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Mom Hires Detective to Search for Missing Cheerleader, 15
Aired August 22, 2012 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know who`s really passionate about saving money on food, not letting it go to waste? HLN host Jane Velez-Mitchell, my good friend and colleague. She is so passionate about this. Remember this? She even went Dumpster diving to prove it.
Jane, I`ve got to ask you. You and I have talked so much about food waste over the years. I`ve got to ask you: what do you do to avoid having to throw away groceries like this?
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Well, I learned a lot going out there with those freegans and Dumpster diving and then taking the fruits and vegetables and making a dinner out of them and eating them. The food was perfectly fine. And one of the things is when you are slicing vegetables, use all the vegetable. Like I ended up making very thinly sliced broccoli stems and frying them in garlic and oil, and they were absolutely scrumptious. So, so much of the vegetable that we have, we actually waste, when we can use more of it.
Also, don`t go out and buy something that you`re not going to be able to eat before it goes bad. So you might go shopping more often. That`s an opportunity to go to a farmer`s market once a week, get fruits and veggies, and eat them. Over the course of the week, just enough, enough so that you`re not buying a whole bunch of fruit and veggies that are going to go to rot before you can eat them.
So it`s like -- it`s like when you go to dinner. You don`t want your eyes to be bigger than your stomach. We shouldn`t waste. There`s too much starvation in the world.
And tonight, was a beautiful young cheerleader snatched right from her home? Gabby Swainson`s mom came home early Saturday morning to her daughter`s alarm clock going off, only her daughter was nowhere to be found. Mom and police say she is not a runaway. We`re getting to the bottom of this mystery tonight with Gabby`s mom and her private eye. Live next.
VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, the frantic search for a beautiful missing cheerleader. It`s a torturous mystery. Fifteen-year-old Gabrielle Swainson`s mom had to go to the office in the middle of the night. When she came home, Gabby was gone. No signs of forced entry. Only her cell phone missing. So what happened to this gorgeous teen? Tonight, I`ll talk live to her distraught mother and the private investigator she`s hired.
Plus bombshells in the Drew Peterson trial. A witness says under oath that the one-time cop asked him to find a hit man to kill his third wife, Kathleen Savio, who later turned up dead in the bathtub. Peterson is on trial for murdering her while his fourth wife, Stacy, remains missing. Could this star prosecution witness put the former cop behind bars for life? We`ll take you inside the courtroom. And we`re taking your calls.
Also, what happens in Vegas, well, sure didn`t stay there. Photos surface of handsome British royal Prince Harry stark naked, allegedly playing strip billiards in a Vegas hotel room. But what does his grandmother, the queen of England, think about the third in line to the throne`s wild party antics? Oh, Harry!
ELVIA SWAINSON, GABBY`S MOM: I believe she is still alive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hundreds of volunteers are going door to door.
SWAINSON: I have to bring my baby home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To make sure they recognize and remember this face of missing 15-year-old Gabrielle Swainson.
SWAINSON: At this point, nothing. The phone is going to -- goes straight to voice mail.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The girl whose mother has no clue how her daughter vanished or where she is.
SWAINSON: I didn`t see on her bed -- and I panicked. I froze at that moment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She came home from work around 7 a.m. Saturday morning to Gabby`s alarm clock going off, but no Gabby.
SWAINSON: At night I can`t even sleep. I am driving around in my car, yelling her name out.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live.
Tonight a frantic mom in South Carolina finds herself in the middle of a terrifying mystery. Where is her 15-year-old daughter? Elvia Swainson is my exclusive guest tonight.
When she left for work around 3:45 in the morning Saturday, her daughter Gabby was sound asleep in her bed. When Mom returned about four hours later, Gabby`s alarm clock was going off, but her bed was empty. Gabby had vanished without a trace. Everything she might need -- we`re talking clothes, purse, wallet -- were all left behind except for her cell phone. Police tell us there were no signs of forced entry, no signs of foul play at the home whatsoever. Neither Gabby`s mom nor police believe she ran away.
Here is Gabby on stage with her band. We`re going to show that to you in a moment.
So where is this beautiful teenager who was excited to begin her sophomore year of high school tomorrow? I want your thoughts. Help us out here. Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.
Straight out to my exclusive guest, Elvia Swainson.
Elvia, thank you for joining us tonight. Our hearts go out to you. We want to be helpful. I cannot imagine what these last few days have been like for you. So let me begin with this question. What has this been like for you? What are you going through?
SWAINSON: I feel like I am in a -- still in a dream, actually, and I haven`t awakened from that dream yet. I am -- my heart is torn out. Everyone is telling me to continue to be strong, and I`m continuing to try to be strong every single day.
The only strength I can pull from this is from the good Lord above. He`s giving me the strength to continue to try to search for my daughter.
Every day is a new agenda, what strategies I can, you know, think of to get going and find my daughter and bring her home.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s jump into that. Let`s jump into that. You last saw your daughter Gabby early Saturday. You say you gave Gabby her cell phone before leaving for work at about 3:45 a.m. You told us Gabby`s alarm goes off every morning at 5:45.
So first of all, let me try to get a sense here. Where do you go at 3:45? You`re going to work Saturday. You come home at 7:30, and why would Gabby have her alarm set for 5:45, if that`s a Saturday? Is there a particular reason why she wanted to wake up that early on Saturday?
SWAINSON: I only believe that her alarm clock is set already. We normally -- sometimes we go to church on -- the first service at our church, which is at 7, and she does take an hour to get dressed. So I can only think -- the only think I can think of is that she may have gotten her days mixed up and had already set the alarm clock. Because she is not a procrastinator. She would do things way in advance. And so I don`t know if she purposely set it for Sunday, or if she mistakenly set it for Sunday morning.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Now you and police agree, Gabby doesn`t fit the profile of a runaway, not in her behavior, her demeanor. Look, she had lots to look forward to. She just made the cheerleading squad, which, gosh, all you women who go for that want to -- that`s a huge victory.
She had her clothes, her backpack ready. She was excited to start her sophomore year. Tomorrow she was supposed to start. So my question to you: did she have any friends that you were concerned about? Did she have a boyfriend? Was there anybody else in the house? Can you hit all those questions? Because we want to -- we want to cover all the bases here.
SWAINSON: OK. No one else lives in the house. My daughter, I`m not sure -- I don`t believe she had a boyfriend. Well, let me just say that over. She does not have a boyfriend.
Recently, she was getting excited about a young guy who was interested in her. I know the young man from way back in the eighth grade. She knows him from way back in the eighth grade. And she was a little excited that he had shown some interest in her again. So that right there told me that, you know, she really did not have a boyfriend.
And the way Gabrielle and I communicate every day, we talk about things every day. I would have known if she had a boyfriend. Of course, we don`t know everything.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, OK. And there was nobody else in the house?
SWAINSON: No, ma`am, there was no one else in the house.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Now, I`m sorry. I`m just trying to move through a lot to try to be helpful, because we`ve got some experts here that we also want to go to and you have a private investigator. Let`s recap and review.
Gabby`s purse, her wallet, her credit cards, her phone charger, her keys, her clothes all found in her room. The only thing missing, her phone. Gabby`s phone is one of the ways to track her.
Now very quickly, my understanding is, Elvia, that the first time you called it rang, but then the second time it went to voice mail. Is that true?
SWAINSON: That is true.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. So...
SWAINSON: I called...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Go ahead, I`m sorry.
SWAINSON: Yes. I called and as soon as...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead, I`m sorry.
SWAINSON: I called as soon as I realized or was trying to get my senses together as far as where she was. I immediately grabbed the phone and called, and it rang and rang, no answer. It might have rang about six to eight times. I`m not sure. I didn`t count. But after that, it hung up. And I tried it again two or three times afterwards, and it just went straight to voice mail.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Hold on one second. T.J. Ward, private investigator, former police officer, what does that indicate to you? Because it`s one thing if it`s off from the get-go, but if it rings once a lot and then the next time you call it`s off, what does it signify?
T.J. WARD, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Somebody has turned that phone off.
One of the good things that can happen here is law enforcement has the ability not only to do a triangulation of that phone and can pinpoint where that phone is or last calls are, but they can also go in and pull any voice mails, any text messages and get all that. That needs to be done very quickly, because it takes time to compile that information with phone carriers. So it`s real important to do that.
And apparently, they did get on this rather quickly, the mother did, and incorporated the private investigator to try to follow up and make sure that`s done.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Chandra Cleveland-Jennings, you`re -- again, this is an exclusive interview. You`re the private investigator hired by Elvia Swainson. My question: set the stage here in terms of the apartment. Was the door locked when -- when Mrs. Swainson left, presumably she locked the door. I don`t want to assume anything. On the way back from work, did she find the door locked or open?
CHANDRA CLEVELAND-JENNINGS, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Well, Jane, first of all, thank you for having us to get this national attention to get the word out about Gabby.
But as we go by habit. We take our keys and put it in the door and unlock the door, not knowing if the door was opened or if it was locked. And that`s exactly what Elvia did on that morning of coming back, was turning the key in the lock and opening the door. So we can`t say whether it was already unlocked or if it was opened or what, but that`s what happened on the day of return.
And you also asked earlier about the alarm clock. The alarm clock just wasn`t set for that day at 5:45 a.m. Because we knew that it went off at that time only because the following morning it went off again.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, OK. It`s one of those that go -- OK, I want to bring in Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, law professor at New England Law, Boston. What do you make of it?
WENDY MURPHY, LAW PROFESSOR: Well, you know, if I had a nickel for every time we covered a story where something nefarious happened between 3 and 6 in the morning. I mean, it`s just extraordinary, isn`t it?
I think that police probably know a lot more than they`re letting the public know about. I have no doubt that, if she`s had any online relationships and/or conversations with people about whom the police are interested, that they know that.
If she did leave on her own -- I mean, the mom wakes her up at 3:45 in the morning to give her her cell phone back. So she`s awake at 3:45 in the morning. Did she talk to anybody? Did she text anybody? Did she call anybody? Did she go -- did she stay awake or did she go back to bed? I`m like to ask Mrs. Swainson.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes, Elvia, let`s address that. Was she asleep when you left for work at 3:45 in the morning? Or was she -- did you wake her up to give her her cell phone at 3:45?
SWAINSON: At 3:45 in the morning, I gave -- I shook her, "Gabby, Gabby, here`s the phone. I`m about to run off to work." She`s groggy. She`s turning over. She takes the phone, and she goes back to sleep. So completely being awake...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. I`m going to ask you -- I`m going to ask you to pause one second. We want to get through all this. We`re going to take a brief break, and we`re going to take calls from our viewers and we`re going to continue to investigate. Stay right there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`d like to introduce you to our band now. We have Gabby on guitar and vocals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Gabby Swainson, a budding star there in the denim jacket singing. Beautiful young lady. Just made the cheerleading squad. About to start school -- school tomorrow, 15 years old. And she vanished right from her bed. Her mom went to work on Saturday morning, came back and her precious daughter`s gone. We`re trying to figure out what happened to Gabby.
Let`s go to the phone lines. Shawna, Massachusetts. Your question or thought? Shawna.
CALLER: Yes, hi, Jane. My question is that the mother was -- she had to go to the office at 3:45 in the morning. What kind of work does the mother do and what kind of office would you be going to at 3:45 in the morning?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Elvia, you want to clarify all of that?
SWAINSON: Yes. My normal work hours is 8 to 5 p.m., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. I -- sometimes we have projects that we have to get completed by a certain date.
On this particular time I did have a project that I had to get completed by Wednesday. I thought about it. Sometimes it`s not just me but other co-workers. Sometimes we go in the office a little early just to get things caught up. And that was what my plan was Saturday morning, was to get up, go ahead and get the project completed so that I could enjoy the rest of the weekend with my daughter. So this is actually -- I work for an insurance company.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, wow, OK. And now, let me just ask you about giving your daughter the cell phone at 3:45 a.m. Why did you have the cell phone? We`re just trying to paint a picture so we understand sort of the whole scene. You had her cell phone, and then you`re leaving for work very early in the morning. And you woke her up and said, "Here`s a cell phone." And then she went back to sleep or how did that work?
SWAINSON: Well, Gabrielle and I have, you know, agreed on me getting her phone back every night by about 8:30, and this is just a time management type of thing, because sometimes the teenagers will stay on the phone a little longer than they need to, continue texting a little longer than they need to. And this was just a time management type of thing that I was working on with her that, yes, I will allow you to be on your cell phone, but you have to have a cutoff time. I`ve always been strict on that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. All right. I think you`ve answered that. And I just want to continue, because we want to -- we want to solve this and help you find your daughter.
Ten years ago Elizabeth Smart`s parents endured the same nightmare that you`re going through. Elizabeth was actually snatched from her bedroom.
Now, their prayers were answered. Elizabeth was found alive, safe and sound nine months after someone who had done yard work for the family abducted her from her bedroom.
And so Elvia, I want to ask you, because there`s different types of abductions. And we pray that your daughter is found safe and sound, as was Elizabeth. But has there been anybody in your life, anybody hanging around, doing yard work, for example, or a friend that you feel like, I`m not so sure about this person? Maybe they had a drug problem or an alcohol problem or they`re just behaving strangely? Anybody like that?
SWAINSON: Well, I do have a close friend that was helping me with some remodeling in my house. That`s about...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A male?
SWAINSON: I don`t have a -- yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is this a male? OK, this -- you had a male who was helping around the house. Explain that. And Chandra, if you`d like to take it, go ahead.
CLEVELAND-JENNINGS: Yes, I would like to. Yes, it was just a friend that was helping her with some odds and ends of repairing a floor that had water damage. And they became friends, and that`s about it, that we know and have the information on him.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Have police interviewed him?
CLEVELAND-JENNINGS: Yes, they have, but we can`t share that information with you from their interview.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Interesting. We`re going to take a brief break, take more calls. And we`re going to get to the bottom of this, if we can. We want to find this beautiful, beautiful girl.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m going to introduce you to our band now. We have Gabby on guitar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s 15-year-old Gabby in the denim jacket singing. She`s talented, she`s just made the cheerleading squad, about to start school tomorrow, except we can`t find her. We don`t know where she is. We have an exclusive interview tonight with her very, very frantic mother, who has hired a private investigator to try to find her beautiful daughter.
Let`s go out to the phone lines. Valerie, in Georgia. Your thought or question, Valerie?
CALLER: Hi. I want to just ask the mom, are you aware how many social sites she`s actually on and perhaps she met someone online that is aware of her whereabouts. Because a lot of times if you put pictures up online, Google has a way where you can zoom in to the pictures to get the exact address where you are. And...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. Great question. Elvia, do you want to address that?
SWAINSON: I`m not aware about Google doing anything as far as giving addresses out.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, was she on social media? Was she on social media?
CLEVELAND-JENNINGS: Right, I can answer that for you, Jane. I can answer that for you, because that`s exactly what my priority of getting started in the investigation. And I did a cell-phone forensic on all of her social media pages, from her Twitter to her Tumblr to her Facebook and to her e-mail account. I was able to rule out any recent activity except with one person that she had a crush on recently that most of her texts came from.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who is that? I mean, I don`t want a name, but is that a young man? And have police talked to him? Briefly. We`re almost out of time.
CLEVELAND-JENNINGS: Yes, we have spoken to him. He`s ruled out as anything done. And that`s the same young man we mentioned earlier. But all her social media and all the contacts in it have been contacted by me. By me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Elvia, we only have a couple of seconds. If your daughter Gabby is watching, what would you like to say to her?
SWAINSON: I would like to say, Gabby, I love you. You know I do. I don`t think this is something that you did on your own. I don`t think you would have done this at all. I believe you. I love you. God is with you. All the church members, all the community, everybody is pouring out their love to you. We want to see you back alive and well. I don`t think that`s anything impossible for God to do and, therefore, I believe you are coming home soon.
Whoever is watching, anybody that`s watching, if you know anything, have seen my daughter, please contact my private investigator, Chandra Jennings, or contact the police department, Richland County Police Department.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we also have -- I want to say we have a number on the screen, Elvia, 1-888-CRIME-SC. So please, or just call 911. If you know something, reach out immediately. We want to help this mother find her precious, beautiful daughter.
Our hearts go out to you, Elvia. We`ll stay on top of this. If you get any information, please let us know immediately. We will bring it to our viewers. Thank you, and our hearts are with you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big day in the Drew Peterson murder trial.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s the former police officer accused of killing his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On March 1, 2004, Kathleen Savio was found dead in her bathtub.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Savio told them Peterson said he could kill her and make it look like an accident.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Drew Peterson knew there was going to be a property fight, and he didn`t want to split any moneys, the house or his pension with anybody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Five years later Peterson was indicted, accused of murdering her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her ex-husband, Drew Peterson, is on trial for her murder.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And is a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stacy Peterson allegedly said he killed Kathleen Savio.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today we`ve got a guy who says, hey, Drew Peterson told me he`d pay me 25 grand to kill his wife.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had to kill Stacy Peterson, because she was going to talk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a husband and father accused of the unthinkable. Ex-cop Drew Peterson accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill his third wife. After she dies under very mysterious circumstances, his fourth wife then disappears.
Ex-police officer Drew Peterson now on trial for the murder of wife number three, Kathleen Savio; she was found dead in a dry bathtub. There was no water in it. Her hair was bloody. There was a gash in the back of her head. There were bruises on the front of her body.
Her family immediately suspected Drew Peterson, but despite their pleas at the time, cops decided it was an accidental death. It was only after Drew Peterson`s fourth wife Stacy vanished that police re-examined wife number three`s so-called accidental drowning and decided, well, yes, it`s no accident, she was murdered.
And in court just hours ago we heard dramatic testimony that months before she was found dead, Drew Peterson allegedly tried to hire a hit man to kill her. "He asked if I could find someone to take care of his third wife." That is what a witness told the court today. The defense attacked the character of the witness, but that might not make a difference. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION": If you`re trying to find somebody who will help you to kill your wife, you`re not going to go for a choir boy. You`re going to go to somebody that takes risks. And also you`re going to go to somebody that needs money and he owed the IRS $25,000.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Peterson allegedly offered $25,000 to kill his wife, exactly the amount this guy owed to the IRS. He claims Peterson also told him "This is something you will take to your grave." Incredible testimony. Does it prove his guilt?
Call me 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.
Straight out to "In Session`s" Beth Karas, outside court; you were in court today. Tell us about this dramatic moment in court when all of a sudden the talk turns to a hit man?
BETH KARAS, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION": Yes, indeed. Actually, his name is Jeffrey Pachter. He says Drew Peterson asked him to find someone. So he was going to be the middleman. And he said, "I`ll give you $25,000. If you can find someone to do it for less, you can keep the extra money."
But Pachter said he never took any steps. He wasn`t even sure that Peterson was serious about it and it was some months later that Kathleen Savio was dead and he called a few months after that to see how the family was doing and Peterson said to him, "That favor I asked of you, I don`t need it anymore."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Interesting. There are no cameras in this courtroom, but I`ve been in many, many a courtroom for a dramatic trial and there are moments where you could tell it`s big because, oh, the gallery just kind of starts buzzing and you can tell from the reactions of the jurors.
So I want to go to Michael Christian, senior field producer. Was there any sense that this was a big, one of those big moments, a turning point in court?
MICHAEL CHRISTIAN, HLN SENIOR FIELD PRODUCER: Well, certainly the prosecution hopes that it is, Jane. This was a witness that they had argued very hard and very long to get in. This is hearsay testimony. And there`s a lot of hearsay that`s not coming in to this trial. So certainly, the state fought very hard to get this in.
The problem with Jeff Pachter is that he`s maybe not the most reliable witness in the world. He`s got some problems. Now, the defense very painstakingly went over all of them. He owed a bookie $35,000. He had been a registered sex offender at one point because he had sex with his underage girlfriend, was ordered to stay away from her and didn`t.
There were a lot of problems like that. He`s been divorced. He`s had baggage. The defense went through all that. I have to say in Pachter`s defense he did go over and answered everything very matter of factually. He didn`t deny much of anything. But if the jury is inclined not to believe him, the defense gave them maybe some reasons not to.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go back to Stacy Peterson, drew`s fourth wife who disappeared about five years ago. She`s never turned up. Shortly after she vanished Drew`s stepbrother reported that he and Drew carried something very large and heavy from Drew`s house. Drew was asked about it. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He says he believes that he helped you dispose of your wife`s body. Can you at least respond to that?
DREW PETERSON, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER OF THIRD WIFE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not at all.
PETERSON: No response. Talk to my lawyer. I got nothing to say about --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No truth to it whatsoever?
PETERSON: None. Nobody helped me with anything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On October 28, where were you on October 28th? This gentleman says he helped you carry a container out of your home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: He was reportedly carrying a large 55 gallon bin or barrel that was big enough to hold a person. Stacy is now key to this current case because she reportedly told her pastor that Drew killed his previous wife Kathleen. That information you got to wonder if it`s going to be able to or it has made it in to evidence even though Stacy isn`t around to testify. If Stacy is indeed dead as everyone fears, will Stacy be able to testify from beyond the grave?
That`s such a legal issue. Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, what do you make of that issue, testifying from beyond the grave?
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: You know, I`ve written an article about this. I think I can see the judge going in either direction, letting it in because, in a sense one could argue that he got rid of her to keep her from testifying live in court. And when you do that, in a sense, you waive your cross-examination rights. You can`t complain about it being hearsay because you killed the witness and that`s why they`re not in court.
And you know, there`s a lot of hearsay exceptions. I think there`s like 25 or 30. The defense used gobs and gobs and gobs of outrageous hearsay that was totally unfair to the victim in its opening statement. So this notion that it`s hearsay and therefore is unfair I think is silly.
Today with the hit man testimony, I have to say, now the package is clear for the jury. They have motive, opportunity, intent with this guy even though there are problems with the case. And I think one of the reasons the prosecution is going to win is because they can turn to the jury and say, who else would have killed her? Who else had motive, opportunity, intent? She was going to win money.
And one of the witnesses testified she knew a, quote, unquote, "secret" about Drew Peterson. This also came out as evidence, that he said she was apparently trying to use in the divorce proceeding as leverage to get more money out of the guy and she was going to reveal that. He killed her because she knew something that he said would have gotten him fired as a police officer. That`s a strong case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Wendy, that`s why you were a prosecutor. I think you would do a very good closing argument in this case.
Let`s go out to the phone lines. Lisa, Nevada -- question or thought, Lisa?
LISA, NEVADA: I have a question. Opinion: guilty, guilty, guilty, number one. Number two, I`ve been watching this case for years and years and years and you know what; I can`t see him doing nothing but putting her in that bin and getting rid of her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Beth Karas, briefly does Stacy cast a pall over this entire trial?
KARAS: Well, she is the elephant in the middle of the courtroom. Jurors know about her existence. They`ve heard her name a few times. They are going to be instructed that they can`t speculate about why she`s not here. They know that she disappeared, that`s it.
Of course, the defense is not saying she`s dead. They say she took off with another man. But for the first time, perhaps as early as tomorrow, jurors will hear from Stacy when her pastor takes the stand. It could be tomorrow or Friday. Pastor Neil Shouri is expected to testify for the first time, the word of Stacy. Because the defense succeeded in getting a different witness -- a friend of Stacy`s who was going to say something similar barred last week and the state withdrew a third witness who would have said something similar.
So there`s just one that we`re aware of who is going to come forward in the next day or two to talk about what Stacy told him.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, thank you, fantastic panel. And any fireworks that emanate, we will bring them to you right here.
Time for your "Shocking Video of the Day" -- news cameras rolling when they caught this truly dramatic moment. Watch as Ohio high school basketball star Tony Farmer collapses in court after getting sentenced to three years in prison. The highly recruited 18-year-old pled guilty to kidnapping and assaulting his girlfriend, an incident that prosecutors say was caught on camera. And he apparently just couldn`t believe the sentence and collapsed right there in the courtroom.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Farmers markets are so much fun. I come here with my reusable bags, makes it even more fun. And I learned so much about vegetables. These are turnips. These are collard greens. We know celery, right. But look at these scallions. Have you ever seen anything like that?
And then the cabbage -- now I learned something new today -- purslane. This is purslane. I didn`t even know purslane it existed. You can have it as a salad or you can cook it. And guess what; the prices are terrific. Take a look. Don`t believe me. Look, look. You can eat for a week on 20 bucks. And it`s healthy.
Greens, we need them, America. Healthy mind, healthy body.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Your "Viral Vid of the day" -- this pooch may be the smartest dog ever. Oh, my gosh. Check this out. Wait a second, my dog can do that. Wait. Hold on. He threw the ball away, then he grabbed the bone. That`s funny. That was sort of like look at that maneuver. Here, go chase the ball so I can have some of your treat.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Prince Harry was caught with his pants down. No, he was caught with his pants off, actually.
It happened in Vegas. Prince Harry photographed here in the nude after a reported game of strip pool.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prince Harry`s always been the kind of naughty boy of the royals.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Naked partier Prince Harry in Vegas. Buckingham palace is saying, yes, that`s our guy.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight did an undercover camera expose Prince Harry`s naked party? I hope you`re sitting down because we`re going to give you a peek at Prince Harry in his birthday suit. Yes, indeed. The 27-year-old prince was partying in Vegas Friday night when he and his entourage went back to a VIP high roller suite to play strip pool. You can tell from this photo, was he trying to keep things from getting out of hand?
Maybe Prince Harry thought the old adage of what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas would apply to him. Obviously he forgot about the movie "Hangover". Check it out from Warner Brothers.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Vegas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To nights we`ll never forget.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh. What happened last night?
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: At least Prince Harry didn`t end up with a tattoo on his face. Straight out to news manager for TMZ, Mike Walters, first of all who knows another scoop, TMZ; how the heck did those photos end up on your site?
MIKE WALTERS, NEWS MANAGER, TMZ: Well, Jane, it`s shocking that Prince Harry would do something like this including going downstairs with a bunch of handlers, an entourage of guys, to a bar in Las Vegas, taking random girls back up to the room, including other guys, and having a big party in your VIP penthouse suite including not checking people for cameras, allowing for people to take photographs. And look, if you`re going to play strip pool -- and obviously he`s not that good at pool because he`s losing and he`s naked, if that starts happening, Jane, you stop people from taking photos.
Your entourage, your security -- this is a royal, Jane. Those people should have cleared the room or if Harry decided to get naked, he has a right. But you know what? It should be private. Get all these party goers out of the room. I`m shocked that he allowed this and that his security allowed this to take place.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Again, I agree with you. Melanie Bromley, you`re a correspondent for E! News -- yes, Hollywood 101, you take the cameras away. Why would anybody even be able to take this photo?
MELANIE BROMLEY, CORRESPONDENT E! NEWS: I really don`t know -- (AUDIO GAP) -- now that Harry`s back in London is about the royal protection officers and how come they allowed this to happen. Because Harry, of course, is a young boy, he`s on a holiday. And Harry in Vegas is kind of a combination that you might expect for him to be partying a little bit. And that`s why the royal protection officers are there to make sure that this kind of thing doesn`t happen.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for your "Pet of the Day". Silky, look at that face, oh yes. Quincy, that outfit is stunning -- absolutely stunning. Roxie. Yes, laying around the couch saying pet me, pet me. Circe, is that your name? Either way, you`re cute. Silky. Send us your pets, hlntv.com/jane. Quincy wants to share with some other photos.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have to behave themselves and at the moment, I don`t think Harry is being particularly well-behaved. So we won`t publish the pictures in this country now, but I think the next set will be published and with Harry, you can be damned sure there will be a next set of pictures.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Royals behaving badly is as old as royalty itself. Remember Showtime`s "Tudor" show?
That wasn`t Showtime`s "Tudor" show, but a more modern version. He`s gotten in trouble before, you know, either with that photo of him wearing a swastika in an outfit for a friend`s party -- we`ll show that to you.
Melanie Bromley, is he kind of like the loose cannon of the royal family?
BROMLEY: (inaudible)-- the fact that he is somebody who`s young, he`s been able to modernize the royal family. He`s been (inaudible) with his brother to do that. So we do kind of expect some bad behavior from him. It`s fun and in London, they`re always publishing pictures of him, going to night clubs and coming out of the nightclubs and this weekend, of course, he was in Vegas partying at the pool. That level of fun in England is seen as great. But now we`re looking at something that`s far more serious and not that`s why it`s become a big issue overseas.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what`s happening to him, briefly -- 20 seconds?
BROMLEY: Well, he went back to London today. He arrived. He`ll be getting a big telling off by the palace. And I expect they`ll be releasing a statement. They have to. They have to tell the British public. They have to respond to this crisis.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And ultimately they may rein him in so to speak. He may not be able to go to Vegas.
BROMLEY: Well, he`ll be going to Afghanistan soon, actually. So he`s got some work to do coming up. I think he`ll be away from the public hype a little bit. He`ll be able to get his image back and look like he`s a good boy again. And hopefully kind of -- this will be long forgotten.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Melanie Bromley, senior correspondent E! News; thanks so much.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It has happened again -- alleged cruelty caught on tape. The video you`re about to see is disturbing. I call it disgusting and has led the Department of Agriculture to suspend operations at Central Valley Meat -- that company, one of the beef suppliers to the fast food giant In-and-Out Burger. And it`s now being investigated for the inhumane treatment of cattle.
The undercover video appears to expose horrific, obscene abuse of helpless cows. One worker is standing on a cow`s nose as the narrator said it`s been shot in the head but didn`t die right away, a cow thrashing about after allegedly being shot over and over again with a pneumatic gun that can`t seem to render her unconscious.
It also appears to show cows unable to stand, being poked, prodded and pulled by their tails. Tactics, critics say are sometimes used to get cattle moving so they can get senseless slaughter. Look at this, killing a sick cow is against federal regulations because it could cause tainted beef to enter the food supply.
But so far the USDA says their investigation did not find evidence that downed cows were slaughtered at the company.
As a result of this alleged abuse, In-and-Out burger has stopped doing business with Central Valley Meat. The slaughterhouse calls the allegations disturbing and surprising and claims their company "Seeks not just to meet federal humane handling regulations, but to exceed them," end quote.
However they told us they haven`t seen the video. We sent it to them and we have yet to get a response.
How many times does this have to happen? On this show, we cover animal cruelty, captured by hidden cameras sent out by animal welfare groups every few weeks. In my opinion, this is yet another instance that stresses the importance of those undercover investigations, something many in the meat and dairy industry want banned. They want people to be prosecuted criminally for being able to go undercover at these slaughter houses and meat factories.
Why didn`t the USDA inspectors who were on site notice any of these hideous cruelties that were as plain as day on videotape? Is the USDA more interested in promoting the meat industry than protecting the American consumer? Yes, their mission is to promote agriculture but it`s also to make sure that these animals are treated humanely.
In my opinion, the USDA dropped the ball and there needs to be a government investigation on why the government is not seeing what`s happening inside these slaughterhouses in factory farms.
Nancy is next.