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Peterson`s Neighbor Asks for Restraining Order
Aired March 20, 2008 - 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, the mystery surrounding missing 23-year- old mom Stacy Peterson vanishing upscale Chicago suburbs, husband/cop Drew Peterson the prime suspect in his fourth wife`s disappearance, the suspicious bathtub drowning of wife number three officially ruled homicide. Tonight, next-door neighbor and best friend of the missing mom says she fears for her own life and is desperately seeking a restraining order against former cop Drew Peterson. What did Stacy Peterson reveal to her best friend and neighbor before she suddenly went missing?
And bombshell tonight: After the state seizes Peterson`s vast gun collection, did Peterson actually withhold a secret folding pistol from police? Why?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His fourth wife is missing, his third wife`s dry bathtub death ruled a homicide. And tonight, Drew Peterson now the target of harassment allegations by his own neighbor. Sharon Bychowski says Peterson keeps opening her garage, Bychowski leaving her garage door opener in her best friend, still missing Stacy Peterson`s, car. And now she wants a restraining order, Peterson`s attorney accusing her of cyber-stalking and harassment.
And while the neighbors battle it out, did Drew Peterson really hide a gun from police? Peterson`s friend claims while police swarmed the family home to seize evidence, Peterson strapped a folding gun to his leg right under their noses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And tonight: Texas EMTs race a newborn baby girl to the local ER, burns so severe the baby needs multiple skin grafts. Why? Her father, a would-be minister, agitated when the baby cried, throwing her first on the bed, second into the hotel fridge, third into the room`s safe and then ultimately into the microwave and turns it on. Instead of protecting her baby, Mommy defends the husband, claiming the devil`s responsible. That`s right, Satan, he`s at it again. The defense now claiming insanity, and Mommy wants him to walk free.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he or isn`t he? Insane, that is. A wannabe preacher and daddy burns his little girl in the microwave. And that`s not all. It all starts when Joshua Mauldin (ph) and his family check into a Galveston, Texas, hotel. Moments later, with his wife out of sight, police say he throws his infant girl on the bed, punches her, places her in a safe, then the refrigerator and finally the microwave for about 10 seconds, the baby`s injuries to her arm and face so severe, she needs skin grafts, even losing part of her ear, and scars to last a lifetime. And the defense claims mental problems dating back to when Mauldin was just 10 years old are to blame and he was insane at the time of the attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Also tonight, the sudden death of Hollywood superstar 28-year- old Heath Ledger, found unclothed, unresponsive inside his exclusive Soho apartment, cause of death, deadly overdose of multiple painkillers, anti- anxiety meds, sleeping pills, the DEA launching a full-scale drug investigation. Tonight: Ledger`s family goes to war over Ledger`s multi- million-dollar estate, up to $60 million at stake. Ledger`s will completely omits 2-year-old daughter Matilda, and her mother, actress Michelle Williams. They`re out of the will. Is there a second secret will? What was Ledger`s intent?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Heath Ledger died, he had a will drawn up long before Ledger had a daughter or Hollywood superstardom, the will from 2003 now filed in a New York City court. But some of Ledger`s relatives worry his daughter, Matilda, won`t be taken care of financially. Ledger`s uncles say his father, Kim (ph), doesn`t know how to manage money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Former cop turned murder suspect Drew Peterson in a bitter feud with his own neighbor and the best friend of his missing wife, Stacy. Tonight, she says she fears for her life. And reports surface that Peterson hid a secret folding pistol from police.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A bitter feud between former cop, the prime suspect in his fourth wife`s disappearance, Drew Peterson, and his neighbor, Stacy Peterson`s best friend, a feud so bitter, Sharon Bychowski says she`s in fear for if her life and wants a retraining order. Bychowski says the recent drama started when Drew Peterson regained possession of the family cars. Apparently, Bychowski`s garage door opener is inside Stacy Peterson`s car, and Bychowski says Drew keeps opening and closing her garage to harass her, and she has two police reports on file to prove it.
But Drew Peterson claims the harassment is coming from Bychowski and her son and claims the pair are stalking him in cyberspace. As the bitter feud on Pheasant Chase Court continues, one thing is for sure, 23-year-old Stacy Peterson is still missing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: It never ends with Drew Peterson. Now his neighbor claiming she is in fear for her own life. And why would Peterson allegedly withhold, hide from cops, a secret folding pistol?
Out to Kathy Chaney with "The Chicago Defender." Kathy, what can you tell us?
KATHY CHANEY, "CHICAGO DEFENDER": Well, Ric Mims, the former friend of Drew Peterson, claims that a 12th gun was left out of the search, that the police did not find it. However, Illinois State Police have not confirmed that allegation.
GRACE: Has there been any type of an effort by police to get that folding pistol?
CHANEY: If one exists. But the Illinois State Police, they are not confirming the allegation. They`re not even saying that, Oh, yes, this is true, we`re looking into it. They`re not saying anything about it.
GRACE: Also with us on the story, TruTV correspondent Jean Casarez. Jean, what more can you tell me?
JEAN CASAREZ, "IN SESSION": Well, Nancy, we have not heard that a search warrant has been executed at all for that gun, and I think that`s when we will know that there really possibly is a gun here. Now, they might first go to Drew and ask him to voluntarily give it to them. We haven`t heard that has taken place, either. All of this comes from a former -- former -- good friend, Ric Mims.
GRACE: What do you mean by former? When did he turn coat?
CASAREZ: Well, this is a man that lived and stayed with Drew shortly after Stacy went missing. And once all of the search warrants were executed and as time went on, he became disassociated. So at this point, you have to wonder what motive would he have to lie, on the one hand. But on the other hand, they`re not friends anymore.
GRACE: Explain to me, Kathy Chaney -- Kathy joining us from "The Chicago Defender." I`m very concerned about the neighbor, Sharon Bychowski, who claims she`s in fear of her life and some type of antic Peterson allegedly pulled with Bychowski`s garage door opener.
CHANEY: Yes. Her garage door opener was given to Stacy at some point in time. During maybe, like, a garage sale, Stacy was allowed to go into Sharon`s garage to get some things. The garage door opener was never returned. It, in fact, was left in Drew`s SUV that was seized, along with some other garage door openers. And Drew just got those back. He had them in his hands. He was testing them out in the garage door, in his garage, seeing which one worked for his. He pushed that one. Nothing happened. So he just went in the house. But it opened up Sharon`s door.
GRACE: Interesting. Joining me right now is Sharon Bychowski, the best friend of Stacy Peterson. I wonder often what Stacy may have told Sharon Bychowski. She claims Peterson is harassing her and has tried desperately to get a restraining order. Ms. Bychowski, thank you for being with us. Is it that simple? Did he simply try to open his own garage door and yours opened instead?
SHARON BYCHOWSKI, FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR OF STACY PETERSON: Hi, Nancy. Thanks for having me on. I don`t think it`s quite that simple. He walked on the sidewalk, looked at my house, smiled, and then he hit the garage door. Then he hit it a second time, as to say, I`ve got your garage door opening, ha, ha, ha.
Well, you know what? No one thinks Drew Peterson`s antics are very funny. This goes back to me having signs and looking for Stacy. No one`s going to forget Stacy Peterson. And no matter how much he torments me, the fight to find Stacy will continue. It`s not just my fight to find Stacy, there are hundreds of people, Nancy, that are looking for Stacy right now throughout Bolingbrook. We`re a force, and we won`t be stopped by Drew Peterson, no matter what.
GRACE: With me is Stacy Peterson`s best friend and the next-door neighbor of Drew Peterson currently. She wants a restraining order to have Peterson stop harassing her. Sharon Bychowski, wasn`t there some connection with his third wife`s garage door opener, as well?
BYCHOWSKI: There was. And that is my biggest concern, Nancy, is that he -- Kathleen Savio said he reprogrammed her garage door opener from the original on, and that`s how he was able to go on through her garage door and attack her. It`s on "America`s Most Wanted" Web site, and anyone can go see the letter she wrote to the state`s attorney. It scared her desperately, and rightfully so, since she`s now dead.
And I have a concern. So I have taken all the steps I can to be safe. I`ve written letters to my son, as well as to a friend at the village hall. And you know, that`s about all I can do right now.
GRACE: Joining us right now to respond to Ms. Bychowski, Joel Brodsky. This is Drew Peterson`s defense attorney. He`s a veteran trial lawyer in the Chicago area. Joel, why would Kathleen Savio say such a thing before her murder?
JOEL BRODSKY, DREW PETERSON`S ATTORNEY: Well, she`s talking about something that occurred about eight months before Kathy died, where Drew entered Kathy`s house in order to retrieve some goods and...
BRODSKY: Because they were his and she wouldn`t turn them over and he had a court order.
GRACE: So he just went in without consent?
BRODSKY: Yes. Well, it wasn`t without consent. It was still his house. And the police were called and he wasn`t arrested. The point is, is that after that, Kathy changed all the locks, changed all the codes on the -- on the garage door openers and...
GRACE: Do you blame her?
BRODSKY: ... and Drew had no more access to that house.
GRACE: Wasn`t that for a reason?
BRODSKY: I`m assuming -- yes. I`m assuming it was. She didn`t want to have to...
GRACE: And he went in anyway. Your client went in anyway.
BRODSKY: No, that was before -- that was before she changed things. Afterwards, then he had no more access. All you have to do to prevent somebody from using a garage door opener is change the code. It`s a very simple procedure, which I guess Sharon`s already done. But I talked to Drew and...
GRACE: But don`t you find it disturbing, Mr. Brodsky, that not one but now two women have to change their garage door code so your client won`t skulk in there?
BRODSKY: The fact is, is that the garage door opener was in Drew`s SUV. It was in the Denali.
GRACE: If you leave your wallet in my car, can I take you credit card and run out and use it all over town?
BRODSKY: Drew did not know that it was the garage door opener for Sharon`s garage door until he...
BRODSKY: ... he hit the garage door opener and it opened.
GRACE: Why did he do it twice?
BRODSKY: He didn`t do it twice. That`s totally fabricated. That`s not true.
GRACE: So Bychowski`s making that up, too?
BRODSKY: Yes. Yes, she`s -- well, not "too," but she`s making that up.
GRACE: And let`s show that video again, Elizabeth, the video of Bychowski`s home. This is Drew Peterson`s neighbor. Why is your client so steamed up that Sharon Bychowski has flyers of Stacy Peterson in her windows and in her car? Why does that bother him so much?
BRODSKY: Why are they -- why are these windows, which only face Drew`s house, so the only person that could possibly see these flyers, the one in the backyard...
GRACE: Well, we just saw them here on national TV.
BRODSKY: Yes, because I sent you the pictures. But...
GRACE: But why does that bother him?
BRODSKY: Because why are they directed -- what is making posters and putting them up so only Drew Peterson can see them -- what does that have to do with finding Drew -- I mean, finding Stacy?
GRACE: My question to you, Mr. Brodsky...
BRODSKY: It has nothing to do with it.
GRACE: ... is why does the picture of Stacy Peterson bother your client so much?
BRODSKY: It doesn`t bother him. It bothers his children, the 3-year- old and the 2-year-old that have to go out in the backyard and see pictures of their mom.
GRACE: Really. I thought he told them she was on vacation.
BRODSKY: Right. And now they`ve got to go look at pictures of her? They`re wondering what`s going on.
GRACE: Why shouldn`t they? If she`s on vacation, what`s the problem with seeing their mom?
BRODSKY: They`re wondering why there are pictures of their mom in the window and why...
GRACE: Well, maybe it`s time for Drew Peterson to tell them that she`s missing and he`s a suspect.
BRODSKY: That`s not what the professionals are telling him he should do. And I don`t think that it`s any business of Sharon Bychowski to tell Drew Peterson what -- how he should raise his children or what he should tell them. If she wants to look for Stacy...
GRACE: I don`t believe...
BRODSKY: ... good, look for Stacy.
GRACE: ... she gave any advice. That was actually me giving that advice.
Very quickly, let`s go back to Sharon Bychowski. Sharon, does it befuddle you that Peterson is so steamed up that you have put Stacy Peterson`s picture in the window facing him?
BYCHOWSKI: You know what? It`s not just that, Nancy. I think Mr. Brodsky is misinformed by Mr. Peterson. The signs are in my front yard. They`re in my backyard. They`re in my car. And they`re on the side of my house. They circle my house. I also can tell Mr. Brodsky that there will be 250 more signs that will be circling all the homeowners that wish them in Bolingbrook. There will also be 500 bumper stickers that go all over Bolingbrook. We are looking from Stacy. Anything else he has beyond that is his problem.
BYCHOWSKI: Let me finish! Let me finish!
BRODSKY: What about the hundreds of posts on the Internet?
BYCHOWSKI: Let me finish!
GRACE: Hold on. Hold on. Finish, Ms. Bychowski.
BYCHOWSKI: Thank you. This is what we`re doing. We`re looking for Stacy -- and not Mr. Brodsky -- and I don`t know why Mr. Peterson would want to stop us. Because you know what? When we find Mrs. Peterson, Mrs. Stacy Peterson, then we will all know the truth, including Drew. So let`s go out and do it, and let`s stop him arguing with us. Drew, come along and find Stacy.
GRACE: One quick question, Ms. Bychowski. If you go into your garage, do you have access to the home through a kitchen or in any way?
GRACE: OK. Back to you, Joel Brodsky. When police showed up after Bychowski contacted authorities, why wouldn`t your client hand over Bychowski`s garage door opener?
BRODSKY: Well, he doesn`t know if that`s Sharon`s garage door opener or if it was a garage door opener...
GRACE: He opened...
BRODSKY: It doesn`t matter. Maybe it`s Stacy`s garage door opener and Sharon just gave Stacy the code.
GRACE: Well, didn`t he open Bychowski`s garage door with it?
BRODSKY: That doesn`t necessarily mean it was hers. That only means the code is in it. It may be Stacy`s or Drew`s.
GRACE: So it opens Bychowski`s garage door, not Peterson`s, but he refused to give cops the garage door opener.
BRODSKY: Because we don`t know that that`s her garage door opener.
GRACE: You know, Joel, you have a fairly good reputation as a trial lawyer in Chicago. And I`m concerned that you could actually say that with a straight face.
BRODSKY: It`s true. One can go out and buy a garage door opener and program it with a code that somebody gives you to open a garage door. It doesn`t necessarily means it`s Sharon`s.
GRACE: You know what? We need to bring in the shrink right now. To Dr. Bethany Marshall. Weigh in, Bethany.
BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: Well, how much do garage door openers cost, $2.99? Why wouldn`t he just hand it over to her? I`m so concerned that he stood on the sidewalk clicking it because when he does that, he sends a message to her, I can get into your house. I`m the boss of you. Do not think that you`re safe in there because I have the code.
And the thing about telling the kids that she was -- that Stacy`s on vacation, that mental health professionals told him to say that -- what they probably said is that 2 and 3 and 4-year-olds don`t have a concept of the permanency of death. So -- but you still have to tell them that the mother is gone and then continue to reinforce that as they go through the grieving process.
GRACE: Out to Mike Brooks. What do you make of it, Mike?
MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: First of all, Nancy, let me just tell Mr. Brodsky apparently how to code a garage door opener. You don`t do it on the opener. You have to go in to the box in the garage of the person that has the garage door that goes up and down to recode it. You go out, you buy a new one, you go in, you can recode it on the box. But you don`t recode it on the garage door opener.
When the cops came out and asked him to give the opener up, he should have given it up. He`s being childish, period!
GRACE: Well, not only that, the connection back to third wife now ruled a homicide, Jean Casarez, Kathleen Savio, who was in great fear after Drew Peterson came into her home through the garage with the garage door opener.
BRODSKY: You know, Nancy, as I just step back and listen to tall of this, what I think about as an attorney is that if there ever is a prosecution in this case, guess who is going to be a star witness for the prosecution just because she`s the next-door neighbor, is Ms. Bychowski. And with all of this happening, the prosecution`s going to try to get some of this in for some of these reasons. There`s going to be a fight, but it`s just not a good thing to happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BYCHOWSKI: If you can read my sign, it says nothing about Drew Peterson. Actually, to my point before. I leave all that up to the state police. I only care about my good friend who`s been missing since October, and I just want to bring her home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His fourth wife is missing, his third wife`s dry bathtub death ruled a homicide. And tonight, Drew Peterson now the target of harassment allegations by his own neighbor, Bychowski leaving her garage door opener in her best friend, still missing Stacy Peterson`s, car. And now she wants a restraining order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: The next-door neighbor of Drew Peterson and best friend of his missing wife, Stacy Peterson, now says she fears for her life.
I want to go back to Sharon Bychowski. Sharon, I`m reading a letter, and I`m concerned. It`s a letter that apparently talks about the whole garage door-opening incident. You say you went to police. What happened?
BYCHOWSKI: Well, they did send the Bolingbrook police out. Two cars came out and they spoke to Drew. He had indicated that he thought he wasn`t going to give it back. He said he didn`t have to. They actually asked him, Please, Drew, just give it back to her and this will all be solved. And he said, I don`t have to give it back to her. So there was really nothing on their end they could do. I also spoke to the chief of police, who returned my call. He was excellent, but there was really nothing more than that he could do.
GRACE: Let`s go to the lawyers, Jeff Brown joining us, Michael Mazzariello. Michael, what charges could be brought?
MICHAEL MAZZARIELLO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I always thought that if you owned it, you have a right to possess it. It`s her remote control. She can prove it`s her remote control. Give it back. Charge petty theft.
GRACE: Agree or disagree, Jeff Brown?
JEFF BROWN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Completely disagree. You can`t -- the point is, they can`t prove it is her remote and they can`t prove that she didn`t give it to Drew`s wife and it became hers, so...
MAZZARIELLO: It opens her door.
BROWN: It doesn`t matter. The question is ownership. Nobody can prove ownership at this point.
MAZZARIELLO: It opens her door!
BROWN: That doesn`t prove ownership.
GRACE: Everyone, when we come back, we`ll be taking your calls live.
But very quickly, to tonight`s "Case Alert." Carson, California, police on the hunt for a suspect who brazenly robbed a convenience store armed with a long gun, broad daylight. It`s all caught on surveillance, the gunman taking off with cash in a `90s black Chevy Impala, custom chrome rims, dark tints on the back windows. Reports at least one woman in the vehicle. The suspect, 35 to 30-year-old black male between 6-2 and 6-4, 290 to 350 pounds, wearing a green camouflage jacket, light-colored T and bluejeans. If you have info, call Carson police, 310-830-1123.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The week before she disappeared, she was crying out in the parkway. And her and Drew had had what she considered to be her last stand, where she packed 10 boxes of clothes for him and told him to get out. I don`t want you here. I want a divorce. He absolutely refused to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Right now, two issues swirling around Drew Peterson. Number one, his neighbor wants a restraining order against him. She says she`s in fear of her life. And also, did he hide a weapon from police?
Out to the lines. Michelle in New Jersey. Hi, Michelle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Nancy. How`re you doing?
GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Real quick, if they`ve already gone in with a search warrant and get his guns, is that still good to go back in and say, Look, give me the other -- like, how long does that stand, where they can walk back in and say, you know, The search warrant still stands for guns, give me the other one?
GRACE: To Jeff Brown. Answer?
BROWN: Yes. They can`t do that. The search warrant was executed. They have to go back and get another search warrant and have more probable cause for that search warrant. So that first search warrant is over with.
GRACE: Larry in Ohio. Hi, Larry. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How`re you doing? God bless you, Nancy...
GRACE: I`m good, dear. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... you and your family.
GRACE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re doing a great job.
GRACE: What`s your question, dear?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. The coroner in the first autopsy said it was an accident. And they exhumed her body, now it`s murder. Is that other coroner -- is he in cahoots with Peterson or not?
GRACE: We`ll be right back and answer Larry`s question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We know that he was very controlling of Stacy the way he followed her and tracked her phone calls. And, you know, basically went everywhere she went. I believe Drew lost control. And I think that (INAUDIBLE) very much. We don`t think Stacy ever left the house that day.
JOEL BRODSKY, DREW PETERSON`S ATTORNEY: We have a guy that has one wife die -- who died of an accident and another one who ran off, which may make him unlucky but nothing mischievous about either of those two things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Brodsky must have given that interview before the third wife`s death was ruled a homicide. Joel Brodsky is with us tonight.
Very quickly, Dr. Morrone, what about Larry`s question about the original coroner being in cahoots with the defense? Or was it just sloppy work?
MORRONE: The original coroner is the current coroner. And he did not enact a suspicious death protocol at that time. And that`s -- the minimum that should have been done at that time, a suspicious death protocol, that would have been today without a question.
GRACE: And in fact, an election is coming up and all of us will be at issue at that particular original coroner faces reelection.
I want to go back to Joel Brodsky. This is Drew Peterson`s attorney joining us tonight.
Joel, is it true that your client withheld a gun from police knowing that they were seizing his guns?
BRODSKY: It`s simply another fabrication of slick Rick Mims. He`s trying to sell another story to the "National Enquirer" now that he`s running out of money.
GRACE: Well, isn`t your client trying to sell a story, too?
BRODSKY: Not to "National Enquirer," that`s for sure.
GRACE: But to who?
BRODSKY: Nobody right now. I mean.
GRACE: He wasn`t shopping a book about his experience as a cop before he got thrown off police force?
BRODSKY: No, not at all.
BRODSKY: Nope. Nothing.
GRACE: Well, our sources say something very, very different. That he wanted to shop his experiences as a cop as a movie and a book.
BRODSKY: No. He hasn`t signed any book deals. He hasn`t signed the agency.
GRACE: But did he shop it? Did he entertain it? Did he discuss it? Did he pitch it to anyone?
BRODSKY: No, not at all. The only agent we`ve hired is the consultant Glen Selig(ph) out of Florida who is just a consultant. We discuss with him in dealings with the media. There is nothing -- Drew is not writing a book nor is one being written for him.
GRACE: To Kathy Cheney with the "Chicago Defender," what more can you tell us, Kathy?
KATHY CHENEY, REPORTER, CHICAGO DEFENDER: Basically I was hearing the same things that you were hearing that there was a publicist who said that, you know, he can`t give anymore, I guess, interviews or anything because they have the rights to his story as his days as a cop.
GRACE: Jean Casarez, any truth to it?
JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION": You know, I think we`re going to have to wait and see. We haven`t heard from him in a while. And the question is, he can do anything he wants to right now.
GRACE: Out to the lines, Terri in West Virginia. Hi, Terri.
TERRI, WEST VIRGINIA RESIDENT: Hi, Nancy. You did a good job with his attorney. You keep it up.
GRACE: Thank you.
TERRI: My question is, if someone is served a search warrant and they go in and someone knowingly withhold a weapon that they`re supposed to turn over, wouldn`t that be an offense against them?
GRACE: Michael Mazzariello, what about it? If Peterson knowingly withheld a gun when cops were seizing his gun collection?
MICHAEL MAZZARIELLO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY, HOST OF "CLOSING ARGUMENTS": Absolutely, Nancy. There`s a court order saying to hand over all your guns. He`s concealing one. He will be charged with that crime.
GRACE: Joining me right now is Rick Mims, the man who claims that the gun was -- hold on. We`ve lost connection with Mims. We`ll be right back with him. While we wait for that, to Connie in Texas. Hi, Connie.
CONNIE, TEXAS RESIDENT: Hi. Hi, Nancy.
GRACE: Hi, dear. What`s your question?
CONNIE: I just have a quick question. I have a question about the neighbor. My question is that Mrs. Peterson`s been missing and I`ve been following your story since October. And why is it just now in March that she is all of a sudden fear -- in fear for her life?
GRACE: OK. That`s a fair question, Connie.
CONNIE: And all of a sudden -- yes. And all of a sudden she wants a restraining order. And second question.
GRACE: Sharon, could you -- OK, quickly, Connie. Sharon, could you answer that?
SHARON BYCHOWSKI, BEST FRIEND OF STACY PETERSON, NEIGHBOR: Sure, I can. Actually, I have police information that was -- because they came to me in -- I believe it was November when Drew followed me down the sidewalk and came up my driveway and then hid behind my window. So the Drew -- the Bolingbrook police and I have been working together on this since then. It just seems like it escalated when I -- when the search started again because he doesn`t really want me to say, where is Stacy? So it kind of revamped itself because now we are going to look and find Stacy.
GRACE: OK, everyone. We`re staying on the story. But right now I want to take you to Texas in the latest on a father who put his tiny infant in the microwave and turned it on.
MAULDIN: I put her head in first and then just kind of folder her body up into that. Just really pushed her in there folded.
UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICE: Then what?
MAULDIN: Shut the microwave door.
UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICE: OK.
MAULDIN: Then turned it on for 10 seconds. When I took her out.
UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICE: Did it ding?
MAULDIN: It didn`t ding.
UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICE: OK.
MAULDIN: So I know it was nice and tender. And I took her out of the microwave, set her down bottom part on the bed.
UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICE: OK.
MAULDIN: I felt she was warm but I was coming into and I was freaking out and I didn`t notice and everything.
GRACE: Well, the defense says insanity. That child having to have multiple skin grafts, losing part of her right ear, having to have it amputated.
Joining us, Scott Williams with the "Galveston Daily News." The defense is insanity?
SCOTT WILLIAMS, REPORTER, GALVESTON DAILY NEWS: Yes, ma`am. They`re claiming that he was insane at the time that he committed the offense of cooking the child in the microwave oven. And in Texas it`s a pretty simple distinction. If he knew that what he was doing was wrong when he did it, he was not insane.
GRACE: That is called the McNaughton test. It`s brought over to the U.S. from Great Britain. That`s how old that insanity test is. It`s been around for years and years.
To Jean Casarez, back to the original facts, what happened the night he burned his baby girl. And correct me if I`m wrong, but didn`t he immediately have the wherewithal to start lying about what happened to her?
CASAREZ: That`s an important point, because if you`re looking at insanity, if he knew right from wrong at the time he committed the offense, right there and then, that evidence is going to be important.
Here`s what happened according to authority. And this is Galveston, Texas, Texas law. He and his wife had just come from Arkansas. They come to Galveston. His wife and his mother-in-law were out of the motel room. He took the 2-month-old baby, threw it on the bed, put it in the safe, put it in a refrigerator, finally the microwave for 10 seconds. The 911 call was made by the front desk. And he immediately said it was scalding the water or even sunburn.
GRACE: So immediately at the time of the offense, Bethany Marshall, Dr. Marshall, he had the wherewithal to lie. Now in court he`s saying he suddenly had the vision of a strip club and that his hands turned to mud and it all unfolded like a movie.
BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST, AUTHOR OF "DEALBREAKERS": Well, I think this is a willful, malicious act. You know, the medical definition of insanity is basically mental illness. You see things, hear things and feel things that you shouldn`t because of a neuro-physiological difficulty. The legal definition is not being able to distinguish right from wrong. You have to be severely mentally ill not to be able.
GRACE: Bethany, look at your monitor. Look at your monitor.
MARSHALL: You know what?
GRACE: That is a shot of the little baby`s hands.
MARSHALL: It makes me sick.
GRACE: That`s what happened to the little baby.
MARSHALL: But you know, Nancy, he locked the door prior to doing this. That shows willfulness. This is like Andrea Yates. Of course, she says she has delusions that the devil told her to drown her children, but the willful part for her was that she waited until her husband left the house to do it.
GRACE: And locked the doors. To Dr. William Morrone.
MARSHALL: That`s right.
GRACE: .Madison Heights, Michigan, joining us, forensic pathologist. Dr. Morrone, what would it do to someone, a baby in a microwave turned on?
MORRONE: There are two kinds of damage from the heat. The radiation from the microwaves themselves and then the hot components of the microwave would cause conduction and convection burns. Multiple burns in 10 to 20 seconds would be critical, 30 to 60 seconds would be fatal.
GRACE: You see the baby`s hand. How do you assess the injury?
MORRONE: The long-term damage you have to assess as the child grows, it`ll be developmental delays, there may be handicaps. It`s damming.
GRACE: To Mike Brooks, Mike, it`s very important in my mind that I see nothing in the original police report that he was out of his mind, acting strangely, in a delusion. Nothing.
MIKE BROOKS, FMR. DC POLICE DETECTIVE SERVED ON FBI TERRORISM TASK FORCE: Nothing at all, Nancy. This guy is not insane whatsoever. He`s lied about his mental problems at least three times prior. And his wife, she`s buying into this whole insanity thing, too, saying that Satan made him do it. I tell you, Nancy, this child should never go back to either one of these parents. Period.
GRACE: We are taking your calls live and as we go to break, we are asking for your thoughts and your prayers for defense attorney and friend, Sandy Schiff, one of the best lawyers in New York. Sandy, in the fight of a lifetime. Sandy, stay strong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s just a lot of unanswered questions. And that`s all we`re trying to do is just find the truth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He took her out of the refrigerator. And then he - doesn`t throw her out the window, doesn`t smother her with (INAUDIBLE). There`s no evidence that`s going to show that. Before he (INAUDIBLE) in the microwave. And he says, I saw what was happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: He put his infant in the microwave and turned it on. She had to have multiple skin grafts, part of her ear amputated.
Out to the lines, Corey in New Hampshire. Hi, Corey.
COREY, NEW HAMPSHIRE RESIDENT: Hi, Nancy. My prayers go out to Sandy and her family. And I wanted to ask, what are the chances of this guy -- I mean, real chances of this guy getting off on insanity?
GRACE: Good question. To Jean Casarez of "In Session," formerly "CourtTV," Jean, he actually confessed.
CASAREZ: He did. Finally he admitted that he had put the baby in the microwave so what is happening at trial is he`s trying to be found not guilty by reason of insanity. And what that would mean under Texas law is you may go to a mental hospital for a little bit but you can be released at any time.
GRACE: You certainly can.
To Wayne in North Carolina. Hi, Wayne.
WAYNE, NORTH CAROLINA RESIDENT: Hi, Nancy.
GRACE: What`s your question, dear?
WAYNE: I`m reading your caption at the bottom that says the wife blames the devil. And I just cannot believe that. And my question is who`s got custody of the baby? I hope it`s not the wife.
GRACE: Excellent question.
To Scott Williams with the "Galveston Daily News" in court today, Scott, where is the baby girl?
WILLIAMS: The baby is actually elsewhere in the state. She`s in foster care appointed by Child Protective Services. She`s actually with relatives, blood relatives. But they are more distant relatives who are sworn not to have any contact with either Joshua Mauldin or his wife, Eva.
GRACE: And to Mike Brooks, he changed his story multiple times. That`s a red flag immediately. First it was sunburn. It was hot coffee. Now it`s an accident. What does that say?
BROOKS: From the first time there was -- from the time the first responders got there, Nancy, to now in court, changing all the stories, this guy, he`s not insane. He`s a sociopath. Plain and simple.
GRACE: Everybody, I want to quickly shift gears and bring you up to date in the latest with Heath Ledger. Take a listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Heath Ledger died, he had a will drawn up long before Ledger had a daughter. Probably with superstardom. The will from 2003 now filed in a New York City court. Some of Ledger`s relatives worry his daughter Matilda won`t be taken care of financially. Ledger`s uncles say his father, Kim, doesn`t now how to manage money.
GRACE: Out to Tom O`Neil, senior editor with "In Touch Weekly," Tom, what is at stake?
TOM O`NEIL, SENIOR EDITOR, IN TOUCH WEEKLY: Well, the estate that`s worth up to $60 million, and that`s just what was in Heath`s trust fund. There were other assets as well here. Now this first will that was filed in 2001 gives half of Heath`s estate to his parents, the other half to his sisters. We know that the daughter comes into the picture two years later. There is now a rumor that there is another will out there that he never signed, that he gave most of his estate to Matilda. If that`s true, these are just reports in the Australian newspapers now, that was actually his intent.
The question is how much of this is the little girl actually going to see and right now we have to trust his father who says, don`t worry. We`re going to take care of her.
GRACE: To Jeffrey Skatoff, will and probate expert joining us out of West Palm Beach, Florida, Jeff, if you have a child after an original will, does that null and void the will?
JEFF SKATOFF, WILL AND PROBATE ATTORNEY: Nancy, it doesn`t null and void the will but what it means is that the child born after the will is drawn up is entitled to inherit under the will. And.
GRACE: But if child isn`t mentioned in the will?
SKATOFF: Under state law, an after born child will inherit from the estate. In Matilda`s case, because she`s Heath`s only child she will inherit the entire estate as far as the United States.
GRACE: So basically, even though the -- Jeff, even though the will doesn`t mention Matilda, you`re telling me that when a child is born, following a will, that the child will inherit, regardless of the will?
SKATOFF: That`s correct, Nancy. Under what`s called the pre-omitted child statute that every state in this country has.
GRACE: I want to go back to Tom O`Neil with "In Touch Weekly." Aren`t reports surfacing that the current executor fouled up another estate and frittered away millions of dollars?
O`NEIL: Yes. The Ledger family are all descendants of this patriarch who was a very, very prosperous mining engineer in gold and tin mining. He left an estate in the millions of dollars in the 1980s, now it was Heath`s father Kim who managed this or as the -- his brothers are now saying mismanaging. Not only did the millions vanished but it ended up $7 million in debt. The Australian Supreme Court had to come in and remove Heath`s father.
GRACE: To Jean Casarez, what about the conversation that Michelle Williams`s father had?
CASAREZ: Well, the issue is Michelle is concerned now. And this is the partner of Heath Ledger, the mother of the little girl. And they`re concerned because she doesn`t have an attorney and the little girl does not have a guardian ad litem. And so there`s just a division there between the family as to whether there`ll be fairness and justice.
GRACE: To the lines, Elaine in Kentucky. Hi, Elaine.
ELAINE, KENTUCKY RESIDENT: Hi. I love your show.
GRACE: Bless you. What`s your question, dear?
ELAINE: Even though his will, you know, might not have been updated, wouldn`t his daughter come -- be his closer next of kin than his parents?
GRACE: Absolutely. Let`s unleash the lawyers in addition to Jeff Skatoff, out of Florida, Jeff Brown, Tampa, and Michael Mazzariello, New York.
What about it, Michael?
MAZZARIELLO: I agree with Jeff from Florida. He`s 100 percent correct. That baby one day will have an attorney appointed and will collect everything due that child.
GRACE: Jeff Brown?
JEFF BROWN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, he`s right. The Florida statute is pretty clear on that.
GRACE: And to Jeffrey Skatoff, doesn`t a child inherit over siblings?
SKATOFF: When we`re dealing with the pre-omitted child statute, absolutely, Matilda is going to be the sole heir in this case.
GRACE: You know, Bethany Marshall, this is quite a family division.
MARSHALL: It is. It`s tempting to see this is family fighting to see over millions but I see it as Heath`s uncles stepping in to protect the interest of their great niece. This speaks to a larger family support network. Even if her grandfather ultimately would not have her best interest at stake the larger family does and that bodes well for this child.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams fell in love while filming "Brokeback Mountain" in 2005. They`re daughter Matilda was born soon after the movie opened. Ledger`s alleged cocaine use and partying may have become too much for Michelle. The couple split late last year. Williams stayed in Brooklyn with their daughter. Ledger moved to.
GRACE: We at NANCY GRACE on the hunt for parents who inspire. And now tonight`s extraordinary parents.
BROOK, CHRIS RIDENER`S SON: He`s just the coolest dad on earth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chris Ridener is not your typical dad.
CHRIS RIDENER, BMX STUNT RIDER: It`s a way for me to give back to my community and be a positive role model and show others that you can be a BMX rider and you can be skate border and still do something positive in your community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The married father is not only a military man and full-time dad, he`s also a BMX stunt rider. Ridener shows off his skills at schools and community events using his sport as a way to reach children.
RIDENER: We send positive messages out to the youth and adults about Christianity, about anti-drugs, anti-environments, anti-alcohol, and any other negative influences that -- to the -- have an effect on a community or on kids` lives.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ridener`s biggest fan? His two children, 11- year-old Brook and 3-year-old Blane.
BROOK: The message to take away from my dad is that we can be cool and stand out and have many fans without having to be in gangs and caught up in drugs and alcohol and to take the right path and be recognized for who they are.
GRACE: Let`s stop and remember, Army Sergeant, Bryan Tutten, 33, St. Augustine, Florida, killed, Iraq on a second tour from a long line of vets. Loves cooking out doors, fishing. St. Johns County naming January 18th Bryan Tutten Day. Leaves behind mom, Sylvia, widow and high school sweetheart, Constandina, 4-year-old daughter Katherine, and 9-month-old baby boy Garret(ph).
Bryan Tutten, American hero.
Thanks to our guests but especially you. And also tonight, happy birthday to the twin girls of one of our superstars and super moms here at CNN HEADLINES NEWS, Karen. Happy first birthday to Laila and Zaria, two very lucky little girls to have a mom like her.
Everybody, I`ll see you tomorrow night 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.