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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Nation on Edge After Shootings

Aired December 27, 2012 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it`s cool they actually care and that the corporate is having them do it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coffee solves everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s right. There`s a chance. Right? You never know. JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL starts right now.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Are you on edge when out and about this holiday season in the wake of a series of mass shootings? It seems many Americans are.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, panic sweeps holiday shoppers -- again. What had people scrambling for their safety at one California mall?

And many are calling it the trial of 2013. Tonight, from charming to chilling. The many sides of accused killer Jodi Arias.

And what Rihanna and Chris Brown are up to now, and why some people are outraged.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We hid behind the jewelry counter at Macy`s, and then I was finally like, we need to get out of here. I`m not about to get shot behind a jewelry counter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Terrifying. It was the scariest moment of my life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Something similar to gunshots. We don`t know if there was actually gunshots, but it did sound like shots.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, chaos breaks out inside a California mall, sending shoppers running for their lives. But there were no gunshots. No one was killed. Still, who can blame people for panicking, given the violence we`ve all witnessed this holiday season?

Good evening, Jane Velez-Mitchell.

All it took was a fistfight inside this Sacramento shopping mall for people to fear another crazed killer with a gun. What sounded like gunfire turned out to be big signs being knocked over by some young guys fighting inside the mall. But because of all of the recent mass shootings, people ran, believing their lives were in danger. Listen to this shopper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You start thinking the worst thing that can possibly happen. Like, I just imagined someone with, you know, a gun or just -- someone coming into the store and threatening us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We hid behind the jewelry counter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Americans are feeling skittish, because perpetrators have struck in the most innocent of places.

December 11, a young man ran through a Portland shopping mall, killing two holiday shoppers before killing himself.

Three days later, another man in his 20s burst into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, killing 20 children and 6 educators.

And then on Christmas Eve, a New York man set fire to several homes and then, acting as a sniper, shot heroic firefighters as they responded to the fire, killing two firefighters.

After all this violence, isn`t the California mall scare proof that our nation is on edge? People are skittish in places where they used to feel safe.

Straight out to Tanya Acker, and you are an attorney, and you are also an American who is out and about, as I am. I went to a shopping mall on Christmas night. I went to the movies. I went to the see "Lincoln," but I realized as I was there, I`m in these places where bad things have happened, and it does -- it`s unnerving, Tanya.

TANYA ACKER, ATTORNEY: And we can`t ignore, Jane, the fact that we really are witnessing what has been a long-going epidemic of this sort of violence.

I mean, until we really have the political will to say, we`re not going to allow weapons on the street whose only purpose is to hunt human beings, then frankly, a lot of people are going to be subject to this type of vulnerability. It`s hard to get away from.

We`re all obviously not getting shot in the mall, but we see enough of it to know that we`re pretty vulnerable. There`s a lot of crazy stuff out there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, this is an extraordinary scene. These are people thinking, incorrectly, that there is a crazed gunman out there and running for their lives, when it was a couple of young guys, possibly teenagers, just having a fistfight, and they knocked over a sign that sounded like a gunshot.

Something changed. We`ve crossed a line that people are this scared over that kind of incident, or that sound.

The last thing America needed to hear about on Christmas Eve was another killing spree, but we did hear about it. This time the targeted victims were heroic firefighters trying to save lives and homes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Multiple firemen down. Multiple firemen shot. I am shot. I think it was an assault rifle. We have multiple firemen down. With a working fire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops say 62-year-old man, this man -- and we`re not going to name him, because we don`t want to name him to glorify him. We want to describe him the way cops do, as a sadistic killer.

Cops say he set fire to his sister`s home and then climbed up a hill by the house and then sat there with his gun and waited for the heroic firefighters to respond during the holidays, leaving their families behind to do something good. And then he systematically tried to kill them and managed to gun down two, kill two, and hurt two others.

In fact, this suspect was convicted of killing his own grandmother with a hammer back in 1981, and ultimately, in this incident, that he created -- look at all this -- just right during the holidays, he turns the gun on himself.

I`ve got to ask, what on earth is going on here? We need to bring in a psychologist, political psychologist Jeff Gardere. Have we crossed the line? Is there a spiritual malady in America?

JEFF GARDERE, POLITICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes, I believe what`s going on here, Jane, is that the safety net, as far as mental health issues, is completely gone now. We`re seeing more and more that we simply do not have the resources to take care of people who have chronic mental illnesses this individual has been described as having.

We`re starting to lose them. We`re not monitoring them. They`re not staying on their medications, and, therefore, they are free to roam the streets, and in this case, this particular town, and it`s caused a major, major, another heinous act.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, he also killed somebody 18 years ago. And he spent 18 years behind bars, and he was released in 1998, rather. So...

GARDERE: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... that`s another factor.

And I`ve got to bring in Vinny Parco, private investigator. But first, let me tell you what`s really sick about the New York firefighter shootings, is the note the gunman left behind. Listen to this, and then we`re going to analyze it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quote, "I still have to get ready to see how much of the neighborhood I can burn down and do what I like doing best: killing people."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. OK. So he hit his grandmother with a hammer years ago. He was convicted of first-degree manslaughter in her death. He spent 18 years behind bars, but he was released in 1998. And now he has done this again before shooting himself in the head.

Vinny Parco, he said in his note, "I like to kill people. I am doing what I like to do best: killing people." Is this meant many illness or is this somebody who should have been locked up and never let out?

VINNY PARCO, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Both. He should have been locked up and never let out, and he obviously has a mental illness. He`s already killed someone, and they let him out of jail. I don`t know what, parole or whatever.

But the people in the neighborhood, I read that they -- they don`t talk to him because he`s weird. He`s a weird guy, and he tries -- he`s not a friendly guy, because nobody wants to befriend him, and he`s a loser. So a lot of these people that have been doing these killings are losers. They have mental problems. They have social problems. They have many problems within the community, and this is how they express themselves. It`s a terrible way to do it, but this is what they do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The sniper, who killed two firefighters in New York, has now set entire fire departments on edge. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first few runs that they go out at, quite frankly, they may be looking over their shoulder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There are some striking similarities between the Newtown school shooting and the firefighters who were killed.

For one thing, both gunmen used the very same gun: a camouflaged Bushmaster AR-15. The same gun. Used in both of these recent, horrific massacres.

And both shooters apparently had a problem with a relative. The Newtown shooter killed his mother. The man who killed the firefighters killed his own sister before starting the fires, and then acting as a sniper and gunning down these firefighters.

So I have to go back to Jeff Gardere, forensic psychologist. It seems that people with problems, psychological problems, who also have family resentments, suddenly they -- they kill a family member, but then they turn their resentment into a war against the entire world.

GARDERE: Well, obviously, what they do is they go to the source, who -- the person that they`ve been having a lifetime of issues with.

In the case of the Connecticut shooter, it was his mother. In the case of this individual, yes, he killed his grandmother many, many years before. We suspect the sister may be dead.

And then it spills out to the rest of society where they just -- it`s so much anger, so much mental illness, that it goes beyond just the familial issues but then it bleeds out. It infects. It goes out into the general public, because that`s when, finally, they`re able to end it all, kill themselves. But they make this major, major statement by killing as many people as they can outside of the family.

That`s how much rage they have and sometimes so out of touch with reality.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Joe Gomez, investigative reporter with KRLD in Dallas, and you cover so many violent crimes. A family resentment. I would like to know one person who doesn`t have some sort of family resentment. Then you talk about these incredibly toxic, toxic family resentments that these very sick individuals build up.

But there`s one difference between them and the rest of the world. They manage to get their hands on a Bushmaster AR-15. That`s the difference.

JOE GOMEZ, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, KRLD: That`s right. That`s right, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.

GOMEZ: It`s -- it`s -- it really calls for gun reform laws, but the thing about it is, when we hear about these tragic shootings, people on the other side of the spectrum say, well, this is exactly why more people should have guns. More people should have guns to defend themselves against some sort of psychopath.

In fact, just in Texas, I broke a story, interviewing a gun store owner who wanted to have all teachers be able to carry concealed handguns in the classroom. He was offering them a discount in courses and, in fact, discounted guns.

Whenever we see tragedies like this, it`s so tragic, but it just gives fodder for every political side here, and I think we sort -- we start to lose sight of what the big problem is.

And just how awful, how completely, how just tragically awful this all is, as you mentioned earlier. We can`t even go shopping on Christmas, for goodness sakes, without being spooked by somebody slamming a door too fast or a couple of kids getting in a fight.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop the guns. Get them off the streets. Protect your kids. Love them. Do something. It`s sad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe this will change things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope. You know -- it`s hard when you have to bring your kids to school and this all happens. Never was like that when I was -- when I was a kid going to school. Never.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. One possible solution, gun buyback offers, and that happened over the weekend in Los Angeles. You`re going to see cars full of people who gave up their guns for a gift card in L.A. over the weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I dropped off some guns. Some of them were antiques. Some of them were new, but I had no use for them now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m getting older. My senses are coming to me, and I don`t really need those to be around the house anymore.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So here`s what was turned in: 791 handguns, 527 rifles, 302 shotguns. But I think the most important is, 53 assault weapons. Not to mention 1 anti-tank rocket launcher.

So Vinny Parco, private investigator, 53 assault weapons, that is something. Do you think these gun buybacks, particularly, not of these old antique pistols, but of these semiautomatics and these assault weapons, is a good thing that should happen across the country?

PARCO: I think it`s an excellent thing to do. There are people that deserve to have guns. People that hunt. People in law enforcement, militia, the army. But other people that don`t have any reason to have a gun should not have a gun. Unless it`s to defend themselves in their home. That`s the only time they should have a gun, is in their homes to defend themselves.

In -- in Switzerland everybody has a gun in their home. And guess what? Their murder rate is zero or close to zero.

England banned guns throughout the whole country, and they have one of the highest violence rates in the whole world. They want to ban kitchen knives that have points on them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa. I don`t know about that. I don`t know about England having one of the highest violence rates in the whole world. I would dispute that, and I don`t think that`s accurate.

I think that our problem, personally, is semi-assault weapons, and automatic weapons, and magazines, such as the one used in the Newtown massacre, that carry 30 rounds per magazine. And those rounds enable somebody with a grievance, a gripe, or mental illness to wipe out huge numbers of people in what is a matter of seconds.

Ever since the Newtown shooting, we`ve heard some say, our teachers should be armed. Here`s another alternative that`s being offered. Let`s listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re not -- certainly not training them to roam the hallways looking for the shooter. We want to institute this concealed carry option in line with the existing district policies or school policies for the lockdown.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The president of the NRA told CNN today that schools across the country should decide how best to defend students and faculty.

Tanya Acker, attorney, you`ve covered some major crime stories. Is arming teachers a reasonable solution?

ACKER: Jane, I cannot imagine a less reasonable solution, or something that`s less likely to control the epidemic of violence in this country than by transforming our schools into the OK Corral.

I mean, I feel like this whole constituency that`s suggesting that the answer to violence is more guns is really -- you know, they`re really promoting this romantic idea of the Old West, where the bad guys show up with a gun, and the good guys shoot them down and there`s no collateral damage, and that`s just not life. I mean, that`s not what weapons experts tell us. That`s now how violence and how gun warfare acts in the real world.

And so this whole idea of just answering the gun, the assault weapon in particular, and you nailed that. Because there`s nothing that these gun are good for except for killing people, hunting people. They`re not used for hunting. They`re not effective in self-defense, because they`re not very accurate. They are only good for inflicting this sort of mass terrorism, this mass violence. So no, I don`t think the answer is to put more on the street.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You start thinking the worst possible thing you can imagine. Like, I just imagined someone with, you know, a gun or just someone coming into the store and threatening us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We hid behind the jewelry counter at Macy`s. And then I was finally like, we got to get out of here. I`m not about to get shot behind a jewelry counter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: When I heard about the mall panic in Sacramento, I can only imagine the fear that those holiday shoppers must have felt. They hear something that sounds like gunfire, given all of the horrors that we`ve witnessed in the past weeks and months. This has been a horrible year for spree and mass killings.

When you watch this video, you can hear screaming. You can feel the fear, because honestly, people believed their lives are in danger. And, again, thankfully it turns out there were no guns found this time. There was no crazed gunman. It was a couple of kids fighting, and they knocked something over that sounded like gunshot.

But I`ve got to say, Jeff Gardere, forensic psychologist, the impact that all of this violence has had on our society, I think it has shaken us to the core. I think I certainly, just as an individual walking around, feel more skittish. Looking at other people, wondering, well, is that person acting in a strange manner? Could that -- I -- I ask myself questions that I would never have asked myself ten years ago. Do you see this as a national phenomenon?

GARDERE: Absolutely, and welcome to the world the way it is right now. This is, we`re finally catching up -- through our culture shock, we`re finally catching up with what the reality is, that it is dangerous out there.

It`s going to take a long time for us to stabilize crime across the nation, as we did many years before. But now that we have these assault weapons and all of these financial issues going on, now we`re seeing sort of a turn for the worst. People are very angry. People are acting out. I talked about, that the mental health safety net is not really there.

So people are acting appropriately. You`re acting appropriately, Jane, by being skittish. If someone screams, responding to that. Being startled.

And I would advise people, please, continue to shop. Continue to go out. Continue to go to the malls. Continue going to school. Eventually, we will get through this, and we will become more normalized. The new normal, but we are going to be much more aroused. We`re going to see something. We`re going to say something. We`re going to be much more diligent, and that`s just the way that it is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, my dad used to say, freedom isn`t the right to shout "fire" in a crowded movie theater, and, I mean, Vinny Parco, private investigator, I know you pack heat, right? You`re a private investigator, right?

PARCO: Right. Not in New York. I haven`t...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And, by the way -- go ahead.

PARCO: Yes. I don`t carry a gun in New York anymore.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. All right. OK. Well...

PARCO: Don`t need to. I feel comfortable walking around without a gun.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I just -- you know, there are certain people who...

PARCO: But I`m cautious.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... as a result of their profession, need to carry weapons, and I thought it perhaps you did as a private investigator.

PARCO: Well, my investigators do. I have -- I have a staff of investigators. They`re all retired cops and FBI agents, and they carry guns.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And -- law enforcement officers carry guns. And what we`re talking about here are these semiautomatic weapons.

And in the wake of terrorist incidents, we have all changed our behavior. When we go into airports, we take off our shoes because there was a shoe bomber.

So in the wake of these horrors involving this Bushmaster AR-15, you would have to think that, reasonably as a society, given that the Founding Fathers when they -- they had no idea that there were going to semiautomatic weapons in the future of this country. They didn`t -- they couldn`t conceive that, because that technology wasn`t there.

That we need to do something to get -- to get a grip on these, at the very least, these semiautomatic weapons that can gun down 30 people in a matter of seconds.

PARCO: It was on the books, that said you can`t use these weapons, but people do it anyway.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, but they were legal. My understanding is, that they were legal. They were legally purchased in Connecticut. That was -- those were legally purchased in Connecticut, and they were taken by the woman`s son.

PARCO: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, anyway, it`s something we`ve got to think of. We`ve got -- we`ve got to have a national dialogue on this, and we`ve got to figure something out, because we can`t have any more of this. This has got to stop.

More on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jodi Arias, she`s young and beautiful. Police say she`s a cold-blooded killer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That beautiful woman accused of viciously -- and I mean viciously -- murdering her former boyfriend by stabbing him 27 times and slashing his throat.

JODI ARIAS, ACCUSED MURDERER: This isn`t a two-sided story. This is a multifaceted story. There are many sides to this story, and I just don`t feel like mine has been represented.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jodi is extremely articulate. She`s beautiful, but she`s also very well-spoken. She`s not hysterical. She`s not overly emotional.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s frightening both her calm and what`s also a little disturbing is how much she seems to be liking all of this attention.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A beautiful woman accused of a heinous crime. We`re just days away from what many say will be the trial of 2013. After years of delays, Jodi Arias is going on trial for murder next Wednesday. And we will be all over this case with complete coverage on this show. There are cameras in the courtroom. We will bring it all to you.

Jodi Arias, a beautiful, well-spoken aspiring photographer, and she loves being in front of the camera as much as behind it, but this same woman with many faces is accused of murder, and a horrible murder.

Investigators say she killed her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in a brutal fashion, shooting him in the face, stabbing him 27 times, and slitting his throat from ear to ear, all after the two had sex. Her defense is now arguing that Jodi Arias killed Alexander in self-defense. This is her third public version of what happened that night. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JODI ARIAS, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER: This isn`t a two-sided story. This is a multifaceted story. There are many sides to this story. And I just don`t feel like mine has been represented.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to Joe Gomez, investigative reporter, KRLD in Dallas. Joe, I think one of the reasons people are fascinated with this case is that the crime is so awful, and yet the defendant so demure and really behaves like she`s on a fashion show runway as opposed to being accused of an unthinkable crime.

JOE GOMEZ, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, right, Jane. As you recall, she won a Christmas pageant at Maricopa County Jail singing "O Holy Night" around the turkey dinner and all the fixings.

I was actually covering this case when it first broke and it was so striking to me the brutality that police say was involved here from Jodi Arias. I mean her ex-lover Travis had his throat slit, Jane, from ear to ear, stabbed 27 times. Shot in the face. The idea that this could be self-defense is really perplexing to me. Why would you stab somebody 27 times if it was self-defense? Why go through the bother of slicing their neck and shooting them in the face?

Jodi had various scenarios. The first scenario was that she wasn`t even there when the murder happened.

The second scenario was that burglars, intruders broke in and she was spooked and she left and Travis was murdered by them.

And then this third is now that she did this allegedly in self- defense.

It`s a bizarre story, but it has everything to it to make it certainly a national drama, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And one of the reasons I think it is fascinating, we`ve been talking about violence, and how do we predict when somebody is going to be become violent or who is likely to become violent. And on the face of it and only on the face of it this individual would seem at first glance to be so demure and not capable of anything like this -- really, a shy, retiring young woman. So, again, it raises that question of, how can we predict violence? Can we? Or is it a futile task?

In the wake of the Casey Anthony trial, we`re a seemingly open and shut case was turned on its head prosecutors certainly have to be extra careful. There is no such thing as an assured conviction when you`re dealing with a high-profile case, which is like a runaway freight train.

We`re learning that prosecutors may start their case from the moment when Travis` body was discovered. Let`s listen to part of that 911 call.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does anyone know if he`s ever, if he reported that to the police?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he`s ever called the police? No one -- I don`t think he has. I asked him, because he told me one time -- well, several times she slit people`s tires that were parked in front of his house. And I asked --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s her name -- Traci?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jodi -- I don`t know her last name, but --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Attorney Tanya Acker, as we wonder how prosecutor will approach the Jodi Arias case it often seems that the prosecutors have one hand tied behind their back because they have to do all the plotting work of laying out the entire case. Whereas the defense can just come in with these maybe sometimes bizarre explanations for things, but they`re really -- it`s not incumbent upon them to explain the who, what, where, when, why, how of the case?

TANYA ACKER, ATTORNEY: Welcome to the American constitution, Jane. I mean, that`s exactly right. The prosecution bears the burden of proof. The defense doesn`t really have to say anything if they don`t want to. They don`t have to take the stand. I mean obviously, that`s something that does not -- that wouldn`t, in some cases, work to their benefit. They want to put on some sort of case, but they don`t have to.

The burden of proving this is absolutely with the prosecution, and in this case, you know, we should remind your viewers that psychopaths come in all shapes and colors, and sometimes they`re pretty and sometimes they`re women, and sometimes they`re men. But the whole psychology behind that sort of, you know, behind that sort of mentality is that you don`t have any energy. You don`t have any emotion. You don`t have feelings for other people. You can brutalize someone in a really terrible fashion and then smile for the cameras afterwards. That`s part of what being mentally ill is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, we`ve been discussing Jodi Arias changing her story three times. First she says I wasn`t at the house. Then claims she was there but two masked intruders burst in, in a home invasion and killed him and finally, yes, I was there, but I killed Travis in self-defense. We`re opening the possibility of blame the victim defense. Which leads me to ask, could there be a bombshell twist in this case? We all remember this line from Jose Baez during the Casey Anthony case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSE BAEZ, CASEY ANTHONY`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And shortly thereafter George began to yell at her. "Look what you`ve done. Your mother will never forgive you, and you will go to jail for child neglect for the rest of your freakin` life."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In that case, the defense put the -- tried to put the blame on George Anthony. So I want to go to Shanna Hogan, you`re a journalist and a true crime author writing a book about the Jodi Arias case. Could the Jodi Arias defense team be planning a similar strategy? Blame the victim who is not here to defend himself?

SHANNA HOGAN, JOURNALIST (via telephone): Yes, Jane. I think they would have to almost at this point. This latest defense is the most ridiculous of all her defenses. You know, first she wasn`t there. Then she was there and these people broke in, and now she`s trying to blame the victim, which is really, really unfortunate. Because everything that you find out about this guy, he was a very nice person.

He did a lot of good in the world, and the to put the victim on trial is really assassinating his character and it`s like she, I mean at this point you can say she murdered him. I mean, it`s allegedly, but regardless, she took away his life, because she`s admitting that she actually did it but saying it`s in self-defense and now she`s is going to put his character on trial and assassinate his character. So it`s really unfortunate.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Travis Alexander does not have a voice here but his friends and his family do and they will be at the trial. They immediately, immediately, pointed to Jodi Arias.

Listen to part of this 911 call when Travis` body was discovered.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Has he been threatened by anyone recently?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he has. He has an ex-girl that`s been bothering him and following him and slashing tires and thing like that.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Travis` friend, Jason Searle, told me that Arias stalked Travis. Listen --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JASON SEARLE, FRIEND OF TRAVIS ALEXANDER: Towards the end of their relationship after they`d kind of broken up and he had put some distance between them, it really was an obsession type of a thing and the way he described it that she was really stalking him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Jeff Gardere, forensic psychologist, stalking is a huge, huge problem. First of all, look, that was her mug shot. It looks like a head shot for somebody trying to become an actor or actress in Hollywood.

Stalking is a serious problem in this country. And it seems like the laws don`t really protect anyone. He, according to his friends, had his tires slashed. There was even a report that she allegedly, according to friends, broke into a house where he was staying with his girlfriend, and stared at them while they were sleeping. All of that, we don`t know how much of that is going to get into the trial at this point.

JEFF GARDERE, PSYCHOLOGIST: So here`s the deal, right? We have an individual who obviously has some sort of a severe personality disorder. I`m not saying she`s insane. That`s a legal definition. She doesn`t seem like a schizophrenic but someone`s who`s probably a histrionic sociopath. A lot of people know about her. A lot of people know about her very wild and possessive actions, being a stalker and so on.

That`s enough to, perhaps, get someone evaluated by a psychologist or psychiatrist. In this case it didn`t happen, because here`s the major fault. We don`t all bring our information together. Whatever town she came from, if we were able to interview those people, where she lived before that, if we interviewed those people and then interviewed the friends of Travis Alexander and put everything together in a database, we could make the prediction that this is a very dangerous person who`s capable of killing. And therein lies the problem that we don`t actually come together to share the information. We all get it later on after the dastardly deed has been committed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but the truth is that you can`t lock up every stalker in America forever. Stalking is a huge problem, and so many individuals, men, but especially women, are stalked all the time and so, yes. It`s easy to look back and say, this one`s a stalker. Now she`s an alleged murderess, but a lot of stalkers stalk and they`re horrifying, and they do terrible things but don`t then proceed to do the unthinkable.

We`re going to stay on top of the case. Stay here for complete coverage of the Jodi Arias case.

Time for our must-see video of the day -- a huge shark tank suddenly erupts inside a mall, bursts open. 16 people hurt by flying glass and water. All of the sharks and the fish in the tanks died, and this is an example of why I believe we should not have these displays, these so-called aquariums, which are basically prisons for these creatures. Sharks are being decimated around the world because of the other odious shark fin soup, and we need to just let these creatures live in the natural environment in which nature intended them. That is, the ocean.

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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s your "Viral Video of the Day"; a tornado in the parking lot of a Walgreen`s dragging cars through the parking lot. The tornado hit Mobile, Alabama. And look at this, a man leaves the store and then -- look at that. Better take cover. We`re happy to say nobody was hurt, but it is more extreme weather these days.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rihanna and Chris Brown -- see what looks like more proof these two are back together again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, the guy who beat her up in his car the night before the 2009 Grammys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But judging by the provocative photos that she and Chris Brown keep posting of each other, they couldn`t care less.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A stunning photo has all of Hollywood scratching its collective head tonight, as it seems superstar Rihanna is sending a message to the world, she is back with Chris Brown and she doesn`t care what anybody thinks.

Here is the photo. Yes. There it is. Rihanna with her head cradled on the shoulder of a guy who -- let`s face it -- beat her to a pulp. It all went down while the two cozied up courtside to take in a Lakers game Christmas Say.

While it seems Ri-ri doesn`t mind one bit, some are upset over the public display of affection. And here`s why. Do you remember this photo? You should because we covered this story a lot on our show. This is what Rihanna looked like hours after she was beaten by then boyfriend Chris Brown in a vicious fight in 2009.

Brown actually pleaded guilty to assault for the violent fight and get this, he is still on probation for it. So here`s the thing. She`s an adult. She can do whatever she wants, but we have the right to ask, what kind of a message is she sending about domestic violence especially in this era where intimate partner violence reached a state of crisis? Is this a slap in the face to other victims of domestic violence?

Straight out to Ralphie Aversa, syndicated radio host, entertainment reporter. What do you think, Ralphie?

RALPHIE AVERSA, SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: Well, I`m not surprised by this at all. I remember joining "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" last February when we were talking about the rumors swirling then that these two were going to do duet remixes of each other`s songs. So obviously they`ve been friendly for quite some time. But Christmas day, courtside at the Lakers` game, first public appearance since the Grammys in 2009 or rather the night before the Grammys, when Chris Brown beat Rihanna.

So a little shocking, but again I think they`re just trying to kind of prepare everyone because I think these two are going to make a public appearance at the Grammys this year. And if that was the first appearance since the incident, people would be talking even more about it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rihanna hasn`t been shy about her feelings towards Chris Brown this past year. Remember, her tear-filled interview with Oprah on the OWN network. Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RIHANNA, SINGER: I lost my best friend. Like everything I knew switched and became a circus, and I felt protective, angry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The singer has repeatedly defended him for the backlash of their 2009 fight. They`ve also been spotted hanging out together more and more at clubs, at concerts and on top of it all, it seems like her lyrics add to it at times.

Listen to this from Vivo and Island Def Jam records.

(MUSIC)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tanya Acker, if it was anyone else, writing or singing that song, performing that song, as it were, I would say, well, that`s Hollywood. That`s poetic license. But given the fact that she experienced violence, physical violence at the hands of a man and was beaten to a pulp, I have to ask, is Rihanna flirting with violence?

ACKER: Yes, I don`t know that I would say she`s flirting with it, Jane. I think that she`s certainly glamorizing it to an extent that may be available to her as a Hollywood celebrity, but for women who have to live with this, who can`t make music videos about it, who can`t make press, because now they`re showing up with their abuser in public, you know, it`s really a very different situation.

Now, we don`t know what sort of process Chris Brown and Rihanna may have undertaken as part of their reconciliation, but what we do know and what certainly does seem to be the case is there`s a message being sent here that when these things happen, it`s not so bad. You get over it. You make a video. You go to a basketball game. All is well. And I think that that`s really a very dangerous message to be sending, especially to young girls who are in violent relationships.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Especially from Rihanna. So many young girls look up to her. And so many young boys look up to Chris Brown. And they`re both incredibly talented individuals. I admire their music and their artistry, but they have a responsibility as public figures to realize, especially Rihanna as a victim, survivor of domestic violence, that her actions have huge ripple effects. And that as one of our guests very eloquently put it, too many girls out there confuse love with a beat down, and unfortunately, I think that these statements, these -- these public hanging outs, this reconciliation, might reinforce that very, very inaccurate and dangerous notion.

More on the other side.

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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for our "Pet o` the Day". Send us your pet pics at hlntv.hln/Jane. These beautiful, beautiful creatures remind us of the innocence of all animals, not just our precious dogs and cats. I ask you as we start this new year to expand your circle of compassion and love beyond dogs and cats to other creatures like pigs and cows and lambs.

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CHRIS BROWN, SINGER: When you share history with somebody then you tend to fall in love with somebody else. It`s kind of difficult. You know what I`m saying? It`s like is there such a thing as loving two people?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That from video Chris Brown saying oh, I feel like I`m in love with two women at once. Well, the ex-girlfriend is out of the picture and now it`s pretty official. He and Rihanna are an item again and many are wondering why Rihanna is coming out with Chris in such a public way.

I mean, come on. Courtside, the Lakers game -- there have been rumors swirling about this couple for months, but Rihanna wants the world to know it would seem, because I got to tell you, she took to her Twitter account and posted this photo which you`re about to see with the caption "thug life #merry Christmas". First of all, Ralphie Aversa, what the heck does "thug life" mean and why is this so deliberate?

AVERSA: She`s been posting actually photos even racier than the one that she posted on Christmas day for quite some time on both her Instagram and her Twitter page as well. So I guess by "thug life", they`re just trying to say that, you know what, they`re living outside of people`s expectations and maybe outside of the rules a little bit, as well. But again, it`s not surprising.

You know you talked earlier about the song S & M, she has a duet with the Chris on her new album, "Unapologetic" which, by the way Jane, was her first ever number one album here in the States.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she`s incredibly talented on her own. And he`s talented. Again I love them both as artists but I question their judgment.

Jeff Gardere, it turns out that Chris Brown`s revealed his stepdad abused his mom and Rihanna revealed that she witnessed abuse in her house as a child. That briefly is obviously a factor.

GARDERE: Absolutely. And then they are continuing perhaps the cycle of inappropriate behavior by now staying in a relationship where there was some severe domestic violence.

You talk about responsibility. Look, they`re young. Obviously, they`re in love. They`re living the thug life, but the bottom line is, they have to come clean and say they need help and talk about that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re out of time. Rihanna, Chris, think about it.

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VELEZ-MITCHELL: As we get ready for New Year`s Eve, we`re also speeding towards that fiscal cliff. Here`s my opinion. It`s time for some real government cost cutting.

Let`s start with Defense, one of the biggest costs to taxpayers. It was a conservative Republican and war hero President Dwight Eisenhower who coined the term "military industrial complex" and warned us about it. The U.S. makes up about 5 percent of the world`s population but we outspend all of the world`s other top military powers combined. China`s the next biggest military power. We outspend China by nearly 6 to 1. We can substantially cut without endangering our national security.

Next up, health care costs, Medicaid, Medicare, America needs to completely rethink health care to prevent Americans from getting completely preventable illnesses that are costing taxpayers billions -- heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity. America`s bad eating habits are creating an expensive national healthcare crisis.

How do we fix it? How about cutting the massive subsidies to agriculture, those taxpayer subsidies are a big reason why unhealthy fast food and junk food loaded with fats, sugar, calories are so cheap while healthy fruits and vegetables and seem expensive.

In my humble opinion, the U.S. government because it is beholden to powerful industries has created some of the worst problems that it then taxes us to try and fix. Here`s my suggestion. End those massive subsidies to big agriculture now. You will dramatically reduce health costs.

Ok. Now, let`s also cut back on subsidizing so many unwisely dispensed prescription narcotics that are now causing more overdoses than illegal drugs.

And finally, so many government programs that we cover on this show are in my opinion a total waste of taxpayer dollars. Take the Interior Department`s wild horse roundup. The U.S. government spends millions rounding up America`s wild horses sticking them in pens. There are thousands of programs like that that have to go, but to stop it, politicians have to stand up to powerful interests who have their own profit motive at hand.

The fact is that our government is broken. It is essentially controlled by the people, the U.S. government are supposed to police in the first place.

Nancy`s next.

END