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College Student Accused of Murdering Mother

Aired November 19, 2012 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, a family`s secrets are spilling out as a college student is accused of killing his own mother. Did he finally snap after years of threats from his mentally ill mom that she was going to kill him? Or, even after that deeply troubled past, is the wrong person on trial? We`re taking your calls tonight.


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, a valedictorian on trial accused of stabbing his own mother 16 times and hitting her over the head with a 2 x 4. Was this promising student driven to kill after enduring his mother`s mental illness and bouts of violence? Or is the wrong person on trial? We`ll bring you the latest from inside court. And I`m taking your calls.

And what happened to this beautiful missing, aspiring model? Nineteen-year-old Kara Nichols vanished a month and a half ago without a trace. Her devastated family believes she may have disappeared on her way to a new modeling gig. We`ll investigate and talk to a case insider.

Plus, the future of Twinkies hangs in the balance as the war between the Hostess brand and its 18,000 workers threatens to derail the company. But do factory workers still have clout at a time where manual labor is being vaporized by high-tech advances? Tonight, your secret to surviving as our economy changes at lightning speed.

BERNARD PYNE, WIDOWER: My wife, she`s laying in the garage. There`s blood everywhere. I don`t know what`s going on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty-one-year-old Jeffrey Pyne is accused of stabbing and beating his mother to death in their own home. Ruth was found dead in the garage of the Pyne family home on May 27, 2012, by her then-10- year-old daughter and husband.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was an extremely personal crime. This 51- year-old mother of two was found dead in her garage by her daughter. She had been brutally beat in the head repeatedly, like by a 2 x 4. And she`d been stabbed 16 times in her neck.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The prosecution plans to argue that Jeffrey was angry with his mother at the time of her murder.

PYNE: I know my son. And I know he`s not capable of this. I know he would never harm his mother.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a former valedictorian and college biology student accused of stabbing his mother 16 times and beating her over the head with a 2 x 4 inside the family`s Michigan garage. What toxic family secrets could have made this model student and son snap? And is the right person on trial? The son claims he wasn`t there.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live.

Prosecutors say 22-year-old Jeffrey Pyne was angry at his mom, Ruth, when he viciously attacked her. Police raced out to the Pynes` home when Jeffrey`s dad discovered his wife`s body, blood all over the place, and made this chilling 911 call. Listen.


PYNE: My wife, she`s laying in the garage. There`s blood everywhere. I don`t know what`s going on.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`re now learning Ruth had a history of mental illness. She was reportedly bipolar and spent years in and out of hospitals. Court documents say she even spent two weeks in jail after trying to strangle her son. Still, the suspect`s dad says there is no way his son killed his own mother.


PYNE: I don`t believe that I`m a naive, unthinking father that`s just hoping that his son isn`t guilty. I truly, I know my son. And I know he`s not capable of this. And I know he would never harm his mother.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Was Jeffrey tired of enduring physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his bipolar mother? Or have police arrested the wrong person? What do you think? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to "Oakland Press" reporter Dave Phillips. You were inside court today. Tell us about the key moments.

DAVID PHILLIPS, REPORTER, "OAKLAND PRESS" (via phone): Well, a lot of focus today was on the demeanor and the differences in demeanor between the suspect, Jeffrey Pyne, and his father, Ruth`s husband, Bernie Pyne. There was a sheriff`s detective, sheriff`s deputy and EMS worker today. They all testified. And you could hear it in that 911 call, that Bernie Pyne was despondent over finding his wife dead in the garage. You know, crying, sobbing, just couldn`t believe it, in denial basically.

Whereas Jeffrey Pyne, he was described as being very calm, didn`t have much of a reaction. In fact, a couple of the people who testified today said they felt as though he`s putting on an act, kind of fake crying and fell out of the ambulance at some point that he was in with his other family members and kind of putting on a show, they said.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hmm. Well, the prosecution told jurors the smoking gun in this case are the injuries to the defendant, the son, Jeffrey`s hands.

Twenty minutes after the 911 call reporting Jeff`s mother dead, Jeff shows up at his job but he`s got injured hands. His boss testified that Jeff told him, well, he mangled his hands through throwing a wooden pallet. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he tell you anything about these injuries?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he told me that he threw a pallet. Did seem odd, but...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did it seem odd to you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, just quick glance, I looked at it and thought, it looks more like a rope burn.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Take a look at the wounds. Could these wounds be from throwing a wooden pallet or could they be, Jon Lieberman, investigative reporter, contributor, as the prosecutors contend, those injuries from swinging a 2 x 4 16 times at his mom?

JON LIEBERMAN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER/HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that`s what prosecutors say. They say these injuries are the smoking gun. They say that this guy had motive, i.e., he was angry at his mother for the alleged abuse. He had opportunity. He wasn`t at work at the time of the murder. He clocked in later, after the 911 call was made.

But here`s the problem in this case, Jane. You actually have a very sympathetic suspect here.


LIEBERMAN: This was a well-liked guy in the community, in school. And that`s definitely going to work against prosecutors and for the defense.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, the reason is that this mother had serious problems -- the victim in this case, 51-year-old Ruth Pyne, had a long history of the mental illness bipolar disorder.

According to court documents and neighbors, Ruth became unruly, even violent when she didn`t take her meds. And she was hospitalized over and over for years. Neighbors also say Jeffrey`s dad was reportedly considering divorcing her. Two years ago, this woman went to jail for trying to strangle her son, Jeffrey, who is now the defendant.

Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, that was just nine months before he allegedly murdered her. I mean, that is obviously a motive -- could be, revenge, against a mother who physically attacked you and tried to strangle you.

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes, I mean, there`s no question that that happened. I think there`s a big question whether that was behind why this occurred.

And, remember, this isn`t a self-defense case. So we may wonder, is that why he killed her? But the defense is saying, he wasn`t even there. And I`m not sure that they`re putting on the best defense, because there might have been more sympathy for him if he had said, "Gee, she came after me again, and so I had to beat the hell out of her."

Look, the problem here is in terms of his sympathy. I can see it. He seems like a good boy. And you know, Scott Peterson seemed like a nice guy, too. I don`t know how far that`s going to take him.

Mental illness, when you think about this woman has diagnosed mental illness, whatever sympathy they feel for this guy, they`re also going to say, "Dude, you were a grown-up. Your mother had mental health problems. You don`t beat the hell out of somebody with mental health problems."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but Wendy Walsh, psychologist, bipolar is one of the more frustrating disorders for a family member to deal with because the old phrase was, I believe, manic depressive. Sometimes they`re up; sometimes they`re down. You never know what they`re going to be on any given day. And a lot of times, they present very normal when they have to and then, when nobody`s looking, that`s when they go really off the deep end.

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: And, Jane, the one time they generally stop taking their medications are when they`re in the manic phase, which is the highly charged, energetic phase. Because it feels so good to them. It feels awful to everyone else around them, but it feels very good to them to be in this state of mania, which can feel highly euphoric but can slip very quickly into something more angry and violent.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s the thing I don`t get. There is precious little physical evidence against this defendant. His hands. And we`ll show you his hands again. But they really don`t have the murder weapon.

Now, he shows up at work 20 minutes after his dad makes the 911 call after discovering the mother dead, bludgeoned to death in the garage. So how does he, in less than 20 minutes, commit a murder, get to work and dispose of the 2 x 4, the murder weapon, Jon, that has never been found?

LIEBERMAN: Well, there was a time lapse, though. I mean, they didn`t find the body right away. There was a two-hour or so time lapse there when the family found the body. So there was plenty of time for all of that to take place.

And the other point is this. This is clearly a crime of passion. There was no forced entry into this house. This wasn`t a stranger coming in. There was no burglary or robbery, no sexual assault. This was clearly a crime of passion, somebody so angry with this woman that not only did they kill her, but they even kept stabbing and stabbing, 16 times.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you just have to wonder. Obviously, the trial`s ongoing. We don`t want to convict him. We`ll see whether he gets convicted or found not guilty.

But if nothing else, you have to wonder why this woman was allowed, when she didn`t take her meds, to stay in the home with the son after she tried to strangle him. Why wasn`t something done sooner?

More on the other side. And we`re taking your calls.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was an extremely personal crime. This 51- year-old mother of two was found dead in her garage by her daughter. She had been brutally beat in the head repeatedly, like by a 2 x 4, and she`d been stabbed 16 times in her neck.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In opening statements, the prosecution described in detail their theory for how the murder took place while the defense claimed Jeffrey wasn`t anywhere near the family house. Here`s both sides.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two x four, he took that, and he was holding it, and he hit her in the back of the head. And he hit her again and again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody else committed this crime. We believe the evidence will show you that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: David Phillips, you were a reporter in court today. There`s something about him claiming that he was off doing yard work at the time, but there`s no -- nobody willing to back that story up?

PHILLIPS: Yes, basically he`s saying that he was at work -- or at least had gone to work shortly after this may have happened. It seems like there`s kind of a time line that investigators aren`t sure exactly when she was killed.

He claims he was home at 1:30 p.m. and then had gone to work. And at that time he claimed everything was fine, according to testimony today. And then he went to work, came back later, and the crime scene had already been discovered. Investigators were already on the scene. And he said he was at work, and that`s about it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jeffrey has the support of his dad, who, remember, discovered his wife`s body. And the dad believes there`s no way his son committed this crime. Listen to the dad.


PYNE: He had nothing to do with this. He would never harm his mother. He loved his mother.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Walsh, psychologist, two questions. One, is the dad possibly in denial? Also, the community is very supportive, holding fund-raisers for this young man, even though a lot of them think he did it, because they say, well, you know, mom was bipolar and allegedly tried to strangle him. It`s almost like the town secret was that she was out of control.

WALSH: Well, it`s interesting that you say that, Jane. Because yes, it seems like some of the support he may be getting from the community is from people who believe this was almost justified, if you could say it.

And again, we don`t know whether he did it. He`s on trial now, and he may be proved to be innocent at the end of all this. But, yes, I can see that.

And as for the dad, maybe he`s in denial or maybe, you know, as we saw in the Casey Anthony trial, I would say that a mother or a parent would do anything they could to keep their baby out of jail. I mean, here`s a man who`s just lost his wife of 20-some years, and now he could potentially lose his son for the rest of his life. So of course, he would say or do anything he could to keep him alive or keep him...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Wendy Murphy, you`ve got to wonder, though, if he would do anything for his son, why he didn`t get him out of the house after his mother allegedly, purportedly, reportedly tried to strangle him and did a couple of weeks in jail as a result.

First of all, why does the mom do a couple of weeks? If you try to strangle somebody, I don`t care if you`re bipolar or not, unless you`re ruled mentally ill and incompetent to stand trial, you should do serious time for that.

And B, why wasn`t -- why weren`t these kids -- there`s also a 10-year- old daughter who`s crying hysterically in the 911 call, who discovered her mother, why weren`t they protected from this woman who was mentally ill?

MURPHY: Well, look, Jane, I think the obvious answer is 99.9 percent of people with exactly this kind of disorder never hurt anybody. And even if they do, they don`t do it all the time. And you know, it`s really hard to predict dangerousness even in people where you`re worried and you love them and you have faith, when they take their medication, when they seem so nice and things work out. And you don`t -- you don`t know this is coming.

And, you know, this guy himself might have mental health problems if he did do it. This is a major overkill. This guy had just broken up with his girlfriend. He was angry because, reportedly, his father had told him that, if his mother didn`t get her mental health illness in order, that he was going to divorce her.

Maybe he was worried that the family was about to break up, and he was angry at his mother for that. I know he was worried about his little sister`s safety.

You know, the fact is, I think if the truth is that he did do it, it`s really wrong to put on the defense that he wasn`t even there because the evidence shows he was.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And you wonder if they had the option to make some kind of deal, given how sympathetic people are to him, that would have given him very little time. But, again, he deserves his day in court.

On the other side, another case that has eerie parallels.



PYNE: My wife, she`s laying in the garage. There`s blood everywhere. I don`t know what`s going on.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That man`s wife bludgeoned to death, and now his son on trial for the murder. And if convicted, Jeffrey Pyne will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

It`s a very, very gut-wrenching case. And you`ve got to wonder, because the victim was mentally ill and had bipolar disorder, would that encourage the judge, if this young man is convicted, to reduce his sentence?

Do you remember the case of Cody Posey? This was a horrific case. This young man was convicted of killing his dad, his stepmother and his stepsister when he was a young teenager, but the judge only sentenced him as a juvenile after witness after witness took the stand and spilled this family`s secret in court, testifying that Cody had been the victim of extreme, extreme psychological and physical abuse at the hands of a very sadistic dad for years.

So Jon Lieberman, HLN contributor, there was such sympathy in the community for this young man just as there is sympathy in the community for this defendant.

LIEBERMAN: Well, you remember, in the Cody Posey case, I mean, witness after witness testified about how horrific the abuse was, how the ranch hands --- on Sam Donaldson`s ranch, how they would have to witness the abuse and take part in it. And I mean, it was gut-wrenching.

The question will be, in this case, will the abuse rise to that level? What are we going to find out about what this 21-year-old that you`re looking at there had to endure at the hands of his mother? And if he is found guilty, it will definitely be a mitigating factor to try and reduce his sentence, no doubt about that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, one of the things that just absolutely makes me so livid about this trial is that, as a reporter, I sit there, knowing this whole backstory, and I learn often that the jury never gets to hear it.

That the jury -- for example, will the jurors hear that the victim in this case, the mother, tried to strangle him?

MURPHY: You know, that`s a good question. I think that, to some extent, when the defense chooses to put on the defense of, "We weren`t there, we didn`t do it," you really tie your hands on then asking the judge to please allow us to offer up all this sympathy evidence. It`s almost irrelevant. It might be relevant if the defense was, "I did it because she beat the hell out of me for years or she strangled me," whatever. It`s really not relevant to the question, was I there at the time? That`s the thing I don`t understand about this defense strategy, and I don`t know enough to say whether it was the right or wrong call. I have -- got to trust the defense team.

But it makes no sense to me that, if this guy is sympathetic, that he wouldn`t be using that during the trial and not waiting until sentencing and hope that it gives him some mitigation, because it might not.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, it`s a high-risk, all-or-nothing defense. And let`s hope he`s getting good advice.

Now, just minutes from now, Nancy Grace has a lot more on this case, Nancy coming up at 8 Eastern right here on HLN.

On the other side of the break, together, we can help find a beautiful missing 19-year-old woman. Her parents are frantic. Let`s put our heads together and try to find her. She`s missing.



VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Where is Kara? She`s been missing for more than a month now. There was the call from her mobile phone just before midnight. Then, nothing.

She has blonde hair and green eyes.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the clock is ticking for a family desperate for clues in the mysterious disappearance of their beautiful 19-year-old daughter. Kara Nichols -- there she is in various photos -- was last heard from a month and a half ago when she made a call from her cell phone just before midnight. That is the last trace of this aspiring model.

Her mother and father believe she was on her way to Denver for a potential modeling job. The cops call her disappearance suspicious because she has had no contact with family or friends. What are the secrets of this case that might help us find Kara?

Straight out to Michelle Boyd, president and co-founder of the National Women`s Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation.

Michelle, I know you`re working very closely with this frantic family. We all want to find Kara. I`m perplexed. This beautiful young woman has been missing for more than a month, and yet doing research all day, we can`t find basic information. We don`t know if she was driving a car, let alone what kind of car. So what do we know, Michelle?

MICHELLE BART, PRESIDENT/CO-FOUNDER OF THE NATIONAL WOMEN`S COALITION AGAINST VIOLENCE AND EXPLOITATION: Basically what you said on the intro. We know that she left her home in Colorado Springs for Denver about 60 miles away from Colorado Springs to Denver on October 9th. The last ping was at 11:45 p.m. And the family came to our organization this past week because there was no media attention on Kara. And you know and I know, Jane, in order for the public to care and want to look for someone, they need to know she`s missing. And so that`s what our media campaign this week is all about.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you know if she had a car?

BART: I don`t know. On that aspect of things, we know that the investigators who have been working really well with the family will have a press conference tomorrow and hopefully will learn a little bit more about what they were -- what they know from their investigation the last 41 days that she`s been missing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jon Leiberman, what have you learned? You`ve been investigating this all day.

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. Well, my thoughts and prayers go out to her family.


LEIBERMAN: What they`re enduring is just pure hell. We know that investigators are looking at her circle of friends. They`re looking at a boyfriend. They`re looking at the fact that she worked at a restaurant and did some modeling as you alluded to.

And one thing to focus on in missing persons cases are, in this case, her tattoos. She has two kinds of extraordinary, unique tattoos, a small tattoo of a spaceman on her left wrist and a small tattoo of a leaf on her left ankle.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michelle Bart, how are the parents holding up tonight?

BART: It was very difficult today. They met with investigators. So, of course, this has been very trying on them, especially leading into the holiday. They are in Denver. They will be at the press conference tomorrow. And her father, Paul, will speak.

And then we hope to, you know, get some information and some tips coming in to law enforcement so that the El Paso County Sheriff`s Office can lead to where Kara is or people that know where she is. I do want to make a point to say she was not employed as a model. And that`s the perception that`s been out there the last 40 days. And that`s why we`re going to the national media to say, she`s someone`s daughter and she needs to be found.

And anything else that she might have posted on other sites, we prefer to stay away from that because as you know, Jane, once you post something, you`ll regret it later. And I think Kara, if she was with us right now would probably say, I made a mistake posting the kind of photos I did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`ve not seen any photos that you`re referring to. And model is, in my opinion, a very legitimate profession. I don`t think there`s anything wrong with it. But we respect completely the parents` wishes. We want to find this young lady. That`s all we care about.

Final word -- Jon.

LEIBERMAN: Here`s what police will stress tomorrow. Somebody knows what happened to this young girl. Somebody saw something after October 9th. And even people who think that the information they have isn`t vital to the case, it is. Police want to know anything. You saw her. You saw her in a store. You knew of her, any back story. Every little bit, let police put the puzzle together but please come forward with what you know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tune in tomorrow night. We`re talking to Kara`s parents. We are monitoring the news conference. We`re bring you the very latest. We are going to find this young lady.

And our heart dos go out to Kara`s mother and father. I know you`re going through hell. Hang in there.

More on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s your "Viral Video of the Day". It`s a circus out there. A cop gets into a brawl with a clown, yes literally -- with a clown. This was outside Milwaukee City Hall. Police tell our affiliate WISF and they were getting calls about the guy shooting a squirt gun at cars. And he resisted when the police approached -- a clown in more ways than one.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought it was a prank or something, you know? Twinkies are going out of business.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The yellow sponge cake filled with banana cream.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cream in the middle, the Twinkie is what we`re talking about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hostess Brands is closing its 33 bakeries.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The maker of favorites like Twinkies and Ding Dongs has said it will start shutting down its 33 plants outside of the Hostess plants here in north Denver where it was announced this morning that Hostess is shutting down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the Twinkie no more?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hostess announced that it`s going out of business. What?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I won`t believe it until I see it. Hostess -- that`s an icon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since Hostess announced it`s shutting down, people are stockpiling Twinkies, Cupcakes and even Wonder Bread.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the world waits to see if Twinkies will survive a bitter war between the bosses and the unions. Meantime, many Americans are scrambling to hoard their Twinkies and Ding Dongs. But tonight we`re asking, "Should the potential loss of 18,000 factory jobs actually be a wake-up call?" Ding, ding, ding.

The classic American factory jobs are getting vaporized in a fast- changing, high-tech world. What comes to mind when you think of factory workers? It`s the hard-working men and women who assemble cars in Detroit or is it Lucille Ball working that candy line on her classic show, "I Love Lucy"? We found this on YouTube.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Listen, Ethel, I think you`re -- I think we`re fighting a losing game.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: For generations, Americans were at the front of manufacturing boom and working in a factory was as American as apple pie. But what can we do now that all of that is changing so fast? Earning an honest buck by punching a time clock working on an assembly line is not the way of the future, according to the experts. And some fear Twinkies and other snack cakes are going to become sort of relics and completely disappear.

And now America has actually gone into hoarding Hostesses. Check this out from "The Columbus Dispatch".


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is devastating.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we heard the news, my husband texted me about an hour ago --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re going to the Hostess store.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we were out running errands. We`re like we`ll stop on the way home. So we`re here to stock up now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to Katherine Cohen, CEO and founder of Ivywise; this is a college admissions expert who helps people get the education they need to get a real job. Katherine, what`s the secret to survival in today`s fast-changing economy where these kinds of traditional factory jobs are vaporizing and high-tech jobs are becoming the norm?

KATHERINE COHEN, CEO/FOUNDER OF IVYWISE: Well, I think, you know what America offers is that liberal arts education. And people should take advantage of that because they want to learn skills that are going to cross over to different professions. They also want to make sure they`re updated on the latest technology. And colleges today are using that technology in the classrooms.

You`re going to see those document cameras, students taking notes on tablets, reading their textbooks on e-readers, those interactive whiteboards. And they`re going to learn those skills that they can use outside in the real workforce.

Listen, I`ve got the ultimate example that will show the whole automation movement, how traditional factory work is in more and more trouble. Watch this. And then I`m going to explain.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have an idea and then you design it on your computer or you download it from a site. And you just put it on an SD card and then start up the machine and it makes whatever you want.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That 3D printer you`re looking at right there is the future. It`s going to make everything from artificial limbs to ship parts, and the whole economies of scale idea is going right out the window. People can make exactly what they need and only as much as they need. So these traditional jobs are going to give way to automation as well as the specialized 3D printers that are going to print things that used to be manufactured in old-school factories.

So my question to Tracy Tapani, you`re co-president of Wyoming Machine. You were in the paper just yesterday in the "New York Times saying you wanted to hire welders and you had ten welders -- job openings. You`ve got lots and lots of applicants. They did not have the required skills that you were looking for. They didn`t understand metallurgy, modern cleaning, brushing techniques; how different gases and metals, pressures and temperatures had to be combined.

Basically you had jobs that were open and you couldn`t get people to fill them. Tracy?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, explain the dilemma and what you think Americans need to hear right now.

TAPANI: Well, I think that the issue especially with the skilled trades, welding being an excellent example, has been going on for quite some time. But it has taken quite a while before people were willing to really listen to what the issues were that were being faced.

Welding has become a much more high-tech position, along with most other manufacturing jobs. And workers just are not entering the market in big enough numbers to really fill the positions that are available. There are very few people that are entering the market today. And older workers are retiring and leaving the industry and we just don`t have enough people to backfill.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what strikes me is that management, unions, striking bakers, it`s the employees who will ultimately pay the big price, loss of jobs, if these negotiations don`t work out. Listen to this --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the bossman starts walking around and that was it -- next thing we know, he said, shut it down.

CATRINA JACKSON, PRODUCTION WORKER: I`m kind of glad in a way they did close their doors because the way they were handling stuff, it was all totally wrong.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor and law professor, these workers have been led out on strike by their union and the company is like, look, we`re losing tons of money. We`re just going to shut the whole thing down and sell it for parts. Now they have this last-minute 11th-hour negotiation going. Do you think the union is doing what`s in the best interest of these workers, given the new reality in America?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: You know, I think a reasonable person -- and I`m on this side -- would say, no, that I think the unions -- I mean the Teamsters is a good example. They fight so hard for people and they stand for principle and there`s a good argument here that these people were not being treated well, compared to the fact that management was taking huge, you know, bonuses. And it makes us feel bad.

But the fact is this company is owned by investment firms. And all they`re really thinking about is profit. And when you can`t turn a profit, it really doesn`t matter that 18,000 people are going to lose their jobs. You can`t run a business with a deficit. It`s just not doable. It`s not feasible.

So I think a group like the Teamsters or any unions that care so deeply should take a step back and say, how can we rethink what we`re doing and maybe get these folks into some retraining? You know, where are the jobs these days? Instead of screaming and yelling at this company to pay them and take a loss, which makes no sense, why don`t we find a way to transition some of these workers into good jobs where is there is that unmet demand? It`s a no-brainer.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Wendy, I couldn`t agree with you more. I`m totally in favor of unions. I belong to three of them, (inaudible) SAG and the Writers` Guild. And there is a very important place for them.

But by the same token, the ultimate truth is 100 percent of nothing is nothing. We have to really protect workers and the best way to do that is to retrain them for the new jobs that are becoming available as the co- president of Wyoming Machine said.

And you can`t just be a welder. Today, you have to know mathematics. You have to know biology. You have to know chemistry. And that`s what we need to be training kids for. There is a complete disconnect between the education that kids are getting today and the jobs that are available. And that is the gap we have to bridge and it`s really up to educators, our government, private industry and everybody, the unions included, to get together and figure out a way to make those two pieces of the puzzle match. Otherwise, we`re going to be in more trouble.

More on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for "Pet o` the Day". Send us your pet pics to Sadi -- I think it`s Sadi -- I love that eye patch. Zoe, you`re just lounging, making the scene. Romeo -- how regal. And let`s check this regal beagle, Riley, you make me smiley, Riley.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s been a rash of animals that have been killed. We`ve had a couple of bullet wounds. They`ve been mutilated. That`s the worst part. There`s a lot of -- it`s senseless. It`s cruel. It`s repugnant. It`s illegal.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A serial killer on the loose along the Gulf Coast tonight. This time the targets are dolphins. At least six of these beautiful and highly intelligent animals have been found brutally murdered. Yes, I say murdered because that`s what happened. One dolphin was found with bullet holes. Others were mutilated. The killer chopped off one`s tail and another`s lower jaw.

Officials fear there could be more victims out there. Alerts have been put out along the Gulf of Mexico from Louisiana to Florida, including the Mississippi and Alabama area. Be on the lookout for somebody going after the world`s second most intelligent animal.

Straight out of one of my heroes, Ric O`Barry; you know him from the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove". He`s also in charge of Ric, we`re approaching this as a crime story. We don`t want to name any names, but do you have any idea -- let`s talk the way we do about regular crime stories -- motive. Who would have the motive? Is this some sort of stupid sadist or could this be somebody with some kind of other motive out there, Ric?

RIC O`BARRY, "THE COVE" (via telephone): Well, it could be both of the above. We have seen this in other parts of the world, we`re working on a similar problem in Indonesia. The cove in Japan you mentioned, they`re killing the dolphins because they are competition. The real problem is overfishing.

So what you saw in Mississippi, Biloxi and that area, it could be angry fishermen. Overfishing is the problem. We have to stop eating seafood. The fishermen in these towns see dolphin as competition and kill the competition. Each one of the dolphins will eat 30 maybe 50 pounds of small fish a day. In the case of pilot whales, up to 100 pounds a day. So that could be the problem. That could be the problem. We see that all over the world.

Listen, as I`m talking with you, it`s 2:00 in the morning here. I`m in the south of Spain right across the water from Marrakesh (ph). I`m up to my waist in water trying to rescue a dolphin here by name of Marcos who is the most beautiful dolphin no more than three feet long. And he keeps looking at us, the water, to Marrakesh looking for his pod. He became separated maybe through fishing or whatever it was.

And when it`s daylight tomorrow, we`ll try to get helicopters and try to find his mother. His mother is still out there somewhere.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I know the family bonds of dolphins are extremely strong. And we want to solve this case and warn anybody, whoever is responsible, you can go to jail for one year per dolphin. That`s six years in jail as well as $100,000 fine per.

We`re going to bring in our HLN investigator on the other side who is going to tell us exactly how we`re going to solve this crime. But one thing is for sure, if you know anything. If you know who did this, 1-800- 853-1964. Call, turn them in. He needs to face justice. Or they do if it`s more than one.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s been a rash of animals that have been killed. We`ve had a couple with bullet wounds that have been mutilated. That`s the worst part. There`s a lot of -- it`s senseless. It`s cruel. It`s repugnant. It`s illegal.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight the hunt for a serial killer or killers who have murdered six dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico -- turning the gulf into a crime scene. We`re talking about Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and right now we have some breaking news. Famed animal advocate Ric O`Barry, who is an academy-award winner for the documentary, "The Cove"; you want to say something right now to our viewers. Go ahead, Ric.

O`BARRY: Yes. Well you said it. People have to be vigilant. Keep your eyes and ears open on the water. We`re going to offer a $5,000 reward for information leading up to the conviction of this person.

We`re doing the same thing. You know, we`re live streaming from the cove every day as we speak here now. They`re killing the dolphins for the same reason. They`re competition, kill the competition. Over fishing is the big problem. Let`s stop fishing and give the dolphins a break.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And you heard it here first. Jon Leiberman, investigative reporter, we`re treating this like a crime story. $5,000 reward -- you just heard it on our air. What do you do?

LEIBERMAN: And you see the hot line right there and NOAA is treating this like a criminal investigation as well. That`s the hot line. You can remain anonymous. And I also know that NOAA has informants out there in these fisherman communities too. They`re in the process of gathering information. That reward that Ric just mentioned should help. Somebody needs to drop a dime on this heinous predator of dolphins.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And also get involved with Ric O`Barry`s Earth- Island Institute. You can go to my Web site, my Facebook page -- JaneVelezMitchell/Facebook. And we`re going to have all the information. These highly intelligent animals cannot speak for themselves. We humans have to speak for them and we`re going to catch that criminal and prosecute.

Nancy next.