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Sex Offender Charged With Rape and Murder of Chelsea King
Aired March 3, 2010 - 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: Breaking news tonight, live, San Diego, California, suburbs. A beautiful 17-year-old high school co-ed, cross- country star, honors student, heads out to run at a local park, then vanishes into thin air, her car abandoned, found at the jogging path, cell phone locked inside. Search teams, K-9s, FBI scour rocky terrain, heavily- wooded areas, bodies of water and 14 miles of shoreline only to discover just two clues, the high school girl`s underwear and a missing shoe along the water`s edge. As we go to air, we are still waiting on a positive ID on a young girl`s body found buried in a shallow grave along the water`s side, just a half mile from where Chelsea parks her car.
Bombshell tonight. Investigators zero in on a child sex predator, John Albert Gardner III, now linked to attacks on five girls that we know of, one as young as 13. In fact, friends of the family of a 14-year-old girl who went missing last February, convinced Gardner took the girl, actually staked out Gardner`s house when cops wouldn`t. Walking free, he now allegedly strikes again. In the last hours, 30-year-old John Gardner in court in full shackles, charged with the murder of 17-year-old Chelsea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Gardner wishes to enter a plea of not guilty to both counts and deny the allegations that are attached thereto.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Searchers found a body believed to be that of 17- year-old Chelsea King. The remains were buried in a shallow grave in a park, near a lake where she disappeared jogging.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The defendant in this case was just arraigned on two counts. The first count is murder. Attached to that count is the special allegation that the murder was committed during the commission or attempted commission of a rape. The second count he`s been charged with is assault with intent to commit rape.
GRACE: ... John Albert Gardner III. He is 30 years old. He`s charged with rape and murder in this case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They found her underwear, DNA evidence, and they found a shoe earlier, before they found the body.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve charged the person who needs to be charged, and we are asking that he be held responsible.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a sense of relief this monster has been removed from hurting anyone else that`s out there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This suspect -- a dark, violent past, John Gardner, convicted sex offender. Now, back in 2000, he pleaded guilty to molesting a 13-year-old girl. She testified he tried to strangle her. She escaped. Gardner served five years in prison. And before he was let out, a psychiatrist warned the court, I`m quoting here, he would be a "continued danger" to underage girls.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a 13-year-old girl that he raped! How as we as society sit back and say five years is sufficient!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at his face, the smirk you`ll see that`s on that mugshot. It was said there is no remorse. Well, apparently, there isn`t. This monster has done this not once, not twice, but probably many times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. Bombshell tonight. Investigators zero in on a child sex predator, John Albert Gardner III, now linked to attacks on five girls -- five that we know of -- one as young as 13. In the last hours, 30-year-old Gardner in court in full shackles, charged with the murder of 17-year-old Chelsea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Mr. Gardner.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A registered sex offender arraigned today in the death of 17-year-old Chelsea King.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Gardner wishes to enter a plea of not guilty to both counts and deny the allegations attached thereto.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a strong likelihood we have found Chelsea.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They say her body was found 10 feet from the water`s edge in a heavily wooded area.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) whoever did this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They do have evidence, police say, linking John Albert Gardner to the crime.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DNA from the victim, from the girl`s underwear, has been connected with the suspect.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The DNA seals his fate. He`s a 30-year-old scumbag!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He pleaded guilty in 2000 to molesting a 13-year- old and served five years in prison.
GRACE: What he did was go up to a little 13-year-old girl who`s waiting to catch a school bus, offer her a ride. Instead, he takes her to his home, takes off her clothes after they`re watching movies and then molests her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A psychiatrist said that he was, quote, "an extremely poor candidate" for any sexual offender treatment, and he recommended the 30-year maximum for this guy, which would mean he`d be in jail right now.
GRACE: What did the judge do? Gave him almost half of what he should have gotten.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the nicknames that I`ve always called my daughter is "My angel."
GRACE: This little girl went for a run. She was a cross-country running star, honors student.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The body was found in an area shortly -- or not far from where we had previously discovered a piece of evidence, a shoe. It was about 10 to 15 feet away from a tributary that leads down to the lake, and it was covered in a shallow grave.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe he`s not just a sex offender but a sociopath. He has no remorse.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The special allegation attached to the murder does make the defendant eligible for the death penalty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: This is a girl whose parents thought they did everything right. She was an honors student, a cross-country track star, played the French horn in the San Diego youth Symphony. She was the star of their lives. And tonight, we are waiting on a positive confirmation that this is her body, the body of a 17-year-old girl found buried in a shallow grave at the water`s edge, missing, that I know of, one shoe and her underwear. And this is the man in court in the last hours answering up on the charge of murder.
Straight out to Phil Farrar, news anchor/reporter KOGO, in court today. Tell me, Phil, number one, why don`t I have a positive ID on the body? Don`t need DNA. Can use dental records. Number two, what happened in court?
PHIL FARRAR, KOGO RADIO: Eerie in court today, Nancy. He came in, John Albert Gardner. He never did look up, his head bowed down. His eyes would go back and forth. Came in in a blue jumpsuit, a white T-shirt...
GRACE: Oh, really? Oh, really, Mr. Farrar? He wasn`t smiling like he did in his last mugshot...
FARRAR: No, he wasn`t, Nancy.
GRACE: ... only about 20 minutes after he tried to rape a 13-year-old girl? He wasn`t smirking in court?
FARRAR: No, he wasn`t. Not this time. Not at all. It was a packed courtroom. Chelsea King`s parents were in the back. And this time when he came in, it was different. It was eerie. Everybody was staring at this individual. He was not staring back at all.
GRACE: Of course, it was eerie, Phil Farrar! I mean, look at his hands. Did you see those hands? Liz, take the shot in full. I want to see his hands. According to police, this is the man, these are the hands that murdered 17-year-old Chelsea and buried her body in a shallow grave. I guess it was eerie, Phil Farrar! What happened then, after he came into court?
FARRAR: After he came in the courtroom, he waived -- or his lawyer waived his right to hear the arraignment, the charges against him. And he was then released and remanded, I should say, back to the custody of the sheriff`s department with no bail. No bail whatsoever...
GRACE: Unleash the lawyers. We are taking your calls live. I`ll be right back with Phil Farrar with KOGO, joining us there at the San Diego courthouse. With us, Gloria Allred out of LA -- you know, Gloria, renowned attorney, victims` rights advocate -- Kirby Clements, former prosecutor, now defense attorney out of Atlanta, and former federal attorney, now defense attorney in New York Doug Burns.
I`ll tell you why they didn`t want the charges read, Gloria, because I saw defense attorneys do this all the time. They don`t want their client standing there and having any reaction whatsoever when you read out what they say he did to this 17-year-old little girl. So they go, Waive the formal reading. We don`t need to hear the charges. Thank you, though, judge. That`s what happened.
Gloria? OK, I can`t hear Gloria. You go, Kirby.
KIRBY CLEMENTS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, I think you`re right, Nancy, that, you know, you don`t want your charges read out so that the prosecutor can sit there and allege that your client reacted in an improper manner. And you know, also, this is being played out in the press, so you don`t want the press to start psychoanalyzing your client. So you do waive arraignment. And let`s get -- let`s get this case into the formal process. Let`s get some motions filed. But no, no reading.
GRACE: Hold on just a moment. Please put the lawyers up. Kirby, before you became a defense attorney, as I recall, you were a violent crimes prosecutor along with me in inner-city Atlanta.
GRACE: And I drew a lot of, let me just say assumptions when the defense attorney refused a formal reading of the indictment. You know why? Because the client is embarrassed because what they do, often private behind closed doors in secluded heavily-wooded areas, is one thing. But they don`t want to answer up in front of a packed courtroom. What about it, Doug Burns?
DOUG BURNS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I agree with you. But with all due respect, Nancy, I`ve never seen an indictment read in any case I`ve ever appeared in. It`s always waived. Honestly. Seriously. That`s just normal procedure. I mean, you may be right in the sense that, of course, you don`t want to have the guy to make some facial reaction. But every time I go to court from an arraignment, the charges are not read aloud.
GRACE: Straight out to the lines. Francine, New Jersey. Hi, Francine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. We love you here in Jersey!
GRACE: Thank you, Francine. And I love Jersey, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, sweetheart. How`s mom doing?
GRACE: Let me tell you something. After last week, when I asked you guys for your thoughts and your prayers for my mom -- she was having a very hard time after surgery. The next morning, I called her and she had done a complete turnaround. So thank you. What`s your question, love?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, my question is this. I cannot believe that they would let a man that raped a 13-year-old child get out of jail. I realize they don`t want the child to speak. I know it`s very traumatic for the child. After five years (INAUDIBLE) nothing.
GRACE: It`s absolutely outrageous, Francine. And when I get back, I`m going to tell you a little about what happened, why the judge did what he did, I think, only half the time this guy could have got. He would have still been behind bars and Chelsea King would be alive today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Showing unimaginable grace, just six hours after their daughter`s body was found, the Kings thanked the community for the prayers and the most intense search effort in county history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to thank you. Chelsea wants to thank you. Keep her spirit alive for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK LUNSFORD, JESSICA LUNSFORD`S FATHER: Losing a child to a sexual predator is a horror that you go through alone.
ERIN RUNNION, SAMANTHA RUNNION`S MOTHER: He is guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty! And that feels really good because nobody should get away with this!
SUSAN SCHORPEN, CARLIE BRUCIA`S MOTHER: I lost the light of my life, my buddy, my best friend, most of all, my daughter. I cry for her all hours of the day. I cry for her at night.
LUNSFORD: Couey is a pathological liar. He`s a piece of shit. Sorry, but it`s the truth.
STEVE GROENE, SHASTA AND DYLAN GROENE`S FATHER: So many times, I`ve seen the local news put out the bulletins about sex offenders being released in the community, and they`re described as level-three sex offenders with a high likelihood to reoffend. That`s unacceptable.
LUNSFORD: My daughter was kidnapped, raped and buried alive. Is this what you want to happen to your children?
SCHORPEN: I am broken. I will never heal. I will never have closure and never again have my daughter by my side. My heart will always have a void, a tremendous loss.
LUNSFORD: This is not a way to remember your child. This is not how it`s meant to be.
RUNNION: And in honor of Samantha, in honor of Jessica and Molly Fish and Polly Klaas and Adam Walsh, how many children do we have to take away before we as Americans get organized? We outnumber you so many times over! There is no excuse, and we`re not going to let you get away with this anymore!
BRENT KING, CHELSEA KING`S FATHER: One of the nicknames that I`ve always called my daughter is "My angel."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: In court in the last hours, the man now charged with this little girl`s murder. The only clues police had found up until the time they found the body was one shoe and her underwear at the water`s edge. In fact, this guy that you`re looking at, Gardner, has now been linked to five, that we know of, attacks on young girls.
Out to you, Marc Klaas, president and founder of Klaas Kids Foundation. It was so bad that friends of Amber Dubois`s family actually staked this guy`s house out. She went missing, as I recall, last February, February 2009. And he was a registered sex predator, and they just felt that this guy was involved with her disappearance. They -- when cops didn`t have the manpower or wouldn`t stake him out, the family`s friends staked this guy`s house out, to no avail. He`s apparently struck again, Marc Klaas.
MARC KLAAS, KLAAS KIDS FOUNDATION: Well, you know what? I think that they were possibly right on, as Amber`s mom, Carrie, said last night. She believes that this individual is involved in her daughter`s disappearance, and I think she very well may be right. We should not have to resort to this kind of, I would call it vigilante justice. We should not have to...
GRACE: I was just about to say, Marc Klaas, that this is exactly why people resort to vigilante justice because -- I mean, for Pete`s sake, Marc, five girls, five girls that we know of? And you know the statistics, Marc. Every time a sex predator is caught, he has attacked or molested dozens of other people before they`re caught on that one charge.
KLAAS: Yes, you`re absolutely correct. And in fact, when society fails to protect its citizenry, the citizenry then has to resort to vigilante justice. It`s expected. It`s something that everybody knows is going to happen, but it`s something that shouldn`t have to happen because we pay government. Their primary duty, as far as I can tell, is to protect us from the bad boys, and they seem to be doing a pitiful job of it.
GRACE: Out to Matt Zarrell, our producer on the story. It was Judge Peter Detta (ph) and the assistant district attorney, David Hindern (ph) -- is that his name, or Hindeen?
MATT ZARRELL, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Hindern, yes.
GRACE: ... that agreed, that cooked up that six-year sentence, along with the defense attorney, of course. And was that the charge where he attacked a 13-year-old girl? Tell me about the charge where he could have gotten 10 years, at least 10 years, and he got six years instead.
ZARRELL: Yes, the prosecutor and the defense attorney, they made a plea agreement. They did not want the victim to testify. He was -- he pled guilty to two counts of lewd and lascivious, one count of false imprisonment. The prosecutor recommended six years. The judge agreed (INAUDIBLE)
GRACE: You know what?
ZARRELL: He served five.
GRACE: I find that very unusual, Pat Brown, because very often, even for young victims, it is empowering to go to court and testify against your attacker.
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Exactly. It`s not only empowering, it is the right thing to do. And everybody should always encourage, even a child -- you know, as a parent, encourage that child to go forth and save other people`s lives and know that she`s done that. And they didn`t allow her to do it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s a great kid. She is the kind of kid that we all dream of having. And she wants to change the world. She wants to make this place a place that good people do good things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a shallow grave off a trail about a half a mile from where Chelsea parks her car was, indeed, a body, and they do believe the body of Chelsea King.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s an area that we had been searching extensively.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An arrest has been made, John Albert Gardner III arrested. He`s a convicted sex offender.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we had a tiger loose from the zoo, we wouldn`t -- we would all rush around until that tiger was caught. But we have predators, human predators, out there. We know they`re dangerous, we know they`re sick, but we let them live in our communities and we keep no eye on them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This could have been my children. It could have been me. I run. I run on the trail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just knew that it was something bad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: To psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert, joining us out of New York. You know, we`re talking about this case where the judge sentences this guy to six years a couple years ago. He did five of the years. He could have gotten 10 years behind bars. And the reason the prosecutor said he agreed to it is because he didn`t want the victim to testify.
But isn`t it true, Jonathan Alpert, that testifying, victims testifying -- and I went through this many, many times with rape victims and sex assault victims, child molestation victims -- that they ultimately feel empowered that they testified. Don`t you believe by encouraging them not to testify, it starts a feeling of shame that somehow what happened was their fault?
JONATHAN ALPERT, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Nancy, I agree with you. When a victim testifies, there`s a strong sense of empowerment. And to not allow that, we`re just perpetuating the victim mentality, and that`s not in the interest of the victim at all.
GRACE: And long story short, Jonathan Alpert, psychotherapist joining us out of New York, if he had gotten 10 years at that sentencing, this girl, Chelsea King, would be alive tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a relief this monster has been removed from hurting Chelsea any more and anyone else that`s out there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Item number 16. John Albert Gardner.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A registered sex offender arraigned today in the death of 17-year-old Chelsea King.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The FBI dive team made the grisly discovery.
BRENT KING, CHELSEA KING`S FATHER: It`s the most horrific thing that a parent could ever go through.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: "Chelsea`s blood is on you, move out." That`s on the garage door of the home where John Albert Gardner had been living with his mother.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: John Albert Gardner III arrested. He`s a convicted sex offender.
CARRIE MCGONIGLE, MOTHER OF AMBER DUBOIS, 14-YEAR-OLD GIRL MISSING IN THE SAME AREA: My condolences go out to the parents. They`re asking, did this guy do something with my daughter? I feel he probably did.
MARC KLAAS, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, KLAASKIDS FOUNDATION: We know that never in the history of the world has a sociopath/psychopath/sexual predator ever been cured.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Why the smirk? Why the smile in the mugshot? This is within hours, if police are correct, of murdering a 17-year-old girl.
CARYN STARK, PSYCHOLOGIST: He is actually enjoying this experience.
GRACE: If what we are suspecting is true, this one guy is responsible for attacks on at least four people.
MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST; FMR. D.C. POLICE DET., FBI TERRORISM TASK FORCE: This guy should be locked up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Psychiatrist determined that his callous attitude and his lack of remorse made him an extremely unlikely candidate for rehabilitation.
KLAAS: We know that these characters are hard wired to do what they do.
KING: My first reaction of one of pure horror for my daughter.
KLAAS: Put them behind bars and keep them there so they can never get their hands on yet another innocent victim.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: We are taking your live calls. Out to Phil Farrar, reporter, news anchor, KOGO. I asked you earlier why we don`t have a positive ID on the body. Isn`t it time to give the family some peace?
PHIL FARRAR, NEWS ANCHOR/REPORTER, KOGO RADIO; IN COURT TODAY; ON LOCATION FROM COURTHOUSE: You know, the sheriff went to the house yesterday right shortly after the body was discovered at 1:00 and he said he was quite certain and told them that it was.
The body is now in the hands of the medical examiner`s office and it could be a day or two before they do get that positive identification.
GRACE: OK. I don`t understand that. To Dr. Leigh Vinocur, emergency room physician, University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Dr. Vinocur, thank you for being with us. It`s a simple matter.
DR. LEIGH VINOCUR, M.D., EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: My pleasure.
GRACE: You don`t have to have DNA.
GRACE: All you have to have is a dental comparison.
VINOCUR: Right. A dental record or if she has some scars that are particular to her or some birth marks that the parents would know. Usually they`ll bring the family back if it`s not badly decomposed and have the family ID. So you don`t have to wait for DNA.
GRACE: Dr. Vinocur, I would not advise the family to go identify the body. You know, having been in that position before when my fiance was murdered, I would not ask -- if I could get around it -- ask a family to make an ID but you are right.
But still you`ve got dental records.
GRACE: I`m just wondering why they just don`t put it to rest and name this her body. But you know what? That`s a whole other can of worms. Right now I want to talk about John Albert Gardner III.
I want to go to Matt Zarrell, our producer on the story.
Matt, when you take a look at that he -- and just check off the names that we know of. He`s connected on attacks on five different young girls. Give me the geography, the topography here.
I understand that he`s X amount of miles away from the home of Amber Dubois. But it turns out his mom lives about a mile from her. Give me the lowdown. Where does it all fit together geographically, Matt Zarrell?
MATT ZARRELL, NANCY GRACE STAFFER, COVERING STORY: OK. Now Lake Hodges, where Chelsea King was killed, and where the -- the attack on December 27th, that is about a mile from Gardner`s mother`s house.
Now six months ago Gardner was staying in an apartment in Escondido. That apartment is a mile from Amber Dubois`s school where she was last seen.
He also currently lives in Lake Ellsinore which is about 50 miles north. In Lake Ellsinore in October there was a report of an attempted abduction on a young girl, a man driving a sedan. She was able to get away. But police released a sketch. Now this sketch bears a very striking resemblance to John Albert Gardner, Nancy.
GRACE: Joining me right now is a very special guest. This is Maurice Dubois. This is the father of 14-year-old Amber Dubois who went missing in the very same area.
Mr. Dubois, thank you for being with us.
MAURICE DUBOIS, FATHER OF AMBER DUBOIS, 14-YEAR-OLD, MISSING IN SAME AREA; ATTENDED SUSPECT`S HEARING TODAY: Thank you for having me, Nancy.
GRACE: Sir, I understand that you were in court today. What prompted you to go to court on the case of Chelsea King?
DUBOIS: Just the similarities in our case. You know, if there is any connection to Mr. Gardner and our case, I want to be there for his prosecution and soon to be execution, I would hope.
GRACE: Well, Mr. Dubois, now that you`ve brought up the death penalty, they are charging him in this case with what they call an aggravating circumstance.
Under death penalty law, I guess the legislatures don`t think that just any murder warrants the death penalty. There must be an aggravating circumstance such as a rape, a robbery, in the commission of another felony.
I find that highly probative, Mr. Dubois, that they have formally charged him with an aggravating circumstance in the death of Chelsea King. That being the attempted rape.
Now, Mr. Dubois, many, many people including myself think that there may very well be a connection between Gardner and your daughter.
First of all, tell me about Amber.
DUBOIS: OK. Well, first of all, I`d like to first give out our whole family`s condolences to Chelsea King and the entire King family. Our hearts go out to them, and, yes, Amber -- Amber was an excellent student. Straight A`s. Perfect attendance.
Walking to school, Friday the 13th, 7:10 in the morning. Was 200 yards from the front gate, never made it into the front gate. She was last seen by an adult who knows her and that`s the last we have seen of her.
We`ve had many leads and tips, but we have no significant stories to go on.
GRACE: OK. Pat Brown, criminal profiler, author of "Killing for Sports."
Pat, I can tell you right now whoever took Amber Dubois is a child predator. Because who is going to be hanging around a school at 7:00 a.m. in the -- on a Friday morning when little girls are going in and out?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER, AUTHOR OF "KILLING FOR SPORT": Absolutely. I mean, these predators know their trolling grounds. And they can spend a lot of time doing it. It`s like going fishing and you love fishing. You go to the lake all the time.
These guys go to paths, schools, shopping malls, wherever they find their targets. So he`s going to be sitting out there waiting for that moment of opportunity. And I want to say one thing, though, we should really respect the rights, the belief systems of these men, who do these things. The prisoners and defendants. And this man believed in the death penalty. So we should give him the death penalty.
GRACE: Well put. Well put, Pat Brown.
Back to Mr. Dubois, Maurice Dubois, Amber`s father. Amber went missing, as I recall, last February 2009.
Mr. Dubois, you have said earlier that you were, quote, "in denial," about the possibility that Chelsea`s death and Amber`s disappearance may be linked. Why?
DUBOIS: Basically for the mere fact that we don`t want any connection with our daughter to this monster. I mean, we know now what he`s capable of and we don`t want any form of connection to this case whatsoever.
We`re hoping that this case would give us some good exposure on Amber and someone out there will see Amber and help get us home -- get her home to us.
GRACE: Everyone, we are talking about a 14-year-old girl, Amber Dubois, who went missing in the same area. We covered it live on our show when she went missing. That case is still unsolved.
Take a look at Amber Dubois here with Chelsea King. As we go to air tonight, we are awaiting a positive I.D. on a young girl`s body found at the water`s edge there at a park.
We are taking your calls live. To Sandy in Ohio, hi, Sandy.
SANDY, CALLER FROM OHIO: Hi, Nancy. I`ve been trying to get through to you for days. God bless you.
GRACE: Thank you.
SANDY: For all you do. And I sit here, I have two granddaughters that are absolutely beautiful, one is 14 and one is 6, and I just can`t even -- I don`t even like to think about this happening to them.
I have signed up for local, you know, alerts that when one moves into the neighborhood, but obviously we need to do more.
What I`m wondering is, you know, I`m sure there`s thousands and thousands of mothers and grandmothers and parents out there that are feeling like I am, and if there was some kind of central information place where all the of us could go and start fighting back and getting, like --
GRACE: You know, that`s a great idea. What about it, Marc Klaas?
KLAAS: Well, it is a very good idea. You know, there are a variety of agencies out there that are working on this. Certainly I`ve been working on these issues for a very long time, as has Mark Lundsford and many others. We passed strong laws. In California we`ve passed some amazing laws.
But you know what, Nancy? If they`re not enforced, if we don`t have the prosecutors that have the internal fortitude to go after the tough prosecution, we`re going to continue to regurgitate them back on to the streets time and time again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn`t know what kind of -- the depths of human compassion could be until we`ve gone through this horrible experience. It`s sustained us and it continues to sustain us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF WILLIAM GORE, SAN DIEGO SHERIFF`S DEPT., ON THE CASE: That we discovered shortly after 1:00 human remains.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have no idea how overwhelming.
GORE: There`s strong likelihood we have found Chelsea.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My heart is overflowing.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: She went out on a run Thursday afternoon and never returned to her car.
KING: She had run at that park before.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What happened to her? What horrors did she endure?
KING: Rancho Bernardo Pathway community is a very good, safe community.
BROOKS: I think it was right after she went for the jog, she was raped and murdered.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Rape and murder.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: John Albert Gardner III arrested.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: He is registered sex offender.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Now cops say physical evidence links him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There may be some scratches on his body. There may be some fibers.
BROWN: We have predators, human predators out there. We know they`re dangerous, we know they`re sick.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Monster.
BROWN: But we let them live in our communities and keep no eye on them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And there`s no words for it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The public defender`s office is going to represent him. And they have assigned two attorneys to the case which indicates a strong possibility he`s going to face the death penalty.
KING: It was relief that this thing is not able to do this to my daughter. To anybody else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And in answer to Sandy in Ohio`s question, go to www.nsopr.gov. That`s the National Sex Offender Public Registry, operated by DOJ, Department of Justice. NSOPR.gov.
Out to Gloria Allred, victims` rights advocate and attorney. Weigh in, Gloria.
GLORIA ALLRED, VICTIMS` RIGHTS ATTORNEY, CHILD ADVOCATE: You know, Nancy, this is just heartbreaking I`m sure for the parents of Chelsea. I represented last year and still represent the parents of missing Donna Jo, a 19-year-old college student who actually attended college in San Diego and she was last seen with a convicted sexual predator.
And for about a year and a half, Nancy, we picketed and we wrote to this person who was arrested, John Steven Burgess, and pled with him. You have got to tell the parents and you`ve got to tell law enforcement what happened to Donna Jo.
And finally he did and finally he pled guilty to homicide, to involuntary manslaughter of Donna Jo who has never been found. So I would say to this Mr. Gardner, the defendant in this case -- I know you have a fifth-amendment privilege against self-incrimination, sir, but help these parents. Tell them what happened if you know any facts that would help them in their grief.
GRACE: You know what, Gloria, I know that your sentiment is genuine. I`ve seen you work with victims` families.
This guy is not saying a word. So far we know he`s connected to about five attacks on girls. He`s been walking scot-free. There he is walking around a park where this girl was jogging. This young 17-year-old girl.
This guy is doing nobody any favors, Gloria. This is going to trial. I can guarantee you that.
ALLRED: You`re probably -- yes, you`re probably right, Nancy, but in addition we should also point out that his prior conviction, his prior felony conviction for lewd and lascivious acts on that little 13-year-old girl, not only involved lewd and lascivious acts. Also there was an allegation that he beat her. So this --
GRACE: He beat her horribly. It`s not just an allegations, Gloria. The neighbors saw the 13-year-old girl stumble out of his house. And I read the full report. Her -- the left side of her face was totally swollen already, beaten. He tried to suffocate her.
She had her hands -- her pants in one hand where he had ripped her pants off, tried to pull her pants off and she only had on one shoe. And this 13-year-old girl managed to save her life and get out of this freak`s apartment.
And that was just a very short while ago. And here he is out in the park to run into 17-year-old Chelsea King.
Very quickly, to Lou Palumbo, former Nassau County police investigator, now private investigator in New York.
Weigh in, Lou, what do you think?
LOU PALUMBO, FORMER NASSAU COUNTY POLICE INVESTIGATOR, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: I think the first thing I`m hearing tonight is that people are disappointed he didn`t get 10 years, that he got five, which is a little alarming.
Maybe what we need to do is start to approach the concept that these people need to be remanded to incarceration indefinitely. Number one. Number two, to address this lack of sensitivity, as it`s perceived to be, about not releasing her identity.
This body is part of the crime scene right now. And they`re attempting to gather as much information forensically to conclusively and unequivocally tie him to this homicide and we`re yet to know if this was a rape or an attempted rape.
The problem here, simply stated, the system consistently fails us. We`re going case by case, it has the common denominator. We`re treating these sociopaths, these very dangerous sex offenders, as they`re a conventional criminal.
There`s no crime or fruition here. This needs to be separated in our judicial system. They need a whole different approach to the sentencing guidelines and not allow them back on the street ever.
GRACE: Lou, you`re right. This is not a typical criminal because a typical criminal can learn not to re-offend. But sex offenders, in my experience and it`s anecdotal, but it`s over 20 years` worth of practicing law, they cannot be rehabilitated.
Phil Farrar, KOGO, in court today. You said that he would rarely look up in court. Who else was in the courtroom? I know Amber`s father was there.
FARRAR: Mo was there and also the King family, the father, Brett, and also Kelly King. They were there as well and they were in the back of the room. There were also other multi-task force workers from the FBI and also from sheriff`s department and San Diego Police.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Status. March 9th, 8:30, this department. Preliminary hearing March 18, 8:15, Department 11, then out of (INAUDIBLE) state council.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Gardner, you`re ordered back to court on this day. Can you (INAUDIBLE).
JOHN GARDNER, SUSPECT IN THE DEATH OF CHELSEA KING: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: You are seeing just a few hours ago John Albert Gardner III in court. He`s behind bars, no bond. He has been charged with murder and attempted rape of a 17-year-old girl.
Phil Farrar, at first he was booked on suspicion of murder and rape. Why has that been downgraded to attempted rape?
FARRAR: Because they`re not sure. They`re not sure right now, Nancy. They don`t know. They know that there was DNA on her underwear, but that DNA could have been blood for all we know. They don`t know and they don`t --
GRACE: OK. To you, Matt Zarrell. What do we know? Are they going to wait on the autopsy reports? I mean, even after the autopsy is completed, this can be changed. This will either go to a preliminary hearing or a grand jury for felony indictment.
ZARRELL: Yes, you`re right, Nancy. And prosecutors have not ruled out filing more charges as this moves along. We`re hoping --
ZARRELL: -- at that preliminary hearing, we`ll get more details of what happened.
GRACE: Back to the lawyers. Gloria Allred, Kirby Clemens, Doug Burns.
Doug, this was just a preliminary arraignment. Under our Constitution you cannot be held over 72 hours without a formal reading of your charges.
DOUG BURNS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No. Exactly right. And the prosecutors were smart in that they effectuate the arrest and then as you guys just pointed out, and you`re so right, if the forensic evidence backs it up, they will definitely add all of the charges that apply, Nancy.
GRACE: Doug Burns, you are certainly no stranger to the courtroom. If this goes forward as a death penalty case, when do you believe the trial would be? And we`re talking about California jurisdiction.
BURNS: Yes -- no, that`s a good, sort of implied point you`re making. It will be a good period of time. Probably anywhere 12 to 18 months down the road.
GRACE: I would say at least, Kirby Clemens.
GRACE: Because in our jurisdiction in the city of Atlanta, it would take at least that long to put together a death penalty case.
KIRBY CLEMENS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I mean from -- not only the prosecution`s perspective, you know, getting all the evidence together and getting all the witnesses together --
GRACE: Oh yes, well, of course the defense is going to drag it out as long as possible.
CLEMENS: Well, you have to go ahead and protect the man`s right. You know that Constitution is important even though the evidence --
GRACE: Put Clemens up. Kirby.
GRACE: You know what?
GRACE: Save it. Protect the man`s rights.
CLEMENS: Well, it`s important. You know --
GRACE: OK. All right.
CLEMENS: -- those founding fathers thought it was important.
GRACE: What about it, Gloria? Trial.
ALLRED: Yes, trial, probably a ways down the road. But they are looking at special circumstances, murder in the commission of a rape or attempted rape, but they will also look at their guidelines and also consult with the victim`s parents.
GRACE: Everyone, let`s stop and remember Army Specialist Anthony Hebert, 19, Lake City, Minnesota, killed Iraq. Awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge.
Loved golf, time with friends, dreamed of being a firefighter or cop. Leaves behind grieving parents Robert and Lori, sisters Erin and Tiffany.
Anthony Hebert, American hero.
Thanks to our guests but especially to you for being with us. And tonight, a special good night from Georgia friend Jenna, Kathy, Lindsey, Celine, Wendy, Kim, Vivian and Sara.
Now there`s a beautiful bunch.
Everyone, tonight our thoughts with the family, not only Amber Dubois, but 17-year-old Chelsea.
I`ll see you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.