Skip to main content
Search
Services


 

Return to Transcripts main page

NANCY GRACE

Plea Deal in Nevada

Aired August 14, 2006 - 20:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, GUEST HOST: Tonight, breaking news, a plea deal in the Nevada case of a paralyzed man who drowned in a bathtub while under the care of his ex-wife. Gloria Guzman pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter, now facing the max of only four years behind bars. She was looking at life, if convicted. Guzman confesses to leaving a quadriplegic helpless 40-year-old man drugged and unattended in a bathtub. Did she get away with murder?
And tonight, the FBI`s most wanted on the run. She`s been on the lamb for almost 15 years for four Texas murders. Will new tips from a relative lead to the capture of Jacqueline Lebaron (ph)?

But first, to Las Vegas and an unbelievable plea deal in the drowning of a paralyzed man.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The standards of care applied in this situation were grossly below what a professional would do, as Gloria Richards was paid care provider.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good evening, everybody. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in tonight for Nancy Grace.

A paralyzed man drowns in a bathtub while in the care of his former wife. Today, she pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter, avoiding the possibility of life in prison. Let`s start with Court TV news correspondent Jean Casarez, who joins us here. I`m so delighted to have her here for the very latest on this breaking story. Jean, tell us about this plea deal.

JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: Well, I think everybody was very surprised because, Jane, this was a first-degree murder case. She was possibly going to spend the rest of her life behind bars, and this was the case of -- where the prosecution is saying this is a premeditated murder, that she had a quadriplegic patient, who was also her boyfriend and ex-husband, she put him in a bathtub intentionally, a bathtub she knew she couldn`t get him out, and he wasn`t supposed to be there to begin with. She left him for up to 20 minutes, put this flotation device around his neck and shoulder, sort of like what you would get at Wal-Mart to use in the swimming pool, that she put it over his shoulder so it slipped down. He fell into the water because he was paralyzed and he couldn`t get himself up. And he died. That`s intentional murder.

Well, in the middle of the case, what happened was, she had a statement that she had given to police, or a confession, as the prosecution was saying. And the jury was to receive a transcript of that alleged confession, and the defense stood up at the end of last week and said, Your Honor, that is not transcribed correctly, that is not what she said. So they brought in another transcriber. And some of the things the prosecution believed she said, like, I did it, became, I did -- totally different meaning. So I think the prosecution believed, you know, There`s our intent right there possibly being diluted as we speak, and so they offered that deal.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is absolutely astounding to me because it seems like somebody must have dropped the ball somewhere along the line.

Former federal prosecutor Pamela Davis, how does this happen? Because I`m not a lawyer, but I see this all the time. It aggravates all of us. It seems like they have an overwhelming case, this case where the police say she confessed, said that she did it, and then we end up with this plea deal with involuntary manslaughter, and now maximum four years, when she could have done life. Why? How do these things go so far afield?

PAMELA DAVIS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, this shouldn`t have gone this far afield, I`ll tell you that much. And part of the problem here is a very simple one, and that is that somebody did not listen to the taped transcript -- to the tape, rather -- of this confession enough times. As a prosecutor, whenever I have anything that`s taped, when I had conversations between a defendant and a cooperating witness, any kind of tape, I personally would sit down with that tape dozens of times to make sure that every nuance was transcribed properly. So for the defense attorney...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t understand this. I mean, seriously, I have to jump in here because if somebody is confessing -- I could see, well, maybe a pronoun or an adjective you get wrong, but I mean, either a person confesses or they don`t!

DAVIS: Well, this was a tricky confession because there was -- the defense attorneys have always suggested that it wasn`t really a confession so much as guilt by the defendant, that she was saying, Well, I did it, but I didn`t really mean to do it, it was an accident, as though she were confessing out of guilt rather than because she actually planned this and intended for this to happen.

That being the case, once you are the prosecutor and you hear that is what the defense strategy is, you better make sure that you listen to that tape of this confession 100 times to make sure that if there are any nuances, or if there`s any place in that tape that is subject to any kind of interpretation...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right.

DAVIS: ... that you have it nailed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me go back to Jean Casarez on this because you`re the expert. Apparently, she changed her story over the course of this interview. First it was, Oh, I left him for a few seconds, a couple of minutes, and all of a sudden, it was a half an hour. The story kept changing. Is that part of the reason why this transcription was so complex?

CASAREZ: I don`t think so. But you`re right, the story kept changing. It could be because the police kept prodding her. But here`s an example of the statement, OK? The question was, I`m looking for an honest answer here. OK, they transcribed, the prosecution, I did it. Defense, or the other transcriber that came in, I`m looking for an honest answer here. I did. I did it, versus, I did. You see?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is absolutely astounding to me. Now, let`s hear what prosecutor had to say about the suspicious scene when paramedics first arrived.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On February 26, a little after 1:30, paramedics from both Clark County Fire Department and AMR (ph) arrived at the apartment complex there, Diamondhead Apartments, which is the residence of Mark Richards and Gloria Guzman. When they arrived on that location, they began from the minute they walked in the door to notice unusual things. The front door of the residence was wide open. The TV was on but muted. The door to the bedroom was closed. When they finally entered the bedroom, they found Gloria Guzman performing CPR on Mark Richards ineffectively.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are happy to say that we have two of Gloria Guzman`s defense attorneys with us tonight. Let`s go straight out to Dayvid Figler. Isn`t it correct, sir -- and thank you for joining us. Isn`t it correct that she knew when she put him in this tub that he had no way of getting out? He`s a quadriplegic, and apparently, there had been a previous incident where paramedics arrived -- and this guy is six feet tall, 170 pounds, would not -- she would not be able to get him out of the tub. So this is cause and effect. You put somebody in a tub who is a quadriplegic and who cannot get out, and then you remove the noodle (ph), the pool noodle, that a kid`s noodle, and it`s like a death sentence. Isn`t that the same thing as leaving somebody in a burning building and going away and saying, Hey, I`ll see you later, I`ll be back and get you?

DAYVID FIGLER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR GLORIA GUZMAN: Your first distinction here is that he is actually medically an incomplete quadriplegic. The distinction being that he does have movement from his shoulders up. He can wriggle. He feels sensation. He has the power of voice and speech.

In this particular case, they had lived together for six years. This was a six-year-long relationship with the nuances and uniqueness of a relationship. On this particular day, even though she normally showered him each and every day, he demanded to have a bath. He had some sores on his legs. He wanted a little relief. He wanted to be placed in the bathtub. And despite the fact that it was going to be difficult for her to get him out, they`d utilized the non-emergency paramedic number before in the past to do that. So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I have to jump in. I mean, apparently -- and correct me if I`m wrong -- what I understood is that she put him in at 9:00 AM, and then around 1:00 PM, he`s discovered dead. Who leaves anybody in a pool for four hours, in a tub for four hours? I mean, I can`t imagine that if a person wasn`t quadriplegic.

FIGLER: Well, again, incomplete quadriplegia, and also someone who`s capable of free choice. But in the statement itself, she says she doesn`t recall exactly when she put him in. It might have been 9:00, it might have been 10:00, it might have been later. Again, saying that it`s just 9:00 is a way of not looking at the circumstance of when she gave the statement, which was after she was basically pried off of the body to stop doing CPR after he was already declared dead, by the paramedics and she went back in there. And this is when they decided that they were going to start asking her about timeframes, et cetera.

This was his request. His request was he had an open day, and he just wanted to be relaxed in the bathtub for some time. And when she went back to check on him, it was too late.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I want to ask Jean about that, Jean Casarez of Court TV. We`re very pleased to have you here tonight. I had heard, according to the prosecutor, that he had a phobia of water, that he had had an incident when he was a young man -- a child, actually -- where he was almost drowned and he was afraid of water and didn`t want to go in tubs.

CASAREZ: You`re right. His sister took the stand, his own sister, saying that when he was a little boy, that he tried to save somebody in the pool and that both little boys started to drown and that somebody had to save him. But then the defense brought out a picture that was taken in 1999 of the victim in a bathtub with bubbles all around him and a big smile on his face. So then you had a contested issue of fact. Is this true, or did he actually like bubble baths?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Psychotherapist Robi Ludwig, a quadriplegic in a tub for however long -- I mean, I can`t imagine being in a tub more than 20 minutes without starting to go out of my mind, but this man -- he cannot fend for himself. He can`t get out of the tub. I would assume that the defense would agree that he couldn`t get out of the tub by himself. And he`s left to linger there. What was he going through psychologically? What was the pain that he was experiencing?

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, assuming that he was in his right state of mind -- because he was a drug addict, so -- it must have been extraordinarily scary and frightening when you know your impending doom is right around the corner and you are literally and physically paralyzed to do anything about it. And not only that, we don`t know if he really had the idea that his ex-wife had it out for him. So he might have felt that there was just no way for him to get out of this horrendous situation. It`s like being in quicksand.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. And there`s so much more to it. It`s hard to even get beneath the surface. But we will.

LUDWIG: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go to the phones, though. Erin in Minnesota, your question for us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Was there any history of violence before she drowned the victim?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s a very interesting question. Jean Casarez, prior bad acts? I understood that there was a ruling that the prosecution (INAUDIBLE) that they couldn`t get some prior bad acts in.

CASAREZ: Right. That really didn`t allude to domestic violence against him. That was a couple weeks before he died, that she called police saying, I`ve got two intruders, they`re in the house, you`ve got to come get them. Police came. There was no one there. She called the next day. The intruders are still here. The snakes and small animals running around the apartment. You`ve got to come. They took her to a mental hospital because they could tell that she just wasn`t right, and she was hallucinating because of her methamphetamine use.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, so she`s a meth addict. Would not the defense attorneys -- we can go to Ross. Would you not agree that your client is a methamphetamine addict?

ROSS GOODMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR GLORIA GUZMAN: I think that she may have used meth before, but so did Mark. And just to allude to the previous commentator`s issue regarding whether or not he feared for his life while he was in the bathtub -- you have to understand that Gloria gave him baths on a weekly basis, if not every two weeks. And Mark Richards requested the bath. He had bed sores. He had pressure sores. He wanted to take that bath,

And more importantly, he was always in voice contact with Gloria. Mark was propped up on a flotation device. His feet were secured on a pillow. The water -- the bath was halfway filled. And he could always yell for Gloria, who was 14 feet away from him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Robi Ludwig is dying to jump in.

LUDWIG: But this is a man who is enormously self-destructive and perhaps suicidal. This is a person who was using meth, which contributed to his car accident, which left him a paraplegic. So I think we need to understand that just because somebody wants to do something, it doesn`t mean they know what`s in their best interest. And sometimes it`s the job of a spouse to say, This isn`t healthy, this isn`t good for you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But she was mad at him, at this point, right, Jean Casarez?

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, he was going to leave her. He was going to go to an assisted care center. The boxes were packed. She was going to lose her $800-some that she got biweekly for taking care of him, which is why they got divorced in the first place, because she found out once they got married, Oh, I can`t get my assisted care fee anymore. Let`s get divorced so I can keep getting the paycheck. She was going to lose that paycheck, right?

CASAREZ: She got $844 every two weeks. And I think that was the basis of the prosecution`s motive in this case, that, I`m not going to get that money anymore because you`re moving out, so you`re not going to live. But Robi`s exactly right. She was the caregiver, so she had that duty to not place him in a bathtub, or whatever, that could harm him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. And I want to go to Renee Rockwell, criminal defense attorney. Apparently, in this plea deal, she doesn`t even have to admit wrongdoing. This is a special type of plea where all she has to say is, Well, they had enough evidence that could have resulted in a conviction?

RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely. It`s an offered plea. As a matter of fact, I entered one today. It`s a way for an attorney to move the case. He goes to the prosecution and he says, She`ll plead guilty, but she`s going to maintain her innocence. She feels it`s in her best interest to enter this guilty plea, and therefore, she has control of the sentence instead of just rolling the dice with the jury. She could have been found guilty, and there she is in jail. Now she`s looking at max four years.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Maximum four years. Unbelievable! And there`s a lot more concerning the drug angle to come. We`re going to get to that in just a moment.

To tonight`s "Case Alert." Two employees for the Fox News Channel kidnapped in the Gaza strip today. According to reports, a correspondent and a cameraman were taken against their will after their vehicle was ambushed by Palestinian gunman. The news crew was parked near the headquarters of the Palestine security services at the time. Negotiations are under way to secure their release.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wheelchair for Mark Richards was in the living room. None of it added up that Mark Richards`s wheelchair should be in the living room. After further talking to her, it was learned that she admitted not only being distracted by relatives but she actually admitted to leaving the residence with relatives. She also admitted that it had been 30 minutes since she had seen the victim, Mark Richards, alive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in for Nancy Grace. Breaking news tonight. Did the former wife and caretaker of a paralyzed man who drowned on her watch get off with a sweetheart plea deal?

Psychotherapist Robi Ludwig here tonight with us. Imagine what this man`s daughter is going through tonight. First her father has this horrible car accident that leaves him paralyzed. Then he drowns in a tub. And now the woman who was in charge of taking care of him walks away with a plea deal that gives her max -- max -- four years.

What does that do psychologically to her? Because I saw her testify on the stand on videotape, and she was very effective. She was obviously heartbroken at that point, and that was before the plea deal.

LUDWIG: Well, I imagine she feels very powerless and probably grief- stricken and probably very angry with the court system that somehow they did not honor her father`s death and that justice was not served.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. Let`s go back to the phones. Angie from Ohio, your question for us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, ma`am. If she couldn`t get her -- if she supposedly couldn`t get her husband out of the tub, how did she get him in there?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, that is a very good question. Maybe we should go out to one of the defense attorneys for Gloria Guzman. Ross Goodman, how did she get him into the tub in the first place? Because I understand, according to the prosecution, the wheelchair was not in the bathroom, it was in the living room.

GOODMAN: Well, it was. And just to go back, the reason why she gave him a bath, and why he was in the bath, is because he requested it. And she would simply just take him out of the wheelchair in a bear hug and put him in the tub, and then move the wheelchair out into the next room so she could go back and forth. It was a very small apartment.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s get to the brass tacks here. Jonathan Arden, medical examiner, what was the cause of death, according to the autopsy?

DR. JONATHAN ARDEN, MEDICAL EXAMINER: As far as I understand, the cause of death was certified as drowning, which is not surprising if he was found submerged in the tub. The other considerations that you`d have to worry about would be whether or not the drugs in his system played any role in causing or contributing to his death. And the other consideration for the medical examiner, when you certify a death, is not just the cause of death but also the manner of death, which is the explanation of how the cause came about. It`s a circumstantial ruling based on investigation, primarily.

And in this case, you really have several interesting, intriguing choices. Earlier in the conversation, it was brought up the consideration of whether he might have even been suicidal. But even absent that, you have the alternative here of whether he simply slipped under the water when he wasn`t being attended -- and you could argue, under some circumstances, that to be an accident -- or whether her actions, either omission or commission, really caused him to be in that situation to go into the water, and then you would then certify that as a homicide.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can the autopsy tell how long the body was in the water? Because a big point of contention here is how long she left him there.

ARDEN: The autopsy really is not going to tell you that. I have seen some of the publicity here that the authorities felt that he was in the water longer than what she said, and the timeframe they`re talking about is cutting something very, very closely here. I am really not convinced that you can make that distinction forensically, and I don`t think an autopsy can do that outside of maybe, you know, television and the movies.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Sounds good. And you`re also looking at the pool noodle that was supposedly the flotation device. That`s not a medical item, by the way, that pool noodle.

To tonight`s "Case Alert." Young children captured on surveillance cameras stealing thousands of dollars in jewelry from a New Hampshire store, and according to the police, the plan was set in motion by -- get this -- their mother and their grandmother. The four children range in age from younger than 10 to 14. The unidentified mom has an arrangement to turn herself in to police.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The paramedics in this case, and the police that followed them, didn`t look at this unexpected tragedy in the way a peer (ph) might, not knowing a thing about Gloria or Mark, who these people were, about their six years together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, sitting in tonight for Nancy Grace. A paralyzed Nevada man drowns in a bathtub under the care of his former wife. She has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. But was the alleged motive financial, or was it really just an accident?

Let`s go straight out to former head of the Houston FBI, Don Clark. Good evening, sir. You`ve been hearing all of this. So what`s your analysis? Was this a very good case that the prosecution kind of bungled, or was it a weak case that they built up into more than it was, and therefore had to backtrack?

DON CLARK, FORMER FBI HOUSTON HEAD: You know, Jane, we`re never going to know whether it was a good, strong case or a weak case because this whole thing starts with the investigation. And from the information I`ve been able to review and look at, it just seems to me like that they didn`t get off on a good start to really try to determine what took place. Even from the interview of the lady -- and I wasn`t there at the scene, obviously -- but I have to tell you, is that if the investigators don`t get it right from the beginning, piece by piece, then they leave the prosecutors with something less than doable to try to get through the case. And this didn`t seem to happen.

One of the most outstanding things to me seemed to be the drug aspect. And for a long time in this case, you never really heard anything about the drug aspect. In fact, I even read some documents that said they`re not certain that he was actually drowned, that it could have been a drug overdose. And that to me would perhaps have been a stronger case.

But the bottom line is if the investigators, from the beginning they walk in, if they don`t stay right with it and go step by step by this and be as precise as they can, so the prosecutor can put something together, this happens to be the result.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you there. We were just talking -- we`re going to talk more about this -- about the Miranda rights issue, how was that read, when was it read, was it not read. And these are the kinds of nuances and complexities that really can mess up a case. And they`re very, very complex. So when we get back, we`re going to talk about drugs, and we`re also going to talk about the Miranda rights and how that whole aspect of the case may have been bungled.

We at NANCY GRACE want very much to help in our own way solve unsolved homicides and find missing people. Tonight, take a look at 15-year-old Kylee Walnofer from Douglas, Nebraska, missing May 17, 2006. If you have any information at all, please call Norfolk police at 402-644-8700 or go to Beyondmissing.com.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will hear that she tried her best but that the questions became more and more confusing; that she was given choices that didn`t make sense to her and they became more confrontational; that, in the end, she did not confess in a way that we all would think a confession should sound like, but that she tried her best to give the police what they wanted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, sitting in tonight for Nancy Grace. A paralyzed Nevada man drowns in a bathtub under the care of his former wife. She has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. The plea deal occurred right in the middle of her trial on charges of first-degree murder. Now, if convicted, she could have gotten life. She now reportedly faces a maximum of just four years in prison.

We want to go straight out to her defense attorney, Dayvid Figler.

A couple of things stand out from what I`ve heard. One is that she reportedly told authorities, "I wanted to hurt him." And the other is that noodle. Maybe we can put up that pool noodle. How you can expect anybody to be elevated for any period of time, much less hours, using that device is beyond me.

And finally, there were reports that she admitted that she finally removed the noodle, the one thing, the one little noodle holding him above water.

FIGLER: Yes. Well, first of all, let me add to the unbelievability of this. She is in all likelihood going to be out of custody in 45 days. There is absolutely zero chance that she`s going to get four years out of this, so just so you know where the plea bargain sits.

With regard to the rest of the case, her statement, the one that everyone was relying on, the one that the coroner relied on, the one that the police were relying on, the one that the prosecutors promised to show certain things turned out to be unreliable.

So the reason that this case went the way that it did was not because anyone bungled it. The prosecutors put forward their best case possible. The defense attorneys, myself and Mr. Goodman, went off their witnesses and we went after them hard.

Jean was there. She saw it live. And then, ultimately when the issue came out about being different in the statement from what everyone was promising it was going to be, they leaned over and they conceded the case. And that`s how this kind of went down.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Former federal prosecutor Pamela Davis, when you hear that she could be out in 45 days, what runs through you? Is that or is that not an outrage?

DAVIS: Well, first of all, the reason she`s going to be out in 45 days is because she`s already been in jail for a while, so she has served time.

Is it an outrage? It`s difficult for me to say. I will say this, and I said it a moment -- or a little while ago, in any event, is that the prosecution had no business going to trial in this case without having an absolutely perfect conception of what was on that tape.

When I see the noodle, when I look at that noodle, all I can think of is, is that`s a great piece of evidence from the standpoint of the prosecution, because that looks like she had no intention of putting this person in this tub safely and she had every intention of him drowning. On the other hand, that noodle doesn`t do enough if your statement completely falls apart, the way it seems that it did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s go to the phone lines. Amy in Florida, you`ve been very patient. Your question?

CALLER: Yes. Well, my husband passed away after 11 years of being an incomplete quadriplegic of natural causes. And I don`t understand why she`s not charged with giving him drugs. He could ask for them, but he could not put them himself. He couldn`t take them himself. Why weren`t drug charges brought against her?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jean Casarez, we`ve been trying to get to that very, very important subject, so let`s get to it.

CASAREZ: Well, it`s a great question. An alternate theory of the prosecution was that she caused his death, intentionally caused it by giving him drugs, because the medical examiners said there was a possibility that he died of a drug overdose, because so much meth was in his body. It was 11 times what a police officer would pull somebody over on the street for if they were pulling them over under the influence.

However, he had been using drugs for a long time. It allegedly caused his 1986 rollover accident. And he allegedly wanted the drugs, was out the night before with his friends, which she had no control over, if he was going to go in his wheelchair, which he could maneuver himself, to see his friends. But on the other hand, she was the caregiver. She had to set the rules of what was right and wrong for his body.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And, Robi, this strikes me as a tragedy all the way around, because you know what? If I were a quadriplegic, God forbid, I might want to take drugs to ease the pain. I mean, you can understand why somebody might want to escape from the horror of not being able to move.

LUDWIG: Right. And also they might have been more alike than really meets the eye. You wonder why this woman, as a young woman, would choose somebody who`s 15 years her senior, a quadriplegic, where she would be his caregiver. What would be in her mind to do that? So maybe they were both avoiding life and trying to numb the pain of a very painful existence and they ended up self-destructing together, which can happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And, Ross Goodman, the other defense attorney for Gloria Guzman, I don`t know exactly how to phrase this in a delicate way, but I had heard that there were reports that they were still having -- even though their relationship had completely deteriorated and they were fighting, according to the daughter of the victim, they were still having relations. How does that happen when you`re a quadriplegic?

GOODMAN: That`s correct. Evidence showed that he was taking Viagra and he had sensation in that area. You have to understand that, for six years of Gloria`s life, she cared for this man, she cleaned this man, she had sex with this man.

And to go back to a panel member`s question about Amber, his daughter, you have to understand that, while we appreciate the tragedy there, the state put on his daughter for the purpose of demonstrating to this jury that he was afraid of water, whereas she had no contact with him for most of those four or five years. We had his social worker who the state would not call, who we were about to call, to say in his notes that, you know, up until two months before this incident, he requested that he be given more baths. So it was not unusual for Gloria to set him in the tub with this flotation device...

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait. I understood that this was only like the second time, Jean Casarez, that he had been in the tub?

CASAREZ: That`s what we had heard through testimony, through legal documents, that 1 1/2 years before she placed him in the tub and 911 operators had to come and get him out because she couldn`t get him out.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and I want to talk about another really important issue here, the Miranda rights. You have been telling us about this controversy between commercials involving Miranda rights, when they were delivered, if they were delivered properly at all.

CASAREZ: It`s interesting. In this 1 1/2 hour statement, alleged confession if you`re on the side of the prosecution, that was given, for the first hour she was just questioned or interrogated, and pushed, and pushed, and pushed. You know, "We can get you on voluntary manslaughter. We can get you on murder." Finally she said some things.

Then there`s a five-minute break. They bring in the Miranda rights. They read them to her. And then, the last 10 minutes, she repeats everything she said in the last hour. And the issue before the court was: Did she believe in her mind that she could step away and she did not have to speak when these Miranda rights were given? And the fact was, it was just placed in the center there, and she didn`t feel she was free to move, and to leave, and to exit that vehicle, but the judge allowed it in.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, defense attorney Renee Rockwell, what should the police have done? Should they have read the rights right at the start?

ROCKWELL: Well, I`m sure that she was not free to leave if she`s in the back of a police car, but that`s exactly why an attorney does not want you to say anything. The cops will tell you, "You don`t have to say anything. These are the charges against you. You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to a free lawyer if you can`t afford one."

Once somebody that`s in that type of custody says, "I want a lawyer," bam, it stops right there. So if she would have just said, "I think I might need to call a lawyer," everything would have stopped. Once you say something...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But apparently she wasn`t as sophisticated enough perhaps to really make that judgment. I mean, she`s what, 26 years old. She`s a caregiver. She hasn`t really -- she has no criminal history.

So, Jean, do you feel that that would be something -- a lot of people -- you know, we see this on TV all the time. And it`s kind of this movie thing where the guy says, "You`ve got a right to an attorney, blah, blah, blah," but we really don`t know, average citizens, how it goes down.

CASAREZ: Yes, well, I`ve read the entire statement. And it was very free and easy initially, you know, conversational, like friends talking. It got stronger, and stronger, and stronger. And I don`t think with her background that she would realize that she could stop and say, "I want an attorney."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dayvid Figler, defense attorney for Gloria Guzman, I had read reports -- and correct me if I`m wrong -- that you had claimed that she was also threatened, that they had said something to the fact that "we can arrest your relatives"?

FIGLER: It`s not a claim; it shows up in the statement. I mean, that`s exactly what they were doing. And the cops on the stand said, "Well, we were just playing psychological games because she had just lost her husband and retreated into a shell. We were going to be good cop, bad cop until we got to what we wanted to hear." And that shows up in the statement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The situation in the tub was very unusual. The water was emptied from the tub. Mark had his wash cloth over his genitals. There was no flotation device whatsoever in the tub. The only device that could be considered a flotation device was a child`s play thing, a noodle, a pool noodle. Things just all of a sudden started to not add up, particularly when they thought about the fact that the wheelchair that this victim, Mark Richards, was not anywhere to be seen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(NEWSBREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s head over to "Headline Prime`s" Glenn Beck. Hey, Glenn, what`s up?

GLENN BECK, HOST: Restrictions at the airport may have eased today, but that really doesn`t mean we should be any less vigilant. I`ve got a guest on today who says that terror dry runs, terrorists, you know, boarding flights to see where security holes are happens more often than we think it does. It is scary stuff, and you don`t want to miss it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Houston homicides that occurred in 1988 were essentially a result of his hit list, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell in for Nancy Grace. Tonight, the story of a woman who joins the FBI`s most-wanted list after years on the run. Jacqueline LeBaron wanted for four murders -- four murders -- in two Texas cities.

In a very bizarre twist, Jacqueline is the daughter of a Utah polygamist leader who died in prison way back in 1981 after ordering some hits himself. Will new information from a relative help law enforcement capture his daughter, a longtime fugitive from justice?

Let`s go straight out to Ben Winslow, a reporter with the "Deseret Morning News." Ben, give us a recap of this very complex story, what Jacqueline was accused of and why there`s new interest in the case now?

BEN WINSLOW, REPORTER, "DESERET MORNING NEWS": Jacqueline is accused of what became known as the 4:00 murders. These happened in 1988 on the same day at about 4:00, four simultaneous killings that happened in two different cities in Texas, one in Houston, and in Irving, Texas, is where this took place.

And Jacqueline LeBaron, as well as one of her brothers, is accused of orchestrating this plot that took place. Six people were charged. Jacqueline is the only one who has not been caught or convicted in this case. In these cases, four people, including an 8-year-old girl, were shot to death in this, what is believed to be retribution against some former church members of the LeBaron polygamist sect.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I`m going to read this, because it`s so bizarre that I really couldn`t get my mind around it. But, Ben, Jacqueline`s dad is said to have written a bible that commanded his followers to kill disobedient church members. It was rumored that he left behind a hit list and that some of his 54 children -- 54 children -- were carrying out some of these commands. And they even had a phrase for it, apparently, "blood atonement."

Is this just -- am I hallucinating or is this stuff actually real?

WINSLOW: This stuff started actually in the 1970s. Ervil LeBaron went to prison for ordering the murder of a rival polygamist leader. And then he died in 1981.

And in the years since, this hit list or rumors of this hit list had surfaced, and it supposedly involved a number of people, including politicians, prosecutors in this area. We`ve even heard that some reporters were on this list.

But over the years, members or people who had been associated with the LeBarons died, either some were killed, assassinated, or died rather suspicious deaths. It all culminated in 1988 with the 4:00 murders.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let`s go Don Clark, former head of FBI`s Houston bureau. He`s an expert on this case, being formerly with the FBI. The FBI is now putting this woman on the most-wanted list.

How does that help them track her down, and what was the tip? Apparently a half-brother said something about she`s in Mexico. But my understanding was that they already knew about the Mexico connection to this cult. And that`s what I`m going to call it, a cult, even though they say it`s a sect. I think it`s a cult, and we should call it by its proper name. They already knew about this Mexico connection, so how does this really help them?

CLARK: Well, they obviously have a little bit more information than they`re giving out, and they probably don`t want to tip off anything. But, Jane, I have to tell you that the best thing that happened was to get this person on the FBI`s top ten most-wanted list.

And that is really huge, in terms of resources, in terms of being able to have the presence of all 56 FBI field divisions in the states to give this some attention, as well as over 50 countries abroad that they can reach out to because there`s an FBI presence there. And clearly, there is one in Mexico.

As you recall, Jane, just a few weeks ago, there was a person in Mexico who had killed his wife and shot a judge, and they extradited him back here. And they`re hoping that that same relationship would maintain itself if they find this lady over there, that they would be able to get her back.

But by and large, what it really also does is that it puts so many eyes out now for this lady. Now, they have some difficulties here, because this was 1988 and clearly she, like the rest of us, have changed in those period of years.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Speak for yourself.

CLARK: Well, thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Just kidding.

CLARK: But so what they really have to do is try to age her photographic-wise and try it get the experts. And they really do have some great experts these days who can really make molds of one`s face and get it pretty darn close to the way that she`s going to look.

But that`s what they`re going to need, in addition to those tips that they`re talking about coming in from having her on most-wanted list.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Renee Rockwell, criminal defense attorney, I want to ask you, because it seems like there`s a focus now on polygamy. Warren Jeffs, who, by the way, is on the top ten list. This woman is not on the top ten list. Warren Jeffs, another polygamist leader who`s a fugitive, is.

But it seems to me now there is a big hullabaloo about polygamy, so the authorities are cracking down. But where were they when, let`s say, one of these men was accumulating not wife number one or two or three, but wife number four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 11, 13 wives the father of the female fugitive had. Where were they? Why didn`t they arrest him at wife two?

ROCKWELL: That`s absolutely a great question. But here`s another thing: You`ve got a man with 13 wives, 54 children. He`s been dead since 1981, and things are happening seven years later? Now, she`s the last one, and she is still on the run, but I don`t know that this is anybody that`s ever going to be apprehended, because she`s been running since 1992.

But, Jane, what do you say about a girl that finally the new interest is just up and running now because her half-brother thought he`d just convert and now he`s going to tell? There`s got to be more than just that. In 1995, he`s been in jail since -- what do we have here?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I know, absolutely. And, Robi Ludwig, how dangerous are these cults, sects, whatever you want to call them, where people can`t get out when they want to? When they try to leave, they are often killed, and their children are killed. There was an 8-year-old girl killed in this incident that involves this female fugitive that they`re looking for.

LUDWIG: Right, right. And very often these children who are raised in this atmosphere are brainwashed. This is their idea of a family. So when you grow up in a family and this is what you know, this is what you make right. So here you have a daughter who`s being very loyal to her father. She`s making her father right. And if in fact she did kill these people, she probably feels she`s just carrying out and being a loyal family member.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don Clark, did the FBI drop the ball in the past and they`re now trying to play catch-up?

CLARK: I don`t think so. You know, again, these people live in a very close environment, and some of these murders may have taken place, and it could have been even a period of time before somebody had all of the information to go after who might be charged with this crime.

So I don`t think that I would say that they dropped the ball with it, but I think now that there may be an opportunity -- and I know it`s a long shot, but we have caught people, the FBI have caught people after 20 years of being on the run some place. And this one may not be any exception. If they can get enough information out about her now and get some identity out, I think they can recoup that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being a child raised inside of polygamy, you never experience what it`s like to grow up with a loving family. Your mother is continuously pregnant every year. She`s so worn out from having 17 children, you never get to spend time or bond with your parents. The fathers are never there and, when they are, they punish. And you grow up with a sense of not even comprehending what it is to be a family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in for Nancy Grace. The intense manhunt for a fugitive wanted for murder, with a polygamy connection to the whole story.

I want to go straight out to Pamela Davis, former federal -- or federal -- yes, former federal prosecutor. You`ve been listening to all of this. I had even read at one point that some of these girls can`t go to the police because the police are in the cults in some of these towns, so basically the entire town is in it and they have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

Do you feel the feds have dropped the ball on this entire issue, waiting until now until there`s been a lot of stories about this, a lot of serials about this, a lot of news stories?

DAVIS: Look, I don`t know everything that they`ve done, but I do know that it`s often very difficult to capture anyone in a homicide case, but particularly difficult in a case like this where there is a very good infrastructure in which somebody can hide. And in this particular instance, this woman can easily go off to Mexico and hide there for years, as she`s done.

And you can`t turn and blame the feds for the fact that she`s a good - - she has a good disappearing act. They probably have been working on this, and they`re certainly going to work on it now even more attentively, because she`s been moved up to the 10 most wanted list. But I don`t know that you can say that it is their fault that she has not yet been caught, because she has a very good place to hide.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, I hope you`re right that we do find her eventually, and that we really put the hammer down on these cults, which is what they are.

Tonight, we remember Army Specialist Adan Garcia, just 20, from Irving, Texas. Dedicated to a life of service, Garcia entered the military right out of high school. As a combat engineer, he received several military decorations, including the Purple Heart. He leaves behind loving, grieving parents. Adan Garcia, an American hero.

We`d like to thank all of our guests for their insights, and thanks to you at home for tracking these important cases with us. See you right here tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. Until then, have a terrific evening.

END

Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines