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No Charges for Dad Defending Daughter

Aired June 19, 2012 - 19:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jane Velez-Mitchell, want to bring you in. And you know what? Treating our kids as victims, not as criminals, I think a great move by Minnesota.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Great move. I actually attended a sex- trafficking conference in the northwest in Portland for two years. And I learned so much about how, within 45 minutes of a young girl arriving or sometimes a young boy arriving at a bus stop, they`re approached by a pimp and often hooked on drugs, and then forced into prostitution. It`s horrific. It`s got to stop.

Now, tonight, we are starting with breaking news on a story that has really resonated with our viewers. Cops say a father catches a man attacking -- sexually attacking his 5-year-old daughter. The father fights back, accidentally kills his daughter`s attacker. Tonight, that young dad found out if he would face a criminal trial.


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, outrage strikes a small Texas town. Cops say a father beat a 47-year-old man to death after finding him sexually abusing his 5-year-old daughter. While Americans rallied behind this dad, saying he was simply protecting his daughter, his fate was put in the hands of a grand jury. Will he face murder charges? I`m taking your calls.

Plus, Jerry Sandusky`s wife, Dottie, takes the stand to defend her husband in the child sex abuse trial. What will she say about what went on in the Sandusky basement where alleged victims claimed they were raped by her husband? And you won`t believe what Jerry Sandusky`s attorney said on his way into court today that has some outraged. The very latest from inside the courtroom.

And it`s JVM`s most wanted, my national exclusive interview with a beautiful college co-ed who was viciously raped and beaten for more than an hour before her attacker escaped. Tonight, she`s determined to find this monster and bring him to justice. Join me as we hunt for one of America`s most dangerous fugitives.

Then, country superstar Willie Nelson joins me live tonight in his fight to save America`s wild horses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A father told authorities that a 47-year-old man who helps with his horses tried to sexually assault his 4-year-old daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 23-year-old father of the young girl that attacked the man after learning what was happening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He got what he well deserved. And you can say that nationwide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was just merely defending his daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The father ended up beating the man to death with his bare hands.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think he should be arrested for it. I don`t think any charges should be filed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would do the same probably ten times worse if somebody would have done that to my kid.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, we begin with breaking news tonight. Cops say a dad catches his daughter being sexually assaulted and kills the attacker with his bare fists.

Now, we have just learned that this father will not be charged for that killing.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Now, this is the crime scene. It`s a very small town, Shiner Texas. That`s where a young dad, just 23 years old, bursts in on a 47-year-old man he says was raping his 5-year-old daughter.

The father lunges at his daughter`s attacker and pummels him with his fists. Then the frantic father calls 911 because the man has stopped breathing. Listen to this 911 call played just moments ago by Texas law enforcement.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911. What`s your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need an ambulance.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need an ambulance. This guy was raping my daughter, and I beat him up. I don`t know what to do.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops announced that the dad who killed his daughter`s attacker will not be charged -- I repeat, will not be charged -- with any crimes, because a grand jury refused to indict him.

The people of Shiner, Texas, and all over the country rallied behind this dad. The dad says they conducted an investigation. And the D.A. said they found evidence that supported the father`s story that his 5-year-old girl was indeed being sexually assaulted.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The 5-year-old victim had sustained some physical injuries that were noted by the same nurse and were absolutely consistent with all of the witness` statements.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joining me now exclusively, the district attorney who handled this case, Heather McMinn.

District Attorney McMinn, thank you for joining us tonight. As you mentioned during your news conference, you`re not just taking the father`s word blindly for what happened. You have forensic evidence. What can you tell us about the forensic evidence that you gathered that corroborates the father`s story?

HEATHER MCMINN, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, the daughter had significant injuries on her body that substantiated the story that the father discovered her on the ground with the perpetrator on top of her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And did the DNA match up?

MCMINN: And there was no DNA done in this particular case. The physical evidence were scrapes and injuries to her person and some other evidence that was found on her person that substantiated the father`s story. This attack did not occur in a home. It actually occurred in a field on some very rural property outside of Shiner, Texas.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I understood that the little girl went to feed chickens during a family gathering. And then this scream erupted. And the father ran in and says he discovered this 47-year-old man pummeling -- excuse me, sexually assaulting the daughter and then he began to pummel the man.

MCMINN: Now, there was -- there was actually a witness that saw the child being taken by the 47-year-old man to a secluded area. That witness alerted the father that there was a man taking the child, at which time the father began searching for the child.

When he was looking for her, he did discover the perpetrator on top of his child and his pants were down. His genitals were exposed. The little girl did have some injuries on her that matched the stories of the witnesses that the child had been forcibly taken.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, that is a very, very interesting explanation. Now we are learning more from you, District Attorney, about how this whole case went down.

And of course here is more of the dramatic 911 call made by the father after he says he realized that he may have just killed his daughter`s attacker. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need some help. I owe it to her (ph). Come on, man. What the (EXPLETIVE DELETED). This guy`s dying on me!


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Former prosecutor, Wendy Murphy, the dad who pummeled this man to death clearly seems distraught in the 911 call. Does that factor into the equation when deciding not to charge him?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Oh, absolutely. Look, you know, if the guy were just angry and rageful and killing the guy and calling 911 boasting, "Hey, I just killed a guy who was attacking my kid," we might all have a different feeling about it, because that sounds almost like a sociopath, even though we all might think "I would do the same thing."

You want to believe that this only happened because this father was, in a sense, in the throes of such rage and out-of-control anger and protective feelings toward his child that he couldn`t stop himself. And you mix that together with the fact that we live in a country where our legal system has always allowed us to not only engage in self-defense but defense of others, especially defenseless kids.

I mean, I don`t know who`s arguing in favor of punishing this man.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, the entire country is actually rallying behind this man.

MURPHY: Exactly. As it should be.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Even before a grand jury decided not to charge the dad. It was clear the people of Shiner, Texas, were totally on his side. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody been talking about the same thing, they would have did the same thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think he should be arrested for it. I don`t think any charges should be filed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If somebody abused my grandchild like he did, I think he`d deserve everything he got.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Especially four years old. That`s terrible.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re not naming the dad. We want to protect the daughter`s identity, obviously. But we did some digging. And here`s what we learned about the man he killed.

His name was Jesus Flores. He has a criminal record. 2002, charged in Delaware with two counts of assault and harassment. He`s had nine addresses since 1993. None of them permanent.

Take a look at the map. Five addresses in Pennsylvania, two in Georgia, one in Texas, one in Delaware. Had an employer named, quote unquote, "Catholic Charities Northern." But we looked up the address listed for this charity, and guess what came up? A junk yard.

Michael Board, WOAI News Radio, you`re in San Antonio. What`s the reaction in San Antonio tonight to word that this dad, who pummeled this alleged attacker of his 5-year-old daughter to death, will not be charged with anything?

MICHAEL BOARD, WOAI NEWS RADIO (via phone): Well, yes, it`s a story that`s really grasped the whole state of Texas. And when I went out and talked to people about this, not only in San Antonio but in Shiner, as well, I had people telling me, "Forget charging this guy. Let`s give this guy a medal for what he did."

So it`s really not a surprise that this grand jury came back without an indictment in this case.

And you think about it this way. Even if there was an indictment, even if this went to trial, can you imagine the jury hearing the details of this case and still finding him guilty on any of this?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, I have to play devil`s advocate to a certain degree. That`s my job and my role here on this show. I don`t know if we still have Heather McMinn, the defense attorney, but I can also throw this out to Wendy Murphy.

If we don`t have the DNA on the child that matches up with the attacker, who`s deceased, is there always a sliver, sliver of possibility that this is -- that there`s some other back story to this? And I don`t ask that to be disrespectful. In general, I agree, my gosh, if somebody`s attacking your daughter, pummel them. And if he dies, well, so be it -- Wendy.

MURPHY: Yes. Or shoot him. Well, Jane, here`s the thing that I think you`re getting to -- you`re getting to an important point. We don`t like vigilantism, but there`s a difference between vigilante justice and self-defense or defense of a child.

Here`s the thing. I don`t think we need DNA evidence or vaginal trauma because what we know to be true is that this guy`s there, his pants are down, genitals are out. That`s enough. You don`t have to wait for anything else to happen before you jump on the guy.

I think what you`re worried about that`s legitimate is what about that person who goes into some secret location, beats the heck out of her, shoots a guy to death and just makes up the story -- "Oh, he was attacking my child" -- as an excuse to get away murder? You don`t want that to happen.

So it`s great that the D.A. found corroboration. Because I think, you know, there`s really a whole lot of, you know, natural human emotion behind the desire to kill. We don`t like to kill, even in self-defense or defense of others. But this case, it was the right thing to do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Nancy Grace has more on this very emotional story that has really galvanized the nation. 8 p.m. Eastern only here on HLN.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking developments and shocking testimony in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse trial. His wife, Dottie Sandusky -- we knew this might happen, she has been called to the stand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So she`s going to humanize her husband because, let`s face it, he was made out to be not such a nice guy through these eight accusers who took the stand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the "New York Times" interview there was also -- remember, it was videotaped. It wasn`t just a print interview. And there was a point about where Jerry Sandusky said, "I`m attracted to children, young boys." And then you hear his attorney in the background saying, "Not sexually."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Think of all the thousands of kids who have gone through Second Mile. I mean, it`s thousands to eight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So again, the boys who took the stand, what do you think of them? What do you think of them?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think Jerry could be guilty?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, what a dramatic day in the child sex abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky as his wife of 45 years takes the stand in his defense.

Now, take a look. Here`s Dottie Sandusky coming into court today. There you see. She`s looking down. Together Dottie and Jerry adopted six children. Their house was reportedly often filled with kids.

Many wondered if she would address that claim from one accuser that he screamed for help while she was in the basement and she was upstairs but that he got no response from her.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dottie Sandusky took the stand for about 45 minutes. And she, as expected, defended her husband fully and completely.

Bottom line here, she said she never heard anyone yelling for help from the basement, which was another question that we heard during the prosecution`s case. And she didn`t know of her husband ever inappropriately touching any of these boys.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jerry Sandusky faces 51 criminal charges for sexually abusing at least ten boys over, oh, one and a half decades. If he`s convicted of all charges, he faces more than 500 years behind bars.

His lawyer caught some heat today when he compared this trial to a soap opera. Listen to Amendola`s own words as he walked into court.


JOE AMENDOLA, ATTORNEY FOR SANDUSKY: Stay tuned. It`s like a soap. You have to wait and see.


AMENDOLA: If you know the answers, it takes all the excitement out of it. I think it`s "General Hospital." Actually, it could be "All My Children."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: "All My Children"? Is that the appropriate thing to say when you`re representing the defendant in a child molestation trial?

What do you think about this so-called soap opera? Give me a call: 1- 877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to the -- Mark Brennan, editor for Mark, you were in court today while Dottie Sandusky was on the stand. What was the most important part of her testimony from your perspective?

MARK BRENNAN, EDITOR, FIGHTONSTATE.COM: I don`t think the most important part was necessarily what she had to say. We all realized -- I think we realized, that she was going to back her husband 100 percent, say that she never saw anything inappropriate.

What struck me was that there was really no emotion: no outrage, no tears. When you think of somebody whose husband has been accused of these heinous crimes, you would really think there would be some sort of emotion. And it really struck me as a counter to a lot of the alleged victims and their families who were crying, who were angry, who were mad, we saw none of that out of Dottie Sandusky. And that kind surprised me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, apparently she was not grilled upon cross-examination. This whole thing lasted something like 45 minutes. Why wasn`t she grilled?

MURPHY: Oh, I thought it was brilliant. And really a very strong statement by the prosecution. When you can say no questions to this kind of witness, what you`re really saying to the jury is "She didn`t even make a dent in our case. We fully expected she was going to lie for her husband. You know she`s lying for her husband. Of course he wasn`t raping them in front of her."

And, you know, it`s worth a whole lot of nothing. You know, it`s not an important witness. That`s how I think the jury feels.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There is a frenzy of speculation, of course, right now over whether Jerry Sandusky himself will take the stand since this trial appears to be reaching his crescendo. If so, will the prosecution then use unaired portions from Sandusky`s NBC interview right after his arrest. Listen to this.


SANDUSKY (via phone): I didn`t go around seeking out every young person for sexual needs that I`ve helped. There are many that I didn`t have -- I hardly had any contact with who I have helped in many, many ways.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Let`s rewind and listen to that again. Because it`s so significant.


SANDUSKY: I didn`t go around seeking out every young person for sexual needs that I`ve helped. There are many that I didn`t have, I hardly had any contact with who I have helped in many, many ways.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Extraordinary comment. And on the other side of the break we`re going to analyze it with Beth Karas, correspondent, "In session." She`s been covering this trial from the beginning, because, let`s face it, it`s not a numbers game. It doesn`t matter how many thousands or even tens of thousands of children you`ve helped. All that matters is, did you do something untoward to ten of them?



AMENDOLA: Stay tuned for more. It`s like a soap. You have to wait and see.


AMENDOLA: If you know the answers, it takes all the excitement out of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it "Days of our Lives"?

AMENDOLA: I think it`s "General Hospital." Actually, could be "All my Children".


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is the attorney for Jerry Sandusky, comparing his case to "All My Children" when this is a child molestation trial. Kind of blows my mind.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Beth Karas, correspondent, "In Session." You`ve been all over this trial. I think Joe Amendola was responding to, will Jerry Sandusky take the stand. What do you know tonight?

KARAS: Actually, we don`t know for sure if he`ll take the stand. Amendola alluded to it in his opening statement without actually committing to it. He just kind of stepped up to the line, he`d like to tell you a story, you may hear from him, that kind of stuff. And we really don`t know.

I expect that they`re evaluating the 24 witnesses they`ve put on the past two days, the 21 witnesses the commonwealth put onto determine whether or not it will help or hurt him to take the stand tomorrow.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I mean, what kind of defense has this been? Beth, what is the strongest point they`ve made so far?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. They`ve had a couple of themes. Character witnesses who have talked about his great reputation. OK. You know, they weren`t there when these kids were saying they were being abused in the basement or shower. But OK. His reputation in the community is nice.

They really went after accuser No. 4, who was the first witness to testify who has a lot of corroboration, he kept the gifts Sandusky gave him. He kept letters Sandusky sent to him.

They attacked him in several ways. One was to put on a psychologist to say Sandusky has history on a personality disorder. That explains the letters. The letters weren`t because he was trying to consummate a relationship with an adolescent boy. They had a tape recording of the first interview of accuser four, one of the police officers. And they are suggesting that the police put words into his mouth. And basically encouraged him to embellish.

And one of the character witnesses was a character witness against No. 4. She`s an Iraq veteran, grew up with him and said he has -- No. 4 has a reputation for dishonesty and embellishment. They`re trying to neutralize him as a witness, take those counts out of the case. They did that with one other, but not as hard.

VELEZ-MITCHELL Let`s go to the phone lines, briefly. Kenny in Indiana. Your thought, seven or thought. Kyra.

Caller: How are you?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m doing great. What`s your thought?

CALLER: My question is I feel sorry for those little boys that had had to go through this all again and up there he`s denying everything. I mean, can you imagine the trauma that these young men suffered?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Mark Brennan, you`re there, the idea that now after they testify, they have to be accused of being liars, essentially. Does that double their trauma, do you think?

BRENNAN: Well, yes. I mean, it`s, Milk, got to testify. They have to be accused of being liars, essentially.

The other thing I`m wondering about is when this is all said and done, if he is convicted, do they keep searching for alleged victims -- or for victims, whatever you call it at that point. You know, is this something that`s going to stop? How many more -- how many people are also out there that something may have happened to?

So I don`t think this is a -- this story`s going to end any time soon, regardless of what the verdict is.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to Britney Staider`s (ph) nightmare.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brutal rape still unsolved.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sketch of the suspect but little else to go on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to do the great things I want to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s something no mother should ever have to hear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe she`s a targeted victim.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You need to know that when you send your kid off to college and you think they`re safe, they`re not safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The prolonged and brutal beating and rape.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kicking and screaming, especially when he was choking on me. He made me take off all my clothes. I`m still alive. Still kicking. And I`m going to find him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight in "JVM`s Most Wanted", we are hunting down the sexual predator who brutally raped a college co-ed. Brittany survived and has vowed to do everything in her power to catch this monster. Here`s a sketch.

Cops believe this man crept into Brittany`s Stathers off-campus apartment near Vincent University in Indiana through an unlocked sliding door just before dawn. The brazen intruder slipped past Brittany`s female friend. She was sleeping on the couch. Then this man viciously beat, raped and even photographed Brittany as she fought for her life.

When Brittany asked, "Why me," the attacker said, "You`re quiet and small and I like small and quiet." Photos show Brittany nearly a month after the assault. Look at this. Still badly bruised and recovering from her severe injuries.

Joining me now in a national exclusive is this brave young woman -- Brittany and her mom. Thank you both for joining me tonight. I know it`s extremely difficult to re-live those moments that occurred more than three years ago, but it`s important because we want to bring this predator to justice.

Brittany, reading about your case, I understand that this nightmare lasted more than an hour. I love when you said, "Well, I`m alive and so I`m here and I want to win." And we want to help you win against this monster.

Can you tell us in your own words what you remember about that horrific event?

B. STATHERS: I remember everything. I just remember waking up to a noise and seeing a figure right at the end of my bed. And he would sit down right beside me and put his hand high up on me and made me ask questions. I told him to leave and he wouldn`t. And he grabbed my cell phone at one point in time. And that`s how we determined the time, too, is that in the very beginning he said that he had a ride and that he needed my phone to use the number. But he couldn`t push the numbers because of his gloves. And then later in the attack I was able to get to my phone underneath my bed and through that time it was over an hour.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, he took photographs of you in the process of beating you and sexually assaulting you with his camera? With your camera?

B. STATHER: Yes. I think it was a cell phone that he had. It had a flash on it. And he did show me one photo that he took of me. And he said it was a bad photo and he beat me for it. He would choke me until I would pass out several times.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh. This is a horrifying story. And I`ve got to tell you that I applaud your courage in speaking about it. I know it`s difficult. But it`s a very important thing that you`re doing tonight.

Cops don`t believe this was a random attack. Listen to what the lead investigator told our affiliate, WXIN.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, there are specifics in the crime that lead us to believe the person knew both ladies, even though he may have mixed up some of the main information as to who was who.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, investigative reporter, Jon Leiberman, HLN contributor, you brought this case to our attention. We thank you for that.

Here`s what I get the sense of and I believe cops agree, that this had to be somebody who targeted Brittany, therefore knew Brittany. He chose her because she was small and quiet. He wouldn`t have known that if this was a stranger attack since he burst into her bedroom before dawn.

Isn`t that the key that he was somehow around watching her and tracking her so therefore he had to have had some connection to that area?

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. He was lurking. And Brittany was his prey. And that`s what`s so sickening here. At one point during the attack he told Brittany he was a Navy SEAL. This was all about power and control. And because of Brittany`s spirit, that`s why she survived this attack.

There were several times during the attack that she lost consciousness, but she kept fighting and fighting. She was determined. And that`s why I could never forget about Brittany because she has been so determined and so courageous; her story has never wavered. And there`s this, police have DNA on this guy. And police truly believe that this guy either has attacked before or will attack again. And at some point that DNA will hit and they will know who this predator is.

And we all need to work together for Brittany`s sake, for her mother, to bring this guy to justice because this can`t happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, there was a report that the last person to leave the apartment before the attack was also a friend of the woman who was sleeping on the couch who apparently didn`t wake up during all of this, which I find very perplexing.

Now, I do not want to say this individual`s name because police say he`s not a suspect, but apparently he had some kind of connection to the building. And he initially refused to take a polygraph.

Here`s the description of the actual suspect who committed the attack who was wearing gloves. It would look from this sketch wearing a cap as well. But what about this other individual -- maybe I`ll put that out to Debra, the mother of Brittany. What have you been able to learn about those individuals?

D. STATHERS: Well, the girl on the couch -- I mean, she said she didn`t hear anything. And the boyfriend that was with her -- I just, I think it`s funny he left at 2:30 or so in the morning and the attack happened at 4:30. I mean, you know, it doesn`t make sense.

Brittany actually told them before he leaves make sure you lock the door. She had gone to bed because she had a test at 8:00 in the morning. And she had to study for this test and get her rest. So that`s definitely what I --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I would assume that, Jon, the cops have gone through and really traced this person who was asleep on the couch, this friend, this female friend, and then her boyfriend who leaves just a couple hours before the attack and who apparently didn`t want to take a polygraph initially. What do you know briefly?

LEIBERMAN: Yes. They`ve questioned about three dozen people including the people that you just spoke of. That`s why we`re doing this tonight because police need a name. They need a little bit more information to corroborate what they have.

Call police. Call us anonymously. It`s that one piece of information that is keeping police from corroborating and contradicting some of the witness statements. That`s what`s going to solve this case. That`s what we need tonight for Brittany and her family.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Somebody knows something out there. Brittany, again, I want to congratulate you for your courage speaking about something that so many people can`t do. And it`s important.

You are one of my heroes. I wish you the best of luck. And we`re going to stay on top of this. You are a winner because you`re alive. And we`re going to find out who did this to you and we`re going to bring him to justice. Thank you so much.

D. STATHERS: Thank you.

B. STATHERS: Thank you very much.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Willie Nelson live next. But first your "Viral Video of the Day".






VELEZ-MITCHELL: You won`t believe what the federal government is doing to our country`s wild horses.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s using our tax dollars to forcibly round up wild horses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we can never let it happen again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Our country`s wild horses forced from the only home they`ve ever known. Critics say the move amounts to torture.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s time we change this.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight growing outrage over what our government, the U.S. Government, is doing to America`s wild horses. They`re spending your tax dollars to round-up these innocent animals in northern Nevada.

Critics say it`s the worst time of year because there`s extreme heat and it`s foaling season. Mares are having babies and they`re being chased by helicopters for miles until they`re trapped or fall from exhaustion or injury.

Watch as a chopper literally hits one of these terrified animals. The U.S. government claims it`s trying to protect horses from drought and manage the rain. How is this helping these horses?

My special guest tonight, music legend, Willie Nelson -- perhaps America`s most famous horse lover. Horses have been his companions and at times the inspiration for his music. Listen to this.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: I am so honored to welcome to our show the one and only, Willie Nelson. Willie, thank you for being here. Tell us about your passion for horses? And do you feel that there`s a lack of respect for horses within our culture?

WILLIE NELSON, SINGER: Well, first of all, thank you, Jane, for helping us bring all this to the attention of the American people out there, who I believe like me love the horses. And we remember what the horses meant to us when we first run into them on this planet. They were our transportation and they were our friends.

And we don`t eat horses over here. We don`t slaughter horses over here. That`s just not what we do. It`s not what we`re about. And I appreciate you helping us talk about it, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I really appreciate you being here because when Willie Nelson talks, Americans listen. And hopefully the U.S. government listens.

Now, we do have some good news. Huge victory for horse lovers and all animal advocates -- just today Congress has just moved to reinstate a ban on slaughtering houses within the United States. An amendment was tacked onto a massive farm bill today. Horses as you say, Willie, helped us settle this great nation. I think it`s fantastic that the horse slaughter ban has been extended for five years. But shouldn`t it be permanent?

NELSON: Absolutely it should be permanent. And I think most Americans -- 80 percent of Americans are opposed to horse slaughter. And I think we should call our legislators now and urge them to pass the horse law repeal and end slaughtering in this country forever.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And getting back to this wild horse round-up, it`s so cruel -- again, because this happens during foaling season. Mares are giving birth to babies, foals. They are vulnerable.

Horse advocate, Laura Leigh gave us an eyewitness account of what she saw.


LAURA LEIGH, HORSE ADVOCATE: These babies and mares that aren`t getting the nutrition that they need stampeded towards that trap by helicopter. (inaudible) fractured, family`s split up where the baby goes into the trap or the mom goes into the trap and then they have to continue to have to chase these horses. It`s pretty rough to watch.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Willie, are you upset that our tax dollars go for this kind of thing?

NELSON: I am appalled that this is happening. I`m watching it happen right now. I`ve been watching the TV for quite a while watching these horses being abused and killed. There`s more horses in captivity out there of our wild horses than they are running free. I think there`s 50,000 in holding pens and there`s only 30,000 out there running free.

And we`ve got millions of acres of land. And Madeleine Pickens has been very up front and forward in helping horses, offering land that we could -- you know, a lot of people would like to take care of horses. I have a few that I have adopted and we`re taking care of them.

But there`s a lot of people out there that would do the same thing, I think, if they were offered the opportunity. But mainly we need to get this stopped and quit slaughtering our horses.





VELEZ-MITCHELL: Willie Nelson loves horses and we`re here talking about why the U.S. government is using helicopters to round up wild horses at the worst possible time during extreme heat and foaling season. The Bureau of Land Management, which is part of the Interior Department, under Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar told us helicopters are a practical way to take excess horses off the range.

Why on earth, Willie Nelson, are they considered excess horses? If they were starving as the bureaucrats claim, then they wouldn`t be reproducing at the rate they are. They seem quite healthy looking from the photos.

NELSON: There`s plenty of acreage out there for the horses. There`s no need -- the thing we need to do is turn them loose, take them back out there, and let them go where they`re supposed to be, where they feel healthy and they can roam free and we can -- our cowboys can take care of them for a lot less money than we`re spending right now. So I think that - - go ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If you want to help out, go to and follow the links. You can get involved with these groups. But the main thing is, tell the Interior Department.

Willie, finally, why do you think the government`s doing this? They say they manage the range for everyone, including the mining industry, the recreation industry and livestock. It seems like horses are the only ones that aren`t bringing in money.

NELSON: Well, you mentioned the magic word, you know; everything practically in the world boils down to the bottom line, money. And I think this is one time when we should consider the horses and not so much the money.

But like I said before, we can hire some cowboys to take care of them. Let the cowboys make some money taking care of these wild horses. Let`s not kill them.



TOM HOLLAND, FITNESS EXPEWRT: You don`t need a lot of time, you don`t need a lot of equipment. Don`t waste your money on expensive equipment that`s you`re not going to get use.

If you have dumbbells, great; if not grab those.


HOLLAND: I don`t know why suddenly somebody said you need to go to the gym for an hour. You`re going to do work out here that would take the time it takes you to get to the gym.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: I wasn`t so jazzed about the idea of like hitting the floor. But you ought to try this. If you just take two minutes. You can do this while you`re watching TV.

HOLLAND: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It can transform your life if you do these things for a couple of minutes.

HOLLAND: Exactly, the number one reason people say they don`t have to work out -- they don`t work out is because of time.

This is really basic and I know you were talking about your neck, just relax your neck and it`s not a big movement -- really starting to work the abs, the six-pack.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: See, I like this because I have never been able to do sit ups.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Our continuing adventure to slim. Guess what, my dumbbells match my shirt. Now that you`ve made the decision to tone up, our whole point here is you don`t have to buy an expensive gym membership. And you don`t have to get all this expensive equipment.

I`m here with my fitness magician and he`s yours too, Tom Holland.

Tom, you have been telling us and I have been incorporating into my life that you don`t really need to invest, you just need to do little things scattered throughout the day.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So for example, I am now committing, I live on the third floor, I take the stairs up, unless I`m carrying a lot of bags, I made a point of taking the stairs up. What are some of the other things we can do?

HOLLAND: You know, grab some dumbbells, you know. You can do so much with these Jane. You can use soup cans, whatever you have around the house. And just -- I want to talk about the quick workout mistakes.


HOLLAND: So like, right there. What muscles do you think you`re working? You`re not sure, right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have no idea.

HOLLAND: Open your hands up. That`s one of the ones that`s confusing -- and just squeeze up. That`s the correct way to do a bicep curl.


HOLLAND: So there`s confusion about that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. I didn`t even know this was a bicep.

HOLLAND: Exactly, the front of your arms. You want to use weights that are challenging. So one huge workout mistake is women lift weights that are too light, men lift weights that are too heavy. So you have to be challenged. If you`re --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is five pounds, right?



HOLLAND: You feel that? And then the other, the second real common, you know, mistake is people go too fast, so just slow it down. So with the heavier -- or the lighter weights rather, if you slow it down -- you feel that?


HOLLAND: Now you`re engaging the muscle. So that`s the thing. When we`re only working out a couple of minutes a day, we want to do it effectively.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s my thing. Dave come on here and hold this so I can show what I`m doing. Dave, our fabulous floor manager.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have now taken in the park when I`m walking my dogs, I go like this. So I`ll be doing this about ten times.

HOLLAND: So no one bothers you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh people are like, "Who`s that freak? Who`s that freak?"

HOLLAND: Well, that`s very smart Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s got a bunch of Chihuahuas and I`m doing this.

HOLLAND: Just make sure your weight is back on your heels. That`s it. Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, so I`m doing it wrong.

But now I see, I`m doing it right.

HOLLAND: You feel that?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What else -- ok take the stairs, now I`m doing this.

HOLLAND: You said you`re walking your dog, when you`re walking your dog, do some lunges. Just a little bit. Again people will stay away from you. No one will bother you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I look like a homeless person when I`m walking my dog.

HOLLAND: But that`s it. You know, 10 strides, go to regular walking. You`re (inaudible) throughout the day.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re saying like bend down like this.

HOLLAND: Exactly. Then go to the park bench, remember the chair exercises we did?


HOLLAND: Stop at a park bench, tie your dog off -- there you go.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We can all do it. It only takes a couple of seconds --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- every day, scattered.

HOLLAND: Work it in.