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Could Theater Murders Have Been Prevented?

Aired August 2, 2012 - 19:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hope police stay on it. JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL starts right now.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, could the alleged shooter in the Colorado massacre have been stopped before the night of the attack?

New reports coming in that Holmes` psychiatrist went to the school concerned about him all the way back in early June. But reportedly apparently, allegedly, police were never notified. What happened? Did somebody drop the ball?


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, huge developments in the tragic Colorado shooting. New reports say the psychiatrist treating James Holmes was so worried about his behavior that she warned the university`s threat team more than a month before the massacre. But it reportedly "never came together." Why not? Could somebody have done more to stop this? We`ll tell you about the stunning explanation that`s now surfacing.

And we`ll get reaction from the mother of a young woman who was killed in the attack.

Plus, a blockbuster twist in an alleged love triangle that led to murder. Andrea Sneiderman was accused of having an affair with her boss. He admits he gunned down her husband at their child`s daycare.

Now, she`s been charged with her husband`s murder, too. Was she the puppet master who engineered the murder, reaping millions in life insurance? I`ll talk to the lawyer for her former good friend.

And the judge and ex-cop, Drew Peterson`s murder trial rejects calls for a mistrial. But is the jury now tainted? I`ll talk to Peterson`s attorney. And I`ll take your calls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were reportedly warning signs Colorado massacre suspect James Holmes might turn violent. This happened before he allegedly went on a deadly rampage at the movie theater.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We`ve got rifles, gas masks. Now I`ve got an open door going into the theater.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Hold that position. Hold your suspect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sixteen, I got seven down in theater nine. Seven down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The psychiatrist who treated James Holmes, the accused Colorado gunman, told her colleagues that Holmes could be a danger to others. Something that he said to his psychiatrist caused her to contact the University of Colorado threat assessment team.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No reaction at all as the judge announced that he had been -- 142 criminal counts had been filed against him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A hundred forty-two counts including first-degree murder.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s happening?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody`s shooting in the auditorium.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is every child`s worst nightmare of being in the dark. And you have the bad guy come out to get you.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a huge development in the Colorado movie theater massacre. Did the university know that accused mass killer James Holmes was a deadly threat more than a month before the shooting rampage? Could this massive loss of life, 12 dead not to mention 58 injured, have been avoided with just one phone call to the police? A call that reportedly, allegedly, nobody made.

Dr. Lynne Fenton, the psychiatrist you see right here, treated James Holmes. Affiliate KMGH is now reporting that she was so worried about Holmes` behavior that she alerted several members of the University of Colorado`s threat assessment team about six weeks before the deadly rampage at the movie theater. Six weeks.

She reported Holmes to the university`s Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment Team, known as the BETA Team. That team is supposed to deal with individuals who are threatening, disruptive or otherwise problematic. She reportedly did this in the first ten days of June.

But a source tells our affiliate it just, quote, "never came together," end quote, because at the time Holmes was in the process of dropping out of school. All right. It never came together. What does that mean? Listen to this.


BARRY SHUR, DEAN OF THE UC-DENVER GRADUATE SCHOOL: My understanding is his preliminary examinations were around June 7 or so. And he withdrew June 10. He initiated the paperwork on June 10. And I may be speaking out of line, but it`s my understanding he has not been back on campus or the program since that time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So he was dropping out. So what?

Now, remember, the calls to BETA Team members reportedly happened in the first ten days of June, a full six weeks before last month`s deadly shooting massacre.

Listen to what else was happening in those first ten days. June 7, Holmes reportedly fails a major oral test at the university where he was a Ph.D. candidate. That very same day he buys an AR-15 assault rifle, according to ABC News.

On June 10 Holmes officially withdraws from his Ph.D. program in neuroscience. Two days later, June 12, he loses access to secure areas of the school. All this time it just never came together for the threat assessment team.

Did the University of Colorado drop the ball here? What do you think? Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to a very special guest, Shirley Wygal, mother of shooting victim Rebecca Wingo. Rebecca, who had served our nation in the Air Force.

Shirley, thank you for joining us tonight. And again, our deepest condolences. What is your reaction to this new information that the shooter, James Holmes, reported the alleged shooter, to University of Colorado`s threat assessment team six weeks before he allegedly murdered your daughter?

SHIRLEY WYGAL, MOTHER OF VICTIM (via phone): Well, it certainly changed the way I feel. I don`t feel the same today that I did yesterday. And because I can -- I can deal with a random act of violence, but not with a preventable loss of my daughter. And I really think the university dropped the ball. That`s just my personal opinion.

And I think that I`d like to see the psychiatrist investigated thoroughly. And I`m sure she will be. And I`d like to see the university`s responsibility investigated thoroughly. And I`m sure it will be. But a preventable massacre is pretty much unforgivable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you considering taking any action whatsoever?

WYGAL: I am -- I am interviewing attorneys, because I know that Rebecca would want the legal system to take its course as far as her killer, and anyone who is culpable should be held responsible. Because she`s not here. She`s not here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shirley, our hearts go out to you. And thank you so much for your insight.

I want to go to Jim Spellman, CNN correspondent. You`re there at the scene where this tragedy occurred. What do you know about this threat assessment team?

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that, as you mentioned, it`s for when somebody, anyone in the university community encounters somebody they perceive to be threatening or disruptive, here`s a few of the things that could trigger the BETA Team.

Someone who`s disruptive in class, suicidal thoughts or depression, making threats to harm themselves or others, substance abuse, or a sudden change in behavior or appearance.

Now, we don`t know why he was seeing the psychiatrist. But we do know that all, according to KMGH`s reporting, all in that immediate time not only is he beginning to buy the guns and is he dropping out of school, but we have indication that he may have dyed his hair orange in that period.

Yesterday, Jane, I went up into the mountains to a town called Hot Sulfur Springs and I spoke with a gun shop owner who says three law enforcement agencies -- FBI, ATF and the local county sheriff -- visited him and said that they believe that Holmes was visiting a shooting range in that area in that area -- in that June time frame and that they believe his hair was orange at the time.

So we still don`t have enough to put together everything. But a lot of indications that things were changing fast in James Holmes` life in that June time frame.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, again, our KMGH affiliate reports that a source tells them because Holmes withdrew from his Ph.D. program, the threat assessment team had, quote, "no control over him," end quote. According to this source, their investigation "never came together" because he was dropping out of school.

But Joey Jackson, at this very same time, Holmes was living in housing for those affiliated with the university. In fact, at the time of the massacre, he had booby-trapped his apartment at this facility for people who are associated with the university, with 30 homemade grenades, ten gallons of gasoline. We all know bomb squad worked around the clock to disengage the booby trap that could have blown the entire apartment sky high. If he was in student housing, didn`t the university still have some control over him?

JOEY JACKSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know what? They would be a measure of control, Jane, but there`s a couple of things to keep in mind. The first, of course, is if it could have been prevented it just compounds the horrific tragedy that we have. But there`s a distinction between a concern that a university has and an imminent danger and threat. And when you talk about the law, the law imposes liability and a responsibility on a medical health professional to warn the person who is threatened and indeed notify the police.

But what we have to learn, Jane, is what was the threat? Was there any threat? Was it specific? Was it identifiable? And did it rise to the level of concern of immediacy such that the medical health professional under Colorado law would have had to report it?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jeff Brown, if it was enough for her to call the threat assessment team members, does that resonate?

JEFF BROWN, ATTORNEY: No. Because I think she`s a part of the threat assessment team. And we don`t know -- as he was just saying, we don`t really know what it is that she`s concerned about. Is it substance abuse? Is it depression? Or is it something as suicidal thoughts as that`s been leaked out?

Until we know exactly what the problem was or what it was that got her to be so concerned, we`re really jumping to conclusions here. She may not be at all liable in this. Or she may very well be liable because she ignored something that was serious. But we`re jumping the gun until we know exactly what it was that got her to be so concerned. And then we can take it from there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m not pointing the finger at her or anybody. She`s the one who actually did something. I`m wondering why the university didn`t take any action that resulted in something significant that we know about. Or maybe they did. Maybe they did, and we just haven`t heard about it yet. More on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was this one guy who was on all fours crawling. There was this girl spitting up blood. There were bullet holes in some people`s backs, some people`s arms.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We all remember these moments after this terrifying attack. This cell phone video from YouTube.





VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So we`re trying to figure out what is the law here when it comes to a psychiatrist notifying somebody about a patient. And here`s the statute. We looked it up.

Doctors, nurses, mental health professionals and their staff are required to break confidentiality and warn of potential victim and alert law enforcement if a serious threat is suspected.

So forensic psychologist Jeff Gardere, spell that out to us in plain English. What does that mean?

JEFF GARDERE, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: It means it`s not just the talk, because somebody could be kidding at the time, or maybe they`re upset for five or ten minutes and then maybe take back the threat that they`re making to hurt someone else.

But it also has to be that that psychiatrist, a mental health professional in their mind, in their professional view, feel that this person is a legitimate threat to somebody else out there.

So it`s not just about warning the victim, but it`s also protecting the victim. And that means detaining that person who makes the threat, contacting the police, and warning the victim. And you have to try to do all three.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think that there was enough information -- or just do we not know? In other words, take a look at him in court. He had the red hair. He had the bizarre expressions. We`re going to show you that in a second. Take one look at this guy, you go this guy`s off. This guy -- but is that enough? Let`s say he walked into her office looking like that and saying crazy things. Is that enough?

GARDERE: Well, using the armchair quarterbacking, looking back at that -- I wasn`t there, of course, I would say that is a definite, no pun intended, red flag that here`s a person who`s psychotic, changing his appearance and may have said that he`s losing it. He has a lot of rage.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but let me say this, there are a lot of people walking around all over the place -- and I see them on the streets every day -- with purple hair, red hair, green hair. I mean, people do dye their hair. So it`s hard to know for sure.

GARDERE: But this person was seeing a psychiatrist. So there was a mental health issue.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. OK. Let`s go out to the phone lines. Stephanie, Colorado, thanks for your patience. What`s your question or thought, Stephanie?

CALLER: Hello?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi, Stephanie. What`s your question or thought?

CALLER: Hi. My main thing with this -- and thank you for taking my call. I`m more concerned about why, instead of -- rather than her reporting it to the University of Colorado, why didn`t she go directly to the police if she thought he was that big of a threat?

And I`m going to kind of liken it to the whole situation that went on with Penn State, whereas if you`re a mandatory reporter, you -- why are you -- why are they having them report it to the university when there`s a chance nothing`s going to be taken care of? Why don`t they do it -- you know, send it directly to the police department?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you make a very good point by connecting it to the Penn State University crisis involving Jerry Sandusky.

Joey Jackson, culturally, universities are not just money-making institutions. They`re not corporations. They have -- they have to be held to a higher standard. They`re institutions of higher learning. They deal with impressionable minds.

JACKSON: Jane, it`s a very fair point. And obviously, the student body has to come first, their safety, the surrounding community. And there`s no question about it.

You know, there`s a quote in the case, and it says that the privilege ends where the public peril begins. And that comes from the Tarasoft (ph) case which started this whole duty to warn.

But I think what has to be examined here is that this whole BETA Team was designed for people in this particular circumstance. And she may not have foreseen the magnitude of what he was doing.

And remember, quickly, Jane, that the legal duty is really imposed when it gets to the point where there`s a clear, specific and imminent threat.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But here`s my problem. My problem is it was alarming enough to initiate the process.

JACKSON: It was.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And contact members of the BETA Team. But it wasn`t apparently alarming enough to follow through. That`s...

JACKSON: It`s a fair point, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... if they didn`t follow through. One of the problems is we don`t have all the information here. So we have to be very careful. We want to be fair.

On the other side we`re going to talk about potential legal liability.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A marked car behind the theater table (ph) side. Got a suspect in a gas mask. Hold the air one second. Car in the rear of the lot -- the white car in the rear of the lot, is that the suspect?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I`ve got a gas mask. I`ve got an open door going into the theater.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. So the psychiatrist noticed something was wrong. A lot of people are comparing it to the Virginia Tech shooting. This is the hideous Virginia Tech shooting. Thirty-two people died. And there was a poetry professor who talked about the shooter and really was extraordinarily upset in the Virginia Tech case.

So in the end at least two families sued Virginia Tech for negligence and were awarded $4 million each. Jeff Brown, criminal defense attorney, could the University of Colorado face lawsuits?

BROWN: Oh, absolutely. You know, the first thing that`s going to happen is they`re going to conduct a criminal investigation. And they`ll get her records to see what this concern is. And that`s what we`re talking about here. What is the concern that she had that at least got to the level that she need to tell the threat assessment team?

Then the question becomes when we look at this file and we see what it is, if it rises to the level that she was required by law to tell law enforcement and she did not, then she`s going to make the university liable, because I believe she was working for the university. So she`d be liable not only for her own treatment but also, if she`s working for the university, she would make them liable, as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, at least she took action. She actually contacted several members of the BETA Team.

The question is maybe she did something and, I don`t know, is it possible that somebody else was not so excited about pursuing this? It`s the summertime. It`s not the height of classes. People are off doing other things.

But I want to go to Shirley Wygal, the mother of one of the beautiful young women who died, Rebecca Wingo. Your thoughts about this. I know you want to weigh in.

WYGAL: I do. The caller asks why the universities don`t stop these things. And I just spent eight years in a university myself. And the answer is cronyism. They`re a very tight-knit group.

And I went in and looked at the ethical principles of the American Psychiatric Association. And just so you know what their ethical code requires, she -- she did not have to report anything. Unless he came out and said, "I am going to kill someone," she didn`t have to report anything.

Apparently, she saw red flags. She saw someone changing. Someone who is obviously disturbed and making big changes. You don`t drop out of school at the level he was at. That just doesn`t happen. So red flags, she saw them. She said something to her colleagues. They didn`t do anything about it. But even in the code of ethics it says that she can -- she can ethically hold the right to dissent within the framework of the law from giving them anything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say this. I`m sorry to interrupt. And I know you`re trying to make your point. We have to say this, though. We don`t have all the information. We don`t want to -- at this point I certainly do not want to point the finger.

My heart goes out to you, but more will be revealed about this tragedy. Thank you all so very much. Thank you, Shirley.

On the other side, another huge controversy.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Andrea Sneiderman is playing each and every one of us for a fool.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That widow, Andrea Sneiderman, has just been banned from the courtroom. This after a flurry of testimony claiming she was cheating on her husband before he was shot.


ANDREA SNEIDERMAN, WIDOW: It was unfathomable and unbelievable that it could be him. Someone that proposed to care about me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were there. You were there from the beginning.

Am I wrong about you being there?

HEMY NEUMAN, CONVICTED OF MURDER: I don`t know see how you can place me there. I did not pull the trigger on the gun that killed Rusty Sneiderman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Neuman is sick. And secondly that he has been manipulated by Andrea Sneiderman.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a stunning development in a cold-blooded murder outside a Georgia daycare. A man gunned down, executed while dropping off his young son at preschool. Tonight, that dead man`s wife has just been locked up behind bars.

We just got Andrea Sneiderman`s mug shot. There she is. This woman now formally accused of taking part in her husband`s murder.

Rusty Sneiderman was shot to death in the parking lot of an Atlanta area daycare center two years ago. Police arrested Hemy Neuman, who turned out to be the boss of the victim, Rusty Sneiderman`s wife, Andrea.

Cops say the killer had been having a secret extramarital affair with Andrea. Neuman was convicted in Sneiderman`s murder about five months ago.

Now Rusty`s wife, Andrea, made headlines during Neuman`s trial because of her bizarre testimony. Like this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many times did you call Rusty?



SNEIDERMAN: Zero times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why didn`t you call Rusty?

SNEIDERMAN: Because they just told me something happened to Rusty. What are the chances that he`s going to be answering his cell phone?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They didn`t tell you what happened to Rusty.

SNEIDERMAN: Could you repeat the question?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A grand jury this morning indicted that woman, Andrea Sneiderman, on eight counts including malice murder, attempted murder, making false statements, perjury and even insurance fraud. Now, the indictment states that Andrea Sneiderman and Hemy Neuman conspired together to murder Rusty so they could enjoy a life together and she also got $2 million on insurance policies. Unbelievable.


ROBERT JAMES, DEKALB COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Anyone that aids, abets, encourages, conspires, participates has the same culpability as the individual charged; in layman`s terms, if you help, you can be charged like the person who did it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Andrea Sneiderman`s attorneys deny the charges and say their client will be vindicated. They`re invited on our show any time.

So, what exactly does the D.A. have on Andrea Sneiderman that convinced the grand jury to throw the book at her? I`m taking your calls, 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Straight out to WSP Radio reporter, Veronica Waters; Veronica, what is the role according to police of Andrea Sneiderman in this tragedy?

VERONICA WATERS, WSP RADIO REPORTER: Well Jane, some of the most explosive evidence against Andrea Sneiderman, according to this indictment, are Andrea`s own words. They`re using the testimony that she actually gave in March of this year at Hemy Neuman`s trial against her. They say that it is clear, not just from the testimony but from meetings that she had with Hemy Neuman from this affair that apparently started in April of 2010 that she was involved in this murder plot to kill her husband which of course she has denied.

They say that she gave Hemy Neuman Rusty`s schedule the day of the killing. They say that she gave Hemy Neuman information about a walking path near the couple`s home. You`ll remember that several days before Rusty was actually killed by Hemy Neuman, there was a prowler reported in their yard. That was Hemy Neuman sneaking around that very night trying to get to Rusty.

And so they`re saying that the information that Andrea gave to Hemy before the killing as well as the testimony that she gave in February of this year is all counting against her now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And Sneiderman`s testimony on the stand during her alleged lover`s trial could be called nothing short of truly bizarre. Watch her respond to this question about why she didn`t call Rusty when she found out that her husband had been in a, quote, "accident".


SNEIDERMAN: I was on the phone with him on the entire way to the day care. They were keeping me company in the car because I was beside myself.


SNEIDERMAN: No time to call Rusty in there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And there was this moment when Andrea`s former best friend, Shana Citrone, testified that Andrea had also called her before arriving at the hospital to tell her Rusty had been shot even though Andrea testified she only found out about the shooting after she got to the hospital.

But this awkward hug got Andrea banned from court.

I`m going to go straight out to Jay Abt, the attorney for this witness, former friend of Andrea, Shana Citrone. What happened after your client got this hug and walked out of the courtroom?

JAY ABT, ATTORNEY FOR SHANA CITRONE: Jane, it was pretty shocking. What happened when we got outside the courtroom was that Andrea confronted Shana and said, "You`re no longer my friend, I want to have nothing to do with you. And I understand why you testified the way you did, but you`re going to now have to live with what I`m going to do to you." Which is a pretty ominous statement. So at that point we felt it important to notify the D.A.`s office and authorities that this was, you know, a veiled threat of tampering with a witness.

I`m actually pretty surprised that Robert James and the D.A.`s office didn`t add additional counts to the indictment for witness tampering because she also, during the course of the trial, spoke with executives from GE who were sequestered in a witness room. And that was why, you know, one of the two reasons why she was banned from the courthouse during the trial.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, one of the perjury charges -- this is a huge indictment -- involves Andrea Sneiderman`s denial. No, no, no, I did not have an affair with my boss, Hemy Neuman. She said it over and over again. Even though one witness testified she saw them dirty dancing and grinding on each other. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Greenville, South Carolina waitress says Sneiderman and Neuman were not shy as she served them drinks and watched them dance during an overnight trip.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Grinding and his hands on her rear end. And she was embracing him as well.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Psychologist Jeff Gardere, as you look at Andrea Sneiderman, what do you make of her affect?

JEFF GARDERE, PSYCHOLOGIST: Just listening to her words, the way that she behaves, but directly with that affect just overstating her position. A lot of rage, appears to have a really severe mood disorder -- you know, making those kind of veiled threats tells me that this is a person who may in fact be very dangerous. And I guess we`re finding out she is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well Jay Abt, you`re the attorney for her former BFF, is Shana happy and relieved that this woman`s behind bars?

ABT: Well, let me put it this way. I think in focusing on the facts of the case, what`s really important to focus on is the timeline of phone calls. You know, Rusty gets shot at 9:08 a.m. on the morning of November 18th, 2010. At 9:25 -- at 9:25, the day care center calls Andrea. And according to Andrea and the day care center, there`s no discussion about Rusty being shot. They simply tell her there`s been an accident and she needs to come there immediately.

Shortly thereafter she makes a phone call to Don Sneiderman at 9:36 a.m. saying that Rusty`s been shot. How could she have known that unless she was in on it? Then she calls my client at 10:15 a.m. and says the same thing, "Rusty`s been shot." She had no information about Rusty being shot. The only way she could have known that had she been in on a conspiracy to dispose of and murder her husband. So I think that pretty much says it all if you look at the timeline of facts that --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I get you. Jay, I get you. Jeff Brown, you`re a defense attorney. Briefly, what can she do in her own defense?

JEFF BROWN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, she should have shut up. I mean that`s the problem that so many of these defendants have is that they go to trial and they get convicted because of what they`ve said. So you can`t unring the bell now. The damage is done.

But, you know, the one thing that she does have going for her or her lawyers in this case is the main witness against her, her co-defendant so to speak has been found to be mentally insane. At least, he was found guilty of insanity. So there`s a whole issue there about his mental health. So his testimony against her, I think a good defense lawyer`s going to be able to do some things with that.

And that leaves you then though with the circumstantial evidence. And you just got to try to hammer home to this jury that it`s all circumstantial and that`s not enough. But boy, what a great problem for my law school students to use, you know?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What a horror show. Unbelievable.

Now, time for our "Shocking Video of the Day". It comes from Texas where a woman crashes head-on into a convenience store taking out the clerk in the process -- boom. The driver said she hit the gas when she meant to hit the brake. Oops. Oops. Well, we`re very happy to say that everybody walked away from this insanity, ok.

The store of course looks like, well, it was hit with a pinata. Unbelievable -- let`s watch it one more time, one more time. Let`s see. Got to watch this -- boom.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Your "Viral Video of the Day". Oh.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Prosecutors say Peterson broke into Savio`s home and murdered her.



KING: What happened?

PETERSON: Don`t know. I don`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Charged with murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

PETERSON: We got information that she drowned in the bathtub.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How it became a homicide, I don`t know. It`s a freaking accident.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stacy Peterson, Drew Peterson`s fourth wife, went missing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You say the media`s bothering you. (inaudible) and it`s harassment. But don`t you think we`re helping in the search for Stacy?

PETERSON: Well, go on and search. You`ve been through my house a few times. It looks like she`s not here.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A packed courtroom on pins and needles today waiting to hear if ex-cop Drew Peterson might walk because of a huge prosecution blunder; turns out that prosecutors narrowly escaped a mistrial. The big question now, is the jury tainted?

Drew Peterson, whose fourth wife, Stacy, is missing, is on trial for murdering wife number three, Kathleen Savio. A state witness lived down the street from the Petersons when Savio and Drew Peterson`s marriage went south, went sour. The neighbor testified yesterday that Drew Peterson accused him of helping Kathleen change the locks on her doors. And he said that he believed Drew Peterson placed a bullet in his driveway as a way to intimidate him and send him a message.

The defense jumped out of their seats with objections demanding a mistrial arguing the jury was poisoned against their client. But instead the judge simply had the bullet testimony stricken from the record.

So, my question to Darryl Goldberg, we`re delighted to have one of Drew Peterson`s attorneys with us tonight. Darryl Goldberg, will jurors be able to forget they ever heard that a neighbor believes that Drew Peterson, your client, put a bullet on the driveway, which is very sinister, creepy and just all-around impressionable?

DARRYL GOLDBERG, DREW PETERSON ATTORNEY: I sure hope so. I mean there`s an old saying you can`t unring the bell or put the toothpaste back in the tube. But I think that these jurors, particularly in a case like this, they`re going to be very conscientious of the judge`s instructions. And that admonishment he gave them was pretty clear.

He actually specifically highlighted nothing about the bullet factors into your consideration. And I sure hope that they got the other message which was the prosecutor purposefully, intentionally asked a question that she knew she`d get an inadmissible answer. So hopefully that sticks out in their mind a little bit more than the bullet.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, this is a mega-trial. And having covered other mega-trials, they always go off the rails. They never go as planned. Already we`re just starting in this trial and there`s been this controversy, calls for a mistrial. Do you see this as sort of Exhibit A in what`s likely to happen as this trial proceeds, Darryl? Expect the unexpected.

GOLDBERG: Well, look, the basis of our motion wasn`t just the bullet. It was the cumulative effect of all the different things that they`ve done so far that we believe as Mr. Peterson`s lawyers were inappropriate. And it began from opening statements and trying to sneak in a photograph that was off limits. And the theme has generally been about trying to introduce evidence that`s going to dirty-up Mr. Peterson.

It`s got no relationship to the charge in this case. But certainly an inference to take is that he`s not a nice guy or he`s an intimidating fellow. And it`s off limits. It`s inadmissible. It`s inappropriate. And they knew it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Darryl, people might say well, maybe that`s because they don`t have a lot of hard forensic evidence because Jean Casarez, "In Session" correspondent who`s there at the trial, originally the police officers, you see he was a cop, decided that there was an accident like this. But paramedics, there was testimony today saying that there was something that was very odd about the crime scene, the bathroom where Kathleen Savio was found dead. Tell us about that.

JEAN CASAREZ, "IN SESSION" CORRESPONDENT: You have to wonder, is this case going to hinge on a bath towel? And that was the whole issue today. And they had paramedic after paramedic come in who had seen the bathroom or looked in the bathroom. And they said there was no bath towel by the bathtub. And I`m talking about a large bathtub. You can`t see the pictures, but it`s a light blue large bath towel.

So then the question is, well, in the picture you see on the screen there is a bath towel, right next to her body as her body`s in the bathtub. Well, if she`s deceased in the bathtub and they`re all saying there was no bath towel when they found her, then who put the bath towel there? And why was the bath towel put there?

Prosecutors are going to try to say it was Drew Peterson and it was to stage the scene to make it look like an accident.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I got to say, Jean, getting to Darryl`s point, my gosh, this is the best they have to offer? The prosecution`s case some bath towel or no bath towel?

CASAREZ: This is one point.


CASAREZ: This is one point of a circumstantial case. You know you talk about the case going off the rails. We know because prosecutors said they filed a motion with the court that they want to try to have a man come into this courtroom and testify that Drew Peterson offered him $25,000 to kill his wife. That`s going to be another fight in this courtroom.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Ok. Darryl Goldberg, we`re out of time. But I assume you`re going to be fighting that one tooth and nail.

Thanks for coming on our show and I hope you come back as this mega- trial proceeds. I`m sure there`s going to be another twist and turn in the coming days. Thanks.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, "Pet of the Day". Oh, my gosh, Romeo. Wow, you`re so handsome.

And let`s take a look, who do we have here? Well he`s going (inaudible) today, but we understand. Coco, you are a beauty. These are the pets of our viewers. Please send your pet pics to



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Uproar over fracking, Governor Cuomo of New York deciding whether to approve fracking in five New York counties. Critics say chemicals are pumped into the ground during a natural gas drilling to break up rock and end up polluting our ground water, allegedly even causing sometimes fire to burst from faucets.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Protests over the weekend as a growing number of Americans say they are afraid of fracking, a controversial way to extract natural gas. You`re looking at a "Stop the Frack Attack" rally in Washington, D.C. So, is fracking the environmental disaster these protesters say it is, or is it clean energy that we need as its proponents claim?

The new documentary, "The Sky is Pink" claims the natural gas industry is well aware that fracking contaminates ground water. The film`s director Josh Fox took aim on this show at the fracking industry.


JOSH FOX, DIRECTOR, "THE SKY IS PINK": We uncovered their internal science documents. Like very similar to the memos that the tobacco industry had in their drawers revealing that they knew the tobacco was harmful. We found these memos and we found these documents and PowerPoints and they`re in the film and they show the gas industry knows full well that they have leaking wells. They`re leaking at astronomical rates across the globe.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, we get both sides so we`ve invited a representative of the natural gas industry. Peter Robertson, SVP, senior vice president at Natural Gas Alliance.

Here`s the thing. The critics say these harsh chemicals are used to break up the shale in which the natural gas is contained. And they say the industry doesn`t reveal the most dangerous chemicals used. Can you tell us what chemicals are used in this process?

PETER ROBERTSON, SVP, NATURAL GAS ALLIANCE: Well, sure, Jane. Thanks very much for having me on, so that we can address these issues. The natural gas industry is voluntarily disclosing the chemicals in the hydraulic fracturing fluids. There`s a Web site called It`s been put together --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can you tell us some?

ROBERTSON: Well, there`s a whole range of chemicals. There`s as many as 600 different chemicals. And the chemicals vary from well to well, depending upon the geologic conditions that the companies encounter in those wells. But if you go on, if you go on the Web site --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can you give us one or two chemicals, just mention one or two?

ROBERTSON: Sure, there are things like guar gum. There are biocides that are used to make sure that the pipes don`t scale so that you reduce the ability to get the fracking fluids down the pipe and reduce the ability to get the gas out of the ground as well. I beg your pardon?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to continue this conversation on the other side. We`re just getting started. Thank you, sir. More in a second.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re talking fracking, with Peter Robertson of the Natural Gas Alliance. What about these claims that the fire in the faucet is caused by fracking, or that livestock keels over after drinking fluid that is from fracking? What do you say?

ROBERTSON: Well, Jane, that notion of taps being lit on fire is one of the most dubious parts of what Josh Fox is putting out there. Josh Fox knew when he made his film that the Colorado state investigators looked at the instance that he put in his film of a tap water being set on fire. And they found that the water well had been drilled into naturally occurring natural gas beds. It had absolutely nothing to do with the production of natural gas in Colorado whatsoever.

It`s that sort of fear-mongering that`s unfortunately out there too much. And it`s the kind of thing we`re trying to counter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s why we had you on. And thank you for answering some of the tough questions. And we will continue to explore the whole issue of fracking.

Nancy`s next.