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Jane Velez-Mitchell

Serial Killer Loose?; Family of Julie Ann Gonzalez Look for Answers

Aired December 14, 2010 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a serial killer on the loose in New York. That`s the fear. A desperate hunt is on after a terrifying discovery of four bodies all on a Long Island beach within a quarter of a mile of each other. Did sex play a role in the string of murders? And are these killings connected to any of the missing women cases we cover here on ISSUES?

Plus, a devastated mom frantically scrapes for clues in the mysterious disappearance of her precious daughter. Twenty-one-year-old Julie Ann Gonzalez has been missing for nine long months. Now her frustrated family is hoping their own private eye can dig up answers. I`ll talk live to Julie`s determined mom.

Then, the jaw-dropping case of an innocent woman who spent seven months in prison. She tried to convince cops she was being framed by her ex-boyfriend, a man she says raped her. Police now agree the angry ex orchestrated an elaborate plot to frame her. We`ll talk with the victim live about this twisted story of deception in a prime-time exclusive.

And cameras roll as yet another Hollywood hothead explodes, after Nicolas Cage unleashes an "F"-bomb-laced fury at some friends outside a nightclub. Did alcohol play a role in the bizarre outburst, or could it be just a lame publicity stunt?

ISSUES starts now.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police say it looks like a serial killer is dumping the bodies of victims in New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The officer comes upon human remains just a couple of yards on the inland side of this particular highway. Investigators combing the side of the highway. They unearth not one, not two, but three sets of human remains.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Officials now scrambling to identify the bodies and answer why they were buried here. It is a picturesque and popular area in the summertime. In the winter, it is empty and cold. Tonight it is chillingly so.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, breaking news. A grisly discovery on Long Island just 50 miles outside New York City has cops fearing the worse, that a new Jack the Ripper is on the loose.

On Saturday, cops were searching for 24-year-old Shannon Gilbert, who was reportedly a prostitute who worked through Craigslist ads. She vanished back in May. After the K-9 unit found the first body, they came across three more sets of remains, four bodies in all, clustered within a quarter of a mile. So far, two have been I.D.`d as women. They are still trying to confirm the gender of the other two.

Is this the work of one killer? Seems that way, doesn`t it?


COMMISSIONER RICHARD DORMER, SUFFOLK COUNTY, NEW YORK: I don`t think it`s a coincidence that four bodies ended up in this area. You know, that`s a good -- you know, that`s a good direction to go, that they were all dumped here by the same person. We`re looking at that, that we could have a serial killer.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The area where the bodies were found is along a desolate strip of beach, a virtual no-man`s land. Investigators wonder if Shannon Gilbert was on her way to a rendezvous about a mile away on Fire Island but simply never made it there. All four bodies were in that same small area, spaced about 500 feet from one another. Cops think they were dumped there over a period of almost two years. Cops say common sense tells them it`s the work of one person. If so, that means it is a serial killer.

So who is this sicko? Is it somebody into thrill kills or some lunatic on a demented crusade against prostitutes and escorts, based on some bizarre, arrogant assumption that he can pass judgment on who deserves to live and who should die?

I`m taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Famed attorney Gloria Allred, we begin with you. This is a prime example of the war on women. What do you make of this case?

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: Well, it is. And we`ve seen in the past, Jane, other incidents of serial killers targeting prostitutes as though they are not human beings worthy of respect, dumping them like garbage on the side of a road or elsewhere, and there can be no excuse for this.

These women, these working women, are human beings, and they have a right to live in the same way that all other women have that same right. I hope that person is caught or persons are caught and that they are caught soon.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Now, experts believe the killer knew the area and may be local. That makes sense. One of the reasons is because it was so remote. Now, check this out from CNN. Gives you a real good idea of where this is all happening.


CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: There`s a very desolate strip of land. No houses on the beach and just a bunch of marsh on the other side. A couple more in, we`ll get right on down to the street, and you`ll be able to see literally nothing to see here. Beach and then two lanes, the parkway going one way or the other. And along this side on the bay side, not the ocean side, the bay side of this highway is where those bodies were dumped. Right through here.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So extremely remote location. Cops say the bodies were at different levels of decomposition. That means the victims were dumped there at different times, over almost two years. So to me it would point to this guy being a local killer.

Now, let`s talk about Shannon Gilbert. She was reportedly working as a prostitute and had arranged to meet her client on nearby Fire Island. So could that client be a killer?

I would like to go to Greg -- Gill Alba, former NYPD detective, to ask you, do you have any idea are how cops decided to search this particular remote area? What led them there?

GILL ALBA, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: Yes. Because when she went there, she went with somebody else. Somebody drove her, a male drove her there. And I guess they told her about Craigslist. And that`s how they got that information, and that`s how they got that particular area. Because she said -- they said Fire Island, and that`s a good strip right there to -- to dump bodies.

You know, when you have a random attack or a random killing like that, you know, that`s what you do. You dump bodies off the road, maybe 15, 50 feet, 500 feet off the road. And you know the area. We`re all creatures of habit. So we know they know the area. They feel comfortable there. On that -- on that strip you can see for miles back and forth, so you can see when a car is coming. You take the body out and just dump it there, get back in your car and drive away. So that particular person was familiar with that area.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And you mentioned Craigslist. Now, Craigslist appears to play a major role in this mysterious killing spree. If the Web site enabled the killer to get to his victims, can`t it be used, also, to solve the crime?

We all remember the now-dead Craigslist killer, Philip Markoff. He was busted when investigators traced his e-mail back to the victim, Julissa Brisman, and that e-mail led them to a computer IP address, which then led them to the physical address where this guy, who has since committed suicide, lived.

And in this case, you have two -- remember, they haven`t identified any of these remains, but you have two possibilities that law enforcement are looking at. One is this Megan Waterman, and we`re going to talk about her in a moment. But she traveled from Maine to Long Island after placing an ad on Craigslist.

And then you also have this other woman, Shannon Gilbert, who also used the Web site as an escort.

So I`m wondering, John Lucich -- you`re the criminal investigator -- aren`t cops going to go through that same process to try to figure out who lured her to Fire Island?

JOHN LUCICH, CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR: Absolutely. If Shannon Gilbert turns out to be one of these bodies, Craigslist is going to be very, very crucial in this investigation. Once they identify who she was talking with, they look for an originating IP address in the provider and try and get a warrant, but they can trace that.

As they continue to identify the rest of the bodies, they`re going to see their involvement. And altogether, if Craigslist was involved, you`ll see this come down to a single source from all these individuals.

And it looks like this guy, especially in Shannon`s case, they lured her out of New Jersey into Fire Island, where he may be familiar with this area.

Let`s not forget the Egg Harbor area, where four girls -- prostitutes were found in a ditch down there. And there may be a connection with those, because these are almost like eerily similar.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, missing women all across the country, their families and their local police departments are undoubtedly contacting those who are working on this case to see if there`s a connection. There are so many missing women in this country. And that`s why we talk about the war on women. It`s outrageous.

Melody in Ohio, your question or thought.

CALLER: Hi, Jane. You`re beautiful in high definition. Beautiful.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you. I`m glad you think so. I`ve had my worries at times. Go ahead.

CALLER: The reason that I`m calling, Jane, and I can tell that this - - he is a serial killer. And my question is, this female, does she have any prior arrests of prostitution or any crimes or anything? Thanks.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. I`m not exactly sure of the question there, but Beth Karas, correspondent, "In Session," TruTV, we`re talking about a couple of women right now. What`s their history that we know about that they think could be the women who are dumped there?

BETH KARAS, CORRESPONDENT, TRUTV`S "IN SESSION": Well, we`re not aware of a criminal history of the New Jersey woman. It`s possible that -- it hasn`t been released, but it`s possible that she has a criminal history. There won`t be any major advancing in the investigation of this case until there`s an identity made of at least one of the remains so they can backtrack her life and her last hours.

Regarding the woman in Maine, she had a boyfriend, and she traveled down to the Long Island area, having posted or -- an ad looking for an escort. So I`m not sure what the two of them -- if it was just for her or him or the three or what. But she was with a boyfriend. Those are the reports.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`re going to get into that case on the other side of the break as we try to figure out who are these women? Is there a serial killer on the loose in the New York area? It sure looks like it, and that is terrifying to a lot of people. Millions.

Everybody, stay right there. We`re taking your calls on this: 1-877- JVM-SAYS.

Also, a woman thrown in prison for seven months for a crime she didn`t commit. Cops now say her ex-boyfriend concocted an elaborate frame-up. I`m going to talk to her live in a prime-time exclusive. It`s such a bizarre, crazy story. You will not believe how she was framed.

And again, is a serial killer on the loose in New York? We think so. More, next.


DORMER: They located two more bodies. That`s three more bodies for a total of four bodies in an area of about a quarter mile.




DORMER: I don`t think it`s a coincidence that four bodies ended up in this area. You know, that`s a good -- you know, that`s a good direction to go, that they were all dumped here by the same person. We`re looking at that, that we could have a serial killer.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a grisly discovery on Long Island. Just 50 miles outside New York City, cops find the decomposing remains of four bodies, two already I.D.`d as women. They`re I.D.`ing the other two. They don`t have their identities, per se, but they`ve identified their gender. Two women, and they`re in the process of figuring out if the others are women.

The bodies clustered within a quarter mile of one another along a desolate stretch of beach. Cops fear a new Jack the Ripper is on the loose.

We`re going to go out to Debra from New York. And I understand you`re acquainted with this area. What are your concerns, even your fears tonight, Debra?

CALLER: Well, I just wanted to say one thing, Jane. Hi, how are you?


CALLER: This is not -- they keep characterizing this as a desolate area. It`s not whatsoever. This is a heavily trafficked major thoroughfare. It`s a parkway going in either direction. There are always events going out there, all the beaches, everybody goes to these beaches. And year round people are...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but Debra -- Debra, I don`t want to interrupt you, but not during the winter. I mean, sure...

CALLER: Oh, yes, yes. I`m telling you this is a major traffic thoroughfare. Everybody takes this route. When you`re on the island, when you`re in the southeast part of the island and you want to go, say, into Manhattan, this takes you all the way west. You bypass all the heavy...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Let me ask you something, Debra.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: How do you explain, then, that there were four bodies there that were apparently dumped there over the course of almost two years that they`re just finding?

CALLER: I was telling your producer -- well, that`s the thing. I was telling your producer, because if you stop here, you`re not allowed to stop on the shoulder. I mean, there are places for you to go. There are different destinations there, OK? So if you -- if you stop on the side of the road, you will get stopped. Troopers are on this -- this highway -- parkway all the time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s a very good point, Debra.

I`m going to go to Darren Kavinoky. I think they should investigate who`s been ticketed in this area for either speeding or pulling over at the side of the road in the last two years.

DARREN KAVINOKY, ATTORNEY: Yes, that would certainly be a great place to start. And it`s such an interesting point that this caller raises, because certainly, in the world of serial killers, it`s not unheard of that some of them are going to be leaving tracks, leaving clues, on some level perhaps even trying to get the attention of law enforcement to -- to somehow indicate that they`re above it all. The hubris that comes along with that kind of criminality is really amazing. So that could all be something that factors into this.

You know, if this is an area where there`s -- there`s expected to be a lot of beach activity, this could be somebody who wants these bodies to be discovered. And obviously, the proximity that they`re 500 feet away from each other really strongly suggests that we`re talking about one person.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is a burial ground.

KAVINOKY: Yes, indeed.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you bring me to my big issue. This is not the usual suspect. When you think of serial killer, you think of some creepy sinister looking guy, but remember Dennis Rader, the so-called BTK -- bind, torture, kill -- serial killer? Check him out.


DENNIS RADER, BTK KILLER: Those are the only early complaints except for PowerPoint. I don`t -- again, I don`t want to pick on law enforcement. They`ve done a very good job, but I do want to clarify a few things just for the records, because this is basically my final say.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, that was Dennis Rader, who tortured and murdered ten people. He was a family man and a church president who had never been arrested. His own wife was clueless that she was sleeping with a serial killer.

What about Ted Bundy, the infamously good-looking charmer who slaughtered between 30 and 100 women? Gloria Allred, can we be sure that cops are thinking outside the box on this one?

ALLRED: My guess is that they are, Jane. But I have to say, while I`m generally supportive of law enforcement, I am very concerned that Ms. Gilbert`s family, or at least someone in the family, said that she made a 911 call for 22 minutes but that she was in fear for her life, but that the police didn`t respond for 45 minutes.

Now, whether she was incoherent or not, as is reported that she was on the 911 call, they did respond. But why didn`t they respond earlier, and is she one of those bodies?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And you`re tacking about Shannon Gilbert, who may be one of these women, a 24-year-old prostitute, was busted in New Jersey in a prostitution ring back in 2007. So she, according to cops, would travel to her dates by car.

We have a sound bite. Let`s listen to this right now. And then we`ll analyze.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her last phone call was 23 minutes to 911 when she was grabbed and pulled into this truck. The police missed her by five minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was basically running away, trying to leave, and he -- it was heard that, you know, "Get away from me. Get away from me." She was running and knocking on neighbors` doors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s trying to kill me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, that is a sound bite that just fed to us. This is breaking news as we speak. Gloria Allred, try to put this in context for us. What are these family members talking about when they`re complaining that she was running away?

ALLRED: Well, she`s saying that she was in fear and that`s why she called 911. But that there was no response for a lengthy period of time, and then she was missing. And then after that, she was reported missing by her family.

I have a concern. I mean, I hope that the reason that she -- that they didn`t respond earlier was staffing. That`s not an adequate justification, but I hope it has nothing to do with the fact that she was a prostitute. I don`t know if they knew that she was a prostitute. But they should, you know, treat prostitutes who are in fear the same way they would treat anyone else.


ALLRED: And respond quickly, because if she is in fear and someone is chasing her, then it matter -- it may be a matter of life and death.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I`ve got to wonder...

KAVINOKY: I`ve got to jump in on this, too, Jane, and amplify an earlier comment. However people make their living, and if they make their living as prostitutes, and they`re going through whatever it is that brought them to that line of work, they`re absolutely entitled to the full array of rights that every human being is, including a speedy response.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course. And I want to know if the pings on her phone match this area. That`s what I`d like to know. And if so, why weren`t those pings discovered when she went missing months ago? This is disturbing stuff.

LUCICH: Let`s give the benefit of the doubt to the cops until we know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I know. They`re working hard on this. Let`s hope they solve it.

Thank you, panel.

Nicolas Cage snaps and spews. You will not believe this video.



GEORGE DE LA CRUZ, ESTRANGED HUSBAND: I understand they me because I was the last person. Like I said, if anyone sees a -- of course they`re going to be a suspect. Like I said, I`ll be willing to do anything. Lie detector, they can search my house, tear it apart. If they do, they can do that. They can actually put a police to track me down anywhere. Like I said, I have nothing to hide, and I`m here. I`m not running away.


DE LA CRUZ: I`m trying to help.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that is the estranged husband of a missing woman. Tonight a young Texas mom vanishes without a trace. Julie Ann Gonzalez has been missing for almost nine months. Police named that estranged husband you just saw, her estranged husband, a person of interest. He was the last person to see Julie alive. You just heard him say that.

According to a search warrant, investigators found a debit card belonging to Julie in her estranged husband`s house along with her car keys, droplets of blood, human tissue and hair. But Julie`s husband insists he is totally innocent, and there has still been no arrest. And we`re coming up on a year now. Where is Julie Ann Gonzalez?

Julie`s mom is furious. She says she has talked to me right here live on ISSUES more than she has talked to the cops. Tonight, we learn she has hired a private investigator to try to find her daughter.

Straight out to Sandra Soto, Julie`s desperate mom.

Sandra, why did you decide to hire your own private eye?

SANDRA SOTO, MOTHER OF JULIE ANN GONZALEZ: Because I still don`t have any answers. Here we are going on nine months. And the term "cold" has just been, you know, used so loosely from the police department. Every time I talk to them, you know, it just -- it just makes me mad that they use the term "cold." You know, it took them six weeks to investigate the disappearance into my daughter, into -- 4 1/2 months into her disappearance they started to use the word a cold." That only gives them three months of actual investigating. How can a case go cold after three months of investigating? You know...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You raise a very good question.

SOTO: That`s ridiculous. That`s ridiculous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, the lawyer -- the lawyer for the missing woman`s estranged husband, in other words, your son-in-law, estranged son-in-law, explained why he used his missing wife`s debit card. Let`s listen to this.


PATRICK FAGERBERG, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE DE LA CRUZ: George then asked Julie Ann, "Would you go to Wal-Mart and buy some diapers and some wet wipes because I don`t have it? I`m broke."

She says, "I don`t have time, but take my credit card, or debit card, and I will get it from you later in the afternoon."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, here`s something interesting. George, through his attorney, had said he wasn`t the last person to see Julie alive. But when -- he, in fact, claims the neighbor spotted Julie with two men. So I want to ask you, has your private eye claimed that check out?

But in the interview that we played at the start of the segment, he does say, "I understand why I`m a person of interest, because I was the last one." Kind of saying he is the last one. I`m curious about that. What do you know?

SOTO: I think he is the last one. I think -- I`ve always said that he knows something. He knows something. He knows more than what he is saying. He definitely -- I think -- yes, he was right when he said he was the last one to see her, because he knows where she is. He knows who she`s with. He knows where he may have left her or who may have taken her. Or he knows. So yes, I do believe that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sandra, we have to leave it there. He and his attorney invited on anytime to tell their side. Thank you. We`re going to stay on top of your daughter`s case.

Up next, an extraordinary story. She was locked up in prison, trying to get authorities to believe that she was being framed by an ex-boyfriend she says raped her. Tonight, in a prime-time exclusive, I`m going to talk to this unbelievable woman who spent seven months in prison, but she`s innocent.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The jaw-dropping case of an innocent woman who spent seven months in prison. She tried to convince cops she was being framed by her ex-boyfriend, a man she says raped her.

Police now agree the angry ex orchestrated an elaborate plot to frame her. We`ll talk with the victim live about this twisted story of deception in a prime-time exclusive.

And cameras roll as yet another Hollywood hothead explodes. Actor Nicholas Cage unleashes an f bomb-laced fury at some friends outside a nightclub. Did alcohol play a role in the bizarre outburst, or could it be just a lame publicity stunt?


SEEMONA SUMASAR, FRAMED BY EX-BOYFRIEND: I actually wanted to see him; let him see me, knowing that I wasn`t going to back down. I didn`t expect him to get bail because my bail was higher than what he got today. That`s why I couldn`t get out.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a mind-blowing deception leaves that woman`s life in ruins. Cops say the ex-boyfriend she accused of rape responded with such a sinister revenge plot that even cops were fooled. So instead of arresting him, they arrested her and threw her in jail for seven months. How could that happen?

It all started when with Seemona Sumasar accused her ex-boyfriend of rape and because of that he made her life a living hell. When she wouldn`t drop the charges, cops say he came up with a sick plan to make her pay.

Cops say Jerry Ruton paid at least two people to tell cops that his ex had robbed them at gunpoint while impersonating a cop. So cops arrested Seemona even though she had an airtight alibi, a photo that showed her gambling at a Connecticut casino at the time of one of the robberies. I guess that didn`t matter.

She spent seven long months in jail separated from her young daughter. Her bakery business went under. She lost her home. Tonight she`d still be in jail if it weren`t for an informant who finally came forward to say it`s all a lie.

Now Seemona is free and her ex-boyfriend Jerry Ruton won`t be bugging her anytime soon. He`s charged with rape and perjury and being held without bail.

We`re honored to be joined by this very brave woman, Seemona Sumasar in an ISSUES prime-time exclusive. We`re going to talk to her right there in a moment.

But first, let`s go to famed victims` rights attorney, Gloria Allred. Gloria, just explain how they managed to pull off this convoluted frame-up against her.

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: Well, as the police said, Jane, it was because there was an extraordinary amount of detail in the evidence that was provided to the police. They had a number of people, different witnesses, who alleged that they had been robbed at gunpoint by Seemona and by another man and that -- in fact, the witnesses even provided partial license plate description, in one case full license plate description. The witnesses apparently didn`t know each other.

But later it turned out that at least the allegation is that they were paid in order to give this false evidence to the police. And poor Seemona had to be in jail for six or seven months, as you mentioned, deprived of being with her daughter, facing financial ruin, losing her bakery, losing her home, and all of this because of her ex-boyfriend who allegedly was so angry that she had accused him of rape. And he wanted to do this in order to destroy her credibility at an upcoming proceeding.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Great summary there, Gloria. In fact, one call -- oh I was robbed by someone who used the name Seem which I believe may be a nickname for you Seemona. And they ultimately picked you out of a line up.

Now, what was your -- you were telling cops, it`s a frame-up, I didn`t do it. I was at a casino, I`m innocent. What was the reaction of police when you were saying, I`m innocent, check it out?

SUMASAR: Well, initially when I was arrested and interrogated I was never told why I was arrested. It went on to hours before I knew it had something to do with a robbery. I didn`t get any details, however. But from the very beginning I told the detectives that the simple fact that I`m arrested and I`m sitting there speaking to them that I knew it had something to do with Jerry.

I went into details of why I believed that. I explained the rape situation, and I explained that I have never done anything possible for me to be sitting here being interrogated, arrested. And from the very get-go I knew, and I pointed out the fact that whatever it is that I`m there for had to have something to do with him.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The guy who you say raped you. They didn`t believe you, not one word, the cops?

SUMASAR: Not at all.


SUMASAR: They believed that I did these robberies and I`m trying to blame it on him.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue tonight. The detectives were clearly duped. And they have to be embarrassed that this guy managed to pull off this elaborate hoax on them.

SUMASAR: Correct.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: These cops did exactly what Jerry wanted them to do, follow fake evidence and arrest his ex-girlfriend who was accusing him of rape. But how on earth were these detectives so easily duped.

Let me just finish this premise because this is unbelievable. She begged them to check her ex out. Had they done so, cops admit they would have found numerous phone calls exchanged between him and at least one of the alleged accomplices who was pointing the finger at her. Ok?

Yet the district attorney, in my opinion, has the nerve to pat law enforcement on the back in their news release saying, quote, Some dogged detective work helped unravel the plot thus ending the nightmare for this woman, end quote.

I mean, I`m going to go to the attorney. Anthony Grandinette, you`re the attorney for Seemona. The nerve of the DA to applaud a system that kept your client false in prison for seven months. Do you find that as outrageous as I do?

ANTHONY GRANDINETTE, ATTORNEY FOR SEEMONA SUMASAR: Well, Jane, I have to tell you that as outrageous and as much as a nightmare as this case was for Seemona, we are grateful that the assistant district attorney involved in the case and their office got it right. As far as the --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: After seven months.

GRANDINETTE: -- their comment for --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excuse me. Why didn`t they just call right away -- this woman is saying she was raped by this guy. Had you filed charges against him at that point, Seemona, when you were arrested?

GRANDINETTE: Of course she had.

SUMASAR: Yes. The case was coming up for trial.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They knew that you had filed rape charges against this guy, and that your trial -- that his trial was coming up and you asked them to check it out. If they had just checked his phone records they would have found phone calls between him and at least one of the defendants. I mean, help me out here, Gloria Allred.


GRANDINETTA: Our biggest issue was that we thought that there were many red flags that were overlooked by the police department. During the course of Seemona`s investigation, we learned during the course of the pre- trial hearings that Jerry`s file charging him with rape was actually in the interrogation room. And at the end of a 14-hour interrogation police, law enforcement from Queens, came to speak to Seemona about Jerry specifically as well.

So they were aware of the fact that Jerry had an absolute motive to fabricate and perhaps frame Seemona. And it obviously was grossly frustrating that nobody acted on the facts that were brought to their attention after an ironclad alibi established her innocence. We begged law enforcement to review the phone records between Luz Johnson (ph) and Terrelle Lavelle (ph), these quote-unquote victims, with Jerry immediately after Seemona`s arrest.

And unfortunately it didn`t get done right away. It`s not a perfect system.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, come on. I mean, you`re being very kind. This woman, she was separated from her daughter, her young daughter, her bakery business went under. Her house -- didn`t your house go into foreclosure or something like that, Seemona?

SUMASAR: Yes. At this time it is in foreclosure at this point.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And you lost your bakery business.

SUMASAR: Yes, I did. Three months into my arrest.

GRANDINETTE: She lost her life`s dream.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And they could have made a phone call and figured out that these victims were talking to her ex-boyfriend who was accused of raping her. Gloria?

GRANDINETTE: Ultimately --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. Let Gloria answer this.

ALLRED: Jane, would that you were one of the police officers investigating the case; Seemona would not probably have spent so much time in jail because you put your finger on it.

Having said that, I have to say that from the DA`s point of view, would they expect several different witnesses to lie to the police? Would they expect there to be false testimony before the grand jury? Would they expect other evidence to be presented that would be there to deceive law enforcement?

No. It was a great con. It was a great scheme. Fortunately it appears that they didn`t get away with it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Seemona, last word. Are you thrilled to be back with your daughter?

SUMASAR: Yes, I am. Yes, I am. It`s a relief, you know. She`s been through a lot for the last seven months -- a lot.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, one more question. Yes or no, are you going to sue? And if so, who?

SUMASAR: Actually, I have not discussed that at all yet. I`m still - - I`m -- haven`t still been freed of this legally.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t know. I think the guy sitting next to you probably has some ideas about that. And I want to hear about it when you make a decision. All right.

GRANDINETTE: Our major -- our major focus is on the successful prosecution of those who grossly harmed Seemona at this date.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you so much for joining us. Come back soon.

Will Charlie Sheen be prosecuted for his tirade at the Plaza Hotel? I`ll give you the latest shocker in this unbelievable scandal.

And speaking of stars, Nic Cage flies right off the handle. He`s the latest Hollywood star to have a bizarre tirade caught on video, a dubious honor indeed. Could it be some strange rite of passage or publicity stunt, or is he just out of control? What do you think? Sound off, 1-877-JVM- SAYS; that`s 1-877-586-7297.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Coming up, what enraged Nic Cage, that in a moment.

But first, "Top of the Block" tonight.

Oh, surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise. TMZ sources say Charlie Sheen will not be prosecuted for allegedly going on an alcohol-fueled rampage and trashing his hotel at the famous Plaza Hotel. The woman with Sheen that night accused him of assault and battery and false imprisonment. The cops will reportedly give him -- here it is -- another get out of jail free card.

This guy accidentally shot a one-time fiance, he allegedly held a knife to his ex-wife`s throat and now he`s off scot free again. It just proves lady justice is not only not blind, she`s got perfect eyesight. She can see stars a mile off.

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


NICHOLAS CAGE, ACTOR: I think it`s kind of hilarious, you know. Actually, clearly not taking themselves too seriously.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh no, you don`t want to take yourself seriously, Nicholas. Tonight, Nic Cage in a rage; the eccentric Hollywood actor has a 5:00 a.m. freak-out. Cage completely flips his lid outside a Romanian nightclub. Check this out from a Romanian TV station called "RialitaTea TV" I`m not kidding.


CAGE: See this in my eyes. Not a liar. Not a liar. That man is not a liar. Respect him -- respect me.

I`ll die in the name of honor.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hmm, well, it`s kind of fuzzy, but we can`t make out exactly what he`s so upset about. We did, however, isolate a few gems. Nic screams, quote, "See my eyes. Respect them as you`d respect me" end quote. And "I`ll f-ing die in the name of honor." Whatever.

And Cage is in town filming the sequel to the action thriller "Ghost Rider". I think it`s called angry driver or drive angry. That`s it. It sounds like a quirky Cage was having a Christian Bale-style meltdown moment. Remember this?


CHRISTIAN BALE, ACTOR: What the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) are you doing? Are you professional or not?


BALE: Do I (EXPLETIVE DELETED) around? And rip that no, shot the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Bruce. Do I what -- no, no. Don`t shut me up.


BALE: I`m not going to walk around and rip (EXPLETIVE DELETED) lights down in the middle of a scene? Then why the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) are you walking right through like this in the background? What the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is it with you?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Christian Bale. Good thing he`s a really good actor. I just saw him in "The Fighter."

But let`s get back to Nic Cage. What has gotten Nic Cage so angry? Could it be because he has finally begun to pay off that pesky $14 million tax debt? Rumors about a toupee perhaps? Maybe it`s the buyer`s remorse over the two islands, the castles, the yachts, the dinosaur skulls, the shrunken heads, the rare cobra snakes he`s reportedly bought.

And what do you think at home? 1-8 -- give me a call. You know the number by now, right?

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: Rob Shuter, columnist for PopEater`s naughty but nice, what on earth is going on with this flip-out?

ROB SHUTER, COLUMNIST, POPEATER: Isn`t it crazy? It`s one of the craziest videos we`ve seen in a long time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Respect my eyes. Rob, respect my eyes.

SHUTER: I`m respecting them.

He`s so nuts. Anybody that`s ever met him will tell you he`s so nuts. The other thing with Nic Cage too is he`s very, very isolated. You cannot get near this man. So when he`s out of America in a different country, somebody got into his eyes that he had never seen before and was obviously very upset about this. He`s an odd, odd, odd duck.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes and here`s my big issue tonight. Life imitates art. We came across this really hilarious montage from YouTube posted on the Huffington Post. And user Harry Henretthan (ph) aptly titled this "Nicholas Cage losing his (EXPLETIVE DELETED)".


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever been dragged on the sidewalk and beat (EXPLETIVE DELETED).




Amy Palmer, senior editor "In Touch," I think it`s something called professional defamation when you can`t turn it off after work.

AMY PALMER, SENIOR EDITOR, IN TOUCH WEEKLY: Yes. I think that`s exactly what we`re seeing. Is that`s quite a body of work right there, and I think Nic Cage just doesn`t know when the cameras are rolling and when they`re off.

But, you know, these guys have to understand that most of these tirades are going to wind up on the Internet just like this one did. And maybe Jane, they just don`t care anymore because look, we`re talking about him and that`s great publicity for his upcoming movie.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You really think that that`s -- I don`t know, I think it crosses the line at a certain point and ceases to be great publicity.

Dylan Howard, senior executive editor, RadarOnline, why do these stars keep making the same mistake over and over again? To have a rant like that on camera?

DYLAND HOWARD, SR. EXECUTIVE EDITOR, RADARONLINE: Well, I think a lot`s got to do with the fact that in this day and age, whiney celebrity is king. Everywhere these stars go, they`re followed.

The video is said to have been caught on cell phone. Now, what I find the most interesting thing about this is the way in which the stars react. Now, we`ve had almost silence from Nicolas Cage and his camp about this. Now, why don`t they just come out and say he was provoked? Whatever the explanation was.

Instead, we see the Hollywood pr machine come out and in an announcement that he`s doing a new film.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, maybe because he wasn`t provoked. Maybe because he just thought somebody should respect his eyes. More on the other side.

Can`t make this up.



CAGE: What`s fun about the movie is that these people don`t have any real superpowers. They`re just -- they`re all just a little bit nuts. They`re all a little touched.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re killing me, Nic. They don`t have superpowers? Nicolas Cage, I don`t know if it was superpowers but it was a bizarre 5:00 a.m. tirade, all right. What set the superstar off on a furious rant outside, of all places, a Romanian nightclub? Listen to this from Realitea-TV.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get in that car and walk away. Otherwise --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to kill me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go for it brother.

I`ll (EXPLETIVE DELETED) die because of honor. I`ll (EXPLETIVE DELETED) die right now.

You want to (EXPLETIVE DELETED) kick me in the head? Go for it.

Get off me. Get off me. Don`t touch me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Don`t touch -- my favorite line, though, is respect my eyes. I would like to say respect my hair but I don`t think anybody would want to respect my hair.

Lisa, New York, your question or thought, ma`am?

LISA, NEW YORK (via telephone): Hi. I`m just calling, you know, these actors and actresses think they`re above the law and above the gods, you know, they can do whatever they want and are excused for all their rotten behavior. A regular natural citizen would get in trouble for half of the things they do, and then it`s publicized because they`re getting movies coming out and everything makes it ok. It`s just ridiculous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And you know, I have to wonder why is Nicolas Cage, seriously, for a second, edgy right about now? Would it have anything to do with the millions he owes to the IRS? Nicolas Cage reportedly started paying back a whopping $14 million in debt.

We all know Wesley Snipes just went to prison for tax evasion. He`s serving a three-year sentence. The government claimed he owed more than $2 million.

Dylan Howard, I think that Nicolas Cage should be grateful that he gets to pay this back and he doesn`t suffer the same fate as Wesley Snipes. I don`t know why not.

HOWARD: The Wesley Snipes case, a scenario for everyone to sit up and take notice about. Interestingly, though, poor Nicolas Cage, he`s had an absolute year from hell. His movies, well, they have tanked in recent times. This "Ghost Rider" franchise is one that he needs to hang on to and at the same time, his personal life, off the screen, is one that is being serialized in tabloids all around the world for all the wrong reasons.

So perhaps that`s the reason that had him a little edgy, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen, I hate to pass blame, really, and judge, because as you all know I say it all the time but it`s always relevant, I gave up drinking more than 15 years ago and I seem to remember back in those days when it got really late, like 5:00 a.m., crazy bad things used to happen, and isn`t that part of the problem, Rob Shuter?

SHUTER: Absolutely. This is 5:00 a.m. It`s also, true, in Romania. Let me explain why this is important. In America, you cannot get near Nic Cage. He travels with publicists, with managers; he`s one of the most closed celebrities that we have in America. It`s impossible to ask him a question, to go up to his table, to speak to him.

In a foreign country at 5:00 a.m., he`s like anybody else. He`s just walking outside a club.


SHUTER: And you can get to him. And you can`t control him which is what they have done in America.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Amy Palmer, last word, 15 seconds.

PALMER: Just I am so tired of seeing these celebrities act however they want to and I continue to report on it. Nothing surprises me anymore, Jane -- nothing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Respect the eyes.

You`re watching ISSUES.