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Most Memorable Stories of 2001

Aired December 30, 2011 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, ISSUES`s most memorable stories and interviews of 2011.

First, disturbing video of two teenage girls duking it out, and cops say their mothers were in the crowd cheering them on. Why did they do it? One of the moms joins me in an exclusive interview.

In a sick twist in the Susan Powell case, the missing woman`s father- in-law is accused of secretly videotaping young girls through their open windows. Is there any connection to Susan`s disappearance?

Then, keeping the search for Kyron Harmon alive. Little Kyron`s desperate mother joins me in an exclusive interview. It`s been a year and a half since this little boy vanished into thin air. Are investigators any closer to finding precious Kyron?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Punishing, biting and beating each other.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, teenage girls caught on tape beating the living daylights out of each other. But even worse, cops say their other mothers were right next to them, cheering them on, stoking the fires of this vicious fight. It happened in Indiana back in September. One of the moms joined me in an exclusive ISSUES to explain her side of the story.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now that it`s over, 20/20 hindsight, what are your feelings about all of this?

BRANDY MILLS, MOTHER OF TEEN GIRL IN FIGHT (via phone): My feelings or my regrets? My feelings, I guess, would be I should have thought before I reacted.

I want to get something straight. There was things in the newspapers that, you know, was incorrect.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What happened, Brandy? What happened?

MILLS: Well, it was bullying. It was flat-out bullying an 11-year- old, my 11-year-old daughter, over Facebook. And over, you know, cell- phone texting. And the bullying just kept happening, and I -- they would call my house, bullying, and they was -- they was bringing adult people that I know their names of, two especially, that -- saying, you know, if the little 11-year-old wants to run her mouth, then she can back it up, and she will get jumped.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So wait a second. Your 16-year-old...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... daughter got into this fight with the 17-year-old girl, you`re saying, to stand up for her kid sister, her 11-year-old sister. Are you claiming that the 17-year-old girl who was in the fight was bullying your 11-year-old? Is that your claim?

MILLS: Yes, she was bullying her along with her -- I guess her little clique that she runs around with. Three of her friends and then two adults...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Brandy...

MILLS: ... was bullying my 11-year-old, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, during the fight, you can be heard telling your 16-year-old daughter, "Get her down. Knee her." You didn`t just want to solve this bullying issue. You were encouraging your 16-year-old daughter to physically assault this 17-year-old girl. What were you thinking?

MILLS: Right then and there, to be honest with you, I wasn`t thinking. I came there to talk to the mother and, you know, I walked straight to her. She literally flipped me off, you know, called me the "B" word, and would not speak to me about the situation.

And the little clique, not the girl that my daughter fought, but there was another girl there that was bullying -- that was one of the bulliers was there starting stuff, running her mouth, you know? Back and forth.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you just snapped, is that what you`re saying? You snapped?

MILLS: Well, they -- they started fighting, getting head to head. When I snapped was when that girl bit my daughter`s arm, and I looked over and seen, you know, it was a substantial bite.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, so you`re claiming that she started it.

By the way, the other side of the Hatfields and the McCoys here, you`re invited on any time to give your side of the story, as well.

Let`s take a brief look at this fight again. Stand by, Brandy. We`re going to talk to experts who are hopefully going to help you with this issue. Listen.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Joey Jackson, first thing I say, because there`s so many bullying problems in this country is, get a lawyer. Don`t -- don`t try to solve this yourself. Let them know you`re serious by getting a lawyer to contact the family if, in fact, they are bullying your child.

JOEY JACKSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It`s true, Jane. But, you know, sometimes wiser minds do not prevail. And this was a mother who had it. I`m not justifying her conduct, but I don`t want to condemn her either.

Her child is getting bullied. She`s obviously frustrated. I believe she`s indicating that she went there with the intention of speaking to the mother, trying to resolve it. Her 11-year-old is in some danger because this clique is against her. And she had just had it, and she just snapped.

And so we`re never as bad as we are on our worst day or as good as we are on our best day. She has no criminal history, no criminal record. It shouldn`t have happened. She should have exercised the judgment, Jane, that you suggested. She didn`t, but we shouldn`t condemn her to the end of the universe. We should try to resolve it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s why we`re talking to her. We`re talking to her.

JACKSON: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Captain William Bradbury, Union City Police Department, this is serious stuff. This lady who`s on the phone with us, this mom, she`s charged with a felony, as is the other mother. And the poor kids, they`re facing problems, sir. Can you tell us?

CAPTAIN WILLIAM BRADBURY, UNION CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT (via phone): What was the last part, Jane? I didn`t hear.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Aren`t the kids in trouble, too?

BRADBURY: Yes, ma`am. Yes. They`re going to be -- we`re sending charges to the prosecutor`s office for disorderly conduct, for the fighting in public.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Brandy, you must feel terrible that you actually are quoted as saying that you would beat the bleep out of your daughter if she didn`t win the fight. Now your daughter is in trouble, according to the captain. How do you feel about that, Brandy?

MILLS: It`s not how I feel. I regret saying that. I humiliated myself by saying that. And since this happened, you know, I`m not -- you know, the fault is on me. I should -- I should have did something to step in to stop it, to you know, to get it -- get it, you know -- I just -- I`m -- I`m sorry. I`m just speechless right now.

I just wish to God it would never have got to that. And if I could take it all back, things would have been -- would have been different. I guarantee you that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s a lot of people in this country who are suffering from rage, which is an addiction. Anger is an addiction, just like, in my opinion, anyway -- I wrote the book about this, "Addict Nation" -- just like alcoholism and drugs.

If you`re using something, if you -- when you`re drunk, you`re out of control. When you`re in a rage, you`re out of control in the same manner. You are not in control.

And Brandy, there are ways to tackle this. And I do kind of speak from personal experience, because I have had rage issues. And I went to an anger workshop, and I took seven -- seven courses, seven days where I went to this anger workshop, and I was -- I felt very humiliated and like, "What am I doing?" But I wanted to deal with this issue.

And what you do is you sit around in a circle, and a person gets up, and they take a tennis racket and they -- they hit a pillow as hard as they can. And they get their anger out. And at the end of their three minutes, everybody politely claps, and they sit down.

And if you do this seven times, what it says is you can change your relationship with anger, where you kind of get to look at it from this perspective, as opposed to being reactive and having it run your life.

Do you -- do you think you`d be willing to do something like that, Brandy? Go to an anger workshop?

MILLS: I -- I know I made a mistake. You know, this is my -- I have -- I have five children and tackling that, health problems and then this. I know -- I know I made a mistake. I knew I made a mistake when I was trying to talk to the parent as it was over. I tried to talk to her, and she wouldn`t talk to me. I -- that was once again trying to talk to her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I still -- I hear -- Brandy, Brandy, what I hear is - - I hear...

MILLS: I take responsibility for everything I`ve done.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hear you still trying to justify and rationalize. And that`s part of it. Just like we alcoholics, when we`re in our disease, justify and rationalize our behavior. "Oh, well, they handed me the drink. I didn`t" -- there`s always that explanation.

Rene Syler, do you think Brandy should take an anger workshop?

RENE SYLER, AUTHOR, "GOOD ENOUGH MOTHER": Well, I think it would help, certainly. And she really does sound sincere.

Brandy, I have to hand it to you, you really do sound like someone who wants some better tools.

But I guess the issue I have with this is that this is wrong. You -- it almost felt like your daughter was an extension of you. And that is how we view our kids a lot of times, as an extension of us. But in this weird kind of warped way, you know, you wanted her to win the fight so that you would look good. I just -- that`s -- I don`t understand that. I don`t get that.

And I`m not sure that a lot of parents would understand that, because we do everything we can to protect our children. And you put your daughter in harm`s way, and then urged her and egged her on. And that`s just something that people can`t get their heads around.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in for a second. Brandy, quickly, how is your daughter doing after this fight? Was she hurt? Is she emotionally damaged?

MILLS: I don`t -- you know, this is from me. I don`t think she`s emotionally damaged. And I asked -- I`ve already asked her if she needed to talk to a counselor, and I`ve already asked my 11-year-old if she needed to talk to a counselor.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, guess what? Eleven- and 13- and 16-year-olds aren`t the ones to make the best determination as to whether they need to talk to a counselor. I think you need family therapy. The whole bunch of you, you and all your kids, get together and start talking about what`s really going on.



KIIRSI HELLEWELL, SUSAN POWELL`S BEST FRIEND: One of the reasons that Susan and Josh moved to Utah, I found out a few months after they moved here, was to get away from her father-in-law, Steve Powell, because he had made these passes to her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You will not believe the sick, depraved twist in the Susan Powell case. The father-in-law of Susan Powell -- that`s the young mother of two who`s been missing for nearly two years, well, the father-in- law has now been arrested on child porn charges. That`s right. Can`t make this stuff up; it`s crazy.

Cops says Josh Powell`s dad, Steve, was secretly videotaping neighbors through their open windows. We are talking children as young as 8 years old in their most private moments. Cops call these very lewd photos.


ED TROYER, PIERCE COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: These are pictures, we believe, he took, he created, he produced. We have photos from his neighbor`s houses, of little girls in bathrooms and naked and totally inappropriate pictures, with high-end lens where he`s by the window or he put himself in a position to take these photos.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Little girls on the toilet, little girls in the shower, in the tub, what? My guests here on set are just horrified, and so am I. Did this alleged dark and depraved obsession have anything to do with Susan`s disappearance? Or is it some crazy coincidence?

Cops say they found the sick videos while they were investigating Susan`s disappearance. And they say there were also photos of -- are you sitting down? -- Susan herself, the guy`s missing daughter-in-law, missing under very suspicious circumstances.

Remember, this is the same man who creeped us out when he told ABC`s "Good Morning America" that he, the father-in-law, had a, quote, "sexual relationship" with Susan, his daughter-in-law.


STEVE POWELL, SUSAN`S FATHER-IN-LAW: Susan is very, very sexual with me. She was very flirtatious. We interacted in a lot of sexual ways, because Susan enjoys doing that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think a part of you started falling in love with Susan?

S. POWELL: That`s pretty likely, yes. I mean -- yes, I would say so. And there`s no question in my mind that the feelings were mutual.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Really? Susan vanished from her Utah home nearly two years ago while her husband, Josh, and their two young sons were on a very suspicious middle-of-the-night camping trip in below-freezing weather on a Sunday night.


JOSH POWELL, SUSAN`S HUSBAND: A lot of times I just go camping with my boys, you know, not -- not anything big. I just go overnight, and -- and we do s`mores and stuff like that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: S`mores and stuff. Hmm.

Police have long considered Josh Powell a person of interest in Susan`s disappearance, but he`s never been charged.

Susan Powell`s two kids now in foster care, because they were living in Steve Powell -- in his home when he was arrested. Susan`s parents have now filed an emergency order to get custody of their two young grandchildren.

Tonight in a prime-time exclusive, Chuck Cox, Susan Powell`s father -- that`s right, the missing woman`s father -- joins me right now.

Chuck, thank you. I know that the last two years have been utter hell for you, a living nightmare. Describe the moment you heard the stunning news that the father of your missing daughter`s husband has been arrested and accused of taking hundreds of lewd photos of children.

CHUCK COX, SUSAN POWELL`S FATHER (via phone): Basically, disbelief. Just another strange twist in this case. And it`s just unbelievable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you are moving, I understand, to get custody. The kids were living with this guy we see here now, who was just arrested. He`s being taken away by cops in cuffs.

When Susan, your daughter, disappeared, her husband, who is a person of interest, fled to his dad`s house. And now the dad`s been arrested. So what happens to your two grandchildren, Susan`s children?

COX: We`re taking any -- the legal action that we can take, and beyond that, I can`t discuss that. The documents that were filed are a matter of court record, though.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But are you concerned about what might have gone on with these kids, in this home? I mean, this is seriously depraved stuff, and I don`t want to convict him, if he`s convicted of this, but the cops say they have these photos of children, 8-year-old girls going to the bathroom, naked, in tubs. What are your concerns for your grandsons, who are 4 and 6?

COX: Yes, I don`t -- I don`t know what they may have witnessed or not witnessed, and I can`t discuss the grandchildren. I`m sorry.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, what are your feelings about this? Do you feel a sense of vindication? This is the guy who went on national television and claimed that there was some kind of sexual chemistry between your missing -- your missing daughter and him, the most inappropriate thing you could possibly say. What is your reaction to his arrest?

COX: I do feel, certainly, it vindicates our position that Susan was not anything like the person he was portraying her to be, that she`s a loving mother and -- and a devoted wife, trying to make her marriage with her husband work and have that happy family that she wished for.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I assume that you must feel some kind of relief tonight. I mean, this has become sort of a war of two families. And you`ve scored a major victory, Chuck Cox.

COX: Well, I do feel -- I`m very pleased that this has essentially vindicated me, because it has been played up a lot as a war between two families, but I don`t see it as that. It`s really a sad situation. But I am very relieved that now everyone can put Steve`s comment in proper context.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Next, it was one of the most horrific car accidents we have ever seen. Eight people dead, including four children. How the family of the woman who caused the crash is now compounding the tragedy.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you put five children in a car when you`re a mother and you`re drunk? How do you do that? It`s incomprehensible. I can`t even -- we have children. I would never, ever do something like that. It`s just -- it`s just -- it`s crazy.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Diane Schuler caused the worst wreck New York has seen in more than 75 years. The details, horrific and baffling. Schuler, a mom of two, drove her minivan the wrong way on the Taconic State Parkway, going way over the speed limit, weaving in and out of oncoming traffic for nearly two miles. Local cops had never seen anything like it. Check it out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe six cellular 911 phone calls that were received reporting her driving the wrong way.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It ended in horrific tragedy. Schuler collided head- first with an SUV. Eight people killed: herself, her young daughter, three young nieces, three men in the other car. For years, the dead driver`s husband, Daniel Schuler, has defended her anyway.


DANIEL SCHULER, DIANE`S HUSBAND: Listen to this. I go to bed every night knowing my heart is clear. She did not drink. She`s not an alcoholic. Listen to all that. She is not an alcoholic, and my heart is rested every night when I go to bed. Something medically had to have happened.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but that`s not what the toxicology report said.

Here`s what we know about Diane Schuler. She drove 1.7 miles in the wrong direction, driving at 85 miles an hour, and she was intoxicated. She had a blood alcohol level of 0.19. That`s double the legal limit, equal to having ten drinks.

The victims in the other car, 39-year-old Guy Bastardi, his dad, 81- year-old Michael, and their friend, 74-year-old Dan Longo.

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Daniel Schuler continues to insist his wife was innocent, and now he has just filed two lawsuits claiming it was other people`s fault. The most outrageous: he is suing his brother-in-law, the man whose own three daughters died in the fiery crash. Schuler says since his brother-in-law owned the car his wife was driving, he is vicariously liable. The height of audacity, to sue the man whose daughters were killed by your own wife?

I`d like to introduce my very special guest tonight, Jeanne Bastardi, who is joining me on the phone. Jeanne lost two relatives in this horrific crash. She has now written a book on it, called "The Taconic Tragedy: A Son`s Search for the Truth."

Jeanne, thank you so much for being with us tonight.

JEANNE BASTARDI, LOST TWO RELATIVES IN CRASH (via phone): Thank you for having me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What is your reaction to these lawsuits brought by Daniel Schuler?

BASTARDI: I really wasn`t surprised at all. We anticipated actually a few more than we`ve heard, but I think since today is the deadline, there may be more in the works.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t get it. First of all, why compound the grief of somebody who has already lost three children -- three children -- in this crash, and then you sue them?

This is Daniel Schuler. This is the guy who is suing his former brother-in-law. Do you have any explanation? You`ve written a book on this.

J. BASTARDI: Well, absolutely. To Daniel Schuler, it`s for the money. I think that was pretty clear in the photos he released of his wife in the HBO documentary last night. If anything, that shows absolutely no love for that woman.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Coming up, one of my most memorable and heart- wrenching interviews of the whole year.

Kyron Harmon`s mother opens up to me about the nightmare of her son`s disappearance and the person she insists is hiding the truth.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want them to talk to her. I want them to ask, where is Kyron? There`s someone out there that has him and there`s someone out there that knows information and they have not come forward.

KAINE HORMAN, FATHER OF KYRON HORMAN: He`s still out there. He`s still out there. We just need to find him.

YOUNG: Yes, we just want him home. I`m tired of dreaming.

I hope every day that Kyron comes through the door, and that we find him ok. I want that with everything.

HORMAN: One minute away was awful enough. And to be this far along and have him not home, it`s terrible.

YOUNG: We love you, Kyron. Never give up hope. We are all coming to get you to bring you home.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, an ISSUES exclusive: Desiree Young, the mother of Kyron Horman, who has been missing now for more than a year, is here live to talk to us about the latest in the case. Desiree wants to shout it from the mountaintops, "Where is my son?"

Kyron vanished June 4th of last year during his school science fair. He was last seen with his stepmom Terri Horman. She has never been named a suspect, but Terri Horman is still a big part of this investigation, especially after claims surfaced that Terri allegedly tried to hire someone to kill Kyron`s dad Kaine. Kaine then left Terri, filed for divorce and took their young daughter with him.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terri, how can you stay silent when Kyron is still missing?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kaine Horman still has a protective order against Terri, and she`s still not talking. Despite search after search after search after search, not a shred of evidence has turned up in little Kyron`s disappearance.

Look at this precious child. Imagine what his mother is going through not knowing what happened to her little boy. It`s unimaginable.

I`m very honored tonight to be joined by Kyron`s mother Desiree Young. Desiree, first of all, I feel like I know you, because we devoted so much of our shows over the past year to finding your child. We want to bring him home. Thank you so much for being here.

We hope that somehow talking to you will spark somebody`s memory, to cause somebody who may have some information who`s not coming forward, to come forward and tell everything they know.

I have to ask you, Desiree, police are still saying that they cannot say for sure whether your son is dead or alive.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s a difficult question, but what do you think has happened to your precious boy?

YOUNG: Well, obviously I have changed my opinion over time, but in the beginning of the case, I -- I definitely thought Kyron was going to come home any second. I knew that we were going to find him, he was going to be ok and everything was fine. I didn`t think for a second that Terri could have ever done any harm to my son.

I know differently now, and it`s further reinforced a year later, we know way too many details about Terri and what she`s been doing and what she was doing prior to Kyron going missing, and everything about her personality just screams to me that we know that she hates Kyron, just hates him. And we see a lot of writing from her communicating that she did not like him and did not want him in her life.

And I just feel now, over a year later, I just feel like she probably harmed him. We just need to bring him home, and we just need answers. We need her to just tell us what she did with him and where he is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, we reached out to Terri`s attorney, we have not heard back. She has been living in relative seclusion, reportedly with her parents and there are signs outside the yard that say, basically don`t come in, leave us alone.

If Terri is watching, since we did reach out to her attorney and we didn`t hear back, and since she`s not considered a suspect or being called a suspect, but clearly the news reports would indicate that she`s the focus of the investigation, do you have a message for Terri Horman?

YOUNG: I do. Where is Kyron? We want him home, we want answers. We`re tired of waiting. It`s been over a year, you know. You win, we give in. Just tell us where he is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And if she does? If she does know? She was the last person with him, seen with him at a science fair. She says she left him at the science fair and left. And obviously you have your doubts about that story, but again I have to emphasize that she`s not been charged with anything, she`s not under arrest, she`s living with her parents in seclusion.

If she knows something that she isn`t telling, what motivation would you give her to come forward, Desiree?

YOUNG: Well, we`re -- above everything, above punishment or justice for what`s been done, we just want answers. We just want Kyron home. So, you know, above everything else, that`s all we want. And I know that -- that we`re willing to get what we can. And I`m sure that they`re willing to negotiate with her and talk with her about it.

But she just has refused to talk at all. She`s refused to clear herself. She knows what happened that day. I can`t go into any of the details, but she knows what happened and where Kyron is. And she knows exactly where she went and what she did with him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, even though she has moved to live with her parents in Roseburg, and is in seclusion, you have actually put up billboards near where she lives. Tell us about that, and what is your message?

YOUNG: Yes. I have put billboards up. I just want her to see his face every single day. I want her reminded every single day of what she`s done. I want her to suffer. I want her to suffer as much as Kyron has.

And those billboards are a reminder that I will never stop. I won`t stop until we find him. It`s my promise to Kyron that we will never stop. It`s my promise to her that I will be here every single day, reminding her that she needs to talk, and she needs to tell us what happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What have these 13 months been like for you?

YOUNG: A roller coaster of emotions. I`ve said before it`s a nightmare, but I don`t even know if I can put into words exactly what it feels like to just have that constant pull in your soul, because he`s missing.

We went and saw "Harry Potter" the other night. I went with my older son. There was a scene in there, a little baby that`s supposed to be "Harry Potter". He looks just like Kyron at 9 or 10 months old. I started bawling.

It`s things like that. It`s every single day, constantly. Just things that remind you and remind me of everything he is missing out on, and everything that Terri took from us, his whole family, and Kyron. He doesn`t get to experience all the stuff. And it`s sad.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m so sorry. I can`t even imagine. I know that everybody who is watching, all of our hearts go out to you. We want to be helpful. We want you to have some kind of -- I know the word "closure" is ridiculous. Everything says who has been through something like this that there is no closure, but answers -- answers.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What happened to the grand jury? I mean, months ago we all saw -- we heard Terri Horman, we heard her best friend Didi Spicer (ph), I think that`s her best friend there. Didi Spicer had appeared before the grand jury and showed up at the grand jury location, anyway. And what happened about that?

We heard about gym workers who testified that Terri was upset with her husband, Kyron`s dad, Kaine because allegedly apparently he had insisted Terri`s oldest son move out of the family home, which could have created resentment. That resentment could have -- who knows. Whatever happened to all of that?

YOUNG: Well, it`s my understanding the grand jury is still convened and still working on the case. I heard reports recently that they were still working on it and still making decisions for it. So it`s my understanding it still is being used as a tool and still active.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, law enforcement has scaled back their task force, their Kyron Horman task force, apparently just the lead investigator is on it full time and he works in coordination with the prosecutor and the FBI. How does that feel?

YOUNG: You know, um, I know -- I was prepared that eventually that would happen. It`s disappointing, and at times very frustrating. We`ve been waiting for searches to happen since January, because the weather was a factor before, so we are patiently waiting for the weather to warm up. There`s these three key areas they still need to search, and we`re still waiting on those searches, because the sheriff`s office just doesn`t have the resources.

It`s disappointing. It`s -- those searches are what keeps our hope alive. And we, as a family, feel like Kyron`s being forgotten, because we`re not doing the searches. That`s the only way we`re going to bring him home is if we complete those key areas. If nothing else it rules out another area we know Kyron isn`t.

You know, it`s --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Desiree, more on the other side. We`ll be right back.



AMANDA KNOX, FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER OF ROOMMATE (through translator): I want to go back home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a big mistake. There`s a principle of law that you need evidence. There is no evidence.

KNOX (through translator): I don`t want to be punished; to have my life, my future, taken away from me for things that I haven`t committed because I am innocent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But Amanda Knox walks free tonight. She will be on that plane.

The appeal for Amanda Knox overturned. Overturned. That means Amanda Knox will soon be free.

KNOX (through translator): I am innocent.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: An extraordinary emotional scene. Look at the tears of joy. Amanda made a passionate plea in fluid Italian for her own innocence earlier in an Italian court. Listen to her speak.


KNOX (through translator): I am not what they say I am -- perversity, violence. I respect life and people, and I haven`t done the things that they are suggesting that I`ve done.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Amanda spent almost four years behind bars for the murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher. The prosecution claimed that Amanda and her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, and a man from the Ivory Coast, Rudy Guede, killed Meredith in a sex game gone wrong as part of some kind of satanic ritual. But now Amanda is a free woman. She is leaving Italy tomorrow. Tonight she`s with her family.

According to her lawyer, the first thing she wants to do is, quote -- and this is a direct quote -- "lie down on a green field," end quote. You can actually hear her sobbing with joy as she is rushed out of the courtroom after learning she is a free woman. Check this out.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: This was a very emotional, emotional decision; so many people in Seattle, in Seattle, all across the United States, rooting for Amanda. How big a victory is this, Mike?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I`ll tell you, it`s huge, Jane. And you know, right from the very beginning, there was questions about the evidence. And you heard one of her attorneys talking about that. That in this case, there was no evidence.

And I thought right from the very beginning -- Jane, we have talked about this before. I thought the Italian authorities really screwed the crime scene up. There was cross contamination. They really had no DNA evidence that would have ever been allowed in a U.S. court. And then when the judge asked for two DNA experts to come in and to review everything, they basically said, no, that they have nothing.

So I think they got it right this time, Jane, because if you look at all the evidence, it just doesn`t add up to Amanda Knox.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She could have been sent behind bars for the rest of her life. It`s an extraordinary system, where it wasn`t just, "Oh, you did it or you didn`t." They could have increased her sentence to life from the current 26 years of which she served for. They could have said, "You go free," which is what they decided to do or they could have given a lesser sentence -- a very different kind of criminal justice system.

And at the heart of this controversy -- really a scandal -- was the prosecutor; the prosecutor, who went after Amanda Knox and her boyfriend, her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito. This isn`t the first time that this particular prosecutor has been in trouble. This prosecutor has been known for embellishing stories, and there were even rumors that he crafted the idea that Meredith died during a sex ritual from a blog.

I want to go to Doug Preston, who is the author of the amazing book "The Monster of Florence", a previous case, a previous murder mystery, set in the same area in Italy. And he outlines how this prosecutor went after him, too. Doug Preston, tell us, first of all, your reaction to Amanda being freed.

DOUG PRESTON, AUTHOR, "THE MONSTER OF FLORENCE": Well, I think it`s wonderful. It`s fantastic. Finally, justice was done. But who`s going to give her back four years of her life? I mean this case was clearly bogus from the very beginning.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you know about this very troubled history of this prosecutor? Because it really upsets me that he was allowed to remain on this case, given that he has this history of coming up with these crazy, satanic ritual stories.

JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION": You know, the main thing that I remember is after she was convicted, he was investigated. But the conviction stood. And we went forth from there. And you have to wonder, what`s the motive of the prosecutor in all of this: to gain fame and glory? Or to gain justification that he was vigilant in everything he did to prosecute her?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and let`s remember that they already had one guy on this case, Rudy Guede, this drifter from the Ivory Coast, who was allegedly a drug dealer, as well. He was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering Meredith Kercher, the British victim, in 2008. He was sentenced to 30 years. He appealed, and now apparently he`s only going to serve 16, Holly Hughes.

But he`s the guy who said, "Oh, I saw Amanda," who was the victim`s roommate, "leaving the crime scene". This is a guy who`s a known liar. And for some reason, because he said, "Oh, I saw Amanda leaving the scene," she ends up getting wrapped up in the whole thing, Holly.

HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And interestingly enough, Jane, he doesn`t say that initially. When it first happened, his initial statement is, "I was there, you know. I raped her, but oh, I didn`t kill her."

Well, it doesn`t come out until after they begin to say, "Well, if somebody else was there, then maybe your sentence would be reduced."


NADYA SULEMAN: Of course, that`s what I said and I still say it, but I love children. I love children. I love children.

My son is missing. I`m going crazy. I`m going crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can only hope and pray that Nadya gets the psychological and emotional help she so desperately needs.

SULEMAN: I was afraid and lost and confused.

GLORIA ALLRED, VICTIMS` RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Our concern is and always has been the protection and the care of these babies.

SULEMAN: I could have taken that Octomom fictional character name that was invented in the media and made millions. I could have.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s one of the most controversial women in the history of motherhood. Nadya Suleman, known around the world as Octomom and she is here with me right now.

Hello, everyone. Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you from New York City and I`m joined by Octomom herself to talk about her decision to raise not eight, but 14 children. Good to see you there Nadya.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s been nearly three years since Nadya infamously had octuplets. And since then her life has been described as well, hectic is probably the understatement of the century.

I have written an entire book on addiction called "Addict Nation". And the premise is you can get addicted to anything; alcohol, porn, food; and I dedicated a chapter to you, asking can you be addicted to having babies.


SULEMAN: Possibly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: At one point, you actually admitted that you regretted it. Listen to this from "In Touch" magazine.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you had the money and the ability to have more children would you?

SULEMAN: God help me, no.


SULEMAN: Yes. No, I cringe and I`m not kidding. When I hear a baby cry and I`m outside and I hear a baby cry, I cringe. I`m being honest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does it make you hate -- not your own -- but --

SULEMAN: I do not like babies. I do not like babies. And it`s also very hard for me to bond. I bond with my six. My first six that I had --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, so you, I guess were caught on tape there saying you don`t like babies.

SULEMAN: What`s sad is -- I have to speak. I have to say something - - what is sad is that people like to fixate on the negative. And when she asked me -- she didn`t say, Nadya do you like or love babies? She said would you consider having more.

Baby factory is closed. I`ve known that for years. So my -- of course, it is human to be adversely conditioned to have had so many, to even fathom having another child. My focus is on the well-being and health and safety of the children I have had. And that is my responsibility, to look forward. Not to look in the back or not to stagnate in life, but to look forward because that`s the only direction we can move in.

And it`s not advantageous to any of my children to look in the back -- in the past. Because then you just get fixated on the past. You cannot change the past; but in the future, if I had the money, of course not. I would not choose to have another child.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How are you surviving? Supposedly, it costs $18,000 a month. Where do you get the money?

SULEMAN: My overhead is about $10,000, if not less. We are conserving. You know, conserving -- I am teaching my children conservation like you wouldn`t believe. They are very educated and I have been working as a fitness trainer for over a year. I have just recently gotten the opportunity of a lifetime to be mentored by an Olympic boxing champion as my -- teaching me how to train other people. And I`m also in the process of earning my personal training license. But as I said, I`ve been fitness training for over a year.

I work my full time job with my kids. Then I go personally train -- fitness train when they`re asleep. You know, I work so hard.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nadya I congratulate you for answering these questions; and I wish you the best.