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Michael Peterson Walks Free; Will Casey Talk; Victim Confronts Attacker; Shed Your Skins

Aired December 15, 2011 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a new trial for a famous man previously convicted of murdering his wife. A judge rules noted novelist Michael Peterson will get another chance to prove his innocence after a prosecution witness misled jurors about key evidence.

Peterson`s wife was found at the bottom of a bloody staircase in their mansion. He says she accidentally fell after drinking and taking pain pills. Will a jury believe him this time around?

Then, rumors fly that Casey Anthony is shopping around her first interview for a whopping three quarters of a million dollars. Is she finally cashing in? We`re setting the record straight. And we`re taking your calls.

Plus, a woman comes face to face with the man who viciously choked her and tried to sexually assault her. In court, she turns the tables. In a powerful speech, she gets the last word before he`s locked up. You will hear her chilling words tonight, and I will talk live to this heroic woman.



MICHAEL PETERSON, ACCUSED OF WIFE`S MURDER: Kathleen was my life. I whispered her name in my heart a thousand times. She is there, but I can`t stop crying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael Peterson, the novelist, and two-time political candidate, called 911 early Sunday morning, December the 9th. During his frantic call, he told dispatchers his wife had fallen down the stairs at the Peterson home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have issued a true bill of indictment for the first-degree murder of Kathleen Peterson. The person that is charged is Michael Peterson.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the 12 members of the jury, unanimously find the defendant to be guilty of first-degree murder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously, we will be filing a notice of appeal.

PETERSON: I would never have done anything to hurt her. I am innocent of these charges, and we`ll prove it in court.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news tonight. A famous novelist, who was convicted of murdering his wife, has just moments ago walked out of prison, all because of a screw-up by an overzealous, corrupt investigator. This is unbelievable.

Good evening, everyone. Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live from New York City.

Moments ago in North Carolina, an extraordinary scene. Michael Peterson, who was convicted of murdering his wife, walks out of prison, scot-free. His guilty verdict thrown out of court by the judge.

Now, Peterson posted $300,000 bail, and he actually stopped as he was surrounded by his family and spoke to the media. He gave an indignant statement, just a few seconds ago, upon being released.


PETERSON: OK. OK. I have waited over eight years, 298,000 days, actually, and I counted, for an opportunity to have a retrial. I want to thank Judge Hudson for giving me that opportunity so that I can vindicate myself and prove my innocence in a fair trial this time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And he is with his family behind him.

These are some of the best sellers that this Michael Peterson wrote. He`s an author of many books that you may have read. But he became infamous when he was charged and then convicted of murdering his wife, Kathleen Peterson.

Now, he says she died from a deadly fall down a staircase. This is an animation entered into evidence during the trial which shows how she might have accidentally fallen, but a coroner didn`t buy that. He said, "Unh-uh, her injuries were not the result of a fall," that she was beaten, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said she was bludgeoned, slaughtered, that it was cold- blooded murder. His motive, according to prosecutors, that his wife had discovered that he was having an affair with a man, and she couldn`t handle him having a sexual affair with a man. But he claims that she knew all along about his bisexuality.

Listen to what Peterson himself told famed investigative reporter Aphrodite Jones on "True Crime" on Investigation Discovery.



PETERSON: Bisexuality, right, OK.

JONES: Did Kathleen know?

PETERSON: Yes, of course she did. It just was not a major factor in our lives. It had nothing to do with love. People get very upset when you say something like that. There`s love and then there`s -- there`s sex. And that`s what that was. I think -- I`m stunned. I thought, certainly, all my children knew. I can`t believe that they didn`t know.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, everybody knew he was having an affair with a man. Hmm. Including his wife, and she was cool with it. That`s his contention.

So if he did murder his wife, how did his conviction suddenly get overturned all these years later? It`s because of this guy. Yes, this bald guy, a blood spatter investigator, who committed a whole laundry list of horrors.

First, he exaggerated his expertise and his experience, claiming to be an expert when he wasn`t. He then fabricated reports. He falsified blood test results.

OK, so do you think a guilty man, a wife murderer, walked free just a couple of minutes ago? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

I want to go straight out to Holly Hughes, a criminal defense attorney and a former prosecutor. So you wore both hats.

Here`s the thing. They successfully used the garbage in, garbage out argument to get this conviction overturned. But that doesn`t necessarily mean, because there was a tainted investigator, that this guy is not guilty.

HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That`s exactly right, Jane. And the analysis the judge has to do is, was this evidence, this tainted evidence, this exaggerated experience, was it so powerful that the jury might have reached a different decision if it hadn`t been admitted into court? That`s what he`s going to do.

They`re going to look at it, and they`re going to say, "OK, it was error." Because clearly he lied. Let`s just call it what it is. It was a lie. But then, the second prong of that legal analysis is, was it so harmful that the verdict might have been different?

And the judge said, "Yes, I find that it was. I find that this lie, this evidence that was tainted so badly, misled the jury." He says -- look, the judge was very strict. He said, "You misled the court and the jury when you testified in this manner, when you testified about this evidence, and if you hadn`t said these things, the jury might have reached a different conclusion."


HUGHES: So the judge isn`t saying he`s innocent, Jane. He`s just saying there`s a possibility...


HUGHES: ... had you not done this, it might have been a different outcome.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A new trial. But is he going to be convicted in a new trial? Will they still have the evidence to present, given the fact that this guy who collected the blood was crooked?

One person who does not believe Michael Peterson`s story of an accident on the stairs is the murdered woman, Kathleen Peterson`s daughter, Caitlin. Watch her and Michael Peterson on "True Crime" on Investigation Discovery.


CAITLIN ATWATER, KATHLEEN PETERSON`S DAUGHTER: The autopsy report convinced me that she was, in fact, murdered. There was absolutely no question in my mind after reading that.

JONES: There was this moment where Caitlin went on her own...

PETERSON: Yes, Caitlin changed her mind. But to me, I cannot believe that deep down, Caitlin really believes I murdered her mother. She knew us too well. She never saw us fight. She never saw anything. She never knew anything but love and happiness and fun.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael`s release from prison doesn`t change anything for Caitlin. She told us today, quote, "Michael Peterson is still charged with her murder, and this is still in the hands of the justice system."

Here`s my issue tonight. Tainted testimony.

I want to go to the Aphrodite Jones, the host of "True Crime" on Investigation Discovery, who has actually talked to Michael Peterson, as you just saw, behind bars.

Aphrodite, first of all, tell us what the investigator did wrong. What was the investigator`s problem that caused this conviction to be overturned?

All right. Can you hear me, Aphy?

All right, Jayne Weintraub, criminal defense attorney, it`s my understanding that she fabricated evidence in 34 cases. Thirty-four cases! And that, in fact, one conviction, a man who spent time behind bars, that was overturned because of this tainted investigator, who essentially made up evidence.

So you`ve got this guy who has lied in 34 cases, and he actually was instrumental in convicting an innocent man, so that means that this guy, who may or may not be guilty, gets to walk free tonight.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That`s exactly right. And that`s taint on the integrity of the entire system.

You know, Jane, an expert is not supposed to be an advocate. An expert is supposed to be a neutral person who gives their honest opinion, scientific in this case, based on his expertise. And that expertise comes before the court and has to be qualified.

In other words, the judge in the case had to accept the fact that he is a qualified expert, to render an opinion, because opinion evidence is not permitted in court. A witness can`t -- a police officer can`t take the stand and say, "Well, I think, by the way, that the blood was that it was not defensive."

So this is an expert who has supposedly studied in the art of the blood work, in the hematology, in the serology. And so this judge fell for this guy`s lies. That`s a problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me tell you something: there was blood all over the staircase, and the common sense conclusion was, that`s not the kind of blood spatter you would get when somebody accidentally falls down a stair.

The prosecution said he -- she -- she was bludgeoned over the head by her husband. But the problem is that half measures avail us nothing. If we are not rigorously honest as the criminal justice system, then we lose everything. That appears to be what`s happening in this case.

More on the Michael Peterson case, overturned. Is a guilty man walking free? You won`t believe what happened to a lady friend of his, 18 years before his wife fell down the stairs and died. But I`ll give you a hint. It also involves a staircase. More next.


PETERSON: Kathleen was my life. I whispered her name in my heart a thousand times. She is there. But I can`t stop crying. I would never have done anything to hurt her. I am innocent of these charges, and we will prove it in court.




PETERSON: I have waited over eight years, 200,998 days, as a matter of fact, and I have counted, for an opportunity to have a re-trial. I want to thank Judge Hudson for giving me that opportunity so that I can vindicate myself and prove my innocence in a fair trial this time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A prominent Durham novelist, the man you just heard there, walking out of prison, just a couple of seconds ago, because an investigator who testified in his murder case, in which he was convicted of murdering his wife, turns out to be crooked and has a history, a long history, of fabricating evidence. So now there`s going to be a retrial.

This case was so huge, huge a few years ago, that Lifetime made a TV movie out of it. And, boy, that is something to watch. Here`s a clip from YouTube.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They thought he was the perfect man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for believing in me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Until the women he loved dropped dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife`s had an accident. She fell down the stairs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This whole case, it`s a diversion.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. There is the TV version of what cops say really happened.

Now, I want to go to Aphrodite Jones, host of "True Crime" on Investigation Discovery.

Aphrodite, there`s going to be a retrial, but given that the blood evidence has been tainted by the guy who collected it, turning out to be just a fraud, and a horrible, horrible person, will they even be able to use the blood evidence, which was pretty much the key thing that got him convicted in the first place, Aphrodite?

JONES (via phone): Well, Jane, here`s the issue at hand. There`s common sense, as you said before, and then there`s the history now of Duane Deaver, the blood spatter expert.

His 43 -- or tampering with 43 cases and possibly more, and the corruption that the FBI has uncovered about this particular agent, blood spatter expert, is going to be a point of contention in the re-trial. And certainly, it is going to be an argument by the defense that anything that Duane Deaver touched in the stairwell could have been not only contaminated, but cross-contaminated, or in fact, tampered with, as in a la O.J. Simpson.

There`s nothing to stop them from going so far as to say that he planted evidence, that he planted blood, that he practiced experiments, that he created the spatter. All of that can now come to bear, and will, in fact, create a situation for at least a hung jury, if not an acquittal.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s listen to the man who is responsible for Michael Peterson`s conviction being overturned, this tainted, discredited, fired investigator, Duane Deaver. This is, again, from "True Crime" on Investigation Discovery.


DUANE DEAVER, DISCREDITED INVESTIGATOR: Took into account that she fell all the way from the top step to the landing, which I measured, I think, at 12 feet. Is it possible that you can create impact spatters from a fall? Yes. A person who falls from the top of the Empire State Building is going to create an impact spatter. But we`re talking about the fall from the height of the individual.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is the irony to this. He sounded like a great expert on the stand, only to find out that he is rotten and has been fired.

I want to go to the phone lines now. Steve in Florida, your question or thought, Steve?

CALLER: Well, my thoughts are that I am extremely disgusted that a double murderer, and yes, a double murderer -- not only is there a preponderance of evidence that Michael Peterson murdered this woman, but decades earlier, there`s evidence of another murder.

I am just wondering what`s next, is Scott Peterson and Drew Peterson, none of whom are related, all going to get another chance to walk free?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Steve, I like your passion on this, and Holly Hughes, what the caller`s referring to is the extraordinary fact that 18 years earlier, in Germany, a lady friend of the same Michael Peterson died, was found dead, also at the bottom of a staircase, and her friend believes that he killed both of them. So there were people who came from Germany on a mission for justice for both women.

What do you make of that, Holly?

HUGHES: Well, you know, lightning doesn`t strike twice in the same place, Jane. It is very highly suspicious. And it was admitted in the first trial.

And just to reassure the caller, this isn`t over yet. Because what`s going to happen is the state, the prosecutors are going to the court of appeals and say, overrule Judge Hudson. You might call it error, but say it was harmless error, or say it didn`t affect the verdict. Because the coroner, like you said at the top of the show, also testified, this was a bludgeoning. This wasn`t a single fall down the steps with one blow to the head.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. But how do you prove it`s a bludgeoning if, for some reason, because of this tainted investigation, you can`t use the blood evidence, the spatter all over that staircase?

Let me go to another caller. Rocky, Nevada, your question or thought, Rocky?

CALLER: My thought is I did watch the trial from beginning to end. I`ve read it. I watch everything on Court TV, Headline News, everything. I believe, truly, that he did not push her down the stairs. There was absolutely no way he pushed her down the stairs. Lightning does not strike twice with him. He was not proven guilty or even around the first earlier scene.

He did love his wife very much. Anybody who has stairs like that, wooden, narrow stairs. His wife was very intoxicated and under a lot of pain medication. I`m sure she fell down the stairs, rolled down the stairs and on the way...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. On the other side of the break, we`re going to talk about the wife.



PETERSON: It`s impossible for me to express my gratitude. What I want to do l now, though, is to spend time with, you know, with my family and with my children, and certainly at a later time, I`d be happy to talk with everybody and share more. Thank you very, very much.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That man, accused of murdering his wife. He`s a famous novelist. Tonight, he is walking free. He`s hugging his family. He`s happy, but a lot of people who followed the original trial where he was convicted of murdering his wife are absolutely outraged.

And I got to tell you, we now have Aphrodite Jones, host of "True Crime" on Investigation Discovery in studio, and we`ll just share with the viewers that there`s a lot of traffic here in New York City, and you finally made it to the chair. We`re happy about that.

What do you think is the most shocking aspect of all this? You`ve talked to all of the players. Did you suspect that this crooked investigator was as tainted as he has turned out to be?

JONES: Jane, I could never anticipate, nor could anyone anticipate, that this blood spatter expert would have been crooked, and that he would have exaggerated and lied and cheated about lab reports and actually put someone behind bars for 17 years, Jane, who was exonerated, and it was based on his hiding a blood spatter report.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And how the heck did the prosecution not know that there was a problem with this guy? I mean, isn`t there...

JONES: They didn`t know it -- they didn`t know it until 2010, when the gentleman was exonerated. So we had no information about this guy, Duane Deaver, the blood spatter expert, until 2010.

Now that that happened, the FBI launched a two-year investigation into his office, and they shut down the entire blood spatter office in the state bureau of investigation in North Carolina, based on their misdeeds. And in particular, singled out this guy, Duane Deaver.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, he shouldn`t just be fired. I think he should be criminally charged with something, Holly Hughes.

HUGHES: Jane, it`s coming down the line, because he`s going to be -- No. 1, perjury. Let`s just start there. He went into court, he took an oath, he swore to tell the truth, and then he lied through his teeth. And they`ve flat-out proven it.

Then we know that he also -- there was another man, like Aphrodite just mentioned -- you talked about him -- he was locked up for 17 years for a murder he didn`t commit.

So, again, we`re going to see perjury charges. We`re going to see falsification of records.


HUGHES: We`re probably going to see violation of oath of office, as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meanwhile, we`re all focusing on Michael Peterson. And his son spoke out on this release. Listen to this reaction to news that his dad is going to be going back to trial.


CLAYTON PETERSON, MICHAEL PETERSON`S SON: Just sort of went numb, just like I did when I heard "guilty." I couldn`t believe it. We`re just very happy.

I know my father didn`t kill it -- didn`t kill Kathleen. I love Kathleen, but he didn`t do it. He told me. I know it. I believe it in my heart.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jayne Weintraub, a couple of seconds. Predictions about the re-trial?

WEINTRAUB: I don`t know that there will be a re-trial. I think there was due diligence, and there was some obligation on behalf of the prosecutor as you were talking about before, Jane. I think they need to re-evaluate and think about if under the ABA standards they even have proof beyond a reasonable doubt to prove to a jury now without that evidence. It`s tainted, it`s gone, the blood evidence.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Just because it`s garbage in, garbage out doesn`t mean that the defendant making that claim is innocent! They can both be right. He could be a crooked investigator, and he could be guilty, too.

Next, Casey Anthony.



CASEY ANTHONY, ACQUITTED OF DAUGHTER`S MURDER: Can someone let me -- come on. Nobody`s letting me speak. You want me to talk then give me three seconds.

CINDY ANTHONY, MOTHER OF CASEY ANTHONY: All right, I`ll listen. Go sweetheart.

I found out my granddaughter has been taken. She has been missing for a month. Her mother finally admitted that she`s been missing.

JOSE BAEZ, ATTORNEY FOR CASEY ANTHONY: She could be 13-year-old, have her father`s (EXPLETIVE DELETED) in her mouth, then go to school and play with the other kids as if nothing ever happened.

CASEY ANTHONY: I just wanted to let everyone know that I`m sorry for what I did. I take complete and full responsibility for my actions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is disgusting. The baby -- what about her?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Justice for Caylee. Justice for Caylee. Justice for Caylee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As to the charge of first-degree murder, verdict as to count one, we, the jury, find the defendant not guilty. Not guilty.

Not guilty.

CASEY ANTHONY: I have no clue where she is.


CASEY ANTHONY: If I knew, in any sense, where she was, this wouldn`t have happened at all.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And a new outrage this morning as media outlets across the country picked up on a report by the reputable "Hollywood Reporter" that Casey Anthony was shopping a huge TV interview deal. The report said Casey has teamed up with the LA production company Scott Sternberg Productions in order to sell the rights to an exclusive TV interview; the rumored payout -- anywhere between $500,000 to $750,000.

Well, guess what; we talked to the production company and they are flat-out denying that. Saying they have absolutely no deal with Casey Anthony, period, end of story. So we want to debunk that.

However, the "Hollywood Reporter", we called them back and they say they`re standing by their story. What`s all this about? Is Casey shopping a TV deal -- if not with that production company, some other way? We know she likes to talk. Remember this?


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

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

CASEY ANTHONY: Nobody`s letting me speak. You want me to talk, then, give me three seconds to say something.

CINDY ANTHONY: All right. I`ll listen. Go, sweetheart.

CASEY ANTHONY: I`m not in control over any of this, because I don`t know what the hell`s going on.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But whether or not Casey is shopping her story, this case is still so riveting to so many of us. Casey`s prosecutor, Jeff Ashton, already written a best-seller that`s becoming a TV movie; we had him on here on ISSUES. Who`s going to play Casey, I wonder?

What do you think? We`re taking your calls on Casey. Call me, 1-877- JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

My next guest has an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at this entire case. I often sat in court with reporter Robyn Walensky during the Casey Anthony Trial. She just wrote this amazing book, must-read, "Beautiful Life". Ok. That, of course, stands for "Bella Vita" which is the tattoo that Casey had on her body that she got after her daughter disappeared, and we now know was already dead.

There it is, "bella vita" and the prosecutors of course, pointed to that saying, who on earth would get a tattoo that says "beautiful life" when their daughter had just gone missing and/or died.

The CSI behind the Casey Anthony trial and your observations from courtroom seat number one, Robyn; you`ve got some news to break here. You talked to a lot of cops who worked on this case. Tell me how you discovered Casey`s not guilty verdict is now, today, affecting cops when making arrests in the Orlando area.

ROBYN WALENSKY, ANCHOR & REPORTER, THE BLAZE: Well, Jane, first of all, thank you so much for having me on the program. I have to tell you that I went one on one with the Orange County sheriff`s office detectives and CSIs, who investigated the murder of Caylee for three years. And I have to tell you that currently I was down in Orlando about a week or so ago and some of them, quite frankly, who are back out on the streets, dealing with the public, they are getting, you know, the -- well, you didn`t do such a great job. You got a not guilty verdict.

So I think that it makes their jobs going forward very difficult, that the fact that the jury found her not guilty. And I remember, and you do too, sitting there and hearing not guilty, not guilty, not guilty. I think that the officers who spent three years of their lives investigating this, boy, oh, boy, that was a huge blow.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, they got a point. While the cops spent huge amounts of money searching for a little girl, who it turns out was already dead and dumped around the corner from where Casey lived, cops ignored the one really good tip which came from meter reader Roy Kronk, who told them, very early into the case, that he saw something suspicious right near the Anthony home. And maybe it`s her.


ROY KRONK, METER READER: I`m in the wooded area down by the school. I need you like now. I just found a human skull.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, that one -- that one you just heard, that was the same meter reader coming back several months later in the dead of winter to the very same spot and saying, hey, you know what, what I told you in August, ok, I actually found her skull in the very place I told you to look.

So, Robyn, what do you make of that? That maybe people who were criticizing the cops have a point.

WALENSKY: Well, I`ll tell you this, Jane, that officer, the first round who showed up, who did not go into the woods for whatever his reasons were, that person has been fired from the Orange County`s Sheriff`s Office.

But I have to tell you, in the book, in "beautiful life", you hear from crime scene supervisor Michael Vincent. He`s the one who collected, actually did the experiments that smelled the odor of death in the canisters that you hear so much about. He did an excellent job. You cannot, you know, refute the science.

And then there`s Gerard Obloisy (ph), who found the hair, the one strand of hair in the trunk. And Alina Burrows, who goes into the Casey Anthony home, and what was in her mind when she`s in Casey Anthony`s bedroom, looking at heart-shaped stickers.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sounds like you spent a lot of time with the cops and you`re very friendly with them.

But Jayne Weintraub, a criminal defense attorney who`s close to the defense is shaking her head. Jayne?

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Because I feel that here we are again. There were motives and reasons for testimony to be changed, for Roy Kronk to be telling the story that he was telling. And one thing that we know from the story previously is from your passion, as an author or as a person, that`s how experts then translate or lie and intentionally try and shape evidence to fit what they want the result to be. That`s not what we do when we swear to tell the truth.

These cops were overzealous. The prosecution was overzealous. And he was the one who was busy writing his book that is selling now while Casey may be was really busy looking at the law books and telling the truth.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, you`re talking -- you`re criticizing Jeff Ashton for writing a book? First of all, I don`t think he was writing it during - -

WEINTRAUB: For writing the book during the trial, yes Jane, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t think he was writing it during the trial. I think he was trying the case during the trial. I had him here. I had him on our show, and I don`t think he was writing it during the trial.

WEINTRAUB: Jane, he`s a very good lawyer. He`s a good lawyer, but you don`t write a book like that in one month.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what; oh, yes, you can. You can write a book in a couple of months. I wrote two books in three months each.

Ok. Let me go to the phone lines. Dill, Ohio, your question or thought, Dill?

DILL, OHIO (via telephone): I believe with the defense attorney, I would like to know how much did Jeff Ashton get out of his big book deal? And why is everyone convicting Casey in the media. She was found innocent.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she was not found innocent, she was found not guilty, and there`s a big difference there. Yes, he didn`t commit a crime, so if he makes money off of a book, I don`t see anything wrong with that. He retired and he wrote a book about it. It`s a free country.

Cops knew Casey was lying almost from the get-go. And listen to Casey being grilled by detectives shortly after cops learned that little Caylee had been missing for 31 days and that her mom hadn`t told anyone that her child had vanished.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything that`s coming out of your mouth is a lie; everything. And unless we start getting the truth, and unless we start getting the truth, we`re going to two possibilities with Caylee. Either you gave Caylee to someone and you don`t want anyone to find out because you think you`re a bad mom. Or something happened to Caylee and Caylee`s buried somewhere or in a trash can somewhere and you had something to do with it. Either way right now is not a very pretty picture.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. You`re looking at detective Uri Melich. Robyn Walensky, what did Detective Melich tell you about that famous grilling?

WALENSKY: Right. Well, Jane, in the book, I asked him point-blank, how would you have done in that room, 45 minutes, being grilled by him, a seasoned, veteran detective. 45 minutes, she never went to the bathroom, never asked for a drink of water. And he tells me in "Beautiful Life", Uri Melich, that he would not have held up at 22 years old, under the grilling, where he says to her, you`re either some -- this was either some sort of accident or you`re a monster, which is it? And he says he wouldn`t have held up, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go to the phone lines. We`ve got Julia in Kentucky. Your question or thought, Julia?

JULIA, KENTUCKY (via telephone): My comment is I would absolutely buy any book that was written about Casey Anthony. If Casey decides to talk, I would definitely buy that book, and I think money should go to Casey.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s not going to happen, Holly Hughes, because she owes the state of California or some jurisdictions within it a lot of money, because she was convicted of lying. And as a result, they are charging her for all these searches that they did based on her lies, Holly.

HOLLY HUGHES, ATTORNEY: Absolutely. And she`s going to have to pay that back. You know we all love the judge, Melvin -- you know, Belvin Perry, excuse me, and he issued the order. And he said, yes, for the cost of the investigation, insofar as you lied, and you said she was missing. And so, up to the point when her body was discovered, you have to pay that back.

So Casey may get paid and she can, under our laws. She was acquitted of the murder. So if she tells her story, there`s nothing to prevent her from making that money, but she`s going to have to pay it back to the state of Florida.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Robyn Walensky, 10 seconds, do you know where she is? She`s in hiding.

WALENSKY: She`s in hiding, but she`s in Orange County. And I want to mention this, because she has to check in with her probation officer, Jane, on the four counts of lying to cops. I`m donating the proceeds of my book to the Orange County Sheriff`s Office Children`s Charity. And in the spring we`re going to be fingerprinting children with the money from the proceeds of my book. Trying to give back to the community because originally little Caylee was a missing child, not a murdered child.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to say you`re a great reporter, you`re a great author. I wish you the best of luck with your book. You and I sat in the courtroom together. We became friends watching that extraordinary case, and your book is amazing to read -- "Beautiful Life". Check it out, people.

Coming up: an amazing, courageous woman who confronted her attacker.



HEIDI DAMON: You picked the wrong woman on August 19th, 2009. I survived.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cops say Javon Cooper was just 16 when he tacked Heidi Damon as she walked to her car, choking her until she blacked out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your honor, I want to speak on behalf of the victim. This victim was not engaged in any high-risk activity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Damon woke up, she was naked from the waist down. Luckily, she was not raped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her life is forever changed. She`s robbed of a life that she would have had, had she not had a chance meeting in the middle of the afternoon in a public place with Javon Cooper.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Javon Cooper had nothing to say at his sentencing hearing. The victim had plenty to say.

DAMON: I look over my shoulder more than I ever have. Sometimes it feels like someone`s behind me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: she has difficulty concentrating, has nightmares and flashbacks and has missed more than a year of work. She spoke directly to her attacker, who she refused to call by name.

DAMON: You have simply victimized yourself.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A stunning counteroffensive against the war on women. One very brave woman faces off in court against the man who tried to sexually assault her, who beat her, who choked her.

Heidi Damon was brutally attacked, in broad daylight, in a parking garage. Her attacker choked her until she passed out. When she came to, her underwear and pants had been pulled down. Heidi was black and blue all over. I want you to take a look. Look at that. Look at her bloodshot eyes. Look what the attacker did to her face in 2009.

Doctors told her that she was fortunate not to have been raped, but look at the trauma to her eyes, completely bloodshot. You know how hard you have to choke somebody and beat them to get that result. Her attacker pleaded guilty and during the sentencing, which happened just the other day, Heidi courageously confronted him. Watch.


DAMON: I am not a victim, I am the victor, the stronger, and the winner. You picked the wrong woman on August 19th, 2009. I survived.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Straight out to my very special guest, Heidi Damon; Heidi, I want to say, you are my hero. You stood up and confronted this man. You waited two and a half years.

DAMON: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you look great. No bloodshot eyes. You look fabulous.

DAMON: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What did it do to you psychically? Because I know you had nightmares and you lost work and you had flashbacks. How did it liberate you or empower you to confront him?

DAMON: I think believing in myself all along, and understanding that it wasn`t my fault and feeling that he tried to take something away that was a good thing really empowered me. After also, all these years of seeing victims never being able to talk, always, you see just a dot over their face or a Jane Doe. And you know for years, I had always thought that that was so sad, that we couldn`t really help these people as a, you know, society if we didn`t really know who they were. And we couldn`t really conquer this problem.

So for me to come into the courtroom and confront him myself and look at him felt great, because I could actually stand there, look at him and say, "I`m still here. You failed."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You stood in court. You reminded this guy that he hurt himself more than he hurt you, or anyone else, when he assaulted you.


DAMON: I survived. You have simply victimized yourself. I will be free for the rest of my life. You will be a prisoner for the rest of yours.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want you to be a regular panel member, if you`d like, when we discuss crimes against women, because you are an incredible voice. He`s behind bars --

DAMON: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- you`re free. Were you shocked that this was a 16- year-old kid -- and these are NOW, National Organization for Women protesters, telling us to take rape seriously -- were you shocked that this was just a 16-year-old boy, a young teenager?

DAMON: Shocked? No. Because of all the news that I`ve ever heard over the years, I don`t think anything surprises me anymore. I think there`s so many stories out there that we don`t even know about.

I was almost saddened by it. I think that would be a better word, because I know that not every person has a great support system, and I was almost sad in the fact that he was so young.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I think that there`s something really, really wrong with our culture when a 16-year-old boy feels that that is something that they should do. Are we going to work together to change that, maybe proactively, so we can stop these kids?

DAMON: Oh, my gosh. Absolutely. And that`s why I wanted to put my face out there and my name, because I`m not afraid.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want you to come back soon.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This event today is about dare to go bare. I wore fur before, and I just don`t wear it anymore.

I learned about the cruelty aspects of what goes on with the animals. It`s beyond horrible. And I have a huge passion animals and it`s part of my life-style and it`s something I really do believe in because I don`t think it`s necessary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nowadays, fur is about as popular as a cold sore. People are starting to think about other ways of showing that they have style and grace.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don`t have to wear fur. There are great alternatives. This is fake fur. I`m doing this.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s a revolution happening. You need to be part of the fashion world getting the message, making this world a better place for animals. Fur is now in the "what not to wear" column, it`s a fashion faux pas.

This is where fur comes from. I warn you, images are graphic. We`re just going to show you a taste of the horrors animals endure as they are tortured for their fur. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says that just for one fur, there are dozens and dozens of animals often trapped and drowned, strangled, beaten to death, anally electrocuted for an unnecessary luxury.

Now, philanthropist and designer Cornelia Guest is shedding her skin for PETA`s "I`d rather go naked than wear fur" campaign and she`s given away all her furs. Cornelia, so glad you`re here with me tonight. Why did you decide to give away your furs?

CORNELIA GUEST, PHILANTHROPIST AND DESIGNER: Because it`s not necessary. And when I realized what these poor creatures went through, I couldn`t do it. All these beautiful creatures -- I think that anybody that ever looked into the eye of an animal and seen how beautiful they are in their soul; and then you see these pictures of how they are skinned alive. They are trapped. These minks are going crazy in these mink farms. It`s not something I want to be part of.


GUEST: I think that -- you know, there is an intelligent alternative. My friend at St. John, George Shark, he designed a fake fur collar for me. So I think that if we start giving people an alternative and we asked designers too, if they want to have fur, ok, but give people an alternative. And that`s a start.

Look at that animal, he`s going crazy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They`re going crazy in those cages. To make sure these animals don`t die in vain, PETA takes the donated furs and donates them to a wonderful cause.


DAN MATTHEWS, VICE PRESIDENT, PETA: We work with homeless shelters around the country to give them fur coats, people who have nothing else to wear and we actually render the fur coats worthless by shaving a small arm band in them, so they can`t be resold, but they still serve the purpose of keeping people warm.

We can`t bring the animals back but we try to have the coats serve a purpose to make a point.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Cornelia, your furs are going to the homeless. What would you say to designers, who despite being shown the evidence and all the videos of the horrors, insist on using fur?

GUEST: Well, I can say, if you insist on doing it at least give us an alternative, you know. I started a bag line that`s all faux leather and it`s being supported everywhere and it`s giving people an intelligent alternative so they can have something else, they don`t have to go to fur. They don`t have to go to leather.

Give your fur coats, give your leather coats, send them to PETA and we give them to the homeless. We do big drives. We`re going to do one in New York in January for all of the homeless shelters. And, listen, there`s nothing we can do about it now, but at least we can put them on people that need them. And then we can start giving people an alternative and educating people which I think is the most important thing, because the minute someone sees one of these animals going crazy or skinned alive or seeing an animal with its paw in a trap, I can`t understand anyone who would want to be part of that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I just want to say that you are amazing. I applaud your work. I`m so excited about you going to the forefront on this issue. I hope designers out there and other philanthropists listen to you and make the compassionate change. Thank you, Cornelia.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: More breaking animal news. Are the days of using chimpanzees in research almost over? I hope so. For far too long, our closest relatives in the animal kingdom have been suffering tremendous pain during tests like these. Now, the Institute of Medicine is placing stringent limits on the National Institutes of Health, whose experiments are not shown in this particular video, recommending chimps should only be used in research if it cannot be ethically performed on people. The committee also says that it`s no longer necessary to use chimps as subjects in many research projects because of advances in research tools and methods like, for example, testing at the molecular or submolecular level.

We`ve gone to the point where we don`t take boats across the ocean and we don`t need to torture these sentient beings when we`re really studying what`s going on in a microscope. This is just the first step. We need to ban it entirely.