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Trayvon`s Shooter Asks for Money on Web Site

Aired April 9, 2012 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live from Los Angeles. Boy, do we have breaking news right off the top of the Trayvon Martin shooting.

Turns out George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin has just put up a new Web site. And we`re going to show it to you right now. Pop it up. Because Zimmerman is saying, "I am the real George Zimmerman." And guess what? He is asking for money. That`s right, George Zimmerman, the shooting, asking for money.

We`re going to talk to George Zimmerman`s best friend and defender, Frank Taaffe, about this Web site in an exclusive interview, coming up in just moments. In fact, right now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight we`ve got exclusive new information in the Trayvon Martin case. George Zimmerman`s close friend says he spoke at length with the shooter of the team just hours ago. He`ll tell us exclusively what George had to say. Where is he? Is he nervous?

Plus, special prosecutor Angela Corey says this case will not be going to a grand jury. Does that mean we`re about to see George Zimmerman arrested? And we`re taking you calls on this.

Then, a bizarre reply from an NFL cheerleader accused of having sex with a teenaged boy while she was a high-school teacher. Now she`s out of jail, but is she willing to pay 50 grand just to stay in contact with the alleged victim?

And a mother of three vanishes in Florida, a case investigators are finding highly suspicious. As cops search for clues, the estranged husband allegedly threatens to, quote, "end it all." What does that mean for this case? And what about those strange bricks right outside her house. Are they the key evidence to solving this case? I`ll talk to the missing mom`s own brother live tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Oh, we want to be heard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Oh, we want to be heard

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice, no peace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice, no peace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice, no peace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brand-new information in the Trayvon Martin shooting. We just heard from a special prosecutor investigating the case, Angela Corey. And she says she will not send the case to a grand jury.

ANGELA COREY, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Since I`ve been the elected state attorney for the last three years and two months, we have yet to convene a grand jury to determine whether or not to file charges in a justifiable use of deadly force case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re marching.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re marching.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re marching.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re marching.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Racism still exists today, and injustice to the black community is still there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re not giving me the answers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A full and complete investigation that is fair and will be presented to the state`s attorney`s office.

BEN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON`S FAMILY: We don`t want the buck passed to agency to agency. We want to have George Zimmerman arrested.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got fast-breaking news tonight. It literally has come in moments ago on my BlackBerry.

A new Web site, brand-new, from none other than the shooter of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman. We are popping up the Web site for you to look at right now, and we`re all studying it together.

The Neighborhood Watchman who shot Trayvon Martin, is a letter from the real George Zimmerman. And guess what? Zimmerman`s attorneys just confirmed to us, yes, this Web site is legit.

And on the site,, Zimmerman asks for money for his defense, saying he has been forced out of work. Tonight, we`re going to talk to Zimmerman`s very good friend and defender, Frank Taaffe, about this Web site. Also about a phone conversation Frank had with Zimmerman today.

This is exclusive. We are going to be hearing for the first time what George Zimmerman, the shooter, who is in hiding, has to say. And it was a long conversation with the man you`re looking at right there.

So my question is, is George as distraught as his brother has publicly claimed he is?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re marching. We are marching.


Meantime thousands of protesters converged on Sanford, Florida today. They headed straight for Sanford, Florida, P.D. station, forming a human chain to block the front doors. In fact they shut the place down for hours.

So is an arrest imminent in this case? Could it happen this week?

Right now a secret grand jury is still planning to meet tomorrow morning, but guess what? They will not be talking about the dead teen, Trayvon Martin. And that`s because the woman you`re about to see, the special prosecutor for this case, Angela Corey, in a politically gutsy move, everybody agrees, has decided she and she alone will make the decision on whether to charge George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The outspoken attorney for Trayvon`s family says that`s all Trayvon`s family has ever wanted.


CRUMP: We believed from day one that they have enough to arrest the killer of Trayvon Martin. The family is trying to be patient and they`re trying to have faith in the system. And they want an arrest.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And is a new witness account muddying the waters when it comes to who was yelling for help? Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I could still hear the younger person`s -- I`m saying again, the younger person`s voice, but really the other voice was the one that was more dominant and loud. The lead investigator said, well, if it makes you feel any better, the person that was yelling for help is alive.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what do you think? Give me a call: 1-877-586- 7297, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to my exclusive interview. George Zimmerman`s neighbor and one of his lone defenders, Frank Taaffe.

Frank, thank you for joining us tonight. Shooter George Zimmerman`s brother said George was distraught. You spoke to George Zimmerman at length just a few hours ago. So tell us exclusively what he said. Audience, you`re hearing it first; I`m hearing it. We`re all ears. I don`t know what he`s going to say. Tell us about your conversation with George, his mood, his state of mind.

FRANK TAAFFE, FRIEND OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Thank you for having me on again, Jane. I miss you. I`m glad to be back.

First of all, I spoke with George at 1:06 today for about a half hour. He -- his tone seemed very subdued. It was monotone. He expressed sympathy for the loss of my son again.

And he went to share with me the fact that he started this Web site, And he wanted everybody in the media to know about that. Also he wanted to corroborate my story that on February 2, one of the 911 calls of the 46 that he made regarded my home which was a burglary in progress.

He went on to really elaborate what had happened that night on February 2. And I wrote down some notes as, you know, I was speaking to him, because I, like most 55-year-old men, have a tendency to forget some things. So if you`ll allow me.

He went on to share that on the night of February 2, as he was walking through the neighborhood, ensuring the safety of all the residents at Twin Lakes, that he observed a young black male looking in the front of my house. He called -- he told me that he was walking his 100-pound Rottweiler. And that he was carrying a 9 millimeter with him at that time.


TAAFFE: Of course -- go ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just want to jump in, because I want to break things down a little bit. I think the big headline tonight is that -- and you brought this up, so it`s something you mentioned -- George Zimmerman has started a Web site, and he is seeking money.

Now let`s just start with that a little, bit because I`m sure that some of our other panelists might have something to say about it. So we`re going to go out to Rolonda Watts, TV personality. She is here on set with me. What is your reaction to that, Rolonda?

ROLONDA WATTS, TV PERSONALITY: I think it`s absurd, absolutely absurd. Now America is a free place; you can do what you want. But I just really think it`s absurd. It just -- it just -- I`m just so outraged by it. But, I mean he has the right to do that.

TAAFFE: He certainly does.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me go to Natalie Jackson, specifically, the attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family, because he essentially says -- and I`m quoting here -- "I have created a PayPal account solely linked on this Web site, as I would like to provide an avenue to thank my supporters personally and ensure that any funds provided are used only for living expenses and legal defense, in lieu of my forced inability to maintain employment."

He says that he was involved in a life-altering event that has forced him to leave his home, his school, his employer and his family, and essentially go into hiding.

Your reaction to his solicitation of funds, Natalie Jackson, the attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family.

NATALIE JACKSON, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN`S FAMILY: Well, he has a right to do what he wants to do. I think that he recognizes this case should go to a jury. And I believe that he`s preparing for the charges to be brought against him as they should be so that justice can be found in this case.

TAAFFE: He never said that. He never said that. Nor did he intimate that...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: let -- let...

TAAFFE: ... to me in the conversation. So don`t go there. OK. Please, don`t.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I really would rather have, like, a civilized and calm conversation.

TAAFFE: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Just let me say my piece here. I think that this has been a healthy dialogue for America, getting -- I would say you`re only as sick as your secrets, getting some toxic secrets out, airing stuff out.

Hopefully, we have dialectics, argument and counterargument to reach a higher understanding of the given subject matter. But I just ask everybody to just do it in a calm and a manner that`s from a good place and not in an angry, argumentative way.

So Natalie, you just finish your piece and then we`ll let -- and then we`ll let Frank respond. Go ahead, Natalie.

JACKSON: Well, as I`m saying, that if that is what the fund is for, a legal defense fund, I don`t know what other purpose the fund would be for. George Zimmerman, he killed someone`s child. And so he has a right to defend himself in a court of law. And that`s what justice dictates here, that he go to a court of law, Mr. Taaffe.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Frank, your response.

TAAFFE: OK, George -- I was continuing with the story that the young black...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But wait a second. Do you think it`s appropriate for him to solicit funds? What is the justification for that?

TAAFFE: Your two guests just said, this is America. He can do whatever he wants. I don`t feel either way on this, but...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It doesn`t mean it`s appropriate. I could tap dance right now, but it doesn`t mean that would be appropriate or applauded.

TAAFFE: What you get paid for.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m asking you why you feel it`s appropriate. I`m just asking why you feel it`s appropriate.

TAAFFE: I have to agree with what they said, this is America.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m actually giving you an opportunity to tell his side of the story. I`m trying to be fair. So do you think that -- is he in hiding? Is he unable to get food?

TAAFFE: You want me to say it`s appropriate? Sure. OK, it`s appropriate. It doesn`t intimate that he`s going to go to a jury, as Ms. Jackson just indicated. It has nothing to do with it. It`s a legal defense fund in the event of. Nothing has been determined yet.

And, you know, he shared with me today -- I don`t know if anybody`s read the police report that I have here from Sanford, but he -- I asked him...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, we`ve got it.

TAAFFE: OK. Well, you know, if you read it, it states right here that George was the one that was yelling for help. That he was administered first aid.

JACKSON: That`s George`s testimony.

TAAFFE: The one officer -- please, let me finish. I allowed you to finish.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. One at a time. I`ve got to get out the police report now. Go ahead.

TAAFFE: In here it states that the officer was at close contact with Mr. Zimmerman, and he observed the cuts to the back of his head and a bloody nose. It`s written right here in this report that you all should have. How can you refute that? He was within close contact. It wasn`t from afar; it was close contact.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me -- please respond, Natalie.

JACKSON: I will say that he`s reading one officer`s report. There were multiple officers on that scene. In that same report...

TAAFFE: This is the main officer`s narrative.

JACKSON: In that same report, there`s another officer on that scene that did not even think that those injuries were significant enough to put in his report.

TAAFFE: This was the first officer at the scene, officer Smith.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I can tell you, it`s not big enough to report. I can tell you more breaking news we have. Somebody has appeared in silhouette, and he or she is relating what the police told her that night that, basically, don`t worry about it, because the person who was screaming and yelling is the person who`s alive.

How do they know that? How do they know that?

We`re taking your calls. Stay right there. We`ll be back in a moment.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could still hear the younger person`s voice, but really the other voice is the one that was more dominant and loud. The lead investigator said to me, he just said, "Well, if it makes you feel any better, the person that was yelling for help is alive."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, so there is one of the people -- it`s a woman -- called 911, heard the screams, and she said the lead investigator told her, "Well, if it makes you feel any better, the person who is yelling is alive."

Whitney Walsh, this is something that has been debated, who was screaming on the tape. How is that possible that the lead investigator, if that`s true, tells her, in other words, don`t worry about it, the person who was yelling on the tape is alive. How would he know?

WHITNEY WALSH: Jane, it may have been done in an innocent way, in that George Zimmerman had told him he was yelling, but the truth is, what this did at the scene was taint the witness. It`s leading on the witness. It`s telling this witness, "You didn`t hear that." The police officer might have been just relaying something George Zimmerman told him, but it`s still influencing the witness.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now as far as this Web site coming up on the very day that the special prosecutor announces, "I`m not going to go to the grand jury." What do you think, quickly?

WALSH: I think it`s not a coincidence. I think George Zimmerman is asking for money today because he knows he`s going to court. It may be on a lesser charge. It may take a long time. It`s going to cost money.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s take a look at possible charges that he could face.

Up until today murder one was on the table with a possible life or even death sentence. But now that a grand jury won`t hear this case, murder one off the table. Florida law requires a grand jury indictment for first-degree cases.

So I`ll run through it quickly. He could get murder 2, manslaughter, aggravated battery, or negligent homicide, which is what Zimmerman`s attorneys believe he`ll be charged with. That`s a maximum 15 years sentence.

Richard Kurtz, former special prosecutor, OK, she gets applauded for not tossing this political hot potato the grand jury. But should some people get upset because this means no premeditated murder. Right?

RICHARD KURTZ, FORMER SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Well, they should not be upset, because even if you take all of the testimony in the 911 calls we`ve heard, this is not a case where somebody did a premeditated murder.

If you read the jury instruction in the law in Florida on second- degree murder, it`s clearly a second-degree murder. That`s how 95 percent of the prosecution began in Florida, charged with second-degree murder. If they later develop enough evidence to move forward to go with the first- degree, then they take it to the grand jury.

To me, they`re skeptics, it`s a clear signal they`re going to make an arrest, probably issue an arrest warrant. I would even guess tomorrow or by the end of the week, second-degree murder. It`s punishable by life in prison. Nobody should be skeptical. She`s making a bold decision on her own to handle it on her own. Not to pass the buck to anybody else. It`s a clear indication this prosecution is moving forward.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, George Zimmerman has reportedly said -- at least published reports say he will turn himself in if arrested. More on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: More Trayvon Martin in just a moment. But first your "Viral Video of the Day."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to give Suzanne some.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do you expect to meet with Mr. Zimmerman face to face? And are you getting closer to the point where you think it would be beneficial to have him tell his story publicly?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, two things. No. 1, we expect to meet with him very soon, perhaps this week.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, I find this absolutely fascinating. The two attorneys who were talking about George Zimmerman very publicly have yet to meet with their client. And meanwhile, the whole world`s talking about he could be arrested any moment now.

Frank Taaffe, you`re here with us exclusively tonight. You spoke to George Zimmerman at length. Let`s focus in specifically on how he`s feeling. He`s in hiding. I don`t expect you to tell us where. But is he on pins and needles? We`ve been told that he will turn himself in if they announce they want to arrest him. How is it possible that he hasn`t even met with his attorneys?

TAAFFE: Well, Jane, first of all, he was not -- he didn`t sound really elated. He was talking in a monotone. We see him very subdued when he spoke to me on -- on the phone tonight.

I want to get back to my point, and it`s going to be very brief and tiny capsule. The young black male that was perpetrating my home on the 911 call on February 2, was the same one that was apprehended to my next- door neighbor four doors down two weeks later, one week before Trayvon Martin -- the shooting of Trayvon Martin -- was apprehended, and here`s the twist. He lived in our complex. You can go on his -- I can share his name, but I`d rather not. But...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, please don`t.

TAAFFE: He lived four -- OK, well, he lived four town homes down from my house and three from my neighbor.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are you suggesting? That it`s OK to -- I don`t...

TAAFFE: I didn`t know that before. I didn`t know who the perpetrator was.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What is the point?

TAAFFE: He I.D.`d him. He I.D.`d him on his -- on his walk that night with his 100-pound Rottweiler, which he was out. And then he called Sanford police. They showed up at the scene. He didn`t chase him that night. He wanted me to emphasize that he did not pursue him. He did not counter surveil. He waited for Sanford to show up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. All right. Natalie Jackson, attorney for Trayvon Martin, I want to give you the opportunity to weigh in.

JACKSON: I don`t know why Frank Taaffe keeps throwing out these red herrings of things. Are you saying that it`s OK to racially profile? Are you saying because -- are you saying that because one black male broke into your home that it`s OK now to assault somebody with a 9 millimeter gun?

TAAFFE: Natalie...

JACKSON: What`s wrong with you? What is wrong with you, Mr. Taaffe? What is wrong with you?

TAAFFE: There`s nothing wrong with me.

JACKSON: You are not doing a service to George Zimmerman.

TAAFFE: You`re the one. You`re...

JACKSON: George Zimmerman deserves a fair trial. He deserves to stand trial and...

TAAFFE: I`m telling you...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... my gavel a long time ago. I`m going to have to go get my gavel back.

TAAFFE: He deserves that, Natalie.

JACKSON: He does not deserve you out there saying...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got to turn down the mikes for a second. Sorry, we have to have a moment of -- mmm -- "ommm."

I want to go to Wendy Walsh, you`re the doctor of psychology. Thirty seconds to try to -- let`s move it forward, as opposed to just arguing.

WALSH: Well, what he -- what I was getting from what Taaffe was saying right there is that George was primed. In other words, he had an occasion where there was a black male in the neighborhood actually committed a crime. And so therefore, because of this priming, allegedly, right -- it made him perhaps more vigilant and, I would say, more paranoid. Doesn`t mean the crime`s OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think all of this he can tell to the jury, and a lot of this -- I just hope it opens dialogue in America. I just hope it brings attention to some of our ills and gets us on the road to healing and talking, for goodness sake.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, on the other side of the break, we`re going to talk about a couple of disturbing incidents. Stay with us.



SYBRINA FULTON, MOTHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: I`m so very hurt by this whole situation. It`s a nightmare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can`t imagine losing a 17-year-old son, going through a process to make sure that we know the facts and whatever happens, the right thing will happen. Justice will prevail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It came down to a life or death struggle between the two.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s been over a month with no arrests, no apprehending of his gun, no apprehending of him.


CROWD: No peace.


CROWD: No peace.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to see an arrest immediately. I think if we saw an arrest, we would see some movement towards justice.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Lots of breaking news tonight on the Trayvon Martin case. First of all we can tell you that protesters surrounded arm in arm the Sanford, Florida Police Department today. We`re going to show you video of that. They marched there and they actually shut the place down for a while.

But our big news that is breaking this hour is that George Zimmerman has set up his own Web site, the And I`m going to read it to you. We`ve just gotten it as we go to air. "The Real George Zimmerman. I am the real George Zimmerman, on Sunday February 26, I was involved in a life altering event which led me to become the subject of intense media coverage. As a result of the incident and subsequent media coverage, I have been forced to leave my home, my school, my employer, my family and ultimately my entire life. This Web site`s sole purpose is to ensure my supporters that they are receiving my full attention without any intermediaries."

His attorney confirms this is his site. Now hew proceeds to ask for money for some of the legal defense, which some of our experts here say means that he knows he`s going to get arrested soon although we don`t know that for sure. We know that -- we can ask the question, is the arrest of George Zimmerman imminent?

We know that the special prosecutor is not going to go to the grand jury which convenes tomorrow. They`re not going to talk about Trayvon Martin being shot dead. She`s going to make the decision.

So again, Frank Taaffe, exclusive interview with one of George`s neighbor and one of his few defenders. Please tell us, you talked to him a long time today, we want to get details about what he may have done in the past aside. How he feels, ok, is he afraid of being arrested? Is he willing to turn himself in as he has reportedly stated if they announce that they want to arrest him? What is he going through emotionally right now?

FRANK TAAFFE, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S NEIGHBOR: Jane, as I stated earlier, he was very subdued. He spoke to me in a very monotone force. But he did share with me -- he didn`t go into the specifics of that night, as you can well imagine.

But I want to get back to these so-called sworn officers of court. This is a manual that`s given to every law enforcement officer, this one specifically set for Seminole County. And Miss Jackson, you might recognize this, it says Florida criminal law handbook, 776.032, "Stand Your Ground".

And in it, it says a person may use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of threat. The threat according to what George shared with me was stay with the police narrative. The one that I just read from.

Officer Smith -- Tim Smith that was on the scene, where his injuries were consistent with the self-defense claim and where in that narrative, it shares that first aid was administered and rendered before he was taken into the back of the police car and down to the Sanford police department.


TAAFFE: We`ll talk about this again, when she reads stand your ground.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me just say -- ok, you`re saying that he was using "Stand Your Ground", which people challenge. First of all, people say it`s a terrible law. But secondly, they`re challenging his use of it.

TAAFFEE: Well, it was made by the Florida lawmakers, they have passed through the House and Senate here; evidently it couldn`t have been that bad, could it?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me ask this question. Richard Kuritz, you`re a former special prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, you`re in Florida. Do you think this "Stand Your Ground" is going to create a problem for the special prosecutor Angela Corey in terms of filing charges against George Zimmerman?

RICHARD KURITZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely not. One thing Angela Corey is doing is she`s been trying to determine, can she prove this case beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. If she can do that -- if she decides that she can do that, she doesn`t care about "Stand Your Ground".

"Stand Your Ground" is a preponderance of the evidence standard. It is a defense that can be used. If she believes she can prove beyond reasonable doubt, that far outweighs preponderance of the evidence, the "Stand Your Ground" will not be applicable --

TAAFFE: It`s beyond reasonable doubt.


KURITZ: Don`t forget the statute says that you have to be attacked in your place.

TAAFFE: Right.

KURITZ: Listen, you got to take a break and stop talking once in a while. Bottom line is that statute that you cited to a couple of times -- you`ve not read the whole thing. It says you have to be attacked. If you`re going to be using stand your ground, if I`m being attacked that`s one thing, but if I`m just simply in an argument or some discussion, that`s different.

Read the whole statute. It says if you`re attacked you can use stand your ground if you have reasonable fear of your safety.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I want to go out to our callers. We have Maureen from Maine; she`s been so patient, waiting to ask her question or thought. Maureen, your question or thought?

MAUREEN, MAIN (via telephone): Hi Jane, it`s Maureen. Nice to watch you every night.


MAUREEN: I have a question that nobody`s kind of brought up on the show and that is why is it that Mr. Zimmerman did not identify himself to Trayvon as to being the neighborhood watch person?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s do a little round robin on that. Natalee Jackson, attorney for Trayvon`s family -- what do you know?

NATALEE JACKSON, ATTORNEY FOR TRAYVON MARTIN`S FAMILY: I don`t know any information about what he did or didn`t do. And that information is for a jury to decide. I don`t think that it`s appropriate to decide it in the media. It should go to a jury. He should be charged with this crime so that he can face a jury.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One of the problems with this is that there were two people there and one of them tragically is dead. And the other has said certain things that a large group of people don`t necessarily believe. And so that is part of the problem. Who said what, in that dark, rainy little area, while they`re having a confrontation, we don`t know for sure. There were no cameras there; that`s part of the problem. It`s part of the mystery of this case.

Now I want to go out to our producer, Selin Darkalstanian, cameras, she is monitoring a slew of Twitter and Facebook feeds, coming in real time. Give us a feedback, what are people saying, Selin?

SELIN DARKALSTANIAN, HLN PRODUCER: Jane, people are writing on our Facebook page.

Chad writes, "No grand jury, how disgraceful. They have all the evidence they need and more."

Cara saying "Trayvon`s backpack contained 12 pieces of jewelry, in addition to a large flat head screwdriver, a silver wedding band and earrings with diamonds."

Richard Richardson called Zimmerman "dimmerman" saying, "Dimmerman" is gangster to follow someone."

So these are all coming in, in real-time, and I`ll keep updating you as they`re coming in but these are the last three that we got in response to this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s very, very heated out there. I have a little bit of wire from the "Miami Herald" that explains what he`s talking about. The "Miami Herald" reports Trayvon`s backpack at some previous time, contained 12 pieces of jewelry in addition to a watch and a large flathead screwdriver, according to a school report which described the screwdriver is a burglary tool. He had been suspended -- three times he was suspended at the time that he tragically died.

Of course, Trayvon Martin`s family says that`s completely irrelevant, that he`s not the one on trial here. No one`s on trial at this point. We`re still waiting to see if anybody`s going to be charged. But your thoughts when somebody twitters something like that?

ROLONDA WATTS, TV PERSONALITY: It`s totally irrelevant. It has nothing to do with why this child is dead. And I keep thinking about what that funeral director said; that the body had no marks, it did not look as if he had been in any kind of fight. Will that be admissible?

I just -- there`s so many questions, but I believe that some of these things are to divert attention and as the attorney said, to throw a red herring and things. But that is all speculation anyway. Are you saying that he stole it? How do you know that? And what does that have to do with the fact that this child is dead?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What I would like everybody to do is remember what they were like when they were teenagers and teenagers do get into trouble. I got in trouble. There`s just things that I`m not going to talk about right now.

WATTS: All of us did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think all of us did.

Ok. One of Zimmerman`s attorneys maintains -- getting back to the "Stand Your Ground" law. That Florida law prevented the arrest of George Zimmerman immediately after the shooting, which is one of the reasons why there was so much controversy. That he was just allowed to go on his merry way.

Here`s his explanation from NBC`s "Today" show. Let`s listen.


HAL UHRIG, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN`S ATTORNEY: The Florida statute actually prohibits law enforcement from making an arrest under circumstances where self defense is claimed and it`s not absolutely clear that use of force was unlawful.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Richard Kuritz, you`re shaking your head. That was one of the reasons this got so controversial, is that he was -- essentially police seemed to accept his version of events and just allowed him to go on, using "Stand Your Ground" as an excuse.

KURITZ: Sure. Look -- there`s no statute that prohibits law enforcement from doing that -- number one. Bottom line is it`s a defense that can be utilized after a prosecution makes a decision to move forward. It is a defense. It is not something that law enforcement should be considering in advance. Law enforcement should contact the state`s attorney office. They should consult with it just like they did in this case and then make a determination; do they have enough probable cause to move forward? Can they prove the case beyond reasonable doubt? If they can do that then the "Stand Your Ground" will fall by the wayside. It will never be that. Everybody`s making "Stand Your Ground" the focus of this. It is not this.

And one last thing, one thing I can`t wait to hear is what the EMT said. The rescue personnel, what did they say about his injuries? And what did the medical examiner say about his injuries. I don`t care what a funeral director says about what that funeral director saw. A medical examiner is a trained professional. He`s going know what time it is. EMT`s going to know what time it is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m reading the police report. "I can observe that the back of Zimmerman appeared to be wet and was covered in grass as if he had been laying on his back on the ground. Zimmerman was also bleeding from the nose and the back of the head." That`s pretty much just quoting from the police report.

Listen, very quickly, some people traveling in Michigan early this morning were outraged -- it is outrageous. An electronic road side displayed a message that targeted Trayvon. I guess we`re going to show it to you right now but it calls the teenage boy a racial slur.

What is going on here?

JACKSON: Oh my goodness.

WATTS: Oh no. No way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy, what the heck is going on?

WENDY: Well, you know, I have to say that in the history of our species and our culture that racism rises whenever you`re in an economic deprived time. Whenever economic times are tough, people look to immigrants and people that are different from them saying they`re taking my job and this is why I have problems. And this is terrible to see.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s very, very, very ugly. We`re staying on top of this case.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sarah Jones, former captain of the Cincinnati Bengals cheerleading squad pled not guilty to charges of sex abuse. Jones is a former high school English teacher who is accused of having sex with a 16-year-old student.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Gorgeous NFL cheerleader, high school teacher, apparently teaching a lot more than reading, writing and arithmetic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My statement which was why are all teachers freaks in the sack which is my broad opinion?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight a bizarre twist in the NFL cheerleader turned teacher sex scandal. Sarah Jones a glamorous Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader accused of sleeping with her 16-year-old English student. And now in a desperate bid to get in touch with her alleged teenaged victim, she`s apparently willing to fork over $50,000. Sarah charged with first degree sexual abuse and her mom accused of trying to cover up the alleged affair.

Last week Sarah and her mom pleaded not guilty. They were released on $15,000 each on the condition that they stay away from that teenage boy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your honor, it would (inaudible) condition of bonding, no contact with the victim or his family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the light of the victim`s family here supporting these defendants today, your honor.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You heard him right. The alleged student victim and his parents support Sarah. It looks like Sarah`s willing to pay the big bucks to stay in contact with the boy. Her attorney wrote an e-mail to the judge saying "The victim`s parents and the Joneses are close friends and to impose a restriction on contact with the family is a hardship not just on the defendant, but on the victim`s parents themselves."

Of course, this isn`t the first sex scandal for the 26-year-old bombshell. Three years ago, Sarah sued the Web site, for saying she slept with a slew of football players and even had STD. And she was awarded $11 million but the owner of the Web site is appealing her victory.

Straight out to Nick Ritchie, founder of; well, you called her a name we don`t want to repeat when she had sex with football players, but she won that lawsuit. I know you`re appealing. Is it possible that you`re wrong and she`s right and her life imploded because of that and then the kids at school started thinking about her in sexual terms and the next thing you know, old Jed`s a millionaire, as they say.

NICK RITCHIE, FOUNDER, THEDIRTY.COM: Jane, I don`t think I had anything to do with it. It comes from her upbringing and the way her mother raised her. The people that submit stuff to, this isn`t me saying this stuff. This is her peers, her friends, her family members. It`s not me outing her and saying that she`s overly promiscuous in the sack, pretty much.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s say this. Sarah was very outspoken three years ago when these allegations or stories about her were posted. Listen to her describe the accusation against her.


SARAH JONES, CHARGED WITH SEXUAL ABUSE: Somebody posted that I had had two STDs given to me by a cheating boyfriend and that I had sex with him in the classroom at my school, clearly, obviously, knowing myself that it was false information, I was devastated.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Wells, radio host and attorney at 700 WLW, would they really charge her unless they had text messages between her and the boy that were incriminating?

LISA WELLS, RADIO HOST/ATTORNEY 700 WLW: No. You know what; the commonwealth of Kentucky is pretty conservative when it comes to indicting and what kind of charges. And when you look at this indictment, they are very conservatively charged. They can be proven without the cooperation or the consent of the victim, and so they have them. There`s no doubt in my mind, and probably in the next couple of weeks, we`re going to be able to see those.

Her attorney gets off suspension on April 24th. It wouldn`t surprise me at all if he holds a huge press conference in regards to this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nick Ritchie, your thought on this. Is this a morality tale?

RITCHIE: No. It`s funny because her attorney is kind of a fame seeker, the one that`s suspended. He calls himself the bulldog. So I know he`s champing at the bit to talk to the media. I`m just shocked --

WELLS: He`s dying, he absolutely cannot stand it.

RITCHIE: I`m just shocked at this whole thing Jane, because obviously, you know, the families must be close for them asking to pay $50,000 to actually speak to the --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, what a news day -- a lot of breaking news. I think we all deserve a little laugh break.






UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She would never leave those children, believe me. Those children were her life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At this time, the father is a person of interest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His estranged wife went missing. Relatives say Sid Torres threatened suicide.

SID TORRES: I`m going to get a gun and end it all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ever since (inaudible) -- it`s been a rocky relationship.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no evidence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m praying to God that she`s alive.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a mother of three vanishes shortly after taking steps to get out of her toxic marriage; police now taking a long, hard look at her estranged husband. Didn`t he threaten to quote, "Get a gun and end it all"?

The missing woman`s brother joins me exclusively tonight. On March 30th, Vilet Torres (ph) went to dinner with her new boyfriend who`s also a co-worker. Police told us the boyfriend is fully cooperative and is not a person of interest. Vilet`s estranged husband, however, is a person of interest.

According to an investigator with the Department of Children and Families, last week, a judge gave custody of Vilet`s three children to the maternal grandparents. That`s after he allegedly made a threat to quote, "get a gun and end it all".

Now, Vilet Torres`s brother Javier Blanco is my exclusive guest tonight. Javier, I can only imagine how difficult this is for you. I know this is tough. What do you think happened? What do you know? What are police telling you about the disappearance of your sister?

JAVIER BLANCO, BROTHER OF MISSING WOMAN: You know, actually, they haven`t shared any details with us. They are actually really concerned, you know, that anybody is going to release details and that may compromise the investigation. What I know is pretty much what I`ve seen on the news, what you`ve seen on the news. And that`s pretty much it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what about her supposedly toxic marriage? And what about her estranged husband? Apparently, what we just got in moments ago is that authorities are asking the family for DNA samples? So are you concerned about the husband who supposedly said something about taking a gun and ending it all? Now I don`t know that he said that. He, and his attorney -- invited on our show any time, we want to be fair. He`s not charged with anything. He`s not accused of anything. But what do you know about your sister`s toxic marriage?

BLANCO: I know they`ve had some issues in the past, you know, whether he`s being reviewed by the cops. I know that everybody is a suspect. At least that`s what they told me. So everybody, pretty much, is open for a discussion right now at this moment.

You know, I`m concerned just because I`m concerned about where my sister is. I don`t know where she is. I`m really hoping that she`s ok. I`m really hoping that if she is ok, that they find her. And I`m just, you know -- my family is just destroyed. We just don`t know what to do. It feels like a dream. It feels surreal.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joe Gomez, what do you know? You`re investigating this.

JOE GOMEZ, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: That`s right, Jane, this desperate search has continued on for a week now. A lot of Vilet`s friends and family say that she would never leave her three kids all by themselves. So at this point, many people are expecting the worst but we can certainly hope for the best though.

It is bizarre that her estranged husband would allegedly say that he was going to take a gun and end it all. Maybe even possibly hurt the kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side, we`re going to talk about bricks that were taken by law enforcement from the home of the missing woman. Are they the clue to solving this?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Joe Gomez, what do we know about the bricks?

GOMEZ: That`s right. Police are looking outside of Vilet`s home. They`re taking samples of these bricks on the flower bed. They say some kind of marking on the bricks, Jane, unclear if that DNA or exactly what that is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I have to say, again, we reached out to the attorney for the estranged husband. We did not hear back. But he is invited on any time. We`d love to hear his side of the story.

We can tell you, also, that it wasn`t police who said he was a person of interest. That came up from somebody from Child Services who said that in open court when they were discussing what to do about the children. So again, there is no suspect in this case. We do not know what happened to this missing woman. But we certainly hope that there she is; that she is found safe and sound.

And our hearts go out to you, Javier Blanco. I know as her brother, you are devastated. We are going to stay on top of this case.

Nancy is next.