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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Did Kidnapper of 8-year-old Kill Himself?; DuPont Heir Dodges Jail

Aired March 31, 2014 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news in the disappearance of little Relisha Rudd. Cops have found the dead body of an adult male in a Washington, D.C., park. Did the man accused of murdering his wife and kidnapping 8-year-old Relisha Rudd kill himself? And if the kidnapper is dead, where the hell is precious, innocent little Relisha?

Good evening, I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Over the course of the past several days, we`ve used divers; we`ve used underwater cameras; we have used overhead aerial surveillance. We did discover the body of an adult male that is deceased. That appears to be a suicide.

We`re here, obviously, in a search for Relisha.

Our primary focus here is to find Relisha. And we have set out to find her with the most advanced strategic plan we could come up with to search every inch of this 700 acres to find her. And we`re not finished.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Relisha, last seen by her family on February 26 when her mother reportedly gave her away to so-called godfather Khalil Tatum, a 51-year-old janitor. Janitor at the Washington, D.C., homeless shelter where the family was living.

But instead of taking her to his house, this surveillance video shows this guy took the little girl to a hotel instead and went into a room. Cops say the last confirmed sighting of this little girl was March 1. OK. Almost a month ago.

The very next day, Tatum was seen buying heavy-duty contractor trash bags, a shovel and line and walking around a Washington, D.C., park. And now the body of a map has been uncovered in that exact same park and is a likely suicide. Is it Khalil Tatum? Did he kill Relisha after he murdered his wife in a hotel room and then killed himself?

Or is this appreciate 8-year-old still out there alive? The possibilities are hopeful and horrifying. Hopeful, because maybe Relisha is free, and trying somehow to get to safety. Horrifying because she could be dead, or tied up somewhere, unable to get to help, waiting for somebody to find her.

Plus, Relisha`s mom changes her story again. Now she`s telling local station NBC Washington she did not report Relisha missing, because she thought the little girl was with her sister and her mother. She`s now denying that she gave Relisha to the janitor, as has been reported for a while now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHAMIKA YOUNG, RELISHA`S MOTHER: I wasn`t under the impression that she -- that she was missing. I was under the impression that she was still at my sister`s house where I left her. And under the care of my mother. I didn`t actually let this man, or give this man my daughter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But her mother and sister say she is not telling the truth. Who do you believe? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

We have a fantastic Lion`s Den debate panel tonight, but first out to D.C. reporter Cameron Johnson with 99.1. You have just breaking news. Tell us what`s happening.

CAMERON JOHNSON, REPORTER, 99.1 (via phone): Jane, just 30 minutes ago, you were playing the tape from earlier this afternoon, about the fact that they have found a body, a male body in the park that they were searching for Relisha Rudd.

And just 30 minutes ago, police now saying that they are tentatively - - stressing the word "tentatively" -- identifying the body as that of Khalil Tatum, who they believe took Rudd, and this was likely a suicide.

Now police say they don`t normally identify a body this quickly, but in this matter, they`re making an exception because of the case. They`re saying they can offer this tentative identification through his physical appearances, and the fact that what they found is consistent with the information of what led them to the park in the first place. And the official confirmation will still have to come from the medical examiner along with how long that body has actually been there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tentatively identified as the little girl`s abductor. OK. So if the child abductor is dead, what did he do with this precious, innocent 8-year-old girl who cannot defend herself?

Let`s go over the time right now. Little Relisha was last seen with Tatum on March 1, OK, one month ago. Cops say the very next day Tatum bought trash bags, a shovel and lime. We know that lime is often used to keep the odor down, so is that an ominous sign? OK.

He then went to the same park where the body of this man tentatively identified as Tatum was found, just a little while ago. All right?

So what was he doing between the last time we saw him and today? Well, it`s a very, very long timeline. We`ll show you as we go along.

But the bottom line to me, Jon Leiberman, is that he reportedly shoots his wife dead in a hotel room on March 20, and we`re leading up to that, and then he gets a ride from a friend to the metro train station. So on March 20, could this child have already been dead?

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that`s right. And there`s a huge lag time, because of also inconsistent stories told by this little girl`s mother, as well. We`ll get to that.

I want to add a couple details, Jane, that I`m learning from my police sources in Maryland and in Washington. One is that they identified the suspect here through his tattoos. The tattoos that we were told to look out for when they issued the Amber alert and the suspect be on the lookout. That`s No. 1.

No. 2, they did find a gun, I`m being told, at the scene of this suicide, along with other what I`m being told is significant evidence in this investigation.

And I`m also being told that the search for little Relisha will continue to focus on this 700-acre park. Cops believe this little girl is somewhere in that park. The question, of course, is she alive or dead?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In a moment, we`re going to talk to Relisha Rudd`s aunt, Tiffany Young. But here`s one of the things I have to ask her about. Relisha`s mother is changing her story again, and her own relatives are contradicting her account. Now the child`s mother is claiming, "No, I didn`t give Relisha to this guy, this abductor, Tatum."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

S. YOUNG: No, I don`t feel responsible. Why I don`t feel responsible? Because she was in the care of my mother and my sister. That`s why I don`t feel responsible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But her mother and her sister are saying that that`s not true. That the mother`s lying. They didn`t have the child.

This is just the latest version of events. Last week there were claims that Relisha was sick, had migraines and seizures, and that`s why the family let her go off living with Tatum so that she could get on his insurance plan. And the family even referred to Tatum as "Dr. Tatum," writing fake notes to get Relisha out of school.

The "Washington Post" now says a grand jury is looking into possible obstruction of justice charges against Relisha`s mother.

So I want to go now to our very special guest, Tiffany Young, Relisha Rudd`s aunt, talking to us out of D.C.

I have to ask you, Tiffany. It`s disturbing to hear the mother change her story over and over again. We`ve been reporting for three weeks that the child was given to Tatum, and we know he had her, because there`s video of him with her going into a hotel room. What do you make of the mother`s new story now?

TIFFANY YOUNG, RELISHA`S AUNT (via phone): Me, personally, I feel as though the story is not adding up. And she keeps switching her story, it`s not going to make the situation better, and it`s not going to make the situation worse.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is the mother lying when she says that she gave the child to her sister and her mother? You are the child`s aunt. Are you the sister that she`s referring to? No, I believe it`s another sister. But how does that add up?

You see the man right here with the child on the day that she was given. And she`s with him. So how does the child now suddenly end up with the mother and the sister?

T. YOUNG: Well, let`s clear that right now. No, I am not the sister who she`s referring to that she says she was with her sister and her mother.

But I don`t know who`s lying and who`s not, because the last time I talked to my other sister, the one who she`s referring to, it was in like February. I don`t remember if it was before or after Valentine`s Day, but I do recall her saying that my niece was over there. So right now I can`t really tell who`s lying and who`s not lying.

But I do know that, as far as her being missing since February 26, that is a lie, because I`ve heard that as of February 25 she had already missed five unexcused consecutive absences.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me put you on hold. Mo Ivory, attorney, radio personality, listen, this mother did not report her child missing. And the child was missing for weeks on end before the school finally sent somebody over to the homeless shelter to talk to this Dr. Tatum, who is not a doctor; he was the janitor. He heard that they were walking in. He took off, and fled from his janitor job.

And the next day he allegedly gunned down his wife. And got in a friend`s car, left the hotel where he killed his wife, and went to the train station. At that point we don`t know where the child is. I hate to say it, but authorities have said that they have been investigating this possibility that this child has long been dead. And that they simply haven`t found the child. Now it appears that he`s been tentatively identified he committed suicide -- Mo.

MO IVORY, RADIO PERSONALITY: Jane, this is a breakdown on so many levels.

Obviously, this mother was not equipped to take care of her children. She was in a homeless shelter, which we understand that she was having those problems. Then there were obviously situations at the homeless shelter that allowed a man to have contact with young girls inside of the homeless shelter. So there`s a breakdown there.

There`s a breakdown in the school, not visiting the homeless shelter to find out what was going on with this child until it was extreme circumstances, like she had not been in school for so long. What happened to the second day she wasn`t in school? Or the third day she wasn`t in school?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you, Mo, what about the mom?

IVORY: Absolutely. Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This mother did not report her child missing.

IVORY: Which is unbelievable to me. And I was sitting here just listening to her a second ago saying, "I don`t feel responsible." No matter what the circumstances are, if something happens to your child, you`re responsible. You are supposed to keep your children safe. And it was just heartbreaking for me to watch that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are just getting started. Calls lining up. We`ve got other information.

And by the way, Nancy Grace has a lot more on the search for Relisha. That`s at the top of the hour, 8 p.m., right here on HLN. And we`ve got more, too, on the other side. Stay right there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police chief said, quote, "We cannot ignore the possibility that he may have killed her."

S. YOUNG: That got my head messed up. I don`t even know what to say on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "We cannot ignore the possibility that he may have killed her."

S. YOUNG: That got my head messed up. I don`t even know what to say on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is the mother of missing Relisha Rudd. As a grand jury reportedly, according to the "Washington Post," considered possible obstruction of justice charges against that mother. I want to go to Chuck Williams, psychologist. Dr. Chuck, what do you make of her affect?

CHUCK WILLIAMS, PSYCHOLOGIST: You know, I was listening to this, Jane, and, you know, this is one of the most horrific cases that I`ve had the -- you know, the misfortune of discussing in some way on your program, to hear the mother say, "It`s not my fault."

Like, you know, the previous guest said, whenever something goes wrong with your kid, it`s your fault. You should be concerned. You are responsible. You`re accountable. I`m guessing there`s much, much more to this story.

And like you mentioned, Jane, being a former prosecutor, I`m guessing there may be some foul play in that family. She may have been missing for a while. Unfortunately, she may have been dead for a while. The fact that they found a body says that maybe this man felt guilty. Guilty about what? The murder of his wife, doing something bad to this Young girl Relisha, and maybe even killing her. This is a really, really, really sad case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and breaking news -- the breaking news is that the man found in the park has been tentatively identified as the child`s abductor, raising the question, where is Relisha? Is she alive? That is both hopeful, and it`s terrifying as well, the possibilities. Her family saying they`re desperate to bring the child home. Listen to this from WRC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

S. YOUNG: If my daughter is watching this right now, I would say, I love you. And come back home. To your mother safely. Unharmed. And I love you. And when you do return back -- and if you do return back home, you will never, ever go with anybody else. You will be next to my side at all times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Diana Aizman, criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor. Obviously, if Relisha is alive, it`s a race against time. I think so many terrifying prospects, but one is they have to consider the possibility that he left her tied up somewhere. He said his wife has been killed allegedly by him. Nobody knows where this child is.

DIANA AIZMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is a man who`s clearly capable of murder. We know that. And he has consciousness of guilt. All of these different elements add up to the likelihood that she`s absolutely not alive, unfortunately. At this point even law enforcement has said, it`s now a recovery mission, rather than a rescue mission. And that`s horribly sad.

And what`s even more sad is that the mother in this situation is placing blame on other people. This is her child. This is her flesh and blood. It is 100 percent her responsibility to care for this child. And for her to go and place blame on anyone else is absolutely ridiculous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, forensic scientist, what really gave me chills is that the alleged abductor, who is now tentatively dead, found in a park, had bought very large construction-size garbage bags, a shovel and lime. What is the purpose of lime?

DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Well, I think you spelled it out, Jane, that it is often used to disguise or mask odors of decomposition. It can be used for that purpose.

And I must say, given the timeline, that the last time the child was seen was on March 1, the likelihood, the probability is high that her body is someplace in that 700-acre park. It`s a vast area. And if you remember John Galletti (ph), was also searched by the police, Washington, D.C., police in a park. And it took a year, and they went through that park multiple times and missed the body. It is not that easy to find a body in a vast area like that, especially with water. There are at least seven areas of ponds in that park. It`s a very difficult thing to do.

But this is the next stage of the investigation. It`s to find evidence of the child in that park.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s the problem, Eric Schwartzreich, criminal defense attorney. He also paid in advance for a storage locker that he kept. So, of course, they executed search warrants on the storage locker. They didn`t find anything.

But when he allegedly shot his wife dead way back on late March 19 or early March 20, he leaves that hotel, gets a friend to give him a ride. The child`s nowhere to be seen.

So I don`t think we can assume the child`s in this park. He may have chosen that as a place to commit suicide. The child may be somewhere else. And the very fact that there`s a possibility that the child`s alive makes this an urgent search.

ERIC SCHWARTZREICH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Jane, it`s so urgent, and it`s a race against time. And I hope Relisha is alive, and I hope she`s found.

And the problem right now is the abductor, the alleged abductor we see in that videotape with the child, he is now presumably dead, if that is Mr. Tatum. And that`s going to make it difficult. And the wife, Tatum`s wife, who would have had information, she`s not here as well either.

So it`s a very difficult situation that law enforcement is in right now. And I hope they can find her. And I hope they use all their resources, and I hope that purchasing the lime, which is an ominous sign, does not mean that Relisha is dead, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And once again, Nancy Grace will have more on this case top of the hour.

Now coming up, a night of drinking leads to an argument and ends with a man dead. But cops say he was stabbed to death by his girlfriend using - - I don`t want to give it away. You will not believe what she allegedly used to kill him. We`re going to demonstrate on the other side.

But also next, a trust-fund baby, an heir to the DuPont fortune, is convicted of sexually assaulting his 3-year-old daughter. But guess what? A judge gives him probation, thinking, oh, this trust-fund baby would not fare well in prison. Are you kidding me? I`m going to talk to the man`s former attorney next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Robert Richards IV`s great-granddad started the DuPont empire, but Robert is now a convicted pedophile, admitting in 2008 that he raped his then-3-year-old daughter. His ex-wife, Tracy, now alleges he also molested their then-toddler son. She`s now filed a civil suit demanding money to make sure the kids continue to get the help they need.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An heir to the DuPont fortune.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If it were anybody else, he`d probably be in jail right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A convicted rapist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s never spent time in prison.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is this power and privilege keeping justice from working?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, outrage over what some call a massive miscarriage of justice. An heir to the DuPont chemical fortune who admitted to sexually assaulting his own 3-year-old daughter, gets no jail time for his crime. And the whole story was almost never reported.

This no-jail-time sentence is only coming out now, six years after the fact, because his ex-wife, seen here in video from NBC 10, is now suing him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His wealth is a factor in punitive damages. He`s a trust-fund baby. And you can quote me on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Robert Richards, the trust-fund baby, was initially indicted on two counts of second-degree child rape. Those are felonies. It would have meant a mandatory ten years behind bars each, 20 years in prison, if he was convicted on those charges. But instead he cut a plea deal on one count of fourth-degree rape which carries no mandatory minimum. Guess what he got? No jail time. Just probation. Talk about power and privilege.

Even worse, Richard`s ex-wife alleges in her lawsuit that their infant son might have been a victim, too.

Richards` little girl spilled her horrible secret to her grandma after what`s believed to be two years of abuse, saying, quote, "Daddy puts his fingers," dot, dot, dot. We can`t finish that sentence. An innocent child endures horrific repeated abuse for two years. And her dad gets to go back to his Delaware mansion?

In explaining her slap on the wrist, the judge says she`s worried the defendant, quote, "will not fare well behind bars." Who the hell fares well behind bars? Where`s the concern for the children? One little girl and allegedly her baby brother, as well, possibly sexually assaulted by their dad.

And this judge, Jan Jurden -- take a look at her. We`re going to show you her picture, she said that the rich man will not fare well in prison, so he gets probation. Jon Leiberman, what do you know?

LEIBERMAN: Here`s what I know, Jane. No. 1, prosecutors apparently were forced to make a deal with the devil. Here`s what I know. They didn`t want to re-victimize this little girl again. They weren`t going to put her on the stand in the case. So they cut this plea deal. That was step one.

In the plea deal, however, it gave the judge a lot of latitude. There was no mandatory minimum sentence that she had to give. But the sentencing guidelines, we have learned, recommended 30 months in prison for this sex offender. He admitted to the molestation as part of the plea deal.

That being said, he didn`t get 30 months; he got a slap on the wrist, as you just alluded to.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Now we...

LEIBERMAN: Sex offenders get that every day, unfortunately.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, but people who do non-violent drug offenses get decades behind bars. What a -- what a country.

We reached out to the Delaware court that imposed the sentence. And they can`t comment, because the case is still open, since Richards is currently, yes, as we all know, on probation.

Originally Judge Jurden gave him eight years, and then said, "Never mind. We`re just going to suspend that entire sentence unless you violate your probation, because you won`t fare well in jail."

What about the prosecutors? Did they drop the ball, too? Should they have offered this weak plea deal that carries no mandatory minimum?

Eugene Maurer, you`re our special guest tonight. You used to be the attorney for the defendant, this DuPont heir. How do you defend this? This is a very, very awful crime. Sexually assaulting your own daughter. How can you defend no jail time?

EUGENE MAURER, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR RICHARDS: Well, good evening. How are you?

And I think in this case, it`s very defensible, and I think people aren`t being real fair to Judge Jurden. She`s not a -- she`s not the easiest judge in the world.

The prosecutor in this case made a decision, as you already mentioned, not to re-victimize the child and force them to testify. During the course of the trial, Judge Jurden was presented with a tremendous amount of mitigating information about Mr. Richards, and his background, and his shortcomings and his problems. And although she gave him probation, she put a tremendous amount of conditions on him. And those have not been violated.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, I -- look, I`m sorry. But the fact that he`s on the sex registry, who checks the sex registry? This man, nobody knows. Nobody knew that this guy was on probation for this heinous crime, because this case was really never out there. Why? Because, well, the authorities say that they don`t issue press releases on cases like this. How do we find out about all the other cases?

The idea, Eric Schwartzreich, criminal defense attorney, that, well, he`s on probation, and this is a tough judge; we don`t want to re-victimize the children. You know what I`m worried about? Victimizing other children.

SCHWARTZREICH: Jane, first of all, being on the registered sex offender list, that is a punishment. This was a heinous crime. Once you`re on that registered sex offender list, most times you`re living underneath a bridge.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what? No, not if you`re living in a mansion. Not if you`re living in a mansion.

SCHWARTZREICH: But he might be living in a mansion, if that mansion, if it`s near a school or there are certain restrictions, he might not be living in a mansion...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s not near a school. Look at the lawn. It`s not near anything. It`s a mansion.

SCHWARTZREICH: As a criminal defense attorney, justice is defined as what -- the best ruling that you can get in your favor sometimes. They call it the halls of justice, but it doesn`t always happen that the courtroom...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, please. Somebody help me out. Mo.

SCHWARTZREICH: Jane, it`s not one size fits all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mo will help me out. Mo Ivory.

SCHWARTZREICH: You don`t know the statement. There are a lot of factors that could have gone into this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. Mo.

IVORY: There`s only one factor to consider here...

SCHWARTZREICH: You can`t judge this by one size fits all.

IVORY: Listen, one factor...

SCHWARTZREICH: Prosecutors have reasons for making offers.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You said your part. Now Mo. Now Mo.

IVORY: Jane, there`s one factor to consider greatly here.

He was molesting his three-year-old daughter and his son. This is, like you said, a classic case of power and privilege. And I would love to look into the judge`s background and see if she`s ever gotten contributions from the DuPont family.

Schwartzreich: But it`s irresponsible to make these --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on, hold on a second. One at a time, people. One at a time.

IVORY: This happens all the time.

SCHWARTZREICH: Outside of that it happens constantly.

IVORY: Judges are supported by private people who fund campaigns that influence decisions.

SCHWARTZREICH: You can`t just make a statement like that without proof.

IVORY: And that could very well be what happened here. I would like to look into that to figure out if that`s what happened.

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CORRESPONDENT: You are missing it. The point is - -

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on.

Here`s what I want to talk about. The prosecutors say they didn`t even know he was a DuPont heir. This I don`t buy.

SCHWARTZREICH: That might be true Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHWARTZREICH: I believe that.

LEIBERMAN: Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second. Please. I want to go to Diana Aizman --

IVORY: That`s outrageous. Of course they knew.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go to former prosecutor Diana Aizman. Now any of us who watch TV shows know that prosecutors do background checks on their suspects.

DIANA AIZMAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Of course. Oh, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen to this. You want the capper?

AIZMAN: Yes, not just the prosecutors. The investigators --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

AIZMAN: Sure, yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Police station that handled this case is located on a high way named after the DuPonts. Continue -- Diana.

AIZMAN: And it`s not just the DuPonts. He also comes from a very -- the other family that he`s a part of is the Richards family, which is a very prominent family in where he`s from. It`s totally unrealistic to think that law enforcement, that the judge, that prosecutors had no idea who this person was. They knew exactly who he was.

They were very careful to keep this under wraps. And the judge in this case absolutely 100 percent abused her discretion. There is absolutely no reason why a child rapist should be qualified for a probation sentence.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Eugene Maurer, former attorney, do you want to give me the last word?

EUGENE MAURER, JR., FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DUPONT HEIR: Let me say something. These comments about the judge are completely irresponsible. Those who are making them have no idea what happened in this case and have no idea of the information that was presented to Judge Jordan.

Judge Jordan is a respected jurist throughout the stay of Delaware. She has no contacts with these people. She made an enlightened decision based upon the information in front of her. People should not slander her without knowing what they`re talking about in terms of what happened in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen -- enlightened? All I know is we have more people behind bars in this country than any other country in the world. We have more people behind bars than exists in the entire eastern European country. A lot of them are doing time for nonviolent drug offenses.

This guy convicted in a sexual assault on his own three-year-old daughter and he gets probation? Something`s wrong with that, in my humble opinion.

Up next the Texas woman on trial accused of killing her boyfriend with her stiletto heel. I gave it away. But we`re going to demonstrate on the other side.

It happened after a night of heavy -- you fill in the blank. Did she really use her shoe as a weapon? You decide next, was it self-defense or was it murder?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She told investigators he became upset early Sunday morning at his 18th floor apartment. A struggle followed and she stabbed him as many as 30 times with her stiletto heel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNA TRUJILLO, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER: Hey, welcome back, and thank you for hanging out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me she`s always been the aggressor.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, look at that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stabbed to death by a stiletto shoe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were the worst thing for each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twice she told me if anybody ever messed with her, she pulled her shoe off and said "I`ll get them with this."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About 10 puncture wounds to the head.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, death not by knife, but rather by stiletto. One of the most sensational murder trials in years starts with a bang. Rising TV star Anna Trujillo accused of stabbing her lover in the face and neck at least 25 times with the spiky heel of her stiletto, after a night of drinking tequila.

She says it was self-defense. In a moment I`m going to try to mimic the attack with a melon and a stiletto to show you how violent this had to have been.

The battered blood-soaked body of Stefan Anderson was found inside his swanky high-rise Houston condo. He was a researcher. Each side concedes these had a toxic relationship. There was a nasty fight that night.

The defense told jurors Anna killed her boyfriend during a life and death struggle in self-defense. That Anderson grabbed her and slammed her against the wall.

But a friend of the defendant is slated to deliver game-changing testimony for the prosecution. Here`s a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM CARROLL, FRIEND OF DEFENDANT: Twice she told me that if anybody ever messed with her, she pulled her shoe off and said, "I`ll get them with this." And it was a big stiletto heel. And I used to tease her how she could walk around on them things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Prosecutors say the scene was a blood bath right out of a horror movie.

Straight out to Al Reinert, contributing editor of "Texas Monthly", you were in court today. Give us some of the zingers in the opening statement.

AL REINERT, "TEXAS MONTHL" (via telephone): Well, it`s shaping as -- you know, Texas has a history of putting theatrical murder trials, and this one is, you know, going to meet that standard.

The opening statements for the prosecution was delivered by an assistant district attorney named Sarah Nickerson, who wore high heels that I guarantee you she has never worn to work before. I mean they had sequins and ribbons all over them. They were nice, sharp and so for her opening statement, she`s down on her knees in front of a jury pounding the floor with this stiletto heel that looks just like the one -- it`s a little bit fancier version of the one you just held up.

And then --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my God. You`re telling me the prosecutor wore stilettos and did like a little flamenco dance on the floor to illustrate how --

REINERT: She was down on her knees with her stiletto in her hand doing to the floor, what you`re about to do to that cantaloupe.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, oh, oh, oh -- ok. Stand by for a second, Al.

REINERT: That`s the prosecution`s opening statement.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok.

REINERT: Then the defense attorney, a guy named Jack Carroll, who`s a very successful defense attorney, he acts out his version of the fight that led up to that. I mean his version of it has the victim throwing poor Anna over the couch beating her something fierce and she`s hitting him on the arms with her stilettos before she ever attacks his face. She just couldn`t get him to stop by hitting him on the arms.

That`s his version of what happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Al, that`s an excellent summary of both sides. I want to go to Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky. We`ve got to widen out the camera here for a second. Sorry about all the mess. But let`s widen out. I want to show you, Dr. Kobi, ok. Widen it out, widen it out, widen it out -- here we go. There is the -- there it is.

This is obviously a substitute for a head. It`s softer than a head. You want to see how hard it is to puncture this? Very hard. It takes a lot of weight for me to puncture this, Dr. Kobi. And she allegedly did this up to 30 times?

DR. LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Well, you -- I think you killed that melon, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I did.

KOBILINSKY: The fact of the matter is, this is overkill. You can think of the stiletto heel like a gun. You can use it for self-defense, you can use it aggressively. But the fact that this fellow was hit so many times over and over and over, you know, clearly it`s overkill. It`s a crime of rage.

It could have been done with a knife. It could have been done with some other weapon, the stiletto is a weapon. And clearly -- I mean the only thing she could say is that it was self-defense. But she`s got to prove that. She`s got to show that he attacked her, that she`s got defense wounds on her body, on her hands, on her arms. She`s got to make the case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Eric Schwartzreich, you are a top-notch criminal defense attorney. They were out drinking. There was apparently some kind of jealous thing happening, where another guy offered to buy her a drink. He was angry. That`s pretty good for the defense, isn`t it?

SCHWARTZREICH: I think it`s great for the defense. What the defense needs to do is take the jury and let them walk a mile through her shoes. Probably better if they were your shoes, Jane, because your shoes quite frankly are like Jimmy Choos`. I don`t know if hers were.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, I wear vegan shoes. No fancy shoes for me.

SCHWARTZREICH: All right. They`re vegan shoes. I don`t feel as bad for my wife now.

But here`s the point Jane. Battered woman is where they`re going with this -- battered woman syndrome. There`s a history there supposedly of domestic violence. The fact that it`s a shoe as opposed to a knife or gun that`s right there, that helps because it shows that maybe it wasn`t premeditated.

Now, I know you`re saying that they have this witness the prosecution is bringing, much better for the defense that it`s a shoe. And the fact that it was so many times, so many times the rage that lends to the fact that there were issues. I mean what was going on here?

And there was abuse and she does have a very solid self-defense case. And in this case, Jane, I really think the prosecution is in trouble.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Except -- except that she told a friend, purportedly, anybody messes with me, and she whips off her shoe, and says, they get this.

More on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: Twice she told me that if anybody ever messed with her, she pulled her shoe off and said, "I`ll get them with this." And it was a big stiletto heel. I used to tease her how she could walk around on them things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TRUJILLO: Welcome back, and thank you for hanging out. We have the best view of the bands, the people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the accused murderess on her TV show. A lot of people who knew this couple said the relationship was explosive, a disaster waiting to happen. Here`s one of Anna`s former co-workers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were two people that really I think were not supposed to be together. She had some bruises on her arms. She said that he would try to, I guess make her stay, you know, not leave him. They were the worst thing for each other.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And then you add some tequila, or maybe a lot of tequila, a night of drinking at a nightclub, fighting there and then fighting at home. Then you add a stiletto. Dr. Chuck, psychologist, do the math.

CHUCK WILLIAMS, PSYCHOLOGIST: You know, people forget, Jane, that alcohol is a very powerful psycho active drug. That means it acts on our psyche, and usually in a negative way. So that probably added to the fact that she behaved the way she did. My guess is it was sort of a blackout.

She started defending herself possibly, and couldn`t stop until, you know, after she had killed her paramour or her lover. It sounds like it was self-defense, because who plans to kill somebody with a stiletto. That would be a pretty bizarre case but you guys and lawyers are not --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Except, Diana Aizman, she mentioned according to this friend, if anybody messes with me, I`m going to use this.

Now on her side, you heard the co-worker said she would sometimes show up with bruises. So is she a Jodi Arias, or is she a woman who was genuinely abused? Because remember, people hated Jodi Arias because she made genuine abuse victims, genuine battered women, it made it so much harder for real victims to come forward.

AIZMAN: Right. It`s got to be a case of self-defense. What woman in her right mind is going to ruin a perfectly good pair of stilettos if she doesn`t have to? The fact of the matter here is that she acted in a crime of passion type of way, where she grabbed whatever she could. In this case it happened to be her shoe.

The fact that she made that comment to one of her friends earlier is totally irrelevant, because whose M.O. is to kill somebody with a shoe. Nobody plans to kill somebody with a shoe.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you fantastic.

On the other side, a very special guest -- somebody who has been waging a war on the high seas, and just achieved an enormous victory.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Japan has fired their first shot. They got the Ninth District Court in the United States to issue an injunction against us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight a huge victory in the whale wars. Because of the tireless work of groups like Sea Shepherd, the U.N. High Court has just banned Japan`s whale slaughter. That means Japan can no longer head to the arctic every year to slaughter whales with the lame excuse that it`s science. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The special permit granted by Japan the killing, taking and treating the of whales are not for purposes of scientific research.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is an incredible victory. Did you hear that? Ok -- the high court of the United Nations deciding that the Japanese were never killing whales for scientific research. That was a ridiculous excuse. They were killing whales -- always follow the money -- for profit so they could try to sell whale meat. But even the Japanese ambassador to the United States admitted the Japanese don`t eat whale meat much anymore. All right.

So this is really an incredible victory in the whale wars. But guess what? The fight to protect marine mammals is ongoing. Ok. Right now we`ve been covering in our show seals are being hunted down and clubbed to death in Canada. What can you do? Call the Canadian prime minister and say, this is disgusting.

They kill the babies, all right? And when they don`t kill the babies, they let them live and starve to death because they`ve killed the mothers. And then there is the dolphins in Japan that are being hunted down and slaughtered at the infamous cove in Taiji. Year after year we covered that too many, many times.

50 million to 100 million sharks, by the way, have their fins brutally cut off every year. Why? For something that`s totally tasteless called shark fin soup. Those sharks are left without fins spiraling down to the ocean, left to drown, unable to swim -- 50 million to 100 million every single year.

So yes, this is an incredible victory. But the war isn`t over. We have to continue fighting for all animals, on land and on sea, so that we could eventually end these cruel practices. And guess what? Our species, the human species, depends on it, too. Because what we`re doing by devastating so many species is putting ourselves at risk, ok?

Wiping out sharks at the top of the food chain is destroying our ecosystem. All right? It`s destroying our ecosystem so what that means is there is going to be devastating consequences.

Every few minutes on this planet another species goes into extinction. These species cannot speak for themselves. You and I together have to speak for them. All right? We, together, can make a difference to save the animals and save ourselves. It`s not man versus nature anymore. We have to work together because we`re destroying the species on this planet. This planet, we`re destroying the planet, we`re destroying ourselves. Ok? So people, speak for these voiceless animals. This is an incredible victory. Let`s celebrate it.

Tomorrow on this show we`re going to talk to Relisha Rudd`s grandmother at 7:00, and Nancy has so much more on the Relisha Rudd disappearance, up next.

END