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Pregnant Wife of Convicted Child Molester Wins in Court
Aired October 12, 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: An eight-month-pregnant mom says the courts are trying to take away her unborn baby. She`s never even had a speeding ticket. So why? Because her husband is a convicted sex felon, a two-time child molester. Legal showdown coming!
Plus, 26-year-old George Smith. He disappeared off a dream honeymoon cruise in the Mediterranean. Was it a case of murder on the high seas? For the first time, Smith`s family speak out tonight and takes on Washington.
And tonight, the jetski murder case. A California man says his wife died when they were stranded overnight in the chilly waters off San Pablo Bay on a jetski. Well, prosecutors say, No way, that Jennifer Easterling was murdered.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight.
The jetski murder case. A California couple, Jennifer and Corbin Easterling, stranded overnight in San Paolo Bay, hold onto a jetski for dear life. Well, he feel asleep and she died -- says him. Prosecutors say he killed her.
Plus, the 26-year-old newlywed, George Smith, went missing from his European honeymoon cruise, no trace.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I woke about 7:30. And I stepped out on the balcony, and it was just too apparent to miss, right below my balcony. And there was a very large bloodstain there, very, very dark in the middle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Tonight, Smith`s family finally takes on Washington.
But first tonight: Can the courts take away an eight-month-pregnant woman`s baby because her husband is a two-time child molester?
Let go straight out to investigative reporter Diane Dimond. Diane, what`s the latest?
DIANE DIMOND, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, the latest is she has won a federal court`s ruling that the county that`s been bothering her in Pennsylvania can no longer bother her about this and no longer, quote, "monitor her pregnancy." The ACLU has stepped in, and they`ve got this federal lawsuit pending. They say that her rights were violated because they`ve been threatening to take this baby away, the second baby that she`s had with this man, by the way, and that they`ve been leaving threatening notes on their front doorstep saying, you know, We`re watching you, in effect.
GRACE: Oh, you know what? You are telling me that Child Protective Services has left threatening notes? Weren`t they more along the lines of, We want to monitor what`s happening with your baby and your child molester husband?
DIMOND: Exactly. And you know what?
GRACE: What`s threatening about that, Diane? Maybe I missed something.
DIMOND: They`re just doing their job. I mean, that -- we`re so quick to complain about them not doing their job. Here they`re doing their job, and there`s a complaint about it.
This man has not only served more than a decade in prison for molesting two girls back in 1983, but he`s also unemployed. He says that he is the chief of an Indian tribe that the government doesn`t recognize, has never heard of. He is, all in all, not a really savory character. So don`t you that Child Protective Services should be watching?
GRACE: Well, not necessarily on the fact that he`s not a savory character. You know, you could do a dragnet out on 3rd Avenue and fill the jail up with unsavory characters that are parents.
GRACE: But what concerns me is the fact that he`s a two-time child molester. And of course, I always get a little suspicious when the ACLU begins to weigh in. We`re talking about a guy whose birth name is John Joseph Lintini (ph). He has changed his name to WolfHawk, DaiShin WolfHawk. His convictions were back in `80s, in 1983, to be specific. In fact, it`s not even a contest. He pled guilty under oath to two counts of rape...
DIMOND: That`s right.
GRACE: ... on girls, two counts of attempted rape, two counts of sodomy and two counts of attempted sodomy. And here`s what the ACLU has to say. Rosie (ph), could you put that up for the viewers? "There`s just no evidence in this case that WolfHawk has engaged in criminal acts against very young minors." Oh, OK, they weren`t young enough.
DIMOND: That`s -- exactly!
GRACE: "And while the charges that were lodged against him in the early `90s" -- excuse me, they weren`t lodged, he pled guilty under oath -- "are excusable, he has paid time for those crimes and has moved on."
OK, I think we need a shrink. Let`s go straight out to psychoanalyst Bethany Marshall. He`s done his time and he`s moved on.
BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: Well...
GRACE: These people have filed a lawsuit in federal court against Child Protective Services. This guy, Bethany -- I don`t know if you know this -- has nine natural children.
GRACE: A 21-month-old girl has already been taken away from this woman for the very same reason.
MARSHALL: Let`s take a look at what we know about sex offenders and about child molesters. The recidivism rate is between 13 percent and 43 percent, and those are of reported crimes. We know that sex offenders do better when they are in communities, therapeutic communities where they`re monitored, where they`re kept away from children.
And we also know about women who marry men who are known sex offenders, that often, these women have a history of having been sexually abused themselves, so they minimize and deny that sex abuse is happening to their children. You put these facts together, and it does not look good for this baby or for other children in the household.
GRACE: Well, another issue here -- I want to go out to Bill Ford. He`s joining us from the Mustard Seed (ph) Forensic Services. He is a sex offender counselor. Bill, let me tell you what the husband has to say. Rosie, can you put up that full screen? Instead of discussing openly, admitting openly to his multiple child molestation convictions, he says, "I was guilty of stupidity." He forgot about the rape and the sodomy on children. "I`m not saying I was an angel, maybe more like a Hell`s Angel."
OK, Bill Ford, help me out.
BILL FORD, SEX OFFENDER COUNSELOR: I would have serious problems with that, if he was a participant in my treatment program. We depend upon a client`s ability to identify his involvement and accept responsibility and hold himself accountable for his actions. Again, I don`t have all of the details on this case, but based on what I`ve read and the statements I`ve seen thus far, I would be concerned because it doesn`t appear as though this individual has participated in treatment at any point during his incarceration and since.
GRACE: Bottom line, Bill Ford, is the government right or wrong to take the baby away from the mother? That`s what she fears.
FORD: I believe the government and the Child Protective Services are doing a good job in monitoring the safety of children. Regarding this individual`s case, it seems to me that he hasn`t given the -- he hasn`t presented himself as such that he is willing to acknowledge involvement in his abusive behavior, that he`s willing to accept responsibility for his abusive behavior. Therefore, that child is being placed at risk.
GRACE: Well, one child, as I`ve already said, a 21-month-old baby girl, is living with another family. I`m not sure by the records whether they`re even related or not. This 21-month-old baby girl living with a family in Maryland, this case going down in Pennsylvania.
Right now, joining us by phone also a special guest from the ACLU. Mary Catherine Roper is joining us. Thank you, ma`am, for being with us. What is your rationale regarding the suit against Child Protective Services?
MARY CATHERINE ROPER, STAFF ATTORNEY FOR ACLU OF PENNSYLVANIA: The Constitution protects your interest in having a relationship with your child. And put quite simply, the state cannot interfere with that interest without having a really good reason and, in fact, you know, direct evidence that your child is in danger.
GRACE: Mary Catherine...
ROPER: In this case, there is absolutely no evidence DaiShin is a danger to his unborn child. They are proceeding solely on the basis of his criminal history, his criminal record, which has nothing -- which doesn`t come close to reaching the constitutional standard, which is you actually have to show a reason of immediate risk to this child before you can step in and sever the parent/child relationship.
GRACE: Mary Catherine, do you have children?
ROPER: No, I don`t.
GRACE: Well, I assume that you have nephews, nieces. Would you allow them to live in a home with a two-time convicted child molester?
ROPER: He wasn`t convicted of child molestation.
GRACE: He raped two girls!
ROPER: And the fact is -- the fact is...
GRACE: Ma`am, he raped two girls!
ROPER: You are asking me what I would do, as a mother. No one`s asking Melissa (ph) what she would do as a mother.
GRACE: Well, isn`t her interest...
GRACE: Isn`t our chief interest in protecting the child?
ROPER: The job of children and youth is to protect the children within the bounds of the parents` constitutional rights, and they simply aren`t doing that. They`re paying no attention at all to the idea that you have to have a reason for removing a child from a home. The fact that a man committed a crime 22 years ago that did not involve infant children, that he has never been...
GRACE: Why do you keep saying...
ROPER: ... found in any way to be a danger...
GRACE: Ma`am -- ma`am...
ROPER: ... to his own children or to young children, and to simply label a man because 22 years ago he was convicted of a sex offense -- to then say he`s never entitled to have a child or be a father again?
GRACE: Mary -- Mary...
ROPER: Besides being unconstitutional, it`s insane.
GRACE: Mary -- Mary...
ROPER: My name is Mary Catherine.
GRACE: ... can you explain why the 21-month-old baby girl has been taken out of the home?
ROPER: I understand that the 21-month-old girl is in different custody, and my understanding is there has never been an allegation that he harmed that child.
GRACE: Ma`am, why is the baby not living with the mother? Why is it living...
ROPER: I don`t know.
GRACE: ... with a family in Maryland? Because all of our research, according to the AP, Associated Press, that baby girl was taken away and given to a family in Maryland in a case that also began with questions about this man`s fitness as a father.
ROPER: No, it began with a question about his criminal history. Once again, there was never an allegation that he had harmed that child. And if your research is the AP, I`d suggest that you really haven`t looked into it very far.
GRACE: Well, tell me why the child isn`t living with her mom, then.
ROPER: Excuse me?
GRACE: If my research is wrong, and the Associated Press is wrong, why is the baby girl living with another family in Maryland?
ROPER: Because that`s another example of this child and youth service stepping in where they had no evidence of harm, and frankly, violating this woman`s rights and the father`s rights to their association with their children.
GRACE: OK. With us is ACLU lawyer Mary Catherine Roper. Rosie, could you put John Joseph Lintini, AKA DaiShin WolfHawk, criminal record up on the screen? I want to see that.
Everybody, convictions on rape of two teenage girls, conviction of sodomy, actually, it says on a juvenile, criminal use of firearm, two counts rape, two counts sodomy, one count criminal use of firearm.
Now, Mary Catherine Roper, you keep stressing that his convictions -- and he pled guilty. This was not a question of factual innocence. He pled guilty on multiple counts.
GRACE: My question is, why are you parsing words saying, Well, they weren`t infant children, they were still juveniles, Mary Catherine.
ROPER: Yes, but that doesn`t mean that he is a danger to every child he`s in the room with. Any social scientist worth her salt -- and in fact, I`ve consulted with a child psychologist. who has confirmed to me that a past history with respect to children of one age -- and in fact, in this case, we`re talking about teenagers -- doesn`t say anything about a man`s propensity to commit crimes...
GRACE: OK. Actually, we have a psychoanalyst.
ROPER: No, let me finish, please!
GRACE: Oh, OK. Go ahead.
ROPER: Moreover, that man has been to jail. He has served his sentence. He has never been even accused of any sex offense in the last 22 years. And the suggestion that he is forever branded a danger to every child he`s near is simply not realistic.
GRACE: You know what, Mary Catherine? You brought up a very interesting point, that he hasn`t committed a crime, that we know of, in 22 years.
Of course, Renee Rockwell, defense attorney, for 10 of those years, he was behind bars. We know that he now has nine natural children, that the court has taken away a 21-month-old girl because of this guy. And I find it frankly deplorable that defense attorneys like the ACLU lawyer is parsing words, saying, Oh -- we don`t know these girls were teenage, by the way, we just know that they were juvenile girls. For al I know, they were 10 years old. I don`t know their ages. But to say, Well, he didn`t attack infants -- that is really parsing words. I mean, there is a baby at stake here!
RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: There`s a baby -- Nancy, it`s a boy baby, OK? And I think there`d be a difference between a female and a male child. But what you have here, Nancy, is a situation where this gentleman, this defendant, this Indian chief, pled guilty. And as part of his plea, I`m pretty sure he did not sign up to never be able to be able to have children or to have children in his custody. Now, what this might come to...
GRACE: Well, they certainly haven`t stopped him from propagating, all right? He`s got nine natural children.
ROCKWELL: Exactly. And what this is going to come down to, maybe, Nancy, is that she, right there, is going to have to make a decision. Does she want to stay with the tribe or does she want to have her children? They`re only monitoring her pregnancy. More problematic to me than his criminal record is what happened with the removal of the female child. That bothers me more than his criminal record, Nancy, 22 years he pled guilty...
GRACE: Oh, please! He was in jail for 10 of those years!
ROCKWELL: That`s fine.
GRACE: All right?
ROCKWELL: But then what did he do? If he...
GRACE: He had nine kids.
ROCKWELL: If he`s...
GRACE: Something`s been going on!
ROCKWELL: If he`s a recidivist and if he`s been fooling with some children, some little infant children, then he doesn`t need to be around them.
GRACE: OK. Let me go to Lauren Lake, very quickly. What`s your take? Agree or disagree, Lauren?
LAUREN LAKE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hey, look, the man has rights. We have to decide whether we believe in rehabilitation in this country. If we believe in it, then we have to believe that some people may, in fact, have been rehabilitated.
LAKE: He is not showing any signs of being a criminal right now. And at this point, this child is unborn, not in any type of danger. And for people to be stepping in, talking about they`re going to take the child away before it`s even born and been in its familial environment I think is ridiculous. And I think we`re going down a slippery slope when we start taking children away before they`re even born, based upon acts that the man pled guilty to, Nancy, pled, meaning he may have felt sorry for what he did.
GRACE: Nobody said he felt sorry.
LAKE: And may (INAUDIBLE) rehabilitate himself.
GRACE: We don`t know that. Bottom line, psychoanalyist Bethany Marshall just told us the recividism rate in sex offenders is at least 43 percent. Now, if you want to value his rights as a sex offender over this baby and his sister`s right to live unmolested, I guess that is a decision for the courts.
Very quickly, everyone, tonight, on another note, breaking news in the Taylor Behl murder case. Before he was considered a suspect in Taylor`s disappearance, 38-year-old photographer Ben Fawley was interviewed about the 17-year-old Virginia Commonwealth University student shortly after she went missing. In that tape, Fawley talks about chatting on line with Taylor Behl on a very frequent basis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN FAWLEY, SUSPECT IN TAYLOR BEHL MURDER: After she borrowed my skateboard, she said she wanted to drop her purse off, so we walked her -- I walked her back to the dorms so she could drop off her purse. And after that, I kind of lose track of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Not only did he admit to having sex with Taylor the very night she disappeared, he claims he was abducted and roughed up that night, too. This interview conducted before Fawley went to jail on 16 counts of child pornography.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s a little girl out there that`s never going to learn how to ride a bike. She`s never going to have her first day of school. She`s not going to fall in love. She`s not going to get married. She`s never going to know the joy of holding a newborn child because she`s dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Before we take you back to the case of Melissa WolfHawk, eight months pregnant, breaking news. The case we brought you last night out of Seattle, Washington, the case in which a 13-year-old baby-sitter was on trial for shaking a 19-month-old baby girl to death, has been dismissed. This picture of 19-month-old Freya Garden was showed in court yesterday by a crying mother, distressed that charges could be dropped.
Well, in fact, her worst dreams have come true. Not only did her little girl die, according to prosecutors, at the hands of the baby-sitter, the case has been dropped.
I want to quickly go back to Diane Dimond, investigative reporter, and the case of Melissa WolfHawk. Diane, I want to get back to the claim that they have filed in federal court against Child Protection Services. Now, they`re claiming that the government has sent threatening letters. What`s the nature of the letters?
DIMOND: Well, the letters apparently were left on the doorstep of this pregnant mother, Melissa, saying, We`re watching you. We are monitoring your pregnancy. And we want you to tell us, notify us the minute that you give birth.
You know, the thing that worries me about this, Nancy, I do think maybe there`s a slippery slope here. We have the right to procreate. I mean, that`s a constitutional right, I suppose. I think the problem is with this father, with this Indian chief, this DaiShin WolfHawk. I wonder why the county doesn`t spend its time doing something about him, if they think that he is the threat, you know, put a restraining order against him or, you know, monitor him, not the woman who`s carrying his baby, his second baby.
GRACE: You know what? I think you`re right about that. To Renee Rockwell. She is -- - she`s got to make a choice. She`s got to make a choice between keeping her children or staying with a convicted child molester. That`s what it boils down to.
ROCKWELL: It does, Nancy. And where she may have won -- because the federal court has said, Y`all need to leave her alone, let her have her baby, don`t bother her for the next two weeks -- she still has to notify -- it`s been court ordered. She still has to notify within 24 hours...
GRACE: Could you tell me what is...
ROCKWELL: ... of having the baby.
GRACE: ... threatening about that notice? I don`t see that as a threat.
ROCKWELL: What are you talking about. When she has to notify?
ROCKWELL: So she`s only won halfway. She still has to notify the court when she has the baby, which tells me that the government`s back involved in her life. Again, she may have to make a choice.
GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. An eight-month-pregnant woman says the courts are threatening her. Why? She`s never even had a speeding ticket. Because her husband is a two-time convicted sex offender.
Very quickly, back out to Bill Ford, joining us. He is a sex offender counselor. He works at the Mustard Seed Forensic Services. Do you believe that sex offenders can be rehabilitated? And would you, as a sex offender counselor, Bill, put these children back in the care of a convicted sex offender?
FORD: Nancy, I do believe that there are some offenders who can benefit from participation in a structured
FORD: ... cognitive behavioral treatment program that...
GRACE: Would you put the kids back?
FORD: ... their problems with deviant sexual behavior. But to put any sexual offender as the sole provider, caretaker of a child, is not something I would agree with.
GRACE: Bethany Marshall, agree or disagree. Is the mom just being blind?
MARSHALL: The mom is being blind. I completely agree with the sex offender counselor. And one more important thing I said about the recidivism rate being 13 -- between 13 and 43 percent. There`s research that shows that when a sex offender has been incarcerated, the recidivism rate goes up because when they`re released from jail, they`re angrier and more ready to offend than ever.
THOMAS ROBERTS, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. I`m Thomas Roberts. And this is your "Headline Prime Newsbreak."
A 64-year-old man whose beating by New Orleans police was caught on videotape says he`s innocent. Robert Davis pleaded not guilty to public intoxication and resisting arrest, also other charges. A lawyer for the three officers suspended in the incident says they followed proper procedure.
Federal officials say they`re trying to contact all evacuees displaced by Hurricane Katrina to make sure they have adequate housing. Some 22,000 people remain in shelters. FEMA expected to provide evacuees housing for at least six more months.
Witnesses say a massive fireball exploded through the roof of a Missouri pork processing plant today, ripping a 150-foot hole in the building. Authorities say that blast killed at least one person, wounded about a dozen others.
Concerns tonight that there won`t be enough flu shots this season. Delayed vaccine shipments to many doctor`s offices are fueling worries that high-risk patients won`t be able to get the shot. Federal health officials insist that there will be plenty of vaccine to go around in just a few weeks.
That is the news for now. I`m Thomas Roberts. Back to NANCY GRACE.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J.M. BROWN, "VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD": The forensic pathologist testified during a preliminary hearing in April that Jennifer Easterling died of suffocation.
GRACE: She was wearing a life jacket, right?
BROWN: That`s right.
GRACE: Have you ever tried to force yourself underwater wearing one of those things?
BROWN: No, I haven`t.
GRACE: Well, I have. And her stomach was full of mud and water, brown water that she had actually ingested. And I don`t get how that happened with her wearing a life jacket.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Jennifer Easterling died one year ago today. And still, no justice.
I want to go out to forensic pathologist Dr. Larry Kobilinsky. Thank you for being with us. Dr. Kobilinsky, my question to you is, explain to me the nature of her wounds on her body. Are they consistent with her simply drowning?
LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: I think not, Nancy. My understanding is that there are wounds throughout her body, on her arms, on her legs, on her torso, as well as on her head.
But what`s most significant are the trauma to the inside of her left cheek, as well as to the inside of her upper and lower lips. Those kinds of trauma -- and they are relatively fresh, I understand -- that kind of trauma is consistent with somebody holding their hand over the face in an attempt to asphyxiate.
Of course, you also drowned. She aspirated a great deal of fluid. So we have a combination of findings in the autopsy of not only drowning but asphyxiation.
GRACE: Rosie, could you pull up the video of the defendant in this case? In this case, the husband -- there we go. There he goes. He`s walking out of the courtroom.
But, what is that, Rosie? Is that him in a wheelchair? Oh, oh, poor thing. I forgot. He was on disability.
He had a back ailment, right, Ellie? Back ailment. There he goes in the wheelchair. What was he doing out on a jet ski, Jamie Skeeters?
JAMIE SKEETERS, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: I think he was building his alibi up, Nancy. From the reports I have, this was just round three of several rounds they have every night where they punch each other out. I have a hunch that he was king of the mountain when that jet ski overturned, and he won.
GRACE: You know, what`s interesting to me -- everybody, private investigator Jamie Skeeters is with us. You may remember him as being the private eye that finally got Aruban suspect Deepak Kalpoe to talk when the entire Aruban police force couldn`t do it.
Jamie Skeeters, this guy is out in the water on a jet ski. He says the thing caught on fire and that they held on for dear life the whole night, that he fell asleep, he wakes up, his wife is dead. Now, how would she get those biting marks on the inside of her mouth? Maybe she had the TMJ thing, you know, the...
SKEETERS: I`ll tell you, in reading the reports here, these two had a very combative domestic relationship. And they both admit it. I guess there`s amphetamines in their system. They were driving around all day.
It`s nothing unusual for them to punch each other out, according to the reports. And, as I said, if this cycle did flip over, I`m sure this gentleman would definitely want to be on top and not on the bottom.
GRACE: And to Dr. Larry Kobilinsky, forensic science, the fact that she had ingested so much mud, what does that mean to you?
KOBILINSKY: Well, it sounds to me that, you know, her head was pushed underneath, and, you know, the mud just was forced -- literally forced into her mouth and ended up in her stomach.
I think, beside the body, I think the jet ski has to be checked out very carefully to see if it indeed did malfunction, if it caught fire, as some of the stories indicate. And his behavior is also very inconsistent with the story that he ended up telling.
ROCKWELL: Would you have him making statements, Nancy, while not only is he under the influence of all these various types of drug, amphetamines, methamphetamines, and also opiates, but the nurses injected morphine in him before the police interview. If that lawyer doesn`t get that statement thrown out, he`s in a lot of trouble. And I think he`s got a good leg to stand on, Nancy.
GRACE: Well, I hardly think, Lauren Lake -- of course, Renee is correct. The defense attorney is going to try to get his statements thrown out because he had been given an painkiller at the hospital. But that`s because he`s the one that told the hospital he`s disabled.
Hello? He was out on a jet ski. There he is, Lauren Lake, walking away from the courthouse. This guy`s not disabled.
LAKE: Well, we`ve got a problem here definitely. This defendant is not a likable character. And we don`t need him on the stand.
GRACE: OK, I don`t care about his character. I don`t care about his reputation. I care about the fact that he`s going to try to get this statement thrown out because he had a morphine drip.
LAKE: Well, the point is, is that he did have the morphine drip. And anybody that`s been ill and been on morphine knows you`re out of your mind. So let`s keep it real here.
The morphine thing does matter. And the defense attorney will try to get it thrown out. And it may just be that. But the point is about the fact that he is not...
GRACE: There he goes in the wheelchair.
LAKE: My point is, is that he does not need to be on that stand with all his inconsistent statements. And sometimes, for defense attorneys, less is more.
GRACE: Hey, Lauren...
LAKE: Right now, you`ve got an autopsy to attack, and that`s where you need to keep your strategy laying, because he is inconsistent with what he says.
LAKE: Yes, Nancy?
GRACE: About him taking a stand, let`s burn that bridge when we get there. We haven`t started the trial yet. We`ve got an explanation. We`ve got a double autopsy on our hands.
But, Bethany Marshall, 20 seconds left before we go to break, what about his behavior at the hospital? Remember, he`d act all cold with hypothermia when the nurses were watching, then he`d act differently when everybody left the room?
MARSHALL: Well, it suggests something called malingering, which is faking. And what I think is real interesting in this case is 65 to 80 percent of all women who are victims of intimate violence were previously physically abused by the man who killed them.
GRACE: Thirty-five-year-old Jennifer Easterling lost her life in the chilling waters of San Pablo Bay. Her husband said the jet ski broke down while he slept. That night, she died. Ruh-roh!
The medical examiner found her stomach full of mud and bite marks on the inside of her mouth. And he is looking at a murder-one charge.
To investigative reporter Diane Dimond, Diane, when is trial set? And is this a death penalty case?
DIMOND: You know, I don`t think we know those things yet. You know, the thing that strikes me, in listening to the discussion about whether or not they`ll get this statement thrown out of his, they better, Nancy, because he just was all over the map.
First, he said that they had a mechanical difficulty. Then he said that they balanced on top of the jet ski all night. Then he said, no, they were in the water for hours and hours.
But when he got to the hospital, none of his skin was wrinkled, you know, like when you`re in the bathtub too long. The nurses said that he was completely uncooperative, that he would change his story from here to there.
I think this guy`s got a real problem if they don`t get those statements thrown out. And I`m not quite sure when trial is coming, but I think they`ve got a lot of work to do.
GRACE: Hey, if they gave him a Miranda warning, forget about the morphine drip. It`s coming in.
Now very quickly, before we shift gears to the missing groom case, P.I. from Ventura, California, Jamie Skeeters, another issue in my mind.
Oh, here we go. He`s in a wheelchair. It was a foot ailment, everybody. He`s in a wheelchair, but he is out on a jet ski and practically sprinting from the courthouse. I wonder if the jury`s going to see this video.
Jamie, here`s a troubling thought: If the water was so shallow, she was going down to the bottom to ingest mud, why couldn`t they have left the jet ski, if they were in that shallow of water?
SKEETERS: That`s my understanding, too. I`m familiar with Pelican Bay, up that way. And they do have the mud. They do have the dirt.
She had to be held under. And I agree with you. What else bothers me is a phone call to the father and not 911. That didn`t make sense to me.
GRACE: It didn`t make a bit of sense. Everybody, we tried to have the defense attorney come on and answer some tough question. He refused. We`re not letting go of the case.
Jennifer Easterling is not going to be forgotten. This trial date, we believe, is set down for January 31.
Switching gears to the missing groom case. As you recall, George Smith, just 27 years old, went missing off a dream honeymoon cruise through the Mediterranean. Not a trace. Here`s what a fellow passenger had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREN DRAKE, PASSENGER ON CRUISE SHIP: I woke up about 7:30. And I stepped out on the balcony, and it was just too apparent to miss right below my balcony. And there was a very large bloodstain there, very, very dark in the middle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: That was fellow boat passenger Karen Drake speaking out. I want to quickly go back to Diane Dimond.
Diane, apparently the family is finally speaking out. And they`re taking on Washington. How?
DIMOND: Well, it`s interesting. They have released a public letter, so to speak. And it`s really heart-wrenching, Nancy. You`ve seen these things before.
But for the first time, we get a glimpse at what they were doing when they just got this word that the groom they`d sent off on a 12-day honeymoon cruise was not going to come home.
His sister is an attorney. She contacted the FBI. His parents immediately went to Greece, talked to the American ambassador, to the Greece coast guard, posted his picture everywhere. And then they came home and went right to Washington to their congressman, Chris Shays.
He now plans to have some hearings on mandating that cruise ships help protect their passengers more. They could put up more cameras and whatnot. And Christopher Shays says he is going to pursue this to the end.
GRACE: Here`s what a fellow passenger, Karen Drake, also had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DRAKE: That morning, before I got off the ship, I saw no one, no investigative authorities on the ship or didn`t see anyone.
When I got back on the ship later that afternoon, the deck had already been cleaned up. I thought it was very strange that no one was asking any questions, since my room was so directly in front of the blood.
Until finally, on day 10 or so of our trip, we did get a letter in our state room asking us to come to a board room to be questioned.
I`m worried definitely that there was some kind of serious foul play. Unless you were playing king of the world, you know...
... it`s just not possible to fall over. And there was so much blood. And the distance from his balcony to that deck was not that great, you know, to generate that kind of injury. So, you know, I`m worried that something terrible happened to him, that he was pushed overboard. That`s what I`m worried happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Out to Renee Rockwell. I`m glad the family`s finally speaking out and trying to get action in Washington. But the reality is, what will a long drawn-out process of congressional hearings do to break this case?
ROCKWELL: Absolutely nothing, Nancy. The only thing is, is it`s going to be some type of pressure against the cruise lines. I understand that the FBI`s involved. I don`t know how they`re involved.
This is something that happened between Greece and Turkey. I mean, that`s the chance you take when you go on a cruise. And again, she is absolutely not a suspect in my mind. This is the most wonderful time of her life. She`s on her honeymoon. We`ve just got to...
GRACE: Renee, she kicked him in the groin that night in the casino.
ROCKWELL: She was drunk, Nancy, maybe. I don`t know. But I understand they were out drinking, partying, having fun. It just seems like that, with the amount of money that he may have had, just my information, that he may have called attention to other people that were on the ship that were interested in him and his money.
GRACE: You know, to Lauren Lake, I do agree with Renee on one thing: The wife has apparently been cleared of any suspicion. Suspicion has been placed on three men from the New York area, two from New York, I believe, one from California, who were also on the cruise who were gambling with him that night.
Lauren, apparently they had video surveillance of the hallway going into Smith`s cabin. What`s the hold-up? They can clearly see, unless they played over it, who was the last person to go in his cabin.
LAKE: Well, that`s not the end all be all, Nancy. We all know -- I mean, the wife came back into the cabin and woke up in the morning there and was like, "Oh, my husband`s not there. I think he might be with friends." I don`t like that answer.
There`s a lot of who done it still left in this case. And too many different people from too many different places and too many different nationalities, and just -- it`s so much going on. We`ve got nothing.
And here, the FBI ends up being like a third-string quarterback because they`re getting the information third-hand, after the cruise line, then the Turkish officials, now the FBI. We got a lot of figuring out to do here.
GRACE: Dr. Larry Kobilinsky, before we go to break. Did you hear what passenger Karen Drake said, the next morning they had already cleaned off?
KOBILINSKY: Yes, it makes it much more complicated. The FBI is a great agency with great crime scene people. But if they weren`t there to examine the crime scene, in particular the cabin where the primary event presumably had taken place, all they can do is look at whatever evidence was collected, whatever photographs were taken, and then come to some conclusions.
Because there is no body. We know there was an awful lot of bleeding. What we saw just a few minutes ago looks like a massive amount of blood, but contact. So how do you interpret it?
GRACE: We`ll all be right back on the George Smith missing groom case. The family taking they`re fight to Washington.
But now, to tonight`s "All-Points Bulletin." FBI and law enforcement across the country on the lookout for this man, Jorge Alberto Lopez-Orozco, wanted in connection with the 2002 Idaho triple murder of 29-year-old Rebecca Ramirez, 4-year-old Ricardo Ramirez, and 2-year-old Miguel Hernandez.
Orozco, 28, 5`7", 175 pounds, black hair, brown eyes. If you have any info on Jorge Alberto Lopez-Orozco, please call the FBI, 801-579-1400.
Local news next for some of you. But we`ll all be right back. And remember, live coverage of the case of a woman who fell to her death during a wedding anniversary, 3:00 to 5:00 Eastern, Court TV.
Please stay with us as we remember Specialist Joseph "Joey" Hunt, just 27, an American hero.
GRACE: We at NANCY GRACE want very much to help solve unsolved homicides, find missing people. Take a look at 40-year-old Diane Scott. Scott disappeared after taking her daughter to school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, May 25, 2001.
If you have info on Diane Scott, please call the Carole Sund Carrington Foundation, toll-free 888-813-8389. Please help us.
Everybody, very quickly, back to Melissa WolfHawk, the mother I told you about earlier, eight months pregnant. The government threatening to take away her unborn child because her husband is a convicted sex offender, raping and sodomizing two young girls.
Don`t get me wrong. I don`t want to separate a baby from its mother. But what about the welfare of the baby?
Like every good trial lawyer, I got to switch files. Before we sign off, I want to go back very quickly to Dr. Larry Kobilinsky.
Dr. Kobilinsky, at this juncture in the George Smith case, is there any way to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again, make a forensic case in the missing groom?
KOBILINSKY: I think there are still too many questions unanswered. We have insufficient physical evidence. We know that the others were in the room but that -- there`s still a gap there to prove the case legally. I`m afraid, without the body, without more information, this case may go unsolved.
GRACE: And Diane Dimond, after so long not speaking a word, even asking for help, why did the family break their silence?
DIMOND: Oh, I think it was because it was his birthday. It would have been his 27th birthday earlier this month. And also I think there`s just been such an outpouring of people, cards, letters, phone calls to them. I think they just wanted to say thank you.
GRACE: So now the family is placing all their hope in Congress and the FBI.
I want to thank all of my guests tonight. But my biggest thank you is to you for being with us, inviting all of us into your homes.
Coming up, headlines from all around the world, Larry on CNN. I`m Nancy Grace signing off again for tonight. Hope to see you right here again tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.