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CNN Larry King Live
Aired December 29, 2005 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, the Natalee Holloway disappearance, the groom who vanished from his honeymoon cruise and more. It's real life CSI as America's top forensic experts take on the year's biggest legal stories.
And with us is Dr. Henry Lee. He testified at the O.J. Simpson trial and recently was hired by the family of the missing groom. Dr. Kathy Reichs, forensic anthropologist for the North Carolina Medical Examiner's Office. Her novels inspired the TV series "Bones."
Dr. Jan Garavaglia, title character of the popular TV series "Dr. G. Medical Examiner." She's a chief medical examiner in Florida. Plus, Mark Geragos, the high-profile defense attorney; and, former federal prosecutor Mary Fulginiti. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Fascinating topic tonight, the topic of forensics, the doctors who investigate crime scenes, do the autopsies and fascinating. Why, Dr. Reichs, did you choose this? I mean you're a doctor. Why choose this aspect of the profession?
DR. KATHY REICHS, FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST: Well, I actually trained to do archaeology and I was doing, very happily doing ancient skeletons when police started bringing me cases and once I switched over into the medical examiner field I found it much more gratifying for me personally. I found it much more relevant and I retrained...
KING: Dr. Lee, are they -- I'm sorry, Dr. Lee are they the number one what might be called detectives of medicine?
DR. HENRY LEE, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Well, you know, it's very important forensic science. As a forensic scientist we find the mystery of what did happen because we owe the family and society to find out the scientific truth.
I actually started my career as a police captain in Taiwan. In 1965 I came to this country, finished my doctor degree in molecular biology, so now it gives me a chance to use my scientific background and police experience together. It's an interesting field, fascinating field.
KING: The only one of our guests then that is a doctor is Dr. Jan Garavaglia. She's an M.D. Why did you choose to specialize in this?
DR. JAN C. GARAVAGLIA, M.D., FLORIDA CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: Well, I started out doing my internship in internal medicine and it just wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be and I was always fascinated by a forensic pathologist at my medical school, how he just puts the pieces together, how you would have just different pieces and you'd put the puzzle together and it just fascinated me. I love the stories and I realize you really could do some good. I was worried about getting out of the field of medicine totally because I felt like I wasn't really adding to society and then I realized I truly was.
KING: We're going to get into some major cases. Let's talk to the lawyers, first the former prosecutor Mary Fulginiti. How important to the prosecutor is the forensic expert?
MARY FULGINITI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, if you have scientific or forensic evidence it can be very helpful because with the advents of shows such as "CSI" or "Bones" or "Cold Case" now the viewing audience actually is learning about it and the testing procedures and they want to see it, you know, because it does prove to some scientific certainty that either somebody was at a crime scene, somebody was either near the victim, et cetera and that's very helpful obviously in trying to convince a jury.
KING: Good prosecutor wants it?
FULGINITI: Oh, if you can have it definitely you want it, definitely.
KING: Defense attorney?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolutely. You know it's interesting what's happened. In the last 20 years there's been a sea change in the criminal law because of forensics.
You've had where people now because of all the people who have been exonerated that were on death row and all of the cold cases that have been solved and what you see now is what maybe 25 years ago when I first started practicing people used to invest so much belief in eyewitness identification.
And now you've seen with a lot of the forensics that oft times eyewitness identification may be your weakest type of evidence because you've got forensics that shows that those people are not correct and it's turned a lot of the things around and it's caused the death penalty moratoriums in certain states as well.
KING: Mary didn't completely agree but...
FULGINITI: No, Mark and I disagree I'd say on eyewitness identification because I've used it in a number of my cases and, you know...
GERAGOS: Right when you've wrongfully convicted people.
FULGINITI: And I have not wrongfully convicted a soul.
KING: Let's move into a case. Dr. Reichs, what puzzles you the most from far away about Natalee Holloway's disappearance? REICHS: Where she is and I'm not sure we're ever going to get an answer to that.
KING: Why -- how could that be on such a small island unless she's at sea right?
REICHS: Well, the small island is surrounded by a very large ocean and I think there's a very strong possibility she's out there.
KING: Is there also therefore a strong possibility no one will ever be convicted of this?
REICHS: It's been done. That's really a question for your attorneys. There have been convictions without bodies but it's much more difficult I would suspect.
KING: Dr. Lee, what puzzles you the most about this case?
LEE: Well, of course, this case started on day one the investigation was off the wrong track and subsequent search they did a wonderful job digging every possible inches on the island. Nothing was found. Of course, I agree with Kathy and more likely in the water. In the water chances to recover the remains is very difficult but not impossible. In the past, I have approximately six, seven cases and no body case where we got the conviction.
In addition, I have Hawaii a case and subsequently somebody got a shark. In the shark's stomach they found a shoe, a sneaker. Inside the sneaker was a (INAUDIBLE) bone with some bone grouping I was able to link to the missing victim.
KING: Wow. Dr. Garavaglia, have you had cases with no body?
GARAVAGLIA: One where we were able to determine from the amount of blood lost at the scene that it was incompatible with life but the vast majority you need a body to prosecute.
KING: What does a lawyer do with this Mary?
FULGINITI: With the Aruba case?
FULGINITI: You know it's a difficult case. I mean they're still in the middle of investigating this case.
KING: What does a prosecutor do?
FULGINITI: As a prosecutor you try to put together all the pieces of evidence that you have. I mean in that case, you know, we don't know everything and there's been a lot of misinformation that's been floating around. I mean what we do know is that there's been a number of different interviews, obviously, of the boys that were with her and their stories have been ever changing.
The problem with that case though is that they don't have any forensic evidence or anything scientific to either conclude that she was killed or that she's no longer alive, so it's very difficult in that regard.
KING: Do you agree?
GERAGOS: Well, it's difficult.
KING: There are no forensics right?
GERAGOS: Right there's no forensics but you do have as recently as the last two years here in Southern California you've had a number of trials with no bodies. You've had two trials which ended up in a conviction here in L.A. County and you just recently in Orange County had a conviction that was based on a no body case or at least a case that's still (INAUDIBLE).
KING: That has to be pretty much beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt if you (INAUDIBLE).
GERAGOS: Well, a lot of times what the prosecutor tries to prove is that by the normal routine somebody would not just up and disappear and then there's a presumption at that point and they try to create the presumption that that person is missing and obviously dead. Then from there they work backwards to a motive.
KING: Do people in forensics, Dr. Reichs, have days where they go "Yes"!
REICHS: Oh, for sure, yes and those are the days you look forward to and it doesn't just happen out of the blue. It's because you've put in lots and lots of hours and hard work up until that point but suddenly you have an intuition, a breakthrough and then like any hypothesis formation you start testing it and it's the yes when you find that your hypothesis is upheld.
KING: Do you think Holloway will be solved, Dr. Lee?
LEE: It's going to be difficult and you'll have to find something like one of our most famous cases called woodchopper murder case and the husband, you know, put the wife's body in a commercial woodchopper, chopped into pieces, blew in the water. However, we found 2,660 hairs. That's a lot of hairs and about 52 little tiny bone chips was able to put together.
In another case a young lady was missing and completely gone and police searched the scene for a couple of days. Nothing was found. Subsequently I was called in just like Dr. Jan's case and under the carpet, the carpet just so clean, over clean, we found when we cut the carpet open found a large pool of blood we estimate probably has between 2,000 to 3,000 CC of blood.
Of course we know an individual we can calculate the body weight and that individual probably only had 4,000 CC of blood. Based on that prosecution was able to win the case.
KING: We'll take a break and we'll come back with more of this extraordinary science. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARAVAGLIA: So we're going to have to dissect this out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. G. prepares to remove an weigh Boyd Jones' (ph) lungs. She's found evidence of a contact shotgun wound suggesting suicide but there's an unsolved mystery. Blood found far from where he died with no evidence of natural disease to explain it. This could point to foul play.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reichs is one of an elite group of some 50 scientists worldwide qualified to study unidentified bodies and skeletons. Her workplace spans the globe wherever bodies surface without a clue as to the human beings they once were.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Amazing science. Now, Dr. Lee, the cruise ship missing groom, George Allen Smith, you've just been retained by the Smith family. It's been months. What's the latest?
LEE: Well, Attorney Walker (ph) from Miami contacted me a couple weeks ago and asked me to look at the scientific aspect of this case. Of course this case, George Smith is mysteriously missing for quite a few months now and the family wants to know what happened and his wife, Jennifer, wants to know what had happened.
So, we plan to search the cruise ship and to reconstruct, try to use some new chemical and instrumental procedures to see whether or not we can still look at those blood stains because those pictures of blood stains looks like that's quite a bit of blood on the awning area except we don't know the exact size.
That's what we want to know that pattern whether that blood deposited on top of other, whether or not consistent with just a blood flow or smear or blood drops so we can study and determine what had happened, how it happened and what the possible sequence of events.
KING: Dr. Garavaglia, what -- how much do we learn from blood?
GARAVAGLIA: Well, we learn a lot from blood but, you know, Dr. Lee looks at it at the scene. I mean my specialty is the body.
KING: Which we have none.
GARAVAGLIA: You know, in my -- yes and we have none and that would be, you know, the fascinating part because the body is usually the crux of what happened and that's what the forensic pathologist figures out and that's why we determine the cause and manner of death and it's usually the first step in the investigation always.
KING: Right. What if a long period, let's say the Holloway case and the Smith case suppose the bodies are later found at sea, much later, is that very hard to deal with?
GARAVAGLIA: Well, you know, you're dealing with one arm behind your back, I mean figuring things out certainly it makes toxicology difficult. There's probably some animal scavenging on bodies at sea and it's going to be very difficult to get those bodies back.
But, you know, every case is different and every, you know, every once in a while you get surprised and you can find the definitive cause of death and that's always a wonderful feeling.
But, you know, keep in mind I'm the one that has to determine is this accident, suicide, homicide and certainly with both of those cases I don't think that's been determined yet.
KING: Dr. Reichs, do you ever get used to dealing with a dead body?
REICHS: Yes, you do get used to it. You never get immune to it. You don't get cold to it but you become obituated to it to the smell of it and the sight of it. You just keep in mind the broader goal that it's a person that perhaps has no identity and you're going to try to help them get that identity back. Or perhaps it's someone that has been identified but you're going to try to find out what happened to them, what was the manner of death? Why are they dead?
Or, in some cases, what happened to them after they're dead, you know, if you've had a dismemberment or a mutilation of some kind. So, you keep in mind that you're working with the dead but you're really working for the living. You're working for those families.
KING: Mary you've been to an autopsy right?
FULGINITI: You know I haven't been to an autopsy.
KING: By your own decision?
FULGINITI: You know it was in a foreign country so I wasn't able to be present because it took place in Mexico.
KING: Would you have gone?
FULGINITI: Yes, I would have gone out of curiosity.
KING: You've never gone to one in California?
FULGINITI: You know I haven't had any murder cases that I've had to deal with here in California.
GERAGOS: I have. In fact, I've watched Henry do one on a second. I've gone to several. KING: You went to Laci Peterson's right?
GERAGOS: And it's an incredible thing to just watch these people work when they are dealing with the body. They are so in tune.
KING: Incredible how?
GERAGOS: Incredible in the sense that they're so attuned to the most minute things that you might overlook, whether or not there are -- they can determine whether or not an injury to a bone for instance happened pre-death, during death or after and they've got terms for that. They can determine how long a body has been in the water within broad ranges based upon certain kinds of growths or animal feeding and things of that nature.
And so, the kinds of things they look for and the kinds of trace evidence they look for that gives them then clues to tie it all together is an absolutely intriguing science.
KING: But how does your stomach take it?
GERAGOS: Well, it's -- whether it's looking at photos, because crime scene photos to my mind in a lot of ways are much more repulsive and harder to take than actually at an autopsy. At an autopsy it's almost a more antiseptic...
KING: Because they've cleaned off the body.
GERAGOS: ...cleaned off and everything is more sterile if you will. The crime scene photos and dealing with crime scene photos I think took a lot more for me at least personally to get used to.
KING: And the forensic specialists are very matter-of-fact right? They dictate everything they see.
GERAGOS: Well, most of the ones that I've ever come into contact with are extremely professional and they understand it and they look at it as a -- as part of their professional commitment and job.
KING: Back with more right after this. We'll be including your calls at the bottom of the hour. This is a fascinating science. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the way it's presented on television shows like "CSI" or in courtrooms, you would think forensic evidence like fingerprints, hair samples, bullet analysis is infallible, high- tech detectives nailing the culprit with scientific precision.
But it turns out the aura of infallibility is a myth. Forensic evidence is subject to human error. Crime labs are unregulated. Standards are ad hoc or even non-existent and fingerprint identification, the gold standard of forensic evidence is more art than science.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since looking for DNA evidence would be a dead end, Dr. Lee and Tim Palbok (ph) decided that mapping out the precise sequence of events might yield other clues that had been overlooked. With the help of Jefferson Parish detectives they reconstructed the motel crime scene three years after the murder took place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Mary, the wife of the well-known defense attorney Daniel Horowitz, Pamela Vitale, lots of forensic evidence reportedly found at the crime scene. How that may play in winning a conviction what do you hear?
FULGINITI: Yes, there seems to be what's been reported in that case because there's been a gag order that's been imposed but there seems to have been a lot of forensic evidence that's been collected. There have been samples which presumably could be fiber, hair and blood.
We know it's been reported that there's been a blood stained shoeprint on top of a storage canister, if that links obviously Scott Dyleski, or potentially somebody else but him, to the murder scene that can be very damning.
KING: Because he said he's not guilty right?
FULGINITI: He has pled not guilty, yes. There was also bloody clothes and a bloody glove found in a duffel bag in the car presumably I think his mother's car outside of their house. So, there is a lot of different evidence there that once analyzed I think will probably be able to conclusively determine one way or another who did it.
KING: Is that the kind, Dr. Lee, that usually point to nabbing the right person?
LEE: Yes. If you find a bloody fingerprint, the suspect's fingerprint with the victim's blood, now you have that one piece of evidence you prove, you link the suspect, victim and crime scene together. Of course, bloody glove inside the glove, outside has victim's blood, inside we can look for fingerprints. If you find a suspect print inside a glove and the victim's outside that's a good linkage.
KING: Scott Peterson will have different attorneys for his appeal. Is that usually wise?
GERAGOS: Any time you've got a death penalty case I think that that's -- it should be standard operating procedure. It isn't always.
KING: To get a different viewpoint? GERAGOS: Exactly right. I mean that was what we did, what I recommended to the family is let's get some fresh set of eyes on this and have them take a look.
KING: Do you think it is, do you have a good appeal just off the cursory top?
GERAGOS: I don't think that there's any question. I mean the fact of the matter is that as a matter of law the judge should have instructed on lesser included and did not and that alone should knock out the special circumstance. And, in addition to that, there's no question at least to my mind having gone through that that that case should have been moved away from Northern California.
KING: The Jon Benet Ramsey case, Dr. Reichs, I know we've all known about it. Now there's a case where we have a body.
REICHS: Yes that's...
KING: What do you think happened there? It's so many years ago.
REICHS: Gosh that's just not the kind of case an anthropologist would be involved in. We're usually brought in and we work with the body just as Dr. G. works with the body but we work with the body when it's become compromised because of the passage of time or elements, when it's decomposed or mummified or perhaps burned or just bones. So, in that case, you had a fresh body found very quickly after the time of death, so it really had been a case for a pathologist.
KING: All right, Dr. G.?
GARAVAGLIA: Oh, you know, the thing with talking about cases is that for a forensic pathologist we're into detail. We're into detail of everything that's happened to that body and I didn't examine Jon Benet. But I think it was quite clear from the forensic pathologist what had happened.
The problem is who did it and that's, you know, that's really not what the forensic pathologist does. I think the injuries were clear. It was just who did it? Who had access to her?
KING: Dr. Lee...
GARAVAGLIA: I think there's a lot we don't know though about that case that's never really been gotten out.
KING: Dr. Lee, were you brought in on that case?
LEE: Yes, I was brought in the case, into the case by at that time Boulder State Attorney Alex Hunter and the police chief. At their request, I went to Boulder six times and worked with the task force, FBI and numerous other investigators on the case.
It's an interesting case. Unfortunately, again, the crime scene is so important and any time a case is teamwork, like Kathy and her specialty forensic anthropology and Dr. G.'s specialty forensic pathologist, I'm a criminalist. We all have to work together and each of us have a certain expertise area.
KING: All right.
LEE: In that case...
KING: Why has that case -- why has that case gone nowhere apparently?
LEE: Because they did not bring all the experts together the first minute and it was about six hours they searched the crime scene and did not find the body. Of course, you miss the window of opportunities.
KING: Yes. Mary, you would be angry would you not if you were the prosecutor there and came upon the scene?
FULGINITI: Yes. I mean the difference there is the state versus the federal system. In the state system you have prosecutors that actually go to the crime scene whereas in the federal system that doesn't occur.
And here, yes, I mean they didn't really designate this house as a crime scene at first because they thought it was a kidnapping, which makes sense because there was a ransom note that was presented to the police. So, it wasn't until the father actually came upstairs with the corpse unfortunately did they realize, uh-oh, we've got a crime scene.
KING: Might that never be solved, Mark?
GERAGOS: Oh, I think that given this length of time that it's entirely possibly it will never be solved.
KING: You can get away with murder.
GERAGOS: Well, I don't know if you get away in the sense that you and I were talking before the show, certain people on their deathbed are racked with guilt and we've had situations where there's deathbed confessions that spring other people who have been wrongfully convicted. So, I don't know if you ever really get away with it.
KING: Most murders are murders of passion though aren't they?
GERAGOS: I think that that's probably a fair statement.
KING: Alcohol involved?
GERAGOS: I mean you always see alcohol. It's usually somebody you know. I mean that's why you see over Thanksgiving invariably every year you see somebody gets murdered at a family table over some argument that starts.
KING: The rarest murder is someone breaking into your house to rob something right?
FULGINITI: Yes. KING: That's the rare one.
FULGINITI: (INAUDIBLE) because that is the rarest murder. The people that favor gun control obviously argue that that isn't so rare but it is very rare.
KING: We'll take a break, come back and include your phone calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARAVAGLIA: Any charred body that's charred beyond recognition whether you think it's from foul play or accident you're going to do a complete x-ray of the body.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The x-rays immediately reveal several critical pieces of evidence inside each of the three bodies, bullets.
GARAVAGLIA: We found both medium caliber projectiles which appear to be 9mm and we found birdshot from a shotgun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But this discovery alone does not prove that gunfire killed the victims. Dr. G. must also determine if the wounds they caused were fatal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Forensics -- let's reintroduce the panel and then we'll go to calls. In New York, is Dr. Henry Lee, one of the world's foremost forensic scientist, distinguished professor, forensic science program, University of New Haven and host of CourtTV's "Trace Evidence: The files of Dr. Henry Lee."
In Charlotte, North Carolina, is Dr. Kathy Reichs, forensic anthropologist for the office of the chief medical examiner, state of North Carolina, and for the medical examiner's office in the province of Quebec. She's a "New York Times" best-selling novelist. Her most recent is "Cross Bones" and her novels are the basis for the T.V. series "Bones."
In Orlando, Florida, the well-known Dr. G., Dr. Jan Garavaglia. Dr. Garavaglia is the forensic pathologist, chief medical examiner for the District Nine Orange-Osceola medical examiner's office in Florida. The focus of "Dr. G. Medical Examiner," a highly-rated series on the Discovery Health Channel.
Mark Geragos is the well-known defense attorney. His clients have included Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, Susan McDougal. And Mary Fulginiti is the former federal prosecutor, served as assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles. And now in the practice of law.
Let's go to the calls. Houston, Texas, hello. CALLER: Yes. I'd like to ask them, the forensic person. I have a mother that committed -- supposedly committed suicide. But back in 1966, and the thing is, after I got the autopsy in '90-something, there were no counter burns on her hand and she was left-handed.
And when we took it to other people, they said there was no way that she could have killed herself. Now, how can her body be resumed and be proven that she did not commit suicide?
KING: Dr. G.?
GARAVAGLIA: Well, yes, you could exhume it. I think the first step is to definitely take that autopsy report, see if there's any pictures and have -- hire a forensic pathologist to review it first. There is, from the '60s, you are going to lose a lot of detail. And you would look to see -- you could still tell if it was a contact wound to the head or not or she didn't quite say.
KING: Are suicides, Dr. Lee, fairly easy in autopsy to ascertain?
LEE: Well, as a criminalist, we look at a different aspect of it. If a contact wound, we should see powder burns tattooing. Or so we should see back spatter on the weapon, tissues and blood spatter into the gun barrel.
In addition, we should look at any fingerprint on the gun. Or so we're going to look at the gunpowder GSR material on the hand. In addition to that, hair fragment, bone fragment, or tissue fragment, bullet splatter on the hand or the sleeves. All those you have to work together, add it together, try to determine exactly what had happened.
KING: Dr. Reichs, do you agree?
REICHS: I agree. It's a lot more difficult to do when you just have bones. You've got really to rely on physics in that case and try to reconstruct the fracture patterning caused by the entrance of the projectile.
KING: Have you ever dealt with suicides where you are retained by a party who didn't believe the person?
GERAGOS: Numerous times. It did exactly what was suggested. Hire -- you generally, the first thing you do is hire a forensic pathologist to take a look at it.
Also, take a look at the -- whatever the surrounding police reports are. Because a lot of times you can tell from there. And then usually get a hold of the clothes so the examinations that Dr. Lee was talking about can be conducted again.
KING: Have you had one yet?
FULGINITI: No, not a suicide.
KING: Corbin, Kentucky, hello?
CALLER: Yes. I was wanting to talk to -- well every one of them.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: But Henry Lee, I really watch you a lot and read on your computer. But I had a little boy that was shot and killed in '98, he was 14. But how long does it take to do a complete autopsy? And are they supposed to get rid of a gun that shoots people in a homicide case, this was a homicide case.
KING: All right, how long's an autopsy take, Dr. Lee?
LEE: Oh, you should ask Dr. G.
KING: All right, Dr. G., how long does an autopsy, a gun wound take?
GARAVAGLIA: Boy, I've had some gunshot wounds that may take eight hours and take my day. And some gunshot wounds, a single gunshot wound, distances, can be an hour autopsy, easy. So it really depends on the complexity of the case.
KING: Is the gun always saved, Dr. G.?
GARAVAGLIA: Well, it wouldn't be saved by me, but it certainly should be saved by the police agency for an extended period of time.
KING: Is it, Mary?
FULGINITI: Well, it should be saved. I mean, they should preserve all evidence there is possible.
FULGINITI: Yes, in fact it usually is. It usually isn't discarded and it's saved somewhere in the arsenals.
GERAGOS: Yes, most jurisdictions, they will be police detective, good protocol is, will go and attend the autopsy. Take also, if there's any ballistic evidence there, will take that and then have a good chain of custody and book it in evidence.
KING: Go ahead, doctor. Yes?
LEE: Mark point about -- excellent point of view. He's an excellent lawyer, too. Through a gunshot wound, we should at the scene, look at projectile, the bullet. Then we reconstruct trajectory to see whether or not this is a suicide or a homicide. And we can learn a lot by doing this trajectory analysis.
GERAGOS: Yes. Actually in most cases, that's one of the most important things you end up finding. At least in the murder cases that I've tried, the trajectory analysis, whether they use a wooden dowl or some other kind of a metal, you can get what the angles are. You can determine, in a lot of cases, it's the difference between a murder or a manslaughter, depending on whether or not the wounds are consistent with a struggle or not.
KING: Northbrook, Illinois, hello.
CALLER: Hi, how are you?
CALLER: This is for the attorneys. I was reading at the reform site, at blogspot.com, that perhaps in the Natalee Holloway case, the suspects can be administered a lie detector test. Otherwise, what other leads exist?
FULGINITI: Well, I think there's a lot that's happened in that case that we're not aware of. So, but I think they've gotten e-mail evidence. They've seized computers. They have debriefed a number of people.
And there's a number of other witnesses that have come forward who have claimed to have seen the boys that evening at certain times and they claim to have been home in bed. So there's a lot of other information that they've gathered.
Now, whether or not if, they've been able to finger anyone in particular and prove it beyond a reasonable doubt is another story. But with regard to lie detectors, whether or not -- in the United States, for example, you cannot compel somebody to take a lie detector test. So, it's very different.
GERAGOS: Yes, but the great thing about lie detector tests in the United States, at least in most jurisdictions, is if you take it and pass, the police generally move on.
KING: They do?
GERAGOS: Yes, they generally move on.
FULGINITI: You know, sometimes. But I think that definitely depends on the jurisdiction, it depends on the police, and it depends on what other evidence and information that they have.
KING: We'll take a break and be right back with more calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): The construction site becomes a crime scene. And the police call Dr. Kathy Reichs, a forensic anthropologist. While the police chase down leads, Reichs gathers her own evidence. Her manicured nails and gold necklace at odds with the physical evidence, offered by human remains. The sanitized trays for decomposing corpses and skeletons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: This is the University of Tennessee's research center, known as the body farm. It's the only place in the world devoted to studying human decay. Donated bodies are wrapped in plastic, laid on the earth, put under concrete, and buried in shallow graves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Watch the host lose it.
Dr. Reichs, tell us about Taylor Behl, the remains of a young Virginia student recently found buried in Virginia. You have this case. The challenges of dealing with a badly decomposed body and how a forensic expert determines that she was killed and how she was killed.
REICHS: Yeah. I've commented on this case. She was found in a shallow grave long enough that there was significant decomposition in the case. So the first step would have been identification to make sure it was in fact Taylor Behl, and then the second step would be to determine, if possible, cause of death.
Also, you want to look at anything included as you're excavating that grave. You'd want to just look at anything that doesn't belong there, anything that could give you information about where she might have been killed, or even when she might have been killed. Those would have been the primary roles of the anthropologist in that case.
KING: Dr. Lee, is it your opinion in the O.J. case that the prosecution never proved the DNA?
LEE: Yes, the DNA was found consistent with O.J. Simpson. As a matter of fact, it's O.J. Simpson's DNA, except some of the blood stains have EDTA in there. EDTA is a preservative, not a portion of circulation blood. It's in the test tube.
How that EDTA got there become a major problem, issue. And of course, now almost -- it's 10 years now. There are many new information come out. Initial, when we searched the scene, we noticed the possibility of a second person. Now, most of the investigator agree, and could be a second person involved (INAUDIBLE). One of the homicide detective for Los Angeles and -- Bill Dear recently wrote a book, and talk about new evidence revealed that some other individual was involved.
KING: Hope Mills, North Carolina, hello?
CALLER: Yes, good evening, Larry. Thanks for taking my call.
KING: Hi. CALLER: My father was kidnapped and murdered last year. And the autopsy was done. My question is, if blood samples and tissue samples were taken, can they go back and be tested now for, like, drugs, medication, things like that?
KING: Dr. Jan -- Dr. G.?
GARAVAGLIA: Yeah, would that be routine in an autopsy to remove blood and tissues for testing. You know, I hate to say this, but you know, death investigation around the United States is kind of a patchwork. And not all forensic medical examiners offices are up to snuff. But routinely, that should have been done, and that should have been tested. But you should still be able to go back and test.
KING: You mean you'll get better testing in New York City than you will in a small community in South Dakota?
GARAVAGLIA: No, not necessarily, if the person in South Dakota's well-trained. It is not -- it's really how much the community puts into the resources of the office. Unfortunately, there's some offices that have poorly trained people, and the community doesn't fund it well. And so, you're going to get some dubious answers from that office.
KING: How did the prosecution, Mark, lose the Michael Jackson case?
GERAGOS: I don't know how that case is ever filed. Because I know that I -- I went...
GERAGOS: I was there. You haven't seen the reports.
FULGINITI: Oh, Mark!
GERAGOS: I saw those reports. I went up and met with Sneddon on two occasions and had lunch with him down here as well. And we talked. And I told him based on the reports that I'd seen, this would have been a DA reject. Meaning the DA would not have filed in most jurisdictions. That was my opinion then and that is my opinion now. I don't think at any point, knowing what I knew about the accusers, that there was any chance.
KING: Were forensics ever involved in that?
GERAGOS: Yeah, there were all kind of forensics involved in that. And forensic searches that were done and then forensic evidence that they tried to develop. Everything ranging from fingerprints to DNA to saliva.
FULGINITI: Yeah, I disagree with you. I think those types of cases, child molestation cases, are inherently difficult to prove and to bring. But we have a law in California that does allow you to bring in other sexual acts or other sexual crimes.
GERAGOS: Yeah, but the problem is when your other sexual acts are by people who are -- when they march them into court say, no, it didn't happen. You have to say to yourself, what kind of a prosecution is this?
FULGINITI: Yeah, but those people didn't say no, it didn't happen.
GERAGOS: Yeah, they did. They did. Three of the witnesses -- they brought in the only other acts evidence that they brought in, with the exception of one gentleman, was of people who said, well, I saw this bathing suit, I saw these guys that were here, and what -- the defense brought in the actual supposed people that were supposedly molested. They said, no, it never happened.
KING: Let me check with Anderson Cooper. He's going to host "AC 360" at the top of the hour. Anderson, what's up tonight?
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC 360": Hey, Larry, thanks very much. Coming up at the top of the hour, it's been four months to the day since Hurricane Katrina. Four months, and you'd think after all this time, families would know where their lost loved ones are or at least wouldn't have to do their own searches for them. Tonight, shocking evidence that is not the case. A man fed up with excuses from state and federal authorities about what happened to his own mother, went down to New Orleans and today made a terrible discovery. He found his own mother's body, forgotten and abandoned. Larry, it is a tragic but telling story of what is still going on down there in New Orleans. We will take a look at that tonight on "360."
KING: How could something still be going wrong there?
COOPER: Every day. You know, it's another outrage. It is just incredible what has gone on down there. And you know, we're keeping the focus on it every night, trying to keep them honest.
KING: You sure are.
COOPER: It's unbelievable.
KING: Anderson Cooper at 10:00 Eastern, the top of the hour, with "AC 360." And we'll be right back with more. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: At the morgue, Dr. G.'s staff is multitasking. Along with the bodies, the Rangers have hauled in over 250 pounds of charred debris that must be scrutinized piece by piece.
At the same time, Dr. G. must perform three complex autopsies in order to discover the victim's identities and any clues leading to their killers. But first, she must try to answer the core question of any autopsy: What is the cause of death? In this case, the question itself is horrifying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Dr. Reichs, before we take our next caller, are you part of the team investigating the identification of people, victims of Katrina?
REICHS: I am a member of the DMORT System, which is Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Teams. And Katrina is in a different district from my team. I did go, however, with DMORT to 9/11, and I did a deployment in New York City following the Twin Towers.
KING: And how difficult are those kind of things?
REICHS: They're incredibly difficult. I think 9/11 was both physically and psychologically, the most difficult thing I've ever worked, just the massive scale of it.
And just -- although I think we were very lucky because the whole country wanted to be doing something, giving blood or giving shoes or blankets. We actually could get in and dig through the debris and look for -- look for remains. So, in a way, we were lucky, but it was very, very difficult.
KING: So then one can only imagine what the tsunami must be like?
REICHS: Yes, yes. And that's made even more difficult for identification purposes because you may not have dental records and the kinds of information that we used to get unidentified remains matched up with missing persons.
KING: Dental is key in a lot of areas, right?
REICHS: Yes. Dental is one of the first steps that you take.
KING: Washington D.C., hello.
CALLER: Yes, my name is June Everett (ph) and I was calling about my sister Sandra Kinley (ph), who just died at Hampton Regional Jail December the 18th. She was in prison wrongfully by INS. Now the coroner's cannot give us the cause of death. They says it's pending on her death certificate. And I'm wondering why would be this be taking us so long to get the cause of her death?
KING: What was the date the death?
CALLER: December the 18th.
KING: That's well over a month. Five weeks. Why, Dr. Lee?
LEE: Well, you know, a medical examiner probably look at all the result.
KING: I'm sorry, it's only 11 days ago, I thought it was a month ago. It's only 11 days ago. LEE: Well, they're waiting for toxicology report. Maybe the police reports. So the forensic laboratory may be looking at some reports. Medical examiner determine the manner of time, manner of the cause of the deaths basically, besides autopsy to have to look at other testing result.
KING: If they work, Mark, for the state and the state did something wrong in the jail, is the medical examiner apart from that?
GERAGOS: Well, you're supposed to be. And my experiences and the great majority of cases, they are. In fact, I know here in the state courts that the medical examiners and the pathologists go to great -- go to a great extent to try to keep themselves separate from the prosecution, much to the chagrin of the D.A's. A lot of time the D.A.'s hate having to call these pathologists because they don't tow the line, so to speak.
KING: You think he doesn't like D.A.'s?
FULGINITI: You know what he thinks, they're prosecutors. They're all just the devils incarnate.
GERAGOS: The prosecutor -- I was raised by a prosecutor, my father.
FULGINITI: Oh, you've been on the defense side way too long.
GERAGOS: Except he got smart and decided to go into the defense process.
KING: Bellaire, Ohio, hello?
CALLER: Hi, I'll make it very quick. I have a quick comment and then I'd like to be able to complete my thought. I think one of the biggest outrages that's ever happened is what the Boulder Police and society has done to John and Patsy Ramsey, and I wondered what can be done to keep the case alive? Within the last year, there was a documentary on CourtTV channel with a group of detectives, including Lou Smith. And they showed how the intruder got in.
KING: Yes, we had Lou Smith on.
CALLER: But they say it's too costly, there's no money to find who's DNA that is.
KING: Now why is this case not solved?
GERAGOS: You know, it's a tough situation. I agree with the caller wholeheartedly. I've had discussions with Lynn Wood about this. I think what happened...
KING: Lynn Wood, being the...
GERAGOS: Lynn Wood, who's been their civil lawyer and Hal Haddon, I think, was the criminal lawyer.
KING: Smith was the detective who believed they didn't do it.
GERAGOS: Yes. And by all indications, based on the discussions I've had with Lynn, there was no evidence that they did do it, yet they were crucified.
And fact of the matter is when people say why wasn't this solved. Henry brings up one of things, because they didn't bring the experts together initially. But one of the other problems is is when you start to focus in on one person of the exclusion of others, and in this case, the family members.
First, it was the father. Then it's the mother. Then it's the brother, you tend to dissipate your resources.
FULGINITI: You know, but it's my understanding, just for the caller's information, that based on some of the recent news reports that there's been a new investigator assigned to the case. And there has been some openings with regard to additional testing that's going to be done in that case.
KING: Let me get a break and we'll be right back with our few remaining minutes. Don't go away.
KING: Dr. G., what's been the effect of "CSI" on all of this?
GARAVAGLIA: We've been talking about how wonderful forensic science is, but those programs do tend to overdramatize it. And they do seem to think that there's some type of forensic magic for every case. And I'm in the trenches every day and a lot of our cases just don't have any forensic magic to them. And -- but yet they're expecting it.
I'm getting people arguing with me when I go it grand jury that they know forensic science because they watch it on "CSI." I have family members come in on cases that I've ruled accidental, that they think should be investigated as homicides because they've watched "CSI" and they think that they know forensic science now.
So it's making it very difficult. And then of course the juries are expecting much more forensic science than often is on a case.
KING: And cases don't take -- usually don't take more than an hour?
GARAVAGLIA: Yes. The woman that said that the case was pending, yes it could be pending for weeks to months. We don't figure it out necessarily if the first 50 minutes, like they do on TV.
KING: We only have 30 seconds. Has "Law & Order" and all these type of programs helped your profession?
GERAGOS: I don't know that they necessarily have.
KING: They win some, they lose some? GERAGOS: I don't know that it necessarily has. The "CSI" -- there is something called the "CSI" effect that prosecutors will talk about, and they actually voir dire the jury now on it, saying you're not going to hold me to this standard, are you? That we're going to solve this case. You're not going to tell me that there's got to be forensic evidence and I've got to kind of show it to you all the way around. I picked a jury last week where the prosecutor was asking potential jurors that.
FULGINITI: He's absolutely right. The problem is that "CSI" and other stories combine fact and fiction. And jurors nowadays are left with some false expectations and false impressions of what actually does occur in reality.
KING: You practice extraordinary at this medium.
KING: Thank you all very much for a fascinating hour. Tomorrow night we will take a look at the biggest losers. You know, the people who lost the most weight. Well, combined we've got people on close to 300 pounds they've lost. And then a lost session with Tony Robbins, as we look forward to 2006.
Right now, we look forward to 10:00 Eastern and "ANDERSON COOPER 360." He may have a smile on his face, but he's got a sad story to tell tonight -- Anderson.
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