|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Larry King Live
Can High-Tech Advances Help Close Open Murder Cases?Aired May 26, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, with the killer of their daughter still at large, the Ramseys take a lie-detector test. It's one unsolved homicide among thousands. How can high-tech advances help close open cases? Sitting in for Larry King, famed defense attorney Gerry Spence.
Joining him, the host of "Unsolved Mysteries," Robert Stack; renowned forensic scientist and crime scene analyst Dr. Henry Lee; former LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman, who dug into the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley; plus, the man who polygraphed him and the Ramseys, Ed Gelb.
It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
GERRY SPENCE, GUEST HOST: Hello, I'm Gerry Spence. Now just a minute, don't mess with the clicker. This is the LARRY KING show. I'm sitting in for my pal Larry who's just had another baby. So congratulations, Larry. Right now, he's with his darling wife, Shaun, and their gorgeous new baby, Canon.
Tonight, well, we're going to talk about unsolved crimes. If somebody murders somebody in your house, you'd want the murderer caught. So let's talk to some people who have done just that.
Robert Stack, host of "Unsolved Mysteries" joins me in Los Angeles, along with Jane Alexander, who spent 13 years tracking down the killer of her dear aunt. She's the co-founder of Citizens Against Homicide.
There you are in person. You know, you know, Robert Stack, I have to tell you a secret. I used to stand in front of the mirror when I was a younger lawyer, quite a bit younger, and you were little younger, too, and I'd try to emulate that cold, blinkless stare of yours. That's such a wonderful thing, you know. It's just so intimidating. The eye never moves, nothing happens, and there's this penetration.
ROBERT STACK, HOST, "UNSOLVED MYSTERIES": Nothing happens, yes. Well, thank you. It helped support my middle-aged children. It works out very nicely.
SPENCE: Now listen, you know, whether you want to believe it or not, you've been a cop all these years, in a way, haven't you?
STACK: Well, I come from a military family, and I was one of the guys in show business that didn't put his arm around John Gotti and Mickey Cole and the rest. I was taught early on not to like the bad guys, and it kind of carries on to my life. And someone once said to me, said, "You really think you're Elliot Ness, don't you?" I said, "No, no, I don't think...
SPENCE: Well, aren't you?
STACK: Turn the cameras, I'm Elliot Ness.
I'm not Elliot Ness, but I'm sure not Al Capone, I can promise you that.
SPENCE: Well, you know, your wonderful program, "Unsolved Mysteries" sort of makes you a cop.
SPENCE: And it makes all of America a cop, doesn't it?
STACK: It works on a level that is really very interesting. It's kind of a proof that Democracy in America works, because...
STACK: ... calling this I saw this. And hopefully, as we said early on in the show, there will be no place for, pardon the expression, these bastards to hide.
SPENCE: Yes, well, you know, that's a legal term, it is.
STACK: Thank you, sir. On your advice, I'll accept that.
SPENCE: But don't you have a little trouble with all these calls. You must get thousands and thousands of calls. How do you get them sorted out?
STACK: Well, they've got a research department. And my main -- I'm kind of like the stage manager our town. My job is to kind of lead people into the story, like Pat McNeil (ph) used to say, he says, "You know, being an actor is one thing; being a storyteller is something else." Lead them into a story and don't interfere too much with the story, and make the people's stories be as important as they should be, and hopefully they'll like it.
SPENCE: Now actually, you've solved some crimes, haven't you?
STACK: Yes, we have. The ones that are obviously the easiest to solve are the ones where you put the face of the guy up there, and through the wonderful medium of television, the saturation, they can many times be caught. The difficult ones are the esoterics, where you get into UFOs and all kind of strange disappearances, and the horn from the great- grandmother who wants to know where her false teeth are and things like that.
SPENCE: But I think -- what is the percentage of the crimes that you've actually solved on your program?
STACK: In general, about 40 percent I would say, but to lump them all together as crimes is very difficult because some of them are highly esoteric, and some, like Mickey Thompson, you know, the race driver, who was killed. It's the same thing with the lovely lady here, you searched forever. I know his sister, and she has been searching forever for the killer, and she also works with victims of violent crimes, and it does my own heart good to see that the involvement of the average person, not just the police, are trying to do something against the people that have done bad things.
SPENCE: Well, you've got a lady here, you see this lady sitting next to you. Look at her, she s quite a lady.
STACK: Yes, she is.
SPENCE: I'm really glad to have you here, Jane. This is Jane Alexander. You are one of those Americans that decided to do something about it.
JANE ALEXANDER, CITIZENS AGAINST HOMICIDE: That's correct. And I know Colleen Campbell also.
STACK: You do? A darling lady.
ALEXANDER: That's who Elliott was speaking about.
SPENCE: So your darling aunt was murdered?
ALEXANDER: Correct. She was murdered.
SPENCE: How did that all happen? What's that all about?
ALEXANDER: Well, I can't go into all the details, but needless to say, she was murdered by an old family friend of 20 years, and the motive in the murder was greed, and he was a close friend of my husband. He was a close friend, obviously, of mine and of the children, and he knew I would inherit whatever estate she had, and so he decided that he would kill her, and it was very difficult because he was the last person on Earth that I would ever suspect. And the police realized it long before I did, and they had a hard time convincing me. But once they convinced me that he killed her, then I got angry, I got mad.
SPENCE: And then what did you do?
ALEXANDER: Then I just spent the next 13 years of my life running him to ground.
SPENCE: Well, I'll tell you something, you better not make Jane Alexander mad.
(LAUGHTER) SPENCE: I don't want you after me for 13 years.
ALEXANDER: It's very satisfying. I -- along the way I met Jan Miller, and you are going to talk to her, I know, later on in the program, and we formed an organization called Citizens Against Homicide. There's a great need out there.
I just want to give you one statistic, Gerry. I talked to one member of the California Department of Justice a couple of weeks ago, and he told me we have over 8,000 unsolved homicides in California alone.
SPENCE: Eight-thousand in one state.
ALEXANDER: In one state.
SPENCE: What do you think percentagewise of the actual murders that are committed?
ALEXANDER: I have no idea, but I know that doesn't include missing children, like under 10 years old, because most of them, unfortunately, are not alive.
SPENCE: Well, tell me, can you ever forgive this man? You got him into prison. He is sitting there. How long has he been in prison?
ALEXANDER: He's been in prison -- actually, he spent five years waiting to go to trial, and he's been -- between jail and prison, it's 10 years now.
SPENCE: And so what's your answer to my question?
ALEXANDER: To forgive him? Never, never forgive him. He'll go out of the jail feet first.
SPENCE: How does that make you feel?
ALEXANDER: That makes me feel great.
SPENCE: So justice has something to do with vengeance?
ALEXANDER: Well, you call it whatever you want, I call it justice, you can call it vengeance, perhaps it's the same thing, but I would never forgive him. You do the crime, you do the time. He made a decision to do this. He planned this murder. He figured it out. It took him weeks, if not months, to do it, and why should I forgive him for brutalizing this sweet, dear, old lady? Never.
SPENCE: All right, I think it's time now to go to a break. Don't mess with the clicker. We're going to be right back.
SPENCE: And joining me now is a woman who's waited nearly 16 years for her daughter's killer to be caught. She's still waiting. In San Francisco, I'd like you to meet the co-founder and president of Citizens Against Homicide, Jan Miller.
JAN MILLER, CITIZENS AGAINST HOMICIDE: Good evening.
SPENCE: Well, Jan, it's been a long time, hasn't it?
MILLER: It certainly has.
SPENCE: Have you given up?
MILLER: Oh, no, I'm never going to give up. Every week or so every month or so, I'm in contact with the police officer involved in the case, and actually...
SPENCE: You know...
MILLER: Go ahead.
SPENCE: Well, I love to hear what you're doing, because it seems to me in a way that if you can focus on trying to get justice, that somehow that helps replace the sadness and the hurt that a mother feels when she loses her child.
MILLER: Well, I think it allows you to believe you're doing something, and that is a good thing. By keeping...
SPENCE: I want you to tell us. Excuse me, Jan, I shouldn't interrupt you, but tell me the story. I want to know the story. The people want to know what the story is. What happened?
MILLER: Well, my daughter's name was Veronica Perotti (ph). We call her "Roni." And she was the oldest of my four children. She had gone away to college, to Chico State University, and she was part of the nursing program, and she had completed her freshman year, and she was now going to move into an apartment with her four girlfriends, and they were going to live off campus. Since she decided to take summer classes and keep her job for the summer -- she wanted to get out of school in four years like her friends were going to do, and she was -- the nursing program was five. So she was the only one in the apartment, and she had been in the apartment for three weeks, and she was brutally murdered, she was beaten to death in that apartment.
We had people that have given information to the police, and as the time went on, and the police kept asking more questions, they all got attorneys, and they were no longer able to talk to the police. We put up a billboard asking for help to find her murderer. And as time has gone on, new technology has become available to us, and most recently, we were able to have DNA tested from her -- from the crime scene, and we found that they not only found her DNA, they have found someone else's DNA also, and we have now determined that that DNA is a male, and we're really hoping that this is going to bring enough information, or an additional help to the police that we will eventually, in a very short period of time find her murderer.
SPENCE: Well, Jan, you're talking about that tonight. We've got Robert Stack here, and we've got the whole of America out there listening to you. Maybe we're going to have a break in your case. Robert, does that really work?
STACK: The interesting thing is that people think that it should happen automatically, quickly. Our show was on the air 11 years, sometimes five, six, seven years later. And now with DNA coming, it's a whole new ball of wax, because all of a sudden you wind up with evidence that they never had before, and so you never give up hope. We were talking about Colleen, Mickey Thompson, greatest race driver probably of all time, because you just keep going. If we don't keep going, the bad guys will keep going, and we're going to have to win.
SPENCE: Well, you know, crime has come down in this country, Jan, a lot in the last few years, and we've got more and more police that are out there working in these cold case cases and trying to catch up with these, and I hope that's happening with you. You use billboards as well?
ALEXANDER: Yes, through the governor. Thank you, Governor Davis. He makes available the sums for us, and we do all the work, and we contact the police and we put up billboards. And this morning we got a fax from Ft. Bragg, California. We had a billboard up there for many, many months. And the chief of police of Ft. Bragg faxed us this morning that they have just made an arrest in a murder up there.
SPENCE: Jan, you know, you know Medgar Evers' wife, you've heard about her case, the killing of the civil rights leader. That case took 25 years to solve, and it's just recently been solved, as you know?
MILLER: That's right. And I have spoken to Dorothy Moxley, whose daughter was murdered 25 years ago, and it looks like they're very near a resolution also. So I have tremendous hope that we will come to solve this murder, and that this murderer will go to prison and serve his time, and in the meantime, working with Citizens Against Homicide has been a wonderful help to me. It allows me to interact with other people and take my knowledge and share it with others, and this has been a very good thing for me.
SPENCE: You know, good luck to you. Let me tell you something, I'm going to put a lot of vibe, Gerry Spence vibes on you, and you're going to get your crime solved. No problem.
MILLER: Thank you. Thank you.
SPENCE: Don't mess with the clicker now. Don't mess. We're going to be right back.
SPENCE: You know, one tool that's used in the investigation of crimes is the polygraph. The popular name of it is "the lie detector." Now joining me from New York, the man who polygraphed John and Patsy Ramsey. He's Ed Gelb, used to be president of the American Polygraph Association.
Ed, and I just said your name wrong, didn't I?
ED GELB, POLYGRAPHED THE RAMSEYS: It's Gelb, Jerry.
SPENCE: It's Gelb. Rhymes with?
GELB: There is nothing it rhymes with.
SPENCE: That's why I couldn't remember it.
SPENCE: Ed, listen, you do the polygraph on the Ramseys. What did you find?
GELB: Gerry, I found that both John and Patsy Ramsey, after careful examination, were not practicing deception, or put another way, they were telling the truth when they denied involvement in the deaths of -- in the death of their daughter, JonBenet, and we looked at it from a number of aspects. One, did you inflict the injuries that caused the death of JonBenet? Another approach was, do you know who killed JonBenet, or are you concealing the identity of that person? And finally, with Patsy Ramsey, because she had not been excluded from writing the ransom note, I directed an examination toward, did you write the ransom note?
Those examinations were all numerically scored, quality- controlled, and no deception was indicated.
SPENCE: You know something? These -- the fact that these people, both of them, passed the lie detector test has some significance, doesn't it? I mean, if just one of them passed or one of them -- or both of them failed it would have been something different. But both passed. What does that mean to you?
GELB: Well, not only did they both pass, but there was a total of five separate polygraph examinations. And you can get into the statistical probability of what's the chance that either or both of them were lying and yet able to pass five separate examinations each consisting of three polygraph charts for a total of 15 charts. I think those chances are pretty slim, Gerry.
SPENCE: All right, now, Ed, now listen to this carefully: Are you sitting there ready to guarantee to this whole world that these people aren't guilty of that crime?
GELB: Absolutely not, Gerry. I'm giving you the results of a well-conducted polygraph examination, which in my hands is probably 95 percent accurate. The other 5 percent would be made up of false positives, false negatives and inconclusives.
SPENCE: So why can't you under these circumstances say, well, you know, they passed this with flying colors not once but five times, I can guarantee they're innocent? Why can't you say that?
GELB: Because I guarantee the quality of my polygraph examination. And that's what I guarantee. I don't sit and pontificate and decide guilt or innocence. That's decided by judges and juries. I decide whether a polygraph examination was properly conducted and what its results were, and I stand behind those results.
SPENCE: Well, can we always rely on a polygraph with respect to guilt or innocence? I mean...
GELB: I don't think the polygraph has anything to do with guilt or innocence. As you well know, Gerry, that's the province of a judge or a jury, and I'm not sure that the nexus between truth and justice is always there.
SPENCE: Well, supposing, just supposing that in this case the Ramseys, who hired you to do this, who paid you the money, had come up with a negative result, and you came to your conclusion that these people had lied, would you have gone on national television to tell us all that?
GELB: Certainly not. I would imagine that the attorney would have said this was done under attorney-client privilege and this will never see the light of day.
SPENCE: Well, that's -- that's understandable, but I think America needed to hear that and understand that, Ed.
You know, who -- who is it that can -- can beat a lie detector test? There are certain kinds of people that you know you can beat them. What kind of personality is it?
GELB: Well, Gerry, I think we start out with the person who doesn't take the test. That's probably the best way to beat it, is not to take it.
Now, if they're going to take the test, there's probably a possibility that they could make that test run inconclusive so there would be no firm opinion.
SPENCE: How -- what kind of person would do that? We've got about 15 seconds here.
GELB: A deceptive person who is trying to hide their deceit would do things physically to destroy the efficacy of that examination, Gerry.
SPENCE: How about a psychopath, somebody with no conscience?
GELB: Well, the literature doesn't agree with that. The research that's been done indicates that people who were in fact psychopaths tested better with the polygraph than the normal population. That study was done up in Vancouver.
SPENCE: Well, there's the man, folks. There's the guy that if you want to find out whether your next door neighbor or your spouse is telling the truth, you better call Ed.
Thanks, Ed, for being with us so much. Thank you.
GELB: Thank you, Gerry, for having me on the show.
SPENCE: You bet. And now, don't go away. Going to have to take another break. Don't mess with the clicker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATSY RAMSEY: What was I thinking? I had JonBenet's face in my mind from the moment I went into that room, and I just kept saying, this is for you, honey, because we're going to find out who did this, and whatever I have to do, I will do.
JOHN RAMSEY: The only thing we know to do now is to appeal to the public and say, look, we've done everything we can that we know we can do. You need to realize there's a killer of children that walks among us. It's not patsy, and it's not I. Let's get with finding the killer. That is our single and only objecting in doing any of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SPENCE: Welcome back.
Still with me here in Los Angeles are Robert Stack, host of "Unsolved Mysteries," and Jane Alexander, co-founder of Citizens Against Homicide.
Joining me from Omaha, the eminent, inscrutable forensic scientist and crime-scene expert, the incomparable Dr. Henry Lee.
Well, Dr. Lee is the commissioner, as you probably all know, of the Connecticut Department of Public Safety. And in Spokane...
DR. HENRY LEE, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: No, Omaha.
SPENCE: ... we've got the former Los Angeles police detective and best-selling author Mark Fuhrman.
Hi, Mark. Hi, doctor.
MARK FUHRMAN, FORMER LOS ANGELES POLICE DETECTIVE: Good evening.
FUHRMAN: Good evening, Jerry.
SPENCE: ... is it a little easier to solve these cases now, Doctor Lee, than it used to be?
SPENCE: These old cold cases?
LEE: Because new advances in forensic, so have a lot of new technology applied to the cold cases, such as DNA, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), new chemical (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to look at a latent fingerprint, image enhancement, of course, artificial intelligence, and crime-scene reconstruction.
SPENCE: Artificial intelligence? What do you mean artificial intelligence? If they've got that, I want a little of it for myself.
LEE: Well, it's now, you know -- because massive amounts of information, we, early days, just (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of forensic scientists would read the report, tried to memorize all these cases. Right now, we can put all the database in a computer, try to search the name file, a vehicle file. A witness has a description, we can link the cases together, determine that's a serial rapist or a serial killer. Try to look at the common parameters so we can solve that case.
SPENCE: So that -- so that computer is proving to be smarter than we are.
Mark, listen, you've been working on a case that's 17 years old? That right?
FUHRMAN: Twenty-five, 25.
SPENCE: Twenty-five? Twenty-five years old. The Moxley case.
FUHRMAN: Moxley case. A great case, and I think Dr. Lee is absolutely right about technology. But I think it's raised the bar for detectives. Now you have to be more knowledgeable about what you can do with what evidence and you have to be more knowledgeable how to preserve that for all time now.
Look at the cold case -- and I personally have looked at cold cases when I was on LAPD where the agencies had destroyed evidence because it was older than 10 years. That is a thing of the past. Now we have to preserve all pieces of DNA and all forensic evidence because now we can actually analyze it.
SPENCE: So do you think you've solved the Moxley case.
FUHRMAN: I think that was one that's completely absent of scientific evidence almost entirely, that comes down to just fitting the pieces of the puzzle in over the span of 25 years to see who the suspect really is, and then really see how he has placed himself at the crime scene and made admissions over the years, and then whatever evidence does exist does fit with exactly that suspect.
And I think it's solved, and I think he'll be taken to a superior court, and I think he'll be found guilty.
SPENCE: Mark, you know, we all need a few fans, a few people that think we're great. Now guess who your fan is sitting right here by me. Jane Alexander says, I just love that man.
FUHRMAN: Well, thank you, Jane.
ALEXANDER: He's a great detective. FUHRMAN: Thank you.
SPENCE: And we all need that, don't we?
ALEXANDER: And, Mar...
FUHRMAN: I do.
ALEXANDER: Mark, Dorothy Moxley thinks you're the greatest thing since sliced bread, let me tell you.
FUHRMAN: I -- you know, being around Dorothy, I feel so special, and could never really -- I can't ever live up to what she thinks of me, but I'm sure glad she does.
SPENCE: I want to ask you one question before we go to break. You said somewhere that Michael Skakel has the drive of a dairy cow. All he does is eat and spend money. Did you say that?
FUHRMAN: I think something along those lines. You know, he is not a sympathetic defendant. He's done nothing with his life...
FUHRMAN: ... And you can see what he has done with his life is basically spend money and eat.
SPENCE: Well, you know -- you know, he's going to have to have a good defense lawyer, and I think he probably does. And the man that's going to...
FUHRMAN: Are you up for it, Gerry?
SPENCE: No, I'm not up for that one.
Well, this is time again for a break. Do not mess with the clicker.
We'll be right back.
SPENCE: Mark, I wanted to ask you a question while I've got you there and you're all juiced up to talk to me. Listen, do you think that there's some concern about opening these old cases up? Witnesses, ideas, memories fade, there's problems sometimes with our memories, and sometimes our memories are what we're asked to remember by other people, or a kind of a liturgy that we develop ourselves, do you think that's a danger?
FUHRMAN: I think it's a problem, I think it is. But I think you have to look at these cold cases. If they're done properly, if the homicides are done properly and everything's documented properly, you have a lot of concrete statements from those people that they would be able to look at them and refresh their memory. I mean, those statements I think on cold case, the suspect is there or they know who they think the suspect is. I don't think that's a problem.
SPENCE: Did you ever make any mistakes in those old cases? You ever made a mistake?
FUHRMAN: Yes, you make mistakes in the old cases where you really think you know who the suspect is, and you probably do, and you make the mistake of relying on people. And I think you're right, that they actually don't even really remember saying those specific things. That's the problem. You can certainly do it from the book and you can do it from the forensic evidence, but you're right, you have to have the person that saw the person. You have to have the person that was the victim, or in a homicide case any witness that was there. Yes, you've got a lot of problems there from people wanting to commit and turn their life upside down again.
SPENCE: Yes, yes -- Robert...
FUHRMAN: That is a problem.
SPENCE: You know, you get some of these cases solved. Have you ever opened up a bag of worms after all those years that you wished you hadn't opened up?
STACK: What happens sometimes is people disappear, and everyone searches for them, the wives, the children, everything else. And the basic fact that nobody remembers is the fact that some of these guys want to disappear. They don't want to be found. They go into that...
SPENCE: I suspect that after all of these cases that you've really dealt with that there's been a few of them you wish you said to yourself, I wish I'd never touched that case. Has there been any of those?
STACK: Not too many. It's -- most of our cases are pretty much black and white. And I found one thing. I found that -- we made a study of the criminal mind, and I found that we had one guy, very intelligent guy, in jail, and he says, you know, you guys think that you get a real kick out of catching people like me. Let me tell you something. I get 10 times a kick out of making fools out of you good guys. And this is a very intelligent -- I thought to myself, these guys are kind of scary, you know?
SPENCE: Well, but, you know, they're still entitled to their basic rights under the law, and that includes due process. That means that the testimony has to be right, that the evidence has to be honest.
Dr. Lee, when you go into a case like the O.J. Simpson case, right?
SPENCE: You're paid.
LEE: Yes, I got paid. However, it was money...
SPENCE: And you're -- well, that doesn't mean that you're -- that doesn't mean that you're...
LEE: Wait a second.
SPENCE: That doesn't mean that you're a bad man, doesn't -- doesn't mean you're not going to tell the truth. It just means you got paid.
LEE: Sure, you know, your lawyer get paid or not, right?
SPENCE: That's right
LEE: As a scientist -- right. As a scientist...
SPENCE: But -- but -- but...
LEE: As a scientist, yes I got paid. The money...
SPENCE: But the point -- the difference is -- there really isn't a difference. You see, lawyers get paid...
SPENCE: Lawyers get paid, too.
LEE: Right. as a scientist, we get paid.
SPENCE: But there's two sides. When you go into a trial, there's two sides of the lawyer. There's this side of the hand that represents part of the truth from the defense side. There's this side of the hand, the other side, that represents part of the truth from the other side. But when you take the stand and you're paid by one side or the other, does that have anything to do with the way you view the case?
LEE: No, absolutely not. Like a scientist, we only report a scientific fact to the court of law. Doesn't matter which side retain you, the -- Ed just talked about polygraph. He just report a result. We just report a scientific result to the court of law. Don't take side, doesn't matter which side pays us.
LEE: As a matter of fact, O.J. Simpson case did, in fact, pay me. However, half of the money went to the state police laboratory, bought some instrument. Other used for police training. Personally, I did not get benefit from it.
SPENCE: You know, Dr. Lee, you are such a fascinating person. Everybody is -- everybody just loves to listen to you...
LEE: Thank you.
SPENCE: ... and yet as I listen to you carefully as a lawyer, sometimes I'm not quite sure that you take an absolute position, even though you have the science in front of you.
LEE: Yes, a lot of time it's in gray area. We can't say everything is a black and white.
I like to make one point clear regards to Moxley case. I had the pleasure to have dinner with Mrs. Moxley, very nice lady. I feel terrible about her daughter got murdered. However, something have to make it clear. We been working on the case since 1993, a task force set up. We re-examine every piece of evidence, review all the record. I did the complete crime scene reconstruction, went back. We started investigating together. So solving the case, we really cannot goes to the public. So I hope sort of the public can understand...
SPENCE: Well, now, I'm not going to ask you that...
LEE: ... what the evidence was.
SPENCE: ... final question as to whether or not you've solved the case.
LEE: Well, we cannot really talk about that.
SPENCE: The prosecutor will ask you that on the stand.
LEE: Yes, exactly.
SPENCE: So there, we have it -- Robert Stack...
STACK: Yes, sir.
SPENCE: ... and Jane Alexander...
SPENCE: ... and we're going to go to a break. And we'll be right back. And don't mess with the clicker.
SPENCE: Well, we got a little call from San Diego -- San Diego.
CALLER: Yes, hello, Gerry.
CALLER: When reward money is offered to help in solving crimes, just how effective is it?
SPENCE: Well, what do you think about that -- about that, Robert?
STACK: Depends upon the case, really. If you're getting into a murder -- it depends where, too. If it happens in Colombia, I don't think reward money means a thing. But, you know, again, you're dealing with human nature. You're dealing with greed, essentially. And the more I've learned about the criminal mind, the more complex it gets. I think it depends. It's not an answer, but it depends upon the crime, really.
SPENCE: What do you say, Jane?
ALEXANDER: I think it's a great tool for the police officers. I know we've put billboards up and down the state, and I've talked to many of the detectives. One detective called me and said they had 62 hits on the billboard. So it brings in a lot of leads to the police departments, and I think this is something that's very helpful in that respect.
SPENCE: Have you ever had a crime that was solved as a result of a reward that you offered?
ALEXANDER: Yes, yes, we've had -- well, we don't -- we do the legwork on it, Gerry, but the governor is the one that gives the money. Yes, we had a billboard in Modesto and there was a homicide. And this man just kept seeing the board time and time again. He finally went to the police and told them he knew who committed the murder. And he had known this for nine years...
ALEXANDER: ... and he had kept it to himself. It was just unconscionable. But he just got so sick and tired of looking at that young girl on that billboard he couldn't stand it.
SPENCE: Couldn't stand it.
ALEXANDER: Couldn't stand it anymore. So you never know what motivates a person.
SPENCE: Did you ever offer rewards on your program?
STACK: No, our show didn't do that. But Jane's absolutely right. I think, you know, it's cheating cheaters. You're dealing with a level of society where there's no honor among thieves. And again, of course, the temptation is...
SPENCE: Of course, you can hear the cross-examination right now. I can hear it, and you can too. Mr. Stack, you've just turned in my client, and you're going to collect $50,000 reward, aren't you, sir, in the event that this jury convicts my client? And you're going to be enriched by your testimony to this jury, aren't you, sir?
STACK: You scare me, I tell you right now.
ALEXANDER: Thank god we don't have Gerry Spence (OFF-MIKE)
SPENCE: You come back, you know, with that unblemished, unblinking stare, and I won't ask you the next question.
STACK: OK, fine. (OFF-MIKE)
SPENCE: Grand Rapids, Michigan.
CALLER: Hi, Gerry.
SPENCE: Hi. CALLER: I'm wondering how the panel feels how effective psychics are with helping with these unsolvable crimes?
SPENCE: Now there's something that we ought to talk about...
SPENCE: ... because I know that some -- Mark.
FUHRMAN: Yes, Gerry.
SPENCE: You ever use a psychic?
FUHRMAN: No, but I know that on LAPD they have used psychics. They used it on the Hillside strangler case. I'm not sure on the Richard Ramirez case. I can't say one thing or another about it. I've read about it. I really don't have a lot to say about if it works or if it doesn't.
SPENCE: Now, mark, I'll tell you -- let's -- I'll tell you what let's do. Let's you and me ask the premiere scientist in this world about using psychics to solve cases. Dr. Lee, that's you. Ever use a psychic?
LEE: Yes, in my career we did.
SPENCE: Tell us.
FUHRMAN: It's in the gray area, though.
LEE: It's in the gray area.
Well, solving cases, I often say, you need four important elements: You need a good crime scene, you need good physical evidence, you need witness, public support, and little luck. Many times, the crime scene destroyed, no physical evidence, so reward money can help to generate public interest, give us information. The luck usually, when you run out of thing, victims' family often mention, why don't use a psychic? So once in a while we try, and we had a lot of volunteer and want to give us information.
All right, let me give you example, one day we in our state a dentist missing, and I was called to the scene. We searched the whole house and nothing. We did not find anything. Then the police chief call me a psychic, talk to them, and volunteers say the body is in the attic.
SPENCE: You're kidding.
LEE: I searched the house, searched the house up and down. We went back, took the whole attic apart. We can't find the body. I really got mad, and I talked to the psychic and I said, what do you mean? She say, I say in the attic doesn't mean in that house. Could be any house.
SPENCE: Could be any house.
LEE: But once in a while, you know, they give some really good information.
SPENCE: Well, you know...
LEE: I do have cases where there's some good information.
SPENCE: ... I have to tell you something. If I were to bet any money -- and I'm not a betting man -- I would have bet almost any amount of money that you would have never admitted that you used a psychic?
LEE: Yes, I'm an honest man. I use everything.
SPENCE: I bet you've never said that, Dr. Lee, on any other show except this one. Am I right?
LEE: You are right.
SPENCE: Thanks for that -- for that little clue from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
FUHRMAN: You know, Gerry, the interesting thing about a psychic is why not? At a certain point, you might as well go ahead and use everything you can, especially if it's free.
SPENCE: OK, well...
ALEXANDER: And all victims go to psychics. All the victims eventually go to a psychic.
SPENCE: Is that right?
ALEXANDER: Yes, it's a fact, every one of them -- every victim I've ever talked to.
FUHRMAN: It's a last ditch, last-ditch effort.
SPENCE: Well, I tell you something. We're going to do a break now -- another break. But this is a great program. You're having a good time, and we're learning a lot of things. So don't mess with the clicker.
SPENCE: So here we are. Well, we got somebody, a good friend of ours in New Preston, Connecticut. Tell us what you want to talk about.
CALLER: Yes. Hello, Gerry.
SPENCE: Hi, there.
CALLER: This question is for Dr. Henry Lee.
SPENCE: You have stated that you have a theory as to whom is responsible for JonBenet Ramsey's murder. When will you go public with this information?
LEE: I can't, because so many active homicide cases. Right now, I'm working on 800 other homicide cases. As an investigator and scientist, we have to respect the court of law without (UNINTELLIGIBLE) public.
SPENCE: Well, you know, I have to -- I have to say to you that touches a really soft spot in my heart, Dr. Lee, that you refuse to talk about the cases that are pending, because I think -- I think that every defendant, no matter what the charge is, is entitled to a fair trial.
SPENCE: And a fair trial means that the public, the public, the jury pool from which this case will be tried isn't poisoned by -- by publicity that people read and come to the conclusion that the defendant is guilty. So I admire that from you -- for you very much.
Let me ask you, Dr. Lee, just one question, however. Who -- who is it that hired you in the Ramsey case? Which side?
LEE: Well, I -- Gerry, I really don't like to hear the term hire. And judges, police officers, we all get paid what we're doing. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
SPENCE: Who is going to pay your check, your bill in this case?
LEE: Well, they really did not pay my check; they just paid my expenses.
SPENCE: Now, you know...
LEE: Alex Hunter.
SPENCE: Who is going to pay your expenses?
LEE: Expenses means fly me to Colorado. That's Alex Hunter.
SPENCE: Yes, who is going to pay it?
LEE: The DA or the public. OK, the people.
SPENCE: Well, I'll be darned, we got an answer from the inscrutable Dr. Lee. Now, thank you. Now -- now, I wanted to ask you, Mark, if whether -- whether or not you've got some advice for these people out here. This -- you know, thousands of people who have loved-ones that have been murdered and the cases aren't solved. Do you have some advice for them?
FUHRMAN: Yes, I do. Robert Stack is sitting right there. He did "Unsolved Mysteries." When they did the Moxley case, I actually got three clues from what he gleaned from the public off that show. I went through 25 clues. I got three. They actually went toward the conclusion that the Skakel family was involved, specifically Michael.
And it's very important that people use their instincts and go ahead and contact people or a right law enforcement agency on a case, because what they think is nothing now could be something now or it could be something in the future. And I think the perfect example is once I wrote this book on the Moxley case that said that Michael was a suspect, all the people that he confessed to came out of the woodwork. They should have come out of the woodwork 25 years ago because they heard the confessions but they thought it wasn't.
SPENCE: Well, what you did -- what you did was shake the sack a little bit, wasn't it?
FUHRMAN: Exactly, and I think the whole public can do that. We were talking about rewards. Rewards are directly proportional to the suspect and his peers' status in society: $100,000 was offered in the Moxley case. It meant nothing to millionaires.
SPENCE: If you shake the sack...
SPENCE: ... you never know what's going to come out.
FUHRMAN: Yes, rattle the cage.
SPENCE: All right. We're going to go to another break, and we'll be right back. Don't forget us.
SPENCE: OK, Jane. Let's tell the people out here what we're going to do, what you advise them to do if they have a loved-one whose suffered a murder and it's unsolved. What should they do?
ALEXANDER: Just never give up. That's the first thing. Get acquainted with the homicide detective, treat him like a very wonderful human being, because he's your bottom line. Don't get mad at him. You're angry, but don't take it out on the police department. That police officer will win the case for you if you treat him kindly and just don't quit. Just get in their face and stay there in a nice way.
SPENCE: That's called -- that's -- let's see when I was a boy my father called...
ALEXANDER: No, no. Don't go there. Don't go there.
SPENCE: ... my father used to call that the squeaking wheel syndrome. He used to say the squeaking wheel gets the grease.
ALEXANDER: That's true. But it does, it really does. And that's what we try to do with Citizens Against Homicide. We try to put a spotlight on the case and leave it there until they solve it. SPENCE: Robert, what do you advise?
STACK: Well, you know, Gerry, the police have hearts, and you know, in spite of some of the bad publicity and all. They involve themselves -- become involved in a case, and see it through the eyes of the victim and the victims' families and stuff, they will do things extracurricularly. They will go out there and knock themselves out. It's happened with friends of mine many, many time. They're the good guys.
Let them in on it and go out there and just never give up, as Jane was saying, because, boy, with DNA and the forensics, there are things that are going to be answered in 20 years they couldn't answer before.
SPENCE: Well, I'm telling you, I want to thank my guests. You're quite a bunch. Thanks to all of you for being with us tonight, and I think thanks for you for listening. It's been a great pleasure for me. And Larry, congratulations on Cannon.
STACK: Here, here.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.