Return to Transcripts main page


Police Search for Father Suspected in Murdering Family; Insane Killer Escapes after Trip to Fair

Aired September 21, 2009 - 19:00:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: We begin with breaking news tonight. A hideous crime, nothing short of diabolical. Police find a mom and her five children -- count them, five -- all with their throats slit in their Florida home. Cops have the husband and father, Mesac Damas, in their crosshairs. He is said to have fled the country after he allegedly massacred his entire family.

Here are the precious children in a photo from his Web site, Look at those beautiful kids. All of them are dead. They ranged in age from the baby, just 11 months old, to 9 years of age. Police say they have never, never, ever, ever seen such brutality at a crime scene.


SHERIFF KEVIN RAMBOSK, COLLIER COUNTY, FLORIDA: I can tell you that, in no uncertain terms, this is the most horrific and violent event this community has ever experienced. Every homicide is tragic. However, this is the worst of the worst.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Just hours ago, a reporter from the Associated Press saw, Damas pictured here in Facebook -- there he is, with a drink in his hand -- captured by Haitian authorities. Get this: he is still being called a, quote, "person of interest," and not a suspect. Seriously, people? This is a guy who fled the country to Haiti and has a long history of domestic violence against his family.

This past January, he was arrested on charges of battering his wife, forcing her to drop their youngest child. He pleaded no contest.

In a sick twist, we have just learned that three -- count them, three -- days before the family was found bludgeoned to death, a child welfare caseworker visited the home and found nothing amiss.

Meantime, according to a blog called, Damas reportedly posted a chilling comment on his Facebook page. Quote -- this is so weird -- "Good people do not go to heaven, only sinners do! Thank God I am going to heaven." What? End quote.

We called police about this undated post. They had no comment.

This is a fast-breaking story. And tonight`s big issue, the war on families. Is it just me, people, or are these massacres that wipe out entire families becoming more and more frequent?

Straight out to my amazing expert panel: Jayne Weintraub, criminal defense attorney; Brenda Wade, criminal psychologist. Boy, do we need you, Brenda. Tom Ruskin, former New York City police investigator and president of CMT Protective and Investigative Group. And Ryan Mills, staff writer for the "Naples Daily News."

Ryan, you`ve been on top of this story. What is the very latest on this horrific, mind-bogglingly grotesque case?

RYAN MILLS, STAFF WRITER, "NAPLES DAILY NEWS": As you said, they do have Mr. Damas in custody down in Haiti. We`ve been told by the Collier County Sheriff`s Office that they intend to have someone ready to go down there to interview him as soon as tomorrow morning.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, my question is, why, why, why, Ryan, are they still calling him a person of interest? I don`t like that term anyway. But why are they calling this guy a person of interest? He has a long history of domestic abuse.

MILLS: Well, you know, I`m not going to speculate as to what their -- what the Collier County sheriff`s office is doing inside. But my guess is they`re going to be taking this as slowly and carefully as possible, make sure they do everything by the book, and so they get things done correctly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I don`t get it. I really don`t. Jayne Weintraub, help me out.

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: With pleasure. If the police had done their jobs, we might not be in this position, Jane. Here`s the bottom line. In Florida, we are thankful to have a statue that you would want, that people who are arrested for domestic violence are to be held without a bond -- without a bond -- until they are brought before a judge, wherein the state attorney is ordered to produce to the judge a prior background report with every domestic violence incident reported that is known to the state attorney`s office.

What does that mean? It means the state attorney dropped the ball. Means the judge dropped the ball. And we have our good old caseworker from the Department of Children and Family Services. So...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who was there three days before. Three days before, a child welfare official visited the home, Tom Ruskin. Found nothing amiss. The visit was unannounced. Dinner was in the oven. The kids appeared in good health.

TOM RUSKIN, FORMER NYPD INVESTIGATOR: I don`t think the problem was with the mother. I think the problem was the mother and the father. And obviously, something broke down in the court system.

We had three or four cases since 2005 basically saying to the courts, "Hey, look, they have a problem." Or she somehow has a problem in not kicking him out, in not keeping him out, in not keeping him away from her five children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second. Let`s talk about the history of domestic violence. OK. And then we can analyze this. Police say there`s been a handful of domestic disturbance calls involving this couple to police since way back in 2000.


JIM WILLIAMS, COLLIER COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: In January of this year, he was arrested for a simple battery or misdemeanor battery against the female that we found deceased in the apartment. He pled no contest to it in June.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did he get any jail time?

WILLIAMS: I do not believe so, other than the initial arrest.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s take a closer look at this record. 2005, the mom brought a domestic violence case against the man. She got injunctions. They were dismissed two weeks later. Then, he filed a case against her. That motion dismissed two weeks later.

November 2006, he filed another injunction. This time, it was denied. And this past January, the state of Florida charged the now husband -- because he used to be the boyfriend -- with misdemeanor battery. He pleaded no contest. Got 12 months probation, 200 hours of community service and a $600 fine. And he was ordered to attend a batter`s intervention program. Guess that batter`s intervention program didn`t work, Brenda Wade.

BRENDA WADE, CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGIST: You know, it`s very tough when you`re looking at long-term battering. And Jane, it doesn`t matter what walk of life you come from. Domestic violence touches all of us. It`s happened to the very wealthy, the very poor, whether you`re black, white, Hispanic, Asian; it doesn`t matter. The statistics are in.

I spent years working in the field of domestic violence. And I can tell you, it`s no respecter of persons.

The thing that troubles me is that this is a classic case. We`ve seen this so many times. The wife tries to protect herself. She gets an injunction. She may get a restraining order. And then she gets frightened.

Now, let me tell you the facts about what allows a person to leave a batterer. When she has support, financial support...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me jump in right here. Let me jump in here right -- Brenda, I`ve got to jump in here.

WADE: Jump in, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to do a big reality check.

WADE: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: These domestic violence issues started in 2000.

WADE: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Her oldest child was 9 years old, which means she had at least four children, possibly five children...

WADE: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... after the domestic violence began. To me, that in itself is a crime, Brenda.

RUSKIN: Jane, I will tell you, that...


RUSKIN: ... as many cases as I have responded to, as a cop, as a detective, you find a lot of times that the person does not want to leave. And once the cops come and say, "Listen, we have to arrest the spouse for domestic abuse," at that point in time, they`ll jump on the cops.

WADE: Well, let me take issue because it`s not that she doesn`t want to leave, Jane.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let Brenda talk. Brenda, go ahead.

WADE: Yes. It`s not that she doesn`t want to leave. The issue is that we actually have done studies on what it is that allows a woman to leave. She has to have some place to go.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Guess what, Brenda?

WADE: She has to have somebody there to help her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I love your analysis, but this woman sent a letter to the judge this year, begging the judge to give her husband a second chance.

WADE: That is classic, Jane. That is classic.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She filed a motion to dismiss an injunction against the same person who was then her boyfriend for beating her. What did she say to the judge? "I would like to give him a second chance." So what did the judge do?

WADE: That`s typical.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dismiss the case.

WEINTRAUB: He didn`t -- he didn`t have to do that, Jane. And the state attorney`s office could have compelled her testimony, and they don`t need the victim`s consent or approval. It`s the one crime that the state attorney`s office needs to go forward on, regardless of what the victims want to do in this case. Because we will see repeatedly these murder cases happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brenda, I don`t...

RUSKIN: Jane, I`ll go one step further. When the cops show up, they`re mandated by law in most states in this country to make an arrest, if they notice any domestic violence or any kind of signs that domestic violence complaint is substantiated.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hello, I`m going to hit myself on the head with this thing. Brenda Wade. There is a disconnect here.

WADE: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s a domestic violence issue that began a decade ago.

WADE: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And there were five children conceived...

WADE: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... during this entire saga, this drama...

WADE: Jane, the longer...


WADE: ... the longer a person lives in domestic violence, the more her self-esteem, her sense that she can live a life without being beaten, without being abused. Because part of this, you know, is not physical. Part of the abuse is mental and emotional, where constantly...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re saying that...

WADE: ... she`s being told she`s worthless. She`s being brainwashed every day. We have a syndrome...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You don`t think that she could just at least...

WADE: ... called battered wife syndrome.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... not get pregnant?

WADE: Jane, I wish I could say that a woman who`s in this situation is thinking with a brain that`s not impacted. It`s not the case. If we could have gotten her into a shelter, given her a safe place for her and her kids. If the police had followed through, or the courts had followed through. But it looks as if everybody dropped the ball here.

RUSKIN: Well, the police did...

WADE: We know that battered women have a hard time leaving.

RUSKIN: Police did follow through.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Hold on, Tom.

RUSKIN: If the police were called, they made an arrest.

MILLS: She was getting weekly -- they were checking in on her on a weekly basis. They said that the father -- the family, they were doing well over the summer.

WEINTRAUB: Yes, I`m sure they checked on her. Just like in Garrido, they checked on it. Where were they to give this woman options? To take her to a shield shelter like Dr. Wade was talking about? Where were they to give her counseling? Where were they to help her? Forget walking in and seeing nobody`s dead and there`s no blood around. So OK, the kids are fine? I`d like to see the report from this child welfare worker.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I`m starting to think that these anger management classes and batter intervention programs do not work.

RUSKIN: Agreed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Anybody disagree with that?

WADE: Sometimes they do. It`s not always the case that they fail, Jane. But this is such a difficult complicated issue. You have to remember, somebody in a chronic battering situation is, No. 1, depressed, has no self-esteem, and usually, if they stay, it`s because she has no options to get out.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I understand. And I want to make it very clear. I don`t want to blame this mom. She is a victim. I just wish that somebody could have saved five innocent beautiful children.

WADE: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that`s why it`s so nauseating, so upsetting. Five beautiful, innocent children are dead. And there was a decade of abuse to stop it. And it didn`t get stopped.

All right. More on this unthinkable massacre in a moment. We`re also taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. What do you think? 1-877-586-5977.

And an insane killer escapes police at a county fair. What the hell was he doing there in the first place?

But first, an entire family, five kids, brutally murdered inside their Florida home, their throats slit. The youngest victim, 11 months old.


RAMBOSK: I can tell you that in no uncertain terms, this is the most horrific and violent event this community has ever experienced.




JODIE JORDAN, PRINCIPAL, OSCEOLA ELEMENTARY: She was just here the past Tuesday night for curriculum night with her children. And she went into all three of the boys` classrooms.

I think I`m still in shock. I just -- what a horrible tragedy. And to think that lives are gone at such an early age. A real tragedy.

I anticipate many questions from children. I anticipate worry, sadness.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Such horror. I am asking the question that I have become so sick of asking. What on earth do we tell the young schoolchildren, classmates of these victims, in the wake of violence like this? Five kids and their mom slaughtered, perhaps by their own father.

We could see that the mother was trying to be a good mother. You heard the teacher right there saying she would do everything she could as a mom. But when you forgive somebody who beats you and beats your children, you are entering a danger zone you may not ever escape.

Phone lines lighting up.

Tana in West Virginia. Your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Yes, hi, Jane.


CALLER: What I`d like to know is how did this man get out of the country so fast, and why is he not back in the U.S. under custody at this time?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tom Ruskin, you want to take it? There he is with a drink in his hand at a beach.

RUSKIN: Basically, the way he got out of the country is he bought a ticket like anyone else. He probably wasn`t wanted at that point in time. I don`t even know if they had found the bodies by the time he had left the country.

But the answer to -- the answer to your question is in 1904, the U.S. signed a treaty with Haiti. He`s being held under that treaty as a person, as Jane doesn`t like to say, of interest, and probably will be brought back by extradition very shortly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ryan, you want to jump in a little bit?

WEINTRAUB: ... file a governor`s warrant.

MILLS: Yes, he -- he left for Miami. It`s about a two-hour drive from Naples to Miami. He left for Miami and departed around 7 a.m. in the morning on Friday. The bodies weren`t discovered until sometime Saturday, I think, evening. Or -- it was in the evening.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Tonight`s big issue, one of many, is there a war on families being waged by the men who are supposed to be protecting and defending their wives and children?

Let`s recap and review. Thirty-two-year-old Christopher Coleman, charged with first-degree murder in the strangulation death of his wife and two sons. His alleged motive: cops say he was having an affair, me up threats related to his job. Then they say he carried out the monstrous murders.

Then there`s 22-year-old guy Hines. This is a recent case we`ve been covering here on ISSUES. Prosecutor says he massacred his father, uncle, aunt and four cousins. Police say he beat them to death.

Brenda Wade, what is going on with this level of family violence in America? Are we just covering it more? Or is there something in the water out there that is making people more murderously rageful against their own families?

WADE: You know, Jane, one of the things we do see is that, during times of economic distress, people who are living on the edge go over the edge. This man had already been a violent person, a violent husband and father, for many years, and he went over the edge.

In some of the other cases that we`ve been covering, I think we see somebody who already has a problem and then they crack.

My concern is that, when we know somebody has a problem, we need to act. We need to act definitively to protect the women, the innocent children that are in the path or the other family members.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brenda, I agree with you entirely. And the fact is that there were so many red flags here.

WADE: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Red flags everywhere, in this relationship.

WADE: Plenty of opportunity. Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That ended in the brutal slaying of this young mom and her five children. We discussed already the history of domestic violence. But then the mother -- brother said she wanted to divorce her husband. And then he said they`d always argued. You never knew what he was going to do next, was the quote. He also said the kids used to say, quote, "Uncle, Uncle, Daddy hit Mommy," end quote.

WADE: Right, right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, a friend of the mom`s warned her, hey, this abuse could end in death.

Jayne Weintraub, I understand, we have something called the Power of Control Wheel, which we`re going to throw up for you in a second. Which shows how women are intimidated and they`re dominated and they`re controlled by abusive men in their lives. But nevertheless, why have these kids, one after the other, when you`re being abused like this?

WEINTRAUB: Because she was a victim. Because she couldn`t see out of her own hole, like Dr. Wade was saying.

You know, Jane, the problem here isn`t just that she`s a victim. I think it`s compounded by the police coming in and leaving or child welfare worker coming in and saying, "Oh, everything`s OK? OK."


WEINTRAUB: And not recognizing to reach out, to give her alternatives and take her to a women`s shelter, put her in your car and say, "Hey, what about the teachers, what about the principal? This little boy was telling people, telling his uncle, "Daddy is hitting Mommy." He`s telling other people, too. What`s up with our communities?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, Tom Ruskin, we only have ten seconds. But I think we do interventions for addicts. We need to do intervention, family interventions, when a situation becomes abusive.

RUSKIN: You`re absolutely right. And that`s where the system is failing. It`s not failing when the police are making an arrest. It`s failing thereafter. And Jayne and Brenda have it right on the nose.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`ve got to leave it right there. Fantastic panel.

A former agent of John Edwards has a new book proposal. And it`s not looking good for old John. Shocking claims that Edwards promised to marry his mistress after his wife dies of cancer.

Plus, an insane killer on the loose at a county fair. Whose bright idea was it to take a killer on a field trip.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In tonight`s "Spotlight," a convicted killer escapes during a trip to the fair. You heard that right. A killer treated to a field trip.

Phillip Paul was captured yesterday, four days after he sauntered away from a county fair in Washington state. If that sounds crazy to you, it gets crazier. It wasn`t the first time law enforcement let this criminally cuckoo insane man escape at a fair. What kind of judicial system are we running here, people? No doubt, the authorities have some explaining to do.


SUSAN DREYFUS, DEPARTMENT, SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES: I think the questions that are being raised are absolutely appropriate and the governor and I this morning when we spoke, some of the most serious questions I have about this, are the policies and the procedures that led to the outing, the choice of the outing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You think? Oh, boy. Police say when they found Paul, he was carrying a backpack, a guitar case and a rusty sickle. Scary stuff, considering, all joking aside, he killed a woman.

In 1987, Paul was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a mental hospital. In `91, he escaped during another outing. When cops caught up with him, he then assaulted a deputy and knocked him unconscious. Why weren`t his field trip privileges revoked back then?

Criminal defense attorney Jayne Weintraub, not guilty by reason of insanity doesn`t mean you didn`t do it. It means you`re so cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, whacked out, you don`t know your crime is wrong, right?

WEINTRAUB: That`s correct, Jane. It means that you don`t know right from wrong at the time that you commit the act.

However, in this particular case, there`s nothing wrong with the verdict. What`s wrong here is with the institution. He was deemed to be dangerous. That`s why, after a "not guilty by reason of insanity," he was housed in a mental institution and committed because he is dangerous. Why did the institution permit him to go on this crazy field trip?

WEINTRAUB: And -- and he packed a guitar with him. Did they really think he was performing at the fair, perhaps? I mean, he left with a guitar. Why would you take a guitar if you were coming right back to the institution?

Let me continue on with this madness. When Paul left for the fair, he had a backpack that was not searched and that wasn`t the only problem.


SGT. DAVE REAGAN, SPOKESMAN, SPOKANE COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: Mr. Paul was noncompliant in taking his medications. My question is, if somebody was noncompliant in taking their medications, what made anybody believe that he would be compliant on a field trip to the Spokane County Fair on Family Day? This is a situation that, in my opinion, should not have happened.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: How can that guy even say that with a straight face?

WEINTRAUB: Well, this is a guy who cut a woman`s throat and doused her with gasoline because he heard voices.

WEINTRAUB: Field trip? I don`t even understand where this cop can say with a straight face that he shouldn`t have been given the privilege of a field trip. He is deemed dangerous until further proceedings in a court. And I haven`t seen any further proceedings in a court. Therefore, he should not have been at all out of that mental institution.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The only field trip he should be getting is from one cell to another, as far as I`m concerned.

WEINTRAUB: Well, he certainly isn`t getting help, and he certainly isn`t getting better. That`s for sure. And once again, the system failed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, it`s been going on. Remember John Hinckley, who attempted to assassinate President Reagan, and he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was obsessed with Jodie Foster? He ended up getting field trips, over and over again. And he would sneak back Jodie Foster material. It`s beyond comprehension.

Thank you, thank you, Jayne.

Disgusting new allegations from a former aide of John Edwards, claiming Edwards had promised to marry his mistress just as soon as his wife died.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shocking and troubling insight into the John Edwards love triangle. His former aide told "The New York Times" Edwards fathered a child with a mistress; all the while his wife was battling cancer. But it gets worse, a lot worse. Edwards allegedly promised to marry his lover as soon as his wife died.

Plus, disturbing questions from the Jaycee Dugard case: Phillip Garrido allegedly fathered two children with Jaycee. Now, investigators are trying to figure out whether these girls who could be his daughters were raped and molested by this monster.

Tonight, a bombshell in an already very messy political scandal: is John Edwards ready to publicly admit he`s the father of his mistress` baby? Well, some are claiming so.

"The New York Times" got their hands on a book proposal from a former staffer of John Edwards, Andrew Young. Young claims Edwards has known all along that he fathered Rielle Hunter`s child; admitting it publicly would be a major about-face.

Here is Edwards last year on ABC`s "Nightline."


JOHN EDWARDS (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know that it`s not possible that this child could be mine because of the timing of events. So I know it`s not possible. Happy to take a paternity test; and would love to see it happen.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Young says Edwards convinced him to sign an affidavit claiming he, the aide, was the father of Hunter`s child. Young has since renounced that statement.

Now, here`s the former senator in 2007, accepting the Father of the Year Award. Soon after, Young says Edwards was looking for a doctor to falsify a DNA report. If that is true, it would seem he would go to any lengths to disown an innocent little girl.

Then there were the preposterous things he allegedly promised his mistress while his wife battled cancer. We`ll get to those in a moment.

I`d like want to welcome back my fantastic panel. And joining us, of course, Mark Eiglarsh; Mark, this scandal just gets worst and worst and worst. Is it possible that politicians that have risen to this level still don`t realize that in this day and age, with all the media out there and the bloggers and the Internet and having a cast of thousands involved in your conspiracy, including aides and wealthy patrons you aren`t going to be able to keep a secret like this for very long?

MARK EIGLARSH, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Obviously, he didn`t get it, or he would have been truthful with the American people from day one. I think that we`re tired of it already. I think I speak for everybody to say, first of all, I say this. And the second thing that I say is very clearly we are tired of people lying to us about events like this.

Just be honest, be open, and that will be ok.

What he did in this case was morally reprehensible. You missed the sign, did you, Jane?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to see the sign.

EIGLARSH: Baby, right here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me see. Put it in the center -- put it in the center because I can`t really see it, right in front of your face. Thank you.

I agree. Because there`s some -- you know what my book is about? Tell the truth. Be honest.

EIGLARSH: Yes, that was the point.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I was an alcoholic; I wasn`t honest with myself or anyone else. When I got sober, you know what it takes to stay sober, rigorous honesty. Ok?

EIGLARSH: Truth. Truth.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that`s absolutely connected to this story. This guy, if -- what this aide is saying, Brenda Wade, this guy is a pathological liar.

WADE: He is. And Jane, this is the tough thing. If somebody cheats and he betrays, he can`t be trusted. So how can we expect him to tell the truth? He doesn`t know what the truth is. The elaborate scheming, buying a false DNA test to cover up your trail?


WADE: He`s implicating so many people.

So by definition, let`s start with the most basic truth of all. Mr. Edwards is lacking integrity and character. And I believe it was Einstein who said that a life without integrity is a life with no beauty. This is ugly, ugly, ugly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second. I think I just heard Jayne Weintraub defending John Edwards.

WEINTRAUB: This is not our business.


WEINTRAUB: Jane, what he has done is personal and political suicide. That`s not our business. Our business now is determining whether a crime was committed. And there are two legal issues.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, I don`t want to go into those right now. I want to go into what you just said because you just threw down the gauntlet. And I think we have a sound bite right here that shows you are perhaps wrong.

John Edwards made his wife`s cancer part of his political campaign. Here`s what he said publicly about his wife`s Elizabeth`s tragic illness.


EDWARDS: I intend to do the same thing I`ve always done with Elizabeth. We`ve been married 30 years; known each other longer than that. And we will -- we will be in this every step of the way together.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. That`s campaign. That`s public.

Now, in a book proposal, his former aide is claiming he told his lover, Rielle Hunter, something very different. The aide claims Edwards promised her that once his wife died, presumably of cancer, he would marry her in a rooftop ceremony in New York City with a performance by the Dave Matthews Band. Again this is according to Andrew Young.

If that`s true, that is really beyond callous.

EIGLARSH: I`m surprised that Jayne really believes that; that somehow this is private. When you run for public office, you`re putting yourself out there.

And then when you go on national television, you say there`s no way that that could be your offspring, then you have now clearly stepped over the line. Go ahead Jayne, I disagree with you.

WEINTRAUB: Hasn`t he paid a personal price for that already and political suicide? The question now is whether it`s obstruction of justice. This is not a judge -- a moral issue for us to judge him. He`s got to live with that. And so do his wife and kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me get to the campaign issue because you`re talking about the legalities of all this. Edwards says his affair with Hunter ended in 2006. That year, his PAC, political action committee, paid her more than $100,000 grand for a few videos she produced. About $14,000 of that was paid well after the videos were made.

So prosecutors are taking a close look at this.

Also claims in "The Times" that wealthy patrons provided Hunter with large financial benefits including a BMW and lodging.

EIGLARSH: Yes, if they can show willful deceit -- and they`re going to try to do it -- then he may find himself stripped of his liberty. It`s going to be difficult, but they`ll try.

WEINTRAUB: It`s a stretch to say that they were trying to pay her for her silence. And that would be obstruction of justice according to, you know, the investigation that`s going on right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why else do you give somebody a BMW and pay for their lodging?

WEINTRAUB: Maybe because he was having an affair with her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s what I said, because...

WADE: Well, there`s another side to this, Jane...

WEINTRAUB: ... not to distract him ...

WADE: There`s another side to this that troubles me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The whole question is -- go ahead, Brenda.

WADE: The part of it that troubles me is when we say it`s not for us to judge, absolutely, I agree. It is not our job to judge. But it is our job to say if someone is an elected leader, a public figure, don`t we have in some way, the right to expect them to serve as an example?

This is a man who has children of his own. He has a wife who is ill. And how much immoral in the sense of what`s right, what`s fair, what`s honest, what`s loyal, what`s trustworthy, do we have a right to expect from an elected official?

WEINTRAUB: That`s why he resigned Brenda. That`s why he got out of the race.

WADE: What I`m saying is at the end of the day, he is still a public figure. The fact that he resigned doesn`t make him less of an example. He`d still been lying and saying the child couldn`t be his and we`re about to hear any day, I imagine that, in fact, the child is his.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s talk about that. Elizabeth Edwards has said ...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Elizabeth Edwards has said she doesn`t know whether her husband fathered the child. Larry King asked her last month if John was willing to take a paternity test. Listen to her answer.


ELIZABETH EDWARDS, WIFE OF JOHN EDWARDS: My expectation is at some point something happens. I hope for the sake of this child that it happens in a quiet way.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Friends of the couple claim it`s Elizabeth who doesn`t want her husband to come clean about paternity. First of all, I`d love to hear her side of the story because I`m sure there`s another side to this. Secondly, I have total and complete compassion for her.

But isn`t the truth, Brenda Wade, always the best option? No matter how awkward?

WADE: The truth is always the best option. The fact that Mrs. Edwards who is battling cancer, where it`s important that a person not have high levels of adrenal cortical hormones going through their blood that only make the disease worth and suppress immune function and on and on. This is a terrible thing that is going on and truth could in fact help the healing. Truth always does.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But, Mark, I want to get back to this. Go ahead.

EIGLARSH: In the criminal -- let me just say, I agree with what Brenda`s saying. I want to carry that through to the criminal justice system.

I always instruct my clients to be truthful with law enforcement and be truthful with themselves because the ones who get screwed in the criminal justice arena primarily are those who later have lies come back and bite them in the you-know-what.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s the thing about lies. Because I have studied so many lies as part of all the criminal investigations that I have done and lies have to be protected by other lies. You can`t just...

WADE: That`s right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You can`t just tell a lie because that lie is not truthful. So you have to cover it up with other lies.

WEINTRAUB: That`s why you shouldn`t say anything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Those lies, in turn, have to be covered up with other lies.

WADE: Oh, there`s a little nursery rhyme about that, isn`t there, Jane? It says oh what a tangled web we do weave when at first we choose to deceive.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Exactly. What happens is these toxic secrets grow more and more ornate, more unmanageable, more unwieldy, and then they explode right in our face.

And that`s exactly what has happened to John Edwards.

WADE: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If he had just told the truth right at the start, we wouldn`t be talking about it right now, Jayne Weintraub.

WEINTRAUB: He won`t keep his mouth shut.


WEINTRAUB: He didn`t have to say anything. Unlike Mark, I tell my clients, do not talk to anybody. Do not make a comment.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He had to comment. "The National Enquirer" caught him in an elevator.

EIGLARSH: When you`re placed in a position where cameras are pointed at you and you`re being asked question, you`ve got to then answer. I say you tell the truth.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with Mark Eiglarsh.

WADE: The truth always.

EIGLARSH: God bless you.

WADE: The truth will set you free.



For more on John Edwards` new baby drama be sure to tune it tonight 11:00 p.m. "Showbiz Tonight`s" very own A.J. Hammer takes a look at the incredible connection between the disgraced senator`s affair and a brand new blockbuster TV show. You don`t want to miss that.

Thank you once again, outstanding panel.

A major break in the Haleigh Cummings case: where was Misty the night little Haleigh vanished? Her brother dropped a head-spinner to investigators.

Then Jaycee Dugard reveals what life was like for her two daughters while under Phillip Garrido`s perverted control. You won`t believe some of the things she`s saying now.

We`re taking your calls. Give me a holler.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What kind of hell did Jaycee Dugard`s two daughters live through? We are getting a first glimpse into their relationship with their alleged captor, Phillip Garrido.

But first, "Top of the Block" tonight: a jaw-dropper in the Haleigh Cummings case; new allegations from Misty Cummings brother. Was Misty not even at the house the night little Haleigh disappeared?

Tommy Croslin told cops that Haleigh`s dad, Ron Cummings, asked him to check on Misty at 10:00 that night. He says he knocked on the door and called her cell phone. She never answered.

Whoa. That`s big. Now, remember, Misty insists she went to sleep at 10:00 that night and Haleigh was sleeping nearby. If Tommy is telling the truth, this could be the major break in the case. ISSUES will, of course, keep you posted on that and bring you the very latest.

Moving on: is the king of pop`s mom one step closer to getting a say in her son`s estate? A Los Angeles judge ruled Katherine can challenge the executors who oversee Michael`s estate without losing her share in the family trust. That`s a major win for the woman who is already set to inherit 40 percent of Michael`s assets.

If Katherine gets to decide how to manage Michael`s future earnings she could stand to make a lot more money. But that`s only if she makes smart financial decisions. We`ll have to wait and see.

That is tonight`s "Top of the Block."

A really shocking glimpse inside Jaycee Dugard`s 18 years of hell. Jaycee answered the horrifying question -- did Phillip Garrido allegedly rape his own children? Did he abuse the two daughters he apparently fathered with her?

"The San Francisco Chronicle" reports Jaycee told investigators no, that never happened. "The Chronicle" also reporting Jaycee insists Garrido has not raped or molested her, Jaycee, in years.

Is this true? Or could Jaycee be suffering from Stockholm syndrome? Is she trying to protect her alleged captor?

Also today, police continue their intense search of the Garrido property. What or who could be under the ground in that yard? Cadaver dogs picked up a human scent and ground penetrating radar confirmed something, something is down there.

Now, another dog brought in just today. This one trained to find older human remains has honed in on the very same exact spot.


LT. CHRISTINE ORREY, ANTIOCH, CALIFORNIA: One of the dogs did alert in the same general area as last week`s alert which is also the same general area of the anomaly from the GPR scanning. That`s going to be the area that we focus on this afternoon when we begin digging.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s a brand new video of today`s search. Cops ripped up concrete slabs and are feverishly digging underneath them. They found more bones. But investigators do not think those particular bones they just found are human.

Will they find the remains of two little girls who went missing in the area? And what could Jaycee possibly want from this filthy decrepit prison she was kept in for almost two decades?

Well, we have an answer for you. Brand new reports from the Associated Press indicate Jaycee is begging, begging, please, give me my pets back.

Plus, more evidence of Garrido`s erratic behavior. Does this wacky black box hold clues to Garrido`s madness?

So many new twists in a truly horrific case.

Straight out to my expert panel: criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, Mark Eiglarsh; criminal defense attorney, Jayne Weintraub; psychologist Brenda Wade.

Brenda, what are the chances that Garrido never touched the two children he fathered with Jaycee as Jaycee is reportedly claiming?

WADE: You know, Jane, they`re about 50/50. There`s some possibility that because they`re his biological children maybe some hidden protective impulse in him was triggered.

On the other hand, this guy is a predator. He is a pedophile. There is a high likelihood at the same time he did molest those little girls. We don`t know. But I would say it`s 50/50 at best.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I have read studies or reports of cases where predators will prey on other people`s children, but they won`t engage in incest with their own children.

WADE: Exactly.


WADE: Exactly. That can happen. But there are also cases where the predator can`t resist touching any child because if that child is there and they have access, they cross the line.

EIGLARSH: I wouldn`t believe a word that flows from this pedophilia`s mouth. He`s a doctor of evil. He repulses me. And it`s very likely that this king of manipulation isolated these girls and made sure that they did not tell anyone of what he did to them.

That`s also the M.O., modus operandi for these types of people. And I wouldn`t in any way listen to what they`re saying. I would conduct an independent investigation and find out.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have to jump in to this. We`re getting new insight into this guy`s twisted mind.

Get this, Garrido claimed this black box, which you`re about to see, could speak his thoughts. Garrido made friends wear headphones, then moved his lips while his voice somehow came out of the box. He wrote a 20-page manifesto about the box.

Jayne Weintraub?

WEINTRAUB: And this is why the defense lawyers are going to ask, as unpopular as it is, Jane, to explore an insanity defense or in mitigation of whatever is going on here some psychiatric evaluations.

This guy is crazy. Three years ago he made this announcement about this box, saying that it could understand telepathically what he was trying to communicate without talking. And remember that he had...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to leave it right there. We`ll be back in a second.

Remember, drugs, LSD, acid at the heart of the Garrido case. He took drugs.

This is national recovery month. As you know, I`ve also struggled with addiction. In my new book "I Want," I reveal details of my battle with alcoholism; how I finally got sober 14 years ago. You can order my recovery autobiography out in bookstores or just click on, look for the order section.

They say the only thing that has to change is everything. And everything changed in my life.

We`ll be back with more Garrido in a moment.



CARL PROBYN, JAYCEE DUGARD`S STEPFATHER: They`re doing well. You know, they`re being protected. They`re being deprogrammed and trying to find out what`s going on and what happened the last 18 years. There has to be a trial here. So they`re asking them a lot of questions.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jaycee`s stepdad speaking out. He`s furious, sickened that police failed to notice what Garrido was doing all those years. Carl Probyn hasn`t seen Jaycee since her rescue but he`s describing her as a prisoner of war.

Brenda Wade, good analysis?

WADE: I think it`s a great analysis, Jane, because even though she found a way to cope and to survive there is no way that the way that her mind works at this stage in the game is what we would call normal because she has been imprisoned all of those years and we have no idea the horrors she`s been subjected to. There`s rape, there`s imprisonment...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think that Jaycee is saying I wasn`t touched for many years because she wasn`t touched for many years, or could it be part of this programming of her brain that if you`re ever caught you say this?

WADE: Well, Jane, I think it could be either. And again, I`m in this position where I have to say it would be consistent if the guy`s a pedophile. There`s a certain time at which she`s no longer what he`s after because she wasn`t a little girl anymore. She was becoming a woman. So we have that possibility.

On the other hand, he clearly seems to be someone who thrives on control, manipulation, and domination of another human being.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are getting a peek into Jaycee`s world. The AP reporting she is pleading to get her pets back. Animals, of course, have healing power. They have unconditional love that can be therapeutic. They`re used in hospitals with war veterans. And they apparently helped Jaycee Dugard and her children live through years of alleged abuse and isolation.

Animal control removed five cats, two dogs, and three cockatiels from these deplorable, disgusting tents in the yard. They also saved a pigeon and a mouse that Jaycee reportedly kept.

I find this fascinating, Mark Eiglarsh, that she was able to nurture not only her two children but all these animals. And this could have been what saved her sanity, and that`s why she`s demanding these companion animals back.

EIGLARSH: Absolutely. It`s the least that you can do to bring her some love, some purity. From her own children and from those animals she found unconditional love, something that she didn`t have from that monster.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You were trying to make a point.

WADE: It also gave her some control in her world Jane.

EIGLARSH: I was trying to make a point, Jane. Jane, what I wanted to make a point was, to follow off of what Brenda said, assuming it`s true that he didn`t have any sexual interest in her for the last couple of years, well, that would have meant what, so when she was 25, 26 he was no longer interested in her? She had become a woman way before then.

So this guy`s infatuation with her continued on after her prepubescent state.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Jayne, I`m going to give you the last word -- 20 seconds.

WEINTRAUB: I just hope that she`s able to heal, come forward, and go through a trial if we have to or not.

EIGLARSH: Absolutely.

WEINTRAUB: But she should heal and be well.

EIGLARSH: I hope she doesn`t have to testify. I hope they manage to nail him and his cohort without re-traumatizing her and the children.

You know, we are very, very, very excited about the latest addition to our primetime line-up on HLN. Watch "The Joy Behar Show." It debuts Tuesday, September 29th, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on HLN.

Cannot wait.

Thank you to my fantastic panel; always great insights from all of you.

Remember, click on and preorder your new copy of my book.