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Casey`s Mom Grilled in Court; Elephant Kill Video Leads to Scandal

Aired April 1, 2011 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, emotions run high in the Casey Anthony court. Cindy Anthony takes the stand and talks about the powerful odor she smelled coming from her daughter`s car. You will not believe what she says. Plus tempers flare between the prosecution, the defense and the judge.

Then a deadly scandal at The site`s founder posts video to Twitter showing him shooting and killing an elephant in cold blood. Now the backlash outrage has sparked an online frenzy.

Plus will a pedophile be set free because of a loophole? A registered sex offender facing a slew of child sex abuse charges on the verge of being released? Why? Because a doctor says he`s not a substantial danger to society. What? I`ll talk exclusively to this man`s sister-in-law. Even she wants him kept in.

And a spring break nightmare, three men accused of taking turns viciously raping a student on vacation in Miami. In the victim`s own words, hear how they lured her and how it could happen to any young woman on spring break.

ISSUES starts now.



GEORGE ANTHONY, CASEY`S FATHER: I don`t know why you`re going in this direction, because right now...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your honor, I`m going to object to Mr. Anthony challenging me rather than answering questions.

G. ANTHONY: I`m not challenging.

OK. I`m going to cut to your chase right now so we can get rid of all of these questions. OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have anything to say about the new theory that Caylee might be dead or it might have been in an accident?

G. ANTHONY: Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news as the anger and frustration over the Casey Anthony case has now spread into the courtroom, as the judge flips out at the bickering trial attorneys, reading them the riot act. Listen to this.


JUDGE BELVIN PERRY, ORANGE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT: I don`t look for the loud shouting, and I have had enough of it. So I`ve had enough of the back and forth between the two of you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And more wild developments in court today. Casey`s mother, Cindy, takes the stand to answer tough questions about what she smelled in the trunk of Casey`s car three long years ago.


CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY`S MOTHER: There was an odor in the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It stunk like nothing you had ever experienced in your life, isn`t that correct?

CINDY ANTHONY: At that time -- at that time, no. At that time, it was the worst thing I had ever smelled in my life.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what was it? A dead body or rotting pizza? And Cindy, did you or did you not spray Febreze and put dryer sheets in the car to get rid of that awful smell? Is Cindy Anthony`s story changing? If so, why?

This trial hasn`t even started yet, and it`s already contentious and nasty. Aren`t we forgetting something? This should be about this precious little girl, Caylee Anthony. Look at this adorable child. Her remains were found nearly three years ago. It shouldn`t be about adults bickering in court.

Is this ugly dress rehearsal a foreshadowing of what could happen at the actual murder trial next month?

Straight out to "In Session" correspondent Jean Casarez. Jean, you`re on the scene in Orlando, Florida. Tell us about the fireworks in court today.

JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, TRUTV`S "IN SESSION": Well, the fireworks between the attorneys, the judge finally said that, if they speak out of turn, if they talk to one another, if they don`t stand up when they object, they`re going to have to give $100 a shot, and he`ll donate it to United Way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. So that`s how ugly it is. Is this personal? Do the defense and the prosecution, do they hate each other?

CASAREZ: I think at this point, the stress is extremely high between the parties.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it should be, because everybody`s watching this trial and we are on the horizon of it beginning. And boy, they are nowhere near settled in what will be before the jury and what won`t be before the jury.

Yes, the battle over what scientific evidence the jury will be allowed to hear. That`s the crux of what they`re fighting about.

Prosecution witnesses claim they found massive amounts of chloroform in Casey`s trunk. Now that`s crucial, because prosecutors theorize Casey may have used chloroform to knock little Caylee out. So the big question is, how did that chloroform get into that trunk? Listen.


CINDY ANTHONY: I sprayed the entire car with Febreze. I used almost a whole can, and then I put dryer sheets throughout the car.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jean Casarez, this is crucial. How do Cindy`s comments about Febreze affect the whole chloroform controversy?

CASAREZ: If you`re directing that to me, what the defense is going to say is that the chloroform can come from Febreze, and so it wasn`t decomposition at all. It was laundry, stain detergent, Febreze.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. So wait. You`re saying that Cindy did not say this originally that she sprayed Febreze. Now she`s saying she sprayed Febreze, Jean Casarez, and so that means that she`s saying, "Hey, I`m the reason why the chloroform is there."

CASAREZ: She`s saying that she was on a new antidepressant at the time. She may not have remembered, that she was in shock during the whole process, so even though she said she didn`t do it in the deposition, in fact she did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. So is Cindy Anthony`s story changing? Prosecutor Jeff Ashton called her out on what he calls discrepancies between what she said today and her deposition a couple of years ago. Listen to this.


JEFF ASHTON, PROSECUTOR: If you, in fact, said in your deposition that you did not put dryer sheets, at least not in the back seat of the car, and you have no reason why you would have. Can you explain why you`re testifying today that you did put those items in the car?

CINDY ANTHONY: Because I remembered that I did. You know, that was very traumatic for me, and it`s still very traumatic for me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Former prosecutor Robin Sax, the implication here is that, at least what prosecutors are hinting at, is that Cindy is changing her story to say that she sprayed the Febreze in order to provide an explanation for the appearance of chloroform in the trunk and thereby help out her daughter, Casey. Your thoughts, Robin?

ROBIN SAX, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Hey, a change of story is fruitful ground for a prosecutor. Absolutely where a prosecutor wants to go. If there was a key fact that wasn`t mentioned on time A when it was close in time, when you were helping law enforcement, why are you saying it now?

The thing that`s so interesting is, with this change of story, they`re still obviously very worried, because Jose Baez and the defense team is still fighting to get the whole testimony excluded completely, regardless of Cindy Anthony`s change in testimony.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jeff Brown, criminal defense attorney based out of Florida, what do you make of this apparent change in Cindy`s story?

JEFF BROWN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, we always have witnesses that sometimes forget facts, and that`s not -- that`s not unusual. The whole issue with the chloroform, though, is don`t forget: they`re fighting as to whether or not you can ever say how much of that chloroform is there and why it`s there.

They found a car, a junk car in Tennessee that they tested that was of a similar type and make and model of Casey`s car, and they found chloroform in that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, wait a second.

BROWN: So they`re a long ways from being able to tie this up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. Jean Casarez, yes, they found a little bit of chloroform in some junk car they picked up. But what amount of chloroform did they find in Casey`s car, because I had read that the expert said they were astounded by the amount?

CASAREZ: They did not measure the amount of chloroform standing alone, but the peaks of chloroform as compared to all the other chemicals found in the trunk were the largest peaks he had ever seen of the chemical chloroform in any sample he`s tested in 20 years.


BROWN: But he`s never tested anything similar to this. He`s never tested anything similar to this. This is -- the whole point of this is, this evidence, this type of evidence has never been admitted in a single court in the world. It`s not even recognized by the forensic science department.

So we`re a long ways away from being able to tie this up and saying that there was chloroform and why it was there and connect it to Casey.

SAX: But it`s a jury issue.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s never -- it`s never happened before. It`s that they`d never tested air samples. Like usually a piece of evidence is something you can touch. What they did is they took air samples. They tested the air samples. And they`re saying there`s a lot of chloroform in those air samples. Correct me if I`m wrong, Jean.

CASAREZ: Yes, they collected air samples and carpet samples that emulated air from them.


BROWN: It`s never been accepted.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nicole, Montana, your question or thought?

CALLER: Hi, yes. My name is Nicole. I have followed this thing with you all from the very beginning. And my question is this: there`s a lot of scientifical [SIC] evidence that has really stacked up against Casey Anthony.

BROWN: What?

CALLER: And I`m trying to understand. For one thing, it blows my mind that this woman even has this dream team. Wow, she`s not that special. Here`s my main question: why are they working so hard to get scientifical [SIC] evidence tossed out? It`s clearly...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Nicole, you`re making some good points.

Now Robin Sax, just from a layman`s perspective, what appears to me to be going on is that there is a slew of evidence that seems to point that there was the body of little Caylee in the trunk of Casey`s car. And that would be very bad news for the defense, because how could she come up with an explanation for why her dead child was in the trunk other than she was responsible?

SAX: Well, that`s exactly the point. What the prosecutors want to do is they want to be able to corroborate the fact that little Casey was -- excuse me, little Caylee at one point was in the trunk of that car, that there was chloroform.

So that there`s a story that`s understandable in terms of how she made it from being in a home, alive and well, to being buried underground. And that piece of evidence, the chloroform in the car, is going to be able to explain how she was able to be moved and transported and killed without making so much as a peep.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, we`re just getting started on the Casey Anthony trial. We`re going to be back in the moment.

Casey visibly upset. Mother Cindy takes the stand to answer questions about the day she smelled death in her daughter`s car. So what did she do next? Did she spray a whole brunch of Febreze? And does that really contain chloroform? We don`t have the answers.

Also ahead, another spring break sexual assault. This time, a 21- year-old girl says she was attacked by three men in Miami. OK? And guess what? They are out of jail tonight.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I tried to close my eyes and it wasn`t working. I tried too tried fighting them and it wasn`t working. They just kept laughing at me.




CASEY ANTHONY, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER: Can someone let me -- come on!

CINDY ANTHONY: Casey, hold on, sweetheart. Settle down, baby.

CASEY ANTHONY: Nobody`s letting me speak. You want me to talk, then...

CINDY ANTHONY: All right. I`ll listen to you.

CASEY ANTHONY: ... give me three seconds to say something.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Casey Anthony`s mom, Cindy, on the hot seat in court today, taking the stand over what she did when she detected the odor of death in her daughter`s car. Did she spray Febreze or not?

In a previous deposition she didn`t mention that, and now she`s mentioning that, and people are wondering, especially the prosecution, why is she bringing this up? Is it a tactic?

Loyless, Georgia, your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: My question is, is that the defense constantly amazes me at what they`ll come up with. It upsets me that they will actually try to accuse George Anthony of killing that beautiful child.


CALLER: And my question is...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Well, let me -- you`ve just raised an important issue and I want to go to Jean Casarez. There was an earlier controversy this week with speculation by some reporters down there in Florida that the defense might be starting to point the finger at George as they get boxed into having to defend the child being in the car, if, in fact, that`s what they`re boxed into. But some of the rulings by the judge seem to indicate that that might happen.

Your observations on that, Jean, because you`re down there.

CASAREZ: First of all, that prompted George Anthony`s attorney to issue a press release, saying if anybody continues to speculate and confirm or assume that George Anthony had anything to do with the demise of Caylee, there will be vigorous action.

And the defense wants to add six witnesses. Originally, one of those witnesses was a woman that got into a confrontation with George Anthony. They have stricken that witness, because they couldn`t get her for depo. There`s another woman that was involved in a confrontation with George at the time when, you know, emotions were high in trying to find Caylee.

So that`s how they made the leap that, from that confrontation, that then that emotion out of George could have been perpetrated onto little Caylee, a man that has been grieving so much as his granddaughter went missing and truly hasn`t recovered, and aided and tried to find her every waking moment of his life after she disappeared.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I can understand why he`s outraged. I mean, this poor man has been through hell and now, because he pushed some protester in a moment of, well, obvious crisis, the defense wants to call this woman.

And that started the speculation, Jeff Brown, of why would they call this woman unless they were trying to prove something about George`s propensity for violence? I mean, what other reason would they want to bring to the witness stand, the defense, a woman who was pushed, allegedly, by George Anthony during a protest outside his house?

BROWN: Yes, that`s a problem. They better -- they better figure out what their story is, because when we try cases, we have a story to tell. The prosecution`s going to tell the story, they better have a story. And if they think that they can go in there and start pointing different theories and different stories around and hope one of them sticks, they`re sadly mistaken. They`re going to get a guilty conviction very quickly if they do that.

SAX: And that`s a terrible story.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s the problem, Robin Sax, is that Casey Anthony originally said Zanny the nanny took the baby. Now, there was a big battle over whether that would be included, because the cops hadn`t read her her Miranda rights at the time.

Now, my latest understanding -- and Jean, correct me, because this is fast-breaking stuff -- is that, yes, that will go into trial, so the jurors will hear that Casey blamed it on Zanny the nanny, which the prosecution says is a person who doesn`t even exist.

How are they going to backpedal from that, which a lot of people think is just an explanation that`s not going to hold water with the jury?

CASAREZ: Well, that`s going to be a big problem if they`re going to point fingers both at Zanny the nanny, and whoops, in case it`s not her, it was George. And certainly, it shows what kind of family and what Casey`s willing to do to save her own hide if she`s going to start blaming her father. That can be detrimental to the defense, and frankly, will only bootstrap the prosecution`s case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Robin, George -- excuse me, Jose Baez, her defense attorney, has said they`re not going to do that. They`re not going to blame George.

But here`s my question. Jean Casarez, you`re down there. If all this evidence is getting in, that the jury`s going to hear, and it basically points to this poor child being dead in the trunk -- I`m talking about the hair that shows signs of decomposition; talking about the cadaver dogs hitting on the trunk; I`m talking about the air samples, if that air sample gets in. How does the defense explain away why a dead child was in the trunk, but yet her mother is not responsible, even though it`s her car?

CASAREZ: Well, if they`re admitting that it`s all in the trunk and not contesting it, then somebody else used the car. Remember, it was not registered in Casey`s name. She used it, but it wasn`t her car.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So OK, Jeff Brown. So they would then presumably point at somebody else, maybe a boyfriend, maybe a friend, maybe another relative. Do you think they`re really going to go down that path?

BROWN: No, I don`t think they can possibly go down that road. There`s just no way to defend the case. If you`re going to admit that she was in the car or you`re going to not contest that evidence, and then you have to try to find somebody else that was driving that car, the jury`s not going to buy that. Nobody with common sense would buy that. So that...

SAX: Unless it was the nanny.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What, Robin Sax?

BROWN: Well, there you go. Then you come right back to the same problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Robin Sax, you have to say?

SAX: Unless it`s -- unless it`s the nanny. They could say the nanny was driving the car. And then that would be consistent with Zanny the nanny.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t think anybody believes that Zanny the nanny exists. I think that that is kind of thin, sort of generally accepted to be a fiction. But what do I know?

Thank you, fantastic panel.

Nancy Grace plans special coverage leading up to Casey Anthony`s murder trial. Will Casey`s defense try to pin the blame on George Anthony? Watch Nancy at the top of the hour.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Massive creatures just out there. At one time there were tens of thousands of these elephants in the park. And in recent years, that number has dwindled to, he thinks, fewer than 1,000.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a global outrage sparks an online protest and calls for a boycott. An Internet mogul under fire tonight after publicly posting video showing him shooting and killing an African elephant in cold blood.

Bob Parsons, CEO and founder of Internet domain company, posted the graphic video to his Twitter account about a week after his elephant hunt in Africa earlier this month.

Now I have to tell you, some of it is so gruesome we can`t show it to you, like the images of the elephant being skinned and butchered. Bob Parsons actually called ISSUES on the phone, and he killed the elephant to help starving villagers in Zimbabwe by giving them elephant meat. He also claims elephants are destroying crops.

Have we mentioned that African elephants are a threatened species, because their population has plummeted due to poaching?

Straight out to PETA senior campaigner Ashley Byrne. Mr. Parsons admits he`s killed five elephants. What`s your reaction to his justifications? And what is PETA doing in response?

ASHLEY BYRNE, SENIOR CAMPAIGNER, PETA: If Bob Parsons wanted to help these villagers, if that was his only motive, he could have used the money that he spent treating himself and his friends to this little expedition, to help put up effective, humane, non-lethal barriers, like I mean, even ones as inexpensive as something as a string infused with chili pepper has been proven effective at keeping elephants away from crops.

And then he could have used the leftover money to fund a food drop that would have fed the entire village, which the body of this elephant did not.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, the horrific elephant hunt video was a top story on It`s even sparked outrage from a slew of GoDaddy clients.

Check out this comment posted to Parsons` blog. "There`s nothing you can write here that will make it OK with me that you go to Africa and shoot elephants. With your success, why not start a wildlife habitat refuge to protect them?"

ISSUES actually spoke to Bob Parsons directly. And he`s claiming the elephant population in Zimbabwe, South Africa corridor is, quote, "not dwindling or in danger of going extinct. By shooting the animal in the field, the people get to eat it. Unless you kill it, they can`t eat it," end quote.

Well, guess what, Ashley? It`s incomprehensible to me that this man actually thinks he`s going to solve a food shortage crisis in Zimbabwe, home to 12 million people, by killing the poor remaining elephants in that troubled country. What are you doing in terms of a boycott?

BYRNE: Well, PETA has ended our GoDaddy account and taken our domain name business elsewhere, and we are encouraging others to do the same. And many people already have.

This absolutely is about Bob Parsons trying to just prove his manhood. And he should go sky diving or rock climbing and leave the animals out of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at these beautiful creatures. One of the reasons why we`re all urged not to buy ivory is because they have gone from millions roaming Africa to, I believe it`s way less than a million today, just above 500,000. I don`t have the exact numbers, but clearly, it`s much less than it used to be.

Now there is a whole movement around the world to save these animals, these precious creatures, who are just trying to live out their lives.

And if you had one thing to say, ten seconds, Ashley, tell us.

BYRNE: You know, Bob Parsons should be using his money to protect animals and to help these starving villagers by putting up low-cost humane non-lethal fencing that will keep the animals out.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you. We`ll keep you updated.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Will a pedophile be set free because of a loophole? A registered sex offender facing a slew of child sex abuse charges, on the verge of being released? Why? Because a doctor says he`s not a substantial danger to society. What?

I`ll talk exclusively to this man`s sister-in-law. Even she wants him kept in.

And a spring break nightmare. Three men accused of taking turns viciously raping a student on vacation in Miami. In the victim`s own words, hear how they lured her and how it could happen to any young woman on spring break.


CHRISTY DANNER, DAUGHTER ALLEGEDLY MOLESTED BY LONNIE JOHNSON: So we just wait for more victims and then he uses this same loophole? Is that what we`re being told? How many victims do we need before we close this loophole?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, growing outrage and disgust over a convicted child molester who could be just days away from walking free. His sister- in-law joins me in an ISSUES exclusive in just a moment.

Thirty-eight-year-old Lonnie Johnson is accused of raping his stepdaughter and her cousin over several years but he will never face trial on that charge. Why not? Well, because he was found incompetent to stand trial. Ok, so, he`s messed up, right? Stick him in a mental ward, right?

Turns out not so easy. Even though this guy has already got a rap sheet, he was tried and convicted of child rape in a different case five years ago. Lonnie`s been in a state mental hospital for about three years. But psychiatrists recently declared that he was not a danger to society.

So here`s the problem: too incompetent to stand trial, but still not a danger to society? Really? Seriously? Let me say that again? They`re claiming this convicted child rapist is not a danger to society even though he`s too incompetent to stand trial. How can they say that? This creep is slated to walk free on Thursday.


CRAIG JOHNSON, UTAH COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Once the hospital says, "There`s nothing else we can do for them," we have to release them back into society unless we can pursue a civil commitment.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Not only will Lonnie`s alleged victims be denied justice, we have every reason to believe there could be more victims. This case is proof that our justice system is completely broken.

Straight out to Kristy Johnson, Lonnie`s sister-in-law, and this is an exclusive interview. What is your reaction to the judge`s ruling today, agreeing with psychiatrists that Lonnie is not a danger to society setting the stage for this guy who is a convicted, registered sex offender to be released on to the streets?

KRISTY JOHNSON, LONNIE JOHNSON`S SISTER-IN-LAW: I`m outraged because he has never gotten any help and he needs help. He really has a very bad problem. This has gone on for a lot of years.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. He is the younger brother of your husband.

JOHNSON: Of my husband, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What have you noticed about this guy? What is this so-called cognitive disorder that makes him incompetent to stand trial? Tell us about him?

JOHNSON: Well, the thing is I don`t believe that there is one because the thing is, prior to him going to Washington, this kid owned his own business and it was a successful business. He had quite a huge home up in Saratoga Springs, Utah. You know, the family bragged on how he would have this, oh, it was in the middle of coming up with a new thing he was going to develop. And he was supposed to be having this thing he was going to develop, get the rights on it and everything. And they talked about how intelligent he was and everything. He would come up with this thing to get patents and everything. He had a thriving business, beautiful home.

Then he goes to Washington. He`s convicted on rape charges up there, but then when he comes back, they have him play this card of I`m incompetent. I don`t understand how you can go from this thriving person with a wonderful business, a beautiful home, and all of a sudden you can`t be competent to stand trial?

And I just feel like he`s playing the system a little bit and I will say this, without -- if he`s let loose, there will be more victims. And he needs help. He really needs help. And I think it`s an injustice --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my gosh.

JOHNSON: -- if they let him go.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I mean, Mike Brooks, I have so many questions. First of all, why is this guy even roaming around? Why is he not serving time for the previous attack for which he was convicted? And how is it possible that they`re saying, he`s too incompetent to stand trial, but he`s not a threat so we`re going to let him out. I have never heard of a trial being -- let`s just forget about the trial?


MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: You and me. Jane, I am so perplexed about this. All right, this guy, all right, he`s got this cognitive disorder. So they`re going to let him out. He can`t go to trial. This doctor, this state doctor, he says he`s not a risk.

Hey, doctor, would you let this guy babysit your kids or one of your relatives? That should be the standard. If the doctor would trust them with one of their relatives, then fine, let him out.

But there`s no way that this guy should be getting out because as we see all the time, Jane, predators like this guy, like Lonnie Johnson, they don`t get better. They get worse.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course not.

How is it ever possible that a convicted child rapist is no longer a threat? He just said it. We know pedophiles are nearly impossible to rehabilitate. A doctor, a psychiatrist made a judgment call about this guy, Lonnie, and the prosecutor says his hands are absolutely tied. Listen to this.


C. JOHNSON: The doctor who makes that call and is the gate keeper from the hospital has decided that while he has a mental illness, he is not a substantial danger to society.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Robin Sax, you`re a former prosecutor, how on earth can they just skip a trial when you`ve got two girls who were allegedly raped and sodomized by this guy. They`re never going to see justice? I have never heard of such a thing.

ROBIN SAX, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Jane, you said it right on the money from the beginning, this is a broken system. It is -- it makes no sense, it is completely inconsistent to have someone not able to stand trial and also be found incompetent. If they`re not competent, then they stay in the hospital. If they are competent, they go to trial, end of story.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Kristy Johnson, I want to go back to you. You know this Lonnie Johnson, what possibly could they be referring to when they say he`s got a cognitive disorder that makes him incompetent to stand trial?

What? Does he speak in --


K. JOHNSON: I don`t even know because I just -- I`m floored by it. I`m floored that they would even consider, that Utah would even consider letting him, you know, walk. It does not make sense. And especially since he was convicted in the state of Washington, for him to get out -- he`s never sought any help over any of this or anything.

You know, I was really apprehensive about coming on and speaking my mind and my youngest son who`s 20, he was -- I`m coming forward basically because of him. He was sexual assaulted and abused when he was very young, not by Lonnie, but by somebody else. And his perpetrator got off with a hand slapping.

And I remember thinking back then how appalling it was that you can just sexually harm children and walk away with this hand slapping.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Kristy, this happened over years. This stepdaughter and cousin who say they were sodomized and raped by this man over a period of years from like 2001 to 2006, that area.

K. JOHNSON: Well, let me tell you, Lonnie --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What is the behavior of this guy? I`m trying to understand.

K. JOHNSON: I was just going to say the behavior of this young boy, it has gone back since the day I married my husband, and that was back in 1980 and Lonnie was 7. And there was problems that started occurring immediately within the family. Immediate family members and their children, neighbor kids, extended family and we were always told just, you know, you ignore it. It was almost taboo. You didn`t speak of it, you just --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- twitch, does he have, is there anything that you can do to describe this so-called cognitive disorder that makes him incompetent to stand trial? Something. Is he pulling his hair out in tufts? Anything.



SAX: The cognitive disorder is he`s a child molester.

BROOKS: Right.

SAX: That`s the cognitive disorder.

K. JOHNSON: I don`t believe he has any problem at all, in myself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So he speaks normally, he acts normally. If you say good morning, he says good morning. He`s not --

K. JOHNSON: Oh, yes.

BROOKS: He`s a predator. Plain and simple.

K. JOHNSON: Predator.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shame on you criminal justice system. Shame on you.

A warning tonight --

K. JOHNSON: He`s the same Lonnie that I have known for years. And he`s been the same --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I got to tell you something. Come back soon. We`re going to stay on top of this case.

A warning tonight for young women on spring break, you could be a target. Was this luxury Florida hotel the site of a brutal spring rape, gang rape? We`re going to hear the alleged victim`s riveting story next.

And did you ever seen stories on the news and wonder why people do strange and amazing things. Well, we`re looking at that question with probably the best person to explore it, Dr. Drew Pinsky. His new show premieres Monday, April 4th 9:00 p.m. right here on HLN.

Robin Meade talked to Drew about what we can expect.


ROBIN MEADE, HLN HOST: Ok, so your new show on HLN, what will it be and what will it not be?

DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: It will be about real people, real issues and sort of getting it right. Why do people do what they do? There`s so much conversation speculating about what the people are doing at the core of a story every day.

I want to get that right, get to the bottom of it and really bring the real people into the studio who are experiencing these things or who have experienced them and let them tell their stories.

MEADE: What about people who think it`s going to be another celebrity interview type of show?

PINSKY: No, no, no. There will be some of that and there`ll be a panel and there will be some of that kind of stuff. But ultimately it`s about the people who are experiencing these things that we are so interested in at the core of the story.

I`m not interested in telling people how to live. I`m interested in changing things in a healthy direction, if they want. But it`s about really making it relatable and helping everyone understand and get their head around why people do what they do.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don`t miss the HLN interview with Dr. Drew beginning Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. And Dr. Drew`s new show premiers Monday at 9:00 p.m. right here on HLN.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I tried to close my eyes and I tried fighting them and it wasn`t working. And I tried fighting and it wasn`t working. They just kept laughing at me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The war on women continues tonight, this time a 21- year-old woman`s horrific claim of rape during a spring break trip in Miami. She accuses three California men of tricking her, luring her away and then gang raping her and laughing at her during the horrific ordeal.

Now, the men are claiming that it is consensual. They are saying there was no rape. Let`s remember these men have not been convicted, these are only accusations. But according to the police report, she was allegedly found with bruises on her arms and legs.

Listen to her account of what she says happened.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were kind of taking turns on me and somebody let my leg go and I kicked him in the chest. And he backed up and the other guy let of my arm and they all started laughing at me. And I grabbed all my stuff and ran into the elevator.

There were two girls in there and they asked me if I was ok. And I was already crying and everything. They took me to the front desk.

I mean honestly, they should have known better and I don`t know where they came from or who they think they are.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The three suspects have each been released on $50,000 bail and allowed to return to Los Angeles.

Straight out to my fantastic panel, back with Robin Sax and law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks. Mike, why do you think Florida would let these men leave the state and go back to California given the circumstances here, the allegations which they say they`re not guilty of?

BROOKS: You know, we don`t know the evidence that they have on these three guys. So could it be that they wanted to take a closer look at this particular case? As I always say, when it comes to any crime, there`s always when there`s two parties involve, there`s three sides to every story, her side, their side and what really happened, Jane.

You know, and the one thing that I just can`t -- I`m having trouble, you know, we talk about personal responsibility, there was apparently a pool party at the Shelborne hotel and she and some friends were looking for a place to stash their purses. But she goes back to their hotel, 26 blocks away.

Now I`m not saying that they have any right at all to do what they did, but I`m just saying, some personal responsibility here and what really happened. That is what law enforcement needs to find out.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I have a question, it says she and her friends went with the man back to drop their purses --

BROOKS: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- and I`m curious about where the other friends went.

BROOKS: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Where are the other girls? We don`t have the answers to these questions. And I want to say again that this is an accusation. We would be very happy to hear from the attorneys of any of these men if they want to come on with their attorneys or just their attorneys or just them. We`re happy to tell their side of the story. We want to be fair here.

This alleged gang rape happened in Miami; again the three suspects are actually from the Los Angeles area. They were arrested, and they have appeared before a judge in Miami-Dade County. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are charged in this case with sexual battery. Do you have money to hire a lawyer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not currently, but I`m going to get in contact with my parents.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, the nature of this charge makes it non- bondable. You are charged with sexual battery.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now arraignment for these three is scheduled for April 14. So former prosecutor Robin Sax, I don`t understand how they appear before the judge, they`re released on bail, but they haven`t been arraigned, i.e. formally charged yet and their lawyer says that they will plead not guilty. Why is there this sort of disconnect here?

SAX: Actually prosecutors and courts have the ability to allow someone to return. And what it appears in this case is that they were not charged with the rape, instead that they were charged with sexual batteries in this case. So sexual battery is an unwanted touching and because they have a promise to appear and a return date, they were deemed able to go back to Los Angeles, probably being viewed as not a threat to that particular victim anymore and probably the state of Florida said it`s California`s problem, let them go there and abuse people in California.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well hold on. Hold on. Hold on.

BROOKS: I don`t know about that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, they were arrested in Miami-Dade on suspicion of sexual battery, but they have not been arraigned yet. That means they have not been formally charged yet.

BROOKS: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So let`s make that clear. All right, it`s a complicated case. We`re going to stay on top of it. Next a wild story; got to check this out.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The horror, lab experimentation. We call them the Alamogordo 14. Fourteen chimps who have already endured painful lab experiments for years and years, who have more than earned their chance for a decent retirement and serenity along with almost 200 other lab chimps who have already gotten that reprieve. But the Alamogordo 14 just missed their chance to live the rest of their lives at a non-research facility with those other monkeys. Instead they were swept up and shipped out to a San Antonio, Texas lab to undergo what critics say is brutal invasive testing. More of it, even though they`ve done it for years.

Well, now, there is a national campaign to save the Alamogordo 14 from anymore possible pain and reunite them with their former companions like Heidi, Danny and Nicole, seen in these photos.

Actress Kristin Bauer, star of the hit TV show "True Blood" on HBO is a leader in the campaign to save these precious, sensitive intelligent animals.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`ve given that pathetic lump of temporary flesh --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ultimate gift. You`re a maker. You`re a hero.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I find myself doubting whether you were ever truly human.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joining me now is a very talented actress and chimpanzee advocate, the fabulous Kristin Bauer. Kristin, if you could talk to the bureaucrats who have put the Alamogordo 14 back into testing despite their years of sacrifice and pain, what would you tell them tonight?

KRISTIN BAUER, CHIMPANZEE ADVOCATE: Well, I think that you said it really well and I think you for that. You know, I would say, we have to ask if there is a better way, which we know there is, to do what Japan and the European Union has done. And that is to stop this invasive animal testing that has not helped save human lives.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. In fact, there is a growing group of scientists who say it is holding back scientific progress because just like we don`t take boats to Europe anymore, we don`t need to be torturing these animals. We should be working on the molecular and submolecular level. That`s where the research money should be going.

But it is easier for them to get research money for this because it is easy to show results. It is something they have done for a long time, even though the results are meaningless. Does it upset you? Your emotions on this.

BAUER: Yes. My husband told me, "Don`t cry, this is CNN." It does upset me because it is unnecessary suffering, which is one of the saddest things that we see in any life form. You have the theory that if we could harm 100 to save a million, it is worth it. But we are not. We are harming millions of animals in animal testing to save actually zero. It`s been fruitless.

And that is the definition of insanity: to keep trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. And this is why we need to reintroduce the Great Ape Protection Act. This would end the use of chimps in laboratories and would mean that the hundreds of chimps used for research like this poor creature. This poor creature, so similar to humans but yet the critics say they are poor models for human disease research. They would have the chance at getting out of the cages.

What crime have they committed? None, except for the misfortune of being born into a world that wants to exploit them.

More next from the star of "True Blood". Hang in there, we`ve got some exciting stuff for you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What a heartache -- that is the life of a lab chimp. If you want to learn about the Alamogordo 14 who we want to free, go to the Physicians` Committee for Responsible Medicine,, and click on Kristin Bauer Fights to Save 14 Texas Chimpanzees.

Last 20 seconds Kristin. Take it away. What would you say?

BAUER: I think that we shouldn`t have one species living solely for another species. And they have served their country more than I ever have. Let`s let them retire.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And you know what; we reached out to the government bureaucrats. They did not get back to us. But I am begging them. I am not going to let this go away until we free them. We`re staying on top of it.

Nancy Grace is up next.