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Did Police Officer Plot to Kill Wife?

Aired May 31, 2013 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, he`s a handsome veteran cop who teaches CSI, crime scene investigation. So, he`s an expert in solving crimes. But tonight, he`s on trial, accused of murdering his beautiful, estranged wife. But he claims she was depressed, that she set the house on fire herself, and she also shot herself in the head.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you murder her?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you pull the trigger?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you kill her?


(via phone): There`s a fire and my wife is -- she shot herself, but she`s in the fire. Smoke everywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All three testified that she was a doting, loving mother who was looking forward to her divorce and a life without Brett Seacat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody out of the house?

SEACAT: Oh, God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She told a friend a week and a half prior to this incident happening that you threatened to kill her.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: "What?" Yes, this is Brett Seacat. He married his high-school sweetheart, but their seemingly fairy-tale marriage secretly turned sour. And his wife, Vashti, filed for divorce. Two days later, after he got the papers, she`s dead. Her body was found inside their burning home. But she didn`t die from smoke inhalation. She died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Prosecutors say Police Officer Brett shot his wife while she lay asleep and then set their house on fire, all while the couple`s two young sons slept right down the hall.

He has denied everything from the very beginning. Check out this astounding interrogation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you murder her?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you pull the trigger?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you kill her?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just not looking good and adding up to that you had something to do with this, Brett. And we need to know why.

SEACAT: There`s no why, OK? I didn`t do this. I love Vashti.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She told a friend a week and a half prior to this incident happening that you threatened to kill her.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You threatened to burn the house down. You threatened to make it look like she did it.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, what really happened? Why did their house go up in flames? Was she suicidal, as he claims, or did this so-called CSI expert concoct an elaborate plot to kill his estranged wife just days after she filed for divorce?

Straight out to Justin Kraemer, KSN-TV reporter out of Kansas City. You`ve been in the courtroom where this cop is on trial. What is the very latest, Justin?

JUSTIN KRAEMER, KSN-TV REPORTER (via phone): Prosecutors continue to meticulously lay out their case out here in Kansas. Each witness bring another piece of the puzzle to the table. Prosecutors trying to show that Brett Seacat coldly and calculatedly plotted out his wife`s murder, all to make it look like a suicide.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But you`ve got to wonder, if he`s a CSI investigator, wouldn`t he know you don`t do something like this two days after you get hit with the divorce papers? It`s kind of obvious if you do it that way. Wouldn`t he know that?

I mean, I know that from watching "CSI." I`m not even a CSI expert myself.

Brett Seacat`s 911 call was played for the jury. In the midst of his panic, Brett manages to say his estranged wife killed herself. Listen carefully to his very frantic cries for help.


SEACAT (via phone): There`s a fire and my wife is -- she shot herself, but she`s in the fire. There`s smoke everywhere.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s debate it. He claims he tried to go inside the burning home to rescue her. However, these photos show no injuries and only a few singed hairs on his leg.

Can a CSI cop cover up a crime better than your average Joe, starting with trial attorney Heather Hansen?

HEATHER HANSEN, TRIAL ATTORNEY: Hi, Jane. You know, I think that if he was trying to cover it up, he certainly could have done it a whole lot better.

As you stated, he didn`t have any serious wounds on his legs and he claimed that he walked through fire. There`s a whole bunch of things that he did prior to the murder that, if he was setting up a murder like this -- and this would have had to have been meticulously set up. For him to have done that, he would have had to plan it a whole lot better. He wouldn`t have been borrowing an overhead projector, which the prosecution is saying was used in a forgery of her suicide note, and wouldn`t have been torching up his hard drives, which the prosecution says he did.

So I think that it`s really going to be incumbent on the defense to press these points and say that, as you state it, a CSI investigator...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Look, if his best defense is "I would have done it better if I were guilty," he`s going down, because this is chock full of not only overwhelming and strong evidence that he is guilty, but the prosecutor is going to make the most obvious point, which is who would know better than a CSI guy that, if you`re trying to prove suicide and you know that ballistics experts know how to prove the difference between homicide and suicide, the only way to cover that up for sure is to burn the body.

No, this case is so cuckoo. The fact that he said, "If I was going to do it, I`d have done it better," I think is consciousness of his own guilt.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jon Leiberman?

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there`s a lot more, too. To Wendy`s point, investigators actually found a Power Point presentation in his home about essentially how to make a suicide -- or how to make a homicide look like a suicide by burning the house down. He had a how-to manual in his home. That`s part one.

Part two is this guy, Brett Seacat, the suspect, he admitted to investigators that he had forged other documents, yet he claims he didn`t form the suicide note. And he admits bullying his estranged wife the night before her body is found. I mean, it`s just -- the evidence is almost insurmountable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But how stupid do you have to be if you`re going to kill your wife, to do it two days after she says, "Hey, honey, I want a divorce"? And that to me, right there, right there, is like not so bright, Phillip.

PHILLIP SNYDER, ATTORNEY: Well, here`s the thing: maybe he thinks he`s David Copperfield. Because apparently, she has a bullet wound to her head. There`s no blood on him. He walks through a fire to save her, allegedly. There`s no burns on him, no soot on him. Maybe he thinks he`s a magician because clearly, he doesn`t think he`s good enough at planning a murder because he did a terrible job.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s another thing. Justin Kraemer from KSN- TV in Kansas City, you`ve been in the courtroom. Somebody hears a gunshot wound long before the fire breaks out. And last time I checked, if you`re dead, you can`t start a fire, Justin.

KRAEMER: That`s -- that`s what one of the neighbors out here is telling police, that she had heard a gunshot go off around 40 minutes before this fire had started.

Now, defense attorneys are trying to point out this is a residential neighborhood, and only one or two people think that they even heard a gunshot, and they`re trying to use that as evidence to say that she obviously heard something else and that it wasn`t a gun when she says it was.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, it`s always the old car backfiring. They don`t backfire anymore. Half of them are hybrids. They`re not backfiring, those cars, anymore.

Let`s go out to Christine, North Carolina. Your question or thought, Christine?

CALLER: Hey, Jane. Um, I just want to tell you first, you`re wonderful and you did a great job in Arizona.


CALLER: You know, it`s different for him to be a CSI and go out on a crime job as a police officer and get crime scene investigation, that kind of stuff. But when you go to plan a murder on your own, you`re not that smart.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you 100 percent. It`s sort of easy -- it almost is like a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. You think you know so much, so it kind of makes you brazen. If he did it. Let`s let the court system decide.

Now, he says he`s innocent. His attorney told jurors his wife was depressed, because Brett had threatened to expose an alleged affair that she was supposedly having with a co-worker. Oh, yes, listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vashti knew her career was over if she didn`t accede to Brett`s demands that they try to work things out.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Justin Kraemer, you`ve been in court. Tell us about this alleged affair. Is it for reals [SIC], or is it something that this defendant has concocted to try to make a defense for himself?

KRAEMER: Yes. From all accounts, this was a rocky relationship from the very beginning. And these two actually ere high-school sweethearts. Dated on and off through high school, dated on and off through college, got married afterwards. Yes, there was marital infidelity involved.

But what they`re trying to tell you is that she was so concerned about a job in human resources with a local cable company that she would rather kill herself, with her two boys sleeping down the hall, than face having to look for work someplace else.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well also, she planned a night out with her girlfriends. Do you do that when you`re going to kill yourself? She was also in the process of selling a treadmill. Is that a priority, selling a treadmill, when you`re suicidal? I don`t know.

More on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not looking good, and they`re adding up to that you had something to do with this, Brett, and we need to know why.

SEACAT: There`s no why, OK? I didn`t do this. I love Vashti.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He approaches her while she is lying asleep in bed, and he shoots her on the right side of her head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who pulled the trigger and who struck the match? Ladies and gentlemen, when I stand before you in closing argument, I`m going to ask that you find Brett Seacat not guilty of these charges.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Throughout a seven-hour interrogation, Brett denies, forcefully denies, he had anything to do with his wife`s death, but are his responses to the detective`s questions normal or kind of weird? Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you hurt her?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you pull the trigger?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you kill her?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: No. That no. I mean, let`s debate it. Let`s face it, guys, he is kind of movie-star handsome, but is he believable or is he a bad actor? Starting with Wendy Murphy.

MURPHY: Wow, you know, he`s so past bad actor I almost feel bad for him.

You would think that a guy with experience in law enforcement trying to cover up a murder would know how to act like an innocent man. But he clearly didn`t study that page.

And you know what`s interesting? There`s also a piece we haven`t reported yet, where he admits going into the bedroom when he`s trying to rescue his kids from the fire and so forth. And he sees her. And he goes to pull her and save her from the fire, and he sees that she`s got a bullet in the head and he goes, "Oh, well, she`s dead," plop. He leaves her there. He leaves her there. Oh, my God.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Heather Hansen, trial attorney.

HANSEN: Listen, Jane, he did that so he could go save the children. Listen, if he...

MURPHY: Oh, please.

HANSEN: ... entitled to be found -- but he went to get -- to save the children.

Listen, the fact that he`s a bad actor, the man`s in shock. If you believe that his wife actually did commit suicide and set the house on fire, it may be actually normal to be surprised and to yell "no" in such a way.

This case is built on circumstantial evidence. And the reality of it is, the autopsy can`t say -- the autopsy cannot say what caused this death. And she did have a history of depression, and there is a suicide note. So, we need to wait and let the defense put on their case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Somewhere out there is Lisa Bloom. I want to get Lisa Bloom in on this.


LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: Yes, Jane, this case reminds me of...

SNYDER: Circumstantial evidence, there couldn`t be more evidence in this case.

BLOOM: ... murder of a suspect and the disappearance of another. Just because somebody`s a cop, just because they`re smart, because they know this area doesn`t mean that they`re always going to do the right thing or get away with it. This guy has so many indications that he`s guilty.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It just doesn`t -- here`s what just perplexes me. I have only seen about four episodes of "CSI," and if I were going to kill somebody, which I never would -- I`m not violent, thank God -- I wouldn`t do it, like, two days after they handed me divorce papers. I wouldn`t do it after I threatened, purportedly, allegedly, to kill them. I wouldn`t do it at a time when the only person who really has a reason to want her dead is me, Jon Leiberman.

MURPHY: Yes, you would. You would do it if you were so rageful.


MURPHY: Rage is a blind spot. For violent men, rage makes them blind to common sense. You would do it if you were rageful and he was rageful.

LEIBERMAN: The -- exactly. The difference is, it`s one thing...

SNYDER: Rageful, commit a murder.

LEIBERMAN: Theory in a textbook or in a lecture. It`s another thing to be in the throes of being threatened with divorce. Testimony has shown that this guy threatened to take the 4- and 2-year-old away and take them to Mexico if his estranged wife went through with the divorce. So clearly...

HANSEN: Which is a reason for suicide.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Phillip Snyder, criminal defense attorney out of Miami, weigh in.

SNYDER: Well, I mean, here`s the thing. When you look at his voice, when you evaluate a witness and evaluate whether you`re going to put someone on the stand you say is this going to be a good guy in front of the jury?

"No! No! No!" He sounds like a looning idiot. That tape alone, to me, is he`s guilty. So it`s going to be very difficult. Because the main thing that you want do as a defense attorney in this case is put him on the stand and hopefully, by the grace of God, the jury likes him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on a second. It wasn`t "No, no, no!" It was this. It was this. It was "No! No!" Yes. Almost as if he thinks the force of his voice is going to will people to listen to him. It sounds like a guy who`s used to having people sort of listen to him and take his word for things, and that is working overtime. It`s not working in this situation, Jon Leiberman, like he`s trying to will his -- his colleagues. Let`s face it, he`s being interrogated by his colleagues. He`s a cop.

SNYDER: It`s just inconsistencies. You hear him almost inconsolable in the 911 call, but then the sheriff testified that he spoke to him right after that, after they responded, and the suspect was emotionless.

Look, he`s going to have to take the stand, as Phillip just said, but he is going to get eaten up on cross-examination. Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s got a headache. I think he -- I know why he`s got a headache.

More on the other side. We are just getting started.


SEACAT: There`s a fire. And my wife is -- she shot herself, but she`s in the fire. There`s smoke everywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody out of the house?

SEACAT: Oh, God.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She told a friend a week and a half prior to this incident happened that you threatened to kill her.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That you threatened to burn the house down, and that you threatened to make it look like she did it.

SEACAT: That is -- that is bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The victim`s brother spoke to HLN`s Nancy Grace and told her Vashti, the wife, was a wonderful mom who wanted only the best for her kids, her two sons.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She would go to such great lengths to do things for them. And by that I mean, like I`ll never forget one time her and some of her friends were going to the movies, and they were almost late to the movies, because it was late at night and she had to find organic bananas so that she could hand make her organic baby food. She wasn`t going to buy baby food from a jar. She had to make it, and it had to be organic.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A woman after my own heart. I also eat organic bananas and organic fruit.

Why, Lisa Bloom, would such a doting mom kill herself and then set the house on fire, leaving her two small sons, little boys, inside the house? Does that make any sense at all to you?

BLOOM: It does not. And frankly, I never heard of a person killing themselves by setting a house on fire. Absolutely not. Nothing about this story makes sense.

I feel so sorry for this young woman. You know, the most dangerous time for a woman in an abusive relationship is the point where she decides to leave.


BLOOM: This woman had clearly made this decision. This man could not stand to lose that power over her. That`s very clear to me after what happened here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And Heather Hansen, look, she`s got plans to go out with her girlfriends that night. She`s selling things that are little knickknacks, a treadmill. That`s not somebody who`s depressed and suicidal. They`re not making plans to go out dancing and drinking with their girlfriends.

HANSEN: Listen, Jane, I agree with you. I think the evidence is very heavy against Mr. Seacat, but the problem is he`s innocent until proven guilty.

Isn`t it at least possible, at least possible, that she planned her suicide and planned to frame him for it to get back at him as one last jab, because he was threatening to take the kids and never divorce her? Isn`t that at least possible? And isn`t he entitled to the presumption of innocence until...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. I get your point but very briefly, ten seconds, Jon Leiberman, how do you kill yourself and set your house on fire at the same time, especially if they hear the gunshot an hour earlier?

LEIBERMAN: Not to mention, Jane, that the gun was found underneath her torso. I mean, the gun was clearly staged there. There`s just -- there`s no way to possibly have the gun simply land there after you put a bullet in your own head, and that`s what the forensic experts are going to testify to.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Maybe he thought because was a police officer they`d give him a pass. Well, wrong on that one.

Now, up next, Jodi -- Jodi Arias. New information. New developments. Blackmail, OK? That`s what we`re talking about. Did Jodi blackmail Travis with a sex tape?

A Jodi Arias juror is now revealing her theory and whether she believes Jodi was a victim of domestic violence. That`s next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Justice for Travis! Justice for Travis! Justice for Travis!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Justice for Travis! Justice for Travis! Justice for Travis!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Justice for Travis! Justice for Travis! Justice for Travis!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are two kinds of people that commit them. One type are people that emotionally have problems, that have behavioral problems. The other type are people that are innately evil, and I think that Jodi is the second.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, it`s an arms race in the battle to see if Jodi Arias will live or die. Did Jodi plan the entire murder so that she would be the last person to have sex with Travis? And will the raunchy and explosive sex tape come back to haunt Jodi if another jury gets to decide if she lives or dies?

Jodi Arias, as we all know by now, has been convicted of premeditated murder in the brutal killing of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander. But her fate is still a huge mystery. Will she live or die?

Well, now, juror No. 17 has just come forward to say she thinks Jodi, quote, "wanted to make sure she was the last person he ever had sexually." Wow. That she wanted that power of knowing that she was his last.

The same juror also thinks Jodi was trying to blackmail Travis with the raunchy sex tape we heard in court. Of course, we all remember this.


TRAVIS ALEXANDER, MURDER VICTIM (via phone): The way you moan, it sounds like you`re this 12-year-old girl having her first orgasm. It`s so hot.

JODI ARIAS, CONVICTED OF MURDER (via phone): Sounds like what?

ALEXANDER: A 12-year-old girl having her first orgasm.

I (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off every day, sometimes two, three times a day.

ARIAS: Are you serious?

ALEXANDER: There`ve been many times when you have been, like miserable and I`ve, like, raped you.

You cannot say I don`t work that booty.

ARIAS: You do know how to work the booty.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s debate it with our expert panel. Was Jodi planning to blackmail Travis with the sex tape? Or people, consider, could this -- could it be something a lot worse? Maybe our imaginations are not big enough to appreciate another series of lies. She wanted to kill him.

And I will start with Wendy Murphy on that one.

MURPHY: Yes, I agree 100 percent with this juror.

And it`s interesting, Jane, last week, I had a conversation with Travis Alexander`s attorney -- the family`s attorney. And I sent him an e- mail and said, I think that he wrote that particularly mean note to her that the jurors heard, that thought meant he was abusive to her after she threatened to play that sex tape, probably for church elders, if she dared -- if he dared break up with her and that it was that that he then said, "Oh, you are a monster. I hate you. You`re a this, that and the other thing." And she said, "Well, that didn`t work. I`m going to have to kill him."

I think she was a sexual abuser, not just sexually manipulative, she used sex to control Travis and perhaps other men and when it didn`t work, when he got bored of the sex, even when it got kind of funky, she said "That`s it. He won`t keep me. I can`t have him. I`m going to kill him."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say this though, I think that there`s a possibility that she threatened, if she did threaten to play that tape, it wasn`t the church elders, it was Mimi Hall. Because remember, Travis Alexander was taking another woman named Mimi Hall, a very clean-cut Mormon young lady to vacation with him to Cancun. And I think Jodi might have been very, very upset about that because she was originally considered as the candidate to go on that trip.

So I think, Jon Leiberman, she may have played it and said I will play this for Mimi Hall. And then she is going nowhere with you.

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it`s really interesting. This is a small part of the case that actually prosecutors left up to the jurors to sort of interpret. We know that things went really downhill from that Travis message to Jodi and we know that this sex tape played some sort of role but as Juror 17 said in the interview with "Wild about Trial", this is her theory and it certainly is, I believe, a possible theory as to blackmail and as to why Travis lashed out so much at Jodi after, you know, during this time period.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s continue our debate. Remember that snarky juror question for Jodi Arias, and it goes something like this. "After all the lies you`ve told, why should we believe you now?" It`s a classic line from the trial. Well, now, we can put a face to that juror question. Check her out. She asked it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To hear what all they`ve been through and to see that Jodi did so much more than kill Travis.

DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: You were the one that asked some of those snarky questions. Tell us about that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have no idea what you`re talking about. After all the lies you told, why should we believe you now?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s debate it. If there is a retrial on whether Jodi Arias lives or dies, if they don`t settle for life and say, no, we are going to try her again and try to give her the death penalty, will it be worse this time around for Jodi Arias with these jurors?

And I`m going to throw that at Heather Hansen.

HEATHER HANSEN, TRIAL ATTORNEY: I don`t think it can get much worse, Jane. I mean it really was a bloodbath.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: She is alive, Heather, it could get much worse because they could have sentenced her to death and she has not been sentenced to death yet. So just to keep it all -- clarify, yes it could get a lot worse for Jodi Arias. But continue on.

HANSEN: But as far as the end result, sure, it could get worse. But as far as the evidence that goes in there. What did they offer for mitigation? That she was a good artist and that she had nice hair.

You know, now the thing about all these interviews with the jurors is they are giving the defense a road map as to how to work on mitigation and how to improve their case. They can use some of the bipolar disorder testimony to build up that she didn`t know what she was doing. They can use some of her history. They can try to influence some people to testify on her behalf.

All of the things these jurors have said have influenced their decision, they can work on. I think it can only help.


LEIBERMAN: But prosecutors are going to use all of those post-trial interviews that she did with the media, where she shows zero remorse. Prosecutors can now admit that and it`s going to get much worse for Jodi, I think.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jodi`s entire defense rested on whether the jury would believe her story but one juror says she never thought Jodi was honest. Listen to this.


MARILOU ALLEN-COUGAN, JODI ARIAS TRIAL JUROR: I didn`t believe what she had to say. I don`t think she ever was truly honest with us. I know that for me, I didn`t see any remorse or any issues with herself for what happened that day, for what Travis went through. I didn`t see any of that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s go out to the phone lines. James, North Carolina, your question or thought -- James?

JAMES, NORTH CAROLINA: Yes, my question is that everybody is saying that Jodi Arias done a lot to Travis, you know, which is -- I agree on, right? But many times, it takes two to actually have a relationship and, I mean that`s what I think so far.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you think? I`m sorry, James, I`m just trying to clarify your question.

JAMES: Yes, my question is that everybody saying about the jury, that was God that came to the jury that made that decision, you know? And I have posted things on HLN that talks about, like, Jodi and stuff like that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. You`re saying it was God that moved through the jurors to make the decision to find her guilty? All right. Well, you know what, I -- I think that`s an interesting comment. I really don`t know what to say about that.

Now, Jodi`s ex-boyfriend, Darryl Brewer, testified during the trial saying he was in a loving relationship with Jodi for four years but he says, Darryl says, the person who took the witness stand is a totally different woman.

Listen to this from KTNX.


DARRYL BREWER, JODI ARIAS` EX-BOYFRIEND: And she is unrecognizable to me now, as to the Jodi she used to be. She never talked like that. She never lied and had that disrespect. She was not manipulative. She was not evil.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom, people are perplexed. How does a woman who manages to have a semi-normal relationship with this guy suddenly become a psychopath to all intents and purposes in another relationship?

LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY, AVO.COM: You know, people are different in different relationships, Jane. But I think this juror who has a theory that Jodi was going to blackmail Travis and that`s why he got so enraged, that`s why they had a fight and ultimately she killed him, I think that is such a smart theory. It is right on the money.

I posted that on my Twitter page today. Everybody agrees with this. I feel like that sort of brings the whole trial together because it`s just what we were talking about in the previous segment. When somebody tries to get away, tries to break up in a relationship that is the most dangerous time. That`s when people get enraged.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Additionally, Philip Snyder, I think that she may have played the tape for him on the phone and said listen to this. Listen to what I recorded on you. And guess what; if you don`t change that ticket and take me to Cancun, then I`m going to play this for a lot more people, Mimi Hall and maybe others. And then she went there one final time and had sex with him. When he still said no, that`s it.



SNYDER: I think that`s a very credible explanation. Here`s what sometimes happens with defendants. They get trapped in a corner like a cat, they recoil and they strike back.

It looked like Jodi was down to her last playing card --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, let`s not bring cats into it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Geez. Every time -- any time somebody wants to say something negative, they bring in an animal. Cats don`t --


SNYDER: The cat in the corner.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- because they don`t have -- they want to take them on -- they`re not taking on vacations. Leave them out of it.

SNYDER: We`ll put my dog in the corner. She is clawing and she`s doing everything she can. It`s her last chip. It`s actually a credible explanation. I`m impressed by that juror`s foresight into the legal mind of Jodi Arias.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think we are all getting the same impression. You know what, if he had wanted to record the sex tape, he would have hit "record" himself on his own phone. You don`t ask somebody else to record your sex tape for you when they are 1,000 miles away. You can record it yourself if you want to.

All right, up next, I hope you`re having fun because I`m going to get arrested. Yes, I spent the night in jail.

Another victim of Jodi Arias -- this is what they had me do I learned so much, guys. Check this out. You have to stay right on the other side. I`m arrested.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: As a result of the massive interest in the Jodi Arias case, I was asked to spend the night in jail, just so hey, what`s it like? She spent almost five years behind bars. Let me tell you, when that door slams, oh, my gosh, it is a horrifying experience. You see me there? I will tell you what it`s like on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jane Velez-Mitchell?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do me a favor. Take your hands out of your pockets, please.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you kidding me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I`m not, ma`am. Are you Jane Velez-Mitchell?


I don`t understand. What`s going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a warrant for your arrest.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you kidding me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not kidding you. I will explain it all to you when you get back to the station, all right?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s for reels. Jodi Arias has spent five years in jail. We`ve covered her trial for five long months. With all this discussion about death row and being behind bars, I wanted to find out firsthand what is life behind bars like? So I spent the night in a jail cell similar to what Jodi Arias has been in as she awaits her fate. And I have to say, this up close and personal experience as an inmate was an eye opener.

Check it out.

It starts hitting you like -- like a slow motion car accident. You start realizing that your life is over.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you really need to do that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it`s my policy, ma`am.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s not the way everybody thinks it is. I didn`t do it.

I have to tell you, when I go in there and I have to face the wall whenever they say face the wall and then they start putting me through these machines to see if I`ve got metal hidden in my body parts.

What`s beeping? And checking my cheeks, putting my face one way and putting my face the other way.

Why would I have metal in my mouth?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You would be surprised what people have.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean I`m number. I`m not a person who has any kind of voice.

Strip search me?

Wait a second. You`re not for real on this, are you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely, yes I am.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Jane, I need you to look at the camera.

You talk about the lack of freedom. But I think even worse than the lack of freedom is the lack of privacy. This is like a display animal at a zoo and I`m not in favor of zoos.

Are you kidding me? I can`t get out? I`m supposed to spend 23 hours a day here, by myself?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. And I did it. The cops were treating me like an actual prisoner. I really got to experience how emotionally annihilating it is for people behind bars, millions of Americans.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; All right, Jane, I`m back like I promised. Here you go. Here`s something for you to eat, all right?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t -- I don`t want this. I`m vegan. I don`t eat -- I don`t drink milk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don`t drink milk?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is what animals must feel like living in a zoo. One of the worst things I think that a human being can experience, the loss of freedom and isolation. And that`s what jail is -- loss of freedom and isolation. And lack of power. You`re completely powerless.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Next week, we`re going to show you a lot more from my night as a prisoner and all of the secrets is prisoners try to keep. You will not believe some of the contraband some of these criminals are trying to sneak into jail.

Also, our own Nancy Grace will take you behind bars, the very same prison where Jodi Arias has spent years and still awaits her fate. That`s next Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern right here on HLN.

And up next, a story you don`t want to miss.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for pet of the day. Send your pet pics to Molly -- look at that into the camera shot. And Cali says well, I`m little shy but I flirt a little too, don`t I =? Yes, cutie pie. And Coley says I like to swim, don`t try to stop me. I`m going in. Barney and Zoe say we`re just hanging by the pool. What of it?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey little Rico, tonight our Animal Investigations Unit has breaking news. The U.S. government is admitting massive failures at pig slaughter houses. And it`s blaming itself. It is more bad news for factory farm pigs and it should concern all Americans. So thank you for bearing witness.

An alarming report tonight from the U.S. Department of Agriculture condemns the government itself for failing to stop repeat violations in pig slaughterhouses. This jaw-dropping report essentially admits our food safety inspection system is broken.

Over four years 44,000 violations were reported in 616 slaughterhouses. What happened? Mostly nothing. Only 28 times were any of those slaughterhouses suspended and then only briefly. At one slaughterhouse food safety inspectors handed out more than 800 violations, 14 egregious including, quote, "fecal contamination on the hog after the final trim". That same plant had almost a hundred violations for quote, "exposed or possibly adulterated products that had grease smears or black colored liquid substance on processed meat.

Straight out to Bruce Friedrich of Farm Sanctuary. Now take a look at these happy pigs. These are among the pigs that Farm Sanctuary has rescued from factory farming conditions. Farm Sanctuary is a fast-growing group speaking out for voiceless pigs who are highly intelligent, smarter than many dogs like little Rico here.

Bruce, what does this report tell you about how millions of pigs are treated as they are slaughtered for food in America?

BRUCE FRIEDRICH, FARM SANCTUARY: You know Jane, it is hundreds of millions of pigs. In addition to finding that the food safety system is broken with the examples that you offered, they also found that the one measly law that is supposed to protect farm animals as they are being slaughtered and it`s the only federal legal protection that they have whatsoever, inspectors don`t know what it says, they are not enforcing it. Time and again even as the office of the inspector general was watching the slaughter line they would see felony level violations of the law and the inspectors wouldn`t even write it down.

They did an interview with inspectors from a sample of 30 plants and they found that a third of them would not even write a report when they witnessed felony-level cruelty to animals. And the really shocking thing is that you would think this would be a wakeup call. You would think this would be news. This is a reiteration of reports from the inspector general as well as the Government Accountability Office in 2004, 2008, 2010 as well as undercover investigation after undercover investigation from the Humane Society of the United States, PETA, Mercy for Animals, Compassion Over Killing as well as similar reports from the Animal Welfare Institute independently conducted.

So the take home message of this is that no abuse is too severe in our nation`s slaughter houses. For the USDA which is supposed to be enforcing the law, they are absolutely not enforcing the law.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They don`t care.


FRIEDRICH: And you hear that yet again from the office of the inspector general.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is the conclusion of this report that there is a lack of care what happens to these pigs; again, smarter than dogs. If you did this, these are not slaughterhouses. These are the pig gestation crates where pigs are kept in factory farms before they go to the slaughter house. Just these pig gestation crates -- if you did this to a dog for a week you would be accused of animal cruelty. This is standard operating procedure.



FRIEDRICH: Yes, the pig gestation crate issue focuses attention on the fact that there is no federal legal protection for animals on farms whatsoever. So as you said if you crammed a dog or cat into a crate where she couldn`t turn around for her entire life that would be felony level cruelty. And yet that is routine practice for hundreds of millions of animals for food in this country every single year.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let me say this --

FRIEDRICH: And when you get to the slaughter house you have that one measly law and what the office of the inspector general is saying is it is not enforced.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you viewers for watching this. I know that our viewers care about animals. People came up to me in droves in Arizona and said thank you for doing these stories. Thank you in turn for bearing witness.

More on the other side. This is important. It is a consumer issue. It involves all of us. Stay right there.



WAYNE PACELLE: We shouldn`t be closing the curtain as agribusiness is trying to do with these AG gag laws. We should be putting sunlight so the public can see how the animals are raised to produce the food that 300 million Americans consume.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Again, this report is just damning about the government`s lack of really cracking down where there are problems, there are violations. Millions of pigs, hundreds of millions of pigs go through America`s slaughterhouses. The USDA`s report details the tragic and disturbing fate that befell one of these poor creatures.

Please have courage to bear witness to this story because pigs are voiceless and cannot speak up for themselves. According to our own government report, in one slaughterhouse, a pig was shot through the head with a captive bolt. When the gun misfired, the bolt became lodged in the hog`s skull. This poor pig remained, quote, "conscious and aware for several minutes while the workers looked for another gun. That gun also appeared to misfire and the pig remained conscious still until an electric stunner finally knocked it out. That poor, defenseless animal suffered so much before it was ultimately slaughtered.

Ten seconds Bruce, what can people do?

FRIEDRICH: Well, we find these violations over and over in investigation after investigation. If people want to take personal responsibility for this the best thing they can do is to stop eating animals, to stop eating meat and withdraw their support for this hideous abuse.

Nancy Grace is next.