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Shootout in Federal Prison; Darren Mack Put on FBI`s Most-Wanted List; Florida Case Under Verdict Watch

Aired June 21, 2006 - 20:00:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, a shootout inside a Tallahassee prison -- that`s right, at a prison -- now claims the life of a federal agent who was not shot by prisoners, no, allegedly shot after he tells prison guards they are suspected of corruption in a drugs-for-sex scheme.
And tonight, Darren Mack still on the run, chief suspect in the shooting of a judge inside his own court chambers last week. Then Mack`s estranged wife turns up dead. Tonight, Mack graduates to the FBI`s Most Wanted list. And we find out Mack was at home cooking up a bomb, likely meant for the courthouse.

And tonight, we are in a verdict watch in a Florida case. She ends up dead, but were his wounds self-inflicted? And tonight, we are taking your calls.

But first to Tallahassee.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a sad day for law enforcement. These agents were out just trying to do their job, trying to do an arrest in a very controlled situation, and it just didn`t go down exactly as planned.


GRACE: Straight out to CNN`s Susan Candiotti, CNN correspondent. Susan, bring us up to date.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Nancy, as you heard, it didn`t go down exactly as planned, according to the FBI. This was an investigation that had been going on for the last year, involving corruption going on, unbelievable alleged corruption going on inside the prison walls that you see over my shoulder. They were planning to take down six prison guards, the FBI was, during the course of this investigation, who were allegedly involved in a drugs-for-sex operation. They would pay inmates, give them drugs in exchange for sex.

In any case, they went in to make the arrests this morning, and something went terribly wrong. Apparently, a shooting began inside the prison and wound up, according to a law enforcement official, at some point outside. They went to arrest one of the six guards. That`s when gunfire erupted. This guard allegedly took out his own personal weapon from on his person and started firing. We don`t know who shot whom and when, but in the end, one federal agent dead, another federal investigator injured -- who will recover, we`re happy to report -- and the alleged gunman dead -- Nancy.

GRACE: There in Tallahassee, Susan Candiotti. Susan, you said this has been a long, ongoing investigation. Is it true that this is a ladies` penitentiary?

CANDIOTTI: No, this primarily is a holding facility pre-trial...

GRACE: Is there a ladies...

CANDIOTTI: ... for me, but there are -- it is next door to a facility for women.

GRACE: Susan, is it true that the FBI had placed a plant, a decoy inside the facility?

CANDIOTTI: It`s unclear. We`re trying to get more details about that. But in reading the indictment, there seems to be an indication that they might have been working on the inside with one of the alleged victims, you could say, in this case, one of the inmates. This was apparently going on since 2003. The feds apparently only got involved about a year ago. And they are looking into, Nancy -- investigators, law enforcement sources tell me they`re looking at the possibility that this guard, in particular, might have been tipped off that something was going to go down today.

GRACE: Susan, I heard you say that when the feds went in to, I guess, arrest these six prison guards, they did not expect -- one of them pulled out a private weapon. It`s my understanding that the prison guards were not to be armed. They do not have private weapons. And so when the feds went in, they did not expect to take fire.

CANDIOTTI: That`s right because they`re not supposed to -- as you heard the FBI agent say in the beginning, they had planned this out, clearly didn`t expect that, and so it boils down to knowing that if -- how did the prison guard happen to have a personal weapon on his person? Well, there is one possibility, one possibility, and that is this. According to some lawyers who go in and out of that prison daily, or very often -- and you`ll be talking to one of them -- these guards might not go through a metal detector. If that is the case, they might not have picked up the weapon that apparently this guard was carrying.

GRACE: Susan Candiotti reporting from outside that federal facility - - that facility. Take a listen to what the FBI had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a result of federal indictments charging six correctional officers employed at the federal correctional institution in Tallahassee with conspiracy to violate federal law, specifically, with engaging in conspiracy to commit acts of bribery, witness tampering, mail fraud and interstate transportation in aid of racketeering, and more specifically, actually, what this involves is the defendants using their official positions to obtain money from inmates in exchange for introducing contraband into the prison.

At approximately 7:42 this morning, during the arrest, shots were fired. Three individuals were shot. Two of those individuals were fatally wounded. One of those was a federal law enforcement officer. One of those was one of the arrestees. The third individual that was shot was taken to the hospital, where his wound is being treated as we speak.


GRACE: There is a shot of the facility. Ellie, what`s the name of the facility? And explain to me, it`s men and women?


GRACE: It`s a detention facility, it`s a prison, what is it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it`s called Federal Corrections Institution Tallahassee, and there`s about 1,400 inmates total. Part of it is a detention center that houses men that are administrative-level security. Then the other part of it is a low-security facility for females. So it`s a combined facility there.

GRACE: Joining us right now, in addition to Susan Candiotti, there at the corrections facility -- as you know by now, a deadly shootout, not by the prisoners themselves, taking down a federal agent, but by prison guards -- apparently, the feds had uncovered a drugs-for-sex scheme behind bars and were just about to bust the case wide open. Tonight, we suspect very strongly, after looking at this federal indictment, that there was a decoy, a plant behind bars that the feds had planted there to crack the case open.

With us right now, R. Timothy Jansen. Mr. Jansen is the attorney for Ralph Hill, the indicted guard and suspected shooter, now dead. Mr. Jansen, thank you for being with us.


GRACE: Mr. Jansen, what is your reaction to what happened this morning? Did you have any idea that your client was taking in a private weapon behind bars?

JANSEN: No, I had no idea. I had been representing Ralph since November on this ongoing investigation. There`s no reason why he would or should have a firearm on duty at the FDC.

GRACE: Mr. Jansen, I don`t understand it. He certainly knew he was a target of an investigation, but to open fire on federal agents? I mean, that`s a lose/lose proposition. There was no way out of that. What did he think?

JANSEN: Well, the details are coming out, and I was not given that information. I was basically told of the indictment this morning, and when I went to court, they informed me that my client was shot and killed and that he apparently had shot and killed a law enforcement.

GRACE: So you learned of the indictment just this morning?

JANSEN: Yes. Well, I was called to the court approximately about 8:30. I was told my client was indicted. When I got there, they asked me my client`s name. I told them Ralph Hill. They said, He`s been shot, check with the marshal. When I checked with the marshal, she said, Your client`s been killed. He died at the hospital. And he shot and killed a law enforcement officer. I was shocked.

GRACE: Oh, man! Because it suddenly went for you from helping him through a federal investigation to, suddenly -- and this is a very serious grand jury indictment that was handed down -- to finding out about this, and then finding out your client opened fire on federal agents and has now been taken down himself. With us, R. Timothy Jansen, the attorney for the alleged shooter, who has now become a fatality.

Back to Susan Candiotti, CNN correspondent. Susan, have you gotten a chance to look at the federal indictment against these prison guards?

CANDIOTTI: I did. It`s pretty involved. It involves a number of different allegations, of course, on different occasions. But for example, Mr. Hill back in May of 2004 and September of 2005, according to the indictment -- it says that he engaged in sexual conduct with one inmate -- they`re only identified by number so far -- in exchange for, as I said -- in sexual contact in exchange for contraband, is what it says. So we`re left to wonder precisely what that is. Could be drugs. Could be money.

And then there are other allegations over the course of 2005 and as recently as 2006, with guards allegedly monitoring phone calls that were made by the inmates, involving guards on one occasion who allegedly used a debit card on three different occasions, according to the indictment, to buy a $50, a $100 and a $500 money order for three different inmates. For what purpose, it doesn`t specifically state.

And they are also alleged to have tried to intimidate some of these inmates into keeping quiet or risk being transferred to other facilities, allegedly also paying them off to keep them quiet if they knew about what was going on.

GRACE: We don`t know a lot about the innocent victim tonight. I do know this much. His name is Special Agent William "Buddy" Sentner, just 44 years old. He had joined the DOJ inspector general`s office in 2002. He had been with the Secret Service for 14 years, 11 of those years at the vice president`s residence. He left the Secret Service because he wanted to get married and have children.

Tonight, his father sent us this picture. This is the only picture we have of this fallen hero. Can you imagine, all those years working for the federal government, then leaving to have a family, and then this? His father -- we spoke to him on the phone tonight -- was just too distraught to hardly speak. I mean, you`re seeing your son off to go to work. You think you`ve got a less dangerous job. And then, of all people, a prison guard, opening fire on a federal agent!

Let`s go to the lines, Elizabeth. Let`s go out to Amy in Pennsylvania. Hi, Amy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. You`re my hero!

GRACE: Thank you, dear. Thank you. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, my question is, is a prison guard going to get a stiffer sentence or a higher penalty because of his position of power than a regular person would?

GRACE: You know, I would think that they would because they have a duty, a greater duty than an ordinary citizen.

I want to go back out to his attorney, R. Timothy Jansen, a veteran trial lawyer, the attorney for the former Ralph Hill, indicted guard, now dead, a suspected shooter. What kind of time was he looking at, Timothy?

JANSEN: Well, my understanding -- I briefly looked at it -- up to 20 years in prison. I think that the caller is correct. Abuse of trust and the position there, certainly a court would sentence him to a higher end of the guideline range, which is only recommendations. But he was looking up to 20 years in prison.

GRACE: Hey, Timothy, I`m thinking about your client, who is now deceased. What exactly did the scheme, the alleged scheme that the feds were investigating -- what did it entail? What I can learn from this federal indictment -- I`m reading between the lines -- it`s a pretty thick indictment against multiple prison guards -- is that there was a sex-for- drugs scheme going on, that the prison guards allegedly were going into the inmates` personal records. They were threatening to plant contraband in their cell to get them in trouble, that they were threatening to have them moved to jail facilities further away from their families. Are those generally the allegations?

JANSEN: Well, in reviewing the indictment, that`s the general proposition. I don`t want to get too much into it because I may be representing one of the -- another guard in this case in the future.

GRACE: Well, you certainly don`t have a conflict of interest anymore since your other client is dead! I just can`t believe this guy got a private gun into the facility.

Back to Susan Candiotti. You mean the prison guards in the facility were not armed?

CANDIOTTI: Well, you know, Nancy, we`ve been efforting all day to get an answer to that question through the Bureau of Prisons, and so far have been unable to confirm one way or the other whether these guards had arms issued to them, handguns issued to them inside the prison or not. But certainly, they did not have the right to have their own personal weapons, any personal weapons at all, and yet somehow he got in with it and was able to pull it out and exchange gunfire with these arresting officers and agents.

GRACE: Our special guest is with us tonight, Norman Seabrook. He is the president of the NYC Correction Officers Union. It`s a pleasure and an honor to have you on, sir. This is a shocking turn of events. It`s my understanding that when the feds went in, they did not expect these prison guards to be unarmed, but I have never heard of prison guards being unarmed. What`s your initial reaction?

NORMAN SEABROOK, PRESIDENT, NEW YORK CITY CORRECTION OFFICERS UNION: Well, my initial reaction is I`m outraged. I am deeply saddened by the death of this federal agent in my heart, and all of the honest men and women that do this job day in and day out, our hearts go out to the family of Buddy because that individual that took his life was not a correction officer and should not have been a correction officer. We do not stand for that.

And I think that what has to happen here is a very clear message has to be sent that if there`s anyone that puts on this uniform that does the job as a correction officer should be doing, upholding the Constitution of the United States, we have no place in our ranks for individuals like that.

GRACE: We certainly do not!

Let`s go to the phones. Angela in Pennsylvania. Hi, Angela.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. I love your show.

GRACE: Thank you, dear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, Nancy, where are the wardens when all these things are going on? They`re paid to do a job, and apparently, they`re not. I mean, all these things are going on in the prisons and...

GRACE: My question exactly. But you know what, Angela? I have wondered that for so many years. I`ve been in so many jails I can`t count them, talking to witnesses and snitches, and I look around and I think, How does all the jail violence happen? How do these things go down?

Let`s ask Norman Seabrook. Where were all the wardens? This is a very extensive scam that the feds are alleging against these prison guards. How could this go down in our facilities?

SEABROOK: Well, I think that, first of all, I do believe that it`s just an indictment. That does not mean that the individuals that are -- allegedly have committed these crimes would be found guilty of the crimes. But as far as the commanding officers and the wardens are concerned -- a correction officer is issued what`s called a personal protection weapon, and that`s probably the weapon that was used to gun down savagely this investigator. And I think that what happened here was that the officer went inside the confines of the facility with his weapon and failed to put his weapon in a locked box that he`s supposed to have.

The wardens of these facilities have a job to do, but correction officers, 99 (ph) correction officers are upstanding law enforcement officers. And what happened here is a tragedy. I have no sympathy for that correction officer who shot and killed that investigator, and neither should anyone else because the job that we do, it`s bad enough that we face dangers every day of our life when we go in these jails with no weapons, but to have a sour officer or a rogue officer do something like that brings a bad name to all of us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Darren Mack is wanted in the homicide of his wife, Charla. We would like to resolve this situation in a peaceful manner and let the criminal justice system go through its course. For that to occur, we`d like to get Darren Mack in custody. That`s the best way for to us resolve this incident.


GRACE: As you all recall, just last week, Darren Mack, chief suspect in the shooting of a family court judge inside the judge`s own chamber, his wife found dead, stabbed to death soon after, still on the lam.

Straight out to legal affairs reporter with "The Reno Gazette-Journal" Martha Bellisle. Apparently, Mack has graduated to the FBI Most Wanted, Martha.


GRACE: What`s the latest?

BELLISLE: Yes, he`s still missing. There`s no sign of him, no sign of the 2006 silver Ford Explorer he was driving. No one`s heard from him. He`s not made any contact with anyone out here. So yes, he`s -- he made the top -- the Most Wanted list.

GRACE: Here`s what police had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ensuing investigation led the officers to a location at 9900 Wilbur May Parkway, apartment number 1006. Investigators at that location did find a deceased female. That victim is now identified as Charla Mack, the estranged wife of Darren. She was located in the garage, and she did suffer multiple traumatic injuries.


GRACE: Not only has Mack now made the FBI`s Most Wanted, we now discover that in his home there were all the ingredients to cook up a little bomb, which, let me assure you, I`m sure it was meant for the courthouse.

Stacey Newman, our producer, what was in the home?

STACEY NEWMAN, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Well, Nancy, police found tons of items in the home, bomb-making materials, an empty rifle case, Nancy -- this contained a receipt for purchase of a Bushmaster .22-caliber rifle that allegedly was equipped with a laser sighting device -- rifle ammunition, personal computer, documents and notes about Judge Weller and a Budget rent-a-car agreement for that silver Explorer Mack was last seen driving.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he is, in fact, responsible for what they`re saying he`s responsible for, it`s a simple example of somebody snapping or just the pressure of the divorce, the pressure of the finances, the injustices that he perceived. (END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Welcome back. As you know by now, Darren Mack on the FBI`s Most Wanted list. Not only is he the chief suspect in the shooting of a judge, the sniper shooting of the judge who was standing in his own chambers, Judge Charles Weller, last week, Reno, Nevada, but he is also the chief suspect in the stabbing death of his own wife, Charla.

I want to go out to Dale Atkins (ph), psychologist. The profile on this guy is very contradictory. Explain.

DALE ATKINS, PSYCHOLOGIST: It is contradictory because he really, really is -- you know, he presents himself as this unbelievable family man, and he`s on line, saying that he wants to have a lot of fun. And he`s a respected person in the community, yet you see what he`s doing, which is, you know, allegedly murdering his wife, and then having coffee with his friend and his child, and then perhaps, we think, going across the street from the judge -- and you see there, I think that this was planned. He seems to have had an enormous amount of pre-thought about it.

And I think that we need to pay attention to the difficulties that we encounter in custody suits and estranged situations, where people are in divorce court, and it`s really, really terrible. Family court is a tough place to be, and people`s emotions go crazy.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We now have one arrest outstanding for Darren Mack for the crime of open murder with the use of a deadly weapon. That has a potential of being a death penalty case under the state laws. Other sentences possible are life in prison with and without the possibility of parole.


GRACE: Darren Mack still on the lam after the fatal stabbing of his wife and the attempted murder of a local family court judge, Judge Weller, shot in his own chambers.

Back out to Martha Bellisle, legal affairs reporter with the "Reno Gazette Journal." The funeral was yesterday, correct?

BELLISLE: That`s correct, for Charla.

GRACE: Right, of the wife. Was there any thought that Mack may try to watch the funeral, somehow attend the funeral incognito, anything like that?

BELLISLE: Well, there wasn`t a police presence. The media wasn`t allowed inside. They wanted to -- they asked that we stay outside so they could mourn in private.

There was not a police presence on the outside that I saw, so I`m not sure if they had any undercover, you know, agents inside there, but it`s hard to say. They`re not sure if he`s even in this area; he may be out of the country by now.

GRACE: To Stacey, Stacey, where are the children now? There was the eight-year-old little girl, and there are two others.

NEWMAN: Two others from a previous marriage, with Debra Ashlock. She currently has custody of the 16-year-old girl. The 17-year-old boy was given custody to Darren Mack in 2004.

GRACE: Where are they now?

NEWMAN: The girl right now is in California and the boy, he just graduated from high school in Reno. We`re not exactly sure where is he at this moment, if he`s with the grandmother.

GRACE: What about the little girl?

NEWMAN: But the eight-year-old girl, which everyone`s been asking about, temporary custody was given to Darren Mack`s mother last week, but the family of Charla Mack also has visitation rights.

GRACE: Let`s go out to the lines. Pam in North Carolina, hi, Pam.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. I love your show.

GRACE: Thank you, dear.

CALLER: Have they been able to trace him with any more credit card use? And is it known that he does have a passport?

GRACE: Oh, Miss Pam, this guy thinks like a varmint. Trust me: He`s not using his credit card. He`s not using his debit card.

What about it, Martha Bellisle? I guarantee you this guy ditched that vehicle within 48 hours. They`re looking for the wrong car, and they`re not going to find him through his cell phone, his ATM, or his credit card, agree or disagree, Martha?

BELLISLE: Well, they have not found his cell phone. They have not seen any sign of him using his credit cards. And the funny thing is, is that they haven`t actually found the car. If he did ditch it, it still hasn`t been found, and that`s the curious thing.

GRACE: Guarantee you, when they find it, it will be a burned-out shell, likely with somebody else`s plates on the back of it.

Let`s go to Teresa in Ohio. Hi, Teresa. Teresa, are you with me? Liz, let me know when we get Teresa back. Are you there?

CALLER: Hello?

GRACE: OK. Let me know when you get her back, Liz.

In the meantime, I want to go out to our forensic pathologist joining us tonight, Dr. Michael Hunter. Dr. Hunter, it`s very unusual for one murder suspect to use so many different modes, M.O.s. Very often, when someone that is on a murder spree or a serial killer, you will find him using the same M.O.

Here you`ve got a perfect sniper shot, the judge taken down in one shot, and a stabbing death of the wife. What do you think?

DR. MICHAEL HUNTER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Yes, I do agree. Usually they`ll stick with one M.O. One thing that there`s been a lot of discussion on is that the killing of the wife was an act of rage, maybe something that occurred in a split second.

I suggest that maybe he planned that, as well. There is evidence, I think, from the scene that she -- a knife is somewhere else in the residence, which tells me he`s going down to that garage to actually commit murder.

GRACE: You know what? Penny Douglass Furr, I disagree this time with Dr. Michael Hunter. Reason? There`s the judge, Judge Weller.

Penny, the little girl, the eight-year-old girl, had been brought over to his home. And with the girl there in the home, the mom drives her up. And when the girl goes in the home, he stabs the mom and pulls off the body. And I just don`t see, if this were planned out, that he would pick a time when he knew the little girl was going to be there.

PENNY DOUGLASS FURR, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Oh, no, Nancy, I don`t think the wife, the incident with the wife was planned. I think that he had thought about various things he could do with the judge, so I think he had thought of various things he could do.

I think he had the rifle in advance, but I think that incident with the wife happened. But family law can be so charged, it`s the most dangerous area of practicing law because people are in such high emotional states.

And I agree with the psychologist that something really needs to be done to address this, because I think many times attorneys are attacked and it has to do with family law.

But I do agree with you that, with the wife, I think it was a moment to moment, that`s what he just -- he became enraged with the wife, but I think then he followed through with the judge.

GRACE: Well, let`s see. Let`s look at the time line. Martha Bellisle is with us from the "Reno Gazette Journal." Which do police think happened first, the stabbing of the wife or the shooting of the judge?

BELLISLE: Oh, the stabbing happened first. It happened sometime around I think 9:00 or 9:30 in the morning, was when she died, and then the shooting of the judge occurred just after 11:00. I think 11:06 is the time they`re giving.

GRACE: OK, that makes perfect sense with the theory, Pat Brown, criminal profiler, that he went into a rage with the wife, maybe something she said when she pulled up with the kid, I don`t know. But then, after that, he`s like, "To heck with it. She`s dead. I`m going after the judge."

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, I think you`re partially right with that, Nancy. I think, first of all, that bomb-making thing, that may have been his original plan, to go blow up the courthouse, get the judge that way. But then, when his wife came over and he had to confront her, I do think he may have had the knife on him when he confronted her.

In other words, these guys sometimes have an idea that maybe something`s going to happen and, if it does, I`m going to take care of it. So he had the knife on him, so it was kind of half-premeditated. And when he did lose his desire to see her living and took care of her, then, you`re right, after that point, the bomb`s not ready. Get your gun, go take care of the judge, and get out of there.

GRACE: And for a carefully-planned stabbing, there is a lot of forensic evidence left behind.

To Ken Driggs, defense attorney, Ken, this guy has a lot to answer up for. What`s your take on the fact that there were materials to cook up a bomb there in his home?

KEN DRIGGS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I`m not sure those materials represent bomb-manufacturing implements. It sounds to me like they were also the kind of materials that might have been in loading his own ammunition. This guy is involved with guns, is involved with firearms and ammunition.

GRACE: What, what, what? Did you just say that the ingredients they found in his home could have been used to load his own gun?

DRIGGS: Some of the press accounts I`ve read indicated that it might have been the kind of thing that is used to load your own ammo. Some people that are very involved with firearms do that, and that that may have been...

GRACE: Note to self...

DRIGGS: I think it`s a bit of a leap to feel like that this automatically was a bomb, to assume that that`s where he was going with it.

GRACE: Note to self: When charged with cooking a bomb, call Ken Driggs to defend self.

To Martha Bellisle, what were the ingredients that were found in the home?

BELLISLE: He`s right. It`s not clear whether he was planning to use this to build a bomb. The material is called ammonium nitrate binary explosive and it is used sometimes for target practice. If you`re shooting a long range rifle, you can`t see if you`re hitting your target so you put this out there and it explodes when you hit it.

GRACE: Well, what about the Tannerite?

BELLISLE: Well, what you can do is you can also put a large amount of it together and put a blasting cap on it and turn it into a bomb, so it`s really unclear what he planned to do with the material.

GRACE: There were 20 pounds of Tannerite in the home, people.

BELLISLE: Well, it was more than five and less than 20, the police said yesterday.

GRACE: OK. Very quickly, I want to go back to Dr. Michael Hunter.

What evidence would you be looking at there in the garage to determine if this was premeditated on the wife, if it was spur of the moment? What type of wounds do you think she sustained?

HUNTER: Well, the description of the wounds are -- it really doesn`t give us a clear idea, but they`re talking about incised wound of the neck. They don`t say stab wounds specifically.

An incised wound means the knife is actually carried across the body, across the neck. That might be something that would suggest premeditation, having her in a position to bring the knife across the neck. But we really can`t look at specific injuries on her and say premeditation or not, but there`s going to be a lot of things there that they`re going to take into account, that forensic science team.

GRACE: Very quickly, we`ll all be right back. Let`s go to tonight`s "Case Alert."

Six Arkansas inmates escape (INAUDIBLE) county jail through the roof. So far, three captured, three on the loose. One, believe it or not -- I don`t know why this guy`s smiling -- is a two-time escapee charged with capital murder.

Police say William Callahan, Edward Messer and Lester Byes are in a green Pontiac Bonneville, license 991-JXY. If you have info, call Van Buren County sheriffs, 501-745-2112.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s very embarrassing for our community because of the fact that the same guy has broken out twice in the same way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was kind of odd. You know, you would think after the first time we could solve the problem. And I thought the problem was solved, but apparently it wasn`t.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... recognize this individual`s voice if you heard it again?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you recognize his face if you heard it again?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I saw his face, would I recognize it?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Tell me about his face, what you remember.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There wasn`t anything distinctive about his face.


GRACE: We are in a verdict case, a verdict watch in the case of Florida v. Justin Barber. Barber and his wife allegedly went for a romantic walk along an isolated stretch of beach and, amazingly -- I guess there was a phantom assailant out there that was just waiting for them to come down the beach. And when they did, without stealing a thing, the wife gets shot dead, execution-style, and he gets four gunshot wounds.

Now, the question is, to a Florida jury, did he self-inflict the wounds? How could anyone possibly shoot themselves four times? Florida prosecutors say it happened. We are in a verdict watch right now.

Out to Court TV`s Jean Casarez. Tell me about the jury. How long have they been deliberating?

JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: Well, they`ve been deliberating for about seven hours now, Nancy, since early this afternoon. They`re still deliberating right now. Dinner was brought in, but they could be deliberating until about 10:00 tonight and we could reach a verdict any moment.

GRACE: So they`re deliberating right now?

CASAREZ: As we speak, they`re in the deliberation room, yes.

GRACE: OK, quickly, Jean, did they have dinner brought in or did they go out?

CASAREZ: Dinner was brought in. It was a fresh seafood dinner. They were actually taken into another room for that dinner, but they were allowed to deliberate during eating.

GRACE: That is a good sign that they had dinner brought in. They are making them work straight through dinner.

Let`s go to the lines, Elizabeth. Leslie in Florida. Hi, Leslie.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. Love you. Quick question for you: After the body was dead, did he take the body in the car with him when he made that 10-mile stretch ride or did he leave the body on the beach?

GRACE: I`m pretty sure he left it on the beach. There`s a lot of forensics to be determined from that body, too, Leslie.

For one thing -- Elizabeth, could you come to me, please? There`s a shot of the victim. The victim has one gunshot wound through the cheek. OK, I`ll have Jean explain to you. It went through her head and killed her. She has blood where she fell over and goes down the side of her face.

But interestingly, Leslie, she has water, foam, foam, sea foam in her mouth, bubbled up, and beside her ear. To you, Jean Casarez, what does this forensic evidence say to a jury?

CASAREZ: Well, it`s very important, because the prosecution`s theory is that the defendant literally tried to drown her wife first in the seaside saltwater and then, when she`s nearly drowned, he dragged her up to the end of the boardwalk and decided to go with the original plan and shot her with his gun.

Well, the shot hit her C1 vertebrae, and she was dead instantly. So the foam, which came from her ingesting the seawater, it going into the lungs and out came the foam, she had to be alive. So the prosecution`s theory is she was down there in the water. He tried to drown her, maybe because she saw the gun, and then that foam was produced in her system. He dragged her up to the boardwalk and shot her dead with one shot in her left cheek.

GRACE: My god, what a horrible way to die. Now, I know they had had marital problems. He had had four affairs, took out a $2 million life insurance policy on this beautiful girl. They go for a walk on the beach.

To Maureen Christine, a veteran trial lawyer, former prosecutor who led a grand jury to this indictment, now a current defense attorney, Maureen Christine, a lot of evidence did not come in before this jury. For instance, remember all the insurance scams you were telling me about?

MAUREEN CHRISTINE, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes, he had some -- he had his house ransacked in Oklahoma after he was divorced from his first wife, and he made an insurance claim on that. There was an insurance claim on a car, an Alpha Romeo that was stolen from his house...


GRACE: Aren`t those the expensive little Italian cars?

CHRISTINE: Yes, I think -- I`m not sure if this is between $35,000 and $50,000. I`m not sure exactly how much it was. But he got out -- actually, he didn`t make money from that. He just got out from under the car payments on that.

GRACE: And then there was a third claim, right?

CHRISTINE: Well, yes, there`s the claim where her car is broken into and her stereo is taken out.

GRACE: And a taser gun goes missing.

CHRISTINE: From her house.

GRACE: Back to Jean Casarez, Jean, when you take a look at this evidence, what is the strongest evidence for the defense?

CASAREZ: The strongest evidence are the four shots, because you have to say, "OK, would I shoot myself four times?" I`d shoot myself once, and then it would probably hurt, and I might chicken out, but this man was shot four times, once in the hand, once in the left shoulder, once in the right shoulder/neck area, and once in the lower right chest.

And they were small, little bullets, Nancy, and they were so small they didn`t have the power to go through him, so what they did was they sort of went in there and the little pellets went all over his body.

GRACE: Back to Maureen Christine, Maureen, weren`t they flesh wounds?

CHRISTINE: They were treated at the hospital at the emergency room. They were treated with ointment and Band-Aids.

GRACE: Oh, good lord, an antibiotic cream.


GRACE: All right, to you, Penny Douglas Furr, forget the wounds, because the defense can argue, "Who could shoot themselves four times?" It`s the $2 million life insurance policy, the four affairs, and, most important in my mind, Penny, just before the shooting, the guy downloads "How I Loved Her, But I Had to Kill Her." He downloads it right before the shooting. Any explanation?

FURR: Well, I think the worst thing is the song that he downloaded. I saw only a small part of this trial, but that to me was the worst part for the defense.

But now my question about the insurance was I understand that he stopped making the payments on the insurance policy because he believed the policy had lapsed and it was no longer good, and she`s the one that made the payment. If you were planning to kill someone, wouldn`t you make sure that the payments were made on the insurance policy? And that was my question for the defense there, because I thought that really helped the defense.

GRACE: You know, I`m sure you just said something brilliant, but I`m kind of hung up on, "She`s buried right in my back yard."

OK, Ken Driggs, I`ve got 40 seconds. What`s your response to the download?

DRIGGS: He`s got bad taste in music and bad timing.

GRACE: I don`t think Axl Rose would agree with you.

Hey, what`s my time, Liz?

Jean Casarez, how long has the jury been out?

CASAREZ: The jury`s been out, I think, seven, eight hours now, so it`s been a long deliberation so far, not over yet. They could have a verdict tonight. And, Nancy, remember, this is a death penalty case, so this could go to the death penalty phase.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were specifically asked if you had sexual relationships with anybody else close in time to her death and prior to her death. Did you lie to them?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you lie to them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was embarrassed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are the odds of somebody researching gunshot wound to the right chest getting a gunshot wound to the right chest six months later? Those odds just don`t exist.


GRACE: And so much evidence. This prosecutor never got to tell this Florida jury Google searches about how much blood is necessary to convince someone that the person is dead, if the body vanishes, how to fake a death certificate in Mexico. The list is so long.

Out to Dr. Michael Hunter, couldn`t you look at the body and determine by the trajectory path, the angle of the bullets, whether they were self- inflicted?

HUNTER: I mean, that`s going to be a clue, certainly, and particularly what`s important is, well, where is it striking? Is it striking vital organs or is it simply superficial?

GRACE: No, none of them were by the organs.

HUNT: I mean, they`re superficial. They`re not going to cause him incapacitation whatsoever. It`s a small caliber weapon. He`s not shooting himself with, you know, a .40 caliber; he`s shooting himself with about the smallest weapon you could find.

GRACE: And another thing, following with what Dr. Michael Hunter said, Pat Brown, how likely is it this guy does a Google search about wounds in the right chest and then, a couple of months later, he turns up with a wound in the right chest?

BROWN: Yes, what a surprise. A lot of people who commit crimes, they really don`t seem to think that they`re ever going to be found out on the computer. And the reason is, they, when they`re doing the searches, haven`t really thought they`re going to carry out the crime. So now they`re just playing around and experimenting with the idea, and then they finally decide, "I`m going to go ahead and do this," but now they`ve got six months of records on the computer saying they were thinking about it. So that`s a big mistake.

GRACE: Big mistake, high-profile criminal profiler Pat Brown with us tonight.

Let`s stop for a moment to remember Army Sergeant Randall Lamberson, just 36, killed, Iraq. Lamberson, from Springfield, Missouri, met his wife at age 12. He leaves behind two children, 13 and 10, and a grieving widow. He wanted to grow up to be a firefighter or a cop. Sergeant Randall Lamberson, an American hero.

Thank you to our guests. Our biggest thank you to you for inviting all of us into your home. Nancy Grace signing off tonight. See you right here tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.


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