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Jane Velez-Mitchell

Jackson Murder Conspiracy?

Aired July 13, 2009 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, stunning twists in the investigation into Michael Jackson`s death. Was the King of Pop murdered? That`s what sister La Toya is saying, alleging that Michael was killed by a conspiracy of enablers. She also claims Jackson kept up to 1 million bucks in cash in his home that is now nowhere to be found. This on the heels of Joe Jackson saying he suspects foul play. So could the probe into the legend`s death end with murder charges?

Then the custody clash takes a wild turn. After claiming promoters coerced his son to do 50 concerts, whip-cracking stage dad Joe Jackson reportedly floats the idea of Michael`s kids performing, and after having heard Michael Jackson`s horror stories about Dad Joe, could Debbie Rowe be making a secret deal to keep him out of the kids` lives? How will it all shake up at the suddenly-postponed custody hearing?

Plus a wealthy Florida couple who gave their hearts to their 12 disabled children, viciously murdered in their own home. Cops arrest three men who they say carried out this attack with military precision. What could possibly be the motive? How did the killers get around the tight security system with the children asleep in their beds? Did the suspects know the victims? We`ll investigate the disturbing questions.

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: An avalanche of accusations about conspiracy and murder in the death of Michael Jackson exploding tonight, that just as the Los Angeles coroner tells CNN that the toxicology report could be out by the end of the week.

In a chilling interview reportedly paid for by Britain`s "Daily Mail," Michael`s sister La Toya reveals that Michael had needle marks on his arms and four fresh puncture marks on his neck.

La Toya also making shocking allegations that Michael was murdered. She claims a shadowy entourage of manipulators took advantage of him, using him as a cash cow.

Plus TMZ reports Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor who was there with Jackson at the time of his death, is now a central figure in the Jackson death probe.

Michael`s father Joe spoke out about Dr. Murray today ABC`s "Good Morning America."


JOE JACKSON, FATHER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: They had to have given him something, you know, and then hearing that he went to sleep or something, I don`t know. I guess Michael passed on that. But Michael was dead a long time before they started taking him to the hospital.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: TMZ reports the doctor is not cooperating with investigators, but his lawyer says his client has and will continue to cooperate and is not a focus of the investigation. So which is it?

Meantime journalist Ian Halperin (ph) exposing stunning claims that Jackson was being controlled by a coterie of, quote, "vultures" who essentially forced him into doing that 50-show comeback tour. In May, a former employee told Halperin, quote, "It sounds like somebody else is pulling his strings and telling him what to do. Someone wants him dead. They keep feeding him pills like candy. They are trying to push him over the edge. The people around him will kill him," end quote. Reportedly said back in May. If so, who were those people?

So could the investigation into Michael Jackson`s death even eventually end in homicide charges? We will analyze it all.

And later, in an ironic twist, it looks like Joe`s hint about having Michael Jackson`s children, Paris, Prince Michael and Blanket, become performers might have united the two women fighting for custody of the kids. Did Papa Joe`s comments about turning these kids into the Jackson 3 spark a backroom deal between Debbie Rowe and Katherine Jackson to keep Joe away from the kids?

So much to talk about. I want to hear what you thing about all of this. But first straight out to my fantastic expert panel: Jim Moret, attorney and correspondent for "Inside Edition"; Brian Oxman, former Jackson family attorney; Jayne Weintraub criminal defense attorney; Firpo Carr, former Jackson spokesperson and Jackson family friend; Terry Lyles, crisis expert -- boy, do we need one tonight -- and psychologist; and Mike Walters, the one and only, assignment manager for TMZ.

Mike, TMZ calling Dr. Murray a central figure in the death probe. What is the very latest?

MIKE WALTERS, TMZ ASSIGNMENT MANAGER: Well, I can tell you for sure, Jane, that they are zeroing in on the guy that was there when Jackson passed away.

Now, talking about La Toya, let`s bring in that for a second. Obviously, with a grain of salt, it`s a British tabloid. But she does mention the needle marks. We did that story also. It`s true. He had fresh needle marks on his neck, on his hands, on his arms, on his legs, ankles. I mean, this was somebody that obviously had a problem.

Now, look at the other thing she talked about. The I.V. thing in the room, where he was laying. Dr. Murray. She had a conversation with him. She said he was weird and kind of didn`t want to talk about anything. Then he took off.

And she sort of goes through -- she never names anything, and the murder is a little strong at that point. But she named some of the stuff we talked about on this show several times, and a lot of stuff is zeroing back in on the guy who was there when he passed away.

Now, the question is did he -- and you know they found Propofol, the drug. Did he or did he not inject Michael Jackson with this strong sedative, an anesthesia that he shouldn`t have used in or out of the hospital? Did he or not? I don`t know. His lawyer won`t say. They`re going to find out. And if they do, you bet your butt there will be some criminal charges.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, I want to say a couple of things. One, Dr. Conrad Murray or his attorneys are invited on the show at any time to give their side of the story. We want to be fair here.

And we want to stress that Dr. Murray is insisting that he is cooperating with the authorities, that he is not a target of the investigation. And he said flat out he did not give Demerol or OxyContin to Michael Jackson. But they have not issued any comment on the issue of Diprivan.

But Firpo Carr, I want to go to the whole issue of Michael Jackson being controlled. I mean if he was controlled, he`s not controlled by a doctor. He`s controlled by somebody else who might be, allegedly, controlling the doctor. But he`s not -- he`s not being controlled by a doctor. The doctor has no stake in it.

So who is it that you think La Toya`s talking about when she`s talking about these puppet masters who have a handle on Michael Jackson and has ordered him to do certain things?

FIRPO CARR, FORMER JACKSON FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: Well, it could be the enablers. In fact, it would have to be the enablers.

Now here`s something else that I think needs to be taken into consideration. The family suspects something`s wrong. Now why is that? Well, how do they know that? They`re given a second autopsy, a second opinion. Now, that happened before with another family member, by extension, if you will.

When Tito`s wife, DeeDee, died and they said that she died of drowning in a swimming pool, and of course, they went to the L.A. Coroner`s Office. And actually, what they did is they said that that was the case. The family said, "No, something`s wrong. She`s afraid of water. She does not go swimming."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s not get into any other case. Let`s stay on this one.

CARR: It`s actually related.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have to focus on this particular case. I know. I mean...

CARR: Because what happened is that the family actually does that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Jayne Weintraub, you wanted to weigh in?

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: La Toya`s accusations, I thought, were focused in on the promoters and the money and the Nation of Islam that he was complaining about and how everybody had a stake in the interests of what was going on, if he couldn`t perform, and that they were forcing him to do it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. But Brian Oxman, if -- if you`re controlling him that way, you don`t want him to die. You want him to live so he can do all those performances. That`s what doesn`t make sense about La Toya`s claims.

BRIAN OXMAN, FORMER JACKSON FAMILY ATTORNEY: No. Absolutely correct, Jane. But it makes great a sense what La Toya is talking about.

We have talked about this ad infinitum in hundreds of phone conversations over the years, the last two years, where we have talked about the enablers, the people surrounding Michael, and we`ve both been very disturbed about it.

Now she takes it a step further, because she`s a little bit closer to Michael, and she got to be able to talk to him as well as the rest of the family members.

I believe what La Toya is saying is absolutely correct. She does not exaggerate when she`s talking about this. And I say, hey, she`s got it right on the nail head.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. One second. I want to talk about Jackson`s lack of control over his own life. It`s a recurring theme. If he was a puppet, the big question was who is the puppet master, who was the puppet master?

Jackson biographer Ian Halperin alleges it was Jackson`s nanny Grace, who introduced the Nation of Islam and its security guards into Jackson`s camp. But that she later came to lament the group`s increasing influence over Jackson`s affairs.

Halperin claims the nanny said Jackson rented a Beverly Hills home from the National of Islam for $100,000 a month, suggesting Jackson had no clue that the property should only have cost 25 grand a month. Ian Halperin is a well-known investigative journalist who contributed to "60 Minutes II" and Court TV. So we`re not talking about some tabloid hack here, Jim Moret. We`re talking about a journalist, who`s saying essentially the role of the Nation of Islam was very influential in Jackson`s life.

JIM MORET, CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": You look at La Toya`s claims. I took -- I spoke with a member -- a family friend today who says that La Toya is in many ways speaking for the family on this issue. She -- you know, she signed the death certificate. She`s not out in left field on this, because a number of members of Jackson`s family have been concerned for a long time that he is being controlled and that doctors are using medication to control him.

I don`t really know that the investigators are looking at murder. I think that if Diprivan was used, if they can find out who administered it, they may be looking at a manslaughter charge, but they`re clearly also looking at a separate investigation on doctor shopping, on medication, drug abuse. And this is a long, long problem. We`re not talking about just the events on the date of his death.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Firpo, what about the Nation of Islam? Thirty seconds before break.

CARR: Sure. The Nation of Islam was called in. Michael Jackson agreed to it. The family was quite concerned over the Nation of Islam being involved way back in 2005.

In fact, they almost came to fisticuffs with some of Jackson`s brothers, so that lets you know that there were some hard feelings there. Now what happened towards the end, that`s something that probably will be investigated, and we`ll find out later. But bottom line is, the family did have a Nation of Islam. Yes.

OXMAN: An update for Firpo. They were not involved in Michael`s life. Absolutely...

CARR: Actually...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I went -- when I was at Neverland Ranch they were there making me sign the contract to get into Neverland Ranch. That was a while ago.

OXMAN: That was a long while ago.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think the King of Pop was a victim of foul play: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Sound off.

And then, a horrific story. A wonderful Florida couple dedicated to helping disabled children gunned down in their own home. Cops arrested three men but think more people are involved. They`re still out there. The suspects wore all-black ninja outfits. The question is why.

But first so many unanswered questions on the death of Michael Jackson. Here`s the 911 call from when he first collapsed on that tragic day.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he on the floor? Where is he at right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s on the bed, sir. He`s on the bed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, let`s get him on the floor.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, let`s get him down to the floor. I`m going to help you with CPR right now...

Did anybody see him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we have a personal doctor here with him, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, you have a doctor there?





LEONARD ROWE, FORMER FINANCIAL ADVISOR FOR MICHAEL JACKSON: There will come the knowledge to everybody that Michael was addicted to prescription drugs. He wouldn`t have to be an M.D. to look at Michael and know that he was not in good physical shape.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yet another person close to Michael Jackson, speaking out about the singer`s addiction to prescriptive meds, but why didn`t anybody come forward before he died?

Back to my fantastic panel. Phone lines lighting up. Janice, Tennessee, your question or thought, ma`am.

CALLER: Thank you for taking my call. I`m just curious. I think it was during Michael`s last molestation trial wasn`t La Toya interviewed saying that she more or less kind of threw him under the bus, pretty much, for lack of a better term, saying that -- or implying that he could be guilty of molestation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brian Oxman, you were there.

OXMAN: Absolutely not. She was there almost every day of that trial. She would drive with Michael in the car. She was holding his hand. She was the greatest supporter. She never threw him under the bus. She drove the bus to make sure that Michael was there.

And on the last day of the trial, she was in the car saying to Michael, "It will be OK. I know that the lord will take care of you." And he did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Jim Moret, though, I think she did write a biography or some kind of work years ago where she said some very unkind things about Michael Jackson, and they had a rift.

MORET: Yes. I think that she came out in `93 in the first investigation, but clearly at the time of this trial years later, that rift was resolved.

CARR: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to get back to Brian and this whole Nation of Islam. Let`s try to put that one to bed. You`re saying that at the time of his death, the Nation of Islam was no longer involved in his life?

OXMAN: Well, he had very good friends always in the Nation of Islam. And in fact, after the memorial service, I met Louis Farrakhan, who I have met many times in the past. He knows these folks. He has been one of their friends. But he has not been one who has practiced the Nation of Islam. That has always been something Jermaine Jackson has done.


CARR: Actually -- actually, there`s a little correction. Jermaine Jackson isn`t involved with the Nation of Islam. He`s involved with orthodox Islam. Let`s get that straight right now. There is a difference.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, all right. But religion aside, Firpo, who -- we`re trying to find out who was the puppet master. Any thoughts?

CARR: You know, that`s a question that has to be answered in the future, and my own personal thought is that you have individuals -- and that`s why they`re puppet masters. They are behind the scenes. They do not want to be identified right now. That`s a fact.

And insofar as the Nation of Islam is concerned, in 2005 you actually had a security force that had members of the Nation of Islam, and I think that`s what Brian Oxman may have been referred to. But the fact of the matter is, he is good friends with the Nation of Islam.


CARR: And I`m not at all implying that they are -- the puppet masters are behind it. But I will say that there was some concern.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: TMZ -- TMZ is reporting Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor who was with Jackson when he died, is the central figure in the Jackson death probe, something that he`s denying. Listen to Joe Jackson on ABC`s "Good Morning America."


JOE JACKSON: I just couldn`t believe what was happening to Michael, because -- I just couldn`t believe it, you know. And I do believe there was foul play. I do believe, that yes. The doctor definitely did confine him for three days or something. That`s what made me believe something is wrong.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And there`s also reference to a delay of about half an hour in calling 911, because Dr. Murray allegedly or apparently didn`t have Michael Jackson`s address.

But he spent a lot of time there, Terry Lyles. Does it make sense that somebody who`s spending so much time at somebody`s house doesn`t have their address?

TERRY LYLES, CRISIS EXPERT: Well, let me tell you. There`s -- you know, foul play has been mentioned several times. I think there`s been foul play going on for a long time. I mean, you have a cocktail for disaster here. You`ve got, you know, large debts owed. You`ve got Michael that`s being drugged. He`s got his own stress and pressure. You`ve got these handlers that are all pressing in to get their piece and manipulate. I mean, you`ve got a disaster waiting to happen.

If anything, somebody just messed up and this occurred, and here we are looking at it, saying what happened? I don`t thing Michael was even aware of half the stuff that was going on, if we really knew the details.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And once again we have to say Dr. Murray has not been charged with anything. This isn`t even a criminal case yet. This is a death investigation.

Jim Moret, everybody is making comparisons to the Anna Nicole Smith case. What strikes me is that there is a difference here, and I`ll call it the Diprivan difference, because many pills you can take yourself. But Diprivan, that`s something you can`t really administer to yourself, because it knocks you out instantly. So if it were administered it would have to be administered by someone else.

MORET: Right. And if it was administered, then we will see a criminal investigation here, I think, Jane. You will see an involuntary manslaughter charge brought here, because there`s no reason.

You`ve talked to a number of doctors. Not one of them has ever heard of Diprivan being used outside of a clinic or a hospital. And clearly, there`s no medical reason. It`s not used for sleep therapy. It`s not used for anything outside of an operating room setting.

So if, in fact, that`s what killed him, and we have to wait for the toxicology report, you know, then we`ll see...

WEINTRAUB: It`s going to be determined what killed him as opposed to what was in his body because even though we`ll be able to say -- you know, how long it`s been in his blood system, we don`t know what his tolerance was.

Remember, this was a functioning addict. And this isn`t just a celebrity issue. This is any family of any functioning addict in this country or watching this show anywhere will know that this is a problem, this doctor shopping, a true relationship with the prescribing doctor.


WEINTRAUB: The doctor was sitting next to him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stay right there. We`ve been talking about the horrors of addiction for a while on this show. In my own book, "I Want," I dive deep into my own personal battle with alcoholism and my journey to sobriety. It`s a recovery memoir, due out this fall, but you can preorder your copy right now. Just click on and look for the preorder section. It`s my personal story, and I`ll tell you right now it`s got some real surprises.

Up next on ISSUES, jaw-dropping developments in the Jackson custody clash. I`ll tell you why Debbie Rowe may be making a secret deal to keep Joe Jackson out of the kids` lives.

And a Florida couple dedicated to helping disabled children gunned down in their own home by men wearing all-black ninja outfits. What in God`s name is going on here? Cops have already made three arrests. They are still trying to find out why somebody would want this wonderful couple who did so much good in the community dead, saying that this plot is a humdinger. The police called it something right out of a movie. We`ll tell you abut it.



CHIEF BILL BRATTON, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT: No matter which way the coroner`s finding would go and the multiple findings that they make, we would be in a position to, a lot of lost time, if you will, waiting for that report. So we`re not marking time waiting for this report. We`re gathering based on our experience in these matters. Unfortunately, in Los Angeles we have a lot of experience with death investigations, and we`ve got very good investigators.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The L.A. police chief talking there tonight. CNN has learned the L.A. coroner`s office official toxicology report could be ready by the end of this week. Will it corroborate the findings of the Jackson family`s private second autopsy?

I`m back with my fantastic panel taking the calls. Barbara in Florida, your question or thought, ma`am. Barbara.

CALLER: Hi, Jane.


CALLER: Hi, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How`s it going?

CALLER: I think that Michael Jackson was a good father who was responsible for three children, and why can`t we hold him responsible for what he has done through his life?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Terry Lyles, you`re the psychologist.

LYLES: Well, you know what? Sometimes it`s easier said than done. I think he -- he was a good father, it appears, by all that we have, and accounts looking at it.

But, you know, the issue is the children are on the sideline, and that`s his main responsibility. But then you`ve got the rest of his life that`s kind of falling down around him: the death, the pressure, the threats of these handlers, as we mentioned earlier. And I`m sure his focus was on the children, but at the same token, he has to protect them and also supply for them. It`s a very complicated weave.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jayne Weintraub, I want to ask you about this. La Toya claiming that there was an I.V. drip by his bed with oxygen tanks. Joe Jackson is claiming -- and this is just a claim; no independent confirmation of this -- that he had heard that perhaps somebody monitoring and one of the doctors might have fallen asleep during the night and ceased to monitor him when he was under Diprivan. Hypothetically -- hypothetically, what kind of charges could result from that? If it was accidental?

WEINTRAUB: It would probably be gross negligence, reckless disregard. Was it reasonably foreseeable, if he fell asleep and didn`t monitor him and that, if something -- if he went into coronary arrest, that he couldn`t be rescued. The answer is all yes with the causes of death. Then the answer is manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter like Jim Moret said earlier.

And remember -- remember, this is going to be a very long investigation. You have everybody complicit. You have every duty of care. You have a pharmacist who`s got a duty of care with all these doctor- shopping prescriptions, $48,000 a month. Here`s a guy who should have called D.E.A. That`s his duty of care that`s breached.

Then you`ve got doctors, multiple doctors. Are they treating him or are they just writing scripts? Was this guy falling asleep, or this guy is just turning a blind eye?


WEINTRAUB: ... blindfolded, not blind.


CARR: The -- I have to tell you this. The LAPD, they`re on top of it. You have the individual there, Captain Kyle (ph) Jackson, who`s ahead of robbery and homicide division, if I can say it. And they have a crack team of investigators, so they will get to the bottom of this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But, Brian, get to the bottom of it? The bottom line is who is the puppet master? I still don`t have the answer.

OXMAN: You`re going to find that out. You`re going to find it out, Jane, because you follow the money, Jane. They`ve got the drug vials, which tell you the pharmacies, which tell you the credit cards. All of it is going to be fall (ph) out...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re talking about the doctors. I`m talking about the puppet master.

OXMAN: The ones paying the bills, Jane, the ones facilitating this. Jerry Brown`s computer, the attorney general, is going to tell you exactly who paid the bill and who the puppet master was.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I still don`t understand why somebody would benefit more to have him dead than alive. That`s what I don`t understand La Toya...

WEINTRAUB: Because they had -- they had life insurance policies, Jane. That`s why.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, boy. That`s a conspiracy theory. And you know, thank you. Excellent panel. Great debate.

More Jackson drama on the day. The custody battle shaping up to be a clash of the titans: Debbie Rowe and Joe Jackson. I will tell you why they`re facing off.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The custody clash over Michael Jackson`s kids takes a wild turn. Joe Jackson reportedly floats the idea of Michael`s kids performing. And having heard Michael`s horrors stories about his whip- cracking stage dad; is Debbie Rowe making a secret deal to keep Joe out of the kids` lives?

Plus, a wealthy Florida couple who adopted a dozens disabled children viciously murdered in their own home. Cops arrested three men they say carried out this attack with military precision, but why? What could possibly be the motive and did the suspects know the victims?

A shocking twist in the custody battle over Michael Jackson`s three children: it seems Michael`s dad, Joe Jackson, would like to take his grandkids on tour. Michael Jackson biographer, Ian Halperin said, according to a source extremely close to family -- are you sitting down -- Joe Jackson has already approached two of his grandchildren about recording contracts and would like to take the Jackson 3 on tour as early as next year.

Hello. They`re 7, 11, and 12. Then, again, Michael was just five years old when he started under Joe`s tutelage.

Listen to what Joe Jackson said on "Good Morning America" just last Friday.


VOICE OF JOE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON`S FATHER: I keep watching Paris, she wants to do something and I said Blanket, he can really dance. That`s what they`re saying. He can really dance.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Blanket`s so cute. He`s only seven years old. Leave him alone.

Could these new allegations affect the custody hearing? Originally set for today the hearing was postponed at the request of both Katherine Jackson and Debbie Rowe`s attorney.

That`s sparking rumors that a secret deal is being negotiated right now between the "King of Pop`s" mom and the biological mom of his two oldest kids. Some reports suggest that deal has already been struck. They claim it would ban Joe Jackson from having any involvement in raising the kids.

Michael Jackson`s friend and dermatologist Arnie Klein told Larry King, he too, is worried about Joe`s influence.


DR. ARNOLD KLEIN, MICHAEL JACKSON`S DERMATOLOGIST: I worry about the Jackson family only because I worry slightly about the father.


KLEIN: That he was very difficult to deal with, with Michael. They announced his new record label at the memorial as you remember. And they see him as far more interested in making money.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don`t forget, Joe Jackson was vilified after he announced that new record label when a reporter asked him for a reaction to his son`s death.

So many ISSUES, straight out to my fantastic expert panel: Terry Lyles, crisis expert and psychologist; Jim Moret, chief correspondent for "Inside Edition;" and joining us by phone, Stacy Brown, author of "Michael Jackson: The man Behind the Mask;" and of course, Brian Oxman, former Jackson family attorney and family friend.

Brian, you know this family so well. Why on earth is Joe Jackson promoting his new record label and talking about the performing talents of his Jackson`s three young kids at this time? Doesn`t he get it`s going to make him look like a vulture?

BRIAN OXMAN, FORMER JACKSON`S FAMILY ATTORNEY: Joe Jackson is Joe Jackson. And let me tell you something. We all love him. Michael loved him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t love him.

OXMAN: He just has -- well, I understand that. And I understand people`s reactions to it. And I see it, Jane. I know what you`re talking about. But he is a loveable character. What can I tell you except that he`s a nice man.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why do you find him a loveable character? Just give me that?

OXMAN: Because he`s sincere, he`s honest. And I know that he smacked his children around but there`s not a single one of them who hold it against him. And there`s not a single one of them who doesn`t praise the day that he got them out of Gary, Indiana.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re back to that again, that it`s ok...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: hit children as long as you get them out of a bad neighborhood?

OXMAN: No. No. It`s not ok. It is not ok at all, it`s wrong. But I`m telling you that they all love him and he is a lovable character and that`s really the bottom line of it all.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Jim Moret, tell us what`s going on behind the scenes. We hear there`s going to be a conference call on Friday where both sides are going say what deal they might have achieved on the phone and then possibly a hearing just to rubber stamp it on Monday?

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": I think that Joe Jackson`s biggest problem is speaking right now. And I don`t think it`s an accident that Katherine Jackson went to court alone before the will was discovered and sought to be a guardian alone, that the will itself calls for Katherine to be the guardian alone, that Debbie Rowe suggested that she might try to seek a restraining order against Joe Jackson.

I think that Michael Jackson has always been very vocal about the abuse he claims he suffered at the hands of his father and that Debbie Rowe, I believe, has a concern about that. I also believe the fact that the hearing today was delayed until next week is a very good sign that this will be worked out in private and not battled out in court.


And I remember covering the Jackson case a long time ago where I never even knew there was such a thing as private trials and private courts. I mean they have -- the rich have stuff that you wouldn`t even believe because I went there and toured it and they give you M&Ms. And it`s unbelievable.

Debbie Rowe has said Michael Jackson told her the details of Joe Jackson`s alleged abuse while they were married. It`s one of the reasons she doesn`t want Joe involved in the kid`s lives. Michael Jackson describes his father`s abuse on the Oprah Winfrey show in 2003. Listen to this.


OPRAH WINFREY, HOST OF "OPRAH": Did he ever beat you?


WINFREY: And that was difficult to take...


WINFREY: ...getting beaten and going on stage and performing.


WINFREY: And why would he beat you?

JACKSON: Because he -- he saw me -- he wanted me to -- I guess I don`t know if I was his golden child or whatever it was. Some may call it a strict disciplinarian or whatever, but he was very strict, very hard.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Stacy Brown isn`t it possible that Debbie Rowe has also got her own agenda for herself and is using this whole Joe issue as leverage to get what she wants?

STACY BROWN, AUTHOR, "MICHAEL JACKSON: THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK" (via telephone): Jane, no question. In fact, I can tell you that we`re talking about a conference call on Friday. While a deal has been struck, I have the best of sources on this that a verbal agreement was reached and guess what? There`s no language in the agreement that prohibits Joe from being around those children.

That will probably be the headline once this agreement is made public, once it`s signed and sealed. There is nothing in it to keep Joe away from those kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what does it say, in your opinion?

BROWN: I`m sorry.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What does it say in your opinion?

BROWN: Debbie will get a certain amount of money, not right away. She will get some visitation and they will all be supervised visitation and these children will not -- she will not be mommy, she will be Miss Debbie.

There is nothing in the agreement that says that even after something -- even if something happened to Katherine that Debbie would get custody. In fact, I`m told on good authority that this deal prohibits Debbie from seeking any future custody of these children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it hasn`t -- hasn`t that happened though, over and over again, Brian Oxman...

OXMAN: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ...that she keeps giving the children away and giving up her parental rights and suddenly she comes back like a bad penny over and over again?

OXMAN: No provision in any kind of settlement agreement regarding custody can stop a parent from seeking future custody. It is void. It is contrary to the law. We always look at the best interests of the children.

You don`t have a deal with the Jackson family and Debbie Rowe, until it is signed, sealed, and delivered, stamped by the court. So all premature speculation, it can change at any moment.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I have to say also to Debbie Rowe, you`re invited on the show to tell your side of the story any time you want to. And if you have another opinion to express, we`d like to hear it. We want to be fair here.

Terry Lyles, there`s this report that I`ve read in the "New York Post" and just heard from Stacy Brown that the kids are not going to call her mommy, that they won`t know she`s mommy. She`s going to be Miss Debbie.

Well, hello. Prince Michael is 12. I`m sure he has computer access. One Google and he`ll know the truth.

TERRY LYLES, CRISIS EXPERT & PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, if this legally isn`t lined out very, very specifically I think it`s going to be an ongoing mess if it`s not careful. I mean, you`ve got -- Joe has his interest and you`ve got the grandma who`s probably trying to be the protector and you`ve got Debbie that`s trying to figure out what she can get out of this deal perhaps.

The children again, are the ones that are or concern. If they don`t have this clearly lined out this could turn into a circus very quickly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But what I`m saying is, Jim Moret, what`s the point of saying they have to call her Miss Debbie when, again, as a 12-year-old he`s probably on the computer and probably knows a heck of a lot more than anybody -- the kids always know more than the parents think they know.

MORET: That`s true but the real thing that you have to pay attention to is who is caring for the children on a daily basis? Are they happy? Are they loved? I talked to a family friend today and said, look, they`re around their cousins, their aunts, their uncles, and they`re with Katharine.

Are they grieving? Of course, they are. They miss their father, but they`re as happy as they can possibly be and they`re being shielded from media reports. They`re not watching TV. They are swimming, they`re playing video games and they`re being cared for like you should care for these kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes and I know when I was a kid I was up reading a lot of books and my parents had no idea that I was reading. And they were arguing over whether I could read Madame Bovary -- anyway.

Brian Oxman, these kids are so fantastic from what we`ve seen at the memorial. Tell us about them; little Paris just seems so eloquent and so composed.

OXMAN: Oh, Jane. They are beautiful children. My fondest memory is Michael Jackson sitting with them, reading African-American history with them, telling them about their heritage, where they came from, the family. I just think they`re adorable. They have always been just beautiful with beautiful smiles. I like them and I think America`s going to fall in love with them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Stacy, how did they turn out so wonderful given all the stories we`re hearing about Michael Jackson and drugs.

BROWN: Well, you know what, Jane? That`s a great question and I think a lot of that credit has to go to Grace, the nanny. Being a steady, steady influence up; until about eight and nine months ago, she was the influence in their lives.

And quite frankly, from all accounts, from the family`s accounts and from the very few things that I saw personally, Michael showed them a lot of love.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Thank you, everyone, for the insights. We have to leave it right there.

Eleven year old Lindsey Baum, missing now for more two weeks; her dad scheduled to be sent to Iraq to fight. He`s running out of time. I`ll have an update on this truly heart wrenching story.

And then, a couple who adopted a dozen disabled children brutally murdered in their own home. Cops think it was the work of experienced criminals, they`ve arrested three people. But what on earth was the motive?

1-877-JVM-SAYS, I want you to weigh in on this really revolting crime, 1-877-586-7297. Weigh in on this mystery.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A couple who dedicated their lives to helping disabled children brutally murdered in their own home. We`ll try to find out why.

But first "Top of the Block" tonight: an update on the frantic, but so far fruitless, search for 11-year-old Lindsey Baum. Look at that adorable child. This beautiful girl last seen more than two weeks ago while merely walking home from her friend`s house just four blocks away. But due to a lack of leads, the Washington state cops have been forced to scale back the search. To make matters even worse, her distraught father -- get this -- set to be deployed to Iraq with the Tennessee National Guard.

Here`s what he said this morning on CBS`s "Early Show."


SCOTT BAUM, MISSING GIRL`S FATHER: I`m torn between the sense of family and duty.

JULIE CHEN, CBS HOST, "THE EARLY SHOW": How cooperative are your commanders being and how much time have they given you before you have to return to Iraq?

BAUM: My command`s been very cooperative and they`ve told me to take as much time as I need.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s hope that means Uncle Sam will let him stay here stateside until his daughter is found and this nightmare ends.

That is tonight`s "Top of the Block."

Now, to an unbelievably revolting story, outrage across the country tonight as more and more details surface about the brutal murder of a wonderful Florida couple, parents to 17 children -- most of whom were adopted -- with special needs.

Melanie and Byrd Billings were found shot to death in their home while nine of their precious children were sleeping inside. Two men, Leonard Gonzalez and Wayne Coldiron, are currently in custody charged with their murders. One suspect`s father is also in jail for allegedly tampering with evidence and another unidentified person is reportedly now in custody.

While these are behind bars, the sheriff says they`re still looking for even more.


SHERIFF DAVID MORGAN, ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA: The total number of people that we are looking for that are involved in the deaths of the Billings family is six to eight.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What the heck?

This same sheriff warned yesterday that the story is complicated and says there are more outrageous details to come.


MORGAN: We are very anxious to share this story with the citizens of Escambia County and with the nation, if you will. It`s going to be a humdinger.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Humdinger is right.

Cops say the intruders were dressed in ninja garb. This is really crazy sick stuff, the community totally dumbfounded. Why would anybody want to kill the generous and loving Billings who devoted their lives to many children?

Just what could be the explanation for this completely senseless double murder which cops say was carried out with military precision?

Straight out to my expert panel: Tom Ruskin, a former New York City police detective and investigator and president of CMT Protective and Investigative Group; Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor; plus Rob Williams, anchor and morning host for News Radio 1620 Pensacola, Florida.

Rob, you`ve been tracking this case. What is the very latest?

ROB WILLIAMS, NEWS RADIO 1620 AM, PENSACOLA, FLORIDA: Well, Jane, it has just been a roller coaster since last Friday morning when the news really got out. When this murder happening on Thursday night; the headlines in the paper have gotten bigger and bigger every day -- more media attention every day.

The latest, as you pointed out, the sheriff is saying they want to arrest one and maybe as many as two people. Today, the sheriff telling me just minutes ago, off camera, that they`re going to have another news briefing coming up in the next hour or so and we probably will hear more on that arrest.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Well, the sheriff released brand new surveillance footage of the suspects darting across the Billings lawn and into the house last Thursday. Apparently the whole house had lots of surveillance cameras in order for Melanie and Byrd to keep an eye on their many children with special needs. Another surveillance shot caught the van that was used. This is fascinating stuff. I`m looking at it while I`m telling you about this.

Wow. This is the red van that one murder suspect`s father tried to paint over to disguise it allegedly which consequently got him arrested for evidence-tampering.

Tom Ruskin, how useful will all this surveillance footage be to the case? And if these guys were so meticulous in planning this, why the heck didn`t they know there were surveillance cameras everywhere.

TOM RUSKIN, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: That`s what`s I keep asking myself. It wasn`t an operation carried out with military precision, it was a bunch of guys going in there with guns to burglarize or kill the people who were inside and they didn`t care. This is not -- I mean this people shouldn`t be glorified. These people should be...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Glorified? They`re monsters.

RUSKING: Exactly. But they`re saying military precision. This isn`t military precision. These are a bunch of thieves going into someone`s house and killing two innocent people.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it does -- a lot of this doesn`t make sense. And Mark Eiglarsh, the investigators themselves have said that robbery is possibly just one motive. That there are other motives; this is what doesn`t make sense to me.

Two teams -- ok, went in the house they were in there for about four minutes. One came through the back, one team and another came through the front, they`re dressed all in black with masks and ninja outfits. This is excessive for a robbery. There`s no reason to do all of that stuff for a robbery, so something else has got to be at work here.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & FORMER PROSECUTOR: That`s what my gut tells me and the key to this case is the video, which will cause these people to talk. We already believe that Leonard Gonzalez Senior, the one who`s charged with tampering with evidence, is talking.

And how do we know that? Today at the bond hearing apparently Judge Johnson wanted to raise and did raise the bond to $500,000 and who was arguing against that? The prosecutor, alleging that -- wait a second. He`s cooperating, judge. No, based on his prior record, I`m going to raise the bond $500,000 for tampering with evidence.

That`s unheard of. The prosecutors, I believe, are working with Senior right now and are probably getting a lot of the story, if not all of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now Rob Williams, I thought one of the fascinating things here was that one suspect, Leonard Gonzalez`s MySpace profile makes a reference to his daughter. He claims she was taken from him against his will. In a July 6 blog, he says we are getting closer.

Could that be connected somehow to this family? Could there be a link? Could maybe one of the children they adopted come from him?

WILLIAMS: Jane, it is certainly a possibility. Florida adoption records are sealed like any other state. But in this case, they may be reopened to see if that`s the case.

I`ll tell you what -- let me get back to what Tom was saying. These guys, compared to your normal chucklehead bad guys anywhere in the United States, this was military precision. One van came from one way with three guys in it with guns. Another car or vehicle, SUV came from the other direction, two guys. Everybody hitting the house at the same time; this is serious firepower. They had a target; they were going after this family.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. More horrifying when we come right back.



ASHLEY MARKHAM, DAUGHTER OF MELANIE BILLINGS: Installing values and traditions to the children was very important to them. Those who have met any of the Billings children know how well-behaved and well-mannered they are. Our parents taught us to love despite differences in people.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The devastated daughter of the slain Florida couple with 17 kids talks about her parents and the love they had for all their children.

I`m back discussing the latest on this absolutely stomach-churning, nauseating, grotesque case.

Lisa Florida your question or thought, ma`am?

LISA, FLORIDA (via telephone): Well, my thought -- I`m actually calling from Pensacola, Florida.


LISA: I appreciate the fact that you`re running this story. What can you say? It`s deplorable that, you know, that this is what goes on in our country.

And unfortunately, I`m glad that the judge raised the bail for the senior guy, but he`s going to run his mouth and he`s going to get -- plea to a lesser case. And he should be held.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think you`re absolutely right. Go ahead.

EIGLARSH: Let me respond. First of all, he`s charged with tampering, he`s not charged as an accessory, he`s not charged as principal. His actions are deplorable but what the prosecutors are saying is he didn`t play a role in actually going in.

He actually played a role by painting over the truck. He`s got a third-degree felony; the most he`s facing is five years...

RUSKIN: Wait a minute -- wait a minute...

EIGLARSH: So let me finish, let me finish.

RUSKIN: No way.

EIGLARSH: He`s facing up to five years for tampering. So the question is, can you get him to cooperate and serve as an invaluable inside witness to get the guys who went in and killed these people?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tom -- Tom you`re thought...

RUSKIN: We had this guy at the wheel of the van, driving up to the house; he stayed in the van, the other three guys jumped out. They were the primary assault team. The other guys came in through the woods. The feds are all over this thing.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, hold on, hold on.

EIGHLARSH: Apparently, I heard it`s just tampering. If he drove the get-away car, he should be charged with first degree murder as well. If he just tried to paint over the vehicle...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, so he should face more serious charges then.

RUSKIN: They may -- they may not be charging him with the murder yet...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If he was the driver.

RUSKIN: get to see what his lever of cooperation is.

As Mark knows, in every single case you need someone who`s going to tell you the whole full story. And what`s what the police are going to need to put this together with the video and the forensic evidence.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have to say there`s something sick in our culture that people resort to this kind of violence. And it`s a mystery and it`s grotesque and we have to look at it as a society. It goes beyond any one case.

RUSKIN: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: America needs to wake up to the senseless violence and stop it. Thank you to my fabulous panel for joining me tonight.

Remember to click on, preorder your copy of my new book "I Want." You are watching ISSUES on HLN.