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Gainesville Slasher Executed in Florida
Aired October 25, 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: Breaking news tonight. To a Florida death watch. A Florida serial killer confesses to stalking multiple college coeds, fights Florida`s legal injection all the way to the Supreme Court. After the torture murders of five young coeds, the convicted killer, who paralyzed the city of Gainesville with fear, claims lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANNY ROLLING, CONVICTED SERIAL KILLER: Lucifer told me eight souls for every year I`d done in prison. When I got out of Parchman (ph) prison, that was eight years that I`d spent in prison, different prisons in the South. I`ve been convicted of five murders here in Florida. And then, well, you know, there`s been, you know, talk that there were three others in Shreveport. And I`m sure you`re aware of that. That adds up to how many?.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Why are we hearing from him? That`s Danny Rolling, convicted of five brutal murders of young coeds in Florida, and he leaves behind a wake of pain, possible murders in his hometown of Shreveport.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace, and I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Tonight, Danny Rolling, convicted serial killer, also known as "the Gainesville slasher," claims the death penalty, lethal injection, is cruel and unusual when it comes to him.
Out to Jeff Weinsier, reporter with WPLG-TV. Thank you for being with us. What can you tell us about the murder of these five young coeds?
JEFF WEINSIER, WPLG-TV, WITNESS: Well, I can tell you that Danny Rolling sang a statement, sang a statement before he was put to death by lethal injection this evening, pronounced dead at 6:13 here at the Florida state prison. And among the chorus, the chorus of that song he sang is, "None greater than thee, O, Lord, none greater than thee."
GRACE: Well, I appreciate him singing hymns, but let me repeat my first question. I`d like to hear about the five young victims that lost their life in Florida, that we know of.
WEINSIER: Nancy, it was the beginning of the semester. Some of them were University of Florida college students. Others were Santa Fe Community College students. They were -- some of them were here freshmen, moving into apartments. They all had bright futures ahead, all innocent victims.
The first two victims Danny Rolling spotted at a Wal-Mart, getting their apartment together for the beginning of the semester. He set up camp in woods, three different murder scenes, five college students killed. And when I say killed, I`m talking about stabbed with knives over and over again. Danny Rolling decapitated, mutilated some of the victims. He posed their body parts in certain places, so that when the investigators walked in, Danny Rolling was making a statement with body parts.
GRACE: Jeff, what do you mean, he placed body parts in particular positions? What do you mean by that?
WEINSIER: What I mean is, Christa Hoyt, for instance, the second murder scene -- he decapitated her. He put her body -- her head on a shelf, placed mirrors around so that when the investigators walked in, they would be able to see that head on a shelf. To be graphic, he cut the nipples off of her body. He posed her. She was sitting up. Investigators actually -- they couldn`t get in the apartment. They actually looked through a window and saw her body sitting up.
GRACE: Let`s go out to the lawyers joining us tonight. With us, Alan Ripka out of the New York jurisdiction, Stone Grissom out of the Chicago jurisdiction. Now, gentlemen, if you could explain to me again -- first to you, Alan Ripka -- after you hear this rendition of facts from Jeff Weinsier there with WPLG-TV, why is it that just simply falling to sleep and never waking up is cruel and unusual? Alan Ripka?
ALAN RIPKA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, what they`re saying is that the lethal injection causes some sort of pain and discomfort and suffering. And as a result of that, he should not be executed in that manner. And it`s simply an excuse to try and delay the proceedings and get the Supreme Court to overturn his execution date.
GRACE: And back to you, Stone Grissom. I`d like to hear you tell me with a straight face, after you hear that rendition of facts from Jeff, why this guy should not have gotten the death penalty.
STONE GRISSOM, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I`m not here to defend this guy or what he did. He`s certainly a horrible, horrible human being. But our system was designed to be better than that. In fact, our system was designed that we would rather let 100 guilty men go free than ever execute one innocent person. A system that...
GRACE: OK, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait! Wait! I don`t even know what you`re talking about, Stone. That doesn`t even apply here. We`re not talking about innocent people being convicted. We`re not talking about guilty people being free. I`m talking specifically to you, Stone, about the allegation that lethal injection, which is sodium pentothal, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride, is cruel and unusual. Just a simple question, looking for a simple answer.
GRISSOM: Well, what the courts are saying is not that lethal injection itself is unconstitutional, but the manner in which it`s prescribed. And that`s that three-stage cocktail. We have to understand that even veterinarians don`t use this particular method to put animals down because of the painful procedure in which potentially it was caused. What the courts have also suggested is perhaps you have a medical doctor, an anesthesiologist that might be present, that could actually ensure that the person is anesthetized. Doctors don`t want to take part in death penalty procedures. That`s what the courts are saying...
GRACE: Gee, I wish that there had been an anesthesiologist standing by, Stone Grissom, when 18-year-old Christa Hoyt was raped, decapitated and murdered and then posed with her head in a mirror, so detectives could see that the moment they walked in. I want you, Stone, to take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The university of Florida, August 23, 1990. It was a deadly start to the school year. The "Gainesville ripper" would mutilate and murder five students in three nights. After one year, police finally had their man. Danny Rolling was convicted and sentenced to five death penalties in 1994.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Campus was empty. It was -- there was an eerie silence. Nothing was going on. Classes were canceled, and things like that. A lot of the students went to their homes just to get away from the -- you know, the atmosphere. It`s hard to believe that it`s finally going to happen, that Danny Rolling`s going to be executed for this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Joining us tonight on this very subject is a well-known internist, Dr. Holly Phillips. Dr. Phillips, could you please explain to me what this cocktail does.
DR. HOLLY PHILLIPS, INTERNIST: Sure. Death by lethal injection in the criminal justice system has gained popularity I guess in about the last 100 years. It`s thought to be more humane than other methods, such as electrocution, certainly the guillotine, other ways that were used prior to this. It`s a three-drug cocktail. The first is one called thiapentol (ph). That induces what we think is almost a coma. We definitely know that the patient is induced into an unconscious state.
GRACE: Are you sure?
PHILLIPS: Well, these are very, very large doses of drugs. But now that you bring that up, that is one of the concerns that opponents of this method of death have.
GRACE: If you, a doctor, a medical doctor, are telling me that sodium pentothal makes the person, Danny Rolling, unconscious, then who are these people standing out in front of the jail with a candle? what are they talking about? You`re the MD!
PHILLIPS: Well, really, that`s one of the controversies around this method, in that an MD is not the person administering it. Very few -- in fact, I don`t know of any physicians or anesthesiologists, who are, of course, physicians, who will participate in euthanasia or in lethal injection. The reason for that is when we`re given our MDs, we take a Hippocratic Oath which says, "Do no harm." So very few physicians, ethically -- even though it would be legal for them to participate in these proceedings, very few physicians ethically will want to do that.
So opponents argue that since an anesthesiologist isn`t there, perhaps the person giving the injections isn`t really sure whether or not enough has been given to cause...
GRACE: So bottom line...
PHILLIPS: ... the person to be in a coma.
GRACE: ... isn`t really sure, maybe, not positive -- none of that is convincing to me.
Let`s go out to the lines. Janet in Florida. Hi, Janet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy.
GRACE: What`s your question, dear?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. My question is, did Danny Rolling have anyone from his immediate family there at the execution?
GRACE: Excellent question. Back to Jeff Weinsier with WPLG. Jeff, can you answer that?
WEINSIER: I can answer that. No, did he not. He met with his brother, Kevin, and a spiritual leader all day today, but the person who was going to be executed is not allowed to have any family members witness the execution.
GRACE: Did he have any last words, Jeff? You were there.
WEINSIER: He had a -- he sang his closing statement, as I said at the beginning. He looked into the eyes -- turned his head, looked into the eyes of Ricky (ph) Paules, Tracy Paules`s mother. He said he had a statement, looked back up to the sky, and for two minutes sang a song. The chorus of that song, as I said over and over again, was, "None greater than the, O, Lord, none greater than thee."
And you`ve been talking about pain and suffering with your other guests. I can tell you that my eyes were glued to Danny Rolling, and there was no pain, no twitching, nothing whatsoever. Obviously, I`m not laying there where he is, but if he was in any pain, we would have seen something. Nothing, absolutely nothing. It was like he simply went to sleep.
GRACE: I want to go to a specialist joining us tonight, a death penalty expert, a law professor at New York law school, Professor Robert Blecker. Robert, thank you for being with us tonight. Regarding the death penalty and now legal challenges -- you know, we`ve had death by firing squad, death by hanging, the guillotine is notorious, the electric chair, of course, and now what we believe to be the most humane method of the death penalty, and it is being challenged, as well. What`s your response?
ROBERT BLECKER, NEW YORK LAW SCHOOL, DEATH PENALTY EXPERT: Well, it`s a terrible method, but not for the reasons that it`s being challenged. I mean, it`s a ridiculous make-weight (ph) argument that they`re making. Many of us have gone under anesthesia. It`s a painless thing. They can take out our organs. They can break our bones. The doses that are administered render him unconscious.
But it`s a terrible method because it too much resembles a hospital. It too much resembles the way we put to sleep those we love who are suffering from incurable and incredibly painful illnesses. So that`s why it`s a terrible method. Yes, it`s cruel and unusual, it`s cruel to the victims` families that he should go out the way he went out, when his victims went out the way they went out.
And by the way, to say that he just posed her head on a mantle, which he did, understates it. I saw the crime scene photos for hours. They`re actually available to the public. If you went down into the basement, there was an elder man who took you through them. It was horrifying. He posed all the bodied pornographically, each one.
If ever the death penalty is justified, this is the case. If we can`t make the case for this person, we can`t make the case for anyone.
GRACE: Sarah Craft, response? I believe I have Sarah Craft with me. Hi, dear. Response?
SARAH CRAFT, NATIONAL ORGANIZER, EQUAL JUSTICE USA: Yes. Hi. I`m speaking from Equal Justice USA, and we believe that in Florida, the death penalty is broken and that no one should be put to death until the death penalty is studied and addressed in Florida. There are policies in place now that leave people at risk, people who are innocent, at risk of being executed. And until those policies...
GRACE: Question. Question.
GRACE: Sarah, you just brought up a very, very good point. I`m talking about Danny Rolling. I`m talking about five victims whose names we haven`t even heard tonight. Sonja Larson, just 18 years old -- can anybody on this panel even remember when you were 18, much less Christina Powell, age 17, Christa Hoyt, 18, Tracy Paules, 23, Manuel Taboada, 23, as well, stabbed 30 times in his bed.
Now, you were mentioning we need to have a study of the DP in Florida to find out if innocent people are being put to death. Do you have any question in your mind, Sarah, that Danny Rolling was not guilty?
CRAFT: Well, I don`t -- I don`t know the whether Danny Rolling was guilty or innocent, but what I do know is that...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don`t?
CRAFT: ... there is a broad consensus that the death penalty in Florida is broken. The chief justice of the Florida supreme court himself has said that he has extreme, extreme caution about whether or not there are issues related to the death penalty. He has...
GRACE: I`m not talking about...
CRAFT: He`s expressed major concerns about the death penalty.
GRACE: ... issues, Sarah. I`m talking about this particular case. And Sarah -- Sarah`s joining us. She is the national organizer of Equal Justice USA. They`re anti-death penalty. I want to hear what you have to say. My mind is open. But I`m talking about these five dead young people. I`m talking about Danny Rolling. I don`t want to hear about a policy study, what`s broken, I want to hear about this case. What do you think in this case, Sarah?
CRAFT: Well, my heart goes out to the victims` family members in this case. I can`t imagine how horrible they must feel tonight, especially as the horrible, horrible pictures from this case are brought back up and we see Danny Rolling`s face back on the television. I know that the travesty of their family members` death must be horrible to be brought back up again.
GRACE: Well, again, I`m going to redirect you to the question. What is your opposition to the death penalty for Danny Rolling?
CRAFT: Well, Danny Rolling was convicted under a system that is broken. And you cannot separate...
GRACE: And it`s broken specifically how?
CRAFT: ... just this case -- well, in Florida, there is -- there are no standards for representation. You have 22 people who were convicted and then found innocent after -- after -- after being exonerated from death row in Florida. You have horrible policies that give you access to testing for DNA...
GRACE: Can you give me the name of one person executed in Florida that was later exonerated?
CRAFT: No, I cannot.
GRACE: OK. Response, Robert?
BLECKER: Well, of course, you asked just the right question. There is absolutely no chance that Danny -- yes, there`s as much chance that Danny Rolling was innocent as there is that the ceiling right above will fall in and kill me, and yet I bravely risk my life to it.
The evidence was overwhelming. He confessed to it. The DNA evidence was overwhelming. They had all the implements of the killings. He was cruel, he was callous. He was a sadistic serial rapist murderer, and there is no doubt as to his guilt.
Now, you may not like the system under which he was prosecuted, convicted and now executed, but the fact is, just as you asked, in this case, this is a person who I feel certain, and those of us who support the death penalty for all but only those who deserve it, know, feel certain -- that is, we are both rationally there and we are emotively there -- that this person deserves it by virtue of what he did, by virtue of how he did it, and most of all, by virtue of the suffering that he inflicted and the experience that the victims had. I think it`s obscene that he was eating lobster tails for his last meal!
GRACE: That`s right!
CRAFT: And I just think you cannot separate...
GRACE: Guys, hold on.
CRAFT: You cannot separate the person from the system. You cannot separate...
GRACE: Hold on, Sarah.
CRAFT: ... this individual case from the system.
GRACE: I`m going to let you make your argument when we get back.
But as we go to break tonight, while everyone else is talking about the killer, we remember the victims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For possibly the last time, Danny Rolling sat down with a reporter at Florida state prison. The serial killer pled guilty in 1994 to murdering five University of Florida students in Gainesville by breaking into apartments and stabbing them to death. Rolling has been sentenced to death and has apparently come to terms with that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you ready to die?
ROLLING: I`ve been preparing myself for years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: He had nearly 20 years to prepare for that moment, unlike his five young victims found decapitated, sexually mutilated and then posed in death.
Out to Art Harris, veteran investigative reporter. What can you tell us about the crime wave that hit Gainesville?
ART HARRIS, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Nancy, it was a terror, and it lasted for four days as he made his grisly rounds. And at the penalty phase of the trial, the DA described how he slipped into these apartments, duct-taped the hands and mouths of the women, assaulted them, stabbed them in the back, decapitated one, stabbed one guy 30 times in bed in fierce struggles, actually raping and killing another.
And you know, later, Nancy, he said to another inmate he wanted to be a criminal superstar and blamed it on alternate personalities, even co- authoring a book in prison called "The Making of a Serial Killer."
GRACE: I understand that he blamed Lucifer, Satan, the devil, as so many, many people on death row do.
To Andy Kahan, director of the Houston mayor`s crime victims office. You know, I logged on to eBay just before I came down tonight, and guess what? EBay, what`s with you? They are hawking Rolling memorabilia on line!
ANDY KAHAN, DIR., VICTIMS CRIME OFFICE FOR HOUSTON MAYOR: Something tells me, Nancy, by the time this show is over, that probably -- that item`s probably going to be removed.
But you know, Nancy, you hit it on nose. Today isn`t about Danny Rolling. It`s about those five victims, Manuel Taboada, Sonja Larson, Christina Powell, Christa Hoyt, Tracy Paules. And there`s three other victims in Shreveport, Louisiana, that he`s also credited with murdering, as well.
But let me tell you, the "murderbilia" industry is brisk with Rolling items right now. The warehouses have opened. The river bottom-dwelling catfish parasites that procure serial killer art are offering his items in droves. And it really bothers me, and I just can`t understand the items, particularly the drawings that Rolling has that are being sold on the Web sites right now -- they are of naked women inside a cage with skulls around them. It just befuddles me how you can be in a cell, draw and paint those items, ship them out without somebody saying, You can`t do that.
GRACE: What`s so disturbing for me at this moment is the crime victims` families living through what they went through then and today, knowing this guy can make money on line.
KAHAN: Oh, absolutely! I don`t understand why we`re not seizing his profits, why he`s allowed to be a huge artist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I went through a lot of anxiety and panic attacks for a long time. I slept under my kitchen table with a knife, with all the lights on, for three months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: The voices of victims. Rolling meeting his maker tonight after being convicted of five murders in the Gainesville college town.
Let`s go out to the lines. Edward in Florida. Hi, Edward.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Nancy. What I`m wondering is why people like this lady on your show are so bent on making execution so peaceful for people who have committed such heinous crimes. I don`t understand that.
GRACE: You know, Edward, when I think back on the description of how these young girls and this young student, the male, died, it was barbaric. I don`t want to make someone suffer that way, but I do believe juries should have the alternative of the death penalty.
Back to you, very quickly, Doctor. Explain -- if the sodium thiopentothal (ph) is given, that should knock them out, and you`re saying that is what is used by veterinarians.
PHILLIPS: That is the only drug that`s used by veterinarians when they put animals to sleep. It`s a strong barbiturate. With these doses, the person should certainly be unconscious. But then the next two drugs are given.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Evil has a face and voice...
DANNY ROLLING, CONVICTED MURDERER (singing): What were my words, all my tears run together, baby...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s serial killer Danny Rolling, also known as the Gainesville ripper. He got that title after viciously murdering five college students in the summer of 1990. The murders gripped those living in Gainesville in fear and terror. Rolling was arrested in Ocala on robbery charges just 12 days after the first bodies were found, but it would be eight months later before DNA evidence tied him to the Gainesville murders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Tonight, the airwaves are cluttered with talk of Danny Rolling and his death penalty by lethal injection, very little talk of the five young people that lost their lives many years ago. Out to John Coke (ph), with the North Florida radio correspondent. He has witnessed every Florida execution since 1989, including Bundy, Ted Bundy, and Eileen Wournos, AKA "Monster."
To John, thanks for being with us. You were there today. What happened?
JOHN COKE (ph), NORTH FLORIDA RADIO CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Danny Rolling was put to death in a very sterile and a very quiet manner, nothing like his victims of 16 years ago.
GRACE: You know, don`t you get a choice in Florida as to lethal injection versus the electric chair?
COKE (ph): There was at one time a choice between the electric chair and lethal injection, but I don`t think that choice is open to condemned prisoners anymore.
GRACE: To Ellie, Ellie, what is the status of the law in Florida regarding that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, the Florida Department of Corrections Web site says that you still have a choice between lethal injection or electrocution.
GRACE: To Jeff Weinsier, reporter with WPLG, also a witness to the execution, Jeff, it`s my understanding that you were there in Florida at the time of the murders. Is that correct?
WEINSIER: I lived and worked in Gainesville. All of the victims, all the murder scenes were within a mile of where I lived.
GRACE: Were there victim family there today?
WEINSIER: Absolutely, some of the strongest people I`ve ever seen in my life were sitting in rows in front of us. They are the victims` family members. Every victim had family members there. To sit there and listen to Danny sing and to not be outraged, and have your blood boil, and not burst out with something, they`re just very, very strong people to sit there and watch that and to listen to him.
GRACE: Jeff Weinsier, was the girlfriend -- I think her name is Sandra London (ph) there. She`s written a book. I don`t know if she made any money off of it, but was she there?
WEINSIER: No, I haven`t seen her. I haven`t seen her in a long time. No, she was his fiancee at one point, too. And we could only talk to him through her and all that other stuff. But, no, I have not seen her here today.
GRACE: Earlier, Professor Robert Blecker was describing the crime scene photos, and the public can see those. You actually have to travel to Florida to look at them. They cannot be reproduced or taken away from the premises. Jeff, have you ever seen these crime scene photos?
WEINSIER: I personally have not, but I have talked to several people who have who actually needed counseling after seeing the photos, very graphic photos, things in your wildest minds that you couldn`t even think of, the way the bodies were posed, the way they were slit from pelvis to chin, all of these books and books of photographs.
GRACE: Let`s go out to Robert Blecker. He is the death penalty expert and a law professor at New York Law School. Again, Professor, thank you for being with us. Professor, what prompted you -- and I know you`ve written volumes on the death penalty -- what prompted you to travel to Florida to look at these crime scene photos?
BLECKER: Well, I was witnessing an execution of Benny Demps down in Florida, and I spent a couple of days on Florida`s death row. And while I was there, the talk was of Danny Rolling. I mean, one officer described it, the first time he saw Danny Rolling, he saw this guy playing volleyball with his shirt off and oiled up with suntan lotion.
GRACE: Oh, let me hold that thought just a moment. Go ahead.
BLECKER: I`m sorry?
GRACE: I was just drinking in the thought of Danny Rolling, a five- time convicted killer, buffed out with oil all over him playing volleyball.
BLECKER: Yes, and he had just been assigned to death row. And he said, "What`s up? Who are those guys playing?" And they said, "Well, that`s Danny Rolling. Those are the death row inmates." And he said, "What?"
So while I was there, I saw Danny Rolling. And I stood there. He wasn`t playing volleyball. What he was doing was lying in bed with pillows underneath his neck, propped up, and a reading lamp over his -- casting a light over his shoulder, and his reading glasses on the bridge of his nose, and he was just ensconced in a good book, just off into his fantasy world.
And I stood there, about 15 feet away from him, and something deep within me growled, "Why aren`t you dead? Why aren`t you dead?" Well, so I was down there to witness an execution eventually, and first I witnessed the dress rehearsal to the execution, which is more revealing than what the witnesses see, because you go behind the scenes, and I saw the execution chamber.
And when you witness an execution itself, you really don`t see it. You just see a one-way mirror, and don`t see where the executioner stands. So in the course of that, when everyone spoke of Danny Rolling -- although I was there to witness a different execution -- I got interested in what he had done and who he was.
And so I went to see the crime scene photos. And I also -- I don`t know if you have it there -- I brought today to contrast, to really vividly contrast, because we think too much about Danny Rolling, I brought a picture that was done by his victim, Sonja Larson. Do you have that by any chance?
GRACE: Yes, we do. We`re pulling it up right now. Continue.
BLECKER: This was a drawing that she made. She was 18 when he stabbed her. By the way, the only male that he killed, he killed because he had to in order to get to the females. Danny Rolling was not only a sadistic rapist-murderer, he was a coward. He would stalk and carefully plan to rape and kill females.
Manny Taboada happened to be in the apartment, yes. Now, that`s a drawing that Sonja Larson made when she was 17 years old of her dog. And if you contrast that to some of the obscene drawings that Danny Rolling made, one of which I brought also, which you need not show...
GRACE: No, I don`t want to show that.
BLECKER: ... the picture is worth 1,000 words. And so, I mean, you asked then specifically, you know, why did I see it? Because I`m interested in understanding death row.
And, by the way, the people on death row live the most privileged lifestyle within the Florida state penitentiary. Everybody else exercises in a dog run, whereas they exercise communally. They not only play volleyball, they also play softball with mitts provided. Danny Rolling played chess with his best -- oh, that`s one of his lovely photographs. You see the V for victory sign on death row.
You know, I`m not advocating torture. Torture is unquestionably unconstitutional. But if Danny Rolling should have died a quick but painful death -- and to be fair to the argument, because we didn`t see him twitch doesn`t mean he`s not in pain. Their claim is that the paralytic agent actually masks the pain. But as a doctor said, it`s given in such massive doses that he is almost certainly unconscious. But just imagine that, for 30 seconds or a minute, Danny Rolling died painfully. So what?
GRACE: Out to the lines, Mia in Michigan. Hi, Mia.
CALLER: Hi, Nancy, I love the show. I just wanted to know, is there any way we as a people can stop these hideous murderers from making money off of eBay and their girlfriends? I mean, can you give us any advice what we can do to stop this?
GRACE: Mia, you know what? I`ve got the expert with me. It`s Andy Kahan out of Texas. In fact, after meeting him for the first time, he inspired me to write an entire chapter in my book, "Objection," called "Blood Money," because I never -- all I had done was prosecute felons, violent felons. I had no idea that, once they went to jail, they could still victimize the same victims by making money.
Andy, what can we do? When I logged onto eBay tonight and found something on sale from this guy, Danny Rolling, I nearly did a back flip.
KAHAN: Well, we had a two-year battle with eBay. And, fortunately, after two years of nonstop publicizing that they were allowing murderabilia to be sold, we finally got them to pull the plug. Obviously, there`s glitches in the system here. And, like I said earlier, my best guess is, once they find out, it`s going to be pulled off.
Several states have passed what`s called the Notoriety for Profit law. Florida, unfortunately, does not prevent killers from Rolling from basically selling their artwork through third-party dealers. What we really need to do to get a grip on this industry is get a federal interstate commerce law passed to prevent this.
GRACE: And the reality is, we had a Son of Sam law to do just that; that was overturned by our U.S. Supreme Court, in all its wisdom, in U.S. v. Simon and Schuster. Very quickly to Jeff Weinsier, Jeff, what was the scene outside the death row today?
WEINSIER: Well, there were those who oppose the death penalty. They keep them separated behind us, those for it. I expected larger crowds here. I expected more students. But it was really uneventful. I was actually inside the execution watching the execution inside the witness chamber, so I didn`t spend a whole lot of time out here. But...
GRACE: What were they doing, holding candles and singing songs?
WEINSIER: The typical thing that you see at all the executions, "It`s wrong." Like I said, I didn`t spend a lot of time over there because we had to go an hour and a half to go through the process, no cellphones, to be screened to go in, so I didn`t spend a lot of time there.
GRACE: With us, Jeff Weinsier with WPLG. Very quickly, we`ll all be right back, to tonight`s "Case Alert." The search for a Warren, New Jersey, firefighter, mother of three, 29-year-old Margaret Haddican- McEnroe, reported missing October 10, last seen at her home wearing a gray Army sweatshirt, pajama bottoms, and military dog tags.
Haddican-McEnroe, 5`2", 110 pounds, brown eyes, brown hair. Please look at this picture. If you have info, call Summerset County tips, 888- 577-8477.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... all of us that love and support the families, that the effort that law enforcement and the legal team that finally put this maniac dog down today, nobody can thank them enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: A man that stalked the college town of Gainesville, Florida, claiming the lives we know of, of five. But according to you, Mike Brooks, former D.C. cop and former fed with the FBI, you think there are more victims.
MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE: There`s possibly three more victims in Shreveport, Louisiana, Nancy. And, you know, law enforcement, they did a fantastic job in investigating this crime and bringing this animal to justice. You know, personally, Nancy, I wish they could have brought back old Sparky today just for him so he would feel a little bit of pain like the people he killed back in August of 1990.
GRACE: Mike, how did the people, the victims in Shreveport die?
BROOKS: I`m not sure exactly. I have not seen any of the reports on that, Nancy, but they were also very similar, from what I`m hearing from investigators, to the way that people were killed in...
GRACE: Mike, they were stabbed multiple times. They were female victims.
GRACE: Exactly like what happened in Gainesville. And what`s so interesting, very similar to the Son of Sam, David Berkowitz, involved in his capture, a car, a simple car. Explain.
BROOKS: He was at a camp site, Nancy. And he was locked up for robbery. And, you know, it was just good, old-fashioned police work and evidence collection and DNA that brought this guy to justice.
You know, there was also a victim that I`d like to mention, too, Nancy, back in Sarasota who actually survived. She was raped, and he was probably going to kill her, too, but she was able to keep him calm, turn him around, talk to this guy. After she was raped, she actually used a towel. He told her to go shower off. Before she did that, she took a towel, wiped herself off with the towel to collect DNA, threw that behind the toilet. This woman did everything right, Nancy, to survive, and she did, and she spoke out about it in 1997, a very courageous woman. And if anybody comes out as a hero in this case...
GRACE: She survived Danny Rolling.
BROOKS: ... she is unbelievably courageous.
GRACE: Well, and to embellish on that, what specifically happened, Mike, is he, after raping her and binding her, said, "I`m going to be here all night."
GRACE: And she said, "Well, why don`t you have a beer if you`re going to be here all night?" He goes to get a beer. She convinces him to let her loose. She goes to clean up, as you put it. And in that moment, she got the DNA, not knowing whether she would live or die, Art Harris. So he was connected to that, as well.
And, Art Harris, before I ask any more on background, let me just fill you in on the last meal. He had butterfly shrimp, lobster tail -- gee, it sounds like John Mark Karr -- a baked potato, strawberry cheesecake, and sweet tea.
ART HARRIS, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, Nancy, you know, he can have...
GRACE: I had a Diet Coke.
HARRIS: Nancy, you know, these inmates are allowed as much as they can eat as long as they keep the bill under $40 before they die, and they all seem to die on a full stomach.
GRACE: Joining us right now by phone is a very special guest. It is the niece of 17-year-old Christina Powell who lost her life to this man. Nicole, thank you for being with us. Are you with us, dear?
Liz, let me know when we get reconnected to Nicole on the phone.
As you know by now, the story of Danny Rolling comes to an end after multiple last-minute appeals. Let`s try Nicole one more time. Nicole, are you with me, dear?
NICOLE, NIECE OF VICTIM CHRISTINA POWELL: Yes.
GRACE: Hi, thank you for being with us.
NICOLE: Thank you, Nancy. Like I said before, I watch your show all the time. And I just wanted to let you know that, you know, it`s been really hard for our family. Every Christmas and everything comes around, we really miss her.
And, you know, he was worried about pain. I think he got what he deserved. He didn`t get at all get any amount of pain that he put his victims through or put the families through, because there was a lot of people there and a lot of people hurting.
GRACE: What was your family`s response to the death penalty taking this long?
NICOLE: I know that I can`t speak for everybody, but some people in our family think that it`s about time, it`s about time that justice was served.
GRACE: Long overdue. Tell me about Christina`s mom and dad, Nicole. How did they take the aftermath of her murder?
NICOLE: Very badly. They were very shook up. They didn`t -- you know, they`re very strong people. They`re Christian people. They`re very strong. They`re very loving people. They have hearts of gold. They would give you the shirt off their back. And they were grief stricken, you know? It was like -- it was very hard. It was very hard on them; it was very hard on everybody. And...
GRACE: I want to pass onto you, Nicole and your family, from all of us here who have been watching the case, our sympathies regarding Christina Powell. Christina Powell died at age 17. She was the youngest known victim of Danny Rolling. He went on to be co-author of a book, sell his artwork from behind bars, and live a pretty cushy life, Art Harris, for the last nearly 20 years.
HARRIS: Yes, a lot of these people do. And the appeals, they drag on and on, and they write books, and they write poems, and they sell art. And the victims suffer. As one mother said, you know, "He robbed us of all joy."
And another victim actually -- his wife was murdered in a totally unrelated thing. So it just seems that life is so totally unfair to these people, Nancy, and we need to think more about the victims than the pain and suffering from, you know, a heavy shot of painkiller and chemicals.
GRACE: Sodium pentothal.
And to Robert Blecker, the names of those Shreveport victims, I just want to remember them tonight: Julie, Sean and Thomas Grissom (sic), all three dead in Shreveport. Robert, it`s not just for these five, but those three, as well.
BLECKER: Yes, it is. The past counts; it counts forever. And we shouldn`t forget, and we shouldn`t forgive. We should have the courage to act on it. When we get somebody who definitely deserves it, we should execute them. On the other hand, we still have the obligation to make sure that only the worst of the worst are those whom we execute. We have an obligation to refine the death penalty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ve talked to her, say, "It`s done, honey. He got what he deserved." And also...
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GRACE: That is the mother of 18-year-old Sonja Larson who lost her life to Danny Rolling. To Dr. Stanley Teitelbaum, psychiatrist and author, do you believe, Dr. Teitelbaum, that this death penalty, this execution, can truly bring closure?
STANLEY TEITELBAUM, PSYCHIATRIST: Not completely. You know, the victims were not only the people that were murdered but also the families of those people that were murdered. And whenever you lose a loved one, it`s very traumatic. When the worst kind of loss is the loss of a child, and when that child has been lost because of something violent, something in you becomes broken, and that never completely heals.
GRACE: And finally, Dr. Teitelbaum, what the families are going through at this juncture, what is your advice?
TEITELBAUM: Well, they have to do what they can; they have to talk among each other. If they can find support groups, that always helps. They`ve had many years to work on this somewhat, and they have to continue to grieve in their own individual ways, and hopefully join with others and to move forward so that they can continue, you know, with their productive lives.
GRACE: With Sarah Craft, national organizer of Equal Justice USA, she is anti-death penalty. What do you propose, since you are anti-death penalty?
CRAFT: You mean in terms of the victims` families?
GRACE: No, you said the system was broken.
CRAFT: Yes. Well, specifically, in terms of what the doctor was saying, in terms of the victims` families, I think that the system is broken. And we need to take a step back and look at ways that we can help address these victims` families and help see how we can serve them better.
We can take the resources that we`re using on the death penalty and put them towards victims` services rather than spending more money on the death penalty. The death penalty, in all studies, has shown that it is more expensive than life without parole and other alternative sentences.
GRACE: Well, you know, trying to put a price tag on justice is something I don`t want to do, but I appreciate your sentiment.
CRAFT: Well, that`s...
GRACE: Very quickly tonight, we are remembering someone special. Marine Lance Corporal Cliff Golla, 21, Charlotte, North Carolina, awarded the Purple Heart. Golla, American hero.
Thank you for being with us. NANCY GRACE signing off. Goodnight, friend.