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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Prosecution Rests in `Thug Music` Trial

Aired February 10, 2014 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, breaking news in the so-called thug music murder trial. Look at who`s crying now. The software engineer/murder suspect wiped tears away as his own son testified. It`s the first time we have seen any emotion from this defendant.

He is accused of gunning down unarmed African-American teenager Jordan Davis. The prosecution rested today, I believe, with a whimper. Now the big question is, will the defendant, Michael Dunn, take the stand in his own defense?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve got a dead kid in a car.

(GUNSHOTS)

RHONDA ROUER, DUNN`S GIRLFRIEND: I heard "pop, pop, pop."

MICHAEL DUNN, DEFENDANT: And he goes, "You`re dead, bitch," and he opens his door.

(GUNFIRE)

DUNN: (EXPLETIVE DELETED), and (EXPLETIVE DELETED) that.

ROUER: "Oh, I hate that thug music."

(CAR TIRES SCREECHING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael David Dunn pointed a semiautomatic pistol...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like "pop, pop, pop, pop, pop."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... at four unarmed kids.

(GUNFIRE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God. Somebody is shooting. Somebody`s shooting out of their car.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now the state, the prosecution rested today without showing jurors this crucial piece of evidence, the video of the defendant`s interrogation by cops.

Michael Dunn insists he shot in self-defense. But this interrogation tape exposes a whole lot of holes in his story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DUNN: I saw a barrel come up on the window. Like a -- like a single- shot shotgun. It was either a barrel or a stick. I didn`t wait to look to see if they were going to point it at me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: A shotgun, or, well maybe it was a stick.

Investigators say the teens didn`t have any weapon of any kind when Dunn fired at their SUV ten times. Four of those bullets came as they were driving away, fleeing him.

Why didn`t prosecutor use this tape? Are they trying to force defendant Michael Dunn to take the stand in his own defense and explain his story to jurors in person, rather than on tape?

By far the most emotional testimony has been from the defendant`s girlfriend/fiancee. She sobbed and whimpered and cried, all sorts of tears, and she described hearing gunshots while she was inside the gas station, getting wine for a night cap with her fiance, as he argued with teenagers playing loud music outside.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROUER: I heard "pop, pop, pop."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And when you heard those noises, did you know what they were?

ROUER: No, I didn`t.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And did you learn that a teenager had been killed at the Gate gas station?

ROUER: Yes, I did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you then tell the defendant that you wanted to go home?

ROUER: Yes, I did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And why did you decide that you all needed to go home?

ROUER: Because I thought I was going to be arrested, too. And I wanted to get Charlie taken care of.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Seems like the more she sobbed the more the prosecutor laid off. I think they let her off the hook.

There was also a controversial move from the defense. I have to ask what the heck were they thinking, making one of their first witnesses the grieving father of the victim? Are you kidding me?

Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to my fantastic Lion`s Den debate panel. And we begin with CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin. You were in court all day. Let you tell you what it seemed like to me. It seemed like the prosecution presentation was wooden and ended with a thud, maybe a whimper, but certainly not a bang. I think prosecutors dropped the ball. What do you think?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, I think these prosecutors learned from the Zimmerman trial. And they tried a very lean, tight case, Jane. And they book-ended the case with the medical examiner, which is what prosecutors do often, because it was very somber in the courtroom. And what different image do you want to leave with this jury than the nude, lifeless body of Jordan Davis on a slab in the medical examiner`s office? That body tells the story of what happened.

So I don`t think that they ended with a whimper. And I think they were very, very smart not to, again, put this video in, of the sort of confession or statement of this defendant. Because they have now forced him to get on the witness stand. And that was the huge problem with the Zimmerman case. They put all the evidence up front.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I don`t think they did force him. He wasn`t on the witness stand today. Maybe he will be tomorrow. Maybe he won`t.

HOSTIN: He has to testify.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s what everybody said about Casey Anthony: Casey Anthony had to testify. Except she didn`t. And she was acquitted.

Who agrees with me? Let me throw it to Adam Thompson, defense attorney.

ADAM THOMPSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, you`re calling it right. I don`t know what they`re doing it with these prosecutors down in Florida. But it`s like they send them to school on how to lose cases.

Sunny, you called it wrong on Zimmerman; you`re calling it wrong here, too. I don`t know why you always think the prosecution is doing a great job, because they`re not.

This is completely different than Zimmerman. Zimmerman told a very clear, consistent story over and over and over. This guy`s statement`s completely riddled with things that hurts the defense. The prosecution absolutely needed to call a witness to get the tape in and let the jury hear how this guy`s one minute saying it`s a shotgun. The other minute, it may be a stick. You don`t kill someone over a stick.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. One at a time. One at a time. Sunny, your rebuttal.

HOSTIN: Well, the problem is that you can`t cross-examine a videotape. And so this was very, very smart. We know that Michael Dunn was in jail making tons of phone calls. There are a lot of letters in which he sort of indicates a racist slant towards African-American men. He calls them thugs. All of that evidence comes in, if he takes the witness stand. And so it makes a lot of sense to force his hand. Because there is no evidence at this point.

THOMPSON: You bring it. You bring it in.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time. I want to go to Dante Barry, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice.

Dante, I`m not saying I agree with Dunn. I`m just saying the way the detectives grilled him on that tape exposed all the holes in his story. And they were not believing him. And they were asking him, "Hold on. You say you`re shooting him, because he`s getting out of the car. But sir, his door is closed."

DANTE BARRY, MILLION HOODIES MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They`re talking in people terms. They`re telling a story in a way that the average person can hear when they`re interrogating him, which has not happened in court, Dante.

BARRY: Absolutely. He needs to be on the stage right now. I think when you -- when you read his letters from the jail, you can see -- you can sense the racial-coded language that he`s been constantly using on.

I mean, look at Richard Sherman as an example of this idea of thug music. What does it mean to be thug? You have this idea of volatile black men being angry and being violent. We need to have -- have him on stag to actually telling his story to see what actually happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And -- and here`s the thing. They think they`re going to force him on stage by not playing the interrogation tape. We don`t know if that`s true. OK, the defense has now said they may have two more witnesses. One of them may be Dunn. One of them won`t.

So again, let`s debate the most controversial move by prosecutors. They rested their case without playing the long -- more than an hour and a half -- video of detectives grilling Michael Dunn relentlessly after they caught him the day after the shooting. The detectives who interrogate Dunn, seem a lot more, to me, insightful than the prosecutors. Over and over, these detectives zero in on holes in Dunn`s story. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The last time around, when the truck is backing away from you and you put four more shots in -- four more shots into it. That`s an issue. Because now, he`s backing away, there no longer a threat.

DUNN: Yes, sir, I understand that. In my mind, he had a weapon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can`t shoot someone because in my mind they have a weapon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go to John Phillips, the attorney for Jordan Davis, the victim`s family.

You are also in Jacksonville, Florida. Sir, here`s my point. This interrogation. When I saw this tape, I finally got this whole case. Here`s a guy who shoots an unarmed teenager, walks in and thinks, "I`m going to explain that I was afraid. And I`m going to leave. And they`re going to understand me." And that doesn`t happen.

And then when they arrest him and charge him with murder, he goes, "That sucks," end quote.

It was a brilliant interrogation. Far more brilliant, I believe, than even if Dunn takes the stand, the cross-examination will be, given that Michael Dunn has had a long time now to figure out his answers to whatever the prosecution is going to ask him. What do you think?

JOHN PHILLIPS, ATTORNEY FOR JORDAN DAVIS`S FAMILY: I know Lucy and Ron and the other three boys that were involved in this want Dunn to take the stand. I want Dunn to take the stand. I want him to explain to this family and to these families why he put a puppy dog over a human life. I want him to explain this in grave detail and ask questions much harder than Detective Musser and Detective Oliver asked him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, so you think that by not playing that tape, he`s going to take the stand. But we don`t know that. We don`t know that that is going to happen tomorrow.

PHILLIPS: No way. With reasonable certainty. They have to. He has to take the stand because of the gun, because of the fear. No one else can testify about the reasonable fear that he was in other than him. And the state has been very precise not to let one syllable of Michael Dunn`s words get out there. He has to say that he was in reasonable fear. Otherwise that affirmative defense just goes out the window.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rolonda Watts, "Sundays with Rolonda," we covered the Casey Anthony case. And I sat there with all these experts, these credible lawyers, saying Casey has got to take the stand; they forced her to take the stand. Well, guess what? She didn`t. And she got acquitted.

ROLONDA WATTS, "SUNDAYS WITH ROLONDA": Well, I sure hope Sunny is right and he takes the stands.

(CROSSTALK)

WATTS: Also, we have -- before coaching and before attorneys and all of that got involved, you have some of the rawest footage you can have in that interrogation. That interrogation, I agree with you, Jane, is so important for the prosecution. I don`t know why they`ve didn`t throw it out there either. There are so many holes in the answers that he gives during the interrogation. You can also see his attitude, which quite honestly, I think he thought he was getting, going to get a pat on the back, not get patted down and thrown into jail. His attitude is that of a nonchalant. It almost wreaks of a bit of racism, if you ask me.

And he also constantly says maybe he did overreact. He admits several times that maybe he went from one to ten instead of stopping at five.

All of those things are extremely damaging to him, who claims he was so afraid. So this testimony, or this interrogation, I certainly hope, will have its say in court.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Very quickly. Very quickly.

WATTS: Those letters, those letters as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rolonda -- Rolonda, if you had to choose between seeing this interrogation tape and having Michael Dunn on the stand, not to say that there`s a choice, because he doesn`t have to take the stand unless he decides to. Which would you choose? Very quickly?

WATTS: Interrogation tape. Raw, honest, pure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s what I say.

WATTS: Cameras don`t lie. Cameras don`t lie.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sunny Hostin, I want to give you a chance to respond to that.

PHILLIPS: It begs a very important question. That if Dunn doesn`t take the stand, and I submit that`s not going to happen. He opened up enough character that the interrogation tape can come back in rebuttal. It`s not a stop from coming out just because it hasn`t come out yet.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Yet. In the rebuttal case. That`s a very good point, that it could come out in the rebuttal case.

Oh, my gosh, only a couple of witnesses left. What`s going to happen? Is Dunn going to take the stand? We`re taking your calls on the other side. And we`ve got so much more from the girlfriend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You even said to the manager, "It`s OK. It`s Michael" when she told you not to go outside.

ROUER: That`s correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn`t have any fear of Michael handling a weapon?

ROUER: No. As a matter of fact, and I don`t know exactly what I said. But I tried to reassure her that if she was talking about Michael, that he was the one who was firing the gun, that she didn`t have to worry about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a good guy with a gun?

ROUER: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he`s going to protect you.

ROUER: Basically.

(GUNFIRE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "I hate that thug music."

DUNN: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) that and (EXPLETIVE DELETED) that and (EXPLETIVE DELETED). And then, the music comes back on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You will answer to God for what you`ve done. That`s his hell.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Dunn`s fiancee, hysterical, sobbing on the witness stand as she answered question about what she and her boyfriend/fiance did after he shot teenager Jordan Davis at the gas station in an argument over loud music.

Now I personally think the prosecution let her, the fiancee, off the look and allowed her to play the sniveling victim. You watch and we`ll debate it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, driving back to the hotel, did you ever suggest that you all should call 911?

ROUER: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you own a cell phone?

ROUER: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you have it on you?

ROUER: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know whether or not the defendant owned a cell phone?

ROUER: Yes, he does.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know whether or not he had one on him?

ROUER: Yes, he did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now at some point did you all also order a pizza?

ROUER: Yes, because my stomach was so -- Michael thought maybe I just needed to eat something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m sorry, I don`t buy all the tears. Crying over ordering a pizza? Couldn`t prosecutors, Rolonda Watts, have been stronger, maybe more sarcastic in this line of questioning? "Do you agree, it was irresponsible of you not to call 911 after it was clear your boyfriend had repeatedly fired on a group of teenagers?"

WATTS: Absolutely. Absolutely. Both of you sitting there with cell phones on your hips, but you go home, 40 miles away to this hotel. You make a couple of big, tall strong rum drinks. You walk little Charlie, the dog.

Did it ever occur to you to call the police officer? But I guess Jordan doesn`t matter as much as little Charlie, the furry dog that you had to walk; to make sure the dog was OK. Before another day went by before you even were in contact with authorities.

This to me reeks of an attitude that killed that child as much as a bullet. That attitude that Jordan doesn`t matter, that Jordan Davis doesn`t matter. And that is so clear here. And in that testimony that he gave to the police officers and in those letters that he wrote from jail. This man and that lady, if she`s so upset, why doesn`t she care about that life that was lost? At the rage that her boyfriend had?

PHILLIPS: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Adam Thompson, criminal defense attorney, what do you have to say?

THOMPSON: First of all we`re talking about them ordering a pizza after nine bullets went into a car that might have killed several people. Not just the one person. Other people were in the car, too. But why isn`t anybody saying, "Why did they even leave the scene?"

If you honestly think you were being attacked and your life was threatened and you defended yourself, you`d call 911. You`d wait for the cops to come. You`d give them the report. If you`re not doing that, you`re leaving, going home, something is wrong. Something is wrong.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, Dante, I just think that -- this is what I say, and I`d like to get Sunny`s reaction, because she was in court. When I say it`s wooden, I mean, you`ve got this aggressive defense attorney who`s like fast and loose all over the place. And I feel like the prosecution, while being very earnest, is suffering from a little too much earnestness.

There are times when you should be sarcastic and call somebody on the carpet: "Are you kidding me? You ordered a pizza?" I mean, to telegraph to the jury, "What the heck?"

And I want to go become to Sunny. You were in court. I mean, how do you think the jurors are perceiving all of this?

BARRY: So I think actually, I think that, like, this is where stand- your-ground laws are dangerous. Right? Going back to what was said earlier. I think this goes into the fact that black lives are not valued in America. What happened with Trayvon Martin, and the vigilantism of George Zimmerman. This is very similar to the same case of Michael Dunn. He thinks that he can get away with this law, even though the fact of the matter is, is that Jordan Davis is dead. And Jordan Davis still needs to find justice within that.

WATTS: The defense is not arguing on that attitude.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I know he`s not arguing stand your ground, but the point is very well made. Sunny Hostin.

HOSTIN: Well, you know what`s interesting? This jury is a very different jury. And I have been in the courtroom. I have had a chance to check them out.

We`re talking about a pretty diverse jury, in comparison to the Zimmerman jury. There are ten women on the jury. There are five white men, five white women. And then there are also three African-American women, and there`s an Hispanic man. And there`s also an Asian woman who happens to be a doctor.

And so these folks seem to be very, very clear in -- in what they`re listening to. They`re very, very riveted by a lot of the testimony. And they seem to be judging all of the credibility of all of the witnesses. They`re taking notes. A lot of them are furiously taking notes.

And in particular, when the M.E. was going over the testimony, her testimony, I found that the doctor that was on the jury took a lot of notes, paid a lot of attention to the forensic information. And so, I -- I think that we, we really have to think about that. This is a very different jury.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go out to the phone lines. A very patient Christine, North Carolina. What do you have to say, Christine?

CALLER: My question is, Jane, I`m wondering if he had not have left the scene of the crime, I know he had been drinking off and on all day. Then they went to buy more alcohol. If he had not left the scene of the crime and they had checked his alcohol level, would self-defense have been taken off the table?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I think you raise a very important point. Alcohol was a possible factor in the shooting.

I want to show you some photos, introduced in court, of the wedding of the defendant`s son, which he attended. And we know that the defendant had several rum and cokes before going to the gas station where he ended up having this argument that killed Jordan Davis, this teenager in an argument over loud music. Here are some wedding photos. And here is his girlfriend, the defendant`s girlfriend on that very issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Michael had a few drinks there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A few drinks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many do you think it was?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think he had more than three.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does he ever drink to excess?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He does? OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said he had a couple drinks at the wedding?

ROUER: That`s correct, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you said three or four, did he drink three or four or did he go to the bar that many times to get drinks?

ROUER: No, I think he drank them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And these cups, were they sort of in red Solo cups?

ROUER: No, they were about this size.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Did he seem impaired in the slightest bit from alcohol?

ROUER: Not at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Take a look. Four cups, all right, that`s not - - that`s a lot. I speak as a recovering alcoholic. And again, I think they could have been more aggressive, the prosecutors.

Rolonda Watts, they could have said, "Look, honey, look, ma`am, did you go to the bathroom at any time? Are you sure it was only four rum and cokes? Could it have been five rum and cokes?"

I mean, this guy had had a DUI in the past. His ex-wife said that she had seen him drink to excess, with a laugh. His girlfriend said she had seen him drink to excess. I mean, this guy could have been drunk, and that could have affected his anger and his judgment.

WATTS: And also why he left the scene. I mean, I think that that`s a big factor. As far as we know, alcohol may affect this gentleman, or this man in a way that makes him aggressive, that made him agitated when he heard that music, that made him lose his mind, basically.

But you cannot tell me that that may not be why he left the scene of the crime also. Because maybe he had more drinks than he said that he had. Or that his girlfriend saw. She wasn`t with him every single time. If he -- if he, how does she know? Was she with him every single second?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s exactly -- that`s what I`m saying. The prosecution could have made a point of that. At least four drinks, maybe even more.

Now, on the other side, we`re to talk to Mark O`Mara. You know, he is the famous attorney who successfully defended George Zimmerman, also in Florida. How is that case impacting this case, because it`s the same prosecutors? We`re going to ask him, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you have anything to drink in the hotel room?

ROUER: Yes, I did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you have to drink?

ROUER: I had a rum and coke.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And did the defendant have anything to drink?

ROUER: Yes, he did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did he have?

ROUER: The same.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who made those drinks?

ROUER: He did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is he doing? Come in (EXPLETIVE DELETED) right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you honestly tell us that you ever saw a gun inside there?

DUNN: I saw a barrel coming up on the window.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will be the first to till you there`s no weapons in the car.

DUNN: Well, maybe I`m not as fast with the whole thing as I think I am, but it was...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or maybe he wasn`t getting out of the truck?

DUNN: Absolutely he was.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Many have compared the Dunn case to the Zimmerman case. The same prosecutors are involved. People have said George Zimmerman had too much of a chance to tell his side of the story using that walk-and-talk re-enactment of the shooting of Trayvon Martin as a way to testify without taking the stand. Remember this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, ACQUITTED OF MURDER FOR SHOOTING TRAYVON MARTIN: His arm went down to my side. I grabbed it. And I just grabbed my firearm and it shot one time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Some have suggested that`s why the prosecution in the Dunn case decided not to play the police interrogation of Michael Dunn.

But Mark O`Mara, George Zimmerman`s former attorney, CNN legal analyst, was it a mistake not to play this interrogation video in the prosecution case because, A, cops really nailed him on him inconsistencies, and B, do you really think that`s going to force Michael Dunn to stake the stand?

MARK O`MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, I have to agree with what Tony said earlier. I think it was a tactical decision they made in the Zimmerman case that they probably regret. And they`re not going to make that same mistake again.

You know, it`s a chess game. You have to play it, knowing what your moves are going to be three or four moves out. And with the strength of the state`s evidence, they didn`t do a phenomenal job but they did a very sufficient job.

Then they put the burden back on the defense to come up with some reasonable hypothesis of the self-defense. And that can only come at this point from Dunn`s mouth. And when it does, then they bring out the tapes, the letters, maybe some other witnesses who talk about non-peaceful attitude of Dunn. A door that I do not think should have been opened in this case by the defense, by the way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So if Dunn doesn`t take the stand and the defense has said that "We have a couple of witnesses left," and that`s tomorrow, will the prosecution then be able to play this tape in rebuttal and bring out all that stuff? Or are they kind of tied then?

O`MARA: You know -- maybe. But the problem with it is that we are really going with the premise that it simply cannot happen. Strolla, the way he handled the case so far, and almost acknowledged it in the jury selection...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the defense attorney.

O`MARA: ... jury instructions. He said -- I`m sorry, yes, Cory Straw. No matter what he had basically said that Dunn is going to take the stand. And he absolutely has to.

Failing to take the stand at this point just basically hands the state their case. So if we were to start with the premise that, for some reason, he doesn`t testify, then, yes, there may be a question of whether or not the tapes would come in. But unfortunately, I think the defense opened the door for some of that, because when they brought in the peacefulness witnesses, they opened a door that never should have been opened. And I think the state is going to walk through it with a lot of other evidence.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And of course, you`re talking about some of the horrible letters that Dunn wrote from jail that -- that have racist overtones.

Now I`ve been taking the prosecution`s inventory. Let`s take the defense inventory. The defense, in a very controversial move, brought the dead teenager, the victim`s father to the witness stand. The ultimate hostile witness. The defense wants jurors to believe that Jordan Davis`s dad coached the three other teenagers who were in the van with him, the SUV with him, to coordinate their stories about what happened that night.

But my question to Mark O`Mara, after we listen to this, did this tactic backfire? Was it callous and even cruel? Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CORY STROLLA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL DUNN: Isn`t it true that the three boys came over a couple days later and talked to you about the facts that night?

RON DAVIS, FATHER OF JORDAN DAVIS: No, they came over to the house and they talked to me about that they were sorry. And those facts is what they talked about. They didn`t talk about the facts surrounding his death. They talked about how sorry they were that my son was killed, shot and killed, is what they said to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mark O`Mara was this dumb and cruel, callous on the defense`s part.

MARK O`MARA, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you have to start remembering that a jury is an organic entity and they`re human beings and they have a lot of sympathy. And if you are going to put a -- a dead teen`s dad or mom or sister or cousin on the stand, it better be for a very particular surgical reason. And you better do it with a scalpel and you better do it well.

And if he was going to do it, if what he was planning on getting was an inconsistency with the boys` statements by making it up at the house he missed completely. And now you are right. I think what happened was it showed to a jury who has never seen these cases before, that there was a disrespect to the father of a young, dead teenager.

And I think it backfired. I don`t think it came across well. It didn`t hit the point that he was supposed to make with it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, thank you, O`Mara. This man has been through such hell -- the victim`s father. I interviewed him. He`s such a wonderful guy. And you know, I just -- my heart goes out to him in this very difficult time. We are all over this tomorrow.

But next, two, two, two wrong-way crashes in one weekend. The death toll: 11 dead. Next, a horrific video -- it is beyond comprehension. I couldn`t believe it when I saw it this morning. I said we have got to show this tonight. It is a wake-up call.

Stay right there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We crashed and I just started screaming and screaming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Feel like I have a dark core (ph) inside me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A chilling chant from a community trying to cope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His mom is crying, crying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I still can hear it. It`s like a loud cracked crushing noise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what; an extraordinary video surfaces on YouTube and goes viral. A wrong-way driver kills four people and himself in Florida. And the minute, the single minute leading up to the crash is caught on video -- cell phone video of somebody else who`s driving nearby.

I want to warn you, it is graphic. It`s disturbing, but it`s wake up call we all need to hear. Check it out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is he doing? Am I being live (EXPLETIVE DELETED) right now? He`s like -- he`s on the wrong side. Ok. Where is he going?

Oh my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Gut wrenching. Gut wrenching. Four people died, plus the driver. Five people in all. The horror in that woman`s voice. Four college students dead -- innocent people. We don`t have the autopsy yet which may not say much because of the flames. But as a recovering alcoholic, with 18 years of sobriety, it looks to me like the kind of thing that happens when a lot of alcohol is involved -- Adam Thompson, criminal defense attorney -- when the driver is in a blackout.

ADAM THOMPSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is just tragic. When you watch this it is just -- it takes your breath away. It`s just frightening. I mean, obviously, you watch this tape and the first thing you are wondering is when you are on the side of the road and you see cars coming right at you, and, in the opposite direction, why don`t they just pull over, stop the vehicle?

So there has to be something more than what we understand, which means some kind of drugs or alcohol in this because a rational thinking person doesn`t do this.

But I will say this, a lot of these kinds of cases you take alcohol out of it. A lot of times you get elderly people at night. Some of these roadways are designed --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

THOMPSON: -- and there`s such confusing signs, you see this happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, no, no, no, no, no.

THOMPSON: It`s a lot of Jane if you look at 100 percent of the cases, 75 percent of them are elderly people at night and they`re confused --

(CROSSTALK)

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: No, no, no, no.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, no, no -- Jon Leiberman, help me out here.

THOMPSON: I`m not saying it is this one. I`m not saying it is this one.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Enough, enough, enough. Jon Leiberman --

LEIBERMAN: Now look Jane, here`s what I can tell you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

LEIBERMAN: The latest NTSB numbers show -- the latest NTSB numbers show 60 percent of wrong way crashes are due to alcohol. Those are the numbers. And we are talking specifically about wrong-way crashes, crashes, like this one that we saw in Florida. And like the one we are going to talk about out of California.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The woman who recorded the video of the Florida wrong-way crash was in a moving car and she just saw this and she started recording it which is amazing journalism really. And she described this horrific sight to our affiliate, WTSP and then we`re going to play it afterwards again so people can see while we continue to talk about it. Go ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So it was about to hit -- it crashed and I just started screaming and screaming. I still I can hear it, like a loud crack, crushing noise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s take a look at the video that she recorded again all the way through the crash. Rolonda Watts, host, "Sundays with Rolonda" blogtalk radio, you are in Los Angeles. You and I have been friend for a decade. I know, I was on the 405 in Los Angeles, coming back from a ski trip and I saw a wrong-way driver. That was 4:00 in the morning. And it freaked me out.

And I was like -- it was surreal. I was like this can`t be happening? Drove right past me on the 405 many years ago. It happens. And it is terrifying. I am afraid to drive on Saturday night. Because even though I live in New York and I don`t have to drive -- thank God -- but when I was in L.A. I didn`t want to drive Saturday nights on the freeway because of this you. Know what I am talking about?

ROLONDA WATTS, HOST, "SUNDAYS WITH ROLONDA": Yes. Absolutely. Jane, listen, you and I know all too well the difficulties that alcohol can lead to. And this, they`re saying that a lot of the 60 percent that the gentleman just pointed to are young people. A lot of these head-on collisions happen between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. But yes, this is very frightening.

What concerns me even more while I do appreciate the honest footage there -- what concerns me is that was a driver taking a picture of this also. That could have caused some other issues as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, I don`t know that she was a driver. She may have been in the passenger`s seat. Maybe she was. I don`t know. I think it --

WATTS: Yes. It`s turned to the steering wheel.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- it captures the horror on it. I know I am supposed to continue on to the California case but I mean how many seconds are we away from this horrific, horrific, horrific, there it is -- boom.

I mean the crash we are talking about happened early yesterday morning in Tampa, Florida; so yes, late Saturday night, early Sunday morning. There was an eerily similar crash at about the same time on the other side of the country in a Los Angeles suburb. Cops say another wrong- way driver crashed into two cars and killed six people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is horrific -- horrible. Four deceased on the scene -- two of them passed away at the hospital, UC-Irvine. Right now we have one critical. And we have another party that was minor injuries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: John Lieberman, you have new information about the driver in the Los Angeles area crash?

LEIBERMAN: Yes, yes, all I can tell you, Jane, is that this crash was entirely preventable. We went through court records. The driver who was allegedly drunk in that crash, the footage you are looking at, was convicted in 2010 of DUI when she was just --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Man or woman?

Leiberman -- it was a woman when she was just 17 years old -- convicted of DUI as a juvenile. Then since then, she has had two other traffic violations. She just got last week, all of the restrictions lifted on her license -- just last week. One other thing, Jane, the driver`s sister, one of the victims in this crash, she too had two DUI convictions so she couldn`t take the wheel because her license had been suspended.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait, I`ve got to jump to the chase here.

The driver, was she killed or is she going to face like charges?

LEIBERMAN: The driver is facing charges. The driver is facing a host of vehicular manslaughter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. So the Florida one, the driver -- the wrong way driver dies. California, the wrong way driver survives. She`s facing many, many, many charges. What a horror show coast to coast.

On the other side -- thank you, Jon Leiberman. Bizarre -- one way to describe the way Shia LaBeouf has been acting. It`s really, really weird. We`re going to tell you and show you how weird it is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHIA LABEOUF, ACTOR: My name is Stanley Yelnats. All my life I seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More bizarre behavior from Shia LaBeouf.

LABEOUF: When the seagulls follow the trawler it`s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Walked the red carpet with a bag over his head. And the bag had the words "I am not famous anymore", written across it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is it just me or should we be a little bit worried about movie star, Shia LaBeouf who showed up, that`s this weekend as you saw, wearing a paper bag over his saying "I am not famous anymore."

The actor became famous starring in the "Transformers" movies, but he now seems to be transforming into a lunatic. This from CG Entertainment and Paramount Pictures -- it`s Shia in better days.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LABEOUF: It is a robot -- super advanced robot. It is probably Japanese.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now many are wondering if the star is losing it. This past weekend Shia behaved very strangely in Berlin, promoting racy new movie "Nymphomaniac".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I`ll take my virginity will that be a problem.

LABEOUF: No, I don`t see a problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But it is what Shia did during a news conference and red carpet appearance that stood out. Here`s his response when asked about all the very explicit sex scenes in the movie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LABEOUF: When the seagulls follow the trawler it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. He is kooky. And we`re very delighted to have with us Adriana De Moura, star of Bravo`s "Real Housewives of Miami". You deal with some crazy people but this guy is taking the cake, Adriana. What the heck is wrong with him?

DE MOURA: Well, see I think I have to agree with him. He is no longer famous. But now he made -- made himself officially infamous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree. You know, I have to say, that Shia was once slate to be the next Tom Cruise. Everybody was talking about him because I remember he had an unusual name. And everybody was like he is going to be the next big superstar. Now, it`s like, eh, maybe not so much.

If Shia has been in the news it is for the wrong reasons. His troubled time line includes a DUI arrest, weird plagiarism claims and a few fights including this one caught on tape in January where he is head- butting a guy in a London bar. Check it out from TMZ.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get off my (inaudible).

(EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(CROSSTALK)

LABEOUF: What did you just say? What did you just say?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shia, please. Shia.

LABEOUF: What did you just say? What did you just say?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: International outrage tonight after a healthy two- year-old giraffe named Marius was shot to death, executed and fed to lions in front of an audience of children at the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark. I want to warn you, some of this video is graphic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK HANNA, HOST, "INTO THE WILD": And I`m a pretty (inaudible) person. You see me do TV. But this right now is the most abominable, insensitive, ridiculous thing I`ve ever heard of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t agree with Jack Hanna on a lot of things but I agree with him there.

This didn`t have to happen. The zoo said it`s because they couldn`t breed Marius the giraffe because it would be inbreeding. Yes, this is the problem with zoos. All they care about is breeding and selling tickets. They don`t care about these animals. This is exhibit A.

Straight out to Adriana De Moura, animal rights activist and star of Bravo`s "The Real Housewives of Miami". Adriana -- your reaction to this event.

DE MOURA: I`m totally repulsed by it. I think it`s unexcusable (ph) and it`s just an example of the violence that animals hat suffer. All the animals in captivity are at the mercy of people that think they can do whatever they want with their lives. It`s just unacceptable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you know, to me this is a wake-up call. If you don`t like this, if it`s disgusting to you, then don`t go to zoos. Because this animal could have been sent to a sanctuary --

DE MOURA: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The difference between sanctuaries and zoos are that sanctuaries don`t breed, period, and they don`t have animals on display, ok? So look at this, in front of children, Adriana.

DE MOURA: It`s horrific. I mean how can you, you know, look at the giraffe`s eyes, the sweet, innocent look, and lure into death by giving its favorite food and then all of a sudden shooting in the brain while the giraffe is coming to you. I mean have a heart. Who can do that? I mean I don`t understand how people can be so cold and vicious.

And yes, they say children weren`t crying. I saw a picture of some kids covering their eyes, because as an adult, I couldn`t even look at the footage. It`s horror. It`s horrible. I just -- I can`t even look at this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you see that there`s international protest. People are protesting like crazy. First of all, I think it`s so irresponsible. It`s inhumane. It`s cruel. It`s sociopathic, in my opinion.

DE MOURA: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you know, we have a statement of the zoo. They say, well, you know, we bred it -- and I don`t call the animal it, I call it "him".

DE MOURA: Exactly, he had a name.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, he had a name -- Marius. And he had feelings and he had a heart. And the irony is they`re describing, it`s educational. We`re showing the kids. Look at his eyes.

You know, quickly, what`s wrong with people when it comes to animals?

DE MOURA: I think these people are monsters, you know. Whatever excuses they`re giving, they`re unacceptable. You just do not kill an animal based on whatever reasons you think you have. It`s just wrong.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I`ll say this. People are getting sick of this stuff. Things are changing. Stand up for animals.

Nancy next.

END