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Five Dead in Illinois Campus Shooting

Aired February 14, 2008 - 20:00:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight, St. Valentine`s Day massacre at a quiet college campus in Northern Illinois University. The gunman armed with handguns and long guns, opens fire inside a packed campus lecture hall. At this hour, 17 down, 5 known dead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This just in. A gunman opened fire at the campus of Northern Illinois University. That`s in DeKalb, Illinois. Eighteen people have been shot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At least five people are dead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An alert was posted on the Web site of the school. Again, that is Northern Illinois University. That was posted this afternoon. The alert says that there`s been a report of a possible gunman on campus. That`s what the alert was saying. And it said get to a safe area and take precautions until given the all-clear. Avoid the King (ph) Commons area.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard a (INAUDIBLE) shot and I heard a lot of people screaming and then heard five to seven shots and people just started running out of the building, yelling, Run, run, run. He`s got a gun. Call 911.


GRACE: And tonight, former NFL star and double murder suspect O.J. Simpson in the headlines. Tonight, Simpson`s live-in in the ICU with severe injuries about the face, the arms, the legs. Reports said the brutal injuries are consistent with assault. Simpson contends it was all a simple accident, that she fell, nothing more. That`s some fall, to be covered in bruises. Already facing life behind bars in a Vegas armed robbery, is the former gridiron great now part of yet another investigation?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tonight O.J. Simpson is not just facing the rest of his life in prison from a Las Vegas armed robbery, Simpson`s girlfriend is in the hospital with severe injuries. And now reports say police are investigating whether those injuries are consistent with a fall or assault, thirty-two-year-old Christy Prody taken to the ER after falling at a Miami gas station, Prody and Simpson just returning from the Super Bowl in San Antonio. Reports claim police still investigating, but Simpson and his attorneys say he had nothing to do with Prody`s injuries.


GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want you to thank you for being with us. Breaking news, a shooting spree at Northern Illinois University. As we go to air, 17 down, 5 known dead.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A gunman opened fire at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, this afternoon. At least five people are dead. Witnesses say the shooter walked into a lecture hall and fired 20 to 30 shots.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eighteen people have been shot. There are gunshot victims in that number. Many of them have gunshot wounds to the head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a pretty interesting scene. I mean, there were cops running around from one side of the campus to the other side. One of them was carrying a machine gun, you know, a couple others with shotguns.

I talked to a couple of people that -- that -- well, they were in the classroom, and I talked to some of the cops who had dealt with them. And basically, all they had to say was that there was a guy with a shotgun. He came out -- I guess it was a pump-action shotgun. I believe he was -- according to them, he came out on stage from one of the doors, one of the side doors, and was on stage and then just unloaded on people.


GRACE: The shooter opening fire with both a long gun and a handgun in a packed lecture hall, 160 students registered for that particular class, 17 down, 5 at this hour known dead.

Straight out to Nichole Vrsansky with WIFR-TV. What happened?


NICHOLE VRSANSKY, WIFR-TV: ... haven`t been unable to tell us.

GRACE: Go ahead, dear.

VRSANSKY: Can you hear me, Nancy?

GRACE: Yes, go ahead.

VRSANSKY: As far as what witnesses have been able to tell me, the gunman entered building -- entered the Cole hall. There was a science class going on, about 100 students inside the class, came out from behind a screen on stage and started opening fire. One witness tells me he pointed a shotgun at the professor, shot the professor. At that point, most of the students just went down to the floor, many of which tell me they were holding hands with other students, just trying to look at each other and hope and pray for their safety.

They did army crawl out. They heard -- most of them are telling me they heard at least seven or eight shots fired. They army crawled out, ran for their lives, is what they`re telling me. The gunman, as far as we know, shot and did kill himself. As far as an update on victims, we do know 18 people, 18 total victims, five, as you say, confirmed dead, eight stable, six in fair conditions at hospitals all over here.

I don`t know if you knew this, Nancy, but back in December, we were called here because there were threats of some sort of shooting on campus, and police had stepped up security slightly, although we have heard that it had been back to normal until this point.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Lee in Wisconsin. Hi, Lee.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. I just would like to know if the shooter was a student. And another question is, does it seem like our country has these epidemic proportions of these random shootings?

GRACE: We really do, more and more and more. It seems as if every time you turn around, there`s another one in the news. It seems like Virginia Tech was just yesterday, but the reality is, there have been several more school shootings since Virginia Tech.

Out to Sharon McGhee, joining us, with WVON. Sharon, thank you for being with us. Sharon, what do we know about the gunman?

SHARON MCGHEE, WVON RADIO: What we know, Nancy, is that love should have been in the air on Valentine`s Day, but it certainly was not on the campus of Northern Illinois University. We know that this gunman is described as a skinny white man with something covering his head. He apparently was wearing a long black trenchcoat. Now, apparently, he is not a student at NIU but is a college student somewhere. According to a press conference that wrapped up less than 45 minutes ago, they know who the gunman is. They have simply not released his name.

We can tell you, Nancy, that classes are canceled for tomorrow and that they will have grief counselors on the campus. Now, apparently, back in December, there were some racial threats, and apparently, there were a number of students and parents that were concerned that the authorities were not responding. We received a number of phone calls at WVON radio, and it prompted state representative Monique Davis to meet with parents and students on a Sunday afternoon.

This story has gone from bad to worse. We knew it wasn`t going to end well when we got reports that many of these victims were shot in the head, Nancy. They were immediately rushed to a community hospital in Kishwaukee, which is not a trauma center. They are simply not equipped to deal with these types of wounds.

GRACE: Well, then, why, may I ask, were they sent there?

MCGHEE: Because that is the closest hospital to the campus. And then they had to be airlifted, some of them, to a hospital that could better treat these wounds.

GRACE: Breaking news tonight, a St. Valentine`s Day massacre at a quiet campus, Northern Illinois University, 22 shot, 5 known dead.

Straight back out to the lines. Chris in Illinois. Hi, Chris.


GRACE: What`s your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn`t have a question, but I wanted to -- I keep hearing reports about how the school was not prepared and how students (INAUDIBLE)

GRACE: Well, you know, I disagree with that, Chris. It seemed to me that they had an excellent response. What were you saying, Chris?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was saying that I know that -- me, I`m an employee at a school. I`ve had an emergency preparedness report in my mailbox. There`s an emergency preparedness report in every classroom, in every building, everywhere, telling you what to do in case of emergency.

GRACE: Well, you know, another thing -- Liz, please keep Chris on the line.

Back out to Sharon McGhee, the news director with WVON. Sharon, there was an excellent response by the school. It`s my understanding that it went out over loudspeakers. It went over text messages, over e-mails. The timeline, the shooting at 3:00 PM, shots fired. At 3:03, campus police respond. At 3:07, campus goes into lockdown. At 3:20, an all-campus alert goes out by Web site, e-mail, voice-mail, hotline, media, alarm systems. Message said, Gunman on campus. Stay where you are. Seek shelter.

By 4:00 PM, the police had swept the area, determined one gunman, the crisis over. Tell me, is that correct?

MCGHEE: Nancy, I don`t think that you will get any complaints from the students regarding the response by campus authorities. Now, we all have very vivid memories of what happened at Virginia Tech. It`s not that long ago that we were reporting this on all of the news stations across the nation. So as you said, e-mail, text messages, they even had an alarm that went out across the campus, Nancy. I don`t think that we can say that they didn`t respond in a timely manner because they did.

GRACE: One thing I`m concerned about. Do I still have Chris, Elizabeth? Chris in Illinois, an employee there at the campus -- Chris, one thing I`m concerned about that I believe could be done better, not just there but everywhere, about metal detectors. How did somebody get into a lecture hall with 160 students registered for that class with a long gun and a handgun? That`s perplexing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Well, I know -- I`m an employee and a student there, and I actually have a class in that particular classroom, but on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. And it`s very open. You can walk in from the back, you can walk in from the front. There are students coming in during the lecture and different things like that, so they can get in there. Some students come in late, some students come in early. So I don`t see how you could put metal detectors or anything like that because you have to allow the students walk in there and just get to their class as quickly as possible.

GRACE: You could say that about airports, too, Chris. You got to get to that plane. Everybody`s got to get somewhere. But if metal detectors were instituted, people would allow for the extra time that it takes to get in. Chris in Illinois, what is the response on campus?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The response on campus seems to be just a somber mood. I`m actually sitting here with some friends. We were watching TV. Nobody knows -- it`s really, like, surreal. No one knows, like, what to do. It`s -- you don`t want to cry, but you can`t be happy. You`re just kind of sitting around, watching what`s going on. And we kind of drove around, and it`s just the police everywhere. And you`re, like, Wow, I can`t believe this is actually happening.

GRACE: It does seem surreal.

Back to reporter with WIFR-TV Nichole, Vrsansky. Nichole, what more can you tell us about today`s shooting?

VRSANSKY: Well, Nancy, what I can tell you is that as many of the reporters that you have been talking to say that police do know the identity of the suspect. He was a student. However, we`re told he`s not a student at NIU. And most of the witnesses say they thought he was a student because he was young, and they describe a very angry look on his face.

And you know, when we showed up here today, very much like what that gentleman said who`s an employee here, students just gathering out here, stunned, can`t believe what is happening, what`s going on, parents driving from two hours away, showing up, just trying to make sure their son and daughter are OK, just, you know, desperate to find out information.

And we were out here having a hard time calling cell phones because the network was just crammed. You couldn`t get a phone call out, people so concerned, so scared. And it`s such a small community, as you`ve been mentioning, so hard to believe that it can happen here, and it has happened here.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Casey in Tennessee. Hi, Casey.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. You`re still my hero since the last time.

GRACE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question was about the metal detectors. I was wondering if there were security guards posted outside with metal detectors. And what is it going to take for security to be upgraded at these schools, since it`s happening so much?

GRACE: What about it, Sharon McGhee? Any signs of security as you go into these campus -- huge lecture halls, into the giant facilities. I know it`s a quiet campus, but it`s a pretty large campus. What security was there?

MCGHEE: Only campus police, who responded within three minutes after the initial call that shots were fired. There are no medal detectors as you enter Cole Hall, and this is pretty much the same on all college campuses, Nancy. You want to be safe, but I don`t really know just how much we can do as a society if there is a person that is determined to come in and wreak panic and chaos on a college campus.

GRACE: Let`s go to Bethany Marshall, psychoanalyst and author of "Deal Breakers." Bethany, the whole black trenchcoat is very evocative of the Columbine shooting...


GRACE: ... the "trenchcoat mafia." And then it`s my understanding that the shooter went up on the stage of this lecture hall to shoot himself. What does that say?

MARSHALL: This is so stereotypical. There is extensive research into school shooters, and we know that these attacks are pre-planned, methodical. Usually, the motivation is revenge, an attack again the other students in the school. Usually, these shooters want infamy or notoriety. And usually, they get it. Look, we`re talking about this guy. Usually, there`s a fish-in-a-barrel affect. They really want to get everyone at once. And we know they usually they confess in the form of writing a poem or something ahead of time.

GRACE: Let`s go to Mike Brooks, former D.C. cop, former fed with the FBI and on the FBI terrorism task force. Weigh in, Mike Brooks.

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Nancy, I tell you, he came in -- earlier today, CNN spoke with a boy who was there, a man who was in the third row when he came in. He came in with speed, surprise and violence of action, Nancy. He apparently kicked open the door. He saw a pump shotgun and a handgun. You know, it`s -- we talk about metal detectors. This is like a small city, 25,000 students, over 700 acres, Nancy. You know, and it`s going to be very, very difficult to totally make a school like this secure.

GRACE: Yes, I know it. I know it`s difficult. But there was a time when that was said about the airports, when that was said about courthouses. I mean, how many more school shootings do there have to be before every dorm, every learning hall has a metal detector and a security guard?

BROOKS: No, you`re absolutely right, Nancy. I mean, in an ideal world, that`s what we would have. But it`s very difficult to do it on a campus like this. As I said, it`s like a small city, just like the Virginia Tech campus, also like a small city. And to lock down a small city like this, very, very difficult to do. The police response, Nancy, seemed to me today to be perfect.

GRACE: Let`s take a look at what we know, Mike Brooks. We know that he looks like a student. We know that he is a white male, a young white male. Also, we know that he came in dressed the part, long black trenchcoat. First person he shot, the professor. Then he capped it all off, shooting himself up on the stage.

Another school shooting -- breaking news tonight -- 22 shot. We know of 5 dead at this juncture. And a very quiet campus there in Northern Illinois. Let me ask you, what does it mean to you, Mike Brooks, that he targeted the professor first?

BROOKS: You know, that`s what the whole thing right now is, trying to figure out what the motive is. You know, did -- and it sounded like he knew where he was going. Now, apparently not a student at this school. Did he have some relationship with this professor? Did he have some relationship with the school? That`s what they`re looking at right now.

They`re also going to look at his weapons. He had a pump shotgun. He had some kind of unknown caliber Glock handgun, as well as another small- caliber handgun. Still early on the investigation, but right now, motive, we don`t know.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Loraine in New Jersey. Hi, Loraine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Well, first of all, I want to say congratulations. I know you`re going to be a wonderful mother.

GRACE: Well, actually, tonight the twins will be here. So what`s your question, dear? And thank you. Thank you very much for the compliment, and I hope you`re right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s Valentine`s Day, and I know he doesn`t go to that school, but I`m wondering if he might have a girlfriend there and something went wrong and maybe he`s taking out revenge.

GRACE: I`m thinking the same thing, but because of the -- very rarely is there a coincidence in criminal law. Bethany Marshall, Valentine`s Day, a Valentine`s Day massacre?

MARSHALL: That`s a very astute question. Usually, a loss precipitates these kinds of attacks. And you talked about taking out the professor first. First of all, he`s on the stage. I mean, the motivation is infamy, notoriety, an attack against the other students. But he took out the professor first. He took out the person of power so he could be the person of power.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was sitting in my class and I got a text from another friend, who informed me that there was a shooting in Cole. And I kind of thought maybe she heard a rumor. But it turns out one of my other friends was in the computer lab right next to Cole, and someone walked in and asked for assistance because he got shot in the arm.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shortly after 3:00 o`clock in that class, shots were fired in the classroom. And what we`ve been able to determine from eyewitnesses, they say someone dressed in black came out from behind a screen in front of the classroom and opened fire with a shotgun.


GRACE: Breaking news tonight, at the campus of Northern Illinois University, 22 shot, 5 known dead. Governor Blagojevich has just declared a state of emergency. You are seeing video from the campus of Northern Illinois University.

We`re going straight out to the lines. We`re taking your calls live. Let`s go to Jackie in South Carolina. Hi, Jackie.


GRACE: What`s your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wanted to thank you for your advocacy, and congratulations. You deserve all the love of your new family.

GRACE: Thank you. Thank you very much.


GRACE: When I hear stories like this, I think when they turn 18 and they`re ready to go to college, I`m going to just hide them under the bed. What`s your question, love?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, don`t you think that it would be more beneficial for society, for the school shootings, if we told -- the press told the profile of the shooters but withheld their names and pictures so they wouldn`t become infamous?

GRACE: That`s an excellent question. To Dr. Bethany Marshall. Would it matter?

MARSHALL: Well, that`s the interesting question. I was thinking it`s so hard to stop these shooters, I think what we need to do is actually educate the public so if these guys, they end up in a psychiatrist`s office, they write poetry to a teacher, telling of the intent to commit homicide, that it could be caught at the very earliest point before it really gets this far.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just a really mad scene. And you could just see police cars at every possible scene and every building, just making sure the bases were covered.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard a big bang. I hit the floor. And I just took off. I was so frightened, I just hit the floor, took off, just kept my head low.


GRACE: We are waiting for a live press conference regarding a shooting spree, a Valentine`s Day massacre there at Northern Illinois University, 22 shot, 5 known dead.

I`m going to go straight out to the lines. But as we go to the lines, let`s go out to Union County medical examiner Dr. Zhongxue Hua. Doctor, thank you for being with us. How do you triage patients when they come into the hospital, Doctor? We know that this hospital they all went to was not a trauma unit.

DR. ZHONGXUE HUA, MEDICAL EXAMINER, UNION COUNTY, NJ: Well, the first thing you have to do is prioritize the cases, the people obvious dead and the people with slight injuries (INAUDIBLE) severe injuries. Slight injuries should be treated locally. Severe injuries should be transported on a helicopter. And should prioritize the cases first.

GRACE: Joining me tonight, a special guest, Dominique Broxton. She`s a student there at Northern Illinois University. Dominique, our sorrow, our condolences out to you. What did you see in the aftermath?

DOMINIQUE BROXTON, WITNESS TO AFTERMATH OF SHOOTING: Actually, when I first noticed everything, there were just students everywhere, running all across the campus. It was complete chaos. And when that was finally contained, I actually saw one student laying on the ground with bandages wrapped around their head and completely covered in blood, and another student being wheeled off in a stretcher. And it was just complete chaos. And it`s very traumatic because you don`t expect something like that to happen in such a small town.


GRACE: Tonight, some good news to all of you out there who believe in love. Let me be the first one to report breaking news tonight on Valentine`s Day. True love does happen. It`s real, and believe me, it`s everything it`s cracked up to be and more.

Tonight, my own true loves here on the set to wish you a Happy Valentine`s Day in they`re very first Valentine`s Day ever. This is John David and this is little Lucy. Will you be my valentines? We`ve got to give them their cards. Can you hand me their cards? I`ve got their very first valentines for them. This is little Lucy with Candy Valentine`s Call Me. It`s love. Kiss me, my girl. And for John David, my baby, angel, cutie pie.

Out to the lines, Mary in Ohio. Hi, Mary.

MARY, FROM OHIO: Hi, Nancy. Happy Valentine`s Day.

GRACE: Thank you.

MARY: And I just think you`re amazing.

GRACE: Can you believe this happened to me? It`s the greatest Valentine`s Day ever. It`s their very first Valentine`s and look how good they`re being.

MARY: I just think it`s wonderful. Have you noticed? You know, there`s such a strong bond between twins that they`ve got a lot of different personality traits?

GRACE: They really do. And when one cries, the other immediately perks up and starts crying. I`ve got a picture of them holding hands already. They`re already holding hands. They sleep exactly in the same way. Look at that picture right there. Now, that`s their very first pair of blue jeans. And I had to prop them up. They, of course, can`t sit up. They`re only three months, but I propped them up on one of those pillows that I sit on the bed and I work the bed, like a study pillow and made them look like they were sitting there.

But Mary in Ohio, thank you so much.

Out to the lines. Patty in Wisconsin. Hi, Patty.

PATTY, FROM WISCONSIN: Hi, Nancy. I just wanted to say Happy Valentine`s to your two little Valentine presents. But I just want to say, I think John David is so cute. He looks like a little man already. But I don`t think you`re going to be able to call Lucy little Lucy much longer. She looks like she might be catching up.

GRACE: Oh, Patty, I am so blessed. Remember, when they were born, he was at five pounds, she was a little over two pounds. They were very premature. We had an emergency C-section. I hadn`t been to the hospital about an hour when they were both cut out of me, and look how much they`ve grown. And let me tell you, he`s strong. Uh-oh, uh-oh, he knows we`re about to go to O.J.

Erica in Missouri, hi, Erica.

ERICA, FROM MISSOURI: Hi, Nancy. They look so gorgeous. Oh my god, me and my mom Melody, well, we wish to wish you good luck with them. She says wait until they get 13.

GRACE: I don`t know if I`m going to have to wait that long.

ERICA: Oh yes.

GRACE: Erica, thank you, my love.

OK, they`re about to have their own Valentine`s party right here on the set. So right now, I`m going to the next story. But everyone, thank you for your prayers and Happy Valentine`s Day.

Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is NFL hall of famer O.J. Simpson now under investigation for assault? Simpson`s girlfriend Christie Prody hospitalized with severe head injuries. According to a police report, the injuries, the result of a fall at a local Miami gas station. But according to reports, Prody had a lot more injuries than those consistent with the fall. Reportedly bruises and abrasions on the face, arms, legs and buttocks.

Police have questioned Simpson and are still investigating.

Tonight, O.J. Simpson is not just facing the rest of his life in prison from a Las Vegas armed robbery. Simpson`s girlfriend is in the hospital with severe injuries, and now reports say police are investigating whether those injuries are consistent with a fall or assault. 32-year-old Christie Prody taken to the E.R. after falling at a Miami gas station.

Prody and Simpson just returning from the Super Bowl in San Antonio. Reports claim police still investigating, but Simpson and his attorney say he had nothing to do with Prody`s injury.


GRACE: The bruises on this Nicole Brown look-alike, her name Christine Prody, are apparently about the face, the head, the back, the buttocks. All over her body.

I want to go to the senior editor and columnist with "The National Enquirer," Mike Walker. Your breaking part of the story. What do you know? Simpson said it`s all an accident that she fell at a gas station? How do you fall on your head and your buttocks and your back and your arms? How does that happen?

MIKE WALKER, SENIOR EDITOR AND COLUMNIST, "THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER": Well, that`s why basic police work tells you that if this happens to you and you`re with a man named O.J. Simpson, and you and this woman have been investigated for various fights at the house over the past seven years, then you might want to talk to O.J. Simpson. And that`s what they`re doing. Nobody knows if O.J. did this, but it`s certainly reasonable for the police to talk to him.

GRACE: Well, what condition is she in tonight, Mike?

WALKER: Well, from what we`re hearing, she made -- from the sources that we have, she has bleeding on the brain. She may be facing brain surgery, and - plus -- and that, of course, may have come from the fall, you know, at the gas station. But all the other injuries are consistent with a severe beating.

GRACE: Well, what are the other injuries, Mike Walker to your knowledge?

WALKER: Well, there are bruises. There are abrasions, large ones on her face, on her arms, on her legs, and on her buttocks. You don`t get that from suddenly getting dizzy and falling at a gas station and maybe banging your head against the pump or whatever she did.

GRACE: Well, police.

WALKER: O.J., by the way, says that her injuries -- and this is what he told the police -- were self-inflicted, that she went on a drunken binge and she fell down. In fact, O.J. was very happy to tell the police that one of the reasons she didn`t come back with him from San Antonio was because she was drunk all the time and couldn`t stand up. Not very gallant of him.

GRACE: Well -- no. But that`s one thing, one thing that Simpson has never been accused of, as being gallant. Police have reason to be concerned. Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: We`re sending police. What is he doing? Is he threatening you?


UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Has he threatened you in any way or is he just harassing you?

SIMPSON: You`re going to hear him in a minute. He`s about to come in again.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. Just stay on the line.

SIMPSON: I don`t want to stay on the line. He`s going to beat the (expletive) out of me.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Wait a minute. Just stay on the line so we can know what`s going on until the police get there, OK?

Is he talking to you?


UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Are you locked in a room or something?

SIMPSON: No, he can come right in. I`m not going with the kids are because...

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Do you think he`s going to hit you?

SIMPSON: I don`t know. I just.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. Stay on the line, don`t hang it up, OK?



GRACE: Nicole Brown Simpson making a desperate call to police before she was murdered. This was several years before the murder took place. That was domestic beating call. This photo came in at trial -- at the murder trial of O.J. Simpson, the double murder trial at which he was acquitted.

Out to Evan Benn, staff writer with the "Miami Herald," he interviewed Simpson. What did Simpson have to say, Evan?

EVAN BENN, STAFF WRITER, MIAMI HERALD: Well, I asked him about the reports that you and Mike were talking about, about him telling police that Christie was drunk the whole time they were in San Antonio for the Super Bowl. O.J. said -- he wouldn`t talk about her drinking, but he did say, quote, "Let`s just say this, everyone`s got their own problems. And I think I can speak for her closest friends and family when I say we hope she`ll be better for this in the long haul."

So he was kind of indicating that, you know, she`s going through some personal things, and that may be what caused (INAUDIBLE) to be in the hospital.

GRACE: Evan, when you spoke with Orenthal James. Simpson, did he -- did he tell you how she managed in a single fall at a gas station to get a head injury, causing possible bleeding to the brain, according to Mike Walker, and bruising on the buttocks, the arms, all about various parts of her body? How does that happen from one fall, Evan?

BENN: Well, he didn`t isolate it to one fall. What he told police was that she had been falling repeatedly during the week that they were in San Antonio. I quote from the police report here, "O.J. Simpson advised this officer that Christie Prody was intoxicated and always falling down drunk in the duration of their stay."

GRACE: OK. To Sandy Schiff.

BENN: So he doesn`t think that there`s more than one fall.

GRACE: To Sandy Schiff, don`t you just hate it when women continuously fall and fall and fall?

SANDY SCHIFF, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: My answer to you is show me a gas station and I`ll show you a surveillance camera. Show me an emergency and an accident where the police who were called and you`ll see an ambulance call report, which will say alcohol on breath. It will show you a statement from the victim when they are at least calculated.

GRACE: With me tonight, Sandy Schiff, Meg Strickler and Randi Karmel. We`ll all be right back. But first, APB, all points bulletin for special moms and dads.

If you know a parent, an inspiration to others, get that camcorder, go to, click on i-Report, enter that parent in the "Extraordinary Parent" contest.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Simpson`s girlfriend Christie Prody stood by her man in court in Las Vegas and at his side on the trip back home to Miami. Their lives together have been anything but uneventful.

From Minnesota, Prody met Simpson in Los Angeles during his first trial. She`s more than 20 years his junior. By 1999 they were both living here in Miami.


GRACE: Simpson`s live-in in the ICU tonight with extensive injuries including possible bleeding to the brain.

Out to the lines, Jake. Jake is calling from Illinois. Hi, Jake, what`s your question?

JAKE, FROM ILLINOIS: Hi, Nancy, I just want to say congratulations on your twins.

GRACE: Thank you.

JAKE: They`re definitely are the cutest kids I have ever seen.

GRACE: Thank you.

JAKE: They definitely deserve my vote.

GRACE: Thank you.

JAKE: I just want to know, do -- does O.J. Simpson have a believable alibi that the police are following?

GRACE: Good question. Mike Walker with the "National Enquirer," what can you tell us? Does he have an alibi?

WALKER: Well, there`s no alibi necessary at this point, because, of course, what they`re looking at is here`s a woman who fell at the gas station. O.J. was not there when that happened. He certainly can`t be blamed for that. But when they took her in, they found all these bruises consistent -- and these are medical people making this evaluation -- consistent with a severe beating.

But when you have a severe beating and you have a double murderer like O.J. Simpson as your roommate, it is not unreasonable to think that O.J. Simpson might also be somebody who beats women. He has a long history of doing that.

GRACE: Let`s go to the lawyers, Randi Karmel, Sandy Schiff, Meg Strickler.

Weigh in, Randi.

RANDI KARMEL, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY & CHILD ADVOCATE: Well, first of all, look at his character. She is in intensive care and he is calling her a drunk? That`s the first thing we should focus on. The second thing that I think is very important is he keeps pointing a finger and blaming victims. How many times is he going to blame the victim for his potential acts? You know, there`s an old saying when you`re a kid you learn that when you point the finger at somebody else, three are being pointed back at you. And here we have one for Ron, one for Nicole and now I think one from his girlfriend.

GRACE: Meg Strickler?

MEG STRICKLER, DEFENSE LAWYER: Similar transactions. He`s going to go down on this one, I have to say. I mean he has been arrested obviously and then he`s acquitted on a jury trial with Nicole Brown Simpson. But five police reports of prior activities going on here of them fighting, just this relationship, just this relationship, forget Nicole Brown Simpson. There`s no way she fell down and hurt her head. There`s absolutely no way. Like we said, with a roommate like that, he is not going to -- he`s going to be arrested and soon.

GRACE: Which five reports are you -- to which five reports are you referring?

STRICKLER: There was five police reports priorly written on these two in Miami. They have been in fights and the police have been called five separate times. That will come in should this case ever go to trial.

GRACE: Out to the lines, Angie in Virginia. Hi, Angie.

ANGIE, FROM VIRGINIA: Hi, Nancy. I have got to say you have the cutest little Valentines.

GRACE: Man, I got lucky, didn`t I?


GRACE: I hit the jackpot. What`s your question, dear?

ANGIE: I was wondering and -- does anybody know how Sydney and Justin coping with this and if they`re standing by O.J.?

GRACE: What about it? This time, Evan Benn, are they?

BENN: Thanks. We haven`t talked to the kids. They`re off at college. I think one`s at Boston University, the other`s at Florida State.

I just wanted to note, the police reports. That was in my story. We found that police have been called out to break up fights between O.J. and Christie five times in the past seven years. But as we noted that neither one has ever filed charges against the other. And I spoke to Miami-Dade Police about an hour ago about this and they say, quote, "there`s nothing at this point that indicates there was a crime." So a lot of speculations made but just what`s on the record is.

GRACE: You know, it`s interesting, Evan, is that they say there`s nothing to indicate a crime, but the case, according to our sources within the police department, that the investigation is ongoing.

BENN: They do say it`s an open investigation.

GRACE: Interesting. Very quickly, back out to Judy in Pennsylvania. Hi, Judy.

JUDY, FROM PENNSYLVANIA: Hi, Nancy, congratulations on your baby.

GRACE: Thank you.

JUDY: They share my son Matthew`s birthday so we have a special kinship with them.

GRACE: What`s your question, dear?

JUDY: Well, let`s say that she decides to never press charges against him. Can they pull films from Nicole Simpson and see if her injuries are consistent, her past injuries are consistent with this girl`s? Would that help the case?

GRACE: Well, the reality is, Mike Walker, I remember you covered the Simpson case as well. There were several prior beatings.

WALKER: Yes, I -- in the book, the first book I did, I`ve done two on the O.J. Simpson trial, I tell -- told a story which was checked out by the entire press people, couldn`t believe it, that he beat her up, stripped her naked, threw out into the corridor of a luxury Las Vegas hotel, and left her there for two hours cowering until some people came along and said, oh my god, here`s a naked beating -- beaten woman crying here.

That was one. You remember the other time, of course, when he kept her locked in the closet for hours and every once in a while, when she say, "O.J., let me out," he`d come, he`d beat her, and then lock the door again.

GRACE: To Bethany Marshall, Bethany, weigh in.

BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST, AUTHOR, "DEALBREAKERS": I`m disgusted. I have to be honest with you. And I am struck again and again by the abuser`s need to devalue, denigrate, be contemptuous towards the victim. Wasn`t it just last week that Joran Van der Sloot said about Natalee, he called her a bitch, a whore, that she was drunk? Isn`t it interesting that we have these very similar words coming out of O.J. Simpson that she`s drunk?

Recognize it for what it is. It is a part of the cycle of abuse, no one has a right to be contemptuous towards anyone else no matter what they`ve done.

GRACE: To Robin in Tennessee. Hi, Robin.

ROBIN, FROM TENNESSEE: Hi, Nancy. I just want to say God bless your twins.

My question is, if O.J. was saying that she was drunk, did they do a blood alcohol on her?

GRACE: Interesting. I would imagine that they have to, Bethany, when they admitted her to the hospital.

MARSHALL: Yes, but here`s the sad thing about the cycle of abuse. They`re going to wait for her to press charges. I understand what you said about there being an ongoing investigation. But I hope for this woman that she becomes an ally in her own self care to extricate herself from this situation.

GRACE: To Sandy Schiff, defense attorney out of the New York jurisdiction.

Sandy, very commonly these charges are dropped by the victim.

SCHIFF: Yes, and the reason is there are economic consequences to the victim and they also have a mindset of being unable to overcome or leave the abuser or they believe somehow that they precipitated and deserved the beating and the abuse.

GRACE: Agree or disagree, Randi?

KARMEL: I agree, but I also know that some district attorney`s offices can actually just make the person deemed a material witness and have them testify even if they don`t want to.


GRACE: As you know, we here at NANCY GRACE are on the hunt for parents who inspire. Tonight`s "Extraordinary Parent."


SUE BERGONZONI, NANCY GRACE EXTRAORDINARY PARENT FINALIST: My girls were born 31 years ago, twin daughters, and they were premature with oxygen deprivation resulting in cerebral palsy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Identical twins Kelly and Linde were born to Sue Mongiovi in 1976. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 2, the twins would be wheelchair bound for the rest of their lives.

BERGONZONI: It was difficult, I`m not going to kid you, it was very difficult, and at times I just wanted to give it up, by I couldn`t for them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The twins let nothing get in their way. They were the poster children for the New York chapter of the United Cerebral Palsy Association, were top students who each earned master`s degrees, and are now both working in education. They`re both trying to help people that need help that others have kind of forgotten and they all too well know what that`s about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Through all this, my mom was by our side. Over the last several years, she`s had some significant health problems. It crystallizes for me just how wonderful a mother she is.


GRACE: Now that`s an extraordinary parent.

Let`s stop and remember Marine Sergeant Mark Smykowski, only 23, Mentor, Ohio, killed, Iraq, second tour, enlisting alongside his high school buddies known as the Mentor Seven. Awarded the combat action ribbon and Iraqi campaign medal. Had a huge heart, loved helping others and traveling, leaves behind grieving parents Diana and Hubert, brothers Darren, Kenneth, also Marines.

Mark Smykowski, American hero.

Thanks to all of our guests. Our biggest thank you to you for being with us, inviting us into your homes. Our prayers tonight to the families and victims there at the Valentine massacre in northern Illinois.

Everyone, I`ll see you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. Happy Valentine. Good night, friends.