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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
CNN Special: Making The Case
Aired October 19, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone, tonight, a CNN Special, "MAKING THE CASE."
Four of the biggest crime stories in the country, we break them down. case by case, and we start with breaking news tonight.
Within the last hour, we learned that two convicted murders on the run have been captured. They were serving life sentences in Florida, but just walked out of prison. We're going to go live to Florida with breaking news on their capture.
And this, a young woman's lifeless body is found in the bathtub. Her husband, a former doctor, is on trial, accused of drugging and drowning her so he could be with his mistress. He says he just couldn't save her.
Also, two young women say they were raped, a case that has torn their town apart. And some believe the accused won't even get tried, because he comes from a powerful political family. And finally, heartbreak after a bullied young girl takes her own life. You won't believe what some kids were writing online, even after her death. With prosecutors going back to the alleged bullies' parents. That's all straight ahead here on CNN.
But as I said, we're going to begin with some breaking news. The massive manhunt for two convicted killers, mistakenly released from prison, is over. Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins, captured tonight, together, without incident, at a west Florida motel.
CNN's Nick Valencia joins us now live, from near the prison, in Carrabelle, Florida, where they were both mistakenly released just a few days ago. So Nick, what can you tell us about their capture?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Their capture happened just a short time ago, Don, at 6:40 Eastern, just a few miles away from where we are in Panama City Beach, Florida. They were in a motel together. There was some speculation that they might have forged these documents together. We didn't know the extent of their relationship, but we do know that they were captured together.
The common denominator for both these suspects, as you mentioned, Don, is that they were both housed here at this correctional facility behind me. One of the suspects that was on the run got out on September 27th. He was released using those fraudulent documents. The other suspect, Charles Walker, released on October 8th, and they've been on the run since, but for all intents and purposes, they were living very normal lives after they got out.
We heard a press conference earlier today from the families of both those suspects, pleading with both Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker to turn themselves in. Hours later, we don't know the extent or the circumstances of how they were arrested, but those arrests did happen, just a short time after the press conference, where the mother of Charles Walker begged her son to turn himself in. We also heard from the so-called father figure of Joseph Jenkins, who also made a plea to his son.
But the real irony in all of this is the finger pointing by the agencies that were involved in this, in this mistake. The Florida Department of Corrections pushed forward this order for their early release. Again, reiterate they had forged documents. They pushed it back on the court, saying that the court ordered this, they didn't have any legal stature at all to push back on this order, but no one really wanted to take responsibility for the mistake.
And there is still, at this time, despite those two arrests, still no clear answers as to how this happened. But the arrest did happen a short time ago, it involved the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as well as U.S. Marshals, and it is important to reiterate there was no incident during this arrest. They were taken into custody without incident. Don?
LEMON: All right, Nick Valencia reporting. Nick, thank you very much for updating us on that breaking news. I want to bring in our legal panel here. They're going to be with us throughout this entire hour. Former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin, it's always good to see you, Sunny, and criminal defense attorney, Danny Cevallos, here in the studio as well, good to see you (inaudible) breaking news earlier, and defense attorney Mark Geragos joins us now live from Vancouver. Hey, it's a reunion, so to speak.
SUNNY HOSTIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It sure is.
MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It is kind of a reunion tour.
LEMON: It certainly is. Listen, they were under -- before we get to talking about how they did it, investigators -- officials in Florida were under tremendous pressure to capture these men, correct?
HOSTIN: Oh, they sure were, and I mean the fact that one was released September 27th, the other one was released October 8th. They weren't sure if this, you know, was done together or separately. And I've got to tell you, this is bungling that I just haven't seen before. It's like Keystone cops bungling. Especially because if you look at the motion, the motion was apparently, supposedly filed by prosecutors to reduce sentences. That doesn't happen. Prosecutors rarely if ever do something like that.
LEMON: Let me explain what happened here, get into sort of the minutia, so to speak, the details, and then we can go into what happened. The legal looking documents that set these men free, contained bogus reproductions of signatures, including attorneys and Judge Belvin Perry. It had the seal of the Orange County Clerk of Courts office. In other words, someone worked very hard to make these documents look real, but no agency is taking responsibility. Who should have caught this, Danny?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well it's not a question of who should have caught this. It's -- the system itself is disorganized to begin with. I have had clients who were released early accidentally. I've also had clients who probably were held a little longer than they should have, I've seen that happen. I'm sure Mark has had similar things happen.
The people who are calculating the time served are not always paying as much attention as the actual inmates are, to how long they've been there. And it is essentially a very complex system. I was saying earlier that you can find these orders online, judges post their orders on the court's website. You can find -- I found -- and that signature you're looking at, I found that on the ninth circuit's website two hours ago with about four clicks.
LEMON: And Belvin Perry says his signature is very easy to copy, right?
CEVALLOS: Well it's easy to copy in the sense that all I had to do was crop it on a PDF, and stick it on a document (inaudible).
HOSTIN: Well I don't even think that's the issue. The bottom line is, before someone gets released, there's a system of checks and balances, at least in the jurisdictions that I've practiced in, and I haven't practiced in Florida. But the clerk's office has to check it --
LEMON: Florida's a strange place.
HOSTIN: It's a very strange place. We know that know. You know, the clerk's office has to check it, the judge's chambers are typically called, the government, the state's attorney's office -- or the U.S. Attorney's office is called. People aren't just given these documents, and then released.
LEMON: And that's a good point, because Mark, listen, someone in social media made a very good point to me, they said Don, any time you get documents like this, where someone's sentence is going to be reduced, or released or whatever, it should be originals with a raised seal and original copies, original signatures.
GERAGOS: I -- you know, to me, this is -- it shows you in this kind of internet age how easy is it to forge documents. The most stunning thing about all of this, is that these were guys who had life sentences. These were not somebody who was sentenced to 180 days and was released after ten days early because of overcrowding or anything else.
These are people who were not even eligible under a prima facie basis for parole. And you would think that somebody at least would have been able to check, and they would check. And now I just love the fact that they are each pointing at each other, and you know, the Department of Corrections is pointing at the clerk of the courts, and the court -- clerk court is pointing their finger at them.
It just shows you, nobody -- whenever one of these things happens, this is always -- what I always call the newspaper test. Nobody wants to be the one who reads about in the paper, that they were the ones responsible for somebody being released.
LEMON: Yes. I want you to ponder this. Mark O'Mara, remember, the famous defending -- for defending George Zimmerman, says forgeries like these could be going -- George Zimmerman, forgeries like these could have been going on for years, and so ponder that --
HOSTIN: That's right.
LEMON: -- because we're going to talk about that in just a minute. Before we get to that, one young man watched his father die at the hands of one of those convicts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My life would have been different if I wouldn't have saw it, but I saw it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: We'll hear from the families of the people these men killed, next.
LEMON: Welcome back, everyone, to our CNN special, Making the Case. And once again, breaking news, convicted killers Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker have been captured. While authorities searched for them, the families of the men they killed feared for their lives. CNN's John Zarrella has that part of the story for us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker are convicted murderers. They're supposed to be locked up, serving life sentences. But both walked right out the front door of a prison in Florida's Franklin County. One victim's family is both angry and unnerved.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And now to have to know that he's free on the streets is frightening.
ROSCOE PUGH III: Now, a convicted murderer is on the street again. For what? To get out and kill again?
ZARRELLA: It set off a statewide manhunt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are dangerous. They demonstrated the propensity for violence with firearms. So we want to make sure that we get them back into custody before there is any other harm to the community. ZARRELLA: Jenkins was released on September 27th, and Walker on October 8th. So how could it happen? Forged documents, sent to the Department of Corrections, ordered the releases, and on them the signature of Orange County judge, Belvin Perry. Because he's a high profile judge, Perry says he sees how it's possible no one would question his signature, and he's not entirely surprised.
JUDGE BELVIN PERRY: People, particularly people with criminal minds, come up with ingenious ways to beat the system.
ZARRELLA: Who filed the forged documents? We don't know. But what they did was this, they filed the fraudulent motion to correct what they called an illegal sentence. In the case of Jenkins they signed that with the name of the assistant state attorney. Then they filed a fake order with the forged signature from Judge Perry.
PERRY: They get my signature, which is posted on every major website during this time period, in the case of the State of Florida versus Casey Anthony, and voila.
ZARRELLA: The order reads, quote, granting motion to correct illegal sentence. In the body of the order, it reads in part, quote, the jury verdict found the defendant guilty of a lesser included defense, third degree murder. Both Jenkins and Walker lived in the same area of Orlando.
The two murders took place within a few miles of each other, a year apart. There is an empty lot now, where in 1999, Walker shot to death Cedric Slater, a man he claimed was bullying and threatening him. In 1998, Jenkins killed Roscoe Pugh in front of his family during a home invasion. Pugh's son was nine years old at the time, and saw it.
ROSCOE PUGH III: He was betrayed by a friend, and his friend came in and he killed him, in cold blood, in front of his kids.
ZARRELLA: So how did authorities find out the two men were on the loose? From Cedric Slater's mother, that's right, the mother of one of the victims. She went to the state attorney's office, wanting to know why her son's killer was free. The state attorney's office then notified the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Department of Corrections.
Slater's mother, Evangelina Kearse, showed CNN the letter she got from the Department of Corrections, notifying her of the release of her son's killer. When she talked with the assistant state attorney, he told her --
EVANGELINA KEARSE, SLATER'S MOTHER: "I did not sign that order of release," he said, "somebody been forging names". And when he said that, I almost went into shock.
ZARRELLA: And this might be the height of arrogance. Both men, within days of their release, went to the Orange County jail, filled out what's called a compliant registry form, and were fingerprinted, two murderers who scammed their way out of prison now following the letter of the law. John Zarella, CNN, Orlando. LEMON: We're going to get a reaction from our panel on that in just moments. First, I want to get back to CNN's Nick Valencia, some new details on the convicted murderers accidental release from Florida prison, and now captured. What do you know, Nick? VALENCIA: Hey Don, I just got off the phone with the U.S. Marshals service in Washington. They gave us some new information, details surrounding the arrests of both Charles Jenkins -- Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins. We've learned that the U.S. Marshals were the main force making the arrest. They did that in conjunction with the fugitive task force. The arrest was made at 6.20 this evening, in Panama City, at that motel room. They said they received some critical information that put both Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins in Panama City Beach yesterday. They worked in conjunction, they said, with the Bay County sheriff's office, as well as the Panama City police department, to make the arrest. Don.
LEMON: Nick Valencia. Nick, thank you very much. We're going to get back now to our CNN legal panel. First up, Mark Geragos is here, Danny Cevallos is here, and also our Sunny Hostin here as well First to you, Mark. Joseph Jenkins was freed on September 27th, Charles Walker on October 8th, so more than a week apart. But they were together at a motel. Wouldn't that suggest that they planned this whole thing out, and planned it together?
GERAGOS: Well I think that clearly it suggests that they were in cahoots. I love the fact -- this added fact that was just reported, that they went there and they actually were fingerprinted, and they were complying with their parole registration, which is amazing to me.
And somebody just tweeted, and I have to agree, it really is an ingenious prison break. I mean when you think about the idea that somebody just puts all this paperwork together, then they fax it over, or do whatever to the Department of Corrections. The Department of Corrections lets them out, and then they're -- they go about their business in terms of registering. I echo Judge Perry when I -- when he says the criminal mind is very ingenious.
LEMON: I see Danny is shaking his head like I agree, I agree, but I mean listen, the big question though to Danny and Sunny, do these victims' families really have any legal recourse?
HOSTIN: I don't think so. I mean, what do you think? I don't think so. I mean what are the damages? I mean maybe intentional infliction of emotional distress, because they were so freaked out over this month, or two or three weeks, but ultimately they were captured, and that's what we want, right.
LEMON: But they are never going to make that -- Sunny, they can't make that, because of sovereign immunity.
HOSTIN: Yes, I agree.
CEVALLOS: Yes, they are never going to make it, because at best it's negligent or reckless, and then you're talking about sovereign immunity. This is not suing McDonald's. This is suing the government, and the government only gets sued when it says you can sue me, and that's it.
LEMON: All right, stand by, guys. Sex, lies, and a mistress named Gypsy. The murder trial of the Utah doctor accused of killing his wife centers around a bathtub.
LEMON: Welcome back, everyone, to our CNN special, MAKING THE CASE. You know, it's not often that you see a bathtub in a courtroom, but prosecutors wheeled one in to a Salt Lake City court to prove a point. Former Utah doctor Martin MacNeill is accused of killing his wife, Michelle, a mother of eight, to be with his mistress, named Gypsy. CNN's Jean Casarez is tracking the trial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE DEREK PULLAN: The court will call the matter of state of Utah versus Martin Joseph MacNeill.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: The sensational murder trial of prominent doctor and lawyer Martin MacNeill, began Thursday, in a Provo, Utah courtroom.
PROSECUTOR SAM PEAD: He explained to a final witness that he can get away with things, and stated that one of the things he had gotten away with was killing his wife, that he was glad the bitch was dead.
SUSANNE GUSTIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Investigators cherry picked certain parts of Martin's life that they perceived to be indicative of guilt. And as a result, in their zeal to try to prove their perceptions, the investigators engaged in practices that were not aimed at finding the truth.
CASAREZ: MacNeill is accused of killing his wife, Michelle, a former beauty pageant contestant. The MacNeill's lived what seemed to be a charmed life. Yet their almost 30-year marriage came to a tragic end one April morning, in 2007.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MARTIN MACNEILL: My wife's fallen in the bathtub!
911 OPERATOR: Who is in the bathtub? Who's in the bathtub?
MACNEILL: My wife!
911 OPERATOR: OK, is she conscious?
MACNEILL: She's not! I'm a physician, I need help! I'm a physician!
911 OPERATOR: Sir, I can't understand you, OK. Can you calm down just a little bit.
MACNEILL: I need help! She's under water, and I need an ambulance! (END AUDIO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: Michelle was found dead in their bathtub in their home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, by their youngest daughter, Aida, who was six years old at the time. MacNeill is accused of killing Michelle, so he could be with his mistress. He says his wife accidentally died.
Prosecutors say that they will show evidence that he poisoned her with an overdose of medication, when she was recovering from a facelift, a facelift prosecutors say he forced her to have. Medical examiners found a powerful mix of drugs including valium, Percocet and Ambien in her system.
CHAD GRUNANDER, PROSECUTOR: I will say we are aware of the challenges that we face in this case, but we make no excuses.
CASAREZ: Since her mysterious death, Michelle's two oldest daughters have been showing support for their mother, and accusing their father of the unthinkable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My mother is a just wonderful human being. She deserves justice. She should never have trusted my father.
CASAREZ: Among the state's star witnesses will be at least one of his daughters, part of the effort to send him away for life. Prosecutors say MacNeill was carrying on an affair with Gypsy Willis, who moved into the MacNeill home as a nanny, shortly after Michelle's death.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My mom deserves this, she deserves justice. My father orchestrated this whole plan on how to murder my mother.
CASAREZ: In an important pre-trial ruling, Judge Derek Pullan determined the jurors will not be allowed to hear what Michelle allegedly told one of her daughters that, quote, if anything happens to me, make sure it wasn't your dad.
MacNeill has pleaded not guilty to charges of first degree murder and obstruction of justice. He insists his wife's death was an accident, and that he was at work the morning she died.
GUSTIN: The prosecution has continued to cling to its faulty belief, despite evidence in the case, which shows that Michelle MacNeill died of natural causes.
PEAD: This case is a puzzle with many pieces, pieces that are required to show you a complete picture of what happened to Michelle MacNeill on April 11th of 2007.
CASAREZ: Jean Casarez, CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Back now with CNN's legal panel. Dennis Cevallos, this is for you, because on the 911 call, we could hear Martin MacNeill just losing it, and screaming, and then hanging up. So let's play it again.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: Sir, what's wrong?
MARTIN MACNEILL: My wife's fallen in the bathtub!
911 OPERATOR: Who is in the bathtub? Who's in the bathtub?
MACNEILL: My wife!
911 OPERATOR: OK, is she conscious?
MACNEILL: She's not! I'm a physician, I need help! I'm a physician!
911 OPERATOR: Sir, I can't understand you, OK. Can you calm down just a little bit.
MACNEILL: I need help!
911 OPERATOR: OK, she's unconscious?
MACNEILL: She's unconscious! She's underwater!
(END AUDIO CLIP)
LEMON: Neighbors testify though that there was no water in the bathtub, and Michelle's hair was not wet.
CEVALLOS: Yes. First I have to say, I have to credit Dr. Drew with this one, but he pointed out that -- and it's true -- medical professionals are trained to not hit the panic button. I have medical professionals in my family. They just don't have a panic button the way the rest of us do. So there -- that is something I think is interesting.
At the same time, I think we get into dangerous ground when we talk about what is -- how I would act during a 911 call, how I would act in an emergency. Everybody reacts differently in times of emergency, and God-willing you don't have to go through that to find out how you would behave on an actual 911 call. But look, this case is heavy on suspicious behavior by this doctor, but light on the science, and that's the prosecution's biggest problem.
LEMON: You're right about that, the way -- and even the way news people handle emergency situations as well, which is we get very calm, and -- you know what I mean. Like my friend is an ER Doctor, and I remember once he was -- he actually had a reaction, and he was like I want you to go do this, and I went to my bag, and I would be like OK, what do I do? So you're right about that, you're right about that.
You know, Mark Geragos, MacNeill's two oldest daughters say he insisted their mom get the facelift, and the plastic surgeon testified that it was Martin who asked for the extra painkillers for Michelle. But when she was found dead, neighbors say he was saying, well, why would you do this because of all your stupid surgery? I mean, isn't he just trying to cover his own tracks?
GERAGOS: Well, look, Danny is so right. In cases like this, one of the reasons they gain the traction that they gain in the media is because, I mean here you've got a mistress named Gypsy, you've got a -- the daughters turning on the father. I mean it's the stuff of Greek tragedies. And you have very little evidence, but you've got you know, character assassination, basically, and that appeals to people.
And this, you know, whether somebody acted right on the 911 call, can you imagine if he had had a flat affect? People would be second guessing him, and they would be saying look, he doesn't sound very emotional, he didn't sound concerned, he had a flat affect, blah blah blah. So I mean, those kinds of things to me are sensational. They aren't really evidence.
I think the devastating thing for the defense, is they have to really kind of handle, and somehow mute is the fact that the daughters are there in court thinking that their father is a murderer. That is -- if you're the defense lawyer, to me that is the single worst fact I have to deal with, because that's the perception those jurors are going to have. Those jurors are going to be very swayed by that, even if they're not supposed to be.
LEMON: I was looking off camera, because somebody's over here being very animated.
HOSTIN: Well it's very funny, I never agree with these guys, right, I never agree with Mark Geragos, I never agree with Danny, but I agree with them this time, and I think it's perhaps because I'm married to a doctor, and the science here doesn't make sense. I mean I think if my husband wanted to take me out, he could. He could do it in a very surreptitious (ph) way. He knows anatomy, he knows chemistry, he knows physics. Why would this doctor do this in this way? Why would he give her (inaudible)? It's weird.
GERAGOS: Sunny, he would never force you to have a facelift.
HOSTIN: No, he would not.
GERAGOS: Your husband would never force you to have that facelift, and I mean why is he going to go through all of this extra effort? I mean it really is kind of ludicrous when you think about it.
HOSTIN: It is strange, and really doesn't make sense.
GERAGOS: I'm going to force her to have a facelift, I'm going to give her drugs and then I'm going to have her drown in the bathtub.
LEMON: All right, stand by, stand by. When Making the Case returns, a 12-year-old girl jumps to her death saying she can't take it anymore. Now two of her classmates are charged with allegedly taunting and bullying her. And we've got a third arrest to tell you about.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Just days after two young girls were arrested for bullying a 12-year-old girl who took her own life, now the mother of one of the suspects is under arrest on unrelated charges of child abuse. CNN's Rosa Flores walks us through the bizarre twists and turns in this tragic story.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A month after 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick jumped to her death from one of these abandoned cement silos, police have arrested two juveniles who they said bullied her online. One of them is accused of bragging about it.
GRADY JUDD, SHERIFF, POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA: Guadalupe Shaw had no emotion at all upon her arrest.
FLORES: 14-year old Guadalupe Shaw and 12-year-old Kaitlyn Roman have been arrested and charged with aggravated stalking. Following the arrest, Kaitlyn's father told the CNN affiliate there are two sides to every story. The family hasn't responded to CNN's request for comment. Guadalupe's parents spoke with Chris Cuomo on CNN's "New Day."
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: To the best of your knowledge, is your daughter a bully? Do you think she bullied this girl Rebecca?
JOSE, PARENT OF ACCUSED BULLY: No. No, she didn't
VIVIAN VOSBURG, PARENT OF ACCUSED BULLY: My daughter's not that type of girl to do something like that.
JUDD: They're just in absolute, total denial. This bullying has gone on since last November, both in person at school and over the cyber world. We've got legions of evidence and witnesses.
FLORES: Evidence police say that same from the laptops and cell phones of a total of 15 girls at Crystal Lake Middle School, who wrote messages like, "nobody cares about u," "i hate u," "you seriously deserve to die."
TRICIA NORMAN, REBECCA SEDWICK'S MOTHER: Justice is finally being served.
FLORES: Police arrested Guadalupe and Kaitlyn after Rebecca's mother Tricia Norman saw this message on Guadalupe's Facebook page. "Yes I know I bullied Rebecca and she killed herself but I don't give a blank."
CUOMO: How do you explain the Facebook message?
JOSE: At 1 o'clock in the morning I grabbed the computer and I took it to my home, because that's what we've been doing. We took the computer to her room, and the only other thing that she could have used to send this message was my cell phone. And my cell phone is always with me.
FLORES: Rebecca's family said the bullying happened on several sites like Twitter, Instagram, Ask.fm and Kik.
CUOMO: You don't know about what your daughter's activity was on these sites, if any?
VIVIAN: I never once come across those web sites that they're saying that my daughter was on, because the only one that she had was Facebook.
JOSE: To our knowledge.
NORMAN: This is our family vacation that we --
FLORES: Rebecca's mother said she tried to stop the bullying by taking her daughter's cell phone, deactivating her Facebook account and moving her to another school. But none of those things worked.
NORMAN: She stopped telling me about it in June.
FLORES: Police say the night before Rebecca killed herself, she messaged a boy she met online. "I'm jumping. I can't take it anymore." The trigger for the bullying that police say led to Rebecca's suicide?
NORMAN: It was over a boy that she was 'dating,' as only 11-year-olds can date. One of her friends were sending him inappropriate messages and she told her that she didn't want to be friends with her anymore, and they started calling her a goody-two shoes because she didn't agree with what was being said.
FLORES: This is the former boyfriend. He's 14.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It shocked me, it made me mad.
NORMAN: My little girl lost her life because she felt she was worthless -- because that's what everybody kept telling her. She was beautiful, she was smart, funny, she wanted to go into the Air Force and she wanted to be an astronaut.
FLORES: Instead, she has a Facebook memorial page that reads "Stop bullying. No one deserves to feel worthless."
Rosa Flores, CNN reporting.
LEMON: Well I want to bring back in now our legal panel. Former federal prosecutor, Sunny Hostin, and criminal defense attorney, Danny Cevallos. And bear with me here in studio. Of course defense attorney Mark Geragos joins us live from Vancouver. He couldn't be with us because he's just too fancy, right?
HOSTIN: He's so fancy.
LEMON: He can't be with us.
HOSTIN: Mark Geragos.
LEMON: So, listen, as you know, these two young girls are charged with aggravated stalking, Danny. Is that the strongest charge for a case like this?
CEVALLOS: Well, when it comes to cyber bullying, one of the truths is that simply the law cannot keep pace with technology. When you traditionally think of stalking or harassment, you think of the guy in the hedges waiting outside your house with binoculars. And I think originally maybe that's what was envisioned, but the law never envisioned as it was written, cyber stalking, cyber bullying -- these are things that the laws today -- I mean the law can never keep up. So technology --
LEMON: It needs to be brought into the present.
CEVALLOS: -- and then there's other part too. I mean, at what point -- you have to be careful that you define -- if you're going to define this speech, like those Facebook comments. If you're going to judge it, you have to judge it by its content objectively. You cannot judge it simply by the effect on the hearer. In other words, you can't say that, hey, this is a crime because someone was upset. We have to be careful that we don't criminalize, and here's the other part too. If you apply these laws too broadly, you're going to start locking up a lot of kids in the juvenile system.
LEMON: OK, OK, OK, OK -- whoa whoa whoa whoa.
HOSTIN: Should lock up the parent.
LEMON: I hear this all the time about language about on the internet. If we can, on the internet, on Facebook and even on Twitter, if you can stop certain types of photographs and pictures and content --
LEMON: -- from being put on it because it's offensive --
LEMON: -- then why can't you do the same thing with language? I don't buy that.
HOSTIN: I think you can. I think you can. I'll tell I you think that we are -- we've come a long way when it comes to cyber bullying.
GERAGOS: Because there's this meddlesome thing called the First Amendment.
HOSTIN: Yes, but Mark, but Mark, we've come a long way. There are bunch of cyber bullying statutes in a bunch of states, but I've got to tell you. You know what I think would stop this? Prosecute the parents. We prosecute parents all the time if kids are drinking in their homes and they've provided alcohol -- we prosecute the parent. Then why, if you're providing your kids with a phone --
GERAGOS: But, Sunny, Sunny -- look at the language.
HOSTIN: -- wait, wait, or you're providing your kid with a computer and you're not monitoring, guess what? On my watch, you're getting prosecuted, and that's where the law needs to go.
LEMON: (Inaudible) go ahead, Mark.
GERAGOS: You're going to tell me, look, you're going to tell me, I mean, look, I've been through raising teenage girls. I've nothing -- nothing is more vicious, frankly, than teenage girls. I mean, they are mean, mean at certain areas, at certain times, they gang up on each other, I mean it's just part of what goes through girls getting raised and raising girls. But the language here was 'I hate you', 'you seriously deserve to die,' things like that.
HOSTIN: 'Why don't you go kill yourself'?
GERAGOS: You're getting perilously --
HOSTIN: Come on.
GERAGOS: 'Why don't you go kill yourself'? Look, I'm not saying that's good. Would I want that to happen to my kids? Absolutely not. But at the same time, kid -- this is what kids do and they
HOSTIN: No, they don't do that --
LEMON: No, no, no.
GERAGOS: Kids go through this.
GERAGOS: You can't -- criminalizing everything.
HOSTIN: I can't agree with that, no, I can't agree with that.
CEVALLOS: The computer is a different concept, guys.
LEMON: 'You should go kill yourself' -- that is hate speech, I'm sorry.
GERAGOS: 'You should go kill yourself' is not a crime.
LEMON: It should be a crime, that's the point.
CEVALLOS: Meanness unfortunately is part of the human condition. It is so arrogant of us to think that --
CEVALLOS: -- we can simply outlaw the cruelty that is unfortunately a human condition.
HOSTIN: But it goes further than that.
LEMON: OK, stand by, we're going to have a lot more -- we have a lot more time to talk about it. Unfortunately, not right now, though, OK?
HOSTIN: All right.
LEMON: I promise you. When "Making the Case" returns, a young man is accused of rape and a town is divided while some believe it's a case that we'll never see go to court.
LEMON: Two teenage girls have a sleepover. They have a couple of drinks, they call some boys and decide to sneak out. Now, according to the girls, they were later sexually assaulted. One of the suspects, a former high school football star. As CNN's George Howell reports now, the case would divide a town and even send one teen's family packing after numerous threats.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Behind the small town veneer of Maryville, Missouri, you find a community struggling with a big problem, one that's pitted families against families -- a chasm caused by allegations of sexual assault that date back nearly two years. The word of two teenage girls against three boys -- one of them a high school football player from a prominent political family. Daisy Coleman was just 14 years old when she believes she was raped.
DAISY COLEMAN, ALLEGED VICTIM: I really did blame myself for the longest time. I really felt guilty for what had happened to my friend also. I felt like she was my little sister at the time and I really did blame myself for everything that did happen that night.
HOWELL: Daisy was at home with her 13-year-old friend Paige for a sleepover to watch scary movies together. But then Daisy admits --
D. COLEMAN: That night we also started drinking some, and then I began texting a boy on the football team, Matt, and he agreed to come pick me up at my house. So me and Paige snuck out of my window around 1:00 a.m.
MELINDA COLEMAN, DAISY COLEMAN'S MOTHER: It didn't seem like a situation where kids were hanging out, drank too much, got carried away. It seems like they came with a plan, they picked the girls up from the house, they drove them the three miles to their house. They accomplished a lot of damage in less than an hour and had them back in my yard in, you know, 55 minutes.
HOWELL: Sheriff Department records show Matthew Barnett who was 17 at the time and his 15-year-old friend admitted to having sex with the girls but both claimed it was consensual. Authorities say a third boy captured it on video. Robin Borlan says her daughter is still recovering. Paige told CNN's Gary Tuchman that she has flashbacks.
PAIGE PARKHURST: I had started having a lot of night terrors, nightmares. Melinda Coleman found Daisy unconscious in the front yard, her extremities near frostbitten. She saw signs of sexual abuse on her daughter's body. She says Paige was back in the bedroom asleep, but seemed confused and out of it. So Melinda called police.
DARREN WHITE, NODAWAY COUNTY SHERIFF: From the beginning of this case, even the suspects in this case were forthright and forthcoming with their involvement and participation in everything that went on, which is why that we were, within four hours of receiving the call, able to have people in jail with arrest warrants issued and meaning that the charges had been filed.
HOWELL: Sheriff Darren White has no doubt both girls were sexually assaulted. But in the weeks to come, this case took turns that even left law enforcement confused.
WHITE: The only people's stories that have been inconsistent throughout this whole thing are the Colemans -- are the victims in this case.
HOWELL: Melinda Coleman says times became much more challenging after the incident. She and her daughter moved away from Maryville shortly after it happened. But before they could even sell their home, they returned here to find it burned to the ground. To this day, fire officials are still unsure of the cause. Both families say their girls were taunted and ridiculed at school, Daisy even admitting she attempted suicide.
M. COLEMAN: There's one charge remaining. That was the misdemeanor child endangerment charge. They dropped everything else within two weeks and never told us anything.
HOWELL: The Sheriff's Department says the 15-year-old accused of sexually assaulting Paige was dealt with by juvenile authorities. But 17-year-old Barnett and the teen who took video saw their felony charges dropped. Daisy's mother believes it's because Matthew Barnett may have gotten special treatment because of his last name. His grandfather, a former state representative.
REX BARNETT, FORMER MISSOURI STATE REPRESENTATIVE: I knew because of -- as long as I've been in politics and law enforcement -- I knew that if this thing drug on very long, I would be pulled into it some way or other just for political reasons, and so I made it -- I made it a point not to talk to the prosecuting attorney, to the sheriff, to any of the witnesses, directly or indirectly, and I stuck to that.
WHITE: The only reason the prosecutor didn't move forward with this case is because he didn't have any victims. The victims chose not to be involved in this case.
HOWELL: Prosecutor Robert Rice tells me it wasn't until he saw the girls interviewed on CNN that he realized they wanted to pursue the case. ROBERT RICE, NODAWAY COUNTY PROSECUTOR: The witnesses never told me or came up and contacted me to tell me that they had changed their mind after the moment that they invoked their Fifth Amendment right in a deposition under oath.
HOWELL: You know they say that they didn't do that though.
RICE: I understand what they say -- we've got a deposition under oath.
HOWELL: Following the interview, Rice announced he would ask for a special prosecutor to come in to review the case and determine whether charges should be refilled.
D. COLEMAN: I was more than excited. I felt like I was going to be able to work with someone who was actually excited about this case and willing to put forth a real effort.
HOWELL: So now this family has new hope that the special prosecutor will review the facts and determine whether what happened here will finally put this case in court. George Howell, CNN, Maryville, Missouri.
LEMON: Our CNN legal panel is going to weigh in on the nightmare in Maryville when "Making the Case" returns. That is just ahead.
LEMON: I want to bring in now CNN's legal panel. Former prosecutor Sunny Hostin and criminal defense attorney Danny Cevallos and also with me -- well not with me in studio -- is defense attorney Mark Geragos, he joins us live from Vancouver. Listen, a state wants a special prosecutor. So take a look at this case that we've just showed you before the break. Do you think that we -- that that will lead to charges? Do you think so, Mark?
GERAGOS: Well, look, they got a fundamental problem here. The girls now deny that they testified under oath invoking the Fifth Amendment. So, either that's a phony -- you know, we've been talking about phony documents -- either it's a phony deposition or they committed perjury, or they're going to commit perjury when they say they didn't invoke the Fifth.
GERAGOS: If they aren't cooperating, how is somebody supposed to prosecute this case?
LEMON: Yes. Danny's like 'bingo' when you said that -- do you agree? Why'd you do that? 'Bingo?'
CEVALLOS: Absolutely, because if you look at the facts of this case, the Sheriff's Department made an arrest within nine hours. They were serious about the case, they were serious about it when they arrested the suspect and the case only fell apart once it got to the prosecutor. And even now the sheriff agrees that the case shouldn't have been prosecuted. Look, if they took the Fifth Amendment -- if they took the nickel and they're not going to testify, then they -- the prosecution is going to have a huge problem.
LEMON: But, Sunny, they said -- here it is the prosecutor said Daisy and her mom were uncooperative. They said that they were always willing to testify, I mean --
HOSTIN: Yes, and I got to tell you. First of all, there are -- I used to try child sex crimes, OK? This was my specialty. Bottom line is, victims oftentimes don't want to cooperate for many different reasons.
LEMON: So it's common.
HOSTIN: They're terrified, they're traumatized. They were uncomfortable. Remember when they "allegedly," and I don't know if I believe this, said they wanted to plead the Fifth, was during a defense deposition. A defense -- defense counsel was basically cross- examining this young girl.
GERAGOS: Sunny --
HOSTIN: Wait, Mark, you know, you know rape victims have a lot of difficulty talking about what happened to them.
GERAGOS: Sunny, don't mislead people. A defense deposition --
HOSTIN: I'm not.
GERAGOS: -- does not have a separate oath. It's still an oath where you can commit perjury.
GERAGOS: So it doesn't matter if the prosecutor took it or the defense took it, it's an oath.
HOSTIN: However, this was during the defense deposition. Defense deposition. They didn't necessarily say to the prosecution 'I don't want to cooperate.'
GERAGOS: It doesn't matter. (Inaudible) perjury.
LEMON: Danny --
CEVALLOS: Sunny's making my point for me. She prosecuted sex -- juvenile sex crimes. I have defended these things, and the reality is these people who do that work, it is the most emotionally draining work. They're not in the business of bringing a case and then dropping it because of some subtle conspiracy because the kid's on the football team or maybe his great-grandfather was a general in the war.
HOSTIN: I completely disagree with that.
CEVALLOS: Listen, these are dedicated men and women. They're not going to drop a case --
HOSTIN: This could be small town politics.
CEVALLOS: -- they're not going to arrest -- I don't buy that.
LEMON: It has been reported that --
CEVALLOS: Come on.
GERAGOS: If that's the way it's being portrayed, I don't buy that for a second. (Inaudible)
LEMON: All right. It has been reported that Daisy Coleman had been drinking the night of the alleged rape and that she snuck out of the house to meet the accused. She texted him that she had been drinking, she arrived at the house and drank more, but she says she doesn't remember anything after that with her testimony. How difficult will it be to prosecute this case, Danny?
CEVALLOS: Well, there are other facts. I mean, there were allegedly videos taken and there are other witnesses there, but ultimately and unfortunately -- and Sunny did bring this up --
HOSTIN: A rape kit?
CEVALLOS: -- to be fair, Sunny did bring this up. That, well that proves sex -- I mean it doesn't -- that doesn't get us to consent, and Missouri's law is a little -- a little bit unusual because this will not be a statutory rape case. It would only be a forcible rape case.
LEMON: Sunny --
CEVALLAOS: So you're right, there is evidence of sex, but they still have to prove lack of consent.
HOSTIN: That's right. And I don't know if a girl is completely inebriated, I don't think it's that difficult to prove lack of consent.
HOSTIN: I don't think it's that difficult. We prosecute cases like this all the time, I can tell you, Don, I think this is not the last that we've heard about this case, and what I do like about this case is, social media has really put this small town on full blast --
LEMON: OK --
HOSTIN: -- and the message is you can't hide anymore. These sex crimes have to be prosecuted, and they -- GERAGOS: Wow.
LEMON: All right --
LEMON: Criminal defense attorney Danny Cevallos --
HOSTIN: Wow, Mark Geragos?
LEMON: -- former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin, defense attorney Mark Geragos who is just really off the chain there in Vancouver. My thanks to all of you, our experts, for your expert insight.
A program note for you -- Senator Ted Cruz and John McCain give exclusive interviews to CNN Sunday morning, 9:00 eastern, "STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy Crowley I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for watching. Good night, everybody.