer whale made his first appearance in front of an audience since killing a SeaWorld trainer last year. SeaWorld said it made adjustments to the way trainers interact with the orca.
That`s not the issue. The real question is why is this animal being held captive? Tillikum should be free to a sanctuary. Not living in a concrete box. Critics and protesters say it is the equivalent of you and I living in a bathtub.
Yes, there`s a danger to trainers but they can make their own decisions, Tillikum cannot make decisions. This whale is not capable of saying I don`t want to be here. But his body, his alleged slumped fin is a sign that this animal is frustrated.
If SeaWorld really cared, they would get him out of that concrete box and stop breeding and exploiting these animals.
Nancy Grace is up next.