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Was Attempted Rape Possible Motive for Murder of Pamela Vitale?
Aired November 18, 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 in the murder case of Pam Vitale, wife of high-profile California criminal lawyer Daniel Horowitz. Just released details from the autopsy report prove two things. One, possible motive, attempted rape. Two, Pamela went down fighting for her life.
And from California to the Heartland tonight, FBI officials prepare to initiate the most innovative DNA technology possible in order to confirm that charred bones and teeth are, in fact, the remains of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Tonight, stunning new details revealed in the autopsy report on Pam Vitale, wife of California defense lawyer Daniel Horowitz. We now know without a doubt Vitale did not go down without a fight.
But first tonight, breaking news in the case of a missing photographer 25-year-old Teresa Halbach. Bone and teeth found on the property of Steven Avery so badly burned that the most innovative and advanced DNA testing is needed tonight. Now the FBI intervenes. Are these the only remains of Teresa Halbach?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because the DNA evidence is found on the key and Mr. Avery`s blood is found inside of Teresa Halbach`s vehicle, it is no longer a question, at least in my mind, as a special prosecutor in this case, who is responsible for, in this case, the death of Teresa Halbach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Straight out to Jim Moret, chief correspondent with "Inside Edition." Jim, bring us up to date.
JIM MORET, "INSIDE EDITION": Well, you just heard there that there`s circumstantial evidence that the charred bones and teeth found on the property of Steven Avery were those of Teresa Halbach, the 25-year-old photographer that went missing not long after taking pictures at Mr. Avery`s house, taking pictures of his car for her newspaper. The problem is, as you mentioned, the bones that were found in a barrel that was burning were so badly charred that much of the DNA evidence was simply...
GRACE: Jim! Wait, wait, wait, wait! Let`s just take this in a moment, all right? Elizabeth (ph), can you show me Teresa Halbach, please? We`re all talking about evidence and autopsy reports. We`re talking about bone fragments and teeth at the bottom of a barrel. People, we are talking about this girl!
MORET: Well, Nancy, you`re also talking about the fact that...
MORET: ... who in the world has anybody`s bones burning in a barrel on their property? It doesn`t matter if they`re hers or not, you have other evidence that gives you enough reason to hold this man. You`ve got his DNA on her car keys in his house. You`ve got her blood possibly in his house, his blood in her car. You`ve got enough evidence, Nancy. And frankly, whether or not they determine if these bones are hers, they can still go ahead and prosecute this case. I`ve covered cases, and you have probably prosecuted cases, where they never even found a body. The fact is, they have enough evidence.
GRACE: I actually recall one murder case where the only physical evidence was a glass eyeball found at a dump.
So we`ll move on from there to Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, forensic scientist. How can they look at the bones and the teeth? What can they look at? How can they extract DNA from charred bones and teeth?
LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Well, Nancy, as you know, we`ve all learned after 9/11 that tremendous heat can destroy DNA. However, we`ve also learned that if you cannot do the normal nuclear DNA testing, there is a modification that can be used that can still generate information.
Now, we know that they were able to generate a partial genetic profile from some of the skeletal remains, and I believe that when the FBI looks at these bones, they will either use that modification of this nuclear DNA technique or they`ll use mitochondrial DNA. There`s still hope that they can get a fairly good genetic profile on the victim.
GRACE: Take a listen to what Teresa Halbach`s boss had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM PEARCE, TERESA`S BOSS: Within five minutes, not even, after meeting her, you knew she was a good person, a friendly person, a people person. You know, she would touch -- touch you in many different ways.
STEVEN AVERY, CHARGED WITH MISSING PHOTOGRAPHER`S MURDER: I`m innocent. I wouldn`t do nothing to harm nobody. I can`t figure that out. They hate me that much, to frame me for (INAUDIBLE)? That ain`t me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Somebody`s had a makeover! What happened to that Z.Z. Top beard he was sporting? That was an exclusive interview from WBAY-TV this past Monday with Avery, who is now behind bars.
Very quickly, to Gil Halstead, reporter with the Wisconsin Public Radio. Why haven`t they already been able to determine these are, in fact, Teresa Halbach`s remains? My first thought, Gil, was, Can`t they do a dental imprint -- an imprint? Can`t they look at the cavities, look at the bite, and determine if it`s her? That`s when I found out, Gil, to my dismay that the teeth at the bottom of this barrel are actually loose.
GIL HALSTEAD, WPR REPORTER: That`s what I understood, as well, yes. And I think we just heard from one of the other guests that they`re going to have to do this -- I understand it`s going to be the mitochondrial DNA test to finally confirm that. But they`ve already told the family that they are very sure that these are her remains. In fact, her funeral is going to be held tomorrow.
GRACE: And tell me about the funeral. Where will it be? What time will it be?
HALSTEAD: It`s going to be 11:00 o`clock tomorrow in the St. John the Baptist church in the town of St. John, which is about 30 miles west of where she was allegedly murdered. And I believe it`s her hometown.
GRACE: I want to go now to Don Clark, former head of the FBI Houston bureau. Don, we`re talking a lot about mitochondrial DNA, about innovative tests that they are going to use, that the state crime lab doesn`t have access to. What are we talking about?
DON CLARK, FORMER HEAD OF FBI IN HOUSTON: Well, you`ve got to get this to a crime lab that`s really moved into -- that has a lot of sophistication to do it because DNA has come a long way. The mitochondrial is one I`m that familiar with here in Houston because it`s been used here, as well. And what it really does is it gives an opportunity to have smaller particles of DNA to use, and yet they can be able to make a match with.
This evidence is compelling, Nancy. There`s a lot of compelling evidence here, and that`s going to help a lot. But they still are going to have to put this together, as you well know, because it`s going to have to be compelling when they present it to a jury, as well.
GRACE: To defense attorney Renee Rockwell, who has defended multiple homicide cases. I got a question for you tonight. If these bones and teeth do not belong to Teresa Halbach, whose are they, on your guy`s property?
RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It`s not a good thing, Nancy. But here`s a guy that just spent 18 years...
GRACE: Not a good thing? That`s what you`ve got to say about human teeth and bones? It`s not a good thing when they`re in your client`s trashcan, burned?
ROCKWELL: He is -- Nancy, here`s a guy that spent 18 years in prison and was exonerated from DNA. So you live by the sword, you die by the sword. The first thing his lawyer is going to do is say, Hey, they planted this evidence on me because I`ve got a lawsuit against this county for keeping me in prison for 18 years. He`s suing this county and...
GRACE: That doesn`t even make any sense, "Live by the sword, die by the sword."
GRACE: What do you mean, in context with Avery, who was wrongly -- and before you go one more word with wrongly convicted, Miss Rockwell -- 1982. OK, let`s give him the past. I`ll say he was exonerated on the other charge -- 1982. You`re an animal lover, aren`t you? You`ve got those two dogs running around the apartment. Allegedly, pours gas and oil on a cat and throws it in a bonfire! Yes, you heard me, bonfire!
ROCKWELL: Now, for that, he...
GRACE: That ringing a bell?
ROCKWELL: He needs to do 18 years in jail for that. But we`re talking about a rape case, Nancy. He`s suing the county for $36 million for 18 years that he spent in a penitentiary that he didn`t commit, a rape he didn`t commit. Here, on the other hand, he may have to go back to the penitentiary for DNA. The DNA that acquitted him is the same test that might put him right back in the penitentiary.
GRACE: You know, I understand where you`re headed. But Elizabeth, let`s take a look at other people that we know were guilty of murder, that started off their illustrious careers with torturing animals. There you`ve got the "Son of Sam," loved to torture animals. Let`s move it along, Elizabeth. Ted Bundy, mass killer, tortured animals at a young age. Andrew Cunanan, of course, the killer of Gianni Versace. There`s an unfamiliar face to many of you. That`s the "Boston strangler," everybody, DeSalvo. And of course, last but not least, here`s the guy that would kill his victims and then have them for takeout, Jeff Dahmer. He started his career torturing animals.
To Leslie Austin -- after a rousing defense by Renee Rockwell -- psychotherapist -- explain to me, Leslie, the connection -- and I`ve always wondered this. It`s inadmissible at trial. The jury will never know Avery did that to a helpless animal. But how does that connect to murder?
LESLIE AUSTIN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: It`s very specifically directed to his attitude about the sanctity of life. Whether you think an animal is intelligent or not, it`s still a living being, and if you torture or destroy a living being that`s capable of feeling pain, it`s just one other step to do it to a human being. It`s a direct link.
GRACE: Don Clark, of course, a jury -- everybody, Don Clark, former head of the FBI Houston bureau, very special guest joining us tonight -- Don, what other evidence do we have? If we lose the DNA battle here, if you cannot identify Teresa Halbach, if you can`t link it back to her because it`s so badly burned, what else is there pointing to Avery?
CLARK: Well, you know, Nancy, there have been circumstantial cases here. First of all, you find the keys in his home, in sort of a hidden place. So you`ve got the keys there. There`s got to be an explanation for that. There`s still blood, that they found her blood in his place and blood in the vehicle there. So that`s evidence there.
And then they`re going to talk to a lot of people, and they`re going to really develop other evidence. They`re not just going to rely on this. They are really going to have to paint a trail of evidence from everyone that`s around this activity to see is this person really guilty of this crime? And I suspect that they think that they can do that very well, Nancy. But the DNA is critical here, and let`s hope that they do find it.
GRACE: And Gil Halstead, reporter with the Wisconsin Public Radio. At this juncture -- and of course, Mr. Avery is a suspect. He has not been proven guilty in a court of law. And just going over with you what we know as of tonight from police sources, from AP reports and other sources, Gil, what other evidence is there? Let`s just look at the worst case scenario for the state. We have no DNA, all right? What else do we have?
HALSTEAD: Well, there`s a list. Her car was found on the salvage lot where -- that`s his property, tree branches covering it, as if it was being hidden, license plates crumpled in a scrap vehicle at the salvage yard, as we just heard, the DNA on the victim`s key, blood inside other junked vehicles in the lot. Eleven spent rifle shells on the floor of Avery`s garage is another thing that prosecutors and police have talked about, and there was apparently also blood on the floor of the garage, a .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle and a .50-caliber black powder muzzle loader, which is originally the reason he was-...
GRACE: A muzzle loader?
HALSTEAD: ... first put in jail because...
GRACE: What -- a muzzle loader?
GRACE: What -- what`s a muzzle loader?
HALSTEAD: People hunt with muzzles here in -- with muzzle-loading rifles in Wisconsin.
GRACE: Wait a minute. Wait, wait, wait. What`s a -- a muzzle? Isn`t that a gun used back in revolutionary times? A muzzle?
HALSTEAD: Yes. A muzzle loader is -- it`s a black powder muzzle loader and...
GRACE: OK. To each her own.
HALSTEAD: ... they`re actually -- there are people...
GRACE: Go ahead.
HALSTEAD: There were handcuffs and leg irons in his trailer, and pornographic magazines and what the police are calling...
GRACE: Wait a minute! Wait, wait, wait!
HALSTEAD: ... sexual devices that were found...
GRACE: Wait. Handcuffs and leg irons and pornography in his -- did you say trailer?
HALSTEAD: In the trailer where he lives, yes.
GRACE: OK. Hold on. Just pause.
Joe Lawless, what are you going to do with this, just go ahead and lay down in the road and get run over as a defense attorney?
JOE LAWLESS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, I think one of the key things is going to be the DNA. If they can`t link the remains by the DNA, I think the general public right now is so pre-programmed to believe that`s what you need to prove it -- if it turns out...
GRACE: You`re going all "CSI" on me.
LAWLESS: Well, yes. But if it turns -- if it turns -- well, that`s the way people are thinking now because of shows like "CSI." But if it turns out they can`t prove whose bones they are, then a defense lawyer can argue -- and you`re not going to like this -- that all the other evidence, including the bones, were a plant to try to frame this guy.
LAWLESS: You can put blood wherever...
GRACE: May I ask you, whose bones are they? What do you think, somebody dug them you up out of...
LAWLESS: Well, I can...
GRACE: ... the property room at the DA`s office?
LAWLESS: I can give you -- well, a morgue with a John Doe. But I can give you 36 million reasons why somebody would want to frame this fellow. Now, if you can -- I mean, think about it. When they came to the scene, he walked them in, he gave them blood samples. He gave them DNA. That`s not behavior consistent with somebody trying to hide something.
GRACE: If they needed his DNA, they already had it from the last time.
LAWLESS: But he voluntarily gave it to them. That suggests he didn`t -- he wasn`t involved...
GRACE: ... voluntarily paying the IRS. They will get it, whether I volunteer it or not!
HALSTEAD: But the fact that he gave it suggests a lack of guilt on his part, at least a lack of consciousness of guilt.
GRACE: ... show. You may have been with me that night.
LAWLESS: I was on that night. I remember. Sure.
GRACE: ... gave me a long, crazy, loopy explanation how her car got back in the pit behind the auto salvage.
LAWLESS: But if they can`t tie the body or the bones with DNA to the deceased, he has an argument, and I think a credible one -- you can make (INAUDIBLE) going to raise is a reasonable doubt -- that all this other evidence, including bones of a John Doe that could have been obtained from a morgue, are a plant. If the DNA proves it`s her, there`s a very, very strong case against him for homicide. But at least, at this point, I think he still has an argument.
GRACE: Correction, Jane Doe.
LAWLESS: Jane Doe. You`re right. They were proven to be the bones of a deceased female.
GRACE: That`s still not enough. You`re right.
Quick break everybody. I don`t know if you were with us last night when we were covering the death penalty case, Joseph Smith down in Florida, who is now convicted of the kidnap rape, and murder of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia. Carlie`s father called in last night, angry toward media outlets, "The Sarasota Herald Tribune," for one, for requesting evidence from Smith`s murder trial, including very disturbing crime scene photos of Carlie.
According to "The Tribune," they`re not challenging the court`s order prohibiting access to publish the photos. They`re challenging the order because they don`t believe any part of a criminal trial should be conducted in secret, they say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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. If you wanted to drop something off, you could.
They planted evidence. How else could it be there? I didn`t do nothing. It don`t make no sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Tonight, the single most innovative methods possible by the FBI being employed to determine whether charred remains, bones and teeth, belong to 25-year-old Teresa Halbach.
I want to go straight back to Dr. Kobilinsky, forensic scientist here. You`re throwing around a lot of scientific terms, such as mitochondrial DNA. Can you break it down for us?
KOBILINSKY: Well, yes. Sure. A skeleton obviously contains cells, and cells contain nuclei, which in turn have DNA. But cells have a great deal of these structures called mitochondria, and each one of those has a great deal of DNA. So testing mitochondrial DNA improves the chances of getting some genetic results by hundreds and hundreds of times beyond nuclear DNA. It`s a longer procedure. It`s more complex. It takes a little longer. But it can reveal if this is, indeed, Teresa or not.
GRACE: Thank you. Renee Rockwell, defense attorney, you`ve handled a lot of homicide defenses. Do you know how deadly it would be for Avery to march into court and put his lawyer up to arguing he was framed?
ROCKWELL: Nancy, that might be the only thing he can do, other than...
GRACE: Other than plead guilty.
ROCKWELL: Well, no, other than say, Why does it have to be me? It can be somebody else. It could be else in my family, somebody else that works at the lot, besides being framed. You know, they`re testing other members of his family to see if the DNA is not connected to them.
GRACE: What about that, Dr. Kobilinsky? She has a point.
KOBILINSKY: No, she has no point at all. Even siblings can easily be differentiated through DNA. The only individuals that cannot be differentiated are identical twins.
GRACE: I will never forget prosecuting a murder case. Lo and behold, there were identical twins. OK. But they were also two co-defendants, so it worked out pretty well.
Back to Renee. What about the criminal history? This jury will never know about the pouring gas and oil on a cat, throwing it into a bonfire, cruelty to animals charge, revocation probation on burglary. You`ve got quite a little rap sheet here.
ROCKWELL: Nancy, he`s got a rap sheet. He`s also got a situation where -- don`t forget now, this is not a state that has the death penalty. He`s charged with the homicide. He`s also charged with mutilating the body. He faces life mandatory, plus 12-and-a-half years for mutilating the body, if he, in fact, did that. I would be more concerned with the DNA than my record coming in on this case.
GRACE: But Joe Lawless, how do you keep the record out? There are technical legal ways to do that.
LAWLESS: It depends on how old the convictions are. In some jurisdictions, they limit the record -- the admissibility of the prior criminal history...
GRACE: From 1983.
LAWLESS: ... of crimes involving -- pardon me? Well I don`t know if -- I don`t think it would get in. I think you could make a pretty strong argument that it`s too remote in time, and unless you have a line of cases in Wisconsin that says you can show a propensity for violence by torturing an animal -- and there may be cases that say that -- I don`t think the jury hears about the prior criminal history.
GRACE: Yes, I know the burglaries won`t come in, but maybe, maybe this cruelty to an animal. It involved a bonfire.
Quick break, everybody.
GRACE: I`ll be right back with you, Joe. Just sit tight.
Very quickly, to tonight`s "Case Alert." The 18-year-old man accused of gunning down both his girlfriend`s parents caught on tape plotting an armed raid on another family, according to court documents. A search warrant says the video has Ludwig and a friend taking guns from the Ludwig home to another home, where the two young men say they want to kill another family.
And in other breaking news tonight, the second of two prison escapees who broke out of an Iowa prison behind bars tonight, Robert Legendre, serving life for attempted murder, captured in Steele, Missouri, nearly 400 miles away from his prison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. THOMAS VILSACK (D), IOWA: We have reached some conclusions, and the result has been some personnel accountability, suspension of at least one employee. I would expect and anticipate more will occur.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Are charred remains all that`s left of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach? To Jim Moret. Jim, what can the FBI lab do that the local crime lab cannot do?
MORET: Well, Nancy, they clearly have greater resources. You know, you talk about this mitochondrial DNA testing. The FBI has more expertise and, frankly, resources in conducting these very sophisticated tests than the locals can do. Therefore, it makes sense that if these remains are so charred that you can`t extract enough DNA locally, you want to find the answers, so you send them out to the FBI and do everything that you can so that you can find enough evidence to prosecute this case.
SOPHIA CHOI, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hello. I`m Sophia Choi.
And here`s your Headline Prime news break.
Well, the leader of Iraq in Iraq apparently says civilians were not the targets of last week`s hotel bombings in Jordan. An audio message thought to be from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi says the targets were American, Israeli and Iraqi intelligence agents. Al Qaeda in Iraq has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which killed 57 people.
Strong Santa Ana winds are helping to triple the size of a now 2,000- acre wildfire north of L.A. A voluntary evacuation was issued for about 200 homes. Officials say they hope to have the flames contained by tomorrow night.
And a secretary and six lab techs who worked for Kaiser Permanente are stepping forward now to claim their prize. They are the lucky owners of the winning ticket in the $315 million Mega Millions jackpot. And, today, they were presented with a customary oversized check. The group even showed up for work the next day after winning.
That`s the news for now. I`m Sophia Choi -- back to NANCY GRACE.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL HOROWITZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I know Pamela, because we have discussed it. We have agreed that any time there is, in life, any attack, we just fight like hell. We`re going to die fighting. We are not going to die whimpering. And she was a lion like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Daniel Horowitz was correct.
The autopsy now released in the bludgeoning death of Pamela Vitale reveals just that. She was covered in defensive wounds on her arms, on her hands, on her fingers, on her legs, even on her feet. She fought to the finish.
She took a near strangulation. She took blows to the head. She took being smashed into the carpet. And, tonight, we believe she took an attempted rape and continued to fight back against her assailant.
I remember when I first spoke to Daniel Horowitz. He told me his wife -- he found his wife wearing a T-shirt and underwear. We learn now from the autopsy report that she, in fact, was wearing a T-shirt, underwear and a long skirt, but her skirt had been hiked up so high, it was up above her waist, totally obscured by her T-shirt.
Behind bars tonight, a young man, Scott Dyleski, in fact, a neighbor.
Straight out to Jim Moret, chief correspondent with "Inside Edition."
What can you tell us?
MORET: Well, Nancy, we have been looking over this -- the autopsy report.
And, as you mentioned, it was just a horrific killing. Pamela Vitale took a number of blows. You talked about her being hit with a piece of crown molding numerous times. Her nose was broken, apparently, by this piece of wood. She was stabbed. You talk about a potential rape. There was a rape test, a rape kit performed -- no results immediately available.
But you also talk about defensive wounds. And, in addition to the lacerations on her upper arms, she also had a broken left wrist. So, when you talk about a fighter, clearly, Pamela Vitale fought. However, when you look at some of these blows, many of these blows were sufficient to have knocked her out. And it`s -- it`s unclear. Perhaps she was startled and defended herself, and then a blow was landed.
According to the autopsy report, a number of the blows were landed when she was face down. So, the killer kept hitting her over and over. This was, in effect, an overkill.
GRACE: And to Dr. Werner Spitz, medical examiner, forensic pathologist.
Dr. Spitz, I noticed that a very severe abdominal wound seems to have either been at the time of death or postmortem. After Pamela was already dead, he stabbed her.
DR. WERNER SPITZ, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Well, yes.
There is the stab wound in the abdomen, as you say, either during the process of dying or just after. And that is determined by the fact that there is very little or any blood associated with this wound.
This is -- this could have been a fatal wound, had it been inflicted during life, because of all the -- the stomach contents and -- and bowel contents that were spilled into the abdominal cavity.
GRACE: Because of the severity of the stab wound, the fact that the stab wound was not bleeding suggests the heart was no longer pumping at the time...
GRACE: ... at the time of the stab, so, therefore, very little blood.
Take a listen to what Daniel Horowitz had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOROWITZ: I don`t know when she died or the time of death or anything like that. But I can tell you this. And this is just like a feeling. When I saw her face lying there, I feel that she went into whatever you go into, as you fade, that there was love in her face, like maybe she was thinking of her family.
You know, you scream. You cry. But I know I just basically sat with her and I just told her, I love you, and, you`re beautiful, and you know, just whatever things you say to somebody you love, because to me, at that point, all that was there was the person I love.
I mean, it didn`t matter anymore, you know, what I -- what was around her or the horror. I had so much time with Pamela. So, I just looked at her face, and it was beautiful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: In fact, Pamela had been beaten severely about the head. She had multiple lacerations to the head, subdural or beneath the scalp, severe bleeding.
Her nose was broken. Part of her jaw, along the top part, was broken. But I guess Daniel didn`t see that. All he saw was his wife there.
To Dr. Kobilinsky, what stands out to you in the coroner`s report?
KOBILINSKY: Well, I mean, the cause of death was blunt trauma to the head.
But, as I look through this autopsy report -- and I have seen a lot of autopsy reports -- it`s clear that this was a very prolonged battle and this woman fought like hell, as Dan Horowitz said.
GRACE: Well, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Why do you say prolonged? I was just talking today, saying I -- I pray to God that it went fast.
KOBILINSKY: I don`t think so.
I think there were a series of blows to the head numbering approximately 29. Her body was literally covered in -- in -- in lacerations and bruises and abrasions. There was a fight, pushing, shoving, fighting back, kicking, everything that she could possibly do.
So, I think this was not a very rapid event. And to top everything else, after this stab wound was inflicted, which, by the way, went in at about four inches, then, to carve this letter -- it appears to be like a letter H -- on her back, this took some time. And he wasn`t worried about getting out of there quickly, because, as we all know, he had a drink, had a shower, just took good care of himself to clean up. This was horrendous.
GRACE: Dr. Spitz, I notice that there was blood on the bottom of Pamela`s foot. What does that say to you?
SPITZ: Well, either she walked around after blood was shed on the floor, but, in that case, there should be footprints in blood on the floor, or else there really...
GRACE: It was carpet. It was carpet.
SPITZ: Well, carpet would soak up some blood, and she would walk around in the blood, and deposit blood on the sole of the foot.
GRACE: What can you tell us about this -- Dr. Spitz, this thing, this -- this letter, this mark carved into her back?
SPITZ: You know, I have seen too many times where images or believed to be images are either suggestive of carving, as you say, or just are there on the body, and different mechanisms are applied to that.
Many times, such things can happen in the -- during the rapidity of the fight that is going on. There is described in the autopsy report an extension cut in the skin, superficial cut that extends from one side of this letter, so-called letter H.
And I think that, on the basis of that, I would question that. This, I think, was a -- something that was inflicted in the -- during the rapidity of the stab wounds of the fight that was endured by this woman.
GRACE: Huh. That`s very interesting.
Dr. Kobilinsky, of course, I`m just a J.D. I`m not an M.D. But the connection between these lines, everybody, carved into the -- her posterior on her back, I understand lower back, to me, it sounds more like an I., a capital I.
You have a vertical -- excuse me, a horizontal line of about three inches, a vertical line in the center of it, about five inches, and another horizontal connecting it at the bottom, about three inches.
You know, with all due respect to Dr. Spitz, who is really one of the great pioneers in the field of pathology -- he`s -- he`s written the book - - this is pattern evidence. And there was a knife that was used to commit this crime.
And it is true that it is superficial. These are superficial cuts or lacerations in the back. But I don`t think that this was just something that happened randomly. I suspect that, after Pamela lay on the ground, that he deliberately carved this symbolic letter in her back. What the meaning is, I don`t know.
GRACE: Everybody, we have here tonight the autopsy report in the Pamela Vitale murder case -- as you know, our friend and colleague Daniel Horowitz, high-profile California defense attorney -- is stunning.
And I would like to remind you, there is a gag order in place covering the testimony of witnesses. That should include the medical examiner.
And, also, this week, Daniel Horowitz announcing in court he will resume the practice of criminal defense.
Very quickly to tonight`s trial tracking.
Today, a jury finds TV star Robert Blake liable for the murder of his wife, the mother of his child, Bonny Lee Bakley -- the jury ordering Blake to pay $30 million -- Bonny Bakley`s body found in Blake`s car outside the Italian restaurant where they just had dinner -- Blake earlier acquitted on criminal charges this year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOROWITZ: I want to believe that she did not suffer. I want to believe that she fought back as hard as she could, and that, when he struck that blow, then she didn`t suffer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back, everyone.
Now released, the autopsy report in the bludgeoning death of Pamela Vitale, the wife of our friend and colleague Daniel Horowitz, high-profile defense attorney.
Now to a special guest. Steve Clark is with us, defense attorney and friend of Pam and Daniel.
STEVE CLARK, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thanks, Nancy.
GRACE: Why did Daniel decide to stay on, not only as a criminal defense attorney, but as Susan Polk`s lawyer? She is charged with murder.
CLARK: Because the law is his passion. And that`s what he was put on this Earth to do.
He spent the last 30 days talking with his family, receiving input on what he should do. This was not an easy decision for Dan. But his clients need him. Susan Polk needs him. He did this on a court-appointed basis, because it is what he believes in, in our system of justice.
And I`m really happy that Dan decided to go back to practicing law, and he did not allow Scott Dyleski to take what is so valuable from him. So, he is going to be back in court. He`s going to be fighting for Susan Polk. And he`s going to be fighting for other clients that are waiting for him to get back to work.
GRACE: We`re showing you video right now of Pamela Vitale, Dan Horowitz`s dream home. They had been working on it for years, their little trailer parked beside it.
Steve, what are Dan`s feelings regarding this gag order?
CLARK: Well, in general, Dan does not like gag orders.
I mean, Dan was on TV talking about the Susan Polk case a lot, because he felt it was important, as her attorney, to be able to get out there and quell rumors. I mean, the -- the people that know the most about the case are the attorneys involved in the case. And when you take their ability to speak away, you don`t decrease rumors. You increase rumors.
So, he is going to be covered, I`m sure, in the Dyleski case by the gag order. But I think Dan, in general, does not believe in them, nor do I, because we`re already covered by the rules of professional conduct as to what we can and cannot say. So, you know, he`s going to have to live with whatever gag orders are imposed.
But, at this point, I don`t think he agrees with them. And I don`t either.
GRACE: To Renee Rockwell.
What exactly does this autopsy report mean for the defense?
ROCKWELL: It means to me, Nancy, that whoever committed this crime wanted her dead, completely just continued to beat her. It says to me that whoever did it knew her and did not want her to survive this incident, so that she could testify against him.
GRACE: Dr. Werner Spitz, evidence of sex assault, do you see it?
SPITZ: Well, the sex assault is in by way of the clothing, how the skirt is moved all the way up. And the overkill is part and parcel of such attacks, type of -- well, of an attack.
GRACE: What about it, Leslie Austin?
AUSTIN: (AUDIO GAP) ... have this degree of rage and profound violence against someone, it is very personal.
And when you get into that kind of a frenzy, it`s often a sexual high, that kind of murderous rage. It`s just horrific. This autopsy report was brutal to read. I really, really hope her soul is at peace, after going through that.
GRACE: I know. And it was published in all of the local papers.
GRACE: Horowitz crushed when he read -- he had been praying that everything had happened very quickly.
AUSTIN: Well, we know she put up a valiant fight. And God bless her for that.
GRACE: To Kobilinsky.
What is your estimation? Was there an attempted sex assault? And I want to point out, Doctor, her habit -- I`m -- I`m not sure about this skirt, but her habit was to wear -- she`s a very tall woman.
Ellie (ph), she was what, 5`9``?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.
GRACE: Five-nine. And she would wear these long skirts almost all the time, very striking.
KOBILINSKY: Yes, Nancy.
GRACE: And that long skirt was pulled up so high up above her waist, her T-shirt covered it. Horowitz didn`t even know she was wearing a skirt when he found her.
It`s very suggestive that the motive had partly to do with a sexual assault. But, you know, the medical examiner`s office simply takes specimens, the oral, vaginal and anal swabs and the pubic hair combings and tape-lifts, and sends that off to the laboratory. So, if there is any kind of evidence of a sexual assault, we certainly are not going to read about it in the autopsy report.
GRACE: You`re right.
KOBILINSKY: It`s going to come from the crime lab.
GRACE: You`re right.
But -- but, in addition to that, Joe Lawless, take off your defense hat just a moment. I know that`s hard to do. But let`s just look at this thing pragmatically.
Even if there is no sperm, no DNA, all right, you still have -- there -- there is a huge bruise to one of Pamela`s breasts, also, her -- her skirt pulled up in this manner.
LAWLESS: Yes, but...
GRACE: Whether he executed the act or not, it sounds like an attempted sex attack.
LAWLESS: But, Nancy, there`s the -- the examination of the body, as set forth in the -- in the autopsy report, says very clearly that, upon examination of the external genitalia and the anus, there is no evidence of injury or trauma of any kind.
And I would suggest that, if there was an attempt at an rape, there would be at least some sort of external evidence of some kind of force. Now, if the rape kits indicates nothing...
GRACE: Some kind of force? My God, man. The woman was covered with the defensive wounds.
LAWLESS: Oh, I`m not saying -- Nancy -- Nancy -- Nancy, I`m not saying -- I`m not saying it wasn`t a brutal murder. I`m saying that there is no physical evidence at this point of any rape.
GRACE: OK. All right.
LAWLESS: It`s not there.
GRACE: You`re saying there is no DNA evidence and no trauma in her private area.
LAWLESS: There`s no...
GRACE: But you know what, Renee Rockwell? He`s right. He`s got me on that one.
But when you tell a jury that this woman fought so hard, and you describe the way her clothes were found and that bruise to her chest area, come on, please. Two and two is four.
ROCKWELL: Nancy, it`s not a death penalty, although California is a death penalty...
GRACE: Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.
ROCKWELL: ... death penalty case, but...
GRACE: We`re not talking about D.P.
ROCKWELL: Wait a minute. Let me -- let me finish.
What you have here is her putting up a fight. You know that she scratched him, that she pulled his hair out. You know that she`s coming into court, although she`s not with us, that all that evidence under her fingernails, anything that is collected is going to be used against him. And he`s down. He`s going down.
GRACE: OK. You know what? I have known you for years. I never knew you could dance so well.
Very quickly to tonight`s "All Points Bulletin."
Law enforcement across the country tonight on the lookout for William Sanchez, wanted in connection with the `95 Boston murder of a 20-year-old Jorge Medina (ph). Sanchez, 32, 6`2``, 170 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes.
If you have info on William Sanchez, call Boston Police 617-343-4470.
Local news next for some of you, but we will all be right back.
And, remember, next week, live coverage of the vegan diet baby manslaughter trial, 3:00 to 5:00 Eastern, Court TV.
Please, everyone, stay with us one more moment, as we remember specialist Lucas A. Frantz, just 22.
GRACE: What a week in America`s courtrooms.
Take a look at the stories and, more important, the people who touched all of our lives.
GRACE (voice-over): Kara Beth Borden and her 18-year-old boyfriend led police on a high-speed, long distance chase of cat and mouse -- all the while, her own parents dead.
DONALD TOTARO, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, LANCASTER COUNTY: We have every reason to believe, at this point in time, with the evidence through the course of the investigation, this was premeditated, deliberate, intentional.
BRETT LOVELACE, POLICE REPORTER, "LANCASTER INTELLIGENCER JOURNAL": There was some tension among the family. They felt like he was too old to be dating a 14-year-old.
GRACE: Is 14-year-old Kara Beth Borden a kidnap victim or an accomplice to murder?
News out of the tiny state of Bahrain: Michael Jackson reportedly finds himself in another hostile environment, the ladies bathroom of a crowded shopping mall.
DIANE DIMOND, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: He was fixing his makeup. He was wearing a woman`s dress and a woman`s veil. And another woman came in, was so flabbergasted, she started taking pictures...
GRACE: That`s one thing you don`t want to see, a man in the ladies` room.
DIMOND: Well, especially one dressed like you are and wearing make-up like you are.
GRACE: Now, if his children go along with him, will the girl have to wear a veil? Where will they go to school? Oh, never mind. They`re already wearing veils.
You don`t have to read Arabic to figure this out.
GRACE: Breaking news out of Florida, Joseph Smith guilty, guilty in the kidnap, the rape, the murder of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia.
How defeated, how disappointed did you feel when you learned about Joe Smith`s criminal history?
JOSEPH BRUCIA, FATHER OF CARLIE BRUCIA: Any competent individual that`s on the bench and is a public servant should have been able to identify this man as a clear and present danger to the public, and it should have been obvious.
Bad news here at the Headline News family. Our very dear friend, the head of our booking department that brings you our wonderful guests every night, Jennifer Simpson (ph), left our show last night to discover her husband, Steve (ph), a young man, in his 40s, had died of a sudden and unexpected heart attack.
Tonight, please lend her your thoughts and your prayers.
GRACE: I want to thank all of my guests tonight, but our biggest thank you is to you for inviting us into your home.
And, also, thank you for the outpouring of love for our friend Jennifer (ph), the head of our booking department. Today, the funeral for her husband, Steve (ph), full of laughter and tears.
I`m Nancy Grace, signing off for tonight. See you right here Monday night, 8:00 sharp Eastern.
Please continue your prayers for Jennifer (ph).
And, until then, good night, friend.