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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Sandusky Released on Bail Again; Alleged Killer Faces Judge; Will Casey be Forced to Testify?

Aired December 8, 2011 - 19:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM MORET, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, accused child molester Jerry Sandusky out on bail again. The former Penn State assistant football coach was arrested yesterday after two more alleged victims came forward with horrific stories of molestation. But his wife with has already bailed him out. She`s telling reporters that all accusations against her husband are false. But why is a man accused of attempting to rape one boy 16 times walking free?

And an accused child murderer faces a judge. Ryan Brunn is charged with the sexual assault and murder of his 7-year-old neighbor, Jorelys. He`s allegedly beaten and stabbed this little girl to death, then dumped her body in a trash compactor. So what did the suspect have to say for himself in court?

Plus, a sex offender convicted of manslaughter walks free. Tonight, John Burgess pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of college student Donna Jou. Burgess claims he dumped her body in the ocean after she died of a drug overdose, but Donna`s family says it was murder. I will talk to her heartbroken father later in the show. We will be taking your calls.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking news. HLN has learned Jerry Sandusky posted his $250,000 bond.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky is out of jail today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a case about football. It`s not a case about universities. It`s a case about children who have had their innocence stolen from them and a culture that did nothing to stop it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think it would be beyond the realm of possibility that there are other victims that exist here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He also began to coerce this child, in an attempt to satisfy his own perverse sexual impulses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His attorney says hey admit that he did touch boys, but it was in a nonsexual way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORET: Jerry Sandusky is no longer behind bars. Outrage tonight as disgraced former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has once again walked out on bail. And his wife says he is innocent.

Good evening. I`m Jim Moret from "Inside Edition," sitting in for my friend and colleague, Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Sandusky is facing more than 50 charges of sex crimes against young boys. He was arrested yesterday for the second time when two new alleged victims came forward. They said Sandusky raped and sexually assaulted them. The details in their grand jury report are some of the most graphic and disturbing we`ve heard so far. You can read that whole grand jury report on HLNTV.com.

After hearing the shocking testimony, prosecutors asked for a $1 million bail, but the judge surprised many people by setting bail at just $250,000. Sandusky`s wife, Dottie, and his attorney posted that bail this morning, allowing Sandusky to once again return to his home.

According to the new Web site PennLive.com, here is how Dottie Sandusky posted the bail, with $200,000 in real estate and $50,000 in a certified check.

Today we heard for the first time from Dottie Sandusky. She said in a statement, "I am also angry about these false accusations. I continue to believe in my husband`s innocence."

I want to hear from you. Of course, we are taking your calls at 1- 877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to Penn Stat, where "In Session`s" Beth Karas has the latest.

Beth, how are people responding to Sandusky simply walking out of jail again?

BETH KARAS, CORRESPONDENT, TRUTV`S "IN SESSION": Well, good evening, Jim.

You know, a lot of people are surprised that he`s out of jail again, but they need to remember that this is not supposed to be punishment at this point. When you`re arrested, you`re still presumed innocent. The purpose of bail is to assure that someone will return to court on future court dates.

Jerry Sandusky has a lot of ties to this community. He has been here for decades. His face is well known. He has not shown himself to be a flight risk in the past months, since he`s had the first of the 52 charges lodged against him.

So while these are stricter bail conditions, it really shouldn`t come as a surprise that he`s out. He`s not to be punished for something he hasn`t been convicted of. However, the judge did set conditions to ensure that he will not have contact with children. He cannot have any unsupervised visits with minors.

MORET: But, Beth -- Beth, just -- just to put this into context, Sandusky basically walked out last time with no bail, and there were allegations that that judge had ties to the charity. So I think that the community was generally outraged before, and when the prosecutor asks for $1 million bail, and it`s only set at $250,000, I would suspect that many people in the community, even given his ties to the community, are justifiably scratching their heads, going, how could this happen?

KARAS: Well, he still has supporters in this community, believe it or not. So I think the community is probably split and wants to just let the system run its course. And you know, we`ll see what a jury does or if he ultimately admits to any of these charges and there is no trial.

But it`s pretty outrageous, what these allegations are. And the judge is making sure that he is going to be home on that ankle monitor. He cannot have unsupervised visits with minors. He is not to have any contact with witnesses or the victims in this case. So...

MORET: We have Sherry calling -- we have -- Beth, stand by one second. We have Sherri calling, I believe, from Alabama. Before we go to our other guests, let`s take your call, Sherry. Sherry?

CALLER: Hi, yes. I just wanted to comment that with Mr. Sandusky out on bail, you know, you would think that his lawyer might want him to be in jail and be in a, like, protective custody type setting.

And also, wherever he, Sandusky is on TV, in his interviews, and when he is shown wearing his Penn State jacket and everything, it just seems like this man just exudes arrogance, you know? That`s all that I can see coming from him.

MORET: Sherry, thank you for your comment. Let`s go right to Jeff Brown, he`s a criminal defense attorney. Jeff, maybe you can pick up on what the caller brought up. If you`re representing this man, would you want him in protective custody, because you`re concerned about what could happen to him in the community?

JEFF BROWN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, what I first would want him was to shut up and not give the interview he did to Bob Costas, where he`s asked whether he`s sexually attracted to young boys and he takes 30 seconds to finally say no, and then tries to play it off and say, "Well, I`m attracted to them, but not sexually," when the question was, are you sexually attracted?

But to be specific to this question, no, I wouldn`t want him in. I don`t think he`s safer in, frankly. I think if he`s in jail, that`s almost a more dangerous environment from where he`s at. At Penn State right now, talking to Beth, it appears that he does have a lot of support.

But what`s outrageous here is that there really isn`t a way to protect him from having contact with children, other than the judge telling him not to. The ankle bracelet doesn`t accomplish that. It just lets him know where he is. But there`s nothing to protect him from having access to other children, other than the courts saying not to.

But $250,000 is rather a low bond when you look at the weight of evidence against him, which I think is extremely strong, and the fact that what he`s looking at is a life prison sentence, if he`s convicted of just a few of these counts. I think there is a flight risk there. I think at some point, he`s got to realize that, you know, the mountain -- he`s not going to the mountain. The mountain`s about to fall on top of him.

MORET: Let`s give the viewers a sense of what this grand jury report says. Victim No. 9 testified that at least on one occasion he screamed for help, knowing Sandusky`s wife was upstairs, but he says no one ever came to help him.

Today, in Dottie Sandusky`s statement, she says, quote, "No child who ever visited our home was ever forced to stay in our basement."

Let`s go right to Arnie Spanier, host of CBS Radio 105.3 in Dallas. He is coming to us today from Buffalo. Arnie, what`s your take on this?

ARNIE SPANIER, RADIO HOST, CBS RADIO 105.4: You know, Jim, since nobody else wants to say it, let me just say it for everybody else. The faster we get this guy behind bars -- and he should be behind there -- the faster we stick a needle in his arm to kill him, the better off we`ll be. Because this guy, the preponderance of evidence, it`s bad. Ten people coming forward, over 50 counts. What, every kid is lying? Three, four, five, six, seven kids.

And that wife of his, oh, she`s a beaut. She sat upstairs and turned up the TV volume while a kid was downstairs screaming, "Help me, please, I am being raped!" And nobody did anything to come to his protection. Shame on her. She`s guilty just like him.

And there`s backing for this guy? There`s people who really think this guy is a good guy? Shame on you!

MORET: And ladies and gentlemen, Arnie is simply expressing his views. And I know many of you may feel the same way. This is not, incidentally, a death penalty case, but a lot of people are furious.

Stacy Kaiser, psychotherapist, coming to us from Los Angeles, give us a sense. We`ve heard Sandusky speak, and we`re shocked by what he isn`t saying, as well as what he is. What is your view, so far, of what`s happened?

STACY KAISER, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: This is really typical of somebody who is a child predator. The fact that he`s walking around in his Penn State clothes, still, is his way of letting us know that he doesn`t think he`s done anything wrong.

One of the things that I think is particularly shocking, that he was really brilliant at, is he was able to accomplish all of these activities over a really long period of time, which means not only did he convince a lot of people that what he was doing was good, he also convinced himself.

And so I think that he`s really walking around with that same attitude. He feels like what he`s done is OK, he`s been a good man, and the rest of the world should see it exactly that way.

MORET: And thanks to our guests.

Up next, a horrible deja vu for Virginia Tech, as two people are shot dead on campus. How it all ended.

Plus, the maintenance man suspected in the murder of a 7-year-old Georgia girl makes his first court appearance. His brother cannot believe what`s happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONNOR BRUNN, RYAN BRUNN`S BROTHER: He never went to jail. He`s never been in the back of a cop car. He`s just been a good kid. Just this, out of the blue, just something crazy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORET: The suspect in the murder of a Georgia girl makes his first court appearance. But first, we want to update you on today`s breaking news out of Virginia Tech. Two people are now confirmed dead, including one police officer after a shooting on Virginia Tech campus.

The campus was in full lockdown for hours this afternoon as SWAT teams and armored vehicles descended on the scene in a desperate search for the gunman. Details are still coming in, but here`s what we know so far.

A campus officer was making a traffic stop when a gunman allegedly walked up to the officer and then opened fire. That gunman then ran off through the campus parking lot. And in that parking lot, a second person was found dead. Authorities did not confirm the second person was, in fact, the alleged killer, saying only they`re confident that they have located the shooter.

The university has lifted the lockdown and says the campus is now safe. We will, of course, keep you updated as we learn more.

But, first...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN ANCHOR: Breaking news tonight. A neighborhood in total panic.

VERNON KEENAN, DIRECTOR, GEORGIA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: We`re here to announce the arrest of Ryan Brunn for the murder of the 7-year-old Rivera child.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) him! I hope you know that.

KEENAN: She was severely beaten. We believe that she was sexually assaulted.

Brunn is 20 years of age. He is employed as a maintenance worker at the apartment complex where the child resides.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She would have went with anybody, I believe. She was just very outgoing and very friendly and trusted everybody.

KEENAN: This is a mammoth case. We believe that this horrendous crime was planned and calculated.

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That vacant apartment is in the building right next to Jorelys`.

KEENAN: The murder occurred in that vacant apartment.

BROOKS: This is the trash compactor where Jorelys` body was placed.

KEENAN: We`re confident that Brunn is the killer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORET: Tonight, a 7-year-old girl`s alleged killer faces a judge, as her mother calls for the death penalty.

Good evening. I`m Jim Moret from "Inside Edition," sitting in for Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Twenty-year-old maintenance worker Ryan Brunn is being held without bond for the alleged murder of little Jorelys Rivera. During court today, you can see him biting his lip and looking extremely nervous.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you understand what you`re charged? One here is murder. The other is false statements.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORET: Jorelys vanished from her Georgia apartment complex playground on Friday. Her body was found on Monday, tossed away like garbage into a Dumpster. Jorelys` mother says she wants the death penalty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSELIN RIVERA, VICTIM`S MOTHER (through translator): I don`t want any charges brought against him. What I want is the death penalty. He`s an animal. He killed my little angel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORET: One of Brunn`s brothers, Connor Brunn, says there`s no way that his brother is responsible for this terrible crime.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRUNN: This is just a big mistake. They just got him on a big mistake. Just because he was right there. I just honestly think this is just a big setup on his part.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORET: Straight out to Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst.

Mike, you have, I understand, breaking news about how Jorelys was found.

BROOKS: We do, Jim. You know, we had heard that she had been beaten, she had been stabbed and sexually assaulted, but we`ve also found out from a source close to the investigation that when they found her body in that trash compactor, that her hands and her feet were tied with tie wraps, and she had duct place -- duct tape placed across her mouth, and that she had been compacted inside that trash compactor, just right across the street from Ryan Brunn`s apartment.

MORET: Mike, at this point, is there any indication that she was dead when she was in that compactor? Because as a parent, you know, it`s just so difficult to even think about this case, but the one thing that keeps haunting me is was she alive when she was placed into that Dumpster?

BROOKS: Well, they believe that she was dead within 90 minutes of her being kidnapped. So, you know, hopefully this poor girl, you know, she suffered so much, but they believe that she most likely was dead when she was placed in that trash compactor.

And Jim, you know, one of the things I asked yesterday, after they announced his arrest, I asked if Ryan Brunn, since he was a maintenance person there at the complex, if he had keys to that compactor. Because only maintenance people have keys to turn that compactor on, to push the trash into that trash compactor. And Vernon Keenan, the director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said that, yes, Ryan Brunn did have keys to that trash compactor.

And Jim, if you look at the whole scene, she was in one building. The vacant apartment was right next door, and then right around the corner was that trash compactor. Then within a stone`s throw was his apartment on the third floor of the 1200 building. He could come right down to the end of his hallway, look out, and look right on the trash compactor. Just makes you sick.

MORET: Thank you, Mike.

Let`s go to Nancy Hudgins. She`s a neighbor of Jorelys. She saw Ryan Brunn near this trash compactor that Mike was talking about.

Nancy, thank you for joining us. What can you tell us about what you saw?

NANCY HUDGINS, NEIGHBOR: Well, when I went over to talk to him, I told him that he was checking apartments and everything by the compactor and everything. He was kind of nervous. He thought if they go in his apartment that they had beer cans and stuff. It was underage drinking and everything.

I told him, if it helps the investigators, go into the apartment and check it out. And don`t be afraid if you`re drinking or anything. They ain`t going to get you for that. They`re just looking for that little girl.

And I stood out there when they pulled the compactor out and took two loads to get it out, and he was kind of nervous then. I live right...

MORET: Nancy Hudgins, thank you. Thank you so much. I`m sorry to cut you off. More to come, of course, and we`ll continue to follow this.

Will Casey Anthony be forced to break her silence after all? What could finally make her talk? That is coming up next. Stay with us right here on ISSUES on HLN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASEY ANTHONY, ACQUITTED OF MURDER: I forgive whoever has her and I just want her to come home. I just want my baby back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORET: Tonight, will Casey Anthony will forced to break her silence?

Hi, everyone. I`m Jim Moret from "Inside Edition," sitting in for my friend, Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Today, Casey Anthony`s lawyers faced off against the attorney for Zenaida Gonzalez. Zenaida is suing Casey after Casey lied to police and named Zenaida as the kidnapper of little Caylee Marie Anthony. Caylee, of course, was never kidnapped.

But during her deposition, Casey wore a disguise including a wig, a Phillies baseball cap, and oversized sunglasses, and she didn`t answer any of the important questions about the, quote unquote, "kidnapping."

Now Zenaida`s lawyers want a judge to force Casey to answer those questions. And today this is what the judge declared.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will do a written ruling. I am not going to do it until after I have given Texas EquuSearch an opportunity to argue the same issue. I believe that argument is set for December 19. So don`t expect a ruling, I wouldn`t think, until the end of the year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORET: You heard right. No ruling until several weeks from now, after a hearing about another lawsuit against Casey. With me tonight, Zenaida`s lawyer, John Dill.

John, thank you so much for being here.

JOHN DILL, ZENAIDA GONZALEZ`S ATTORNEY: Thank you.

MORET: Why do you think Casey should be forced to testify during this deposition?

DILL: Well, first of all, we don`t think she has a valid Fifth Amendment privilege. We think that the privilege that she`s taking is simply to avoid answers to questions, in our case, and in the criminal case, she essentially the admitted through her attorneys that she had lied about Zenaida and lied about the whole thing. So we don`t think anything she`ll say in this case could possibly affect her on an appeal.

MORET: John, during the hearing today, you talked about what Jose Baez said in court that Casey had lied about your client. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSE BAEZ, CASEY ANTHONY`S ATTORNEY: Do 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.

Casey was raised to lie. This child, who at 8 years old, learned to lie immediately.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORET: John Dill, those are Casey Anthony`s attorney`s statements, not Casey Anthony`s statements. It`s not really evidence. If she has an appeal and if she`s trying to preserve her constitutional rights, you can understand why the court has a tough road here, and a tough decision before it.

DILL: Well, I don`t know if it`s that tough. First of all, what is the basis of her appeal? Is it that there was not enough evidence? Well, they certainly have weighed any argument on that. You heard yourself right there, Mr. Baez talking about that this was all a lie. Is it the sentence that was imposed on her? We didn`t get a commitment from the attorneys in this case what they are appealing and why they are appealing. We just know they have an appeal. But we think the judge in our case will do the right thing and make her answer.

MORET: So Mr. Dill, what do you do if the judge doesn`t rule your way? Do you simply wait it out, wait until the appeals process is exhausted, and then move forward? Because at that point, Casey Anthony can`t claim the Fifth Amendment protection.

DILL: Part of the problem, Jim, is when does the appeals process end? Is it this first appeal, some other appeal? We`re ready to try our case, and we will, whether she answers or not. But I think it will be a lot better, obviously, for us to get some answers from her. I think everybody deserves answers. We`re ready to go forward and try our case in April.

MORET: OK. And we wish you luck. And thank you, John Dill, for joining us tonight.

Up next, cops discover a major clue in the search for missing mom, Michelle Parker, who vanished after appearing on "People`s Court" with her ex-fiance. Hear what happened in that case when we come back with more.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It had like a little bit of dirt on it, but it didn`t look like it was in horrible condition.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A Florida man is now the primary suspect in the disappearance of his former fiancee, who appeared on the "People`s Court". Remember this?

MICHELLE PARKER, MISSING WOMAN: I felt somebody grab me and yank me around. He`s crying, I`m crying. He`s sorry, I`m sorry.

YVONNE STEWART, MOTHER OF MICHELLE PARKER: This isn`t a wallet, this isn`t just a purse. This is my baby girl. We need to find her.

PARKER: We brushed it under the rug and I stayed with him for a few more months.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re like drugs to each other. You`re addicted to each other.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s exciting, but it`s scary. Why was that phone where it was? We`ve been searching for that and it`s like looking for a needle in a haystack. You don`t know what it means that it was found, which means it wasn`t found with her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORET: Welcome back to ISSUES. I`m Jim Moret from "Inside Edition" sitting in for Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Is it a big break in the case in missing "People`s Court" mom Michelle Parker? Cops announced today they found the 33-year-old beauty`s iPhone and released some pictures. You`re looking at them now. They were recovered from this crucial piece of evidence. Police say that the cell phone is in remarkably good condition and is undergoing forensic testing as we speak.

Michelle went missing three weeks ago in Orlando, the same day she appeared on a "People`s Court" episode to settle a dispute with her ex- fiance over a $5,000 engagement ring.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DALE SMITH, MICHELLE PARKER`S EX-FIANCE: We were dating about four years.

PARKER: He said that he wanted his ring. I threw it out. I felt somebody grab me and yank me around. He`s crying, I`m crying; he`s sorry, I`m sorry. We brushed it under the rug and I stayed with him for a few more months.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re like drugs to each other. You`re addicted to each other.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORET: Now cops say Parker`s ex, Dale Smith, is the prime suspect in her disappearance. The parents of twins reportedly had a tumultuous relationship together.

Recently, a judge awarded custody of those 3-year-old twins to Smith, despite the fact that cops call him a suspect. Are the children still with daddy today?

So much going on in this mysterious case; we`re taking your calls at 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out now to Steve Helling, staff writer for "People" magazine. Steve, what are you hearing about where this phone was recovered?

STEVE HELLING, STAFF WRITER, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Well, this phone was recovered in the same general area as everything else that we`ve seen. You know, where the phone was turned off, where her Hummer was found. It`s all pretty close together. And so, you know, obviously that gives the police a certain perimeter that they`re looking through right now, hoping to find some more clues.

MORET: And anything unusual about this area? Was it remote, was it a crowded area? Anything that would give them an indication that something is not adding up?

HELLING: It`s not a remote area. In fact, I go past that area every time I go to the gym. And it`s one of those places that, you know, you would see if something really big was happening there. So, you know, somebody might not notice a cell phone being thrown, you know, into water or whatever, but, you know, I don`t think that that`s where, you know -- that anything else would have been thrown into the water, if you know what I mean. I don`t think that we`re going to see that Michelle was thrown in right there.

MORTE: Erica Thims, you`re Michelle`s friend and her co-worker. Can you think of any reason why Michelle might be in the area that Steve Helling was just describing where her phone was discovered?

ERICA THIMS, FRIEND OF MICHELLE PARKER: No, sir, unfortunately, I don`t know a reason why she would be down there.

MORET: What`s your gut feeling in this case? You know her and you`re Michelle`s friend. Were you aware of any tension in her relationship with her ex? Were you aware of any concerns that she had for her own safety?

THIMS: No, sir. You know, we worked here at the bar, so we try to stay upbeat. We keep our conversations on happy things when we`re at work. We`ve got to stay in a good mood, so we didn`t really talk much about that.

MORET: Some people speculate Dale`s motive could have been his embarrassment from that "People`s Court" episode which was taped months earlier, but airs only hours before Michelle disappeared. His attorney, however, disagreed.

Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK NEJAME, ATTORNEY FOR DALE SMITH: That was five months ago. Secondly, secondly, he prevailed. He won. He didn`t look -- he didn`t look bad. We`ve all seen enough reality TV that people can look to be really bad. He didn`t look bad. He won. So there`s no motive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORET: Defense attorney Joe Episcopo, what do you think? Is there enough here for police to identify this man as the suspect? Clearly, they think so.

JOE EPISCOPO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don`t think so, because if they really had anything, they would make an arrest. Obviously, this phone, they`re only giving us part of the evidence. They`re looking for clues, hoping that this might arouse something and get them somewhere, but, really, I don`t think they have any kind of case. They can`t charge him, and they really don`t have much of a motive. So they`ve got a problem.

Not only that, these items are being found in West Orlando and Sanford, where she was supposed to be, is maybe 30 miles east. So I don`t see a good connection here.

MORET: Well, let`s just review. Dale has a mile-long rap sheet. Let`s go over a bit of it for you. It covers everything from burglary to drug possession to aggravated battery, a DWI, domestic battery. Even with all of these disturbing details about his past and him being named a prime suspect, he was awarded custody of their twins.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEJAME: He`s been taking care of twin 3 1/2-year-old children. He`s taken off from work. By all accounts, he`s been a wonderful father. And these children have been destabilized enough. His conduct has been totally appropriate, totally right for somebody whose child -- whose parent -- a child whose parent is miss.

He`s done the right thing. He`s providing stability, he`s taking off from work, he`s caring for these 3 1/2-year-old twin children exactly as a good parent should.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORET: Steve Helling, staff writer, "People" magazine, when I heard that he got custody of their kids at the same time he`s being named a suspect, I nearly fell off my chair. I`m thinking, wait a second. How is this possible?

First of all, what`s the update? Does he still have custody of the twins?

HELLING: You know, as far as I know, he does, but what I`ve heard is that, of course, you know, DCS is still hoping to remove those children from him at this point. It was surprising, especially because on the maternal side -- Michelle Parker`s side -- there is a family that would really love to have those children with them. So it was a surprising ruling when it happened in court.

MORET: Joe Episcopo, you`re a defense attorney. If you represent this man, you say, look, he may be a suspect, but he`s not proven to have done anything wrong. He`s their father, he should have the kids. What -- is that the argument you would use? Because a lot of people are going, wait a second. We know that the grandparents are not being implicated in any way. Why shouldn`t they have the children until you know for sure if this suspect had something to do with the crime?

EPISCOPO: Well, because a rap sheet is not enough to take away custody. What is a rap sheet? Are there convictions on there? Did he do time? See, a rap sheet can have a lot of outrageous charges, and then when you really get to the facts, they get plea bargained down to simple misdemeanors.

So, obviously, that didn`t play any part in it. And there`s no evidence. You know, go ahead and charge the guy, and he`ll be found not guilty. That`s what`s going to happen.

MORET: So do you feel comfortable or would you feel comfortable if you represented him in allowing him to have custody of his twins?

EPISCOPO: Listen, what is this "feel comfortable" stuff? We`re not hired to represent people to feel comfortable. We`re there to advocate their interests and forcefully advocate their interests. It doesn`t matter whether someone`s guilty or not. Can the state prove it? That is what a defense attorney does. He doesn`t have these feelings that you`re trying to stir up here.

MORET: And I respect that position, although, you have to understand that people are outraged. And you can certainly see why. Regardless of your view of how you feel and I hear where you`re coming from.

Let`s take a look at the timeline the day that Michelle was reported missing. The morning of November 17th, Michelle met her current boyfriend, her current boyfriend, for coffee. A few hours later, the episode that she taped in august for the "People`s Court" aired. A half hour after that, she was stopped by -- she stopped by her mom`s salon after dropping off her twins at Dale`s. Cameras captured her car entering his condo, not leaving, apparently due to the camera angle.

At 3:30 her older son from another relationship arrives home and doesn`t see his mom, so he calls his grandmother. That`s when her brother sent a text asking where she is. He immediately gets a one-word response, Waterford.

At the same time that`s happening, Dale says he was visiting his parents with the kids. Hours go by, the family cannot contact Michelle, she doesn`t show up for work, her cell phone which incidentally you saw on that videotape, stops transmitting a signal near Bell Island. The next day, her car is found. And that is the latest.

We`ll, of course, stay update on this and all of the developments in this case. I want to thank my panel for all of your comments.

Up next, a father begs for justice for his daughter when the man responsible for her death is released from prison after just a couple of years. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REZA JOU, FATHER OF DONNA JOU: My innocent daughter, Donna, was helpless at the hands of a heartless criminal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Justice hasn`t been served. This man, a sex offender, is getting out, a monster is getting out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORET: Tonight, a family outraged and heartbroken over a convict`s early release.

Good evening. I`m Jim Moret from "Inside Edition", sitting inside for my friend, Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Sex offender John Burgess is now a free man after serving less than two years for his role in Donna Jou`s death. Her dad joins me tonight. The 19-year-old premed student met Burgess on Craigslist, where she advertised herself as a math tutor. Burgess claims he took Donna to a party, gave her cocaine, heroin, and alcohol and she overdosed. He told detectives that when he found her dead, he panicked and then dumped her body in the ocean.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BURGESS, SEX OFFENDER: I wish I could take back, you know, it`s been said a thousand times, but we can`t. All you can do is try and make the best of what`s left. I did reveal the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORET: Donna`s family says his story is just one big lie. They are not convinced that Donna is dead. Burgess ended up pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter. He got the maximum sentence, which was five years. He served less than half of that because of overcrowding here in California`s jails. Is that supposed to be justice?

Straight out now to Donna Jo`s dad, Reza who I had the pleasure, the honor of talking to before this broadcast. Sir, thank you very much for joining us tonight; I know that this is a nightmare for you that is only just -- it`s coming back all too clearly for you that this man is now a free man. How are you and your family coping?

JOU: Thank you very much for having me on your show.

MORET: Sir, how are you coping tonight? I know that you must be outraged that the man who admits to being responsible for your daughter`s death is walking free.

JOU: Well, we are very outraged. This man has conned our criminal justice system and got away with murder. We are very upset and we want justice for my innocent child.

MORET: You do not necessarily believe that he`s dead -- or that you`re daughter is dead. Why do you say that, sir? He told police, he basically said that she overdosed, that she took drugs, he panicked, he dumped her body. You don`t buy that, though, why, sir?

JOU: We don`t buy that because this man has done many criminal acts in the past and he has made this a story. It doesn`t measure up. The district attorney`s office, they have not shown us any evidence, so we`re looking for any evidence. I would like to see the way that they have justified this case.

This is a severe case of injustice. We want an answer. We have been waiting four and a half years and now this man is free to go and abduct other children and destroy families. So this is not --

MORET: And you look at that mug shot and you see that smug look, and we see this beautiful young woman whose life, he says, was snuffed out. And just to put this in perspective for our viewers, Donna Jou`s body was never found. And that is why her family is clinging to the hope that she may still be alive, although, clearly, they`re distraught. They want to know for sure.

And as Mr. Jou mentioned, this manslaughter conviction was not Burgess` first serious offense. In 2003, he was convicted of committing lewd or lascivious acts on a child. Four years later, he pleaded no contest to failing to register as a sex offender. Donna Jou disappeared two years later. Burgess pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and concealing an accidental death.

Reza, you think that he was offered a plea deal because they couldn`t find a body. You think they took the easy way out, don`t you?

JOU: Yes, they could not find any evidence, there was no DNA detected, no credible witness to come forward with any useful information, and they put him on polygraph tests and he failed that one too. So we don`t believe -- he`s fabricated this story. He has sat two years in the prison cell, deciding what to say.

He was hiding two years behind his Fifth Amendment right not to speak. And after two years, he decided to speak. He was coached by his high- profile criminal attorney, and that`s the thing that he said that would get him only the minimal sanction possible. And this is not --

MORET: We want to introduce our viewers now, sir, hold on. We want to introduce our viewers to Diena Thompson, the mother of Somer Thompson who in the fall of 2009, her beautiful daughter was lured by a stranger`s dog and killed. And that killer or suspected killer is facing trial next year.

Diena Thompson, I know you are one of Jane Velez-Mitchell`s heroes and we really appreciate you joining us. When you hear that Mr. Burgess, who is a convicted sex offender, is now out, after this involuntary manslaughter, you must fear for other parents out there?

DIENA THOMPSON, DAUGHHER WAS KIDNAPPED AND MURDERED: Of course, it`s an atrocity, you know? These sexual predators and offenders and people who prey on our children just prove to us, time and time again, that they cannot be rehabilitated. This man probably will go out and hurt someone else`s child. And it`s so sad that we keep letting it happen.

MORET: Are you just outraged when you hear that he served 2 1/2 years and because of jail overcrowding, he`s now going to be on the streets?

THOMPSON: Yes, because he`s violent criminal and we need to keep the violent ones locked up, you know what I mean? It`s unbelievable.

MORET: So what do you say to parents out there? Just -- you know what, we`re coming up on a break. We want to come to you right out of the break. Everybody, stay right where you are.

More on this man, who admits throwing this young woman`s body in the ocean; he`s now a free man, a free man.

More on the other side of the break. You`re watching ISSUES with Jane Velez-Mitchell.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BURGESS: I wish I could take back -- you know, it has been said a thousand times but you can`t. All you can do is try to make the best of what`s left. I did reveal the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORET: I`m Jim Moret from "Inside Edition" filling in for Jane Velez- Mitchell. You just heard convicted sex offender John burgess in court explaining how he says he dumped Donna Jou`s body after she died of a drug overdose.

Dona`s dad Jou is our guest tonight. But first before we go to him, let`s go back to Diena Thompson, mother of Somer Thompson -- Somer, a sweet young girl whose life was taken by a sex offender. Diena, first of all, you know, as a parent, this is just a horrific -- and you see, what a beautiful face, sweet, innocent child.

You have to reach out to other parents who say this can`t happen to me and say, yes, it can. And with a man like this now on the streets, you`ve got to be fearful. Because this man is convicted and you know as well as I do that the likelihood is high that he could attack again, right?

THOMPSON: Absolutely. And you know, a point was brought up to me. Who do we want the justice for; for our poor innocent children or for these poor pathetic sexual offenders? Why do we keep giving them chance and opportunity after opportunity when they show us every single time that they`re going to do exactly the same thing. And we all know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. And you`re not going to get it. So it is insane.

MORET: Well, you see on this rap sheet that we`re showing you right here, he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Before that though, he failed to register as a convicted sex offender. So what do you do as a parent? You go on these registries and you have to hope that they`re up to date. But we can see with people like this, they`re not.

THOMPSON: Exactly. You know, what we got to do is do like you just said. Get on the Web sites and check it out and do look at the ones that are doing what they`re allegedly supposed to be doing. But also we need to empower our children to, you know, know -- if you have a bad feeling in your stomach, you`re going to go away and there are programs like RAD kids that you can take your kids to and they can be taught. There are programs for older kids and for adults so that we all know and are aware of what the signs are when there is abuse.

MORET: Reza Jou, Donna Jou`s father is our guest tonight as I mentioned. And again, we thank you sir for coming on tonight. You`ve reached out to the DA`s office and you`re hopeful that they`ll reopen the case. We`ve contacted them. It doesn`t appear that they`re going to do so. They`re looking at this as a closed case. Where do you go from here?

JOU: We have a very difficult time because we still keep receiving tips about Donna`s whereabouts. But we need the DA office to cooperate with us because some of these require court order or search warrant and without cooperation from Mr. Cooley, we cannot accomplish the task. We know that this man has lied under the oath and he has claimed something that is far from the fact.

The only people that they have bought is a story is the DA`s office. Nobody with the right frame of mind accepts confession from a sex offender, from a career criminal. So we are outraged. What kind of a message the DA is sending to these sex offenders. This is not acceptable.

MORET: I have to cut you off here sir. We`re out of time but I truly appreciate your time. Some final thoughts when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORET: For this last minute, I want to bring in defense attorney, Joe Episcopo. Joe, we heard from the parents of Donna Jou. We heard it from her father, who is outraged that after two and a half years, a man convicted of involuntary manslaughter is free. More worrisome is his sex offender past.

You`re a defense attorney but you`re also a dad. What would you say to Mr. Jou? Where he should go from here and how to put his life back together?

EPISCOPO: The man was sentenced in May of 2009. I would have liked to have known where he was when the sentencing was going on. Why did not he object then? Basically they had no evidence in this case. You have to understand, after they indicted him, he made this admission. That`s all they had. Apparently, everybody was satisfied at that time.

And you know what? He can`t be prosecuted again. There is this thing called a constitution. That piece of paper. He has already been punished. They can`t prosecute him again.

MORET: Last word is for you. We`re out of time. Joe, thank you so much.

I`m Jim Moret. I`ll see you on "Inside Edition".

"NANCY GRACE" is next.

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