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Aired March 13, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.
Well, you just heard it from Nancy. The grandmother accused of running a 9-year-old girl to death now faces execution. She told you how it happened.
I`m figuring out why, why did grandma give her a death marathon just for eating a candy bar. Why didn`t anyone do anything until it was too late?
I`m speaking to a neighbor who says her daughter saw the abuse.
And later, Houston family dynamics. A former Whitney family member speaks out for the very first time, right here.
So, let`s get started.
PINSKY: All right. We are live tonight. Thank you for joining us.
We are continuing with the story of this 9-year-old girl allegedly run to death by her grandmother and step mom. This story has us fired up at HLN.
You heard Nancy Grace, she`s fired up. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST: Step mommy actually on her iPhone and laptop while the girl dies? The 9-year-old girl crawling finally, crawling on all fours, begging this she-bitch from hell to let her stop.
The grandmother and the mother show no mercy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: I just didn`t think I can say it better than that. She-bitch from hell.
Here`s what we know so far. Savannah Hardin was punished by her grandmother and stepmom for sneaking a candy bar. The third grader was forced to run laps around the house. Neighbors say for at least three hours.
These are the pictures of this girl -- when you see this face, it just -- you can`t believe it.
She carried logs while she ran around the house. Autopsy reports say she suffered arm lacerations from those logs.
Tonight, the 46-year-old grandmother faces the death penalty while Savannah`s stepmom who watched this whole thing faces a felony murder charges.
You`re angry about this. I know that because we have Facebook overload. Here are a couple examples.
Valerie writes, "A run for a run. Let grandma run the same laps as the grandchild did before going to jail."
Terese says, "I can guarantee, she -- meaning grandma -- grew up in an abusive household as well. It all trickles down." It sure does.
Joining me to discuss this: attorney Mark Eiglarsh, also Pat Brown, a criminal profiler and author of "Only the Truth," Farrah Ashley is a neighbor who knew Savannah and her family.
Farrah, thank you for joining us.
You actually knew Savannah. Can you tell us what she was like?
FARRAH ASHLEY, DAUGHTER WAS FRIENDS WITH SAVANNAH HARDIN: Yes. She was full of life. She was a little girl like any other that loved horses, loved cheerleading. She was full of life.
She was full of life. She was a sweet little girl.
PINSKY: Was there any hint? It breaks your hard. It is hard to even talk about this -- but was there any evidence, were you aware of horrible things going on in that home?
ASHLEY: No, I was not aware of it at all. My daughter had made a couple of comments about -- she said, "Mom, I feel sorry for Savannah," because my daughter and her were really good friends. And she said, "I feel sorry for Savannah. They make her run and carry sticks for punishment." And, you know, but I wasn`t aware of the extent, you know.
PINSKY: How are people in the neighborhood and community reacting to this news?
ASHLEY: You know, it`s sad when something this tragic happens so close to home, you know. You never would have imagined something like this, this terrible, would happen to a nine-year-old little girl this close to home. And the neighbors, they can`t believe it. Everyone is just very upset about it.
PINSKY: I mean, Farrah, listen, everyone is upset what happened to the 9-year-old. But around the country, people are angry, I mean, really angry, with the step mom and grandmother. Isn`t there that kind of fury slipping through your community?
ASHLEY: Yes, they are. I mean, people are very upset about that. They`re saying that they think she should receive the same punishment as the little girl did, Savannah.
PINSKY: Well, it looks like she may be up for something, perhaps as bad or worse.
Shirley in North Carolina wants to sound off on this.
SHIRLEY, NORTH CAROLINA (via telephone): Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: What have you got?
SHIRLEY: This grandmother does deserve the death penalty for what she`s done. This is not the way to punish the child and it was a horrible death for the child to undergo.
SHIRLEY: This grandmother, she used very sadistic punishment for this child. And she has probably used harsh punishment like this in the past.
PINSKY: Well, in fact, Shirley, we`re finding out from Farrah who`s a neighbor that her daughter reported that this child was having -- her other daughter, her third grade daughter felt bad for the other girl because she had to run and carry sticks as punishment, so this has been going on for some time.
Shirley, I`m glad you said the word sadistic because that`s exactly what this is. It`s sadistic. Are you as angry as everybody else?
SHIRLEY: Yes, I am. She deserves the death penalty, and I heard that on "NANCY GRACE" that she is getting medical treatment right now, crying suicide. Let her commit suicide.
PINSKY: Mark Eiglarsh -- thank you, Shirley. Mark, death penalty, yes or no?
MARK EIGHLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I can`t say no without qualifying. First of all, this is abhorrent behavior by two people who obviously aren`t qualified to parent a child. What they did absolutely deserves punishment. It deserves to be prosecuted criminally.
That being said, my first thought after -- oh, my God, this shouldn`t have happened and I feel horrible for this child, is -- really, death penalty? A capital case?
Drew, I`ve said this on your show numerous times. Aristotle defined justice as like cases being treated alike. This case, with this fact, typically, it`s not charged as a capital murder and I don`t think that it`s appropriate.
PINSKY: Mark, you said it yourself, like gets like. This child is sadistically killed. I understand there was not intent to kill, but there was sadistic intent. That`s not like for like? No?
EIGLARSH: No, there`s a big -- we don`t mean if a child dies, then the perpetrator dies. We say that other people that commit similar offenses, how are they typically charged? At worst, I would say this is a legal argument. Factually, everybody can say she deserves to die and you`re entitled to.
Legally, however, we`re looking at similar cases, secondary murder would be the most significant offense as I can see this as, manslaughter perhaps. But to suggest this was intentional, to suggest that this deserves the ultimate sanction -- understand not every mother or grandmother who kills their child gets the death penalty. The case law says --
PINSKY: Yes. But, Mark, I`m going to interrupt you. Mark, I`m the first --
EIGLARSH: Because you`re very emotional.
PINSKY: A mother who is -- I am -- who is psychotic, postpartum depression or manic state, who kills as part of a psychotic state. I get that person who did a horrible thing, but doesn`t deserve death penalty.
I`m going to Pat.
Pat, is this another psychopath? Is that what both these women are?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, I`m working towards that, Dr. Drew, as you know me well. I would say Munchausen syndrome by proxy here, where she`s going to torture this child, make her ill, then complain about the child, the child always is causing her trouble, the child is sick all the time.
I wonder if she really was sick and that`s why she couldn`t have that candy bar. But I happen to disagree with Mark on one thing. I don`t think she`s going to get the death penalty only because I don`t think the jury is going to give it to her.
However, I do believe -- if we looked at this as not a child she was taking care of, but just a child, she kidnapped that child, because she kept that child in control for three hours, and the child could not leave, the child had to do what she wanted. So, she essentially kidnapped.
EIGLARSH: Pat --
BROWN: She`s tortured that child.
And, hey, this is the thing. She told that bus driver, she was going to take that child home, run that child until she dropped.
So, she was saying that -- I`m going to torture the child and killing her.
EIGLARSH: Pat, we need to talk as two professionals in the criminal arena, first of all -- so we can meet eye to eye -- both of these women deserve to go to prison and they should be punished severely.
But, Pat, you know, don`t mislead this audience, you know that this case factually cannot plausibly be analogized to those where death is sought.
BROWN: As I said, I don`t think she will get the death penalty. I agree that this probably will not stand up that way. But personally, I think we ought to get to the point when we recognize when somebody is actually kidnapping a child, and just because it`s the child you take care of doesn`t mean the child should have less rights than the child next door.
EIGLARSH: I don`t disagree with you.
BROWN: Wait, think about this. Let`s say the little girl`s friend, let`s say that little girl came over to visit, and her mother wasn`t aware what was going on. She made the little girl`s friend run around the yard for three hours, dehydrating her, torturing her and she died.
EIGLARSH: They should go to prison.
BROWN: What would she get?
EIGLARSH: They should go to prison for long time.
BROWN: For the rest of her life, at least.
PINSKY: I must interrupt you, guys.
I think, Pat, that`s a good place to stop "for the rest of their life".
Please, show us pictures of this little girl because we got to remember that`s what we`re talking about here.
Pat, I must tell you. One quick clarification. Did you say Munchausen by proxy, that`s what you thought she had to start with? Pat?
BROWN: Well, I`m curious if whether she`s tortured the child in other ways.
BROWN: Can I also say one thing? I think the dad is responsible. He left that child with this mother who he had to know was an evil, evil, she- bitch, as Nancy put it, the dad left her with this woman.
EIGLARSH: Should he get death, too, Pat?
BROWN: I think --
EIGLARSH: Should the stepfather get death, too? Should it be death for the neighbors that didn`t do anything?
BROWN: The father.
PINSKY: Hold it, guys. I`ve got to go to break.
Pat, you`re going to stay with me.
Mark, thank you for this.
I`ve got to tell you -- before I joined HLN, psychopathy was something I rarely saw. Now, I feel like everybody is a psychopath. And, yes, the dad, too. Let`s get him.
It`s all sickening. This whole thing is just sickening. Come on, guys. This is -- these women are going to jail for a long time for sure, whether she get the death penalty, the system has to determine that.
I know my viewers want the death penalty for her. Just take a look at our Web site, you`ll see people pouring out emotion about this case.
Next, the attorney for Savannah`s grandma -- that`s right -- the attorney who`s going to defend this woman -- I choke on this one -- he`s here. He says his client did not kill her granddaughter. You don`t want to miss what else he has to stay.
Please stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF TODD ENTREKIN, ETOWAH COUNTY, ALABAMA: Witness state that they could they see Savannah being run in the yard, being punished. This went on for approximately three hours with her grandmother making her run.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Crawling on all fours, begging this she-bitch from hell to let her stop. The grandmother and the mother show no mercy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Needs no introduction, the one and only HLN`s Nancy Grace. And Nancy was reacting to the grandmother who tonight faces the death penalty for allegedly running her 9-year-old granddaughter to death.
Joining me now is Dani Bone. He is the defense attorney for that grandmother.
Mr. Bone, your client is generating the kind of reaction we got from Casey Anthony in our viewers. I understand that this is not a court, but people are really upset about what they think they`re seeing here.
You say she didn`t kill the granddaughter. Please tell us why not.
DANI BONE, ATTORNEY FOR JOYCED GARRARD: Ms. Garrard loved her granddaughter as she loved all her other grandchildren and her children. Joyce and Savannah were extremely close and under no circumstances did Joyce Garrard cause the death of her grandchild.
PINSKY: Dani, we -- Mr. Bone, we heard from a neighbor that said her daughter was feeling bad for this girl because she was punished repeatedly having to carry sticks and run, made me feel bad for the little girl. What about that?
BONE: From what I understand, there were no signs of abuse at the school. There were no signs of abuse anywhere. Even a day or two before this incident took place, the Child Advocacy Center came to Carlisle Elementary School, talked about abuse, different types of abuse with these children, and again, Savannah had no indications of any type of abuse.
PINSKY: Well, I don`t know about no indication, she`s dead, and she died. And she -- my understanding in the autopsy report, she had severe hyponatremia, which is very low sodium.
BONE: I think you probably understood I meant prior to her death.
PINSKY: OK. Kelly is a caller who joins from Ohio.
Kelly, go right ahead.
KELLY, OHI (via telephone): Hi, Dr. Drew.
I`ve (INAUDIBLE) here, I`m a hardcore school parent myself, but to do this to your child, let alone a grandchild. I mean, that`s reprehensible. I wonder how will she fare if we sent her out to run like that. How did this woman`s child ever make it to adulthood to provide her with the grandchild because she appears to have no idea what she did?
PINSKY: So, Pat, this would go out to Pat. Pat, I`m going to let you ask that question, Pat, as a criminal profiler. And she`s asking a question, would this have been a pattern or is this something an outlying behavior we`re seeing here?
BROWN: It`s an absolute pattern. This lawyer is full of it because nobody just wakes up one day and tortures their grandchild to death who loved her child and was a good caretaker. That`s garbage.
There were many ways she could have punished her. She could make her wash dishes. She could make her write a story of how you don`t lie. The other ways that normal parents and grandparents train and discipline children.
They don`t torture them to death and they don`t say up front, I`m going to run her until she drops. That is sadistic.
And the problem in this life is nobody took enough care of this child. Her biological mother lost custody. Her father remarried some other whack job, which is the stepmother up with charges, he leaves her with that woman and his mother, who he had to be -- he grew up with that woman, had to know what kind of woman she was.
When he left her with these people, and there`s no way this just started overnight. There`s a pattern of this, and I`m curious whether she used a methodology that wouldn`t show up, no bruises on the body, that way you torture the child quietly and privately and you never caught get for it, until the child drops over dead.
PINSKY: Mr. Bone, your reaction?
BONE: This child was a very happy child. This was a child well cared for. As far as the allegation that this child was -- that some other form of punishment should have been used as far as running goes in the state of Alabama, the boot camps use running as disciplinary measures. Some of the local hospitals for youths in the area do the same.
BROWN: This is a 9-year-old. Excuse me, sir. This is a 9-year-old. Nine-year-olds don`t go to boot camp. And even in boot camp they know not to do that to the child.
BONE: Excuse me, ma`am, I didn`t realize you knew this child. You seem to know a lot about the child that you`d never met.
BROWN: The child is 9. The child is nine. You don`t put a child at 9 years old to boot camp and you don`t not give her any water while she dehydrates to death. That`s a garbage thing to say. That`s ridiculous.
BONE: Hey, ma`am, have you seen --
PINSKY: Well, in fact, boot camps have gotten in trouble for --
PINSKY: Well, you don`t know -- you know she was -- had excess of water.
Hang on, guys. Hang on. I`m going to explain that in a second.
Mark Eiglarsh, I saved a Facebook for you. Here it is. Mark, are you ready?
"Your defense attorneys are smoking crack and can`t se the smoke is my guess. An eye for an eye" she`s asking for.
Mark, how do you react? Mr. Bone is trying to do his job. Mark, what do you say?
EIGLARSH: Well, I respect Mr. Bone for doing his job, but don`t lump us all together. I don`t know that my position would be that what they did was OK. My position is different than Mr. Bone.
From what I see, there`s no justification for having children run for three hours the way it was done, and I do believe that that constitutes child abuse and they should go to prison.
Where we part company with the rest of the public is I happen to have read cases involving cases of parents that killed their kids. This factually is different than those that warrant the death penalty, that`s all.
PINSKY: I got to take a break. Thank you, Mr. Bone.
Joining me later, Whitney Houston`s former sister-in-law, she`s speaking publicly right here for the first time about the singer`s death.
And next, what does Savannah`s autopsy reveal, what were her final moments like.
Mark will stay with us to discuss this.
You stay with us. Be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY HARP, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: In the interest of the community, in the interest of justice, stay in jail where they are. Judge will consider that, make that ruling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Reminded that we are live tonight and I will be speaking to a member of the Houston family very shortly, talking about things that haven`t been discussed before. She`s selected our program as a sensitive environment to hopefully reveal some things that I think you`ll find very interesting.
Now, according to a news release, this is back to the 9-year-old`s death. The investigating the death of Savannah Harding, the 65-pound third grader, was -- they say she was dehydrated. But she actually had a very low sodium level when she died. That may have been the fact what killed her.
State pathologist ruled Savannah`s death a homicide. Mark, before I explain what she died of, what the results of that autopsy were, you`re in hell. Who is closer to Satan -- this girl`s grandmother?
You`re visiting hell. I want to know who is sitting closer to Satan. This girl`s grandmother, her mother, or Casey Anthony?
EIGLARSH: What kind of question is that?
All right. I`ll go with Casey Anthony.
PINSKY: OK, fair enough.
EIGLARSH: There`s a big difference. And that`s easy to do because Casey Anthony`s conduct, assuming she`s guilty, although the jury legally acquitted her, I have different feelings, was intentional. She intentionally killed her child so she can go out and party.
This case is extraordinarily different. I`m not minimizing what either one did, it`s abhorrent, both cases. But this was not an intentional -- they didn`t intend to go out and kill the daughter.
PINSKY: They intended to run her until she dropped. In the meantime, they were messing around on the laptop, cigarette breaks.
EIGLARSH: I`m not making excuses, Drew. Drew, which is worse --
PINSKY: It`s the kind of thing, though, isn`t it?
EIGHLARSH: It`s the same ballpark. You asked me to rank them. I put Casey Anthony number one and number two.
PINSKY: All right. Fair enough.
When I started this segment tonight, I said I`d explain why a grandmother would do this, and you know what? I don`t know why. I don`t know why. There`s no explanation for this kind of behavior.
EIGLARSH: State doesn`t have to prove why.
PINSKY: Well, but --
EIGLARSH: They don`t.
PINSKY: Well, that`s right. And the fact is this is behavior of someone who herself undoubtedly was abused, she thought this was appropriate behavior with the child, and the child ends up -- and this is ignorant and this is sadistic, and this is a person not worthy of being a grandmother or parent.
EIGLARSH: No disagreement.
PINSKY: Yes. So what did the child die of? I got less than a minute to talk about it. She what happens when you vomit a lot? When you throw up a lot, and then you drink a lot of water? Your body`s sodium level drops. The sodium has to stay in a certain zone or your brain swell, you can die spontaneously, get heart rhythm problem. That is no doubt what happened with this girl.
She may have gotten something called rabdomialysis (ph), where the muscles, the skeletal muscles in your body begin breaking down. This is a painful, miserable process. The kidneys clog as the muscles breakdown. You go into kidney failure, headaches, misery.
That`s what the child was going through, and my viewers want the same for the stepmom and grandmother.
Mark, we`ll keep talking about it. I appreciate you joining us this conversation.
PINSKY: Next, I`m -- well, first of all, I`m going to take your calls. But after that, I`m going to head over to Whitney Houston`s former sister-in-law. She`s going to let us in on some family secret. She`s going to tell us about intervention attempts some years back. She`s going to talk about family issues, about Whitney`s brother who she was married to, and her concerns about this family and what the truth is in regards to the death of Whitney Houston, try to figure that out.
First up, I said your calls about anything. Go to HLNTV.com to ask me about sex, drugs, family problems, the death of a 9-year-old, grandmother and step mom getting an appointment with Satan -- anything that`s on your mind.
I`ll be back with that after this. Stay with us.
PINSKY: Welcome back to the live program. Let`s get right to some of your calls. There are going to be some calls about this grandma. There are going to be calls about those stuff you want to talk about. I think I have Tammy in Kentucky first. What`s up?
TAMMY, KENTUCKY: Hi, Dr. Drew. How are you doing today?
PINSKY: Good. Well, I`m not doing -- actually, not doing good at all. I had to report a story that makes me sick.
TAMMY: What do you think that little girl was thinking when she ate the candy bar. She never dreamed that she`d have to run herself --
PINSKY: And by the way, one thing I haven`t addressed yet. There`s no other than diabetes. There are no conditions that children should be severely punished for for eating a chocolate bar. They say there was something wrong with her bladder. It all sounds like nonsense.
In fact, you heard our criminal profiler a few minutes ago talking about something called Munchausen by proxy, meaning a caretaker insisting that the child is sick as a way of gratifying the caretaker, taking the child to lots of doctors, making her feel anxious about herself so she complains, then you can complain about the child.
I mean, that`s the kind of thing that might have been going on here. I think this whole thing is disgusting, but what are your thoughts?
TAMMY: I think it`s disgusting, too. Anybody that would take a child and make it run, (INAUDIBLE), what kind of woman is that. Does she even have a brain?
PINSKY: I don`t know what to say, my dear. I guess, we`ll learn more as it goes. I have to say, I am lucky enough not to come upon a lot of people like that these days, but I tell you what, one thing I`ve noticed talking to the HLN viewers, this country, particularly, the HLN viewers, not of the mind to be very forgiving of people like these nor to be caring about the explanation is for why they may do what they do.
The fact they did it is sufficient to create outrage, and I think you`re one of those folks, yes?
TAMMY: Yes, I am outraged. They should show no mercy on them whatsoever. That should shove candy bars down her mouth. They should come out her butt, and --
PINSKY: Slow it down, my dear. I think I`m in love. I do.
PINSKY: So all right. All right. OK. Let`s move on. By the way, get her phone number. I want to call her back for another night. I think she`ll be a mascot of the show of sorts. And by the way, let`s give her a little break. I mean, she`s upset by what she`s had to see here. We`re all upset about that.
So, let`s go to another issue. This is Lillian now from New York. Go ahead there, Lillian.
LILLIAN, NEW YORK: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi there.
LILLIAN: I was wondering, if, you know, people are living on the street, you know, do you think that can trigger trauma that can get someone to use drugs?
PINSKY: If somebody were already an addict or prone to addiction, yes, sure, being that miserable and unregulated, that`s what motivates addicts to do drugs, to try to feel better. That`s what they first do -- they`re not thinking that they`re going to trigger addiction. They`re just trying to feel better. And sure being on the street. Now, the reality is, though, it`s usually the opposite, that it`s my patients that end up on the streets.
Now, that`s where they end up, eventually, if they do enough drugs and don`t get treatment, that`s where it goes. So, most drug addicts that are out there on the street were first addicts, then on the street, but you`re point is an interesting one.
Whitney in Montana. You have a comment about grandma? By the way, the great of state of Montana. Love that state. What`s up there?
WHITNEY, MONTANA: Hi there. You know, I was thinking the death penalty I believe is insanely underused, honestly, for rape and murder, child abuse. And I thought, on state (ph), what they were saying a couple of people had said, you know, too harsh. You know, we can`t choose who lives or dies.
But I believe that if you make that decision to cause harm upon another person, be it murder, rape, child abuse, whatever, you give up your rights to, you know, go on and be free. And as far as Mr. Bone saying that they loved her and everything.
WHITNEY: How stupid does he think we are?
PINSKY: Right. I mean, -- and by the way, it`s a two separate issues. They may have loved the child and then done something ignorant and horrible to the child. People do stuff like that. There`s no excuse for it. But, you raise an issue about validity of the death penalty, which pretty complicated, but you`re for it in this case, so thank you for that input.
Barb is in Wisconsin. Go ahead there, Barb.
BARB, WISCONSIN: Hi, Dr. Drew.
BARB: My son is in the air force where he was able to buy and get drugs on base that totally surprised me. he failed the drug test and was taken off of his job to do cleaning duties.
PINSKY: Let me stop you. Is that surprised you? Is that what you`re calling about somebody that could get access to the drugs on a base?
BARB: That`s not the reason I`m calling.
PINSKY: But let me just interrupt you just people that may be surprised to that. The reality is drug addicts seem to be able to find drugs anywhere, I mean, in prison -- they astonish me what they`re able to do.
BARB: That`s true.
PINSKY: -- but they seem to find them anywhere. So, he found them, he got demoted or something? So, what`s happening?
BARB: Yes. He felt useless and depressed. And then, three months later, he fails another test, and he was court-martialed.
PINSKY: OK. Well, he`s a drug addict. He needs help.
BARB: I know.
PINSKY: Yes, he needs help.
BARB: Well, they sentenced him just six months in the on-base prison.
PINSKY: OK. That`s not -- Barb, that`s not necessarily bad. Many of my patients find the bottom when they lose their freedom. Did he get a message with that or no?
BARB: He absolutely does.
BARB: But my concern is that he`s getting out in four weeks, and how do we keep his sobriety going?
PINSKY: OK. You go to program called Al-Anon. You get a sponsor. You can do what she tells you. It`s a she, has to be a she. You encourage him to get treatment, maybe to go to halfway house. If he`s not going to meetings on a regular basis like every day, you should be concerned and encourage him to get more comprehensive treatment, because that may not have been as bottom.
That may not have been enough just being in jail. So, really watch him carefully, but go to Al-Anon. That will change your dance with him and that will have an effect on him.
BARB: And you feel he should go to another rehab.
PINSKY: No, I didn`t say. I said if he doesn`t go to meetings on a regular basis, that`s a sign that he needs to do it, OK?
Debra on FaceBook says -- this is interesting -- "I was abused by a grandmother for 12 years, and not one single adult tried to stop what she was doing to me. Not all grandparents are loving people. I don`t want to pay the state for her the rest of her life. I`ve gone on with my life, but there are children out there living this kind of abuse every day. Don`t kid yourself. She won`t be sitting there thinking about what she has done."
And you bring up a really interesting question, I think it`s Debra. Is that your name, right? How much time I got here, Dave, about a minute to talk about this? OK. You guys, big people take care of little people. That`s it. And that`s sort of a mantra for all situations. If you`re in a position of authority, somebody is under you, you take care of the people under you.
And people that violate that trust are the lowest kind of scum. They really are. If you want to look at so many problems in our world and our society and in mental health, it all -- a lot of it boils down to that, people misusing their power.
And I`m sorry that your grandmother and I`m sorry this grandmother we had to talk about tonight did not behave like a grandmother. Some people don`t. They`re scum. It doesn`t mean you are bad. She`s scum.
All right. I`m all upset tonight. This is quite a -- no doubt, I guess, we will be reporting on this one for awhile. It`s not going to go away.
Thanks to all of you for your questions. And when we come back, this is really going to be important, an exclusive talk with the former wife of Whitney Houston`s brother. She`s going to take us deep into the personal, what should I say, dynamics of the Houstons, and some things they tried to keep secret quite some time. So, please stay with us.
PINSKY: Tonight, a former member of Whitney Houston`s family talks for the first time since the singer`s death, and she knows a lot about the family dynamics. She was married to Whitney`s brother, Gary. She`s also going to comment on Oprah`s interview this past weekend with Whitney and Bobby Brown`s daughter, Bobbi Kristina and her ex-husband.
Joining me now is Monique Houston. So, what was your reaction, first, to your husband`s interview?
MONIQUE HOUSTON, WHITNEY`S FORMER SISTER-IN-LAW: Well, the whole interview was a little disturbing to me, because I just thought it was a little soon to expose Bobbi Kristi to the media.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: You know? I`ve lost my mother, and losing your mother is a huge trauma in your life, and, I think she really needs time to heal.
PINSKY: How did she seem to you during that interview?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: She seemed poised.
PINSKY: But she can`t -- inside, she must be falling apart, right? She has to be.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Well, I would be. I fell apart when I lost my mother. Took me almost a year to recover.
PINSKY: And you were -- were you young like she was?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: No. It was actually around the same time when my divorce was final.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Everything happened at once.
PINSKY: And you divorced Gary who was in the interview.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Yes.
PINSKY: Because of a drug problem?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Yes. Well, I knew from the beginning of Gary`s drug issues, and not necessarily because he was a drug addict. I was always committed to helping him and supporting him in his quest for recovery, but once things were spinning too far out of control, I had to make the decision to separate myself from the situation.
And I have two children. They were very young at the time, and it was a matter of I had to make a choice of survival for me and my children mentally and spiritually.
PINSKY: When there`s addiction in the family, often time, the family will become very enmeshed. People will protect each other, and you need to be inside or outside.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Right.
PINSKY: Is that what Gary`s family was like?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Most definitely. Most definitely.
PINSKY: How is that?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: It always has been a tight camp, even initially when I first was in, you know, there was very much a weary, leeriness, who is this person, what are her motives, you know?
PINSKY: Did they have secrets do you think?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Do they have secrets?
PINSKY: Any secrets that hey were hiding and you were sort of an intruder?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: I always felt like an intruder. I always felt like an outsider, you know? At times, I really was welcomed in, and that took - - that was a process of having them feel comfortable with me around, like I wasn`t -- didn`t have many ulterior motives or I wasn`t, you know, conniving or quote, unquote, "a gold digger," you know?
PINSKY: Gold digger meaning that were other people in the family trying to maneuver to get closer to Whitney? Is that what that meant?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Large part, most of the people in her camp, it was very important to be close to her, you know, who had that point of reference or who was the go to person for her. Who does she turn to the most or have closed to her? And I never really wanted to be in that realm. I was there for Gary. I loved my husband. I loved my family. I wanted them to survive.
I loved Whitney, Nippy as she was called, and I loved her as a sister, but I did not want to be her right-hand man. I didn`t want to, you know, my goal -- my focus was my family and my husband.
PINSKY: Now, Oprah asked Gary and Patricia if they ever thought they might lose Whitney to addiction. Take a look at this. We`re going to watch it right now together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY HOUSTON, WHITNEY HOUSTON`S BROTHER: Not this soon. I never thought anything like this would happen.
OPRAH WINFREY, HOST: You didn`t?
GARY HOUSTON: Never thought it would end up like this really.
WINFREY: Even during the days when she was in the throws of drug abuse? Never feared that there would be a phone call?
GARY HOUSTON: It always crosses your mind. I mean, that`s something can happen, but you don`t think it can happen to yourself. You never think it could happen to someone you love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: I call that denial.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: I would call that denial. That was one of the realities that I lived with Gary`s drug issues, you know? The binging, the recovery, the relapse, I always was warned that that could take a toll on one`s body.
PINSKY: But here, his sister is dead, and he`s still in denial that one should expect death from addiction, which is common.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: It`s common. It`s one of the downfalls, one of the things that you worry about when you have somebody who does have drug addiction problems.
PINSKY: Were you aware how bad Whitney`s drug addiction was?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: I was aware of what it developed into. By the time -- my experiences with Nippy were before things really got bad, so, a lot that I witnessed was after I had left the family, I could see the difference on TV. I had conversations with people who worked for her, and some of the things that were going on which were disturbing and, you know, sad.
PINSKY: One of the things I found troubling is how they seem to make a differentiation between Whitney, the illicit drug user, and Whitney, the alcohol pill user. What was that all about?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: I don`t know what that was about from their perspective, but, when you`re a drug addict or you have addiction issue, a drug is a drug is a drug, whether it be pills, whether it be alcohol, a beer, a glass of wine.
PINSKY: But why didn`t they seem to know that or concern themselves about that and enable that when that was going on and eventually killed someone they loved? Why didn`t someone step up in that family.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: I couldn`t tell you why. That was my role. I always was there for Gary, vigilant on going to the programs, going to the group counseling, individual counseling, marital counseling, being the supportive person in his recovery, and --
PINSKY: Did that family distrust recovery or mental health services? They just reject that kind of treatment?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: To a certain degree. You know -- you know, the thing about drug addiction, there are so many people who wrestle with that. It`s not always like a badge of shame or you`re a bad person.
PINSKY: Not at all. Anyone that understands addiction would not feel that way. That`s what I find so concerning. Like, oh, Whitney, the cocaine user, was a bad person. Whitney that drinks alcohol, that`s the good person. That`s the dead person. That`s sad. That`s sad.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: It`s tragic.
PINSKY: It`s tragic. Yes.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: That`s one of the reasons why I`m here, Dr. Drew, because I just want to enlighten people about enabling and perception, you know? You can`t totally judge a drug addict by their actions when they`re using.
PINSKY: They`re on drugs.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: They`re on drugs.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: That doesn`t make them a bad person or a crazy person. That`s a person with addiction issues. Now, certain steps you should take in order to make sure that they don`t slide back into that type of behavior. Who do you surround yourself with? What are your perceptions on a glass of wine?
When I was married to Gary, you know, we went through a number of programs. And, I supported him through the rehabs, but if he had a beer, the warning signs went up.
PINSKY: Of course.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: The alarms started going off.
PINSKY: Why didn`t that happen for Whitney?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Sometimes, I believe when you`re a celebrity, people close to you just want to remain in that circle.
PINSKY: Would she become aggressive and reject people if they tried to confront her?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: I have no experience on that. I don`t know how she behaved.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: But, I think if you`re a celebrity, sometimes, you have to watch who you have around you, if they`re yes people or are they people who will say whoa, what are you doing?
PINSKY: Yes. No matter how you react or whatever your feelings about it.
Got to take a little break here. And Monique says there`s more to Oprah`s interview with Bobbi Kristina and her ex-husband than meets the eye. So, as we go to break, here`s an emotional Gary Houston on OWN singing a tribute to Whitney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(SINGING) I look to you, I look to you after all my strength is gone, yes, in you I can be strong, I look to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICIA HOUSTON, WHITNEY HOUSTON`S MANAGER: I don`t think drugs was an issue for her before her death. I don`t know what happened that day, when you have fittings and when you have to go in to see your throat doctor, are you kidding? High? Absolutely not. Would be too paranoid to do that, leading up to, I would say no. Drinking, having a drink, she may have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: That was Patricia Houston. I know and I found that very disturbing. I`m speaking with Whitney Houston`s former sister-in-law, Monique Houston, because alcohol is a drug. She`s talking about being paranoid from stimulants, but the suggestion of how she dies by taking downer.
And you actually stepped up to your husband and confronted him, and you were somebody who took a tough love approach. How did that work out with the Houston Family?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: They tried to figure out why -- they looked at me like I was being mean or what actually happened during the time that Bobby Brown came into the picture and during the wedding. Gary was in prison. He was in a rehab in Pennsylvania, and I decided not to allow him back into the house until he showed some progress or if he could be consistent.
PINSKY: So, you were following the directions of the treatment team to help him because you cared about him.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Right.
PINSKY: And you were ostracized by the family for doing so?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Yes. I lived in a townhouse that they owned, and they asked me to leave. If Gary wasn`t living in there, then I really shouldn`t be living there.
PINSKY: And does Gary have a relationship with your children now?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: The relationship is strained. He doesn`t spend, has not spent a lot of time with them over the years. I raised the children majority of the time on my own with the help of my family.
PINSKY: Do you have a message for him tonight?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Um, it`s just time to heal. It`s time to stop pointing the fingers or shifting the blame. It`s time for -- I`m concerned about all the children in the family. It`s the next generation`s time. It`s time to heal. It`s time to take steps to be healthy and have healthy relationships with your children.
PINSKY: Are there other sort of feelings that brought you out tonight?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: I just want it to be known that there are certain steps you should take, and I --
PINSKY: In terms of dealing with addiction or dealing with somebody with addiction?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Dealing with addiction, setting boundaries, --
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Taking tough love is not easy. It`s uncomfortable.
PINSKY: It`s uncomfortable, but it`s --
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Necessary --
PINSKY: Necessary, and it --
MONIQUE HOUSTON: -- for survival.
PINSKY: -- shows you really care about somebody.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Right. Really.
PINSKY: I mean, it`s easy to just go along with somebody.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: The program, correct, correct. And I felt that, you know, because I did take these steps, I was ostracized.
PINSKY: Is there bad addiction throughout the family?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: There are addiction issues within the family.
PINSKY: Is Whitney`s mom the main enabler in all this? Does she need some education about how to manage that in her family?
MONIQUE HOUSTON: I would say the whole family.
PINSKY: everybody needs education.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Everybody. Everybody around, you know? There`s other people involved now to be concerned about, you know, healthy choices for the next generation. And my kids have gone through a lot of pain, and that`s one reason why I`m here.
PINSKY: Well, I`m glad you`re here. I appreciate you stepping up.
MONIQUE HOUSTON: I appreciate it.
PINSKY: I hope people hear it through your perspective, because --
MONIQUE HOUSTON: Not only in celebrity families, but this is a societal issue.
PINSKY: This is a national epidemic right now. And thank you for stepping up and talking about it. I have to go. Monique Houston, thank you. Thank you all for watching. I will see you next time.