Return to Transcripts main page
NANCY GRACE for September 29, 2005, CNNHN
Aired September 29, 2005 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight: A 17-year-old coed at Virginia Commonwealth University vanishes into thin air. Tonight: Is there a break in the missing person case of Taylor Behl?
And no body, no case? Well, nine years ago, Janet March (ph) went missing from an upscale Nashville neighborhood. Tonight, a suspect finally behind bars. Name? Tennessee attorney Perry March (ph), her husband.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight.
Tonight: Janet March mysteriously vanishes nine years ago. Now former attorney Perry March, her beloved husband, behind bars on charges of second degree murder. But where is the body?
But first tonight: A beautiful co-ed, 17-year-old Taylor Behl, missing from Virginia Commonwealth University her freshman year. Can police get clues from stolen car tags, skateboarders and an amateur photographer more than twice Taylor`s age? Those are the questions at play tonight.
Let`s go straight out to investigative reporter Jane Velez-Mitchell. Jane, any breakthroughs?
JANE-VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Oh, there are a lot of breakthroughs, Nancy. And as you know, this is a very, very disturbing, even creepy case. Just to bring you up to date, of course, this beautiful girl, Taylor Behl, on Labor Day, about 10:00 o`clock at night in the Richmond, Virginia, area, tells her roomie she`s going skateboarding with friends, takes off, never seen or heard from again. About 12 days later, they find her car abandoned. Very strange thing -- her license plates have been taken off, replaced with the license plates of a car that had been reported stolen several months earlier.
This, of course, significant because it turns out that she had secretly, unbeknownst to her mother, been dating a 38-year-old man by the name of Ben Fawley, who is a self-described license plate aficionado. This guy has a rap sheet, including assault. He admits he had sex with her that night, but says he left her at about 9:30. Police searched his house. They came upon what they call a stash of child porn. He is behind bars tonight, charged with possession of child pornography. And when they went through his house, they found an astounding number of items, very, very creepy stuff, a whole list of it. And I don`t even know where to begin because some of it we can`t even mention.
GRACE: Hey, hold on! Hold on. Jane, I`m glad you brought that up. Let`s put that up, Elizabeth (ph), the full screen that we have of some of the items taken out of this guy`s home. Remember, HE IS not officially a suspect. But here are the things seized from his home. A gym bag with spike bracelets. Well, you know what? You got to have your spike bracelets, OK? Of course, you can`t get past the two dildos. You got to have those. Knife -- need a knife, tissues and tampon wrappers. And everybody, before you wonder why those were seized, remember DNA, DNA, DNA.
Now, this is the kicker for me -- a box with bones. I don`t get where the bones coming from. Black bra, machete -- yes, everybody has one of those hanging around the house -- chains, straps, cutting of red-brown stain from the boxspring of the bed, white women`s underwear. Now, outside Fawley`s home and in the garbage, a hatchet -- now, why do you suddenly throw out a hatchet? -- a hammer, a pry bar, three pair of underwear -- don`t know if they`re men`s or women`s -- bags of clothes and videotape.
Now, why is all of that outside the home? But interestingly -- you know, right now, let me go to George Peterson. This is the Taylor Behl family attorney. A lot more was seized, George, and if I can get my mitts on the return -- everybody, a return is a form the police must fill out after a search warrant, so the defendant and all interested parties can know what was taken from the home or the car. OK, Ellie`s got it. Thanks, Miss Ellie.
George, did she smoke? Because I notice that some cigarette butts were taken out of the home.
GEORGE PETERSON, BEHL FAMILY ATTORNEY: Taylor did smoke cigarettes. I think she`d started that recently. I don`t know the significance of the cigarette butts that were actually taken, at this point.
GRACE: We`ve got an empty Rx bottle, hatchet, hammer, pry bar. I`m very interested in this yearbook -- a yearbook. I`m just wondering, was the yearbook taken out of this 38-year-old`s home -- was it a college or high school yearbook?
PETERSON: Well, I have no idea at this time. All we know is we have an itemized list of the things that the police seized. And obviously, they felt that it was some form of evidence, and that`s why they took it. But to comment on it further, I simply don`t know what exactly the particulars are of it.
GRACE: Yes. You know, I`m just wondering -- let me go to defense attorney Michael Cardoza. Michael, 38-year-old guy on disability -- no offense, but I don`t know why a healthy 38-year-old man is not working. He`s not a suspect at this time. Do you think that is semantics?
MICHAEL CARDOZA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Do I think that`s semantics? Probably. But you know, Nancy, you can approach this really emotionally. This guy`s a bum. He`s bipolar. He`s got all sorts of problems. Did he do this? Well, he`s the police`s best suspect in this case. And you may well be right, but we`ve got to get back to what evidence do they have of that. You can talk about that return of search warrant all night and the weird things that they find there. They`ve got to connect those things to her and to her homicide or to her murder in this case. Without that, all this means nothing.
GRACE: Yes, you know, very interesting. To Natalee Nabors, also a defense attorney. I notice that on the search purpose, what they`re looking for in his home, they were looking for a lot of Taylor Behl`s clothes, specifically what she was wearing that night. On the return, none of that was listed, Natalee.
NATALEE NABORS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think that`s for very good reason, Nancy. I think the focus on this case should be more with the skateboarders. We know that Taylor Behl told her roommates that when she left at 10:20 -- this is after she allegedly had sexual intercourse with Fawley. She left her roommate at 10:20 and said that she was going skateboarding. That`s very significant because when the bloodhounds -- when they found the car and the bloodhounds tracked the scent, they tracked it back to these two skateboarders, one of whom failed a lie-detector test saying that he didn`t know Taylor. And number two, he`d never been in the car. I`ve seen these bloodhounds firsthand, and they`re pretty accurate, Nancy.
GRACE: Well, on that one, Natalee, I got to agree with you. I have great faith in scent dogs, bloodhounds, be they looking for a cadaver, a living human, drugs, explosives, accelerant.
Take a listen to Taylor`s father.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
And the last time you spoke to your daughter was on her way to school?
MATT BEHL, TAYLOR BEHL`S FATHER: Right. She had stopped by my house in southern Fairfax County right before she left because my house is the closer of the two houses to interstate 95 for her to go straight down to school.
GRACE: Anything at all unusual in her conversation? Was she worried about anything, afraid of anything?
BEHL: No, not really. Taylor, I think, was excited to get back to school. She had come by just to give me a poster from a movie that we had watched together. She had also given me a picture that was taken of her receiving her diploma from her graduation.
I would just ask -- because the police, I think, are doing as much as possible -- I`m still waiting for the results of the forensic test being done on the car by the FBI -- look around. This child is out there someplace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: To George Peterson, Taylor`s family attorney, when are the forensic tests due back, forensics regarding the man who had -- the skateboarder who had been in her car?
PETERSON: Well, I have no specific timeframe on when the forensic evidence will come back or when they`ll have it all analyzed.
But if I may, I`d like to respond to something that Michael Cardoza said. He talked about tying the evidence that was taken from Ben Fawley to a homicide or anything like that, and I think he`s jumping way ahead of the gun on this. The fact is, we have no evidence that Taylor`s anything but alive and well, at this point. There`s simply no evidence of foul play. So in order to say that there`s a homicide here, I think we`re just way too premature, at this point.
GRACE: Well, let me follow up on that. George, Taylor has never been known to run away, to go missing, to stay gone this long. She was very excited about school. She didn`t seem to have any problems. So are you suggesting there has been no foul play?
PETERSON: Well, what I`m suggesting -- if you`re suggesting that foul play means homicide or murder, there`s no evidence of that. Do we believe she`s gone off on her own? No. Do we believe she`s being held against her will, at this point? Yes. But there`s just simply no evidence of a murder or anything other than Taylor will come back safe and sound.
GRACE: Now, what can you tell us about the skateboarders that were interviewed?
PETERSON: Well, I can tell you that when Taylor Behl`s car was found on September 17, the police initially sat on it and put it under surveillance for about 12 hours. After they decided to seize the car, they had a bloodhound track scent from that car to a house in the neighborhood.
And just to back up, the car was found about a mile-and-a-half from the VCU campus, and it had stolen Ohio plates on it. When they interviewed the couple who lived at the house that the dog tracked to, they asked the people there if there was anyone else that had access to that house. And they identified their nephew, a gentleman named Jessie Schultz (ph). Jessie Schultz lived down the block, and the police interviewed him. And he apparently had taken a lie-detector test and he was told by them that he failed two key aspects of that lie-detector test.
GRACE: Which were?
PETERSON: Which were, one, whether he knew Taylor Behl, and two, whether he had been in her car. The other interesting aspect of that is that when we first learned that Taylor had gone missing, it was our understanding that she was going out that night to go skateboarding with three people. Those three people were Jessie Schultz, a guy named Kevin (ph) and a guy named Ian (ph). So there`s certainly a link there, and it seems too big a coincidence.
GRACE: Well, hold on. Hold on. Hold on. George, did they actually go skateboarding with her? Did they actually meet up?
PETERSON: We have no idea, at this point.
GRACE: Well, they polygraphed the guy, and they didn`t ask him, Did you good skateboarding?
PETERSON: I don`t know whether they actually asked him that. The questions I know that he purportedly failed was whether he knew her and whether he`d been in her car.
GRACE: Now, you know, Michael Cardoza, when a polygraph is taken, a state polygraph, of course, you do a couple of test questions, four, five - - What`s your name? What`s your DOB? What`s your address? -- so you can establish the body rhythms to a truthful answer. But I imagine if what he failed was, Do you know her, were you in her car, Michael, you know they had to ask this guy, Did you go skateboarding with her that night? When was the last time you saw her? Those serious questions, if he passed those, then he passed!
CARDOZA: Absolutely. I mean, keep in mind, for people who don`t know, I mean, a polygraph is a mere investigatory tool for the police department. It`s not admissible in the court. So whether he passes or fails doesn`t get before a trier of fact, whether it be a judge or a jury. But it certainly can...
GRACE: I know, but Michael...
CARDOZA: It can help the police, Nancy. I agree with that.
And getting back to the comment about my saying that -- you know, that she may be the victim of a murder case -- I`ve got to tell you, when I was a prosecutor dealing with the police, when people would go missing, you`ve got to assume the worst. I know I`m not taking any hope from the family there, but you`ve got to assume the worst and move toward that and collect evidence, in case that is, in fact, what happened.
GRACE: You know, Elizabeth, could you put up our before and after shots of Mr. Fawley? Here you go. Now, Michael, I don`t want to bring up a sore subject of Scott Peterson. But remember when he was all brunette and looking normal, and then he fell in a friend`s pool and he totally got bleached, his whole entire body?
CARDOZA: Yes, we remember that!
GRACE: Yes. Hard to forget that. What about the Fawley before and afters? OK. There you go. There you have it.
CARDOZA: OK, but why would he hide his identity here? I mean, what? Who`s he hiding it from?
GRACE: You know what? I`m really not sure.
CARDOZA: This guy`s a strange guy. He`s a very strange guy, Nancy. There`s nothing to hide here. I mean, he`s -- like I said, he apparently is bipolar. He apparently is very strange. I mean, look, you know, this. Child pornography in the home and the stuff they found here -- this guy`s got real issues.
But so getting back to your changes his looks -- is that strange? Yes, it`s strange. Is it unusual for this guy? Not unusual for this guy.
GRACE: Look, I gave up trying to figure out men a long time ago, all right?
GRACE: But I can tell you this much. The fact that he places himself -- doesn`t he, George Peterson -- places himself with the missing girl the night she goes missing, having sex, not out skateboarding innocently, but having sex at his place, and then she suddenly goes missing -- remember, she had broken up with him, Michael Cardoza, and then suddenly, the night she disappears, never seen again, he`s suddenly having sex with a girl -- a girl...
CARDOZA: OK, let me...
GRACE: ... that broke up with him? Uh-uh!
CARDOZA: OK. All right. Let me spin that for you, Nancy. So why would he say that? I mean, it`s not going to help him. I mean, he`s got to be smart enough to know, If I say that, it`s certainly going to implicate me. So why not keep your mouth shut and say nothing? A good defense attorney or maybe a good juror would say, Gee, maybe he`s just telling the truth. Maybe she came over. Maybe they started to make up. I mean, that wouldn`t be the first time. Come on.
GRACE: Well, that`s some make up.
CARDOZA: Women and men break up all the time. They break up, they get back together. That`s not unusual.
CARDOZA: So why would he say it?
GRACE: To psychotherapist Leslie Austin. Before we go to break, possibly to head off the discovery of DNA from him on her body? Les?
LESLIE AUSTIN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: It`s possible. You know, she`s a young girl. She`s infatuated with a very strange guy. We don`t know whether he committed harm to her or not. And I also agree. Why would he say he had sex with her, knowing he`d implicate himself if he was guilty of other things? Now, I`m not saying he`s innocent. He certainly has his problems. But so far, they don`t have a direct link. I`m very interested in the DNA evidence on the things they found there.
GRACE: When we get back, Taylor Behl`s family attorney, George Peterson, is with us tonight. And we`ll be joined by Mike Davis, Taylor Behl`s cousin, speaking on Taylor`s behalf.
Everybody, can you help us find Taylor Behl? We`ll give you that help number, 877-244-HELP. There is a reward. The reward is climbing.
Quickly, on another note, today Judge John Roberts -- he`s Justice from now on, sworn in as the 17th Chief Justice of the U.S., the youngest Chief Justice in 200 years. The Senate voted this morning 78-22 to confirm him. Not a single Republican voted against Roberts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES: I will try to ensure in the discharge of my responsibilities that, with the help of my colleagues, I can pass on to my children`s generation a charter of self- government as strong and as vibrant as the one that Chief Justice Rehnquist passed on to us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Buckle your seatbelts. Bush expected to announce his pick to replace Justice Sandra Day O`Connor as early as tomorrow. Experts expecting a bitter showdown over that seat, since O`Connor was deemed a moderate swing vote in a very closely divided Court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANET PELASARA, TAYLOR BEHL`S MOTHER: His stories just keep getting more incredible. And it is -- it seems like he`s just making up all these stories to create alibis for each -- each suspicion that I certainly have about him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Can you help us find Taylor Behl? She`s a 17-year-old girl. She went missing Labor Day. She was a freshman student at Virginia commonwealth, a real beauty and a good, good girl. The tipline, 1-877-244- HELP. That is toll-free. And there is a reward. As I recall, it`s around $30,000.
I want to go out to Taylor`s cousin, Mike Davis, who`s with us. Mike, welcome. And what is the family doing to get through this time?
MIKE DAVIS, COUSIN OF MISSING GIRL: You know, we`re doing all that we can, Nancy, whether it`s passing out flyers, talking to people on the telephone, talking with you or other media. We`re doing anything possible that we can to help locate Taylor. We really appreciate all your help.
GRACE: Mike, she seemed to be, from all accounts, so excited to be going away to school. Tell me.
DAVIS: Absolutely. It`s kind of a small town where we live. It`s not rural or anything. It`s outside Washington, D.C. But going to the city, being in an urban environment was very exciting to Taylor. And being a freshman and going away to college, she couldn`t have been looking forward to it any more.
GRACE: It`s funny you said that. Reminds me when I went from Macon to Valdosta, Georgia, I thought I was going to a really big town when I went away to college. It`s just exciting. It`s just exciting.
GRACE: Now, Taylor has never run away before, right?
DAVIS: No, Taylor`s never been a problem. There`s never been any reason for Taylor to run away.
GRACE: Now, let`s talk about the boyfriend. What was his name? Was it Ian? Was that the boyfriend?
GRACE: Jake. Now, I`m sure Jake -- was he a skateboarder aficionado?
DAVIS: You know, I really don`t think he is. I don`t know much about Jake. Jake was somebody she met in college. She`d only been in college for 10 days, so it wasn`t serious.
GRACE: Now, I know that all the skateboarders and Jake have been spoken to. Jake has basically been cleared, right, Ellie, the boyfriend? Right. Let me talk to you about Taylor. I hard that every year, her mom and she did something at Christmas?
DAVIS: Oh, yes. I`m a local Santa in northern Virginia, and Taylor and Janet are my two elves, so -- you know, my family`s always been very civic-minded, oriented. And it was great. It was great seeing them do this.
GRACE: So what was it? What was it?
DAVIS: I`m Santa at Christmastime, in December, and Janet and Taylor are my elves.
GRACE: We`re showing a picture right now, and I wanted you to tell them every year, Taylor Behl and her mom, who you`ve met here on the show, Janet Pelasara, would be Santa`s elves at the community Christmastime lighting of the tree and all that.
GRACE: They did it every year together. That`s a shot of them. Quick break, everybody.
As we go to break, to tonight`s "Trial Tracker." Baretta, aka Robert Blake -- remember him? Well, he`s back in court for the murder of wife Bonny Lee Bakley. Now, he was found not guilty earlier this year in a criminal court, but his wife`s children have brought a wrongful death suit. Things are not looking too good for the star.~~ A Hollywood stuntman testified Blake asked him to kill Bonny, described various ways she could be murdered.`~ Bakley shot and killed in Blake`s car.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT BLAKE: You`ve interviewed my friends. You`ve interviewed producers that worked for me. You`ve interviewed distant relatives and close, immediate relatives. You`ve interviewed, Hey, I lived in his house. I know him. I know him inside out.
Well, guess what? They`re all liars. And about half of them are commode scum.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Please help us find Taylor Behl. Reward, $34,000. Toll-free, 877-244-HELP. Many people believe Taylor could still be alive. She`s been missing since Labor Day.
To the Behl family attorney, George Peterson. What comes next next?
PETERSON: Well, we certainly believe that the investigation`s going forward full force. I know that Janet met with Chief Monroe this morning, with the Richmond Police Department, and was very impressed with the information they passed along, and basically, the direction of the investigation.
GRACE: OK. George, before we have to go to break, what can you tell me about this car tag, GRN ERTH? Police say it`s important. What is it?
PETERSON: Well, it was stolen off of a vehicle around the time of Taylor`s disappearance. I can`t comment on any further details about that at this point.
GRACE: It was stolen, and we know Fawley is, let me just say, a car tag aficionado.
Very quickly, to Mike Davis, Taylor`s cousin. I`ve got 30 seconds. Tell me about the fundraiser.
DAVIS: Fundraiser we`re having this coming Sunday, October 2, in Vienna, Virginia, at Jammin` Java (ph). And we`d love as many people to come as possible.
GRACE: October 2?
DAVIS: October 2, correct, Nancy.
GRACE: Jammin` Java. What city?
DAVIS: Vienna, Virginia.
GRACE: Help us raise money to find Taylor Behl.
THOMAS ROBERTS, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, everybody, I`m Thomas Roberts. It`s time for your Headline Prime News Break. Breaking news now, Judith Miller, the "New York Times" journalist jailed for 85 days is out of jail now. The government sent Miller to prison for refusing to identify her confidential sources in the White House CIA leak case. An investigation into the leak indicates the source might have been White House adviser Karl Rove. And it`s still unknown whether Miller has agreed to testify in the investigation.
The Supreme Court`s new chief justice says it will be a privilege to join his colleagues Monday as they begin a new term. Judge John Roberts was sworn in today as the 17th chief justice of the U.S. Roberts easily Senate approval, 78-22.
A longstanding environmental law is now in line for a major overhaul. A bill which limits the 1973 Endangered Species Act has passed the House. This legislation cuts back habitat protections, gives rights to property owners. The original law has preserved such species as the bald eagle. Now, the California sea otter and the Florida manatee have also been saved by that law.
That is the news for now. Thanks for joining us. I`m Thomas Roberts. We take you back for more of NANCY GRACE.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If at any time you`re questioned, you decide you don`t want to speak, that`s your right and you don`t have to. You understand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma`am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you do understand the charges on the indictment, is that correct?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fairly well. Thank you ma`am.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Well, the tables are turned right there. He`s usually standing beside someone in court. That guy, Perry March, attorney. He`s now facing charges that nine years ago, he had a little more than something to do with the disappearance of his wife, Janet.
Joining us tonight, Nick Beres, WTVF TV reporter. Nick, bring me up to date, friend.
NICK BERES, WTVF REPORTER: Well, as you just saw video there, he was brought back last month from Mexico. As you said nine years ago, Perry March`s wife, Janet, mysteriously disappeared. They had no trace of her. And at that time, there you see her there, she disappeared. An investigation opens up. Police weren`t alerted for her disappearance for two weeks. And then they never found her.
Perry March over the years moved about three years later down to Mexico with his children and much went on between then. Too much to go into right now, but the bottom line is, police never gave up on this cold case, stuck with it and just last month, the FBI, along with Mexican authorities, arrested Perry March in Ajijic, Mexico. They brought him back on second degree murder charges. And tonight he`s here in the Davidson County Jail.
GRACE: How did the FBI get in on it?
BARRIS: I think that they were brought in because it was a matter of international law. They had to be involved with metro police to go across the border into Mexico to bring Perry back to the states.
GRACE: Also with us tonight, the Davidson County deputy district attorney, Tom Thurman. Tom, thank you for being with us.
You know, a lot of prosecutors would pooh pooh a case where there is no body, they would thinking it`s unprovable. I commend you for going forward with the case, win or lose.
Question, one of the charges is abuse of a corpse. Now, I`ve tried a lot of cases, but I`ve never tried an abuse of a corpse case. If you don`t have a body, how do you know the corpse was abused?
TOM THURMAN, DAVIDSON COUNTY DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, really, the charge is illegally disposing of a body. That`s the language in the statute. It`s not really abusing a corpse. It`s just getting rid of the body.
GRACE: OK. So the formal charge says abuse of a corpse, but that means disposing of the body?
THURMAN: Right. The element of the offense is that you illegally dispose of a body.
GRACE: And to March`s defense attorney, kind enough to join us tonight, William D. Massey. Why did your guy wait two weeks to tell anybody his wife was gone?
WILLIAM D. MASSEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, to him, his wife wasn`t missing. She had decided to leave for a while. And she needed some time on her own. And he respected that request. She packed her bags and left. And he didn`t know she wasn`t coming back.
And finally when enough time passed that he genuinely became concerned an consulted her family with his concerns and finally went to police and told them, she`s missing, we need some help. Perry March went to the police.
GRACE: Had she ever, ever had time alone for two weeks before?
MASSEY: I don`t think she`d ever been gone that long before, Nancy.
GRACE: Now, why would she take her passport with her if she just needed time alone? Couldn`t she just go to her mother`s?
MASSEY: I don`t know. We don`t know the answer to those questions. Yes, she could have gone to her mother`s, but she may have wanted to get away from Nashville and Nashville`s people. I just don`t know.
GRACE: Ooh, it`s Nashville now. OK, got a tough question for you, Mr. Massey. Her son had a birthday about 12 days -- I think it was his 6th birthday, after she left. And she spent a lot of time planning that birthday for his 6th birthday party.
Now, you don`t think it`s going to be tough to explain to a jury a loving mom who had never gone missing before missed the birthday party?
MASSEY: That is difficult to -- certainly to explain. And there may not be an explanation that we know. Janet March has her own explanation. She knows what her explanation was. The facts that we have in front of us, Nancy, are simply that she left. She packed her bags and she left and no one has seen her since.
GRACE: It`s interesting that you speak of her as if she is still alive. Do you have a scintilla of evidence that she`s alive? And please don`t drag out that grainy photo somebody took at the Olympics and said it was her. That is so not her!
MASSEY: I think the better question is, does the prosecution have any proof that she is not alive.
GRACE: Oh, you`re throwing the old...
MASSEY: There`s no proof at all that she is dead.
GRACE: You`re throwing the old burden of proof thing on me, aren`t you?
MASSEY: In fact, I asked the state`s witness during a hearing if they had any direct evidence that Janet March was dead, to which he responded no. And so I followed that up with, do you have any direct evidence that Perry March is responsible for Janet`s death, to which he responded under oath, no.
GRACE: Question, wasn`t she declared legally dead?
MASSEY: Yes, I believe that was by a default judgment in a civil case.
GRACE: And did your client get any type of life insurance money?
MASSEY: No. To my knowledge, no.
GRACE: Let me go back to Tom Thurman, the deputy district attorney. I understand there was a bail hearing. Were any facts set forth at bail at the bond hearing as to why you believe this man is guilty?
THURMAN: There was certain testimony brought out at the bond hearing about certain statements Mr. March had made to a business associate, in Mexico and also to the detectives as he returned to our jurisdiction.
GRACE: Is that public record?
THURMAN: Yes, it is.
GRACE: Well, I know you don`t want to comment on your case so as to not taint a jury pool. So, following up on what you just told me, let`s god to WTVF-TV reporter, Nick Beres. Let`s talk about what happened at the bond hearing. Tell me, what evidence came out.
BERES: Yeah, Nancy, that`s really what we were waiting for, what came out to set this $3 million bond. What he was referring to, one of the business associates, Sam Chavez said that they had gotten into a dispute a while back and that Perry March told him, you know, if you don`t do this or get along with me this way, I`m going to kill you the way I killed my wife, is what Sam Chavez testified to.
Another piece of testimony during that hearing that was quite interesting was one of the police officers that was escorting Perry March back from Los Angeles, he had been brought there from Mexico after his arrest, they were bringing him back to Nashville and the Sergeant Pastiglione (ph) testified that Perry March, during the flight back, had said he wanted him to arrange a meeting with Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman to arrange a deal, that he was willing to take five to seven years to negotiate a deal and plead guilty to this and get on with his life. And that raised a lot of eyebrows in the courtroom.
GRACE: To Natalee Nabors defense attorney. Natalie, do you feel like crawling under the defense table and curling up in a ball when you start hearing -- and they`re not cops. They`re not always cops. They`re neighbors, they`re business partners. They`re people that they meet at work or at the mall that they blab to.
NABORS: No, Nancy, I`m not worried at all. That business partner that -- the reporter just referred to, that is the same business partner that was convicted of bankruptcy fraud, and you know what`s going to pap hap when he take a stand at trial.
GRACE: Bankruptcy? Probably half the jurors are going to file chapter 7.
NABORS: Bankruptcy fraud, though, Nancy.
NABORS: Fraud is involved here. And also, there`s a videotape out there from a television reporter who says that one of the older sons remembers waving good-bye to his mother before his mother left. So that puts a dent in the theory. And also, there`s no body. There`s no body.
GRACE: Hold on, hold on. I`ve got a comeback, but I`m going to save it for Nick Beres. The young boy that says he remembers waving bye-bye to the mommy, clarify that for me.
BERES: All right. This was an interview done by News Channel 5 here, the CBS affiliate. And basically, what happened was we sat down with Sammy March, that is Perry`s oldest son, with Janet. At the time, he`d have been about 9-years-old. So, this is three to four years after his mom disappeared. The interview was done down in Mexico.
And on questioning, they asked what do you rember about the night your mother disappeared? And he said, among other things, that he remembered there was something of an argument going on, that his mother grabbed some bags and then made her way out the front door. He looked from his bedroom window, he says, looked out and actually saw his mother getting into the car and as she did, she waved good-bye to him. He waved back. Went to bed. The next morning, she wasn`t there. That was a piece of video that was introduced.
But there was also testimony during the bond hearing from a woman who actually had interviewed Sammy just a month or two after the mother had disappeared. And at the time then, he had said that he heard them arguing, went to bed, and didn`t remember anything. So really, conflicting pieces of testimony there that the judge in that hearing had to take a look at.
GRACE: You know, Michael Cardoza, the son`s testimony, and he was at such a tender age at the time he recalls these things.
MICHAEL CARDOZA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right.
GRACE: Major testimony, and this guy blabbing. I`m going to kill you, like I killed my wife, or offering to plead and then withdrawing that on the plane? Ouch!
CARDOZA: Yes, certainly ouch. But, you know, when I hear BK fraud do you trust statements like that? No. I mean, the jury -- how can you believe that? Someone who committed a fraud comes in and says hey, here`s what they said. Here the defense is going to have a field day. Boy, I`d love to cross-examine. They`ll keep him on the stand for hours just having fun with him.
GRACE: Well, what about the other guy.
CARDOZA: What, the police officer? You know, it`s going to be interesting to see whether that testimony comes in or not. I mean, was that some sort of plea bargain going on? Probably.
GRACE: Here we go.
CARDOZA: Well, maybe not. But, you know, that certainly is damning. Did he hear it right? You know what that`s going to cause, though, Nancy, will the defendant have to take the stand to explain that away? Otherwise ...
GRACE: Oh boy, that`s the kiss of death.
CARDOZA: ... you have just the police officer`s testimony sort of hanging out there. So that one statement could force him to the stand.
GRACE: You brought up a really good question and that is to March`s defense attorney, this bankruptcy fraud that Cardoza and neighbors have brought up, yes, that`s going to hurt the witness`s credibility on the stand.
The jury is going to be left thinking, gee, who should I believe, the guy who committed bankruptcy or the guy that maybe killed his wife? That`s a conundrum. What`s your defense?
MASSEY: That Perry March did not commit any type of wrongdoing at all to his wife. I`m not sure, again...
GRACE: Well, then where is she?
MASSEY: I don`t know. I wish we knew. I wish we knew, you know. Nancy there have been a number of sightings, a number of sightings, and not just the one you talked to about a moment ago. There have been a number of sightings and we`re very interested to find out the extent and depth to which the police investigated this.
BRACE: Quickly, Tom Thurman, when are you taking this to trial, sir.
THURMAN: That will be up to the judge and his trial schedule. It`s going to be set in November. At that time -- there`s actually two cases against Mr. March, one a theft case also which will be the case we elect to try first. Then the homicide will be tried later. So it`s really hard to say right now. The judge is now setting trials in March and April off his docket now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re not naming the baby-sitter, because she`s a minor. Today, she walked around the courthouse halls seemingly oblivious to the murder charge against her. In January, she baby-sat for 19-month- old Fraya Garden (ph), who died after being violently shaken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Welcome back. I`m Nancy Grace. It`s a parent`s worst nightmare. You leave your child about with a baby-sitter, you come home, the baby`s dead. Let`s go straight out to investigative reporter Jane Velez Mitchell. Jane, what happened in court today?
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, a lot of controversy, Nancy, over this case, and a lot happening in court today. In pretrial hearings, basically, as you mentioned, this 13-year-old baby- sitter watching over two kids. Something goes terribly wrong.
The youngest one becomes unresponsive, later dies. This girl now charged with second degree murder. She says she didn`t do it but she did give a videotaped statement to police in which she admits she did shake the baby, although she said it was minimal, just wiggling.
Well now there`s controversy over whether that videotaped statement can be admitted as evidence because there was no attorney present, her parents weren`t present, and she was not read her Miranda Rights. That`s what they were trying to decide in court today. No decision has been made.
GRACE: We`re showing you video of the famous nanny case. Louise Woodward, a teen herself when she went on trial for the murder of baby Matty Eappen. She was found guilty, but then that jury verdict was basically overruled by judge Hillard Zovel (ph), a New England judge.
She walked free. She`s in great Britain. She became a lawyer, but then she eschewed her legal career to become a salsa dancer. That`s a whole `nother can of worms. But, you know, Michael Cardoza, blah, blah.
CARDOZA: Blah, blah what?
GRACE: What I`m saying they`re going to rule out the evidence? This is a bench trial. The judge has already heard it when he decided to rule it out. So, he already knows all the evidence.
CARDOZA: Come on. Nancy, Nancy, Nancy, Nancy, NancyrMDNM_ -- constitutional rights. We have them. We can`t so blithely dispose of them. And, yes, when a judge sits as a judge in the court and rules on evidence, I really have faith in judges.
They can take that statement, that confession, put it aside, look at the evidence presented in front of them and decide if that evidence, without that statement, proves beyond a reasonable doubt that this little girl took that child`s life.
I mean, this is -- it`s really a tragic case. I mean, juvenile courts are the kinder, gentler courts. Remember, the most time that this little girl can get is three and a half years for this. So it`s not like adult court. They can only keep her if she`s 21, even if the time were more. This is a horribly, horribly tragic case. I mean, there are all sorts of things we have to look at.
GRACE: Well hold on. Let`s talk about where we`re going for the defense. So, Natalee, is she still 13, or is she 14?
NABORS: She is.
GRACE: If they keep her till she`s 21, which they could do, the max she`s doing is about six and a half years. You`ve got an infant, a 19- month-old baby girl dead. I`m going to go back to Jane Velez-Mitchell. Are you telling me the judge has with held ruling on the video or he`s thrown it out?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, they haven`t made a decision yet, but as you mentioned, Nancy, since the judge is the one deciding this case at a bench trial, the cat`s out of the bag and the judge has already seen the videotape.
And what`s very interesting about this is that the medical examiner`s report has not been released, but we talked to the medical examiner`s office and they have said that they believe the cause of death is blunt force trauma.
And the police said they believe the child`s head flew back and hit the back of the tub where they had that soap container. In other words, where you put the soap that sharp object -- the baby hit the head according to police on the back of that. So that`s something that wouldn`t necessarily happen on its own.
GRACE: And another thing -- and I`m reading from the police report, as you well know -- let me go out to my defense attorney, Natalee Nabors. In shaken baby syndrome cases, of course, this child has a crack to the back of the head too, the eyes are -- the patikia (ph), the blood vessels in the eyes are hemorrhaged.
And unfortunately, as I`ve told many juries, it`s when the eyes go back and forth in the head and they have pressure and they burst, the blood vessels burst. You get that from shaken babies. So not only is there shaken baby according to the autopsy report, but there`s also the crack to the head.
So where`s the defense going to go, except right where they went in Louise Woodward, and that is blame the parents, claim there is a prior beating or a prior bruising or a prior crack to the head and that the baby- sitter had nothing to do with it.
NABORS: I don`t think they`ll go there here, Nancy. But I do think that the parents were a little irresponsible in this case in leaving their infant with a 13-year-old. I don`t think a 13-year-old has a capacity ...
GRACE: Hey, hey, hey. I babysat when I was 13. Are you calling me irresponsible just a mere ten years ago.
NABORS: Well, Nancy, you were just -- you were special, Nancy. But with this issue with the consenting to waiving the Miranda Rights, that is absolute garbage. Children in this country, they cannot enter into binding contracts, they cannot have consensual sex, and they should not be able to consent to waiving their Miranda rights if they have absolutely no idea what that means. And I don`t believe that it should be ...
GRACE: Somehow, I knew that you and Cardoza were going to blame the parents who weren`t there at the time, by the way.
CARDOZA: I didn`t say that, come on.
GRACE: I`ll be back with you and with Leslie Austin, psychotherapist. Let`s go to tonight`s "All Points Bulletin." FBI and law enforcement across the country on the lookout for Terrence Jerome Ward, wanted in connection with the 2003 Cleveland shooting death of 34-year-old Samuel Sims. (ph) Ward, 39, 5`8, 180 pounds, black hair or shaved head, brown eyes. If you have any info on this guy, call the FBI, 216-522-1400.
Local news next for some of you. We`ll all be right back. And remember live coverage of the golfing lawsuit over a hole in one, 3:00 to 5:00 eastern, Court TV tomorrow. Stay with us as we remember Marine Lance Corporal Brett Wightman, 22, an American hero.
GRACE: We at Nancy Grace want to help solve unsolved homicides, to find missing people. Take a look at nine-year-old Zachary Paul, walking home with his sister, December, 2002, run over by a hit and run driver in Oroville, California. The driver never brought to justice. If you have info on Zachary Paul, please take a look at this boy. Call the Carol Sund Carrington Foundation toll free, 888-813-8389.
Very quickly, I want to go to Leslie Austin, psychotherapist. You know, very often, in the shaken baby cases, people say oh, I only shook the baby once or twice. They don`t realize that that can cause death.
LESLIE AUSTIN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: That`s true, Nancy. And this girl is only 13. So I think the real issue here is what was she aware of? How emotionally mature or immature was she and should she have been left in charge of a 5-year-old and a toddler?
She may have thought just a little shaking to quiet the baby wouldn`t hurt and the baby hit her head on the soap dish and this girl may not have realized the impact of what she did. To her credit, she did called the police. And so my real question is here -- here is, what was she aware of and you accountable do we hold her if she really didn`t know? She`s a young girl.
GRACE: If she really didn`t know what?
AUSTIN: The implications of shaking a child. Maybe she thought she was just shaking her just a little bit. Her intention was not to harm the child. A 13-year-old might be very frustrated with a fussy baby. You really need to take greater care with who you leave your children with.
GRACE: OK. Very quickly to reporter Jane Velez-Mitchell, can you tell where the defense is headed? Do you think they`re going to try to point the finger elsewhere?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sadly, I think you`re absolutely right, Nancy. They`re going to try to go after the mother and they have even dug up some counselor who at one point said oh, they questioned her mothering abilities. I mean, this woman wasn`t there. The mom wasn`t there. To blame her is to double her tragedy. She`s lost a child. She is grieving. She`ll never be the same and I think it`s really hitting below the belt.
GRACE: No winners anyway way you look at this case. We`re going to keep you posted. What a beautiful baby. Thank you.
Thank you to all of my guests and to my control room. But my biggest thank you is to you all for being with us and inviting all of us into your homes. I speak of all of us, the floor crew, the control room, our guests.
Coming up, headlines from around the world, Larry on CNN. I`m Nancy Grace, signing of again for tonight. I hope to see you right here tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.
ERICA HILL, ANCHOR: Hi, everyone, I`m Erica Hill.
MIKE GALANOS, ANCHOR: I`m Mike Galanos. PRIME NEWS TONIGHT is coming up. Hundreds of people flee their Los Angeles homes as a raging wildfire closes in on some exclusive neighborhoods. Triple digit temperatures and high winds making an already dangerous situation even worse. We`re going to Southern California for the latest.
HILL: Plus, President Bush fills one vacancy on the Supreme Court with the confirmation of Judge John Roberts as chief justice. But now, all eyes turn to the president`s next nominee. So just who is the president considering to take the place of Sandra Day O`connor?
GALANOS: We all watched as looters ransacked parts of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Now an investigation into the looting takes us to the front door of the New Orleans Police Department. We`ll tell you how many officers might have been involved.
HILL: And are you considering a little cohabitation? We`ll tell you what you need to know financially before you move in with your significant other.
GALANOS: Those stories and much more coming up.
HILL: PRIME NEWS TONIGHT comes your way, next.