Return to Transcripts main page


Seacat Trial

Aired June 7, 2013 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, an uproar in court as accused killer, Brett Seacat, gets back on the witness stand and attacks the wife cops say he murdered, trashing beautiful Vashti by saying she was secretly cheating on him with other men right up until her death.


BRETT SEACAT, MURDER DEFENDANT: I`m smart enough that if I wanted to kill my wife, I would have come up with something better than that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was my fault.

SEACAT (via phone): There`s a fire. My wife shot herself, but she`s in the fire. My wife is upstairs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a motive? There`s a motive, hands down.

SEACAT (on camera): What is it?




SEACAT: Basically, I told her, if this goes to court, that -- that I was going to do everything -- everything in my power to destroy her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brett Seacat, a handsome former sheriff`s deputy and crime-scene investigator, is accused of murdering his estranged wife, then setting their house on fire with their two sons, their toddler sons in there. They got out, thank God. All this mysteriously happening right after she slapped him with divorce papers.

Brett says his wife killed herself -- oh, and had long been suicidal. Her family and friends say he is lying through his teeth.

Today in court, beautiful Vashti`s family, livid over Brett`s testimony claiming their precious loved one was a cheater.


SEACAT: I told her I was going to get her fired from Cox. I knew that Vashti had had an affair with the vice president of Cox and I was suspecting that she was having an affair with her boss.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Is this just an effort to save his skin? That`s just one of many unkind things Brett told the jury today about his wife, who is dead, not here to defend herself.

Straight out to Ted Rowlands, who`s been in court all day long on the ground in Kansas.

Ted, what`s the reaction of Brett`s astounding claims that his wife, Vashti, was sleeping around on the job right up until the time she died?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you mentioned, Jane, the family has had a very difficult time. It was a horrible day in court for them. They had to sit there and listen to him, and in their mind, he is lying through his teeth, and it is very difficult to hear him talking detail, not really about the affairs but, at one point, he even insinuated to the jury that she tried to commit suicide several times before. The judge immediately stopped him. There was a recess. But you know, he rung the bell, and that really upset them.

They said that is absolutely B.S., that there`s no medical records, that that is a total fabrication; and he knew he wasn`t supposed to say it, yet he said it anyway. They are really, really upset by today`s testimony.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now Brett Seacat, the defendant, actually hid his face. You`re seeing a still picture of him while we hear his voice, because he asked the judge, "Please, judge, let me hide my face" as he told the jury about his wife`s cheating. Alleged cheating. He says, well, it wasn`t just once. It was an ongoing issue with them. Listen to this.


SEACAT: She is the one who told me that she had slept with the vice president. She had had several affairs with her supervisor. The last one that she had iron-clad confirmed was in 2008. But she had alluded to being responsible for an affair with him as late as March and April.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: March and April of what year?

SEACAT: 2011.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s debate it. Is blaming the victim going to backfire? Starting with Holly Hughes, former prosecutor, for the prosecution.

HOLLY HUGHES, FORMER PROSECUTOR: It`s absolutely going to backfire, Jane, and here`s why: because there`s no corroborative evidence of it. If there were some e-mails, if there were some tax messages, anything, to corroborate what he said, a jury might believe it. They might say, "OK, there`s some additional corroborating evidence."

With nothing else, this is just going to look like "I`m trying to save my own behind by throwing her reputation under the bus."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Janet Johnson, for the defense.

JANET JOHNSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I thought it was so effective today. This was a game changer. I mean, the prosecution, this guy`s alive. They can bring in the vice president. If it didn`t happen, he can say it didn`t happen. And I assume that they`re going to try to do that. Of course, he`s going to admit it did happen.

But quite frankly, I thought it was very effective, what he did today on the stand.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jon Leiberman.

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it`s not a game changer, because you`re going to see on cross-examination that Seacat has absolutely zero credibility. That none of his story adds up.

And as I told you last night, Jane, the defense has been champing at the bit to find some way to get in this uncorroborated evidence about affairs and other suicide attempts. That`s the whole reason why they put Seacat on the stand, and now they got their wish. I think it`s going to backfire because...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what? I think we`re seeing a new trend. I think we`re seeing a new trend where it`s like defense attorneys are going, "Hey, take the stand and just say whatever you want. I`m looking the other way." I mean, really, isn`t that dirty pool, Rebecca Nitkin?

REBECCA NITKIN, ATTORNEY: Well, actually, there`s no direct evidence in this case. That`s circumstantial evidence. And the coroner can`t decide whether or not it`s a suicide or a homicide. So everything is going to revolve around whether or not she committed suicide.

And this is going directly to whether or not she`s depressed. It is the proper thing to do as a defense attorney, and it`s not going out there just, you know, out there. Because exactly what we just heard, the person that she allegedly had the affair with, that he is saying she slept with this guy, exists. So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They can`t tell whether it`s a homicide or a suicide is because of the fire. This guy is a CSI instructor.

On the dining room table, they found a manual connected to a Power Point presentation: How to distinguish between homicide and suicide in a fire.

This guy, according to a co-worker of Vashti`s, Holly Hughes, told his wife, "Hey, I`m going to kill you. I`m going to make it look like an accident. I`m going to set the house on fire. And I`m going to get away with it, because firefighters are morons." This is what somebody has testified that he said to his wife before he killed her.

HUGHES: Right. And you know what, Jane? I`m having flashbacks of Drew Peterson saying, "I`m smarter than everybody else. I`m a cop. I know what I`m doing." Well, clearly not, because you got arrested and now you`re on trial for it.

So, you know, don`t go around bragging about what you can get away with. Because we all saw what happened the last time, in a high-profile trial, the defendant took the stand. That didn`t work out so well for her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. We have to see how the jury reacts to all of this.

Now, friends say this alleged cheating, that allegation, that wasn`t the only outright lie that Brett told on the stand today. He also claimed that Vashti had attempted suicide in the past, something he had been instructed not to say in front of the jury. He did it anyway. Watch.


SEACAT: For 19 years I was the one who protected Vashti, and finally, I pushed her into what I was supposed to be protecting her from.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You had been Vashti`s protector for that 19 years. What do you mean by that?

SEACAT: I -- on several occasions I`d stopped Vashti from doing something that I don`t think I`m allowed to talk about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your honor? May we approach?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ted Rowlands, you were there during this extraordinary moment.

First of all, friends say there`s absolutely no medical records, no evidence to back up this alleged suicidal tendency by this woman. I`ve talked to friends of hers who say, no, she was happy; she was carefree. She had two little boys she loved a lot. But what was the reaction when he broke the rules and referred to something he wasn`t supposed to refer to in front of the jury?

ROWLANDS: Oh, they were floored. The family was absolutely floored. Prosecutors were obviously upset by this, because they had pretrial hearings about this.

Basically, he has told the police, he alleged that she tried to commit suicide several times before, and he stepped in and saved her life. Well, the bottom line is they said, "Really? Well, what hospitals did she go to?" And he claimed that he gave the -- he gave the investigators different hospitals, different dates, and there are no medical records out there.

So the judge early on said, "You`re not bringing this in at all." He knew he wasn`t supposed to say it. And in fact, that`s why he said, "I don`t think I`m really supposed to say this, but..." And he blurted it out. The jury heard it. The judge told the jury to disregard those comments. But he clearly, clearly knew what he was doing.

And you could see when he`s on the stand, he`s part lawyer, part investigator. The problem is he is not part grieving husband, and that I think, is what he`s losing. I think he`s losing the jury because of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it just absolutely infuriates me that he was told that he could not mention that, and he mentions it anyway.

Holly Hughes, you`re a former prosecutor. What recourse does the prosecution have to punish him for this?

HUGHES: Well, at this point, they can ask him to be held in contempt, and they can also ask for a mistrial. And a mistrial is granted, Jane, in the law if there is a manifest necessity for it. And it`s the only way to ensure, because remember, both sides are entitled to a fair trial. It`s not just the defendant who gets a fair trial.

The state has a legal right to a fair trial, too, and if he is putting all sorts of evidence, the judge has already ruled is inadmissible in front of the jury, then they can ask for a mistrial and start all over again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to take a short break. On the other side, is this reminiscent of Drew Peterson? You know, the cop who had another wife problem? Stay right there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She told a friend a week and a half prior to this incident 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.

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




SEACAT: I just said, "Am I getting served?" She nodded and I think I just said, "So it`s divorce then?"


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. What a coincidence.

Oh, by the way, this note found in his pocket. What was that? Were these things he had to keep in mind as he talked to his buddies, investigators?

Now he`s sitting on the other side of the interrogation table. A former deputy being grilled by his buddy. They didn`t cut him any slack or any slack because he is a former cop.

Straight out to the phone lines.

Debra, South Carolina. Your question or thought -- Debra.

CALLER: My thought is, when you add up the evidence, such as the bloody shirt that is no longer there, the story about the gas pump, wanting to pump the gas because he`s returning the SUV to his father. He`s just trying to establish gas fumes or gas residue on his pants.

The hard drive. The cell phones that maybe were old, never used. Oh, but they had old pictures on them. He just has a million different explanations. And when you add up the preponderance of all that, it just doesn`t work for me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sounds like a good closing argument, Debra, South Carolina.

Now, this accused killer -- remember, he`s a former sheriff`s deputy and a CSI instructor. He talked on the witness stand about the moment he claims he discovered his wife was dead.

Remember, there was a fire. He says, "Oh, she calls me, says get up here and get the kids." He goes up the stairs. There`s flames everywhere. He tries to rescue her. But she`s dead because she committed suicide. That`s his story.

Listen to this.


SEACAT: I ran to the bedroom door. I threw it open and -- and took a couple steps into the bedroom.

That`s when I saw Vashti. She was laying on her back. Flat on her back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there anything that you noticed between -- after you`ve taken the first few steps in between you and the bed?

SEACAT: Flames.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you pulled her up, did you make any observations?

SEACAT: Yes. She just seemed to double over at the waist, and her head was flopped back. I yanked her up, and her face would have been about a foot from my face when I stopped, because I -- that was the first time I saw the blood.

Almost right after I saw the blood on the left-hand corner of the mouth is when I saw the blood on the bed, the pool of blood. I heard my voice in my head just say, "Dead." It all just came to me. The boys are in the house, the house is on fire. Vashti`s dead.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jon Leiberman, while they were unable to determine, because it was a fire, whether it was homicide or suicide in the autopsy, obviously, they think it`s homicide because they`ve charged him with murder.

But also the trajectory of the bullet shows, according to the prosecutor, that he was shooting her like this because it goes down at her. You can`t commit suicide by pointing the gun at yourself.

LEIBERMAN: Yes. Through the back -- through the back of her head. Then the gun is found underneath her torso, and in totality, the evidence is so stacked up against him.

He claims that he saw flames between himself and Vashti when he went to pick her up. But yet he has absolutely no injuries. A few blisters. He claims he goes to the kids` room, but the kids` room door is closed, and the light is off.

Now, what mother is going to close the door of their kids and turn the light off if she plans on committing suicide? Having them in the car [SIC]?

And then there`s the little things like he goes down to the car. He gets the kids in the car. He buckles them in. He gets the dog in the car. Then he calls 911. And then he describes going back to the house and trying to find, or trying to go get Vashti. And he refers to his wife as a, quote, "body," which was so detached on the stand. When he said, you know, he went in and then he thought, well, he wasn`t going risk his life just to rescue a body. I mean, it`s like he`s detached from reality.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s claiming he tried to go back into the burning house and save Vashti. But remember, cops say the photos show -- and we`re going to show you photos -- that he only had a couple of singes on his body to the back of his calves. A little -- a couple of singes and then a tiny, tiny blister on his foot. And again, singed hair on the back of his calves.

So let`s debate it. What does the prosecutor have to do on cross- examination to destroy this testimony, starting with Holly Hughes, former prosecutor?

HUGHES: The first thing they`re going to do is say was she a good mother? Did she love these little boys? In this supposed suicide note, didn`t she tell you, "Tell the boys I love them every day"? Well, if she`s going to kill them with her in a fire, how would you -- how would they be alive for you to say, "I love you and Mommy loves you" to the boys? So that`s the biggest thing.

You know, you want to hit him hard with the emotion of it. She`s not going to kill her own children. Then you`re going to go through the scientific evidence. She didn`t have any soot in her lungs. She didn`t have any smoke or any burning of the esophagus. You don`t have any burns. You`re just...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is a common-sense issue, Janet Johnson. Everybody says this woman loved her two boys more than life, itself. That she was the best mother on the planet. Who, even if she was suicidal, would kill herself and set fire to their home with their two little boys sleeping down the hall?

JOHNSON: It was the diet drug that made her do it. That`s why she acted in this way that`s totally out of character. But also, no one said he`s a bad dad. He loved his kids, too. I mean, let`s not be sexist about it.

He also committed a crime that put his kids at risk under the theory of the state, and nobody`s given any motivation why he would do that. He`s charged with endangering his children. And by all accounts, he loved his kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I want to dive a little deeper into this diet supplement issue. Is it for reals? Or is it another fake story made up by a defendant trying to save his skin? More on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Starting to believe you had something to do with this. You had no blood on you. You picked her up off the bed and held her to you close. You had no blood on you.

SEACAT: No, I didn`t hold her to me close.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You had no fire on the bottom of your feet. Now, if you walked through fire, you should have some kind of injury besides a small injury on the top of one of your feet.




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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is everybody out of the house?

SEACAT: Oh, God, the smoke inside here.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The handsome cop turned accused murderer was loud, and he was angry and defiant when his buddy, a detective, questioned him about his wife`s death. Listen to this exchange.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you hurt her?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you pull the trigger?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you kill her?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brett might be shouting no, but the prosecution says the autopsy shows the bullet trajectory that matches with Brett standing over Vashti and shooting her, that it doesn`t match with suicide. The gun found under her torso. How did it get there if she killed herself? It doesn`t make sense.

Let`s go out to the phone lines. Michelle, Texas. Your question or thought. Michelle, Texas.

CALLER: Well, my comment is, how bad was the fire when he ran through the fire to get his boys? That might account for the lack of a lot of injuries for him. Because the fire may not have been as bad at that point.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excellent question. Let me stop you right there, because you make a good point. Jon Leiberman, can you address that?

LEIBERMAN: Well, investigators say it was a fast-moving fire that actually, you know, flared up pretty quickly, so we believe that the flames were pretty bad at the time that he was in the house. And that`s why this is such a big issue: why did he just have minor injuries?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. It doesn`t make sense, though. I mean, the whole idea of, "OK, I`m going to start a fire. Then I`m going to kill myself and the fire`s going to get out of hand."

If the gun had gone off right after she called, right -- she had just started the fire. So, Janet Johnson, how do you explain the fire being so big that he`s fighting around there? Wouldn`t it be something like you could stamp out in a couple of seconds? Fires don`t just explode the way they do in the movies.

JOHNSON: Well, you know, but the problem is, from the prosecution, we don`t have to prove a negative as defense attorneys. They have to prove their case. So the burden`s on them. And once they had someone come to court and say, "We can`t rule out suicide, we can`t say for sure that it was homicide," I don`t think we, as defense attorneys, have to prove anything after that. And that`s reasonable doubt right there.

NITKIN: I agree.

JOHNSON: You know, don`t look to the defense. Look to the state. If you have questions, look to them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Holly, help me out here. Because it sounds like they`re running roughshod over the criminal justice system.

This guy is a former CSI investigator, instructor. He`s a former sheriff`s deputy. He knows how the law works. When he showed up, when he was there that night, the people who showed up were his friends.

HUGHES: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`re going to play a clip of him talking to his friends as the house is on fire.

Do you think that he thought "I can get away with this," because not just he insulted firemen who are heroes, but he also thinks, "Well, I`m going to get a pass because these are my buddies who are going to be investigating me."

HUGHES: Well, absolutely. Look how long Drew Peterson got away with it. Years and years and years. Until finally the family members -- and it wasn`t until a second wife went missing and was presumed dead, that all of a sudden they exhumed the first one. So, sure he thought he was getting away with it.

Look how he is in the video. He clearly thinks he`s smarter than everybody else. And he`s another one of these good-looking people who think "I can charm my way out of anything."

But his problem is, Jane, that nobody likes this many coincidences. When you have to explain getting rid of the cell phones, burning up the computers...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But there`s nothing on the cell phones.

HUGHES: The screen projector.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Holly, there`s nothing there.

HUGHES: Right. But you know what? A jury is going to look at that and be like, OK, one thing, you might explain away. Two things, that`s a little...

NITKIN: Prove it.

HUGHES: When you have...

LEIBERMAN: He threatened her the night before. He said he would destroy her. He threatens her the night before. The marriage counselor testified.


LEIBERMAN: The marriage counselor testifies that he admits to her that he killed her.

NITKIN: No, no, no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Him on the stand, he says he didn`t.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, she said that. She said that. She said, "He told me...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He explained that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... `My wife`s dead and I killed her`." Then he said, "Well, she committed suicide." The first words out of his mouth were, "I killed her."

NITKIN: He`s talking to a therapist, Jane. But the point is he is in therapy. He is in therapy. OK?

LEIBERMAN: The point is he confessed.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well that`s one thing we can all agree on, he needs therapy. Hold on, much more. The trial of a handsome ex-cop. They were both in therapy. A handsome ex-cop accused of killing his beautiful young wife.

And later, George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin. Who was screaming on that 911 call?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sounds like a male.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you don`t know why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know why. I think they`re yelling help, but I don`t know.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you think he`s yelling help?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. What is your...





BRETT SEACAT, ON TRIAL FOR WIFE`S MURDER: I`m smart enough and if I wanted to kill my wife, I could have come up with something better than this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brett Seacat may have been married to more than one woman at a time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He told me that it wasn`t his doing. You know, he didn`t file for divorce.

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

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They call themselves high school sweethearts and yet he apparently lived with another woman for an extended period of time.

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said, do you think Brett would burn the house down with me in it? I said, not with the kids at home.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Secret life of defendant Brett Seacat. Was he living a double life? He was a former hero cop. In fact, he won a commendation for this. For tackling -- there he is, there he is. Look at that handsome cop. Looks like Kevin Costner in the movies. There he is tackling a defendant in court. He got a commendation for that.

But he went from a hero to a villain in the eyes of prosecutors who say he in a cold-blooded, calculated manner actually plotted and carried out the execution/murder of his wife who had slapped him with divorce papers, trying to make it look like she killed herself and then set fire to the house.

And get this, because he used to be a cop, when police respond to this fire, guess who shows up? His buddy. Listen to him talking to his friends, law enforcement, as his house burns down and his wife is dead.


SEACAT: My wife.


SEACAT: She`s dead. She shot herself. Her (EXPLETIVE DELETED) head gone. There`s blood everywhere. There`s blood in there, there`s blood everywhere.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s debate it. Did this former sheriff`s deputy and CSI instructor, crime scene investigation instructor, think because he is part of law enforcement, because his brother is a cop, because his dad was a cop, that he would be given a pass? And when he said "No, no, no, I didn`t kill her," that they would accept his word for it? And I`ll throw that at Rebecca Nitkin for the defense.

REBECCA NITKIN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don`t think so. And I think that the other thing you have to look at, Jane, is you just got a call from somebody who just told you that he didn`t get burned because there probably wasn`t much fire. You also saw a witness who was a next door neighbor who spoke and said he didn`t do it.

And they were such a lovely couple and nothing was wrong in the house. And that brings you to the point that nobody knows what`s going on in that home, which also means nobody knows if Vashti was depressed or not which leads us back to the question, does he have the right to bring out the things that he is bringing out which everybody is so upset about.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But -- come on, help me out here. Go ahead.

JANET JOHNSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: If he was such a brilliant cop who thought he could get away with it, why would he torch his computer and put it in the garbage can at the police station?

NITKIN: Exactly.

JOHNSON: I mean if he -- if he is such a mastermind --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ll tell you why -- arrogant.


JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Because he`s not all that bill want.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s arrogant.

LEIBERMAN: Because he lets his emotions run away with him.

NITKIN: Exactly.

LEIBERMAN: He`s clearly not that brilliant. He was arrogant, he was stoic, he was not remorseful. But listen this woman didn`t commit suicide.

F1: Because he didn`t do it.

NITKIN: It`s very easy for you to keep saying it.

LEIBERMAN: She was moving forward with her life. She had filed for divorce.

NITKIN: You don`t know that.

LEIBERMAN: She had made future plans.

NITKIN: You do not know that.

LEIBERMAN: The counselor said that she was in a better place than she was.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen to this. Listen to this, guys --

LEIBERMAN: That`s what the evidence shoed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s another shocker. Today on the stand, Brett admitted he threatened his wife that if she didn`t work on their marriage for three to six months, she would suffer. Listen to this. He admits it.


SEACAT: Vashti didn`t like the three to six month idea. That`s when I shifted to the concept of, ok, then it`s going to be an adversarial divorce and I`m going to go get the lawyer and we`re going to start fighting it out. Basically I told her if this goes to court that I was going to do everything, everything in my power to destroy her. Told her that I was going to get custody of the kids; once I got custody, she was never going to get to see the kids again.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Holly Hughes, I rest my case. He admitted his hostility right there.

HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right. And the best lie is the one that`s closest to the truth. So he probably did say all that to her knowing that he didn`t plan on waiting for the divorce proceedings. He was just going to handle business his way, ahead of time.

The other problem he has, Jane, so much of what he`s saying is inconsistent. He`s saying, she had an affair with this one, she had an affair with that one, but I wanted to stick it out. I wanted to stay in the marriage. I wanted to continue to be married to this woman and work on it for six months even though she told me she`s sleeping with everybody and their uncle at the company. That doesn`t even make sense.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because it`s a lie.

HUGHES: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Her family said it`s a lie and she can`t defend herself. She`s dead.

HUGHES: Right, his inconsistencies will trip him up. That`s going to be the problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to stay on top of this case.

On the other side -- the 911 call; what does it say about the case of George Zimmerman? Stay right there.






GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, ON TRIAL FOR TRAYVON MARTIN`S DEATH: Hey, we`ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood and there`s a real suspicious guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just said he shot him dead. The person is dead, laying on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trayvon is my son. Trayvon is your son.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you following him?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok. We don`t need you to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s the neighbor that everybody would want to have.

ZIMMERMAN: He was repeatedly hitting me in the face, in the head, I thought he had --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think he`s yelling help?


ZIMMERMAN: He said, you`re going to die tonight, (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I grabbed my gun and I aimed it at him. Fired one shot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My heart hurts for my son.

ZIMMERMAN: I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son.


CROWD: Justice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When do we want it?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a fierce battle in court over a pivotal piece of evidence in the George Zimmerman second-degree murder case. We`re just days away from the start of the trial, both sides feuding fiercely over who was screaming "help" during the 911 call in the seconds before Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sounds like a male.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you don`t know why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know why. I think they`re yelling help, but I don`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you think he`s yelling help?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. What is your --


That 911 call absolutely crucial to this case. If the defense can prove it was Zimmerman screaming, that would support his story that he shot the unarmed teen in self-defense. But voice analysts hired by both sides don`t agree on whose voice it was. Will the jury get to decide for themselves?

Also for the first time, we are hearing Trayvon Martin, the unarmed teenager, who was just coming back from a 7-Eleven trip with some Skittles and iced tea talking in a video he recorded at another time on his cell phone. Listen to this from ABC.


TRAYVON MARTIN, KILLED BY GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: He coming for that. We need a behind the scenes.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s debate it. Now, should jurors get to hear expert testimony about who`s screaming on the 911 call, but even more fundamental than that, Rolanda Watts, host of "Sundays with Rolanda on" on blogtalk radio, that one sound where you hear a scream, is there really any way to identify who is screaming?

ROLANDA WATTS, RADIO HOST: This is such crucial evidence, but that`s the question, Jane. I mean, how specific can this science be? One of the questions they`re going to have to ask is do we have to set up new standards or ground rules for this? Because is science perfect? That`s what they`re going to have to question.

The other thing, there may be jury members who find it difficult to believe that someone who got out of a truck, pursued someone they thought was suspicious, even though the cops told them to stay in the truck, would scream that way if they had a gun. These are the types of things that are going to have to be questioned.

This evidence is so crucial. You know, one of the things that I find interesting, having spoken with three experts in voice analysis, while, you know, there`s a probable and possible and all of these questions coming up, but not one person has said that they believe that that is Zimmerman. Now, you know, this is something that, you know, we`re going to have to question. How accurate is science?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s open it up --

WATTS: That is where this is going to begin.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- for debate. Janet Johnson for the defense.

JOHNSON: Yes, I don`t think any of this should come in. The jury can hear the tape. They are the deciders of fact in a trial. And that`s the best evidence. In fact, they can have Zimmerman stand up there. The law allows the prosecution to say George Zimmerman, we want you to shriek for help and then they can compare that. That`s the best evidence and that`s what the law requires the jury to do.

Well, you know, one expert could not determine who`s screaming on the 911 call. Then there`s another expert who determined it`s not George Zimmerman. Then there`s yet another expert who said it was Trayvon screaming. It`s confusing. Trayvon`s father initially said he couldn`t tell if it was his son`s voice. Then he heard a cleaned up version and he said it`s no doubt in his mind it was Trayvon. Let`s listen, again. We have looped the audio. So, you listen.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Holly Hughes, you know, that is murky, and apparently there`s other problems. There`s a 911 call operator, and the person who`s calling can be talking at times apparently, according to one expert, they could only analyze three seconds. Will they ever solve who was screaming on that call?

HUGHES: No. They`re not going to be able to. The experts are not going to be able to definitively say. The other problem is you don`t have a voice exemplar for Trayvon. He`s got that very short little clip we just listened to but it`s not at the same decibel level. It`s not at the same desperation level. The experts aren`t going to be able to help the jury.

You know, the reason we call experts to trial is to be able to explain to the jury or assist them in understanding evidence that is otherwise beyond their ken as we say which basically means they need somebody to interpret it. They can`t. The jury is going to listen to it and they`re going to decide who they think it is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Again, it`s starting on Monday with jury selection. More on the other side.


ZIMMERMAN: Looked at me and hew said, you`re going to die tonight, (EXPLETIVE DELETED). And he reached for it, he reached like I felt his arm going down to my side, and I grabbed it and I just grabbed my firearm and I shot him.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the Day. Send your pet pics to Elvis, you`re a Presley or not, but you`re having fun. Miss Mimi says I`ve got style, I`m ready for spring. Look at me. What a beauty. Chewy says I`m hitting the pool. It`s summertime. I`m partying. And Dewbert says I`m very, very precise and perfect.



ZIMMERMAN: This guy looks like he`s up to no good or he`s on drugs or something. It`s raining and he`s just walking around looking about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok. This guy -- is he white, black or Hispanic?

ZIMMERMAN: He looks black.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see what he was wearing?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, a dark hoodie like a gray hoodie.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Get this. The defense wants to keep a bunch of words out of the case. Including "vigilante", "wannabe cop", "self-appointed neighborhood watch captain", "profile" and phrases like "Zimmerman confronted Trayvon and he got out of the car when the dispatcher told him not to".

Rolanda Watts, what do you think about this call for a ban on these words and phrases?

WATTS: Well, you know what -- I think they are just trying to -- it was clear that Zimmerman wanted to be a cop. He had tried -- from what I understand -- he had been interested in becoming a cop. Maybe that`s why they don`t want it there. I`m not sure why they would make that other than they just don`t want anybody to understand or try to feel for Zimmerman because I don`t know, maybe there`s a vigilante thing going that they don`t want to connect with Zimmerman.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They don`t want him to be seen as a vigilante, but critics say that`s exactly the way he was behaving and that`s why he`s on trial.

WATTS: Absolutely. That is exactly why he`s on trial. And that`s what people are saying. That he purposely went after on a vigilante hunt, this young boy, and shot him in cold-blooded murder.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are going to stay on top of this case. I want to thank Rolanda Watts for joining us. Monday, jury selection -- we`re going to keep on top of this case and bring you the latest.

Up next, huge news for anyone who loves horses. The wild horses at odds with our government, chasing them down. Now a scathing report says what the government is doing with our tax dollars is wrong.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey Rico, our "Animal Cruelties Investigation" has huge news for the beautiful wild horses that roam the American West. Sally Jewell, remember that name. She`s the new interior secretary of the United States. She said she was going to decide what to do with those controversial wild horse roundups that us taxpayers pay for when the National Academy of Science finished their report.

Well the report is done and it`s scathing -- scathing in its criticism of this wild horse and (inaudible) roundup. The report says, quote, "Continuing businesses as usual is expensive and unproductive." And that the BLM, the Bureau of Land Management needs to do something different. Critics -- and I`ve been among them -- have long said these roundups are unnecessarily cruel and inhumane.

Look at these beautiful American icons chased by helicopters at taxpayer expense, herded away from their natural environments.

Straight out to Deniz Bolbol of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign; how important is this report? What does it tell you?

DENIZ BOLBOL, AMERICAN WILD HORSE PRESERVATION CAMPAIGN: This report is huge for wild horses in the United States. The government asked for this report, an independent scientific review and it says what we have been calling for, for years. The roundups need to stop.

We need to keep our wild horses and burros free on the range. And now it`s time for the Interior Secretary Jewell to step in and take control of the program and turn it around for the wild horses and burros and for the American taxpayers.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, we asked the Bureau of Land Management and Secretary Sally Jewell for a response. We got what I would call gobbledygook, you know. You could put it up there, the report. We`re reviewing it in detail, building on the findings and the recommendations to meet the formidable challenges. What do you want Sally Jewell to do?

BOLBOL: She needs to do exactly what this report calls for. Stopping the removal of wild horses and burros from the range and starting a humane birth control program for them. It`s going to save money in the long run. It`s going to protect these horses. And it`s going to do what we have been calling for, for years. And the time is now. Now is the time for her to step in and make this program work for wild horses and taxpayers.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Most Americans don`t know that there are tens of thousands of wild horses that have been rounded up that are in crowded pens and we, our tax dollars are paying for that. And a lot of critics say, "Well, it`s that they want to get the land all for commercial interests. They want to get these horses off so that the commercial interests can have more of a leg up on these lands.

And that`s not our job as citizens to subsidize commercial interests. These horses belong on this land. Sally Jewell, if you`re watching, do something about it. These horses can`t speak for themselves.

Nancy is next.