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Did Prosecutor Drop the Ball While Grilling Mistress?; Grand Jury: JonBenet`s Parents Knew Killer

Aired October 25, 2013 - 19:00:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, I will tell you why the prosecutor dropped the ball as he questioned the mistress about the murder and the motive.

This is the witness we`ve all been waiting for. I know I have. I was expecting a grilling. Didn`t get that.

The facelift murder trial`s most intriguing witness, OK? This testimony is straight from the accused doctor`s lover, mistress, little thing on the side, whatever you want to call it. Her name is Gypsy, and take a look at her.

Now, it`s becoming clear as she smiles at the defendant, her ex-lover, I want you to take a look at this woman. Yes, she may look like a soccer mom to some people, but I can tell you I spot a sultry femme fatale, all right?

Prosecutors say Gypsy Willis was the motive for murder, the reason this prominent doctor, Martin MacNeill, drugged and drowned his wife. Prosecutors say Dr. MacNeill pressured his wife to get a facelift, made sure she had all these powerful painkillers and sedatives in her system, and then took her to the tub and drowned her.

Now, one look at Gypsy, and you can see, if you study her closely, how she could have captivated Dr. Martin MacNeill. Look at those dark eyes. Look at the air of mystery. Look at the beguiling smile and the very subtle flirtation. No, it`s not her looks that captivate; it`s the air about her. Whatever that "it" is that intrigues another person, she`s got it in spades.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defendant...

GYPSY WILLIS, FORMER MISTRESS OF MARTIN MACNEILL: We were involved a number of years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you meet?

WILLIS: We met online.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the relationship become sexual?

WILLIS: It did. We would see each other about a couple times a month. There were months when we didn`t see other. It was a very casual thing. It was just whenever we had time and it could be arranged, and it was...


WILLIS: I think we probably had sex half the time. Sometimes it was just lunch.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have a fantastic panel in the Lion`s Den tonight, including famed forensic scientist Lawrence Kobilinsky, who will answer your forensic questions about this case. Give me a holler: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

I`ve to start with my dear friend, Lisa Bloom, legal analyst, Now, I thought the prosecutor dropped the ball big time. She`s like, "Oh, yes, well, we got together. A lot of times we didn`t have sex. We just had lunch."

Where was the grilling? Where were the questions that said, "Excuse me, lady, are you aware that you were having sex with a married man? Are you aware that this married man had eight kids?" I mean, we needed a little prosecutor Juan Martinez in there to confront this woman.

LISA BLOOM, LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think you`re right, Jane. What we generally want to see from prosecutors is that fire in the belly, that anger over the murder that took place, and anybody who was connected with it in any way.

On the other hand, she`s not accused of murder. It`s certainly a terrible thing to be involved with a married man. I don`t condone it, but she`s not the enemy. Let`s keep our eye on the ball. The defendant is the one who`s the enemy here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but Brian Claypool, criminal defense attorney, I mean, she skated. She skated. We know she didn`t want to be there. She was subpoenaed, and she testified as part of a plea bargain to state and federal charges. In other words, she would have rather not had this particular lunch date, and yet she gets on the stand and she`s acting like nothing to see here. "We had sex occasionally, but also we just had lunch."

Where was the moral indignation? This prosecutor is droning on. He might as well have been reading from a phone book.

BRIAN CLAYPOOL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, call the Coast Guard because there`s a big hole in the prosecution`s ship. You better throw out the life jackets because the ship is going down.

You`re exactly right. I thought I was sitting in a library watching a couple people chitchat in a library. He should have been asking her, "Is it true that you were in love with Dr. MacNeill? Is it true you wanted to marry him? Isn`t it true that you would do anything to get rid of his wife to be with him?" Make her squirm. He didn`t do that. Patent failure. In fact...


CLAYPOOL: Did you see that one part where the prosecutor said, "May I approach, your honor?" And she said yes. She`s almost like the judge in the courtroom.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my gosh! I was like, are you kidding me? Gypsy, Gypsy, that`s her name, Jillian/Gypsy described her affair with the handsome doctor as casual. And she even talked about the day his wife, Michele MacNeill, was found lifeless in the bathtub.

Listen closely. She talks through that moment very fast. It sounds very rehearsed to me.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened on that day?

WILLIS: I understand that Martin`s wife was found collapsed. He tried to resuscitate her. She is taken to the hospital, coded, and then passed away.

He told me that there was a health fair going on at his developmental center. He told me that he had picked up his youngest from school and had gotten to the house and found Michele in the bathtub.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tiffanie Davis-Henry, HLN contributor, psychotherapist, now this is the day his beautiful wife is found dead. They exchange 15 text messages, and yet she`s talking like she`s -- I don`t know, she works at some government institution and is reporting on this as some kind of expert, as opposed to the lover who was having a secret affair with the defendant at the moment that his wife mysteriously drowned under very suspicious circumstances.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, I think she worked her whatever it is that she`s got on the prosecutor. She mesmerized the prosecutor.

DAVIS-HENRY: Oh, yes. For sure. And, you know, if you notice the tone of her voice, it`s very -- if we didn`t know her, I think just listening to the tone of her voice and way in which she speaks, her voice is very soothing. I almost got sucked in, Jane. She`s very -- I can see the allure here.

But I was very surprised that they didn`t go deeper into those text messages and ask the important questions. What were you texting him? Why were you going back and forth 15 times on the day that she died and the day of the funeral? Why are all these texts? What were you talking about? What was being said?

I`m hoping that they get into that later, but it really is shocking to me. I can`t imagine any reason that he would be having this type of text conversation with his mistress on the day that his wife died and the day of her funeral, unless it was to corroborate some stories.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what I just realized? While you were talking, I`m looking at this lady. You know what came to mind?

(singing): Mona Lisa, Mona Lisa, men have loved you.

(speaking): She has that Mona Lisa smile.

DAVIS-HENRY: Doesn`t she? Doesn`t she?


DAVIS-HENRY: Doesn`t she? It will suck you in if you`re not careful, Jane. Don`t stare at it too long.

CLAYPOOL: Jane, I`m a single daddy. I`m still single, and I will tell you and I will admit, those male jurors over there, they are going to be enamored by her. I was captivated for a bit, as well. That mystery. The man likes the mystery in a woman. So she`s got it going, and the prosecutor is going to have to debunk that soon.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And it`s living proof that you don`t have to be like some hard-bodied, you know, marathon runner. She`s voluptuous, but it`s her expression, and it`s the look and it`s the voice, and she knows how to work it. Look at that. You know, she has those big eyes and the way she turns her head when she talks, right? That`s like, oh, yes, I`m going to answer you. From now on I`m going to do the show just like this.

DAVIS-HENRY: Get it, Jane, get it. I love it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you think, Lisa? Did she -- did she mesmerize and hypnotize the prosecutor to the point where he was just, you know, "OK, wait, let me answer that question?"

BLOOM: Well, it sounds like she`s...

CLAYPOOL: I`m glad you didn`t ask me that question.

BLOOM: You know, I think the important point legally is that when you`re prosecutor, you don`t want another villain in the courtroom. You don`t want the jury to hate her so much that maybe they think she`s the killer. You want to keep the focus on the defendant as the bad guy.

So, yes, they had an affair, but -- if I`m the prosecutor, I don`t necessarily want the jury to hate her. This is not about her. It`s about Dr. MacNeill.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, it`s not hard to figure out why a younger, sexy, sultry woman with those big eyes and she knows how to work it would want an older guy. Follow the money. Listen to all the bills Dr. MacNeill was footing for his seductive piece of tail.


WILLIS: I got into a nursing program in 2006 and I had to jump in without a lot of financial preparation. So I was kind of couch surfing, staying with friends at that time, and then in the spring of 2007 Martin mentioned that he had a property that he had a lease on and that I was welcome to go there if I wanted to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And who is paying for this duplex?

WILLIS: Martin already had a contract on that property.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he`s paying for the housing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did he give you a debit card to use for personal expenses?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you could use that as you need to.

WILLIS: Correct. It was an open-ended loan until I was done with school basically.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. So this called for some kind of, "So he was your sugar daddy, right, lady?" And we didn`t get that.

All right. Let`s get to the phone lines. Debra, New Jersey, what do you got to say, Debra? Do you have a question for Dr. Kobilinsky? I`m sure he`d be happy to answer it.

CALLER: My question -- I have a comment is that I`m not seeing things the way everybody is seeing it. I`m thinking -- I know that from the judge on down it`s a big yawn. This is just how it is. It`s not Juan Martinez, but I think he`s handling her great, because you want her to speak. You don`t want to ruffle her feathers. You want her to speak, and she`s doing a great job. She`s very happy. She`s the mistress. She`s going to walk away with MacNeill when he gets off. She`s so happy to be on the stand. Mesmerized by her? I`m sorry to say that she looked like a big, fat horse when she walked off the stand.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, leave horses out of it. Horses are beautiful animals.

But, you know, I want to go to Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, forensic scientist, because the forensics in this case are very weak in the sense, as we`ve discussed ad nauseam now, three state prosecution medical examiners, forensic experts, couldn`t agree on how she died.

None of them could say definitively that she was murdered, the wife. So when you lack the forensics, doesn`t that make all the other evidence all that more important, Dr. Kobi?

DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST (via phone): Well, it does. You know, this is clearly a circumstantial evidence case, but that circumstantial evidence is quite strong.

The -- the forensics of it has to do with the toxicology, and we do know what the drugs are in her system, and we know the level of drugs in her system. We know that these drugs were at a therapeutic level. That is none by themselves would cause death. However, together, taken together with the synergistic effects, you can have dramatic effects on her level of motor coordination, cardiac skills, respiratory. These systems are compromised because of these levels, and she could even have become unconscious.

And as you said, Jane, the issue is did she take these medications voluntarily or was she forced to take them? I mean, we know the outcome. She ends up in a bathtub. She ends up in water, and she`s dead. So the question is how did that happen? And that is what a medical examiner is asked to determine, but sometimes you can`t. And that`s the case...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And let me say, Dr. Kobi, if I remember correctly, it`s Ambien, Percocet, Valium, and it was a drug cocktail, suffice it to say. And he`s a doctor, and he asked for -- he asked the plastic surgeon, give her some of these drugs.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is he going to walk?

KOBILINSKY: They`re all central nervous system depressants, and any doctor knows that patients -- some patients are over sensitive to...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They shouldn`t have them in combo like this. I mean, that will get you into celebrity rehab, that combo. Or tragically dead.

Now, speaking of another tragic mystery, on the other side, what really happened to little JonBenet Ramsey? You will not believe what`s happening now. It`s another blockbuster in this mystery, and I`ll tell you why I think that it`s a form of character assassination on little JonBenet`s dad next.


PATSY RAMSEY, JONBENET`S MOTHER: If I were a resident of Boulder, I would tell my friends to keep -- keep your babies close to you. There`s someone out there.



P. RAMSEY: We`ve been said to be under the umbrella of suspicion.

JOHN RAMSEY, JONBENET`S FATHER: We think it was a pedophile. We think it was a male.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Many, many years later in 2008 a D.A. ultimately apologized to the Ramseys.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There has always been the dispute, was this an inside job by the Ramseys? Or was there an outside intruder?

P. RAMSEY: We just got up and she`s not here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There are blinders on, but they refused to look anywhere else but at the Ramseys.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight more torture, more character assassination aimed at John Ramsey by a criminal justice system that just won`t leave this poor man alone in a misguided attempt to solve the enduring mystery of who murdered his 6-year-old daughter JonBenet 17 long years ago. Yes, the Ramseys are being dragged through the mud again.

Just-released court docs say a grand jury back in 1999 wanted to indict Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey on charges of child abuse resulting in death. It suggested they knew who killed their daughter and helped cover it up.

Now, this story is something out of a movie. The kiddy beauty pageant princess went missing the day after Christmas in her parents` home. The parents said, "Oh, she must have been kidnapped," because they found a ransom note in the house, but within minutes, JonBenet`s body was found in the home`s basement.

The ransom note had been written on paper from the Ramseys` home. And that`s one of the reasons a lot of people pointed the finger at mom and dad. But they insist they had nothing -- nothing -- to do with it.


P. RAMSEY: There`s a killer on the loose.

J. RAMSEY: Absolutely.

P. RAMSEY: I don`t know who it is. I don`t know if it`s a he or a she, but I were a resident of Boulder, I would tell my friends to keep -- keep your babies close to you. There`s someone out there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, that`s JonBenet`s mother, Patsy, who remained under a cloud of suspicion until she died in 2006. It was only new DNA technology that zeroed in on a mystery man`s DNA on the little girl`s underwear. Somebody not related to the Ramseys.

Five years ago, after Mrs. Ramsey died of cancer, the district attorney announced the Ramseys had been completely exonerated and apologized to them, and now we`re back to this.

Fourteen of 18 pages released after a local paper fought to get them, and all it does is point the finger at Mom and Dad again, and here`s the thing that really gets me angry. It gives no reason why.

Straight out to the lines. And Brian Claypool, criminal defense attorney, the D.A. decided not to accept the grand jury`s recommendation and did not file charges, saying there wasn`t enough evidence. New they throw out four pages out of context, without saying what proof the grand jury had to suspect the Ramseys. Is this character assassination all over again?

CLAYPOOL: Well, Jane, I disagree with you. I think that the prosecutor should have told the community that the grand jury did come down with an indictment back in 1999. To wait all this time, not tell anybody, now tell us, and then induce us but not be transparent? That`s not right.

A grand jury, by the way, has the power to subpoena witnesses, to question witnesses under oath, to subpoena documents. That`s broader than a general law enforcement investigation. Now, if they came down and had an indictment, and the D.A. didn`t sign it, I think the community needs to know why. And we should also find out more information about this stranger, this other person that might have been involved in the killing of JonBenet.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, exactly. We need to find out about who this DNA belongs to, and the fact is...

CLAYPOOL: I agree with that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL; ... that the grand jury -- Lisa Bloom, the grand jury could have talked to 5 million people. They still weren`t down there in the basement. They don`t know who was there with the child.

There`s all this emphasis on they talked to so many people. Talking to a lot of people doesn`t solve this case.

BLOOM: I`m have you, Jane. I applaud the district attorney in 1999 who said, "You know what? I reviewed all the grand jury evidence just like the grand jury did, and I am not going to press charges against two people who are not guilty."

Now, the D.A. has a responsibility to seek truth and to seek justice and not just prosecute anybody who comes down the pike, even if the grand jury die indicts them. The grand jury is a one-sided proceeding. They only hear the state side.

This is just a historical footnote in the case from 1999. The parents were exonerated. They are victims. Their daughter was horribly murdered in their own home, and we should stop piling on them.

Iowa, what do you have to say, Brian? Brian, you`re back.

CLAYPOOL: Jane, look, a grand jury is the conscience for the community. I disagree again. You gathered people that are in the community. So they didn`t take random people that just wanted to pick on the Ramseys.

And how often have you seen a grand jury come down with an indictment and a D.A. not sign the indictment and not prosecute? A grand jury is a shield just as much as it`s a sword, and I think in this instance the community at least needed an explanation why the D.A. didn`t...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: To butcher an old cliche, you can get a grand jury to indict a veggie burger. OK?

CLAYPOOL: Hey, well, I don`t like veggie burgers anyway so you can go ahead and indict that veggie burger.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I do, but I refuse to indict. All right. We`re going to take a short break. On the other side, we`re going to talk about why her being a beauty princess may have put blinders on the cops when they saw those pictures of little JonBenet. Did they say something is wrong with these parents? Stay right there.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Although at first the murder looked like a botched kidnapping, the Ramseys were suspected. Their daughter had been struck on the head and strangled with a thin piece of cord tightened with a broken paintbrush from Patsy`s hobby kit. A ransom note inside the house contained little-known details of the family`s finances and history. And state investigators said they thought it was in Patsy`s handwriting.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: A lot of skeptics think -- still believe after all these years the Ramseys had something to do with their daughter`s murder. There was the ransom note written inside the home. The note and the bottle had been put in parts of the home somebody had to be familiar with. No footprints in the snow outside the house. The mom`s paintbrush used to tighten the rope that choked little JonBenet, but that could mean that somebody was in the house who knew the parents or who just had access to the house. Listen to this.


P. RAMSEY: If it turned out to be someone we have known and trusted in our home or has visited, I just don`t know if I can take it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, you really know this case. Is this DNA -- I`ve heard people say, well, maybe the DNA, touch DNA, could have somebody who even was in the factory putting her undergarments together. It doesn`t necessarily mean that that person is the murderer. What do you know, Dr. Kobe?

KOBILINSKY: Yes. Absolutely right. There is a drop of blood on the panties, and it`s interesting. The panties are too large for her, so there was even a question about did somebody put those panties on the child?

But you`re right. We don`t know when DNA -- when the bloodstain was deposited on the panties. But, of course, the hope now is that, if somebody commits a crime at some place, even a minor crime, and ends up on the national database, these databases have algorithms that are constantly checking forensic samples against known convicted offenders. We may end up with a matching profile, and this case breaks wide open.

But on the other hand, if this little drop of blood was deposited when the panties were perhaps made in another country in Taiwan and then those panties were shipped to America with that stain on it, then it confuses the reconstruction of the crime scene.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t know if I buy that. I mean, I buy clothes like everybody else, and I`ve never seen any clothes that I bought fresh off the rack that have come in from -- have blood on them. It`s never happened to me.

You know, I look at these photographs and I think this is one of the reasons why cops focused in on the parents, because they look at these photos, and they said, "Well, she looks like they`re dressing her up to be sexual, to be a woman when she`s just a little girl. Is there something wrong with these parents?"

And as we all know now with all these reality shows, there`s a lot of parents who dress up their kids like this, and they didn`t do anything wrong. We`re going to discuss that with a psychotherapist on the other side, and we`re taking your calls. Stay right there.


JOHN BENNETT RAMSEY, FATHER OF JONBENET RAMSEY: One of the strategies that was employed by the police was to make us look guilty so we`d have intense media pressure on us. So information leaked anonymously that it wasn`t true, that implicated us and caused people to suspect us.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Psychotherapist Tiffanie Davis-Henry, I believe that the police looked at these photos and saw this little girl all dolled up in a sexy manner and came to the conclusion something is off with these parents which there`s no connection there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A lot of people dress up their kids and put them in pageants.

DAVIS-HENRY: Oh much worse.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But do you think that could have influenced the police?

DAVIS-HENRY: I think it could have. Certainly, you know, I remember not too long ago I was a little girl and I wanted to play dress-up, I wanted to get dolled up, I wanted to put on my mommy`s makeup, I wanted to put on her shoes and her clothes and prance around and act like a big girl. Little girls want to be big girls, right?

That in and of itself doesn`t make JonBenet a bad kid and it doesn`t make Patsy a bad mom. As long as JonBenet was happy and wanted to participate in pageants and these types of activities, I don`t see anything wrong with that.

At the time of this killing, we didn`t know a lot about the underworld of pageants for little girls. And so I think it was very shocking to the public community to see a little girl in this manner. But what we know now is there are plenty of other JonBenets out there that were just like her and really enjoy the pageant circuit.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. That`s true.

Listen, I want to ask Lisa Bloom, the way that these pages are written, some say it could be interpreted to mean that the other person that they are assisting in covering up for allegedly according to the grand jury is like one of themselves. In other words, that you could read it to think John is covering up for Patsy or Patsy is covering up for John so that the individual they`re covering up for is each other.

LISA BLOOM, LEGAL ANALYST, AVO.COM: It`s always possible, but, you know, this was a brutal, sadomasochistic sexual killing of a six-year-old. Neither of these parents had any history whatsoever of child abuse. You know, child abusers don`t just start with a sexual murder of a six-year- old. There`s usually precursors and there are other children in the family who could have talked about that.

I mean this just absolutely makes no sense to link it to these parents. I get, by the way, that detectives initially, of course, look at the parents and have to analyze whether they can be ruled out or not. That`s perfectly appropriate, but by now so many years later, we know they had nothing to do with it and poor Patsy Ramsey died in 2006 of cancer and probably in part from the stress of all of this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Terrible. Of course.

BLOOM: I mean, it`s just a tragedy to me that they lost their daughter and they lost their reputations.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, you know this case so well. What exactly -- the grand jury hasn`t said why they believe that the parents new the killer and covered up. Do you have any inkling of what they could be talking about? What is this evidence?

I know they didn`t see footprints in the snow, but there was a mystery boot mark in the basement. There was a suitcase right near a window that could have been used for exit and entry. Why are they so sure it was an inside job?

DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST (via telephone): Well, Jane, they really don`t know. I mean, it`s either an intruder or it`s somebody from the inside who actually committed the crime. No footsteps in the snow.

There was a great deal of investigation at that basement window, point of entry, how could somebody get into the house, but you know, the paintbrush was used in the garage. That was Patsy`s paintbrush. The paper that was used to write the ransom note that was in the house that was Patsy`s notepad. So, I mean, I think there`s a great deal of confusion.

Listen, Jane, there`s not certainty that she was sexually assaulted.


KOBILINSKY: There was a great deal of investigation into the fact that she may have --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got it. Dr. Kobe --

KOBILINSKY: -- had a urinary tract infection.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to leave it right there. We love your information and expertise.

Up next one of the most powerful names in Hollywood, TMZ creator, Harvey Levin -- you won`t believe why he`s making news now.



GABRIELA COWPERTHWAITE, DIRECTOR, "BLACKFISH": I actually really do think that we all instinctively knew that that park and the things that go on with animals for entertainment is wrong.

You sort of cringe but then you look around and everybody is smiling and you think ok, it`s ok.

Nothing in that park is really what it seems. I thought this was a place with happy whales and safe trainers and it`s really the opposite. That`s what I have been feeling the whole time. I knew it. I knew it wasn`t what it seemed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s next --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey, little Rico, that`s me and the director of the controversial new film "BLACKFISH" which debuted last night on CNN and lots of people are talking about it. SeaWorld has denounced the film calling it distorted and misleading. You can read SeaWorld`s entire statement on my web page

Now we reached out to SeaWorld as well as these other organizations seeking to get the other side. All declined to offer a guest to appear on camera to defend animal theme parks, zoos, and/or aquariums.

Now, if you missed "BLACKFISH" last night, you have another chance to watch it this Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN. Here is a clip.


DETECTIVE REVERA: This is Detective Revera with the Orange County Sheriff`s Office. The date is February 24, 2010. The time is 4:16. In the room with me right now is Thomas George Tobin -- is that correct?


REVERA: Did you see any blood in the water or anything like that?

TOBIN: That`s part of it. She was scalped and there was no blood so pretty much we knew then that the heart wasn`t beating.

REVERA: Once they were able to pull her away, how did he let go of the --

TOBIN: He didn`t.

REVERA: He never let go of the --

TOBIN: The arm?

REVERA: -- the arm.

TOBIN: He swallowed it.

REVERA: He swallowed it? So the arm is nowhere --

TOBIN: Right.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now Rico, that was a law enforcement interview about how Tilikum the whale killed SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau. When I talked to hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons he called the film a milestone and a game-changer taking the issue of the rights of animals in captivity to a whole new level of serious discussion.

TMZ star Harvey Levin, another one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, agrees.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Harvey, you with TMZ has your finger on the pulse of popular culture. Is it cruel to keep an animal in an area that is much smaller -- much, much smaller -- than where they`d be able to roam if they were in the wild?

HARVEY LEVIN, TMZ: This is just such basic stuff. Do people go crazy in solitary? Yes. Is jail extremely uncomfortable because you`re confined to a 5 x 7 cell? Of course.

So why would it be different for an animal that is used to roaming the ocean and swimming for miles and miles suddenly to be confined by, you know, a football field or less space than that? Of course it`s different. Of course it`s confining. Of course -- I mean, it just is such basic reasoning that how could it not be?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: SeaWorld says the overwhelming majority of their animals are born in captivity. Do you think that makes a difference to the orcas?

LEVIN: I think maybe it makes some difference, but do I personally believe that animals have an innate feeling about how they`re supposed to be in the universe? Yes.

And I don`t believe that if somebody is born -- a human being is born in a jail cell that they`re going to be comfortable in a jail cell because it`s not who we are. We have legs, we have mobility, we have a brain, and that tells me that I want to move beyond that jail cell. I don`t see how an animal is any different.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What would you tell Americans to increase their compassion for other animals beyond dogs and cats?

LEVIN: For me what changed it was reading one of your books, and that was the day that I stopped eating meat. You need that experience, that one thing, that exposure to the consequences of meat on a table. And once you understand that, I got to tell you, it hasn`t been hard for me, and I feel better physically and I feel better as a human being.

Even though people are kind of aware of it, I still hear a lot of mocking -- a lot of people saying, oh, you`re one of these crazy people who won`t eat pork and then when you raise the issue of pigs, they just kind of pooh-pooh it. So I wish I could say that there`s been this dramatic sea change. Honestly, I don`t see it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to Peter Singer, Princeton University professor of bioethics and the author of the ground breaking book "Animal Liberation: the definitive classic of the animal movement".

Some people say that without zoos and aquariums, visitors would not understand or love these animals normally found in the wild. Jack Hanna spoke about it on "LARRY KING LIVE".


JACK HANNA: Tens of millions of people have gone to SeaWorld. SeaWorld, Larry, has released more whales, dolphins, sea turtles, manatees, into the wild than any conservation company in the world. They have also spent more money on research than any conservation company in the world. Their records -- you know, we all go with records. Records speak for themselves what these folks have done.

They even (inaudible) killer whales born at SeaWorld -- you know there are a lot of killer whales out in the wild there. These are ambassadors to their cousins in the wild. We have to teach people, Larry, about our animal world in the wild. If we don`t, Larry, we don`t have time left to save these beautiful creatures.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: SeaWorld says that "BLACKFISH" quote paints a distorted picture that withholds from viewers key facts about SeaWorld. Among them SeaWorld is one of the most respected zoological institutions; that SeaWorld rescues, rehabilitates, and returns to the wild hundreds of animals every year and the SeaWorld commits millions of dollars annually to conservation and scientific research.

Peter Singer, are zoos and aquariums the best way for people to understand these animals?

PETER SINGER, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: No. I think what people understand from zoos and aquariums is that animals are just ours to use and to entertain and to train to perform silly tricks. I don`t think that`s really respecting the wild. I think that zoos and aquariums teach exactly the wrong lesson.

And if you really want to get people to understand what`s going on, well, there are excellent documentaries where people have followed animals, whales, for example, out in the deep, and you can understand their social relationships, the way in which they`re a social group, the way in which the mothers care for their young. We can empathize with that.

You don`t really see that at SeaWorld. You just see performing tricks and I think it`s completely the wrong message. And if people say, well, these animals are ambassadors for their cousins in the wild, that`s totally wrong. I mean they never chose to be ambassadors, and they certainly never chose to perform the kinds of trick that they`re trained to do at SeaWorld.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, straight out to zoologist and Animal Planet`s large predator expert Dave Salmoni. Thanks for joining us Dave. The movie`s battleground is should these killer whales be kept in captivity. What do you think?

DAVE SALMONI, LARGE PREDATOR EXPERT, ANIMAL PLANET: I think in the state in which they`re kept right now the easy answer is no. I think the difficult answer starts coming in when, you know, the population declines in the wild and we start to discuss whether we want to keep killer whales around.

If that starts to happen, we need to start to figure out how we can keep the genetics around and keep them in captivity, but in a small, little, tiny tub the way they are, I think the easy answer is no, they shouldn`t be kept like that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, critics say breeding prolongs the problem and condemns the offspring to a lifetime of captivity and that they are sometimes separated from their mothers even though these animals normally remain in family groups their entire lives. What do you think?

SALMONI: I think in these cases, as I say, I don`t think the killer whale has any type of standard of living where they are, breeding programs or anything else when you can find an animal this much. That being said I do feel that zoos and aquariums at times do have a conservational effort toward other species where we know they`re getting wiped out and we need to keep them around.

So I think the discussion needs to turn to how can we make this an acceptable thing when we need them? When we have to decide do we need to step in and save this animal from extinction. In that case, how do we then have a breeding program where, you know, it isn`t so hard on the animal and isn`t so confined in such small places? I think we need to start to have a higher level and standard of what we accept in captivity.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And talk about all these issues. Dave Salmoni, thank you so much for joining us.

SALMONI: Thanks for having me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Have you ever wondered what`s the difference between a zoo and a sanctuary? Well, Rico, we`re going to tell you next.


CHRIS GALLUCCI, DIRECTOR, SHAMBALA SANCTUARY: I have to be behind an enclosure, but the reality is we do not want to be in business. We wish we were not a necessity. That`s what we are. We don`t buy, sell, breed, or trade. We use these animals for no commercial use whatsoever.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the Day. Send your pet pics to Roscoe and Rambo, I want to take you guys to a double feature -- whoo. And let`s see who we got here -- Rudy. Rudy is taking a stroll as the leaves fall. And Sister -- look at that face, oh, my gosh. What an Oscar-worthy performance, oh, Sister. Buddah -- oh, you make me want to meditate. I am so happy to see you Buddah. Is that your throng (ph)?



HANNA: At SeaWorld, animals seem happy, they`re breeding, they`re eating. I`m not sure about the life spans. I know they did a research in the wild. But is the research in the wild 100 percent? Absolutely not. I`ve been doing this for 42 years. I`ve interviewed researchers all over the world about the whales. And I still say that you have to love something to save something.

The research and education that SeaWorld is providing us is indescribable. But I hate to see that go.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well Rico, that`s Jack Hanna, host of "Jack Hanna`s Into the Wild". He`s a leading defender of SeaWorld and was part of CNN`s coverage of the film "BLACKFISH" last night, Wednesday.

I spoke with the neuroscientist who appears in the documentary "BLACKFISH" and she said that breeding is not an indication of happiness. Saying the orcas are mostly artificially inseminated. So what are the other options for these animals? I spoke with the director of the Shambala Sanctuary about the difference between a zoo and a sanctuary.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A lot of people want to know, well, what`s the difference between a zoo and a sanctuary? Well, we came here to the Shambala Preserve in Acton, California to find out. That`s Cyrus and his two ladies -- three of the 41 big cats who live here at Shambala.

GALLUCCI: This is Garth.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who`s this guy?

GALLUCCI: This is Zeus.


GALLUCCI: At Shambala, it`s not about us. It`s about them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What would you say to those, who say well this kind of look likes a zoo situation -- an animal behind an enclosure? What`s the difference?

GALLUCCI: All of these guys have to be behind an enclosure. But the reality is we do not want to be in business. We wish we were not a necessity. That`s what we are. We don`t buy, sell, breed or trade. We use these animals for no commercial use whatsoever.

These animals get confiscated from people that have them illegally. You`ve got to do something with them. Hopefully, they come to a place like us, so they don`t get bred and they don`t become part of the problem again.

A kid for his 18th birthday told his mother -- and this isn`t a story -- told his mother he wanted a Lexus or a lion. She bought him a lion. Then they realized, this was a big mistake.

We are cleaning up other people`s messes. That`s what we do. You can`t return these guys back into the wild unfortunately. They have no street-smarts whatsoever.

Zeus has a nice, beautiful enclosure. Shambala`s theme is to give them as much room as possible. We spend money. That`s what we do. It costs $1 million a year to run this place.

We don`t train our animal, we don`t work our animals. This is a hands-off facility. It`s not about people. It`s about the animals at a sanctuary. Zoos are more about bringing in people. We`re a necessity and it`s all about the animals here. If people don`t see the animal, we don`t care. We`re kind of proud of that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Rico, and you at home, discussions like this will continue on this show. Next week we`re going to talk about the fight to free Billy, the elephant.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now for your slice of happiness and your daily dose of ah. Check this out. That`s a little kitty and his new buddy, ah, they`re just hanging out and cuddling and keeping each other warm, falling asleep together. Ah. Thumb-sucking good -- I love it, the little stretch.

Oh, man. Why can`t all animals and all people get along like that?

Speaking of people -- Nancy Grace next. Martin MacNeill`s mistress on the stand. You will not believe the shockers that come out of this woman`s mouth. Nancy Grace, up next.