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Coronado Mansion Death Ruled a Suicide

Aired September 6, 2011 - 20:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight, live, California. A 6-year-old boy falls down the steps in his own home, rushed to the hospital. But just 48 hours later, police race back to the same multi-million-dollar mansion to find the body of a beautiful young eye specialist hanging, hands and feet bound by rope, blows to the head, wearing nothing but a shirt wrapped around and around her neck, then stuffed into her mouth.

Bombshell tonight. In a stunning turn, police declare the hanging -- hands, feet bound, blow to the head, nude -- they declare it a suicide! No!

Tonight, suspicious footprints and words scrawled on the bedroom door. We want justice and we demand the case be reopened!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For the first time, investigators took us inside the Spreckels mansion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The case is suspicious.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sharing photographs that shed new light on the double tragedy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It started when police say 6-year-old Max Shacknai fell down the stairs of this 27-room mansion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two days later...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rebecca Zahau found hanged. She was bound, naked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She did die of asphyxiated hanging. And based on the autopsy findings, she was alive when she went over the balcony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, suicide and homicide at times can look very, very similar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Investigators believe she took action, going to the only bedroom in the house with a balcony, binding her hands and feet with a red rope that she anchored to a bed, and jumping.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Zahau`s family says Rebecca would never have committed suicide, and that it would have taken Houdini to kill herself the way investigators say it happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This reenactment shows how detectives believe Zahau tied herself up. Watch as the woman loops the red rope around her wrists, then wiggles her right wrist out before putting it back inside the bindings behind her back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s just -- it`s what we used to say in the law, doesn`t pass the smell test.


GRACE: And tonight, a husband gets a shock of a lifetime when police order him out of his tree-lined suburban home immediately and tell him to go into hiding. Why? Because his wife`s female co-worker puts a hit on him! The co-worker wants his wife to herself, and she`s willing to commit murder.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Law enforcement says this woman, 39-year-old Marnie Nappy (ph)...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is absolutely no doubt that she wanted this person dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allegedly tried to hire a hit man not once, not twice, but three times.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nappy paid out more than $20,000 to at least three different people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We knew we had an individual who was in danger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In an attempt to have David Gardener (ph) killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police say Nappy believed the husband stood in the way of a potential relationship with his wife!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police say it was all part of a love triangle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then we had to take some necessary steps to get him protected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nappy left her home on James Street and traveled to a nearby grocery store parking lot on at least one occasion to meet with a potential hit man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he`s an undercover cop!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Undercover police made recorded calls and set up their own meeting. Nappy handed over $500 as a down payment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The arrangement was for her to pay an additional $4,500.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She certainly wanted to make sure the job was done and done right.


GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. Bombshell tonight: Live, California, a 6-year-old little boy falls down the steps in his own home. He`s rushed to the hospital. But then just 48 hours later, police race back to the same multi-million-dollar mansion to find the body of a beautiful young eye specialist hanging.

In a stunning turn, police declare the hanging -- remember, her hands and feet bound, blows to the head, she`s nude -- they declare it a suicide. No! Tonight, suspicious footprints and words scrawled on to the bedroom door. We want justice! And tonight, we demand the case be reopened.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why does Rebecca`s family believe she did not commit suicide?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s no case in the history of the world of a woman killing herself this way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hands were bound behind the back and the feet were bound. They did not appear to be bound together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would just hope that the police would look at other things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DNA profiles from the victim`s bindings, both her hands and her feet, the rope around her neck, the rope attached to the footboard of the bed, and the small knife were only from Rebecca.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right at this point, we don`t see anything pushing towards suicide.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I`m going to commit suicide, I`m not going to just make -- bind my feet, bind my hands behind my back and jump off a balcony where anybody can see me!


GRACE: We are live and taking your calls. Straight out to Jean Casarez, joining us there in California, legal correspondent, "In Session." Jean, look, you know when the police have to come up with a demo tape, where they got somebody from the troop at Cirque du Soleil showing how maybe this woman could have committed suicide -- it`s all wrong, Jean!

How did this woman commit suicide? Explain to me how she could tie her hands, her feet, wrap a T-shirt around her neck, sick it in her own mouth, and then hang herself? Listening!

JEAN CASAREZ, "IN SESSION": That`s right. And that`s the issue, Nancy. That is the whole issue. And here are two things that we are learning. Number one, the bedroom door that she allegedly was bound and gagged in had black paint across the door. "She saved him, can you save her?" That was written on the door when her body was found.

And secondly, Nancy, the autopsy report is showing that there were four hemorrhages underneath her skull, and famed forensic -- Cyril Wecht is saying that that could not be done in any other way but blunt force trauma.

GRACE: You know, Jean, I know you`re talking about the medical examiner, and you mentioned that there were four hemorrhages underneath the skin, subarachnoid subdural hemorrhages. And I want to know -- it`s very important, actually, that we know where the blows were to the head. Do we know where they were on the head?

CASAREZ: Well, what Cyril Wecht is saying is that even if she had jumped -- let`s assume for a moment she ended her own life -- jumped off that balcony bound and gagged, that her head hitting the trees could not have produced those injuries. There was just no way.

GRACE: Unleash the lawyers. Joining us tonight out of New York, Susan Moss. Out of Miami, Bradford Cohen. Out of New York, Midwin Charles.

First to you, Sue Moss. Weigh in.

SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: If she can tie her hands, her neck and her feet, boy, she`s got Houdini beat! I mean, that`s some Girl Scout training! But there is no way that all of these things happened! They`ve got to look at the -- all the scenario together. This man, this millionaire, billionaire man, lost his son, and I wonder if he blamed this woman. This woman was there when this boy had his injury that caused his death. So I am wondering if this wasn`t a revenge murder. That`s what it looks like to me.

GRACE: And interesting, Sue Moss, it was his brother that found the body and cut it down before police got there. More interesting facts -- tape residue -- tape residue -- was found on her legs, as well as some blood.

OK, Bradford Cohen, you`re the defense attorney. Why aren`t police looking at him?

BRADFORD COHEN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: They`re not looking at him because the autopsy came back and said that it was a suicide, although everything is pointing to...

GRACE: Put him up.

COHEN: ... something other than a suicide.

GRACE: Put him up!

COHEN: As a defense attorney, I`m going to have a field day with these guys.

GRACE: Bradford! Bradford!


GRACE: Listen, don`t you remember Drew Peterson?

COHEN: Sure.

GRACE: Remember his second or third wife, that was also a suicide. She was drowned in a dry bathtub.

COHEN: Absolutely.

GRACE: Years later, the case was reopened and it was determined to be a homicide. OK...

COHEN: A hundred percent. But they`re going to have a field day with this guy. They already -- the autopsy already came back and ruled it a suicide. They created their own evidence for the defense...

GRACE: You know what?

COHEN: ... showing how she would have tied her hands...

GRACE: Did I ask you that?

COHEN: ... behind her back.

GRACE: Did I ask you that? No, I didn`t! But you...

COHEN: No, I was throwing that in there for you, Nancy.

GRACE: ... are trying to deflect attention off the fact that this has been erroneously named a suicide.

Midwin Charles, do you think the fact that the boyfriend -- it`s not a millionaire, he is a billionaire -- has anything to do with this being called a suicide?

MIDWIN CHARLES, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think it does. I have never seen a case where the police have worked so hard to show that the manner in which a person died is a suicide and not a homicide. It is almost as though they have some sort of vested interest in the outcome here.

GRACE: To Jane Velez-Mitchell, host "Issues." Jane, have you seen the video that the police came out with? And look, I`m almost always on the side of the police because I think that they`re right. But this doesn`t make sense to me. Have you seen that video where they have to hire a contortionist to show how she could have killed herself this way?

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST, "ISSUES": Yes, and we`re looking at it right now. And actually, the hands and the feet -- that`s one...

GRACE: Liz...


GRACE: Put it back up! We`re right in the middle of talking about it. Let`s see the contortionist. Go ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What I`m so fascinated by, Nancy, is why didn`t the authorities mention all these other things when...

GRACE: Oh, wait, wait, wait, Jane! Wait! Look at this! So this is what an emotionally distraught woman was supposed to do, and then -- I don`t know how that she gets her feet tied up. And then -- hold on, I got to take this in. A Boy Scout couldn`t do this with five badges in knots! Impossible! So the feet have to be bound, the hands have to be bound, then she`s got to hang herself. And oh, yes, that`s after she writes a note on her door? Jane! No!

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, one of the things that the family, who -- the family of this woman -- they do not think she committed suicide, and they`re saying what was written -- "She saved him, can he save her?" It`s written in the third person! It`s not written with the "I" or "me." It`s written in the third person. What the heck does it mean? Is it a sarcastic comment? "She saved him"? No, she didn`t?

GRACE: OK, to Dr. Bill Manion, medical examiner, joining us tonight out of Philadelphia. Dr. Manion, how critical is it that these blows to the head be figured into the equation?

DR. BILL MANION, MEDICAL EXAMINER: Well, they don`t make sense because if a person falls off the balcony, the rope suspends quickly, there`s no reason to have any blows on the top of the head. Normally, these are seen with a struggle. They`re underneath the scalp itself. If you move your scalp, you`ll see it slides on the bone, and these hemorrhages are underneath the scalp itself. Some trauma was applied there before she died.

GRACE: Take a look at Rebecca Zahau. She was found hanging, no clothing, bound at the hands and feet, blows to the head. Yet police somehow determined it`s a suicide. Tonight, no! We want the case reopened. This is a murder!



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thirty-two-year-old Rebecca Zahau.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened to her is still a mystery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beginning with the death of 6-year-old Max Shacknai, whose body was found at the bottom of these stairs. Although no one witnessed it, investigators believe he was running in an upstairs hallway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And something caused him to trip and fell over that railing, went down to his knees, and then to his head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We received information from witnesses that Rebecca was distraught over Max`s injury.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The girlfriend of a high-powered pharmaceutical mogul is found dead, hanging from a balcony, her death now ruled a suicide. But her family insists it was murder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, this isn`t something you come across every day, but it does occur.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Zahau painted a short message on this door leading to the bedroom, but the sheriff refused to reveal what it said or who was meant to read it.


GRACE: We are live in California and taking your calls. Take a look at Rebecca Zahau. She was found hanging, dead, not a stitch on, a T-shirt wrapped around and around her neck and stuck in her mouth, her hands and feet bound. Tonight, we learn about four blows to the head. But somehow, police determine this is a suicide.

Out to Alexis Tereszcuk, Alexis, weigh in.

ALEXIS TERESZCUK, RADARONLINE.COM: Well, the family absolutely agrees with you. They do not think this was a suicide. You know, the police spoke about the fact that they spoke to a witness in January who said that Rebecca had lost weight, she wasn`t doing well. I actually spoke with that witness, as well. It was a sister. She completely disagrees. It was a different time. She was fine during this time, sad about Max`s accident, but certainly not worried enough to kill herself.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Jeremy in North Dakota. Hi, Jeremy. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m just wondering how the police determined the actual physical evidence of a suicide.

GRACE: I`m sorry, repeat?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are the police able to give physical evidence that it is a suicide and not a homicide?

GRACE: You know, that`s my question, too. Back to you, Jean Casarez. On what did they rely to determine suicide, not homicide?

CASAREZ: It`s a good question. Number one, they relied that it was her footsteps on the dusty balcony before, they say, she jumped off and committed suicide. Number two, her DNA was found on the rope in strategic positions of where it would have been tied.

And number three, they say she got a phone call about 12:15 in the morning from the hospital, that the little boy whose care she had been responsible for before he fell off the stairwell -- that he was not going to make it. And they believe, psychologically, that led to her wanting to commit suicide, take her own life.

GRACE: OK, Jean Casarez, what`s the boyfriend`s name, the billionaire?

CASAREZ: Shacknai. Shacknai, a billionaire whose company made $700 million in 2010. The stock went down when this all happened, but the minute that it was ruled a suicide on Friday, Nancy, the stock went back up.

GRACE: OK, that`s good to know about the stock. But let`s get back to the murder. Where was Shacknai at the time of the suicide?

CASAREZ: He was not there, but his brother was there. And his brother found the body of this...

GRACE: Well, where was he?

CASAREZ: ... beautiful young girl and actually cut the -- I would assume at work. He wasn`t at the home, I can tell you that. I don`t know what his alibi was. But his brother found the body...

GRACE: Jean Casarez...

CASAREZ: ... on the lawn and cut the rope.

GRACE: Jean, Jean, Jean! What time of the day or night do they believe that the death occurred?

CASAREZ: I think it was the early morning hours, Nancy.

GRACE: Early morning hours. OK, Jane Velez-Mitchell, why would Shacknai be at work in the early morning hours? I`m taking that to mean between midnight and 4:00 AM. Why would he be at work?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my understanding, Nancy. My understanding is that when the body was discovered by Jonah Shacknai`s brother, the mogul himself was at the hospital with his ex-wife, standing vigil over his dying child. And so there is an alibi for him at the time that Rebecca`s body was discovered by his brother at the mansion.

GRACE: OK, Jane! Jane! I heard you say that`s what you understand. Are we sure he was at the hospital when she died?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s what police are saying -- when her body was discovered. There`s a distinction there between when she died and when her body was discovered.

GRACE: There certainly is, Jane. There certainly is.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police called it a suicide when a woman was found hanging in her wealthy boyfriend`s mansion. But now there`s some new questions surrounding what happened and whether some people believe it was suicide.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that my sister did not commit a suicide. My sister...



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have a theory about what did happen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that my sister was murdered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And have you talked to your sister recently, or you know, prior to this event? Had there been a conversation with her?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did she sound depressed? Did she ever have depression? Has she ever prone to depression? Has she ever been prone to self-harm? Can you give us those sorts of details?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My sister never had a psychiatric problem, never been on psychiatric medications, and never has attempted suicide, let alone talk about harming herself.


GRACE: We are in California and taking your calls. This young woman found hanging, dead, nude, hands bound, feet bound, blows to the head, yet police determine it was a suicide.

Out to the lines. Brenda in Colorado. Hi, Brenda. What`s your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. I`m recording your show because I`m on my way to work. But have they checked with the mom to see if she could have hired somebody to have this woman murdered? Since it was her son that had the accident, she might be blaming her?

GRACE: Excellent question. To Jean Casarez. From the scenario that Jane Velez-Mitchell just gave us, the natural mother of the 6-year-old boy that did perish, Ann (ph) Shacknai, were (ph) at the hospital at the time the body was found. Do you believe that the mother was, in fact, at the hospital?


GRACE: And where were the two of them at the time of the death -- not the discovery of the body, but the time of the death?

CASAREZ: You know, Nancy, I don`t think anybody knows that -- I really don`t think -- because we know he was not at the house because his brother found the body of this young woman and cut the rope when he found the body. So I don`t think we know where he is. But we surely have to hope that the coroner`s office did a full investigation to know that answer.

GRACE: To Dr. Bill Manion, medical examine, joining us tonight out of Philly. Dr. Manion, question. How is it that medical examiners in cases like this one, where the body is still in good condition -- there hasn`t been a lot of decomposition or no decomposition whatsoever -- how do they determine the time of death?

MANION: Well, in this case, there apparently was some rigor mortis starting in the jaw area. In other words, the muscles were stiffening up. And they estimated that she had probably been dead for three or four hours when she had been found based on that.

GRACE: Tell me the difference between rigor mortis and livor mortis.

MANION: Livor mortis is when the blood settles to the bottom of the skin by gravity. And once it becomes fixed, after 10 or 12 hours you can`t push it out or blanch (ph) it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thirty-two-year-old Rebecca Zahau was found naked, hanging from a second-story balcony in the home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, the case is suspicious. There`s no question about it. Anytime that you have a female that`s found in the back yard or a courtyard unclothed, and her feet and hands are bound, that becomes concerning.




UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Rebecca Zahau was found naked, hanging from a second story balcony in the home, her hands and feet tied together. Going to the only bedroom in the house with a balcony, binding her hands and feet with a red rope that she anchored to a bed, and jumping. Footprints on the balcony, left seconds before she jumped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And based on the autopsy findings, she was alive when she went over the balcony.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Outside this Spreckels mansion on Coronado, sharing photographs that shed new light on the double tragedy.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Shacknai says he wasn`t there when Zahau died and what happened to her is still a mystery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suicide and homicide at times can look very, very similar.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Painted a short message on this door leading to the bedroom, but the sheriff refused to reveal what it said.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean this isn`t something you come across every day.


NANCY GRACE, HOST: We are live in California, and taking your calls. This beautiful young eye specialist found hanging, bound at the hands and the feet. A T-shirt wrapped around her neck and stuffed into her mouth, yet cops insist this was a suicide. It is almost incomprehensible.

Joining me right now is a special guest, the attorney for the Zahau family. The family of Rebecca Zahau. Anne Bremner is joining us out of Seattle.

Anne, how can this be a suicide?

ANNE BREMNER, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF YOUNG WOMAN FOUND DEAD, REBECCA ZAHAU: Nancy, you put it very well, I don`t know how it can be a suicide. I mean let me count the ways. There is so many more questions than answers right now. And the fact is they weren`t able to show it was remotely possible for her to do this to herself, let alone probable, let alone if she had any history of any kind of mental issues. And I could go on and on, Nancy.

GRACE: Well, Anne, you represented a lot of cops and civil matters. You know when the police have to create a video demonstration to convince - - let`s see the demonstration Liz.

How this could have been a suicide, I mean, I said earlier, you got to get a contortionist from Cirque du Soleil to make this thing work. I mean, look, I don`t know if you can see a monitor, but look at what all Rebecca would have had to do in order to commit suicide. And this would be an emotionally distraught state.

And, Anne, you and I have seen a lot of criminal cases.

BREMNER: We have.

GRACE: And you know that this circumstance is not statistically how a woman of her age would commit suicide.

BREMNER: I don`t know of any case where a woman has done this, Nancy. I don`t -- there is a zero statistic chance for what I know. Naked, bound, hands and feet, gagged, the T-shirt around the neck. These demon`s (ph) knots, slip knots, square knots, with this third person note, you know, she saved him, can you save her, they can`t show it`s possible or that it`s ever happened before.

GRACE: And to psychotherapist Dr. Leslie Austin joining us out of New York, and also Leslie, not so much for men, but it is extremely rare, statistically, to find a female commit suicide unclothed. It is almost unheard of.

DR. LESLIE AUSTIN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: You`re right, Nancy. It`s almost unheard of and when you take that in addition to no psychological history, I seriously doubt this is suicide. I don`t see how it could be.

GRACE: Anne Bremner, what did you say about slip knots and sailors -- how many knots, types of knots were involved in this thing?

BREMNER: There are a number of different knots, but those are two very specific expert ones, Nancy. And this is rope, the kind of rope that you might see out probably with a boat or towing a skier or inner tube. I mean she had to cut it, she had to do all of these things, and she had to get over the balcony railing and even the footprints there, Nancy.

There`s two together like a (INAUDIBLE) in ballet, but then you have the partial of some toes near the edge, you think even when you`re hopping with your feet bound, that you can pull that off, anybody, just by leaving a few toes and then somehow as you said, a contortionist, a Cirque du Soleil artist get over that balcony. I just don`t see it.


BREMNER: And this family doesn`t either and they want justice.

GRACE: Anne, where was Jonah Shacknai, not at the time the body was found, but at the time of death?

BREMNER: I don`t have all the police reports, Nancy. What the information that we have is that his son Max was in the hospital, and he was keeping a vigil there or nearby at a residence, like Ronald McDonald type of a house. There had been a dinner between -- there had been a dinner that he had with Rebecca and his brother Adam earlier in the evening, the evening before.

GRACE: OK. You`re taking a look now at the little boy who did perish, falling down the stairs in that $12.6 million mansion. Rebecca was the one taking care of him when he fell. Rebecca and Shacknai had been dating for some time, had they not, Jean Casarez?

JEAN CASAREZ, LEGAL CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION": They had been together a long time, which brings the question, Nancy, why wasn`t she with him at the hospital vigil over this young little boy? Was there an issue? Was there a problem?

GRACE: Well, Jane Velez-Mitchell, is it my -- is it correct that Shacknai and the boy`s natural mother held Rebecca responsible? I mean how did the boy fall down the steps? How did Max end up plummeting down those steps?

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST, HLN`S "ISSUES": Well, first of all, it`s possible she didn`t go to the hospital, Rebecca, because Jonah was there with his ex-wife and that could have been an issue where she didn`t want to show up with the ex-wife at the hospital, given the circumstances.

And there have been some conflicting reports about what happened to the boy. There was even discussion that he might have been planking, which is this sort of game that people play and kids play where they sort of use themselves as a board, and also that he may have gone head first down the banister, because when I first heard that he had fallen down the stairs, how does a kid get that badly injured?

But if you`re going head first down the banister, you could hit the ground with a tremendous force and that`s what is believed to have happened.

GRACE: Well, where was she?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: She was taking a shower, reportedly.

GRACE: No offense because she`s dead, but where was she while he was planking down the steps?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She was reportedly taking a shower.

GRACE: OK. To Marc Harrold, former officer, Atlanta PD, author of "Observations of White Noise."

Weigh in, Marc.

MARC HARROLD, FORMER OFFICER, ATLANTA PD, ATTORNEY, AUTHOR OF "OBSERVATIONS OF WHITE NOISE": Well, I can`t imagine. I put myself as a patrol officer showing up, I can`t imagine they started thinking this was a suicide. It looks like they heavily relied on the autopsy but there`s a lot of unanswered questions here. It looks like they made a determination. I wouldn`t be surprised at all if this gets reopened.

GRACE: And what would it take, Marc Harrold, to reopen a determination of suicide?

HARROLD: Well, you know, the determination of suicide is made, they make a second opinion on the autopsy. I`m not sure how many people looked at it, I`m not sure if they`re going from one examiner. Obviously political pressure, people pressure, the family saying it couldn`t be a suicide or they get new evidence, they may reopen it.

But like I said, there`s a lot of unanswered questions here. I wouldn`t be surprised at all if this gets another look. And I think it should. Could it be a suicide, it could. But there`s a lot of unanswered questions. I can`t imagine they started thinking it was a suicide, but it seems like they really relied on that autopsy report.

GRACE: Back to the lawyers. Sue Moss, Bradford Cohen, Midwin Charles.

Sue, take a listen to this, almost four times as many males as females die by suicide. Overwhelmingly suicides are committed by firearms, suffocation, and poisoning. Less than 1 to 2 percent are by hanging.

SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY & CHILD ADVOCATE: And do you know how many of those people who commit suicide put a gag in their mouth? Probably none. The reason why you put a gag in somebody`s mouth is so that they will not scream. Let`s say if somebody was hitting you over the head or trying to kill you.

GRACE: What about it, Bradford?

BRADFORD COHEN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I mean, I hate to agree with Sue, but that`s typically the case. The problem is, is that they ruled this a suicide, not a homicide.

GRACE: Yes, we heard you say that last time.

COHEN: And I`ll say it over and over again. The problem is, is that the police have already ruled it. They`ve gone out of their way to provide a defense.

GRACE: Midwin, how hard will it be to reopen the case?

MIDWIN CHARLES, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don`t think it will be that hard if the evidence keeps coming forward that counters what they have said and if the family applies a lot of pressure.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Shacknai says he wasn`t there when Zahau died and what happened to her is still a mystery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this case, you know, suicide and homicide at times can look very, very similar.



GRACE: Breaking news tonight, something in my -- this is my "Dancing with the Stars" partner, Tristan, Tristan MacManus, all the way from Ireland. I want you to meet him. We`re even practicing in commercial breaks. He`s going to come on the show later this week and take your calls.

But now, across the country, to a story where a woman`s husband is ordered out of the home because there is a hit on him. Why? His wife`s co-worker wants her all to herself.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to her own words, she just -- she just wanted him dead.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Wanted David Gardner killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think it really mattered how.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Nappi finds a hit man to do the job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The main motive here appeared to be the defendant wanting the husband out of the picture.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But he`s an undercover cop. Who could forget the shocking undercover video that put Dahlia Dippolito behind bars?



DIPPOLITO: Come here, please. Come here. Mike, come here. Come here, please. Come here.




DIPPOLITO: There is no, like -- I`m determined already. I`m positive. Like 5,000 percent sure.

Mike, come here, please. Come here.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Police say Nappi believed the husband stood in the way of a potential relationship with his wife.


GRACE: We are taking your calls. A husband is ordered out of his home. Police say he`s got to go to a motel immediately in order to save his life. Why? His wife`s co-worker, this woman, wants his wife all to herself. And is willing to commit murder.

Straight out to Michael Board with WOAI Newsradio. What happened?

MICHAEL BOARD, REPORTER, WOAI NEWSRADIO: Marnie Nappi is living in a fantasy world. It looks, though -- you know, you look at this and you read what is going on here, doesn`t this sound like a whole lot like a bad crime drama you`d see late night on television?

It is so delusional what this woman was doing and it runs much deeper than just a plot to kill the husband of her lover. This woman was so delusional, Nancy, she was in love with another woman that was married. And thought that their bond was so strong she was going to pay a hit man to knock off that woman`s husband.

Nancy, in reality, that other woman, her supposed romantic lover, she was just a friend. This love triangle was only in Nappi`s head.

GRACE: Yes. I was about to ask you, Michael Board, is there any evidence at all that the wife ever had anything but a friendship with this woman?

BOARD: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And in fact, when the woman talked with police and when the man who was the target of this hit talked with police, when the Gardners talked with police, they said, we know who Marnie is. She`s a friend -- she`s my wife`s friend, she`s a friend. They kept using friend. An acquaintance.

GRACE: Right.

BOARD: They never said anything about a lover.

GRACE: To Ellie Jostad, what more can you tell me? You know a lot seems to be brewing at the Wal-Mart.


GRACE: These two used to work together at the Wal-Mart and apparently Marnie Nappi falls in love with this woman who`s married with children and she`s so intensely obsessed with her, she wants to get a hit on the husband. How many people did she allegedly approach to kill the husband?

JOSTAD: Well, that`s -- the kicker here, Nancy, is that police say that she approached at least three different people and was giving money to some of these people. They say over $20,000 in total she paid to people with the intention that they would kill her husband.

Now apparently those people just kind of hustled her out of the money, didn`t intend to go through with it, but they say that it was one of these tipsters who notified them, said that she was trying to have this man killed.

GRACE: Joining me right now, special guest Beverly Gardner, this is the wife of the alleged target, David Gardner.

Beverly, thank you for being with us. I think I`ve got Beverly on the phone.

Beverly, are you there?

OK, Liz, let me know when you get the satellite up.

Let`s try Faruk Krasniqi (ph), a co-worker, I think, of Marnie Nappi.

Faruk, are you with us?


GRACE: Farouk, what happened? I mean how did Marnie Nappi apparently cook this whole thing up in her head, willing to commit murder?

KRASNIQI: It really, you know, I was very shocked, definitely was shocked when I heard from one of -- one of my ex-employees. I was working and she called me and she`s, like, did you hear what happened? I`m like, not really. So I just what`s going on? And I was shocked because I cannot -- I never in a million years I can see Marnie doing that.

GRACE: Well, did you have any idea, Faruk, that she was in love with a married woman who had apparently considered them just friends?

KRASNIQI: I definitely -- yes, I definitely knew that she was in love with her, with the lady that she was married, but you know, I seen them, they talked, I seen them at the pizza shop, she used to come visit, they used to -- you know, they -- hello?

GRACE: Yes, I`m here. I`m listening, I`m waiting to get to the love and the romance part. Not hearing it.

KRASNIQI: I thought I was losing you. What happened, you know, the thing with them is like, I seen them myself in the pizza shop making, you know, making out.


GRACE: Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait. Faruk, wait a minute. Faruk, a lot of times women will hug or put a kiss on each other`s face or even mouth and it is still platonic. It doesn`t mean anything.

KRASNIQI: No, this wasn`t that way because I know how Marnie Nappi was and that`s -- you know, that`s not that way. Because I know how the girls do, you know, the hug and the kiss. I definitely know that. But no, she definitely was in a relationship with her. They lived together.

GRACE: Wait, wait, wait. Who lived with who?

KRASNIQI: Marnie with the married woman.

GRACE: OK. Joining me right now is Beverly Gardner. I think we have got the satellite up.

Beverly Gardner, are you there?


GRACE: OK. Beverly, number one --


GRACE: How is your husband, David? That`s a scare of a lifetime for police to order you out of your house.

GARDNER: Yes, my husband is fine. My main concern is the kids. They`re all fine.


GRACE: Did you have any idea -- did you have any idea that this woman was so obsessed with you?

GARDNER: I had no idea it was like that at all.

GRACE: OK. Having a hard time hearing you, Miss Gardner. But a co- worker insists that you and Marnie Nappi were in fact romantically involved. What is your response?

GARDNER: Two years ago, my husband and I separated. We got an apartment together. It ended within six months. So past, I would say yes, but I`ve been with my husband for going on a year and contact wise, we are still in contact, even my husband was -- you know, texting. I mean we never knew. It was just a friend. Friend, you know.

GRACE: OK. Miss Gardner, let me make sure I understand this. Let me make sure I understand this. So you were in a romantic relationship with Marnie Nappi while you and your husband were estranged?


GRACE: OK. That`s news to me. All right.

Back to you Michael Board, WOAI. Even knowing that, that still doesn`t justify ordering a murder -- a hit. Can you hear me, Michael?

BOARD: Yes. And -- you know you watch these crime dramas on TV where you see this play out and you go in your head, you go, oh my god, she`s doing everything wrong. It`s the way in real life, the way Marnie was doing it. She was doing everything wrong with this. She was going around telling everybody from coworkers to friends to just random people that she wants to do this. Could a hit have been done more poorly?

GRACE: Well, Michael, are you telling me there`s a right way to order a murder?

BOARD: Well, there`s ways to do it without being as --

GRACE: Getting caught.


GRACE: Thanks, Michael.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Conspiracy to commit murder.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Police are tipped off by a 911 call. And convene an undercover sting operation. This isn`t the first time --


GRACE: We are just learning a big change in the facts tonight. Beverly Gardner, the wife of the alleged murder-for-hire target, her husband David says she did in fact have a romantic relationship with this woman, Marnie Nappi. But the last time I checked the criminal code book, the fact that two women had an affair does not justify a murder for hire, Bradford Cohen.

COHEN: Whether or not the wife had anything to do with it. Two minutes ago she was saying she had no idea that this woman was obsessed with her. And then one of the coworkers says they were making out at a pizza place. It calls into question whether or not she knew what was going on.

GRACE: OK. Bradford, Bradford, Bradford.


GRACE: Sue Moss, there`s not one shred of evidence.

COHEN: Oh boy.

GRACE: Not a shred to suggest the wife had anything to do with this.

MOSS: Absolutely.

COHEN: There wasn`t a shred five minutes ago. There wasn`t a shred five minutes ago that she was making out with the girl.

GRACE: I don`t think that`s Sue Moss that I`m hearing.

Go ahead, Sue.

MOSS: What she does in her private life is her private life. It has nothing to do with this which is a murder for hire and conspiracy for murder.

GRACE: Let`s stop and remember Army Sergeant Jane Hawkins, 24, Orlando, killed Iraq. Combat engineer, awarded Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation. A deep Christian. Loved basketball, video games, cartoons. Favorite shows "Simpsons," "King of the Hill." Career goal, to be an army recruiter.

Leaves behind mother, Sheila, grandmother (INAUDIBLE), siblings, Jamal, Christina, Dustin and Phillip.

Gene Hawkins, American hero.

Thanks to our guests but especially to you. And a special good night tonight from Michigan, Georgia, and Ireland friends, Charles, Adelyn (ph), Paul, Leslie, Tristan and James.

And happy birthday to Georgia twins Nick and Zach. Nick was the manager of his high school wrestling team. Loves music and movies. Brother Zach loves fishing and hunting.

Happy birthday, Nick and Zach.

And to New York friend psychologist Caryn Stark.

We love you, Caryn.

Everyone, I`ll see you tomorrow night 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.