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Is "Hiccup Girl" a Killer?
Aired September 19, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, from media sensation to murder. She made headlines in 2007, hiccuping nonstop for a month. Now, she is on trial for killing a man. What did hiccups have to do with her violent behavior?
Plus, the controversial church in Texas that some are calling a cult. Former members speak out tonight in the behavior bureau.
And a woman convicted of murdering her baby daughter by cooking the infant in a microwave.
Let`s get started.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Good evening.
My co-host, Samantha Schacher, host "Pop Trigger" on the Young Turks network.
Sam, coming up, a mom -- the words barely come out of my mouth -- a mom who cooked her baby to death in a microwave -- get this, Sam -- she`d like a new trial. She`s already had three. Time to have another one. Should she get it? What`s with that?
SAMANTHA SCHACHER, CO-HOST: Absolutely not. Hearing you speak those words, Dr. Drew, you`re right. It is almost hard if we can garner up the ability to talk about something like this.
SCHACHER: It is absolutely disturbing.
PINSKY: It is disturbing. But we`re going to tackle with it a behavior bureau.
But, first, do you remember the teenager girl, the teenage girl who came to be known as hiccup girl back in 2007.
PINSKY: Also words I didn`t expect to come out of my mouth. Hiccup girl. She is on trial -- what`s going on the world? She is on trail for murder. Hiccup girl on trail for murder.
Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 2007, Jennifer Mee was known for this -- her steady hiccups.
Mee and true other men are charged with first-degree murder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was a set up. It was a robbery gone awry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prosecutors say she met 22-year-old Shannon Griffin online and then lured him to this vacant home where two men, Mee`s alleged accomplices were armed and waiting for him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They planned on selling marijuana for $55 as a ruse to rob him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They say Jennifer Mee knew there would be a gun involved, and she heard a shot and she walked away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mee`s attorney, John Travinos (ph), says his client is not guilty and got caught up in a love triangle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mee began crying as the judge questioned potential jurors. Mee often broke down in tears when the term "hiccup girl" was used in court.
JUDGE: Did you know anything about her and her hiccups?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mee`s attorney claims his client was diagnosed with schizophrenia and Tourette`s Syndrome.
MEE`S MOM: She`s a lovable sweet little girl that would not hurt a fly.
UNIDENTIIFED FEMALE: She calls herself a female hustler, her mood a profanity, and her city, St. Pistol.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Mee is convicted of first-degree murder, she faces life in prison.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
PINSKY: Investigative reporter and WOR Radio host Rita Cosby is here with the latest. What do you got, Rita?
RITA COSBY, WOR RADIO (via telephone): Dr. Drew, in 2007 when Jennifer Mee was 15 years old, as you said, she was all over national television known as "hiccup girl" because she was hiccuping up to 50 times a minute. And it lasted for weeks.
But what she is charged with now is no laughing matter. Her trial started yesterday in which she is a murder defendant. Prosecutors say that in 2010, Mee conspired with two men to lure a man to a dark alley where he could be robbed. Instead, he was shot four times in the chest and left to die.
Hiccup girl did not pull the trigger but under Florida law, they can still charge her with first-degree murder for planning to commit felony robbery.
Now, during court today, Mee`s hiccups continued and they went on for more than an hour. Her attorney claimed she had Tourette`s Syndrome and schizophrenia but she was deemed deponent stand trial. Ands today, prosecutors presented a very strong piece of evidence. A recording of a jail house phone call between Jennifer Mee and her mom in which Mee said she set the whole thing up and it all went terribly wrong -- Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Thank you, Rita.
With me tonight, Mark Eiglarsh, attorney at speaktomark.com, Judge David Young, former criminal court judge and host of "Justice with a Snap", HLN`s Lynn Berry, and former prosecutor, Loni Coombs, author of "You`re Perfect and Other Lies Parents Tell".
Now, yesterday, Jennifer Mee`s lawyer told jurors they would not be hearing hiccups in court because she was on medication to suppress this. Listen to what happened today in court.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
PINSKY: Mark, what`s with the hiccups in court? Why is everyone so focused on the hiccups?
PINSKY: What is the strategy of the lawyer -- (a), they said there wonderful be hiccups. What`s that all about?
MARK EIGLARSH, ATTORNEY: Listen, the biggest problem she has is not the hiccups. It is the phone call that Rita told us about which I just cannot believe it. It`s just like I`m rolling my eyes. Twenty years plus in the system, I tell my clients, phone calls are recorded, people.
And then the biggest problem other than that, is that she gave two different versions to law enforcement post-Miranda. First, she said it perfectly it was. It was a love triangle. That`s her defense.
Now, that would have been the perfect defense. She did not lure him there. The shooter got jealous and shot the victim because he thought they were involved.
But then she changed her story. See, that`s the hiccup, pun intended in this case. She then told another version that she lured him there and she`s got to live with that second version unfortunately.
PINSKY: Well, Mark, I want to play jail house phone call for the viewers, between Mee and her mom. Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MOM: Why are you in jail?
JENNIFER MEE: They`re charging me with first-degree murder.
MOM: Who did you kill?
MEE: I didn`t kill nobody.
MOM: Well then who are they charging you with attempted murder?
MEE: Because I set everything up. And it all went wrong, mom. It shouldn`t have went down until after everything happened, mom.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
EIGLARSH: That`s bad.
PINSKY: All right. Lynn, you`ve been watching this case. At one point I understand she had a plea bargain and they took that away. What`s going on in this case?
LYNN BERRY, HLN HOST: I guess it shows that the prosecution thinks they have the goods. So, they offered this plea, Mee said I`ll take 15 years. I`ll plead guilty. And the prosecution said, no, that`s OK. I think we have what we need.
And, you know, listen, she didn`t actually pull the trigger here. So the question is maybe she`s overcharged. It`s not the first time we will see in Florida -- whether or not that plays in her favor.
But, you know, Dr. Drew, you made a good point about why have the hiccups come up today? Do you remember when she was 15 years old and she was on all the morning shows and she was the poor little young girl with the hiccups she could not get rid of?
PINSKY: Oh, yes.
BERRY: They want that back in people`s heads.
PINSKY: I see that now and I go, oh, plays, she didn`t have hiccups. She had a tick. She had Tourette. And the attorney is appropriately sharing that information.
But I don`t understand, Loni, why this mental health stuff is going to come in even at all since she was deemed competent to stand trial. I want to make that distinction to people. Again, competency to stand trial is separate from do you have severe mental illness?
LONI COOMBS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Exactly. Competency means you understand what`s going on and you`re able to assist your attorney in what`s going on, so that you can, you know, defend yourself. But there`s a whole other thing about a mental defense.
And even the defense attorney has said, look, I`m not going to say that the Tourette`s Syndrome is a mental defense. I`m not going to say she didn`t understand what she was doing. He`s really just bringing that up, like Lynn said, to bring up the memory of this young girl, and the hiccups, and engender some sympathy, perhaps some bonding. Perhaps this, oh this poor girl. She had all this attention and she couldn`t handle it and she has Tourette`s that she had to deal with.
And so, for some reason, we should feel sympathy for her. She didn`t pull the trigger so maybe we should let her off. I think the prosecution is --
COOMBS: -- saying, you know what, we want to go for the maximum because even though she didn`t pull the trigger, she was the one who set it up. She was the callous person who led him to the scene. And everyone knew this was a dangerous situation when you have an armed robbery, when somebody dies, you`re responsible.
EIGLARSH: What Loni just said is part of it. But the major part is they -- I`ve been in this position before -- they have to explain to a jury why she would give one account and then shortly thereafter give an entirely different account which fits the prosecution`s theory. They`re going to take whatever it takes --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, maybe that`s where the mental --
EIGLARSH: -- schizophrenic, whatever it is, to get the jury to see why she gave two different versions.
PINSKY: I see. Sam?
SCHACHER: It`s not only that, Dr. Drew.
OK. It`s not only that, Dr. Drew, it`s the fact that after she claims that she had nothing to do with this, that she did nothing wrong, well, if that`s what she is claiming, why wouldn`t she have alerted authorities immediately instead of leaving him there for dead and why would her fingerprints be on his license after the police found all of Griffin`s possessions in her house, which she shared with the co-defendant. So there is a lot of suspicious behavior.
PINSKY: Yes. Judge Young, let`s have it. What are your thoughts?
JUDGE DAVID YOUNG, FORMER CRIMINAL COURT JUDGE: My thoughts are this, Dr. Drew. In Florida, we have the felony murder rule. You don`t have to have your hand on the gun but you have to be an active participant.
And she brought him in. She established an account, she friended him on Facebook or similar social media. Told him, set up the meeting. At the meeting when he came in, he was shot dead.
You know, the lawyer and his client has no credibility as far as I`m concerned. You talk about the insanity issue. He said he`s not going to raise the insanity issue.
They also had an examination yesterday. A psychological examination which said she is competent to stand trial. So, you know, the jury is going to hear the law and the law is felony murder. And no matter what she think, if they like it or not, they have to follow the laws, Mark can tell you.
Sometimes judges don`t like what the law is, but we`re a nation of laws. Not a nation of men and women. And she just, you know, screwed up.
What`s interesting, Dr. Drew, in this whole case is that the co- defendant that was found guilty, his last name is Raiford (ph). And both of them are going to (INAUDIBLE), that`s where our state prison is, in Raiford.
EIGLARSH: Raiford, yes.
PINSKY: Hold it right there, guys. We`re going to talk more about the hiccups and whether the hiccup girl became violent in relation to anything to do with these hiccups. We`ll tackle that with the behavior bureau.
And, later, the controversial Texas church that some are indeed calling a cult. A former member of that church talks about life on the inside.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s going to go on a date. He just thought he was going on a date. Just a young (INAUDIBLE) grinning ear to ear, about to go on a date as happy as can be. And I wave him off and I never knew it would be the last time I seen him. And I had to go tell this story to six siblings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Horrible. It`s time for the behavior bureau.
Back with my co-host, Samantha Schacher.
Joining us, clinical and forensic psychologist, Cheryl Arutt, Wendy Walsh, psychologist and author of "The 30-Day Love Detox", Janine Driver, the human lie detector, and author of "You Can`t Lie to Me," and Danine Manette, criminal investigator, author of "Ultimate Betrayal".
Now, during jury selection, Jennifer Mee was crying because the judge kept talking about the hiccup girl. Every time he mentioned, the judge mentioned hiccup girl, she`d start crying.
Wendy, I don`t know if you saw that footage, but what do you make of those tears?
WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I know she is about to go to jail for a very long time. I`d be crying big tears, too. I don`t know how much was fake or whether she is fearing for herself and what`s going to happen? That would make me cry. I don`t know.
If you`re asking, was she crying for the victim? Maybe not.
PINSKY: I`m wondering, Danine, is she crying because, oh, poor young lady, she feels bullied by them calling her hiccup girl. So, she feels diminished by that phrase.
DANINE MANETTE, CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: It was a bunch of drama, Dr. Drew. And absolute bunch of drama.
I listened, I saw her interview, her TV interview, with the "Today" show and that`s all she talked about was, oh, poor me. I can`t see my mom, I`m stuck in this ram for 22 hours.
Oh, the victim did not deserve that. I`m sorry about that. But I don`t get to grow up with my sister. Me, me, me, blah, blah, blah.
I was so sick of that. I got caught up with the wrong crowd. You know, everyone gets caught up with the wrong crowd, but nobody admits to being the wrong crowd. Everyone is just kind of associates with it. It`s a bunch of drama.
SCHACHER: If I could add really quickly -- absolutely, if I could add really quickly, she also said that being the hiccup girl gave her a lot of popularity. So she never spoke about people in school bullying her. In fact, it was the exact opposite, that people thought she was famous and she loved the notoriety.
PINSKY: I was thinking, Sam, if everybody who hangs with the wrong crowd or loved punk bands like you, who knows how they would turn out?
SCHACHER: Why if you love punk bands? Does that mean that you hang with the wrong crowd?
PINSKY: I`m just saying. I`m just saying. Listen --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can`t judge the book by its cover, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Here`s what I want to show you guys, which is that NBC "Today" show appearance that Danine was talking about in 2007.
Janine, I want you to take a good look at this quick clip, and see if you can tell me if you have any sense she is being deceptive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First, it`s kind of funny. It isn`t funny, isn`t anymore?
MEE: Not anymore. It`s not. Not at all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you coping?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: You know what I see, I`ve not seen that clip before. She is already manifesting major, major problems.
But go ahead, Janine.
JANINE DRIVER, HUMAN LIE DETECTOR: Well, what I was going to say, I watched that whole entire interview, Dr. Drew. In her tone and her pitch were consistent throughout the interview. Her body language, where her eye went, again, were consistent. Her ankles were crossed throughout the entire interview. She didn`t have a lot of body movement.
This is consistent with someone who`s telling the truth. So, yes, she has no -- that flat affect. But it was consistent. I`m looking for this deviation and a baseline. I`m always looking for -- you ask a question that`s a hot spot question. I`m looking, does she change her behavior? Her tone or pitch?
Eighty-five percent of people when they lie have that change in their tone and pitch. We don`t hear it here. We don`t see a change in her baseline.
I believe that part is truthful. That interview that we later see on the "Today" show from the jail cell, that`s loaded with deception. There are several hotspots there.
Tone and pitch have changed. Her eye movement has changed. And not only that, she laughs. What we call duping flight.
When asked a question, hey, OK, so you made up this story. You really didn`t lure him there? You really didn`t call him. You really didn`t do that. You just made it all up. Why?
This is her opportunity to say why, Dr. Drew. She`s like, it`s a really long story. Inappropriate deception there.
PINSKY: Wow! That`s really crazy. That kind of inappropriate laughter.
Now, Wendy, we`ve lost Cheryl from my panel. We`re having technical issues.
So, you`re my clinical person right now.
Help people understand that there is a relationship between Tourette`s and schizophrenia. The fact that she had such flat affect and help people understand what that is, is consistent with schizophrenia and, in fact, these hiccups were not hiccups but ticks related to her Tourette`s.
WALSH: They could have been related to her Tourette`s. You know, part of me, I haven`t diagnosed, or I examined this woman but I wanted to ask you, Dr. Drew, do you think there could be a little bit of a conversion disorder, too? And is that partly what Tourette is in your opinion?
PINSKY: Well, again, to back up what Wendy has said, none of us have seen this lady. We`re just speculating based on the footage we`re looking at here to try to understand this case and what the attorneys are trying to do in her defense.
Yes, sure, we reported on the case, about a year and a half ago where a group of girls developed a conversion reaction. It could be part of the conversion. But if she in fact has Tourette`s, and is diagnosed with Tourette`s, it does go with schizophrenic.
And, you know, this girl has major mental illness. Are we looking again, Danine, at a situation where I should be being sympathetic to this young girl? Because I know you have very little.
MANETTE: I do have very little. And the fact of the matter is, is that, you know, she had hiccups. Everyone has hiccups. Everybody doesn`t go on to become killers.
I understand that --
PINSKY: By the way, Danine, I`m going to stop you.
PINSKY: Same is true of schizophrenics or Tourette`s patients. They are plenty of people out there. We don`t want to stigmatize them. They aren`t violent. In fact, they are more likely the object of violence than to be violent themselves.
So, go ahead, Danine.
MANETTE: PTSD, all of these things -- people have these conditions and they don`t kill. This girl to me seemed like she got caught up, wanting a lot of attention. She was used to having this attention, she got when it she had this condition.
Now, she hooked up with these thugs. They decided to do this together. And now, she`s got to pay for it. As simple as that. Sorry that she has hiccups. A lot of people has hiccups, they don`t kill.
WALSH: Dr. Drew, I will say this, though, Dr. Drew, I will say, I don`t think her intention was to kill. I think she was luring him in for a robbery. But the law is such that if you lure him in and he gets killed, you`re part of the game. It`s a conspiracy.
SCHACHER: Why did not she immediately -- why didn`t she immediately alert authorities and leave him dead? That makes her seem like a very callous person.
PINSKY: Janine, you were watching. You`re shaking -- nodding your head. You`ve been watching this footage. What`s your interpretation what you`re seeing there?
DRIVER: Well, first of all ---
MANETTE: -- years old.
DRIVER: Think about it. You know, she`s a 15-year-old kid. So this 15-year-old kid is making a decision. Think about, what were you doing at 15? I mean, this is crazy at 15 years old -
SCHACHER: Not that.
DRIVER: She had all this fame. She even said she started following the devil. So this behavior, we see genuine sadness here. I don`t know if it is so much about being sad, Dr. Drew. That someone is dead, that this victim was murdered. I think unexpectedly he resisted and was shot four times unexpectedly, I think, or if it is her or both.
But we do see those inner eyebrows and up. And it is such a hard emotion to fake. We saw it with Jodi Arias, a lack of sadness. We saw it with Scott Peterson, the lack of sadness. The eyebrows pull together, genuine sadness. We just don`t know why it`s there.
PINSKY: Guys, I`m against the clock. I`ve got to switch gears to the Texas church accused of having brainwashed a former member is now talking about life inside the church. And why he eventually fled.
And later, a woman convicted of murder for cooking her baby in a microwave.
Be right back.
PINSKY: Welcome back.
My co-host is Samantha Shocker.
Catherine Grove`s parents claimed a church in east Texas brainwashed her and told her to cut today`s with her family. Now, other parents are telling similar stories. And for the first time, a former church member is exposing what the church might not want revealed. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I quit my job, left my whole family.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We actually want people to be saved. We`re trying to spread the gospel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the elders encouraged me that I needed to cut all ties with my family and friends. I mean, to cut everything loose.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe a man has got to see their sin. So, that`s why we preach judgment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was so quick to tell people they`re going to hell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could we go off the record for a moment? Just put it on pause.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was totally destroyed.
PINSKY: The parents of 26-year-old Catherine Grove say the church has brainwashed their daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We feel like she is being controlled and told what to say and what to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Catherine has been very much affected in her past life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let`s get real -- these are guys good looking in their 20s, luring women on the Internet.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
PINSKY: Mark, Lynn, Judge Young, and Loni are all back with us on the phone, I`ve got KETK reporter Nicole Vowell who spoke to this escapee.
So, Nicole, first off, how did this guy get drawn into the church in the first place?
NICOLE VOWELL, KETK REPORTER (via telephone): Well, you know, Dr. Drew, he -- one thing that need to be said -- these elders are extremely smart. They can practically recite the Bible word for word.
So, to a young man like Patrick Jones (ph) who I spoke with exclusively, that was attractive to him. He was a new Christian. He did not really understand the Bible too well. All of a sudden these gaze come along and they knew every word of the Bible and he said I want to be like him. So he went on to visit the church and then, you know, he described it as being spiritually captive from that point on.
PINSKY: How did he get out?
VOWELL: Pardon me? How did he get out? Well, he said he took a trip back home actually, and a few of his friends, they noticed he was condemning people to hell, calling people wicked, harsh preaching methods. And he said I realize, I`m turning into them, I`m turning into them.
So his friends were like, man, you`ve changed. And he kind of had I guess an epiphany and a really, really deep depression about it, actually. And thought about it and finally decided that he had started walking home from Arlington to Houston. Before the church was in Texas, it was based in Arlington and that`s where he was from.
PINSKY: Wow, thank you, Nicole. Very interesting. Now, Patrick also said the elders were very controlling. Take a look at this little brief footage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just felt like closed off. I didn`t have no freedom to do anything, from playing cars to dominos to anything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The elders have to approve of a lot of things.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes. It is like marriage or very important things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Lynn, you`ve been watching this one pretty carefully. I can imagine the guy would be depressed if everything he was starting to believe had been collapsed down and he`d been cut off from his family. I would think that would be shattering.
BERRY: Yes. And you know, these were allegations that were out there and the church adamantly denied them. I interviewed the elders. I also interviewed the Grove family, and it came down to there are two sides of every story and then there`s the truth. And the question is, this guy truth?
The interesting part is a lot of the thing he said corroborate with what the Grove family is saying, the alienation from the family. They say that Catherine is not even allowed to talk to them on the phone without an elder present. That she`s asked to cover her ears when she is hearing anything they are saying to her.
So, he is confirming a lot of the allegations that the Grove family is making.
PINSKY: And, Mark, whenever that kind of thing happens, people are isolating someone, that`s emotional abuse, right?
EIGLARSH: Well, yes. And I`m not going to say this is a cult. I will just say through my research, there are about 15 main characteristics of cults and this place seems to have just about all of them.
The main concerns I have is how polarized this group. It`s an "us versus them" mentality. And leaders will use extraordinary mind games and techniques in order to dictate how these members feel, how they act, how they speak -- and that is again, I`m not saying it is a cult. I`m saying feathers, waddle, quack, duck.
SCHACHER: I`ll say it`s a cult. It`s a cult.
PINSKY: Judge Young, is there anything the legal system can do to help these families?
YOUNG: You know, if we`re talking about a criminal enterprise going, then yes. The legal system could step in. But from everything we`ve learned, Dr. Drew, the people involved are adults. They`re making adult choices. Are there rapes going on inside? I have no idea. Is there any type of inappropriate activity going on inside, drug use? We have no idea.
So, I`m hopeful that the federal government has launched an investigation. They have a plant inside the church, and therefore, can give the feds some direction as to which way it`s going. I know Mark is being hesitant to call it a cult, but it is a cult. Let`s say it the way it is. These people are brainwashing.
YOUNG: But they`re adults. You know, how -- where do we step in? Where does the law step in? I don`t think it does.
BERRY: Well, and I`ll say we reached out to the FBI during our coverage of it, and they said they won`t confirm or deny that there is an investigation into this. The sheriff visited the house three different times and said they spoke to Catherine. She said she`s there on her own accord. And the frustrating part to this parent is that if she`s brainwashed, of course, she`s going to say that.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Right. That`s right.
PINSKY: Loni, I want to give you the last word here. Button (ph) this up for us. You have a lot of interesting insight into this phenomenon.
LONI COOMBS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes. Well, and you know, we do have to proceed with caution. For Mr. Jones, it`s fascinating. I would love to sit down and ask him a million questions. What type of behavior really does go on there? Were there physical threats? Were there sexual abuses going on? Was there drug abuse going on? I mean, he was able to leave.
He was able to go home. And if it`s just this spiritual type of, you know, pressure, that is not an illegal activity. And to differentiate this from like the FLDS where the kids are raised in this, they know nothing else but that. They are essentially brainwashed. As the judge points out, these are adults who have come from society and they step into it willing to choose that type of lifestyle for whatever reason.
So, we do have to be careful. Hopefully, based on what the Grove Family has done, there is some type of attention and there`ll be a spotlight so it will be open up and people can see what`s really going on there.
PINSKY: All right. We`re going to get to the "Behavior Bureau" who are going to look at inside these churches and how this plays out of what we can understand from the standpoint of the "Behavior Bureau" after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I leave, I feel like where I am a going to go? I preach very harshly to my mom and basically told her just condemn and told her she was going to hell. I heard so much that if I leave I was going to hell. So, when I first left, I was believing it. I had a hard time eating, sleeping, drinking, you know, because I felt like God was angry at me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: "Behavior Bureau" is back with my co-host, Samantha Schacher, and we`re talking about the controversial church in Texas known as the Church of Wells. A former member has come forward with claims of being held. What he`s called spiritually captive. Wendy, what`s -- Cheryl, I haven`t heard from you. We had these technical problems. We had difficulty getting to you. You can`t -- what is restraining these people?
CHERYL ARUTT, PSY.D., CLINICAL & FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Well --
ARUTT: I think what`s restraining people when they say spiritual captive is that they really convince people who think that they`re praying to God that if they leave, they`re going to hell. If they do something that displeases the church, they`re going to hell. People are using quotes from the bible or using things that they`ve been preaching in order to control the behavior and cut off any other type of influence with their church members.
And this is something that once someone is in and they start behaving with it, they`re consistent with what their church leaders are doing, there`s something called cognitive dissonance. That -- doing what they`re doing because they think, well, I complied with this and I complied with that and then slowly it ramps up and escalates. And all of a sudden, they cut off everything else in their lives and they realize, woh, how did I get here? But it`s a slippery slope and it`s about mind control.
PINSKY: Right. And that`s all there is once you cut everybody off. You got nothing else. You`re like fully committed. Wendy, you know, there are other kinds of, I use the word cult but I sort of think more in terms of emotionally abusive when people -- let`s say you`re in a domestic relationship where somebody cuts you off from your family or even older people can be taken care of this way.
There are all kinds the relationships that people get into. When they`re being cut off from their support and their loved ones, it`s a red flag.
WENDY WALSH, PH.D., PSYCHOLOGIST: And there`s something that`s common to all those kinds of relationships, Dr. Drew, and it`s dependency. I`m sure these guys attract dependent personalities who are looking to kind of collude with them, have a benign leader, and then, like a domestic violence offender, they try to make sure that the warm fuzzies are just a little bit greater than the cold pricklies. And that`s how they hook them in and suck them in.
PINSKY: I`m going to go home thinking about the warm fuzzies and the cold pricklies.
PINSKY: I`m not sure what I`m going to do it with it, though. I want to show you now one of the church elders explaining why he felt his followers must cut ties with their families. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Christ calls a man, if he has his allegiance to his family first of all, or to his job, first of all, or to his earthly possessions and riches, first of all, that allegiance needs to be cut. It must be severed. And that man cannot truly bow the knee and worship in adoration and true service to the Lord Jesus Christ.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Janine, we`re not really so concerned with deceptiveness here, because I think these guys believe what they`re saying. I`m just curious what you see in terms of their body language and facial expressions.
JANINE DRIVER, HUMAN LIE DETECTOR: This clip was a perfect clip for you guys to pick, Dr. Drew. You`re producers are amazing, because I`d say when teaching people at the body language institute, how do I do a job interview, how to go in a first date, how run a company, how to give a speech if you`re a CEO, I always say, keep it within the frame of your body.
When you`re talking, your gestures should be about shoulder width apart. We see this guy, his gestures are way out here. And this is what they`re doing, they`re out in the street and they`re screaming, and they`re saying, you`re going to go to hell and you`re going to go to -- you know, the devil is coming to get you.
These evangelists, these street evangelists. Here, even in an interview that supposed to be a conversation with a purpose, one person to another. His gestures are so out of control. We see actually very few emotions. We don`t see a lot of activity in the forehead. We see forehead activity with sadness, with fear, with anger. So, I`m not seeing anger here, but it`s these belting out gestures that are --
PINSKY: Grandiose. It`s grandiose gestures.
DRIVER: It`s out of control. It`s out of control. If you do this on a job interview, you would not get the job.
SAMANTHA SCHACHER, SOCIAL COMMENTATOR: And there`s a lot of fear mongering going on here.
SCHACHER: Right. Well, it`s really scary to think that these guys can cut their members off from their lifelines, their families.
PINSKY: -- to hell of they leave, the church, and by the way, what else have they got for their remaining life line except the church members? But Danine, you`ve been smiling and sitting quietly nearly bursting out of your box. I know you`ve got something to say. I want to set the table for you because you can go knock all those silverware off the table for us. Go ahead.
DANINE MANETTE, CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Dr. Drew, I`ve changed my tune about this church. I really have -- I just -- I haven`t seen anything that leads me to believe there`s illegal activity, immoral activity, violence going on there. I`m thinking that it`s kind of like when somebody is dead.
The dead person is OK, but everybody who`s around them are the ones that are hurting and sad and confused because they`re the ones that are left behind. That may be the same situation here. The people that are on the outside don`t know what`s going on. I saw a show the other night where there are all these people that went up into the mountains and they put on these fairy (ph) costumes that they were having sex (ph) all day. And that`s not my thing.
But you know, they are consenting adults. It`s what their thing is and it`s what they`re doing. It wasn`t hurting anybody. They seem to be enjoying themselves fine. But, you know, I`m just wondering, there are a lot of religions in this country that I find to be restrictive and I find to be - (CROSSTALK)
MANETTE: But the person that walked away on his own --
JORDAN: This is coercion, though.
WALSH: He talked about symptoms. Clear post-traumatic stress disorder. He couldn`t sleep, he couldn`t eat, he was having guilt, almost survivor`s guilt. He was having all symptomology of post-traumatic stress disorder when he left that cult.
PINSKY: OK. We`re going to have to leave it right there. I don`t think -- Danine, again, I`m still left with warm fuzzies and cold pricklies and people having sex in --
MANETTE: In fairy costumes.
PINSKY: I don`t know what happened to you guys tonight, but I`m cogitated and I get your point.
PINSKY: I think you`re saying, Danine, that people have the freedom to do whatever they want their adults even when as bad choice. And Wendy is saying, well, it`s coercive -- said coercive and it caused significant mental health distress. Do we have some responsibility here? Why -- it`s a conversation worth continuing.
Next up, a woman, guys, get this. You`re going to be talking about this one, too. A woman who put a baby in a microwave, turned the microwave on, and walked away. And this lady wants another trial. And we`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): A 28-day-old baby girl placed in a microwave and cooked to death. What makes this monstrous crime even more unthinkable is this, the infant`s own mother did it. Now, the attorney for convicted killer mom, China Arnold (ph), wants a new trial, alleging errors have been made in her case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Back with my co-host, Samantha Schacher, Wendy Walsh, Danine Manette, and Judge David Young. In 2011, 33-year-old China Arnold (ph) was convicted of murder of her own baby, Paris, in a microwave oven. Mom reportedly intoxicated at the time, arguing with her brother about paternity, nice, and during a prior 2008 trial, prosecutors said she confessed to the crime telling people, quote, "I killed my baby. I wrapped her up. I put her on the microwave, I turned the microwave on, I went outside. She fit right in."
Danine, I`ll start with you this time. Go ahead and have a reaction to this.
MANETTE: You know, the worst cases that I have to deal with every day are cases in which I have a child that was murdered by their parent, especially the mother. These things -- and I`ve worked in criminal defense for a while. So, you know, it`s really, really difficult for me to remain a human being and still deal with cases like this.
This is just absolutely revolting and it`s sickening and it just -- it goes to the core of just evil to me. Absolutely evil.
PINSKY: And Danine, I find that kind of interesting you respond -- not that I`m surprised. But I imagine, Judge Young, you probably -- because you too have to see awful things, have a similar kind of reaction, still.
YOUNG: You know, Dr. Drew, I`m 54 years old and my entire life, I always wanted to have a child. But because I was gay, I could not adopt a child in the state of Florida. This woman was blessed to have a baby. And you know, you see this gavel? Inside, I`d want to jump over the bench and smack and move the geezies (ph) out of her.
Inside as a judge, outwardly, you have to be judicial. You have to give her every benefit of the doubt. She`s innocent until proven guilty. And then once she`s found guilty, off with her head.
SCHACHER: How many trials is this woman going to have? I mean, she`s already admitted it. This is the fourth trial? I mean, I`m sick and tired of our resources and our tax dollars being poured into this woman. It`s disgusting. Of all the cases we have covered, Dr. Drew, this one takes the --
PINSKY: It is the most troubling. Yes. I know. When they told me this morning, I feel like I`ve been shot just thinking about this case.
YOUNG: I do. You know, as a judge, you`re very conscious or you should be conscious of the rights of the defendant. And, I remember when I was sitting as a criminal court judge, I would let even questionable things, you let it into evidence, because you don`t want an appellate court to say you should have done it, you should have done it, you should have done it, and then have the case get overturned on appeal.
When it gets overturned on appeal, people look at it and say, really? We have no confidence in the justice system. So, if the judge in this case would have let a little, little some more evidence in, Dr. Drew, I suspect we would not be here today. Now, we need to remember they`re making the argument for a new trial. The court has not granted it yet. Who knows what`s going to happen in this court? Hopefully, the judge --
PINSKY: I hope rational minds prevail. Listen, before we go to break, we`re going to keep this topic going. We`re going to hear about the baby -- hear from the baby`s father. But before we go to break, I want to something Tweet I got. "People get glued to bad people when warm fuzzies are slightly more frequent than cold pricklies. The victim falls in love with hope @DrDrew." Wendy Walsh who tweets during the show.
PINSKY: I noticed all my panels are on Twitter during the show. So, if anyone would like to interact with my panels, they`re on Twitter.
PINSKY: And if you put the hash tag behavior bureau, we`ll see it as well. I think Wendy is trying to clarify her warm fuzzies and pricklies. Nothing Janine about the fairy wings and the sex in the hills and we`ll have to hear about --
YOUNG: I`m not talking about --
YOUNG: I`m not talking about fairy wings. I promise you I won`t talk about that.
PINSKY: Thank you for that, judge. After making such a powerful point tonight, too. And I just spilled my coke.
All right. We`re going to hear from the baby`s father after this. Be right back.
PINSKY: Back with my co-host, Samantha Schacher, and my panel. China Arnold having been convicted of murdering her 28-day old daughter, Paris, put the baby in the microwave oven, turned the microwave on, CNN affiliate, WHIO talk to Baby Paris` father. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, well, I fell asleep on the couch. Next to her. She got up, went upstairs and I just looked at my baby. And I recognized all the burn marks. I asked her. She said she don`t remember nothing that happened that night. Lord blessed us with a little girl and for something like that to happen, it`s unexplainable. I think about my daughter a lot. She`s supposed to be, you know, one year old right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: The courts say they`ve been arguing -- well, he was arguing with microwave mom as we`re going to call her affectionately. They were arguing about the paternity of Baby Paris. Judge, I have this question. Why not the death penalty?
YOUNG: I have no ungodly idea. When I was reading this story, all the reports, I thought to myself, what was going through minds of this jury that would lead them to vote against the death penalty? Maybe they thought she had a mental illness. Maybe they felt sorry for her because of her mental state. That`s the only thing I could think of, Dr. Drew.
She deserves the death penalty. This is the type of crime that the death penalty was meant for. And for the jurors not to do that, who knows what they were thinking. Actually, they need your services. They need help. They really do. So sad.
MANETTE: Dr. Drew, you know that I`m really reluctant to always paint people with the mental health issue brush and to excuse people --
PINSKY: Well, here`s what I know, Danine. Danine, I know you hate it when we use diagnostic categories and you hate it when you have to be --
MANETTE: To a degree. To a degree.
PINSKY: OK. All right. Go ahead. I know how quiet and understated you are. Let`s put it that way.
MANETTE: But in this situation, this right here. If you told me that this woman said she was hearing voices or that she was psychotic or she was schizophrenic or whatever the label is, I would believe you, because this is above and beyond what is normally, you know, violent, crazy, evil, vindictive behavior, the things that I see typically.
This goes to another level. So, if this can be accused or explained away by something biological, I`m OK with that.
PINSKY: They`ve said she was in a blackout drunk, but I deal with lots of people who are blackout drunks and they don`t do horrible stuff. Got to go, guys. Against the clock. Thank you, panel. "Last Call" is next.
PINSKY: Sam, the "Last Call" goes to the Twitter verse. @ChristineAC321, put it up there. "I think it`s great that you and your guests interact with your viewers. It makes us feel more involved. Thanks." Sam, I know you`ll say on Twitter during the show, yes?
SCHACHER: Yes. I do. I think it`s fun to interact with the viewers and see what they have to say. So, please continue to do so.
PINSKY: "After Dark" starts right now.