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U.S. Attorney to Open Federal Investigation into Kendrick Johnson`s Death; MacNeill Murder Trial
Aired October 31, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are new revelations...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suspicious death of a Georgia high school student...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... want answers in the death of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson. Kendrick was found dead at school.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police say that sometime after walked past this camera, he reached into a rolled-up gym mat trying to get a shoe and then suffocated trying to get out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The school system, the sheriff and the coroner have all determined that Johnson`s death was an accident.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... physical evidence and the forensic evidence and the testimonial evidence that we received was this was an accident.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know something happened, you know? We just don`t know what.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... have their son`s body exhumed and paid for an independent autopsy. The doctor who conducted the autopsy says...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... blunt force trauma to that area.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he took blows to the neck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He took at least one blow to the neck.
JACQUELYN JOHNSON, MOTHER: It`s just one step closer to finding out what happened to my son.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Protests, sit-ins and marches have shaken the small south Georgia city of Valdosta.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This video, along with other evidence...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They petitioned the court to release them, part of their campaign for further investigation into their son`s death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SUNNY HOSTIN, GUEST HOST: Breaking news tonight in the mysterious death of high school star athlete Kendrick Johnson, found dead inside a rolled-up mat in the school gym. Well, tonight, Kendrick`s parents well us why they are convinced this is not an accident, this is murder.
And also tonight, the facelift murder trial. Martin MacNeill`s daughter is back on the stand and tells the jury she believes her father killed her mother, Michele MacNeill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) remember saying that your mother wasn`t feeling well (INAUDIBLE) right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s correct, I didn`t remember that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we`ve got that clip.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I spoke to my mom, she was happy. She wasn`t feeling -- she was feeling a little sick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And since that time, you have said over and over and over again that your mother was feeling great.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... that she was doing great, she was happy. she was getting up, ready -- she was ready for the day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just don`t remember her feeling bad at all. She was feeling great.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of things you don`t remember accurately in this case, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why were you seeking information as to your mother`s death?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I believe my father killed her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOSTIN: Good evening. I`m Sunny Hostin, in for Nancy Grace. Thank you so much for joining me tonight.
Off the top, we start with the mysterious death of a high school star athlete, Kendrick Johnson, who was found dead inside a rolled-up mat in the school gym, Johnson`s death ruled accidental, but his parents are convinced their son, their teenage son, was murdered.
And I`m happy to say that Kendrick Johnson`s parents are joining me tonight, along with their attorneys. Thank you so much, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, for joining me tonight.
And this was a big day for you, a big really legal victory. You heard the U.S. attorney in Georgia, the top federal prosecutor, saying that he himself reviewed a lot of the documents in your son`s case and that he will be opening up a federal investigation.
Mr. Johnson, what was your reaction to that news?
KENNETH JOHNSON, KENDRICK`S FATHER: Well, we was happy that we heard that news, but we just still just going to sit back and wait and just wait for everything to come out.
HOSTIN: Well, you say you want to wait for everything to come out. Is it your position that the sheriff`s office just botched this investigation, that that this was just a botched investigation?
KENNETH JOHNSON: Yes, it was.
HOSTIN: And why do you say that?
KENNETH JOHNSON: Because when I went to view Kendrick`s body two days later, you could clearly see that something happened to Kendrick. You can see that he was in some kind of altercation.
HOSTIN: And Mrs. Johnson, do you also just reject the notion that this was an accident death?
JACQUELYN JOHNSON, KENDRICK`S MOTHER: Yes because Kendrick would have never went -- tried to get down in no mat to get no shoe. Kendrick would have gotten down and thrown those mats over and picked up his shoe.
HOSTIN: Had he ever talked to you about these mats? Because we`re hearing from school officials that many of the children use these mats to keep their books on top of, to retrieve their sneakers, those students that don`t have lockers. Had he ever discussed with you this fact about these mats that are in the gym?
JACQUELYN JOHNSON: No.
HOSTIN: Well, let me ask you, attorney King, because I know that you`ve been involved in this case from the very beginning. And you have said many times that you were stonewalled by the sheriff`s department during this investigation. And it was you who sort of mandated this second autopsy and sent the report to so many people, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the U.S. attorney`s office, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Tell us about the stonewalling that you talk about.
CHEVENE KING, ATTORNEY FOR JOHNSON FAMILY: Well, it started literally from the time that I believe Mr. and Mrs. Johnson were having to cope with their son`s death. Mr. Johnson had reached out to the sheriff for purposes of getting an explanation as to what their investigation showed. And this was just a matter of a day or two following the discovery of his son`s body.
And at that time, he was given two entirely different explanations in terms of how his son`s body was positioned in the mat. They found that totally unacceptable. I along with the Johnsons then paid a visit to the sheriff`s department, and we talked to his chief lieutenant and we asked to look at the video. And at that time, he promised to get in touch with us to show us the video at some point within a matter of a day or two. That call never came.
Then, of course, we began to request for other information, and including the autopsy report, which we thought, if the sheriff had indicated there was no indication of foul play, that it should be a simple matter of the crime lab sending us an autopsy report within a matter of a week or two.
Well, a week or two soon grew into a month, two months, three, four. And ultimately, on May 2nd, I believe it was, the report was generated, indicating that he died as a result of positional asphyxia.
And we just believe that with all of the attempts we`ve made to try and gain an understanding as to what occurred, to try and make sense out of a story about how he died that, quite frankly, didn`t make any sense at any point, and to get the kind of scientific evidence that you thought would answer so many of the questions that we now know are anything but true, based upon the second autopsy...
HOSTIN: Well, I want to talk about that...
KING: We believe that we`ve been stonewalled the whole while.
HOSTIN: I want to talk about that second autopsy because, you know, Bill Anderson (ph) was hired by the family, this independent pathologist, who talks about Kendrick sustaining a blow to the right side of his neck. The first autopsy says, you know, We don`t see any blow to the side of his neck, but the first responders also said that they saw that injury.
Now, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, you`ve been showing a photo of your son`s face showing these injuries, and I would like to show that photo to our viewers, with your permission. I know that it is graphic, but you have shown it before. And Mr. Johnson, you mentioned that you knew from the very beginning that something was wrong because of that photo that you saw.
Would it be OK for me to show that photo to our viewers?
KENNETH JOHNSON: Yes.
HOSTIN: OK. So our viewers, please be warned that this is a very graphic photo, but important in this case. Now, it`s clear, I think, for anyone seeing this very graphic photo that this cannot possibly have resulted from someone just falling into a mat. And so I think that begs the question, then, what really happened here, and why the stonewalling?
And Ben Crump, you and I know each other now pretty well now after the Trayvon Martin case, and you are I think at this point our country`s preeminent civil rights lawyer. Is this a civil rights case? Is that why you are involved here? Is race -- has race played a factor here?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, JOHNSON FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, I think it`s a civil rights case, but not in the traditional way, where we think of civil rights based on race, even though that may be a factor. Sunny, I think Kendrick Johnson`s civil rights were violated because, like every American, he had the right to due process to get the full prosecution of the law, the proper investigation into his tragic death.
These parents sent their child to school with a bookbags, and he was returned to them the next day in a body bag. And the sheriff`s office, the explanation that he climbed in a wrestling mat and got stuck and stopped breathing, it defies all -- it defies all logic, laws of physics and common sense.
They have a right to know what happened to their child. It`s every parent`s worst nightmare who send their children off to school every day thinking they will return. And at least if they don`t return, that the government officials will tell them what happened to their child.
Their child was murdered, and it has been covered up for some reason that the Johnsons or nobody understands.
HOSTIN: Well, that`s a good question because that`s something that I`ve been struggling with, Ben, in thinking about this case. If, indeed, this is a cover-up, you`re talking about school officials would have to be involved. You`re talking about perhaps the Georgia Bureau of Investigation being involved. You`re talking about the sheriff`s department being involved.
Why would all of those organizations be involved in a cover-up? Attorney King or attorney Crump or the Johnsons, what`s your response to that?
KING: Well, this is a, relatively speaking, small community, one in which, you know, the crown jewel of the community is the high school. And I would go further and say that it`s the football program at the high school.
There is just a community of interest that really rally behind the school. And because we believe, based upon the bits and pieces of the information that have come to the Johnsons over the many months that they have been protesting in the name of getting justice for their son, that there is an effort to prevent the disclosure of the involvement of some children who perhaps come from very influential neighborhoods, who are the children of influential parents, that there is an opportunity, there is the ability to more or less circle up the wagons and begin to protect their identity because of their connection to this school.
HOSTIN: I`m Sunny Hostin, in for Nancy Grace tonight.
Off the top, the mysterious death of a high school star athlete, Kendrick Johnson found dead inside a rolled-up in a mat in the school gym, Johnson`s death ruled accidental, but his parents are convinced their teenaged son was murdered at the high school.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn`t -- it`s just hard, and you know, we just got to deal with it until we get justice for Kendrick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... my office to conduct a formal review of the facts and the investigation surrounding the death of Kendrick Johnson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be clear, you`ve used the word several times, but in your view, this is a homicide.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Investigators with the Lowndes County sheriff`s office say Kendrick squeezed his 19-inch shoulders into the 14-and-one- half-inch center of this rolled gym mat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it`s not seen on that videotape, I think the more logical conclusion is somebody rolled him in that wrestling mat after he was murdered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOSTIN: Back with me tonight are Kendrick Johnson`s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, as well as attorney King and attorney Crump. Thank you again so much for being with me. And you had another legal victory earlier. Apparently, now the surveillance videos have been released to the family, to the attorneys. Have you seen these videos?
CRUMP: Not at this time, Sunny. We are still waiting for them to all be released to us. It`s over 1,900 hours of surveillance video. And we think that`s but one step to solving this, unfortunately, real life murder mystery. And there are so many other elements into this mystery. Attorney King and the Johnsons over the last 10 months have found that Kendrick`s clothes, that had important blood and DNA evidence on them, are missing. They also found that his fingernails were cut back, which would have possibly recovered skin and DNA evidence.
And worst of all, his organs were missing when they had to exhume him for the second autopsy, that could have provided vital objective evidence. All of that coupled with the disturbance of the, what we believe crime scene in that gymnasium leads us to believe that somebody is trying to conceal the truth, or is trying to conspire to keep the truth from coming out to who killed this child.
HOSTIN: Now, it seems to many of us that have been following this case that the surveillance video -- you say over 1,900 hours of video -- was taken from four cameras in the gym. One of the cameras, we`ve been told, was facing the corner of the mat. And there`s also video of I think outside of the school, outside of the gym.
We have a caller, Jason from Canada, who has a question about the surveillance video. Jason?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Sunny. Happy Halloween from Canada!
HOSTIN: Oh, thank you for calling in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I was just (INAUDIBLE) the camera. I just wanted to know if there was any cameras in the gymnasium at all.
HOSTIN: Ben or attorney King, can you answer that question?
KING: Yes, there were four cameras that were -- excuse -- mounted against the wall that is opposite the wall where Kendrick`s body was located. One of these cameras was pointed directly in the direction of the mat or the cluster of mats where his body was located.
And we have absolutely been focused upon trying to get from the sheriff and the school some kind of image from that camera that would either corroborate what the sheriff had theorized was the way in which Kendrick died, or which would explain how his body arrived there at the gym the following morning.
We, of course, believe he was brought to the gym. He was already dead at the time that he was brought to the gym, and that he was brought there by certain individuals who were connected to the school or to the students at that school.
HOSTIN: Now, attorney King, you know, you`ve mentioned a couple of times now that perhaps it was an influential person involved in this alleged cover-up, that perhaps it was a high-profile or well-connected student. Do you have any idea who that could be? I know we`ve heard from an investigator that Kendrick had a fight with another student about a year ago. We also heard from Kendrick`s aunt, Anastasia Rowe (ph), that he was a great student, but that he ran into problems last year with another student.
Can you tell us about that?
KING; Well, all of that is information that we`ve collected in the course of our investigation but which still has to be confirmed. And we`re following those leads, so to speak, very aggressively. We have shared this information with the authorities, and we had anticipated that they would have followed up on that information.
HOSTIN: Are you...
CRUMP: But suffice it...
HOSTIN: Are you saying -- are you saying that you believe that you know who may have been involved in Kendrick Johnson`s death?
CRUMP: Well, you understand that there are more than one -- there is more than one individual who`s been identified. And of course, because the fear in this community is so thick that you can almost cut it with a knife, it`s difficult to get people to step forward and to give you the information in a way that can either be verified or that you would consider to be reliable.
HOSTIN: I`m Sunny Hostin, in for Nancy Grace. Off the top, Kendrick Johnson`s parents are with us tonight, talking why they believe their son`s death inside his high school gum was murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACQUELYN JOHNSON: The only thing we ever wanted was the truth.
KENNETH JOHNSON: I believe, indeed, that he was murdered.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Georgia secretary of state`s office has launched an investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... committed to doing everything in my power to answer the questions that exist in this case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The doctor who conducted the autopsy says he found evidence of trauma on the teen`s jaw. He also found newspaper filling Kendrick`s body where his organs should have been.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOSTIN: We`re back with Kendrick Johnson`s family and the family attorneys.
And we mentioned before the break that in his body, no organs were found. His brain was missing, his lungs were missing, liver, his heart. And we don`t know what happened, is that right?
CRUMP: That`s correct, and that`s part of the mystery, and it`s just devastating. You know, the family thought they buried their whole child, and it turned out they only buried half their child.
So we`re trying to get to the truth. And we know every day that we keep pushing, we`re going to solve this murder mystery to what happened to Jackie and Ken`s child.
HOSTIN: Now, I should say that the medical examiner`s office, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, has indicated that they placed the organs back in Kendrick Johnson`s body before his body went to the funeral home. However, the funeral home says that the organs were never there.
I want to ask you, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, where do you go from here? Do you believe that the FBI now on the case will provide you the answers that you seek?
KENNETH JOHNSON: Well, we hope so. We`re just going to continue to push forward like we`ve been doing.
HOSTIN: And Mrs. Johnson, is there anything you`d like to say?
JACQUELYN JOHNSON: I just want to know what happened to Kendrick Johnson. Whatever happened, was it bad enough that they killed him? Why?
HOSTIN: Well, thank you so much again for joining me tonight.
And when we come back, we go to the Martin MacNeill facelift murder trial. MacNeill`s daughter tells the jury she believes her father killed her mother.
HOSTIN: The facelift murder trial, a daughter against her own father, telling the jury she believes Martin MacNeill killed her mother.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yesterday you told us that your dad just dropped you and your mother off for surgery and left, didn`t you?
ALEXIS SOMERS, MARTIN MACNEILL`S DAUGHTER: We came in until she had her IV in and then he left.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s different from what you said yesterday, correct?
SOMERS: I don`t remember. I don`t know if I was asked that specifically. Do you have the transcript of that? My dad dropped my mom and myself off, and I stayed with her until she went in to the surgery. He left and went -- said he needed to get back to work. It was a long day yesterday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOSTIN: And it was a long day in court today. And I have with me Jean Casarez, CNN correspondent who has been in the courtroom each and every day of this trial.
Good evening, Jean. And please get us up to speed as to what you saw today.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the day started off with cross-examination of Alexis, extremely important, because this is a critical witness for the prosecution, to show the intent to kill murder on the part of Martin MacNeill. And the cross-examination, as you`ve just heard, was relentless, it really was, trying to show inconsistencies on her application to medical school. She had written that there was previous employment with Rachel Robertson as an au pair.
Well, Rachel is her sister and so Rachel could have been called and would have had to say, yes, she was an au pair for me which wasn`t the truth and then also someone by the name of Joseph Martin sent a letter of recommendation, that was her father because Martin Joseph is his actual name. But she said that she never asked her father to have a letter of recommendation to medical school. But then we got into the medical examiner. And that was also contentious because this medical examiner says, I cannot say and I cannot conclude that this was a homicide.
HOSTIN: And that`s what`s so interesting, I think, Jean, about this case. You have a lot of what I used to call sort of mood evidence. Is this defendant capable of committing this kind of crime? And so you have all of his daughters testifying that they believe that he acted inappropriately, Alexis today, my understanding is she even testified that she believed her father killed her mother.
But where is the direct evidence, Jean? We don`t have any of the medical examiners saying --
HOSTIN: -- this is a homicide.
CASAREZ: Right, because as you know, an element of murder is that beyond a reasonable doubt you can say that the defendant caused the death of Michele MacNeill. And the prosecutors have known from the beginning that this is going to be an uphill climb for them. And this is a circumstantial case, or the fact, prosecutors say, that he asked for the medications.
He got the medications. And that Alexis testified that he admitted he overdosed her the night she came home from the hospital, but she didn`t die that night. But then she did die eight days later.
HOSTIN: Well, Jean, I have to ask you, because you`ve been in the courtroom, and I know how important it is to get the jury`s reaction. How is the jury receiving this evidence. What was their reaction? At least to Alexis` testimony.
CASAREZ: You know, they were really focused on Alexis, I mean, her direct examination was very strong, and she has -- she answers every question. She is not stumped by anything. She has an explanation. Very focused, but do you know who I saw them riveted by? The medical examiner. Because this was the chief medical examiner for the entire state of Utah. And I think they were in awe of him as he testified.
HOSTIN: Very interesting. Well, talking about medical examiners, I do have a medical examiner here as a guest. Dr. Michelle Dupre is with me, she`s a medical examiner and a forensic pathologist.
And Michelle, thank you so much for joining me today.
Dr. Dupre, I`ve got to ask you the question that I think is on everyone`s minds. You`ve got three different medical examiners that reviewed the records in this case. Not one, not one says this was a homicide. How can that happen?
DR. MICHELLE DUPRE, M.D., MEDICAL EXAMINER AND FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Yes. It`s really not that unusual. When you think about it, there`s only been one actual autopsy. Everyone else is reviewing the records and the history. And you have to recognize that new information has now come to light. And when we look at something, we look at the totality of circumstances, and we make the best judgment at the time on the information that we have. So it`s not unusual. Things have changed now.
HOSTIN: But, Dr. Dupree, you`ve got one medical examiner who died of breast cancer, she said that manner of death was natural. Cause of death, heart problem. Some sort of cardiovascular disease. But then you have Dr. Gray who testified today, manner of death, natural. Now the cause of death is undetermined and possibly heart disease and drugs toxicity. And then there`s a third person who reviewed this, a doctor, Dr. Perper, who`s going to testify that the manner of death was natural, but the cause of death was drowning. Those are three very, very different conclusions. Are they not?
DUPRE: Yes, they are. And we have to remember that natural death is a natural disease type of process. Perhaps if someone has a heart problem and they`re in water, they may die from the heart problem and not from drowning. They may also drown if they don`t have a heart problem, so that`s two different causes of death.
If you have medication in your system, that may be a reason that you`re not able to get out of the water at the time. So again, there`s so many factors. And I think that what we really have to remember here is we have to look at the forensic, scientific and medical evidence all in context and take that into consideration.
HOSTIN: Well, let me bring in the lawyers here because I`ve got to tell you, as a former prosecutor, I am just confused and befuddled by all of these different results from all of the medical examiners.
I have with me Greg Skordas, who is a former Salt Lake County deputy D.A. defense attorney. He knows the prosecution in this case, he knows the defense teams. I also have Areva Martin who`s a defense attorney. Jeff Gold, a defense attorney.
Let me go to you, my fellow former prosecutor. How do you prove a case when you have not one, not two, but three medical examiners, none of which give you, hey, this was a homicide, when you`re trying to prove a homicide?
GREG SKORDAS, FORMER SALT LAKE COUNTY DEPUTY D.A. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Dr. Dupre stated it probably better than I can. And that is these medical examiners all work in a vacuum. They work on the body that they have before them. And the body of evidence that they have before them. The jury gets to hear the whole picture. They get to hear Martin`s manners, his mannerisms, the testimony of the daughters, the testimony of the police. The people that arrived to exhume the body and look at the body. The medical examiner only looks at what`s on the table in front of him or her.
HOSTIN: Well, Areva Martin, as a defense attorney, are you pretty comfortable at this point in the prosecution`s case?
AREVA MARTIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think the defense, Sunny, should be feeling pretty good because, you know, looking at all these three explanations for how this woman died, how are you going to get beyond a reasonable doubt? I mean, the jurors are going to be sitting there saying, did she drown? Was it heart condition? You know, was it the drugs in her system? And it`s the prosecution`s burden, as you know, Sunny, to establish beyond a reasonable doubt what the cause of her death was.
Not whether it would be all of these possibilities then for there to be speculation about how she died. I think this was a good day for the defense, and we`re going to see more testimony coming forth about the inconsistencies in these reports that are going to help the defense in this case.
HOSTIN: Doctor and husband Martin MacNeill accused in the murder of his own wife, who`s found dead in the bathtub. An intense cross- examination as MacNeill`s daughter takes the stand then tells the jury she believes her father killed her mother.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you were to learn that the defendant here had told somebody or others that he had drugged up Michele MacNeill, and convinced her to get into the tub and held her down for a little bit and it caused her death, would that scenario be consistent with how Michele MacNeill may have died here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, certainly it`s possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOSTIN: I`m back with my superstar legal panel, Greg Skordas, Areva Martin, Jeff Gold.
Let me go to you, Jeff. Good day or a bad day for the prosecution in this case?
JEFF GOLD, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, every day is tough for the prosecution here, they`ve had very dramatic testimony with the daughters. Just think about that, you`ve got all these daughters testifying against their father, that`s a very unusual thing, and when that happens, the jury listens. But all the time, we`re waiting for today. You don`t have a cause of death being homicide. Case over.
There`s no real way you can do it, unless you have statements like in the Drew Peterson case, Sgt. Bolingbrook, Illinois, who said he knew how to kill her, and he could make it look like an accident she died in a tub. Those kind of statements ended up convicting him. With things like that, you might get over the fact that the facts are ambiguous about the tub. But without it, it`s an acquittal.
HOSTIN: Now you mentioned you`ve got the daughters here, basically all testifying against their own father. Take a listen to what Alexis Somers said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why were you seeking information as to your mother`s death?
SOMERS: Because I believe my father killed my mother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOSTIN: Wow. Wow. Wow. When I heard that, I thought, oh, my goodness, how does that even come in? Because you have one witness testifying as to the ultimate issue in the case. Right? Did he commit this crime? How does that come in? Areva?
MARTIN: You know, Sunny, I was surprised that there weren`t objections all over the place when the daughter started to make that statement. However, though, I think the jurors are still going to have to grapple with what caused this woman`s death. And without that, even though this daughter and all of these kids are saying, our dad did it, it`s just not going to be a enough.
This is a sad, sad case, lots of, you know, sex and betrayal. But nothing they are pointing to murder.
HOSTIN: Well, let me go to my fellow former prosecutor over there. How does that testimony come in? I mean, I suppose if you`re the government, you want it to come, right? You want the daughter to say that, but it sure makes her look awfully biased, doesn`t it?
SKORDAS: Well, she is, I mean, she has a very firm belief about this, and the answer came in in response to a direct question. So she was asked the question and she responded. An objection probably wouldn`t have done any good at that point because it came in. She`s had the benefit of six years of the evidence, of meeting with her father, at looking at the medical examiner`s reports and that type of thing. And she`s come to a conclusion.
But ultimately the judge is going to instruct the jury, this is your decision, not anyone else`s to decide what happened here.
HOSTIN: Well, we have a caller, I believe, that wants to ask a question about Alexis. Do we have that caller? Kevin? Kevin in California.
KEVIN, CALLER IN CALIFORNIA: Yes. Yes, it is. Kevin Taylor, California. I`m the CEO of an investigations in L.A., Los Angeles based firm. My question for you, sir, or anyone, whoever`s there on the panel. I question the motive of not only Rachel but the other daughters as well. And -- as it relates to them, you know, pinning it on daddy. So with that being said, the question is, is it -- is there a motive that`s been looked at by any of the girls as they possibly committing these murders? This murder?
HOSTIN: Wow. Wow. That`s the question from Kevin. Is it possible that the daughters are somehow complicit in her mother`s -- in their mother`s death?
GOLD: Way to go there. Don`t go there. You`ve got to -- you`ve got a winner, don`t start dirtying up the poor daughters. Look, what you say is this, you don`t like dad because dad cheated on your mom, and they had two mistresses, not just one, but two mistresses testified. So that`s why you don`t like her -- like him. You hate him for that and you`re saying this.
In fact, I think the defense let that statement go in so they could show the bias. That she`s biased, she`s not keeping an open mind, she`s not allowing the jury to make their decision. She`s formed an opinion and that colors her testimony.
HOSTIN: Yes, I`ve got to agree with you on that. Let`s bring in --
MARTIN: I think we should --
HOSTIN: I have -- I have a psychoanalyst. And I think we need someone to talk about the psychology here. We have Bethany Marshall.
Bethany, thank you so much for joining me tonight. And can you please make some sense of this? I mean, I would imagine all three daughters testifying against their own father all aligning with their mother? What do you make of something like that to our caller`s question?
BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST, AUTHOR OF "DEALBREAKERS": Well, I strongly disagree with Kevin from the standpoint that the only motivation these daughters would have to malign their dad would be if there was some strong history of parental alienation. So if, for instance, there was a history of the mother maligning the father to the daughters, then you could see maybe they would turn against their own father.
But what I think is most likely is that these girls have had the shocking experience of learning that their father is a monster. I mean, that`s a very rare thing in our society for a child to discover that they have been raised by a sociopath. And usually when a child knows the parent is a sociopath, they know it beyond -- they`re so certain of it, then they become unswerving in their belief, in their convictions, and that`s why the girls testimony has been so solid on the stand.
HOSTIN: Thank you so much for staying with us the tonight. And we are talking about the MacNeill trial, the facelift murder trial. And I want to bring in Jim Kirkwood. He`s a talk show host and he has been following this case from the very beginning. He is in Utah.
And, Jim, in particular, I want to talk to you about another witness that testified that we have not talked about, which is another one of Dr. MacNeill`s mistresses, I believe her name is Anna Osborne Walthall, and she testified that during some pillow talk --
JIM KIRKWOOD, NEWS SHOW HOST, KTKK: Yes.
HOSTIN: that she was told by the defendant that he knew how to make someone have a heart attack without anyone telling or knowing, rather. Can you tell us a little about that?
KIRKWOOD: Yes, she certainly did. And as I think most folks know there are several ways, from potassium to -- and a couple of other things that that`s very possible, especially if no one is looking for it. And then she further stated that he had claimed that he had killed his brother in a bathtub in the same way. So her testimony was certainly damaging and certainly leads us to believe that murder was possible from this guy.
HOSTIN: Well, let`s take a listen to what she said on the witness stand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did Martin ever describe to you a process of making someone have a heart attack?
ANNA WALTHALL, DOCTOR`S SECOND MISTRESS: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you tell us what he said to you about that subject?
WALTHALL: That --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, let me -- I`m sorry. Let me pull back. Do you recall where you were when this conversation took place?
WALTHALL: At my house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Park City?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Do you recall about when this would have happened?
WALTHALL: I can guess, but I can`t recall.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Fair to say sometime within that March to October time period?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you narrow down any --
WALTHALL: Probably closer to October.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. OK. Now specifically about what he said about inducing a heart attack, what did he tell you?
WALTHALL: There`s something you can give someone that`s natural that`s there after they have a heart attack, so that it`s not detectable after they have a heart attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So you can give someone some sort of substance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s naturally occurring in the body and it would be there after the heart attack, but it would also start a heart attack?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so you could cause someone to have a heart attack and the drug would -- supposed to be there anywhere, and so you wouldn`t be able to tell?
WALTHALL: That`s correct.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOMERS: Because I believe my father killed her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If guns were a factor, this was not a natural death.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the time of the first overdose, did you believe your father was attempting to murder your mom?
SOMERS: I didn`t believe that at that time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
SOMERS: I wouldn`t have -- I wouldn`t have left my mom if I believed that. I wouldn`t have left her with him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOSTIN: We`re talking about the facelift murder trial that is still going on, of course, in Utah. And let me bring in my attorneys once again, Greg Skordas and Jeff Gold. And, you know, this has been an uphill battle, I think, for the prosecution. Everyone can agree. But what folks are talking about now is perhaps, was this a case of overcharging?
They`ve got to prove intentional murder. And they`ve got three medical examiners, not one, not two, but three, all saying, you can`t call it a homicide.
What do you think, Greg? Over-charging?
SKORDAS: Well, I think the state had no choice, they`re either going to charge it as a murder or not charge it at all. The problem is that she died in `07 at the time when people weren`t really looking as closely as they are now into what happened. In 2010, when they really started digging into this thanks to the daughters, they decided that it probably was a homicide, and as they`ve gathered testimony and it`s starting to steamroll, it looks more and more convincing that the state may very well have a good case.
HOSTIN: Jeff, what do you think? Overcharged here?
GOLD: Well, look, it`s not overcharged. The question is whether there should have been any charge for year and a half there wasn`t any. If there`s a conviction, it`s exactly what you just showed, the linchpin is what he said to Anna Waltham about how he could kill someone. Now the missing part to that is he didn`t link that to her. If he had said to her, I know how to kill her and I want to kill her, you`d have a decent case much like Drew Peterson.
But without that, you have something to go forward. So I do think the state has something here, but it`s not -- it`s probably not enough, if there is a conviction, that clip you played is why.
HOSTIN: Greg, do you agree? Where does the prosecution need to go?
SKORDAS: Well, they`ve got a lot more witnesses they`re going to call and there are apparently some jailhouse informants who are going to say that Martin made some statements to them that are akin to admissions. I think that they`re not through with some of the family and friends as well, but this case is going to unfold I think pretty clearly in the next couple of days, even more than what you`ve seen earlier this week.
HOSTIN: Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining me.
Tonight we remember American hero, Army Sergeant Daniel Lim, 23 years old, from Cyprus, California. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Devoted to his family, he leaves behind his parents, Sun and Bang Woo and his sister Ester.
Daniel Lim, a true American hero.
SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is coming up next.