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Mansion Death Ruled a Suicide; Murderer Allegedly Creates Trip Cover Story for Victim`s Family

Aired September 2, 2011 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a family`s outrage. The girlfriend of a high-powered pharmaceutical mogul is found dead, hanging from a balcony. Her death now ruled a suicide, but her family insists it was a murder. We`ll talk to the victim`s family`s lawyer about why they think cops got it wrong.

And is it the murder cover-up of the century? Cops say a man murdered his business partner and then sent e-mails to his family for almost a year, pretending to be the victim on an African adventure. You will not believe the bizarre details.

Also, will Casey Anthony have to fork over half a million dollars? Prosecutors now demanding that she pay for the cost of the investigation into little Caylee`s disappearance. We`ll bring you the hearing.

Plus another jaw-dropping video of violence at a sporting event. This time, kids brawling on the field. Cops say youth football coaches and team members brutally attacked two referees, and it`s all caught on tape. Is our culture of violence totally out of control?

ISSUES starts now.



SHERIFF BILL GORE, SAN DIEGO COUNTY SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT: Were these deaths the result of criminal conduct? Was Max`s death a homicide? The answer is no. It was a tragic accident. Was Rebecca`s death a homicide? Again, the answer is no. It was a suicide.

HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The autopsy will be very telling in that her spine would have been pulled apart. There would have been very bad jerking. We`re going to see some serious hemorrhaging in the neck and around the spinal cord. And I`m curious to see if that happened because it`s just -- it`s what we used to say in the law, it doesn`t pass the smell test.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news tonight in the two mystery mansion deaths near San Diego.

Good evening, everyone. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you from New York City. Investigators in a major news conference just announced they have concluded beautiful 32-year-old Rebecca Zahau committed suicide at her mogul boyfriend`s multimillion-dollar mansion.

But tonight, Rebecca`s devastated family is furious, insisting the cops got it all wrong. They do not believe for a minute Rebecca killed herself.

Tonight, here on ISSUES, we`re going to talk to the family`s attorney, Ann Bremner, and find out why they are so convinced Rebecca did not take her own life.

It all started when multi-millionaire Jonah Shacknai`s adorable 6- year-old son, Max, fell down the stairs at his dad`s $13 million mansion back in July. And then just two days after the child`s terrible fall, while the little boy lay in a coma, his father`s 32-year-old girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau -- you`re looking at her here -- was found dead at the very same mansion, hanging naked from a second-story balcony.

Now, we`re going to show you right now actual video of her body in the courtyard before police arrived. We blurred that video and highlighted the rope that was trailing behind her. Rebecca`s hands were tied behind her back; her feet were bound, which begs the question: how could she do that to herself?


SGT. DAVID NEMETH, SAN DIEGO SHERIFF`S OFFICE: We interviewed a witness who reported she had contact with Rebecca in January, having observed Rebecca had lost weight, seemed stressed, was not sleeping well, and was not exercising, which wasn`t normal for her. We received information from witnesses that Rebecca was distraught over Max`s injury.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. So was it guilt that forced Rebecca to suicide? After all, she was reportedly looking after 6-year-old Max when the child fell. Or did something more sinister occur?

Straight out to my very special guest and my dear friend, attorney Ann Bremner, who represents Rebecca Zahau`s family.

Ann, so good to see you tonight.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why does Rebecca`s family believe -- why does Rebecca`s family believe she did not commit suicide?

BREMNER: Well, let me count the ways, Jane, I mean, starting with it doesn`t pass the smell test like you`ve said.

But No. 1 is, you know, I`ve researched this. There`s no case in the history of the world of a woman killing herself this way. There`s a handful of cases with men. I won`t go into the detail other than when you bind your own hands and your feet, it`s usually someone that tried to kill themselves before and didn`t want to stop themselves.

OK, that stated, she had no history of depression, no psychological problems, no suicidal ideation. She was fine. One of her sisters talked to her that night, and she was completely fine. She didn`t have guilt about Max. And in fact, she had said that. Her religious beliefs, she would think -- she thought she`d go to hell if she committed suicide, if anybody did.

And you know what? This investigation is woefully inadequate right now, per the family. Certain people were printed. Prints were compared. There`s no scenario that`s been reenacted that would be consistent or at least to try and show it wasn`t a suicide. It`s like they were myopic, Jane, in just looking at this to be a suicide.

But just on the face of the way it happened, it does not appear to be a suicide. And there`s nothing to back that up. Losing some weight, not training? I mean, is that enough to say there`s some, you know, psychological issues? And in fact, her friends and even her trainer say that`s not the case.

And finally, there was a note there that was ambiguous at best. The family says not her handwriting. No forensic psychiatrist has been insulted. No experts have been consulted to talk about how this could be a suicide. And, in fact, they really haven`t looked at the other side of this case. It`s really been going towards suicide.

And we want justice. We just want them to keep the investigation open and address a lot of what the family wants addressed. They only met with them and with me two days ago.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, you have made a lot of -- wow -- intense points. Let`s hear the other side. Sergeant Dave Nemeth at the news conference, essentially saying all the evidence shows that the fingerprints, the DNA at the immediate scene belonged to Rebecca. Let`s listen.


SGT. DAVE NEMETH, SAN DIEGO SHERIFF`S OFFICE: Fingerprints from the guest-room entry door, the door jam itself, the balcony door, the large knife and the bed leg directly next to the rope were all from Rebecca. DNA profiles from the victim`s bindings, both her hands and her feet, the rope around her neck, the rope attached to the footboard of the bed, and the small knife were only from Rebecca.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So basically what they`re saying, Ann, is that the rope that was used, it was tied to a bed in the guest room and then somehow around her and then off the side of the balcony. And they say -- they seem to say instead of a note, there was something painted on the door, which I think it would be hard to tell handwriting from something painted on the door.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what`s your response to that?

BREMNER: Well, first of all, I mean, have they heard of gloves? I mean, people use gloves in crimes all the time. This is a very elaborate case. I`ve had so many experts contact me, Jane, offering to help in this case, saying it`s clearly not a suicide. You know, criminal profilers, criminalists, forensic psychiatrists, and medical examiners.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, yes. Let`s stay focused on that. They`re saying, OK, if anybody else did it, that person`s DNA might be on there. The only person`s -- unless they wore gloves, I guess. Unless they wore gloves.

BREMNER: That`s what I`m saying.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now, listen to this. We talked to this guy who runs something called Diggity Dog, Hot Diggity Dog.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And says that he saw Rebecca right before she died. She was trying to board her dog with him and was asking about how much it cost. Listen to this.


TED GREENBERG, SAW REBECCA DAY SHE DIED: She was very, very quiet, I would say, very upset, but definitely not distraught or anything that would indicate she would have been suicidal. She did ask about the cost of us taking the dog to the veterinarian for the vaccination. So that alone would indicate that, you know, if you`re going to commit suicide, why would you even care about the cost?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I want to bring in Pat Brown, criminal profiler. I think Mr. Hot Diggity Dog makes a point.

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, yes, I totally agree with Ann. I mean, right at this point, we don`t see anything pushing towards suicide.

Along with the fact that usually when you do see someone with hands and feet bound, one of two things has happened. It`s autoerotic sex. And if she`s depressed I don`t think that`s going to be the issue here, that she accidentally killed herself.

And the second thing would be, is somebody killed her. I mean, I would like to know how those bindings were made behind her back. Why she would go to all that work, because most people when they want to kill themselves by hanging themselves, simply put -- go find a closet, you know, a bar and they put the rope around it, and they just bend their knees, and then you just pass out. It`s very pleasant. You don`t do a judicial hanging, jumping off a balcony.


BROWN: With your hands bound behind your back. That sounds ridiculous. I`m having trouble with it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One of the things that a lot of people have said is why would a woman, even a woman with a perfect figure, as she apparently had, why would she kill herself naked?

And according to reports that police are saying, well, she often slept in the nude. That`s their explanation. And also when people say, well, why would she ever bind her hands and feet behind her back? In other words, behind her hands, behind her back and then bind her feet. And the cops said, well, that keeps people from having second thoughts.

Joey Jackson, your thoughts?

JOEY JACKSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, I have to tell you, Jane, I don`t like it at all. I know Ann, of course, to be a very reputable attorney, and I know she`s working with the victim`s family. But on the issues, I would just hope that the police would look at other things.

For example, you know, who was close to this person? Who -- did she have any enemies? Was there forensics done on her text messages, maybe you know, cell-phone usage, computer usage, anything else that might suggest that there would be somebody out there that would mean her harm? Or perhaps it was random.

But I think to come out at this point, obviously, the family is outraged. There is no indication that, you know, she was overly distraught about Max or anything else. Certainly, it was a horrific thing to have happened to that little boy who was planking and ended up dead. But for the police to come out now in the manner in which they did, it`s troubling. I would hope that they would leave the investigation open to discover what really happened and revisit it and come back to us again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`re just getting started on this. On the other side, what the family is demanding that cops do.

And we`re also taking your calls. They`re piling up.

All right. We`re also going to talk about the Casey Anthony hearing today. Amazing, wild hearing again.

But first, was it murder or was it suicide? Very strange, very bizarre, very tragic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Monday, a child was injured in the home and was transported to hospital for treatment. Are they connected? There`s nothing to indicate that those two incidents are connected.




NEMETH: No one witnessed this event. We don`t know exactly how this event occurred. We don`t know in what order things were done. The only person who can answer that, unfortunately, is deceased.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: They don`t know a lot, but still, that didn`t stop authorities from announcing today that this beautiful woman, 32-year-old Burmese beauty Rebecca Zahau, killed herself.

She was found hanging from a balcony naked, her hands and feet bound, two days after her boyfriend, who`s a pharmaceutical mogul who owned the $13 million mansion where all this went down, his son hurt himself and ultimately died falling down the stairs. And we`re learning more about that, too.

The family of Rebecca Zahau saying cops have gotten it wrong. It was not a suicide. They claim they talked to her the night before, and she was not suicidal.

Marilyn, Illinois, your question or thought, Marilyn?

CALLER: Well, what concerns me, I remember the first day the story came out, and they were talking suicide then.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hmm. Interesting.

CALLER: It just makes no sense to me that they would say, what, two days before this, this little boy had this horrible accident which basically led to his death, but they`re not connected?

And now, you know, if I`m going to commit suicide, I`m not going to strip naked, bind my feet, tie my hands behind my back, and jump off a balcony where anybody can see me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s what the family is saying. That`s what the family is saying.

Now let`s listen to the Captain Tim Curran from the San Diego Sheriff`s Office saying how she was not hogtied. Because they`re making a big distinction here. Listen to this.


CAPTAIN TIM CURRAN, SAN DIEGO SHERIFF`S OFFICE: The hands were bound behind the back, and the feet were bound. They -- they did not appear to be bound together. I think you used -- you used the term hogtied. That did not appear to be the case.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ann Bremner, you represent the family of Rebecca Zahau. What exactly are they demanding specifically authorities do?

BREMNER: Well, let`s start what was just stated, Jane. How did she get over the balcony if she was bound that way? And they have not found any pictures of the way the balcony looked before this. They didn`t even analyze the partial footprint at all that was at -- on the balcony. They didn`t compare known prints from other people that were close to her at the scene. There`s mixed DNA that they haven`t explained.

They haven`t gone through and done any kind of forensic analysis to our satisfaction, nor any kind of psychiatric analysis as to what would cause her, out of the blue, to commit the most bizarre, apparently staged suicide that`s ever been seen in the annals of these types of cases.

So -- also, to look at her history, where there`s nothing, you know, and also the other thing, as I explained before, with respect to the note, which is not her handwriting. They didn`t examine that. They haven`t looked into her background and her religious history. They haven`t looked, as far as I know. The detective...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, why do you think they`re jumping to this conclusion?

BREMNER: Well, you know, Jane, I don`t want to speculate, but you know, there`s no rush here. We know there`s cases that take years, decades to investigate. This is seven weeks, and they`re closing the case today after talking to the family formally for the first time two days ago when they raised many, many issues that needed to be addressed. Why close the case? Why not continue the investigation? You know, why not have the answers?

This family is distraught. They want justice. They want to know what happened. And they don`t know, and there were very important issues to be addressed. And you know what? I beseeched the department to keep it open, and they said no. And they said a resounding no in that news cast -- conference.

And I think they need to reopen it, at minimum.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well -- meanwhile, we have kept reaching out to Jonah Shacknai. He`s the pharmaceutical mogul who owns the house, his reps, and we would love to hear their side of the story. We know that he is devastated. He has lost his -- the love of his life. He was reportedly planning on proposing to Rebecca. And also he has lost his son. What could be worse?

And then on top of that, during the course of this very widely- reported story, information came out about some nasty bits involving his divorce from his ex-wife, who was the mother of the child who ultimately died, the mother of Max. And apparently, according to published reports, police were called twice during domestic disputes that turned physical as their marriage collapsed. And it was ugly. Let`s put it that way. But no charges were ever filed as a result.

And the couple released a statement, saying that, "The release of these police reports came at a very devastating time for the family. These police reports are not reflective of the totality or the precise details of the events during a difficult time in our marriage."

Pat Brown, Jonah Shacknai, the mogul, was at the hospital looking at his son, who was in the process, sadly, of dying when Rebecca, his girlfriend`s body was found by his brother. What do you make of all that?

BROWN: Well, I would assume, although maybe now that I`m hearing all that`s going on, that the brother was looked at quite intently, that he has an alibi for the time before he found her.

I would assume that they`ve taken a look at the autopsy, the body to see if there`s any kind of bruising, like would show somebody, for example, putting a knee in her back and trying her up. Drugs in her system that she may not have been able to fight back. There`s all kinds of things that they, obviously, need to look at, from the autopsy to the crime scene photos, to all the people involved, because it is extraordinarily unusual, as Ann says. I mean, there are a lot of times that people commit suicide, and the families don`t want to believe it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. Hold on a second. Because I`m being told that we just got a statement, and I`m getting it here on my BlackBerry from Jonah Shacknai, saying, "This is a very sad day for our family as we are again reminded of the enormity of these tragedies." They thank the San Diego County Sheriff`s Department and various other authorities.

And they go on to say, "While the investigation is over, the emptiness and sadness in our hearts will remain forever. Max was an extraordinarily loving, happy, talented, special little boy who brought joy. Rebecca was wonderful, unique, and will always have a special place in my heart. Nothing will ever be the same for our families after these losses. But with today`s information, some much-needed answers, we will try rebuilding our lives."

So that is a statement from the man you`re looking at there, who lost his girlfriend and lost his son in these twin tragedies. We will be right back with more.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Smith wanted to separate from the company. But in order to do that, Mr. Shin had to pay him $1 million. Instead of paying him $1 million, he killed him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After several months, Smith`s family became suspicious and hired a private investigator to look into their son`s disappearance. During a nearly six-hour interview, Mr. Shin confessed to murdering Mr. Smith.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is a wild one. Cops say a confessed killer tricked his victim`s loved ones into believing that this guy was alive and on an African adventure, when he was dead all along.

Last December, Christopher Smith`s family got an e-mail they thought was from him, saying, "I just went paragliding earlier today in Dunotia (ph) in South Africa." And then a few days later, "I`m headed off through the Congo. I`ll be offline for a couple of weeks." That was the last of several e-mails over several months. They feared, well, maybe he ran into trouble in Africa. So they sought help. They thought it was a missing persons case. It quickly became a murder investigation.

That`s how Christopher`s family finally discovered that their loved one, this guy, never went to Africa at all. He was dead. Those e-mails were allegedly sent by Christopher`s business partner, this man, Edward Shin, seen here on MySpace photos.

Now he is accused of murdering his business partner nearly a year earlier. He was detained trying to flee off to Canada. After six hours of grilling, cops say he confessed to murder but would not reveal where Christopher`s body is.

Joining me by phone, Jim Amormini (ph), spokesperson for the Orange County Sheriff`s Department. Great work cracking this case. How did this defendant assume Christopher`s identity and fool his family for almost a year?

JIM AMORMINI (PH), SPOKESPERSON, ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT (via phone): Well, that is a terrible thing. What he did, he hacked into his e-mail account at the business office that they shared. And as you said, he sent his mother and father notes and e-mails that "Hi, I love you," things of that nature: "I`m OK." And obviously, the suspect wanted his family and friends to think he was alive.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What was the motive?

AMORMINI (PH): The motive was financial gain. What happened, they were business partners for approximately two years, and Mr. Smith wanted out of the company, but in order to do that, they had a clause that he was to be paid $1 million.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Shin allegedly did not want to pay him, and that`s why you believe he murdered him.

All right, well, it turns out that the family hired a private detective, and alarm bells went off when they found out that this Shin guy is a crook. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He lived off of our money until we found out. And when I confronted him, he basically just disappeared on us.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. He was also convicted of embezzlement by a different company.

Joe Episcopo, defense attorney, the parents of this missing man who was dead, they hired a private investigator and really tracked this guy down themselves.

JOE EPISCOPO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, if you`ve got the resources you can do that.

But you know what? I`m questioning this confession. What is this six hours and then the guy confesses? I don`t know how long that would have taken. But then he doesn`t say where the body is. So that just doesn`t make sense. Why not say where the body is? Is it really a confession? Was it voluntary? And if it gets thrown out, do they have a case?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow, you know what? I`m thinking this is a victory for justice, that what was a total lie has been exposed. And I certainly hope that what you just suggested doesn`t occur.

We`re going to stay on top of this case. It`s a crazy one.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Caylee Anthony was reported as stolen by the baby-sitter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Casey Anthony was indigent during her criminal case. So one of the questions is going to be how can she pay this?

CASEY ANTHONY, ACQUITTED FOR MURDER OF DAUGHTER: How did everything go with the charity this weekend?

GEORGE ANTHONY, FATHER OF CASEY ANTHONY: The benefit was just unbelievable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Justice for Caylee. Justice for Caylee.

URI MELICH, DETECTIVE: Everything that`s coming out of your mouth is a lie. Everything.

LINDA DRANE-BURDICK, PROSECUTOR: If this was an accident, we wouldn`t be here today.

MELICH: She wouldn`t tell us the truth. And that`s all we were after is the truth. That day, this whole thing could have ended had we known the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Casey, where is Caylee? At least, where`s her remains?

JOSE BAEZ, LEAD ATTORNEY FOR CASEY ANTHONY: Well, the answer is actually relatively simple. She never was missing.

C. ANTHONY: Can someone let me -- come on.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The state of Florida tells Casey Anthony, it is time to pay up.

Good evening, everyone. I`m Jane Velez Mitchell back here in New York City.

It is another major hearing for Casey Anthony. Get a load of this potential bill -- more than $500,000. That`s how much prosecutors want Casey to shell out for what they did looking for little Caylee who, of course, the defense admitted was dead all along.

Remember, Casey insisted for months that Caylee had been kidnapped. Watch this. It`s a new video of prosecutor Linda Drane-Burdick -- remember her from the criminal trial -- today in court arguing for this money.


DRANE-BURDICK: They have limited their request to the time from when Caylee Anthony was reported as stolen by the baby sitter to when her remains were identified and that she was no longer a, quote, "missing person"; whether that be missing and alive or missing and dead.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good to see you, Linda, it`s been a while. Casey today represented by another familiar face, Cheney Mason. Of course, he`s known for his off-color gestures and very controversial remarks. He says Casey shouldn`t pay because cops always considered this a murder investigation because they never believed her from the get-go.

Here`s Casey being grilled by the detective Uri Melich.


MELICH: What happened to Caylee?

C. ANTHONY: I don`t know.

MELICH: Sure you do.

C. ANTHONY: I don`t know.

MELICH: Something happened to Caylee. We`re not going to discuss the last time you saw her. I`m guessing something bad happened to her some time ago. You haven`t seen her. That par is true if you say you haven`t seen her because she`s somewhere else right now.

C. ANTHONY: She`s somewhere else.

MELICH: She`s either in a dumpster right now, she`s buried somewhere. She`s out there somewhere.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Judge Perry won`t make his decision until he`s studied all the complexities of this. We want to bring in another judge from Florida, Larry Seidlin, famous for the Anna Nicole Smith case. Judge Seidlin, good to see you again.

How -- I`ve never heard of anything quite like this hearing. What`s it all about, really? Is it really all about that the prosecution is afraid that Casey Anthony is going to finally land a big money deal and they don`t want to see her get rich off this case?

JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN, PRESIDED IN ANNA NICOLE SMITH CASE: I see sour grapes. The DA overcharges Casey Anthony, as we talked about in the past. It should have been manslaughter. And now they want to just throw the book at her.

The heavy felony, she`s found not guilty of. She walks. She`s found guilty of misdemeanors, lying to the police. And now they`re seeking $500,000 from her in law enforcement costs? They`re positioning her where she`s set up for failure.

What`s the motive behind this? The DA has to face re-election. The Orlando residents are upset, they`re angry, they`re pissed. And he`s saying we`re going to make her pay $500,000 now in law enforcement costs.

I feel it`s a political decision. Politics is smack right into this. It permeates the system. She should be treated as any other resident, as any other citizen.

I`ve walked the halls of justice for three decades. I`ve never seen a case where you`re found guilty of misdemeanors and they`re seeking $500,000.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, the prosecution is saying she had many, many opportunities to tell what they ultimately said in their opening statements. Their claim that little Caylee died accidentally. There was no nanny, she was never kidnapped. That`s what makes this case unique is that the defense admitted that Casey lied about everything. Listen to this --


BAEZ: Well, the answer is actually relatively simple. She never was missing. Caylee Anthony died on June 16, 2008 when she drowned in her family`s swimming pool.

You hear stories of this Zanny the nanny. It`s true. For two years she pretended she had a job and pretended she had a nanny.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And for months on end, she told cops that the nanny had the child and even though they may have suspected it was a murder, Joe Episcopo, they were furiously following up leads of sightings because had they not, and she wasn`t murdered, then they would be taken to the coals for that.

JOE EPISCOPO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Look, I don`t care about that. There`s a technical reason why she doesn`t have to pay this. They charged her for lying on July 16, 2008. But this investigation carried on for several months. What the state should have done was alleged July to December 2008.

They didn`t allege any of the dates when all this money was incurred. Therefore, technically, she shouldn`t have to pay it.

But let`s put that aside. Let`s say she does have to pay it. They have to collect. It`s a lien. O.J. Simpson owes $32 million to the Goldmans. The best attorneys in the country that prosecuted that case that took that lawsuit can`t collect anything but the Heisman trophy. Do you really think they`re going to collect anything from Casey Anthony anyway?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, wait a second, Mark Nejame, she does owe $70,000 to the IRS that -- I don`t know where they`re going to get the money from that. But I think the whole point is that if she ever scores a big book deal, if she ever scores a lot of money for some kind of interview, if she ever makes money by posing nude, if she ever makes money for any reason, they want it.

MARK NEJAME, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, the big difference with for this case and O.J.`s case is that she`s on probation. And what Larry was saying about it being a vendetta, there`s no vendetta here. These are natural consequences of action. We`ve never seen a case like this.

We have got somebody who was found guilty for lying. These are the natural consequences of the lie. You have a 2-year-old child missing. Who would not pull out all the stops in order to find the child? But for her lies, these expenses would not have inured.

The big issue that`s going to come up is from the time that she was missing until October when she was indicted or to the expenses go until December when Caylee was found. That`s going to be the issue.

She`s going to get tagged. The law is going to support it. You`re not even hearing the defense really argue against it. The issue is going to be that two extra months and she`s going to get tagged for that. You`re going to see an order entered.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, you raise this point. Well, they knew in their heads it was a homicide on September 30 long before little Caylee`s remains were discovered in December, because that`s when they turn it into a homicide case. But it was after that, after September, in October, that Jose Baez insisted that the child was still kidnapped.

Listen to this.


BAEZ: Casey is going through a nightmare and has been living a nightmare for the last several month months. She has a missing child. She`s also someone`s child. This family has had to withstand something unlike anyone has ever seen.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. So that was said in October after cops had determined in their minds it was a homicide and before the body was found. So that kind of undercuts the defense argument that oh, well, when the cops determined it was a homicide, they should stop the bill right there because the defense was still claiming that the child had been kidnapped. So all the calls and people saying I think I saw Caylee, cops had to follow up on that.

I want to go to a caller. Haley, Kentucky. Your question or thought, Haley?

HALEY, KENTUCKY (via telephone): I personally think she should have to pay the state back for everything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, good. I mean, Mark Nejame, I think the public is on the side of the prosecution here.

NEJAME: Well, I think the reality of it is but for her lies for which she was found guilty, these expenses would not have occurred. So because she lied and because there were attendance expenses, how could she, in fact, not be responsible for them?

The reality of it is exactly the clip that you just ran. The defense was running all over national TV saying the child was still alive. Although the law enforcement held a deep-seated belief as most did that the child was dead, that Caylee was dead, you don`t just give up. You keep on going.

Not only that, once they determined she was lying, they still had to run their investigation to prove their case. That`s what took place. They were proving their case, which is exactly what she was found guilty of. Those expenses will attach.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. But honestly, I have to say, Joe Episcopo -- or let me throw it back to Judge Seidlin. I`ve never heard of a hearing like this. Supposedly Florida law allows it and it happens all the time. How come we`ve never heard of it?

SEIDLIN: Because my good friend who`s just talking is from Orlando, so he has to be more politically correct. He has to appear in front of these people.

NEJAME: No, no, no.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, let`s not make it personal. Come on, guys. Keep it clean. Come on, Judge. Make your point.


NEJAME: Larry, Larry, Larry -- the fact of the matter, stick to the facts. Hold on, stick to the facts.

SEIDLIN: I`m sticking to the facts.

NEJAME: But you smeared it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Judge Seidlin, guess what, you lost your chance because you made it personal.

Ok Mark Nejame, say what you are going to say.

NEJAME: You know, the fact of the matter is, the law is the law. You`re not even hearing the defense make those arguments because the law is crystal clear in Florida.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Now, oh, darn it, I gave up my gavel, Judge. You would appreciate that, but now I`m going to give you the last ten seconds, Judge Seidlin.

SEIDLIN: This is just a vindictive act. The prosecutor has got problems because of this case and he`s trying to move the ball in Casey Anthony`s direction by looking for all these costs. And she`ll pay him one day because she`s going to have the golden ticket.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I do think --

NEJAME: Judge, they`re following the law. They`re following the law.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I do think that she should not make any money off of this horror and if taxpayers can get some money back, why not? I say, go for it. But I also think that we shouldn`t just try to go out and get her because the prosecution lost.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a football game between the Sarasota Gators and the North Port Huskies last Saturday at Riverview High School.

Violence breaks out. You`ve got to see this video. .


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, national outrage, as so-called mentors are accused of being menaces on the field. You`ve got to see this. It`s very disturbing. It`s captured on home videotape. A parent was shooting with their phone camera.

Look at this. It appears to show two men who are coaches, believed to be coaches for a Florida youth football team in an altercation with the referee. It seems those men then inspire one of their young player, and these players are about 13, 14 years old to do I have dive in and attack the ref.

Did I mention this is a kid`s football game? There`s the kid. The coaches are in the blue shirts allegedly. And the refs, you know, they`re in those pinstripes. And they`re getting it.

What kind of an example are these adults setting? Joining me by phone, Sheriff Tom Knight with the Sarasota County Sheriff`s Office; thank you for joining us sir.

Just a little while ago, I understand you arrested four people for allegedly starting this brawl. Tell us what happened on the field first of all, sir.

SHERIFF TOM KNIGHT, SARASOTA COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE (via telephone): What happened on the field was just obviously that one of the coaches, Mr. Austin was just disgruntled. The team was getting beat that he was coaching. He just wasn`t happy with the referee`s decisions and the judgment of the referee.

You can see, as you can well see in the video, he was kind of following the referee around. He was on the field. He`s following the ref and at some point in time, the ref just had enough. He stopped the game, he called the game. The game ends and the coach, Mr. Austin was going to have nothing to do with it. And he initiates some type of aggressive manners towards the referee, threw a water bottle at him and was assaulting him verbally.

And at some point during that time, he charges the referee and the referee doesn`t need to stand there and take it. He fights back. And when he fights back, he throws a punch back at Mr. Austin and then Mr. Austin, from his actions, the melee starts. You can see the young man (INAUDIBLE) attack the referee. And two of the other coaches of that team become involved in the altercation and are kicking and stomping some people and actually choked out one of the coaches of the North Port team.

And at the end of the day, our investigative techniques were able to identify three individuals who we felt needed to be charged and brought to justice. And of course, the 14-year-old will be charged in juvenile court here in Florida for his actions of attacking the referee.

And just so you know for your viewers, In Florida attacking a referee is a third-degree felony. So all four were charged with third-degree felonies and one additional charge for choking out the referee or, excuse me, the coach on the North Port team. Another gentleman was charged with another battery for choking that coach.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sheriff, I think it`s great that people are held accountable. The only thing I`m concerned about is the 14-year-old who lunged at the ref after this terrible example was set by his coaches who were adults. And I think he might be confused as to what`s ok, given that his so-called mentors were behaving in a menacing fashion. And maybe he was in his mind, in his young mind, when he -- there he goes, boom. When he knocks the ref down, maybe he thought he was defending his coaches.

I mean, do you think it`s fair to punish him, given the adults behaved so badly in this case, Sheriff?

KNIGHT: Well, we want to make sure that we`re treating everybody fairly. And of course, we didn`t arrest him or charged him to the juvenile court. So, if the state attorney`s office chooses not to charge him, he has to be held responsible for his actions.

And you`re right on target with the fact that he was kind following the lead of his coaches. I don`t think any of the coaches prompted him to do that and do that action, but with that team it`s our understanding that the attitude that team has, the coaches give to the players at all ages on that group players is that we`re all in this together. We all go down together, we all fight together, we all play together, we defend each other. So I`m sure that`s part of his mindset here --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, thank you, Sheriff and thank you for coming on and explaining all this.

Levi Page, you`re a young blog talk radio host. Oh, my gosh, who are these juvenile adults who are behaving worse than kids in a playpen and now the kids are suffering because they`ve basically told this team they can`t play.

LEVI PAGE, HOST, "LEVI PAGE SHOW" ON BLOG TALK RADIO: Yes, they can`t play for the rest of the season. And the opposing team, the North Port Huskies, there has been a resident who`s concerned about security at these football games so he paid over $1,000 for uniform police officers to show up at this game.

And there`s been some residents there who were concerned about the people who were coaching the Gators. They said that they were questionable people. Who knows what sort of past they had. They`re obviously not role models for these young men. They were throwing water bottles at a referee. They were screaming at them.

They initiated this. They`re thugs, they`re a mob and they need to be squashed. And I hope that the adults are treated very harshly in the judicial system because they sent a very negative message to all the other players.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let`s remember that nobody has been convicted yet. Anybody who was involved in this in any way shape or form who wants to get on our show and tell their side, they are invited. But let`s not punish the kids. They should not be punished for the behavior of the adults.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) -- can`t enjoy anything that they were born in this world for. On the other hand, they arrived -- if we can do something to relieve the misery and the pain.

It has to be a matter of concern for you and the government. (INAUDIBLE)


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here on ISSUES we talk about stories you`re not going to hear anywhere else and one of them tonight: helpless bears on the other side of the world that desperately need you to stand up and speak out. These sensitive, intelligent, wild creatures are being captured in Asia, imprisoned, kept in these tiny cages, poked and prodded. Also their bile can be used for what science believes is nothing more than a dangerous folk remedy.

This is a catastrophe. But together we can stop this horror. We can`t show you the worst of it, but please watch because you can make a difference and end the suffering of these bears.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These beautiful creatures are highly endangered and suffer a dire fate at the hands of humans. Across Asia, an estimated 14,000 moon bears are being held in captivity on farms and milked for their bile because it`s believed to be a health tonic in the practice of traditional Asian medicine.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You can help close these horrific moon bear farms.

Joining me now is one of my heroes, Jill Robinson, founder of Animals Asia; Jill, I want to tell you when I first found out about this a few years ago, I honestly spent several sleepless nights not even being able to comprehend what these poor animals endure being stuck in these tiny cages.

What on earth is the presumed or intended purpose? And how do these bears suffer at these horrific bear farms in Asia?

JILL ROBINSON, FOUNDER, ANIMALS ASIA: Well, Jane, I can guarantee that we have sleepless nights too. It`s quite the most hideous thing that I`ve ever experienced in my life. Across the Asia continent there`s probably about 14,000 bears suffering in dire conditions like this.

They are milked for their bile through gaping holes in their abdomens or they have metal or latex catheters embedded into their gallbladders. Their teeth are smashed out; they have their canine teeth cut back to gum level. They are paws gets cut away so their claws can never grow again. And they are incarcerated in tiny wire cages so small they can hardly move for anything up to 30 years of their life.

And that is the reality of bear farming today. Well, what I need to say is it`s not a quack medicine. It`s had thousands of years` history, it has been used for traditional Chinese medicine, but it can easily and cheaply be replaced. No one`s going to die for the lack of bear bile.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re saying synthetic -- there are synthetic alternatives?

ROBINSON: Synthetic or 54 different herbal alternatives and that`s the great privilege of Animals Asia to be working with traditional Chinese medicine doctors across the Asia continent to get this message out that it can be replaced, it`s not a necessary component.

VELEZ-MITCHELL:L Well, what I want to say to the people watching, you can help end bear farming, go to and click on "end bear farming". You`re going to learn more, you`re going to get involved;

And once again, I want to show you another very, very brief clip of this documentary.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These animals are left to suffer, to starve, and die of dehydration. And we`ve seen these many times.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Again, my hero, Jill Robinson, Animals Asia, tell us how you work with these bear farmers to help them change.

ROBINSON: The bear farmers in China receive compensation as a result of closing the bear farms down totally, giving us the license and giving up every single bear so that we can reduce the number of bear farms across the country of China.

We work intensively with the government. We have a massive great sanctuary with 270 bears and another 88 bears in Vietnam. So the message is getting out. The public is more and more behind us, but we need much, much more help on an international level to end this industry once and for all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Americans, you can do it. Take a look at -- we can`t even show you the worst of it. These animals imprisoned for their lives. Together we can stop and we can help make a transition to a more civilized, more humane world. Get involved.

"NANCY GRACE" is up next.