Return to Transcripts main page
Mary Winkler Murder Trial Opens in Tennessee
Aired April 12, 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: Alarm clock goes off 6:00 AM, a Tennessee preacher`s wife gets a .13 gauge from the closet, aims it at her husband still in bed and pulls the trigger, the highly popular preacher, Matthew Winkler, found dead in his church parsonage, the three little girls now without a dad. Then she picks up the family minivan and heads to a beach vacation. She tells police at the time she shot because he criticized her. Now at day one of trial, motive changes to abuse.
And tonight: A Texas mom races her 8-month-old baby boy unresponsive to the local emergency room. He`s diagnosed all right. The child was full of methamphetamine. Mom admits to using meth just hours before the baby goes unconscious but has no idea how the baby ingested highly addictive meth. PS, to top it all off, she`s six months pregnant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) go to church.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty-one-year-old Whitney Walker (ph) waits outside a courtroom, hoping to get her kids back, 8-month-old Logan (ph) and 20-month-old Mariah (ph), says she wants them back bad enough to give up meth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) I do need help of some kind, and I want (INAUDIBLE) (INAUDIBLE) get my kids back!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The state took custody of her babies after Logan tested positive for a high level of meth last Thursday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) his nose and his eyes and (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It happened at the grandmother`s apartment in Richmond Hills (ph), and at first, police suspected her. But now Whitney Walker admits she and the baby`s uncle dropped meth into the home and perhaps dropped some of the powder where Logan could get it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know it was an accident. I know my mom wouldn`t hurt my kids. I know she wouldn`t.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Walker admits she also did meth while she was pregnant with Logan and with Mariah and also just last week, even though she`s now six months pregnant with a third child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight.
First, day one, a highly popular preacher`s wife on trial for murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In March 2006, this image of a picture-perfect family was shattered. Church members in Selmer, Tennessee, found Matthew Winkler dead in his bedroom, the victim of a single gunshot blast to the back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Matthew Winkler, whenever things did not suit him -- if his shirts weren`t ironed correctly, if the car wouldn`t start, if something didn`t work -- Mary was his whipping boy. He didn`t like the way she talked. He didn`t like it because she was too fat. She wasn`t perfect, and she had to be perfect to be a preacher`s wife.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why? That was the last word spoken on this earth by Matthew Winkler, and his last word was addressed to the person who he thought he could trust, his wife, the defendant, Mary Winkler. And he said it as he lay dying on the floor of the bedroom of his own house in Selmer, McNairy County, Tennessee. He had been shot in the middle of his back as he lay sleeping in his bed by his own .12 gauge shotgun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will show you proof...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: We see a -- we see a shifting defense from the time she was arrested there at a beach vacation to the time trial starts. Let`s go straight out to Janice Broche with WMC. Welcome, Janice. Thank you for being with us. What happened in court today?
JANICE BROCHE, WMC: Hello, Nancy. Well, you saw that testimony. That was -- I`ve covered quite a few trials, and that was the most dramatic, riveting opening statements I`ve ever heard on both sides, from prosecution to defense attorneys. You heard the question he came right out of the gate, the prosecutor, with the emotion saying, Why? That`s the last thing Matthew Winkler heard from the person he should have trusted, his own wife, Mary Winkler. You heard the defense saying that Mary Winkler was nothing but a whipping boy, that he didn`t like the way she walked or talked.
Now, prosecutors say that Mary Winkler is a cold-blooded killer, that it was a premeditated killing, that the day after Matthew Winkler was shot, that Mary and Matthew were supposed to go to the bank for a meeting, a meeting that Matthew didn`t know about and financial problems Matthew didn`t know about, and explain why they were $5,000 overdrawn. Prosecutors maintain that that`s the reason Mary Winkler killed her husband, because I suppose she just didn`t want to go to that meeting with Matthew and let him find out what she had done.
Now, defense attorneys say she`s not a cold-blooded killer, that that shooting was all an accident, that Mary was only trying to...
GRACE: Hold on! Hold on! Let me get the physical evidence straight in my mind.
To you, Dr. Daniel Spitz, medical examiner, forensic pathologist. Let me get this straight. The guy`s lying on the bed. From what I see in the medical examiner autopsy report, which I`ve got in my hand right here, he is shot in the back, back to front, right to left, upwards to downwards. If he is shot with a .12 gauge shotgun, she had to rack (ph) it, impossible for an accidental shooting.
DR. DANIEL SPITZ, MEDICAL EXAMINER: Well, you`re exactly right. You know, this is not an accidental shooting. This is a woman who goes to the closet, gets the gun, makes sure that it`s loaded or loads the gun herself, points the gun and then pulls the trigger at a man who is not even facing her. So clearly, there`s too many steps involved for this to be an accidental shooting. This is an intentional act, an act against a man who is clearly in a position of not being able to defend himself, and really has some evidence of premeditation.
GRACE: Back to Nicole Partin, investigative reporter also on the case. Nicole, it`s my understanding that at the beginning, when police found her on her beach vacation, leaving the preacher dying in the parsonage -- and the way I know that is because if you look at this autopsy report, you can see he didn`t die instantly. He bled -- he bled into his lungs. He breathed in the blood. He lay there for some time before he died.
When police got to her, she said she knew she was going to be caught, and it was all over some kind of Nigerian financial scheme. What the hey is that?
NICOLE PARTIN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Good evening, Nancy. Yes, reports are that Mary had somehow gotten involved with a Nigerian check- cashing scheme. And the way this works is that you can receive letters in the mail, or in her case, I believe it was an e-mail that was sent, asking her to send a substantial amount of money to a company. You send them a check for what they called "processing fees," and in return, you`re promised a larger amount of money back. When those checks arrive back to you, unfortunately, if you ever do get the check, they are no good and they`re deposited into your account. Then she begins spending money, and the checks were bad that she had been sent back. And this is a very common scheme, happens all the time, and it just so happens that she was taken.
GRACE: To you, Janice Broche with WMC. How much was she in for?
BROCHE: Well, they said that she was $5,000 overdrawn, but she did get a check for $17,500...
BROCHE: ... (INAUDIBLE) different checks. So that`s the amount of money that she had deposited in some bank. Then she went to other banks, where she set up another account to withdraw the money. And they called it a check-kiting scheme.
But back to the accident. Now, her attorney...
GRACE: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!
GRACE: Did I just hear you say "accident"?
BROCHE: Well, let me tell you what he said because it was pretty interesting, in the opening statement. He said that she did get the gun out of the closet on purpose. She wanted to hold that gun on Matthew Winkler, her husband. She wanted to talk to him, tell him he needed to start acting better, acting right. She said -- or he testified -- or told the jurors that that`s something that Matthew had done to Mary frequently, that he had held the gun on her...
GRACE: Yes, yes.
BROCHE: Something else...
GRACE: I want to get to the shooting.
BROCHE: ... interesting that Steve brought out...
GRACE: OK, who is Steve? Are you referring to the defense attorney, Mr. Farese?
BROCHE: Yes, Steve Farese. Yes, Mr. Farese. I believe you know him.
GRACE: Yes, I do. But what I`m getting at is the shooting, all right? How was that an accident that she racked a .12 gauge and shot a guy in his back while he`s sleeping on the bed?
BROCHE: Well, according to Steve Farese, her attorney, the gun went off accidentally. He was saying she was standing on some pillows. And we saw the crime scene photos today, and it shows Matthew Winkler`s body, and there are quite a few decorative pillows on the floor. And she said that - - he says she was standing on those pillows and the gun just went off. He said she didn`t even realize that she had shot her husband. She ran out of the room, fearing that he would become angry with her because she shot the gun and...
GRACE: Oh, really?
BROCHE: ... he might come after her.
GRACE: Is that a fact? That`s what Steve, as you call him -- that would be Mr. Farese, the defense attorney in this case -- said. But according to what she told police at the time she was arrested at her beach vacation, Nicole Partin, she told police that he turned to her and said one word, Why? And she took a bedsheet and wiped the blood coming out of his mouth, wiped it away, went out in the hall and lied to the children that Daddy was in the hospital and they were going away. She didn`t run out of the room afraid he would shoot her, she wiped the blood from his mouth as he lay there dying!
BROCHE: Right, Nancy. And you know, we have to understand that there`s a lot also that the defense brought up today, including allegations that Mary was living in a very abusive relationship mentally, physically, emotionally and otherwise. And also, a big bombshell was dropped today in the hearing when the defense also said that there was something -- we`re not sure what, but there was something that happened between Matthew Winkler and their young year-old daughter the morning of the shooting, and I believe that to be something big in the story.
GRACE: Well, if it`s big in the story, Nicole, and there`s more than just suggestion in opening statement, why wasn`t it stated in opening statement? What is the evidence to prove the "something big"?
PARTIN: I think that we`re going to hear more about that, and I think that as we see the witnesses take the stand, we`re going to see that Mary could have very well been suffering for many years from this physical, emotional abuse.
GRACE: Well, OK...
PARTIN: And in one statement, she -- they actually said that she was trying to get his attention, and the only way she knew to do it was to point the shotgun at him that he had on many occasions pointed at her and threatened her life with.
GRACE: Unleash the lawyers, Elizabeth. Susan Moss joining us, Richard Herman, and Rebecca Rose-Woodland (ph). To you, Richard Herman. If you`ve got the evidence, if you`ve got the hard evidence, Richard, don`t you tell the jury in opening statement?
RICHARD HERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, you can leave one or two things out for them to follow the case along...
GRACE: Like child abuse?
HERMAN: Well, that...
GRACE: Is that one or two small things?
HERMAN: That child abuse is a bombshell, and the jury has piqued their interest and they want to hear it. And if there was child abuse there, this jury, some of them, are going to feel sympathetic towards her. You know, it`s all about diminished capacity, Nancy, whether she was able to form that requisite intent for first degree murder. And if there was...
HERMAN: ... an abusive relationship and experts get on there and say that she had diminished capacity...
GRACE: Oh! Oh! Oh! Big guy, hold on. Back to the question. If you have a bombshell, you want to tell me -- there`s one jury trial you have ever tried that you didn`t tell in opening statement, if you had the proof?
HERMAN: Here it is, Nancy. They have to decide whether or not...
GRACE: No! Answer~! That`s a yes or a no!
HERMAN: I`ll tell you -- they need to put her on the stand or not.
GRACE: OK. I`ll take that...
HERMAN: They need to make that decision.
GRACE: ... as a no. To you...
HERMAN: If they put her on, it`s going to come out.
GRACE: You obviously aren`t going to answer. Rebecca Rose- Woodland...
REBECCA ROSE-WOODLAND, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes?
GRACE: ... a little thing like child abuse as the motive, if you`ve got it, you tell the jury in the opening statement. If you don`t have it, you dance around it like you`re going to drop this big bombshell later on in the trial. He doesn`t have it.
ROSE-WOODLAND: You know what I`m thinking, Nancy? I`m thinking they`re going to put her on the stand. He promised the jury that they will hear from her, so possibly, her attorney, Mr. Farese, thinks it will be more effective for her to come on and talk about this child abuse, possible sexual abuse -- it sounds like that`s where he`s going with it -- from the mother of the child...
GRACE: Yes, well, you know what, Rebecca?
ROSE-WOODLAND: ... who committed this crime. That`s where I think he`s going with it, Nancy. I hope he has something because...
GRACE: You should get a night job as a clairvoyant, a tea leaf reader, because you just figured out what he`s suggesting in opening statement.
GRACE: OK, let`s go to Susan Moss and see if she can make some sense of it. What do you think?
SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAY ATTORNEY, CHILD ADVOCATE: I agree. Well, of course, you normally would put this in an opening statement. Perhaps the strategy is to keep everybody`s interest and wait for the bombshell to come later.
GRACE: My God, woman! The preacher`s wife takes a .12 gauge from the closet and shoots the husband asleep in the bed. He`s got my interest, OK?
GRACE: Pique your interest?
MOSS: The issue is why.
MOSS: Doesn`t make sense, but there is a reason. Perhaps that reason is battered woman syndrome. After suffering years and years of sexual, of physical and emotional abuse, this does something to the psyche. Perhaps she felt helpless, that there was no other way for her to protect herself and to protect her child.
GRACE: OK. OK.
MOSS: And by going forward and taking that shotgun and shooting her husband, it was the only way...
GRACE: OK, so...
MOSS: ... she thought she could protect herself.
GRACE: So Susan, you`re not buying the "I slipped on a pillow and racked the shotgun and killed him by accident." You`re not buying that? You`re saying battered women`s defense? Because, you know, you have to pick one defense, all right? Can the three of you get together and just pick a defense tonight?
MOSS: Well, certainly, we`re going to see as the evidence comes out, but this is fairly typical of a battered woman`s syndrome defense and what occurred.
GRACE: OK. Let me ask you this. To Janice Broche with WMC. In opening statements, when Farese laid out the facts, did we hear any substantiation of battered woman`s syndrome, sex abuse on the children or physical abuse on the children?
BROCHE: No. I can tell you what he did say as far as -- he didn`t mention sexual abuse, but he did give a little bit of a hint about what he was talking about with Matthew Winkler and the older two children. He talked about how the youngest daughter had some kind of physical problem and she cried a lot. And it kept Matthew Winkler awake, and he liked to sleep, according to Steve Farese. That`s what he said. And Mary said, I`m not going to let you do to her what you did to the other two girls, sounding more like it was an anger issue. He didn`t mention...
BROCHE: ... hit the children, but that`s where he was going.
GRACE: So we`re just going to...
GRACE: ... guess what it may be. Take a listen to this.
BROCHE: He was -- well, I talked -- I talked to Steve Farese...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The proof will show that Matthew Winkler, whenever things did not suit him -- if his shirts weren`t ironed correctly, if the car wouldn`t start, if something didn`t work -- Mary was his whipping boy. He didn`t like the way she talked. He didn`t like the way she walked. He didn`t like it because she was too fat. He would tell her she couldn`t eat lunch because she was too fat. She wasn`t perfect, and she had to be perfect to be a preacher`s wife.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A person goes up and approaches her and says, We got a preacher killer here. Are you the lady that killed the preacher? And you will hear testimony that she laughed and said, yes, you want to be next? You will not be given a good reason why, but the state will show you ample evidence that Mary Winkler premeditatedly, unlawfully and intentionally killed Matthew Winkler, a man that did not deserve to die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Out to the lines. Karen in Tennessee. Hi, Karen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. I love your show.
GRACE: Thank you, ma`am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Listen, I am Church of Christ, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I find it very hard to believe that this man can be attacked as -- he`s dead. He can`t defend himself.
GRACE: I agree.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. She would have been able to confide -- did she ever confide in anybody? Did anybody ever see any signs of abuse? And all they had to do is take those children to a pediatrician. The pediatrician can tell if those children have been messed with. You know, I...
GRACE: You know what, Karen? You`re absolutely correct, Karen in Tennessee, coincidentally a Church of God member. This is a Church of God pastor, preacher they are called. You know what? Daniel Spitz, she`s absolutely correct. If a child has been sexually abused, if there has been any vaginal penetration, very often, that can be determined by a pediatrician.
SPITZ: Well, you`re correct. You know, children who are sustaining physical abuse or sexual abuse, you can`t hide that. And if you take the kid to the doctor, it`s going to come out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: The reason this .12 gauge shotgun will be imported into evidence is because to work it, Mary Winkler had to go through so much to kill her husband. She`s about my height, 5-2. To pull back, load, and aim and pull, that takes quite a bit of effort.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one knows the events of that night except Mary Carol and us. But as you know, they cannot know the whole story until we go to court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Apparently, you can`t know the whole story even after you`ve heard opening statements. Today the defense alluded that this preacher, dead in the grave, who can`t speak for himself, was some type of monster that abused his wife and three daughters. Is it true?
Out to the lines. Karen in New York. Hi, Karen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. How are you?
GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, how is it that she can give one statement, and then -- when she first speaks to the police, and then when she talks to her lawyers and the ball gets rolling on everything, how can she change her statement to something so contradictory?
GRACE: To criminal profiler Pat Brown. How is that? How is that, that you can get a whole new statement once you talk to a defense lawyer?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, Nancy, I`d say it`s because our system allows lawyers to be liars. I know that I`ve been brought into cases by defense lawyers, and they say, Hey, Pat, OK, let`s ignore the reality of what probably happened. What story can you come up with for me that might fly in court? I`m thinking, Well, you know, I`m not going to go there, but that is sometimes what`s asked.
And I think -- I want to bring up something about this issue about battered women`s syndrome. I think this has been misunderstood, misinterpreted. Physically, battered women is one thing. If you think your life is in danger, you have the right to protect yourself. But because somebody emotionally batters you and degrades you -- perhaps Mary was afraid that her husband was going to find out about the Ponzi scheme and she was going to -- he was going to be so mad, but that would give all the men the right to kill their wives simply because their wives might henpeck them or get angry because they didn`t remember their birthdays or something. So you cannot kill somebody because they emotionally upset you. It`s just -- that`s not a defense.
GRACE: To psychologist Caryn Stark. Karen, you`ve handled so many battered women`s cases. Do you see any evidence of it?
CARYN STARK, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, the only evidence is the evidence that`s coming from her family, Nancy, which is pretty hard to say is unbiased. So no, I haven`t seen any evidence of it in this case. Emotional, yes.
GRACE: Yet, we haven`t seen it yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mary Winkler had what appears to everyone who observed them, knows from the outside, to have had a marriage made in heaven. But behind closed doors, it was a living hell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Be careful when you speak ill of the dead. The jury`s going to want hard evidence to back up those claims in the murder one trial of a preacher`s wife in Tennessee, her husband apparently asleep in bed when he was shot in the back.
Straight out to a special guest tonight, Lois Evans, former president of the Global Pastors` Wives Network. Thank you for being with us, ma`am.
LOIS EVANS, FORMER PRES., GLOBAL PASTORS` WIVES NETWORK: My pleasure.
GRACE: I know that preachers` and pastor`s wives face a whole set of pressures unlike anything that we know about. But to use that as an excuse for shooting the husband -- I`m finding that hard to digest.
EVANS: What this has done, sadly enough, is brought to the surface the stress that pastors live with, and their wives, as well. It, sadly enough, has brought the tragedy of the fact that pastors` wives and pastors in their homes live with isolation. I wish there was someone that was there to speak with Mary Winkler and Matthew Winkler and to be a help to them. And that`s what pastors and wives need around this country today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The baby`s mother told police she left the boy with her mother for about three hours Thursday and noticed strange behavior when she picked him up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mother described the symptoms as that the baby was staring out into space, wouldn`t respond to her, and seemed very clingy and very irritable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She took the 8-month-old to the hospital where he tested positive for meth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In actuality, this 8-month-old infant had the presence of amphetamine, methamphetamine, nicotine, and caffeine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The grandmother, Janna Beau, allowed Richland Hills police to bring in a drug-sniffing dog.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The drug dog did alert on three different areas. However, we were unable to locate any illegal narcotics. At first I thought maybe, you know, maybe someone was using meth around the baby, it fell into the crib or something, but according to what the doctors are saying, it was a significant amount, so I -- we don`t at this point believe it was accidental.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Neither the grandmother nor the mother, 21-year- old Whitney Walker, have been charged with anything, but the investigation continues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: A young Texas mom rushes her child unresponsive to the emergency room. He`s diagnosed, all right. He was high on methamphetamine. That`s right. She then told police, yes, she had been using meth that afternoon just a couple of hours before the baby went unconscious, but has no idea how he ingested meth. To top it all off, she is six months pregnant.
Out to Terese Arena with KLIF. What`s the story?
TERESE ARENA, NEWS DIRECTOR, KLIF: Well, Nancy, you basically heard the story. The mother, Whitney, had dropped the baby, Logan, of at the grandmother`s house. And when she came back, the baby was fidgety and unresponsive. She took him to the hospital, and they thought something was wrong. They took him to Cook Children`s Hospital in Fort Worth, and that`s where doctors tested for drugs and found the amphetamine, methamphetamine, nicotine and caffeine in his system.
GRACE: Well, let me ask you this. When the drug dog came to the location, they hit inside the mom`s home, not the grandmother`s?
ARENA: They hit inside the grandmother`s home, but they did not find any drugs in the grandmother`s home.
GRACE: OK. Who had the child been with before he was dropped of at the grandma`s?
ARENA: Had been with the mother. She had kept the child and said that she was going to drop a friend off in another city. And when they had a hearing for the child on Monday, a custody hearing for Logan and his 20- month-old sister, Maria, that`s when the mother admitted that she had done meth that day, but she didn`t know how it got in the baby`s system.
GRACE: In the home?
ARENA: In her home.
GRACE: In her home where the baby was. Well, I think it`s pretty easy to figure out where the baby got the meth. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WHITNEY WALKER, BABY FOUND WITH METH: I`ll stay clean. I`ll go to classes. I`ll start going to church. I don`t think I have a bad drug problem, but I do need help of some kind, and I want help of some kind. I`ll do whatever I got to do to get my kids back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Baby started just doing his nose and his eyes and nose and eyes.
WALKER: I know it was an accident. I know my mom wouldn`t hurt my kids. I know she wouldn`t. I probably had it in my system, but I didn`t know -- I wasn`t on them that day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Here. Have that. This lady is using meth while she`s pregnant, six months pregnant, with another baby. OK, joining us tonight is the grandmother, the baby`s grandmother. This is Janna Beau.
Ms. Beau, thank you for being with us.
JANNA BEAU, GRANDMOTHER OF BABY FOUND WITH METH: Thank you.
GRACE: Ms. Beau, why do you believe the drug dog hit in your home?
BEAU: I`m assuming because she had prior drug use and has a lot of friends that do drugs.
GRACE: In your home?
BEAU: I think she`s done them in my house. She has a room. She takes friends in there sometimes. We don`t know what they`re doing. And as far as the lady said, she was not doing drugs in my home that day. She did do drugs that day, but she didn`t do them in my home.
GRACE: Have you observed her do drugs in your home?
BEAU: No. I know that she does drugs, though.
GRACE: Where do the dogs hit inside your home?
BEAU: They wouldn`t tell that to us. They made us wait outside.
GRACE: What`s going to happen to the 6-month-old baby that she`s carrying with her doing meth?
BEAU: They`re going to put her through a plan and how to recover and hopefully get her children back.
GRACE: Question. It seems to me that she is shifting blame on to you, saying she doesn`t know what happened in those three hours the baby was with you.
BEAU: That`s what I thought in the beginning myself, but there was another person involved who was the uncle to the baby on the father`s side, not my side. And he is the one that she brought in my home with her, and he had drugs on him, and he is the one -- what we`ve narrowed down is he probably accidentally dropped them in my house.
I made sure he was never around that baby while he was there. I never even saw the baby the whole time he was there. She brought him out when they left, and within about an hour he got sick. And so they`re trying to blame me because it was my house.
GRACE: Out to Dr. Daniel Spitz, medical examiner, forensic pathologist. Have you ever heard anything like it? What can this do to a baby 8 months old?
DANIEL SPITZ, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Well, methamphetamine is a stimulant, so it causes increase in heart rate, increase in blood pressure. It can cause other types of cardiovascular-type problems.
Clearly, this is a traumatic issue with this child, and it needs to be figured out exactly where it came from. But from what I`m seeing, it looks like this is not just secondhand, passive transfer. This is that this child got a hold of this material and actually somehow ingested it.
GRACE: Out to the lines. Amy in Nebraska. Hi, Amy.
CALLER: Hi, how are you?
GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?
CALLER: Well, basically, what I`m curious about is, I understand she is pregnant again, and I want to know if they`re going to be doing anything proactive to make sure she gets some sort of treatment so this baby has a chance? And if she is -- if that baby is going to be taken away?
GRACE: To you, Terese Arena with KLIF. What can you tell me?
ARENA: Well, they are going to have a hearing on August the 20th on the status of the two children and where they will stay. They want to get help for the youngsters and, of course, the county D.A. and the Richland Hills police are going to meet to tomorrow to decide if there are any charges that anyone is going to face.
GRACE: Take a listen to what police had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mother described the symptoms as the baby was staring out into space, wouldn`t respond to her, and seemed very clingy and very irritable. In actuality, this 8-month-old infant had the presence of amphetamine, methamphetamine, nicotine, and caffeine.
The drug dog did alert on three different areas. However, we were unable to locate any illegal narcotics. At first I thought maybe, you know, maybe someone was using meth around the baby, it fell into the crib or something, but according to what the doctors are saying, it was a significant amount, so I -- we don`t at this point believe it was accidental.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Joining us right now is Jim Shaw, attorney for Whitney Walker, the mother in this case, rushed her baby to the hospital. The baby is high on meth, methamphetamines.
Elizabeth, while I`m talking to defense attorney Jim Shaw, let`s take a look at what methamphetamine does to an adult. OK. Now, keep it rolling. We`re talking about an 8-month-old baby. This is what happens to adults that use methamphetamine. Take a look.
And while you`re looking, to Jim Shaw, what`s going to happen to your client?
JIM SHAW, ATTORNEY FOR WHITNEY WALKER: She`s going to get treatment. She`s going to deal with the issues. She`s going to continue to cooperate with the police. And, ultimately, I think, she will be exonerated of any criminal culpability in these cases.
GRACE: So you think she`s not going to face any charges at all?
SHAW: I don`t think that she will be free from facing charges. After all, it`s Detective Bell (ph), the district attorney`s job, to go in there and protect these children, but I think ultimately the facts are going to show...
GRACE: I`m sorry. I couldn`t hear you. It`s the D.A.`s responsibility to do what?
SHAW: To pursue these facts and protect children. I think, ultimately, the evidence is going to show that, when the symptoms presented themselves, she was not present. Only her mother was present.
GRACE: Sir, she`s pregnant now. She`s on meth with a baby.
SHAW: I thought you were asking me about the case that they`re investigating right now. Right now, the evidence shows that the last person that had the child was present -- the symptoms presented themselves, and within three minutes of observing this, my client, Ms. Walker, took the child to the hospital over the objection of her own mother.
GRACE: Quick break. As we go to break, there`s a theory called criminal negligence, for instance, leaving methamphetamines around children, children that can actually ingest them. That is criminal liability.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: I will stay clean. I`ll go to classes. I`ll start going to church.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twenty-one-year-old Whitney Walker waits outside a courtroom, hoping to get her kids back. Eight-month-old Logan and 20- month-old Maria. Does she want them back bad enough to give up meth?
WALKER: I don`t think I have a bad drug problem, but I do need help of some kind, and I want help of some kind. I`ll do whatever I got to do to get my kids back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The state took custody of her babies after Logan tested positive for a high level of meth last Thursday.
BEAU: And he`s doing his nose and his eyes and his nose and eyes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It happened at the grandmother`s apartment in Richland Hills. And at first, police suspected her, but now Whitney Walker admits she and the baby`s uncle brought meth into the home and perhaps dropped some of the powder where Logan could get it.
WALKER: I knew it was an accident. I know my mom wouldn`t hurt my kids. I know she wouldn`t.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Walker admits she also did meth while she was pregnant with Logan and with Maria and also just last week, even though she`s now six months pregnant with a third child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: You know, it`s absolutely incredible. Do you know how many people around this world would give their right arm to have a child like these children? And she is using methamphetamine.
With us tonight, her mother, Janna Beau. Ms. Beau, thank you for being with us. If you know your daughter is doing methamphetamine and they`re trooping in and out of your house with methamphetamine, why do you allow that?
BEAU: I try not to allow it, but she has nowhere to go. We`ve provided a home for her. We`ve raised those kids. And if we hadn`t been there, those kids probably couldn`t have survived.
Her attorney failed to mention that I was not alone in the house when this happened. I was out of the room. My aunt and her worker, cleaning lady, came over. I left the baby in the room with her. Me and my aunt went in the kitchen, and he ingested it while he was with her, not me.
GRACE: You know, everybody seems to be pointing the finger at everybody else, but nobody seems to have a problem with methamphetamine being around a baby. You let these people come in your home with -- I have to ask you...
BEAU: They were never allowed around the baby.
GRACE: They`re all in your house.
BEAU: And I can`t strip-search everybody that comes through my house.
GRACE: You told me you know they come in the home with meth. The children are there. Ma`am, have you ever used drugs yourself?
BEAU: I assume that they come in the home with the drugs, and I try to keep those people out. But, I mean, I can`t be with her 24 hours a day. I have to leave my home sometimes, and she`s there alone. She takes care of him 99 percent of the time. I take care of the girl. The girl tested negative.
GRACE: How long has your daughter had a problem with meth?
BEAU: I would say since she was about 17.
GRACE: Where was she first exposed to meth?
BEAU: As far as I know, just in school.
GRACE: Have you or anyone else around her used meth or drugs in front of her?
BEAU: I have used drugs in the past; I do not use drugs now. I know that the father`s family all do drugs. The father`s family is one of the person that dropped the drugs. They`re not going after him. He`s denying it, and they`re trying to point the finger at me and Whitney.
He told me last night they were going to arrest us both for child endangerment. I said we can tell you who the lady is. She can tell you where the lady is he bought the drugs from.
GRACE: Just the whole thing, everybody, on drugs, used to be on drugs, the baby eats methamphetamine.
Back to you, Dr. Spitz. What this can do to a child this age, he may have damage to him that can never be corrected.
SPITZ: Well, you`re right. And the more exposure that the child has, the worse the complications can be.
SPITZ: There can be cardiovascular and neurologic symptoms. And the child needs to be kept away from any types of this activity, because it`s only going to get worse.
GRACE: These are the other drugs in the baby`s system: amphetamine, nicotine, cough suppressant, methamphetamine. I want to go out now to Ken Seely, founder of Intervention 911.
What do you think, sir?
KEN SEELEY, FOUNDER, INTERVENTION 911: Hey, Nancy. How are you? It`s just devastating. I think everybody that`s involved needs to be removed from this family, that the children need to be removed from this whole family dynamics. It`s just devastating that these poor, innocent children, like you said -- you know, people die to have kids like this, and here these children are in this danger.
Why didn`t Mrs. Beau -- you know, why didn`t you, you know, call an interventionist or call in child protective services or somebody when you know that drugs are involved? This is like leaving a loaded pistol around your house. Not to be disrespectful, but it`s just not acceptable.
GRACE: Out to the lines...
SEELY: It`s not acceptable.
GRACE: Jan in Florida, hi, Jan.
CALLER: Hi, Nancy. Thanks for taking my call.
GRACE: Yes, ma`am. What`s your question?
CALLER: I`m curious that you had so many different things in his system if he was breast-fed.
GRACE: From what I`m understanding, he ingested it. Back to Terese Arena, news director with KLIF, didn`t the police say he ingested methamphetamine?
ARENA: He ingested, yes, but they aren`t sure whether he -- it was mixed up in his food or he got it off a table.
GRACE: Is the mom still breast feeding, Janna Beau? Excuse me?
BEAU: She never has breast-fed that baby.
GRACE: I guess when you`re a meth addict, it`s kind of hard to breast-feed.
Out to the lawyers, Susan Ross, Richard Herman, Rebecca Rose-Woodland, I`m just sick. You know, handling drug addicts, so many of them, I can`t even remember how many drug pleas I took. I would always try to start, Richard, with drug counseling or drug treatment provided by the state, which the state really didn`t have the money for, but we`re on child number three, Richard. And she is taking meth all three times. How long are we going to try to rehab her at the expense of these children?
RICHARD HERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Not going to happen, Nancy. She`s going to lose custody of all three of these kids. Absolutely, and she deserves to lose custody.
HERMAN: Yes, it`s sick.
GRACE: Out to you, Susan. Have you ever seen somebody on meth? They`re totally strung out, and this baby eats methamphetamine.
SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Mothers who use meth, mothers who use meth near their children and while they`re pregnant lose the ability to take care of their children in our society, and for good reason. Because of the likelihood of neglect in the future for the unborn child, she`s going lose custody of that baby when that baby is born, as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Methamphetamine crossing placenta can cause a sudden rise in the blood pressure of the brain, and that can cause a stroke in an unborn child, resulting in convulsions, muscle problems, tremors, and sometimes even death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: An 8-month-old baby ingests methamphetamine. To you, Rebecca Rose-Woodland, defense attorney here in New York, I`m all for rehab, but not at the expense of yet another child.
REBECCA WOODLAND, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: You know what I`m thinking, Nancy, is she`s not only going to face losing these children, I think she`s going to face a first-degree felony charge on negligence, criminal negligence, just what you alluded to.
She left drugs by an 8-month-old child. She was so out of it she doesn`t even know what happened. She doesn`t remember where they were, when they were there, when she came, when she left. Where did she go for hours at a time? Where was her mother? The whole story is just horrible. She needs rehab, but I don`t think these children are going to be doing any good with her any more.
GRACE: No, I agree. I agree. To you, Caryn Stark, psychologist, who is attracted to meth?
CARYN STARK, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: The kind of person that`s attracted, Nancy, is someone who is an addict the way they would be attracted to any other kind of drug. They`re desperate. They don`t have any kind of self- image. They really are somebody who is solving their problems by self- medicating, and that is somebody that really needs a tremendous amount of help and should not be around children.
GRACE: Very quickly, Pat Brown, the dogs hit but didn`t find drugs. What about drug residue?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, I`m sure there`s some around, but, like the doctor said, it`s in that baby`s system. And what`s really sad is this woman`s disingenuous statement that she now will go through drug rehab to save her family. Where was that statement all those months and years ago when she could have saved her whole family? She didn`t care about it then; she probably really doesn`t care about it now.
GRACE: Let`s stop to remember Army Corporal Jason Nunez, 22, Marahito, Puerto Rico, (ph) killed, Iraq. A nuclear biological specialist, Nunez enlisted 2005 and returned after suffering hearing loss in a roadside bombing. He loved baseball. Even played in the minors and dreamed of the majors. He leaves behind parents Sam and Marlene, widow Lisa, and daughters age 1 and 4. Jason Nunez, American hero.
Thank you to our guests, but most of all to you, for inviting us into your home. NANCY GRACE signing off. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.