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Police Seek Blue Barrel and Accomplice in Stacy Peterson Case
Aired November 27, 2007 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, GUEST HOST: Tonight: Young mom of two Stacy Peterson vanishes into thin air in the Chicago suburbs, Peterson`s husband, a former police sergeant, named a suspect. And now, almost one month since her disappearance, the FBI joins the search. State police also combing through surveillance video from a grocery store some 150 miles away from where Peterson vanishes, this after reports emerge of an anonymous letter claiming a recent sighting of the young mom at that grocery store. Tonight: Was it Stacy Peterson?
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One month into the disappearance of Stacy Peterson, her husband, Drew Peterson, remains the only suspect. The latest twist in the case, the anonymous letter sent to husband Drew Peterson claiming Stacy was at a Peoria, Illinois, food store, police now requesting the surveillance tapes from Kroger while Stacy`s family has little hope she`ll ever return.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And tonight: NFL superstar and Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor gunned down during an apparent home invasion, Taylor, his girlfriend and their baby girl asleep their Miami home when an intruder their way in, then opens fire on Taylor. Police reveal the deadly shooting is on the heels of another break-in at Taylor`s home. Are these two incidents connected? The search for answers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sean Taylor, the All-Pro safety for the Washington Redskins, died here this morning at 3:30 AM at Jackson Memorial Hospital`s Ryder (ph) Trauma Center, where he was taken after he was shot early yesterday morning at his home south of Miami. Police are now saying that, in fact, there is clear evidence that an intruder broke into his house, and they are handling this as a homicide investigation.
Now, what we know is that about 1:30 yesterday morning, some noises were heard. Taylor and his girlfriend were in the bedroom when they heard the noises. He went to the bedroom door with a machete he kept under his bed. Someone broke in, fired two shots, one of them hitting him in the femoral artery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in tonight for Nancy Grace. First tonight: Was there a recent sighting that the young mother of two, Stacy Peterson, who vanished in the Chicago suburbs?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police are investigating a morbid lead tonight in the case of missing mom Stacy Peterson, the possibility that her husband, former police sergeant Drew Peterson, not only disposed of Stacy`s body, but that he had help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police are aggressively pursuing this theory that Drew Peterson had help disposing of Stacy`s body. They did try to talk to this person who may have been in contact with Drew around the time that Stacy went missing. So far, they haven`t been able to get straight answers out of him. But clearly, police believe people other than Drew Peterson know what happened in this case.
Police have been asking neighbors and such if they`ve seen this 55- gallon blue drum. But they also want to know if anybody`s seen any other containers that a 5-foot, 100-pound woman could fit into.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re also learning more now about this anonymous letter that came to light last week, and now we`re hearing it was specific in the sighting, which the author of this letter claims to have seen Stacy Peterson, what she was wearing, the aisle she was in in the grocery store. And now we`re looking at surveillance tape.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are coming through it. They`re trying to see if that is, indeed, Stacy on that surveillance tape.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in tonight for Nancy Grace. What happened to Stacy Peterson? Bombshell developments tonight. The FBI is now involved. Her husband, Drew Peterson, is considered a suspect in his wife`s disappearance and is under scrutiny in the death of his previous wife. Now the former cop is on the counteroffensive, complaining of a witch hunt.
For the very latest on all of these new developments, let`s go straight out to Mary Frances Bragiel, a reporter for WBBM Newsradio 780, who is in Chicago. Mary, what can you tell us specifically about these new bombshells involving a possible blue barrel and a possible accomplice?
MARY FRANCES BRAGIEL, WBBM NEWSRADIO 780: Well, the blue barrel story has been out there since this investigation began, which is why Illinois State Police investigators have been focusing all of their time on the water. In terms of this accomplice, Illinois State Police will only say that they`re looking at a person who may have helped Drew Peterson, and sources tell me that it is a family member through marriage who was seen with him regarding this body, and that that family member tried to commit suicide three days after Stacy Peterson went missing.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And this family member, just to make sure I understand this theory correctly, was spotted allegedly by some neighbor moving a blue barrel allegedly with Drew Peterson?
BRAGIEL: That`s correct. Of course, Drew Peterson`s attorney denies all of it and questions the investigation by Illinois State Police, which he claims all these stories are being -- all these stories are being made up as a result of this investigation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, we absolutely want to stress that Drew Peterson has not been charged with anything. He deserves the presumption of innocence. CNN cannot independently confirm these published reports. And of course, we always invite Drew Peterson or his attorney to appear on the show to tell their side of the story. In fact, we tried to contact his attorney today and were unable to reach him.
That being said, Bill Majeski, former New York City police detective, this, if true, would obviously be a major bombshell in this case. What do police do to try to find out whether this is somebody`s imagination, because this blue barrel has been out there for quite a while, or if it`s the real thing?
BILL MAJESKI, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: Well, I`m sure as we`re speaking now that they`re analyzing this letter. From what I understand, it was handwritten, you know, so clearly, it would show that -- the type of personality that is writing about that...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m not talking about the letter yet, actually. We`re going to get to the letter in just a second. I`m talking about this revelation that there are reports and claims of a blue barrel somehow exiting the house, carried allegedly, according to these unconfirmed reports, by Drew Peterson and some relative by marriage. How do they check that out?
MAJESKI: Well, clearly, if they got the information from someone, they`re pursuing it from that particular individual. They`ll go out there and they`ll start interviewing other people in the area. If one person saw it, there`s a good possibility that other people saw it.
Now, if he was with a relative of his, a known entity, they`re going to be doing an investigation into that individual, as well, to find out where that person was on that particular evening. So clearly, what they`re doing is they`re trying to establish a timeline, or parallel timelines, one for Drew Peterson and one for this relative of his that were -- supposedly collectively removed this barrel from the house. It had to be a timeframe in it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to bring the lawyers in. We`re talking Lisa Pinto, former New York state prosecutor, and Joe Lawless, Philadelphia defense attorney and author of "Prosecutorial Misconduct." You`re hearing about this bombshell. At the same time, that dovetails with the information that the FBI is now involved in the case because they can bring in Navy dive teams to look for a body in any number of bodies of water, which is where often bodies are found.
Let`s start with Lisa. Your analysis of this information that`s just coming in?
LISA PINTO, FORMER NEW YORK STATE PROSECUTOR: Well, the barrel -- I mean, what is also highly significant is that there were blue pieces of plastic found in the back of his car. So that would corroborate the neighbor`s account that there was something like that in the back of the car. I think they -- it was his Denali that they searched pursuant to a search warrant, and sure enough, there were the little bits of plastic similar to what would come off a barrel. It`s pretty significant. I mean, where did she go? That`s one theory, in a barrel.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joe Lawless?
JOE LAWLESS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, so far, there`s no evidence she`s dead. There`s no evidence of foul play. There`s no evidence linking Mr. Peterson to any kind of a crime at all. I think what we`re hearing are theories and stories being floated by either the police or the prosecutor to try to stir the pot because they don`t have any evidence against Mr. Peterson and they`re trying to create some.
PINTO: Joe, what we do have evidence of is numerous calls to the house with the past wife, domestic violence reported, and the police ignoring it because he was one of them, the blue line protecting this guy. We also have stories that the other ex-girlfriend, who was stalked by him when she broke off their engagement, how he treated her. He had her arrested. This is not a nice guy who treats women well...
LAWLESS: I don`t care if he`s a nice guy or treats women nicely or -- there`s no evidence he committed a murder. That`s what we`re talking about.
PINTO: Well, it`s funny, one wife...
LAWLESS: And it`s a...
PINTO: ... ended up drowned in a bathtub with a big cut on her face. And you know...
LAWLESS: Which was ruled...
LAWLESS: Which was ruled an accidental death until...
PINTO: But the prosecutor is now saying, having exhumed the body, that it`s inconsistent with...
LAWLESS: Well, the prosecutor...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, guys!
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Obviously, you`re right, Joe, in the sense that...
LAWLESS: That`s right.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... when there is no body, it`s very hard to prove a crime has been committed. But again, Lisa, you`re right in the sense that there is a very troubled past here.
Let`s bring in Larry Sutton, a staff editor for "People" magazine. You`ve done this big interview, your magazine has, with this suspect, Drew Peterson. Based on this extensive two-hour interview, what can you tell us about his personality and his trouble with women, with these previous wives, with cheating? Go for it.
LARRY SUTTON, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Well, our reporter, Nikki Akin (ph), sat down for two hours with him at a neighbor`s house, on the couch. He showed a little emotion at first -- got up, shed a tear, had to compose himself, went to another room, but after that sat down.
He`s very honest about his bad side. We`ll say that. He admitted straight out, Yes, I`ve cheated on my wife number one, my wife number two, wife number three. He says that he never cheated on wife number four, Stacy, the missing wife right now, and he said that`s one difference. He admits that, at times, he can be a little strict, a disciplinarian. He`s got an attitude that can rub some people the wrong way. He wants things done his way, or else forget about it. But as he says, the bottom line is, I didn`t kill my wife. I don`t know why these people are after me.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, one of the most shocking from that article that`s about to come out, Patricia Saunders, clinical psychologist, is that he said, Well, you know, my dad was a Marine, and when he went to the bathroom and he got back, the bed was made by my mom. And I expected his wives to be good housekeepers, and they weren`t. And also says that his wife got a little strange when she got her menstrual period.
What does this say about his attitude toward women?
PATRICIA SAUNDERS, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, he`s not going to make any fans with any feminist organizations from this! The picture could be that of a guy who really has a split between women who are mommies and nurturers, passive, dependent women, and women who are exciting and sexual. And that may be why he`s a serial cheater on all of his wives, that he`s described as wooing all of his wives, treating them like princesses, pampering them, and then when they show a little bit of independence, he doesn`t like it and he gets real controlling and possibly violent.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`ve got this fascinating letter to read to you, but we`ve also got calls stacking up. Let`s take one call, and then we`re going to go to this amazing letter. You won`t believe it.
Eileen in New Jersey, your question, ma`am?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Hi. How`re you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, have the state police or the FBI looked into people that he has associated with as far as arresting them? I mean, he has -- he is a police officer and he does come in contact with unsavory characters. And I`m just wondering, are they going back and looking at his arrests?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes. That`s really, really good. It reminds me of the David Cam (ph) case, the Indiana officer who was accused of -- and convicted of killing his wife and children, and it turns out he later had an accomplice, it was learned.
Mary Frances Bragiel, reporter WBBM, he was a cop, Drew Peterson, for 29 years. Have they gone back and looked at whether he might have met some unsavory character?
BRAGIEL: Well, I can tell you, at this point, the FBI just joined the investigation yesterday, and so they`re saying nothing because they say that it`s the Illinois state investigators` case. So they won`t say anything publicly. Illinois State Police aren`t saying anything, either, but I can tell you we`ve had enough grand jury investigations (INAUDIBLE) immediate family and close friends, at this point. But I can bet that he`s going to -- they`re going to go back and look through all that stuff.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, adding to all of these shocking developments, there is a letter that Drew Peterson says he got, an anonymous letter, and it is a humdinger. Let me read it to you, and then we`re going to get reaction from our panel.
"Dear Drew Peterson: Hello. I am writing to you and I am taking a wild chance communicating with you, but I do not care. I just want you to know that I believe I saw your wife, Stacy. I saw her at a local grocery store in Peoria. I ran into her on Monday night, November 12, 2007. She is alive!" Three exclamation points.
"She was wearing a black coat, black pants and wearing white athletic shoes. I did not speak to her. I do not want to be identified. I saw her, though. She did not even have a grocery cart. She just stood in the aisle and stared at me with those big, beautiful brown eyes. Drew, is there any chance that she could be pregnant? She has a little pudge. Maybe that is why she is dressed in black."
Oh, my God. Let`s bring in the feisty lawyers to analyze this one. Lisa Pinto, does this sound fake to you?
PINTO: Crazy! Woo-hoo! Somebody`s not taking their medication!
LAWLESS: I think it was written by Pinto, myself.
PINTO: Oh, yes~!
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Have you been letter writing, Lisa Pinto?
PINTO: You know, I write once in a while. I have choice things to say to defense lawyers, but I usually say it to their face.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, but the reason we`re laughing is that it sounds so phony?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is that...
PINTO: It`s ridiculous!
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.
LAWLESS: This is one we`ve seen. I`m willing to bet there are dozens of these already in the police files. This one happened to go to Mr. Peterson. He released it to the police. When these kind of cases hit, everybody comes out from under the rocks, and this reads like one of those kind of letters. But you have to look into it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But as we continue to read, you could tell us, does it sound like something that maybe -- and I have no knowledge or proof of this at all, this is just hypothetical -- might have been written by the person who received it?
LAWLESS: I don`t think he`d write anything that sounded that crazy. If he was trying to write a letter that sounded legit, he surely is sophisticated enough...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you remember...
LAWLESS: ... to do that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... the Melody Maguire (ph) case, the nurse who was convicted of killing her husband?
PINTO: She wrote that lousy letter.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And there were -- she was accused of writing all these letters from the mob that were filled with all sorts of crazy...
LAWLESS: Maybe she wrote the letter. Who knows?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Maybe she did. OK, let`s get to the second part of this letter because it`s hilarious. "I am very upset with Dr. Michael Baden. I hope that your lawyers will be able to get rid of him. I do not believe in anything he says. He needs to retire. He got paid pretty well for that. I am not fooled."
All right, let`s go to Dr. Jake Deutsch, doctor of emergency medicine. Why is Dr. Baden a bad guy? Why does this letter help Drew Peterson, in that sense?
DR. JAKE DEUTSCH, DIRECTOR OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE: Well, I don`t think that Baden is a bag guy at all. I think that the facts that he`s reporting are a conflict of what Peterson wants us to believe. So...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What did he -- what did Baden say?
DEUTSCH: Well, he said that it`s unlikely that she died from an accidental cause, that the injuries, including the head laceration, are probably not accidental and probably cause for, actually, drowning. So it contradicted what they had anticipated for us to believe. And therefore, it makes him, you know, scared.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`re going to talk more about this letter when we come right back -- that, of course, Dr. Baden commenting on the autopsy on Drew Peterson`s first wife, Kathleen Savio.
To tonight`s "Case Alert," the desperate search for a pregnant Oklahoma woman. Twenty-year-old Lauren Barnes set to meet her friends last Friday night but never shows up. Two days later, police find her abandoned car in a park. Police also tracing a text message from Barnes`s cell phone the night she went missing. Barnes is five months pregnant and in need of daily medication. If you have any information, call Bethany police, 405- 789-2323.
And let`s not forget tonight, if you missed Nancy`s brand-new message about the twins, head over to Nancy`s baby blog, also check out the latest photos and all the video. It`s a lot of fun, and it`s all at CNN.com/nancygrace.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was that letter that was left with Drew Peterson. And then also, we got a tip here at "America`s Most Wanted" to look at another grocery store in Peoria, as well, where somebody believed they saw Stacy. Bottom line is this. The surveillance video from one of those grocery stores is in the hands of cops right now. They`re combing through it. They`re trying to see if that is indeed Stacy. But I`ll tell you, there will be a lot of very surprised investigators if, indeed, that is Stacy Peterson on that surveillance tape.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in for Nancy Grace. Would Stacy Peterson, mother of two young children, just disappear and walk out of her family`s life for a mysterious other man, as her husband, Drew, claims she did? That`s the question the world wants answered, which brings us back to this letter that Drew Peterson said he got.
And let me read another portion for you because it`s pretty amazing. Quote, "I saw this guy" -- this is the anonymous person calling -- who`s writing Drew. "I saw this guy outside the grocery store, and he was pacing real bad in front of me. I could tell he wanted to talk to me. He had dark skin, straight black hair. I feel that he is connected to her. He looked like his nationality was from India."
Analysis, Bill Majeski, former NYPD detective.
LAWLESS: ... to the beginning of the letter, Jane. I think that you may be on to something. If we can use our imaginations and say that he was the one that was responsible for this letter. You can take out certain phrases like, I am taking a chance," "I do not care," "She just stood there and stared at me with those big, beautiful eyes," "I am very upset"...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s the significance?
LAWLESS: OK, it sounds like a confession, if we want to use our imaginations on this thing.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, boy, I got to bring in the clinical psychologist on that one. Patricia Saunders?
SAUNDERS: I don`t think it`s a confession, Jane, but I think we`re laughing because it`s inappropriately personal. And there`s -- maybe the person that`s identifying with their fantasy of Drew Peterson. There are a couple of statements, though, and the point is well taken, where the person says, That will be up to her, if she decides to go back. That`s a little suspicious. So I think this guy is very deceptively complex. This is no simple man, this Drew Peterson. And it is possible that he faked this letter.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Pat in Louisiana, quick question, ma`am?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. My question is, has Drew Peterson`s friend that was supposed to be so afraid of him and his son who is a cop has taken a lie-detector test?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Mary Frances Bragiel, can you answer that question?
BRAGIEL: We can`t at this point. That`s unclear.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, so we don`t know whether any of the people surrounding this case have taken a lie-detector? Has he taken a lie- detector?
BRAGIEL: That I don`t know, either, at this point. I know that he`s gone before a grand jury and he`s taken the 5th on every question, but I don`t know whether he`s taken a lie-detector or not.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. And again, we can`t confirm that, but that`s a pretty a big deal, if he went to the grand jury and if he did take the 5th.
To tonight`s "Case Alert." Police suspect foul play in the disappearance of an 18-year-old Kansas coed, Emily Sander, last seen living in El Dorado bar with a 24-year-old man, Israel Mireles. Investigators search a nearby motel where Mireles lived after the motel`s manager reports hearing some kind of altercation. Police now asking for tips about a bedspread connected to Sanders`s disappearance. Police on the lookout in Texas for this suspect and his 16-year-old girlfriend. The pair may be headed across the border. Sanders, 5-3 with brown hair and blue eyes. If you have any information, call 1-800-KS-CRIME.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a grand jury hearing from witnesses. You have two search warrants served on the Peterson home. Clearly, police want to know where Drew`s vehicle and Stacy`s vehicles were around the time that Stacy went missing. So clearly, Drew is the only suspect at this point in what appears, at this point, at least, clearly to be a disappearance and could be a homicide, as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in for Nancy Grace. Who is Drew Peterson? What makes him tick? He`s just retired from the police force, where he served 29 years. He says he expects to be arrested. Larry Sutton, "People" magazine, what did he tell you about that?
SUTTON: Well, he said that because of the circus that surrounds this, the media attention, a lot of which he brings on himself, he thinks that there`s no choice for the people who control, who spin the wheels in the criminal justice system to do anything but arrest him because right now, there`s a missing woman. She`s gone for a month. They have no clues. They`ve got no leads, nothing that they`re saying publicly. He thinks the only thing they can do is try and make a case against him and make it stick.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did you get any sense of what the kids, the two young kids and the two older teens, are going through living at home with him?
SAUNDERS: Not really. He, in fact, goes out of his way to try and protect them from all this. He says, you know, I`d like to keep my family out of this as much as possible. His younger kids, the kids he had with his missing wife, they`re probably too young to understand all of this.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s hope so.
When we come back, the search for who gunned down NFL star and Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor inside his Miami home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sean was awakened with his girlfriend and 18 month old baby, noises, thumps in the living room, he got out and locked the bedroom door. Before he could do anything, the door was kicked in, two shots were fired. One hit him in the leg. One went into the wall. He was on the floor, non-responsive. Bleeding out, chest heaving, eyes rolled back. Helicopter ride comes immediately but it was 20 minutes to a half an hour and he had bled a lot and the doctors are saying that`s what caused his death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell in for Nancy Grace.
Sean Taylor was a handsome up-and-coming NFL star, a safety for the Washington Redskins and the father of a young child. Tonight as the world mourns his violent death there are more questions than answers, who invaded his Miami home and shot him? Why was the home phone not working? Was this a random crime or was there a lot more to it? Let`s go straight out to CNN correspondent John Zarrella who is in Miami. John, what is the very latest?
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jane, the very latest is a little while ago Sean`s father came out and publicly pleaded that whoever killed his son please come forward and turn yourself in. Police are also of course now saying this is a homicide investigation and that they are, in fact, saying there are clear signs that there was a forcible entry into the house.
But as you said, there are so many strange circumstances surrounding this case. You can see the house behind me. A five-foot high concrete block fence, there is a gate there. Sean Taylor had an extensive security system in the house. But also mysteriously we are told by his attorney, Richard Sharpstein, for some reason the security system wasn`t on on Monday morning.
And at the same time as you pointed out, the phone lines may have been cut. Police are not confirming that either. But there are many strange circumstances surrounding what happened here to Sean Taylor about 1:30 in the morning on Monday morning that led to his death. Jane?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So very mysterious, so many questions. We are just getting word that the girlfriend of Sean Taylor who was in the bed when all this went down is the niece of Andy Garcia. Now, we do have a photo of Jackie Garcia. And it is from hurricanesports.com.
Ms. Garcia is the girlfriend, once again, of Sean Taylor. She was in the room when Taylor was shot. And we want to go right now to Richard Sharpstein, Miami attorney as well as Taylor`s former attorney and a family friend.
First of all, Richard, our condolences from THE NANCY GRACE SHOW. We know this must be a very tough time for you and for Sean`s family. Obviously we thank you for joining us. What can you tell us about Jackie Garcia and her relationship with Sean Taylor? And what was going on with the two of them?
RICHARD SHARPSTEIN, SEAN TAYLOR`S ATTORNEY: Sean and Jackie have seen each other. They were high school sweethearts. My wife and law partner Janice and I have known Sean since he attended Gulliver Prep in Miami. My two daughters were cheerleaders there when he was on the football team. He was a kind, gentle, generous, very polite and respectful young man.
Jackie and he were high school sweethearts. Went to the prom together. Were boyfriend and girlfriend during his University of Miami days and had a child together 18 months ago. They were very much young and in love.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. The big question here. Was this a home invasion, robbery that tragically ended in death or was there more to it? Was he the target of an attack? What do you say, Richard?
SHARPSTEIN: In my opinion, this was not random violence. The house had been broken into two weeks before. It`s my speculation is that this was burglars that had already been there. They were armed. They didn`t expect to have Sean there because he was a football player. They happened upon him. Fired two random shots. One went in his leg and one in the wall. If they were to kill him they would have unloaded six rounds in his head or chest and Jackie and the baby were huddled in the bed.
So I`m not too sure this was a murder, but it is now a felony murder because he was killed during a robbery or a burglary.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let`s go to Jerry Coleman, a Baltimore reporter with sports Talk 980, WTEM. You have been tracking this tragic story from the moment it broke. A couple of things don`t add up.
First of all, supposedly this intruder kicked the door in. Well, if it is a robbery and you know a family is hiding behind a door, because you`ve heard them lock it, why kick the door in and confront them? Why not just take the stuff and get out?
JERRY COLEMAN, SPORTSTALK: WTEM RADIO (on phone): Well, Sean Taylor had gone down to his home apparently the week before and notified the Redskins that his house had been broken into and ransacked. So he went down and tried to settle the situation then returned to Washington to receive treatment on his knee because he was injured during the time. It was unbeknownst to the coaching staff he had gone back to Florida as the team departed for their game in Tampa over the weekend. So he apparently left at around the same time that the team departed for their game. They got this sudden news that something tragic had happened at his house. And it was news to Coach Gibbs who had given him prior permission to go down and take care of business. But understood why he had to go back down there again, thinking of his family.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, we look into the past of the victim, not to pass judgment but simply to try to solve this terrible mystery of who did this to Sean Taylor. Jerry, he had some trouble in the past. Can you tell us a little bit, tell us a short story on that?
COLEMAN: Well, there were a couple of incidents in the past. He was shot at allegedly before. He was accused of pulling a gun on someone down in South Florida and that let to a court case.
Again, he had his house broken into a week ago and someone left a knife sitting on his bed. So he died protecting his family. As you just heard his wife was, or soon to be wife, they were engaged, was right there in the room with him along with his 18-month-old child. So he was trying to protect their safety when he was shot at.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. We are going to calls in a second. I want to go to Richard Sharpstein who is very acquainted with this case and was a former attorney for Sean Taylor. Did he any have any enemies? There was an incident in 2005 that sort of turned into this big, big rigmarole that involved a criminal case and a civil case. Tell us about that.
COLEMAN: My wife Janice and I represented him in 2005 and `06 when he was charged with assault. That turned out to be completely untrue. The prosecutor was pursuing self-interest. We proved that. A new prosecutor came on and Sean was allowed to speak to high schools and give donations to scholarships and the case was dismissed.
The shooting was at his house and car by thugs that had alleged he pointed a gun at them. They were all tied together. Sean .
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I guess my bottom line question is did he have any lingering enemies from any incidents in his past?
COLEMAN: There`s a possibility that the people who were involved in this case because they all had records and were lying about their past and their involvement in this case that they may still be lingering and the police are pursuing leads and we`ve provided our file to the homicide detectives so they can pursue those leads.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And of course we are in the early stages of this case. We really don`t know where the case will take us. We certainly don`t want to implicate anybody. It`s way, way too early for that. Let`s go to the phone lines. Linda in California, your question.
CALLER: I was just wondering if his fiancee even got a remote glimpse of the intruder being in the room and everything.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, let`s go to Robert Parker, who is the director of the Miami-Dade Police Department. What can you tell us about what she saw?
ROBERT PARKER, MIAMI-DAD POLICE DEPARTMENT (on phone): First let me add my condolences to the Taylor family, to Pete and his father and mother. I know Pete personally. As you know, he is a chief with Florida City Police Department here in Miami-Dade County. Let me say that first.
But to answer the question as to whether or not the girlfriend saw the intruder, we don`t think that she did see the intruder based on interviews with her.
Also I would like to add clarity of this issue of the intruder leaving a knife on the scene. That story has went out fairly large in the community and across the nation. That is not actually the case. The knife that was processed .
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are talking about the first incident.
PARKER: I`m sorry.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re talking about the knife left on the bed or somewhere in the house during the first incident.
PARKER: That`s correct. That knife was actually belonged to the household.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me cut to the chase and ask you, do you think this was a random home invasion or do you think there was something more to it, that he was being attacked because he was Sean Taylor?
PARKER: Well, as commented earlier, it is possible this was a follow- up to the initial burglary. I have no reason to think that there`s any involvement on Mr. Taylor`s part that would cause him to be attacked by someone, someone he knew or had a beef with.
We have no reason to believe that that is the case. We are proceeding on the assumption thus far and, of course, we are subject to, you know, further review, but we think that this is a random incident.
Whether it is related to the previous one or not, we don`t think it is anything related to anyone he knew or had an affiliation with.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Taylor`s former attorney described what happened in a desperate effort to get help.
SHARPSTEIN: The door was burst open. Later Jackie tried to call 911. And it is unclear whether the phone lines were cut or the phone was broken or off or unplugged or turned off. She had to use her cell phone to eventually call 911.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During that confrontation Taylor was shot in the leg. The wound pierced an artery and the loss of blood was just too much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell in for Nancy Grace.
It is a tragic whodunit. Who is responsible for gunning down promising NFL star Sean Taylor? And is there a lot more to this story than a simple home invasion robbery?
Now one of the most sort of tantalizing clueing is that the phone lines weren`t working in the home. And I want to go back to the police. Because I want to ask Robert Parker with Miami-Dade Police Department, were those phone lines cut or was the phone disconnected? What is the story there?
PARKER: I wish I could give you a direct answer in terms of what was occurring with the phones at the time, but I can tell you for certain the lines were not cut and the time we tested the phone lines they were fully operative.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is kind of odd because didn`t the girlfriend say she wasn`t able to use the phone to make the call to police, that she has to use her cell phone?
PARKER: Yes. She did state that. We don`t know the reason was for why she couldn`t use the house phone at the time. But as I stated, we just know now for certain that the lines are operable and they are working.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Last question, did that cause a delay in getting -- how much of a delay did that cause going from the hard line phones that weren`t working to the cell phone?
PARKER: We don`t think it caused much of a delay. Because of course she had the cell phone readily available and accessible and she simply switched to the cell phone and made the call. So in terms of delay, probably a few seconds in terms of notifying communications and having them dispatch the call for fire, rescue and police to respond out.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And of course, Dr. Jake Deutsch, doctor of emergency medicine. A big question everybody is asking. He got shot in the leg. Why did he die? We usually associate fatal injuries to a head wound or a chest wound.
DR. JAKE DEUTSCH, DOCTOR OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE: Right. Jane, this is a testament to how devastating gunshot wounds can be, even when it is to an extremity. So here the leg was injured and the femoral artery was lacerated. And that can lead to devastating amounts of blood loss to the point where somebody could actually exsanguinate. And I think it was a very deep injury so it was difficult to control the bleeding. And there may have been a delay, as you talked about.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Just another reminder of the dangers of gun violence. The phone lines are hot. Ty, Washington, your question?
CALLER: Yeah. I was wondering what the motive was.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t think we really know right now. Let`s bring in the lawyers, Lisa Pinto, former New York State prosecutor, Joe Lawless, Philadelphia defense attorney. You have heard the evidence coming in, what are your thoughts starting with Lisa about what`s going on now?
LISA PINTO, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Entirely personal and intentional. The fact that someone got access to the security codes. If this knife was left at the scene and if the phone lines tampered with. The fact they didn`t steal things from the house and run but barged down the door and were determined to get to him.
And I`m not clear that they pointed at the leg. Maybe he was running. Maybe he jumped up in the air. It seems to me it was an intentional act and murder was the plan.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joe Lawless, can you say all that?
JOE LAWLESS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The officer just said there was no evidence the phone lines were tampered with. There is no evidence that the security system was anything other than off. And someone fired two shots and hit him in the leg. That to me is a burglary gone bad. And someone with a gun panicking. Second-degree murder. I agree with his lawyer, Richard Sharpstein.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me go back to Robert Parker, director of Miami- Dade Police Department. There seems to be some disagreement here. Some theories emerging. Even one of the football executives said I think this was a deliberate attack.
And they point to many factors. The fact that he had a small machete he had at his house for protection. The fact that he had had this previous run-in with the law, civil suit. There were many, many sort of tumultuous aspects with his past. Are you investigating all of that to see if maybe their theories have some validity?
PARKER: We are certainly considering all of that including the fact he had a machete. To me that is an indicator he was really attempting to stay in compliance with all of the brushes he has previously. One of the conditions was he was not to carry a firearm. Having had the previous break in, of course, it makes sense to arm himself with what he can and realizing that he was not supposed to have a firearm perhaps that is why he had a machete. Just adding some potential logical reasons as to why he had a machete instead of a gun.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now one indication that it might not be an attack on him personally is if there was a crime wave in that neighborhood and a lot of houses were being broken into. Any truth to that?
PARKER: Yeah. We looked into that. It is one of the safer communities in the entire Miami area. The area is called Palmetto Bay. And it is really a relatively safe community. So I have looked at the stats for crimes in that area. There is a slight increase in some crimes over last year but by and large it is a relatively safe community.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why would they target this particular home twice within nine days?
PARKER: I really could not give you the answer to that. Anything that I would say would be speculation. It is a possibility it is the same person that burglarized the first time. And we know in burglary investigations when that happens typically a person is coming back for something they didn`t get the first time. But they are more familiar with the premises. They think they know the layout. And when they go in they obviously take what they didn`t take the first time. That`s one possibility.
And of course there is a number of others. He could be just coincidentally a different burglar, a different individual going in.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. Coincidence.
PARKER: Who was not at all aware of the first burglary.
PARKER: Anything we would say at this point, and there is a long ways to go in terms of the investigation, is speculation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got it.
Quick question, Mark, Nevada.
CALLER: I was just wondering, the girlfriend, is it possible that the girlfriend could have a lover and the person, perpetrator came back to actually take care of Sean to maybe take something from the will?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me just say something, as you just heard the Miami-Dade officer say, we are at a very early stages of this investigation. It is a terrible tragedy. But it is way to early to point the finger at anybody. Nobody has been charged in this case. We have to make that very clear.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now over to Headline News` Glenn Beck. Hey, Glenn, what`s up?
GLENN BECK, HEADLINE NEWS HOST: You know that old saying actions speak louder than words? Well, in the case of Saudi Arabia they say friend. Yeah. I`m not really so sure.
The government there has released 1,500 members of al Qaeda from a prison after they pledged no to wage jihad on the Arabian Peninsula. That`s could but could you make them pledge not to do it anyplace else as well?
Also, conservative icon Pat Buchanan joins me to talk about the coming crisis that this nation faces. A perfect storm of broken borders, disenfranchisement and a crumbling economy. Stick around. Coming up.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jane Velez-Mitchell in for Nancy Grace. Straight out to clinical psychologist Patricia Saunders. Patricia, in every one of these cases that we cover here on the NANCY GRACE SHOW there seems to be a foreshadowing, something that happens before the violence erupts. In this case a break about a week earlier. Any thoughts on that?
PATRICIA SAUNDERS, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: The best predictor of any kind of event is history.
People should take notice, pay attention and take extra precautions when something untoward and scary happens to them.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And sometimes you have to trust your gut. Obviously he had a machete, he sensed something might happen, right?
SAUNDERS: You bet.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is kind of scary and it`s really a cautionary tale. Every single one of these cases is. And it is a terrible tragedy. Our hearts go out to the Taylor family.
Tonight, let`s stop to remember Army Sergeant Robert Ayres III, just 23, from Los Angeles, California, killed in Iraq on his second tour of duty. He gave his life protecting his fellow soldiers during an ambush. Patriotic and dedicated to serving his country.
He loved handing out toys and playing with Iraqi children who nicknamed him soldier Bobby. He loved the outdoors and the beach. His favorite music groups, the Ramones and the Grateful Dead.
He leaves behind grieving parents Robert and Michelle, twin brother Jackson, and sisters Dorothy and Mimi and brother Aaron. Robert Ayres III, an American hero. We want to thank all of our guests for their insights. Thanks to you at home for tracking these important cases with us.
Remember to visit Nancy`s baby blog, cnn.com/nancygrace. And we hope to see you tomorrow night and until then have a terrific and a very safe evening.