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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

MTV Music Producer Killed on Mother`s Day; Son, 10, Accused of Murdering Neo-Nazi Dad

Aired May 11, 2011 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a jaw-dropping assassination. The rising star of America`s neo-Nazi movement gunned down in his own home. But the really shocking part: his 10-year-old son is accused of what cops call an intentional prosecution. Did this murdered hate-monger indoctrinate his son to commit violence, only to find himself the victim? We`ll talk to a former skinhead who knows the dead dad.

Plus, a shocking execution-style shooting. An MTV music coordinator murdered on a sidewalk near his Los Angeles apartment. Cops say they have no motive and no suspect. Now we`re diving deep into this murder mystery.

Then, an ISSUES exclusive: a jaw-dropping theory on Casey Anthony`s new defense strategy from someone very close to the case.

JUDGE BELVIN PERRY, PRESIDING OVER CASEY ANTHONY TRIAL: ... for the killing of Caylee Marie Anthony, a human being, unlawfully killed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The defense promises a bombshell that will explain everything in the first couple of minutes of opening statements. We`ll tell you what it might be. And we`re taking your calls.

Also, a missing New Jersey teen`s family desperately searches for answers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If anybody knows where Sarah is, bring her back safe.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Her boyfriend found her car parked near a pond with her purse and cell phone still inside. We`ll talk to the missing girl`s desperate family.

ISSUES starts right now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems like somebody was after him, because you just don`t walk up to somebody and put one in the brain for nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who killed Hollywood MTV producer, music producer Gabe Ben-Meir? He was killed on Mother`s Day. There is breaking news in this case.

This was a promising young man who left his BMW parked in the mid- Wilshire area of Los Angeles, was walking towards his apartment when he was shot, brutally shot and executed in the back of the head. Again, this happened on Mother`s Day. There has been a manhunt, trying to find out who is responsible and trying to figure out why this happened in the first place. There was no apparent robbery, and he was executed with a shot to the back of the head.

There was a news conference just moments ago in Los Angeles. A CNN correspondent, Alan Duke, was there. And he brings us the very latest on this breaking news.

Alan, what did we learn from the news conference that ended moments ago?

ALAN DUKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they finished the news conference, and then moments later they came back out and said, "We`ve got something for you. We`ve actually made two arrests." Two people arrested.

What this is -- they don`t know that that is necessarily connected to Ben-Meir`s killing on Sunday. However, what`s happened in the last 12 days in the same area of Los Angeles, there have been nine shotgun robberies, a very rare weapon to use in a street crime. Nine of them in the general area, plus two killings, including another man who was killed on April the 30th. So they`re trying to connect it all together.

They made two arrests today, one following a liquor store robbery with a shotgun. So they`re trying to figure out ballistics, if they match up with the killing of the MTV music coordinator.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did they mention this MTV music coordinator/producer in the news conference, because that`s obviously why all of the media is there? He`s a prominent, up and coming young music would-be executive. He has a nice car, a BMW.

He parks it and then -- look at this handsome, young man. Look at this handsome young man, who everybody said was just a joy to be around, who was a gourmet chef, who had an absolute vast knowledge of music, well- loved, no enemies, why would anybody walk up to him at about 1 in the morning -- that`s when neighbors heard a pop that we now know was a gunshot -- and shoot him in the back of the head.

And apparently there was no robbery, Pat Brown. So now they`re saying they made these two arrests of people. Well, go ahead, Alan Duke, because you were at the news conference.

DUKE: The connection between all of this and the men arrested today is the shotgun or shotguns. They haven`t ballistically connected it. It`s still way too early for that to happen, but they are seriously looking at all of these crimes over the last 12 days to be connected, including that killing of the MTV music coordinator. But we will know as the investigation continues.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, cops might not know the robberies are connected to Ben-Meir`s murder, but there is a man running around this mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles, which I know very well. I spent 18 years in Los Angeles. I was there often during the day when it`s bustling, and at night it does get a little dicier to be in that area, because it`s one of those areas that`s half business and skyscrapers on Wilshire Boulevard. But then a couple blocks in it`s all residential, and Wilshire Boulevard at night in that area completely empty.

So if you`re walking around that area, it is more dangerous at night. And again, this happened at about 1 in the morning. And again, there is this robbery spree of people and businesses being robbed at gunpoint.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you`re saying is, is was this suspect, the same suspect that has done these robberies to the one that occurred that did the murder? And I`m telling you, I can`t say that; nor can I even pretend that I know, because we don`t even have a suspect or we don`t have a shotgun in custody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Pat Brown, what do they do? I heard Alan Duke say that they arrested two people, correct, Alan? OK. He said they arrested two people.

DUKE: That just hoped a moment ago.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A moment ago they arrested two people. Pat Brown, how do they go about, the police, determining those two people who were just arrested are connected to the shotgun execution in the back of the head of Gabe Ben-Meir?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, I think, first of all, they have to find out what their alibis are. They have to see where they`ve been doing these other robberies, if there`s a lot of similarities in these robberies, as to who they`re targeting, and then to find that shotgun and see if that could be the one that was used.

But you know, it`s not as easy to identify as a handgun. And I`ll tell you, the shotgun robberies, I`ve seen an increasing amount of them, because if you jump out of a vehicle with a big shotgun and put it right up to somebody, that`s quite a frightening thing. I think it could be a robbery just gone bad.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, not only has the murder totally terrified upset neighbors, they`re also upset about this. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That he was lying there, in this case dead, for almost five hours. And nobody seemed to notice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mark Eiglarsh, this is so upsetting to me, because, again, I spent so many years in that area, and there are a lot of homes. And so you have this area that has a strip, Wilshire Boulevard, that`s filled with music companies and the MTV`s of the world and all sorts of entertainment companies, and then there`s this residential area on either side of it.

And at night the area does change a little bit and becomes more dangerous, and now they`ve arrested two people just moments ago. Your thoughts on how they proceed to determine whether these two individuals are responsible for this execution murder that doesn`t appear to be a robbery?

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, the first thing you do is make sure they`re separated and then cops are pretty good at getting the truth out of people. Trickery has been upheld by the Supreme Court as a technique that they can use. So good cop, bad cop, suggest to them that "we already know that you were involved in this" and see if somehow they can trick them into admitting their involvement. They do it all the time. They`ve done it with my clients. Hopefully, we can learn the truth through their methods.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And here`s my big issue tonight. Was this just random street violence in our culture of violence?

Who could forget the murder of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, gunned down -- and this didn`t happen so long ago, which was recently covered here on ISSUES. She was gunned down about five miles from where Ben-Meir was killed. Her killer, cops say, was a random act of violence by this homeless man who was on a bicycle. It was not what we expected to hear. This was just some kind of just pathetic attempt at robbery that didn`t happen. She was also in a fancy car, either a BMW or a Mercedes. I can`t remember which, but maybe you can -- yes, it`s a Mercedes. She was in a Mercedes. And apparently, it was a new Mercedes.

Alan Duke, you`ve covered the Ronni Chasen case. When Ronni Chasen gunned down, there were all sorts of conspiracy issues about she might have alienated somebody and maybe she had an enemy and she was leaving this party. What did she say to that one? And it turned out to be this -- this pathetic man on a bicycle, biking through Beverly Hills, of all places. And I`ve been to Beverly Hills so many times, and I`ve never seen anybody on a bike.

It`s so sick, our cultural violence, that it just seems completely meaningless and motiveless.

DUKE: Well, there are actually...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.

DUKE: Well, there were actually motives in some of these. There were actual robberies. We do know nine of them where this gentleman ran away or a person ran away with cash and goods, in some cases, in this spree that we`re covering now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. The person in this spree ran away with cash and goods, but the two things that the Ronni Chasen crime, which has been solved, have in common with this horrible execution-style murder is that -- correct me if I`m wrong, Alan -- they didn`t take anything. He didn`t take anything when he killed Ronni Chasen. He panicked after shooting her, and her car went into something, and then he left.

So maybe it`s possible, Pat Brown, that this guy was attempting a robbery, decided to shoot him in the back, and then after the act of shooting him in the back of the head, panicked and leaves without taking anything, so we`re thinking it was an execution and not a robbery.

BROWN: Right. I mean, a lot of these people that do these kind of crimes, they`re not really well thought out. They`re cruising around. They`re looking for the opportunities.

And when we look at this area -- I`ve walked Wilshire at night myself. And I can tell you it`s really nice in one spot and then it`s really kind of scuzzy and then you see kind of a mixture of people in the middle of the night going through there. So an unusual car or unusual guy, kind of scuzzy looking, you`re not really going to say, "Oh, wow, we have to pay attention to him" necessarily.

So yes, he could have jumped out, decided to commit this crime, panicked because he thought he saw something and then just ran off. Well, that could confuse things, but they`re going to be looking back in this man`s background, the victim`s background, to see if there`s any other explanation other than just a street robbery gone bad.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, fantastic panel.

Next, a neo-Nazi gunned down in his own home. You will not believe who the suspect is.

And Casey Anthony`s defense promises a bombshell. Now an insider weighing in on what that bombshell may be. You do not want to miss this ISSUES exclusive which could explain everything. We`re taking your calls. These stories coming up: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: Casey Marie Anthony between the 15th day of June 2008 and the 18th day of July 2008, from a premeditated design, to affected death of killing Caylee Marie Anthony, a human being, unlawfully killed, Caylee Marie Anthony.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LORI ADAME, NEIGHBOR: Very scary, very scary. From the time that I was living here, I had no idea. So it`s just all of a shock.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A neo-Nazi leader gunned down in his own home, police say, by -- are you sitting down? -- his own 10-year-old son. Did this man`s devotion to hate and violence ultimately result in his own murder?

Here is Jeff Hall at a 2009 white supremacist rally. Police say his son, who we`re not naming, shot his dad intentionally while the dad lay on the couch. This all happened May 1. We`re just finding out about it. It happened in the middle of the night inside the family`s Southern California home. Police have not said what might have prompted the 10-year-old boy to target his own dad and shoot him dead.

Hall was a married father of five. He led a chapter of the National Socialist Movement, the nation`s largest neo-Nazi organization. Here is a look at one of their typical rallies of hate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White power!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White power!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we want?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White power!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Save our rights. Save our rights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fellow white supremacists hosted a tribute to Hall on there MSN Web site.

Hall openly bragged about teaching his son to shoot a gun, even with night vision goggles. Hall was reportedly open with his kids about his beliefs, and he hated just about everybody. Blacks, Jews, Hispanics, gays, and even women took hits. Did he ever suspect the biggest threat to him may be sleeping in the next room?

Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. What do you think happened here? That`s 1- 877-586-7297,

Straight out to former -- emphasis former -- neo-Nazi T.J. Leyden, author of "Skinhead Confessions."

T.J., thanks for coming on. You knew Jeff Hall, the guy who was shot, according to cops, by his 10-year-old son. What was your reaction when you heard this news?

T.J. LEYDEN, AUTHOR, "SKINHEAD CONFESSIONS": I was shocked that it was a 10-year-old kid who would kill anybody. But you`ve got to look at the way he lived his life. This kid was indoctrinated from the womb to hate everybody, and the only way to solve your actions or solve your problems is through violence. So the kid had a problem with his father. He solved it the only way he was taught.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I agree with you 100,000 percent. Kids hear the messages that their parents send, and they look at their parents` actions, and they incorporate that into their own life.

So essentially, the dad was saying, "Get rid of people you don`t like. Get them out of here." And that`s exactly what the boy did. Now, why would he have a problem with his dad? Do you have any idea? We`re going to talk about his very, very troubled background in a second. But do you have any idea why this young man would have had a problem with his dad? It could have been, hey, go to bed at 9 p.m., and that`s what kids get upset about.

LEYDEN: Yes, he could have told anybody anything. He could have been telling him, you know, "You`re going to go to bed without supper, you know. You can`t watch that cartoon." Anything. "Take the trash out."

I mean, he taught his kid how to use a weapon at a very young age. His kid knew how to use it and is -- he was taught, you know, if you don`t like somebody, eliminate them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jeff Hall and his first wife went through a very nasty divorce in 2003. Court records show they bought bitterly, bitterly over custody of this young boy and his younger sister. Each parent accused the other of abuse and neglect. The kids reportedly lived in filth and without even much food.

Ultimately, Jeff Hall got custody of the boy and ended up exposing the boy to his white supremacist beliefs. And he even trained, again, his son with a night vision goggles and a gun. Yada, yada, yada.

Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney, what happens to this kid now? Is he likely to be tried in adult court as a 10-year-old? I doubt it. So what happens?

EIGLARSH: Right. The law precludes him being tried as an adult, first of all.

Second of all, he`s actually going to be tried in front of a judge, which I don`t necessarily like. I`d like to see the kid somehow not come out of this that harmed. You know, some people just need a killing. I`m not saying he`s justified, but the judge will make the decision.

What`s difficult is that the prosecutors have to prove that he knew right from wrong. According to the penal code...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He is reportedly going to use the insanity defense.

EIGLARSH: Correct. But whether he uses it or not, the burden is -- it`s unusual, with this penal code. They`re going to have to prove that he knew right from wrong. And, you know -- you know, he was taught hatred. He was taught the wrong things from a very young age. It`s a very unusual case, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. The best defense: I was taught to hate, so how did I knew -- how would I know that shooting somebody is wrong? I was taught to shoot. I was taught to hate."

Hang in. More on this really mind-boggling story.

And then an ISSUES exclusive, a jaw-dropping -- and I mean jaw- dropping -- theory on what Casey Anthony`s new defense strategy is. You won`t believe it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White power!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Immigrants go home!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White power!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we want?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White power!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Save our rights. Save our rights!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is a hateful rally by a bunch of hateful people. And tonight we are reporting that that hate seems to have boomeranged with the leading white supremacist, one of the leading ones in the United States, murdered in his own home. And the shocker is the killer. Police say it`s his own 10-year-old son who intentionally just shot him dead while he was sitting on the couch. What role did neo-Nazi Jeff Hall`s lifestyle and hatred beliefs play in his death?

My big issue tonight: was this an indoctrination to kill by father to son which boomeranged?

Lauren, New York, I believe, your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Yes. Hi, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi.

CALLER: I want to tell you that you are wonderful. Thank you for being an advocate for children. It`s just fabulous what you do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you.

CALLER: And I have two comments. I wanted to know will he be tried as a child or an adult? And, also, can the father be blamed because he`s the one who taught him how to shoot a gun? Like otherwise...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mark Eiglarsh? OK. Well, we didn`t have Mark Eiglarsh on that. But let me tell you this. OK. I couldn`t hear him. Go ahead.

EIGLARSH: Jane, I`m here. I`m here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK.

EIGLARSH: OK. With 100 percent certainty, he will be tried in the juvenile courts by a judge, not a jury, and it`s going to be incumbent upon the state to prove that he knew right from wrong as opposed to the adult system he would have to show that he didn`t know right from wrong.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: T.J., you were in the neo-Nazi movement until you saw the light and, thank God, got out of it. What do guys like Jeff Hall -- and you knew Jeff Hall -- how do they talk to their kids? What do they tell them about their beliefs?

LEYDEN: Well, I think what you`ve got to look at is how this kid was raised. I mean, I went to parties where they would hang black dolls like pinatas and have the kids hit them with sticks. They educate their kids and indoctrinate their kids on violence and hate.

This kid -- if he`s going to be tried as a juvenile. He`s going to need serious psychological counseling over the next 10, 15 years, possibly de-indoctrinating all these things. If we don`t, we`re going to get a kid coming out of the prison system in the next 14 years. It`s going to be 30 times worse than what his father did to him.

So I mean, there`s a lot of really sad things when you look at this whole case in a -- in a bigger scale.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, what about this whole idea that he grew up in filth and didn`t even have food? Did you ever hear anything about that, T.J.?

LEYDEN: I didn`t hear anything about that, but I did know that during their divorce and their fight that they were both going back and forth about some sexual allegations, too, about possible abuse that way.

I think that, you know, that this kid was just -- you know, whether he was physically abused or verbally abused, I would say this. Probably 70 percent of the men I knew in the white supremacy movement when I was involved verbally or physically abused their families in some way, shape or form.

And like I said before, this kid was indoctrinated that violence is the only solution. The NSM code is basically if you`re inferior, you get rid of them. They believe in eugenics.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So he heard that, and he acted it out. And I think that`s an excellent defense.

LEYDEN: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: T.J., come back soon. I`m so glad that you jumped to the other side. Thank you.

LEYDEN: Thank you. Any time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Casey Anthony`s defense team. You won`t believe what we`re going to tell you on the other side of the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: An ISSUES exclusive: a jaw-dropping theory on Casey Anthony`s new defense strategy from someone very close to the case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BELVIN PERRY, JUDGE IN CASEY ANTHONY CASE: -- of killing Caylee Marie Anthony, a human being, unlawfully killed --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The defense promises a bombshell that will explain everything in the first couple of minutes of opening statement. We`ll tell you what it might be. And we`re taking your calls.

Also, a missing New Jersey teen`s family desperately searches for answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROY WAYNE TOWNSEND, FATHER OF SARAH TOWNSEND: If anybody knows where Sarah is, to bring her back safe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Her boyfriend found her car parked near a pond with her purse and cell phone still inside. We`ll talk to the missing girl`s desperate family.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: Casey Marie Anthony, between the 15th day of June 2008 and the 18th day of July 2008, from a premeditated design, to affect the death of Caylee Marie Anthony, a human being -- unlawfully killed Caylee Marie Anthony.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, Casey Anthony loses it again in court. This would be the second time this week that she`s broken down in front of prospective jurors as the judge reads the most serious charges against her.

And just hours ago, Casey, get this, had to be escorted out of the courtroom by bailiffs after she appeared to be in some sort of pain and her hand or wrists appeared either immobilized or frozen or something. Is Casey playing the sympathy card to influence these potential jurors or is she legitimately falling apart.

Meantime, we`re learning more about -- you know that woman who caused a batch of 50 jurors to be tossed out of court yesterday because she was talking to them. Turns out she`s the very same woman -- see that woman -- she`s the very same woman who got into a shoving match with George Anthony outside his home in the fall of 2008. What are the chances of that?

But, first, tonight we promised you that we would reveal a new theory about what the new defense strategy might be. Now, we`re joined by Brad Conway. He is the former attorney for Cindy and George Anthony.

Jose Baez has said that in the first couple of minutes of his opening statements expected next week, he will explain everything. The "beautiful life" tattoo she got, the partying for 31 days, not telling anyone that her daughter was missing.

Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSE BAEZ, ATTORNEY FOR CASEY ANTHONY (via telephone): That question will be answered within the first minute of me standing up for opening statements. And it will be put to rest for good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news tonight, the defense itself says their theory, this thing that they are going to explain in the first minutes of opening statement next week is a jaw-dropper.

I`m taking your calls, 1-877-jvm-says.

Brad Conway, the former attorney for Cindy and George Anthony, you have a theory which you explained to me. And when I heard about it I went, "Oh, my God, I think you`re right."

Tell us what you think the new defense strategy is that they will unveil.

BRAD CONWAY, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR CINDY AND GEORGE ANTHONY: You know, Jane, that`s a bold statement to say that he`s going to answer that question in the first minute or so of his opening statement. It`s a bold statement because when you tell a jury that you`re going to deliver certain things, you better deliver them. And in this case he has nobody to testify about what she was doing during those 31 days other than his own client, Casey Anthony.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but you gave me a theory of what his new theory is going to be. Now, either you tell me because it was good or I`m going to tell you what you told me yesterday.

CONWAY: What he`s going to say is that she didn`t report her child missing because of the abuse, the emotional abuse, the physical abuse, the alleged sexual abuse that Casey included in her letters; that she just couldn`t tell her family, she couldn`t tell anyone because she was afraid of her family.

Now, I don`t know what he`s going to --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second. You`re saying that she`s going to say that -- what? Say it again?

CONWAY: Say it one more time, Jane?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What -- say it again? Say it again. What is your theory?

CONWAY: My theory is that he will blame the Anthony family. She`s alleged sexual abuse. She`s alleged emotional abuse. And he will say that she could not explain or tell anybody what happened to Caylee during those 31 days because of -- let`s just call it -- family dysfunction.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What happened to her during those 31 days? I thought your theory was that she was going to say it was accidental death, that the child died accidentally and that she had to withhold that information and that that would explain everything because that would explain why there was a decomposition in the trunk, why the cadaver dogs hit on the trunk.

CONWAY: I think that`s the only explanation that they can give. But, again, that`s why Mr. Baez`s assertion is a bold statement because he would essentially have to concede in an opening argument that there was an accidental death. I don`t know that I would want to concede that in my opening.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. So let me recap your theory. Your theory is that the new defense strategy is going to be that the child died accidentally and that Casey discovered it and that then she was afraid to tell her parents or anybody else because her parents were emotionally high- strung. And that that`s why they wanted to get that video of George shoving someone. And then he would also cite the letters that Casey reportedly wrote saying that her dad may have abused her.

And that for all those reasons and the fact that Cindy had a big fight with her right before the child disappeared where she allegedly, some say, grabbed at her. That for all of those reasons she was scared of telling the truth that the child died accidentally. Is that what you`re saying?

CONWAY: I think, based on everything that Mr. Baez has done in the last five days that that is a viable theory and that`s my theory. That`s what I think will come out.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, wouldn`t that throw the prosecution into a tailspin?

CONWAY: It sure would because they are seeking a conviction on first- degree murder and they are seeking a death -- the death on this case. And so if the defense asserts an accident, the state has got big problems with their premeditation theory because they don`t have the evidence to rebut that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And remember, we don`t know exactly how she died except homicide because the body was so decomposed.

CONWAY: The medical examiner said homicide by undetermined means.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. So --

CONWAY: And that`s a problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So there are a slew of charges against her, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter. Would that mean that the jury could go for, let`s say, aggravated manslaughter?

CONWAY: Absolutely. Just because first-degree murder could be removed from jury consideration does not mean that the rest of the either intentional or accidental death charges would be removed. The jury can still deliberate on that and they can still convict on that if the evidence is sufficient.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Well, think about the chloroform and how do they explain away the chloroform in a second.

But Peggy, New York, your question or thought? Your theory?

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: And the chloroform is another evidentiary issue that is going to have to be --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to bring in a Phil Anthony, trial consultant. You worked with the prosecution on O.J. Simpson. If the defense pulls this 180 and on the first day of opening statements says, "I`m going to offer a totally new theory." Forget about Zanny the nanny; forget about everything. We`re going to say that the child died accidentally and the reason she didn`t tell anybody was because her parents were volatile so she covered it up and went dancing. What do you think of that, Phil?

PHIL ANTHONY, TRIAL CONSULTANT: Well, I think, Jane, the jury is likely to have some issues with that at some level. I mean first of all it clearly does change the direction of the trial. But once they get past that bombshell, I think the jurors are going to be asking themselves, how do we then explain all of the related behavior? For instance, some of her -- as you just mentioned, Jane -- her going out and partying and dancing allegedly and some of the statements she made to the authorities prior to recognizing she was making those statements without counsel.

And so I think there`s going to be a lot of questions. And I think there are many jurors who are going to wonder to themselves and be looking for clues as to how you can explain this behavior.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you. You`re a trial consultant at work with the prosecution. If they do that on Monday or Tuesday, rather, is the prosecution going to go, "Oh, my gosh, what do we do now? We`ve been trying to argue that she lied about Zanny the nanny."

She`s admitting that she lied about Zanny the nanny. We`re arguing that she put the child in the trunk. She may admit that she put the child in the trunk. Do you see what I`m saying?

ANTHONY: Yes, sure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It kind of throws their whole argument out the window.

ANTHONY: Well, it may at one level but I would suspect the prosecution would move forward and say this is all just a smoke screen. This is what she`s saying now but when we examine the facts from A to Z, we`re going to see that it just doesn`t hold together.

I suspect that`s what the prosecution would do. They`re not going to simply fold and give up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All they have to do is get one juror to have reasonable doubt and to buy the story.

ANTHONY: That`s true.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We don`t know that this is going to happen.

ANTHONY: That`s true.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is Brad Conway`s theory but it`s based on being in the courtroom, knowing Cindy and George, observing this case very closely; and Brad, thank you for going out on a limb and giving us your theory. And we will see Tuesday if it`s right and we`ll talk to you about it.

It`s absolutely, I think, a brilliant idea because it does explain away a lot. All they have to say, then, about her partying is that that is how an unbalanced girl reacts when she`s distraught, to distract herself; and they can try to get psychiatrists to explain away the behavior.

Nancy Grace and her team all over all the developments in the courtroom and there were so many. Tonight, Nancy talks to Patricia Young, the woman whose discussion of the case forced the judge to toss out something like 50 potential jurors.

All right. A New Jersey teen vanishes and I will have relatives up next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURIE TOWNSEND, MOTHER OF SARAH TOWNSEND: Sarah, in our hearts we know you`re out --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A New Jersey family scours for clues in a teen`s baffling disappearance. That`s next.

But, first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

Today officials announce three men have been arrested in connection with the death of 20-year-old Krista Dittmeyer. You remember her tragic story; she`s that mother from Maine whose toddler was found inside her car, abandoned. Cops say the men arrested plotted to rob the mom who was killed of drugs and money by luring her to one of the men`s homes. When she got there, prosecutors say she was struck from behind, bound, and thrown in the trunk of her car. Later her body was dumped in a pond and her car was abandoned nearby with her baby inside.

Look at that beautiful young woman, dead. What makes the story worse is that now we are learning two of these men had repeated previous run-ins with the law. This is just another example of our reactive justice system. How many strikes do these guys need before they are out?

What a horror for her family; our deepest, deepest condolences to the Dittmeyer family.

That is tonight`s "Top of the Block".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

L. TOWNSEND: I just want to tell Sarah that we want her home and that we love her. She`s not in trouble.

R. TOWNSEND: Everything`s ok, Sarah. Just come back. If anybody knows where Sarah is to bring her back safe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, parents overcome with terror and worry about their beautiful 18-year-old daughter who has not been seen since she left for school early Monday morning and then she simply vanished. Cops say Sarah Townsend left home at about 7:00 a.m. but never arrived at Allentown High School in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Her dad works in maintenance at the school.

Can you imagine what was going through that poor man`s mind when his daughter doesn`t show up at school?

But it was reportedly Sarah`s 20-year-old boyfriend who called police. He says he found Sarah`s Oldsmobile Intrigue parked on a field next to a pond in the area. Sarah`s purse and phone were inside the car. Her money was in her wallet. And get this, the car was running and the door was open.

Cops say there was no blood inside the car and no drag marks outside the car. Dozens of searchers poured over the woods and wetlands including the area where Sarah`s car was found. Unfortunately, no signs, zero of Sarah. And yet with so many questions still unanswered, cops say there is no evidence of foul play. Really?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: Her purse and cell phone were found in the car. Everything leads us to believe that she is still alive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go straight out to Monica (INAUDIBLE). You are Sarah Townsend`s cousin. My heart goes out to you. This has got to be hellish right now.

What are police telling you about this mysterious disappearance because when they say there`s no sign of foul play, I say, "What? No signs of foul play?" Who leaves their car with the engine running and door open and their cell phone and their wallet inside with money inside and walks away for no reason? Monica?

MONICA MAKOVICZ, COUSIN OF SARAH TOWNSEND: Hi, Jane. All we know is what the news has been telling us and that`s all we know.

ANDREA MAKOVICZ, COUSIN OF SARAH TOWNSEND: They are not telling us very much, Jane. We know that the car was running and that we just -- we just want her to come home safe.

M. MAKOVICZ: I miss you so much, Sarah. Please come home.

A. MAKOVICZ: And that we`re not mad at her.

M. MAKOVICZ: No.

A. MAKOVICZ: And if she can`t get home, then we`ll come get her. She just needs to call or call 911 and get ahold of someone.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: When you say you`re not mad at her, did she have any kind of fight with anybody? Is there any reason why she would -- even if she had a fight, why would she just leave her car with the engine running.

A. MAKOVICZ: Not that we know of.

M. MAKOVICZ: We don`t know.

A. MAKOVICZ: We don`t know if she got into a fight. I`m just saying we`re not mad.

M. MAKOVICZ: For running away or if anything happens, if that`s what happened. We don`t know.

A. MAKOVICZ: Wherever she is.

M. MAKOVICZ: We don`t know.

A. MAKOVICZ: It`s just too out of character for her to be gone.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What about her boyfriend? Her boyfriend found the car. What do you know about him?

A. MAKOVICZ: The first time I met him was at the police station walking in with -- I didn`t even actually meet him. It was just the first time seeing him and Monica has met him.

M. MAKOVICZ: I know his name is Matt Welsh, he`s 20 years old and he`s the drummer of a band. I don`t know the name of the band. I`ve only met him once and I really know nothing else about him.

A. MAKOVICZ: They have been dating on and off for about three years, I believe, since she was 15.

M. MAKOVICZ: Almost 16, I think.

A. MAKOVICZ: But that`s all we know about him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Just a second. We`ll be back with more in a moment. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

L. TOWNSEND: I just want to tell Sarah that we want her home and we love her. She`s not in trouble.

R. TOWNSEND: Everything is ok, Sarah. Just come back. If anybody knows where Sarah is, to bring her back safely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: 18-year-old Sarah Townsend vanishes on the way to school. Her 20-year-old boyfriend stood along her parents alongside them and begged for her return. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT WELSH, SARAH TOWNSEND`S BOYFRIEND: Sarah, baby, I know you`re out there. Just come back, please.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, her car was found missing, the door opened, engine running, cell phone and money missing. Sarah`s boyfriend, the one you just saw there, is the one who called the cops and he`s the one who found Sarah`s car.

What I don`t understand, Monica, or Andrea, is did he call cops before? In other words, did he find the car before everybody else was searching for her, or was he coincidentally part of the search and happened to be by coincidence the one who finds her car?

M. MAKOVICZ: No. He called the police at 10:00 and that`s all we know.

A. MAKOVICZ: He found her car.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There weren`t searches at that time. She goes to school at 7:00 in the morning. Right?

A. MAKOVICZ: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She never gets there. There`s -- obvious there`s going to be concern before 10:00. So I guess maybe word goes out and people start looking and he is the one who finds her car at approximately 10:00 a.m., three hours after she didn`t show up at cool.

A. MAKOVICZ: No one knew that she was missing until he called. Everyone thought that she was just at school. But she never made it to school. He found her car at a Green Acres Park by Sherman`s Pond in Burlington, New Jersey.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, if no one knew she was missing how did he know to look for her car?

M. MAKOVICZ: We don`t know. We don`t know.

A. MAKOVICZ: We`re not sure. I believe they were in contact with each other.

M. MAKOVICZ: And the pond -- they visited the pond.

A. MAKOVICZ: They used to visit that pond. That was like their spot.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. All right. Well, that makes a lot of sense.

And once again, authorities totally baffled. They don`t even think there`s signs of foul play here, which -- and they have no suspects, they have no persons of interest, they have nothing. Zero.

Sarah had an image on Facebook, her personal Facebook page that appeared to show her lying across a railroad track. Sarah`s aunt was asked whether Sarah might have had suicide on her mind. And she said no; that Sarah never mentioned suicide. Was she a happy person? Or was she troubled?

M. MAKOVICZ: Yes she was.

A. MAKOVICZ: Sarah`s brother has a girlfriend. The girlfriend does photography. Very artsy and maybe a little macabre, but she was being the model for her brother`s girlfriend.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did she have any enemies? Any idea why anyone would want to hurt her?

A. MAKOVICZ: No.

M. MAKOVICZ: No.

A. MAKOVICZ: She`s almost graduating -- she`s almost done high school. She had two proms to go to. She was thinking about nursing. I mean she had all good intentions and no enemies that I know of. And it`s just -- it`s all way too out of character.

And my sister started a Facebook page.

M. MAKOVICZ: It`s called invite Sarah Townsend -- it`s called "Find Sarah Townsend! Invite everyone!"

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Say it again.

M. MAKOVICZ: Invite or find Sarah Townsend! Invite Everyone!

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We want to find Sarah Townsend. Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: Her purse and cell phone were found in the car. Everything leads us to believe that she`s still alive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Searches are happening in and around Sherman`s Pond in Green Acres Park in western New Jersey. We are here with Monica and Andrea, cousins of the missing girl, Sarah Townsend.

What would you say to her because cops are saying they think she`s alive and let`s hope and pray she is. What would you say?

M. MAKOVICZ: Sarah, we love you so much and please come home. We`re not mad at you. And we want you to know that if you need us to get you we will absolutely be there. Call us. Please. Or call 911. Anything. We miss you. We want you home.

A. MAKOVICZ: We want you home.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This has got to be hell for you. We`re going to stay on top of this story.

A. MAKOVICZ: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re not going to let it fall by the wayside.

Nancy Grace up next.

END