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Zimmerman Lawyers Up in Trayvon Martin Shooting

Aired March 23, 2012 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live from Los Angeles. But right now, we`re going to a live picture of a vigil just getting underway in Sanford, Florida, ground zero of this national story. Let`s listen. A hymn is being sung as we speak.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You may be seated.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. That was a live vigil going on right now. These are live pictures you`re looking at. A vigil getting underway in Sanford, Florida, ground zero of this story.

And these vigils, these rallies and candlelight vigils and prayer vigils and marches and protests, they`ve been happening all over the country, and more are planned for this weekend. Of course, this is all -- and you see those hoodies that folks are wearing. The young man who was shot, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was wearing a hoodie. And that`s why thousands of people are marching all over the country, seeking justice for Trayvon Martin.

We`re going to go straight out to Jim Moret, senior correspondent, "Inside Edition." What is the very latest, Jim?

JIM MORET, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Well, there are developments on a local, state and national level in addition to that vigil that you just showed the viewers.

The state -- the governor of Florida has hired, appointed, rather, a special prosecutor to look into this shooting, saying that a grand jury may not be necessary in this case for an indictment to be handed down.

And also, President Obama says that a great deal of soul searching is necessary. Clearly, as you indicated, Jane, this is sparking a national debate taking place in cities and counties and states around the country.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, I`ve got to tell you that this story is obviously becoming a national obsession. And tonight, we`re diving deep.

Again, you`re looking at a live picture, but we`ve got a lot more for you now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, cries for justice escalate as new information is uncovered about the Sanford Police Department in the wake of Trayvon Martin`s shooting. Tonight, we`ll go inside the case, and we`ll take your calls.

Plus, are cops renewing their investigation into Whitney Houston`s death, now that a coroner revealed she died in part because of cocaine use? Who gave the pop superstar the drugs? Was it someone in her inner circle? And what doctor thought it was OK to prescribe a woman, famous for her substance abuse struggles, with powerful mood-altering meds?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No peace. No justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No peace. No justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No peace. No justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want justice! We want justice!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want justice! We want justice!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want justice! We want justice!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a movement. It is the Trayvon Martin movement for justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice, no peace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice, no peace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice, no peace.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If I had a son, he`d look like Trayvon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our son did not commit any crimes. Our son is your son.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just heard a shot right behind my house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just said he shot him dead. The person is dead laying on the ground.

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, SHOT TRAYVON MARTIN: Something is wrong with him. He`s coming to check me out. He`s got something in his hands. I don`t know what his deal is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was not self-defense. I heard the crying. It was a little boy. As soon as the gun went off, the crying stopped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want an arrest, we want a conviction and we want justice for the murder of our son.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trayvon Martin! Trayvon Martin!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trayvon Martin! Trayvon Martin!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trayvon Martin! Trayvon Martin!


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight you are looking at live pictures of a vigil in Sanford, Florida. We`re going to show you that right now, just one of many massive coast-to-coast rallies that have led to the appointment of a new special prosecutor to investigate and seek justice in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

And there have been rallies all over the country. We`ve been showing you that.

And of course, this is all about this Neighborhood Watch captain, George Zimmerman. And some are wondering tonight, has he already escaped justice? He is the shooter.

Look at this newly discovered photograph of the shooter, George Zimmerman, his face severely scratched and bloodied from an altercation with his ex-fiance back in 2005. In court records, they claim he pushed her and that her dog responded, came to the rescue and bit his cheek.

Also check out this photo. A row of students, all wearing hoodies. All holding Skittles, standing in solidarity with Trayvon, who was wearing a hoodie and holding Skittles at the time he was gunned down. Students across the country holding walkouts, demanding George Zimmerman be prosecuted for murder.

South Ridge High, Miami. Students actually spell out Trayvon`s initials on the football field. What a sight.

We`re going to tell you what Trayvon`s parents have to say about this. Interestingly enough, they`re not in favor of the kids out of school.

And online, unbelievable, the number of petition signatures, more than a million and a half, calling for charges to be filed against George Zimmerman, the shooter, the volunteer Neighborhood Watchman.

Even the president of the United States has spoken out.


OBAMA: My main message is -- is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he`d look like Trayvon. And you know, I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and that we`re going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And tonight we learn the shooter, George Zimmerman, has lawyered up, even though he has not been charged with any crime. Here`s the attorney, Craig Sonner. And guess what? He has spoken out just moments ago. We are trying to turn that tape around right now to hear what he has to say about his, well, you could say, infamous client.

Listen to this.


ZIMMERMAN: These (EXPLETIVE DELETED) holes, they always get away. This guy looks like he is no up to no good or he`s on drugs or something. Something is wrong with him. He`s coming to check me out. He`s got something in his hands. I don`t know what his deal is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you following him?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. We don`t need you to do that.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who will seek justice for Trayvon? Florida governor Rick Scott just appointing tonight a special prosecutor, Angela Corey, to clean this mess up. Here is what she had to say.


ANGELA COREY, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: We don`t worry about backlash from cases. What we worry about is seeking the truth. That`s our mission. That`s the United States Supreme Court`s mission for prosecutors, is to seek the truth. I have the two best lawyers I know of to put on this case that will seek that truth. And then when it`s the appropriate time, we`ll be able to give the public details.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I will be speaking to that woman, that special prosecutor in this case, Angela Corey. Her first prime interview this Monday. So please join us this Monday. You don`t want to miss it. Absolutely crucial interview.

And I want to hear from you tonight: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Call me.

Now, with me tonight is Los Angeles deputy D.A. Danette Meyers. You are running for district attorney of Los Angeles. And I`ve got to ask you, what`s so fascinating. I had another question to ask you. But the funny thing that you said to me when we sat down is, "Ask me about the times I`ve been stopped." So I am asking you. And you are running for district attorney of Los Angeles, and you are currently an assistant district attorney.

DANETTE MEYERS, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY, LOS ANGELES: I`m currently a deputy district attorney, Jane, and that`s absolutely true. This was several years ago.

I was walking in the Los Felis area of Los Angeles with a detective from the Los Angeles Police Department. We were exercising. We had on workout clothes. And a security guard with a private security agency followed us. And we approached him and said, "I`m a deputy D.A. She`s an LAPD detective." He didn`t believe us. We were two African-American women. And he proceeded to follow us, treated us very poorly.

At that point in time, we both got out our cell phones and called his boss and said, "Look, you`re wasting your time. We`re not here to do anything. We`re just exercising in the hills of Los Felis."

It was very upsetting to me. And the LAPD detective was particularly upset, because she felt clearly that there was some racial profiling going on here. There was no reason to stop us. There was certainly no reason to follow us, Jane. And that`s one of a number of incidents that has occurred in my lifetime. At my age, I mean, I`m walking the hills. I`m definitely not -- I`m not burglarizing anyone`s house.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you`re running for top law enforcement prosecutor in the City of Angels, one of the most important cities in the United States of America. I`ve got to tell you, unbelievable stuff.

Now, this is a live picture of a rally that is going on. It`s actually a candlelight vigil. We just got in, this second, the interview with George Zimmerman`s attorney. OK, this is the guy who is handling George Zimmerman`s case. George Zimmerman not charged with anything. Let`s hear what this attorney had to say.


CRAIG SONNER, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Was it racially motivated? The answer is absolutely not. George is friends with people in the African-American community.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So you hear the attorney for George Zimmerman saying this was not racially motivated incident.

Straight out to John Zarrella, a CNN correspondent on location in Florida where that vigil is going on. What`s the latest, John?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jane, you know, the vigil is going on here behind us for the next hour. People still gathering. And they will, of course, be paying tribute to Trayvon Martin.

But you know, you do get the sense here that many people in this community are just emotionally drained after a week that is seeing just an escalation day after day of one event after another. One news conference. One vigil after another. So culminating tonight with this prayer vigil.

And then next Monday, a big march planned down to city council, where there will be a city council meeting, and the folks then hoping that their voices will be heard at that city council meeting.

You just mentioned Craig Sonner`s interview. Craig Sonner also said during that interview that he has not spoken only on the phone. Only on the phone to George Zimmerman. Not in person.

He also said that Zimmerman had a cut on the back of his head and a broken nose. And he said that he only one side of the story is being told and that this entire story is being way blown out of proportion in one direction, and that their side of the story has not come out.

He also said that he has told Mr. Zimmerman to keep a low profile, stay out of the public eye, but to cooperate with police. And he said that Zimmerman has, in fact, spoken with police or been interviewed by police on more than one occasion -- Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you suggesting, John, that George Zimmerman is in hiding? That essentially, he is in hiding, and even his own attorney has only spoken to him on the phone?

ZARRELLA: Quite clearly the attorney said, "Look, I`m not going to tell you where he is," indicating that he knew where Zimmerman was.

But told him, "Look, the threats against your life are serious. You need to stay low key. Do not go into the public eye." And that is what he told us. That`s correct.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, this is new information. You just heard the first sound, George Zimmerman. You see him there. He`s lawyered up. We just heard from his attorney. We just heard from John Zarrella that, essentially, this man has received threats, and he is in hiding. And even his own attorney is talking to him only on the phone.

And speaking of phones, we`re taking your calls on this. So give me a call: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Later on in this show, Whitney Houston`s coroner`s report said she had cocaine in her system, along with a slew of other drugs. Who actually removed the coke from her hotel room?

But first a nation demands justice for Trayvon Martin. More in a moment.









UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... suspicious...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... suspicious...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... suspicious...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... suspicious...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... because I`m black.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... because I`m black.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... because I`m black.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... because I`m black.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I`m Latino.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I`m Latino.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I`m Latino.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I`m Latino.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I`m Latino Did he have an issue with black people or African Americans in the community where he works or lived?

SONNER: Absolutely not. I did ask him that question. Because if he told me that he did, I wouldn`t have taken his case. But he`s told me he does not.

I spoke to a young woman who has two children that he mentored, and she is African-American. And she says he does not. I asked her, does he use racial slurs? Is he a racist? And she said no. Absolutely not.

And I think as things come -- more things come out and people come out to speak up for him, I think that that will become clear.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Again, that is sound just in for the attorney for George Zimmerman. And you`re watching live pictures of a vigil going on in Sanford, Florida.

But essentially, this new attorney, who by the way, says he`s only spoken to his client on the phone because the client is in hiding because of the massive protests, saying he`s gotten threats.

Tanya Hart, radio host, American Urban Radio Network. You just heard the attorney say, "Well, he`s not a racist. That`s why I`ve taken the case on." What say you?

TANYA HART, RADIO HOST: I say that, if you are black in America, it`s always a problem. There is always racism somewhere in the back of your mind.

You know, it used to be driving while black. Now it`s wearing a hoodie while black. This is ridiculous.

I live in the Los Filos neighborhood. The police came to our door one night. I`m married to a black man. It was 3 a.m. in the morning. He gets out of bed. The wrong house. And he`s a black man. He has on his bathrobe, and they tried to pull him out of our house. "What are you doing here?"

"What I am a doing here? I live here." You know, you`ve got to go get your driver`s license to prove that you live in this house and in this neighborhood? This has been a problem.

You know, it`s interesting. I`m old enough to have remembered. I was a very, very young child when Emmett Till was murdered, but I remember seeing the photo of him in that casket. That`s what kicked off the civil rights movement.

This is the same kind of movement. No matter what, if you are a black man in this country, you are always going to be suspect. That`s just it. Period.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s so extraordinary to me, because we have an African-American president of the United States that we are having this dialogue today.

Now, I want to keep bringing, as we have, this very, very important conversation; new developments in this particular case to our viewers. One of the key witnesses against George Zimmerman may be Trayvon`s girlfriend. He was on the phone with her just moments before he was shot. Here`s what that young girl, Prince, said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trayvon says, "What are you following me for?" And the man says, "What are you doing around here?" Next thing I hear is somebody pushing. Somebody pushed Trayvon because the headset just fell. I called him again and he did not answer the phone.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And tonight, there is breaking news about Trayvon`s girlfriend. And on the other side of the break, we`re going to tell why you this girlfriend may become absolutely pivotal. Pivotal in this case. Whether there are charges filed or not.

Again, she was on the phone with this young man, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. And we`ll have lots more and take your calls on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: More Trayvon Martin in a second, but first, here`s your "Viral Video of the Week."






GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I have not listened to the portion of this 911 tape at all. I just want to hear it raw right now, if you could play maybe 10 seconds before. Let`s listen.


ZIMMERMAN: He`s down towards the other entrance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which entrance is that that he`s headed towards?

ZIMMERMAN: The back entrance. Fucking coons (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I heard was that particular "F" word, but what I heard time and time again was the word "cold."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just heard it. I heard it. And if that was, if that came out of his mouth before that shooting, there is absolutely no question that this is a hate crime.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The question, what happened in the moments leading up to George Zimmerman shooting the unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Jen Hager, assistant managing editor of Radar Online, what`s your information about how crucial the girlfriend is going to be? The girlfriend of Trayvon.

JEN HAGER, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, RADAR ONLINE: Probably be instrumental in deciding whether any criminal charges are going to be filed against George Zimmerman.

Remember, she was on the phone with Trayvon in the moments before he was shot. Sources told that the Florida state`s attorney`s office has formally issued a subpoena to the 17-year-old teenager. We`re withholding her name because she is a minor.

It`s also important to remember that she was never questioned by the Sanford Police Department, even though her parents reached out to the police department and said, "Our daughter was on the phone with Trayvon when he was shot." They never requested a follow-up interview. They never even returned their phone calls. This is absolutely outrageous.

And I think it`s absolutely preposterous for George Zimmerman`s lawyer to come on television and say that he is not racist. How is he going to explain the 46 times in the past year that he called 911, and a majority of those calls involved African-American males?

There was one call George made to 911 because a 7-year-old African- American little boy was acting suspiciously. This is absolutely ridiculous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And it was 46 times since 2001, but your point remains the same.

Richard Curis (ph), former special prosecutor, the Department of Justice is now looking at this local police department to see if they`ve got a problem. And we understand they do, which we`re going to get to in a second. But my gosh. They didn`t interview the girlfriend of the dead young man?

RICHARD CURIS (ph), FORMER SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Yes. That`s shocking. The fact that there`s been a subpoena issued for this girl now is clearly the work of Angela Corey, John Guy (ph), Bernadella Rianda (ph). That state attorney`s office that I work with every day, and they are very good. They are very thorough. They`re very aggressive.

I assure you, they got down there today and began issuing subpoenas to all of the potential witnesses. They are down there. They are going to find out all the facts in this case. And no matter where it goes, we`re all going to know that it was a thorough investigation.

This is one of the best decisions Governor Scott has made in his entire political career. He picked the best prosecutor. This prosecutor`s office could have convicted Casey Anthony in 30 minutes. They are good. They know what they`re doing. I go against them every day. I used to work with them and for them. They are good.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, we`ll see. There`s supposed to be a grand jury April 10. More on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Growing calls for an arrest in the death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH CAPTAIN: He`s a real suspicious guy. This guy looks like he is up to no good or he is on drugs or something.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our son was not committing any crime. (inaudible) to stand up for justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will not go quietly into the night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trayvon Martin was you. Trayvon Martin is (inaudible)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a perfect storm. You had a neighborhood that was experiencing extremely high tensions, anxiety. We`re at Def Con 5.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not about a black and white thing. This is about a right and wrong thing. Justice for Trayvon.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: And as we cover this case, we`ve got breaking news just in to our newsroom as we speak. An announcement by the sheriff`s office in Brevard County that they have just arrested a man who threatened this man -- the now stepped-aside Sanford Police Chief, Bill Lee. So this guy, the police chief of Sanford, Florida, who stepped aside temporarily -- we heard that yesterday -- the sheriff`s office in Brevard County, Florida, said they just arrested a man who said "I`m coming after you," to this now stepped-aside police chief.

And in fact, this e-mail that was purportedly sent, that this man had multiple weapons. So this is a very disturbing development. Because to me, it says -- Jim Moret, chief correspondent "Inside Edition", you and I have covered so many cases from O.J. Simpson to the Michael Jackson child molestation trial to the Conrad Murray trial -- that things have a tendency to reach a boiling point and become dangerous.

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION: Yes. And it seems like that`s where we are right now. You heard that person call this a perfect storm. I think that you`re seeing a great deal of outrage. And it is justified.

You have a 17-year-old kid who`s killed. He had done nothing wrong whatsoever. And you`ve got no arrests made and the community is outraged, justifiably.

That could have been my son. I have a 14-year-old. He wears hoodies and I don`t think twice about letting him wear a hoodie outside. But you know, look, this whole thing is so frustrating, Jane, because clearly the tensions are boiling over and you understand why.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And we just got in more breaking news; a mug shot of the man who has been arrested for allegedly threatening the temporarily stepped-aside police chief, Bill Lee. Let`s take a look at the mug shot. This is the individual who Brevard County Sheriff`s Office says they`ve arrested for allegedly -- his name is John Stewart, that`s what we`re being told right now. His name is -- what? John Karndoff Stewart (ph). And it`s a mug shot just in.

He`s been arrested. Brevard County Sheriff`s Office says that he allegedly threatened Stanford police chief who has stepped aside, Bill Lee. And by the way, Bill Lee, keeping his $102,000 salary even though he has, quote, "stepped aside" -- absolutely astounding developments.

Let`s go to the phone lines. So patient -- Candy in California, I know you`ve been waiting a long time.

CANDY, CALIFORNIA (via telephone): Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Your question or thought, Candy.

CANDY: Hi Jane. First off, I need to say how outraged I am and disgusted. I am literally shaking that this man has not been arrested and I don`t get it. I can see exactly why this is all happening because this is unjust -- unjust. But I have a question. The question, the gated community where this happen, would there possibly be cameras that would have caught the incident on tape?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think that`s a very interesting question, Candy, California. We know this happened in a gated community and that there are a couple hundred detached homes in that gated community. Frankly, I`ve been calling for this for years. Put up surveillance cameras everywhere and it would clear up so many of these cases and help catch perpetrators. And instead of us having to have this huge national debate, we would see on camera exactly what happened.

But I have to tell you, I find it ironic, Danette Meyers, L.A. County deputy D.A., running for D.A. of Los Angeles that there has been an arrest but it is not an arrest of the guy who committed the shooting.

DANETTE MEYERS, DEPUTY D.A., L.A. COUNTY: This was a very sloppy investigation. One of the things when you investigate a murder case -- and I`ve investigated a number of murder cases throughout my 26-year career in the D.A.`s office -- there`s a perception that the public wants. They want to know that you`ve actually looked at the facts and you`ve made a determination whether to file or not to file.

And for the sheriff to come out and not to do an in-depth investigation -- you don`t talk to the person who was on the phone with the individual who was killed? I mean that`s preposterous. And that tells the public, you know what; they just didn`t care. The perception of fairness is so important. And in this case, that`s the reason why the public is outraged. There isn`t a perception of fairness. Do your job. Do it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, to that point, today in fact, the Sanford City manager essentially admitted that the police department has had an issue with the African-American community stemming back way before this Bill Lee took over as chief ten months ago. Listen to this.


NORTON BONAPARTE JR., CITY MANAGER, SANFORD, FLORIDA: Let`s be very clear. Chief Lee has been the chief of the Sanford Police Department for ten months. The issues that have been brought to my attention regarding the black community and the Sanford Police Department go back many, many, many years. So there is a lot of work that needs to be done there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It was only last may when the videotape beating that we found on YouTube -- we`re going to show you right now -- occurred. The former chief lost his job, ok, and then the new chief took over ten months ago.

On this tape you reportedly see a police officer`s son beating a homeless African-American man and then this individual who is reportedly the son of a police officer attacks another man. And the son, the person identified as the son of the police officer, is never arrested. And Bill Lee became chief because of this incident.

You`re telling me what? Yes. He`s beating that -- it`s an African- American man falling to the ground. Your reaction to that, Tanya Hart; if in fact this is the history of this police department, you would have thought that they would have handled this case involving Trayvon with extra care.

TANYA HART, RADIO HOST, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: You would think that. However, when you have had free rein for centuries to do what you want to do -- and they certainly have -- especially in that part of the country. You go ahead and you can do this and you feel you can get away with it.

I think it is preposterous also that no autopsy, from what I understand, was taken of this young man. You know, nothing -- the whole crime scene was not secured in a way it should be. So now we`re looking at a situation where this man could probably walk or could possibly walk because of the way the investigation was handled.

I know that they`ve brought in a prosecutor now to take care of this, hopefully to clean up the mess. But what needs to be cleaned up in America is the perception of being black and what that means and how people are in fear of a black man just walking down the street.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Again, I have to say it. I can`t say it often enough. It is ironic we`re having this discussion in the 21st century when we have an African-American president of the United States, the highest position in the land, the most powerful person in the world. And frankly, I think a lot of us were in denial and thought we were way beyond this. I think I was under that perception that this is all something in the past that we didn`t have to deal with anymore.

I want to go out to the phone lines. Jennifer, Mississippi, your question -- thank you for your patience and waiting, Jennifer -- and your question or thought. Jennifer, Mississippi.

JENNIFER, MISSISSIPPI (via telephone): Thank you so much. I have not heard one person mention the fact that why would -- why did he leave his house with a gun? Why have a weapon to kill. I mean and in that case why didn`t he shoot him in the foot or the leg or the arm. He shot to kill. I mean this is -- he went out there for trouble. That`s what I`m thinking. He`s blaming a 7-year-old (sic) little black boy for roaming the streets and looking suspicious. This guy, this is wrong on so many levels -- so many levels.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And the youngster was 17, but your point holds, certainly.

What I find fascinating, I`ll throw this out to Richard Kuritz, former special prosecutor and say, the way this whole thing went down, we didn`t hear a lot about the victim. And in fact, what I found astounding was in the police report the victim is referred to as a black male five times as if that was like the most important thing about this victim. That he is a black male. But we haven`t heard where exactly the -- is it one shot? Was the bullet in the chest? The lack of detail, the lack of specificity -- that disturbs me, Richard.

RICHARD KURITZ, FORMER SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Sure. Yes, absolutely. I mean as defense lawyer, I would be all over that. I would have a heyday with that. The fact that they didn`t interview the girl that he was talking with on the phone, the fact that none of these details are being put into in police reports -- I would have a heyday with those kind of these things.

Now, one of the things that was just mentioned is that there was no autopsy done on this case. I would be shocked, at least shocked that that was not the case because Florida law would require it in this situation no matter what. And I am sure that an autopsy was done.

What we`re going to find out if there was any stippling. Is this a close gunshot wound? Was it a far away gunshot wound? There was absolutely an autopsy done in the case. When Angela Corey and her office gets involved and we learn the details and if there were details that we believe that we`re perceiving, if that fleshes itself out what we`re going to learn is that we`re not going to wait until the 20th for an indictment. What`s going to happen is, Angela Corey`s office will issue an arrest warrant for second degree murder before the end of next one. I believe in that -- absolutely believe it.

I think one of the interesting things was how was this treated? Was it treated as a murder investigation? You see the video right there. They did put up the tape. They did initially cuff George Zimmerman and take him down to the station house and interview him a couple of time. But that seems to be almost the extent of this investigation.

And that`s what is troubling is that, was this treated as nothing to see here? We can`t prosecute. Move along. Or was this actually treated as a very serious homicide investigation where we had to really take photographs of the crime scene and all sorts of other thing.

Whitney Houston`s death next.




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news tonight: One of the greatest voices of her generation, Whitney Houston, has died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 3:55 p.m. this afternoon, Whitney Houston was pronounced dead at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We now know that Whitney Houston had cocaine in her system when she accidentally drowned in a hotel bathtub last month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you believe she ingested cocaine not too long before she drowned.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whitney had five -- count them -- five drugs in her system at the time of her death: cocaine, marijuana, Xanax, Flexeril -- a known muscle relaxant, and Benadryl.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We also learned that when she slipped underwater, that she was still alive. There was water that was found in her lungs.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, more toxic secrets surrounding the death of music icon, Whitney Houston. Was somebody trying to cover up her drug use immediately after her death? The coroner said cocaine and heart disease contributed to her accidental drowning in a hotel bathtub last month. A whole slew of drugs found in her system. We`re talking cocaine, marijuana, a muscle relaxer and Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug. The coroner said Whitney used cocaine moments before she slipped under water and drowned.


CRAIG HARVEY, CHIEF CORONER: A cocaine use indicated an acute use. And it appeared that the cocaine had been used in the time period just probably immediately prior to her collapse in the bathtub at the hotel.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my burning question tonight. Where was the cocaine? Police say they found no evidence of illicit drugs in the room at the Beverly Hilton. But she had taken it immediately prior to her death. Does that mean somebody from Whitney`s inner circle quickly cleaned up the scene before the EMTs and the cops showed up? Was that the very same person who supplied Whitney with the cocaine?

Straight out to Mike Walters, news manager, TMZ; Mike, my good buddy, what`s the very latest?

MIKE WALTERS, NEWS MANAGER, TMZ: Well, Jane, I can tell you that people who were there the night Whitney died are saying that someone was in that room and someone cleaned up the mess before investigators had a chance to get in and look at the scene. I can also tell that you the family feels that the person who was there is possibly and most likely the person who delivered or brought the cocaine around Whitney Houston.

I can also tell you that if you think about what was in her system when she died, the acute cocaine in her system -- the amount of drugs that were found which were just a few pill bottles with the Xanax and some other medication -- It just doesn`t match what was exactly in her blood stream. The scene does not match what actually happened to her and what they found in the toxicology reports.

So they are going to have to take a second look at this and they`re going to have to figure out, how did Whitney get the cocaine? And if she did cocaine -- whether she was it, ingesting it, sniffing it, injecting it -- there would have been some remnant of this drug in that room when the investigators got there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unless somebody very meticulously cleaned it up -- that would seem to me the likely scenario. Is there some toxic element within Whitney`s inner circle -- somebody supplying her cocaine? I mean she is not out on the streets scoring her own drugs. She is Whitney Houston. She is instantly recognizable. What about that photo of Whitney lying in here coffin that was sold to the "National Enquirer"? What a violation. Her sister-in-law told Oprah she still has no clue who leaked that photo. Listen.


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: How did that picture get out? Do you all know?


WINFREY: Were you as appalled as the rest us were that that would end up on the cover of a tabloid?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tabloid. You know. Tabloid. I hate that word. It is ugly.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tanya Hart, 15 seconds.

HART: You know, first of all, I would like to say condolences to the family. This is a horrible, horrible thing. I do think that it will come out who gave her the drugs. There is also the possibility that she ingested everything that they gave her. She had been doing this apparently for a while. She probably needed a lot. Who knows? I mean maybe she used all the cocaine and that`s why they didn`t see it. They found the other drugs.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Back in a minute. Don`t go anywhere.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: An extraordinary story in a moment. But first, we all deserve a laugh break.






UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are exporting live animals from Australia in the most horrid methods possible. Many of them die only to end up on the other end in another country for more torture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hundreds of thousands of these animals -- sheep, goats, cattle -- that are being shipped. This is some of the worst stuff I have ever seen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America needs to see what`s going on over there in Australia, what the Australian government is allowing to happen. It has to stop.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight on this show, we are starting a campaign to stop Australia`s horrific torture of innocent animals. I warn you, the images in this segment are very graphic but it`s important we bear witness, have the courage to look. We`re talking about Australia`s live animal exports. Millions of cattle and sheep shipped across the world, essentially packed in big barges.

Critics say they often go without food, without water. They`re forced to lay in their own feces. Tens of thousands of animals allegedly suffer a slow death each year on the trips, they don`t survive the trips. Others face even more cruelty when they get to their final destination.

It`s actually one of the most horrifying things I have seen -- pure torture from beginning to end. And we`re not showing you anywhere near the worst of it.

Joining me now Chris Derose, president of the amazing organization, "Last Chance for Animals". Chris, tell us what do these innocent animals endure?

CHRIS DEROSE, PRESIDENT, "LAST CHANCE FOR ANIMALS": Jane from the very beginning, in Australia they`re being loaded onto these barges and these ships. For weeks at a time they have to endure the elements, the weather. They have to endure not getting any kind of medical treatment, forget that. Poor food.

And then when they get to the point of destination it`s how they`re treated, how they`re taken off and, as you see, the sheep are stuffed into trunks and the weather over there could be 120, 125 degrees and they`re stuffed in a trunk or stuck on top of a hot roof of a car.

And then in the slaughterhouses in Indonesia where you have the cattle going, I mean in order to get the cattle going because they`re so weak, sometimes, they`re poking them with sticks. They`re using -- they`ll slash the back of their legs. They stick -- they take the fingers and they have pepper on their fingers and stick them into the back of the eye of the cow that`s down because it can`t move over. Words (inaudible)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is unbelievable. One of your colleagues told me the treatment of these living creatures, absolutely horrific, shipped overseas. He can`t sleep at night. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is something that I couldn`t imagine that human beings could dream up of. I happened to see the footage late at night and I couldn`t sleep. It is the senseless harming of animals, who have done nothing wrong for God knows what reason. These animals are mistreated from the moment that they are brought in, from the moment they`re put on the ship, and the moment they get on the other end.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: An organization known as Animals Australia says they`ve done ten investigations in nine years. Eight into the treatment of animals exported to the Middle East, one in Indonesia, another in Turkey that have consistently revealed appalling animal cruelty as a routine part of Australia live export trade.

We`re talking over two million sheep exported live from Australia, most to the Middle East. Critics say many of the animals that survive the long journey are then used for animal sacrifice when they get to their destination, and that many are conscious during slaughter. And essentially that`s why they don`t care, they`re just going to slaughter them for sacrifice on the other end, so why bother feeding them, right?

DEROSE: That`s right. It`s just a numbers game for them and the way they have treated these animals, I`ve never seen anything in my 35 years of doing this, Jane, I have to tell you I`ve been in laboratories, I`ve been everywhere and I`ve seen some of the most horrific stuff. When I was in Australia and I saw this, it was some of the most horrible stuff.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side of the break how you can end this horror. Let`s do it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The good news is you can help put an end to Australia`s hideously cruel live animal exports. You can learn what to do, where to write, who to contact. Visit Last Chance for Animals -- their Web site, That`s Last Chance for Animals --

We`re also going to reach out to the prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard. She needs to know that this is unconscionable and not worthy of a supposedly civilized nation. Recently after an uproar in Australia when the citizens of Australia finally were allowed to see this footage there was a temporary ban on some live animal exports but it`s back on now.

So, Chris, your final message to America.

DEROSE: America, take action. You can do something about this. Take action. Go to our site. We will take you through everything. Write to the government and like us on Facebook. And we will take you through it. We will help you. They need to hear from Americans.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are the voice of these animals.

Nancy next.