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NANCY GRACE

Convicted Beachfront Murderer Maintains Innocence

Aired January 19, 2007 - 20:00:00   ET

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


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight: A romantic walk on the beach under the light of the moon turns deadly. He takes a shot near the neck, his jugular vein, his only treatment antibiotic ointment. His new wife ends up dead by gunshot to the face. But does the state have a case for murder one? Would a man truly shoot himself near his own jugular vein in order to stage a murder scene? Tonight, an exclusive primetime jailhouse interview -- inside the Florida beachfront murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: Why did you download those songs that night?

JUSTIN BARBER, CONVICTED OF MURDERING WIFE: You`re probably referring to the Guns n` Roses song in particular?

CASAREZ: Regrets?

BARBER: I have so many regrets. I regret being, you know, the world`s worst husband. I regret (INAUDIBLE) regret going to the beach that night.

CASAREZ: Did you love your wife (INAUDIBLE)

BARBER: I did. I still do. I still do.

CASAREZ: You miss her?

BARBER: I do, every day. I wish that I could -- I could trade places with her. I know people say that all the time, but it`s true.

CASAREZ: Did you kill (INAUDIBLE)

BARBER: I did not kill her. I could not do that!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Tonight, you decide for yourself. We go behind bars. We talk to a man who is accused of killing his own wife. But would he risk his own life to stage a murder scene?

Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. Thank you for being with us tonight. Court TV`s Jean Casarez goes behind bars to find out the questions surrounding this murder mystery. In the studio with me, Jean Casarez. Tell me about that night, Jean, the night of the murder.

CASAREZ: Justin and April Barber -- well, they had only been married a few years, and their anniversary had been the week before. They actually didn`t live together because she was getting a degree in Georgia, he was working for a Fortune 500 club, a young entrepreneur. She would come every weekend to Florida to visit him...

GRACE: Wa-wa-wa-wa-wait! Let me get this straight. Separate homes, separate beds?

CASAREZ: Separate homes, separate beds.

GRACE: Not that there`s anything wrong with that. Continue.

CASAREZ: Well, they were together. They went out to celebrate their anniversary. They went to an Italian restaurant. He said it was a loving evening, it was a wonderful evening, in fact, so wonderful, they were going to the beach and walk along the beach and actually make love on the boardwalk, as they had done before.

So they went out to that lone stretch of beach in St. John`s County. And they were walking along the beach, and he says an assailant came up, shot her and shot him.

GRACE: Speaking of what he says about that night on the beach, let`s take a listen to Jean Casarez behind bars with murder suspect Justin Barber.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBER: I`m just day-dreaming. I find myself back on that beach.

I believed that she was dead when I left her on the beach. I didn`t want to believe it.

CASAREZ: What do you remember about that beach?

BARBER: The sound of the waves, the wind, the smell of the salt water. My memories of what happened there are clouded. Of course, I remember -- I remember what happened to us. It was a very, very scary time.

CASAREZ: When did it become scary?

BARBER: When we were approached. It happened very quickly. It was a bit confusing. I didn`t know -- didn`t know what this person wanted at first. I didn`t know what to do.

CASAREZ: What happened?

BARBER: Things got out of control very quickly, and he started shooting. And we fought. We fought for the gun. And that`s -- you know, it was a struggle.

CASAREZ: You know the question that everybody wants to know is, Why did you leave her on the beach?

BARBER: I don`t -- I don`t know why. I wasn`t thinking clearly. I tried to reconstruct a thought process for that time, and I can`t. I mean, it`s -- it`s -- I don`t think that I can go back and tell you why I did certain things. I was reacting to the situation.

The distance that we covered from the water`s edge to that crosswalk was a long way. It was a very difficult journey. I thought that I couldn`t go any farther with her. I knew that if I didn`t get help soon, that if she wasn`t dead already, that she would be soon.

And I was worried for myself at that time, too. I knew that I was hurt, and I didn`t know how badly. And when I tried to get her over my shoulder that one last time at the foot of that crosswalk and I couldn`t get her up and I dropped her, I think it was the sound of her body hitting the ground that snapped -- that made me snap out of that and I had to do something else. So I just left. I didn`t even stop to get my shoes, I just immediately started running to the highway.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Jean, that`s very, very confusing to me. When you spoke to him behind bars, what was his demeanor?

CASAREZ: Oh, very sorrowful, sad husband, widow. And he proclaims his innocence, that he had no involvement, he was a victim, too, a gunshot victim that night.

GRACE: But wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. He`s a gunshot victim? He only had to have antibiotic cream in the hospital. She`s dead.

CASAREZ: That`s right. But there were also -- people have said that he was very lucky to only have superficial wounds because there were four shots very close to the jugular vein, very close to his heart, in his chest cavity, and he was just lucky that night.

GRACE: Out to Dr. Lillian Glass, psychologist and author of "Toxic People." Lillian, do you really believe someone would go so far as to shoot themselves near their own jugular vein in their neck to stage a murder scene? Aren`t there a million other ways to do it without risking your own life?

LILLIAN GLASS, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, there are, but when people are desperate, they`ll do desperate things. And this may have been the case here.

GRACE: You know, Jean, he said there was a struggle. Let`s get back to the night on the beach. Listen, the only weapon on either side of the aisle in a court of law are facts. So Jean, what does he say?

BARBER: Well, first of all, his statement has been consistent from the day this happened, all right? And I think that`s important for everybody to know. He says they were walking on the beach. All of a sudden, an assailant came up. He believes it was a would-be robber. And he started struggling with the man because he saw a gun. That`s the last thing he remembers. He believes he heard a shot.

GRACE: Well, where did the assailant come from, just out of the blue?

BARBER: It`s a lone stretch of beach, let me tell you. So yes, it would have been out of the blue.

GRACE: OK. Let`s take a listen to what the jailhouse interview reveals.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASAREZ: You drove 9.6 miles. Why did you drive so far?

BARBER: I don`t know. I don`t know how far it was. I knew that we came from that direction. That`s where town was. And I knew that if I drove fast enough back into Jacksonville Beach I would find help. And I drove as fast as I could until I could find somebody that would help me. It wasn`t the first thing I did. I tried to flag cars down on the highway, and they wouldn`t stop. Three cars, and they didn`t stop to help me.

CASAREZ: When you were asked, Why didn`t you stop at one of the homes, you said, I didn`t want to wake up an old man. Explain that statement.

BARBER: If that`s not a complete fabrication, then it is such a distortion of my comments that it`s just simply not true. It is simply not true. Much like you just asked me what I was thinking when I made these decisions to go back to town, Detective Cole (ph) asked me those same questions. And he wanted me to justify that behavior to him, and I really couldn`t. I told him the same thing I told you. It wasn`t a conscious thought process. It was me in shock, reacting to the situation.

And he wanted to know about all these houses that he says I passed and why I didn`t -- why didn`t I stop. And the hindsight justification would be that these are very expensive beach homes. Do people even live there full-time? Are they vacation homes? Can I take the chance of picking this house, climbing the gate, trying to get help and not finding any there? How much time does that take? If it`s an elderly couple, are they even going to help me? Are they going to answer their door in the middle of the night?

But that wasn`t the thought going through my head. There were no thoughts going through my head. But looking back on it, that`s the conversation that I had with Detective Cole. I would never say that, that I would -- didn`t want to get some old man out of bed. That is such a ridiculous statement, I can`t even believe he made that on the stand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: That is Justin Barber behind bars, a successful entrepreneur accused of turning a romantic stroll on a moonlit beach into a murder scene.

Let`s unleash the lawyers. Joining us tonight from Philadelphia, Joe Lawless, defense attorney and author. Also with us, Frank DiScala, Jr., defense attorney in the New York jurisdiction. Joe, don`t you just hate it when you leave your cell phone at home? I hate that.

JOE LAWLESS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, sometimes that happens. In fact, actually, today I don`t have it with me. It does happen.

GRACE: Well, I have three.

LAWLESS: Well, you -- I`ve seen you, and the Blackberry. So some people are in touch with the world, some people don`t want to be in touch.

GRACE: Where was his cell phone, Jean Casarez?

CASAREZ: Well, he had left it at home. But his wife had taken her cell phone. It was in her purse. And her purse was discovered under the passenger seat.

GRACE: Of the car?

CASAREZ: Of the car. But he said he that looked for it and he couldn`t find it.

GRACE: TO Frank DiScala, Jr. Frank, what`s your best argument as to why he passed house after house after house after house, trying to call for help?

FRANK DISCALA, JR., DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Hysteria. We`ve all heard taped 911 calls. I mean, what happens? People have a -- there`s a shooting. There is a fight. He`s shot four times. His wife is shot. Presumably, he leaves her for dead. How is he going to act, totally rational? I mean, I don`t find that to be so troubling. He tried to stop three or four cars. Nobody would stop for him. He gets in his car, he flees, he looks for a place. What is so surprising about a person searching for help? Do we know if there was any help readily available for him? I mean, these houses are gated mansions, as I understand.

GRACE: Do we know, Jean? Did he try to flag down cars.

CASAREZ: That`s what he said. We don`t have any witnesses that say they saw him. But you know, I have to agree with Barber. Those homes -- I wouldn`t have stopped at those homes. They`re huge mansions. You wouldn`t know if somebody`s home. But he passed a gas station!

GRACE: Ouch!

CASAREZ: Yes!

GRACE: I didn`t know that part. DiScala, gas station.

DISCALA: All right, well...

GRACE: Pay phone!

DISCALA: ... maybe he was particularly upset at the time. I mean, he is bleeding. Apparently, he`s got four shots, not one shot.

GRACE: Yes, he`s on a desperate search, Frank, for that antibiotic ointment.

Let`s go out to Dr. Daniel Spitz, forensic pathologist and medical examiner. Welcome, Dr. Spitz. Lot`s talk about his injuries and her injuries. Let`s start with her.

DR. DANIEL SPITZ, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST, MEDICAL EXAMINER: Well, she`s got a gunshot wound to the face, certainly a fatal injury. Apparently, it`s a close-range shot, certainly consistent with an intruder or an incident as described by him.

GRACE: Well, OK, his wounds versus her wounds. She had a gunshot wound to the face. I assume she was killed instantly, correct?

SPITZ: Well, near it. Nearly instantly.

GRACE: What do you mean?

SPITZ: Well, she may have taken a few breaths after the fact. Certainly, if she collapses into the water, she could have inhaled some water, accounting for the water in the lungs as described by the medical examiner.

GRACE: Interesting. Were they actually walking in the water, Jean?

CASAREZ: That`s what he said, along the shoreline, where the waves were going in and out but close to the actual water, yes.

GRACE: Jean, how did he say he found her body?

CASAREZ: He said that he found her in the water, that she had been shot at the shoreline. And when he woke up -- because he said he went unconscious for a little bit. He woke up, and there she was in the water.

GRACE: Well, hold on just a moment. Mike brooks, former D.C. cop, former fed with the FBI -- Mike, say they both get shot in the same location. They`re walking hand in hand in the moonlight. They both get shot right there. They both pass out from their injuries. She dies. He passes out unconscious, according to him. Why does the water take her out and not him? Isn`t there a 24-hour cycle or 12-hour cycle to the drift? Why is she out in the ocean and he`s still lying on the beach?

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, SERVED ON FBI TERRORISM TASK FORCE: Good question -- high tide, low tied. What was the tide there? But the other thing that bothers me, Nancy, she had one shot right below the eye that probably killed her almost instantaneously. He was shot four times. Now, are you going to tell me they`re going to leave him only shot in the shoulders and once in the humerus? Come on! You know, it`s just -- this does not -- and once in the chest. This does not make any sense to me. They would have shot and killed him also.

GRACE: When you find out what this guy downloaded off the Internet, the songs he downloaded, you`re going to turn a back flip.

Let`s go back to Court TV`s Jean Casarez`s exclusive interview behind bars.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASAREZ: Why did you cheat on April?

BARBER: I don`t have any justification for that at all and I`m not even going to try to. I can try to go back and tell you why I -- the reasons for that, not just with Shannon (ph), but there were others before her. But it`s me trying, I guess, to psychoanalyze myself, perhaps my insecurities. Perhaps I was punishing April for choosing to take a job in Thomasville (ph), Georgia, that kept us separated. But I don`t know why, other than it was a terrible, terrible thing to do.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASAREZ: Why did you cheat on April?

BARBER: I don`t have any justification for that at all and I`m not even going to try to. I can try to go back and tell you why I -- the reasons for that, not just with Shannon, but there were others before her. But it`s me trying, I guess, to psychoanalyze myself, perhaps my insecurities. Perhaps I was punishing April for choosing to take a job in Thomasville, Georgia, that kept us separated. But I don`t know why, other than it was a terrible, terrible thing to do.

CASAREZ: Patty Parrish says that you had said that you would pay back the funeral expenses, that you couldn`t pay it, and that you never tried to pay one dime of it back. True, not true?

BARBER: There`s more to that story. I didn`t have my wallet on me when we met with the funeral home director. And the funeral home director was a personal friend of Patty`s. And he wanted payment at that time, and I didn`t have it. My mother offered to pay it and Patty offered to pay it. And I told Patty that I would reimburse her. And less than a week after that, from my interviews with the police, it was very obvious that Patty was pursuing me as a suspect with the police. And at that point, I didn`t feel comfortable having conversations with her.

CASAREZ: And so that early on...

BARBER: Yes. Yes.

CASAREZ: Was that surprising to you?

BARBER: Yes. It`s one thing for the police to immediately suspect a spouse in a crime like that. But for family members to do it, it was upsetting, to say the least.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: A young entrepreneur finds himself behind bars, charged with the murder of his wife. It all started out as a romantic stroll along a beach there in Florida.

Special guest, Detective Howard Cole with the St. John`s County sheriff`s office. Detective Cole, thank you for being with us. Did he bat his eyes and look away from you as much as he did to Jean Casarez when you went to visit him in the hospital?

DET. HOWARD COLE, ST. JOHN`S COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: Well, Nancy, when I went and met with him at the hospital, he was -- he was not so seemingly upset. He was very business-like, wasn`t -- wasn`t what you would expect for somebody in that circumstances.

GRACE: What do you mean?

COLE: He was -- he was just very businesslike, very able to answer my questions, not particularly emotional about the situation, given the circumstances. And just peculiar behavior, in general.

GRACE: Jean Casarez went behind bars to try to determine the truth behind this murder mystery. Jean, just give me a number. You`re on cross. This is not an open-ended question. Just how many lovers did this guy have behind his wife`s back?

CASAREZ: At least five.

GRACE: Five. Did any of them come forward and speak to the police?

CASAREZ: One, the last one.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SINGING) I used to love her, but I had to kill her...

CASAREZ: Why did you download those songs that night?

BARBER: You`re probably referring to the Guns n` Roses song in particular, or just the entire group of songs?

CASAREZ: (INAUDIBLE) the entire group.

BARBER: I was always downloading songs. I think there was nearly 2,000 songs on the computer at home that I downloaded.

CASAREZ: Why did you delete just that one song?

BARBER: I deleted several songs that day. And I think that the -- or whenever the songs were deleted. I don`t even remember what day that was. And I think there is a computer expert, the state computer expert also identified other songs that I had deleted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Justin Barber behind bars, accused of turning a moonlit walk on the beach with his wife into a murder scene. What else, Jean Casarez, did he download?

CASAREZ: Well, he downloaded a lot of songs that night. But the principal songs he downloaded, Guns n` Roses, "Used to Love Her But I Had to Kill Her," "Moving On" by Rascal Flatts, a good country song, obviously, though, about leaving, "Knocking on Heaven`s Door," another Guns n` Roses song, "I`m so Excited" by the Pointer Sisters, and then "November Rain," and the video. Nancy, if you know that song, it`s about a wife that dies on her wedding day.

GRACE: OK, Joe Lawless, I don`t know if you`ve ever seen the video that goes with "November Rain," but here`s your client downloading a song. The video has all these images of a beautiful young wife in a coffin. Explain.

LAWLESS: Well, I think what I`d argue to the court, certainly, is that the prejudicial impact of that outweighs the probative value. It doesn`t prove anything. It`s unfortunately a bad coincidence under the circumstances. And in an isolated scene, it doesn`t prove anything. The problem that is faced here is you have that situation coupled with all the other stuff. And it`s a problem, there`s no question.

GRACE: To Mike Brooks. Maybe that would work if there were only one song. But Jean, tell Brooks what else he downloaded again, please.

CASAREZ: "Moving On," "Knocking on Heaven`s Door," "I`m so Excited."

GRACE: Mike?

BROOKS: Unbelievable. You know, how ironic, Nancy. It`s also ironic that this romantic man on St. Valentine`s Day, on Valentine`s Day six months prior to this murder, he also went on the Internet. And on the Internet, he looked up trauma cases, gunshot right chest. And then a week later, Nancy, he looked up medical trauma, gunshot, chest. How ironic is that also that he would look up this on valentine`s Day, then a week later, looking on exactly where to put the gunshot wound when he did his self- inflicted wound.

The other thing, Nancy, he`s supposed to be right-handed, and he said when he went to grab for the gun, which shot him in his left hand, then it went into his nipple. That`s another ironic piece of information.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRACE: A murder mystery surrounding a romantic walk on a beach down in Florida. What is the answer? Justin Barber insists he is innocent. Court TV`s Jean Casarez goes behind bars for a primetime, exclusive, jailhouse interview, trying to shed light on this mystery.

One thing that popped out at investigators is the fact that Barber, for some reason, decided to order a bulletproof vest?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: In the civil deposition...

JUSTIN BARBER, FOUND GUILTY OF MURDERING WIFE: Yes.

CASAREZ: ... you admitted that you had purchased a bulletproof vest. Why did you buy that?

BARBER: I don`t know. It was an impulse buy. I was on eBay, and I think I was looking for Under Armor, which is an athletic apparel, and up pops the bulletproof vest, which I thought was bizarre. I put a bid in on it, and I guess I won the bid, and it shows up at my house a week later.

That bulletproof vest was hanging in our closet when the police searched our condo that same night. And then, months later, I guess it became an issue, and I turned it over to them through my attorneys. They analyzed the vest. They came to the conclusion that it had no relevance whatsoever.

The new prosecutors on the case, Chris Branch (ph), namely, decided that they had no purpose coming into trial. He didn`t even try to bring that evidence into trial. And that`s that.

CASAREZ: Yes. You`ve had some bad luck situations, though. When you lived in Norman, Oklahoma, your house was broken into.

BARBER: Yes.

CASAREZ: Now when you`re in Jacksonville, you had a car...

BARBER: Yes.

CASAREZ: An Audi?

BARBER: Yes, an Audi.

CASAREZ: What happened?

BARBER: It was stolen.

CASAREZ: And something was in it when it was stolen?

BARBER: Yes. The handgun that I owned was in that car. It was in the trunk of the car, yes. It was a nine millimeter. Nine millimeter.

CASAREZ: Where was it found?

BARBER: The car was found somewhere -- I think that`s actually Jacksonville Beach in the Intracoastal Waterway. It was dumped down a boat ramp.

CASAREZ: With no gun?

BARBER: The gun was missing, and a few other items that I had in the car were missing, as well.

CASAREZ: And you got money from insurance for that?

BARBER: Yes, of course.

CASAREZ: And April`s house was ransacked in Georgia?

BARBER: The house that April was living in, in Georgia during the week was burglarized sometime in, I think, the summer of 2002. She had a few items stolen.

CASAREZ: Insurance covered that?

BARBER: I don`t think it was turned in on insurance. I think that the items were of negligible value.

CASAREZ: Were you ever concerned?

BARBER: Yes, I was concerned. Her car, the tires on the GMC Jimmy that she was driving at that time were also slashed. That was at an apartment that she living in, before she moved into the rental house there.

And, also, the window of the GMC was broken out on a different occasion, and the radio was stolen from that, as well. So it was a -- that was sort of disturbing, to say the least, yes.

CASAREZ: Were you ever concerned somebody was out to get you?

BARBER: That seemed so far-fetched that I never really gave it serious thought.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRACE: Why did he end up with superficial wounds and she ends up dead with a gunshot to the face? Now, true, one of his wounds included a gunshot very near his own jugular vein. Would he have staged a crime scene including a shot near his own neck?

In addition to what you just heard regarding him ordering a bulletproof vest, police took his computer, and they forensically examined it. Jean Casarez not only spoke to him behind bars, but is familiar with the list of the discovery police found, including things like missing person declared dead, acute blood loss.

How much blood is required to be declared dead? How does bail bond work? Death from acute blood loss. Blood loss replenishment. Frozen blood storage. Missing person declared dead. Jean, is this true?

CASAREZ: All those searches came after April`s death. What law enforcement believes is that he was trying to orchestrate his own death so that maybe a lot of his blood would be found but no body, and then he would be declared dead forever himself.

GRACE: You know, think about it. Dr. Daniel Spitz, how could he pull that off? And what does this mean, blood replenishment, frozen blood storage?

DANIEL SPITZ, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Well, certainly that would be a near impossibility to try and stage your own death with blood loss and no body and then vanish into thin air. Certainly, that`s not really a conceivable option for him.

GRACE: Really? You really think that? Then why would he be looking at death certificates from Mexico, bled to death, blood storage, medical examiner crime scene blood loss?

SPITZ: Well, you can search anything on the Internet. And I`m sure he was trying to get as much information as he could. But the reality of it is, is that what he was thinking about doing would really not be a possible feat.

GRACE: Out to the lawyers, Joe Lawless and Frank Discala. Frank, why would he be looking up missing person declared dead, murder missing corpse, large amount of blood results?

FRANK DISCALA, JR., DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, the nice thing about being a defense lawyer is that we usually don`t have to explain that kind of thing.

GRACE: Yes, well, you do tonight, Frank.

DISCALA: It`s up to the state to put on their case. And where`s the proof in this case?

GRACE: That`s the best you`ve got, you want to throw it back on the state?

DISCALA: Yes, where is the proof in the case? Where is the DNA? Where is the forensics? Where is the gun? Where is anything that could link us to the murder? I want to narrow the focus and get back to the murder.

GRACE: Yes, I bet you do. What about it, Joe Lawless?

JOE LAWLESS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, after your wife has been killed, you sit on the computer, you start to do research, you look into anything...

GRACE: Really?

LAWLESS: You can go anywhere on the Internet, and that`s a reasonable explanation for what might have been on there.

GRACE: What did he look up, Jean, something about getting a death certificate in Mexico?

CASAREZ: Yes, immigration to Mexico, immigration to Brazil, not long after she was dead.

GRACE: OK. Take a listen, speaking of Brazil, about what he said under oath at a deposition.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever done any research on an Internet site to determine the circumstances of living in Brazil?

BARBER: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When was that, that you did that?

BARBER: Any time over the past four or five years, I`d say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would you do that?

BARBER: My company has business in Brazil.

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

BARBER: Yes, I did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you lie to them?

BARBER: I was embarrassed.

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

BARBER: I don`t know.

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

BARBER: If I saw his face, would I recognize it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

BARBER: Probably so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell me about his face. What do you remember?

BARBER: There wasn`t anything distinctive about his face.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Jean, what other clues did he reveal regarding the alleged assailant?

CASAREZ: Well, he said that he had a baseball cap, he had very white skin, but dark hand, and there was someone in the area that had committed a rape right on that stretch of beach months before. And so, originally, he believed that that was the killer, but that person had an alibi. He was in Connecticut that night, so it wasn`t him.

GRACE: Jean, you also say that he thoroughly cooperated with police.

CASAREZ: Every step of the way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASAREZ: You helped law enforcement so much...

BARBER: Yes.

CASAREZ: ... every step of the way.

BARBER: Yes.

CASAREZ: And then, once it got to your trial, they used all of that against you.

BARBER: Yes.

CASAREZ: You regret doing that?

BARBER: No. It`s the right thing to do. There`s nothing else I could have done. I mean, the situation -- my conscience demanded that I help the police. I was being advised to get an attorney, to stop talking to the police, but I just couldn`t do that. It`s just not the right thing to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: According to Jean Casarez, he also did computer searches on blood donation, how often, recovery time, and how much blood is required to be declared dead. Out to medical examiner Daniel Spitz, Dr. Spitz, how much blood do you have to lose to be dead?

SPITZ: Well, you need to lose about 50 percent of your blood volume before death would occur.

GRACE: Jean Casarez, any other searches that he did? And this was all immediately after her death?

CASAREZ: Yes, yes, immediately after her death, talking about going to another country, a lot of searches about leaving this country, the United States, and also looking up the prosecutors and their background in St. John`s County.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASAREZ: Did you kill April Barber?

BARBER: I did not kill her. I could not do that. I would not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Did he commit murder? Or was he a victim, as well, of an unknown assailant during a moonlit romantic walk on the beach with his wife?

April Lott Barber died of a gunshot wound to the face. He lived. The assailant got away. Out to Detective Howard Cole with the St. John`s County Sheriff`s Office.

Detective, when this finally went to trial, what do you think was the strongest evidence for the state?

DET. HOWARD COLE, ST. JOHNS COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: Truthfully, Nancy, it`s my opinion that the forensics in the case was our -- and in that, I mean the blood evidence in relation to his story, the blood flow, and, of course, the computer evidence and how our crime scene reconstructionist was able to put that all together. That was definitely the strongest evidence. And don`t let me forget the medical evidence that was presented by the pathologist.

GRACE: And what do you mean by the blood evidence?

COLE: Well, first and foremost, the uniform direction that was found on her face where her body lie when she was discovered. It was obviously in a uniform direction, which totally negated the fact that he had moved her numerous times as described in his statements. And our experts believe that that just wasn`t possible.

GRACE: But, Mike Brooks, if the water washed away all the blood in the sand, why was the blood directly under where the shooting took place? Why was that still there?

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE: Good question, Nancy. And, also, why wasn`t there more of his blood on her? If he had carried her in apparently nine different positions, there would have been much more blood transfer than there was.

GRACE: Out to Lillian Glass, Dr. Lillian Glass, psychologist and author, what do you think is the strongest evidence for the state?

DR. LILLIAN GLASS, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, as a body language expert, I can assure you that watching him on the stand, and even in this jailhouse interview, you can really see that he may not be telling the truth. His eyes blink rapidly. He looks up to answer questions. So you just question his veracity.

GRACE: I notice that he looks away, blinks constantly. I would guess his behavioral evidence, Lillian, is damning, the downloading of the songs, the computer searches, the girlfriends. Jean says he refused to pay for the funeral expenses, $50,000 of credit card debt, and a $2 million life insurance policy.

GLASS: Absolutely. And the songs are very poignant, because you can see what`s going on in his mind emotionally when he has a song, "I Used to Love Her." And then he has another song, "Moving On," and then, "I`m So Excited." So all of these songs tell a little bit about what`s going on with him internally.

GRACE: Correction, Dr. Lillian, the song is "I Used to Love Her But I Had to Kill Her," speaking of telling. And out to you, Joe Lawless, for the defense, in a nutshell, the strongest evidence?

LAWLESS: I think the strongest evidence was the behavioral evidence. I think the computer evidence was not good. The medical testimony and the forensics, from what I view it, it was a wash. They had their experts contradict the state`s.

I think the music, I think the motive, and probably -- and this is important in a case where a defendant doesn`t testify -- the jury never takes their eyes off a defendant in a courtroom. And if he`s not sitting there trying to project indignation, sadness, whatever -- if he looks guilty, that has an impact, and that can make a weak circumstantial case stronger.

GRACE: Frank Discala, I was asking about the strongest evidence for the defense, and I think Joe Lawless, Freudian slip, gave the state`s closing argument. Give me your best try, Frank, for the defense.

DISCALA: For the defense, well, we haven`t talked about the second car that was on the scene. This is supposedly a very deserted point of road. And there is a second car that two independent witnesses says was there and then was gone. But at the same time the shooting had taken place, why didn`t that car emerge? And why wouldn`t they have heard the shots? There`s five shots.

GRACE: Interesting, Frank. Very interesting, Frank Discala. Well, here is what happened in court.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... versus Justin Marcus Barber (ph), case number 041748CF (ph), June 26, 2006. We, the jury, find as follows: A majority of the jury, by a vote of eight to four, advise or recommend to the court that it impose the death penalty upon Justin Marcus Barber (ph).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Jean Casarez asks about that behind bars.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CASAREZ: You know, after you were convicted on that Saturday, you came back in and you had to take your fingerprints. And your family was wailing, your grandmother, your mother. You looked at them, didn`t you?

BARBER: Yes.

CASAREZ: Describe that for me.

BARBER: I don`t know how to. I don`t know how to describe that feeling. I wondered if I`d ever seen my grandmother or my grandfather alive again. They`re very healthy, but, you know, they`re getting old.

I knew the pain that they were feeling, and the shock, and the desperation. They`ve gone through a lot the last four years, as has April`s family. And I just wish that there was some way I could ease their pain, as well as the pain of April`s family. But there`s nothing I can do. And that moment in that courtroom, I just -- I don`t know how to explain that.

CASAREZ: Through the sentencing phase, your attorney told the jury that you didn`t want to put your family through that, to help save your life. Tell me about that decision and how you arrived at it.

BARBER: I never even considered it. I`m innocent. I would never have my family beg for mercy for me in a crime I didn`t commit. I would never offer mitigating evidence to try to convince the judge that he should spare my life if he believes I`m guilty.

I`m not guilty. There`s no middle ground. There`s no, "Well, we should have pity on him if he believes I`m guilty." And I can`t imagine asking for mercy for something I didn`t do.

CASAREZ: Even if it means you would die?

BARBER: I would rather go to death row than to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Well, according to a jury, that`s exactly where you should be, Mr. Barber! And all that crying you did with Jean Casarez, got something for you: a little hanky. But according to Jean Casarez, his family is completely different from him, Jean.

CASAREZ: You know, they`re good people, Nancy. They`re from Oklahoma. They`re Oklahoma farmers. And in a courtroom, you`ve got a lot of victims. You`ve got the one that was murdered. You`ve got her family. You`ve also got family members of the defendant as victims.

GRACE: Well, in another weird twist in this case, out to the judge, Judge Edward -- what`s his last name?

CASAREZ: Hedstrom?

GRACE: Hedstrom, you are in contempt. Explain the sentence.

CASAREZ: Well, the jury recommended death eight to four. And when it got to sentencing, the judge overturned and did not listen to the jury`s recommendation, and he gave him life in prison. Very unusual.

GRACE: Can he get paroled?

CASAREZ: No, he cannot.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRACE: A romantic beachside stroll ends in murder, St. Augustine, Florida. A 34-year-old, Justin Barber, accused of murdering his new wife.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

A romantic walk on the beach under the light of the moon turns deadly.

BARBER: It happened very quickly. It was a bit confusing. I didn`t know what this person wanted at first. I didn`t know what to do.

CASAREZ: You look at all of this, regrets?

BARBER: Concerning?

CASAREZ: Anything.

BARBER: I have so many regrets. I regret being the world`s worst husband.

CASAREZ: Did you love your wife, April Barber?

BARBER: I did. I still do. I still do.

CASAREZ: Do you miss her?

BARBER: I do, every day. I wish that I could trade places with her. I know people say that all the time, but it`s true.

CASAREZ: Did you kill April Barber?

BARBER: I did not kill her. I could not do that. I would not do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to say that we`re very pleased with the jury`s verdict, pleased for the family of April Barber and her loved ones. We`re just very happy and believe that justice was served here today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The friends who loved her are suffering in a variety of ways. Some feel as if they failed her; others are struggling to comprehend she`s really gone. We all carry an indescribable pain. How is it that anyone could choose to murder her? Did she know? Did she suffer? We will be haunted by those questions all of our lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Tonight we stop our legal argument to remember Army Captain Michael Cerrone, just 24, Clarksville, Tennessee, killed, Iraq. A West Point grad, a karate black belt, he loved surfing and outdoor sports. The son of a brigadier general, Cerrone leaves behind proud but grieving parents and a brother, James. Michael Cerrone, American hero.

Thank you to our guests and to Jean Casarez for her jailhouse interview. But our biggest thank you is to you for being with us and inviting us into your homes.

Tonight, a special good night from the New York control room. Night, Liz. Night, Brett. NANCY GRACE signing off for tonight. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.

END

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