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Teacher Caught on Tape Dragging Teen Down a Stairwell; Workers Race to Fix Oroville Dam; Sarah Stern Murder; Fall From Grace; Who is to Blame?; Secret Recording. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired February 14, 2017 - 20:00   ET



[20:00:00] ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, HLN HOST (voice-over): A teacher puts a student in a headlock and drags him down the stairs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s no respect with these kids today.

BANFIELD: And neither did the law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t see anything wrong with it.

BANFIELD: Score one for the teachers...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it was wrong.

BANFIELD: ... in the battle against out-of-control kids.

Hundreds of thousands on the run.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s really, really flooding!

BANFIELD: As a massive wall of water looms over everything they own.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We slept in the car, and oh, it was miserable.

BANFIELD: The largest dam in the country on the brink.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A 30-foot wall of water.

BANFIELD: Tonight, a frantic fight to stop the deluge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freaked out right now, actually.

BANFIELD: As more rain heads their way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Going to start raining on Wednesday.

BANFIELD: When the evidence of an attempted murder plays out live in court, that`s an inmate lunging at a prosecutor with a metal shank.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you trying to murder (INAUDIBLE)


BANFIELD: So how did he describe it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tried to give Jonathan Roth (ph) a high five with a knife in my hand.

BANFIELD: Lifelong friends and the prom date of his pal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`ve been friends for years.

BANFIELD: Prosecutors say a teenager admits to strangling Sarah Stern (ph) and watching her slowly die.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He knew exactly how long it was because he chose to time that.

BANFIELD: Thirty minutes of torture before she was thrown from a bridge.

Super-drunk. Who knew it was an actual term? Meet the woman so drunk, police thought the breathalyzers were broken. Now she`s suing them after

falling on her face.

And Lance Armstrong versus you, me and the rest of America.

LANCE ARMSTRONG, CYCLING SUPERSTAR: I`m focused on the future.

BANFIELD: The government wants our tax dollars back after sponsoring his cycling for years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you ever take banned substances or blood dope?


BANFIELD: 90 million reasons why that cheater must be sweating.


BANFIELD: Hello, everyone. I`m Ashleigh Banfield. This is PRIMETIME JUSTICE.

You win a few, lose a few. You`ve heard that said before. but for Wilbert DelaCruz tonight, he`s one of the winners in the battle that is raging

through out nation`s schools, a battle that`s pitting kids hurling F-bombs and teachers and throwing punches at will against teachers who have lost

all of their ammo trying to handle the kids who`ve lost control.

But Wilbert DelaCruz got some of that ammo back when he went after a naughty kid, and the law refused to go after him, and it all happened on

video. It`s just outside of Orlando. The prosecutors say this boy was hurling F-bombs at DelaCruz twice and refused to stop running, and that`s

when DelaCruz went after him, gave chase, caught him, in fact, and put him in a headlock.

But the 15-year-old kept fighting, and it took them all the way into the stairwell. At one point, it caused both of them to fall on the stairwell.

And ultimately, you can see DelaCruz pretty much dragging that student down to the bottom of the staircase. And then when they got to the bottom of

that staircase, student still in headlock, he was ultimately dragged off to face his discipline.

And because of this video and what you see there, DelaCruz was arrested. The teacher was arrested. But DelaCruz, the teacher, was cleared. And now

his case has sparked a lot of debate over corporal punishment, kids running wild and how to get the problem in control.

Segun Oduolowu is a former 8th grade teacher, a high school basketball coach, and he joins me from Washington. Segun, thank you for being here.

I think you`re going to give me an answer I`m not going to expect, especially since you`re a former teacher because a lot of the teachers I

talk to think, Good for him, he finally did what our parents all said happened to them. And the law said he was OK to do it. And I think you


SEGUN ODUOLOWU, FMR. 8TH GRADE TEACHER: Yes, those teachers should be stripped of their duties as educators. Here`s the first thing -- and

Ashleigh, thank you very much for having me on Valentine`s Day. You look great in your outfit as I`m trying to...

BANFIELD: Thank you, Segun.

ODUOLOWU: ... do the same.

BANFIELD: You look great, too.


BANFIELD: But I think we`re going to butt heads on this.

ODUOLOWU: Well, we`re going to have to because this isn`t corporal punishment. Look, my parents spanked me as a kid. I understand corporal

punishment. But we`ve all seen the movie where the good throws the bad guy down a flight of stairs and he breaks his neck. This is an overweight

teacher dragging a helpless student down a flight of steps. I mean, I`ve seen worse takedowns or better takedowns in a rodeo, OK? He looks like


BANFIELD: Did you call him helpless? Did you call him helpless? He`s been fighting the whole way!

ODUOLOWU: Wait a second now. He cursed at the teacher and ran in the hallway. The teacher then went after him and drug him down a flight of

stairs. Again, unless that kid`s a rodeo clown or a steer at the local Texas branding, there`s no reason to be treated like that, and a teacher

should be stripped of their duties. This is ridiculous.

[20:05:07]BANFIELD: But Segun...

ODUOLOWU: ... and offensive.

BANFIELD: ... here`s what I don`t get. I`ve had so many teachers and principals and career educators on the air who`ve said, We just can`t

handle them anymore. We`ve lost our upper hand, and they know it. And they get away with murder in these hallways. The number of F-bombs -- it`s

just standard operating procedure. Kids telling their teachers to "F" off, kids throwing punches at other kids and then kids throwing punches at the

teachers, and the teachers are being told, Hands off.

ODUOLOWU: Do something else.

BANFIELD: What`s the answer? If you can`t be like this, what else? Do what?

ODUOLOWU: Do something else, take up another profession. Listen, when I taught -- and I coach kids from some of the poorest backgrounds to some of

the wealthiest, but I remember one specific rule. I`ve been called worse by better. There are people that actually love me who`ve spoken worse to

me than these kids ever could. So it`s not my job to lose my temper, and at my age, physically harm a student because that kid mouthed off to me or

I felt disrespected. And that`s...

BANFIELD: Do we let them...

ODUOLOWU: ... what this teacher did.

BANFIELD: Do we just let these kids do this and keep our calm? What`s that teaching them?

ODUOLOWU: There are security guards. There`s calls to the parents. There`s calls to the principals. There are multiple ways to deal with this

situation that cannot and should never involve dragging a kid that you outweigh by about 150 pounds down a flight of stairs, losing your balance

and possibly injuring him for running in the hallway.

The punishment doesn`t fit the crime. It`s ugly to watch. And I`m not surprised that this happened in the state of Florida, where madness seems

to run rampant, and he wasn`t found guilty. You do this in any self- respecting school and you should have your badge and your teaching credentials revoked.

BANFIELD: So you`re not the only person who feels this way, but I`m also going to tell you there are a whole lot of people who feel like, finally, a

teacher wins and a kid gets what he has coming. I want you to hear from two different people at that school. They`re connected to the school in

some way and they both have differing opinions about what happened. Have a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it was wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even if the child is telling him to blank off?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That still doesn`t give the teacher the right to drag him, put him in a chokehold and drag him down those stairs like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there`s no respect with these kids today, and teachers are limited as to what they can do. And as long as he wasn`t

hurt, I don`t see anything wrong with it.


BANFIELD: OK, Segun, here`s the deal...

ODUOLOWU: Come on! Ashleigh, come on!


ODUOLOWU: That is not even playing fair. You took the old man get off my lawn wearing an Army corporal punishment hat...

BANFIELD: He probably...


ODUOLOWU: ... and he said the young people are disrespectful. Come on!

BANFIELD: Here`s the thing. I have heard the argument before that the grown-up who goes to battle with the kid is actually causing a bigger

battle. I get that. But what is the answer when you coddle that kid and you give them a reaction that the real world won`t? When he gets out of

school, that real world is going to wind up and deck him in the face for that behavior.

What favors are we doing to kids if we coddle them instead of show them the way the world really is going to be?

ODUOLOWU: We deescalate. As an educator, your job is to deescalate and to teach. Your job is never to say, Well, the real world is going to punch

you in the face, so I`m going to punch you first. That`s what parents and grandparents and family members are there for.

You do not say that because I`m teaching English or math class, I am then qualified to start putting my hands and fisticuffs on a kid. That can`t be

the way of an educator.

And if you feel that this kid is so disrespectful that the only recourse is dragging him down a flight of stairs like a sack of potatoes, then you are

in the wrong profession. He`s running through the halls!

BANFIELD: You can say it that way -- you can say it that way, or you can say stopping this kid from doing the things he`s absolutely not supposed to


I want to just read, if I can, for a moment, what the state attorney said in this case as to why they decided not to charge or at least to drop the

charges. "This is a discipline case, and the teacher was using corporal punishment as a form of discipline or in order to restrain the disruptive

child. Corporal punishment as a form of discipline is not, per se, illegal. It is illegal when it becomes excessive. Excessive occurs when

there is injury, and injury is defined as something more than minor discomfort or slight bruising. There is insufficient evidence to charge in

this case."

I want to quickly bring in Danny Cevallos and Misty Marris, both of them defense attorneys. The question I have is, it seems very clearly spelled

out when you read the state attorney`s decision to drop the charges. But that doesn`t seem to be, you know, operating procedure in schools across

the country. They all seem to feel as though, Hands off, no corporal punishment or you`ll get it.

[20:10:00]DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don`t even agree with the state attorney. You know, we`re talking about this in terms of whether

it`s -- you can see right there, corporal punishment or child abuse. It may be neither because corporal punishment, the idea behind it is that

you`re causing pain or applying force for discipline.

The statute specifically excludes using force for self-defense or to maintain order. So it may not even be corporal punishment that we`re

talking about if the force was used to avert a fight, avert violence.

Corporal punishment in Florida is typically thought of as -- and you`re not going to believe this -- paddling. Yes, paddling is still alive and well

in some schools in some states, mostly in the South.

MISTY MARRIS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It`s dictated state to state, Ashleigh. This could be a completely different result in a different state. Like New

York, you would probably see this guy getting prosecuted.


MARRIS: But in this particular case, it`s not crossing over to criminal conduct. That`s what you have to remember. He can still be investigated

by the schools, see if he followed the school`s protocol.


MARRIS: But we`re talking about criminal charges.

BANFIELD: All right. I want to thank you guys. And Segun, you`re awesome. And I think I completely butchered your extraordinarily awesome

name. And I`m going to do it again. Ready? Oduolowu. Is that better? Oduolowu?

ODUOLOWU: Oduolowu. You were -- you were -- you were great. I just can`t believe that those lawyers are still saying that it would be different in a

different state. He dragged a kid down a flight of stairs! Doesn`t matter what state.

BANFIELD: Every state`s different, my friend. Every state`s different. Hey, Segun, I hope you`ll come back. And happy Valentine`s Day.

ODUOLOWU: Happy Valentine`s Day. Any time.

BANFIELD: Nice to have you.

All right, tonight, police in New Jersey have something really macabre on their hands. They are searching for this young woman, but they`re

searching for her body as one of the suspects in her death has gone to court and apparently has been talking, prosecutors telling the judge he

apparently planned her death for six months.

And a shocking attack in a Michigan courtroom when an inmate has a shank in the courtroom and lunges at the prosecutor and says, yes, I was trying to

kill him.


BANFIELD: Tonight, authorities in Oroville, California, say it is, in fact, safe for the evacuees to return home. So here`s the question. What

would you do? Would you go back knowing that the emergency spillway continues to erode and that there`s big rain coming so there could be a

flood tomorrow?


KORY HONEA, BUTTE COUNTY SHERIFF: An evacuation warning considers the possibility that future inclement weather or increased lake levels or

problems associated with the existing damage to the spillway could elevate risks in the future and necessitate immediate evacuations.


BANFIELD: It is an unnatural disaster. So what`s it been like for the people who`ve had to flee on Sunday afternoon?


[20:15:02]UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Describe for us what it`s like living in these conditions.





Please, God, let the water drop and that everybody can come back home.



BANFIELD: Got some good news for you about a story we brought you last week, that manhunt for the alleged murderer, Kane Harrison, but he`s better

known to his friends as "Rage." He was on the run with Bambi. They were captured. She was let go but not him. A five-hour standoff yielded an

inmate, and he was taken to the local jail.

But here`s the bad news. Rage wasn`t in that jail long because that jail was in Butte County, northern California, and that jail is in the looming

shadow of Oroville, the tallest dam in America. It`s that one with the severely damaged spillway with the threat of massive floods looming.

So Rage and all his friends at the jail ended up evacuated from that jail. There were nearly 600 of those inmates, and the caravan was massive. They

even had to use school buses to get him and all of his others out of there, and 200,000 others.

Rest assured, Rage is back behind bars. He`s in another jail tonight. But it wasn`t just those inmates who had a really lousy weekend. Nearly

200,000 people ordered -- ordered, not asked -- to leave immediately, evacuate within minutes from the area after all of this ugliness, just

massive filthy flooding. The evacuees have been sleeping in shelters and in tents, even in their cars. Some of them are still struggling to get to

safety, in fact.

And the bad news continues because there`s more stormy weather that`s headed to the region, and workers are still scrambling to fix the Oroville

spillway before that deluge continues from the skies.


KEVIN LAWSON, CALIFORNIA FIRE INCIDENT COMMANDER: When we had water coming over the top of the emergency spillway, it was beginning to erode the

ground, right. And when you start to erode the ground and the dirt and everything else starts to roll off the hill, it starts to undermine itself.

And when it`s doing that, it starts working its way back towards the emergency spillway.

That portion of it has nothing to do with the dam, itself, large portion, but if that is not addressed and we don`t take care of that and mitigate it

properly, essentially, what we`re looking at is approximately a 30-foot wall of water that would be coming out of the lake. Not the lake drain,

but a 30-foot wall of water.


BANFIELD: So it might be a bright spot, but it might only be for a moment because folks can return if they need to. But they`re also being told, You

better have your wits about you because you might have to leave your home again in a hurry.

So now those people are demanding answers to what you see on your screen. It is not supposed to look like that. And officials were warned that this

dam`s emergency spillway was a problem.

[20:20:00]It was never meant to hold water like this all the time, or even like this right now. But the officials allegedly did nothing about those

warnings, and here we are a decade later and thunderous walls of water threatening all those people below.

Who gets stuck with the bill? Who has to suck up all this injustice? And look at that mess! What a mess! This is a big water source for

California. About two thirds of the drinking water comes from that, that reservoir up there. And it`s being threatened.

Ryan Young is live from the scene. And Ryan, I think I could hear helicopters, you know, buzzing above you earlier. I think -- what, are

they just trying to desperately fill in the mess that`s been left behind and everything else that`s going to happen after that?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there`s a massive operation going on out here. And in fact, as you talked about the helicopter, one`s returning

right now. We`ve been watching this massive operation go on for hours and hours.

And what the helicopters are basically doing, because they`re flying these patterns where they`re grabbing dump-truck-size rocks and taking them out

to the spillway to shore things up. This has been a sort of an operation that`s been going on for so long that people who live in this area who

finally started to come back home have been standing on top of their cars to watch this operation because they`ve never done anything like this


Ashleigh, show you this. Look at the size of these bags that they`re using to kind of put out there. They kind of grip these together with the

helicopter, and they take them out there. As you`re watching this happen live, that helicopter right here is just grabbing almost like a dump-full

(ph) truck of rocks, and then it takes them out that direction. Another helicopter circles behind it and does the same operation with the bags. So

we`ve seen this go on back and forth for hours.

They tell us they`ve been able to stabilize the spillway so far and they feel confident with where things are this hour.

BANFIELD: Just so people understand what they`re seeing on their screen, that spillway with all that just huge wall of water has a big old hole in

it, a big old sinkhole about 20 feet deep, 200 feet big and long -- trying to fill it in. This is a live picture that you`re seeing of the thunderous

water that they`re trying to ease from that lake above because the lake is getting full of a lot of rain.

Look at it. It was at 150 percent capacity, you know, in early February. So are they going to be able to do it in time?

YOUNG: (INAUDIBLE) the size of a...

BANFIELD: Listen, I want to bring Ron Stork in.

YOUNG: It`s the size of a football...

BANFIELD: It`s the size of a football field, Ryan, did you say?

YOUNG: The size of a football field, from what we were being told earlier. They now feel like with the water they`ve been able to release over the

last few hours, they believe the spillway has stabilized over the last four days. And that`s what we`ve been constantly hearing. What you see this

operation going on live right now as those rocks are being taken that direction, about two times, every time they do it. And we`re going to show

you where they`re going...

BANFIELD: What a mess.

YOUNG: ... why they do this live right now.


YOUNG: They take it out to the dam. More than 120 construction workers are out there working right now. And there`s an around-the-clock

operation. They`re trying to make sure this is shored up so when that bad weather starts heading our way...

BANFIELD: Sure. Of course.

YOUNG: ... they`re able to handle it.

BANFIELD: But here`s the thing. Here`s the thing. It didn`t need to be this way. We didn`t need to have that big old crater in that spillway.

And Ron Stork can tell you all about it. He`s the senior policy advocate for Friends of the River, and he filed a motion stating the dangers at the


Ron, I guess you`re the guy who comes on TV now amid this mess and says, I told you so, I told you so 12 years ago, and you guys did nothing about it.

Am I right?


BANFIELD: So where do we go from here, given that you and a lot of your colleagues put together the motion, put together the warnings, showed the

science behind that spillway not being ready for the kind of work that it was being meant to do over the last 12 years? Now we have a colossal mess.

Is there something that can be done to fix this terrible situation before calamity strikes and those 200,000 people lose everything?

STORK: Really, the only option they have right now is to draw the reservoir down using broken (INAUDIBLE) and that will cause more damage to

that spillway and throw a lot more of the hillside into the channel.

But there`s really no alternative to that because the emergency spillway has been demonstrated to be vulnerable to catastrophic failure. And you

can try and shore that up as much as you can, but this really can`t be fixed other than with some temporary Band-Aids until the dry season and

they can really work in the dry.

BANFIELD: So Ron, the president has ordered federal assistance to supplement the local assistance. That`s fresh and new information tonight.

FEMA`s going to be -- along with Homeland Security, is going to be coordinating the disaster relief efforts, whatever they may end up being.

I am so sorry that people didn`t take your warnings to heart back then, when they maybe had a chance to reinforce that spillway and make it work

right and not end up with a giant football field of a crater that caused the calamity we`re seeing now.

[20:25:11]Ron Stork, thank you for that. And Ryan Young, our reporter on the scene, thank you, as well. We`re going to continue to watch this.

Again, big rain coming, and that is not a good thing.

An inmate with a grudge and an inmate with a shank tries to kill the prosecutor right there live in the Michigan courtroom, right in front of

the judge and everybody else.

And then who`s to blame when an extraordinarily drunk woman who is four times the legal limit falls on her face and gets really badly hurt? She

says it`s the county`s fault, and she wants them to pay up big.


BANFIELD: It is not often you actually see an attempted murder happen right in front of you, especially in a place like a courtroom and it`s not often

that it`s caught on camera, but this time it was. And I`m going to show it to you. The inmate way over on the right, watch him, he`s about to hear

from the jury coming in and goes for the prosecutor with a shank, a shank. A metal shank.

He had it up his sleeve. Somehow. Look what he`s doing. This is as the jury`s coming in. He`s reaching up. And he`s pulling a shank out of his

sleeve and then going for it. Heading for the prosecutor. A detective beside him deflects his arm, though, and the prosecutor, scott free, no

injuries, thank you, Jesus. Look at that restraining. Wow. Wow. The deputies and that detective who`s underneath him did the job. Kept that

poor Jonathan Roth from getting stabbed by a prison shank.

How did he get a prison shank into a courtroom? I don`t know. I have not been in prison. But I`m pretty shocked there`s no metal detector for hem.

There is for us. Misty and Danny, wow. So he was there to be sentenced for sex assault and now it`s attempted murder. And so he had to come back to

court and face attempted murder. And so he had to come back to court and face attempted murder. And the judge asked him a question. I doubt this has

happened in any of your courtrooms with anybody you`ve seen standing.


CEVALLOS:Go ahead. Go ahead.

MARRIS: Sometimes the unexpected comes out.

BANFIELD: So the judge asked this fellow, Joshua Harding, were you made any promises in the plea deal that you`re about to make on this attempted

murder? And this is his response. Listen.


JOSHUA HARDING, CHARGED WITH SEXUAL ASSAULT AND ATTEMPTED MURDER: I was told that you could save a lot of money on car insurance by switching to


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re an amazingly smart man. That`s a different.

HARDING: I broke the law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me what happened, what you did.

HARDING: I tried to give Jonathan Roth a high five with a knife in my hand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you trying to murder Mr. Roth?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did you know that was wrong?



BANFIELD: I guess that`s kind of how a plea deal sometimes goes, but not usually.

CEVALLOS: He gets points for creativity. Look, during a plea agreement, a plea hearing, the defendant has to put the facts on the record, sufficient

to find him guilty. He`s got to do it, anyway. He must like the deal he got, and he thought he spiced up a little bit.

BANFIELD: You don`t have to be an ass about it. And this guy seems to be a complete ass.

MARRIS: Yeah, The GEICO defense.


MARRIS: I mean, I guess at this point, he doesn`t seem to really care. He just wants to be a funny guy.

BANFIELD: Can I ask you guys, look, I`ve been in a million courtrooms. I go through magnetometers at the front of the jailhouse, at the courthouse, I

sometimes go through a second magnetometer as you come to a dangerous trial that`s highly publicized. You know? Don`t they? Don`t they?

CAVALLOS: Well, the magnetometer, a lot of these shanks are made by melting plastic in jail. So it`s not always made out of metal shanks. Are made out

of combs, toothbrushes, absolutely everything. Things that won`t set off a detector.

BANFIELD: You know what his shank was made of? It was made of a piece of light fixture in one of the areas of the jail where he was housed.

Apparently they`re not housing the jail guys there anymore because oh, I don`t know, they can make shanks out of the actual jail itself. But he was

able to get that metal shank out of his sleeve and across the room and he could have killed that prosecutor. He could have killed him.

CEVALLOS: Yeah. The strange thing is, you know, people ask defense attorneys and prosecutors, are you worried being around these guys, these

defendants? For the most part, I think most people would agree that I think defendants see us as just part of the system, we`re not the enemy. So

something like this is surprising even to someone like me. I mean, this is not something you see every day but you see it every once in a while. It

reminds you we`re not working at Macy`s.

MARRIS: Right, it`s a false sense of security, I guess, but law enforcement jumped right in there and.

BANFIELD: They`re amazing. Really saved the day.

CEVALLOS: They really did.

MARRIS: That was unbelievable.

CEVALLOS: They did a great job.

BANFIELD: Weren`t they amazing? Look how fast and forceful.

MARRIS: Yeah, and think about.

BANFIELD: What they did was fantastic.

MARRIS: . how he brought that out of his sleeve. I mean, they have the eye, they have their eye on him, and they ended up taking him down.

BANFIELD: Yeah, shank ended up on the floor. Ultimately the prosecutor on the left who was the intended victim, he picked it up, and found the

weapon, put it on the table. That`s evidence for his -- listen, the guy was facing 19 to 38 for the original case which was sexual assault. Now, he is

facing a minimum of 20 more.

[20:35:00] Good-bye, Mr -- I don`t care what your name is. I actually don`t care what your name is. I`m not gonna say your name because we just don`t

care about you. You`re just a loser and you`re gone. So there`s that.

So I got this story and it is really disturbing. These details came out of a courtroom today about a young woman named Sarah Stern. We covered her on

this show. It was about her final moments. It allegedly took her killer 30 minutes to strangle her, that New Jersey co-ed. And apparently if you

believe the prosecutors, he`d been planning to do this for six months.

Also Lance Armstrong. Remember him? A million reasons why he doesn`t want the fraud case against him to go forward. In fact, there`s actually almost

100 million reasons why. And this dude should be sweating, not from the bike.


BANFIELD: Startling new developments in the case of two New Jersey teenagers who are accused of killing their lifelong friend, and then just

dumping her body off of a bridge. Sarah Stern has not been found. But prosecutors are laying out a really good case of murder, anyway. They say

Liam McAtasney strangled her in her home and then robbed her of thousands of dollars.

Then he allegedly got his room mate, Preston Taylor, who, yes, you`re seeing in this picture, had been her prom date, to help him throw her body

off the bridge into the river. Tonight, prosecutors say McAtasney admitted in a recording that made by a friend, admitted to strangling Stern, and the

details are just haunting.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In that consensual recording, this defendant admitted to murdering Sarah Stern with his own hands and choking her. He even so

much as demonstrated how he lifted her up off of the ground then left her on the floor and watched her die for 30 minutes. He knew exactly how long

it was because he chose to time that.

The defendant goes back to Sarah Stern`s home after leaving her dead body there for a duration of approximately eight hours, removed her from her

premises with the co-defendant and brought her to the Belmar bridge where he along with the co-defendant dumped her.


BANFIELD: Bert Baron is the morning show host on WCTC Radio in New Jersey. He has been following this case right from the beginning. This is so

uncomfortable to think that these three kids were friends for life, prom date for one of them, and that the admissions according to prosecutors on

video recording are that Liam McAtasney planned to kill her for six months, strangled her with such force that he lifted her off the ground and then

watched her as she died and it took 30 minutes?

BERT BARON, MORNING SHOW HOST ON WCTC RADIO IN NEW JERSEY: Uncomfortable is the right word, Ashleigh. Yes, lifted her off the ground, strangled her

with such force, and just let her body drop to the ground and watched her die.

BANFIELD: What am I missing? What am I missing about this story? Something is missing.

BARON: Lifelong friends. This was a robbery which began as just sort of an abandoned car that was found in Belmar, New Jersey, which by all accounts

is a nice, clean, friendly town at the Jersey shore and a car was found, a girl was missing, and good old-fashioned police work led to two very close

friends of this young woman.

BANFIELD: So this is Sarah Stern, just a lovely, a lovely girl. There were some pictures that were released today that I just felt found were

distressing. And I don`t know why. I`ve seen a lot of dash cam video, as you roll up behind a car, but this was the dash cam video as they rolled up

behind her car, which was left on that bridge empty.

So I want you to just roll the video as the police officers came up behind Sarah`s car. We know, obviously, she`s not in there, but the officer

doesn`t know that. And so he approaches the car as he would any other car at this point. But what you see is he has a flashlight. And what he does is

he looks for her in the front seat, flashes it in there, flashes it around. Back seat. No Sarah.

And ultimately they would determine there was no Sarah because Sarah was thrown off that bridge. So one of the other really, really upsetting

details today, Bert, was that these kids, Liam and Preston, who are now charged in connection with this murder, they helped to search for her body.

BARON: That`s correct. It was one of these sort of organized community searchers. There were signs and using the media to kind of get the word out

about this sort of inch-by-inch search for this missing woman and these two guys had the audacity, I don`t know if this is to deal with their own

guilt, to take part in the search, obviously to throw the trail off, perhaps, as they were being looked at a little closer to this, but thinking

that, you know, pretending to help find her, pretending to care for her would sort of move the investigation away from them and unfortunately that

didn`t happen.

BANFIELD: See the looks on their faces now. No more game anymore. No more surreptitious planning if that is what they were doing. Misty and Danny, I

want you to jump in on this because I think, you know, McAtasney`s lawyer is saying -- it`s really hard when you`re a defense lawyer and you`re

facing a surreptitious videotape recording of your client confessing, right? But I think what he`s trying to articulate is that, hey, he was

telling a story, it wasn`t a truth.

[20:45:00] He`s still expecting Sarah to turn up any moment. He was just, you know, play acting. I think the actual words, just pretending, locker

room talk. Locker room talk. How do you think that`s going to go over?

MARRIS: I think it`s going to be a difficult hurdle because the jury is going to hear that tape and they`re going to say, why would anybody make

this story up? But from a defense attorney perspective, what you`re going to do, you`re going to go after the credibility of the content of the tape.

It`s really your only shot.

BANFIELD: Credibility of the tape, we don`t know who it is. We don`t know who surreptitiously recorded it, Danny.

CEVALLOS: You have to authenticate it. You need someone to come in and say that it is what it purports to be, whether its a photograph or audio. But

in terms of if the jury ties that voice to that defendant.


CEVALLOS: . then it becomes a credibility determination and the defense attorney will try to argue whatever we can, but ultimately you have to sell

it to the jury.

BANFIELD: So Burt, what`s weird, is that last week we had the prosecutor on and the prosecutor told us on the air that at one point Preston Taylor I

guess with the squeeze play had agreed to record his pal, Liam, admitting all sorts of things. This recording is from somebody else.

BARON: An unnamed third person. It will be interesting to see how this third person ties into this whole thing and obviously this was a key to

breaking this case. Very interesting.

BANFIELD: Third person. There`s only two charged in this. Who on earth would he admit this to if they weren`t part of it?

BARON: It`s an interesting question and I can`t wait to find out who this third person is.

BANFIELD: It is bizarre. Bert, thank you. Nice to see you again as always. Look forward to your next appearance and happy valentine`s day.

BARON: You, too. Thank you.

BANFIELD: The fall from grace for cycling star Lance Armstrong was as swift as it was unprecedented. And now it has come one step closer to getting

very, very expensive for him. And we, the taxpayers, stand to get about $30 million of our money back from him. A federal court ruled that the lawsuit

filed against Armstrong by the government and by his former teammate, Floyd Landis, is going to go to trial and could result in Armstrong paying nearly

triple, triple the damages, which if you do the math is close to $100 million. And that comes straight to you, folks. The American taxpayer who`s

had to deal with that liar all along.

It ends a final attempt by the former seven-time Tour de France winner to get the case thrown out of court. Didn`t work. If you remember, it was that

whole Oprah Winfrey interview back in 2013, after years of denying and telling everybody who suggested for a minute that he was guilty that they

were filthy, he finally decided to come clean on using banned substances.


OPRAH WINFREY, MEDIA PROPRIETOR AND TALK SHOW HOST: Did you ever blood dope or use blood transfusions to enhance your cycling performance?


WINFREY: Did you ever use any other banned substances like testosterone, cortisone or human growth hormone?


WINFREY: Yes or no, in all seven of your Tour de France victories, did you ever take banned substances or blood dope?



BANFIELD: And that`s Oprah Winfrey being our hero. In 2012, Lance Armstrong was banned from cycling for life. He was stripped of all seven of those

fancy Tour de France titles. And now he might be stripped of hundreds of millions of dollars. Our dollars.

In Michigan, police arrested a woman who was so drunk they thought that their breathalyzer was broken. I`m not kidding. And now she is suing them.

The county. After she fell on her face while she was in jail. So are they really to blame for her face plant? And all the injuries?

Plus, a convenience store confrontation after a woman finds a phone in the restroom and realizes, um, the clerk left it in there to record her.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You set up a phone in there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: . to record her to use the bathroom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has pictures. I would not come back to this 7- Eleven, sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He set up a video inside the girls` bathroom.



BANFIELD: We`ve all heard the stories. Some small spy cameras being placed in some surreptitious and horrible place. Watching you. What you don`t

often hear or see is what happens when perps are actually caught doing it and confronted by the people they`re spying on.


BANFIELD: And police say, that guy, Pablo Diaz, a 7-Eleven employee in Westminster, California, was accused of doing that, putting a cell phone

camera in the bathroom of the store where he works and then when a woman in there actually saw the camera in the restroom, her friends pounced. And

when he was confronted, he actually copped to it.

[20:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You set up a phone in there.

DIAZ: No, I didn`t.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To record her to use the bathroom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has pictures. I would not come back to this 7- Eleven, sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He set up a video inside the girls bathroom, while she was using the bathroom. It`s on the phone that he tried setting up in

there. It has the video of you standing in there putting the phone down.

DIAZ: Okay.


DIAZ: Okay. I did it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For what? (beep). What is your problem?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s disgusting.


BANFIELD: Yeah, it`s disgusting. And guess what, Pablo Diaz, you`re on camera. On national TV. Being outed for doing that whole camera thing.

All right. Super drunk. Don`t laugh. It`s actually a legal term. According to a lawsuit, Tammy Korthal of Michigan blew five times the legal limit

during a DUI stop and in her drunken stupor, she took a nasty tumble at the jail and she got hurt. She fractured her skull among other things. So now,

believe it or not, she is suing a sheriff`s deputy in the county for more than $75,000 in damages. Accusing them of not properly protecting her from


But before you reach any conclusions, put your hands behind your back and try to walk around your house perfectly sober. Because when she fell during

this super drunk episode, her hands were cuffed behind her back so you can imagine stumbling around not able to protect yourself.

Christopher Trainor is Tammy Korthal`s attorney and he joins me from Michigan. Christopher, what do you say to the people who are watching right

now who say this is outrageous? That woman was stumbling drunk and now she`s suing the taxpayers?

CHRISTOPHER TRAINOR, ATTORNEY FOR TAMMY KORTHAL: All I have to say is what type of man would stand by and fail to help a woman? I`m sure we can all

answer that question. That`s my question to that officer. You`re going to stand by and fail to help someone in need out. That`s just not proper.

BANFIELD: I see your point, but I guess a lot of those taxpayers who are watching right now would say, what kind of woman would get behind the wheel

of a car four times the legal limit? I mean, drunk to a point, and I`m not kidding here, drunk to a point where she was near lethal blood alcohol


TRAINOR: What does that have to do with the fact that she`s taken into custody, she can`t protect herself, and then no one protects her? They let

her stumble down a hallway and try to walk up the stairs by herself knowing that she can`t protect herself, knowing she can`t help herself out. That

has nothing to do with the fact that she was driving drunk.


TRAINOR: He failed to protect this woman and that`s just flat-out wrong. That would be like saying my mother or my sister or someone made a mistake,

lots of people get drunk, lots of people make mistakes, then they go to jail and then they`re hurt because some officer doesn`t do his job.

BANFIELD: Okay. Let me just run through for our audience what happened. At her first traffic stop, Tammy blew, and they figured that the breathalyzer

was broken because it registered at .346, a .346, that`s unheard of. And so they grabbed another breathalyzer and her second test was higher at .357, a

.357. So they thought, all right, this is nuts, we got to get her to a hospital.

And the hospital did a blood test and her sample registered .41. That is near lethal and it is considered, I mean, the University of Notre Dame says

that .45 is lethal. You stop breathing at .45. Nobody forced her to do this. She did this to herself. So, again, Christopher, I see your point,

but do you also see the point where taxpayers are livid that she did this, she went driving, she got hurt, and now they got to pay?

TRAINOR: You know what, everybody`s got issues in life. And you know something else, take a look in the mirror for those people because they may

have issues and may need help one day. If they don`t get help, they may be harmed also.

I don`t think people like this who are worried about having to pay more taxes, whatever, really get the picture. This woman needs help. She

obviously needs a lot of help. And then when she comes into the custody of someone who`s supposed to help her out even more.


TRAINOR: . they fail her even more.

BANFIELD: Well, Christopher, I appreciate.

TRAINOR: That`s the whole point of it.

BANFIELD: Yeah, I appreciate you coming on and giving that side. I do think that when you`re that drunk and your arms are locked behind your back and

you`re being marched up some stairs, what do you imagine is going to happen? And that she should have some hands on her no make sure she didn`t

get a fractured orbital bone, neck injury, traumatic brain injury, intracranial bleeding, and subdural hematoma as she has alleged in the


Thank you, everyone, for watching. It`s been great to have you with us. Happy Valentine`s Day. I`m Ashleigh Banfield. See you back here tomorrow

night 8:00 p.m., PRIMETIME JUSTICE. Stick around right now. "FORENSIC FILES" starts right away.