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NANCY GRACE

Minister`s Wife Charged With Murder

Aired March 27, 2006 - 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 out of a Tennessee courtroom. The wife of a beloved and highly popular minister found dead in his own home, Selmer, Tennessee. Tonight, on the eve of his funeral, his wife appears in court for arraignment on charges, murder one. Big question not whodunnit but why? The defense already marshalling the evidence.
And tonight, the entire city of Milwaukee, one million strong, in an intense search for two little boys, 11 and 12 years old. They vanished from a local basketball court one week ago. Tonight, police launch a criminal investigation.

Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Tonight, breaking news in the desperate search for two missing boys, 11 and 12 years old, last seen heading to play basketball just blocks from their own home, then vanished. Tonight, a major turn in the case, police launch -- well, it`s not just a search, but now a criminal investigation.

But first tonight, the Tennessee minister`s wife accused of gunning down her own husband says she`s sorry. What is her alleged motive? Just hours ago, this seemingly happy mom and desperate housewife appears in court, charged with murder one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mary Winkler has confessed to the murder of her husband.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don`t know anything about it. I assume that occurred in Alabama on her arrest, but we haven`t seen the content of that confession.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was asking me to apologize. She was so sorry she had caused the church all of the problems that we`re going through right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is a very quiet, demure young lady, who seems very confused. She was in a state of semi-shock. She did not know the gravity of what was going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First degree murder is premeditated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are behind her. We love her. I told her just to read her Bible and pray and ask for forgiveness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: And tonight, we have a panel of experts, lawyers and reporters there on the scene to take your calls live. Speaking of reporters, let`s go straight out to Liz Daulton, reporter with WREC radio. Welcome back, Liz. What happened in court today?

LIZ DAULTON, WREC RADIO: ... just about 15 minutes, she walked into the courtroom. Mary Winkler just sat down in her orange jumpsuit and just listened to the judge read her rights. That`s basically what happened.

GRACE: She came into the courtroom? Was she shackled?

DAULTON: Yes.

GRACE: Was she wearing the orange stripe or the solid orange?

DAULTON: Solid orange, and she had chains on her feet.

GRACE: What exactly was this hearing? I mean, there has been no grand jury, no preliminary hearing, so it could not have been a formal arrangement. What was it?

DAULTON: Today was an initial appearance. It`s just her first appearance. She was read her rights, just to make sure that that`s all on record.

GRACE: Take a listen to what happened in court.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You do also have the right to a preliminary examination, at which time the state would have to go forward with enough evidence to show probable cause that an offense was committed and that you were the person who committed the offense. Do you have any questions? Mr. Farese?

MARY WINKLER, CHARGED WITH MURDERING HUSBAND: No, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The affidavit of complaint reads that on March the 22nd, 2006, the body of Matthew Winkler was found in his home in Selmer, Tennessee. Mr. Winkler had been shot. On March 23, 2006, the deceased`s wife, Mary Carol Winkler, was apprehended by law enforcement officers in Orange Beach (ph), Alabama. According to agents of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, Mary Winkler confessed to planning the murder of her husband, Matthew Winkler, shooting him on March 22, 2006, and leaving Selmer with her three daughters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Liz Daulton with WREC radio, Liz, I just heard him say that the minister was shot on the Tuesday, the body was discovered on Wednesday?

DAULTON: We haven`t heard any complete reports of an autopsy has been performed or the reports being released yet.

GRACE: Well, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Ellie, get out your calendar. I`m sure I just heard the judge say that Tuesday, and the body was found on a Wednesday. We don`t need an autopsy to tell us that. If the judge is saying that he was killed on Tuesday, that is different from all of our previous speculation about when he was shot.

DAULTON: Right.

GRACE: So do you agree with me the judge said Tuesday?

DAULTON: Yes, in the trial.

GRACE: OK.

DAULTON: In the initial appearance, I should say.

GRACE: To defense attorney Doug Burns, two questions, Doug. Number one, as I was mentioning earlier, there is no grand jury indictment. There is no preliminary hearing in the (INAUDIBLE) indictment. So today was a first appearance, everyone, just hours ago, and this is on the eve of her husband`s funeral. As we are speaking, the visitation to his body is happening.

Isn`t it correct, Doug Burns, that within 72 hours of an arrest, typically, a defendant, a suspect is brought into court to be told what the police charges are?

DOUG BURNS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, basically, Nancy. It`s interesting. In virtually every jurisdiction, if there`s no indictment and they started with a complaint, then the time period runs within which they have to return an indictment or do a preliminary hearing. The preliminary hearing establishes probable cause, but the government, the state doesn`t want to do that because they don`t want to tip their hand or give discovery. So what they do is they obtain a grand jury indictment, which establishes probable cause to the government.

GRACE: Right. I`m just talking about today. We`re not even at grand jury preliminary hearing phase. To Natalee Neighbors (ph), also a defense attorney, you can`t sit in jail and rot, all right? Under the law, you have to be brought into court and told why you`ve been arrested.

NATALEE NEIGHBORS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That`s right, Nancy. That is a protection that is offered under the Constitution, and that`s what they appear to be doing today.

GRACE: Joining me right now is a very special guest, I`m hearing in my ear from Elizabeth, Mary Winkler`s lawyer. Her defense attorney is appearing with us tonight, today her first appearance in court. Steve Farese is with us. Steve, thank you for being with us. Explain to us what exactly this hearing was today. Is it Farese? Is that the correct pronunciation?

STEVE FARESE, MARY WINKLER`S ATTORNEY: That`s correct.

GRACE: Thank you. Go ahead, sir.

FARESE: It`s exactly what you said. It`s an initial appearance. It`s for her to be formally read what the charges are. It also gave her an opportunity to discuss bond today, which we declined to do so.

GRACE: Why?

FARESE: Out of respect for the Winkler family. The funeral is tomorrow. We did not want anything to detract from that service.

GRACE: Will Mary Winkler be allowed to go to her husband`s funeral?

FARESE: I would doubt that, for a number of reasons that I really do not want to go into. However, she may get to visit him one last time before his burial.

GRACE: Do you mean she is going to the viewing of the body tonight?

FARESE: I`m just saying she may be given the opportunity, if things go correctly, to say good-bye to her husband.

GRACE: Why can`t she say good-bye from her prison cell? You mean she`s going to get to visit him, you think?

FARESE: We`re hoping that that`s the case.

GRACE: Is this a new development? Will the judge have to allow this?

FARESE: I think that would be more with the local sheriff.

GRACE: When were you retained to represent Ms. Winkler?

FARESE: Well, the term "retain" may not be entirely appropriate. I was first contacted on Thursday evening, after her arrest in Alabama. I was contacted again on Saturday, when they asked me to be her lawyer in this matter.

GRACE: Who is "they"?

FARESE: That would be her father, to begin with, and also a cousin of hers, who`s a lawyer here in Memphis.

GRACE: Sir, where are the children tonight?

FARESE: It`s my understanding the children are with the paternal grandparents.

GRACE: It`s my understanding from various reports that your client, Mary Winkler, has actually confessed to the shooting. What is the motive?

FARESE: Once you get into a motive, you`re talking about some type of admission of guilt. I`m not willing to discuss anything she discussed with me. Of course, the state has given us no motive. We have yet to see an alleged confession.

GRACE: Well, wait a minute. You mean -- the state hasn`t given you a motive? You mean discovery?

FARESE: Well, of course, we`re not in the discovery phase, but the state has not given anyone a motive publicly.

GRACE: Well, wouldn`t it be Ms. Winkler that would be giving the motive?

FARESE: I don`t know. That would be assuming that Ms. Winkler did something wrong.

GRACE: Oh, I`m sorry. I thought that she apologized to the people in her church for what she did.

FARESE: No, I think you misinterpreted that. I think what she did was apologize for all the trouble she`s caused the church.

GRACE: OK. You know what? You`re right. I thought...

FARESE: I`m right?

GRACE: Yes.

FARESE: That`s a nice change.

GRACE: I would assume that the trouble she`s caused had something to do with her husband lying face down in the bedroom with a gunshot wound in his back.

FARESE: No, I don`t think that`s what was said.

GRACE: OK. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just repeatedly through our conversation, she was asking me to apologize to this one or that one for all the problems that she`d caused them, that she was so sorry that she had caused the church all the problems that we`re going through right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Back to Mary Winkler`s lawyer, her defense attorney, retained on Thursday night at the wishes of Ms. Winkler`s family. As you know, Ms. Winkler being held on murder one charges, which do require premeditation in the state of Tennessee. To her lawyer, Steve Farese. Sir, what trouble is she apologizing for, if it`s not the shooting of her husband, that they had to get a substitute minister for Wednesday night?

FARESE: Well, I don`t think that`s what she said. I think it is what it is. And I properly characterized it and said she was apologizing for all the trouble this had caused the church.

GRACE: OK. Back to Liz Daulton, reporter with WREC radio. Liz, reports are flying that Ms. Winkler has apologized, which in my mind indicates an admission of guilt. What exactly are the reports, Liz?

DAULTON: The reports are that she saw a church friend, came to the prison yesterday, or the holding cell that she`s in, and she -- it was either a note of some sort or she expressed that she wanted that person to go back to the congregation and let them know that she was sorry for everything that she`s done. Those are the exact quotes that we have, but we have no other details besides that.

GRACE: Take a listen to this same friend Mary Winkler spoke with.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re consoling one another. We had an excellent that preached two wonderful sermons yesterday and last night on grief and how to deal with it. And he was very, very good. Our elders are very supportive. They`re pulling us all together. We`re consoling one another.

But we just want -- we wanted Mary to know that we still love her, we`re praying for her, and she needs God at this time more than any other time in her life.

It was a very emotional meeting, seeing Mary for the first time after all of this had happened. She looked very well. She said she had been well taken care of, that everybody had treated her better than, really, what she had deserved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Back to Steve Farese, Mary Winkler`s lawyer. Why would she say, I`ve been treated better than I deserve?

FARESE: I can`t answer that question. She`s the only one that can answer that question. And of course, this is what someone is saying was told them. I don`t know if that`s accurate. I don`t know if it`s correct. But assuming that it is correct, assuming that she`s sorry for what she has done, that covers a wide range of territory.

GRACE: Mr. Farese, was there a history of abuse in the Winkler home?

FARESE: You know, there are different kinds of abuse. I`m not willing to go into anything that she`s told me, and that will be something that is ferreted out at a later date.

GRACE: Well, when you say there`s different kinds of abuse, what do you mean by that?

FARESE: Well, you know, there`s more than physical abuse. There`s more than sexual abuse. There`s verbal abuse. There`s mental abuse.

GRACE: Do you think at any time her three daughters were in danger of harm in that home?

FARESE: Well, what I think doesn`t matter. I was not there. I do not know. From all that I feel that I know, I would not think they would have been in any danger.

GRACE: Mr. Farese, when did Ms. Winkler rent the condo in Alabama?

FARESE: Well, first of all, I`m not sure that it was a condo. I may be mistaken, but I`m not sure it was a condo. It`s my understanding that it was a motel room.

GRACE: OK. Let me rephrase. Mr. Farese, when did Ms. Winkler rent the motel room?

FARESE: I`ll try to answer that as best I can without aggravating you and...

GRACE: I don`t know, I`m pretty aggravated, but let`s take a shot at it.

FARESE: Well...

GRACE: When anybody turns up dead in their bedroom at home and there`s three kids left without a father, yes, I`m a little -- I`m a little -- let`s just say ticked off, yes.

FARESE: Well, that`s something you can talk to your therapist about.

GRACE: Actually, I`ve got one on the set. I may have to retain her, thanks to your client. But go ahead.

FARESE: Well, you`re trading airtime for treatment. But anyway, what I believe is, is that she rented a motel room on Wednesday.

GRACE: Very quickly, I want to go to Trial 101. We are getting a lot of conflicting theories out there. With us tonight, a defense attorney for Ms. Winkler. What about accident? Accident is typically a complete dissent to a crime. Explain it, Doug Burns.

BURNS: Well, even a dog can tell the difference between being kicked and being stumbled over. So if it`s an accidental act, it`s not a crime. And you`re right, the true way to defend this case -- there are a number of theories. One could be that he went after her with a hatchet or a gun and...

GRACE: Wa, wa, wa, wa, wa, wa, wa, wait! Reports are, that need to be confirmed, of course, that there was a shot to the back. So drop the going after her with a hatchet.

BURNS: He could go after her with a hatchet, turn around, and then she shoots him. But putting that aside, Nancy, the reality is...

(LAUGHTER)

BURNS: Hey, it`s not a black-and-white test. But the reality is, look, I think a lot of your questions to the lawyer are very good ones, and he`s obviously a highly trained semanticist, as I am. But...

GRACE: Semanticist? Did you make that up?

BURNS: No. Semanticist is a word.

GRACE: Semanticist? Oh, like a wordsmith...

BURNS: Semantic. Semantic.

GRACE: I`ve heard of semantics, but semanticist is a new one on me.

BURNS: I`m going to check that when I get home.

(LAUGHTER)

GRACE: OK. All right. You know what? Doug Burns, defense attorney, Natalie Neighbors (ph), defense attorney, and with us tonight, Mary Winkler`s defense attorney, as well, a very well respected lawyer in his jurisdiction, Steve Farese, Mary Winkler`s attorney, as I said.

Very quickly, to tonight`s "Trial Tracker." Zacarias Moussaoui admits he lied in order to allow the September 11 attacks in our country to go forward. He and shoe bomber Richard Reid were set to hijack a fifth airplane on 9/11 and fly it into our White House. Moussaoui also says he was part of the plot to attack the World Trade Center. His goal, he testified to under oath, was to murder Americans.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I looked through the window, and we waved at each other as she was walking through to go to the other side. And she smiled that usual (ph) smile. And we put our hands on the window, and she said, Thank you so much for coming. I appreciate it. It`s good to see a familiar face.

She just kept repeating over and over that she was sorry for all the trouble that she`d caused and for the bad things that she`d done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: A well-respected and much beloved minister in the Church of Christ, Selmer, Tennessee, gunned down in his own home. His wife, according to many reports, has confessed to police. They say whodunnit is not the issue, it`s why she did it. That is the question.

I want to go to pastor Tom Rukala, joining us tonight, a special guest, a Baptist minister. I`ve been researching the Church of Christ. I don`t know that much about it. What can you tell me?

PASTOR TOM RUKALA, BAPTIST PASTOR: Well, the Church of Christ is a relatively new church. It was started about 150 years ago by Alexander Campbell (ph). And it`s, unfortunately, a very legalistic sect, and they tend to use methods of intimidation and pressure tactics. They claim that they are the only ones going to heaven, and all other people are condemned to hell. So in case...

GRACE: Uh-oh, I`m in trouble. But I already knew that.

(LAUGHTER)

GRACE: Now, wait a minute. What more can you tell me?

RUKALA: Well, they claim that if you`re not baptized by one of their ministers, that you`re doomed to hell, even if you`re a believer in Jesus Christ, which, of course, breaks completely from the traditional Christian view that all those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved because we`re saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose again. For the Church of Christ folks, that`s not enough. You have to be a member of their narrow sect. It`s a very exclusive group. And if you`re not a member of their sect, you`re condemned.

GRACE: You know, Pastor, you keep saying "sect." "Sect." You make it sound like a cult.

RUKALA: It kind of is a borderline cult, unfortunately. I don`t want to make it out to be some kind of Hare Krishna group, but it has cult-like characteristics and...

GRACE: In what sense?

RUKALA: Well, in the sense of the exclusivism, the attitude that they are the only ones who know the truth. The tactics that they use are sometimes just -- not only un-biblical but unethical, and they can be very ungracious, unfortunately.

GRACE: I want to go now to Nancy Harding Burgess, a minister`s wife, the founder of Heart and Soul Connection. Nancy, I`m at a loss on this. I don`t know that much about the Church of Christ. What can you tell me about this situation, regarding the Winklers?

NANCY HARDING BURGESS, MINISTER`S WIFE, FOUNDER OF HEART AND SOUL CONNECTION: What I can tell you is I think there`s a lot of stress in ministers` families. I`ve been a minister`s wife for 36 years, and there are stressors in ministry families that a lot of people, lay people, do not understand. And I think there`s something going on in this family, obviously, that a lot of people did not know about, and obviously, something in Mary`s life that went extremely wrong.

And my ministry is to ministers` wives to, hopefully, catch them at a time where it would never get to this point, where...

GRACE: Well, you know, you said something very interesting. To psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig, author of "Till Death Do Us Part," all about murder in marriage. Why -- very often, when we see domestic homicide, we don`t look for answers, but everyone is struggling with this murder and Mary Winkler`s possible motivation.

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, because they were presented as the perfect family. Nobody saw it coming, which is very disturbing, to be blind-sided and to have no idea that there`s something potentially dangerous going on. But I think this woman was probably struggling for a very, very long time. It did not go detected. And so finally, there was a breaking point and...

GRACE: You know what, Robi? I don`t understand why you`re making excuses for Mary Winkler! That man is dead! His children have no father.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First degree murder is premeditated.

QUESTION: So she premeditated this, in your -- in the opinion of law enforcement here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s not the charge. The charge is first degree murder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. Thirty-two-year-old Mary Winkler, first appearance in court today. And I`m sure her lawyer, who is with us tonight, Steve Farese -- he says she hasn`t made any statements, but I`m sure he wishes, for God`s sake, woman, shut your piehole. Silence is golden. According to sources, she`s confessed to the shooting of her husband, said she was sorry, told police a motive, and that infidelity was not a motive.

To Leslie Snadowsky. What can you tell me, Leslie?

LESLIE SNADOWSKY, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, this whole motive debate is just fascinating. I think Tennessee authorities have ruled out infidelity, but everyone`s wondering about the motive. Now, I spoke to someone today in Orange Beach, Alabama. As you recall, Nancy, that`s where she was found with the children. Well, The assistant police chief there said that he knows the specific motive, that there is one specific motive, but he can`t figure out why the local authorities and the TBI have yet to reveal it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On March 22, 2006, the body of Matthew Winkler was found in his home in Selmer, Tennessee. Mr. Winkler had been shot on March 23, 2006.

The deceased wife, Mary Carol Winkler, was apprehended by law enforcement officers in Orange Beach, Alabama. According to agents of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, Mary Winkler has confessed to the murder of her husband, Matthew Winkler, shooting him on March 22, 2006, leaving Selmer with their three daughters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: To attorney Steve Farese, Mary Winkler`s lawyer, I don`t know if you could just hear what that cop was saying, but he said your client confessed. So it`s not just a church lady saying that; that was an official with law enforcement saying it. So is he just a malicious gossiper, too?

FARESE: I haven`t called anyone a malicious gossiper. By the way, I thought you were rather hard with the Baptist minister.

But just because someone says something doesn`t necessarily make it so. In their minds, they may believe that`s the truth and that`s exactly what happened. I just haven`t had an opportunity to hear that yet.

GRACE: Mr. Farese, what kind of cases have you defended in court?

FARESE: Very few, you know, about 100 murder cases.

GRACE: And you think I`m harsh and you represent people that commit murder?

FARESE: Oh...

GRACE: OK, never mind. You don`t have to answer that.

FARESE: No, I would be happy to answer that.

GRACE: OK.

FARESE: You see, I believe in the Constitution.

GRACE: Right.

FARESE: And I believe in taking an oath to do what I`m supposed to do, and that`s to defend people to the best of my ability. I`m not laying out here in the tall weeds sniping at people; I`m trying to do what I`m supposed to do.

GRACE: You know what? I really thank you for coming on tonight, because you knew you were going to be on the hot seat, and I`m very grateful for that. Everyone wants to know: What is the defense for Mary Winkler? Who is the lawyer for Mary Winkler? What`s going on? What`s the motive?

And I appreciate you coming on, because you have been on the hot seat, and I thank you for that.

I want to go out now to Leslie Snadowsky, investigative reporter. Let`s go back to what her attorney is saying, regarding she`s never confessed, she didn`t tell police she did it, police are not looking for motive. What can you tell me about that, Leslie?

SNADOWSKY: Well, I believe Mr. Farese has called it an alleged confession. I believe she did give some sort of a confession to the police in Alabama, and then she was, of course, taken back to Tennessee, so I believe there`s something on record somewhere, but I believe there`s a chance they may prove that it was taken illegally.

Maybe that`s why they`re not discussing it. According to the gentleman I spoke to in Alabama, I mean, again, he said there was a specific motivation.

Now, if you look at the first-degree murder charge, which shows premeditation, if there was a premeditated, specific motive, I don`t know how the defense in the future might try to play some sort of psychology card.

You know, they`ve been trying to think it might be postpartum depression. I`ve heard a lot of speculation in the media in the last couple of days about maybe bringing in doctors to examine her mental state of mind.

So if there is one specific motivation, I`m sure, especially, the defense doesn`t want anyone to know it just yet.

GRACE: Let`s take calls. Let`s go out to Toni in California.

Hi, Toni.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. How are you?

GRACE: Good, thanks.

CALLER: Love your show. I have a question: Since they were supposed to be this, you know, great, happy family couple, do you think they`ll do any evaluation on the kids, as far as molestation or something?

I`m not trying to talk ill of the dead, but, you know, what would actually be her motive? You know, and I heard the postpartum depression or whatever, but, you know, do you think that they`ll do that...

(CROSSTALK)

GRACE: You know what, Toni? You`re not that off-base. Everyone is wondering what could be possible motive.

Now, although her attorney is defending her to the utmost and saying there has been no confession, there are reports widely that she told police she committed the crime.

So to you, Dr. Robi Ludwig, don`t you believe police will be searching for motive, any possible motive, including harm to the children and harm to the wife?

LUDWIG: Sure, yes, I think people really want to understand this, because, at this point, nobody knows anything, nobody has said anything, so we still have this huge question mark.

We don`t know anything more today than we did a few days ago. We have a lot of speculation. I could make a few guesses, but I think everything should be explored, because what I can tell you is: We do not know at all.

GRACE: Well, another issue -- and I agree with Toni in California, Robi; I don`t want to put the blame on the victim. Long story short, someone else committed the murder, so I want to ferret out the facts before we start blaming the victim. But Toni`s right: Everyone is speculating.

LUDWIG: Well, also, you cannot be a vigilante in your own life. That`s why we have the law, right? I mean, if something illegal or illicit is going on, there`s another way to deal with it.

GRACE: To Pastor Tom Rukala, how are women positioned within the Church of Christ?

RUKALA: As far as I understand, they`re treated with dignity and honor. It`s the traditional Christian view that men lead the church and women are to play a secondary role, and I think that they`re treated with dignity, certainly, in the Church of Christ.

GRACE: A secondary role, but with dignity?

RUKALA: Yes.

GRACE: Oh, OK. Now I guess that`s open to interpretation. That`s a whole another can of worms, Preacher.

Let`s go to Janice in Louisiana -- Janice?

CALLER: Hi, Nancy.

GRACE: Hi, dear.

CALLER: I just want to let you know you`re one of my heroes, and I love you.

GRACE: Thank you.

CALLER: OK. My question is: Does anyone know why Ms. Winkler chose to go to Alabama?

GRACE: Oh, I like that question. You know, the other night, I was asking: Does she have relatives there? What can you tell me?

To Liz Daulton, is there an Alabama connection, Liz?

DAULTON: We`ve heard unconfirmed reports that they had had previous vacations spot. It is a popular vacation spot for Tennessee and the like, so there were no confirmed reports on whether she had family down there, but it was said that she had been down there before.

GRACE: So she knew where she was going.

And to Leslie Snadowsky, this was about 350, 400 miles away?

SNADOWSKY: Yes, I believe it was. About 340, I believe.

GRACE: To Clark Goldband, one of our producers that`s been on the case, let`s talk about the attorneys. What can you tell me? Of course, we have Mr. Farese with us tonight, but what can you tell me about the prosecutor versus the defense?

CLARK GOLDBAND, NANCY GRACE INTERNET BLOGGER: Well, Nancy, from your cross-examination of Steve Farese this evening, you see it should be...

(BELL RINGS)

GOLDBAND: There we go. There`s the bell. It should be quite the fight.

Let me just mention this about Steve Farese. He`s been voted 10 years in a row one of the best lawyers in the United States of America by the Best Lawyers publication.

GRACE: One of the best defense lawyers.

GOLDBAND: One of the best defense lawyers. As you know, that is no short feat. Also, graduated University of...

GRACE: Well, it does narrow the pool, if you say defense lawyers versus all lawyers.

GOLDBAND: Right. He is one of the best defense lawyers.

GRACE: OK, I`ll give you that much. OK, go ahead.

GOLDBAND: But let`s talk about the prosecutor in this case, Elizabeth Rice. Memphis State University Law School, born in 1943. She`s handled the gamut. She`s served in this jurisdiction for years and years and years.

In fact, last week she just announced she`s retiring come this summer, so you can be sure she wants to put a win in the books on this one.

GRACE: Now, I kind of resent that, because prosecutors are seeking a verdict that speaks the truth, Clark Goldband. Prosecutors are not out for a win at all costs. Let`s just keep that in mind, but continue.

GOLDBAND: You`re absolutely right, Nancy. I would never suggest anything otherwise.

GRACE: Never would you do such a thing.

GOLDBAND: I never would do such a thing.

And here we`re looking at again Mr. Steven Farese, born 1949. And, as I said, listed as one of the best lawyers in America.

Now, the death penalty, she is eligible for the death penalty in this case if the state chooses to seek it. And, Nancy, only one person executed in the state in the whole state of Tennessee since the death penalty reinstated in the `70s.

GRACE: And that was a guy that was convicted of raping and killing an 8-year-old girl.

GOLDBAND: You`re 100 percent correct on that one. And he did it in 1979.

GRACE: Oh, good lord!

GOLDBAND: So there`s about a 20-year backlog we`re talking on executions. But I want you to take a look at something else.

We`ve assembled this list here of men and women on death row, over 3,000 men on death row. Compare that with 48 women, almost 3,400 people in the U.S. on death row.

GRACE: Let`s go back to the phones. You`re ready, Elizabeth?

Let`s go to Cathy in New York -- Cathy?

CALLER: Hi, Nancy.

GRACE: Hi, dear.

CALLER: Hey, love you! My sister, Christie, is a lawyer. And I think she`s told me before you don`t have to prove motive, but...

GRACE: She`s absolutely correct.

CALLER: But how important is it to the jury, though, for you, as a lawyer, to prove motive?

GRACE: Cathy, your sister graduated with honors. The state is never required to prove motive in a case. How can we prosecutors, former prosecutors, crawl into the mind of a defendant and figure out what`s going on in that noggin? You`d probably hear pots and pans banging.

But long story short, the reality is, practically speaking, a jury wants to know why, because I, like many people, they look at this minister`s wife, substitute teacher, happy, kind of quiet, kind of submissive.

We`re all thinking: What could be the possible motive? So a jury is not going to be happy until they hear, what is that motive?

Quick break, everybody, but we`ll all be right back.

To tonight`s "Case Alert." The blame-the-victim defense is at work again. Aruba police reportedly suspect missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway died from complications involving drugs and alcohol during a school trip. Well, according to local authorities, they have a witness who says Holloway had drugs in her possession and was drinking the day she disappeared.

Well, still, they`re not ruling out the possibility of foul play. Joran Van Der Sloot and brothers Satish and Deepak Kalpoe remain the main suspects in Natalee`s disappearance. Natalee`s parents hotly deny these theories, along with a multitude of victims` right advocates around the world.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The focus of the search for Quadrevion Henning and Purvis Parker is a criminal investigation. Canvassing by the task force, as well as leads and tips, have led us to that conclusion.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Lean on the Lord...

QUENTIN HENNING, DRE HENNING`S FATHER: This is their family, right here. They love their family. We love them. Keep constantly looking. We need people to take the fliers out and, most of all, to keep praying about this, to talk to the neighbors about it. If this doesn`t come to an end soon, don`t forget these boys.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: We ask you the same thing tonight: Please don`t forget these two little boys. One is 11; one is 12.

They weren`t out at the mall. They weren`t hanging out on a street corner. They were where they were supposed to be: on their way to play basketball on a Sunday afternoon. This 11- and 12-year-old seemingly vanished into thin air.

To investigative reporter Leslie Snadowsky, what is the latest?

SNADOWSKY: Well, after eight days, this has finally turned into a criminal investigation. Now, authorities in Milwaukee are saying no suspects. There`s no evidence of a crime, but by changing this to a criminal investigation, someone`s got to believe some crime was committed.

GRACE: Joining me now is a very special guest, Quentin Henning. This is Dre Henning`s father.

Mr. Henning, thank you for being with us.

QUENTIN HENNING: Thank you.

GRACE: I can`t even imagine what you are going through tonight. Tell me about the search for your boy.

HENNING: Well, the search has been going on since day one, and it continues to grow larger and larger as the days go on because of, obviously, the boys haven`t been found.

GRACE: Mr. Henning, what happened the day that Dre went missing?

HENNING: It was a typical Sunday, where they had already played a couple of hours. But on this particular Sunday, the weather was so nice that they had came in, rested up a little bit, and decided, you know -- they actually asked could they go back outside, like they normally do.

Quadrevion asked his grandparents could he go back out, and, of course, it was such a nice day they said, yes, you could go out for just a little while longer. And that little while longer has turned into eight days.

GRACE: Elizabeth, could you show their picture again? These little boys are scrubbed in sunshine. They are two of the cutest little guys I`ve ever seen, just 11 and 12. What is that, Ellie, fifth and sixth?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One is in fifth-grader; one is in sixth grade, yes.

GRACE: One is fifth; one is sixth.

Mr. Henning, they just lived a couple of blocks from each other, right?

HENNING: That`s correct.

GRACE: Were they best friends?

HENNING: They were close. They were close friends. There is only a handful of children in the area that`s about the same age, and the boys kind of gelled together, and played together, and they enjoyed each other`s company.

GRACE: To Harold Copus, private investigator and former FBI agent, Harold, thank you for being with us. What is your prediction? I mean, these kids, to my understanding, had never run away, had no problems at school, were very good students.

HAROLD COPUS, FORMER FBI AGENT: Well, what happens now, Nancy, is you have to think there`s probably an abduction. And after 72 hours, it always gets, as you know, very disheartening, because if you can`t find them in that period of time, generally speaking, it`s very bad news.

GRACE: Well, there are miracles. There are miracles, Harold. I mean, we have to remember, for instance, Elizabeth Smart. Just recently a whole family went missing for weeks on end, couldn`t find them. We found them in their RV in a snow drift. I mean, miracles can happen.

Here is what police had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The focus of the search for Quadrevion Henning and Purvis Parker is a criminal investigation. Canvassing by the task force, as well as leads and tips, have led us to that conclusion.

As this is a criminal investigation, that will limit the amount of information that you all are going to be receiving. That is so that we do not compromise the integrity of the criminal investigation.

We still have no evidence that a crime has been committed. I know the questions you want to ask; most of them I`m not at liberty to answer.

We want to public, however, to be rest assured that the task force is working around the clock and is aggressively pursuing all leads, and we now have hundreds of people who are working this case.

GRACE: Question from Terry in North Carolina.

Terry, welcome.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. First, I`d like to say you are premier.

Secondly, I`d like to ask a question. It seems as though the two boys are not related, so it probably wouldn`t be a family abduction, so it must be a random abduction. Would that be fair to say?

GRACE: I think you`re right. Let me quickly go to Harold Copus.

I agree with her completely.

COPUS: Oh, I do, too. And I think what happens in that neighborhood where these young boys live, there were at least six guys on the registry for sexual offender...

GRACE: You mean the sexual offender registry?

COPUS: Yes. And there were 13 in the immediate area. So the police obviously are concentrating in that arena, because that`s the first place you want to look. In the second place, you want to see who`s been recently released from prison, because, obviously, we want to check into those people, also.

GRACE: To Mr. Henning, Mr. Henning, neither one of these boys had ever run away before, right? I think I`ve still got Mr. Henning with me.

Quentin, are you there?

HENNING: Yes, I`m here.

GRACE: Mr. Henning, had either one of boys ever run away before?

HENNING: As far as my son, no, he`s never ran away.

GRACE: OK, so this is totally out of character.

Everyone, we`ll be right back with the story of two little boys. Can you help us find them? The reward is climbing for these two young men, Dre Henning and Purvis Virginia Parker. Take a look at them, a $35,000 reward. Go online to NCMEC.org.

To tonight`s "All-Points Bulletin." Law enforcement across the country on the lookout for Robert Burke. He`s a former air traffic controller wanted for five homemade bombs in Grand Junction, Colorado, homemade bombs. Fifty four, 5`9", 190 pounds, grey hair, blue eyes. If you have info, call 888-ATF-BOMB.

Local news next for some of you. We`ll all be right back. But, remember, live coverage of the police shooting lawsuit, 3:00 to 5:00 Eastern, Court TV.

Please stay with us as remember Air Force Tech Sergeant Jason L. Norton, Miami, Oklahoma. His wife says family was everything to him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRACE: Tonight we remember Air Force Tech Sergeant Jason L. Norton of Miami, Oklahoma, killed by an improvised explosive device. Family was everything to him. A devoted father of a boy and girl. Jason Norton, husband, father, and soldiers, an American hero.

Very quickly to one of our producers, Phil Rosenbaum, why aren`t people coming forward, Phil?

PHIL ROSENBAUM, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Nancy, there`s a nationwide movement called -- it`s called Stop Snitching. It`s asking people not to talk to police, not to give them information under any condition, in any case, under any circumstance.

GRACE: But where? Where is this movement? I`ve never heard of it.

ROSENBAUM: It`s all around the place. It`s on the Internet. It`s on music CDs, like the ones I`m holding here. I`ve got Lil` Kim in my hand and Dead Prez, and there are so many others.

GRACE: Dead Prez?

ROSENBAUM: Dead Prez it`s called, that`s right.

GRACE: OK.

ROSENBAUM: There`s Shyne and more. I just went to the CD store and bought these a little while ago.

GRACE: So Dead Prez, Lil` Kim, Shyne and other say -- Jay-Z?

ROSENBAUM: Jay-Z, as well.

GRACE: I wonder if Beyonce knows about that.

Stop Snitching, OK, you know, that must drive you crazy, to Mr. Henning, to think that there is a campaign specifically not to go to police. Your son has been missing now for days.

HENNING: Yes, it`s very disturbing to me that someone would even phantom the idea to stop, to not to help when there`s an 11- and a 12-year- old boys. Life is possibly at risk. It`s much greater than not telling it; it`s a situation when you could be doing the opposite.

GRACE: Mr. Henning, if you could speak out to your son tonight, what do you want to tell him?

HENNING: I want to tell my son that his father is here; his mother is here; his whole family is here waiting for him, and we are going to continue to be strong and deliberate in getting him home, regardless to all the underground Stop Snitching campaign. We`re going to do the exact opposite. I want my son to know that I`m watching.

GRACE: And, Mr. Henning, what we can do for you, please, let us -- everyone, please, Dre Henning, Purvis Parker, if you know anything, please contact authorities. Thank you, Mr. Henning, and to all of my guests.

But our biggest thank you is to you for being with us and our callers tonight, inviting us into your homes.

I`m Nancy Grace signing off for this Monday night. See you right here tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.

END

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