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Jodi Arias Trial; Death of a Country Star

Aired February 18, 2013 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: We are on the eve of the moment of truth in the Jodi Arias trial. Will Jodi finally have to start talking about the day she slit Travis Alexander`s throat and stabbed him over and over and over and over again? And will the horror of that night make all the dirty sex talk seem like much ado about nothing?


VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): Tonight, triple-X-rated phone sex tapes and filthy e-mails in the Jodi Arias trial. Is porn saturating our culture, making Travis and Jodi`s raunchy behavior seem normal?

And the defense turns the tables, trying to put Travis Alexander on trial. Will Jodi say she feared for her own life on the night she killed Travis? Is the jury buying any of it? We`ll debate it with our expert panel.

Plus, country star Mindy McCready`s troubled, chaotic life and violent death. Cops say the singer committed suicide on the very same porch where her boyfriend is believed to have shot himself last month. From drugs and alcohol to the nasty custody battles over her oldest son. Tonight we`ll talk to someone in her inner circle.

JODI ARIAS, MURDER DEFENDANT: They made me feel sexy. They made me feel attractive, so I stayed on the phone with him.

(via phone): I`m game for, like, almost everything you come up with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These were two consenting adults. She not only encouraged it, she loved it. She talked dirty back to him. She said, "Oh, you`re so bad, but I love it."

ARIAS: You`re bad. You make me feel so dirty.

(on camera): I didn`t feel very good. I kind of felt like a used piece of toilet paper.

(via phone): Seriously, you made me feel like a goddess.

KIRK NURMI, JODI`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Were you willing to have animalistic sex with him?

ARIAS (on camera): Probably.

GUY SEARCY, FRIEND OF JODI AND TRAVIS: He could command her to do things. There was some kind of a control there of some sort.

ARIAS (via phone): I really would like to marry a returned missionary, but like, he`s someone who can be sneaky.

RYAN BURNS, FRIEND OF JODI: She got on top of me pretty impressively, and we were kissing.

ARIAS: That is so debasing. I like it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight Jodi Arias is in her jail cell right now as we speak, walking back and forth, fretting, pacing, planning her moment of truth on the witness stand.

Soon, possibly even tomorrow morning, Jodi Arias will finally, finally have to tell the world how and why she stabbed and shot ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander.

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

The prosecution says Jodi secretly drove from her home in California to Arizona on a mission to murder Travis Alexander. She stabbed him 29 times, slit his throat ear to ear, shot him in the face. With her life on the line, Jodi claims she killed Travis in self-defense after he attacked her, like she claims he`d done before.


ARIAS: He just flipped his lid and blew up. And the threw me on the ground and got on top of me and started choking me. I was conscious for not long. He squeezed my neck, and I couldn`t breathe and I was -- I just -- everything turned gray really fast and then went black.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Will Jodi use that choking story to justify why she had a gun with her, for perhaps protection, when she killed Travis? The defense already explained away the knife. Oh, yes, saying Travis had to cut rope to tie her up with in a kinky sex game.

But how will Jodi explain the nine stab wounds to Travis` back? How is stabbing somebody in the back self-defense? And will prosecutors later turn her X-rated phone sex conversations with Travis against her, by showing she was a willing participant? We warn you, this is explicit.


ARIAS (via phone): You have a good-looking (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I just want you to know.


ARIAS: Yes. It`s like -- oh, it`s just -- so smooth. It goes so soft every time you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) -- so good.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, dear. Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Let`s debate it with our expert panel. We are at the moment of truth. We`ve got two for the prosecution, two for the defense.

Jodi, we all know, is a very good talker, but will she be able to squirm her way out of having a gun in a bathroom, stabbing Travis Alexander in the back nine times along with 20 other stab wounds, a slit throat and a shot to the face?

And we are going to start with, let`s see, how about always controversial Rene Sandler, criminal defense attorney.


She will lay it out, just like she`s laid out her entire life over the last eight days. She will lay out and negate the specific intent to kill. She will talk about her state of mind, her need to defend herself, her need to -- and to justify the use of deadly force. That`s what she`s going to do. And she will do it in the methodical way the defense has begun this case and do it strategically, like they`ve done.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, stab wound after stab wound after stab wound after stab wound after stab wound. Do you buy it, Joey Jackson?

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I do not at all. Certainly, she`ll come up with something inventive, because that`s what she`s done. The issue is whether it`s credible, whether it`s believable, whether it`s likely.

Why did she get access to the gun? Why was it readily available? Why did she have it in the home to begin with? How and why did she stab him so many times? Was this something that was required under those circumstances? I think not.

Certainly, her testimony will be compelling. Is it believable is the issue.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Drew Findling, about a week before she kills Travis, oh, there`s a mysterious break-in at her grandparents` home and what do they steal? A gun that happens to be the same caliber as the weapon used to kill Travis Alexander, a gun never found. Is she going to now own that fake burglary and say, "Yes, I did that, but I have to have a gun for protection"?

DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think she`s going to have to come to terms with possessing the gun, because she`s going to talk about the fact that, if she`s truly going for acquittal, if she`s truly setting the stage for the battered woman`s syndrome, then Jane, her primary emotion through the expert testimony has to be fear and not anger.

And if the experts can testify as to her fear, then they can say on the stand that it doesn`t make a difference how many stabs, how -- the length of a slash, where the stab takes place. If your dominant emotion is fear, as in so many cases before her of true battered woman syndrome, it can be a stab in the back; it doesn`t make a difference.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but Areva Martin, nine stabs to the back?

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: Yes, I think the problem with this whole thing we`re hearing, Jane, is the credibility factor. None of this matters unless you believe what Jodi says is true, and the prosecution is going to tear her up on cross-examination. We`re going to hear about these lies about how Travis died in the first place. First, some mysterious intruders who came into the home. First, the fact that she wasn`t even in the apartment when this happened. All of that has to be dealt with.

And when these lies come to life for the jurors, they`re not stupid. Let`s face it. These are intelligent, sophisticated individuals, and I think they`re going to be furious that she`s trying to pull one over on her with all of these lies after lies after lies so I don`t buy this self- defense at all.

SANDLER: They have to negate the specific intent to kill. If you don`t accept self-defense, you have to seriously consider second-degree murder here, and that is in play. That is what they`ve done the last eight days, and that is in place for this jury, as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Give me a break. She staged a break-in, took a gun, went 90 miles away to rent a car, drove a thousand miles, and then proceeded to have sex with this guy and then slaughter him. How is that not premeditated?

SANDLER: You -- look, there is -- neither of us, certainly, know what went on in that room. They spent the afternoon together. They had a volatile relationship.


SANDLER: No, we don`t know.


SANDLER: That camera -- there was clearly a fight. Something happened. We have the history of this relationship, which is on trial. I`ve said that repeatedly. And it`s -- she is setting up this -- the experts and domestic violence, which...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Quick rebuttal, Joey Jackson, and we go to a caller.

JACKSON: Jane, I wouldn`t call this a fight at all. I would call it a massacre. Certainly, they have to address the issue of premeditation.

Why did she go there in the first place with a gun if her intent was not to kill him? Why the excess with respect to the cutting? Why the excess with regard to slitting his throat and shooting him in the face? Is it necessary? Was it appropriate? It`s unlawful, it`s indecent, it`s murder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Ten-second rebuttal, Drew Findling, and then we`re going to take a call.

FINDLING: Well, if the jury accepts that she`s a battered woman and look at the fact of the grossness of the sexual communication against her and that she was the recipient of, then if they listen to the experts` testimony, Joey, they could care less if it`s one or 100 slashes. There have been more "not guilties" than I can count where people have shot 30 times, 40 times to defend themselves.

JACKSON: Not in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s go to the phone line.

MARTIN: They are going to care, Jane, about the lies this woman has told.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes. Crystal, Iowa, your question or thought? Crystal, Iowa.

CALLER: My comment is about Jodi recording the sex phone calls. Where I come from, we call that a setup, and that usually means that you`re planning to do something with those sex phone calls, and you`re setting somebody up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, a very good point. And we`re going to play many of those sex phone calls for you tonight. In fact, right now.

Jodi and Travis had extremely raunchy phone sex. We`re not allowed to play you the worst of it. But here`s a snippet of this unbelievably filthy conversation.


ARIAS (via phone): Like when you`re (EXPLETIVE DELETED) me, but like I`m looking with my head tilted back so all you can really see is the outline of my chin and some of my cheek and jaw bone and, like, my ears and hair but you can`t really see the rest of my face. You can just see a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) between two (EXPLETIVE DELETED) like in focus with the neck and everything sort of a little bit blurry like kind of an artistic kind of thing?

ALEXANDER (via phone): Oh great.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Walsh, author of "The 30-Day Love Detox," oh, my God, did this couple need a detox. But you`re a psychologist. When you hear that kind of dialogue that she`s initiating about, well, I think everybody can do the math on that one, what she`s describing, how is she going to paint herself as a victim of sexual degradation?

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOTHERAPIST/AUTHOR: Because she`s going to say that she`s part of this porn culture that`s happening to young men in our society, where young women are being forced to do acts they don`t want to do because men are seeing it in pornography. So she`s going to say that she was manipulated, that she was forced, and indeed this is happening, but is it grounds for murder? I don`t know, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, on the other side of the break, funny you should mention our culture of pornography. We`re going to play some of these very explicit testimony and these phone sex calls and the sexting and all that, and say where is this coming from? Is it because our culture is saturated in porn? Up next and taking your calls.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Between June 2 and June 7, 2008, Jodi Arias took a nearly 3,000-mile road trip and prosecutors say the evidence from that journey shows that Arias set out to kill Travis Alexander. Now, here`s a closer look at the hours before and after...




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was guilty. I think what she believes is that she is so good at fooling people that she can even fool the jury.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): But can she change her plea to momentary insanity? Because I think the classic case of hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This trial is fascinating, because it offers us a look behind the curtain at America`s sexual secrets. Is porn saturating our culture to the point where it`s OK or considered no big deal for a man to say extremely explicit things like this to a woman?


NURMI: But how about "feeling like you`ve been raped but you enjoyed every delightful moment of it"? Did you want to feel like you were raped?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: In my book "Addict Nation," I wrote about how easy it is for anyone to access hard-core triple-X porn over the Internet. I did a test, and I hit it in a matter of two minutes.

This is the first generation of young adults who have grown up with such easy access to porn. It`s accessible -- that`s enough of my book. It`s accessible at home on the Internet. We`re living in a porn-saturated world.

Some panelists have even suggested Jodi and Travis` behavior is tame.


LISA BLOOM, LEGAL ANALYST, AVO.COM: All of this graphic sexual stuff seems to be between consenting adults. And frankly, as filthy as it is, it`s pretty tame by contemporary standards.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I love Lisa Bloom, one of my dear friends. However, if this is tame, it`s a sad day, Wendy Walsh, author of "The 30-Day Love Detox," in American, and I`m wondering how many of this is because of our culture of porn. This is the first generation where guys who are 18, 19, 20, 25 with a touch of a finger, boom, they`re on hard-core porn.

WALSH: Jane, think of it this way. (AUDIO GAP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Uh-oh. I guess we got censored. We possibly got censored.

But I`m going to throw that one to Shanna Hogan. She is the author of a book on the Jodi Arias case. As you have dug deep into this, I mean the sexual secret of Travis Alexander, a Mormon no less, has really been at the heart of this case, Shanna.

SHANNA HOGAN, JOURNALIST/AUTHOR (via phone): You know, in the beginning I was under kind of the impression that he had had sex with her and he kept that away from a lot of people in his life. But it has come out in court that it was a lot raunchier, a lot more kinky than even I had thought it would be. And I think that...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I think there`s a conspiracy here. I`m saying that there`s a conspiracy to silence this discussion. Nobody wants us to have this discussion.

Jodi has testified time and time again that she never expressed to Travis her feelings of being used, even though now she`s saying she was used, that she didn`t reveal that she wasn`t really into his kinky sex games, but she was going along to please him. Listen to this.


ALEXANDER: I`m going to tie you to a tree and put it in your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) all the way.

ARIAS (via phone): Oh, my gosh. That is so debasing. I like it.

As I said, it`s so degrading, I didn`t want him to feel bad for expressing himself and his fantasies, so I quickly added "I like it," just so he didn`t feel like I was insulting his personal fantasies.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Walsh, we got you back. Obviously, you side- stepped the censors and the conspiracy theorists who don`t want this information discussed.

But seriously, we`re at a culture now where people are not even shocked by this, and that to me is shocking.

WALSH: It is shocking. First of all, you should know that one-third of all content on the Internet is pornography. So that says something right there.

In a recent study out of McGill University in Montreal, the researchers wanted to study the effects of porn on all our young men and guess what, Jane? They couldn`t find one man who had not consumed porn, so they didn`t have a control group. They couldn`t really study it well.

Instead they came up with how much porn men are consuming. Average single man, like three times a week for an hour. And they`re consuming it on their cell phones. You wonders why they`re trying to turn every e-mail and every text into a sext these days.

The problem for young women, Jane, is that it is forcing them to do things that they wouldn`t ever have done and earlier, because they`re feeling like they have to compete against porn.

In fact, one study out of the University of Texas asked young men, "If you had to choose between giving up porn for life or giving up real relationships with a warm body, what would you choose?" And plenty of young men said they couldn`t decide. Think about that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, then I want to go back to our legal panel and say, with this being an overwhelmingly male jury, could this whole, "oh, I was the victim" backfire, because maybe a lot of these jurors, these male jurors, are looking at porn on a regular basis? And who wants to take that hot potato?

JACKSON: I`ll talk about it. I`ll talk about it.


JACKSON: I don`t think that any man on that jury is going to concede, whether they watched videos of girls tied on trees, up to trees, they`re going to concede that ever the words leave their mouths, that they wanted a young lady tied to a tree to have anal sex with her. I don`t think any man will fess up to that, and I think anybody is going to think that`s peculiar. Particularly in a death-penalty case. Because now death is off the table. Whether anybody wants to consider it or not. This jury is so grossed out...

FINDLING: Not at all.

JACKSON: This jury is so grossed out, zero chance they`ll ever be the death penalty.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Joey, quick response...

JACKSON: Absolutely not.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Quick response.

JACKSON: The reality is this. We could talk about porn all we want. Is that what caused his murder?

MARTIN: Absolutely agree with that, Joey.

JACKSON: This is all a sideshow. It`s about the victim on trial. In my view that the jury is going to be offended that she would besmirch his character and his name to save her own. It`s a sideshow. It`s not relevant to the murder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Areva -- Areva.

MARTIN: I agree with Joey wholeheartedly. Jodi is blaming everyone but herself. Everyone. Her parents, Travis, her ex-lovers. Everybody is responsible for her stabbing Travis 27 times except her.

And when the prosecution gets to the cross-examination, she`s going to have to come face-to-face with the reality she premeditated his murder. She went to that apartment with the intention to kill him, because she`s a jealous ex-lover and she killed him.

And all this stuff about their kinky sex life is not going to matter. Jurors are more sophisticated than this. That`s the bottom line, they`re more sophisticated.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t know. We`ll see. More on the other side.


ARIAS: If I`m found guilty, I don`t have a life. I`m not guilty. I didn`t hurt Travis. If I hurt Travis, if I killed Travis, I would beg for the death penalty.




ALEXANDER (via phone): Quality camera and like a setting that`s, you know, perfect. I mean, it could be like legitimate porn.

ARIAS (via phone): Yes.

ALEXANDER: In every sense.

ARIAS: And I`m debating one (ph), like when (EXPLETIVE DELETED) me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Travis sent Jodi several text messages, sexting as it were, that many would consider very, very degrading. Again, we want to warn you this is graphic.


NURMI: He says he wants to send one down your throat and another on your face. What did that mean to you?





VELEZ-MITCHELL: We haven`t seen Jodi`s responses to these messages, though we may during the prosecution`s rebuttal. OK. I don`t know who said -- yes, it was Areva who said none of this sex matters. It`s premeditated murder, she drove there.

Drew Findling, do you agree? And Rene Sandler, but we`ll start with Drew, that none of the sex matters at all?

FINDLING: It absolutely matters. We can talk about all the logic and all the legalese when it comes to jurors. They are human beings first. That`s where attorneys make their mistake. They`re going to bring their human instinct in, and they are going to be disturbed by this talk. If they`re a father, if they`re an uncle, if they`re a husband, they will be disturbed. Is it tantamount to an acquittal? Maybe not but definitely no death penalty.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in. Wendy Walsh said, well, so many men look at porn they couldn`t even do a study because they couldn`t find men who hadn`t looked at porn in order to have a test group to compare the findings.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: If the men on this jury have been looking at porn or are porn users, is that going to perhaps cause them to judge Travis more harshly as they create a reaction formation and try to distance themselves from that behavior? Or is it going to cause them to say, "Well, OK, I can understand Travis. I do the same thing"?

FINDLING: There will never -- anybody who has spent time with jurors after a trial will know that they will never in that room say, "Yes, you know what? This stuff isn`t so bad. He`s like me." That will never happen. Those jurors will all distance themselves from this type of abusive pornography.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you agree with that, Areva?

MARTIN: But Jane, Jane, Drew says they`re fathers and they`re grandfathers and they`re uncles, but they`re also boyfriends and they`re husbands. This is a man`s worst nightmare is to have a girl that you`re dating and for that girl to go berserk, really, show up at your apartment with a gun, with a knife, and to murder you. You talk to men. These jurors are regular people and they`re going to think about this. What does this say to any man who`s out there dating...

FINDLING: There is not one male juror...

MARTIN: If she gets away with this?

FINDLING: There is not one male juror -- there`s not one male juror that`s going to sit back there and say, "Yes, you know, I want to tie my girls -- girlfriends up to trees and have anal sex with them." That`s never going to happen.

MARTIN: They may not want to tie them up to a tree, but would they want to be murdered?


FINDLING: And they will not ever talk about it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joey, you may jump in.

JACKSON: Jane, do you find it strange that she`s testified for over a week, and we haven`t gone to the crux of the issue? The reality is, is that the smoke screen -- let the smoke screen blow. Let`s not even talk about the ultimate issue. Can we get to the point? Why did she not do it? Because they can`t address it. They can`t identify why she did it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ll tell you why. Because when I have a task that I don`t want to do, what do I do? I clean up my apartment first and I collate bills and I figure out which socks fit with the other. It doesn`t matter. I don`t want to do the thing that I don`t want to do. She doesn`t want to get to the day of the killing.

JACKSON: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So she`s stalling and reading poetry. All right. More Jodi Arias...

MARTIN: She doesn`t want to get to it because she`s going to have a problem explaining it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Our debate will continue right on the other side.

And at the top of the hour, the Arias sex tapes, does it help the defense or will it backfire? Nancy Grace, 8 p.m. here on HLN. But on the other side we`ll debate and take your calls.


ARIAS: I`m kind of like a one guy at a time type person so I didn`t want to have anything overlapping, and I knew there was an interest with Travis. I didn`t want to feel guilty for flirting or sitting next to him or any of that. I wanted to be out of a relationship so that I could not cheat on anybody.




JODI ARIAS, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER OF TRAVIS ALEXANDER: There were times when he was very mean and then he would be nice. And I just -- I craved the nice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do think Jodi Arias is a victim. I think she was obsessed by him. I think she was brain washed by him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Feeling like you`ve been raped but you enjoyed every delightful moment of it. Did you want to feel like you were raped?


He had already penetrated and started having sex with me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s not an ounce of corroboration for anything she says.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jodi was Travis`s drug.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before he threw you down and choked you, before he broke your finger and kicked you in the ribs?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all know when people are messed up on drugs, they will do things to get their fix that you don`t normally ever do.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Right now, Jodi Arias is sitting or standing or pacing behind bars in Arizona wondering, ok, can I pull this off? Can I explain 29 stab wounds, slitting Travis Alexander`s throat all the way down to the spine, shooting him in the face? Oh, how will I explain this stab wound and that cut?

They have had four years to figure it out. Tomorrow is the moment of truth. And then the cross examination, what will happen when the prosecution gets their crack at Jodi? Prosecutor Juan Martinez gave us a sneak peek of his style last week.


JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: It does say that it`s "to Travis Alexander", doesn`t it?

ARIAS: The for (inaudible)?

MARTINEZ: No, it doesn`t say that. It says "to", doesn`t it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, your honor. This is beyond (inaudible) the witness. This is cross examination. He can wait his turn.

MARTINEZ: Take a look at Exhibit 438 and see who the "to" line is to.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Expert panel, prosecutor Juan Martinez is known to be fiery and sometimes very aggressive. Could that backfire? We know that she can turn on the tears and do the waterworks at any moment. If she starts sobbing and convulsing and shaking like a chihuahua, which is how she described it. I have Chihuahuas, I took offense to that. But she started "shaking like a Chihuahua" she said, that`s a quote.

If she starts doing that on the witness stand, could it backfire if the prosecutor comes on too strong? And I`m going to start with Rene Sandler because we want you to talk some more.

RENE SANDLER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thanks, Jane. First of all, it`s Juan Martinez` case to win or lose. Jurors watch everything. Jurors like the action just like we do, as we sit here in our chairs and analyze everything in a trial, but they don`t want a prosecutor to go over the line. Being overaggressive or just plain arrogant or angry and nasty, like he`s been in this trial, could absolutely back fire.

It reminds me of the Casey Anthony case. Those prosecutors were arrogant, angry and I think it backfired terribly, as we know from the result.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Areva Martin, do you agree or disagree?

AREVA MARTIN, LEGAL EXPERT: I think we have a seasoned prosecutor here and he`s going to use his best judgment and be very appropriate in his cross examination. I think the jurors expect and we all expect he`s going to be very tough with her when he needs to be tough but he`s going to pull it back also when he needs to pull it back.

But he can`t let her get away with trashing Travis. We have no evidence to support any of these wild accusations. She even has accused him of being basically a pedophile, so all of these accusations are out there. We do know there`s lots of evidence to suggest that her credibility is highly suspect. She`s told many lies and the prosecutor is going to go after her on those points.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s go to -- we also learned from the Casey Anthony case that calling somebody a liar and proving they`re a liar doesn`t prove they`re a killer and that backfired against the prosecutors in Casey Anthony.

Let`s go out to the phone lines. Michael, New York, your question or thought -- Michael.

MICHAEL, NEW YORK (via telephone): Thank you for taking my call, Jane.


MICHAEL: It`s my understanding attorneys have an ethical duty not to put someone up on the stand that`s going to lie and we all know that she says been lying. Is it possible for them to somehow conjure up a spin on a legal issue so that she cannot be cross-examined?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow, Drew Findling.

DREW FINDLING, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, first of all, we have no idea if she`s not lying and we don`t know if she`s telling the truth other than the text messages and the messages that she played. I think that the issue is going to be -- and the question is really important because it goes to the cross examination. The prosecutor`s challenge here is you shouldn`t ask a question to which you don`t know the answer.

And what prosecutors make mistakes, like in Casey Anthony, is they just get in fights with people. What the prosecutor needs to do here is to be in control. And the way that he can be in control is by methodically pointing out with each and every allegation she`s made, it was never reported. And he needs to go through every method of reporting she could have used that she didn`t. That`s the way to get to her to not offend the jury and not alienate himself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And not focus in just on the fact that she first said she wasn`t there and then that ninjas invaded the home, a man and woman dressed in black. Again, I think it`s shades of "Zanny the Nanny" where they kept hammering on "Zanny the Nanny" and they lost the case because they convicted her of lying.

So remember, we are all over this trial. Jodi back on the witness stand tomorrow and it`s going to be a day of shockers, I can guarantee that. We`re going to bring you the biggest moments right here 7:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow.

Now, up next, this is a still-developing story. Cops say country music star Mindy McCready shot herself and her dog. Next, we`re going to talk with Billy McKnight, her ex-boyfriend and the father of the couple`s six-year-old son, Zander to get the inside story on what was going on with Mindy McCready.


CINDY MCREADY, COUNTRY STAR: Yes, things have been going bad. I think it`s God`s way of getting my attention saying you better wake up, girl. I have important stuff for you to do in life. I`ve definitely been preoccupied and side tracked doing the wrong things.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s the inside story behind country star Mindy McCready`s tragic suicide? We`re going to talk to her ex-boyfriend, Billy McKnight, the father of her oldest son, to get the inside story on Mindy`s demons -- a still developing story right now.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Country music star Mindy McCready, this was the end that most everyone had feared.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Country star found dead on the front porch of her home in Arkansas.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN SHOWBIZ CORRESPONDENT: She did lead a troubled life and she had made suicide attempts in the past.

DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: There`s a cautionary tale here about the stigma of mental illness.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: McCready`s music made her famous but in recent years she became more known for her struggle with addiction, mental illness and run-ins with the law.

TURNER: She went into rehab earlier this month but reportedly checked herself out early.

PINSKY: She had children with a boyfriend who ended up killing himself a few weeks ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her stardom overshadowed by her many struggles.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight a violent end to a very troubled life of drugs and booze. Country music star Mindy McCready found dead on the front porch of her Arkansas home. Police say she shot herself and her dog. She leaves behind two young sons, ages 6 and 10 months.

Now this is McCready and her fiance, David Wilson. Both of these individuals are dead. In an astounding twist of fate, they both died on that same porch. Just last month cops say Wilson, the father of her younger son, also shot himself to death on the same porch. His apparent suicide set the already troubled McCready spiraling downward.

McCready`s father complained she was boozing and drugging and not taking care of her sons. He had asked the court to put Mindy into rehab. Just two days later, McCready checked herself out. Tragically she became better known for her legal and personal problems than for her music. Here`s McCready at her high point with her biggest hit, "Guys Do It All the Time".


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, that`s a far cry. She was so beautiful, so talented -- what an incredible voice. That`s a far cry from one of McCready`s lowest points which millions saw on television. We warn you, it`s disturbing.

As she was going through withdrawal, detoxing on "Celebrity Rehab"; it was so intense, she had a seizure as the cameras rolled.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: McKenzie Phillips, who was in the other bed, she did not know that it wasn`t a joke. At first she thought it was a joke and that`s why she laughed and then she realized it was actually happening and she raced and got help.

I`m taking your calls, 1-877-JVM SAYS.

Straight out to our very special, special guest, Mindy McCready`s ex, Billy McKnight, father of her older son, Zander.

Billy, thank you for joining us tonight; what was your reaction when you heard Mindy McCready had apparently committed suicide by shooting her dog and shooting herself?

BILLY MCKNIGHT, EX-BOYFRIEND OF MINDY MCCREADY: Well, you know, the first thing is, you know, my heart fell (inaudible). I was just thinking about my son and him having to hear this terrible news. That`s all I could think about is how is he going to take this? He just was told a little over a month ago that David killed himself. And now he`s back in foster care and is about to get news that his mom`s gone and that was horrific for me.

Now, you`ve said, and I understand that and my heart goes out to you and I hope all of that is resolved and that these two little boys, Zander and Zane, his younger half-brother, that it all works out for them. My heart is with them.

You said, Billy, that you were around when Mindy attempted suicide twice. What, if anything, were the reasons that you know of for her feeling that suicidal urge not once but repeatedly?

MCKNIGHT: Well, Mindy had a troubled soul. You know, people did know about it because it made so many papers, but in her everyday life, there was happy times. But a lot of times she was just bitter. She spent a lot of time embracing the darkness, I guess you could say. And she couldn`t -- she couldn`t win the battle with her demons.

You know, one time it was at my place. She popped a whole bottle of pills and a whole bottle of wine and we almost lost her then. And it just seemed like a pattern that was, you know, it was going to happen. She couldn`t find peace.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: When you say that she had demons, so she had drug and alcohol problems. What was her drug of choice?

MCKNIGHT: Well, you know, she liked the pills. But when I say demons on a personal note, like just her life and the troubles that she had within herself and within her family and friends -- the drugs took it to another level and made it unbearable. But she didn`t -- she wasn`t happy.

Sometimes stardom backfires. She was very young when it hit her and instead of humbling her, it made her arrogant and unfortunately it got the best of her. So those demons are the ones that I really feel were the hardest ones. And when the drinking came on top of it, there`s just no beating it then.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And as you mentioned, McCready had reportedly attempted suicide twice before. Here she is last month, just last month on NBC just days after her fiance reportedly killed himself after he died.


MCCREADY: I`ve never gone through anything this painful nor will I ever again go through anything this painful.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Howard Samuels, she walked out of rehab earlier this month after two days. Why?

HOWARD SAMUELS, THE HILLS TREATMENT CENTER: Well, Jane, you know, many people that go into rehab, they go in because of an emotional bottom that they hit, and it`s great that she went in. But what ended up happening to her, like many thousands of people, is that they start dealing with all the feelings without the drugs and the alcohol and all these horrific feelings of loss and grief started to come up for somebody like this.

And she could not get through that wall. You have to break through the wall and be able to sit with the feelings and deal with them and talk about them. But unfortunately a lot of people, when they hit that wall, they run and they run back to the drug and the drink.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes and the short answer is you can`t drink and you can`t drug in rehab, and people can`t take it. They want their drink, they want their drug and they check out.

More on the other side.


PINSKY: There`s a cautionary tale here about the stigma of mental illness and the way in which the public attacks celebrities who take care of themselves. She became so fearful of the stigma and the way people were responding to her being hospitalized that she actually checked herself out prematurely and now we have what we have.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for "Pet o` the Day". Send your pet pics to Coco taking a nap. I`m jealous. Bella Young, she`s hiding in the bushes. We`re having fun today. And Cosmo, he says "I`m just hanging. I don`t care who has an opinion on that." Dangles, I like the way you`re sitting on that chair. I`ll try it later.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: 2005 McCready overdoses on anti-depressants while pregnant with her son. 2007, she`s arrested on a probation violation stemming from a drug arrest. Her mom is awarded custody of her son. 2010 she goes public with her struggles going on VH1`s "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew".

2011 McCready and her mom have a very ugly custody battle over her son. McCready takes off with the boy and is eventually found hiding in a closet. And then last month her fiance was found dead on her front porch.

Shane Tallant, country music reporter out of Nashville, Tennessee, thanks for joining us. You sat down in an exclusive interview with Mindy McCready a few years ago -- a couple years, 2010 -- and she promised she was back on the right track. But earlier this month her dad said that she was -- reportedly said she was drinking and using to the point she couldn`t take care of herself or her kids.

SHANE TALLANT, COUNTRY MUSIC REPORTER, (via telephone): Yes, you know, Mindy was one of the first people I met when I moved to town. And in all my experiences with her, she was always upbeat, she was always pleasant. Of course I knew the back story. I knew her music but then, unfortunately, the troubles that she faced and that she had outweighed, you know, the music, which was sad in itself.

In our interview she granted me her first interview in a long time because she wanted to share that she was on the straight and narrow. That all she was focused on was getting her son back from her parents and she had gotten her act together. And then now we sit here a few years later and it`s an unfortunate situation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. On the other side, what is going to happen to these two precious boys who have been left without a mother?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Billy McKnight says he wants his son and his son`s younger half-brother to keep them together. I hope he gets them. Wendy, thank God they weren`t there when Mindy McCready apparently killed herself.

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: Thank God they weren`t there, but the prognosis is just so tenuous, Jane. These kids need to be watched. They need to be supported. They need to be intervened. Unfortunately, children whose parents commit suicide have a higher suicide rate themselves. So they need to stay together and they need the support.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at this beautiful boy.

Nancy`s next.