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Jane Velez-Mitchell

Police Search for Killer of Playboy Model

Aired January 08, 2010 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, fast-breaking developments in the vicious murder of a "Playboy" model. Her body was found burning in a Dumpster. Tonight we`ll talk to the victim`s sister. What does she think happened that night? The victim`s boyfriend is being called a person of interest. We`ll go inside their alleged toxic relationship in our continuing look at the war on women.

And a young boy`s horrifying road to recovery. Michael Brewer was doused with alcohol and set on fire. Now three young teens are charged with attempted murder. But what about the 13-year-old boy who allegedly witnessed the attack? Tonight we`ll talk with this youngster`s attorney. We`ll hear his side of the story.

Plus, potshots from Tila Tequila. The Twitter queen attacks Casey Johnson`s family. Tila claims the billion-dollar heiress was abandoned by the family, and that`s just the beginning. Tila claims she has proof, and she`s threatening a tell-all. Why is Tila compounding this family`s already excruciating pain?

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the grisly murder of a beautiful young model leaves her family devastated and police baffled. The charred body of 26- year-old Paula Sladewski was discovered in a Miami Dumpster on Sunday. Here`s what police told me on last night`s show.


LT. NEAL CUEVAS, NORTH MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT: We were first alerted to the body by someone who happened to notice that the Dumpster was on fire. That person contacted the fire department. When they extinguished the flames, they discovered the body within the Dumpster. It was in horrific condition. It was unrecognizable.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sladewski was vacationing with her boyfriend, 34- year-old Kevin Klym. CBS News posted these pictures of the couple. Police say they had an inebriated argument inside a club, and Kevin was kicked out of the club. He claims he took a cab back to their hotel and never saw Paula again.

Kevin is considered a person of interest in this case. They apparently had a very volatile relationship. Both were accused of domestic violence against each other. Kevin was arrested after breaking Paula`s nose. Her sister offered this insight on NBC`s "The Today Show."


KELLY FARRIS, VICTIM`S SISTER: I knew there were ups and downs, but the relationship was really good when neither one of them were drinking. That was mostly when they were both drinking, that it got to that extreme, and I know that he loved her, and I know that she loved him. And other than him leaving her, which he shouldn`t have done, you know, I know that he didn`t kill her.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight we have a team of experts that we hope will help us solve this baffling tragic case. On my fantastic expert panel: Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney and adjunct law professor at the University of Miami School of Law. Irene Marie, a former international fashion model and fashion columnist out of Miami is going to give her insight. Steve Kardian, former criminal investigator, who has done a shocking expose of nightclub dangers to women across the nation. He`s going to share that with us. Brad Lamm, intervention specialist and author of "How to Change Someone you Love."

But first I am very honored to have with us tonight Paula`s mom, Patsy Watkins, who joins me right now on the phone.

Patsy, first of all, my condolences. Our hearts go out to you. Thank you for talking to us under these very tragic circumstances. We hope that we will help, and that we somehow will trigger somebody to perhaps remember something about that night that will help police break this case.

What have authorities told you, ma`am, about your daughter`s final hours?

PATSY WATKINS, PAULA`S MOM (via phone): You know, I`ve -- I`ve not even talked to the authorities. My daughter`s down there and doing all this for me. My husband and I run a dry cleaner here in Michigan, and there was no way that I was able to fly. So she went to Miami to learn all the circumstances about my daughter.

I first found out about Paula from Kevin. He called me on Monday on my birthday and told me that my daughter was missing, and I was just devastated. Because I honestly didn`t even know that they were in Miami.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now -- go ahead, ma`am.

WATSON: I just thought...


WATSON: I had no idea they were even in Miami. I had no idea that -- you know, she had dropped the dogs off in the morning before they had flown out, but I had no idea that they were going to Miami for anything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, the boyfriend is mentioned as a person of interest, and there is a disturbing history here where he allegedly broke her nose in a fight, and they apparently had a history, according to your other daughter, of getting volatile, especially when they were drinking.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But she, Kelly, your other daughter, says she doesn`t believe that Kevin is responsible. What -- what is your thought on that, the fact that she feels he`s innocent?

WATKINS: Well, I feel he`s responsible for something. He left my little girl in a club, drunk, knowing that she was drunk, out of control. Why would you do that? I just need to know. I asked him that. He couldn`t answer my question. I was crying. I was screaming at him at one point. I -- I don`t understand it.

You say you love my daughter, but yet you left her in a club with men all around her, drunk. I mean, how could somebody do that?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what I`m hearing from you, ma`am, and please correct me if I`m wrong, but we`re just trying to be helpful here, is that you feel he was irresponsible and did something terrible by leaving her in the club, but you don`t necessarily think that he`s the person who killed her?

WATKINS: Well, I don`t -- I`m a Christian, and I`m not one to point fingers at and think that he could actually kill her like that. I -- I`m angry at him for leaving her there.

He claims he loved her. He claims, you know, that he loved her and he would never want anything like this to happen to her, but to me, you`re guilty because you left her there, for some predator to take advantage of my little girl.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you raise some very important questions. And the main one is, why would Kevin leave Paula at the club after their fight?

Now, his attorney told ABC News that after Kevin was escorted out, kicked out, eighty-sixed, whatever you want to call it, he told the bouncers to tell Paula that he was waiting outside for her. Kevin claims the bouncers came back to him and told him that Paula wanted to stay.

Kevin`s attorney says that after he reported Paula missing, Kevin called her family, as you were talking to the victim`s mom right now, that he canvassed the beach with flyers and hired a private investigator and called police stations and hospitals and jails. And he claims he`s met with police four times.

So, Patsy, what -- what has -- what have you learned about what might have happened -- let`s say, OK, he was irresponsible, in your opinion, very irresponsible for leaving her there. But if police told you anything about what might have happened to her afterwards. How long did she stay at the club? We hear one published report said she was there in the morning hours as the sun came up. Have you heard that?

WATKINS: No, I have not. I heard that she left five minutes after he did.


WATKINS: And she walked out, and then a black man walked out after her.


WATKINS: That`s what I`ve heard. That`s all I`ve heard.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s -- I would assume at this point something that we have, certainly, no independent confirmation of, and we will try to get to law enforcement and see what that`s all about. But where did you hear that from, ma`am?

WATKINS: I heard that from -- I believe it was a friend of hers, Jerry, that said that. But that`s what he had heard.

So no one has actually spoken to me. I have called the detectives and asked them, you know, "I am her mother. You know, I need to talk to somebody," but they always seem to be talking with my daughter.

I did talk to the private detective. He told me that they went through the video, and they`re trying to find a time frame there. But other than that, no one`s really talked to me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re saying the video inside the nightclub?

WATKINS: Right. It`s not really shown much because it`s being so dark.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, that`s frustrating.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, what`s the point of having video if it`s going to be so dark and the way it`s set up you can`t -- you can`t use it?

WATKINS: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s very frustrating. Well, she was found, I think, something like ten miles away, so I think the big question is what happened after she left this club, Club Space, and how did she tragically end up ten miles away?

Mrs. Watkins, I want to thank you so much for coming on, and I just want you to know we`re going to do everything in our power to find your daughter.

WATKINS: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`re going to stay on top of this story until we do.

And this is all part of the war on women that is going on out there. I want to turn to Irene Marie, a former international fashion model who works out of Miami.

Irene, sometimes it seems like really beautiful women, and you`ve dealt with many models, have a target painted on their back where they`re in a club, and especially if they`re drinking, they are a target.

IRENE MARIE, FORMER FASHION MODEL: Well, that`s certainly true. And that`s why it`s so important that young women understand that, you know, they have to take care of themselves. No one else is going to.

And if they -- of course they`re young, and they want to have fun, and they want to go out and dance. But they`ve got to know that there`s dangers that are involved with that. And that, if they don`t really watch out and be aware of what`s around them, who`s around them, whether it`s somebody putting something in a drink or somebody...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have to say that we can`t always talk about modifying the behavior of women when we`re talking about the war on women. What about modifying the behavior of the violent men responsible for the violence?

You know, we put women in a psychological burka in this country where we`re afraid to go anywhere. Now we`re afraid to dance. We`ve seen many cases where people break into women`s houses and rape them and kill them while they`re asleep. and yet we`re always talking about, women, be careful and watch out. Yes, that`s important. But what about figuring out why there is so much horrific violence against women?

Everybody, stay right where you are. We`re going to have more on this horrifying murder.

Plus cops say a group of teenagers doused a young boy in alcohol and set him on fire. A 13-year-old boy allegedly watched the entire attack. Tonight, we are going to talk to his lawyer.

But first a grieving family, desperate for answers. Who killed gorgeous young Paula Sladewski?


WATKINS: They`ve got to find who did this to my baby. They`ve got to find who did this.





FARRIS: She did not deserve to die in this way. We can`t even give her an open casket. We can`t even see her again. I can`t see myself going back to work. I can`t -- I can`t see myself living a normal life until I know whoever did this pays for it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That was Kelly Farris, shortly after hearing about her sister`s sickening murder.

Paula Sladewski`s charred body discovered inside a smoldering Miami Dumpster Sunday, her body completely unrecognizable. Police say she was dead before the fire was set, but they haven`t said how she was killed. Did the flames also destroy crucial forensic evidence? At this point we don`t know.

But I want to go straight out to Mark Eiglarsh, who`s not only an amazing attorney but is based out of Miami. Mark, give us a sense of the neighborhood that this club is in. Is it a rough neighborhood? If, in fact, the boyfriend`s accurate and is telling the truth when he said he left her there, what might she have encountered when she left that club either in the early morning hours or very, very late at night?

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I`ll say this. I take my three young children many places here in south Florida. I wouldn`t take them to that area. And if you`re clubbing, you need to be very safe when you leave that particular club, because, yes, it`s surrounded by people who, many of whom have records dating back to the disco crisis.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now witnesses say both Paula and Kevin were drinking prior to their blowup inside the club. Paula could have encountered any number of low lives, potentially, after Kevin was kicked out, if in fact he`s telling the truth that he left her there and went back to the hotel.

Police are now examining the surveillance video, as you heard from the mom from inside the club. But it apparently is very dark, and we don`t know how much it shows, so they`re trying to enhance the footage.

Steve Kardian, you actually did an undercover investigation on nightclub dangers for "Inside Edition." You went to New York City hot spots with a hidden camera. In just one hour, tell me how many women accepted drinks from you, a total stranger, and what the dangers that you saw developing.

STEVE KARDIAN, FORMER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Yes, Jane. I`ve done a number of investigative undercover reporting for "Inside Edition." This past summer we went into the night -- New York City nightclubs.

And I went in with the intent to give women, not knowing where the drink came from, a drink under the presumption that it contained gamma hydroxybutyrate, GHB, a date rape drug.

And within a one-hour period I got five girls, strangers, young girls, half my age, to accept the drink, drink that drink, and go ahead and go on with the evening. It was very disturbing. It was very upsetting.

And as the night went on, the behavior deteriorated increasingly to the point where it was unbelievable the amount of disrespect that was shown the women, the groping that went on. The women that were barely unable to walk out of that club. They are soft targets, what we refer to in the industry.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say this, I was in -- oh, and this is the video, some of your undercover investigation in the New York City clubs.

Well, I`ll go to the other coast. I was in Los Angeles on New Year`s Eve. I went to a party. It was about 2 in the morning. I decided -- I was in a car with a friend. I said, "Let`s go and see what`s happening on Santa Monica Boulevard" and just drive along. And seemed like a fun idea.

As I was driving along, I saw many women in very, very short dresses, stumbling around. And I saw -- this is not the women I saw. This is obviously footage from New York. But I was in L.A. I saw at least three women in very short skirts holding their shoes, clearly intoxicated, hitchhiking on Santa Monica Boulevard.

And I saw a man who was clearly a stranger pull up, and two girls jumped in the car. And I swear to God, I wanted to drive up to that car and tell those girls, "Get out of there, because I don`t want to be covering you on ISSUES on Monday." And it was really frightening to me.

And I -- again, I`m not blaming the women. It`s sad that we live in a world -- Brad Lamm, you`re the addiction specialist -- where women do become targets, if they`re exceptionally beautiful, as this young woman was, and if they`re incapacitated by drugs or alcohol.

BRAD LAMM, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: It`s true, Jane. You know, I think back to 99 percent of the crazy, chaotic things that I did in my life, and they all can be traced back directly to drugs and alcohol in my own life.

So I see it time and time again, when families call for help. They -- they have a loved one figuratively, you know, who`s drowning, and they just don`t know what to do. So, gosh, I see families again and again and again.

And I was in L.A. that same night, and I saw similar things on Santa Monica Boulevard. And, you know, you put the drugs and alcohol in the body, and you just don`t know exactly what will happen. That was my story. That`s the story of, you know, really, millions of Americans out there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So it was my story too. And as I`ve shared so many times, and I hate to be a broken record, but the issue of addiction comes up time and time again. I`m not saying that either -- any of the people involved in this were addicts, but I`m a recovering alcoholic. So, by de facto, dubious honor of being an expert on this subject.

LAMM: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And, you know, we`ve got to get back to the fork in the road here. The boyfriend is a person of interest. Is there more there...

EIGLARSH: Jane -- Jane...


EIGLARSH: Jane, I`ve got to comment. That`s about the fourth time you`ve used the term "person of interest" only because they`re using that term. And I`ve said on this show numerous times, they call someone a person of interest. Jane, this visual aid might help your viewers.

Listen. He is absolutely considered a suspect if they`re interviewing him and they`re taking the time to do what they`re doing with him. I don`t know why his attorney is allowing him in there to speak for hours. They should proffer what he`s saying and then corroborate what he`s saying, and then eliminate him as a person of interest.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me use a little visual tool right here.

EIGLARSH: Go right ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And this is a gavel.

EIGLARSH: I see it. Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Because seriously, there are a lot of elements here that could point to keeping your mind open, that it might be somebody else. He`s offered to take a polygraph. He`s stayed in Miami to cooperate with police. He claims he hired a private investigator. He says...

EIGLARSH: Right, he may be innocent. Absolutely. Yes, he may be. It`s the law enforcement that calls him a person of interest when we know they consider him a suspect.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Everybody stay right there.

Breaking news with the death of Michael Jackson. Will his doctor face charges in the case?

Plus Tila Tequila`s Twitter war. The fame-seeking diva had harsh words for the Johnson family.



WATKINS: Look at how beautiful she was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was a beautiful girl. She did not deserve the horrible death that she got.

WATKINS: No. It`s hard to look at these now. You know, because all I do is cry.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who killed Paula Sladewski? That was the young model`s heartbroken mother. We spoke to her earlier.

This beautiful young woman`s body was found Sunday in Miami, where she was vacationing with her boyfriend, Kevin Klym. He is considered a person of interest. While her sister says there is no way that Kevin killed her. If that`s true, then who did?

And I want to go back to this whole issue of kind of the blame the victim mentality. I remember the Imette St. Guillen case, where there was a beautiful student who was studying at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, was drinking in Lower Manhattan. She left. She was raped and murdered brutally. And there -- some people had the audacity to say, well, if she wasn`t out at 4 in the morning drinking -- nonsense. Nonsense.

Do you remember the case of the Tennessee news anchor who was sleeping in her home, minding her own business, when somebody broke in and raped and murdered her? So we cannot put women in a psychological burka and say it`s their fault -- Irene.

MARIE: No. Jane, Jane, please, I`m not saying that it`s a woman`s fault and that -- nor am I saying that men, that we have to reeducate men. We just have to take responsibility, all of us, men and women, to take care of ourselves.

And there`s nothing wrong with going out and dancing and having fun. That`s what young people do, and they should do it because when they get older they`re going to have a lot more responsibilities.

But when they are out, when they are in clubs late at night where people are drinking and possibly doing drugs, they just need to be aware. They have to be aware. Because who`s going to be watching for them? This young woman`s boyfriend left her alone. I mean, that`s unacceptable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It is unacceptable. And it`s all about the alcohol, because the reason that he was eighty-sixed and tossed out of the club is that they were having an alcohol-fueled argument.

And here`s my big issue. Was this relationship defined by alcohol- fueled arguments? We know alcohol can tip the scales of an argument into violence.

Paula`s mom had this to say about her daughter`s personal life.


WATKINS: I don`t know what he had on her. I don`t know what it was that she wouldn`t leave. You know? "I love him." I mean, the day that he broke her nose, he went to jail, and she bonded him out. So it was -- I don`t know. I can`t explain it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brad Lamm, why do you think she stayed with him and they engaged in these alcohol-fueled arguments?

LAMM: I see this story all the time without this ending, where the abuse happens, the chaos, the crisis. And the family stands there and they say, "We need to let them hit bottom," or "she can`t change -- we can`t help her change unless she wants to change it."

And those are two myths that we just can`t afford to stick with anymore. We should throw them out and learn a new way to help people we love change. It`s doable, and we can do it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Great way to end it. We`re going to stay on top of this story. Thank you so much. Fantastic panel.

Another horrifying story: Michael Brewer, doused in alcohol and set on fire. Cops say it was all done by a group of teens. Up next, we`re going to talk to the lawyer of a boy accused of watching the entire attack, and hear what he has to say about all this.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a young boy`s horrifying road to recovery. Michael Brewer was doused with alcohol and set on fire. Now three young teens are charged with attempted murder. But what about the 13-year-old who allegedly witnessed the attack? Tonight we`ll talk with that youngster`s attorney. We`ll hear his side of the story.

Plus, potshots from Tila Tequila; the Twitter queen attacks Casey Johnson`s family. Tila claims the billion-dollar heiress was abandoned by her family and she`s threatening a tell-all. Why is Tila compounding this family`s already excruciating pain?

Fifteen-year-old Michael Brewer is still fighting for his life after being brutally burned over more than half of his body. Michael`s injuries were so severe doctors thought he might not survive. But he seemed to make a miraculous recovery.

He was released from the hospital just in time for the holidays but then the excitement was cut short. Michael had to go back into the hospital for respiratory distress that landed him back in the hospital after the holidays. Michael underwent emergency surgery.

Tonight we`re happy to say he seems ok and back at home. Ok for now.

For months we`ve wondered why and how is it possible that a group of teens could allegedly douse their friend in alcohol and set him on fire.

Tonight we`re going to speak to the attorney for one of the young boys considered a witness; 13-year-old Jeremy Jarvis was arrested but he never charged. He actually issued this public apology.


JEREMY JARVIS, ALLEGEDLY BURNED BOY: I will pray for Mikey to grow stronger every day and for Mikey`s speedy recovery.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Three of the teens involved in the attack have now been charged with second-degree attempted murder. They`re being charged as adults.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: also joining tonight, Steven Melnick attorney for Jeremy Jarvis; and we`re happy to have psychologist Jenn Berman. How you doing there, Jen?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And a reporter for the "Sun Sentinel: Rafael Olmeda. Rafael, I hear you have some brand-new details. Bring us up to date. What is the very latest?

RAFAEL OLMEDA, REPORTER, "SUN SENTINEL": The latest is that Michael was released from the hospital yesterday. He is doing much better than anybody had anticipated that he would. So he`s back at home with his family again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`d like to say that we have a very interesting conversation ahead of us.

We have tonight Steven Melnick. He`s an attorney for Jeremy Jarvis, who`s 13. He was the boy you just heard say I`m sorry, essentially on camera a moment ago.

Jeremy`s older brother, Denver, who is 15, has been charged as an adult with second-degree attempted murder -- there you see him -- Denver Jarvis. And if convicted he could go to prison for 30 years.

Steven thanks for joining us. What does your 13-year-old client say about that day? How did this horror story unfold?

STEVEN MELNICK, ATTORNEY FOR JEREMY JARVIS: It just kind of happened, they were coming home from school and things just went out of control. He -- Jeremy wasn`t involved with this incident. He watched what happened, and he watched this horrible act occur to Michael Brewer, who was his friend, and his brother be goaded into something that they didn`t know was going to occur.

By reviewing all the police reports that we`ve received, we`ve seen that none of this was planned. And it just was something that unfortunately, as you all know, teenagers do things that sometimes without thinking of the consequences, and that`s kind of what happened here.

They didn`t know that the other child was going to light a match or do what he did. And it just appeared that one thing led to another and it just was a horrible incident that happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, did your client, the 13-year-old boy try to help Michael?

MELNICK: After the incident occurred, my -- Jeremy went looking for Michael`s sister. We found this out by reviewing other witnesses` statements and from hearing from Jeremy. Jeremy went back there after it happened and spoke to Michael while waiting for the police and the paramedics to get there.

So, he...


MELNICK: He -- yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here`s my big issue tonight. I don`t know how to approach this, and I`d like the help of my panel because people have to be held responsible. And this is a horrific crime. And I have talked to the mother of this poor child, and my heart goes out to her. And I`m nauseated by this violence.

But yet I look at the picture, the video of these kids, and I realize these are very young teens. And so at what point do we -- how do we deal as a society with a 15-year-old who is accused of doing something this horrific? And it dovetails with my big issue in that we live in a culture that`s saturated with violence. I mean it`s in video games and movies, everywhere you turn.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So my question to Jennifer Berman, the author and psychologist, you know, this attorney is saying they didn`t know what they were doing.

Is it possible that we have -- we`re drenched in violence in this society to the point where 15-year-old kids have really lost their touch with reality and think they can just light a match and pour alcohol on a kid and it`s just a video game?

BERMAN: Well, yes and no. These weren`t 5-year-old boys who had no understanding of what was going on. These were teenagers. They`re practically adults so they did understand when you light someone on fire, it burns them, it hurts them and it can kill them, so we do have to hold them responsible.

And I do think we live in a society where we`re going to see more and more of this because it is such a disconnected society where kids spend more time text messaging their friends than with their parents face to face. And I think that creates a tremendous emotional disconnect that causes these kinds of problems.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you brought up the issue of parenting. And Mark Eiglarsh at a certain point I think maybe we have to adjust our laws and say that the parents of children who do this need to be held responsible.

EIGLARSH: Well, I mean, that would be rather difficult. I think we should encourage parents to get counseling if their kids are out of control.

But let me just go back to a point that you made earlier. There`s no question there`s a juvenile system and an adult system for the very reason that kids are different. They tell us that children`s brains, their frontal lobes, the portion of the brain that governs reasoning is not fully developed yet. So they make stupid, even horrific, tragic decisions that -- like this.

And so what we have to do is punish them but at the same time try to work with them and counsel them so that when they get back into society they know not to engage in this type of behavior.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But, Mark, if they are convicted, they have been charged as adults. They`re going to be in their mid-40s when they get out. Is that really the way we want to deal with this horrific story as a culture, as a society?

EIGLARSH: No, and that`s why 90, I would say five, 97 percent of cases here and throughout the globe, (INAUDIBLE) throughout the United States get resolved by a plea bargain, where both sides come together and they try to present reasons why their side is better than the other and hopefully both sides leave the negotiating table not happy and they reach a resolution that both sides can live with.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Steven Melnick you`re the attorney for Jeremy Jarvis, 13. His older brother once again, one of the kids you are looking at there, charged with attempted second-degree murder.

Is there a problem in this household? Is there a problem in this family? Is the mother saying, wow, I -- I don`t know why these kids did this or these kids are out of control and troubled and I...

MELNICK: They`re not out of control. No, they`re not. If you look, they had no criminal history; they`ve not been in trouble before. There`s no pattern of violence or anything with these children. That`s what you have to look at.

And you have to understand, and it was brought up about the teen`s brain, and in fact there was the Missouri study and things going on in Missouri where they`re realizing that teenagers and children do things differently, impulsively, and don`t understand always the consequences of what was done and what they`re going to do. And these are...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Rafael Olmeda, you`re the reporter in that area. There is outrage over this. And there is a public demand for these youngsters to be held responsible and Florida, is it not one of the toughest states on juvenile criminals?

OLMEDA: This is a state -- and this is a county, where we convicted and sent to prison the youngest defendant, I believe he was 13 years old at the time he was convicted, 12 years old at the time the crime was committed, and he was sent to life in prison. Now, that case eventually worked out differently. He got out and then went back in for something else. This is not a county where the prosecutorial system is soft on minors by any stretch.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No. All right. Thank you fantastic panel. We`re going to be back on that story very soon.

Tila Tequila`s so-called Twitter war takes a very nasty turn. She`s attacking Casey Johnson`s family, basically threatening to expose them.

These poor people just lost their daughter. Why is she compounding their grief?

And new developments in the Michael Jackson death investigation: a shocker here. Are charges just around the corner?


CONRAD MURRAY, MICHAEL JACKSON`S DOCTOR: I will be fine. I have done all I could do. I told the truth, and I have faith the truth will prevail.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tila Tequila continues her attack on Casey Johnson`s famous family. You will not believe what she said this time. Why is she doing this to this family in mourning? That`s next.

But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

We have some pretty astounding fast-breaking news in the Michael Jackson death probe. New reports just in to ISSUES say, that guy, Dr. Conrad Murray will be criminally charged with Michael Jackson`s death. CNN cannot independently confirm this and the Los Angeles district attorney had no comment, but an unnamed law enforcement source tells the Associated Press prosecutors will seek involuntary manslaughter charges.

Wow. Cops say Murray provided Michael with a drug cocktail that included Propofol -- you know that powerful surgical knockout drug -- to help the pop singer fall asleep.

Joining me now with more on this breaking story, criminal defense attorney, Mark Eiglarsh and Jackson family friend, Firpo Carr. First of all Firpo, how is the Jackson clan reacting to this news?

FIRPO CARR, JACKSON FAMILY FRIEND: Well, finally there is some movement in the case. So everyone is pleased to hear that, hey we`re going to have somebody charged with something because it`s been so long, to be exact, Monday will be 200 days since Michael Jackson has died.

So we`re talking six weeks -- pardon me -- six months, two weeks and finally we`re getting something. So yes, not just the family, but fans, friends all over the world are wondering when is something going to happen. So finally we have some news here and they`re quite pleased.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mark Eiglarsh, what does involuntary manslaughter mean? How much time could he do if convicted?

MARK EIGLARSH, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, it means that his conduct was grossly negligent according to the state and that means that his actions were reasonably foreseeable to lead to this death.

And I disagree with your guest. I think the fact that they took six months is a positive thing. It means that they didn`t rush to judgment. They took their time on a case that is not a slam dunk. You`re going to have experts battling experts to say that this is something, hey, that I did as a doctor and yes, this could happen and it was an accident, that`s what you`re going to get from the defense side.

On the state side you`re going to get a team of doctors saying this was inappropriate grossly negligent conduct.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Firpo I give you a chance to response.

CARR: Well, there`s no reason -- thank you very much. No there`s no reason to disagree with me. I`m saying as far as the family and friends and fans are concerned, six months is a long time. Six months, I mean, that`s a long time to wait.

I happen to agree that, yes you have to be thorough in your investigation. I worked for LAPD myself. I`m quite familiar with that sort of thing. But still, to the uninitiated, to the untaught, this is an extremely long time and they`re finally happy to see something happening on it. It`s that simple.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Mark, what do you think his defense is going to be very quickly?

EIGLARSH: Very quickly that what he did wasn`t wrong, he provided the necessary care to Michael Jackson, his friend and something unforeseeable happened -- not something that was foreseeable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s going to be an interesting case. Thank you gentlemen. Obviously we will stay on top of that one.

And that is tonight`s "Top of the Block."

Now to Tila Tequila trash talking the famous Johnson & Johnson family. She launched a vile twitter tirade against the parents of her now-dead girlfriend, Casey Johnson. She is even threatening to write a tell-all.

The D-list self-promoter took to the Internet yesterday to send a loving message to Casey -- loving -- allegedly loving message, whose body was found Monday.


TILA TEQUILA, REALITY TV STAR: There`s so much chaos going on right now without you here and I just wish you were here because there`s so much chaos. And none of that really matters to me, because all I know is that your love is right here with me always.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Same day, different attitude. Check out this photo of her taken yesterday. It was splashed on page five of the "New York Post". There it is, Tila`s all sexed up, wearing short shorts and a low-cut top and smiling.

But don`t let the sweet come hither grin fool you. Tila has fired off a barrage of bitter tweet things (ph) right at Casey`s family. The "New York Post" highlights the most outrageous tweets. And we`re going to read them for you here.

"My wife hated them. Just wait until I tell everyone the truth. I have proof and the family is a piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED). No wonder she wanted to marry me."

Here`s another one, "Her family abandoned her for five years. Her friends never called her, only I did." That was a bad imitation of Tila Tequila.

Meantime, TMZ reports 3-year-old Ava, the baby Casey adopted from Kazakhstan, will be raised in New York by Casey`s mom and sisters. Ava`s been living with her mom, Sale and her husband, the former football great Ahmad Rashad, for the past few months. Here they are on

You know, I wonder if Casey`s family gives two hoots about what Tila might be plotting against them tonight. But she might want to think twice before taking on the Johnson dynasty.

All right, let`s see what my fantastic expert panel thinks about all of this. Still here: Mike Eiglarsh and Brad Lamm; also we`re delighted to have joining us tonight publicist to the Stars, Lizzie Grubman.

Lizzie, of course you`ve seen it all from every angle, she`s been at the center of the storm and has more insights than just about anyone on this kind of case, especially on this story, because Casey Johnson was Lizzy`s intern about nine years ago. Lizzie welcome.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I understand you actually spoke to Casey about a month ago. Tell us all about it. Tell us how she seemed.

GRUBMAN: She sounded really, really good to me. She was in great spirits. She always made me laugh. She made me laugh that night. She called me, it was a Saturday night; we were just gossiping. She was doing great, really, really good.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did she -- obviously there`s so many published reports that she was struggling emotionally and also with substances. There are published reports that her family is desperately trying to get her into rehab, but she left there early, that refused to go again, that they cut her off. Was she having serious substance abuse problems?

GRUBMAN: At that point, not to my knowledge. This was way after all those reports. And this was prior to her dating Tila, whatever her name is, Tila Tequila. I can`t even pronounce her name.

So at that point it was a Saturday night and we were just talking and she sounded sober as can be and trust me, I can spot a sober or a non- sober person, you know, very clearly. I`ve been around the block.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. A lot of questions about whether Casey`s parents could have and should have done more sooner. Celebrity journalist Paula Froehlich weighed in on "JOY BEHAR SHOW" last night. Let`s listen to what she had to say.


PAULA FROEHLICH, CELEBRITY JOURNALIST: The video where they announced their engagement, Casey is clearly drugged out of her wits. And what bothers me is that if my mother saw that video, she would have been on the first flight out with armed guards storming the house and saying something`s clearly wrong. No way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fifteen seconds, Mark, your reaction.

EIGLARSH: My reaction is that what her parents did was courageous. They detached with love so she`d hit rock bottom. Her parents wanted her to hit rock bottom so she`d get help. Tila was there to help her and that was wrong. She should have let her hit rock bottom so she could get treatment and maybe she wouldn`t be in this predicament.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to have more on this war of words; the Twitter madness between Tila Tequila and Casey Johnson`s family. Is Tila just looking for attention?



PEREZ HILTON, CELEBRITY BLOGGER: Not only the fact that she was wealthy but also the fact she lived in Los Angeles where drugs are so readily available. And as we`ve seen time and time again doctors are more than happy to over-prescribe addicts medication. It`s an epidemic, seriously, Jane, and she is not going to be the last one that is going to die of an overdose, if that is what she died of.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Perez Hilton weighing in. Of course, we do not know what killed Casey Johnson until the tox report is complete. But there is some video provided by RadarOnline in October, so not so long ago. And there`s some shenanigans going on and clearly there`s Casey on the left. She appears somewhat intoxicated.

But Lizzie Grubman, owner of Lizzie Grubman Public Relations and Management, you wanted to weigh in about her health.

GRUBMAN: Yes. She was a very sick girl. Ever since I`ve known her she had juvenile diabetes and that was always a huge problem with her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but let me bring in Brad Lamm here. When you have diabetes you`re not supposed to be drinking alcohol, right, Brad?

BRAD LAMM, INTERVENTION SPECIALIST: Alcohol`s full of sugar and, you know, the guy that was talking before about letting her hit bottom, that is just the kind of garbage I`m suggesting people throw out with the bath water because in this case, Casey hit bottom and she`s dead.

So I`m suggesting the families can really try something different. I hate that myth that you have to let somebody hit bottom. It`s just a bunch of nonsense.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: But I think they did try interventions.

EIGLARSH: Hold on. If they don`t want help, this family tried. She didn`t want help. At some point they said we`re not going to continue to enable you. We`re not going to let you live here. We`re not going to give you money. That`s it and you hope that that will cause them to want to go into rehab.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, you know, it reminds me of the case with Britney Spears, where she had a bit of a meltdown and her dad took over conservatorship and she has really turned her life around.

So that`s one of the things I`m wondering, why the family, the Johnson family, which is so powerful, didn`t take a measure like that? Any thoughts, Lizzie?

GRUBMAN: Yes. The last time I saw her, which was, I think around August, she wanted to come back to New York. She really did. She wanted to come back to her family and come back to New York. And then she went back to rehab a few days later and then I guess this whole thing with, you know, Tila, the tough love, the baby being taken back by her mother, all started happening.

So, again...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well did she finish the rehab?

GRUBMAN: Yes, she did. The second time she did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But she wasn`t working a program? I mean she wasn`t staying sober.

GRUBMAN: No. Everything really happened too fast I think. As I said, in terms of the drug and the alcohol, I never saw her intoxicated, so I`m not one to judge...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we just saw her intoxicated right there on video, it appears.

EIGLARSH: Jane, I want to say one thing. I don`t disagree with your other guest. No one should wait for somebody to be in a grave. Anyone who can have an intervention to save someone`s life should do it. However, that person, if they don`t want to get help then people need to stop enabling them and hopefully at some point they will get help on their own.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And then there`s Tila Tequila and her crazy tweet war against this family which I think is absolutely outrageous. This is a grieving family.

EIGLARSH: Irresponsible.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And it`s disrespectful.

Hey, Lizzie, please come back; love having you on.

GRUBMAN: I absolutely will. If anyone`s toxic around here, it`s Tila.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to have to leave it right there. You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.