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Interview With Grady Irvin

Aired July 2, 2003 - 20:01   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We start off with the story of missing Baylor University basketball player Patrick Dennehy, and an informant's tale that Dennehy's roommate, Carlton Dotson, shot and killed Dennehy during an argument. Police have questioned Dotson, but they say he is not a suspect. A relative says the only reason Dotson hired a lawyer is because of all the media attention, and that lawyer now joins us from Tampa, Florida. Grady Irvin, welcome, good of you to join us. We appreciate your time this evening.

ZAHN: First of all, your client is considered by police to be a person of interest. Why?

IRVIN: I don't know what police mean by the term person of interest. I think that perhaps they know what that means. To me, I don't know exactly what they mean by that.

ZAHN: Can you describe the nature of the relationship? Some say a close relationship that existed between Patrick Dennehy and your client.

IRVIN: To the best of my knowledge, it was a good relationship. They were close friends. As far as we've been able to tell at the early stages of this, they had a very good relationship.

ZAHN: Does your client fear for his life now, or did he fear for his life over the last couple of months?

IRVIN: Well, I think there's been so much widespread speculation about there being fear on the part of Carlton, there being fear on the part of Patrick. There are various rumors that are being thrown about throughout the media of people. There are people that are making statements to the media who really don't know firsthand what is going to with this investigation. I think police have kept their investigations close to their chest, which is the place to keep it, and at this particular time, we've got people making allegations that Carlton somehow was involved in some act which was illegal, and what we're trying to do at this particular time is to hopefully bring an end to those wild rumors.

This is a time, in our opinion, a time for Carlton and for the family of Patrick. It's a time for them to be in prayer. This is a tremendous moment of grief and uncertainty for all that are involved, and so at this particular juncture, we are just going to be in a wait and see posture. ZAHN: Mr. Irvin, I would love to give you the opportunity to shoot down some of these rumors. A longtime friend of Patrick Dennehy told police and actually said and repeated on television this morning that both of these men were very worried about their safety and they were using a shotgun for their protection. Can you confirm that?

IRVIN: Well, I can't confirm that, because I wasn't there and I don't know if the individual was there. He is basing whatever he is making to the press, he is basing that apparently on something that was told to him. The accuracy of those reports at this time are unknown.

ZAHN: This same gentleman said on TV that Mr. Dennehy was, quote, "had Dottie's back." Referring to the need to protect your client from someone, someplace.

IRVIN: Well, I don't know what is meant by that. I would -- we probably could go on all night, Paula, if we had to respond to every allegation, every suspicion, every rumor that people are making in this particular situation. I think the best thing for us to do at this particular time is, number one, for us to be prayerful for the Dennehy family, for the Dotson family, to allow police to continue to conduct their investigation, for people not to impede that investigation by making unfounded rumors, to make inferences and suggestions which don't get us to where we're trying to get to, and that is to find out the whereabouts of Patrick Dennehy.

ZAHN: According to a police informant, you don't have to look very far. I would like to read a part of an affidavit that has been released and published, and according to this, Mr. -- this man told his cousin that Dotson had an argument with his roommate while out shooting guns in the McLennan County area and that his, referring to Dotson's, roommate had pointed his gun at him as if to shoot him, and that he had shot his roommate in the head with a 9 mm pistol. Dotson stated that he had gotten rid of the guns on the way.

Is this true?

IRVIN: Well, the first thing you have to look at is this person has been classified as quote, unquote, "confidential informant." Those people who know anything about the practice of law who have ever done a jury trial in their life, there is one instruction that a judge generally gives to a jury. They will tell the jury that before you today came a quote/unquote "confidential informant." Anything that that confidential informant has stated to you should be taken with caution. You should be highly, highly careful as you analyze the statements of a confidential informant.

ZAHN: Are they lies?

IRVIN: I think that applies in this particular case. There is an investigation which is ongoing, Paula. And any credibility which is given to a, quote/unquote, "confidential informant," real or unreal is unknown at this particular time.

So I won't waste my time. I won't waste my client's time trying to respond to, A, someone who I don't even know who it is and we don't know what the basis of the comment, of the statement is. Where does it lend support from? Where does it come from?

ZAHN: So you are saying at this point in time you don't know whether it is real or unreal so you can't even tell us tonight whether you believe this affidavit is filled with lies?

IRVIN: What would I tell you that for? I have not participated in this investigation in this particular case, nor have you participated. You can't tell me whether it's real or unreal. Nobody in America can tell me whether it's real or unreal. That's yet to be determined, and as long as people are going to speculate that that report from that so-called confidential informant is accurate, all they're going to do is continue to feed into a frenzy which does not serve, number one, this investigation any justice, it doesn't serve the Dotson family any justice, nor does it serve the Dennehy family any justice. I think it's careless.

ZAHN: Final question for you, are you fearful that your client may become a suspect?

IRVIN: The first thing that I tell my clients these days, number one, don't be fearful. You cannot be fearful. What you have to be is prayerful. There's one thing that we find out about a person who is fearful. A fearful person is unstable in all of their ways. I am not fearful for my client, nor is my client fearful.

ZAHN: Well, we appreciate your coming on and sharing with us what you could this evening. Grady Irvin, thank you, again, for dropping by.

IRVIN: Certainly.

ZAHN: Appreciate it.


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