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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Did Utah Doctor Drown His Wife?

Aired August 16, 2013 - 19:00   ET

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


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, breaking news. They looked like the perfect family. Tonight, they`re torn apart and headed to trial. The prominent doctor and father of eight, accused of murdering his stunning wife.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Cops say the elaborate plot involved a face-lift and a slew of prescription drugs for the wife. The doctor`s own adult daughters discovered their dad is hiding a secret double life with another woman, and they`re now leading the charge to convict their dad of murdering their mom.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The world now knows that my father has committed the murder.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She told me, "Your father just kept giving me meditation and kept giving me medicine, and I didn`t need it."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s a murderer, and he`s a threat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is our mother. She means so much to so many people, and this is who he took away from everyone.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This shocking trial barreling towards opening statements. The beautiful victim, former beauty queen Michele MacNeill, suddenly dies while under the care of her handsome doctor hubby just eight days after he allegedly forces her to get plastic surgery.

Dr. MacNeill insists she slipped and fell in their bedroom bathtub. But their two daughters, Alexis and Rachel, say it`s all a lie. Just days before their mom`s mysterious death, Alexis and Rachael discovered their dad is leading a secret double life, hiding a full-fledged affair with this younger brunette named Gypsy.

In an incredibly dramatic 911 call, the well-known doctor says he found his wife fully clothed, submerged underwater but claimed he can`t get her out of the bathtub, for some reason.

What`s even more shocking: He hangs up on the operator not once, not twice, but three times! Before the 911 operator can get the address out of him. Hmm. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you get her out of the water?

MARTIN MACNEILL, ACCUSED OF MURDER: I can`t. I just -- I let the water out (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s under the water?

M. MACNEILL: She`s under the water and I need an ambulance!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, sir, the ambulance has been paged. They`re on their way, OK? Do not hang up.

M. MACNEILL: Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What? Sir?

(DIAL TONE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had a face-lift?

M. MACNEILL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Do you know how to do CPR?

M. MACNEILL: I`m doing it!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, do not hang...

(DIAL TONE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why would this experienced doctor hang up repeatedly on the 911 operator before managing to give her the address?

We have an incredible panel tonight. Attorneys, a psychologist and a famous private investigator, Vinnie Parco from the TV show "Parco P.I."

We begin, however, with a former prosecutor, Kelly Saindon.

VINNIE PARCO, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: I don`t hear anything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A question -- a question. Why would a brilliant doctor repeatedly hang up on the 911 operator just before he manages to give the address where he is trying to supposedly save his wife?

KELLY SAINDON, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Hopefully, to let her drown is what he`s thinking. And he can build his defense by pretending that he`s trying to get her help, making it very difficult for 911 to get there. That`s the only logical thing.

Because he could have set the phone on the side and continued to perform CPR. So to disconnect the call, he`s hoping to sever it, and I think, make sure she`s dead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`ve got a defense attorney, Ashley Merchant, here. Do you agree or disagree?

ASHLEY MERCHANT, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, I definitely don`t agree. I think that he was hysterical. I think that he knew what to do. He had no reason to be on the phone with a 911 operator. Once he made that call, they had the address, which they can get. They go it without him giving it to her. Once they had that, he has no need.

SAINDON: Then why does he...

MERCHANT: Then why did he answer the next call? Why did he answer when they called them back? If he had no reason, he would have kept performing CPR. And that`s taking the call again. It doesn`t add up.

SAINDON: He answered it and then he hung up. He just kept hanging up.

MERCHANT: Why answer?

SAINDON: That`s a good question. Why answer? But if it is, he answered and then he hung right up because they needed something. As soon as he heard the ambulance is on its way, he hung up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jordan Rose.

JORDAN ROSE, ATTORNEY: Look, is it -- this guy, it`s like if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it`s a duck. I mean, this guy is a cold- blooded murderer. He`s calling 911. He`s hanging up. He can`t lift his wife out of the bathtub?

SAINDON: Or just her head?

ROSE: Nothing. Just letting her drown?

SAINDON: Probably pushing her under.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And not only that, guys. He had been working out. I want to show this perfect family again, and I got to go to Wendy Walsh, psychologist and the author of "The 30-Day Love Detox."

They look so darn perfect, nauseatingly perfect. And we see this time and time again, a couple, a family that looks so ideal. This family looks like it`s right out of a J.P. Crew catalog -- a J. Crew catalog. I don`t shop there, so I don`t know exactly. But I mean, take a look at this family, Wendy.

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes. Jane, it is the facade of perfection. In fact, I get a little suspicious when I see people working too hard to look too perfect, because that`s not healthy either.

In America, we love to act really, really functional and hide our neuroses, hide our anxieties, hide our mental disorders. And clearly, he was hiding a whole separate double life.

But I do want to say, with that 911 call, he picked up that phone again, because that`s an automatic physical response when we hear the bell ring. When we are under stress -- and yes, he knows; he`s a physician -- an ambulance driver is not going to be any better at CPR than a physician who knows how to do it. He`s trying to get the job done. The phone keeps ringing. He keeps picking it up, knowing that the ambulance is already on the way, because he placed the call.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Vinnie Parco.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hear you, but Vinnie Parco, you`re a P.I. You see the real world out there. I mean, this guy is a doctor. He`s hysterical. First of all, what doctor gets that hysterical and then clicking, disconnecting the 911 operator three times just before giving her the address?

PARCO: This was an elaborate ruse on his part. I mean, he -- now first of all, I understand that he`s really not a doctor.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes and no. It`s a weird story. We`ll get to that.

PARCO: OK. Well, you know, I worked on the medical board...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He fudged a lot of stuff.

PARCO: That`s when I used to prosecute people like him. And he`s a - - he`s a sociopath; there`s no two ways about it. And this whole thing was an elaborate ruse. Even this 911 call was just phony, totally phony. If he`s a physician, he should know how to handle a situation like that, not become hysterical.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. We`re going to get to his past, which is really crazy. He fudged a lot of stuff, and he went to prison for it.

The coroner first ruled that his wife, Michele MacNeill, died of natural causes. Natural causes. Nothing to see here, an accidental drowning. The MacNeills` home and bathtub were not treated like a crime scene. Maybe because he was such a fancy-nancy doctor. Evidence was not collected, even though two adult daughters insisted, "Hey, police, hey, prosecutors, we are sure our father drugged and drowned our mom."

Listen to what Rachel and Alexis told ABC`s "20/20."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEXIS SOMERS, DAUGHTER: I just dropped all my books and started driving to the airport. And I was just screaming, just screaming, "He killed her!" That was my first instinct, he killed her.

RACHEL MACNEILL, DAUGHTER: She walked with me into the closet and said, "Rachel, Dad murdered Mom."

"I know. I know he did."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Six years later, the medical examiner changes the cause from natural to undetermined with suspicious circumstances. And take a look at the drugs found in her system. Valium, Percocet, Ambien. And there`s one I can`t pronounce. But even the medical examiner said he was shocked that murder charges had been filed, because he doubted there was enough evidence to prove murder.

Straight back out to the Lion`s Den. Got to go to Kelly. You`re a former prosecutor. I mean, we`re six years later. Is it too little too late in terms of evidence?

SAINDON: No, it`s not. I mean, circumstantial evidence, think of the Drew Peterson case with Kathleen Savio. It was years later, and they were able to successfully convict.

This guy is a murderer. You add it up circumstantially, and they`re going to be able to convict. This doesn`t smell right. Jurors use common sense. They have enough evidence. The daughters are going to testify against the dad. I don`t think it`s too little too late, Jane. I just don`t.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s see our panel. I mean, come on. What do you think, Ashley?

MERCHANT: You know, I don`t -- I don`t think that they have enough. There`s no proof. There`s nothing that`s convincing me here other than he was a creep; he was cheating on his wife. You know, I mean, his activity was suspicious. He was a liar. But does that mean he`s a murderer?

It`s like we just...

ROSE: His girlfriend that he was keeping somewhere told her roommates that she wanted to kill this woman and that he was asking her to cool off for a while so that she -- and she thought, "Well, maybe I should just kill her." And she said those things to people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But she`s not charged. She`s not charged. That`s actually good for the defense.

ROSE: This is ridiculous. No way! And she`s talking about -- I mean, what else is she talking about? This is going to be an explosive trial when we see what things she`s said and what things he said and this double life. I mean, can you imagine? This is right out of a movie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I agree with all that, but I think that blaming it on this woman, this scorned woman, that`s a great defense.

ROSE: They`re not going to blame it on her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can we get a photo up?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Jane --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of the mistress? The mistress named Gypsy.

ROSE: Gypsy, I mean, my goodness!

PARCO: You can`t make this stuff up.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You can`t make this stuff up.

And then right after his wife dies, he moves her into the family home -- and this is from "20/20" -- saying, "Oh, kids, guess what? She`s the new nanny."

But she doesn`t do, according to the adult daughters, anything a real nanny does. She just sits around and looks at the doctor and stares at him with goo-goo eyes. And it`s like she infiltrated the home.

And then, you know, Kelly, I know you know the back story of what happened with -- by the way, while all this is going on, this doctor has not only got this toxic secret past and he`s got a mistress, he`s also managed to have four children of his own and adopt four children. And, I mean, the guy has got crazy stuff going on.

Tell us about the back story, though, involving what he did to try to steal his adopted daughter`s identity and give it to his mistress?

SAINDON: Isn`t that insane? And this guy wants her to become a legal citizen. He wants her to have his daughter`s identity and get credit and do things. And so he has this whole crazy history of fraud, of falsifying documents, of not being honest, and he doesn`t want people to know that`s his mistress when he brings her in as his nanny.

This guy is just shady across the board. It`s motive, opportunity, intent.

ROSE: To the point where how they found the nanny. They go to church after the mother dies and pray for a nanny. And then they walk outside and, miraculously, Gypsy shows up. I mean, that`s bizarre. Beyond bizarre, psycho.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s creepy.

ROSE: He`s no lawyer; he`s no doctor. He says he`s a lawyer. He says he`s a doctor. I mean, this guy is just living a lie. He is a life full of lies. And here it ends in murder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to have so much more, because this is just the tip of the iceberg on this crazy story. Stay right there.

On the other side, we`re going to get into the scams and the cons involving his doctorate and all of the stuff he did by taking one of his adoptive daughters back to the Ukraine and dropping her there and then trying to use her identity to give his mistress a new identity. It`s mind- boggling, and prosecutors say it ended in murder. Stay right there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How old is your wife?

M. MACNEILL: My wife is 50 years old. She just had surgery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind of surgery?

M. MACNEILL: A face-lift.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had a face-lift?

M. MACNEILL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Do you know how to do CPR?

M. MACNEILL: I`m doing it!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Do not hang...

(DIAL TONE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These two were in bed together both figuratively and literally.

SOMERS: This is someone that I thought loved his family and would do anything for us. And it`s horrifying. It`s horrifying to be the person to have to push for his conviction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. MacNeill, accused of murdering his wife to get his mistress, Gypsy, into his life. And Gypsy figures big-time into this wild saga, a few months after his wife`s death.

The widower, Dr. Martin, takes his young adopted daughter, Giselle, back to her native Ukraine. Cops say he then has his mistress apply for several forms of identification, using that adoptive child`s name.

Listen to what Gypsy`s own sister told ABC`s "20/20" about her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s a deceptive, malevolent, malicious, calculating person. In a bad way, they were perfect for each other. Together, I believe that they`re perfectly capable of killing Michele. She belongs in a controlled facility where she can`t hurt anybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was able to change the birth certificates around and transferred my mother`s house that was still in my mom`s name.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to the Lion`s Den. Wendy Walsh, psychologist, I think the sister of this Gypsy makes a great point, like together they were explosively bad. And sometimes that happens. When one bad person is with a good person, they kind of maybe keep them in check. But two people -- and I`m not slipping. Let the justice system play out. I`m describing this as bad. I don`t -- I can`t say unequivocally they`re bad people. But according to the charges, these are two people -- according to the sister -- two very, very toxic people who got together. So definitely, it`s doubly toxic.

WALSH: Well, I would venture to guess that, you know, we`re seeing all kinds of sociopathology from this guy. He`s a nut job, and he manipulates and uses people as props and tools.

Now, he used his first wife to help him keep the facade of happily married doctor, beautiful, loving father with all those children. But when he was -- he didn`t need her; didn`t need to use her any more that way, he suddenly found a woman who he could not only manipulate in another way but would also participate in his evil.

Yes, I agree with you, Jane, that the meeting of these two was sort of the first, shall we say, nail in the coffin.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, prosecutors have agreed not to seek additional jail time against Gypsy in return for her testimony against her former lover, Dr. MacNeill.

Jordan Rose, how damaging could that be? If she takes the stand and spills the whole caboodle.

ROSE: Absolutely. And she -- she obviously -- I mean, she saw this clearly as an opportunity to live a life of a doctor`s wife, and she took it. And you`ve got to believe that she -- I mean, right now she`s stuck in prison for this identity issue. And when she -- and she sees a path to freedom and probably fame. I mean, Jodi Arias sort of thing.

And so this woman is really going to be harmful for him, because she`s got to know the entire plot. I mean, she`s got to know exactly why, when, how. And she`s going to spill -- if she`s going to spill the beans, it`s going to be -- it`s going to be interesting to listen to, and this doctor...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This trial is going to be so fascinating. It`s unbelievable. We`ll be talking about Jodi Arias in a little bit.

Dr. MacNeill calls 911, claims he finds his wife unconscious and submerged underwater, fully clothed. That`s weird. Then listen to the part of the emergency call and pay attention to how he refers to himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MACNEILL: I need an ambulance. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. What`s the problem, sir? We need medical. Sir, what`s wrong?

MACNEILL: My wife`s fallen in the bathtub.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Is she conscious?

MACNEILL: She`s not. I`m a physician. I need help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, sir, I need you to calm down. Sir, I can`t understand you. OK? Can you calm down just a little bit?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Investigators found Dr. MacNeill actually faked his way into medical school using phony transcripts. He`s already been convicted of identity theft and served time in prison while his wife`s murder investigation was unfolding.

Straight out to the Lion`s Den. Vinnie Parco, you prosecuted those kinds of fraud cases. He says -- they stay he`s a con artist. Now, why it dates back to his college years, Vinnie.

PARCO: Well, a guy like that is going to make a big mistake. Somewhere in this whole scheme of things, he`s going to make a major mistake. And I think it`s Gypsy is going to be the big mistake and he`s going to get convicted.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me ask you this, Ashley Merchant. He has this whole back story, but is it ever going to get into trial? I mean, we can`t really just mention anything about anyone`s past, otherwise we`d know a lot more about these defendants than we do. Jodi Arias, perfect example.

MERCHANT: A lot of it`s going to depend on whether or not he decides to take the stand. Because his other conviction, if he doesn`t take the stand, wouldn`t be relative. And the jury might convict him just because he`s a bad guy.

Now the affair would come into play, and that would come up. And the jury will not like him. And I don`t think anybody likes him. But being a liar and being a cheat doesn`t mean you`re a murderer. And it sounds like what they`ve got here, is they`ve got him, he`s a liar. He`s fraud. And he`s a cheat. But that does not mean he`s violent. That does not mean he killed his wife. That`s just not enough.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And he was practicing for decades. You`ve got to wonder, what about all his patients? What on earth are they thinking? They thought he was a gift from God. Handsome, successful, prominent doctor with a beautiful family. Eight kids, four of them adopted. What could get better than that?

We are far from done with this.

And later, you will not believe what`s going on with Jodi Arias right now. It`s a shocker.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: How is it that it just happens you can`t even remember what you just said?

JODI ARIAS, CONVICTED MURDERER: I think I`m more focused on your posture and your tone and your anger. So it`s hard to process the question.

MARTINEZ: So it`s, again, the prosecutor`s fault because you perceive him to be angry, right?

ARIAS: It`s not your fault.

MARTINEZ: Well, is somebody asking you whose fault is?

ARIAS: You did.

MARTINEZ: Well, you seem to be pointing it at the prosecutor, right? So you believe that you can`t be effective on the witness stand is because somebody is asking you questions in a way you don`t like?

ARIAS: I think that was a compound question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The attorney`s office arrested and charged Martin MacNeill with murder and obstruction of justice. They say he devised a scheme to make his wife`s death look accidental.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A prominent Utah doctor, husband and father, accused of murdering his wife. And that wife`s 6-year-old daughter, Ada, their 6- year-old daughter, Ada, was the very first person to see her mom`s body in the tub. Imagine that.

Her father, Dr. Martin MacNeill, told her, "Run to the neighbor`s house and get help, honey."

Well, there are several discrepancies between what the little girl saw, what the neighbors saw, what Dr. Martin said happened. Listen to this from ABC`s "20/20."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

R. MACNEILL: Ada said that my mom was in a black or bluish running suit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I first saw her, I remember a black long sleeve shirt on and nothing else on.

R. MACNEILL: My mom`s things were in the garage, a wet towel; the running suit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ada, who saw her first, says Michele was on her back.

R. MACNEILL: Face up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michele was laying on her back in the tub, face up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your dad said your mom`s head was under water.

SOMER: Yes, laying face down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He bent over the tub.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to the Lion`s Den. That was an incredible demonstration there from "20/20."

But Ashley Merchant, criminal defense attorney, six years have passed. The 6-year-old is now 12. Is she a good witness? In confusion, is there reasonable doubt?

MERCHANT: You know, I just don`t think that she would make a great witness, because she was 6 at the time and it`s so traumatic that it`s not likely that they`re actually going to want to put her on the stand to testify. I mean, this is her dad at that point. That would just traumatize her even more.

And they can bring in other testimony, other people that have -- that talk to her. They can bring that in, because a lot of times you can get around the hearsay rules when it`s a child that`s testifying.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, Jordan Rose, I think you`ve got -- she`s 6 years old. They initially said it was natural causes. They didn`t treat it like a crime scene. You have the fact that there`s really not that many forensics, if any forensics whatsoever. How are they going to make a case out of this when the first person who saw her was 6 years old at the time?

ROSE: You know, did you see any -- apparently, the mother said to another daughter, "Hey, if something bad happens to me", and this was a few days before the murder, you know, don`t -- something about my dad, don`t let...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She expressed suspicion.

ROSE: ... them blame the dad. Yes. So I mean, I think all these kids who got -- they bring their own perspective. There were some drugs. They disappeared from the house. Where are those things? And you know, it does, though, confuse the issue that they haven`t brought the case for six years. And that really makes you think, wow.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Vinnie -- Vinnie Parco, private investigator. I know you cover all these fraud cases all the time. Yes, he was convicted. But he wasn`t convicted of murder. Is it possible he just had some shady things in the past and that, yes, he may have had a mistress, but that this is one week too far.

And by the way, we reached out to this defendant`s attorney, and that attorney is invited on our show any time. We want to get both sides. Vinnie?

PARCO: But what -- what I see here is he set this whole thing up very cleverly. She didn`t need the plastic surgery. She was a beautiful woman. He told her to get plastic surgery. Beautiful woman. When you`re -- when you`re recovering from plastic surgery, you do have to take certain drugs.

I think he spiked her drugs. He made her take extra drugs, and that`s why the drugs were missing from the house. Because then they would -- they could see the dosage, and they could see that there was so much left and so much not, and it would show or prove that he gave her more drugs than she needed. And that`s how he got her to drown in the tub.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy Walsh, do you need Valium, Percocet, Ambien and the other one? Phenergan?

PARCO: Phenergan.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, Phenergan.

WALSH: That`s quite a toxic combination. We know that all of those are respiratory depressants. You learned a lot of this through Whitney Houston`s tragic death, through Michael Jackson`s death. You know, don`t mix respiratory depressants and, oh yes, hot water.

And Jane, I do want to remind you that this talk about no physical evidence. Remember, for centuries, people were convicted just on circumstantial evidence.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s true. We shall see. Let -- let justice take its course, but this case gearing up for trial. And we will be all over it.

OK, fantastic panel.

Viewers at home, up next, what is Jodi Arias up to behind bars? You will not believe it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARIAS: When I finally came to, I saw that there was blood on my hands.

MARTINEZ: And you enjoyed the Tootsie Pops and the poppers, correct? You think that the braids are hot, don`t you?

ARIAS: I think cute is more appropriate.

TRAVIS ALEXANDER, MURDER VICTIM (via phone): I love the braids.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems to me that she was in a fight or flight mode.

JODI ARIAS, CONVICTED MURDERER: There`s no reason that I would ever want to hurt him. He never raped me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Miss Arias taking medication to treat this terrible PTSD disorder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is a woman with low self-esteem.

ARIAS: Oh my gosh, that is so debasing. I like it.

Before they book me, can I clean myself up a little bit?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news in the Jodi Arias case as we count down to the convicted killer`s next big court date coming up soon. Jodi Arias making bizarre moves behind bars that could be a clue to her new strategy to try to save herself from lethal injection.

Is Jodi getting ready to play the religion card? We`re learning she has started a book club. And you won`t believe what she`s reading. Remember this from her infamous "Please don`t kill me" plea to the jury.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARIAS: I`d like to start a book club or a reading group. Something that brings people together in a positive and constructive way so that we can share and recommend other good books and stimulate discussion of a higher nature.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whatever. But now she has actually started a book club. Some of her first reads, the classics "The Kill a Mocking Bird" and the highly controversial non-fiction book, "Under the Banner of Heaven", it`s the true story of murder and also involves Mormonism. Why choose a book with such eerie parallels? Is she prepping and plotting for her retrial on life and death.

Jodi is now even writing reviews and called the book an example of religious fanaticism taken too far. Of all the books in the world, she chooses one that`s highly critical of a fundamentalist Mormon sect. Remember Mormon Travis Alexander baptized Jodi into Mormonism. Will Jodi now twist Travis` main stream Mormon belief and try to paint him with the brush of extreme fundamentalist Mormonism which is very different from what he practiced?

Straight out to "The Lion`s Den", I want to debate it with my fantastic panel. And we`ve included Travis` dear friend, Dave Hall. Dave, you have watched all of this go down. Do you think that your dear friend, also a Mormon -- you a Mormon -- do you think that Jodi by reading this book is planning to play the religion card and twist Travis` religious beliefs into far something more extreme than they actually were?

DAVE HALL, FRIEND OF TRAVIS ALEXANDER: You know, Jodi always has an alternative motive to everything that she does. So no doubt there`s obviously something else behind the book that she chose. And every time she reads a book or does something good in prison, she has a social media press release about what she`s doing and now it`s a book club. The only book that Jodi Arias needs to be reviewing is "Executions for Dummies".

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, wow. That was a good one. That was quite a zinger, Dave. You got me on that. Wow.

All right. But the book she is reading, "Under the Banner of Heaven", we all know religion, all of them have offshoots. The extreme Mormonism, the fundamentalism outlined in this controversial book she`s reading involves polygamy. Now these are practices that have nothing to do with main stream Mormonism. That`s the Mormonism Travis and Dave practice.

But I want to throw this to Wendy Walsh, psychologist -- you remember how she twisted the sexual issue? Could she be trying to confuse the next set of jurors that are going to decide whether she lives or dies about religion, just like she tried to confuse the last set of jurors about sex?

WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: -- survive any way she possibly can. She`s manipulating us. She`s manipulating her social networks and tainting potential future jurors. We do know that. So of course she`s got to say somehow that Travis was crazy, that Travis manipulated her and part of his belief system was that. So she`s going to do whatever she can to stay alive right now.

And Jane, I want to know, how is it is that prisoners are allowed to tweet and social network start online book clubs? How is this possible?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s writing reviews. I mean she`s editing herself like the next Amazon.

WALSH: I mean listen, if she`s got herself linked to a keyboard and a computer, she has as much freedom as the average American teenager who doesn`t leave her box-sized room these days either. So I think that this is too much freedom for somebody who has been convicted of murder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at this book club that she`s got going. I mean this is sophisticated stuff.

Ashleigh Merchant, you`re a defense attorney. I don`t know, what can you say about that, because this is crazy to me.

ASHLEIGH MERCHANT, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I can tell you it`s not surprising and it`s not rare. I actually have a number of clients that are incarcerated. And what they do is they talk to their visitors and they write letters because they`re allowed to write letters. They write letters to someone on the outside or they talk to them on the phone because they are allowed to have phone contacts. And this person on the outside is the one that`s actually managing this social media and this online presence.

And we cannot restrict just any general American who is not guilty of a crime, not convicted, not accused. The person on the outside is the one --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s convicted.

MERCHANT: But it`s not her that we would be restricting. Who we would be restricting is the friend on the outside.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jordan Rose, help me with this.

MERCHANT: Jodi is telling a friend.

JORDAN ROSE, ATTORNEY: You know, I guess it`s this, do we want to pass some laws that say, you know, you as a free person, cannot help an incarcerated person communicate to the outside world? I mean that`s what it comes to.

MERCHANT: That`s exactly right.

ROSE: Does America want to do that, right? That`s what it comes to.

WALSH: I think yes, if they`re going to make money off it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s see our panel.

ROSE: Oh absolutely. They`re going to make money off of it. And that`s a problem.

MERCHANT: And that`s the problem. There are people out there that are willing to do this. They`re the ones that are sort of the voice for the Jodi Ariases. She`s not allowed to do this. And she`s not allowed to make money.

(CROSSTALK)

ROSE: That`s right.

MERCHANT: Right. She can`t make money.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve heard straight from Jodi`s own mouth during the trial and during interviews about how important Mormonism is to her life. But then do you remember this after her conviction in a jailhouse interview? She changed her tune, or I think she actually slipped and forgot she was a Mormon.

Listen to this from KTNX and then we`ll debate it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you a religious person?

ARIAS: I`m not deeply religious at this point. I still consider myself spiritual.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe in heaven and hell?

ARIAS: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to "The Lion`s Den. I got to go to Dave Hall on this. I think she forgot. I mean does this show that her converting to Mormonism was a charade to get closer to Travis?

HALL: Well those of us that know her know that it was a charade. But she actually doesn`t have a choice on it because anyone that`s a convicted murder has their name removed from the records of the church regardless of what she things.

But just like she said to everyone, "I would rather die" and then changed her story. I think she`s just trying to beat the Mormon Church to the punch and say I`d rather be a different religion.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well Vinny Parco, I know you want to weigh in on this one. You`ve seen a lot of criminals come down the pipe, but this one really takes the cake.

VINNY PARCO, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: She`ll do whatever she has to protect herself and save herself. And this is just one of her ploys.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`ll be right back, because guess what - - we have so much more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: So you weren`t going to put up with that either, were you?

ARIAS: Put up with what?

MARTINEZ: What is it that we`re talking about here?

ARIAS: Which part?

MARTINEZ: Were you going to put up with what we just talked about? Are you having problems understanding again what`s going on?

ARIAS: Sometimes, because you go in circles.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREGORY PECK, ACTOR: -- to review without passion the evidence that you have heard, come to a decision, and restore this man to his family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The classic "To Kill a Mocking Bird" from Universal Studios. Jodi`s review of the book, she loved it and even quoted, "The one place a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentment right into the jury box," end quote. You know everything she does has an ulterior motive. Everything`s got to have a little spin on the ball.

So now it`s time for our "Lion`s Den" panelists to spin right back. She`s got a book club. What books do you think Jodi Arias should read and let`s see, I`m going to start with Wendy Walsh, psychologist?

WALSH: You know my answer, Jane, because I write about these traumatic relationships and how to avoid them. Before you feel like killing your boyfriend, my book is called "The 30 Day Love Detox" and Jodi needed it a few years ago, trust me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, you make a very important point. Had she had an ounce of self-awareness and accountability, she would have looked at her life and realized she is responsibility for the predicament she was in, the huge debt, the desperation.

WALSH: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She created her own problems and she was a participant in her own -- really she was the ringleader of her own horrible choices. All right.

Let`s go to Jordan Rose, book suggestion?

ROSE: I think she starts with the dictionary, she looks up "narcissist", she looks up "murder", and she looks up "incarceration". Move on to the Bible, because she`s going to need that, Jane. Then I think she should get O.J.`s book, which was something like "If I Did It: Confessions of a Murderer".

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Vinny Parco, private investigator?

PARCO: "50 Shades of Grey".

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kelly Saindon, former prosecutor?

KELLY SAINDON, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I want to say "Liar`s Club" by Mary Karr because it`s a fantastic autobiography, "Exposed: The secret life of Jodi Arias" because I would love her take on that and I would like to know what she says is false. And finally "Crime and Punishment" so she can say that she believes finally that for her crime she deserves to be punished.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Ashleigh Merchant, criminal defense attorney?

MERCHANT: "Defending the Damned" because I think she should understand what her attorneys have gone through and what she continues to put them through. That book is written by defense attorneys who do death penalty defense. And then maybe she would have some sympathy and keep her mouth shut.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I still like "Execution for Dummies" from Dave Hall. And Dave, thank you so much for joining us.

Listen I do want to repeat one of the recommendations, that`s my own book coming out on Tuesday. It nails Jodi Arias. And she should read it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: State of Arizona versus Jodi Ann Arias, verdict, count one. We the jury duly impaneled and sworn, in the above entitled action upon our oath, do find the defendant as to count one, first degree murder, guilty.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: My book "Exposed: The secret life of Jodi Arias" goes to the deeper why. Why did this happen? How could a demure, supposedly, young woman, petite, pretty, soft spoken, slit a guy`s throat ear-to-ear six inches across and three and a half inches deep? How does that happen? This book answers that question with stunning new information that`s never been reported before.

A portion of the proceeds of this book will go to two charities. One, Travis Alexander`s; and the other, animal causes, which Travis Alexander was very involved in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the Day, send your pet pics to hlntv.com/jane. Stella -- you are a Bella Stella. Oh, Dudley -- you are very, very aristocratic and I think you`re absolutely handsome. And Jollee -- are you French Jollee? You seem very jolly and you are reading, too. And Baliegh -- wow Baliegh you are (inaudible).

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey, little Rico.

Tonight, angels who work in the hot swampy everglades, devoting their lives to rescuing dogs just like you. You were rescued from the streets of Puerto Rico and they rescue hundreds and hundreds of dogs abandoned in Florida -- heartless, irresponsible, lazy people dumping their dogs, condemning these innocent animals to a hellish life. The people in this wonderful organize fight and sweat and struggle to rescue as many dogs as they possibly can and they warn please do not do this. Here they are in action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on buddy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, get it over the other ear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good boy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok, buddy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joining me now, Amy Roman, the president of 100 Plus Abandoned Dogs of Everglades, Florida. Amy, God bless you.

When you find these dogs -- they`re often in horrific conditions. As we see there, you rescued beautiful Trixie. You see Trixie right there on the corner. She`s thriving now. But what condition was she found in?

AMY RONAN, RESCUES DOGS IN FLORIDA: Near death. It was a matter of probably maybe an hour that this dog -- she found a spot to curl up and die. She couldn`t walk. We had to carry her. We could count every bone, every rib in her body. And here she is today.

I mean there`s thousands of them out there. They`re reproducing. We are suffocating. The phone rings 24/7 with nursery owners contacting us, asking if we can come and pick up these dogs.

They are being shot for going after livestock. They`re being buried alive for a way of euthanasia. This is a third world country to the max. And we are here to say it`s got to stop.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I applaud you and thank you for saying what needs to be said. The big problems here are the over population of dogs caused in large part by breeding for profit. So adopt, don`t shop. Adopt, don`t shop. Adopt, don`t shop.

Also, people are just not spaying and neutering their dogs. Rico here, as soon as we got him we had him spayed. He wasn`t spayed. He was on the street. One dog will become hundreds even thousands in a short amount time on the street.

The Humane Society of the United States says at least three million dogs and cats are killed every year in this country because there`s no room for them. There`s no home for them. That`s one dog every 11 seconds. Dogs are dying right now as we speak.

Now where are the cops when it comes to people going down to the everglades and dumping these dogs?

ROMAN: They`re nowhere. We go out, as you can see from the video footage that I sent you. We go out to the glades, to homestead, redlands, very rural parts of Miami and we call the police and sat on the property and on the streets for four hours when we find animal cruelty cases, they don`t come. Animal control does not respond. Then, when we take the dogs, even if there are laws in place, they are not being reinforced.

Their response is they`re under budget and they`re under staffed. We find remains of horse`s skulls, hipbones and (inaudible), which I can`t even believe this is legal in this country. This is insane. I mean they need to --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what? The people who are primarily responsible for this are the people who do not spay and neuter their dogs, the people who breed dogs for profit and the people who then in an act of complete cowardice dump dogs after they`ve had puppies. I don`t know what to do with them.

This is outrageous and it has to stop.

More on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Amy`s rescued hundreds of dogs in the everglades but thousands more remain there dying as we speak. Go to Facebook and type in "abandoned dogs everglades". If you don`t have a pen just go to my Web site, hlntv.com/jane. We will link you to their site. We`re going to link you to their site. They need help.

And please spay and neuter your dog. Please do not buy dogs from breeders. Shop, no -- don`t shop, adopt. Go to adoptapet.com for example. There are plenty of dogs there desperately looking for loving homes.

Rico, you`re the lucky one. Make another one lucky.

END