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Judge Orders New Trial for Michael Skakel
Aired October 23, 2013 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Everyone, we are leaving Provo for the moment and the MacNeill murder trial. There is breaking legal news tonight. The murder conviction against Kennedy nephew Michael Skakel has been overturned. A Connecticut trial judge has ordered a new trial for Michael Skakel, the nephew of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, convicted of the murder of Martha Moxley, a 15-year-old girl that lived in his neighborhood, back in 2002.
Skakel sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. He`s been fighting for years to overturn his conviction. He has always been denied.
The murder went down in Greenwich, Connecticut, in a neighborhood that most of us only dream of, surrounded by mansions and Bentleys. Martha Moxley was found dead outside, overwhelming evidence, according to many, against Skakel.
But in the last hours, that murder conviction has been overturned. This is by the Connecticut judge. He wrote for about 136 pages, largely grinding an ax against veteran trial lawyer Mickey Sherman, who represented Skakel at trial.
Joining me right now a special guest, investigative reporter Jane Crawford. She covered the trial live when it happened. She was in court every single day.
Jane Crawford thank you for being with us. What do you make of this decision?
JANE CRAWFORD, REPORTER ON SCENE THE DAY BODY WAS FOUND (via telephone): Well, it`s astonishing, quite frankly, Nancy. I was a reporter at the Greenwich radio station at the time of Martha`s death, and I was the first reporter on the scene after her body of found. So I have been tuned in actively to this case for a very long time.
During the trial in Connecticut, there was a long list of people coming in who had been friends of Martha`s, who had been teachers and employees in the Skakel household. And to many of us, it felt like it was so painful for everyone in the room to be dragging up and dredging up all of this information that so many people involved had tried to put behind them.
And Mickey Sherman, of course, as you know, certainly has a way with words and has his own personality. And I think, knowing the Moxley family a little bit and keeping in touch with Mrs. Moxley somewhat over the years and hearing her commentary every time she has had to go back to court for any kind of appeal request or anything that was going on, has just dredged everything up. And it`s -- it has never been over...
GRACE: Well, Jane, I mean, I don`t understand...
CRAWFORD: ... for anybody (INAUDIBLE)
GRACE: ... the ax that this trial judge -- Jane, I don`t know if you can hear me. I`m trying to figure out what ax this trial judge has to grind. And let me get this straight.
Out to Steve Kalb with the Connecticut Radio Network, who covered the case at the time. Steve, thank you for being with us. This ruling is coming down from a trial judge, correct?
STEVE KALB, CONNECTICUT RADIO NETWORK (via telephone): Correct. I just read the briefs on the stuff on this a little while ago. And yes, it is a trial judge who has decided that there should be a new trial.
GRACE: Everyone, breaking news right now. Kennedy cousin and nephew convicted of murder in 2002 -- a single trial judge, one judge, has reversed a murder conviction on the Kennedy nephew. As you all know Michael Skakel was convicted in 2002 in the murder of 15-year-old Martha Moxley.
Back out to you Steve Kalb with the Connecticut Radio Network. Steve, of course, this one judge`s ruling is going to be appealed. Absolutely. I understand the defense attorneys are working fast and furious to, A, destroy Mickey Sherman, the defense attorney`s, reputation, but B, to get Skakel out on bond. What do you make of that, Steve Kalb?
KALB: Well, he has been in jail I think it`s now about 10 years, and so he`s served half of his minimum 20-year sentence. My suspicion is -- and it`s just a suspicion, is that he will be able to get out on bond and that the prosecution will appeal.
GRACE: Well, correct me if I`m wrong, Steve. Isn`t it true that a Maine rehabilitation center where Skakel stayed when he was a youth -- he was in a rehab center -- isn`t it true that he gave confessions, he confessed to several people there that he killed Martha Moxley?
KALB: Yes. But you also should understand that when he was up in that Maine rehab center, he was also beaten on a regular basis. So there had been a lot of testimony that whatever he said was coerced just to try and make friends with anybody.
GRACE: Well, you know, I appreciate that, but confessing to Martha Moxley`s murder, in addition to the physical evidence -- I mean, for those of you just tuning in, the unthinkable has just happened. A trial judge has reversed a Kennedy cousin`s murder conviction.
He was convicted in 2002 of the murder of 15-year-old Martha Moxley. He`s served about 10 years. I stayed in touch with Martha`s mother over the years, and she has appeared at every hearing regarding this case to keep Skakel behind bars. But I guess the Kennedy name was just too powerful once again and Skakel has walked free!
Let`s go over some of the physical evidence at the trial. Michael Christian, investigative reporter who covered the case at the time it was happening, as did I at Court TV -- Michael Christian, as I recall, the night that Martha Moxley was murdered -- she was found with a stick going through her throat that turned out to be part of a golf club that belonged to Skakel`s family.
That night, didn`t Skakel, later convicted of murder, state that he was up in a tree staring into Martha Moxley`s window and masturbating, and then suddenly, she ends up dead a couple of hours later?
MICHAEL CHRISTIAN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Yes, that`s right, Nancy. He said he was up in a tree watching her. You know, the fascinating thing about this ruling, this judge`s ruling, is that so many times when these convictions are overturned, it`s because the prosecution is accused of doing something wrong. This puts all of the onus directly on the defense. It`s amazing. Skakel`s current attorney says that Mickey Sherman, his attorney at the time, was just too enamored of the media to pay attention to the needs of his client. And this came down 100 percent on that. So this is 100 percent on Mickey Sherman, which is just really kind of surprising, based on how these things normally get overturned.
GRACE: You know, Michael Christian, I understand the judge says that Mickey Sherman was playing to the media, but we all know that -- many lawyers believe that you`ve got to win the case in the court of public opinion. I disagree with that. But that was Sherman`s strategy from the get-go.
Is there any specific thing this judge can point to that Sherman did wrong to justify a reversal on a murder conviction
CHRISTIAN: You know, I`m sure he does, Nancy. I just haven`t had time to read the ruling yet. I`m sorry.
GRACE: Yes, it`s just happening. It`s all just happening.
Back out to Steve Kalb with the Connecticut Radio Network. What specifically does this judge claim Sherman did wrong in his defense of Michael Skakel? Or is he just using Sherman as a scapegoat to get the reversal so a Kennedy cousin can walk free on murder?
KALB: I`m not sure whether or not he is -- in the 136-page statement, which I have not read in its completeness yet -- whether or not he details exactly the reasons behind the reversal.
But I have to tell you, having sat in that courtroom for however many days it was now, and it was a decade ago, I will tell you that Mickey did spend, in my humble opinion, more time talking to us in the media sometimes than I suspect he did talking to the jurors.
GRACE: Whoa! Back it up! You suspect that he talked to you in the media more than he talked to the jury. Why do you say that? What makes you suspect that?
KALB: Well (INAUDIBLE) a lot of time after -- after every day talking to us in the press about what had gone on in court, even though we all sat through it, different...
GRACE: I don`t understand how that`s a reversible error. Hold on, Steve Kalb. I don`t understand how that`s a reversible error -- Steve Kalb, Connecticut Radio Network.
Jane Crawford, investigative reporter -- Jane, do you recall the evidence against Michael Skakel at trial? I think I have Jane Crawford with me, investigative reporter. Is she there, Liz?
Let me try Steve Kalb again. Steve, do you recall the evidence against Skakel at trial?
KALB: Most of it, but not all of it.
GRACE: What do you recall?
KALB: There was evidence of him in a tree, but -- and there was a lot of evidence about how he could have been responsible for killing Martha Moxley.
GRACE: Unleash the lawyers. Joining me, Eleanor Odom, death penalty- qualified prosecutor who has tried several death penalty cases, Greg Skordas joining us at Provo. He is a renowned defense attorney in that area, former prosecutor. Also with me out of Atlanta, defense attorney Peter Odom.
OK, El, let`s go through what is really happening here. Explain to me how one single trial judge can reverse a decision 10 years later, when he clearly has it out for Sherman.
ELEANOR ODOM, PROSECUTOR: Well, Nancy, the judge can look at what, obviously, the defense attorney incident in a motion for a new trial. That is why the one judge will be making the decision in that particular motion.
Now, it`s real easy for the new attorney to Monday morning quarterback and say, Hey, you know, here`s all the things the defense attorney did wrong. But what you`re looking at, is there something specific the judge can point to that says this evidence that was allowed or not allowed in caused the verdict. So it`s a pretty high standard, Nancy.
GRACE: You know, very often, the defense attorneys take the defendant`s side. But tonight, a judge has ruled for the defendant but against the defense attorney. What about it, Peter Odom?
PETER ODOM, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, what the judge had to find in overturning this decision was, first of all, that Mickey Sherman`s assistance to his client fell below a reasonable standard. But he also had to find -- and this is the part that might get overturned on appeal. The judge also had to find that that ineffective assistance affected the verdict.
And a lawyer can do a lot of bad things during a trial, make bad decisions, but lawyers are paid sometimes to make decisions. Sometimes they make bad decisions. It`s not bad decisions or strategic decisions that a judge should use to overturn a conviction, all right?
GRACE: To Greg Skordas, joining me in Provo. You know, Greg, I`m stunned at this trial judge`s decision. And I`m going to get to you in just a moment on the Martin MacNeill trial, but you`re a former prosecutor, now a defense attorney. And the reality is when you`ve got the defendant confessing, all right, repeatedly, and you`ve got him placing himself masturbating, watching the girl victim, just 15 years old, just within, like, an hour before she`s killed, watching through her window, watching her undress, and they live across the street, basically, and the murder weapon is his family`s golf club -- she was beaten and stabbed through the throat with it. I mean that`s some pretty overwhelming evidence as I recall the evidence, Greg Skordas.
GREG SKORDAS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It`s very compelling evidence, but apparently, the defense attorney did something that, looking back, was ineffective. He didn`t represent his client. He didn`t make a motion to perhaps withhold some of that evidence, to suppress some of that evidence, to suppress maybe the confession. But Looking back, that defendant was entitled to a fair trial, and the judge has decided he didn`t get it.
GRACE: Welcome back, everyone. In the last hours, a stunning turn in a murder case that we all thought had been put to rest when Kennedy cousin, Kennedy nephew, Michael Skakel was convicted of the murder of Martha Moxley. That conviction went down in 2002.
The murder occurred when Skakel was a youth. He was a teen. Martha Moxley, just 15 years old at that time, was found beaten. She had a golf club through her -- looked like a stick through her neck.
As I recall -- out to Jean Casarez, who`s going to be joining me shortly on the Martin MacNeill case. Jean, as I recall the evidence, that golf club belonged to -- in the Skakel home, and it was -- she was stabbed through the neck with the golf club, right?
JEAN CASAREZ, HLN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: That was classic evidence for the prosecution. It was extremely strong.
You know, Nancy, I`m going through this 136-page ruling here. One of the things that the judge cites is that witnesses for the defense were not developed by the defense, were not found by the defense, and could have been found by the defense, one of the things of ineffective assistance of counsel. The defense had Vito Colucci, Nancy, a very, very famous and respected defense investigator.
GRACE: So you`re saying that with Vito -- and I know Vito. He`s a great investigator. We`ve had him on the show as an expert...
GRACE: ... many times because we respect him. So how could they say that -- and Sherman is no novice. He`s tried probably more cases than me. He`s probably tried as many cases as Peter and Eleanor and I put together. He`s tried a lot of cases. So how, between Mickey Sherman and Vito Colucci, could they say that a defense witness list was not properly developed?
You know, Peter Odom, here`s the thing -- for those of you just joining us, a stunning reversal in the murder trial of Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel. This is Ethel and Robert Kennedy`s child. (sic)
Peter, the accusations this trial judge is making are extremely general, to say, You could have done better.
PETER ODOM: Right. This judge is really...
GRACE: -or, You could have asked a different question. That`s -- that`s not my understanding -- and I`ve handled a lot of appeals cases to appellate courts. That`s not my understanding. It`s got to be something specific.
PETER ODOM: Well, what the judge is saying in many of these complaints is that Mickey Sherman failed to adequately cross-examine or failed to go down avenues of cross-examination that he could have done.
That`s not what a trial judge is supposed to do on a motion for ineffective assistance. He`s not supposed to second guess every strategic decision. That`s up to the trial attorney. So this opinion is definitely vulnerable to reversal by an appellate court.
GRACE: Everyone, the nephew of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, convicted of murder of a 15-year-old girl back in 2002 -- a single trial judge -- this is not an appellate court, this is not the court of appeals, this is not the supreme court, much less the U.S. Supreme Court or a federal court of appeals. This is a single trial judge has decided to let Skakel walk after a conviction in 136-page scathing attack on the defense attorney, Mickey Sherman -- Michael Skakel is set to walk free.
GRACE: Welcome back, everyone. We`ll take you to Provo in just one just one moment. But right now, a stunning turn of events in a murder conviction against Michael Skakel, Kennedy nephew, convicted, 2002, in the murder of a 15-year-old girl, Martha Moxley.
And joining me right now is a special guest, and I`m sure you`ll all agree with me. With me is Dorthy Moxley. This is Martha`s mother, whom fought for years, years for justice for her daughter, years she took on the Kennedy family and the justice system to see justice for her 15-year-old girl, Martha.
Ms. Moxley, thank you for being with us. I think I`ve got Dorthy. Liz -- Liz, do you have Dorthy with me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
GRACE: Ms. Moxley, are you there?
DORTHY MOXLEY, MARTHA`S MOTHER (via telephone): Hello?
GRACE: Hi, Ms. Moxley. It`s Nancy. How are you?
MOXLEY: Hi, Nancy.
GRACE: It`s really great to hear your voice again. I`m just stunned this evening, and I`m just wondering if you could give me your thoughts on this.
MOXLEY: I really don`t know too much. First of all, I have to tell you I had a little back surgery this morning, and I could still be under the effects of the anesthesia, so -- and I can`t talk very long.
GRACE: Yes, ma`am.
MOXLEY: You know, I truly believe in my heart, as Dominic Dunn did -- I know he was a friend of yours -- anyway, that Michael Skakel is guilty. He is the one who murdered my daughter.
My heart goes out to the people of Connecticut now. You know, every one of these appeals costs the state of Connecticut a lot of money. They have to pay -- just you know, when you think about it. And it just -- I think it`s been a huge waste of time because from what I know, everyone in Connecticut feels the same way I do, that this was Michael Skakel. He admitted it himself.
So anyway, we`ll have to wait and see. I did talk to the prosecutor shortly, and I expect I`ll talk to her more tomorrow, and then I`ll know more about what`s happening.
GRACE: No, no. It`s a huge opinion that`s 136 pages long, and the judge -- it`s a single trial judge that did this, Ms. Moxley, that made this decision. I guarantee you it will be appealed. So let`s don`t rush to judgment that all is lost yet because I`ve got a funny feeling that Lady Justice is going to win out.
MOXLEY: I have not -- I`ve not -- no, I don`t think at all that he`s going to get out. I think if they let him out, it`s going be a huge, huge mistake.
GRACE: Welcome back, everyone. For those of you just tuning in, a bombshell tonight. A 2002 murder conviction against Kennedy nephew, Kennedy cousin, Michael Skakel in the murder of 15-year-old Martha Moxley has been overturned by a single trial judge. This is not an appellate court of any type. I can guarantee you this will be appealed.
Joining me right now, Vito Colucci, who served as the detective for the defense on this case. Vito, you and I are friends. You`ve been on my show many, many times. You are very well respected. I`m stunned, and I`m stunned that this judge would reverse a conviction and blame Mickey Sherman, the defense lawyer.
VITO COLUCCI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR FOR DEFENSE TEAM (via telephone): Well, it`s not all on Mickey, you know? It`s a lot of different things that happened. This is prosecution misconduct, too, Nancy. There are things they didn`t release, sketches of other people that were not even released to Mickey. This is accumulation of a lot of stuff here, Nancy. I`ve been involved in this case since, as you know, since 2001. It`s been a long haul. I`ve always felt -- I`ve always said there`s that one case in your life as a cop or a P.I. -- which I`ve been both -- when at the end, when you look back, it didn`t go the right way, it didn`t sit well with you. This is my one case, and today starts to change that to me, at least.
GRACE: Let me just give you the eight reasons that they reversed. One, he said that Mickey failed to properly assert third-party claims to present an alibi to impeach state`s witnesses, Greg Coleman (ph) and John Higgins (ph). To rebut the state`s claim placing petitioner, who was Skakel, and Elon (ph) as part of a family cover-up. Mickey`s failure to obtain expert uncoerced statement, even claiming Mickey ineffectively selected the jury. I guess a judge could think of better judges to ask jurors. Failure to cross-examine Frank Garr on a book deal and failure to suppress the Hoffman tapes. Out to you, Stacy Newman. What do these eight claims mean?
STACY NEWMAN, PRODUCER: Nancy, I`m actually surprised, because a lot of these claims they had used in prior appeals, and it did not work. For some reason with this judge, Thomas Bishop, he bought into these claims, and most of it was blaming bad jury selection, as well as not tracking down witnesses, Nancy. They even went as far to say Sherman did not -- he had a conflict of interest in the way that he arranged his fees charging Skakel.
GRACE: So, the judge even got into the fee schedule?
NEWMAN: Yes. Into the fee and even into the taxes.
GRACE: Okay. All right. Peter Odom, Eleanor, all of us have tried cases and all of us have handled appeals. To attack on these grounds for a judge to reverse a murder conviction. What do you make of it?
E. ODOM: I just think it`s odd, Nancy. There`s got to be a little something else going on, because again, you`re looking at strategic decisions that the defense attorney made at the time and said no, those are no good now.
P. ODOM: I fail to see how the fee structure could have affected the verdict.
E. ODOM: I agree.
GRACE: So, for those of you just joining us, we`re headed to Provo, a stunning about-face in a murder conviction against a Kennedy cousin, Michael Skakel. A single judge had overturned that murder conviction. Martha Moxley, just 15 years old when she was found murdered near her home.
Right now we`re switching gears and taking you live to Provo in the Martin MacNeill facelift murder trial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He asked me to retrieve Michele`s prescription drugs from the bathroom. He wanted Demi (ph) and I to open each bottle of the prescription drugs and to make a count. I brought the pills to the table and then they started counting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a physician, he probably knew that his wife was already dead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did say something along the lines that she was, Michele was not taking her pills. Martin seemed frustrated and he`s like, I don`t want to do this anymore, and then he asked me to flush the pills down the toilet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what happened to the pill bottles?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just put them in the garbage.
He had said that he had found Michele in the bathtub or in the bathroom. There was blood everywhere.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With respect to body position, she would have to be face up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had -- picked up Ada up from school. Ada went into the bathroom and then was shocked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you notice any clothing or anything on the floor?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had mentioned he had cancer in his big toe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looked like a potato.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you observe regarding the family`s unity?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw that there was a lot of contention between Martin and Alexis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did Martin ever tell you he was in an intimate relationship with Gypsy?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. When she was hired as the nanny. I saw Jillian (ph) reach over and eat food off of Martin`s plate. I told Damien (ph) that I thought that was weird.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back, everyone. We`re live in Provo. Jean Casarez, what a day in court, hearing a witness actually testify Martin MacNeill told her, ordered her to flush all the pills down the commode before anyone could see them.
CASAREZ: This was on April 11, it was just about an hour after she had been pronounced dead. The family is back at the home, meaning Martin was there, Damien, his son, and Ilene Hang (ph), who was on the stand, who was the girlfriend of Damien. And she said is there anything I can do to help you, anything at all? Martin led them into the bathroom area, bathroom area, where there were pills, and it was Martin that opened them. It was Damien that counted them. Martin wrote it down. She watched. And then Martin said it`s just too much for me to watch, because I don`t think she took her blood pressure medicine like she should have, flush these down the toilet, and with one flush they were gone.
GRACE: I don`t understand. Did you say she had only been dead an hour?
CASAREZ: She had been pronounced dead probably about an hour, because -- Ilene Hang (ph) said she got to the house at about 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon when this all happened.
GRACE: So she`s been pronounced dead one hour and he is going back doing a pill count. What was his reasoning to do a pill count, Jean?
CASAREZ: Because he was concerned that she wasn`t taking the high blood pressure medicine that she should be taking. She had just been prescribed the high blood pressure medicine.
GRACE: What about all those other pills he flushed down the commode?
CASAREZ: Not mentioned.
GRACE: Take a listen to what just happened in court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Martin seemed frustrated and he`s like I don`t want to do this anymore, and then he asked me to flush the pills down the toilet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did do you that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did that request seem strange to you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the time, it did seem strange, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you comply with that request?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because he asked me to, and he just lost his wife, and I wanted to help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. How many flushes did it take to get the pills gone?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just one. I believe they were in the plastic container. So I just dumped the plastic container, the pills in the plastic container into the toilet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Out to Jim Kirkwood, talk show host, KTKK. Also joining us at the Provo courthouse, Jim, I`m stunned. When I was a crime victim, when my fiancee was murdered, one hour after he`s pronounced dead I wasn`t in a bathroom doing a formal pill count trying to get rid of evidence.
JIM KIRKWOOD, KTKK: Well, this is the point I think a lot of us are commenting about, Nancy. Here`s a guy who handled these crises situations very well at work, the development center, people living and dying and being in crisis situations, and all of a sudden he`s involved with his wife, and he just becomes a maniac like he`s acting or out of control. This is inexplicable.
GRACE: But he didn`t seem out of control, Caryn Stark. Kirkwood is right. He was acting so out of control at the hospital, they threw him out of the trauma bay. They had to throw him out of the house too. They thought he was going to attack his EMTs. Caryn Stark, your wife has been pronounced dead one hour, the mother of your eight children, and you`re in there trying to take notes down about what pills she had been taking? And then you flush them down the commode? It doesn`t make sense. He was hiding the pills.
CARYN STARK, PSYCHOLOGIST: He was hiding the pills. He went from being impulsive, aggressive. They didn`t know how to contain him. They were actually worried about him, and then all of a sudden he decides he`s going to go home and count the pills. Nancy, in line what you said about the pills, so she didn`t take her blood pressure pills. What difference did it make that he would have to throw away evidence? Unless there were pills that she shouldn`t have been taking.
GRACE: You just reminded me of something. Remember the treating physician said you shouldn`t have the surgery right now, your blood pressure is too high. She said I want to put it off until I get my blood pressure under control. And he said absolutely not, I already paid for your surgery, we`re having the facelift come hell or high water, but now he`s concerned about her blood pressure pills. No!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you interact with him after the day of his wife`s passing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I did. I believe it was the Monday when he came back to work, and --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What day was this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was after the funeral. I did not go to the funeral, but it was, I think the Monday after his wife had -- after the funeral. I ran into him in the hallway down by my office, which is not too far from medical either. It`s more down by the dental area. And I ran into him, and I just said I`m sorry about your wife`s passing, and he said, everything will be fine. Everything is just fine. He seemed happy to me. I mean, he was just fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Everything will be just fine. This is the Monday, he comes straight back to work after his wife is found dead in the home. Everything will be just fine? OK. Out to Dr. Michele Dupre, medical examiner, forensic pathologist. Dr. Dupre, thank you for being with us. In all your years of practicing medicine, have you ever been offered money to save a patient that`s already dead?
DR. MICHELE DUPRE, MEDICAL EXAMINER: Absolutely not, Nancy. Never.
GRACE: I haven`t heard that trick being done since Lazarus and Christ did that. Take a listen, Doctor, to what happened in court. Roll it, Liz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He made an odd request of me, which I still find to be in 15 years of practice completely unusual, and really kind of off the wall.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was that request?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He offered me $10,000 to continue my resuscitation and not quit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you recall when he made that offer in relationship to him being at the E.R., his arrival?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn`t on arrival, it was sometime in the midst of the resuscitation and doing everything that we were doing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why was that odd to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not sure how to answer that question. Just that -- I`m not sure where that came from or why he would make that offer. I think as a physician, he probably knew that his wife was already dead, knowing that we hadn`t had any signs of life. No blood pressure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Peter Odom, he already knew his wife was dead. OK. He knew his wife was dead. So in front of everybody, he makes a big grand gesture to try to bribe the doctor, pay him 10,000 grand to keep beating on Michele`s chest.
P. ODOM: Here`s what I find so remarkable about this trial and about what the state is doing in this case. Here`s a man in the hours after his wife`s death, traumatic death, he`s overwrought, he is hysterical, he`s making contradictory statements, he is acting in a manner that makes no sense, and people are saying, well, just because he`s acting in that manner, that must mean that he killed her.
Dumping the pills down the toilet, if he had really meant that, to hide the crime scene, to fake the crime scene, why would he have gotten somebody else to do it with him?
GRACE: Because he wanted a witness to the pill count. Duh. I know that`s not a technical legal term, but I think you know what`s going on here. I appreciate that sincerity that`s oozing out right now, but let`s review, Eleanor, what Peter just said. The way he was acting. How was he acting? A, he nearly attacked the EMTs. B, he was so belligerent and angry and cursing God and cursing his dead wife, they had to throw him out of the house and the sick bay. Let`s see, he was so -- oh, yes, within a couple of hours, he had already cleaned out his wife`s closet, her hose, her underwear, her bras, her clothes, shoes, everything, to make way for the new live-in nanny/mistress. This was within hours after she was pronounced dead, her closet is cleaned out. Is that part of the crazy behavior we`re talking about, Peter?
E. ODOM: No, it`s premeditated murder. Nancy, plain and simple. And certainly, if I were the prosecutor, I would also argue this big show he was putting on for the paramedics and whoever walked in his house was simply that, a show. He`s going to try to show how upset he is by his wife`s untimely death. But it`s just part of his plan. At least that`s the way it looks when you look at all of the circumstances as a whole.
GRACE: She`s been dead since he sent his little girl in there to find the body, so he wouldn`t be the one to find the body. We know she`s been dead all this time. And in fact, Matt Zarrell, you and I were comparing the timelines, and the defense even places him at the home during their own timeline of the time of death. So he knows she`s dead, right? Yet he`s very loudly offering a doctor $10,000 if he can continue resuscitation. But he`s there at the time of death, according to the defense.
ZARRELL: Yes, Nancy, the fire chief, Mark Sanderson (ph) yesterday testified that MacNeill told him he was gone for a very short period of time, ten to 15 minutes. But we learned of a new inconsistency today, Nancy, because Dr. Scott Van Wagner (ph), he testified MacNeill told him he was gone 90 minutes to two hours.
GRACE: Story changing. Jean Casarez, do you think it`s sinking into the jury or will they have to wait for the summation to put it together?
CASAREZ: Let me tell you about the jury. It`s very interesting. Normally in trials, Nancy, it`s the females who are like forward and looking. It`s all the men on the jury, Nancy. I see them gazing at the defendant, they stare at him. He`s very close to them. As you know, you sat in the courtroom, and I just see them on the edge of their seats. The men.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lividity occurs over time in a deceased patient. It can occur as early as about 30 minutes after the heart has stopped. It occurs when blood moves in relation to or as a result of gravitation to a dependent portion. So when someone is lying on their back, lividity will form on the buttocks or back, or maybe on the backs of the legs. It looks like bruising. Bluish tone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you observed some lividity on Michele?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And where, again, was that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was on her back and buttocks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what does that indicate to you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: There you have it right there. What he`s saying in plain English is that, you know, Dr. Michele Dupre, medical examiner joining me out of Columbia, when you die, after the blood keeps pumping, whatever position you`re in, if you`re not moved, blood follows gravity and settles down. So if her blood -- lividity is gathered blood -- is on her rear end and her back, that means she died on her back. Pretty simple, right?
DUPRE: That`s true, Nancy, although until that lividity is what we call fixed, once the body is moved, if the lividity hasn`t fixed yet, then the lividity will move with the body as well.
GRACE: So out to Jean Casarez, CNN correspondent joining me in Provo. Jean, she had been dead. There was already lividity.
CASAREZ: That`s right. The testimony was that within 30 minutes of death, that lividity will form right there. So you have to look at the timeline of when she arrived at the hospital, and that was 12:25, and so even if she died at 11:55, the lividity was already formed.
GRACE: Yes. So out to you, Jim Kirkwood, talk show host, KTKK, also joining us in Provo. Jim, bottom line is the defense wants me to believe she slipped and fell into a tub, you`ve got to crawl over, it`s like three feet tall, fell in this much water and drowned on her back? That`s the theory?
KIRKWOOD: That`s exactly what they expect us all to believe, Nancy. It`s ridiculous.
GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. We are live in Provo. Greg Skordas, all this aside, we are expecting the 6-year-old child, now 12, that found her mom in the tub, to testify tomorrow morning. What do you think?
SKORDAS: I think it`s going to be tough, because A, as you indicated, she was only 6 at the time, what is her memory like? What did she actually recall? How hard will this be for her to testify? Those are some issues that are going to be very hard for both the prosecution and for the defense to wrestle with, and for the judge to make a determination on.
GRACE: Everyone, we are live in Provo, as this case goes on. Tomorrow we will be in the courtroom, as then 6-year-old Ada, now 12, takes the stand, goes under oath, and describes the morning she finds her mom dead in the family tub.
Tonight we remember American hero, Army Specialist Alexis Maldonado, 20, Wichita Falls, Texas. Bronze Star, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal. Loved music, weightlifting. Parents Jessie and Alisha (ph), step parents Linda and Keith. Two brothers, one sister, fiance Veronica, son Isaiah. Alexis Maldonado, American hero.
Everyone, a special thank you tonight to Trisha, June and everybody at Discovery Cove, Orlando. There I am with June. We went on the spur of the moment. And look what happened. There`s Lucy with Dexter the dolphin. The whole team after we dove, there is my husband David. I think he was kissing Thelma. There I am overwhelmed. There we are, that`s with Dexter the dolphin. What a day. Such natural beauty, I will never forget. Now, this is what dreams are all about, and I want to thank everyone at Discovery Cove.
Court is done for the day. Dr. Drew is up next. I`ll see you tomorrow night 8:00 sharp Eastern, and until then, good night, friend.