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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Does Rapist`s Punishment Fit the Crime?

Aired September 26, 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, public outrage. A convicted Montana rapist waltzes free from jail just hours ago after serving only 31 days, even though he openly admitted he raped a 14-year-old girl. And even though the law demands a minimum of two years behind bars for rape.

Did this married schoolteacher-turned-child-predator get the punishment he deserves?

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live. Thanks so much for joining me.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JUDGE TODD BAUGH, SENTENCED RAPIST TO 31 DAYS: I owe all our fellow citizens an apology.

AULIEA HANLON, CHERICE`S MOTHER: I want justice. I want the judge removed, and I want the sentence changed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It resulted in the loss of one of our young people in our community.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He broke the law. He confessed. And he got to walk away. Who is he to decide, you know, that she`s older than her chronological age? She was 14.

BAUGH: I`m not sure just what I was attempting to say at that point. But it didn`t come out correct.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s beautiful. But hopefully, he`ll get justice.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This former high-school teacher, Stacey Rambold, is convicted of raping a 14-year-old student, Cherice Moralez, at his high school. But a judge ruled the teenager seemed, quote, "older than her chronological age" and only gave Rambold a slap on the wrist, only 31 days behind bars. A couple of hours ago, we caught up with him walking into his parole officer`s building.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Stacey. Hi, I`m Kyung Lah from CNN. Can I ask you a few questions? Are you checking in with your parole officer?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Before Cherice could see her attacker brought to justice, the teenager committed suicide just before her 17th birthday. Look at this beautiful young lady.

Her mom says the sexual abuse at the hands of her former teacher played a huge role in Cherice`s suicide. And now to add insult to injury, the victim`s mother says she has lost her daughter and any semblance of justice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANLON: He slides by on everything. I don`t know what it is. But he`s very lucky that he -- he hasn`t paid yet. You know, justice hasn`t been served yet. Not even close.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lucky or free ride? What do you think? Call me: 1- 877-JVM-SAYS. What do you think about this judge? 1-877-586-7297.

We have a fantastic Lion`s Den panel tonight ready to debate, including my hero, rape survivor, Heidi Damon, and clinical psychologist, Dr. Judy Ho. But first, straight out to Kyung Lah, CNN correspondent on the ground at the scene.

Kyung, we saw that video of you trying to talk to this convicted rapist. Tell us all about it.

LAH: Well, he didn`t really say that much to us. You saw him basically duck and run into that probation office. He spent about an hour with his probation officer signing a bunch of documents.

And when he came out, Jane, still didn`t say anything. He actually just shoved us out of the way and got into another car. So we didn`t really hear that much from him at all today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what was his mood? In other words, did he seem sort of like gloating because of this light sentence? Did he seem kind of afraid? Did he seem shamed? How would you describe his mood?

LAH: It`s really hard to tell, because we didn`t spend that much time with him. What I can tell you is that certainly he didn`t want to be on camera. He did not want the attention. He was trying to duck from us. He was wearing a hat. He was trying to have a jacket sort of -- he was tucked down into his jacket. He simply wanted to run away.

But certainly, we weren`t going to go anywhere. And the -- some of the local affiliate reporters were also here. Everyone is chasing him. People know where he lives. And so yes, he is not behind bars, but certainly every single person in this city knows who he is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, excellent work, trying to get something from him when he dashes into the building.

Now, this beautiful young girl was only 14 years old, not able to consent to sex, no matter what. Don`t we all know that by now? She killed herself before the trial started, because other kids were blaming her and bullying her. And critics say this judge just piled on with more victim blaming by basically saying, "Oh, you know, she seems older than her chronological age. She was just as in control as he was."

Straight out to my hero, Heidi Damon, a rape survivor who confronted her attacker in court. Let`s watch and then we`re going to get Heidi`s comments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEIDI DAMON, RAPE SURVIVOR: I`m not a victim. I`m the victor. The stronger and the winner. You picked the wrong woman on August 19, 2009. I survived. You have simply victimized yourself. I will be free for the rest of my life. You will be a prisoner for the rest of yours.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight into the Lion`s Den. Heidi, well said. What do you think of a 31-day sentence for this man convicted of raping his 14-year-old student?

DAMON: I -- I`m still absolutely floored by the fact that all he got was 30 days. He should still be in jail. The minimum is two years. He should have gotten at least ten years. And as far as I`m concerned, the board still needs to review this case, take the judge out of his robe for good, and they need to retry the creature. He`s not even a man. He`s a monster.

J. WYNDAL GORDON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, this case is truly outrageous. I`ve heard of rape cases in the past. I`d rather see an acquittal than for someone to be convicted and get 31 days. I`ve never heard of a judge allowing someone out of jail after 31 days after admitting to raping a 14-year-old. I mean, this guy is like twice her age. This is the most outrageous case I`ve ever seen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s the things. The judge originally said - - Judge Baugh, by the way, B-A-U-G-H -- he said he gave a lenient sentence because -- get this -- the victim seemed, quote, "older than her chronological age and was as much in control of the situation as her teacher." Well, after a huge public backlash against him, the judge then backpedaled and apologized -- kind of.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BAUGH: I made some references to the victim`s age and control. I`m not sure just what I was attempting to say at that point. But it didn`t come out correct. What I said was demeaning to all women, not what I believe in, and irrelevant to the sentencing. I owe all our fellow citizens an apology.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Straight out to the Lion`s Den.

Now, in this affidavit I`m holding in my hands, prosecutors say this married teacher starts giving this 14-year-old girl rides home from school, discusses his personal life with her, kisses her in the car, takes her clothes off and then rapes her. He also commits a sexual act on her inside his high-school office. But the judge says, quote, "Well, it wasn`t a violent, forcible, beat-the-victim rape like you see in the movies." Are you kidding me?

GORDON: What kind of movies is he watching? I mean, how many movies...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: "Chainsaw Massacre"?

GORDON: This -- this case is despicable.

ADAM THOMPSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is outrageous what this judge did. But let me point out something I think a lot of people aren`t talking about. And if you really want to change the law so people like this do get significant jail time, the laws have to be changed.

The fact that a judge like this had the discretion to even do this is really what the gut of the problem is. How could he even be allowed to suspend a sentence of 10 to 20 years in his own discretion?

If you want people like this who commit these acts go to jail, make the laws make a mandatory minimum. But then suppose when this appeal goes through, he ends up getting the two years? Is two years really enough for this?

GORDON: I don`t think you have to make the laws -- I personally disagree with mandatory minimums. But the judge does have revisory powers, even if he made a mistake at the time of sentencing. He could revise that sentence and give a harsher sentence. My understanding is the minimum is two years...

(CROSSTALK)

THOMPSON: Is two years enough? Is two years still enough?

GORDON: No, it isn`t enough. This guy should be locked away for a good long time -- for a very long time, actually. But the judge in this case, for whatever reason, he is sympathizing with a child predator. And I don`t understand it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I hate to say it. It`s a boys` club, Kelly Saindon. Let`s be real. This is a boys` club mentality.

KELLY SAINDON, FORMER PROSECUTOR: It is a boys` club. You`re so right.

(CROSSTALK)

SAINDON: It`s a boys` club mentality. She asked for it. It`s saying that she consented and that, oh, she`s acting too old for her age. It`s like giving a mature 8-year-old a driver`s license because they can form an articulate sentence. It`s so offensive. I`m outraged.

I`m outraged at the idea this judge backpedaled, because he doesn`t want to lose his job. He backpedaled, because somebody should go after him. They should petition against him. He should enforce the laws and don`t let these child predators get away with it. And say she was 14 and asking for it?

And oh, by the way, she was in charge? She`d never had sex. We don`t have anything to say other than she was unstable. That she had mental problems and he preyed on her. This case sickens me. It`s not...

(CROSSTALK)

THOMPSON: Unless you change the law -- unless you change the law, nothing`s going to be different in the future. You have...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No.

SAINDON: That`s not true! If the judge had done his job, this never would have happened. That is not true. The judge needed to do his job.

THOMPSON: You have judges with different views on everything. So you`re always ultimately going to get some segment of the population is unhappy.

SAINDON: So rape a 14-year-old and be OK with it?

GORDON: The problem with mandatory minimums is that it takes discretion away from the judge.

SAINDON: I don`t think so.

GORDON: This judge clearly abused his discretion. This isn`t...

SAINDON: The judge himself said he wanted to resentence him after the backlash. The judge himself said, "Oh, I should have given him more," if only because of the backlash. The mandatory...

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Not only does this judge not understand what rape means, the judge doesn`t even know the laws on the books. It was supposed to be a two-year minimum. And he didn`t even give him the minimum that`s on the books.

On the other side of the break, I`m holding this affidavit, and it`s a shocker. I read it through. Turns out that this teacher, who by the way was married at the time that he is preying on this 14-year-old girl, has a history. And somebody said, "finally," when he was suspended and caught in this case. Stay right there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Came here with a complaint signed by Montana NOW and Pennsylvania NOW with allegations against Judge Baugh and our reasons for filing the complaint and 140,000 signatures from petitions. If we can`t get him removed through this, there is something wrong with the system. And I know people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANLON: I`m hoping they`re going to step up and put him where he belongs, because he`s a pedophile. Pedophiles, I don`t believe they should be given second chances.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s out of jail, and former married high-school- teacher-turned-rapist Stacey Rambold was basically -- had to go through the flanks of media going into his parole office. And we tried to talk to him. He didn`t want to talk. He`s invited on our show anytime. Boy, do I have questions to ask him.

Let`s go out to the phone lines. Ronnie, Virginia, your question or thought? Ronnie?

CALLER: Hi, Jane. You`re a class act (UNINTELLIGIBLE), pretty in the face (ph).

I just want to say this. You`re talking to a man who was brutally raped and sodomized at the age of 14. Held down on the gas station floor by my cousin and his best friend. They put a blower on the end of the air hose and put it into my rectum. You can only imagine what it did to my insides. It changed my life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m so sorry.

CALLER: But I will say this. I feel for the victim and the victim`s family. But the victim is now deceased. Had that judge not been on that case and another judge, he would have gotten what he deserved. But I just think it`s sad. Because people don`t understand something. When kids or children come from broken homes, people like us get preyed on. And we need to stop it.

You know, I have a saying. I have no patience for pedophiles. I can`t stand pedophiles. Yes, I`m 6`3", 225 pounds, but I wasn`t this big when I was 13.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Ronnie, I want to thank you for your honesty, first of all. I know it takes a lot of courage to speak out like that and reveal what happened to you. You are a survivor and I applaud you, sir. And I`ve got to go to Heidi Damon. You are a sexual assault survivor.

This idea somehow that there`s real rape and then there`s sort of not- so-real rape, it`s horrifying that a judge expressed that before basically giving him a slap on the wrist. But unfortunately, a lot of people have this stereotype in their mind.

DAMON: Yes, rape is rape. It -- yes, it doesn`t matter if it was at night, in the morning, if there were three people, two people involved. Rape is rape is rape. And she was 14 years old. He`s a teacher in his late 40s. There was no relationship. It`s rape.

And I can`t believe that he`s out right now, just roaming the streets, probably hiding from everyone because everyone knows who he is. He should at least, under review, have a monitoring device on his ankle so he can`t go certain places, and he needs to be watched. No one`s watching...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You raise an excellent question. Could he commit another crime? This guy, this former married high school teacher turned rapist, this Stacey Rambold...

GORDON: ... absolutely commit another crime. But you know who I`m more interested in? And I`m going to pose the question, someone really needs to monitor that judge. And what is he into? There should be an investigation of this judge to see what type of conduct he`s into. What type of friends he has.

And I know this sounds a little absurd and perhaps even outrageous, but someone who`s that sympathetic with a known child rapist, I`m questioning what he has in his background to make him so sensitive to this rapist as opposed to the victim.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And the judge is invited on anytime, as well. I have a few questions for him, too.

Robert, Colorado, your question or thought, Robert?

CALLER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) One small thing, one large one. I`m sorry. One thing, it was the judge`s fault. I mean, members of volunteers (ph) stay in jail longer than their sentence. Also, I don`t see anybody following Mary Kay Letourneau around and calling her a rapist. And making sure she -- she`s supposed to be (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And this is what -- this is what happens. When a man gets a light sentence, everyone calls it a horrible thing. When a woman gets a light sentence, they just accept it and move on from them. Everybody turns their eye.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, first of all, Mary Kay Letourneau was at the center of a huge controversy, and we did the story day in and day out for a long time. We did not let her off easy on this show. And we all know Mary Kay Letourneau. We wouldn`t know her name if she hadn`t been at the center of a firestorm.

But let me say this. Looking at this affidavit, this Stacey Rambold, he has a history. There were complaints against him in the past years before he got his hands on this 14-year-old girl. And I can read right here from the affidavit. He was warned. There were allegations of inappropriate physical contact with students. And he was told, hands off all students. Watch your proximity to students. Treat all students the same. Take off instant messaging.

And then a girl says that she caught him looking into their hotel room while they were changing. And that there was another incident where he was wearing only a towel. And she said when she heard he was suspended in this case, she thought, finally. What does that tell you, Kelly Saindon, former prosecutor?

THOMPSON: It tells me...

SAINDON: Tells me he is a pedophile, that he has recidivist tendencies. That this is not new to him. This is the first time that someone came forward. And this is a history and pattern. This guy is a creep. He deserves longer than 31 days. And he`s going to do it again. If you recall, Jane, he violated his probation, and he`s gotten away with it thus far.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are going to talk more on the other side about what can be done to monitor him. What are his restrictions while he is out and about? And what if the mother of the girl he raped -- a girl who committed suicide -- runs head-on into him at the supermarket?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANLON: I think she`d be proud of me, I hope. If not just for this, just for standing up. She would like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANLON: I haven`t seen justice yet. Thirty days isn`t justice. We`ll see what happens. And apparently with the courts, anything can happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This rapist spent only 31 days behind bars with one day for time served after violating the terms of his agreement.

Now, this guy is going to spend 14 years on probation, but he is still not behind bars. So protests broke out immediately.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SHOUTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. So let`s take a look at what will -- what other crimes will get you 30 days in the clink. Thirty days of public drunkenness, 30 days if you`re illegally operating a boat in Connecticut. Thirty days behind bars if you damage a highway sign. And then this guy rapes a 14-year-old, and he gets 30 days.

Dr. Judy Ho, clinical psychologist, what does that tell you about the mentality of the judge, vis-a-vis, women?

DR. JUDY HO, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, Jane, he has some extreme biases against women. And this is another case of us blaming the victim, which is why so few people come forward when they`ve been raped, because they get punished by the public. The public blames them.

And this judge is just a huge example of this. And his biases have come out so many times. And then he makes this fake apology where he said that he didn`t mean what he said, and what he said didn`t make the case in this sentencing. But how is that possible? I mean, he said what he said, and he meant what he said.

And he believes that this woman was responsible because why? Maybe she`s attractive. Maybe he thought she was luring the teacher, that she was somehow at fault. They are not equals. She is a 14-year-old. And this teacher is her authority figure. We`re taught to respect and obey our authority figures.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s ignorant, that attractiveness, your level of attractiveness enters into it whatsoever.

GORDON: I don`t know whether or not she appealed to his prurient interest. I mean, this is, again -- I mean, this is one of the most despicable cases. And quite frankly, I don`t even blame the defendant. I blame the judge. The defendant admitted...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I blame the defendant. And I`ll tell you why.

GORDON: If he`s accepted responsibility for his conduct. But it`s the judge`s fault.

THOMPSON: Why didn`t anybody catch this? Why didn`t they catch this mistake? Why didn`t someone come along and say, how do you give 31 days?

GORDON: No, it`s the judge`s fault for him getting a 30-day sentence. The judge should have sentenced him for...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They caught it.

GORDON: ... for a much longer period of time. He`s out now. They actually didn`t catch it, because he`d be in jail for two years.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me end with this on this subject. He had two violations for the sex offender. As part of this sweetheart deal, he gets into a sex offender program. He gets two violations. He fails to inform his counselors that he`s having sex with a woman, and he visits unsupervised children. OK, so right there, he broke the rules, even though he got a sweetheart deal. We`re going to keep an eye on this situation.

Up next, Jodi Arias. And you will not believe what`s happening now. It`s a shocker.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: What factors influence your having a memory problem?

JODI ARIAS, CONVICTED MURDERER: Usually, when men like you are screaming at me or grilling me or someone like Travis doing the same thing.

MARTINEZ: So that affects your memory problem?

ARIAS: It does. It makes my brain scramble.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As to count one, first-degree murder...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You heard it here first.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guilty.

NANCY GRACE, HLN ANCHOR: Premeditated.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Murder in the first degree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will Travis Alexander`s family get their justice?

Will Jodi be spared the needle?

ARIAS (singing): O holy night, the stars are brightly shining.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No indecision this time. It`s life or Death Row.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Another shocker in the ongoing saga of convicted murder Jodi Arias just as we are barreling toward retrial on life or death. With a hearing just days away, somebody might be slamming on the brakes. We`ve got breaking news for you. It`s just been announced that Jodi and her defense team will have settlement talks with the prosecutor next month -- settlement talks.

Ok. How is the family of victim Travis Alexander going to feel if this murderess walks away with a deal that keeps her from the needle? A close friend of the Alexander family says they still want Jodi to get death by lethal injection.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE HALL, FRIEND OF TRAVIS ALEXANDER: They`re all united in standing firm with the same position. They want Jodi Arias to have the death penalty for the crime that she committed against Travis Alexander, their brother.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The average person sentenced to death sits on death row for about a dozen years before execution in Arizona. So it could be a long time before Travis` family gets the justice they`re seeking. But if that`s what they want, should the prosecutors then settle for nothing else? Or would a penalty phase retrial get too crazy, especially if Jodi takes the stand again?

Jodi Arias convicted of first-degree murder for brutally killing Travis Alexander, her ex-boyfriend. She stabbed him 29 times, slit his throat ear to ear, six inches across, three and a half inches deep and then shot him for good measure. Her excuse? Oh, she doesn`t remember.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you remember?

JODI ARIAS, CONVICTED MURDERER: Almost nothing for a long time. There are some things that have come back over the years. But nothing -- I don`t know if those are things that I`m thinking of from before or if it`s that day -- it`s confusing. There is like a huge gap.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to "The Lion`s Den". Should the prosecution settle this or should they go for the needle? Adam Thompson, criminal defense attorney?

ADAM THOMPSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Just let it go, already. Over $1.7 million has been spent. The message has been sent. Jodi Arias is nuts. She`s guilty. She did this. There`s nothing more to get out of this case. Let her serve life in prison. She`ll never get out and see daylight again. There`s no need to go through this again, retry this --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kinsey, Kinsey -- look at her expression. Look at Kinsey Schofield`s expression.

J. WYNDAL GORDON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I agree with counsel. I don`t think it needs to be tried --

KENSIE SCHOFIELD: I`m so physically offended by this guy. This is a woman who has a Twitter feed and constantly harasses and taunts this family with her Twitter feed. I don`t know the man`s name that just spoke before me, but if his brother had been brutally slaughtered, would he be ok with this woman continuing to have a voice?

GORDON: Would you be ok if it was your brother who brutally slaughtered his brother?

SCHOFIELD: She is devious. After the murder she continued --

THOMPSON: Listen. The death penalty doesn`t work.

GORDON: Exactly.

THOMPSON: So you`re not going to be scoring any points by putting her to death. Let her spend her time and rot in a prison cells for the next 50 years and that will show what real punishment is all about.

But I do agree she shouldn`t be able to get access to Twitter and the Internet and be posting these ridiculous things. That`s got to come --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s not rob every person behind bars of certain fundamental rights just to get back at Jodi Arias. I mean she`s clearly not my favorite person on the planet, I wrote this book, "Exposed: The secret life of Jodi Arias", which she certainly will not like because I expose her as the pathological liar that she is.

But I still think that people should be able to have Twitter feeds. Just because she`s abusing it, just like she abuses everything, doesn`t mean we should rob everybody of the right.

THOMPSON: I agree with that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now prosecutor Juan Martinez was hell bent on showing the whole world that Jodi Arias is a pathological liar and a diabolical killer. Remember, the two fought like hell in court. Let`s go back, memory lane.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

ARIAS: 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 the answer is, it`s, again, the prosecutor`s fault because you perceive him to be angry, right?

ARIAS: It`s not your fault.

MARTINEZ: Is somebody asking you whose fault it is?

ARIAS: You did.

MARTINEZ: Well, you seem to be pointing it at the prosecutor, right? So you believe the reason 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)

Straight out to "The Lion`s Den", there are risks for both of them if they go to retrial. Prosecutor Juan Martinez is wildly popular right now. I was there when there was a whole move "Prosecutor Juan Martinez for governor". If he loses again, though, Kinsey Schofield, it might start to turn on him.

(CROSSTALK)

GORDON: I was trying to figure out what leverage does Jodi Arias bring into settlement discussions. She`s been convicted. She`s facing either life or death. It seems like all the chips are in the prosecutor`s hands. You really don`t have anything to offer.

I hear this political commentary. But even if she gets life in prison and he tried to convict her, he still goes out as a fighter. So I don`t understand what --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t know.

THOMPSON: I disagree with that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kinsey, Kinsey --

THOMPSON: She brings a lot to the table to bargain because she could waive her right to appeal. Listen part of the process can be, we`ll spare you death but you have to waive your right to go on appeal. That will save the state and the government millions of dollars.

GORDON: I agree. Ok. Well, I was wondering and you answered it.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHOFIELD: Juan Martinez is invested in this in a completely different way. I do think that this is a good who is heavily invested in this because he has bonded with this family who experienced such a horrific tragedy. And I think it`s really more of a heart situation than him -- or a heart move for him than a career move. I think he wants this family to feel settled.

THOMPSON: -- going to be making the ultimate decisions.

GORDON: -- for myself. I`m just not --

(CROSSTALK)

THOMPSON: There`s people pulling his strings, too.

GORDON: -- I`m just not a proponent of the death penalty.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`ve got all of these people -- these factors. You`ve got the prosecutor, you`ve got the defense team, you`ve got the prosecutor`s boss, by the way, the state attorney, Bill Montgomery.

Then you have Travis Alexander`s family. Now, they want Jodi to get what she gave -- death. And a lot of viewers who were glued to the trial, they`re also demanding more than just life behind bars.

Listen to this viewer who called HLN just a little while ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARY ANN, OHIO (via telephone): I think she needs the death penalty. There is no doubt she`s guilty. If she doesn`t get the death penalty, she should be in solitary confinement, have no contact with the outside world, no Twitter, no texts, no friends putting stuff on the media. And really the needle is too easy for the way she killed him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And should I remind you of the crowds that were cheering outside the courthouse after the guilty verdict was announced? I was right there. A retrial is going to be expensive. It`s already cost nearly $2 million just for Jodi`s defense. Everybody thinks that`s the total cost. No. That`s just for Jodi`s defense.

But then again, on the other side, there`s people who are hungry for execution. And you may not be in favor of the death penalty, J. Wyndal Gordon. I am certainly not in favor --

GORDON: Unapologetically.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m not in favor of any violence. I am completely anti-violent, that`s why I`m a vegan. I don`t wear leather and I don`t kill animals. So I`m certainly not in favor of killing. But I`m also not in favor of killing Travis Alexander. Ok. He was viciously slaughtered.

(CROSSTALK)

GORDON: For the record, I`m not either. But I`m telling --

SCHOFIELD: But you see how devious she was after she killed.

GORDON: When you sit on death row, you`re not in a regular jail setting. You`re isolated from everyone. You don`t get to interact with anyone on death row. You`re just in a cage. A cage with --

THOMPSON: Her life is going to be hell from this point forward.

GORDON: Right.

You get fed through a tray out of a jail cell. It`s very small. The sink and the toilet is connected to one another. I mean it is not a paradise. You don`t really have cable and all these other things that people think you have. You`re by yourself. You`re alone with your thoughts. And the room is probably no bigger than some of the rooms I`ve sat in to record this show. I mean it is not --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you saying that you`re being tortured right now?

THOMPSON: Are you torturing us? Are we being tortured?

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The Arias trial -- let me say this because I want to get into this. The Arias trial, ok, we were all glued to it because it was about sex, lies and very, very, very dirty secrets. Remember this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARIAS: Oh, it`s like -- it just -- it just moves and it goes so (EXPLETIVE DELETED). It felt so good. You went just where I needed it. Just went where I -- I just needed it bad. You (EXPLETIVE DELETED) me so right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Kinsey Schofield, I think one of the reasons why the prosecution may not want to ultimately go through with this, it`s a Pandora`s Box. Look at this poor family what they went through having to listen to that sex tape and hear her lie on the stand falsely accusing Travis falsely. Accusing him of being a pedophile and all sorts of things.

SCHOFIELD: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean once she gets on the stand, you don`t know -- it`s a runaway freight train. She could hijack this retrial.

SCHOFIELD: Right. For the state of Arizona, it was a circus. We had people literally fighting in the hallways just to have a spectator seat. They don`t want to have to go through that again. And so I do think that they`re looking at it as, let`s save some time, let`s save some money.

But people are so heavily invested. This is a tabloid case. You can hear people talking about this on blogs that also talk about Justin Bieber. That`s not normal. I think that it`s in their best interest probably to try to settle with her. But people like me who are heavily involved want to put her down.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And by the way, you can check out my book "Exposed". It will be bring you up to date on the trial. Three times on the "New York Times" top bestseller list.

On the other side of the break, we`re going to talk about another very controversial case. George Zimmerman -- what`s he up to now? You won`t believe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the circuit court of the 18th Judicial Circuit in and for Seminole County, Florida, state of Florida versus George Zimmerman, verdict, we the jury find George Zimmerman not guilty. So say we all, foreperson.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop. Stop where you are.

ROBIN MEADE, HLN HOST: George Zimmerman`s estranged wife is standing by her story.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I get a call from Shellie. She`s like, oh, my God, oh, my God, George is here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn around. Walk back to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will he face charges?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Zimmerman`s wife dropping a bombshell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come to me. Cross your feet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shellie is saying that she walked around videotaping George.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s been having doubts about his role in the Trayvon Martin shooting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, explosive new drama involving one of America`s most controversial men, George Zimmerman, and specifically his estranged wife, Shellie. She is speaking out, casting doubt, major doubt about George`s self-defense claims in the shooting death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin. That`s right.

In a shocking new interview, Shellie reveals what really happened during that huge blowout she had with George and why she refused to press charges. It`s been nothing but drama, drama, dramarama since George was acquitted of murder.

Earlier this month, a panicked Shellie called 911 claiming George was threatening her and her father with a gun and then punched her dad in the nose. Shellie also told cops that she used an iPad to record the explosive showdown but George smashed it and destroyed it with a knife. Shellie didn`t press charges because cops made it clear that they`d all go to jail.

In another stunning confession, and this is the big news, Shellie said she believes the evidence but she now has doubts about what really happened the night her husband George killed Trayvon Martin.

Listen to this shocker from NBC`s "Today" show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT LAUER, NBC HOST: Do you still believe the story that we have all heard from him?

SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN, ESTRANGED WIFE OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: I`m conflicted on that. I believe the evidence. But this revelation in my life has really helped me to take the blinders off and start to see thing --

LAUER: Let me make sure I understand. So you now doubt his innocence, at least the fact that he was acting in self-defense on the night that Trayvon Martin was killed?

ZIMMERMAN: I think anyone would doubt that innocence because I don`t know the person that I`ve been married to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa. Now she tells us. Straight out to "The Lion`s Den", Jawn Murray, editor in chief, alwaysAlist.com; kind of too little too late, isn`t it?

JAWN MURRAY, EDITOR IN CHIEF, ALWAYSALIST.COM: Absolutely, Jane, because it`s not like her new admission is going to convict him of a crime that people like me think that he got away with. It`s not like it`s going to bring back a young black boy who`s dead because of George Zimmerman. No. It`s all too little too late. You should have had these confessions when the man was on trial. But you stood by his side, you supported him and people like you helped him get away with murder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are you shaking your head for, Dr. Judy?

(CROSSTALK)

GORDON: I think that it may not be too late for the family. It may give some confirmation and comfort to the family for her to at least admit that she saw what the rest of America saw and definitely more specifically what the family saw. In that respect it may offer some

THOMPSON: Jane this --

DR. JUDY HO, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: But I think that would be --

(CROSSTALK)

THOMPSON: This doesn`t change anything. This is all much ado about nothing. They`re in the middle of a bitter divorce that`s getting uglier by the day and by the minute and by the hour. I don`t believe a thing coming out of her mouth. You have to take this all with a grain of salt?

(CROSSTALK)

GORDON: Because she lied for her husband, because she was standing by her husband? She was loyal. If you can say anything bad about her, you can say that she was loyal to her husband.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey guys, I think that Adam Thompson does have a point. Listen to Shellie`s 911 call when she suddenly realizes that her estranged husband, George, is with another woman. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZIMMERMAN: Someone`s in there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse me?

ZIMMERMAN: There`s a woman in there. Oh, my God. Oh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shellie?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: "Oh, my God" is right. In her "Today" show interview, Shellie seemed to hint that George Zimmerman dumped her right after he was acquitted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZIMMERMAN: He just kind of treated me like I was disposable.

LAUER: You mean after standing by him?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, after standing by him, he kind of left and I guess kind of went on a victory tour without me. And I thought that I was living a life with him and that we were going to kind of rebuild after all of this. And he had other plans for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Exhibit A, this mystery blonde woman standing next to George Zimmerman during this confrontation with Shellie and her dad. Dr. Judy Ho, clinical psychologist, is Shellie now about revenge?

HO: Well, certainly that`s a good consideration because she stood by him while the public was firing at him. She was there the entire time. Now that he`s acquitted, like she said he`s on a victory tour. He thinks that he`s invincible. I think that there could be a piece of that.

GORDON: This is the ultimate betrayal. This is the ultimate betrayal. But she`s also saying, "Look, dummy, I know where all the bodies are buried. I know about all your lies. I can expose you, silly man."

HO: Right.

GORDON: That`s what she`s saying.

HO: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side of the break, is George Zimmerman armed and dangerous?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Izzy -- you make me dizzy, you are so pretty, Izzy. And Bea -- and I wish you could be free, all of you. And Cairo -- he says, "I`m very, very handsome. And I`m an international traveler." Hi, Cairo.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on your knees. Cross your feet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shellie Zimmerman says she questions her estranged husband`s innocence in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. But she still firmly believes racial profiling was not a factor. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAUER: In your opinion, did the justice system work here?

ZIMMERMAN: I think so. I respect the jury`s decision. They saw more evidence than I`ve seen.

LAUER: And can you look me in the eye and tell me you don`t believe your husband profiled Trayvon Martin?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, he did not profile Trayvon Martin.

LAUER: Had Trayvon Martin been white? You think the night would have ended in the same tragic fashion?

ZIMMERMAN: Yes, I do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to "The Lion`s Den"; ok. So I`m kind of confused Jawn Murray. She says she doesn`t think it`s racial profiling, but she also doesn`t really think now it was self-defense. So what the heck was it? Is he just a trigger happy guy?

MURRAY: Jane, even Stevie Wonder could see it was racial profiling. Shellie does not want to piss off the criminal justice system. She herself is on probation for doing what -- lying. She lied to protect George Zimmerman. He got acquitted for it. Now she`s mad at him. She`s saying all kind of things but she`s still protecting herself.

HO: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s what`s crazy. We don`t even know where he is, it`s like Big Foot. Nobody knows where this guy is. It`s like the Abominable Snowman.

(CROSSTALK)

MURRAY: Gun buying.

THOMPSON: But Jane do you realize Jane --

(CROSSTALK)

THOMPSON: Everybody on the panel is saying that Zimmerman`s wife and it says is a liar, this liar and this liar, that. If that`s the case, why are we giving credence to anything that she`s saying? None of it is believable.

GORDON: I don`t think she`s a complete liar.

MURRAY: She and George were together for a reason.

GORDON: I think she was convicted of perjury because of her loyalty to her husband. I don`t see her as a complete liar. I do believe some of the things that she`s saying. I do believe that George Zimmerman came to the house and attempted to assault her. I do believe that George Zimmerman had a gun. Perhaps by the time the police arrived it was in his car. I do believe it.

So I don`t see her as a complete liar. I see her as a woman who`s loyal, who`s faithful.

THOMPSON: So you`re saying we`ve got a bag of lies and you`re going to pull out little pieces of truth from a bag of lies?

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s the fascinating part.

Nobody knows where he is, it`s like Big Foot. And she can`t even serve him with divorce papers. But we do know he`s likely armed. His lawyer even said he needs his gun now more than ever.

Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tomorrow night, 7:00 p.m. Eastern, we have a fascinating story about a couple who allegedly kidnapped their own kids and took off on the high seas fearing that they were being monitored and surveiled by the U.S. government. You won`t believe it. Check it out tomorrow.

Nancy Grace next.

END