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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Doctor by Day, Killer by Night?

Aired September 12, 2013 - 19:00:00   ET

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


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, it`s like something out of a twisted horror movie. A prominent doctor accused of dressing up like a masked ninja, packing a kill kit, and driving across state lines to allegedly try to kill his daughter`s estranged husband. But why?

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): Nine-one-one emergency.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): Yes, someone is yelling "help" real loudly. I`m on Dellwood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was just a great guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Traveled here to his son-in-law`s house. Hid in the bushes in the dark of night, clad in all black and a ski mask, and attacked.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): Nine-one-one emergency.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): Yes, there`s someone screaming for help on Dellwood Road.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re on our way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officers also found spinal needles in Bensimhon`s backpack.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), what I looked at.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops say Dr. George Bensimhon drove six hours from Pennsylvania to Ohio in the dead of night and then hid in the bushes, waiting for his son-in-law, who is also a prominent doctor, to leave the house.

Cops say Dr. Bensimhon then jumped out of the bushes and attacked Dr. Seth Hoffer with a pointed crowbar while wearing a black ski mask and blue surgical gloves. Are you kidding me? No, I`m not.

Police raced to the scene after neighbors called 911 to report a man screaming his lungs out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): Nine-one-one emergency.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): Yes, someone is yelling "help" real loudly. I`m on Dellwood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Male or female?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Male.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): Yes, there`s someone screaming for help on Dellwood Road.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re on our way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Prosecutors are throwing the book at this doctor turned alleged murderer, charging Dr. Bensimhon with aggravated attempted murder; two counts of attempted murder; two counts of kidnapping as well as felonious assault.

But the question on everybody`s mind: Why would this very well- respected, even beloved doctor allegedly carry out this elaborate and sinister attempted murder plot against his son-in-law? Could it have anything to do with a bitter divorce and custody battle between the suspect`s daughter and the victim?

What do you think? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

We have got an amazing panel tonight in the Lion`s Den, including former prosecutor Elura Nanos, star of "Staten Island Law" on the OWN network, and Brian Russell, cohost of "Fatal Vows" on Investigation Discovery.

But first, straight out to KRLD reporter Joe Gomez.

Joe, what is the very latest on this crazy case?

JOE GOMEZ: Hey, this is a wild story indeed. Police say the doctor, Dr. Bensimhon, 66 years of age, anesthesiologist, was hiding outside of his son-in-law`s house. His son-in-law is also a doctor, involved in some bitter custody battle with Bensimhon`s daughter.

He was hiding outside his son-in-law`s house. When his son-in-law walked out, he leaped out of the bushes like a ninja with a black ski mask on, starts pounding on this guy, his head with a crowbar.

Now, luckily, the son-in-law was able to turn the tide and get Bensimhon down, getting him down, breaking his arm in the process. It was only when Bensimhon screamed out, "Allen (ph), get off of me," that he realized it was his father-in-law that was attacking him. And as if things couldn`t get more strange, Jane, police then discovered a backpack nearby that belonged to Bensimhon which contained sedatives and syringes and other surgical tools.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey, you know what?

GOMEZ: So what was he really trying to do?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what they say, Joe? Never steal stuff from work. It can get you in trouble. And that includes -- these are exactly the kind of gloves that he was caught with. And these are the kind of gloves that, well, in this case, people who clean up the building use. But also doctors use blue plastic gloves for surgery.

Again, he`s a well-known, well-respected anesthesiologist. Shocking. Cannot believe this prominent doctor would drive six hours in the dead of the night all the way from this very ritzy neighborhood to try to kill his son-in-law with a pointed crowbar and a very sinister murder kit. People who knew this doctor are beyond stunned.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whenever we had any medical questions, if we wanted to ask him anything, he was -- you know, he was just a great guy. Innocent until proven guilty is how I look at it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The 66-year-old doctor had hidden a backpack, a blue backpack in the bushes outside his son-in-law`s house, according to cops. It`s called a murder kit. OK. Cops say they found spinal syringes, different types of injectable sedatives, a screwdriver and more surgical gloves. Are you kidding me? No. What was he going to do? Inject this guy with drugs until he passed out? And then what?

Straight out to the Lion`s Den. This suspect is an anesthesiologist by trade. And then packing injectable sedatives in a kit he takes to attack his son-in-law.

I want to go out to Elura Nanos, former star -- former prosecutor and current star of "Staten Island Law." What do you think he was up to?

ELURA NANOS, "STATEN ISLAND LAW": Well, I mean, I think he was planning to kill his son-in-law. And I think he`s the worst criminal ever. Because if he is an anesthesiologist, why on earth didn`t he just chloroform his son-in-law or something? Why on earth did he jump out of the bushes with a crowbar? This is the most bizarre and stupid way for this guy to commit this crime, to begin with. He seems terrible at it, which makes me think that perhaps he didn`t put a lot of premeditation into the planning. Perhaps he was under some kind of emotional distress because it doesn`t seem very well-planned.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, one obvious possible motive for this very bizarre murder scheme could be the very, very nasty divorce between the suspect`s son-in-law and the suspect`s daughter, Danielle.

Now, Dr. Hoffer -- that`s the victim -- told police his father-in-law had been threatening him for weeks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever hear of any issues between him and his son-in-law?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I -- you know, I can`t really comment on that. I don`t really know enough about their personal history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Danielle Hoffer lives in Florida with their 1-year- old daughter. And they are again in a bitter custody battle over that child.

Straight out to the Lion`s Den. That morning, the morning of the attack, the victim, the son-in-law, was headed to the airport to pick up the granddaughter in Florida, or his daughter, his actual, natural daughter, where that child was living with his estranged wife.

So I want to go to Adam Thompson. I mean, this is a pretty obvious case here. He`s trying to help, reportedly, his daughter. Could this hurt the daughter in the divorce case? He`s trying to help his daughter. But now that he`s done this horrible thing, could it mean that the victim, his son-in-law gets the daughter that -- that he really wanted to keep for his own daughter?

ADAM THOMPSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you can`t really blame the daughter for the deeds of the father. That`s No. 1.

But I`ve got to tell you: In the case where they`re going to look at the totality of the family environment, if the father came over a lot to visit the daughter, as the grandfather, right, is these -- is this the kind of people you want around this little kid?

So when this goes in front of a judge and they say what`s in the best interests of this child? Being with the father or mother? That`s going to be a huge issue now. Because they`re going to say that isn`t the environment that you want this kid in. Where you`ve got potentially felonious grandparents that are going to be coming over.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but Kelly Saindon, former prosecutor, how did this not-so-good doctor know that his son-in-law was going to leave at a very odd hour before dawn, before 6 a.m. to head to the airport on this crucial day to pick up his daughter in this nasty custody battle? Who told him that?

KELLY SAINDON, FORMER PROSECUTOR: You`re right. Was there information from the daughter? Did she have any idea? Was she aware that her father had been threatening her estranged husband for a period of time? Are there going to be some sort of charges brought against the daughter? That will be huge when custody is established.

Right now as far as we know, this was not well-planned-out. And it didn`t look like a random attack. Let`s say father-in-law had been successful with the crowbar. By using the drugs that he obviously had access to and by threatening his son-in-law ahead of time, he made it pretty obvious. And so therefore, he would have been an immediate suspect. But if the daughter was involved, she`s going to be in a lot of trouble.

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

CALLER: How crazy is this man to drive six hours in the night to go and try to murder his son-in-law over his daughter`s divorce proceedings? I just don`t understand what would drive him to do that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we have to bring in a forensic psychologist. Dr. Brian Russell, cohost of "Fatal Vows" on Investigation Discovery. It is crazy. I mean, just listen: I`ve had surgery several times. I have to really have trust in the anesthesiologist when they say, "Five, four, three, two" and you don`t even hear the one because you`re knocked out. Your life is in their hands. An anesthesiologist isn`t even just like a general practitioner. It`s a man who holds the life of thousands of people in his hands over the course of 27 years, which is how long this guy was practicing. How can he turn so crazy?

DR. BRIAN RUSSELL, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, Jane, over the years I have done tons of forensic assessments of physicians for licensing boards all over the United States and Canada who have committed some kind of misconduct, and the question is, you know, can they ever practice medicine again?

And what I`ve learned over that time is the public holds physicians in such high esteem that it`s hard for them to believe it when a physician does something that seems so crazy like this. But what I can tell you, Jane, is if the public knew the stuff I had seen, their whole faith in medicine would be shaken, because physicians are susceptible to all the same faults and foibles as everybody else.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you`re right. And just like lawyers. Everybody thinks lawyers are saints. I`ve meant -- some of the craziest people I`ve ever met in my life are lawyers. No offense to anybody...

THOMPSON: Take it easy now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m serious. Some of the...

THOMPSON: Good evening.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... kookiest people I have ever met are lawyers. Anahita Sedaghatfar, listen. Lawyers and doctors and journalists -- and I`m a recovering alcoholic with 18 years sobriety. But we could be alcoholics. We could be drug addicts. We could be all sorts of crazy. Just because you have a degree -- and you don`t even need a degree to be a journalist. I mean, you need a degree to be a doctor or a lawyer. It doesn`t mean you`re sane or -- or even rational, Anahita.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jane...

ANAHITA SEDAGHATFAR, ATTORNEY: Jane, I take exception to the lawyer comments. But at the end of the day, I think we can all agree that there is something wrong with this guy. He wasn`t playing with a full deck. In his mind, he probably felt, "Hey, I`m helping out my daughter. I`m protecting her." She`s going through this divorce. There`s a custody battle.

But Jane, I don`t see an attempted murder here. I see an assault. I think if you look at the facts, he`s a 66-year-old man. The victim is 39 years old. He`s bigger. He`s stronger than him. I mean, if he really wanted to kill him, would he really engage...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. I have two words for you -- Jodi Arias. Jodi Arias, 115 pounds, slaughtered Travis Alexander, who was a very big, strong guy. You don`t see attempted murder?

I don`t want to convict the guy, but when you show up with gloves and a mask, ski mask and wearing all black and a -- what the cops are calling a kill kit, that`s scary stuff.

This is an anesthesiologist. This is somebody who puts people to sleep, and he had sedatives, according to cops, in that backpack. What was he going to do, if he had the chance to sedate the victim, his son-in-law? We`ll discuss that on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whenever we had any medical questions, if we wanted to ask him anything, he was -- you know, he was really just a great guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But police in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, tell a different story. They say Bensimhon traveled here to his son-in-law`s house, hid in the bushes in the dark of night, clad in all black and a ski mask, and attacked.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): Nine-one-one emergency.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): Yes, someone is yelling "help" real loudly. I`m on Dellwood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Male or female?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Male.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): Yes, there`s someone screaming for help on Dellwood Road.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re on our way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The victim and the suspect both doctors. The older man, which is the guy with the little scratch over there on the right side of your screen, is the suspect. And the other one is the -- actually it`s same person. They`re both the suspect. Go figure. One, he looks a lot younger than the other. All right, maybe he`s happier in one than the other. In any case, this is the suspect, a well-known anesthesiologist accused of plotting to kill his son-in-law, who is also a prominent doctor.

And this is the kit that cops say he had on him. They found it right nearby when the anesthesiologist, 66 years old, by the way, jumps out of the bushes, according to cops, and attacks his son-in-law with a crowbar, with a pointed edge on it. And then they find syringes and sedatives inside that so-called kill pack. It`s out of control.

It`s something out of, well, maybe "Dexter." Remember, the main character of the hit show "Dexter" on Showtime also prepares a kill kit before attacking people. To take a look at this from Showtime and YouTube, and then we`re going to debate it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL C. HALL, ACTOR: Soon you`ll be packed into a few neatly wrapped Hefties in my own small corner of the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can`t watch this.

Straight out to the Lion`s Den. There is the victim, who managed to overpower his attacker and is alive tonight despite injuries. Got to go to C.W. Jensen, retired police captain. Is it me or are murder plots, alleged murder plots getting crazier and crazier these days because people are watching too much TV for their own good?

C.W. JENSEN, RETIRED POLICE CAPTAIN: I think you have to give credit to the crazy people of the past that we just didn`t maybe hear about it as much.

This doctor clearly meant to kill his son-in-law. He didn`t mean to kidnap him and do anything. He wanted to end the problem with him and his wife.

But the important thing to remember, Jane, is a man`s got to know his limitations. You may be able to do surgery, but you`re not a ninja. But if you`re a ninja, you can`t do surgery.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Elura Nanos, former prosecutor, star of "Staten Island Law," if he had sedatives on him and needles, as the cops maintained, and his plan was not just once he got him over the head to inject him with something, couldn`t that open the possibility to really horrifying things, like disposing somebody in a place where they wake up? And they come out of -- tell me about that possibility.

NANOS: Absolutely. I mean, in most states the requirement for attempted murder would be that there is an unequivocal amount of evidence to show, unequivocally, that the person intended to commit the murder. Now, I mean, of course a jury could find either way. But in this case I really think that there is enough evidence. The facts really do point that there`s no other way to interpret the hitting with the crowbar. And there`s no other way to interpret that backpack.

I think maybe if you took those things independently we might come to a different conclusion. But you combine those two things with the fact that the victim is this guy`s son-in-law going through a contentious divorce, I think that really does add up to enough evidence that this guy was intending to kill the victim.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Adam Thompson, criminal defense attorney, radio talk show host. If he had successfully sedated him -- this is a hypothetical -- then he would have to put him somewhere where he couldn`t just wake up and tell everybody. It actually raises the possibility, hypothetically, in my mind, could he have buried him alive while he was sedated? Could he have put him somewhere, when he does wake up, that he would be tortured to death, because he would not be able to get out of wherever he was put?

THOMPSON: Listen, we can speculate about a million different things that could have happened. The adult ninja doctor, whatever you want to call this guy. The bottom line is we go by the facts that we know. The facts we know: he was there; he was wearing gloves, obviously, to conceal fingerprints. We know he had a crowbar that he hit this person with.

Can you make the jump from what was in the bag or the death bag, as you`re calling it? Look, if he`s an anesthesiologist, he`s going to probably carry around certain medications with him. And I don`t know if there`s anything illegal about that. But if you link them together, and look at the totality of the facts, then you can have some problems. One thing we know is it does not look good for him. That we know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You say that he could carry things as part of his job. But he took it, apparently, out of his vehicle and had it there next to him when he was captured.

On the other side, you won`t believe how prominent this guy is. We`ve got a little ad that we`ll show you on what his credentials are. And we`re taking your calls.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever hear of any issues between him and his son-in-law?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I can`t really comment on that. I don`t really know enough about their personal history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whenever we had any medical questions, if we wanted to ask him anything, he was -- you know, he was just a great guy.

Innocent until proven guilty is the way I look at it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A lot of people put their life in the hands of this anesthesiologist, who is now accused of attempted murder. He practiced for nearly 30 years. Check out this promotional video from Vitals.com.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here are his vitals. He specializes in anesthesiology. Dr. Bensimhon is a highly experienced doctor with 27 years of practice in the field. Graduated from Ross University.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m still shocked. Anesthesiologist. Highly-trusted specialized professional.

And by the way, a spokesperson confirms he has been terminated from this clinic where he worked. And he and his attorney or his daughter or son-in-law, they`re all invited on. We would like to get the full story here, and we`d love to hear from all you.

Let`s go out to the phone lines. Joyce, Kentucky, your question or thought. Joyce, Kentucky.

CALLER: OK, my comment is I think that it`s more like a revenge thing. He`s seen his daughter in a lot of pain, you know, going through the divorce. And it could be, you know, he wanted to make the son-in-law feel the same kind of pain that his daughter was going through.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think you have a great point. Brian Russell, forensic psychologist, this divorce battle has been going on since 2011. That`s a long time for a divorce. I think at a certain point it just crosses the line and gets really -- the hatred just gets out of control.

RUSSELL: Yes, and family members can get drawn into it. And the caller may be exactly right that that`s what happened in this case.

And I wanted to add about the video that you just showed, this is a great example of why all of our viewers should not ever choose a physician or a lawyer, any professional, strictly on the basis of what they see on the Internet. Whether it be from the doctor or from people who say they don`t like the doctor. There are lots of people who go online and say the doctor is terrible, because they won`t give them drugs they want, for example. And there are a lot of doctors...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in, Brian, and ask you this question. Let`s say this guy is acquitted. Can he go back and start practicing anesthesiology again?

RUSSELL: That`s a great question, Jane. The board`s decision about that -- and that is a licensure board decision -- does not hinge upon whether he gets convicted or not in criminal court, because that has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The board doesn`t have to have that high of a standard. So if they`re convinced that he poses a danger to the public, they can withhold his license, even if he`s acquitted in criminal court.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I still don`t get it. I still do not understand how somebody who is an anesthesiologist for 27 years could be this allegedly -- allegedly kooky.

I mean, this is not really what I would call a heat-of-passion crime, because the cops say that this doctor drove all the way from his home in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to his son-in-law`s house in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Now that`s about 400 miles.

You know what this reminds me of? This reminds me of the astronaut, Lisa Nowack. Remember her? All right. She drove 950 miles from Houston to Orlando to attack her romantic rival in a love triangle.

So Joe Gomez, you`ve seen it all. You`ve seen so many crazy cases. But what I can`t -- I can`t get my mind around you`re driving for six hours and you don`t pull over to the side of the road and say, "You know what? This is crazy. What am I thinking? Let me go get a cup of coffee and -- and head back where I came from."

GOMEZ: Well, obviously this guy had this -- had this planned out for a while. You don`t drive six hours just off the bat thinking, you know, you`re going to kill somebody with a crowbar and a bag full of anesthetics, not necessarily a bag full of cookies.

And it looks like this guy was dropping off for a friendly visit at 6 a.m. in the morning hiding in the bushes. I mean, this guy obviously had some kind of communication with his daughter. He knew that things were going wrong. He decided...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We can`t implicate the daughter, though. We can`t implicated the daughter. She may have innocently said, "You know what, pops? My estranged husband is coming down tomorrow to pick up the kids," having no idea. Who could imagine something like this? I mean, this is unimaginable. Spinal needles? Spinal needles? Gloves? A ninja mask? A kill kit? Are you kidding me? No.

Well listen, a woman stopped by the cops. What happened next? It depends on who you ask. That is next. Crazy story, as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next thing I want you to do is I want you to turn around and wait for me. Just like that. All right. Put your hands out to the side like an airplane. Put it just like that. You are under arrest for DUI.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No way!

You are serious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t resist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A routine police call for suspicion of DUI.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need you to get out.

CHRISTINA WEST, DUI SUSPECT: Ok. But listen. Listen to me, please. We only have one other --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It turns violent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car.

WEST: I still have --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last time. Get out of the car.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She suffered a broken bone by her eye, you see it`s swollen shut. She has also a bloody nose and some cuts.

WEST: Oh my God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Tonight controversy over a gut- wrenching dash cam video showing two police officers smashing a woman`s face against the pavement in the squad car. Did cops cross the line during this DUI bust, or was this use of force justified? We`re going to show you the footage. You be the judge.

Again, this is disturbing. But here`s what Christina West`s face looked like right after the cops roughed her up. The bone around her eye socket was crushed. Her eye was swollen shut.

It all started at about 3:00 in the morning when this 44-year-old mom drove her car with four kids inside into a home in Tallahassee. Yes, she crashed right into the master bedroom. Thank God nobody was home. Nobody inside the car was hurt either.

Police arrived. They say she failed a field sobriety test and admitted to drinking and taking prescription meds. When officers discovered that she had slipped out of her handcuffs in the back of the squad car things got ugly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEST: One seat ok. We have two children. No car seat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let go of my hand.

WEST: Go tighter. You`re going to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) my arm. Oh my God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t touch me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh my God. Listen to her screams. Were the officers out of line? The department says they`re looking into it and for now the two officers involved are on paid administrative leave.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID NORTHWAY, TALLAHASSEE POLICE DEPARTMENT: We understand that it`s hard to see what`s on the video. And what we ask is that we are given the time to investigate the crime all the way through from start to finish. We have an open internal affairs investigation right now on this case. The two officers that you see in the video have been placed on administrative leave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Christina West`s attorney told us he is seeking compensation for his client but he didn`t say specifically that he was suing.

Straight out to the "Lion`s Den"; our question tonight -- was this excessive force or was brute force warranted because of this woman`s behavior? Starting with Adam Thompson, criminal defense attorney out of Miami.

ADAM THOMPSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is outrageous. Let me tell you, Jane. This is beyond excessive force. I`ve been doing these cases for over 25 years representing victims of police misconduct and police brutality. Regardless of what the suspect has done, on what you`re arresting them for, the police have to act in a proper and reasonable manner.

You look at these two bulking police officers grab this little 5`6", 110-pound woman and just slam her against the car and into the ground and you look at her face battered. It`s disgusting. These people not only need to be on administrative leave. They need to be suspended. And a message has to be sent to the police department. What`s really disgusting --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: C.W. Jensen -- hold on a second. Ok, you`ve had your say. C.W. Jensen, you`re a retired police captain.

C.W. JENSEN, RETIRED POLICE CAPTAIN: I`m sure you`re a great lawyer. Maybe you should go on a ride-along some time and see what the real world is like while you`re asleep.

This woman -- and I encourage everyone not just to watch these clips but watch this whole thing and listen to this obscene drunken woman who poops her pants --

(CROSSTALK)

THOMPSON: Who cares? Who cares if she was drunk? Who cares?

(CROSSTALK)

JENSEN: I have got the same thing --

THOMPSON: That doesn`t give the cops the right to beat --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. Hold on. Let him finish. Let him finish.

JENSEN: No big deal. You see more on cops.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look -- let`s put this in context.

JOE GOMEZ, REPORTER, KRLD DALLAS: Come on.

THOMPSON: No big deal? That`s disgusting.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. One second. Ok. Kelly, Kelly Saindon, what were you going to say?

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY SAINDON, FORMER PROSECUTOR: What I would like to say is that every time C.W. in on, I understand his allegiance is to police. But you know what, they make mistakes and they`re wrong. Look at this. It`s excessive. Don`t say they used their best judgment. Don`t say they were trained. They beat the hell out of a young woman who was drunk.

She might not be behaving but they`re trained. Leave emotion out of it. They slammed her to the ground. They slammed her face against the car. And she was seriously injured. Use your judgment. Use your training.

And you C.W. every time always want to say it wasn`t excessive. Ride along, when you`re sleeping, get out of the courtroom. Get in a fight. See what it is.

No. Be objective. Look at that. It`s excessive.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me put it into context first. This didn`t start out violent. In fact officers were on the scene for nearly 40 minutes investigating the crash conducting the sobriety test before using any force against the suspect. Let`s look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you ready to begin?

WEST: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok. Go ahead and begin.

WEST: 1,001 -- 1,002 -- 1,003 -- 1,004 -- 1,005 -- 1,006, 1,007 -- 1,008 -- 1,009.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, it looks like a ballet class to me. I don`t know if I would be able to and I haven`t had a drink in 18 years. Well, there you see. Now wait. I`m seeing this particular part for the first time. There you see that she is -- oh, she seems intoxicated.

Look, the fact is she drove into a house. She had four kids in the car -- two of them her own, two of them exchange students. Seems like she`s goofing around and making it look like a ballet class and kind of goofing on the officers, but I mean she could have killed a lot of people.

Let`s face it. If there had been somebody in that house, those people could have died. The four kids in the car could have died. See that kid walking down the street he could have been walking out a little bit earlier. He could have died.

I mean we have to take that into consideration -- Elura Nanos, former prosecutor.

ELURA NANOS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes, Jane. I mean I don`t think the severity of what she did would justify police brutality here, but I don`t see police brutality. I don`t know if we`re watching a different tape from each other or what. What I see from the body language of those police officers is that they are trying to arrest somebody who keeps trying to slip out of their grasp.

And you know what; when you do that and when you resist arrest and when you try to get away and you`re drunk and you`re on drugs -- add all of things -- it makes you act a little crazy. And sometimes unfortunate things happen.

But I don`t see here police pummeling this woman. I don`t see them out to hurt her. I see they were trying to do their jobs and her hurting herself.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Who wants to talk? Let`s see.

GOMEZ: You have -- you have the state attorney -- you have the state attorney say that his was a very disturbing footage. You have the mayor of the city saying that this was very disturbing.

NANOS: Well, of course it`s disturbing. Somebody`s getting hurt.

GOMEZ: You have all these commissioners coming out saying they can`t believe what happened.

NANOS: No, I`m not hearing that.

GOMEZ: I mean why does she have to be thrown around like a rag doll? Why does she have to be treated like a rag doll?

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One second guys. I like to go to Jennifer Portman who`s a reporter with the "Tallahassee Democrat", what is the reaction in the community?

JENNIFER PORTMAN, REPORTER, "TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT" (via telephone): Well, I think overall, Jane, the community is still reeling from what they have seen overall. What we`ve heard is a lot of dismay. A lot of people are more feeling that this was excessive, that they were shocked to see this.

I think that certainly our city commission and our city attorney, who was the one who really raised this issue, he was concerned enough about it that he says he`s waking up at night and can`t get the images out of his mind. So in this town this has been really pretty shocking and not something that we typically see here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s show the photo again because I think the most shocking part of it is yes, you see the takedown but, you know, you don`t get the idea of the impact of the takedown until you see her face. Let`s show her face one more time because that to me, we can tell by zooming in that she wasn`t injured at the time that she was doing the field sobriety tests and look at her now. Wow. Ok.

Well, we`ll stay on top of this one and find out what happens.

On the other side cops say a brand new bride married for just eight days pushes her husband off the cliff to his death. And guess what? She`s been freed -- free. Free to go walk on that cliff again if she wants to. Are you kidding me?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was standing up there. And I noticed that when they were exchanging their vows Jordan never once looked at Cody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One week after this beaming couple`s wedding, a chilling scene as prosecutors say 22-year-old Jordan Linn Graham pushed her new husband, Cody Lee Johnson off this cliff in the high mountains of Montana.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn`t think it was much of a relationship, to be honest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was standing up there and I noticed that when they were exchanging their vows Jordan wasn`t -- never once looked at Cody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news just in. A young bride charged with pushing her husband of only eight days off a cliff has just been released from jail. Jordan Graham charged with second-degree murder in the death of her brand new husband Cody Johnson. She reportedly told cops she and Johnson got into an argument and that she shoved him and he plunged at least 3,000 feet off of a steep cliff to his death.

After that alleged shove, Graham didn`t call police. Instead she told a series of lies in an attempt to cover up the crime, according to cops. And they also say they found a quote, "fake e-mail from a man named Tony that corroborated her story that her husband went hiking with mystery friends", all a complete fiction.

Tony doesn`t exist. That e-mail address was created just days after the bride was reported -- or the groom was reported missing. And the account`s IP address was traced back to the suspect`s parent`s house.

Prosecutors are saying that this Miss Graham should stay locked up because she`s a threat. She lied to cops and she admitted pushing her husband off a steep cliff to his death. But her attorneys have apparently convinced the judge to let her go. There she is -- unbelievable. And she`s free to go.

Why on earth did the judge make that decision? I don`t understand it. Because apparently she looks like she`s not a threat. We have to know by now that criminals don`t look any certain way. That`s a big problem with our criminal justice system.

Straight out to Kyung Lah, CNN correspondent in Montana on the ground -- I`m reeling from this decision. What do you know?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you`re not alone, Jane. There is a lot of reeling happening in the town of Kalispell, small community, a lot of friends. I have spoken with several of them. And what they are saying is that this is like a slap in the face. Another one saying basically this is a joke. And there`s also quite a bit of sadness in this community because people really wanted her to stay in jail before the trial began.

Here`s what at least two of the friends told us about this.

LEVI RASDEL, FRIEND OF THE COUPLE: when she walked away from that scene, got into the car and drove the hour and a half back to Kalispell, her driving that far within that time not calling 911, not wondering if he`s just unconscious at the bottom of the hill. She went home and she fabricated this lie and she lied to all the friends and all of the family, didn`t admit the truth to the police.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She should be paying for what she did. She`s admitted to it and that enough should be grounds to keep her in jail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: Now, she was released, it`s called on your own recognizance but it`s not like she can just wander anywhere. There are conditions to her release. She has to be subject to home electronic monitoring. She can only leave home if she goes to the doctor or to the psychiatrist or to church.

Otherwise she has to stay at home wearing the electronic bracelet. She is in the custody of her parents. Her parents are responsible.

And something else we should point out Jane is that this is not the end of the story. The U.S. attorney`s office, the prosecutors in this case, they have filed a motion to stay this judge`s order. They want to argue it out again before a district judge to get this woman back into custody before this trial starts, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what; I have a friend who was driving with an expired license, went through a red light, and was put behind bars for two and a half days. Nobody died. Nobody got hurt. Nothing happened, except she had an expired license. And yet here is a young woman who allegedly, purportedly confessed to pushing her groom off a cliff to his death and then lied about it. And somehow it`s concluded that she should be free to go and the ankle monitor, whatever. I just -- I honestly I feel there`s something wrong with our criminal justice system. I have to say that.

On the other side of the break we`re going to talk to Cameron Fredrickson, a good friend of the groom, the victim. I want to hear what Cameron has to say about this decision by this judge -- unbelievable.

Stay right there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAXIMINO ROCHA, FRIEND OF VICTIM: What I felt in my heart confident that something was not right and that something was not right with her was her state of mind, her emotional display was just casual. It was as if we were talking right now about something and not even about Cody. We were just talking about the weather. We were just talking about local news.

There are people crying. They are people consoling each other. And she was just holding a conversation as if nothing was going on around her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the Day, send your pet pics to hlntv.com/jane.

Bella, I don`t think you`re a fella, but you are bella. All right Jack -- I love that patch, man. That is so adorable. Pesty, Fella and Stinky Pete -- you are a trio complete. I like it. Oh, my gosh. Four Amigos -- look at these guys. I love to see them play frisbee.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`ve got Cameron Fredrickson -- he`s a friend of the victim, Cody Johnson, who was pushed off a cliff by -- according to authorities -- this woman. They say she confessed. Your reaction to her being freed?

CAMERON FREDRICKSON, FRIEND OF CODY JOHNSON (via telephone): I`m angry, I`m sad. I don`t understand the process. I don`t understand how someone can openly admit to taking someone`s life, and then be able to go home and be with her family, while Cody`s mom sits at home missing her son.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And there were warning signs, according to you and other friends of the victim. Tell us about that.

FREDRICKSON: You know, leading up to the marriage, we had our own opinion of the relationship, looking from the outside in. And, you know, each of us took the time to advise Cody against it. And ultimately Cody said, that`s the direction he wanted to go because he was in love, head over heels, and we supported his decision.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stay right there. More on the other side.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cameron, do you think she premeditated it?

FREDRICKSON: Originally I didn`t think so. But with the information that`s come in and the constant lies of trying to cover it up -- yes, I do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable story, and she has been freed by a judge. We`re going to stay on top of it -- unbelievable.

Nancy Grace is up next.

END