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Wife Convicted in Murder of Husband

Aired February 8, 2012 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live from New York City with breaking news tonight. Up next, a verdict just in moments ago in the case of a woman who admitted to stabbing her husband to death because he was having a steamy affair. So has she been found guilty of first-degree murder?


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, "I`m afraid for their lives." That`s what a social worker called out moments before Josh Powell set off a massive explosion that killed himself and the kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could hear one of the kids crying, but he still wouldn`t let me in.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, can we change the system that required those boys to walk into that home? Is there a bias in favor of biological parents, no matter how dangerous and reckless they are?

Plus, could this happen to you? Tonight, I will talk exclusively with the victim who was kicked and punched about why he was targeted, and how he turned the tables on this gang of thugs.

And I`ll also talk to a woman who went on looking for love and ended up left for dead by her deranged date. It`s an exclusive interview with an important message. How can you protect yourself in the world of online dating?

And we`re taking your calls on this.

Then, we`ve got more coverage on why there`s fire coming out of faucets across America.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The evidence supports that this defendant, Jennifer Trayers, is guilty of murder in the first degree. She wants a discount from you for the murder of her husband.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that show someone that`s a cold-blooded, calculated murderer? Does that show someone who`s in a total uncontrollable rage, who`s not thinking about what they`re doing, who`s still stabbing after their husband is dead?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news. A jury has just reached a verdict in the deadly love triangle case in San Diego. The wife of a popular and handsome Navy doctor brutally stabbed him to death, stabbing him at least ten times after she discovered he was having an affair with a much younger, blonde medical student, the woman you see there on your screen.

She stabbed him again at least ten times, once straight through the heart, all after he was weakened by Ambien sleeping pills. The big question right now: did the jury decide it was premeditated murder, murder one? They could send her for life. Or did the jury decide, "Well, I agree I agree with the defense. She simply snapped. That decision would give her as little as two years behind bars."

Straight out to our producer on the scene, on the ground in San Diego who`s been covering this trial. Selin Darkalstanian, you`ve been in the courtroom. What`s the verdict that just came in moments ago?

SELIN DARKALSTANIAN, HLN PRODUCER: Jane, they just said it is second- degree murder. And she`s guilty of second-degree murder. I was just coming down here from the courthouse and I passed Jen Trayers as she was saying -- waving good-bye to her family as she was getting into the bus to be escorted back to her prison cell. She was sobbing. Her mom was sobbing. She was in handcuffs as she was being taken out.

This is not a win for Jen Trayers. What she wanted was voluntary manslaughter, which means she would get three -- minimum three years, maximum 12 years. What she did get is 15 to life in prison.

Now, I just spoke with her attorney as I was coming down. He said right now that the average sentence -- the average time spent in prison if you are guilty of a second-degree murder in California is 21 years, that`s the average. So really, she`s in her 40s. She`s going in. She`s going to serve anywhere from 15 to life. She probably is going to get about 21 years. She`ll be out when she`s in her 60s.

This is not what her family wanted. Her family was leaving; her mom was crying. I asked them to speak to us. They did not want to speak. They are very, very upset about this.

Obviously, this is not a win for the defense, but it is actually not a win for the prosecution either. Because they wanted life in prison, first- degree murder. Ultimately nobody really wins here, but the jury definitely didn`t think this was premeditated first-degree murder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s a classic compromise verdict. And they were obviously fighting over this. This was not a swift decision. It went on for days.

Now, in this trial, which really garnered so much national attention, we saw a wife and a mistress literally face off on the witness stand. Two women fighting over the same man, each telling a completely different story. Listen.


JENNIFER TRAYERS, CONVICTED OF SECOND-DEGREE MURDER: He`s acting like nothing`s wrong between our marriage. He keeps telling me over and over he`s never going to leave; he`s never going to abandon me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He definitely said that there were issues, and that he had been unhappy for a long time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joey Jackson, we thought either it was going to be first-degree murder and she goes away for life, or it`s going to be voluntary manslaughter, and a slap on the wrist, and you could probably leave with time served.

This is a shocker, Joey, because it`s the middle verdict, the middle decision of second-degree murder.

Now, I am not really understanding the difference between second- degree murder, that says it`s a murder that is not premeditated or planned in advance, and the lowest charge, voluntary manslaughter, which the defense sought, which is sometimes called the heat of passion murder, which is an intentional killing that involved no prior intent. In other words, it wasn`t plotted or planned. It was kind of like she snapped, as the defense contends.

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Exactly. Well, first of all, you know, this is interesting for the following reasons. And you covered stories like this all the time. Juries do compromised verdicts. That`s the nature of the beast. When you don`t know, when you`re not particularly sure, you compromise.

Now, to the distinction in law, Jane, very clearly, when you look at second-degree murder, it`s intentional, right? Intentional killing, but you don`t have to necessarily have the element of this plot and premeditation.

When you look to the manslaughter, which is the heat of passion, no premeditation, you just snap, you do it, heat of passion, it`s done. So the distinction clearly is in the compromised verdict that was meted out, intentional, yes; plotted and preplanned no; but certainly not heat of passion.

If it`s difficult for us to figure out, can you imagine how the jurors were playing with it?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t understand it, Wendy Murphy. Because you always said premeditation could occur in the blink of an eye. Literally in the blink of an eye. So if it`s premeditated for ten days and it`s premeditated for three minutes, what`s the difference?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes. I don`t agree exactly with what Joey just said, but I will say this. The real difference is whether they think she was malicious. The word "malice" is a key question for them. Do they believe she acted with malice? If the answer is yes, then that`s second-degree murder. Because you can plan it. But they probably thought that she had lost her mind a little bit, and in a sense, you know, it`s sort of like catching your spouse in bed with another woman or another man, but -- because obviously, there was no spouse there. They nevertheless had some sympathy for her.

So do they think she really wanted to kill him? Maybe not. Was she full of rage and malice? Absolutely. I think it`s a fine verdict, but it suggests that people on the jury had some compassion for her. Perhaps they`ve been there. They had the cheating spouse or the cheating boyfriend or girlfriend. They said, "Geez, that could have been me. I can`t send her away for the rest of her life. I know that rage. I know that feeling." That`s where the discount comes from, I think.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And so many of our callers, as we covered this trial, were women who had been cheated on by their man, and it said, "I`ve been right where she was, but I could have killed my husband." The difference is they didn`t follow through and actually kill their husband.

The morning of this stabbing, this Navy captain`s mistress said she got an eight page e-mail from the wife, Jennifer Trayers, saying, "My husband is never going to be yours." And also referring to her husband in the past tense, saying, "I was the last person he was with."

Here is some of that mistress`s testimony.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He told you one of the problems with his wife was issue of having an affair in the past? Correct?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how many times do you think he told you about that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Once in an e-mail he brought it up. Not sure if it came up in other conversations. It wasn`t something we talked about regularly.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stacy Kaiser, psychotherapist, what I don`t understand about this decision is that this is a woman who actually got spyware software to monitor her husband`s e-mails so she could track his correspondence with that mistress, that blonde mistress.

So to me right there, and the sending of an eight-page e-mail where she refers to her husband in the past tense before, significantly before, on the same morning that she ends up killing him. How can that just be second-degree?

STACY KAISER, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: I agree with you 100 percent. There`s definitely a build-up. And all of us know about that experience when you start to get angry and so you start to try and gather more evidence to build your rage and build your anger. That definitely happened here.

And I`m very surprised, but I have to say I`m glad that there was some sort of verdict like this, because I don`t want to send the message that, if your spouse cheats, it`s OK for you to kill them and call it heat of passion.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And we have so much to learn from this. Selin Darkalstanian, you are there in San Diego. What is the mood there? Because I think we can learn from this. If you have a cheating husband, divorce him. Don`t kill him.

DARKALSTANIAN: Exactly. And I think the jury, I was counting, actually, it was made up of seven women and five men. And they did not look happy as the verdict was being read. A lot of them -- one woman was dabbing her eyes. Another juror was looking down. Another juror was looking straight at Jen, to the defendant.

And the defendant just looked shell-shocked. I don`t even think she understood what she did until the moment the verdict actually was read. And it was just not a happy -- it was a really, really tense, awkward moment in court.

I mean, her family was upset. She was upset and the jurors were upset. And I mean, that is the message. You don`t kill if you get cheated on. And I think Jen Trayers actually realized that as the verdict was being read.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what I see, and I don`t have a crystal ball, nor was I in the verdict room, but I think the jury was split along gender lines. And the guys wanted first. The women wanted to let her go with a slap. And after fighting for several days, they agreed on a compromise.

Up next, the 911 call from the social worker who tried to save Josh Powell`s sons from this tragedy. A very, very, very tragic twist that we`re going to tell you about next.

Also, I`m going to talk exclusively with the man in this video who was kicked, punched, and called all sorts of homophobic slurs by a group of teenagers who then posted the attack online. The attack went viral. But this young man had the courage to speak out and really turn the tables. I`m taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For these dudes (ph) to go ahead and want to release it, and put it on the Internet, I feel that they wanted the attention themselves. They wanted to make themselves look like they were brave, they were strong. But in my opinion, I`m the brave one. I`m the brave one.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It wasn`t right. It wasn`t right at all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m really shocked. And I could hear one of the kids crying, but he still wouldn`t let me in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sending weird e-mails. He`s saying good-bye and stuff. He sent several e-mails saying stuff about how to -- how to handle his property and how to cancel utilities. I don`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All three bodies were found together in the middle of the house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The only way he could win this game that he was playing was to kill them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is something we believe was done intentionally, and done with malice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this proves it. I think this is his admission of guilt, and he just couldn`t handle it any more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m feeling so much anger towards Josh right now, so much anger towards him.

JOSH POWELL, MURDERED SONS/COMMITTED SUICIDE: I put my sons above everyone. Everyone. And of course, everyone who knows me knows that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, we hear the words of the social worker who delivered Josh Powell`s sons to his house right before he set off that deadly explosion, killing himself and the two young boys. And we hear her fight to get emergency crews to respond to the scene. Just wait until you hear how long it took cops to get to that home.

The social worker said she knew something was terribly wrong when Powell pulled his sons inside and slammed the front door in her face. She says she knocked and knocked, but he wouldn`t let her in. And then she smelled gas. Listen to what she told the 911 operator.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He won`t let me in the house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whose house is it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has the kids in the house and he won`t let me in. It is a supervised visit. He went to court on Wednesday, and he -- he didn`t get his kids back. And this is really -- I`m afraid for their lives.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: For six long minutes, that social worker tried to convince the 911 operator to send help. But then it was too late. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s two little boys in the house, and they`re 5 and 7. And there`s an adult man. He has supervised visitation, but he blew up the house and the kids!


VELEZ-MITCHELL: More than 30 people called 911 on Sunday when Powell`s house burst into flames. But by that time, nobody could help. Nobody could help those poor children inside.

But I`m asking you tonight, what might have happened, had cops immediately raced to the scene when the social worker first called? Could they have saved those boys? Why didn`t the dispatcher from 911 listen to the frantic social worker?

Josh Powell was the sole suspect in the disappearance and presumed murder of his wife, Susan. The kids told their maternal grandparents they did not want to visit their dad that day.

I want to hear from you. Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to former prosecutor Wendy Murphy. Wendy, we know cops can arrive on the scene in just a couple of minutes. Are you concerned that the social worker had to plead for six minutes before she was finally assured that cops would look for her there?

MURPHY: Yes. I`m covered in goose bumps, Jane. This case is so disturbing and I wish I could say it`s not familiar, but I hear these stories all the time: social workers who tell me that, when they call the cops about what they know is a dangerous, lethal situation, they say, "Well, you know, it`s a family squabble. Oh, it`s just a guy with tension in a divorce case" or whatever.

What I don`t think they did here and what lots of states have been doing and what everyone should be paying attention to, is that we know how to make what are called lethality assessments. We can assess -- instead of thinking that all divorces with tension and supervised visitation are going to lead to home explosions, we can and we know how and we have the technical skills to make lethality assessments so that we could look at a guy like this, and then put him on some kind of database so that when that social worker calls, red flags go up, and they arrive immediately. That would have saved lives, if they had differentiated, instead of saying, "Ah, just another one of these family court squabbles where, you know, people are angry about divorce and custody."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy, it`s worse than that. First of all, the courts could have decided that they were to meet at a neutral location like a park, but secondly, a lot of people are wondering about the attitude of this 911 operator tonight. Listen, and this was just released, more of these 911 calls. And tell me -- you tell me if you think the 911 dispatcher is giving this social worker, who`s quite frantic, some attitude.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long will it be?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know, ma`am. They have to respond to emergency, life-threatening situations first. The first available deputy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, this could be -- this could be life- threatening. He went to court on Wednesday and he -- he didn`t get his kids back, and this is really -- I`m afraid for their lives.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why all the Q and A? Why not, ten seconds.

JACKSON: It is a travesty by all means, Jane. And ultimately, I think the 911 dispatcher will be disciplined for it.

But you know what? If you have a monster like this who`s motivated to do evil and to do wrong and kill children and himself, he would find a way to do it. If it were not at that home and it didn`t explode that day, he would find some other means another day to do so. So equally disturbing. It`s horrific, by all means.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But really, we all deserve to call 911 and get an immediate response.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Back in a minute. But first, here`s your "Viral Video of the Day."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is paralyzed, actually paralyzed after a ski jump gone horribly wrong back in 2004. So there he is on a Solomon Sit Ski, practicing eight years later.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To get back and do.




DEXTER TROYER, PIERCE COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: If the lady would have known the address sooner, would we have gotten there sooner, if she was able to tell that? You know, that`s speculation. But as far as the timing goes or arrival to the call or anything, I don`t think that would have changed anything.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, cops are saying they couldn`t have stopped this really, really tragic event of this explosion orchestrated by Josh Powell, who killed himself and his two sons, but some wonder.

Let`s remember, Josh Powell -- I`m going to show you video of him, and there`s the fire he set -- he was the prime suspect in his wife`s disappearance a couple of years ago, and she was presumably murdered by him. His own father was arrested for child porn.

And still a judge sent those kids to this home because Josh Powell was the biological father, and courts do everything they can to make sure kids have contact with their biological parents.

And we need to ask tonight -- that`s what I`m asking the experts tonight -- is that a biological bias that needs to be rethought, given that there are so many tragic stories of biological parents harming their kids? Stacy Kaiser, psychotherapist.

KAISER: I do think it`s really important in general for kids to spend time with their biological parents, if they`re seen fit to do that.

And I really think there were a lot of systemic errors here. There should have been some sort of an evaluation done on him. He is a potential target for trouble. This -- there were red flags everywhere.

And so no, I do not think it`s across the board. I think it very much depends on the mental and psychological and emotional state of the parent themselves.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Derek Clark, foster care expert, ambassador for Foster Care Alumni of America, do you think we need to reevaluate this biological bias?

DEREK CLARK, AMBASSADOR, FOSTER CARE ALUMNI OF AMERICA: I believe so. I mean, biological, shmiological. Really.

You know, I was grateful to be given up so I didn`t have to deal with all the abuse and all the crap I had to go through with my biological parents. You know, my dad tried to kill me. He spent time at Folsom State Prison for the Criminally Insane. Thank goodness I wasn`t sent back to my biological parents.

But what I think is crazy here is that these kids should never, ever have been sent back home. You had your -- they had grandparents fighting for them, and somehow the system let those little kids down.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you.

Let`s go to the phone lines. Pam, Florida, your question or thought, Pam.

CALLER: Hi, Jane.


CALLER: First of all, want to tell you how blessed I am to be speaking to you right now. You are truly a hero in all aspects.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you. Glad you called.

CALLER: I just want to reiterate on what everyone is saying. It`s such a travesty this happened to these children, and the system has failed. It fails time and time again. And I don`t know when people are going to start waking up and taking these children out of harm`s way.

There were so many red flags. You could look at him and see how he had deteriorated. And I don`t know why, when he was in court on Wednesday, the judge couldn`t look at him and see how hopeless he looked, how dangerous he looked to those children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback, Derek Clark, but really, given the circumstances, do you -- what do you think the judge should have done?

CLARK: You know, the guy is being investigated for murder. He should not be allowed to see his kids, plain and simple. There should be a law right there.

You know, I came from a very abusive background. My biological parents, severe child abuse. There is no way that the court, the judge should allow them to go back home.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. In a little bit -- thank you, panel -- my exclusive interview with a woman whose online dating dream turned into a nightmare.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wade Ridley was vicious attacking Cindy`s (ph) neighbor, Mary Kay Beckman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I could see is her two eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And blood everywhere.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She saw Mary Kay`s cell phone glowing next to her body and the attacker take off running.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mary Kay stabbed multiple times, still breathing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was going back, apparently was going back to some people that he felt he was wronged by.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The attack so fierce, the arrest report says the knife broke.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Tonight, a vivid cautionary tale for the millions of women using online dating sites. Before your next date, you have to hear my exclusive guest`s hair-raising story.

Mary Kay Beckman joins me tonight having beaten the odds. She is lucky to be alive. She was one of the millions of people looking for love and companionship online. Mary Kay met Wade Ridley on They went out for a few dates. After a couple of weeks, she broke it off. She could have never imagined he would hide in her garage, ambush her, nearly stab her to death.

Mary Kay somehow survived her extensive injuries, but there`s another victim who did not. Phoenix police say Ridley murdered his ex-girlfriend with a machete around the same time he attacked Mary Kay.

Make no mistake, many people have met and married through Match with absolutely no problems. We`re not attacking Match. We are examining the dangers of Internet dating, and Match happens to be America`s most popular online dating site.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I joined Match because --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A friend of mine --




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Met her husband --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Met his wife --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Met her new fiance

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- more dates, more relationships, more marriages than any other site.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I figured why not me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to my exclusive guest, Mary Kay Beckman. And so very glad that you`re joining us; you`re speaking out for the very first time tonight. And you are a true survivor, very courageous. And I am so happy that you`re telling us your story so that other women can be informed.

Now just yesterday you faced your attacker in court where he was sentenced to a minimum of 28 years in prison for attacking you. Tell us how and when you sensed there was something really off with this guy, and why you think he decided to target you, Mary Kay.

MARY KAY BECKMAN, VICTIM: I don`t know for sure, Jane, when he decided to target me. The last time I heard from him was October 7th of 2010. And so -- and then the attack happened January 21st. He did throw some red flags and that`s why I ended our brief relationship.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What red flags?

BECKMAN: I`m sorry, what?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What red flags?

BECKMAN: Well, for one thing, I`m a realtor and I get a lot of phone calls and a lot of texts. One day he was standing looking over my shoulder at the phone, and that was the very first time I had ever put a pass code on my phone. And I was like what are you doing? And so I was like no, that`s not somebody I`m interested in.

Just being arrogant about what we should be doing or what I should be listening to, and I just didn`t feel like that was somebody I wanted to be in a relationship with.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you cut it off and he didn`t want to hear that basically?

BECKMAN: Yes. He felt that I was sullying his name, whatever that meant, and that I was being rude and sent some very nasty, hateful texts to me after I ended it. And again, I hadn`t heard from him since October 7th, 2010.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Ridley made an astonishing confession to police about how he attacked you. He told them he knocked you to the ground and began stabbing you repeatedly until the knife broke. He said to police he "wanted to kill you and make you pay for how you mistreated him", and that`s a quote.

Mary Kay, describe the events that I know must be very difficult and traumatic for you to relive. Now that he is behind bars for 28 years, tell us about those moments when he attacked you.

BECKMAN: I do not remember anything, Jane. So what I am going to tell you is what he has told the police. I do have eight stab wounds on my body and one of them is on my face. There were two stab wounds in my head. I believe that`s when the knife broke.

He then proceeded to put his boot on my neck and hold me down while he was kicking the other side of my head, and he definitely thought he -- he left when I stopped making the gurgling sounds. He thought, for all intents and purposes that because I had stopped making those sounds that I had died. And he thought he`d done his job, and he left.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. Unbelievable that you have enough courage to come out here and share your story because we want to warn other women.

Now we got -- got back to us. And they said basically you have to be safe whether you`re dating online or not. And I agree. Now we put together some dos and don`ts that are very similar to what`s on Match`s site. And here are some rules.

First of all, Google and Facebook your date; find out as much as you can about this man before you meet him.

Only meet up in public places with lots of people. Maybe insist on a Skype call first. Now we have this new technology. We can Skype. We can Facebook.

Tell your friends and family where you will be on that date and when you expect to be home.

Do not put misleading information in your profile.

Don`t give the guy your phone number or your address, absolutely not.

And I think the most important thing, Lauren Francis -- you`re a love coach and an online dating expert -- follow your gut. If something doesn`t feel right about a person, get out of there fast.

LAUREN FRANCES, ONLINE DATING EXPERT: Right. I mean, the respect and trust is earned; it is not a right. So no one has the right to your phone number. And a lot of women are very confused because when you start an online flirtation like on, for example, the man will often say if you give me your number, I would be happy to take you out. And the best thing to do is to say please, if you give me your number, I would be delighted to give you a ring so we can have a virtual date.

You can also have a virtual Skype date as well, which is a really good idea. And then before you call a man, press star 67 which will block your number. Nobody should actually see your number because you actually can take somebody`s phone number and Google it and your name will come up as well as your address. So that`s really important to know.

Also, don`t put your name in your headline. So don`t be Betty 951. That just means there are many other Bettys, number one, so it is not really romantic, and they have part of your name.

And another really important tip, is to where it says for fun and hot spots, don`t actually write where you go to have fun because if you write Equinox Sports Bar, right, they will find you at Equinox. They know where you`re going to be.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Mary Kay, looking back, is there anything you learned that you could tell women, don`t do this, don`t do that?

BECKMAN: Well, again, what the other woman was just saying is all true. However, there`s more to the situation that we haven`t discussed. My account was compromised in October of 2010 and I don`t know how. You know, when I asked, who compromised my account and how did that happen, I didn`t get any response back from them other than it happened and we want you to come back. Here`s your money back and come back with a different user name and password.

So yes, I do not feel had anything to do with my attempted murder, however I do feel it`s an unsafe genre for men and women to be on online dating.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes, it is very, very disturbing. And this is how most people are dating these days, by the way.

We are going to the phone lines. Lisa, New York, your question or thought, Lisa.

LISA, NEW YORK: Hi. Well, first of all, I want to say hello.


LISA: And I think that it is so important that those rules of engagement are put out there for women to see because I tell you, this is a huge phenomenon, this online dating thing, and Skype. People are Skyping constantly, and they are thinking that they get to know each other so well, and they`re willing to like meet in person and they don`t even know the person.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here is the thing that I noticed, and I want to tell you about it. It is that a lot of times these people look nothing like their photograph. And to me honesty is a key. And if you`re going to put up a photo from 20 years ago, and then the person walks in the room, and the person is clearly 20 years older, or you put up a photo back when you were 17 you were thin, and now you`re -- I mean if they`re not honest about how they look right off the top, I say out of there. I don`t want -- we have ten seconds, Mary Kay.

FRANCES: Lauren.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m sorry, Lauren. Lauren.

FRANCES: What you want to do is it is really important when you transition from online dating to offline dating, again, block your number, meet in a very crowded, public place, use a fake name, use a nickname. Don`t tell people where you work. That`s all -- they can literally track you down.

You can say my friends call my Scarlet. See how you feel after the first date or two. Then you can say, you know, I`m actually -- I was protecting my anonymity and my real name is so-and-so, once you feel good about a person.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got it. Thank you so much. Great advice.

Up next, an exclusive interview you don`t want to miss. I`m going to talk to a woman -- well, you`re going to have to see that in a second.

But first, check out this incredible adventure that I`m on.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I am a sugar addict. I cannot eat regular sugar because I eat too much of it. So I`m always I trying to come up with these healthy alternatives.

This is what I do with a blender. You can do it too. I take dates, right. Then I put in some strawberries. Then I put in a banana. Then I put in some shredded coconut. Then I put in some soy milk, or you can also do coconut milk or whatever. And I add some Stevia, which is natural, 50 times sweeter than sugar, has no calories, and does not affect your glycemic index. And I put it all in the blender.

Look at that. It`s fabulous. Totally healthy, totally wonderful, and delicious sweet, but it`s not bad for you.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A man that was being videotaped, being attacked by a gang spouting homophobic slurs. He spoke out today.

BRANDON WHITE, VICTIM: I could have died that day. Anyone could have died that day. They don`t know what they do to people. They`re monsters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Throughout this video uploaded to, you can hear them yelling derogatory names.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is in the store for about two minutes, and doesn`t even know he`s being stalked, and about to be brutally attacked.

WHITE: I feel that I was very violated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eight guys in the streets, watching out for police. Two of them have their video cameras rolling.

WHITE: Who`s to say they won`t come after me again. Who`s to say this time they won`t even try to kill me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Imagine you`re walking down the street and a gang starts to pummel you, beating you to a pulp in broad daylight. Then they further humiliate you by putting it all on the Internet as some kind of entertainment, macho posturing.

Think it couldn`t happen to you? Think again. Watch this.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: That video from went viral. Hundreds of thousands have seen it. But one man turned the tables on these thugs and that victim, Brandon White, has come forward and is exposing these thugs for the cowards they are.


WHITE: I could have died that day. Anyone could have died that day. They don`t know what they do to people.

They`re monsters. And my opinion, I`m the brave one. I`m the brave one.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. That takes courage. And he got a round of applause at that news conference. Tonight, that young man is here exclusively with me to tell his story.

And guess what, we`re taking your calls, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

I would like to go straight out to my very special, exclusive guest tonight, Brandon White, the 20-year-old from Atlanta who refuses to back down, refuses to be intimidated.

First of all, Brandon, way to go to call cops. I know folks in that area were actually afraid to talk about this on camera. And some asked that their faces be blurred. So I know that it takes a lot of guts for you to come forward.

Tell us about what happened. You were at a deli and you leave the deli. Take us through it.

WHITE: Ok. I still went to the deli. I had to get a few items. Once I get ready to leave the deli, I`m actually on the phone with my grandma because I needed to ask her a few things.

Out of nowhere, someone just punches me in the side of my head. I`m not expecting it, so I don`t really know how to react from there. And it goes on from there for about a good 30 seconds I would say. Once I finally get up, they finally run off. I go home.

At this point, I am beyond mad. I actually go back because I wanted to see who they were.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, you end up seeing that it is on the Internet. I want to show you more of this vicious beating from

Brandon, let`s listen to what the gang was yelling at you. And we had to bleep it.





VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, we bleeped it out. But they were saying something that starts with "f", it is a homophobic slur. You can figure it out. Atlanta police and the FBI are investigating this case to determine if it meets the criteria for prosecution under the federal hate crime statute.

I don`t understand. Brandon, how could it not be a hate crime? They are screaming a homophobic slur at you while they beat you in the head and they pummel you to the ground. Was it in your mind clearly a hate crime?

WHITE: Well, at this time, Jane, I am not allowed to comment on it, being that it is an ongoing investigation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well said, young man. You`ve learned -- spoken like a true lawyer. You`re only 20. How did it make you feel? Let me ask you that.

WHITE: You know, when I first found out it was uploaded on the Internet and that it was on the news and when I finally seen the clip of it, you know, I was embarrassed, I was very humiliated. I just didn`t want to deal with it. I was actually just going to let it go. I was going to let it blow over.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And why did you decide "I`m going to the cops"? What was that thing inside you.

WHITE: What made me decide to go to the cops is because once they put it out there, they set themselves up. So why not tell my side of the story and how I feel about it? So that other people know that, yes this has happened, but there`s a way to stop it. There`s a way to --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are my hero, Brandon. And I want you to come back, and stay safe. I mean it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re back in a minute but I think we all deserve at this point a laugh break. Check it out.






UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fracking is an explosive topic.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many are also worried about the possibility of pollution from chemically-treated water used to break up rock and free trapped gas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go. Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doing that again.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s the mystery invading homes across the country and we`re all over this story and we`re going to stay on it. We have shown you footage day after day from regular, everyday homes, kitchens where water from the faucet is catching on fire.

Now last night I spoke to an academy award-nominated filmmaker about what he thinks is causing fire to come from the faucets of Americans.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve seen this all over the country and I`ve seen this in other countries where they`re doing fracking. It is very, very common that you have flammable water. What they are doing is they inject water at very, very, high pressure and that breaks apart, and the gas and those chemicals are being found in groundwater.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The fact that the group Earth Justice says well, fracking accidents -- or a lot of people call them fraccidents -- are happening all over the United States and they actually offer this map. Is this process that the industry claims is totally safe, 100 percent safe, is it to blame for flammable water and people who claim they`re getting sick?

So I want to go straight out to clean water advocate from Penn Environment, Erica Staaf. What do you know, what have you learned about the effects of fracking on people who live nearby?

ERICA STAAF, CLEAN WATER ADVOCATE: Well, the first thing that I want to say is it`s not just about fracking or hydraulic fracturing as it`s called. It is so much more than that. It is about -- you know, industry advocates will say that they have been fracking for 60 years now, but this is a much different process than what we have seen in traditional gas drilling. It is about drilling the well. It`s about the toxic water that comes back up and needs to be treated. It`s about toxic air emissions that we`re seeing. And it`s about the 8 or 9 acre plots of land that are needed for every well pad.

So there are major effects for people living nearby, including toxic water that they`re seeing and that you just spoke about and the toxic air emissions, not to mention smog pollution.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: As a matter of fact, fracking has become a huge national controversy. Even the hit show "CSI" did an entire episode on fracking. This from CBS Productions.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I buried my wife. I buried my last animal. I ain`t got nothing left. Now you folks from the county finally come down here, accuse me of murder.

LAURENCE FISHBURNE, ACTOR: We only want to understand what`s going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to understand? Let me show you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Now, that`s fiction. Remember, the industry itself says that what they`re doing is totally safe.

Back to this Pennsylvania family that we had on a couple of days ago say their water has caught on fire and that their family is getting sick. Officials say they have been investigating methane gas migration at her home since last February. They say they haven`t been able to determine the source of the methane, since it could be biogenic, thermogenic (ph) or a mix of both. What the heck does that mean, Erica?

STAAF: Well, it could be coming from shallow gas sources and could be coming from Marcellus shale, which is a much deeper shale formation. Either way, something has caused their water to be tainted, to be polluted, and that`s wrong. And that`s what we are trying to get to the bottom of.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a public hearing. I am within my First Amendment rights and I am being taken out.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That filmmaker arrested trying to video a congressional hearing into fracking.

Want to go to the phone lines. Dennis, Ohio, quick question or thought.

DENNIS, OHIO (via telephone): Yes, Jane. We`ve had -- since December, we`ve had 12 earthquakes on this side of town, on the west side of Youngstown. And the last one was a 4.0.

And it`s this drilling that they have to stop this stuff. Whatever they`re doing, they have to stop this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Erica -- Erica, is there a connection to earthquakes? My gosh.

STAAF: We have seen an increase in earthquakes in Ohio and Louisiana and Arkansas and other places that don`t traditionally have them since this kind of drilling has started. The question is -- it could be true.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We don`t know. One thing we do need is more investigation. We are efforting getting the other side on. We want both sides.

Nancy, next.