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Did Suspect in Pamela Vitale`s Murder Act Alone?
Aired October 24, 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: It`s not over yet, the investigation of the murder of Pamela Vitale, the wife of high-profile defense attorney Daniel Horowitz. Well, just hours ago, police swarming the grounds surrounding the Horowitz home and that of 16-year-old Scott Dyleski, still behind bars tonight. Question. Did Dyleski act alone?
Also, we go live to a death penalty trial in Atlanta, after a young mother and her 2-year-old daughter abducted from a local public park.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Tonight: A 27-year-old Georgia man on trial for the kidnap and deaths of a young mother and her 2-year-old little girl. Did Wesley Harris force the two into a car at gunpoint? Where? At a local public park, where children play every single day.
And tonight, 16-year-old Goth Scott Dyleski behind bars on murder one in the brutal beating death of Pamela Vitale, wife of California criminal lawyer Daniel Horowitz. Well, within the last few hours, police have swarmed the Horowitz estate. The investigation widens.
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HAROLD JEWETT, CONTRA COSTA ASST. DA: The charges are murder, and there is an enhancement for the use of a bludgeon, so the maximum possible penalty is 26 years to life in prison.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: I want to go straight out to Robert Selna. He`s a staff writer with "The San Francisco Daily Journal," "Justice Magazine" contributor. What`s the latest, friend?
ROBERT SELNA, "JUSTICE" MAGAZINE CONTRIBUTOR, "SAN FRANCISCO DAILY JOURNAL" STAFF WRITER: What you just said is basically the latest. They`re still investigating out there to see if there may be any other suspects, as far as I know. And I think you wrapped it up pretty well. Not much more.
GRACE: Straight to Jim Moret. Jim, what`s the significance that dogs have been brought to this scene? I mean, Jim, you`re not just the chief correspondent, "Inside Edition," you`re a practicing lawyer, as well. If they`ve got the suspect and they`ve got DNA -- we know the 16-year-old Goth student was scratched up pretty severely. You know there had to be DNA under her nails. Why the dogs? It says to me they`re looking at another suspect.
JIM MORET, "INSIDE EDITION": I agree with you. It says that they don`t know exactly whether Scott Dyleski went up to this area on Saturday alone, where he allegedly beat to death Pamela Vitale. Police believe that he was working with someone else in connection with a credit card scam, where he would use people`s numbers, buy hydroponic growing equipment, and then form this deal to grow pot. What they don`t know is if Scott Dyleski went up to this location where Daniel Horowitz and Pamela Vitale were building their dream home on Saturday -- whether he was alone.
We believe that they have the murder weapon. We believe that they have some DNA. You saw the scene. You reported it was a bloody scene. It`s certainly logical to assume that the police have fingerprints and other DNA, possibly hair evidence. What they don`t know -- were other people up there on that same day? And that would be the significance of bringing dogs up to the area, to try to find the scent of someone else.
GRACE: Here`s what the assistant district attorney had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEWETT: It is obvious, independent of the attention that this case has brought, that this is a brutal homicide. And because he is very close to his 17th birthday, we believe that it`s a situation where he is not entitled to the protections afforded him under the juvenile law, and it`s appropriate to prosecute him as an adult, and that`s what we`ve done.
No minor, under any circumstances, is ever eligible for the death penalty. And with respect to what I`m anticipating your next question to be, like I said, the investigation is ongoing, and the question of whether or not special circumstances are appropriate or will be filed will be decided at a later time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Back to Jim Moret, chief correspondent with "Inside Edition." Special circumstances -- we normally hear that phrase when we`re talking about a death penalty case. The DP can only be sought when special circumstances exist, such as in Scott Peterson and the death of two people. So explain to me, Jim -- you`re a California lawyer -- why special circumstance is being discussed?
MORET: Well, here, it`s basically an enhancement. Normally, the -- normally, the possible penalty would be 25 years to life, but in this case, because Pamela Vitale was, in essence, bludgeoned to death, that`s considered an enhancement under California law and would add one year to a potential penalty. So the penalty would then become 26 years to life.
GRACE: But why would bludgeoning be any different from multiple stabbing? Is it the multiple bludgeoning that`s the special circumstance?
MORET: Well, I think, frankly, it`s the use of a bludgeon is actually what the...
MORET: ... special circumstance is. So it`s not the number of times, it`s the type of killing that it would be.
GRACE: Gotcha. I want to go straight to Bruce Robertson. He is a California private investigator. Rosie (ph), do you have that video of the dogs being brought onto the area? Bruce, what does this say to you as a veteran PI?
BRUCE ROBERTSON, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Well, the dogs are obviously used for two purposes. One is to see if there is an accomplice, as was stated earlier. But also, they need to find out if there`s other evidence on the property, such as, Was the subject lying in wait? Was he stalking the victim before the accident -- the attack? Are there other indications that someone else was involved? Might they find some of the construction dirt in an area where they wouldn`t find it? There`s a lot of things that a dog might be able to find out that would shed more light on this. And of course, finding out if there`s an accomplice is key.
GRACE: You`re right about the accomplice part of it. As you know, everyone, a 16-year-old, Scott Dyleski, behind bars for the bludgeoning death of Pamela Vitale. Also, we know that a car has been towed from the Dyleski property, that car a Toyota van. First of all, items were seized out of that car. And a short while later, authorities came back and took the car itself.
Jim Moret, do we know if police still have that Toyota?
MORET: It`s my understanding they do. And interestingly enough, I was up at that location on Friday to get shots with my crew of the house where Scott Dyleski has lived for the past six years. And we happened to see that Toyota. It was up just above the house in an area that was off the road, almost a grassy area. We noticed the car. It looked like it had been there for some time. That`s apparently the very same vehicle that police took.
Clearly, this was an area -- Nancy, you walked much of this area, and you could get to the Horowitz estate not by walking the road, but also by going on these various paths. And certainly, investigators are looking to see if, in fact, Scott Dyleski approached the house on Saturday using one of those paths. And if, in fact, he did, did he leave any evidence in or around that area?
GRACE: Here is what a fellow student of Scott Dyleski`s had to say.
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ANTHONY CANTANESI, KNOWS THE SUSPECT: My mom this morning woke me up at around 10:30 and told me all the evidence is coming on. And, like, it sounds something, like, you know, like a lot of the clues point to something that he and his friends were into or, like, sounded like what they do or something. I don`t know. It was just kind of shocking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were the clues? What set off that in your mind?
CANTANESI: Well, my mom said there were Gothic symbols painted on the wall and that it was -- the murder happened in a place where he lived, in the same -- like, a mile away from where he lives.
The kids who, like, dress weird and, like, do different things than the normal -- (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. By weird, you mean Goth, right? That`s the look?
CANTANESI: Right. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. What sort of things were they into?
CANTANESI: Music and, like, you know, really into their music, like, dark music. And I don`t really know because I don`t -- I don`t really hang around with those kind of kids, but music and, like -- I don`t know. Maybe they did some drugs. I`m not sure.
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GRACE: Well, you know -- Dr. Robi Ludwig is with us, psychotherapist. -- I saw the scene with Daniel, and I did not see any satanic, Gothic, ritualistic paintings or etchings on the wall. But let`s talk about Goth.
ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: OK.
GRACE: What is Goth?
LUDWIG: My understanding of Goth is it`s an offshoot of the punk movement. So punk was more, I`m angry with the world, and the world is a horrible place.
GRACE: Eek! Wait!
LUDWIG: It`s a little scary. And Goth is more of the depressive position, where, I`m sad that the world is an imperfect place, and I`m sad about it. And so sometimes adolescents who engage in drugs are attracted to this kind of off, you know, movement, the pseudo-Gothic movement, because it`s the anti-society approach to life.
LUDWIG: Yes, anti-happy, anti-society...
GRACE: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Rosie, go back to that last graphic. There you go. Look at this, Dr. Robi. We know that a crude cross symbol had been etched on Pamela`s back. And it`s very hard for me to even associate the woman I knew as Pamela Vitale with the discussion of this crime scene. We know that a crude cross, possibly along the lines of a Lorraine cross, which is a single vertical, two horizontals -- how does that -- how would that fit into Goth culture? Is it the celebration of the morbidity aspect of life? Is that what Goth is?
LUDWIG: It`s basically saying, The world is a horrible place, and I`m sad about it, or, I feel the world is a horrible place, and I`m angry and I`m acting out. Now, I have to say not all people that are attracted to the Goth movement are murderous or dangerous people.
GRACE: Robi, please! Don`t dummy down.
GRACE: We know that not everyone who is Goth is a killer.
LUDWIG: OK. OK. But I wonder, though, if he was engaged in some type of -- I mean, it sounds really crazy, what he did. And so I wonder if he was in an altered state.
LUDWIG: I`m not excusing it, believe me!
GRACE: Here we go! Music to the ears of a criminal defense attorney. Speaking of, let`s go straight out to Ray Giudice. Where are you going to go with this guy as a defense?
RAY GIUDICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, first of all, I wanted to say that I think they`re using the dogs also to eliminate the possibility of any accomplices, not just to look for them. I think the PI`s comments are right on target.
But I mean, I think the Goth movement has been wrapped up and tied in with some other famous murders, like the Columbine disaster out in Colorado several years ago. These kids get wrapped up in, as we just said, in this very narrow-minded and closed-viewed -- closed-up world view that things are terrible, and they`re depressed, and it`s going to be a bad ending anyway, so why not just live on the edge?
But I would say that in the experience that I`ve had with the Goth community here in Atlanta, there is not a whole lot of drug and substance abuse. It does not tend to be an underlying theme in that community.
GRACE: And what would your experience with the Goth community be, exactly?
GIUDICE: I`ve represented many people, many young people that live this lifestyle.
GRACE: So if you`re representing them as a criminal defense attorney, and you`ve represented many of them, what were the charges?
GIUDICE: Tend to be minor charges -- alcohol-related, theft, fences, DUIs, I mean, just this typical kind of stuff that 18 to 25-year-old kids get into, nothing evil. I`ve never seen anything more than this being a way of dressing...
GIUDICE: ... and acting and, you know, the Marilyn Manson music. But you know, as you stated, I haven`t seen any propensity to violent crime amongst the Goth community.
GRACE: OK. Point well taken. Anne Bremner, Seattle defense attorney, we just finished covering on Court TV a live trial of a young -- a teen-aged man, totally Goth, convinced himself he was a vampire and ended up murdering his girlfriend`s whole family. That`s my experience with Goth. I`m glad you and Ray have had such a more pleasant experience with Goth, but...
ANNE BREMNER, TRIAL ATTORNEY: That`s a bad one, Nancy. Very bad.
GRACE: ... if this is your guy, what do you do, get him to sing on his co-conspirator, whoever that may be?
BREMNER: Well, that could be one, Nancy. But what Robi just said, this is crazy. And what that translates to is look at a mental defense, too. First look at the facts, see if you have a defense, see if there`s accomplices, see if someone else could have done it, et cetera. Look at a lesser because this weapon was a crime of opportunity, didn`t look like it was premeditated.
But this is just something that looks crazy, and the Goth saying, which is, I want to be seen, I don`t want to be seen. I want to see shock in people`s faces. And that`s just one. And it`s something that ultimately could lead to a mental defense for this one, and at 16, 16 committing this offense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL HOROWITZ, WIFE BLUDGEONED TO DEATH: I know Pamela, because we`ve discussed it and we`ve agreed that in any time there`s a life -- any attack, we just fight like hell. We`re going to die fighting. We`re not going to die whimpering. And she was a lion like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOROWITZ: When I would come home every day, no matter how hard her day was or what went on, there was always love in her eyes and face. And I`m not just saying phony things. I mean, it was just love. If you have a picture of her, every picture that you ever have of her has love. And I came home every day to that every single day. That`s what I remember.
GRACE: You can see that this is a footpath going up over this hill and down to their driveway. So whoever went into that trailer and killed Pam may very well not have even used the main street.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And as you can see, dogs have been swarming over the Horowitz/Dyleski area, looking, we believe, up and down these footpaths.
Straight back out to Jim Moret, chief correspondent with "Inside Edition." Jim, we know that a Toyota was taken. We know that the footpaths are being searched. The area between Horowitz`s place and Dyleski`s place -- what do they hope to find?
MORET: Well, Nancy, we believe that they`ve recovered the murder weapon, which they believe is a piece of crown molding which was used to beat Pamela Vitale to death. But there may be other evidence there, as well. The Toyota was off an area very similar to that footpath you just showed. Now, it`s possible that, if you walk that area, you could leave something that you may not even realize you`ve left behind. So there was a pair of pants that I understand were recovered.
There`s a great deal of physical evidence in a case like this, and clearly, the police want to do their best to make sure that they have, one, the correct suspect, and, two, all of the suspects. And I think that they`re doing exactly what they should be doing.
GRACE: And to Dr. Robi Ludwig, we also know there at the scene, the alleged perpetrator slowed down long enough to drink a glass of water and take an extended shower after the attack. We also know that outside the shower -- Rosie (ph), if you could show that video of the trailer again, where Daniel and Pamela were living -- that there was still condensation on the outside of the trailer when cops finally got there. That`s how long this guy brazenly took a shower. OK, shrink him.
LUDWIG: That just sounds like really odd behavior to me that somebody would have to be-
GRACE: He bludgeoned a woman to death, according to police...
GRACE: ... and you think it`s odd?
LUDWIG: No, when you think about it, after somebody commits a murder, usually, they want to flee the scene or they want to cover up the evidence so they don`t get caught. This guy sounds like he was in some bizarre state where he takes a shower and he sticks around for a while. I mean, it`s just poor judgment to the Nth degree.
GRACE: And not only that -- back out to Jim Moret. Jim, there`s been a lot of confusion on a request Daniel Horowitz made, and it relates back to the Susan Polk trial. There were reports Horowitz did not want an autopsy on Pamela Vitale. Not true. He specifically did not want the medical examiner, who he planned to attack in the Susan Polk case, and probably mentioned that in his opening statement, to perform the autopsy on his wife. Do you blame him?
MORET: No, I don`t blame him. You`re talking about Dr. Brian Peterson (ph), who`s the coroner in that area. And Dr. Brian Peterson is going to be one of the targets of the defense in the Susan Polk case. Susan Polk is accused of stabbing her husband, Felix Polk, to death. And the defense, through Ivan Golde, Daniel Horowitz`s partner, made a request that Pamela Vitale not be autopsied by Dr. Brian Peterson.
I talked to Ivan Golde within the last hour. He tells me Brian Peterson did not perform the autopsy on Pamela Vitale, although he did not know the doctor`s name who did. But clearly, they were successful in their request.
GRACE: And back to Robert Selna. Did Daniel Horowitz discuss or attack the medical examiner in Polk in opening statements?
SELNA: He may have spoken about it briefly. I don`t remember him spending a lot of time on it. He talked to me before that about the fact that he would cross-examine him vigorously and talk to him about the autopsy that was performed. And I think he was concerned that there wasn`t a specific cause of death found, and that`s what he wanted to focus on once the trial began.
GRACE: That makes perfect sense, Robert. And actually, he wouldn`t want a man he had attacked in opening statements and was going to vigorously cross-examine in a murder trial to perform the autopsy on his wife.
Very quickly, everyone, to tonight`s "Case Alert." Tonight, police try to determine whether a body they discovered is, in fact, a 21- year-old Illinois State University student missing now 11 days. Authorities refuse to reveal when or where they found the body. Olamide Adeyooye, last seen at a video store in Normal, Illinois. Police found the victim`s personal belongings near her apartment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLUWAYIANKA ADEYOOYE, MOTHER OF MISSING STUDENT: I know something is up. I mean, she (INAUDIBLE) don`t disappear. She`s very responsible -- very, very. My daughter is a nice girl. She`s a child that every mother would want to have as a child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: If you have any information on this beautiful girl, Adeyooye, please call Detective Sergeant Scott Johnson (ph), 309-454-9535.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY LEE, CONTRA COSTA SHERIFF`S DEPT. SPOKESMAN: Although we have a suspect in custody, the investigation is still going on. Much more work still needs to be done. As I speak right now, we are still interviewing people. We are still trying to establish the exact motive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back. Straight out to private investigator Bruce Robertson. Now, Bruce, we all know that the state does not have to prove a motive in any criminal case, although, practically speaking, a jury wants to hear the motive. I think they`re looking to find out if there`s another co-conspirator. Why else with the dogs?
ROBERTSON: Well, you`re right. They will definitely want to determine that. But in terms of motive, it could be that this initially started out as a confrontation over these stolen credit cards or this marijuana paraphernalia, and possibly he tried to intimidate Pamela, something along those lines. Perhaps she threatened to call the police, or something like that.
And at some point, it must have turned into a crime of rage. Perhaps he had suppressed anger that came out in the middle of the confrontation because it doesn`t look like it was premeditated. It looks like it happened on the spot. But the severity of the crime, the bludgeoning, hitting her 39 times certainly indicates something more than just an average incident where somebody is just trying to silence someone.
GRACE: But of course, Ray Giudice, when he says premeditation, in a lay sense, you think of a long, drawn-out plot to kill, but premeditation under the law can happen in the blink of an eye.
GIUDICE: That`s right. Right. In other words, I agree with the comments just made, but after that initial confrontation, which could have been purely accidental -- in other words, this man is out there to see if his drug-growing supplies had been delivered, and she happens upon him. But when you have 39 separate blows, you know, that starts to become formulae (ph) to premeditation. And he had to go get that weapon somewhere, which will be interesting. Did he have to break it off of the wall? Was it laying around? I mean, I think that may go to the premeditation aspect.
GRACE: That`s a good question, Ray. And I noticed right outside the location of the killing -- I mean, inches away -- there were stacks of this crown molding.
GRACE: Quick break, everybody. But as you know, we want very much to help, in our way, solve unsolved homicides, find missing people. Take a look at 66-year-old Charles Edward Lucas, reported missing from Stafford, Virginia, July 23. Also missing, his Chevy pick-up truck, Carolina plates, TSD 6659. If you have info on Charles Lucas, please call the FBI, 804-261- 1044. Please help us.
THOMAS ROBERTS, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. I`m Thomas Roberts. And this is your "Headline Prime Newsbreak."
Hurricane Wilma is once again a powerful Category 3 storm, but it`s out in the Atlantic. And forecasters say it`s probably going to say there. At least three deaths are being blamed on the hurricane and more than 3 million Florida homes are without power.
It appears Hurricane Wilma will be the third costliest U.S. storm ever. AIR Worldwide, a company that does catastrophe modeling for the insurance industry, estimates insured losses in the $6-$9 billion range. Insured losses from Hurricane Katrina have passed $34 billion. And inflation-adjusted losses caused by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 were just under $21 billion.
Gas prices may soon take another dip at the pump. Crude oil futures are falling after the battered Gulf of Mexico`s oil producing and refining facilities were spared by Wilma. That can mean even lower gas prices. Now, the average price of self-serve regular has dropped more than 25 cents per gallon over the past two weeks to $2.66.
That`s the news for now. I`m Thomas Roberts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOROWITZ: She was probably still in her sleep clothes. And then the door got shoved open, and the person came in and pushed her back. And I know she fought really hard. And I think she almost won.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The charges are murder. And there is an enhancement for the use of a bludgeon. So the maximum possible penalty is 26 years to life in prison.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back. I`m Nancy Grace. Thank you for being with us.
I want to go straight out now to Robert Selna with "The San Francisco Daily Journal."
Robert, let`s talk about Susan Polk just a moment. When Pam Vitale was originally murdered, many people believed -- one of the theories out there was that it was somehow related to this very, very high-profile murder case Horowitz was defending. What can you tell me about Polk at this juncture?
SELNA: Well, I recently spoke with Polk. And Polk told me she was concerned about the fact that the Contra Costa sheriffs investigative agency were the same ones that investigated her case, as well as the Vitale case, and that they had seized two computers from Dan Horowitz`s house that may have had information about her defense on those computers.
So she was very concerned about that. Since then, I`ve learned that Dan Horowitz has said he gave them permission to seize those computers. And the sheriff have said they`ve turned them over to a third-party agency to review them and, in fact, have not reviewed them themselves.
I don`t know if that allays Susan Polk`s concerns, but those were her chief concerns when I talked to her recently.
GRACE: Didn`t Horowitz take her case on pro bono, for free?
SELNA: My understanding was that he was appointed by the county, actually.
GRACE: Oh, next to free. OK, thank you.
Isn`t that true, Jim Moret? I mean, when you get appointed to a case where the person is pro se or pro bono, you`re looking at some mighty slim pickins.
So he takes her case on for virtually nothing and now she`s complaining, in a sideways way, she, who is accused of stabbing someone 26 times, is complaining about Horowitz handing over the computer? Am I crazy, or is this -- OK, you go ahead.
MORET: Well, I met with her in jail last week, following Pamela Vitale`s killing. And you have to understand her case was going well, in her view. She was in day four, ready to start the second week.
Everything looked good, from her standpoint. Then it was abruptly called to a halt. The case will not be reset until December, may not even start until January. She`s frustrated, to be sure.
Her first concern, she told me, was really for Daniel Horowitz and to find the killer of Susan Vitale. She didn`t seem to be overly upset. She was frustrated, but she said this was a time to put herself second to Daniel Horowitz and Pamela Vitale.
GRACE: Well, that`s good to hear, Jim. I feel a lot better about her. Maybe I can forget the 26 stabbing thing.
Very quickly, Robi Ludwig, you`ve taken a look at this guy. You`ve taken a look at his background as we know it, so far, the 16-year-old. What`s your theory?
LUDWIG: Well, I think that something happened where he was looking for the drug-making machine and something stopped him. And it was as simple...
GRACE: Did you say the drug-making machine?
LUDWIG: Whatever, whatever, the pot making...
GRACE: It`s pot. You grow it. It`s a plant.
LUDWIG: Whatever. Whatever. Not my specialty in how you make it.
But something stopped him in that moment. Either he viewed Pamela as an authority figure that was stopping him from getting what he needed to get, and that was enough to set his rage into an absolute out-of-control spiral, where he went out of control and would let nothing get in his way.
GRACE: So a rage killing? OK.
Before we leave this story and take you to an Atlanta courtroom in a death penalty case, what do you think, Anne Bremner, they are hoping to get out of that Toyota? First they seize some objects. And then tonight, we have learned that they`ve gone back and seized the actual car.
BREMNER: They`re looking, Nancy, for trace evidence, hair, fiber, DNA, anything in that car. And, you know, there`s traditional wisdom that the perp in a case leaves something at the crime scene and takes something away, and that`s true in almost every case. I know you`ve seen it, and I`ve seen it. So that`s what they`re trying to find.
And with those dogs, of course -- you know, the dogs are there for their smell. They`re not tracking, in terms of looking. They smell. And those smells can stay for a while.
I`ve defended the police dogs out here in Seattle in a class action, learned everything I want to know about dogs. But they sure can find a lot of information with that nose of theirs and potentially another suspect.
GRACE: That`s interesting what Bremner is saying about leaving something, taking something.
To Bruce Robertson, very quickly before we switch gears, Bruce, you know this whole thing allegedly started with a mail scam, where this 16- year-old -- and possibly others -- were using credit card numbers stolen, mailbox drop-offs. And we believe that there`s a chance he had ordered some type of equipment to grow pot, lighting, I`m told.
So, long story short, do you think there`s a possibility some of that stolen mail was in the car to back up this whole theory?
ROBERTSON: Well, certainly that`s a possibility, possibly even the actual credit cards. There could have been a lot of evidence in that vehicle.
And I think, more importantly, they`re looking for an accomplice. You know, this is a 16-year-old boy. It`s not likely that he`s pulling off credit card and identity theft by himself. So I think the possibility that there`s an accomplice in those crimes is very high.
GRACE: Very high. Veteran private investigator joining us out of the California jurisdiction, Bruce Robertson.
Got to switch gears. I want to take you to the latest in a trial going down in an Atlanta courtroom where the defendant, who is looking right down the wrong end of the barrel at the death penalty, actually began sobbing and hyperventilating in the courtroom. Wah, wah.
Let`s go straight out to Alex Koppelman, "Justice Magazine" contributor. Bring me up-to-date on Wesley Harris.
ALEX KOPPELMAN, "JUSTICE MAGAZINE" CONTRIBUTOR: Well, today was the second day of his trial. Prosecutors alleged that he abducted 22-year-old Jordan Land and her two -- sorry, 22-year-old...
GRACE: Whitney Land.
KOPPELMAN: Whitney Land, sorry.
GRACE: Daughter Jordan.
KOPPELMAN: And daughter, Jordan, yes. And took them from Clayton County, Georgia, a public park in Clayton County, Georgia, to Gwinnett County. Their bodies were found in the trunk of Whitney Land`s car. They were both shot multiple times, and then the car was set on fire.
GRACE: The baby was shot?
GRACE: Did I just hear that?
KOPPELMAN: Yes, yes.
GRACE: OK. I want to find out about the park.
Rosie, do we have any pictures or video of this park? A public park, where a 22-year-old mother was playing with her 2-year-old little girl.
Joining me right now by phone, a special guest, Sheriff Victor Hill, Clayton County sheriff.
Here you`re seeing a shot of the crime scene, when the car was found.
Sheriff Hill, this is, my understanding, at the time of this crime, was a very peaceful park. It`s got tennis courts. It`s well-lit. Children and mothers play there all the time.
VICTOR HILL, CLAYTON COUNTY SHERIFF: That`s correct. And it`s still a park that our citizens enjoy. No doubt this probably happened at a time -- obviously, there wasn`t a lot of people there and nobody observed it.
GRACE: It was 4:00 in the day.
HILL: That`s correct. That did happen. I was in homicide at the time that happened. And I remember when that crime occurred, and we found that pretty amazing ourselves.
GRACE: Four o`clock, broad daylight. There you`re getting an aerial photo of the park. It`s a beautiful park. It`s called the Panhandle Park, complete with tennis courts, parking, beautiful tree-lined area.
Ray Giudice, that`s got to play in this jury`s mind, that a woman, a mother, cannot even take the baby out in a stroller at a park before she ends up in the trunk of a car?
GIUDICE: Nancy, especially in a suburban county like Gwinnett, even though a growing county. You`ve got a young mother and her 2-year-old, I guess, on a swing or whatever they were doing, just like a lot of those folks on the jury, or their children, or their sisters, or their friends would be doing. And that`s going to be tough to overcome.
GRACE: Alex Koppelman, "Justice Magazine" contributor, I understand - - that was a shot of the two victims in this case. I understand -- what brought on the wheezing attack of the defendant in court?
KOPPELMAN: Well, we`re not quite sure what brought on the wheezing attack. It was the first day of the trial when this happened. And they were into the witnesses by then. And this is actually his third trial now.
The first two were mistrials. The first one, the jury pool -- there were problems with the jury pool.
And the second one, actually, there was a defense attorney who -- the court-appointed defense attorney had just not done his preparation for the case. And he had billed the county for things that the district attorney now says that he just didn`t do. And actually, the district attorney is looking at prosecuting Harris` former defense attorney.
So it`s possible that just the stress of, you know, six years of this case building up, the third time it being on trial could have just gotten to Harris.
GRACE: Quick break, everyone. We`ll all be right back.
But tonight, we are tracking Hurricane Wilma. The Cat 3 hurricane hit Florida early this morning. Thousands in the Florida Keys ignored mandatory evacuation orders.
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DAVID PAULISON, ACTING FEMA DIRECTOR: I talked to President Bush this morning. I talked to Secretary Chertoff. And I just talked to Governor Bush a few hours ago.
And they are concerned about people who did not evacuate. They`re concerned, particularly, about those who may have stayed in mobile homes. And we are searching those areas now as we speak. The president did make a major disaster declaration for the state of Florida.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Over 2 million Floridians without power tonight, over 35,000 in shelters. Wilma now out to sea, winds still up to 115 miles per hour.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Harris is accused of killing Whitney Land and her 2-year-old daughter, Jordan. The two were abducted from a Clayton County park, shot, and stuffed in a trunk. The car was then set on fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you take a look at state`s exhibit number four? Who is the picture -- who is the person in that picture?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s Jordan, my grand daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This morning, Whitney`s mother told the court that the reason the two were at the park that day was to play and take pictures of little Jordan in her dress.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She wanted to take pictures of Jordan in the little dress that she had on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Apparently, when the defendant, during the trial, began to hear evidence of what he had done, he hyperventilated, started crying, got nauseous, and threw himself onto the floor. All right.
Was it real or was it just an attempt to get a new trial? This is the third time around for this defendant. This is his third trial after two mistrials.
Ray Giudice, what`s with defendants putting on a show in front of the jury?
GIUDICE: Somehow they think that`s going to engender some sympathy. In Gwinnett County, that is not going to work. Absent a real heart attack, Judge Winegarden, who is tough as nails, is going to keep this trial moving.
GRACE: I`m going to go back to our special guest, Sheriff Victor Hill. He`s the Clayton County sheriff.
There`s been a fairly low crime rate in Clayton County, especially around the time of this killing. What was the community reaction to a mother and a baby getting abducted, broad daylight, 4:00 p.m., when kids are getting home from school, from a public park?
HILL: Reaction from the community, of course, was shock and outrage. And, of course, that was our reaction, too, as far as law enforcement is concerned.
GRACE: Now, Sheriff, the park, Panhandle Park, is there in Clayton County, which is a little south of Atlanta. But the trial is taking place in Gwinnett. Explain.
HILL: Well, usually, when you see that, the murder trial has to take place wherever the murder actually occurred. So what the job of the crime scene investigators are is to establish where the death actually took place, and then that, of course, is where it will be prosecuted.
If anything was prosecuted in Clayton County, it would probably be kidnapping. But the crime scene was established in Gwinnett. And that`s why they have it there.
GRACE: And, of course, Anne Bremner, in a murder trial, the case can be -- venue can be established either where the murder occurred or...
GRACE: ... where the body is found.
BREMNER: That`s exactly right. In a case like this -- you know, I was thinking about Dan Horowitz, dear friend of yours, mine, and Jim`s, and channeling Dan a little bit in defending this case, you know, the third time might not be the charm for the state in this case, Nancy.
And I`ve never had a client hyperventilate, but I thought to myself, if someone`s truly innocent, how do you expect them to act in a courtroom? And it could be like that. It could not be acting out. They don`t sit there like Scott Peterson did, laughing, stoic, and arrogant. So food for thought.
GRACE: I remember that. You and I were shoulder to shoulder with him and the little giggle fit.
BREMNER: We were.
GRACE: Here`s what the arson investigator had to say.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever an opportunity as an arson investigator to view people that have been burned in explosions?
JAMES DARST, ARSON INVESTIGATOR: Unfortunately, yes, I have.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were his injuries that you saw consistent with such an explosion that you saw that night?
DARST: His injuries were consistent with a flash fire that was the result of what we believed to be the gasoline that was present.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were there any other instrumentalities that could have been used for an arson around the scene?
DARST: Yes. There was a gasoline container, a small gasoline container that had basically burned and melted down to just the bottom, and then a lighter, within a close proximity to that gasoline container.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: The victims in this case, Whitney Land, 22, Jordan Land, just 2. They made the mistake of going to play in a public park, 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon one chilly November afternoon. And this baby lost her life.
To Ray Giudice, of course, for the death penalty to be sought, there`s got to be special circumstances. Here, you have not only the shooting death of an infant but also a double murder. That qualifies as mass murder under Georgia law.
GIUDICE: Sure. You`ve got a kidnapping. You may have a carjacking. You`ve got use of an aggravated weapon. You have two deaths. I mean, it`s a death penalty case in Georgia. That`s not a problem here.
GRACE: And to Dr. Robi Ludwig. You`ve got this defendant acting out. When he begins to hear evidence, acting like he can`t breathe, throwing himself down on the ground, acting nauseous.
If the state is correct, this is the same guy that shot a baby girl and killed her after taking her from a park. So how is that going to affect a jury?
LUDWIG: I don`t know if a jury will buy it. Jurors are very smart. And also...
GRACE: Remember when Jim Bakker, with PTL, got in the fetal position during his trial?
LUDWIG: Oh, I know. You know, it just looks like bad acting. But what you have to remember about criminals is that they still feel very sorry for themselves and depressed in relation to their own fate. So it`s very possible this guy is having this kind of reaction, but it`s in reaction to his fate and being in prison.
GRACE: Sheriff Hill, do you think this guy was actually having difficulty breathing in front of the jury, or is it all just a big act?
HILL: Well, you know, as a professional, I could never speculate to a person`s state of mind. But it`s very possible that what you`re saying could, in fact, be very true.
GRACE: Of course, Sheriff Victor Hill taking the high road. We`ll see if the jury agrees with that assessment.
Very quickly to Tonight`s "All-Points Bulletin." FBI and law enforcement across the country on the lookout for this man, Cesar Carlos Castaneda, wanted in connection with the `95 Texas murder of 86-year-old William Lennox (ph).
Castaneda, 26, 5"8`, 140 pounds, brown eyes, brown hair. If you have information on Cesar Carlos Castaneda, call the FBI, 915-832-5000.
Local news next for some of you, but we`ll all be right back. And remember, tomorrow night, special coverage of cases making national headlines, cases that need answers. "Nancy Grace Investigates," Court TV, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. I hope you can join us.
Please stay with us tonight as we remember Sergeant Brian Conner, 36, a Baltimore City firefighter, and now an American hero.
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HEIDI BURKE, WITNESS FROM THE PARK: I just remember him sitting at the picnic table, not at the table like you would sit at a table, but facing the young woman and the young child, watching them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: We are talking about a case going down in an Atlanta courtroom right now. The victims in this case, 22-year-old Whitney Land, 2-year-old Jordan Land, taken from a public park, 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon, Panhandle Park, just south of Atlanta.
Right back out to Ray Giudice. You know, the starkness of the crime compared to the location from which they were taken -- you know, in a death penalty case, that means a lot.
GIUDICE: Absolutely. When you throw in a 2-year-old child -- and let`s be honest, the racial component of this case. I don`t know what the racial composite of that jury is, but I guarantee you it`s 75 percent white, if not more. That`s Gwinnett County.
And I just think that`s going to be very tough. And Johnny Moore is a great criminal defense lawyer, but he`s got a tough road to hoe on this case.
GRACE: You know what? I don`t think necessarily that race has a thing to do with this, because you take a 2-year-old baby girl and the mother, minding her own business trying to get pictures of the girl on the swing set?
GIUDICE: Nancy, I think...
GRACE: Oh! Oh!
GIUDICE: Nancy, that doesn`t mean that they couldn`t do the same if the victims were African-American. I know that the jury would do the right thing. But I`m telling you, if you`re defending this case, and you ignore the racial component of this case, you`re committing malpractice.
GRACE: Sheriff Victor Hill, before we say good night, this park, the Panhandle Park, do people still go there after this?
HILL: It`s still a very, very popular park. And our mission is to make sure that it stays a safe park.
You know, one of the things that we`re doing -- and that`s why I created the Coby Units (ph). We`re going to make Clayton County unsafe from criminals. And we`re going to make sure we reduce and control crime so that our citizens can feel free playing anywhere that they want to play.
GRACE: Your mouth to God`s ear. Our special guest tonight, Sheriff Victor Hill. He`s the Clayton County sheriff. Thank you, Sheriff.
But I want to thank all my guests tonight. Our biggest thank you is to you, from all of us, for being with us, inviting all of us into your homes.
Coming up, headlines all around the world. I`m Nancy Grace signing off for tonight. See you right here tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.