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Mom Kills Social Worker After Losing Custody. Aired 8-9:00p ET
Aired August 11, 2015 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight, live, Vermont suburb. A young Vermont mom with a history of alcohol problems loses custody of her
only child, her 9-year-old little girl. Bombshell tonight. The mom who loses custody of her daughter laughing when she shoots dead the social
worker. Tonight, Mommy charged with murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police say Herring killed Lara Sobel outside the DCF office, shot her twice with a 270-caliber hunting rifle. Court
paperwork describes Herring at first as very calm and laughing, shrugging off reddish-brown flesh-like substance on her shoes by saying, quote, "Oh,
these are nothing."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And live, Newmarket, Alabama, where 40-year-old Christopher Henderson (ph) and first wife Rhonda Carlson (ph) charged in the murders of
his pregnant second wife, their unborn baby, two children, and his second mother-in-law.
Did you catch that? His first and second wife? There was never a divorce. He`s a bigamist. Bigamist. Chris Henderson and first wife
murder the pregnant second wife, their unborn baby, her two other children, and his second mother-in-law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kristen Henderson (ph) was murdered, killed in this house with her mother, nephew and son. She was nine months pregnant.
Husband Christopher Henderson...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was also married to Rhonda Jean (ph) Carlson. So we have bigamy that was going on at the time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both Carlson and Henderson charged with capital murder.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us.
Bombshell tonight. Live to Vermont suburbs. A young Vermont mother with a history of alcohol problems loses custody of her only child, a 9-
year-old little girl. The mom, who loses custody of her daughter, laughing when she shoots dead the social worker -- DFACS. Tonight, Mommy charged
Straight out to Zach Despart, reporter with "The Burlington Free Press." Zach, thank you for being with us. So Jody Herring -- I looked at
her background. She`s got a few problems with drugs, a few problems with booze. But she loses custody of her daughter?
I`m having a hard time taking that in, Zach, because typically, DFACS, Child and Family Services, do nothing until the child is dead. But because
this mom has an alcohol and drug problem, they take the child away?
ZACH DESPART, "BURLINGTON FREE PRESS"` (via telephone): They state took custody of Jody Herring`s 9-year-old daughter, and that seemed to have
prompted her to, as police have said, shoot a social worker as she left work last Friday afternoon.
GRACE: To Candace Trunzo, senior news editor, Dailymail.com. You know, this mom, when you see her not in a mugshot, looks like a soccer mom.
So she had booze and -- she had alcohol problems, she had some drug problems, she had been driving without a license in the past, all basically
stemming out of alcohol. But when DFACS takes away her 9-year-old little girl, she loses it.
How did she manage to catch the social worker alone?
CANDACE TRUNZO, DAILYMAIL.COM (via telephone): Well, I think that she must have seen the pattern of her leaving out the back of the Department of
Children and Family Services because she kind of lied (sic) in wait. She was, according to police, in her car waiting.
She had a shotgun, they say. And then she left the car, shouldered the shotgun, and walked toward the back of the building. And that`s when,
unfortunately, Lara Sobel, this social worker was coming out, and she shot her twice. According to the police, that`s what happened.
GRACE: We`re showing you Remington model 700. It`s a 270-caliber hunting rifle.
To Zach Despart with "Burlington Free Press." How did this mom, Lara Sobel, (sic) get ahold of a gun like that?
DESPART: Well, that`s a big question here, Nancy, because according to court papers, because of Jody Herring`s 11 previous criminal
convictions, she was prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm. That`s a big question that prosecutors did not address the court papers
they filed ahead of the murder charge Monday, and we`ll have to wait and see how exactly she...
DESPART: ... got ahold of that gun.
GRACE: We`re showing a shot of that gun right now. If you could pull that up, Justin? You see the gun apparently left there on the scene after
the shooting. I guess she drops the gun. I`m not sure how the whole thing went down.
Everyone, for those of you just joining us, young mom Regina (sic) Herring, has her daughter, her 9-year-old child -- there she is -- taken
away from her by DFACS after a string of incidents with alcohol in drugs.
She waits -- lay in wait outside the Barre DFACS -- Barre County (sic) DFACS office. And when she sees the victim in this case, a mother herself,
social worker Lara Sobel, come out of the building, opens fire, gunning her down, this in apparent retaliation for taking her daughter away.
There you see the victim right there. The victim, Lara Sobel, is a mother of two, I believe, now dead, gunned down outside the DFACS building.
And if you saw the perp, Regina Herring, (sic) outside of her mugshot, she looks like a soccer mom.
Back to Candace Trunzo, senior news editor, Dailymail.com. So Candace, you`re telling -- and look, she apparently just throws the gun
down. How did the gun end up there? Was she arrested on the scene, Candace?
TRUNZO: Yes, she was tackled. A state`s attorney was in the building, heard the shots, ran out. Of course, there were police in the
vicinity. And they pretty much tackled her right away. But it was amazing because she was extremely calm. She was laughing. And she said at one
point that it was no big deal.
GRACE: Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa! Back it up! Candace Trunzo, I`m about to be joined by the Vermont attorney general, William H. Sorrell.
Candace, did you say -- are you confirming what our reports are saying, is that she laughed, she laughed at the time she shot the DFACS worker down
and was laughing about it to police, acting like it was no big deal?
In fact, after police right at that point, where you`re seeing the photo now, police have taken her into custody -- she`s still criticizing
the dead caseworker, Lara Sobel?
TRUNZO: Oh, yes, she was. She was laughing. She was calm, and she was, you know, saying it was no big deal until later on, when she was
questioned. And then she got hostile. She got upset. And she said police didn`t help her. She had a boyfriend who was hitting on her, who was
abusive. She couldn`t get any justice.
And most of all, she got no justice from the Department of Children and Family Services. She felt that they had wronged her. She had issued
warnings to her family about it, and that`s the line that she was taking that night (ph).
GRACE: Basically warning her family not to talk to DFACS. The perp in this case, the young mom, Jody Herring -- for those of you just joining
us -- so angered by losing custody of her 9-year-old daughter, she opens fire on the caseworker, the social worker, a mother herself, there in the
With me right now, special guest, the Vermont attorney general, William H. Sorrell. Sir, thank you for being with us.
WILLIAM H. SORRELL, VERMONT ATTORNEY GENERAL (via telephone): You`re welcome.
GRACE: What exactly do you believe happened? And I was referring specifically to the shooting death of Lara Sobel.
SORRELL: Well, the investigation is still very much ongoing. There were a number of witnesses. We`ve got various evidence that needs to be
But it appears that Ms. Herring was parked in the parking lot behind the offices of the Department of Children and Families. And when Ms. Sobel
exited at the end of the day just before 5:00 PM this past Friday evening - - when Ms. Sobel exited her office, Ms. Herring got out of her car, shouldered the rifle, and shot Ms. Sobel in the upper chest area, upper
part of her torso, and then shot her again after she had fallen. This was a high-capacity hunting rifle. And Ms. Sobel died at the scene.
And as been suggested, various people converged on the scene, got control of Ms. Herring, got control of the rifle. Police arrived quickly,
and Ms. Herring was taken into custody, and she`s now being held without bail.
GRACE: Oh, my stars! With me, William H. Sorrell, the Vermont attorney general. There is stippling on the body and clothing, which
indicates that at least one of the shots fired into the social worker, Lara Sobel, was close range.
[20:10:11]And you just heard the Vermont attorney general state that after the social worker, the lady social worker, Lara Sobel, was down on
the ground from the first shot from that high-powered rifle, the mom of this 9-year-old daughter walks up to her and continues to shoot her.
Mr. Sorrell, is it true, reports we have been told that she was actually laughing and continuing to criticize the dead victim even after
police have her in custody?
SORRELL: Well, the -- one or more of the police officers who had control of Ms. Herring reported that, and that`s reflected in the
affidavit, which supports the affidavit of probable cause which supports our first-degree murder charge we filed against Ms. Herring.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Court paperwork describes Herring first as very calm and laughing during her initial interaction with police, even
shrugging off reddish-brown flesh-like substances on her shoes by saying, quote, "Oh, these are nothing." During later questioning, she appeared
agitated and ranted about injustices she says she suffered at the hands of DCF.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[20:16:57]UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two towns, two crime scenes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a deadly 24 hours.
GOV. PETER SHUMLIN, VERMONT: I cannot remember in my lifetime four people being murdered in Vermont.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A social worker, Lara Sobel, was gunned down leaving her Barre city office. Hours later, a second gruesome discovery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: For those of you just joining us, we are live in Vermont, where a young mom of a 9-year-old little girl opens fire on the social
worker in charge of her case that has her child taken away from her.
Right there, you are seeing the alleged perp. Sitting in court is Jody Herring. Her 9-year-old little girl was taken away from her, custody
was revoked, and she was angry.
According to police sources, she lie (sic) in wait outside the social worker`s office, and when that woman, a mother herself, Lynn (sic) Sobel,
comes out, opens fire on her with a high-powered rifle.
There is the gun that gunned down Lara Sobel, the social worker assigned to Herring`s case. And she was tackled -- not before she goes up
to Lara Sobel lying there on the ground and continues to shoot at her point-blank range as she lie (sic) there already down.
Joining me right now, the Vermont attorney general, William Sorrell. Mr. Sorrell, again, thank you for being with us. I understand that you
personally are handling this case because the prosecutor that was going -- would have handled it was the one that tackled her. Is that true?
SORRELL: Yes. We have authority statewide that the individual state`s attorneys or district attorneys have in their individual counties,
so it`s not unusual for us to take over cases or to co-prosecute with local prosecutors.
But here, with the state`s attorney being a material witness to the case and literally one of the ones who wrestled Ms. Herring down to the
ground, or got control of her, and got the rifle away from her, he couldn`t ethically prosecute it, so our office has taken over sole prosecution of
GRACE: Very, very wise, Mr. Sorrell.
Unleash the lawyers, Yale Galanter and Areva Martin, Areva LA, Yale in Miami.
Yale, it`s just common sense because when you -- if that prosecutor had been handling the case as normal, when it got time to the moment you
tell the jury about how this, basically, a soccer mom was taken down holding a high-powered rifle, what do you do? Put yourself on the stand
and Q and A with yourself? No. Somebody else has to come in and handle this case because you can`t prosecute the case and be a witness.
YALE GALANTER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, two things. Kudos to the prosecutor for tackling this woman. And second, the attorney general
obviously made the right decision. You don`t want to get into an ethical quagmire when you`re prosecuting one of these cases.
GALANTER: You want it to be a really clean prosecution. You don`t want anything in your...
GALANTER: ... public record that an appellate court will look at and say, you know, listen, guys, you got to do it over. And obviously, this
woman needs to be brought to justice for this heinous crime.
GRACE: You know, there`s so many other facts. Areva, before I come to you for your best defense -- to William Sorrell, the Vermont attorney
general. What did she have on her person when she was taken down?
SORRELL: Well, when -- she produced a plastic container of -- with rifle shells that appeared to be for the rifle that was used in the murder,
and she allegedly handed them over to the police saying, Here, I don`t need these. You might want these. I don`t need these anymore.
GRACE: Whoa! Whoa-whoa! Hold on. Is that true, Candace Trunzo, Dailymail.com? So when they arrest her, she basically says, Here, you can
have the rest of these shotgun shells, my work is done?
SORRELL: Yes, she did. She -- she had this clear white plastic triangle in her belt buckle, and she was taking off her -- you know, the
police asked her to take off my shoes -- but she said, Oh, no, these are not shoes, these are boots -- and her jewelry -- and as she undid her belt,
there was this plastic rectangle that contained 270-caliber (INAUDIBLE) I can`t even say it -- caliber bullets, and you know, again, you know, very
calmly just handed over the bullets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police say Herring killed Lara Sobel of East Montpelier outside the DCF office in Barre. Documents show Herring shot
her twice with a 270- caliber hunting rifle. Police found more boxes of ammunition at her Salisbury home and in her vehicle.
Police say before Sobel`s death, Herring left her brother a voicemail, saying, quote, "Watch the news. You`ll wish you got ahold of me earlier,"
Three of Herring`s family members were found dead in their Berlin home on Saturday, Regina and Rhonda Herring and Julie Falzarano. Jody Herring
remains a suspect in their deaths.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jody Herring, who police say gunned down a DCF worker as she left work. They say Herring was distraught after losing
custody of her child.
[20:25:06]UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three of Herring`s family members were found dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cousins Rhonda and Regina Herring and their mother dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: For those of you just joining us, a young mother of a 9-year- old little girl opens fire with a high-powered rifle on the social worker that advised she has custody yanked away. The suspect, Jody Herring, gets
her hand on a high-powered hunting rifle and lay in wait as the victim, Lara Sobel, comes out of the office at the end of the day 5:00 o`clock and
The mom is then tackled by a local prosecutor, but not before she pumps another round into the victim as she lies there dying on the ground.
To William Sorrell, the Vermont attorney general. Again, thank you for being with us. Is it true that there are three other family members of
Jody Herring`s that has been -- they have all been found dead?
SORRELL: Yes. That is true, and that case is very actively being investigated. Ms. Herring is at this point in time the only suspect in the
case. We`ve got a bunch of evidence to process in the lab and such, and we`ll be making a decision...
GRACE: Were they gunned down, too, Mr. Sorrell?
SORRELL: I`m not going to speak to the cause of death...
GRACE: OK. OK.
SORRELL: ... other than the fact they`re clearly homicide victims. And we have some charging decisions to make once the investigation has made
GRACE: Mr. Sorrell, I`m not going to ask you again because I know it`s still under investigation and no charges have been filed so far.
Let me go to you, Candace Trunzo, Dailymail.com. I understand that three more of this soccer mom, for lack of a better word, family members
have been found dead. Let me guess. Did they cooperate with DFACS?
SORRELL: Well, she had called -- this was two of her cousins and an aunt. And she had called one of her cousins on that very day, according to
one of the cousin`s daughters, and kind of said, If you continue to speak to Department of Children and Family Services, kind of woe to you. You`ll
have things coming to you. And this is what the daughter said.
And of course, you know, there was this reddish-brown stain on this woman`s boots. So we`re going to have to see what happens, but in all
likelihood, she`s going to be...
GRACE: A reddish-brown stain on the shoes of Jody Herring?
SORRELL: Yes, on the shoes of Jody Herring.
TRUNZO: When she was arrested, when they were looking at her boots, she had these stains, these kind of reddish-brown stains on her boots. And
I`m sure that what the state`s attorney is referring to is, you know, doing -- doing all the testing necessary to see if that blood came from her
cousins or her aunt.
GRACE: Well, it sounds like bloodbath. The family members were killed, we understand through police sources. Motive, that they had
cooperated with child services in having custody taken away from this mom.
Unleash the lawyers. Joining me, Areva Martin, Yale Galanter, and Carissa Kranz from Atlanta.
OK, Areva Martin, give me your best defense.
AREVA MARTIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think we`ve already heard from her attorney that there`s so much more to this case that we don`t
know. We know this woman has a history of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as domestic violence, and just a history of documented violence.
So the question is really not so much what this woman did, but where was the intervention for her? She clearly was in crisis with respect to
her daughter, and no one intervened to help her. So I think we`re going to see an insanity defense or something about her mental and emotional state
that caused her to commit this heinous act. And until we learn more...
GRACE: ... it would be so much easier. Carissa, Kranz, so what you`re hearing from Areva Martin is she`s turning the tables and trying to
make what appears to be a mass shooter, even though she looks like a soccer mom, the victim, claiming she`s got a drug problem. She`s got an alcohol
problem seems the big culprit, that her boyfriend beat her, that she was a child abuse victim herself.
I`m sorry for all of that happening to her, but I`ve got what, four dead bodies on my hands? And the reality is -- including the caseworker,
who was a mother herself -- voluntary use of drugs or alcohol is not a defense.
CARISSA KRANZ, FORMER PROSECUTOR: That`s correct, Nancy. Voluntary intoxication is not a defense. And an insanity defense, in my opinion, is
a red herring defense. Jody Herring knew exactly what she was doing. She had a rap sheet of 10 prior convictions, and she went and intentionally
laid in wait to kill...
GRACE: And laughed! And laughed!
GRACE: And laughed, Yale Galanter, when she was gunning down the social worker. She laughed about the dead social worker to the police and
continued criticizing the dead woman, even after she was in handcuffs. How is she going to get out of that, Yale Galanter?
GALANTER: Nancy, it goes to her mental capacity. It shows that she didn`t know right from wrong. She was suffering from some type of
diminished capacity. Quite frankly, that`s the only defense she has, so these defense lawyers need to do a full work-up, a full history, of course
any type of violence that was on her, child abuse, domestic abuse, alcohol. Even though voluntary intoxication is not a defense, it can certainly be
tied into her diminished mental capacity and whether or not she knew right from wrong.
GRACE: Live, New Market, Alabama, where 40-year-old Christopher Henderson and first wife Rhonda Carlson charged in the murders of his
pregnant second wife, their unborn baby, two other children, and his second mother-in-law.
Now, did you catch that? His first and second wife. There was never a divorce. He`s a bigamist. Bigamist. Chris Henderson and his first
wife, Rhonda Carlson, murder his pregnant second wife, their unborn baby, her other child, a nephew, and his second mother-in-law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Deputies responded to a residential fire. All of the residents perished in the fire. We are considering this to be a
homicide. Ms. Henderson filed a protection from abuse order against Christopher Matthew Henderson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With her estranged husband also married to another woman, Rhonda Carlson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he was actually married to two women at the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Okay. Now, this is complicated for all of us that don`t believe in bigamy. You`ve got a man and his first wife accused in the
murder of his pregnant second wife. She`s due to give birth in September. Kristen Henderson found dead. Her other child from her first marriage is
found murdered. Her nephew, a little boy there in the home, also murdered, and to top it all off, his second stepmother -- excuse me -- mother-in-law.
So he wipes out, according to prosecutors, the whole family to stop a prosecution on him for bigamy. Yes, that`s what many legal eagles believe
was the motive. So he trades in a bigamy charge for triple murder charges? What happened? Let`s go out to J.T., Jeff Tyson. Morning anchor at WERC.
Jeff, thank you for being with us. What are the allegations?
JEFF TYSON, WERC: I`ve got to tell you, Nancy, this situation goes crazy and out of control. The allegations are that this guy completely
lost his mind. He`s allegedly had a background in domestic violence before. In fact, Kristen had actually told the judge she and (inaudible)
had been arguing recently. He allegedly hit her left forearm and she wanted a protection order. And that`s when they found out about--
GRACE: Hold on. I`ve got to take this in small doses, Jeff Tyson. Joining me from WERC there in Birmingham. So what I think started, tipped
this whole thing, is what JT Tyson is just telling us, he`s been reporting on this, he is a bigamist. He`s got the first wife and the second wife.
The second wife claims domestic abuse, and she has a hearing about a protective order. Kristen Henderson. At that time, it comes out in open
court he never got a divorce. All right. They`re in court, so naturally when court personnel hears, hey, this guy has two wives, he knows he`s
going to be prosecuted for bigamy. All right. J.T., what happens then?
TYSON: As you know, like you just mentioned in court, they find all this out. Apparently Kristen and Christopher were in the process of going
through a divorce, because they just got married less than a year ago, September 2014, and then July 14th the suspect filed for divorce after
everything came out. And now it looks like he just lost his mind and this whole thing made him mad, made him furious to the point where I got to go
in rage and kill everybody. They`re still determining the exact cause of death on each of these victims.
GRACE: You`re seeing a baby victim. You`re seeing all the victims there. There is Kristen there with her son. The baby was killed. Not
only that, his mother-in-law. To Dr. William Morrone, joining us, forensic pathologist, M.E. and toxicologist. Dr. Morrone, thank you being with us.
MORRONE: You`re welcome.
GRACE: Let`s see a video of the house on fire. Because Dr. Morrone, as so often happens, he tried to hide the murders. This is my theory, and
of course he`s not been convicted. He tried to hide the murders of his second wife, her unborn child, her son from the first marriage, and her
baby nephew and mother by burning the house down. How often does that actually work, Dr. Morrone?
MORRONE: It probably works about 5 percent of the time. 95 percent of the time, these people don`t understand the amount of energy it takes to
burn the body. When you have a body, it burns superficially, but just under the skin there`s a lot of adipose or fat tissue that protect the rest
of the body. That means it`s going to protect gunshots. It`s going to protect a blunt force trauma. It`s going to protect stab wounds, and
that`s really a dumb way to get rid of a body. It takes about 1,000 degrees for four or five hours to burn and dispose of a body in cremation,
and houses never get that high.
GRACE: Hold on, let me see Morrone again. Whoa, that`s the first wife. OK? So he`s trying to get rid of the second wife and keep her?
Okay. These two are charged with triple murder, triple homicide, and of course actually four homicides, because in that jurisdiction, the unborn
child is treated as a person, if it`s viable.
So, Dr. Morrone, are you saying that basically the fatter you are, the harder it`s going to be burn to evidence, because this fat tissue will hold
evidence of stabbing, gunshots, what else?
MORRONE: The whole body will, but in general, the thickness, muscle and fat, protect trauma, protect bullets, protect knife wounds. And people
who get a go at this are just so ignorant. They don`t understand that it`s not going to cover up.
GRACE: So how -- you`re saying 1,000 degrees before an arson fire can actually burn a body?
MORRONE: And that`s 1,000 degrees for six hours. You know, usually, we can`t get houses to burn that hot for six hours.
GRACE: I want to talk to you about that. Listen to this, Dr. Morrone. Robert Rowe is with me, arson investigator. This fire caught so
quickly it suggests to me, having prosecuted arsons, that an accelerant like gasoline or kerosene was used. This kind of fire with an accelerant,
doesn`t it get hotter more quickly?
ROBERT ROWE, ARSON INVESTIGATOR: Yes, that`s true, because the incendiary liquids that are usually used in these types of fires are highly
volatile and highly flammable. So yes, it would be a very quick, fast- moving fire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Extremely, extremely hot fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kristen Henderson was murdered in this house with her mother, nephew, and son. She was nine months pregnant. Husband
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who was also married to Rhonda Jean Carlson, so we have bigamy that was going on at the time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both Carlson and Henderson charged with capital murder.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And it comes out in court during the protective order hearing that her husband never divorced his first wife, so what does he do?
According to legal eagles, his motive is to avoid prosecution for bigamy. According to the prosecutors and police, he murders his second wife,
expecting their child in September, her son from another marriage, a little baby, and her mother. When the bodies were found, Dr. Morrone, when the
bodies were found, the grandson was holding hands with his grandmother. She was holding his hand. She was holding his hand as he was murdered by
this guy and his first wife.
MORRONE: It`s just absolutely heartless. That tells you how much fear there was in the room.
GRACE: I`m just sick, Dr. Morrone. There are five dead people, five souls, and then he tries to burn it down, hide the evidence, so he won`t be
prosecuted for bigamy? Robert Rowe, arson investigator, how can we tell it`s arson?
ROWE: There`s going to be a systematic approach to the investigation. Investigators are going do collect evidence, maybe trace evidence of an
accelerant from the floorboards of the floor surface of the home. There`s going to be different items that they`re going to be looking at. They`re
going to be looking at fire spread. They`re going to be looking at fire patterns on the walls.
GRACE: Hold on right there. When you say fire patterns, it`s amazing. When you go back and look at an arson scene, and if accelerant
has been used, I`ve noticed on several occasions that it looks like someone threw Coca-Cola or Pepsi on the floor, and it dried, because it is burned
up, but it leaves like a liquid pattern. You can see it, where it`s poured. When you`re saying they`re looking for a pattern, it`s an
ROWE: That`s correct. If it`s a wooden floor, you`ll see charring and an explicit, very clear pattern on the floor.
GRACE: What about a fire dog? Couldn`t you bring in an accelerant dog to smell and find the gasoline or kerosene, whatever was used?
ROWE: That`s correct. Canine is used as a tool as are many other tools, to determine, to detect accelerants in a building such as this.
GRACE: To Dr. William Morrone, he is a renowned forensic pathologist, medical examiner, toxicologist, what have you been able to discern from the
way the bodies were found?
MORRONE: Well, the proximity shows that they were all close and there was probably not a lot of surprise. They were brought together in a very
violent and angry manner. And they knew what was coming. So there`s a tremendous amount of fear in something like that.
GRACE: Joining me right now is a neighbor who does not want to be identified and actually saw the fire occur. Thank you so much for being
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma`am.
GRACE: What did you observe that day?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife and I were standing in our living room and saw a cop car drive by with the lights on and didn`t think too much about
it. But about four or five minutes later, a neighbor called and said -- asked if we were okay. They thought they saw smoke coming from the
direction of our house. It kind of clicked for me and I ran out the backyard. And the house adjacent to our backyard across the street was
completely engulfed in flames. By the time I ran over there, there were several cops on the scene already. And they were trying to comfort some of
the family members that were standing in the driveway who were obviously extremely emotional. A few minutes later, the fire department showed up,
and I got back out of the way.
GRACE: I understand. Everyone, with me, joining me out of Huntsville, is a neighbor that observed the fire. The mother of the little
nephew, the baby boy in there, actually tried to go back in the house, and the fire had consumed the house by then. What were family, relatives,
neighbors doing outside the house? I`m sure they were beside themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It was just absolute shock. A lot of crying and hugging, and the Huntsville Police Department did a fantastic job of
trying to comfort them as much as they could, with the circumstances.
GRACE: You are seeing a home on fire. Arson itself is a crime, but inside this home are the slaughtered bodies of a mother expecting a child
in September, her mother, her son, nephew, just 1 year old. The mother, Kristen`s mother, Jean, holding the son -- the grandson`s hand as they
faced death. And why? Why did this happen? The alleged perp is her husband. He`s a bigamist, and he didn`t want to be prosecuted for bigamy.
Matt Zarrell, what can you tell me about potential surveillance video?
ZARRELL: Police say they have in their hands surveillance video of the two suspects walking into the house and leaving before it burst into
GRACE: To Dr. Ramani Durvasula, clinical psychologist out of L.A., explain to me why would you trade bigamy charges for murder charges?
DURVASULA: You know, at the end of the day, if anything frustrated this guy, he was going to blow up. This obviously was the most ultimate
tragic blow-up you can imagine, but I hate to say it, Nancy. Our system is broken when it comes to domestic violence, and this is one more case of
that. That kind of blow-up when he got frustrated and he got called out on it. It`s that simple.
GRACE: I agree with you. Unleash the lawyers. Corissa Krantz, Yale Galanter, Areva Martin. This is not just a blow-up because this was
planned out. He has to travel to the home, herd all the family together. One of the bodies I know was shot and stabbed before the fire. He`s got to
get his accomplice, his first wife, on board. This is planned out. This is not just a rage.
GALANTER: Yes, defending him is going to take a lot of work. The defense lawyers have to go through the evidence meticulously. They have to
thoroughly go through his background and figure out what made him snap.
GALANTER: As was discussed before on the program, it`s going to be some type of mental diminished capacity defense.
GRACE: Areva, I hear Galanter coming up with a snap defense. This was too long and protracted of a plan for him to just snap. He had hours
in which he carried out five murders.
MARTIN: Nancy, you`re making a lot of assumptions here that hasn`t come forth with respect to the evidence in this case. All we know so far
is there`s surveillance video of the suspects going into the house and leaving. We don`t know what happened. So we can`t jump to the conclusion
of guilty before we have the evidence.
GRACE: Okay. Good luck arguing five people committed suicide. I`ll see you in court.
Let`s stop and remember American hero, Army Major Matthew Worrel, 34, Lewisville, Texas, Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, Purple Heart, Texas A&M
grad. Loved family outings, teaching his sons baseball and soccer. Parents Pat and Doris, sister Wendy. Widow Camille, sons Jake and Luke.
Matthew Worrel, American hero.
And good night from our Georgia friend Regina here for the show. Thank you to our guests, but especially to you for being with us and
inviting all of you into our homes. Nancy Grace signing off for tonight. Hope to see you here tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then,
good night, friend.