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NANCY GRACE

Charles Thompson Captured

Aired November 7, 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, breaking news. A nationwide manhunt lands an escaped death row killer back behind bars. Tonight, just how did a killer on the run make it over 200 miles? He was apprehended in the state of Louisiana and in a state of intoxication. That`s right, he was drunk. Plus, tonight, surveillance tape that shocked the nation revealed in court. Surveillance tape shows the man accused of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia`s kidnap, rape and murder.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Tonight, Joseph Smith on trial for the kidnap, assault and murder of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia. Incredibly, the kidnap is actually caught on video at a Florida car wash nearly two years ago.

But first tonight, danger averted. A Texas death row inmate who walked out of prison right under the noses of jailhouse officers back behind bars tonight. Charles Victor Thompson`s escape ended hundreds of miles away in Shreveport, Louisiana. P.S., he went a long way for a drink! Thompson three sheets to the wind when the cops picked him up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICKEY RELLIN, DEPUTY U.S. MARSHAL: And I asked him three times, I asked him, Who are you? No answer. Who are you? No answer. Who are you? I then, you know, made sure that he could see my badge and my credentials, and he said, Are you the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force? And looked at him and said, What do you think? He says, Then you know who I am. And I said, Well, who are you? And then he said, Yes, I`m Charles. I know you`re looking for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Well, that was some arrest. Let`s go straight out to Francis McCabe, a reporter with "The Shreveport Times." Francis, welcome. And how exactly did they realize that Charles Victor Thompson e was there?

FRANCIS MCCABE, "SHREVEPORT TIMES": Thank you for having me. Last night, the U.S. Marshals Service received a tip that Charles Thompson was in Shreveport, somewhere along West 70th Street. U.S. Marshals and a -- along with Shreveport police and the fugitive task force patrolled the area, and I believe it was actually Deputy Marshal Rellin that found him at a pay phone on West 70th, in the 200 block, in front of a liquor store.

They sat on the liquor store. They waited for reinforcements, and when a number of other officers arrived, they took him down. He didn`t resist arrest. So unfortunately, right now, we haven`t been told where the tip has come from, so those are answers that we still -- those are questions we still are awaiting for answers for.

GRACE: Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEBRAN SIDDIQUI, EMPLOYEE AT LIQUOR STORE: He was, like, real composed, you know? He wasn`t acting, you know, crazy or scared or nothing. And as he was being taken into the car, you know, he was just grinning, you know, looking around. So it looked like he was intoxicated, like, deeply because he was just, you know, taking in the moment, you know, as if it wasn`t a big deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: And speaking of the man that captured the death row inmate escapee, Charles Victor Thompson, that man is with us tonight. We are happy to introduce you to Deputy Mickey Rellin with the U.S. Marshals Service. He captured and arrested a double killer. Sir, thank you for being with us, and congratulations.

RELLIN: Thank you very much.

GRACE: You know, Deputy, was the guy drunk when you found him?

RELLIN: Yes, ma`am.

GRACE: Just how drunk was he? Could he even form sentences? Was he able to walk? Did he try to get away? Tell me the whole thing.

RELLIN: He didn`t try to get away. I didn`t ask him too much, except for what his name was. And his speech was slurred and had the odor of the alcohol on his breath.

GRACE: Deputy, it`s amazing to me that this guy got over 200 miles away. How did he do it?

RELLIN: I don`t know.

GRACE: Did he say anything other than his own name?

RELLIN: Well, as soon as he told me his name and I realized that I had a positive identification of the individual, I immediately broke away from the conversation and called the deputies in Houston to let them know, so they could call off any other searches they may have had.

GRACE: Well, did you arrest him right there and then?

RELLIN: After he told me who he was, yes, ma`am.

GRACE: He did not resist?

RELLIN: Well, he wasn`t in a position to resist it after the arrest team took him down and handcuffed him.

GRACE: You know, that`s an interesting thing, Deputy, because when he got out of the jailhouse, they sent him in to meet with his lawyer wearing handcuffs, and somehow, he came out of that jail without handcuffs on.

So Deputy, let me ask you this. When you first realized it was him, what were your first thoughts?

RELLIN: Everyone will be safe. The families of the victims will be safe, and the rest of the public will be safe.

GRACE: You know, you`re not kidding, Deputy, because this guy, although he was very mild-mannered, and probably because he was intoxicated when you arrested him, this guy is responsible for a double murder, shooting his girlfriend in the face and an innocent friend of hers. The girlfriend apparently sat outside, trying to get help. She couldn`t even speak, Deputy. And someone noticed blood coming down her mouth. Right, Ellie (ph)? Isn`t that the way it went?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s right. Right.

GRACE: And finally, a neighbor saw her sitting outside, trying to wave. And the woman sat right there in the front yard and bled to death. And Deputy, he may have been meek and mild when you, but he`s not that way with women. I`m sure you`re familiar with his record, sir, but he had a long string of abuse against this girlfriend that culminated in her death and the death of a friend. Did any of that run through your mind when you apprehended him?

RELLIN: Yes, ma`am. Basically, he -- he was a convicted murder. He was on the loose, and the public was in danger. And it was our responsibility to bring him back into custody.

GRACE: Take a listen to what the U.S. marshal had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE TILLER, U.S. MARSHALS OFFICE: Public safety is the number one priority in the apprehension of a violent offender, and to accomplish a mission like that safely and to get him off the street, get him back into custody, we`re ecstatic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tip was received by the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force. Once we received the information that he was in Shreveport, the task force contacted the Marshals office in Shreveport and passed the information on to them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: And with us tonight, the man that captured and arrested the fugitive, Deputy Mickey Rellin.

I want to go straight out to the PIO from Harris County Sheriff`s Department, Lieutenant John Martin. Welcome, sir. Were you surprised that Thompson was arrested with so little resistance?

LT. JOHN MARTIN, HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF PIO: I was certainly relieved to find that he was arrested without any resistance. You know, of course, you got to keep in mind he`s been twice sentenced to death. He has absolutely no incentive to cooperate with law enforcement officers, and frankly, nothing to lose by strenuously resisting being taken into custody.

So you know, of course, we imagine the worst. We imagine him putting up a fight, maybe gaining access some type of weapon. And you know, my big concern was for the safety of the officers while they were trying to take him into custody, as well as the general public who`s obviously in danger just by him being out there on the streets. So again, we were greatly relieved that he was taken into custody without incident.

GRACE: Well, Deputy Mickey Rellin didn`t do it single-handedly. He did have the help of the liquor store. The guy drunk as a skunk when he finally made the arrest.

Back to you, Lieutenant Martin. Thank you for being with us. I know the jail has taken a lot of heat, and I`ve got to ask you some tough questions. How the heck did this guy get out? He flashed his own offender ID at the jailhouse staff. And they`re, like, See you, dude. He kept on walking. Hello? Offender! Double killer! You know what he did? He taped over the word "offender"...

MARTIN: Exactly.

GRACE: ... and walked out! Now, listen. I know it wasn`t you, but how in the heck -- a double killer, how does he walk out? And I`m stunned that the deputy didn`t have more of a problem arresting him. As you said, he had nothing to lose.

MARTIN: Well, you`re exactly right. And from day one, we`ve acknowledged there were a series of lapses in protocol on the part of our personnel that allowed this to take place. And you know, we have been asked at one point could this have been prevented, and unfortunately, what we`ve found is there are a number of points at which this could have been prevented. And you know, again, as I`ve been saying, this entire incident was purely human error, and the most frustrating thing for our department is that it absolutely could have been avoided simply by people following proper procedure.

GRACE: Well, I got to tell you something, Lieutenant martin. Number one, at least you`re a stand-up guy and you`re saying, OK, we screwed up, it was human error, that`s all it was, and we did the bad thing, instead of dancing all around it.

All right, now that we`re past that, we can look at how it won`t happen again. Look, I just went through the same thing at the Atlanta courthouse shooting. It was so obvious that the system needed to be changed. It was never changed. Then you`ve got a whole staff wiped out by one rapist, OK? So long story short, Lieutenant, what are you guys going to do any differently so this will not happen again?

MARTIN: Well, first of all, I do want to point out we still have a thorough, a meticulous investigation going on, on the part of our internal affairs division, looking into exactly what lapses in protocol took place to allow this to happen. And again, what we`re finding are just so many different points at which it could have been prevented just by people following protocol. That didn`t happen.

It`s important to point out that the procedures we have in place right now could have avoided this or could have prevented this from happening if they were simply followed. So to answer your question, of course, we are strenuously enforcing the procedures we have in place. When the investigation`s complete, we will review all of that and see if maybe we need to maybe implement some additional security procedures to make sure this doesn`t happen again.

GRACE: Well, I can tell you right now the answer to that one is yes. Please don`t spend any taxpayers` time on a big study because you do need some other security. Lieutenant, did this guy have on handcuffs? And where exactly was he when he walked out?

MARTIN: He had -- he did have on handcuffs when he was escorted from his cell block to the attorney booth. Now, the handcuffs were placed in front, which would allow him to sign any legal papers that the attorney may ask him to sign and of course, that is going to make it easier to get out of the handcuffs.

GRACE: Just because your hands are in front of you, for Pete`s sake, that`s what handcuffs are all about! I mean, how the heck did he get out of the handcuffs?

MARTIN: Well, he may have had a handcuff key. We`ve not determined that yet. There are also...

GRACE: Whoa! Whoa! That`s not good!

MARTIN: There are also a number of ways that handcuffs can be defeated, particularly if they are in front of you. And again, that is one of the many questions that this investigation seeks to answer.

GRACE: You know, you said he was going in there to meet his lawyer. Where was the lawyer?

MARTIN: The lawyer -- there`s an attorney booth where the inmate is sitting on one side. It`s basically a small room. The inmate should have been locked in that room. There`s a plexiglass divider that divides the attorney from the inmate. The attorney`s on the other side.

Now, when the attorney gets finished with his business, he can leave. There`s -- he`s obviously not locked in the attorney booth. Again, the inmate should have been locked in the attorney booth, should not have been able to leave on his own. And again, that`s one of a number of things that should not have been able to happen, that did happen, and ultimately resulted in him leaving our facility.

GRACE: Now, this guy is already sentenced to death. What additional penalty does he face?

MARTIN: Well, he`s twice been sentenced to death. And of course, he still faces an escape charge here in Harris County, although I really can`t foresee the DA`s office pursuing that charge because, as you said, he`s already facing death. What more can you do to him?

GRACE: Well, wait a minute. Wait, wait, wait, wait! Let me go straight out to defense attorney Joe Lawless. Joe Lawless, this is a guy that has killed two people. While he was behind bars, he tried to order a hit to have two state`s witnesses assassinated -- from behind bars. Now the guy finally escapes. You know, you never know when a death penalty case is going to get overturned. Don`t you think a little life plus 20 might be a good idea, a little security?

JOE LAWLESS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, you know, before I became a defense lawyer, I was a prosecutor, and I guarantee you I would prosecute this man to the fullest extent of the law because you don`t know whether or not the death verdict will be overturned. More importantly, though, what I`d be doing right now is I`d be taking a long, hard look at the Harris County jail because he had clothes, he had a handcuff key.

This is like Clark Kent putting -- or Superman putting on the glasses and Lois Lane not knowing he`s Clark Kent. This guy changes his clothes, and the guards on his side of the cell door don`t know it`s him? Something`s going on in that prison, and it`s a lot more than just human error.

GRACE: Well, you know, it`s easy to laugh along with your description, which is accurate, but the reality is, this...

LAWLESS: It`s scary.

GRACE: ... this guy has killed twice. He tried to kill two other people from behind bars that were going to testify against him. If he hadn`t gotten drunk, God knows what would have happened. And another thing...

LAWLESS: But he walks out.

GRACE: Yes, walked out. I`ve got another question for Lieutenant Martin. The guy went in in his prison outfit, he came out fully clothed. How did he get so far? Do we have any idea, Lieutenant, if he had wheels?

MARTIN: No. At this point, we don`t. But of course, that`s again another one of the questions that we need to find an answer to.

GRACE: Francis McCabe with "The Shreveport Times," has anyone gotten to the bottom of how this guy -- Elizabeth, show me the map. This guy made it 200 miles in about three days. Believe me, he wasn`t walking. Francis, did he have help from family members, girlfriends, exes? Tell me.

MCCABE: It`s an excellent question. It would seem pretty incredible for him to get that far without some help. Whether those assisting him knew that they were helping him or not, you know, whether he just hitchhiked and it -- you certainly don`t believe he walked the 200 miles. That would have taken him quite a bit longer of time, and considering he was drunk, I don`t think he could have done it too well.

(LAUGHTER)

GRACE: No, maybe he swam his way there. Very quickly, to Doug...

(LAUGHTER)

GRACE: Yes, through a bottle of gin. Hey, to Doug Burns. Very quickly. The thing that Joe Lawless and I are talking about -- whenever I had a murder case I was prosecuting, I want to get at least life plus, for instance, life plus 20 for robbery, life plus 20 for burglary, because if that life sentence in any way is reduced, you still have a backup consecutive charge to keep the offender behind bars.

What do you say, Doug Burns, about the -- this decision obviously not to prosecute this escape?

DOUG BURNS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, the first death sentence was reversed on the grounds, as you said earlier, that there was an allegation that he was involved in two murder-for-hire schemes while behind bars, so...

GRACE: Which he did.

BURNS: ... it was set aside, and then the jury reimposed the same penalty. So ostensibly, if that happens again, you`re right. But it`s hard to second guess the prosecutors, why they`re not doing it. I couldn`t tell you why, Nancy.

GRACE: And very quickly, back to Deputy Rellin. Deputy, do you know what, if any, penalty he will suffer because of this behind bars?

RELLIN: No, ma`am.

GRACE: What about it, Lieutenant? Any punishment at all?

MARTIN: If I can make another comment?

GRACE: OK.

MARTIN: Nobody has said that the escape charge will not be pursued. I said that`s something the DA`s office has to determine. Nobody`s made that decision yet.

GRACE: So what punishment is he getting -- is he going to get if the escape is not prosecuted?

MARTIN: There`s a number of punishments, just in-house punishments that could take place in jail. Of course, most of those would involve loss of privileges. He will receive visitation privileges. Obviously, he`d be placed in the most secure cell block that we have and subjected to the most stringent security procedures. Any time out he`s brought out of the cell block, of course, he will be handcuffed, he will be leg-ironed, very probably will have belly chains on him, as well. And I`m sure he`ll have a deputy attached to him any time he`s outside of that cell block, so...

GRACE: Yes. Well, let`s just make sure the deputy recognizes him.

Quick break, everybody. We`ll all be right back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RELLIN: And I asked him three times, I asked him, Who are you? No answer. Who are you? No answer. Who are you? I then, you know, made sure that he could see my badge and my credentials, and he said, Are you the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force? And looked at him and said, What do you think? He says, Then you know who I am. And I said, Well, who are you? And then he said, Yes, I`m Charles. I know you`re looking for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. I want to go straight out to Deputy Mickey Rellin, who actually apprehended this death row inmate. You know, Deputy, I know the guy was intoxicated. He was just coming straight out of a liquor store when you apprehended him. But I want to remind you, before you make light of your arrest, that this man, Charles Victor Thompson, was also intoxicated at the time he committed double murder. So I know you`re just being modest. But in my mind, you`re a real American hero, and I want to thank you once again.

Were you wearing a vest at the time, Deputy?

RELLIN: Actually, I was on the surveillance. I was identifying him and making sure that he stayed in the location. I had telephonic communications with the Shreveport Police Department task force members, from the Fugitive Task Force. They were -- they were armored up, and they were with the weapons and they were in the assault team, or actually, the arrest team. Excuse me. And they are the ones that went in that arrested him.

GRACE: So you went up to him...

RELLIN: ... after they had him down on the ground.

GRACE: ... and asked him who he was, didn`t you?

RELLIN: Yes, ma`am.

GRACE: Were you -- you know...

RELLIN: After they had arrested -- after they had secured him.

GRACE: Let me just ask you again. Let me rephrase, Judge!

RELLIN: Yes, ma`am.

GRACE: Were you or were you not wearing a vest at the time? You know you`re supposed to.

RELLIN: I was on surveillance, ma`am.

GRACE: So does that mean you did not wear a vest?

RELLIN: That`s right.

GRACE: Very quickly, before we sign off and take you down to Florida in the case of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia, I want to go back to Lieutenant John Martin. Lieutenant, you told me that his privileges, so to speak, are going to be greatly curtailed. I`m still trying to get a read on who helped this guy. He didn`t do all of this on his own, all right? Do you have any idea if he had a vehicle outside? When he was arrested finally, he was -- had a bicycle with him, but he certainly didn`t pedal his way all the way from Texas to Shreveport.

MARTIN: No. You know, I don`t imagine that he got to Shreveport on the bicycle. That`s absurd. But no, there is no clear indication at this point if somebody picked him up, if he fled on foot. We did find his clothing behind a jail facility across the street, so we know at least he traveled on foot to that point, but from there, no, we don`t know at this point.

GRACE: And Lieutenant, has anybody been fired yet?

MARTIN: We`ve not completed our investigation yet, so that would be a bit premature.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN: He never should have got out. You know, to have him back in custody, again, this is where he belongs. He was convicted of capital murder. He`s been twice sentenced to death. There is no scenario under which he should be free, roaming around on the streets.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When was the last time you saw Carlie on that Sunday, February 1, 2004?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had left before I did, and she was standing across the street from my house. And I left shortly after that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: I don`t know if you recall Super Bowl Sunday, February 2004, 11-year-old Carlie Brucia went missing. Elizabeth (ph), can you play for me that video surveillance from the car wash? Finally, all this time later, a repeat offender, Joseph Smith, on trial for murder and kidnap.

Let`s go straight to CNN correspondent Susan Candiotti. Susan, you`ve been at the courthouse today. Bring us to date.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Nancy, actually, I`ve been here from Miami and watching this, but certainly covered that story from the start when it happened in Sarasota, Florida. Finally, the jury, by the end of the day, got to see the surveillance video that we have all seen many, many times by now. So the jury got a chance. It was entered into evidence this day after opening statements.

And they were said to have leaned forward in their seats and watched very carefully as we saw the defendant in this case, Joseph Smith, a father himself of three little girls, allegedly approach this little girl, 11- year-old Carlie Brucia, as she was taking a shortcut home from her house after a sleepover.

What did he say to her? We still don`t know. But he got her to leave with him, grabbed her by the wrist, and he walks her off apparently without a struggle.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SOPHIA CHOI, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: (OFF-MIKE) "Headline Prime Newsbreak."

Officials may impose curfews in French cities to try and stem 12 days of rioting. The violence has led to one death. And thousands of vehicles have been burned. One could be the high unemployment rate among the country`s poor immigrant youth.

And paying at the gas pump may be easing. The government says the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded dropped more than a dime over the last week to $2.38. That`s still up, though, 38 cents from a year ago.

And a son of Major League Baseball`s all-time hits leader may be heading to prison. Pete Rose, Jr., pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges today. A federal indictment says Rose confessed to supplying minor league players with a steroid alternative. Rose will be sentenced on February 20th.

And that`s the news for now. I`m Sophia Choi. Now back to NANCY GRACE.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll only saw her twice a year, two weeks at a clip. But now she can see me always. She`s in a better place. She got there in a horrific manner, but now she`s watching me all the time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Super Bowl Sunday, 2004, this 11-year-old little girl was walking home Sunday afternoon from a sleepover with one of her little friends. When she was abducted, she was assaulted and she was murdered, her body too decomposed to determine just exactly what happened to Carlie Brucia.

And now, all this time later, a man on trial. Let`s go straight down to CNN correspondent Susan Candiotti.

Susan, what did we learn from the prosecution opening statement?

CANDIOTTI: Well, for the first time, we heard some horrifying and chilling details about what happened to this little girl, little Carlie Brucia, after she was allegedly abducted. The prosecutor described in her opening statement that Joseph Smith had what she called rough sex with this little girl.

GRACE: Oh, oh, oh. Wait, wait, wait. Rough sex? How can you have rough sex with am 11-year-old girl? I mean, wouldn`t that -- to me, that sounds like some consensual S&M thing, "We had rough sex."

CANDIOTTI: Well, those are the words she chose to describe it. She did say that the little girl`s wrists were bound and, as well, that they found some marks around her neck that, after he had sex with her and forced her to have sex with him -- went into some graphic detail there, I`ll spare you the details -- that he stood behind her and used something, she didn`t describe what, from the back, around her neck, and, as she put it, squeezed her and squeezed her until she stopped breathing.

And, as you indicated, because it took about four days to find the body, she was so badly decomposed that the medical examiner, through autopsy, could not conclude scientifically through evidence that she had been sexual assaulted but that they did, she said for the first time, find some DNA evidence on the little girl`s top that she was wearing -- she was naked from the waist down -- DNA evidence that Smith had had sex with her.

GRACE: You mean, semen?

CANDIOTTI: Yes.

GRACE: Front or back of shirt?

CANDIOTTI: She didn`t specify from the opening statement, just on the shirt. Now, what`s also significant to note -- and this is truly gripping. Remember, it is the mother and Smith`s brother who allegedly, in effect, ratted him out, turned him into the police.

He called them, according to the prosecutor, from his jail cell, with the police listening, on his cell phone, on one end, and the detectives were with the brother and the mother as they were in a car driving to where Joseph Smith allegedly described where he had hidden the little girl`s body, in a field behind a church parking lot.

And he also went into detail, according to the prosecutor`s opening statement, about how he killed the little girl and what he did to her.

GRACE: OK. Susan, let me get something straight: You said he called from jail on his cell phone, not the perpetrator, not the alleged perpetrator? He didn`t have his cell phone behind bars, did he?

CANDIOTTI: Well, the alleged perpetrator did. And I remember at the time -- and she didn`t go into detail -- about how that came about. But I do remember, from being there at the time, that the authorities were trying to get the relatives to speak with him, because they were holding him on an unrelated probation violation.

And they were trying to get the family involved. In fact, the brother talked to his brother in jail, allegedly to try to get him to confess. And so I have to assume at this point they provided a phone to him so that he could be in contact with his brother.

GRACE: Or he could have used the jailhouse phone. You can make phone calls, usually collect, from the jail.

CANDIOTTI: That`s true, although they called it a cell phone. So I really seem to recall from the past that they provided it to him.

GRACE: Yes. You know, that`s an interesting legal point, to Doug Burns, because, if you`re talking to your family, and you`ve got a cop eavesdropping on the phone, and you`re in custody, then you get your Miranda rights.

Now, if you`re on the jailhouse pay phone, we already know the sheriff listens in on those anyway. So that could be a legal issue at trial -- Doug?

BURNS: Very good point. And as a matter of fact, we were all discussing that.

If he`s utilized as an agent of the police, then you have a serious Miranda issue. But the reality is, you hit it right on the head. Because if the jailhouse phone`s involved, everybody knows that that`s an exception.

But I felt that they had a very strong argument on the defense side of this thing that the brother indicated that he will tell me something. And don`t forget, Nancy, they themselves were arguing, he and the brother, back and forth in a dispute, OK, over some farm equipment apparently.

They had a poor relationship. And the brother knew that he could go in there and get this confession. And it was really at the behest of the police and the FBI. He therefore became an agent of theirs. And I thought it was a very serious -- but it really was decided pretrial, apparently.

GRACE: Yes. Oh, yes.

BURNS: And that was it.

GRACE: And also, Joe Lawless, I assume as a defense attorney, you, like I as a prosecutor, have taken collect calls from the jail. I mean, you can`t miss them. They have a recording about every 90 seconds that says, "You are getting a call from a correctional institute," so there`s no way you can miss that you`re getting a jail call.

LAWLESS: A lot of it is going to depend upon where that call came from. If it was a secure call, or if he was led to believe it was a secure call, I think there`s a very serious issue down the road.

I can`t imagine this trial judge in this case right now suppressing the confession and all the evidence that would result from it. But if that call was on a cell phone or a phone where Smith believed it was a secure call, they may not only lose the statement, they may lose the recovering of the body and all the evidence that arose from that.

So that`s a very significant issue, in terms of the legality of this.

GRACE: Well, speaking of the recovery of the body, to forensic scientist Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky. Doctor, there`s also a legal theory called ultimate discovery.

This body of Carlie Brucia`s was found not too, too far from a very big congregation, a church, there in Florida. And ultimately, someone would have found Carlie`s body walking through. And that DNA on her shirt would have been preserved, even if her body had decomposed.

What factors do you think would prevent them from determining whether a sex assault took place? He`s charged with it.

LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Well, as you stated before, unfortunately, the body has been decomposed for four or five days. Looking for trauma to the genitalia, there may be no evidence of that kind of an assault.

But clearly, DNA is the key here, DNA and the videotape. And if he was on the database, they would have tracked him down that way, as well. So I think, confession or not, the evidence is pointing in one direction and it`s at Mr. Smith.

GRACE: And, Dr. Kobilinsky, the prosecution in opening statement, according to Susan Candiotti, says hair found in the car Smith was driving is consistent with being Carlie Brucia`s. But they can`t make a positive DNA match. Why?

KOBILINSKY: Well, it doesn`t surprise me. As you know, hair with a root can be typed with nuclear DNA testing. And that would be an absolute identification, essentially.

But looking at the hair shaft, that`s mitochondrial DNA, and the statistics would be one in several hundred or one in several thousand. It`s not unique to any one individual.

GRACE: To Susan Candiotti -- as a matter of fact, everybody, I don`t know if you recall, but Susan Candiotti is the one that broke the discovery of Carlie`s case. That`s how long she has been covering the Carlie Brucia case.

Susan, who was on the stand today as the state kicked off?

CANDIOTTI: Well, they brought out -- for example, they started with Carlie`s stepfather. And he testified about how he received the phone call that she was missing and that he went out to use his car to go look for her in the neighborhood, try to retrace the route, and talk about that search early on.

Also, there was testimony from the mother of one of Carlie`s little girlfriends where she had been spending the night. And she testified that Carlie told her that she had her mother`s permission to walk home by herself at 6:00 at night, but that the mother then called the mother, called Carlie`s mom, and said, "No, she doesn`t have permission," but by then, Carlie had already left.

They talked about the search and using dogs. And then the last witness of the day was from the car wash owner who owned that surveillance cameras. And he`s the one that saw the search going on, then, the next day, went and looked at his surveillance cameras.

And lo and behold, he finds this picture of this man and the little girl. And also on that tape is the station wagon that police say Smith was driving and where they found that additional hair and fiber evidence.

GRACE: When we come back, I want Susan Candiotti to explain to me what the defense is. They`re apparently saying that, in this video, that`s not me. It`s some other dude.

And to Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist, it`s amazing to me. I`m just looking -- hey, Elizabeth, can you throw up this guy`s -- some selections from his rap sheet, the highlights of rap sheet?

I mean, he got acquitted on the allegations he attacked one woman. I wonder how that jury feels tonight.

Then he beat another woman, took her off, much like he did Carlie, by the arm and then beat her in the face, broke her nose with a motorcycle helmet in public. Both of these in public. Numerous incendiary drug arrests.

What`s he doing walking free?

DR. ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Yes, he should not be walking free. And I think it`s interesting that his mother and brother feel that he belongs behind bars.

I also think it`s very interesting that this is a man who has daughters. And I wonder if somehow having daughters -- I wonder if they were teenagers, if it over-stimulated his sexual fantasies, and that`s what got him to go after Carlie in some way.

GRACE: You know, just when I thought it couldn`t be worse, you bring up a mental image that makes it much worse.

LUDWIG: That`s my job.

GRACE: We`re going to go straight back down to Susan Candiotti, CNN correspondent covering the trial. At the heart of the case, Carlie Brucia. Susan is standing by.

Very quickly to tonight`s "Trial Tracker." Juries deliberate in the Robert Blake wrongful death suit. If the former "Baretta" star is found to have caused the death of his 44-year-old wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, the juror will then set an award amount for her surviving children.

The jury asked for the 911 tape read back, including Blake`s call to police. Blake acquitted of murder in March.

Also on the docket, an American cruise ship escapes a pirate attack in the Indian Ocean.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEBRA JOHNES RIVA, PROSECUTOR: You will learn that the perpetrator stood behind her, positioned himself behind her, put that ligature around her neck and squeezed, squeezed until she stopped breathing, until her heart stopped, until she died. You will hear that her wrists also had marks showing that she had been restrained. She couldn`t use her hands.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: The "she" the prosecutor is referring to is a 11-year-old little girl, Carlie Brucia.

Straight back to Susan Candiotti, CNN correspondent. Susan, I can see the videotape. So, his defense -- let me get this straight -- is actually that`s not me. You`re supposed to believe me and not your lying eyes?

CANDIOTTI: Well, that`s what he`s suggesting. The defense attorney is saying, "Wait a minute. That guy on the tape, he could have resembled a lot of people." For example, he argued in his opening statement that the police, in his view, zeroed in too quickly on Joseph Smith.

He said, what about this other guy who is living with a girlfriend of Carlie`s where she was spending the night? This other man who was a tow truck driver that the police actually took in and showed him the videotape. And this man said, "Yes, I can see why you think it kind of looks like me, but that`s not me."

And then he had some other questions about shoddy lab work by the FBI, that kind of thing.

GRACE: Susan Candiotti on the case, the little girl, Carlie Brucia. We`ll return to that case tomorrow night.

Thank you, Susan. See you tomorrow, I hope.

CANDIOTTI: Will do.

GRACE: Very quickly, I want to shift gears to a case that maybe we can do some good. Teresa Halbach is missing. I want you to see her picture and find out about her case.

Let me go straight out to Chuck Quirmbach. He`s with Wisconsin public radio. Chuck, tell me, what happened to Teresa? What do we know?

CHUCK QUIRMBACH, WISCONSIN PUBLIC RADIO: Well, Ms. Halbach is a photographer who was taking pictures on Monday, the 31st of October, at a salvage yard in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. That`s about 30 miles southeast of Green Bay.

At some point thereafter, she was not seen publicly again. And a couple of days later, on the 3rd of November, her parents reported her as missing.

Authorities began to search around, backtrack on where she had been, what her appointments were for her photography, found that she had been at the salvage yard, which is owned by the family of Steven Avery.

Avery is well-known in Wisconsin. He was released from prison about two years ago after spending 18 years behind bars for a rape he did not commit. DNA evidence found that he was not guilty.

And so he was released in 2003. He had been in the news off and on since then, and now is back in the news as a potential suspect. Because on Saturday, volunteers working with law enforcement found Ms. Halbach`s car on the large salvage yard that the Avery family owns in Manitowoc County.

GRACE: I want to go straight out to the man you mentioned, Steven Avery. He is joining us by phone.

Steven, I understand that Teresa came to your auto salvage lot to take photos for the auto trader, correct?

STEVEN AVERY, QUESTIONED ABOUT TERESA HALBACH`S DISAPPEARANCE: Yes, she did. She came down by me.

GRACE: OK, and, Steven, it`s my understanding that also you state that you saw her car leave?

AVERY: Yes, I did.

GRACE: About what time?

AVERY: She was there between 2:00 and 2:30.

GRACE: 2:30 in the afternoon. OK, Steven, how is it that her car could get all the way back in this pit area where there is -- well, I believe we`re showing it right now. I mean, wouldn`t she have to pass back by the office again?

AVERY: Well, on the outskirts of the office, otherwise back by me, or back by (INAUDIBLE) pit in the corner, is all open.

GRACE: It`s all open?

AVERY: Yes. Anybody can drive in there.

GRACE: OK. So that says to me, Chuck Quirmbach, with Wisconsin public radio, that the assailant who took this girl would have to find her some distance away and then amazingly, incredibly, coincidentally take her car all the way back to Avery`s auto salvage and park it back here in the pit with all these trashed cars.

QUIRMBACH: Well, we do have to say alleged assailant. We do not know the whereabouts of Ms Halbach. We do not know if someone took her against her will to where the car was found.

(CROSSTALK)

GRACE: OK. Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, a woman`s point of view. I`m not going to park my car in a pit of junk cars and then go on vacation, OK? You might find my car at the airport, if I had a car, or maybe at the bus station or the train station.

So back to Mr. Avery. Mr. Avery, did you see anyone else come in, anyone unusual that didn`t belong there?

AVERY: Well, Thursday night, me and my brother had to be go to Menards to pick up some wood with the flat bed. And I see taillights back by me. It wasn`t supposed to be.

GRACE: Yes.

AVERY: But we turned around. And we went back there. The truck he parked on the side. And I took the flashlight on the flat bed, and I looked around by me and behind me, but I didn`t see nothing.

GRACE: Well, I want to point out, everybody, that Steven Avery is cooperating with police. He is not an official police suspect, and he is with us tonight speaking freely.

Very quickly to tonight`s "All-Points Bulletin." FBI and law enforcement across the country on the lookout for Daniel Keo Kung, wanted in connection with the 2004 shooting death of 19-year-old Ponarith Uong.

He`s 25, 5`6", 136 pounds, black hair, brown eyes. If you have info, call the FBI, 617-742-5533.

Everyone, please stay with us as we remember Specialist Dennis Ferderer, 20 years old, an American hero.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At 1:00 this afternoon, myself and my staff members met just to answer any other questions they may have had about the investigation. They remain hopeful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Teresa Halbach is missing. If you have any information, dial the sheriff`s office, 920-849-2335.

Very quickly to Chuck Quirmbach. Are they sending in divers to search in the ponds in the area of the auto salvage?

QUIRMBACH: Yes. Apparently, that`s been done. There`s also apparently a large number of people checking fields around the Avery property. There`s up to 200 people had been there investigating over the course of the last couple of days, so it`s quite wide net.

GRACE: Mr. Avery, do you feel like you`re being framed in any way?

AVERY: Yes.

GRACE: Why?

AVERY: Because every time I turn around, the county`s out here doing something to me.

GRACE: In this case, do you think you`re being framed?

AVERY: Yes. I`m being set-up, because of my lawsuit and everything else.

GRACE: Because of your previous incarceration, you`re suing?

AVERY: Yes. They set me up then. And then...

GRACE: Well, do you think it has anything to do with her car being found at your auto shop?

AVERY: No. I tell you, it`s because of my name and what they -- what I went through from them.

GRACE: But to Dr. Robi Ludwig, psychologist, of course, with her car -- take a look at this -- her car turning up in the middle of that, that is a very suspicious location.

LUDWIG: Sure. But we do know that there are people that are wrongly convicted and that they do appear to be guilty and very often have to defend themselves once they`re let out, and even if they are exonerated. So Mr. Avery is in a very difficult position.

GRACE: And to Mr. Avery, is the pit back there where her car was found locked or fenced in? Can anybody just drive back there and leave their car?

AVERY: Well, most of the time, no.

GRACE: You mean it`s normally not locked?

AVERY: No. You can just drive right in and -- if you wanted to drop something off, you could, you know?

GRACE: OK, everyone, we`ll keep you updated on the search for Teresa Halbach. Please help us bring Teresa home.

A big thank you to all of my guests tonight. But our biggest thank you, to you for being with us, inviting us into your homes.

Also, let me tell you about tomorrow night. As you know, in the case of Pam Vitale, murdered in California, the arraignment is going down on her alleged perpetrator. We preview that.

And also tonight, a big happy birthday to Rob Farfan (ph), the leader of the ship here at the NANCY GRACE show and mascot.

See you all tomorrow night, I hope. Good night, friend.

END

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