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Astronaut Love Triangle E-mails Released

Aired March 6, 2007 - 20:00:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight, we finally learn the truth about what sent NASA`s elite star traveler over the edge. Did newly revealed e-mails, hot and steamy, send astronaut Lisa Nowak to blastoff? Bumpy landing with felony kidnap charges after the lady astronaut travels 900 miles to attack her love rival -- over e-mails?
And tonight, murder in Michigan. The torso of 33-year-old Tara Grant has been discovered, and today the prime suspect wheels into court as if he`s sick. One little detail, though. Video shows he`s more than able- bodied.

And also tonight, alert in Pennsylvania. Police say a 27-year-old mom swings her 4-year-old baby boy feet first, like a Louisville slugger. Result? When the baby makes contact, extreme skull fracture. Now Mommy`s going bye-bye to the big dollhouse, the ladies penitentiary.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Less than 24 hours after Tara Grant`s torso was found in the garage of her own home, searchers say they have found several other body parts and evidence scattered around the woods near 29 Mile and Mound (ph) Road not far from the Grants` house. They believe the mutilation was her husband`s attempt at hiding what he had done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Grant, I want to advise you that you`re charged that on or about February 9, 2007, in Washington township, Macomb County, you`re charged with count one, homicide, murder in the first degree -- that is, premeditated -- that you did deliberately with the intent to kill and with premeditation kill and murder Tara Grant, contrary to Michigan law. You`re also at the same date, time and place, charged with count two, disinterment and/or mutilation of a dead body. You did mutilate, deface, remove or carry away a portion of a dead body, that of Tara Grant, also contrary to Michigan law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police still say that you are not a suspect in this case. Do you feel that you are not a suspect in this investigation?

STEPHEN GRANT, HUSBAND OF MISSING WOMAN: I have no idea. I mean, I know what I was told on the night of the 14th.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re unrepresented by counsel. You`re in the custody of the county sheriff. Under those circumstances, the court on its own motion is going to simply indicate that you`re silent before the court, that you have the constitutional right. It`s called standing mute. I`m going to enter a not-guilty plea on your behalf at this point. Do you understand what I`m doing?

GRANT: Yes, Your Honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should you be a suspect in this investigation?

GRANT: I don`t know. If they have to look at me, they have to look at me. And I understand that. I`m sure there`s a lot of suspects in the case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He gave a very lengthy confession laying out exactly what took place, and yes, he confessed to this particular crime. We were very confident that Mr. Stephen Grant was the number one and the only suspect in this particular case and one that`s going to accountable for the murder of Tara Lynn Grant.


GRACE: Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight.

Did e-mails just released send NASA`s lady astronaut on a mission to kill?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dozens of e-mails Lisa Nowak apparently downloaded from astronaut Bill Oefelein`s computer paint a picture of a steamy romance between Oefelein and Nowak`s romantic rival, Air Force captain Colleen Shipman. One e-mail was sent from Shipman to Oefelein during his December mission on the shuttle Discovery. She wrote, "Will have to control myself when I see you. First urge will be to rip your clothes off. But honestly, love, I want you to totally and thoroughly enjoy your hero`s homecoming." That note and a dozen more were seized from Nowak after her arrest February 5 for driving 900 miles from Houston to Orlando and then allegedly attempting to kidnap Shipman at OIA.


GRACE: And that`s not all. She didn`t just drive 900 miles to confront her love rival. Remember, this is the lady astronaut that wore diapers so she wouldn`t have to pull over to slow her down, showed up with this, a wig, rubber gloves, tubing, pepper spray, one of these -- got to have one of these -- a buck knife. Yes. Why no attempted murder charges? And what`s in the e-mails that sent her over the edge?

Right now, to news reporter with WDBO radio, Bob Hazen. Bob, tell me about the e-mails.

BOB HAZEN, AM 580 WDBO: The e-mails mostly deal with a pretty innocent nature. They`re mainly dealing with a specific charm that Miss Shipman gave to Mr. Oefelein before he went into space. He took some pictures while he was in space...

GRACE: Well, excuse me, Bob, but you and I have a very different reading of the e-mails. "Throw you on the ground and love the hell out of you?"

HAZEN: Well, that`s...

GRACE: What does that have to do with a charm?

HAZEN: That`s the part that gets a little more racy. Most of them, though, start off with that...

GRACE: "Totally and thoroughly enjoy your hero`s homecoming"?

HAZEN: Exactly. "Love the hell out of you." She also says, "The thought of you with your clothes off is pretty nice." He writes back and to requite this love, and he says that having -- he`s having Colleen withdrawals. So obviously, this is a two-way relationship. And these are the e-mails that were found in Miss Nowak`s car when she did come to Orlando. And it`s one of the reasons that police think might have pushed her over the edge into coming here.

GRACE: You know, the way you put it sounds so innocent, pushed her over the edge to coming here. Bob Hazen, let`s take it from the top. What happened?

HAZEN: Well, apparently, this actually began around January 20. Miss Nowak had been dating Mr. Oefelein for some time, years even. And then at some point in January, he decided he wanted to focus on Miss Shipman, a woman he had met in November. Now, during this period, apparently, Miss Nowak took this well, but at some point decided that, you know, she wanted to stay with Mr. Oefelein.

When she found these e-mails, it apparently pushed her even further. She lost it, for whatever reason, found out that Miss Shipman was going to be coming to Houston for a trip to be with Mr. Oefelein. During that time, she got in her car with all the items you mentioned before -- the diapers, the knife -- and drove, stopping in Defuniac Springs (ph), which is a town in the panhandle of Florida, for the night, then coming all the way to Orlando International Airport, where she had arranged to confront Miss Shipman in the parking lot of the airport, and eventually ended up spraying her with pepper spray and being arrested for that attack.

GRACE: In this one, "We`re taking the plunge. We`ll have really good job security." It sounds to me like they were actually planning a future together, Bob Hazen.

HAZEN: They were planning a trip. There was also a trip that they took together in Texas, to Pasadena, Texas. There was another trip they were planning to take overseas. The actual word "plunge," actually (INAUDIBLE) a joke he made earlier about cleaning toilets for NASA. But yes, they had been making plans, and this is one of those things that got, apparently, into Miss Nowak`s craw.

GRACE: Well, frankly speaking, Bob Hazen -- Bob joining us from WDBO radio -- it`s not the diapers that bother me, it`s this, the buck knife and the pepper spray. That`s the problem.

Let`s unleash the lawyers. Joining us, Mickey Sherman and Penny Douglas Furr. Another issue that we need to talk about is the fact that this lady, Mickey Sherman, the lady astronaut, one of NASA`s elite star travelers, went through years and years of rigorous training, only the best education, had apparently gotten into her boyfriend Oefelein`s apartment or home and gotten into his e-mail and been ransacking his e-mail. Isn`t that a crime?

MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think that`s the least of her problems, frankly, and...

GRACE: Yes, but that`s my question to you right now.

SHERMAN: Oh, yes. No, certainly, it`s a crime, breaking and entering and theft.

GRACE: What if she had a key?

SHERMAN: Well, that doesn`t automatically mean that she had permission to be there. Maybe the entry was lawful, but what she did inside may have been unlawful. It`s like eavesdropping. It`s bizarre. They`re all acting like 7th graders, yet they are supposed to be our nation`s finest.

GRACE: I don`t know that they`re all acting like 7th graders. I think to reduce it to that, Mickey Sherman, is really minimizing the fact that she approached this lady in the parking lot with a knife and pepper spray and tried to attack her. That`s a felony!

SHERMAN: That was a different kind of 7th grade behavior. But up to that, I`m saying, just the triangle, the notes, sending the e-mail while the guy`s in space -- there`s something actually bizarre. And the content of the e-mails are all juvenile. When she graduates to actually doing something about it, that`s another story. And I think we also will probably differ as to whether or not there was an attempted murder or not.

GRACE: And to you, Penny Douglas Furr. Why is Mickey Sherman placing all the juvenile behavior on the estranged boyfriend and his new girlfriend? That`s not what tonight is about. That is not what these charges are about.

PENNY DOUGLAS FURR, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, it`s my understanding that he gave her the key and he gave her the password to his computer. So I think he may have been manipulating this, trying to get these two women to fight over him. So I think he was a huge part of this situation.

GRACE: You know -- to Lauren Howard, psychotherapist -- somehow, I don`t think he masterminded the astronaut driving 900 miles armed with the buck knife and pepper spray.

LAUREN HOWARD, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Absolutely not. And you know, listen, this is a simple case, unrequited love. She was stricken and destroyed by the fact that he was with someone else. You know, this is not a new story. It`s the reaction to the story. It`s the snapping out of control and not being able to control her impulses that`s the issue.

And you know, reading somebody`s e-mails -- I`m sorry, but I thought that was mail fraud. I mean, whether she`s got a password or a key, she`s spying with the intent to discover information about someone that she`s not entitled to. This woman lost her cool, and what she did was an egregious felonious act.

GRACE: I`m just wondering if the court is going to cut her slack already. We see there is no attempted murder charge.

Let`s go out to the lines. Jason in Minnesota. Hi, Jason. I think I`ve got Jason.


GRACE: Hi, Jason.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I know she`s been psychologically tested, but has she been tested for drugs?

GRACE: Interesting question. Joining us here tonight is a very special guest, Jonathan Clark. He is not only a friend of the astronaut, Lisa Nowak`s, he is also a former NASA flight surgeon. Jonathan, thank you for being with us again.


GRACE: Had she been on any type of anti-depressant that could have helped her push her over the edge, maybe some reaction to it?

CLARK: Well, I mean, my relationship with her is as a friend and not as a medical provider. Certainly, when somebody gets arrested for some crime where that`s a suspicion, they would do drug testing. I don`t know that there was a concern that she was under the influence of drugs. Certainly, as part of the evaluation that she`s been undergoing, they want to make sure that there`s no underlying medical reason for it, so I suspect that they`ve done tests for various medications and drugs and other problems that might have happened from, say, a thyroid or other conditions.

GRACE: So long story short, I think the answer to Jason`s question is she likely has been tested at this juncture.

To you, Pat Brown, criminal profiler. Apparently, the lady astronaut, Lisa Nowak, had been seeing Oefelein, the other astronaut -- let`s see their pictures, Liz, so we can get all this straight for the viewers -- for some period of time -- OK, I need to see her, Oefelein and the new girlfriend, if we have that shot, Liz -- apparently, around possibly two years. She decides to leave her husband, Pat Brown. Nowak decides to leave her husband -- has got two beautiful children that I know of -- for Oefelein. Then she comes over, she`s got a key to the house, and finds all these e-mails. Profile it.

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Oh, well, I think that that attempted murder charge should have been laid on her. I think what happened was she thought Bill was her future, and then he put his attentions on another woman, and she had to eliminate that other woman. She claims that she just wanted to talk to this woman, just talk to her. But if she had done that, that would have gotten back to Bill, and then he would have been really ticked off. So that is not what her intent was.

She took that trip across the nation, covered up her tracks the whole way with false names, intending to arrive there and kill this woman. She had all the implements to do the woman in. She had plastic bags to hide all the evidence and throw it away. That was her intent, remove the woman from Bill`s life so then Bill would have to turn his attentions back to her. If it had been a man, she would have been charged with attempted murder. Because it`s a woman, well, now she`s just getting an assault charge.

GRACE: And it`s not just because she`s a woman, I agree with you, but I also think the fact that she is an elite member of NASA`s crew has greatly persuaded the decision not to go with attempted murder.

Out to Mary in Virginia. Hi, Mary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. My question is, has Miss Shipman made a statement since the other girlfriend got caught?

GRACE: Good question. Bob Hazen with WDBO radio, has she?

HAZEN: Well, the closest she`s made to a public statement was the restraining order she took out immediately after this, which has now been - - she`s not going after that anymore. But she also gave a long, long interview to police investigators very shortly after this incident took place. In that, she goes over her relationship, also mentions a couple times where Lisa Nowak`s name came up in conversation with Mr. Oefelein. One of those very foretelling. It says she asked Mr. Oefelein, Is there going to be some crazy lady showing up at my door to kill me? And later on that night, also while they were in bed together, Mr. Oefelein apparently referred to her as Lisa. Both of these unsettling incidents...

GRACE: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait!

HAZEN: Go ahead.

GRACE: What were the circumstances surrounding Oefelein calling the new girlfriend Lisa?

HAZEN: They`d just been out all night long. They were at a party, apparently had been drinking. They were then laying in bed at the end of the night, and he just for whatever reason called her Lisa.

GRACE: For whatever reason.


GRACE: OK, we need a shrink on that one. Lauren Howard, they`re lying in bed together, and he calls her another lady`s name.

HOWARD: Oh, come on. So, you know, he called her the name of somebody else he`d been intimate with. Listen, you know who`s not on trial here? Oefelein. He`s not on trial for changing partners. Guess what? You`re allowed to love or be interested in whoever you want to be interested in. And in fact, it`s not even against the law to perhaps not break up with someone in the nicest possible way. This is not the guy that we should be looking at. It`s the behavior of a woman scorned and how she reacted to that.

GRACE: Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey!

HOWARD: Sorry.

GRACE: Hey! You`re barking up the wrong tree, Lauren Howard. I don`t have a problem with him. Nobody`s married here except Lisa Nowak.

HOWARD: Right. That`s exactly right.

GRACE: I`ve got a problem with the buck knife and the pepper spray...

HOWARD: Me, too, Nancy.

GRACE: ... and no attempted murder charge.

HOWARD: You got it.

GRACE: I think that Pat Brown is absolutely correct.

HOWARD: And so do I.

GRACE: Because she`s a lady and a NASA astronaut, she escaped a major charge. And that is not right.

HOWARD: Agreed.

GRACE: Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dozens of e-mails Lisa Nowak apparently downloaded from astronaut Bill Oefelein`s computer paint a picture of a steamy romance between Oefelein and Nowak`s romantic rival, Air Force captain Colleen Shipman. One e-mail was sent from Shipman to Oefelein during his December mission on the shuttle Discovery. She wrote, "Will have to control myself when I see you. First urge will be to rip your clothes off. But honestly, love, I want you to totally and thoroughly enjoy your hero`s homecoming." That note and a dozen more were seized from Nowak after her arrest February 5 for driving 900 miles from Houston to Orlando and then allegedly attempting to kidnap Shipman at OIA.


GRACE: Another one of the e-mails states, "Took one of our pictures to work to put on my desk. I like it there. It makes the work day bearable." Now, remember, the lady astronaut reads these e-mails to another woman after she has just left her husband and family.

Back out to you, Pat Brown. What`s the likelihood that she`s going to use some type of a mental defense?

BROWN: A huge likelihood. I mean, after all, it`s already been going that way in the public eye with the dropping of the attempted murder charge to just an assault. She`s simply going to say, I went over the edge. Look at my record. I`ve always been an upstanding citizen and wonderful person. Well, there`s that adultery thing, but we`ll ignore that. And there`s that -- oh, well, that narcissistic thing where I wanted this man for myself and no one else can have him. And oh, well, there is that thing about driving across the nation. But I just was crazy. And she`s obviously going to go for that, and I think she`s going to get a lot of sympathy for that as the woman scorned and gone crazy.

GRACE: To a friend of Lisa Nowak`s, Jonathan Clark. How is the rest of the family doing now, especially with the release of these e-mails?

CLARK: Well, I haven`t been aware of the contents of the e-mails until today. And the family, even from the very beginning, has tried to pull together and get through this as best they can. I mean, they need a lot of support from their family and friends, and you know, the local community because this is a very trying time. And you can I imagine that your whole life...

GRACE: I was just wondering specifically about the girls.

CLARK: Well, they`re with their dad, Rich.

GRACE: OK. Good to know.

CLARK: And a big part of that is to try to avoid the media blitz. But they do spend a lot of time with their mom.

GRACE: Good. So they`re with the father.

Let`s quickly go to the lines. Dina in Arizona. Hi, Dina.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. I love what you do to help all the victims. My question for you is, if she does use this mental defect plea, is that going to make it easier or harder for her to (INAUDIBLE) NASA? Will it make it harder or easier for her to work at NASA?

GRACE: I think any guilty plea, she`ll lose her job. If she tries a mental defect defense at trial, Dina, typically and statistically, it doesn`t work. Either way, I think she`s going to lose her job at NASA.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak makes headlines when she races more than 900 miles from Houston to Orlando to confront a love rival, wearing a disguise, Nowak, armed with pepper spray, a knife, a BB gun, and steamy e-mails between her astronaut boyfriend and her new lover. Court documents reveal U.S. Air Force captain Colleen Shipman and shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein exchanged about a dozen e-mails, some when Oefelein was in space. "Will have to control myself when I see you. First urge will be to rip your clothes off, throw you on the ground and love the hell out of you. I`m anxious to get you alone. But honestly, love, I want you to totally and thoroughly enjoy your hero`s homecoming."


GRACE: Wait a minute! I just got it! I`m paying for this. I`m a taxpayer. And he`s sending these e-mails from space. OK, with that, I understand why she`s mad. But really, a buck knife and a BB gun?

Let`s go out to the lines. Joe in Texas. Hi, Joe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How`re you doing?

GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, I live about a mile from Captain Nowak and was actually outside her house the day that she was supposed to return and went to NASA. I have a -- I`m a retired senior special agent with NASA OIG (ph) at Johnson Space Center. And the thing that amazes me about this particular case is that nobody, no law enforcement organization has searched her house.

GRACE: You`re kidding?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody. That`s where you start the investigation, from where she left from. What was on her computer? What was in her trash? What type of evidence might be present there to show her intent to kidnap or kill? I was there that day when she was -- she returned at 10:00 o`clock that night after a stay at Johnson. And according to her neighbors, according to everybody that was there, nobody had ever searched her house. The neighbors had access to the house. The police had never been there.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the newly released letter from Nowak to Oefelein`s mother, Nowak pours out her soul. "Bill is absolutely the best person I`ve ever known, and I love him more than I knew possible."


GRACE: Well, after she leaves her husband for this fellow astronaut, it all goes down the tubes when she discovers all of these steamy e-mails. Is that what sent her into orbit?

Back to Joe in Texas, a neighbor of the lady astronaut`s. That is incredible! That`s where you start an investigation. What has become of the home and the family now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as I know, she`s living in the house right now with her parents. Her husband and her children moved out, and they were not there at all when this incident was going down.

GRACE: Very quickly, to Gloria in South Carolina. Hi, Gloria.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Thank you for what you do.

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was wondering if Lisa`s husband had started any divorce proceedings or if he was standing by her.

GRACE: I know they`re formally separated. Bob Hazen, have they started divorce proceedings?

HAZEN: They`re separated, and this relationship is totally over.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Grant, I want to advise you that you`re charged, on or about February 9th, 2007, you`re charged with count one, homicide, murder in the first degree that is premeditated, that you did deliberately, with the intent to kill and with premeditation, kill and murder Tara Grant. Count two, disinternment and/or mutilation of a dead body. Do you understand the nature of the charges against you?



GRACE: Tonight, murder in Michigan. The torso of 34-year-old Tara Grant has been discovered. And today, the prime suspect wheeled into court in a wheelchair, as if he`s sick.

Well, a little problem with that. We have video showing that he is able-bodied. We`ll get to that in just a moment. Here he is coming into the courtroom today.

Let`s go straight out to Mitch Hotts with the "Macomb Daily." What happened?

MITCH HOTTS, REPORTER, "MACOMB DAILY": Nancy, today, the Macomb County prosecutor amended the felony complaint against Stephen Grant, upgraded it to first-degree murder. He was ordered to be held without bond until his preliminary exam on March 20th. He has been declared as a flight risk. And in a separate hearing, a Macomb County judge has suspended Mr. Grant`s...


GRACE: What, what, what, what, what? He`s springing out of his chair like a young gazelle and crawling into an SUV. Have you ever tried to crawl into an SUV, Mitch Hotts?

HOTTS: No, ma`am.

GRACE: You usually have to rappel up the side of it. But not so for him. Go ahead.

HOTTS: Well, Nancy, at least at the jail, the doctors have told the jail personnel that he does still have some problems with his feet from the frostbite from over the weekend, and that`s why they`re keeping him in the wheelchair.

GRACE: Oh, little question, Jane Velez-Mitchell, investigative reporter, what was he doing running through the snow without a coat on?

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, what happened was that a neighbor found a very incriminating piece of evidence, a bag containing latex gloves, blood and dog hair police say matches head hair from the home.

He got nervous and, even though he maintained his innocence, he took off and ended up running into the woods and hiding out. He was finally arrested on Sunday. And there he was cowering, wearing hardly anything, suffering from frostbite and hypothermia, so they had to take him to a hospital, but now he`s in the clinker.

GRACE: Let`s talk about the legal theory called flight. Let`s unleash the lawyers, Mickey Sherman and Penny Douglass Furr.

You know, Mickey Sherman, in a lot of jurisdictions, the jury can take into account evidence of flight. For instance, Mickey, when you happen to see a cop standing there in the mall, I assume you don`t take off running, full speed? Of course you don`t. So why would this guy, when he finds out a neighbor finds a baggie, goes on the run, and hides in the woods in the snow for a couple days?

MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Not a good sign. And it`s also called consciousness of guilt. Obviously, if you`re running from police, you must be running because you`ve done something wrong, and that, as you say, that`s appropriate before a jury, and the judge will charge on it.

I mean, this guys is obviously wacky. I`m not saying he`s insane. But obviously, I mean, just the sound bite that he gave, "Am I a suspect? How do I know? Maybe they haven`t told me yet." He`s weird.

What I don`t understand is how they let him do so much without a lawyer. Apparently, there was no lawyer present when he confessed, and there was no lawyer in court. If I`m the judge or the prosecutor, I`d want to make sure there is a lawyer there to preserve the integrity of the confession and also his rights and the rights of the state at the time of the arraignment and the plea.

GRACE: Yes, Mickey, that`s just like you, always worried about the rights of the state.

To you, Penny Douglass Furr, you know that feeling when you see a perfectly able-bodied person scoot right into a handicapped parking spot? For the family member that is in a wheelchair, you know, I`ve actually gotten out of my car and had a confrontation in many parking lots when I see that happen.

And now I see this guy, who I know for a fact can get up and walk, and he walked yesterday, then he climbs up the side of an SUV. You think they`ll wheel him into the courtroom in that wheelchair when it`s time for a jury trial?

PENNY DOUGLASS FURR, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: They might be -- well, I guess it depends on how the frostbite goes for this gentleman, Nancy. But my question is, where is his attorney? Within the past 48 hours, his attorney was on the national talk shows. And did he just throw him to the wolves? I don`t understand, also, why he`s here with no lawyer.


GRACE: Actually, that`s a beautiful job of shifting blame. I`m talking about the defendant. We find a lady`s torso, and he`s getting wheeled around like he`s Elizabeth Taylor.

SHERMAN: Nancy, isn`t he checking out of the hospital? Isn`t that the standard hospital exit policy?

GRACE: Oh, I believe he`s in court today in a wheelchair.

SHERMAN: But I think that scene is him going out of the hospital. I think they make you do that for insurance purposes.

GRACE: One of the shots is in court, and yesterday he`s -- here`s in court. This is court, just a few hours ago. He`s getting wheeled around. Keep on rolling that beautiful footage, Liz. There he is. He`s having the sheriffs that we`re paying roll him around. And we have video, not only of yesterday, getting out and walking, but today getting out, I think this one...

SHERMAN: That`s the hospital.

GRACE: Here he is coming out of the hospital yesterday. There he goes. He gets up and climbs into an SUV. "No thanks, guys, I can make it on my own, thanks." OK. Yes, got a problem.

Let`s go out to the lines. Ann in Massachusetts. Hi, Ann.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy.

GRACE: How are you, dear?

CALLER: Good, thanks. How are you?

GRACE: Good. What`s your question?

CALLER: Why didn`t the police look at the husband the moment he told them his wife was missing after five days?


GRACE: That`s a really good question. What about it, Pat Brown? What was the holdup?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, I think they knew it was him. I think they were looking to see what he was going to do next, that they could catch him in the action.

And, by the way, I want to talk about this pity trip he`s on. This is what I think he`s presenting. He wants us to go to the jury and to all the people out there, he`s getting pitiful. Very few people remember, but 1984, a guy named Dan Mitreon (ph), an ex-FBI agent, he, after being accused of putting a bomb...


BROWN: He was. He put a bomb -- well, he was accused of putting a bomb under his drug-smuggling partner`s car. And he went off into the everglades, wandering around, laid down on the ground, put a gun in his mouth. Then he said he got scared, passed out, woke up and he wasn`t dead, so then he checked himself into a mental institution. Do we believe this crap?

GRACE: So he`s holding himself hostage.

BROWN: Exactly, so here we have the same type of scenario. Oh, look at poor pitiful me. I`m wandering around in the snow. I`m just so distraught. I can`t even get out of my wheelchair. See if that gives you some sympathy for the poor weakling.

GRACE: Let`s talk about what the case is really about. It`s not his pity party he threw in a wheelchair in court today that makes all handicapped people furious, I`m sure, since we have other video of him spry and able-bodied.

Let`s talk about Tara Grant. Joining me right now is a regular guest on our show, Dr. Daniel Spitz. He is the Macomb County medical examiner. He performed the autopsy in this case.

Dr. Spitz, thank you for being with us. Dr. Spitz, have you ever performed an autopsy on body parts before?

DANIEL SPITZ, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: You know, I have. It`s obviously a very uncommon scenario, but it`s not as uncommon as you might seem, based on all the information that`s been associated with this case.

They`re unfortunate. Every single time you look at it, you look at a case like that, and you just shake your head, and you wonder how somebody could possibly do that to another individual. So when you look at Tara Grant, you just can`t imagine how somebody could go to that extreme to dismember her body.

GRACE: The mother of your children, the mother of your children.

Out to Lauren Howard, the killing is heinous enough, to kill the mother of your children, according to police, but to then dismember her? What would drive someone`s mind to even think of that?

LAUREN HOWARD, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: You know, there`s this immediate adrenalization for this kind of crime that really -- I mean, adrenaline is like a drug. And so immediately, you know, he strangles her. It takes a long time. It`s happened. What has he done? Get rid of it. Make it go away.

How do you make it go away? You cut it up to make it go away. It`s not as if it`s some conscious -- the decision to cut her up, I would venture a guess, is not premeditated. This is really the sort of adrenaline coursing through your body.

I have to say, Nancy, that, as a mental health professional, I resent the idea of people coming forward and trying to portray themselves as mentally unstable or mentally ill, ill, sick, as an excuse for their behaviors. There are people who truly are ill, mentally unwell, who are victims of their minds. For someone who acts egregiously like this and to try to use that excuse, it horrifies me.

GRACE: Let`s go out to the lines. Theresa in Nebraska. Hi, Theresa.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. How are you doing?

GRACE: I`m good. What`s your question?

CALLER: I just wanted to know, earlier today, I heard the judge inform Mr. Grant about the time that he can serve. Regarding mutilation, he indicated 10 years would be the time if, indeed, you know, he goes to court and he`s guilty.

GRACE: Right.

CALLER: Why 10 years?

GRACE: Ten years on a mutilation. Out to Mitch Hotts with the "Macomb Daily." That would be in addition to premeditated murder, right?

HOTTS: Yes, Nancy, it would. But let me throw out something here, Nancy. Right when you thought this case couldn`t get any wilder, some of the confession now is coming out from Mr. Grant.

And two points to make really quick. Yes, he is accused of chopping up his wife`s body at his father`s tool and dye shop and putting it in the park. When he found out police were going to search the park, he got nervous, went out there, retrieved the torso, and brought it back home. That`s how it got back into the house. It was out in the park originally with the rest of the body parts, and he brought it back home.

Secondly, we are now finding out, in those hours when he was out in the wilderness, the last phone call he made was to an au pair in Germany, rather than one of his family members. He called her and gave her an excuse that Tara fell down the stairs, that he did not kill her.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A gun, a knife, how about a baby? Police say that was the weapon of choice for a Pennsylvania mom who swings her newborn baby like a bat, clocking the infant`s father so hard, the baby`s skull fractures. Mom behind bars, facing serious jail time.


GRACE: Alert in Pennsylvania. Police there say a 27-year-old mom swings her 4-week-old baby boy, feet first like a Louisville slugger. Result? When the baby makes contact, extreme skull fracture. And now, Mommy`s going bye-bye, to the big house, the big doll house, the ladies` penitentiary.

Jane Velez-Mitchell, what happened?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, this is an absolutely wild case. We always hear, Nancy, of using your child as a weapon, but rarely is it meant in a literal sense. As you mentioned, it is meant in the literal sense in this case.

A 27-year-old Chytoria Graham accused of being in a fight with her boyfriend, and then sort of grabbing at things to throw at him, and grabbing at the 4-week-old baby boy, and using him as a weapon, swinging this child like a bat, hitting the boyfriend, who happens to be the child`s father, causing a broken skull. The child got a broken skull and had internal bleeding inside the brain.

We are so happy to report this child has apparently recovered and will be OK. Today, this woman has finally agreed to a plea deal. She hadn`t wanted to take the plea deal, but then suddenly she decided to do it, so she`s pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child. She will be sentenced on May 8th.

GRACE: What`s the possible sentence? Do we know, Jane?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she can get at least five years and up to possibly 20 years on the felony aggravated assault. And she can get a maximum of five years on the misdemeanor, endangering the welfare of a child. So I would have to say, at the very least, she will do probably five years.

GRACE: My question is, can any of that be probated? That`s what I fear the judge will do.

Let`s go out to Chytoria Graham`s former attorney, Dennis Williams. Mr. Williams is a trial lawyer there in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Hi, Dennis. What do you think is the best defense here? I mean, to my understanding, you believe she`s got a low IQ and that really the boyfriend did it?

DENNIS WILLIAMS, CHYTORIA GRAHAM`S FORMER ATTORNEY: That was my argument. That intended to be my defense until she chose to ignore it and chose to plead guilty. I refused to participate in that, because I believed that she was the victim, not the aggressor.

GRACE: I thought they ran out of money and had to use a public defender?

WILLIAMS: No, they didn`t necessarily run out of money. They chose not to take my advice. I had, based upon my investigation, believed that she was the victim and that the child had been struck by the abuser. And I was preparing for trial. I prepared various motions.

GRACE: Well, Mr. Williams, to me, that really doesn`t even make sense, because what you`re saying is that she is not the guilty party and, therefore, the public defender knowingly did a fraud on the court and had this woman under oath agree that she was guilty to something she didn`t do. That`s a crime on the court. That is perjury.

WILLIAMS: I`m not saying that the public defender did anything more than what the lady wanted her to do. The lady chose to plead to aggravated assault. She had indicated to me, after months of preparation for trial, that she now wanted to plead guilty and forgo her right to go to trial.

I told her I would not participate in that, because it was my belief that she was a victim, and she was covering up for the person who, I believe, had actually struck the child while abusing her. So in light of that, her parents, after she chose to plead guilty, chose not to continue to fund her defense, so I assisted her in obtaining public counsel.

GRACE: Let`s go back out to Jane Velez-Mitchell, investigative reporter and author. Jane Velez-Mitchell, it`s my understanding that, when the paramedics got there to take care of the little baby boy, 4 weeks old, she swung him, according to her, like a Louisville Slugger, that the grandmother and she said she swung him like a baseball bat.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s the thing. You may notice in that photo she seems to have a black eye. And that`s where it gets complicated. Apparently, the boyfriend and Chytoria were in a very vicious argument. And, you know, when you`re in a chaotic argument and people are swinging and throwing things, who`s responsible for what? That`s where the confusion is.

GRACE: Well, wait a minute. That is consistent. That`s not confusing to me, Jane Velez. That`s totally consistent with her immediate and extemporaneous outburst when the paramedics got there, that she had had a fight with her boyfriend, and then, in retaliation, took the baby and flung it at boyfriend. That black eye does not mean one thing, as far as the boyfriend being responsible. And why would her own mother rat her out to the paramedics?

Out to Sherry in Idaho. Hi, Sherry.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy, I love what you do. My question is, is it really just a misdemeanor?

GRACE: No, anything that carries more than 12 months or a $1,000 fine is not a misdemeanor. However, there is misdemeanor endangerment of a child. But if this lady`s looking at five years on endangerment, that is a felony. But that same charge does exist as a misdemeanor.

Out to Dr. Jennifer Shu, she`s a pediatrician and co-author of "Baby and Child Help." Dr. Shu, I`d like to say welcome to the show tonight, but it only means another child has been harmed. Dr. Shu, this type of injury, skull fracture and bleeding to the brain, can that have long-term effects on a child?

DR. JENNIFER SHU, PEDIATRICIAN: Yes, well, think of it this way, Nancy. A child that age is about the size of a 10-pound bowling ball or a sack of potatoes. So if you hurl it and it strikes something hard, there can definitely be internal damage. So bleeding, swelling, loss of consciousness, coma, brain damage, mental disability, things like that, seizure, so definitely there can be some permanent damage involved.


GRACE: A 27-year-old mom allegedly uses her 4-week-old baby like a Louisville Slugger. He ends up with a skull fracture. Out to Erica in Washington. Hi, Erica.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. Yes, I`d like to know where the baby is now. And will that mom ever be eligible to gain custody of the baby again?

GRACE: Erica, be afraid. Be very afraid. She`s got five kids. To Mickey Sherman and Penny Douglass Furr, Penny, what`s the likelihood she`ll get the baby back? He`s with the grandma tonight.

FURR: She may very well get him back, because this sounds like the typical story of a battered woman syndrome. And what is very sad is, if she is covering for the boyfriend, that`s not an unusual thing..

GRACE: Well, Penny, would you ever -- Penny Douglass Furr, you`ve taken a million guilty pleas, with me, even. Would you ever put someone up to swear they`re guilty if they weren`t, and plead to a felony?

FURR: I would not. But you don`t know. That might be what she`s telling the lawyer, because she wants to take the fall...


GRACE: But you would rather believe the public defender would lie as opposed to believing this woman`s telling the truth, she did it.

FURR: That`s not what I`m saying. I`m saying that she may be telling that to the public defender because she may be taking the fall for the boyfriend, because he`s smarter than she is. She`s got an IQ of 70. He`s beating her up.


GRACE: Well, why do you think she`s got an IQ of 70? I investigated that, and I couldn`t find a single document to support it. Not one. Not one.

FURR: OK, the documents that I received said that she had an IQ of around 70. That`s something that should have been investigated, because that is typical of a battered woman to go in and take the fall for the boyfriend. All I`m saying is...


FURR: It`s a very sad situation.

GRACE: I guess this means you don`t think she`s going to get the baby back?

FURR: I doubt very seriously she`ll get her baby back.

GRACE: Very quickly, I want to take a look at tonight`s American hero, Private First Class Adare Cleveland, 19, Anchorage, Alaska, killed, Iraq. He was patrolling southern Baghdad. He dreamed of becoming a police officer. He leaves behind a loving family, grieving parents, and girlfriend, Jackie. Adare Cleveland, American hero.

Thank you to all of our guests, but especially to you. NANCY GRACE signing off. Good night, friend.


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