Return to Transcripts main page


Perfect Son Murder Trial

Aired November 19, 2012 - 20:00:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST: Breaking news tonight, live, Highland township. The perfect son, the high school valedictorian, star athlete turned U of M biology major, doting son, at this hour accused in the vicious murder of his own mother. Mother of two Ruth Pyne`s body found dead in the garage by her 10-year-old little girl. Pyne bludgeoned, stabbed 16 times to the neck.

Bombshell tonight. In a stunning twist, Ruth Pyne`s husband, Jeffrey`s father, neighbors, former teachers all agree the wrong guy`s locked up, Jeff Pyne is innocent. They say the real murderer is walking free. In the last hours, we obtain the chilling 911 call.


BERNARD PYNE, HUSBAND OF VICTIM: She`s laying in the garage! There`s blood everywhere! I don`t know what`s going on!

911 OPERATOR: OK, OK. Is she in the house or outside?

PYNE: She`s in the garage!



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s Bernie Pyne, hysterical, finding his wife here inside the garage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This former high school valedictorian and U of M biology student.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had nothing to do with this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Accused of stabbing and beating his mother to death in their own home.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s blood everywhere I looked. I heard screaming. I came outside of my house. Him and his daughter apparently just got home. That`s all I know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Startling photographs of Pyne`s hands covered with massive blisters, the photos taken just hours after his mother was found brutally murdered. The beloved Jeffrey Pyne still carries the support of most of his Michigan community.

PYNE: I know my son. And I know he`s not capable of this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As they stand behind the former star athlete and student.


GRACE: You`re seeing video from NBC`s "Dateline."

Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace, and I want to thank you for being with us.

Bombshell tonight. To Highland township. The perfect son at this hour accused in the vicious murder of his own mother. But in the last hours, in a surprising twist, Ruth Pyne`s husband, his father, neighbors, teachers all agree the wrong guy`s locked up, Jeffrey Pyne innocent. In the last hours, we obtain that chilling 911 call.

We are taking your calls. Michael Christian, tell me, we`ve all been saying they`ve got to have more than this. They`ve got to have more evidence than this. But you heard opening statements. Are you telling me that the state`s evidence is that the son had blisters on his hands and they don`t believe his story? He`s a handyman, correct?

MICHAEL CHRISTIAN, SR. FIELD PRODUCER, "IN SESSION" (via telephone): That`s right, Nancy. He works at an orchard. It`s an orchard and a farm store. It`s a place called Spicer`s. And he had these blisters on his hands. Now, according to the defendant, to what he told people at the time, he got them because he was stacking some pallets, some wooden pallets out behind the store and that hurt his hands that way.

The problem for the defense is that they say that -- or the prosecution says that these don`t look like the kind of scrape or splinter that you`d get from working with a wooden pallet like that. These look like...

GRACE: Really?

CHRISTIAN: ... the kind of blisters you get...

GRACE: Let me ask you something...

CHRISTIAN: ... from friction.

GRACE: ... Michael Christian. How many times has that prosecutor, who probably went to some fancy law school -- how many times have they loaded pallets?

CHRISTIAN: Well, you know, I can`t answer that. But I can tell you that the first two witnesses who testified on Friday both worked at Spicer`s orchard. They said they had handled pallets repeatedly over the years and they had never gotten those kind of blisters. However, they`re friends of Jeff Pyne`s. They clearly were testifying, you know, someone reluctantly, and yet they said that they`ve never gotten those kind of blisters from handling those pallets.

GRACE: You know, Beth Karas, legal correspondent, "In Session," along with Michael, both covering the trial -- Beth, look, I`m not screaming to the rooftops this guy is innocent. But I am saying I kept hoping all along that there was going to be evidence, that they were going to produce evidence that supports a murder one charge.

I mean, they`ve dragged this young man, a model student, a loving son, valedictorian, star athlete -- you know, he put up with his mother abusing him, I know of, since he was 9 years old, trying to strangle him, beating him, also beating his 10-year-old little sister, starting around the same time with her.

Yes, the mom was mentally ill. I`m not saying that that is an excuse for murder. But what I`m saying is that they`ve got to show me more before this guy goes under (ph) the jail for murder. They got to have something else, Beth!

BETH KARAS, LEGAL CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION": Indeed, Nancy. Now, a few other things they have, that there`s no evidence of a break-in at the home. There`s nothing missing except for a 2-by-4, which is consistent with whatever was used to bludgeon her head.

But there`s a lot missing. They do have a motive, as you just laid out. But they don`t have blood on him. They can`t really connect him physically. They can connect him with having a motive and perhaps being there. And he shows up a little nervous, according to some of his colleagues at work. And they have the blisters. But it took them five months to make this decision to arrest him.

GRACE: Joining me right now, Alisa Zee, news director at News Detroit 24/7. Alisa, thank you for being with us. You know, I keep looking for the evidence for this murder one charge, and all I`ve got is he`s got blisters on his hands and one of the EMTs says they didn`t see him crying? That`s it? That`s the evidence?

ALISA ZEE, 24/7 NEWS DETROIT (via telephone): That is. As we`re hearing, Nancy, there really -- there was no forced entry to the home. There is nothing is missing, except as we`ve heard, that 2-by-4 that is consistent with the injuries that Ruth Pyne sustained when she was reportedly bludgeoned many times. She was, however, also, we`re hearing, stabbed 16 times.

So there really has not been anything definitive. What we see is, as we`ve mentioned, a 2-by-4 missing from the home and a young man showing up to work with blisters on his hands.

GRACE: OK, back to you, Michael Christian. You know, you`ve covered a lot of cases. We don`t prove murder through process of elimination. That`s not how it works. So you can`t say, Well, there was no forced entry, nothing was stolen, so it`s got to be him. That`s no how it works, Michael Christian.

Did you hear the opening statements?

CHRISTIAN: Yes. And the prosecution freely admits in its opening, Nancy, that the jury`s going to have to pay a lot of attention, that this is a circumstantial case, that the prosecutor said sometimes, some cases are like photographs. You can just look at it and you get the image immediately.

He instead compared this case to a jigsaw puzzle, that you`re going to have to listen through the entire trial, jurors. You`re going to have to see piece by piece by piece. And he promised the jurors that at the end of the case, they`d be able to see the picture, but they`re not going to be able to see the picture right off the bat.

GRACE: Well, Michael Christian, based on what I see, this puzzle is missing some pieces, and this photo is underdeveloped because they have not painted the picture or put together a puzzle that shows murder one.

Tell me what`s happening in the courtroom, Michael.

CHRISTIAN: We continue to call witnesses, people who either saw the defendant at the very beginning of this entire case or people who responded to the scene. And again, on Friday, we heard from people who saw the defendant that day at work.

GRACE: And they said? Come on, Michael! I`m a JD, not a DDS. I can`t pull teeth.

CHRISTIAN: They said that -- they said...

GRACE: What happened in court? What did these witnesses say?

CHRISTIAN: They said that his demeanor was a little off. They said that he -- the witnesses from work said that he tended to get depressed sometimes when he would talk about his mother at work. So they knew that he had problems with his mother, or at least, certainly, that his mother had some problems.

They indicated that Bernie Pyne, Jeff`s father, was talking about -- according to Jeff, was talking about maybe divorcing Mrs. Pyne because she just -- when she didn`t take her medication, things were very problematic, and that Jeff Pyne apparently told them he was worried about what she might do to his little 10-year-old sister, Julia (ph). He said that he and his father could handle his mother, but he was worried about what she might do to Julia, that she might hurt Julia.

GRACE: You know, Michael Christian, you certainly know how to put perfume on a pig, to say that this is problematic.

All right, Stacey Newman, let`s break it down for the viewers just joining us. Everyone, we are live in a courtroom, a court of law, where seemingly, the perfect young son, who`s always loved his parents, loved his little sister, on trial for the murder of their mother.

And so far, I`m not hearing anything that proves a murder one case. Now Michael Christian, field producer for "In Session," says that it`s problematic.

Let`s talk about the problem, Stacey. Outline for me, starting at the beginning, what this mother has done to her children.

STACEY NEWMAN, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER (via telephone): Well, Nancy, this mother had a severe history of mental illness dating back to 1998. Jeffrey, the son, had endured her outbursts, her abuse starting at the age of about 9 years old. Now, we know she attempted to actually kill Jeffrey. There are reports that she threatened to kill the young daughter.

And just nine months before Ruth Pyne was found on the floor of that garage dead, she herself had gone to jail, Nancy, for attempting to strangle Jeffrey Pyne. So there`s a long history documented in the courts. Even the father and husband have said to people she had major mental illness and he was thinking of divorcing her right before this crime was committed.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The murder trial of a former high school valedictorian accused of brutally murdering his mother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty-two-year-old Jeffrey Pyne is accused of bludgeoning and stabbing 51-year-old Ruth Pyne to death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He hit her in the back of the head, and he hit her again and again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ruth Pyne was reportedly stabbed 16 times in the neck. She was found in the family`s garage by her younger daughter.

PYNE: She`s laying in the garage! There`s blood everywhere! I don`t know what`s going on!

911 OPERATOR: OK, OK. Is she in the house or outside?

PYNE: She`s in the garage!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don`t feel that, you know, the real murderer has been caught. We feel that there`s someone out here that did it other than Jeffrey.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s blood everywhere I looked. I heard screaming. I came outside of my house. Him and his daughter apparently just got home. That`s all I know.

PYNE: She`s laying in the garage! There`s blood everywhere! I don`t know what`s going on!

911 OPERATOR: OK, OK. Is she in the house or outside?

PYNE: She`s in the garage!


GRACE: That is from ABC`s "GMA."

Welcome back, everybody. A young man on trial for the brutal murder of his own mother. The only problem, there doesn`t seem to be any evidence pointing to his murder (ph). As a matter of fact, after hearing the state`s opening statements -- typically, when the prosecution lays out all their evidence they hope to bring in before the jury -- all they can muster up is that he had bruises and blisters on his hands. Well, he is a handyman. He also works in an orchard.

We`re taking your calls. Unleash the lawyers, Alex Sanchez, John Manuelian. Alex Sanchez, what do you think?

ALEX SANCHEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, Nancy, contrary to your long-term belief that my only interest is to see guilty people walk free, you know, I think there`s more of a case than you`re giving the prosecution credit for. First of all, she tried to murder him in the past, tried to strangle him, has made threats...

GRACE: Well, that`s a great...

SANCHEZ: ... against her young daughter...

GRACE: ... basis...

SANCHEZ: And wait a minute!

GRACE: ... for an aggravated assault against her.

SANCHEZ: No, but that establishes a serious motive that he may have to exact some form of revenge. He may also be mentally unstable...

GRACE: Didn`t that happen...

SANCHEZ: ... himself.

GRACE: ... when he was 9 years old?


GRACE: And you`re saying now...

SANCHEZ: He may...

GRACE: ... when he`s at University of Michigan...

SANCHEZ: Let me tell you something...

GRACE: ... he finally seeks revenge?

SANCHEZ: He may also be mentally unstable, just like the mother. He may have some inherited features there. But on top of that...

GRACE: Any evidence of that, Alex?

SANCHEZ: On top of that...

GRACE: No, no! No!

SANCHEZ: ... yes, his mother...

GRACE: Do you have any evidence of that?

SANCHEZ: Yes, his mother`s mentally unstable, and he may have inherited some of those features. But you know, you`re understating the blisters on the hand because if they could establish -- and I think they can establish -- that those blisters came from something other than those wooden pallets, this case may be a lock. So I don`t know what it is you`re talking about.

GRACE: Manuelian, to take what Sanchez just said -- his exact words were, They may be able to prove that those bruises may have come from somewhere else. That is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

JOHN MANUELIAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it`s the totality of the circumstances, Nancy. You know that. You bring all the evidence together, you put the pieces of the puzzle together, and you tell a jury, What do you see? Do you see a guy that...

GRACE: Put Manuelian back up!

MANUELIAN: ... acted in rage...

GRACE: Put him up. What pieces of the puzzle are those, Manuelian? What are the other pieces? Because I want to hear about those missing pieces of the puzzle.

MANUELIAN: OK. Well, here`s the thing...

GRACE: Where`s the rest of the puzzle.

MANUELIAN: We have to know the freshness of the -- the freshness of the wound. How fresh was the wound? Was it more consistent with somebody holding wooden pallets or was it consistent with somebody holding rope and a 2-by-4? That would be a missing puzzle that the jury needs to examine.

Additionally, nobody got in the house. There`s no breaking and entering.


MANUELIAN: And you know, it was a crime of rage.

GRACE: How do I know this wasn`t...

MANUELIAN: It was a crime of rage.

GRACE: ... an angry neighbor that came up upon her when she was in the garage? How do I know the husband didn`t do it? Where was he?

MANUELIAN: Because...

GRACE: I mean, a lot of people may have had motive to be angry with her. But when you guys are talking about revenge as a motive -- out to clinical psychologist in LA, Ramani Durvasula. The attack on her son was when he was 9 years old. True, there have been other attacks. So am I to understand that the motive for murder was that he finally wreaks vengeance on her 20 years later?

RAMANI DURVASULA, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: No. That`s not enough. I think that`s probably one in a long line of traumas that he had being in this home. This was a very unstable, challenging home. Over the years, this likely did take a toll. And if it is found that he committed the crime, then that could have contributed.

GRACE: We have just obtained portions of the 911 call that was played in front of the jury.

Back to you, Beth Karas. How`s the jury reacting?

KARAS: You know, jurors are very attentive. There are far more women than men on this jury, which is interesting. But the case is being held in the community where it happened, which is to the defendant`s favor since many in the community favor him, are on his side.

GRACE: Is the family in the courtroom, Michael Christian?

CHRISTIAN: His father is not. He`s on the witness list. His sister is not. But there are, I believe, other, more ancillary family members and some supporters. So yes, he definitely had some supporters in that courtroom.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he`s a beloved figure in his community, a former star athlete, student, all-around good guy. His mother had a violent, dark side. Jeffrey Pyne says he didn`t kill her.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really don`t think Jeffrey did it. He was no threat.

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

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... maintains Jeffrey is innocent, and his defense team believes the evidence will show someone else committed the crime.


GRACE: We are taking your calls. Straight out to the lines. Ken in Tennessee. Hi, Ken. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Nancy. Thanks for taking my call. I just think he did it because, you know, she was found with stab wounds to her neck. And I think I read that, you know, like, bludgeoned -- bludgeon marks to her head. And she couldn`t have done all that to herself. Someone had to have done that to her.

GRACE: Well, Ken in Tennessee -- hold Ken, Liz. Ken in Tennessee, nobody ever suggested that this was a suicide. That is impossible, physically impossible because a lot of the blows were to the back of her head. So no one is saying she did it to herself, even though she was mentally ill. She had been abusing her son his whole life, and now was abusing the 10-year- old little sister, Julia.

Now, Ken in Tennessee, you said she couldn`t have done it to herself. But what about the rest of the world? Why hone in on the son, Ken?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, wasn`t there -- there was no forced entry or anything to the house, either, was there? So it had to be someone who...

GRACE: No forced entry, no sex attack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) how to get in there.

GRACE: Nothing was stolen. Well, she was in the garage. Let`s take a shot of the house for Ken in Tennessee. For all I know, she`s in the garage with the door up. I don`t know that the garage was even closed. How do I know, Ken in Tennessee, she hadn`t invited somebody into the home? How do I know it wasn`t a neighbor that was angry with her, Ken?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I just -- I just think it was him, and plus, the marks on his hands just seem really suspicious.

GRACE: OK, Ken, question. Other than the marks on his hands, is there any other reason you think the son did it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was close. He knew how to get in the home. He knew that she would be home at the time, probably, too.

GRACE: Well, she was a stay-at-home mom. Of course, she was home. Ken in Tennessee, are you sure you`re not just drinking the Kool-Aid, that you didn`t listen to "GMA" the other morning and decide, yes, that sounded pretty good when it was tied up in a bow in a package and you just assumed the son did it because they charged him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ve just been reading a lot about it and seeing it in the news. And I just think all the evidence is pointing probably to the son.

GRACE: OK, last question to you, Ken in Tennessee. All the evidence -- and that evidence is what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wounds on his hands. I think I read that she had -- she had done something to him previously. She had hurt him, beat him or something because of her mental illness. Maybe he was defending himself, too.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A former high school valedictorian accused of brutally murdering his mother.

PYNE: I don`t believe that I`m a naive, unthinking father that`s just hoping that his son isn`t guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 911 tapes of the horrific moment after Pyne`s father and sister found Ruth Pyne`s body.

PYNE: She`s laying in the garage! There`s blood everywhere! I don`t know what`s going on!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Photos of the blisters on Jeffrey Pyne`s hands reportedly hours after the murder.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know he would never harm his mother.


GRACE: We are taking your calls. This young man is always a model son had endured abuse at the hands of his mentally unstable mother, but he remained doting to both her and his father. He was class valedictorian, a star athlete, had made it to the University of Michigan to become a biology major. His mom found dead in the garage.

Out to Alisa Zee, news director at 24/7 News Detroit.

Alisa, thank you for being with us. I`m a little stunned. Everybody I speak to says all the evidence points to him. What evidence points to the son other than he had blisters on his hands?

ZEE: That`s my question, too, Nancy. What I`m looking at are the facts. And what we have is a woman is dead. Somebody has blisters on his hands. And that`s really, it appears, all that we really have. There isn`t a very strong case that would appear as far as somebody really saying this person did it even up to and including, as we`ve heard the father saying, he does not believe his son did this.

GRACE: Alisa, I`m not pointing or casting aspersions on the father, but where was he at the time?

ZEE: At the time of the -- well, the father found her along with the little one in the garage.

GRACE: Yes. Right. And where was he at the time she was murdered? Because the evident shows the blood had dried and was coagulating.

ZEE: Right. So he was not there. He wouldn`t have heard any screams. He wasn`t there to point any fingers one way or the other. And when --

GRACE: But how do I know how long she had been dead is my question?

ZEE: And I guess that remains to be seen as we watch the prosecution play out their case, right?

GRACE: Yes. You`re right.

And Michael Christian, senior field producer, "In Session," how long had the mom been dead when the little girl found her?

CHRISTIAN: The best estimate is an hour to a couple of hours but we have not heard that forensic testimony yet so we don`t know for sure.

GRACE: And who saw her alive last?

CHRISTIAN: You know, I don`t know the answer to that, Nancy. I`m sorry.

GRACE: Michael.

CHRISTIAN: We haven`t -- we haven`t heard in court yet. That`s all I can tell you.

GRACE: You`re an investigator, right? A journalistic investigator. You know what, get out there and find out.

Beth Karas, who saw her alive last? Wasn`t there a timeline the state gave to the jury?

KARAS: Well, we know right now only because I just saw a document that includes a private autopsy report done for the defense by Dr. Daniel Spatz. He`s -- it`s his understanding that she was last known alive at 11:00 a.m. but it doesn`t say who last saw her alive. But 11:00 a.m. So some time between 11:00 a.m. and 2:30 when she`s found, she`s killed. But like you just said, the blood drying and coagulating, she had to have been dead an hour and a half, probably at least.

GRACE: Yes. And another thing, back to you, Michael Christian, I mean, the son, does he live at home or does he live in a dorm or does he live off-campus housing? Where does he live?

CHRISTIAN: No, he was living at home. And he was not around the home at the time that the body was found. He did come back later that afternoon. His father called him at the Orchard, told him that something had happened to mom. He came home and that`s, I believe, when he was actually told.

GRACE: So he was at work, Michael?

CHRISTIAN: Yes, he was supposed to work from 3:00 to 6:00 that day. He clocked in about 2:53, according to testimony that we heard on Friday.

GRACE: OK. So I know where he was. He was there when the body was found.

Out to the lines, Evan in Kentucky. What`s your question, Evan?

EVAN, CALLER FROM KENTUCKY: Yes. OK, Nancy. Now normally you would be against that boy. What would you do if you were handed this case as a prosecutor?

GRACE: OK. Evan in Kentucky, I appreciate you calling in. But let me just correct you. I`m not normally on anybody`s side. I call it exactly the way that I see it. If I were prosecuting this case, I may strongly believe the son did it. In the back of my mind I might suspect that he did it. But I don`t see the evidence. And in my mind you don`t bring a case unless you have evidence.

Here other than blisters on his hand and there`s no scientific evidence he got them in any particular way, there`s no splinters on his hand that you would imagine he would get from that missing two by four. That`s missing from the home.

And correct me if I`m wrong, Michael Christian. Isn`t it true that when they found the son at work where he was supposed to be -- so I guess their theory is, he goes and stabs the mother, bludgeons her to death, and shows up at work on time. He did not have any blood on him or his clothes. He had a knife in his pocket that was not the murder weapon. Correct? And there was no blood in his car. Correct, Michael?

CHRISTIAN: No blood in his car. Nobody has said anything about seeing him looking disheveled or bloody when he arrived at work. We did hear that he looked like his demeanor might be slightly off. But certainly nothing about him being disheveled and we have not heard yet anything about the knife.

GRACE: To Dr. Michelle Dupre, medical examiner, forensic pathologist. Very often when there are stabbings, Dr. Dupre, and here we have 16 stab wounds to this the neck in addition to the bludgeoning, isn`t it true that the perpetrator very often when using the knife will stab and the knife will go up the hand, causing knife wounds to the interior to the palm?

Isn`t that true, Dr. Dupre?

DR. MICHELLE DUPRE, M.D., MEDICAL EXAMINER AND FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Yes, Nancy. That is true. That most often happens when somebody is stabbing another person very rapidly. Their hand slips off the grip of the knife and they do actually cut themselves many times.

GRACE: So to you, Beth Karas. Did he -- when they approach him at work, did he have any wounds from a knife to his palms or the inside of his fingers?

KARAS: He did not. We`re not aware of anything beyond the blisters in terms of injuries to his hands.

GRACE: You know, Beth, you and Michael and I have covered a lot of cases together. A lot. And, you know, being a crime victim myself, I`m all about justice. I`m all about speaking for the victim. But this is just not the America that I know. This is just not the prosecution that I know. When a young man is hauled in front of a jury because he has blisters on his hands.

And yes, I`m not even saying that he is innocent. What I am saying, Beth Karas, this just doesn`t seem right to me, Beth.

KARAS: I certainly understand your position. You know, there is some evidence. But is it proof beyond a reasonable doubt? And my experience years ago when I was trying cases, and my bosses was -- the advice they gave me is you do not ever have to stand in front of a jury, you never have to try a case, we`re not going to force you to try a case if you in your heart believe you do not have proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

And so -- I mean, that`s I think what the point of your discussion is today. There`s not proof beyond reasonable doubt. Even if the blisters are consistent with an object being swung over and over again.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s laying in the garage. There`s blood everywhere. I can`t -- I don`t know what`s going on.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Played in court, 911 tapes, of the horror witnessed by Jeffrey Pyne`s father and sister who found Ruth Pyne`s body.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. OK. Is she in the house or outside?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s in the garage.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Ruth was found dead in the garage of the Pyne family home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any idea what happened? All he kept telling me was there was blood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s blood everywhere I look. I heard screaming. I came outside of my house. Him and his daughter apparently just got home. That`s all I know.


GRACE: We are taking your calls. Out to Mark in Florida. Hi, Mark. What`s your question?

MARK, CALLER FROM FLORIDA: Yes, I was just wondering if they cleared the father? Do you know if they were having any relationship issues?

GRACE: Good question. I`m sure they were, Mark in Florida. It`s my understanding the father was actually planning on filing a divorce.

This pictures are very much belying the truth. This is like a happy couple here. But Stacey Newman, he was planning on divorcing her after years and years of mental, emotional and physical abuse at the hands of his wife.

NEWMAN: That`s right, Nancy, and the father/husband had told this information to a neighbor. The son, Jeffrey Pyne, had told the same information to one of his coworkers, that he was going to divorce the mom because he could not control her when she was off her medication and she was refusing to take her medication.

GRACE: Outline for, Stacey, the attacks she made on her son and daughter, both starting when they were 8 or 9 years old.

NEWMAN: That`s right, Nancy. The most recent that we know of is she had gone into a fit of rage when she was off her medication and had tried to strangle Jeffrey Pyne to death. This is what led to her going to jail. Just a few months before she herself was found murdered in the garage.


NEWMAN: And she also -- I`m sorry, go ahead.

GRACE: Go ahead.

NEWMAN: And she had also threatened and tried to kill the little sister. And we heard from one of the witnesses that Jeffrey was very concerned that the mom would go through with it and actually kill his little sister.

GRACE: Everybody, we are taking your calls. In a court of law right now a young man stands accused of murder. What`s the evidence? That`s what I am asking. All we`ve heard so far is he had blisters on his hands. He is a handyman that works throughout the neighborhood. He also works at an orchard and apparently some yard or farm supply store.

Another issue, Alex Sanchez and John Manuelian, I`m already hearing about reversible error. Let`s see the lawyers, please, because they, the state, have elicited from coworkers evidence about the blisters on his hands. He says he got these blisters for loading palettes.

All right. We know palettes are typically made out of two by fours, they`re made of wood. The murder weapon apparently is a two by four. Now I don`t know why that`s not consistent -- that the wounds are not consistent with the palettes. It`s the same thing that they believe the murder weapon is. But when the coworkers are on the stand they elicit testimony that they have never gotten bruises or blisters like that.

That translates to an expert opinion. Their wounds versus his wounds. I mean, I could go in there and say, hey, guess what, I`ve gotten those wounds from loading palettes. I mean, that is not admissible evidence, Manuelian.

MANUELIAN: It`s up to a judge whether to allow that. He is the gate keeper of that evidence. And it could be reversible error but think about it, Nancy. If you`re working at an orchard place and you`ve got a lot of experience, why wouldn`t you be allowed to testify to the jury that you have done the same exact type of work and you don`t have those types of injuries? I think that`s for the jury to decide. So I don`t think it`s going work for you.

GUPTA: Yes. And there are a million issues. There`s a million issues like how long have they been lifting palettes as opposed to him? A biology major in college? There`s so many variables there. And that is exactly why this type of demonstration or experimental evidence is usually disallowed. I don`t know if the defense even made an objection or not.

Back to you, Michael Christian. How is the defendant behaving in court?

CHRISTIAN: He`s behaving very naturally, with what people say his normal demeanor is, Nancy. He smiles at people. He smiles with the guards when they bring him in. He`s very active with his attorney.

I can tell you that when they played the 911 call on Friday, the very dramatic 911 call, he did cry. He was visibly wiping away tears. When they showed photographs to the jury of his mother`s body in the garage, photographs which are very graphic and which were projected on a screen in the courtroom, he sat with his back to those photographs. He did not look at them.

GRACE: You know what`s interesting, Michael, and when I go to bat for somebody charged with murder, the last time which is many, many years ago, I told the elected district attorney I didn`t want to prosecute a woman for the murder of her live-in boyfriend because I thought it was self-defense. Seven years later another jurisdiction called me and said, hey, do you remember her? And I went, sure, sure. What, does she want a job recommendation? No, she just stabbed her boyfriend.

All right. So you`ve got to be really careful when you go out on a limb. And again, I`m not saying that he`s innocent. I`m just saying that I don`t see the evidence that proves it. That proves the murder one.

Steve in New Jersey. Hi, Steve. What`s your question?

STEVE, CALLER FROM NEW JERSEY: Could this murder ever be justified if he did do it? Could it be justified because of the abuse? Could he get off?

GRACE: Good question. Let`s talk about it.

Alex Sanchez, it`s interesting here because -- I don`t see Alex. Because typically the reputation of the victim does not come into evidence unless it goes to self-defense. Here they`re not saying self-defense. They`re saying, I didn`t do it. But the state, in trying to prove motive for murder, is showing all the mom`s mental illness and all her attacks on this boy since he was 8 years old. A tiny little boy. So they`re basically getting in the mother, the victim`s bad reputation.

SANCHEZ: You know, that`s perfectly legitimate if the prosecution wants to prove that he had some type of a motive, and the motive being he was repeatedly beaten once he was a kid. Although the defense could possibly turn around and somehow suggest to the jury that he -- you know, maybe he had some justification. That`s not -- that would not be really appropriate in this particular case.

By the way, just because I think there`s a case against him doesn`t mean I`m beyond criticizing the prosecution. And the first thing the prosecution should have done in this case is move this case to a different jurisdiction. Why are they trying it in that jurisdiction where so many people know the defendant in this case?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had nothing to do with this. He would never harm his mother. He loved his mother. 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. I know he would never harm his mother.

He had nothing to do with this. He would never harm his mother. He loved his mother. 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. I know he would never harm his mother.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Startling photographs of Pyne`s hands covered with massive blisters. The photos taken just hours after his mother was found brutally murdered. The former high school valedictorian is accused of bludgeoning and stabbing Ruth Pyne in --


GRACE: The main evidence for the state, blisters on the son`s hands. Does that prove -- that alone prove he murdered his mother?

To Dr. Michelle Dupre, joining us from Columbia, medical examiner, forensic pathologist, what do you make of it, Doctor?

DUPRE: Well, Nancy, I agree with you. I don`t think there`s enough evidence to jump to those conclusion. We just don`t have it. We need to rely on the science and the forensics. And blisters or brush burns, whatever they may be, that just doesn`t do it.

GRACE: But what can we really learn from these blisters, these bruises without splinters from those pallets?

DUPRE: We can look at the actual type of blisters. Are they like water blisters? Are they blisters that would show repeated activity? How many pallets did he throw? And where exactly on the hands are those blisters? Is that -- is -- are they around the fingers as you were gripping a two by four, or are you just simply throwing a pallet? I think we need to look at all of that. Where are they?


GRACE: We remember American hero, Marine Sergeant Donald Lamar II, 23, Stafford, Virginia. Bronze Star, Purple Heart, National Defense Service medal. Loved football, baseball, wrestling, parents Donald and Coleen, brothers Stephen and Joseph, widow Stephanie, daughter Madison.

Donald Lamar II. American hero.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Her son Jeffrey, a biology student at the University of Michigan, claims he was at work the time his mother was murdered. But investigators have reportedly found information that Jeffrey was the target of his mother`s rage when she stopped taking medication for mental illness.

Jeffrey`s father believes he`s innocent, but according to court documents, Jeffrey`s hands had wounds on them in the hours after the murder.


GRACE: Michael Christian, where do we go from here?

CHRISTIAN: We will continue this week, Nancy. Now the court is in session -- was in session a full day today. Monday. Court will only be in session half a day tomorrow and they`re off for the rest of the week because of the Thanksgiving holiday. But -- the prosecution is going to continue to lay out its case, continue to put out those little pieces of the jigsaw puzzle it hopes will some day show a full picture of this case.

GRACE: Beth, Michael, Alisa, and Stacey, thank you for being with us.

Everyone, on a lighter note, so many of us have so much to be thankful for. And here are Lucy and John David singing a special Thanksgiving song for you.


Everyone, "DR. DREW" up next. I`ll see you tomorrow night 8:00 sharp Eastern. Until then, good night, friend.