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Jodi Arias: Murderer?

Aired January 16, 2013 - 21:00   ET



DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, this man dated Jodi Arias. Did she use him to make the man she killed jealous? What attracted him to her? And does he think she`s a murderer? He`s telling me in an exclusive interview.

Plus, this: a 13-year-old boy accused of murdering his baby brother, on trial as an adult. His mother was 12 when he was born. He was sexually assaulted by a relative, beaten by his stepfather, left on the streets, and worse.

We are asking: should this child be prosecuted as an adult?

Let`s get started.



PINSKY: Very interesting stories this evening.

My co-host this week is Jillian Barberie Reynolds. Thank you for joining us, Jillian.


PINSKY: It`s going to be heavy. We`re going to be getting into it in a big way.

Tonight, we have two exclusives in a few minutes. In a few minutes here, we`ve got a man who dated Jodi Arias. He`s going to speak for the first time publicly. There he is there with her.

But first, joining me on the phone is another special guest. It is Veronica. She called us the other night spontaneously and told us that she used to work with Jodi, had some observations to share with us about her behavior.

So, Veronica, I want to pick up where we left off. First of all, thank you for joining us again. I know you`re rushing off to work and you agreed to spend a little time with us.

VERONICA, SAYS SHE KNEW JODI ARIAS (via telephone): Sure. Aloha, doctor.

PINSKY: Aloha. Mahalo for being here.


REYNOLDS: What did she call you?

PINSKY: I don`t know. It`s something in Hawaiian.

VERONICA: It means no problem.

PINSKY: Take us back to when you were working with her allegedly in the desert area, Palm Springs, I think you said Rancho Mirage. She was a waitress, you were there, and you started hanging out with her and she gave other people the creeps so badly that your co-workers are telling you to stay away from her. Tell us about that.

VERONICA: Absolutely. Jodi had major issues that we could call see. She was horrible at her job so, I was always helping her, picking up her slack.

Everyone else wouldn`t touch -- wouldn`t help her at all at work, because every time she got a bad tip from a table it was oh, there was a woman at the table, Veronica, she was jealous of me. That was the reason she got a bad tip. Not horrible service.

PINSKY: And then the friends of yours that told you to stay away from her, what was it they were sensing? We`re hearing more and more that she had this sort of what she called a spiritual side, which just sounds like sort of this weird side where she would be silent for periods of time and sort of not seeming to respond normally to people. Is that what gave people the willies?

VERONICA: Exactly. She had no social skills. She didn`t know how to relate to people sitting at a table and serving them. She was void of emotion. She had a flat affect.

She -- there just was nothing inside of her. You know, she didn`t know how to perceive emotions and actions in a normal way.

PINSKY: And you said that she at one point tortured a cat and then after having done so -- now, I`m going to let you tell the story, but after having done so, then she said -- this was new information to me. That she said something about feeling that she should have felt bad about it but didn`t? Tell us that story.

Oh, we lost her. I think we`re losing her phone reception right there.

REYNOLDS: She looked after a cat for a couple of weeks and -- are you back?

PINSKY: Go ahead and tell the story.

REYNOLDS: Basically the person said could you look after my cat. She said, yes, and left the cat in a dark room for two weeks. And it was half dead. And she said, oh, I guess I`ve got to go get the cat because the person`s coming back.


REYNOLDS: Should I feel bad this about this?

PINSKY: What`s this new information she shared with one of our producer, Veronica. She said I think I should feel bad about this, but I just don`t, and then started pretending as though she felt bad.

Now, excuse me, this behavior of not having genuine emotion --


PINSKY: And then behaving as if or sort of learning how normal people behave with emotions --

REYNOLDS: Doesn`t that -- isn`t that consistent with what she`s done with --

PINSKY: Well, yes, that`s psychopathy. If that report is real -- Veronica, if you come back we`ll get back to you but I want to go to "In Session`s" Beth Karas.

Beth, what do you make of Veronica`s comments? Number one. Number two, does it fit with what you know of the facts? And number three, I`m going to ask you to bring us up-to-date on the court proceedings today.

BETH KARAS, CORRESPONDENT, IN SESSION: Well, what Veronica had to say about her does seem to fit with the little that we know about her. I mean, what we know about Jodi is in the world of her new Mormon friends, because she became a Mormon technically before she started dating Travis and then she sort of joined his social circle. And a lot of these folks we`ve spoken to outside of court, they`re not testifying, have said there was something a little off about her.

She was inappropriate in the presence of a lot of people in her public displays of affection for Travis. She would nibble on his ear do things that were just really uncomfortable for other people around. She was extremely possessive of him. And that`s independent of all of this alleged stalking behavior and obsession she had.

She just was odd in social settings, exactly what Veronica said. I have been told that she was fine one on one. But with a group, she just didn`t know how to relate.

PINSKY: Well, Beth, we`re going to get into the one on one just after the break because I`ve got a young man that dated her for a while and was really in the jaws of the beast and lived to tell about it. And he himself has a lot of feelings about it.

REYNOLDS: Right. Her actions seem consistent, and I was talking to him a little bit in the green room about her sort of changing to morph, to be with other people, whether it was their religion or just trying to fit in. It`s almost consistent with not really knowing who you are.

PINSKY: Being so empty and really having no identity or having just a lot of confusion about -- what we call theory of mind. That minds have content.

Beth, can you bring us up-to-date on the proceedings today in court?

KARAS: Yes. So eight days of trial so far. The state is still presenting evidence. Today, there was a focus on the car she rented when she went on that road trip from June 2nd to June 7th, killing Travis in the middle of it all. The man who rented her the car said she came in, she wanted a car for just local travel, she brought it back a day late with 2,800 miles on it.

But when he was giving her a red car, she said, no, no, no, she wanted something a little less loud. She took a white car. And we learned that when she returned it, all the floor mats were gone and there were some stains, a stain that he thought was Kool-Aid on the front seat and a bigger one in the back seat. We haven`t heard if those stains were tested, but it`s kind of a non-issue now that she admits to killing him.

We also heard from an officer who stopped her a day after she killed Travis Alexander. She only had one plate on the car and it was upside down. She was very pleasant. She said my friends must have played a joke on me.

And, finally, the rest of her interrogation from the day after she was arrested, she continued to deny she had anything to do with Travis`s death. She continued to blame two intruders. But she did say at one point, "If I had it in me to kill him, at least I would have done it humanely and quickly."

PINSKY: Would have shot him, she said and worn gloves.

Beth, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.

I`ve got Veronica back.

Veronica, I want you quickly to take us back to that cat story again and tell us how you experienced that.

VERONICA: Yes, doctor. So anyway, she was taking care of this cat supposedly for two weeks. And after the two weeks she had told me, she said, "Veronica, boy, when I went to retrieve the cat after two weeks" -- I said, what do you mean after two weeks retrieved the cat? She said, "Well, I left it in a room with enough food and water." I said, for two weeks? What are you talking about, Jodi? She said -- and she kind of got a little startled at my response.

And she said, "Well, when I went to get the cat to take it to the Humane Society, it was shaking, veronica. The cat was shaking. I guess I kind of feel bad." Uh.


VERONICA: "I kind of feel bad." That bleached blond.

PINSKY: That was where you drew the line with her I understand. That was where you started realizing there is something wrong with her.

Did she ever talk about her family? Her siblings?

VERONICA: The only way she talked about her family was this, Doctor. She spoke fluent Spanish. She was really good. And I said, Jodi, wow, you speak Spanish. You know, are you part Spanish or South American, whatever? She said, "No, I`m half Mexican."

And that`s where the hair color came in. Because I was like, Jodi, why are you bleaching the hair? I mean, it was so -- it was horrible. And she said because -- she goes, she didn`t want to look ethnic.

PINSKY: Interesting.

VERONICA: That was her response. She was half Mexican, she didn`t want to look it.

PINSKY: Well, Veronica, thank you for spending a little time with us. I do appreciate it. It`s very interesting. No doubt we`ll be checking back with you again. As I said, Mahalo.

And --


PINSKY: -- next up, an exclusive with a man who says he dated Jodi Arias. What did he think when he found -- he also knew Travis Alexander. What did he think about -- what did he consider when he learned that Travis had been killed? What thoughts raced through his mind?

And later, I`ve got a child, and I mean a child, charged with severe murder, tried as an adult. I`m going to get your thoughts on this.


PINSKY: All right. I`ve got an outstanding panel tonight who will be standing by.

First of all, psychologist Wendy Walsh from Investigation Discovery`s "Happily Never After", former prosecutor Loni Coombs, and defense attorney Darren Kavinoky from "Deadly Sins", airing Saturdays on Investigation Discovery.

But, first, joining us for his first time on national television is Abe Abdelhadi. He says he dated Jodi several times and then spoke to her after Travis Alexander`s death.

Abe, thank you for joining us first of all. We really do appreciate it.

Tell us how you met Jodi and what your relationship was and what it was like.

ABE ABDELHADI, FIRST INTERVIEW ABOUT DATING JODI ARIAS: It started off innocuous. We met at a regional event. I was introduced to her by a friend in common.

And we got into each other`s cars. She told me she liked my energy, that kind of thing.

REYNOLDS: Was she into that kind of thing? Was she sort of --

PINSKY: Energy person?

REYNOLDS: -- spiritual?

ABDELHADI: Yes, spiritual. You know, she kind of came off a little flighty. But regardless, she was cute.


ABDELHADI: And I thought, what the heck? So we swapped cards and started a phone conversation. And then what had occurred over the next couple of months we would talk. I didn`t see her at our Las Vegas convention, but when we got back into town, we would be at the same events and then we`d go out afterwards and we started sitting next to each other at events and then I asked her to a lunch, we went to a lunch.

And then we actually had a dinner date, and this was probably at this point now from September when we finally went out was end of December of 2006.

Now, what had occurred then I thought was kind of interesting. We went to dinner in Pasadena. We walked around. We went to Barnes & Noble. We ended up in the spiritual books section, philosophy section.

She asked me about my religious background. I shared that with her pretty bluntly. I had been religious as a child and by my mid-20s was doing something else.

She told me she was dabbling in Mormonism.

PINSKY: Dabbling in Mormonism.

ABDELHADI: Right. And that was her term. That`s the quote, "dabbling in Mormonism."

And so, I asked her bluntly, well, who`s the other guy? And she said, what do you mean? I said, is it your ex you used to live with? She said, no, I was looking into faiths and this seemed like a good one.

And I said, well, that`s not exactly for the faint of heart. You`ve got no caffeine, no beer, no premarital sex. There`s just a bunch of restrictions. It`s a very tough religion if you`re going to just jump into a religion.

So I thought it was an odd thing to say that "I`m dabbling in Mormonism.

REYNOLDS: Jumping in here, was that your last date? You guys did not have sex, correct?

ABDELHADI: No, we did not.

PINSKY: They hooked up a little bit. Tell us about the hookup.

ABDELHADI: Yes, well, that night, we did get together a little bit. I walked her to her car. And we were in the parking garage. And she was pretty enthusiastic. She wasn`t afraid of oncoming cars or anything like that. Some girls get really skittish when cars are coming, they don`t want to get caught by their parents or something.

She was actually very comfortable. And at one point, I made an innocent little reach. Really didn`t get much past high school. But I made a little reach to find out candidly speaking if she was wearing thong panties or not. We all have our Peccadilloes.

And so when I realized that she was, I made a little joke and I said that`s not magic underwear. And I was alluding to the undergarments -- I was making --

REYNOLDS: Right. A Mormon.

ABDELHADI: It was a Mormon joke. It was in bad taste. But, you know, in the moment.

And so, I made that joke. And I said this isn`t magic underwear. And she said but there`s magic in them. I thought, OK, this is fun, she`s going to be fun.

So the next day called her, didn`t get a call back. The second day she called me back and she explained to me that she was getting back together with her ex and that she felt guilty, she felt like she was cheating on him with me even though we really only got together the once. And --

PINSKY: Abe, I`m going to interrupt you. I`m going to push the story forward. You maintained a phone conversation over a long period of time, you had a friendship. You didn`t really go anywhere. And she was constantly obsessing about Travis and sharing all her obsessions with you about him.

And then you find out he dies.

Tell me about that moment, where you were and what you thought.

ABDELHADI: Well, we had all just gotten back from this Cancun trip that we had all won. Travis and I were acquainted. We had a lot of good friends in common. But he and I were never tight. And he wasn`t on that trip.

PINSKY: And I`m going to stoup again there and say you shared with me that the defense is trying to make Travis a bad guy who was exploiting this girl and you tell me you that never heard any women speak ill of him, he wasn`t somebody who was going out there and exploiting other people, there was no reputation and that --

ABDELHADI: None whatsoever. He didn`t have that reputation. We`ve all been in the same business for a number of years. Reputations get spread around.

PINSKY: Right.

ABDELHADI: You know, we were all higher up in the company. We kind of all know each other or of each other. I never heard boo.

PINSKY: Right.

REYNOLDS: I have a question. Abe, when you heard that Travis died, did you for one second at all think ever that she had anything to do with it?

ABDELHADI: Absolutely. As soon as we got off the plane and I got my phone off of airplane mode and my phone was blowing up with texts, I told my buddy who traveled on that trip with us, I know who did it, because for the previous week and a half every day for two months, her and I would get into a conversation. And she would call me ostensibly, we never saw each other socially but she was always calling me.

And so --

REYNOLDS: And she was obsessed with him, with Travis? She would talk to you about Travis and her obsession with him?

ABDELHADI: Yes. It seemed kind of childish. In hindsight, obviously it wasn`t because it would seem kind of childish but she would say things like I don`t know what I`ll do if I can`t have him or he would be such a great father to my children.

I would tell her flat out, well, you became a Mormon, you`re a pretty girl, you know? Drop into any ward -- which is a Mormon church, by the way if you don`t know -- drop into any ward and you`ll meet a great guy. And, you know, so just let it go. Don`t be attached to a result. What are you supposed to do?

And so, when we got off the plane that night I don`t know why I knew but I knew. And then the next day, because I got home at 3:00 in the morning, I slept maybe two hours, I woke up eight some breakfast and I called her about 8:00, 8:30 or so and just -- you know, I was fishing. I called her to fish. I called her to see what was going on.

I asked her where she was. She said she was still up in Yreka where I knew her to be. I hadn`t talked to her probably since about March or April. This was now about June.

And she said she was tending bar -- or waitressing someplace.

REYNOLDS: So you thought you were talking to a killer. Did you feel strange about that? Because you felt that she did it.

PINSKY: And you were with her.

ABDELHADI: My blood pressure was through the roof. It was through the roof. I was walking when I did it. I went outside to walk so that I could work off some nervous energy because I was trying to sound like oh, my gosh, I`m so sorry for you when I knew she did it.

And then what happened was I felt guilty because within about 10, 15 minutes she starts crying, because I`m asking her these different questions. Hey, did he ever have a bunch of people over to the house? Did he ever do these in-home parties for the business? Maybe somebody, six degrees of separation, who did you see?

And then she`s saying, well, you know, he had a lot of people over, he would have these USC game parties and everything else, it could have been anybody, oh, my God, this is so terrible. And then she starts crying. And then I feel like an idiot.

And then, about 2 1/2 weeks, 3 weeks later I get a call kind of out of the blue from her and I answer the phone. I say, hey, what`s up? And she was like, hey, I wanted to thank you for your maturity and your friendship -- which is just such a crock thing to say.

And I asked her how the service went, because I assumed she was going to the funeral in Riverside.


ABDELHADI: And she said that she didn`t go. She said that she had caught a flat just outside of Fresno, somewhere in central California. It took six hours for the AAA guy to get out there. By the time he got out there she figured the services were over so she turned around and went home.

PINSKY: All right.

ABDELHADI: And that`s when my neck started to crawl again because I`m thinking --

PINSKY: You knew that was a lie?

ABDELHADI: Yes, because if you -- I had --

PINSKY: Abe, I`ve got to stop you. I`ve got to take a break. We`ve got more questions for -- yes, a lot for you. It`s very interesting. I think all of us have the hair standing on the back of our neck when you tell the story. You were --

REYNOLDS: Do you feel lucky? I mean --

PINSKY: Well, hold that. I`m going to let you answer that when you get back. And later on I`ve got a really terrible just --

REYNOLDS: I can`t get this story out of my head.

PINSKY: -- about a kid that had been horribly abused himself, allegedly commits a terrible crime and now is being tried as an adult. There he is right there.

We`ll be right back with more after this.



JODI ARIAS: What kind of gun is that?


ARIAS: I just bought a gun.


ARIAS: Mmm-hmm.

INVESGITOR: We probably found it by now.

ARIAS: If Travis were here today, he would tell you that it wasn`t me.

INVESTIGATOR: My job is to speak for Travis right now. And everything Travis is telling me is that Jodi did this to me.


PINSKY: That was a clip from the intensive questioning of Jodi Arias by investigators in July of 2008. I still have got my great panel standing by here with us.

And I`ve got Abe, we`re just enrapture with your story here, Abe, and I want you to answer that question that Jillian asked you before we went to break -- do you feel lucky?

ABDELHADI: Absolutely. I do feel lucky, because that call that I got when she called me back could have been to let`s go out again. And who knows how that would have turned out? I -- you know?

REYNOLDS: Abe, not to -- I`m sorry to jump in. You said something interesting to me if the green room, because she is a good-looking woman. Most guys would look over the fact that she might have been a little strange and creepy and just, you know, of and wanted to sleep with her and just gotten what they wanted to get and moved on. But you didn`t.

There was something, maybe that voice in the back of your head saying not for you.

PINSKY: Don`t go in there.

ABDELHADI: Not permanently. Not at all. I`ll be candid and I`ll sound completely shallow. I wanted to go out with her for pretty much one reason.

She was a good conversationalist. She was obviously easy on the eyes. She was fun. You know, she could talk and she`d read books.


ABDELHADI: I was a witness to that Spanish speaking. One time I had -- at an event I had a couple Spanish guests. My Spanish is intermediate or so. And she sits down and she starts rattling it off like Ricky Ricardo.

PINSKY: See? That to me, I want to stop, that story is interesting.

Wendy, I want to go to you now about this. This is a woman we heard - - we interviewed a guy that spent a week around her. We interviewed him a couple of days ago. And he said he didn`t speak three sentences to her.

Now, we`ve got a woman that`s sitting down at a table with strangers and speaking fluent Spanish. That and Abe`s story, Wendy, what do you make of all this?

WENDY WALSH, PH.D, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, definitely she has a major personality disorder. And it seems, Dr. Drew, that she is screaming to try to figure out who she is, some identity. And she`s using the idea of morphing into what everyone else thinks she should be as a way to try to find humanity in herself, if you will.

PINSKY: Right.

WALSH: Clearly, we see she suffers from no guilt. She doesn`t feel compassion. And then this search for a religion, especially a staunch religion, as an adult, always tells me that here`s somebody who may have a chaotic interior and they`re looking for a rule book to help keep them in control because they`re feeling out of control inside.

REYNOLDS: Wendy, doctor, you`re both doctors, and I`m going to field this to you. I saw a lot of the photos, unfortunately, the ones in the shower. And what really struck me were the ones where he`s living and taking a shower. And I`m thinking why is she -- what is the psychosis of someone taking a shower knowing that that`s the other person`s last --

PINSKY: I`m going to let Wendy answer this, too. But it`s sort of like -- it`s very similar to what she did with the cat, which is such a disregard for life, which is we feel violated by the idea that she knew she was going to kill this guy and yet she almost celebrated life in that moment and then disgustingly violated it.

Wendy, do you agree? Go ahead.

WALSH: I think she was also feeling a great deal of power at that moment because you know, what she learned -- remember, she`s looking to everybody else for the rules of how she should feel and how she should behave. And guess what men told her. You should behave and feel like a highly sexy creature.

So, watching an aroused male made her feel empowered.

PINSKY: Right.

WALSH: And also knowing that she held his life in her hands.

PINSKY: Loni, you had something?

LONI COOMBS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I have a much more sinister theory about this too, and that is look, she was a smaller woman. He was a larger man. She knew at some point if she was going to do this she was going to have to overpower him and if he kind of saw what was going on -- remember, he already had his guard up because she`d done a done a lot of strange things and these stalking behaviors. If he had any inkling what was going on he may have been able to overpower her.

So what better way to take him by total surprise get his guard totally down than to have this very romantic interlude and then in the shower, he doesn`t have access to anything that might be able to be used as a defensive weapon.

PINSKY: Right.

COOMBS: He`s wet, he`s naked. And then you see that one picture that I think is so chilling where his back is to her. I mean, that is the perfect target of the stabbing of the back.

REYNOLDS: So disturbing.

PINSKY: Chilling, disconnected, disturbing, disgusting. These are all the feelings we all have in regard to somebody that would do this. It`s really hard to talk about, in fact.

Now, ahead, Darren, I hear through, I`m going to get you in, in just a second. Ahead, I`ve got a suspicious and disturbing comment from the Jodi Arias police interrogation. The question is: will her own words convict her?

And Kool-Aid was an important topic today. I want to ask my panel, will the jury drink her Kool-Aid?



ARIAS: I don`t think I could stab him. I think I would have to shoot him continuously until he was dead, if that were my intention. And again, I bring up the gloves again, that I would have to wear gloves.


PINSKY: That was Jodi Arias seeming to speak hypothetically during her police interview. Darren Kavinoky, what is the jury going to do with all these lies and these goofy stories? And how is the defense going to pull something together that the jury is likely to believe? And is the jury going to drink that Kool-Aid?

DARREN KAVINOKY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. Well, she`d better hope that the jury drinks that Kool-Aid because there are two battles that are being fought here. The first one is over guilt and innocence. And then, of course, the second one is about the penalty phase and about really saving her life if you`re on the defense side.

So, she`s told many conflicting stories, but one of the most interesting things to me about this case is that the notion of self- defense, that she did this out of saving her own skin. It didn`t come from any police interview that she gave. That came from something her lawyers filed, which was a notice of self-defense earlier in the case.

And so, ultimately, if they`re going to fulfill on that promise, she`s going to have to take the stand. There`s nothing about this case from which we could elicit facts that would allow them to argue self-defense.

PINSKY: That`s interesting. Jillian, you wanted to ask something?

JILLIAN BARBERIE REYNOLDS, TV HOST: Doesn`t that hurt her that her lawyers, her defense team, decided to go that route, because if in fact that is the case and you are feeling like your life is threatened, 29 times you`ve got to stab the guy, you`ve got to shoot him to and then you don`t call the police?

PINSKY: She`s going to be -- she`s going to be on -- she`s got some explaining to do, right?


KAVINOKY: Yes. Like Ricky Ricardo (ph).

REYNOLDS: Most people feel threatened, they call the police. That is something she did not do right away.

KAVINOKY: But in the heat of the moment -- and it`s an interesting notion. But in the heat of the moment the idea that there were multiple stab wounds, multiple death blows, that`s actually consistent with self- defense when somebody is trying to stop a threat, they don`t just -- they don`t just do one shot. They don`t just stab one time.

REYNOLDS: If you look at the timeline, and the timeline is clearly pointed out on the camera that was actually taking pictures, what threat was he posing naked, wet in a shower? The photos actually went off at 5:30 --

PINSKY: I`m going to jump in and say Jillian ain`t drinking that Kool-Aid.


REYNOLDS: I did not drink that Kool-Aid.

KAVINOKY: I`m not saying it`s a great argument. I`m saying that those are the cards that she`s got to play. And ultimately, again, keeping in mind that we`re also fighting the battle for her life, she`s got to take the stand because she`s not likeable at all when you lay out the chronology of lies.


KAVINOKY: And if she doesn`t get up there on the stand and come across as personable or as Abe said, she`s well read, she`s got this other side, she can come off as an attractive personality, she`s got to get some of those jurors, at least, one of those jurors if not voting not guilty at least voting to spare her life --

PINSKY: Hang on, guys. Darren, I`m going to jump in. I`ve got just a couple minutes left with Abe here. And Abe, again, thank you so much for joining us on this show.


PINSKY: You dated Jodi. She stopped in Pasadena, I guess, it was on the way back after having killed Travis. Did you think that she was on her way to see you?

ABDELHADI: Well, the receipt that I saw recently and a good friend of mine had pointed this out as a theory was a couple of days before she got to Arizona, which I thought was interesting, to go from Yreka to Pasadena to Arizona. I didn`t think about that till last week. So, I hadn`t thought about this in a few years, much less that kind of a detail.

I was in Mexico. And thankfully, I was in Mexico because I don`t know what her goal was, alibi, whatever. But I certainly would have let her come up to the house and, you know, obviously hindsight is 20-20. I -- you know.

PINSKY: And finally, Abe, you actually have a relationship with this person. Although, it was peculiar and it was in, it was out. Do you think as someone who is the most likely, I would suspect, to have some compassion for her, should she get the death penalty?

ABDELHADI: Absolutely. Absolutely. There`s no way she didn`t do it. It was premeditated. You don`t go 15 hours from Yreka to Mesa and then dye your hair in April. One last thing before I go, we are awarded this trip in April of the year we win it. So, it`s in June that we go. But in April we`re told.

Now, the prosecutor had informed me that she dyed her hair in April of that year. So, she was planning this as soon as -- and I`m just speculating at this point that Travis told her she wasn`t going on the trip.

PINSKY: That`s when she --

ABDELHADI: That`s when she dyed her hair.

PINSKY: OK. Hold on, I`ve got just seconds left. April, strangely enough, in Ohio, did you want to make a comment?

APRIL, OHIO: Hi, Dr. Drew.

PINSKY: April.

APRIL: Has she ever been administered a lie detector test, and would she be able to pass the test being a pathological liar?

PINSKY: Loni, what do you say to that?

LONI COOMBS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Wow. Well, you know, you would know better than me, Dr. Drew, if either she could pass that test. I would say she, you know, she`s a psychopath. But she hasn`t been given a test as far as I know. And if she was, it wouldn`t be able to be used in court anyways as we know they`re inadmissible.

PINSKY: There you go. Thank you, guys.

ABDELHADI: Both sides agree.


PINSKY: Thank you. Abe, thank you so much for sharing the story.

Next up, why a 13-year-old child is in jail waiting to be tried for murder as an adult. Details after the break.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s just a little boy. He`s a 12-year-old who emotionally and psychologically is younger than 12.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to police, the 12-year-old pushed his brother against a bookcase several times and then called his mom to tell her the two-year-old was hurt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fatal injuries prosecutors say were inflicted by 12-year-old Cristian Fernandez (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was charged with first-degree murder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which carries the mandatory penalty upon conviction of life in prison without parole.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At what point do you step in and just come down hard so that you prevent a future murder?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then there`s the story of Cristian`s mother. She gave birth to Cristian when she too was 12 years old. She was away when Cristian assaulted his brother. But when she came home and saw her two-year-old was seriously hurt, she waited eight hours before getting medical attention.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The system has let this child fall through the cracks.


PINSKY: Cristian Fernandez is the youngest person awaiting trial in Duval County, Florida. He was charged with murder as an adult at age 12. If convicted, should he get life in prison or a second chance? Jillian Barberie, you`re with me all week. We also have attorney, Loni Coombs, psychologist, Wendy Walsh, and attorney Darren Kavinoky. I`m going to start with Jillian, you have been --

REYNOLDS: On the internet all day about this. Social media has blown up. People -- a lot of people saying he is just a 12-year-old, boy but the fact is in those 12 years what he has seen has been horrible. I mean, he was two, left out in the streets, no diaper. His mother nowhere to be found. His grandmother in a crack house.

PINSKY: Mother was 12 when she had him.

REYNOLDS: Twelve when she had him. What we didn`t mention was he had broken the leg of that two-year-old just a few months before. The mother - - I blame the mother a lot for this because --

PINSKY: He was 12. She was sexually abused, too.

REYNOLDS: But she`s in her 20s now, and she knew what he was capable of. She left her two-year-old alone with this boy, and he ended up --

PINSKY: She`s in jail too.

REYNOLDS: And -- she is in jail because she didn`t -- she was on the internet while her two-year-old was unconscious. She didn`t ice pack. She went and Googled Kate Middleton or Pippa Middleton, downloaded some music while the boy was dying. And by the time they got to the hospital, doctors said what took you so long? We could have possibly saved him.

PINSKY: Bleeding and --

REYNOLDS: So, who is more to blame, her or the 12-year-old?

PINSKY: Or the world. We asked the prosecutor and defense attorney for comment. The state said it would not be able to with the trial looming in March. We haven`t heard back from the defense. I`m, first, going to Wendy.

Now, Wendy, before I get to the attorneys involved with this, you and I know somebody that has been through so much trauma and so much -- I don`t even know what word to use, what he has lived through. The abuse is not a strong enough word, but that it`s possible this is a character, meaning the construct of his emotional life, his landscape in his head, may never be brought back.

Or if it does come back, it may take years and years and years. So, my question, is should that be enough to give this kid a chance?

WENDY WALSH, PH.D., PSYCHOLOGIST: Absolutely. You and I know enough about neuroplasticity, especially with younger people, that change in the human brain and structure can happen across a lifespan, but particularly, it can be striking among young people. And I want the general public to think about this.

This is a child who is really a victim, who`s -- even his mother was a victim. She was apparently raped. He is a product of rape. She was raped when she was 12 years old. So, he`s been abused, he`s been raped. His mother`s been -- his grandmother`s a crack addict. This is a victim. This is not a criminal.

And are you going to spend $70,000 a year, general public America, putting him in jail so he can learn better tricks when he gets out? Because do you think he`s really going to be in his whole life? No, no, no. They always need to save money on prisons and they let them out early.

So, what would you want? Or would you rather spend a little less and get him the foster care he needs, get him the interventions, the psychology, and shape this young person?

REYNOLDS: Well, Wendy, you know, we didn`t mention as well that he actually went to school one day, his stepfather had punched him in the face so severely they thought his retina was detached. The school sent him to the hospital, and the authorities were contacted. They went to the house to talk to the stepfather.

He shot himself right then in front of the two-year-old that that 12- year-old eventually ended up killing and a sister who was like three. I mean, the story is unbelievable.

PINSKY: It`s just unbelievable. Right.

REYNOLDS: But you mentioned foster care. I have two kids. I`m all about that. Being adopted, I really believe in foster care. I was in the system. There`s no way I could handle having this 12-year-old boy anywhere near my children.

PINSKY: Right. But Wendy`s talking about getting treatment for this kid. Let`s go to Loni and Darren. Which of you believes this kid should be tried as an adult?

COOMBS: Well, I do.



PINSKY: My question is -- I`m going to switch from you, then to go to Darren. I`m sorry, Loni.


PINSKY: And Darren, let me ask this. Is it reasonable to risk the public safety to try this kid as a child and use the juvenile system, Darren?

KAVINOKY: Well, here`s the problem. The juvenile system allows for rehabilitation. It`s one of the stated goals of the juvenile system that people -- that juveniles be rehabilitated. The law recognizes that physiologically, emotionally their brains, their behavior not as developed, not as culpable. Here`s the problem in this particular case is that in the juvenile justice system in Florida, if he were tried as a juvenile, he would have to be released at age 21.

And the reason that they`ve gone into the adult system is because the prosecutor in that case, after showing up in court after meeting with the defense team, after doing a thorough investigation, that prosecutor is not comfortable with the idea that this kid`s going to get all the help he needs during the seven or eight years that he`d be in the juvenile system.


KAVINOKY: But the problem is that by putting him into the adult system where he faces life without the possibility of parole, i.e. never getting out, we`re working on trying to solve a problem by focusing on the symptoms, not fixing the underlying problem.

PINSKY: I`ve got it. I`ve got to give Loni a chance. Darren, I`ve got to interrupt you. Loni, take us home, have at it.

COOMBS: Well, Darren just took the whole argument, and that is the reason he can`t be tried as a juvenile, even though it sounds horrible because we all know this is a 12-year-old child who`s even younger emotionally and mentally than 12, but based on all the abuse he`s dealt with, if he`s tried as a juvenile at 21 he is done.

The state can`t do anything else about helping him, rehabilitating him. He is back out on the streets. And we`ve seen over and over again these kids who do these horrific crimes at 12 or 13, they`re out at 21 and then they end up doing something else horrific in their life.

KAVINOKY: But Loni, but then we need to change the law. We don`t need to try and twist this around so that this juvenile -- because he`s a juvenile. He`s a child.

COOMBS: He is.

KAVINOKY: We don`t throw him into the adult system just because we don`t like the 21-year-old exit --

COOMBS: Absolutely. But right now, the law is not equipped for that. And that`s why the prosecutor`s very clear. She said, look, I have great sympathy for this child --

KAVINOKY: Well, then change the law.

COOMBS: -- but we need to make sure that we keep the society safe because, clearly, he does have issue.

PINSKY: I`ve got to take a -- I`ve got to stop it right there. I will vote for either of you for legislator if you want to get in there and change that law. It`s all about changing the laws to make this world say safer and saner. Thank you to this great panel. Thank you to the guests.

Next up, I`ve got a mom, I`m going to leave Jillian behind for a second. I talk about a mom who was wrongfully convicted of killing her daughter, spent 13 years in prison. Stay with us.



PINSKY (voice-over): A mother of four who spent 13 years behind bars for the murder of her child. She was later found innocent, set tree. She won millions for wrongful conviction. But can money heal her rage, her grief at having to get to know her twin boys and husband all over again?


PINSKY (on-camera): Lynn Dejac Peters is the woman at the center of that story. Her attorney, Steven Cohen, is with us now. Now, Steven and Lynn joined us last month, but we had production and communication difficulties, which prevented the story from being completely told and fleshed out. So Steven, it is good to have you back. And tell us, how is Lynn doing today?

STEVEN COHEN, ATTORNEY FOR MOM WRONGFULLY CONVICTED OF MURDER: Thanks for having us back, Dr. Drew. Lynn is doing as well as can be expected. She`s trying to pull her family together. She`s taking it day to day.

PINSKY: So, tell us what it was that happened the night your client`s daughter was murdered.

COHEN: She had dated a gentleman named Dennis Donahue twice. She had told him that evening she was no longer going to be seeing him, she didn`t want to see him any longer. He became belligerent. She called the police to have him removed from the house. He left the house before the police got there, then she went out.

He came back and murdered Crystalline Gerard (ph). When Lynn came home, she found her daughter dead, contacted the police, and she was arrested and convicted and --

PINSKY: Why did the jury do that? Why did the jury convict your client, Steven?

COHEN: Well, as in any case of wrongful incarceration, any study of wrongful incarceration is a study in prosecutorial misconduct. They gave the real killer immunity. He had ties with the police. He worked in a bar. He was a relative of a police officer. And he was given transactional immunity.

And they said in return for testifying against Lynn, we will give you immunity. So, he testified against Lynn, and Lynn was convicted. Of course, the problem with convicting the wrong person means there`s still a real killer out there.


COHEN: A couple of months after he killed Crystalline Gerard (ph) he killed another woman named Joan Giambra (ph)

PINSKY: Oh, no.

COHEN: And in 2007, the cold case squad from the Buffalo Police Department pulled the DNA evidence from 1993. The technology wasn`t available to study it then. And they found that lo and behold, Dennis Donahue`s DNA was found inside Crystalline Gerard (ph), 13-year-old girl`s body, on the blood stain on the wall, and on the basis of that, Lynn was exonerated.

Dennis Donahue could not be prosecuted because he had been given full transactional immunity. But that same Buffalo cold case detective, Dennis Delano (ph), he proved that Dennis Donahue killed Joan Giambra. So, Dennis Donahue`s behind bars for the rest of his life at the Sullivan County Correctional Facility --

PINSKY: I was afraid you were going to tell us that he was not brought to justice. All right. So, there was justice on his end. Now, Steven, cocaine was found on the body -- or in the body, rather, of your client`s daughter. How did that get there?

COHEN: That`s correct. We know that -- we know that Dennis Donahue had done cocaine earlier in the day. He testified to that. He admitted to that. The child had no experience with cocaine, neither did the mother. I`m not sure if the cocaine, itself, was on the hands of Dennis Donahue or perhaps on his genitals and during sexual contact if that was transferred, but it was a very small amount.

Of course, when the -- after Lynn was exonerated and light was brought to bear on the fact that the district attorney had given Dennis Donahue complete immunity, the district attorney was running for re-election again. So, what did he do? He brought in another forensic pathologist and said no, no, Dennis Donahue didn`t murder Crystalline Gerard, she died of an accidental cocaine overdose.

PINSKY: Oh, my God!

COHEN: And that was ludicrous, absolutely ludicrous.

PINSKY: Cocaine -- stimulants are concentrated in people`s fluids, and so, that could be a means where by that was transferred to the child. Now, Steven, your client ultimately -- and by the way, thank you for clarifying the story. It didn`t fit -- I couldn`t understand it all last time she was on. I was trying to get my head around it.

And she eventually was given a substantial financial judgment. But I just imagine that nothing will make up for the lost time with her family.

COHEN: You`re so right. And that`s what it`s all about. She`s trying to re-establish the family bonds and, you know, get to know her kids, her twin boys. They`re now 18. And she`s trying to put a life together with them. She has an older boy who at the time was eight years old and now, of course, is much older, has a family of his own.

PINSKY: Oh, my goodness.

COHEN: And she`s trying to make it -- you know, make things work for her.

PINSKY: Great.

COHEN: The monetary settlement has never been what this has been about.

PINSKY: Steven, we do appreciate it so much and straightening this all out for us and shining a light on this case. It`s a very interesting story and we do appreciate your sharing it with us.

Now, Jillian comes back and joins me after the break and we are going to talk about the flu and Howard Stern`s confusion about the flu and the flu vaccine. A friend of both of ours. Be right back.


PINSKY: All right. Welcome back. Jillian Barberie Reynolds, you`re still here with me. And the flu has been on the radar. I brought it up last night. Let me just quickly review what I said last night, which is people are in a panic about it. It is not a horrible flu season. It`s a bad flu season. It came on fast and suddenly and early.

And so, people at the Centers for Disease Control were concerned this could become a really bad one. It seems to be peaking in some states. And everybody, learn the symptoms of the flu and realize that some of it is not the flu, some of it is an upper respiratory infection, some of it is whooping cough.

Get your vaccine for the flu, get your vaccine updated for the whooping cough. And this is what we want to talk about. Flu vaccine.

REYNOLDS: Well, you know, if you listen to Howard Stern, which you and I do --

PINSKY: We do. By the way, we`ve both been on it multiple times. We`re a big fan of his, Robin`s, Gary`s.

REYNOLDS: Absolutely. Robin is not a fan of yours right now. 34. Let`s not get into that --

PINSKY: Robin, if you`re listening, I did not bring that up. I buried that.

REYNOLDS: That`s right.

PINSKY: I`m sorry for having done that.

REYNOLDS: Now, Howard, if you listen to him, you would think -- and he would come to work with a hazmat suit on because the flu is something that he`s very, very cognizant of. He`s afraid of this --

PINSKY: He`s already had it.

REYNOLDS: I know -- well, he came back sick. And so -- what I love about Howard is that he will entertain any call. It`s Joe from Buffalo who`s a truck driver and he`s got his take on the flu and Howard then gets all mental about it. You know, he actually --

PINSKY: That`s what concerns me, the spurious discussion --

REYNOLDS: But that`s what makes it so funny.

PINSKY: I understand it makes for great radio. But ladies and gentlemen, please understand, the flu vaccine is not something dangerous. You cannot get the flu from it. The vaccine is generated in egg. You know, so there`s no like pooling of body fluids from other people.

REYNOLDS: Question, though. Can you get a sicky feeling? You do.

PINSKY: You can get a sicky feeling, but it`s a protein. It`s just a protein, which is the shell of the virus. The actual viral particles, actual -- the DNA and whatnot is taken out of it with formaldehyde basically. So, you`re exposed to a protein in your arm that causes your immune system to generate a response to that protein should it see it again.

And if it sees it again in the form of the virus, it will attack it and knock it down.

REYNOLDS: And that`s why you`re supposed to get the flu shot, is to get your immune system built up, too.

PINSKY: That`s right. It doesn`t knock it down, it builds it up. So, somewhere between 60 percent and 90 percent of the time, you will get a good protection against the virus. My daughter right now has the flu despite of having had the flu vaccine.

REYNOLDS: I see and I didn`t get the flu vaccine and I had the flu. I was just thinking about Howard`s show and how he goes back and forth and then someone else will call an hour later and have a different view and then he`s like now I`m going to go with you. It`s like all over the place, but you`re saying get the shot.

PINSKY: Get the shot. You can get a little local reaction. You can feel headachy and achy feel kind of crummy. If you have a fever in response to it, it`s usually a tissue reaction and you, sometimes, need some antibiotics to push that down. So, again, just please let`s be sane about this.

The flu can be very dangerous for young people and old people, people with other chronic medical illnesses. So -- and why not protect ourselves from it when we can? There`s no untoward effects.

REYNOLDS: You brought up the whooping cough last night as well. Is that the one that`s super dangerous for children, correct?

PINSKY: It`s bad for all of us. I think I had it. I didn`t take care of myself properly. I was sick -- I coughed for like eight weeks.

REYNOLDS: Oh, it`s the doctor who diagnoses everybody --

PINSKY: We are the worst patients. Mea culpa. Jillian, thank you for joining me this week.

REYNOLDS: Thank you for having me.

PINSKY: It has been a pleasure. You`re doing a great job. I want to thank also Beth Karas, Wendy Walsh, Darren Kavinoky, Abe Abelhadi, I think I got his name right, and Steven Cohen. And Veronica from Hawaii -- from that as well. Thank you all for watching and our callers. And a reminder, "Nancy Grace" starts right now.