Return to Transcripts main page
Nancy Grace for July 8, 2005, CNNHN
Aired July 08, 2005 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LISA PINTO, HOST: Tonight, who killed Shasta Groene`s family? Was Joseph Duncan III involved? And reports say the murder weapon was a hammer.
Also tonight, passion and murder in the suburbs. Dr. Not-So-Nyce claims he killed his young wife in self defense. Next week, a jury will decide if it was murder.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Lisa Pinto filling in for Nancy Grace. And I want to thank you for being with us.
Tonight, Dr. Jonathan Nyce is on trial for allegedly beating his young wife to death because she was sleeping with a landscaper. Juicy stuff from the suburbs.
But first, a new development out of Coeur d`Alene, Idaho. Reports say Shasta Groene`s family was killed with hammer, bludgeoned to death. And we`ll tell you more about the violent past of Shasta`s abductor, Joseph Duncan III.
But first, to Spokane, Washington, and KGA Radio News Director Dan Mitchinson who is on the phone.
Dan, what about this hammer? Has this been confirmed?
DAN MITCHINSON, KGA RADIO NEWS DIRECTOR: Well, up until today, we didn`t know too much about the type of weapon that was used. We had an idea it was blunt. It was probably heavy. And then in today`s "Coeur d`Alene Press," which is the local newspaper, they had unnamed sources saying that the children were killed with a hammer.
Now, the weapon hasn`t been found...
PINTO: The children or the adults, the mother? The mother and the boyfriend?
MITCHINSON: All three of them, Shasta`s mother, Shasta`s boyfriend and Dylan`s older brother.
PINTO: And have they found a hammer? Have the police tipped their hand?
MITCHINSON: No, the police have not found a hammer, and they`re not even saying whether or not that is the weapon. We`ve tried to contact the spokesperson for Kootenai County Sheriff`s Department, Ben Wolfinger. He says he hasn`t seen the report, so he can`t confirm or deny it.
PINTO: And let me ask you this. What about this little girl in Minnesota? There`s talk of a little girl who went missing in Minnesota and that the local sheriff says he`s looking at Joseph Duncan to see if there`s any connection.
MITCHINSON: I think the reason they`re doing that is because Duncan mentioned on his Web log that he was afraid he`d be blamed for the disappearance of the 5-year-old. And I believe her name is Leanna Warner. She was seen just over two years ago in June of 2003.
The police chief, Scott Erickson, he says that, you know, every community right now that has a missing child is probably going to try to connect Duncan to the disappearance.
PINTO: She went missing in 2004, actually, as far as I heard, and it`s very near to where he says on his Web site he went scuba diving.
But let me bring in Dr. Deltito who`s here in the studio with me, because there`s a lot of disturbing stuff on Joseph Edward Duncan. Looked at his Web site, which is now archived, and it is grandiose and self-serving. And he was scuba diving very near to where this little girl disappeared.
Dr. Deltito, have you looked at that Web site? What do you think?
DR. JOSEPH DELTITO, PSYCHIATRIST: I have. And I find it quite provocative for many reasons. I expected to find some sort of pseudo- sophisticated gibberish there. But actually it`s very well-written, it`s philosophically sort of concise and makes sense. And I think it does give us an...
PINTO: All right, what about that creepy footage, creepy footage of a Thanksgiving?
DELTITO: All of it is very creepy.
DELTITO: But it`s well-done, and it shows a cogent mind and a trained mind, someone who`s really philosophically thinking about things, according to me. The content is creepy and very disturbing.
PINTO: Dr. Deltito, more to creep you out. We did some research here at NANCY GRACE and we got court records on this guy, on Duncan, dating back, in which he says he used LSD, marijuana, barbiturates. That`s what he told a person in the pre-sentence report.
He also -- this is what Joseph Edward Duncan told a probation officer in his pre-sentence report. He says that he raped -- let me get this right -- 13 little boys by the age of 16. At 15, he said he raped a 9-year-old boy at gunpoint, that is he made him do oral sex. He cruised for victims. And he says, at 16, he tied up six -- six -- little boys and raped them.
Can you believe that this man was out free? Dr. Deltito, what does this tell you?
DELTITO: Tells me we should find the judge and maybe arrest him. I think that`s what most good Americans would think about this situation. How could this guy be out there to offend again? It`s preposterous.
Let`s go to Candice Delong, who`s with us in San Francisco. You know her. She`s a famous profiler, former FBI. Candice, good evening. What do you make of this background?
CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI AGENT PROFILER: Well, it doesn`t surprise me. I mean, the guy looks on the surface to be a, you know, fixated pedophile and probably a very sadistic one.
The offense that you mentioned that he committed at 16, the one that got him 20 years, had to have been extremely bad, probably was aggravated in some way for him to get a 20-year sentence. And now we`re finding out that he had, at least he says, he had raped several before that.
PINTO: Frightening. Candice, let`s go to Shasta and Dylan`s grandmother who is with us on the telephone.
Mrs. Torres, good evening.
DARLENE TORRES, GRANDMOTHER OF SHASTA GROENE: Good evening.
PINTO: Are you so angry as you hear more about this man, Duncan`s past?
TORRES: Oh, yes. He should have never been out.
PINTO: There is no reason for a man like this to be walking the streets. Not just the fact that he did this, but, you know, he had a juvenile record, too, Mrs. Torres. He stole a car. And he tried -- he was involved in a high-speed chase with the police. And then he tries to run over one of the police officers. What does that tell you, Mrs. Torres?
TORRES: That he should have never been out again on the streets to harm anybody.
PINTO: When you think of little Shasta with this man, what goes through your heart?
TORRES: Oh, it just -- it breaks my heart. It just sends chills through me. I can`t imagine, you know. You just can`t imagine.
PINTO: Oh, Mrs. Torres, I mean, how is she doing now? How is she today?
TORRES: She is a very strong little girl. She`s doing quite well. We`re all amazed on how good she is doing for what she has been through.
PINTO: I know she`s an outdoorsy little girl. Will she get to go camping and ride her bike this summer and do the things she likes best?
TORRES: I hope so. I`m hoping she will be able to.
PINTO: Well, Mrs. Torres, let go back to Candice Delong.
Candice, I want to think more about this man`s past. When you heard that he tried to run over a police officer, does that play into the sadism and the lack of respect for authority that you characterize in this man?
DELONG: Well, one thing that it certainly plays into -- I mean, he`s acting, you know, at a very young age like a hardened criminal. And at the age of 16, having enough confidence to get six boys against their will and hold them and tie them up and rape them, all the warning signs were there that this was someone who was not able to be helped by therapy and probably never should have been released. I`m guessing, in the state where he committed those offenses, I would imagine he couldn`t have gotten life.
PINTO: And back to my distinguished professor of psychiatry, Dr. Deltito, Doctor, when you hear that he "cruised for victims" what does that tell you about the opportunistic quality of his acts?
DELTITO: Well, he`s a predator. There`s no doubt that he`s a predator. And he has a horrible history. And again, I agree, that this is someone who society should have recognize needed to be sequestered, if not punished, just sequestered for safety from the rest of the population. There`s no doubt about that.
PINTO: And you know what bothers me? Let me bring in our reporter again on the telephone, Dan Mitchinson. Dan, the "Seattle Times" first reported about his records as a minor. My staff at NANCY GRACE here, Nancy`s staff, were able to find these public court records. Why did the judge in Minnesota not know this?
MITCHINSON: Well, I think that`s a question you`re going to have to ask him. I think everybody`s asking that same question.
PINTO: And what about the community? Where was the parole and probation? What`s the reaction in the Washington area and the Idaho area to the fact that apparently some people were asleep at the wheel?
MITCHINSON: Well, I think everybody`s outraged, but I think there`s also been a lot of hope here, the fact that they found one of these children after seven weeks. Nobody that I talked to expected them to find one of these children alive.
PINTO: You know, on the subject of doing some research, we looked at his travels around the area. I have a map here, Dusty.
In putting together his Web site, in my opinion, if this was my case, what I would be doing, I would be looking at his movements based from his Web site. He tells us that he went to Lake Crosby in Minnesota. The allegations out of Minnesota are just a little way away from there in Detroit Lakes, another lake area.
We know that he says in his blog he traveled 45 minutes from Fargo. Well, 45 minutes gets you to the vicinity of Detroit Lakes. Then you have the fact that this little girl is missing from Chisholm, Minnesota. That`s another few hundred miles away, also not so far from Crosby, Minnesota.
This is what I would be investigating, if I was one of the police in this case, looking for gas receipts and so forth. Dan Mitchinson, what do you know that the police are doing at this point?
MITCHINSON: Well, they`re waiting on the results for the DNA testing. You know, they were at the Lolo National Forest, which is near St. Regis, Montana. There`s over 2 million acres of forest. They found those remains.
We were hoping to have those back sometime today. But it looks like, according to some investigators that we talk to earlier today...
PINTO: Dan, that`s the pressing question we`ll address after the break, is Dylan alive?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMBER DEAHN, WAITRESS WHO REPORTED SHASTA: I came back from my break. And always, when I come back from a break, I always check my section to see if there`s anybody new. She looked familiar. And any child that comes in after 2:00, especially at Denny`s or any child I see, I automatically think of the Groene children.
And I went to look at our poster that we have up. And it wasn`t up, so I didn`t have a picture to go off of. And I mentioned it to my manager, Linda Olsen (ph), that, you know, maybe we should pay more attention to this little girl.
And between Linda and I both, we finally decided that we need to call the officers, and have them come down, and have them verify whether or not it was her. But we were pretty sure it was her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: I`m Lisa Pinto, sitting in for Nancy Grace. And that was a waitress -- one of the brave people who called 911 to find Shasta Groene. I`m sure none of your kids are out at 2:00 in the morning at Denny`s or elsewhere. I`m sure mine certainly aren`t.
Let`s go back to the issue of Dylan. Is Dylan alive? I have with me on the telephone Dan Mitchinson, KGA News director. Dan, when will we get the DNA results from these remains in Montana?
MITCHINSON: I think investigators were hoping to have them today. They`re back at Quantico right now. But they said more than likely, we`ll probably know sometime Monday or Tuesday.
PINTO: And what was the motive? What are the police saying to you about the motive for this crime? Why did he pick this family?
MITCHINSON: It was random. Sheriff Rocky Watson said he believes the motive was to acquire both those children for sex.
PINTO: Oh, Mrs. Torres, this must just break your heart. Are you still with us?
TORRES: oh, yes.
PINTO: Now, when did you last see Shasta?
TORRES: I`ve seen her last night. My daughter just came from there just a little bit ago, and she`s doing quite well. She`s a very strong girl. She is holding up better than any of us could ever imagine.
PINTO: What`d she say to you when she saw her grandma?
TORRES: Oh, she was pleased to see all of us.
PINTO: I have Dr. Deltito here, who`s a professor of psychiatry. And I want to talk to him about Shasta`s future and how she can recover from this ordeal.
Doctor, what do you recommend? How does she overcome this trauma?
DELTITO: The most important thing is the management and her environment by the people who are taking care of her. Much more than any kind of talking with any kind of therapist is going to be.
The most important thing is to get her back to her pre-trauma level of functioning, riding bikes, seeing friends, going to school. What you don`t want to have happen, which often happens in these cases, is that people decide to make her into the poster girl for victimized children.
That`s not to say she wasn`t terribly victimized, horribly victimized, but you don`t want to make a made-for-TV movie with her, or write a book, get her on TV. You don`t want that. You want her to get back to a normal, child-like existence that so she could not identify herself as only a victim.
PINTO: Doctor, I listened to Mrs. Torres and the aunt, Sue Torres. This is a loving family, a dad who`s so happy to have her back. I mean, that`s got to be a good start.
DELTITO: It sounds like a good start. It sounds like the kid is resilient, as best as we know right now. And hopefully there will be a good outcome.
PINTO: Quickly, let me bring in my legal panel on the issue of Shasta on the witness stand. She`s got some -- unfortunately, she`s got some tough times ahead of her, if this case goes to trial. We`ve got a hearing July 19th. I don`t think she`ll have to testify there, but she would have to testify in the trial on the kidnapping charge.
My fear is that, in a case like this -- let me bring in Lisa Wayne -- Lisa, what do you have to go after here?
LISA WAYNE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, obviously, her perceptions and what did she actually see, what can this child remember, what did she hear was going on. I mean, she is the key witness, in terms of what actually happened in that house.
And there`s no reason for any defense attorney to actually attack this little girl and go after her. But clearly, her perceptions and what she heard, that`s going to be a big part, if this case ever goes to trial.
PINTO: And Joe Episcopo, have you seen the police report? There was one thing in there for me that was a red flag, and that`s the word "ligature," because 8-year-old girls don`t use words like that. And I know you would attack that word.
JOE EPISCOPO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, of course, but you don`t attack. That`s not the word to use. You talk softly, and you approach the witness as someone who is a child who has been through a traumatic experience, and you try to create reasonable doubt, which is the job that every defense attorney does.
PINTO: One of my fears, Joe -- and you know, you`ll probably argue this is zealous representation -- but often, when I presented child witnesses, if they didn`t behave the way the jury expected, they would acquit.
I don`t think that`s the case here. But certainly, jurors have an idea about how children react to traumatic situations.
EPISCOPO: I think they do have an idea of how it is, and they`re obviously going to be looking to see if it`s consistent. But you know, there`s a lot of evidence here. This is not a tough case to prove. It`s a slam-dunk for the prosecution. The defense job here is to keep him off death row.
PINTO: Well, good luck with that. If it`s true, that the allegations of homicide are true, I hope he gets the needle. Unfortunately, the firing squad is only reserved when the needle`s not available.
Quickly, we at NANCY GRACE want desperately to help solve unsolved homicides and find missing people. Tonight, take a look at Georgina Dejesus. Fifteen-years-old, she disappeared from Cleveland, Ohio, on April 2, 2004.
If you have any information on Georgina Dejesus, please contact the Cleveland Police Department at 216-621-1234 or visit beyondmissing.com. Please help us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE GROENE, SHASTA AND DYLAN`S FATHER: I want to start out by thanking the community and certainly even the nation for all the support and certainly all the gifts to Shasta. I`d like to say that Shasta`s doing well, which, you know, that`s certainly more than we could have hoped for. She`s very upbeat, seems to be pretty healthy, and she`s really glad to be home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: I`m Lisa Pinto, sitting in for Nancy Grace. That was Shasta`s daddy, Steve Groene.
Let me go back to Joe Episcopo who was talking about the death penalty. Give me one mitigating factor here. Why shouldn`t this guy get a needle in the arm? I don`t see it, Joe.
EPISCOPO: Well, one thing you always do is you go and have his brain examined to see if he has a brain problem. That`s the latest thing that you`re hear in all these death penalty cases. And if you don`t do it, it can result in a reversal of the case.
PINTO: What are you talking about, defense by CAT scan or MRI?
EPISCOPO: No, you said mitigation.
PINTO: This guy has been a sadist since he was a little boy, who`s been preying on the weak. He`s a sadist. We heard he burns, he tortures. There is nothing to save here. No empathy.
EPISCOPO: Well, you just made the case from the defense. Obviously, the guy has been sick from the day he was born. And that`s a mitigating factor. You have to raise it, or it`ll reverse the case.
PINTO: No way. He knew right from wrong. He derived pleasure out of it. He tried to evade detection. He didn`t register as a sex offender. He hid from the police.
EPISCOPO: Lisa, it`s not an insanity defense. You talked about mitigation in sentencing. Knowing right from wrong is not an issue in sentencing.
PINTO: There is no -- I cannot believe you can argue brain scans, MRIs, abuse in his childhood. There is no jury that is going to let him off here.
EPISCOPO: Lisa, listen to me. You have to argue it. It`s a requirement. The appellate courts are looking for that.
PINTO: Fine. But I still don`t think it`s going to rise to the level of overcoming a needle.
EPISCOPO: You know, if you don`t do it, you`ll have to do the sentencing over again.
PINTO: Well, quickly to Candice Delong. Candice, I have here a resume for someone that I wouldn`t hire: Joseph Duncan III. He tells us that he`s a go-getter and he`s looking for a job in the southern coastal region. Have you seen this resume, Candice?
DELONG: No, I haven`t. But I agree with you. He`s a go-getter, all right.
PINTO: Yes, he`s pretty motivated. And you know what`s interesting, Candice, in this resume is that it stops at 1999. Wonder what he was doing before? Oh, I know. He was in jail. That`s right.
Dr. Deltito, what did you make -- you saw this resume. What do you make of it?
DELTITO: Actually, the resume is written in a very different style than his other writings. And I believe probably someone else wrote this, because it`s full of, like, jailhouse lingo in a way that he doesn`t add in his other writings, which are obviously from himself. But if you read it, you would think this is a fine, upstanding person you`d want to hire as a computer technician or something like that.
PINTO: And you contrast that with the picture we`re seeing on the screen, unshaven or jailbird look. And in this picture, he`s got clean- cut hair and he`s in a coat and tie.
Lisa Wayne talked about mitigation. What about bail? What argument could you make with a straight face about reducing his bail? I know the public defender`s going to try that on the 19th.
WAYNE: Well, I don`t know if the public defender is going to try that. I think I agree with Joe. I mean, you`re looking at a situation where you want mitigation. I mean, people don`t just turn into these kind of people from a clean slate.
There`s a history there with this guy. And that is what the death penalty is about, it`s about jurors being able to look at the whole person and take that into consideration. You may not like it, Lisa, but that`s the law and that`s this country.
PINTO: When you say a history, that implies as family that was cruel...
WAYNE: That`s probably true. That`s probably true.
PINTO: But have you seen the pictures from his Web site where he is pictured among a very happy group of people -- don`t know if they`re his family -- but it`s called "Thanksgiving at Jen`s." And he`s surrounded by smiling faces and little children. One of the little children is in his lap, and then there`s a picture of pumpkin pie. So it sounds to me like he has a group of people who support him. It looked to me...
WAYNE: Well, that may be very true, but we know with these type of people, with pedophiles, that there is abuse in their family. There is abuse in their history. And again, you just don`t become this way. And so that`s what a death penalty case is about, if he`s looking at the death penalty. I mean, we don`t know that at this point.
PINTO: Well, they have 30 days to decide after the hearing, I guess.
WAYNE: That`s right. That`s right.
PINTO: Dr. Deltito, what do you think? Do you agree with that?
DELTITO: No, I don`t, because in this sense, that we don`t really know right now where pedophilia comes from. And although there`s more than a statistical relationship that you`d find in the normal population of people having been abused themselves as children, in most cases you don`t see that.
So there`s more than in the normal population. And it`s not like we know in psychiatry and in child development, exactly where this comes from. I`d also like to say that it`s clear from his writing that this guy is not a sociopath. This is not a guy who does not have empathy or feel guilty. In fact, he seems obsessed with issues of crime and punishment, transgression, sin, God, Satan.
PINTO: You`re talking about his blog, right, with the (INAUDIBLE) reference?
DELTITO: This is a guy who`s obsessed with right and wrong, not someone who can`t appreciate it. This is a guy who appreciates right and wrong too much and sounds like he`s tortured by it.
PINTO: And goes scuba diving in his spare time.
DELTITO: Goes scuba diving in his spare time. But you don`t know how much of that is even the family at Thanksgiving, maybe the family that he wants to portray to his future employers.
DELTITO: We don`t know that those people don`t exist. They might just be what he wants to put out as his image of himself.
PINTO: But he was in a picture with these people. We saw him on that Web site.
DELTITO: Right, but you don`t know exactly -- yes, you think it`s all one family dinner, but you don`t know. It would be interesting to find out.
PINTO: Well, next week, we`ll get DNA results from the body found in Montana. And hopefully, it will be good news. We`ll be right back after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GROENE: There`s been so many times I`ve seen the local news put out the bulletins about sex offenders being released into the community. And they`re described as level-three sex offenders with a high likelihood to re-offend.
That`s unacceptable. People need to get on their congressmens, their senators, and even the president to -- this needs to change now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANUEL DEJESUS, MICHELLE NYCE`S LOVER: You said you (INAUDIBLE) keep my wife for my wife? You don`t do that (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: I`m Lisa Pinto, sitting in for Nancy Grace.
That was Manuel DeJesus. We`ve turned how to the story of Dr. Not- So-Nyce, as I call him, a suburb in New Jersey, he`s alleged to have killed his wife, his younger wife, beaten her to death upon discovering that she had an affair with the man you just saw.
Let me turn first to Lisa Wayne, defense attorney. Lisa, self- defense is what they`re arguing here. You know, they claim there`s a knife. There was no knife. Her head was smashed into the concrete floor of the garage. How can that be justifiable? How can that be proportionate to an attack from a smaller woman?
LISA WAYNE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it sounds like, what from what the defense attorney was arguing, is that this is provocation, so that there was some kind of confrontation based upon him finding out about this affair. He was enraged as a result of that. It became very volatile. There`s pushing and shoving. He pushes her back, and ultimately, she`s killed.
WAYNE: And so I think that`s the self-defense, is it goes along with the provocation, and this is not murder...
PINTO: So I get it! Your wife...
WAYNE: ... it`s manslaughter.
PINTO: Your wife cheats on you, so you beat her head in, stuff her in the Jeep and wheel her into the creek?
WAYNE: No, I...
PINTO: Is that (INAUDIBLE)
WAYNE: No. In fact, that`s not exactly what he said, Lisa. What he said is that there was a fight, and he agrees that he pushes her. He head gets smashed, and he agrees that that happened. And then he covers it up out of desperation. He freaks out. He`s...
PINTO: But it wasn`t just one hit there, Lisa.
WAYNE: Well, there -- no, that...
PINTO: It was over and over, and her spleen was hurt.
WAYNE: That`s disputed evidence. The prosecution has an expert, the defense has an expert, and it`s going to be up to the jury to decide who they believe, but that`s...
PINTO: I`m not buying it!
WAYNE: ... disputed forensic evidence.
PINTO: Let`s turn to Jonathan Miller, "New York Times" correspondent, been on this story from the beginning. Where are we in the trial, Jonathan?
JONATHAN MILLER, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, right now, the trial is wrapped up. It has gone to the jury. There will be closing arguments on Monday. And at this point, the jury is going to have to decide precisely who they`re going to believe.
And let me just jump in, as far as the self-defense issue is concerned. The defense itself is walking a very fine line in this, and they`re trying to argue that it`s an accident, that what happened in this case was he threw her down to the ground, but did not mean to. And the defense attorney in this case is saying that self-defense -- even the jury won`t buy it because of, you know, the fact that she...
PINTO: I`ve got to agree with you there, Jonathan. If he`s convicted, what sentence is he looking at in New Jersey?
MILLER: They`re going to have a potpourri of charges to consider. There`s going to be murder. There will be manslaughter, reckless manslaughter and what`s called passion provocation...
MILLER: ... which, you know, is what you`re talking about a little bit, that he was enraged and that he acted upon that in that way. Thirty years to life for the most.
PINTO: Let me turn to Dr. Deltito, professor of psychiatry. Doctor, this is a man who had a much younger wife. Some allege it was a mail-order bride from the Philippines. He`d lost his job. His company was falling apart. His house was for sale. He finds out his wife is cheating. What`s going on in this guy`s head?
DR. JOSEPH DELTITO, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, whatever`s going on in his head, there are some things to suggest this guy might be a little more vulnerable to go over the top and react with rage because there`s some sense of this narcissistic thread that runs through him, a guy who needs a much younger wife, who needs a mail-order bride or a so-called trophy wife, a guy who`s lost his job, yet -- he`s losing his house, but he gets a Hummer. You know, he has the external accoutrements of someone who`s wealthy, but then he loses it. And we don`t know what she said to him. So I think he`s a guy who was set up to really react with rage, as he did.
PINTO: Dr. Deltito, I think Liz has a sound bite of the good doctor himself talking. Is that right, Liz?
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JONATHAN NYCE, CHARGED WITH BEATING WIFE TO DEATH: It was just, you know, just, you know, just a straight stab right up my neck. And she would -- I mean, if I hadn`t moved, she would have gotten me all the way through. She just flew out and hit with a sickening thunk on the -- hit her head on the pavement. When I came back, she was trying to flail, and I pushed her back down.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
PINTO: Joe Episcopo, a knife? This woman was about half his size. There was no knife recovered from the scene. Are you going to get a jury to buy that?
JOE EPISCOPO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think you might get the passion provocation conviction. Obviously, murder`s the thing you`re fighting against here. He`s not going to get off completely. But you know, I was surprised by Jayson Williams, you know, the basketball player that shot his limo driver. I thought he`d get convicted of reckless manslaughter, and they were hung on it. So these New Jersey jurors are hard to figure out.
PINTO: Careful! Half this crew lives in New Jersey.
EPISCOPO: Hey, what can I say?
PINTO: But Joe, one question, you know, on this passion issue. She was cheating on him. I mean, there`s another witness that didn`t testify, apparently, a guy called Paul Everton (ph), whose number she had. Are we looking at a Bonnie Bakley situation? I don`t know she`s - - I mean, all right, she cheated. Not ideal, but you don`t deserve to die over that.
EPISCOPO: No, I wouldn`t compare this to the Blake case. He hated her from day one. I think this man cared about his wife at one time, but I think it got to the point where he accidentally killed her, but then he tried to cover it up. And you know, that messes up his defense. He`s going to pay the price for that.
PINTO: Now, Lisa, do you know about this, two witnesses that didn`t testify, one the prosecution wanted, one the defense wanted.
PINTO: The sister, the wife`s sister, was going to say, allegedly, that he knew she was -- that is, the wife was sleeping with someone. I think she should have been allowed to testify. What do you think?
WAYNE: Right. I mean, that would have been detrimental to the defense, there`s no question, because the prosecution`s going to argue that he was on notice, that this wasn`t a sudden heat of passion...
WAYNE: ... that, in fact, he knew about it for quite some time. And that would have really hurt them a lot. And for whatever reason, the judge made a decision that that wasn`t going to come in. But then - - you know, then you have the defense wants to bring in and dirty up the water with this other guy that she approaches at the mall and apparently is flirting with, and they want to bring that in, as well, and the judge says no.
PINTO: Oh, boy, that entitles you to a death sentence!
Listen, Jonathan Miller, how does -- what does the jury think of this victim so far? What are you reading?
MILLER: Yes, this is a tough one. The jury, I think, has seen a lot of very graphic autopsy photos, and they cringed when they saw it. A lot of them had to look away. And I think that that was a very powerful part of the testimony. I think, though, in other parts, they may be sympathetic to Jonathan Nyce. And that is -- this is -- this is a very...
PINTO: Sympathetic! What is there to like about this guy?
MILLER: Now, this is the thing. There are a lot of people on this jury who are very educated. One of them, in fact, is a pharmaceutical worker, who was on the jury, very surprisingly. And that may play a part in it. Who knows.
PINTO: Because Dr. Nyce ran a pharmaceutical company, was trying to develop an asthma drug, is that right?
MILLER: Correct. Correct.
PINTO: A drug that never panned out.
Let me go back to Joe Episcopo. Joe, the heat of passion defense and -- what about the fact that this doctor put the woman`s body in a Jeep...
EPISCOPO: I know.
PINTO: ... steered the Jeep into a creek...
EPISCOPO: I know.
PINTO: ... and then tried to pin it on the landscaper until they found his footprint, Dr. Nyce`s footprint, by the car. I mean, if it`s self-defense, you call the police and say, Look, I was just defending myself.
EPISCOPO: Oh, I agree. The cover-up takes that away from him. He`s not going to get acquitted because of that. If he had done the thing correctly, had called the police and said it was an accident, he`d have a shot. He may not have been charged.
PINTO: I`m wondering -- I`m wondering, you know, these men that kill their wives while their children -- or allegedly kill their wives while their children are sleeping in the house -- what kind of a man does that, Dr. Deltito?
DELTITO: It`s a man who isn`t thinking at the moment about his children sleeping in the house, who`s caught up in the moment. And we don`t know what this woman said or did to him or what he said to her or whatever. We know that there was some conflagration of passion here, probably, a man who isn`t thinking of the moment, who`s blinded by this sort of rageful passion.
PINTO: Let`s hear what the prosecutors had to say, Elizabeth. Do you have one of that -- one of their sound bites? The Mercer County prosecutors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BOCCHINI, MERCER COUNTY PROSECUTOR: The defendant indicates that he pulled her from the car, and then as -- he smashed her head to the garage floor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: More on murder in the suburbs after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DORIS GALUCHIE, ASST. PROSECUTOR: Picture this, if you will. Michelle`s dead body is actually placed in the driver`s seat of the car by the defendant. He sits in the passenger seat, leaning over her, steering the car and operating the gas and brake pedals with a long ice scraper. It was difficult for him to do this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NYCE: (INAUDIBLE) and this -- what happened was a pure accident.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: Pure accident, so he says, Dr. Nyce! I`m Lisa Pinto, sitting in for Nancy Grace. More on the Dr. Nyce trial in New Jersey. Jury gets the case next week.
Back to my legal panel. Lisa Wayne, did you hear about the lover`s background, that he used AKAs, that he was Manuel DeJesus, Manuel Castanera (ph), Manuel Nosequen (ph), that he was a deadbeat dad, he hadn`t paid his child support. You`d be all over this in court, wouldn`t you?
WAYNE: Well, you know, it goes to his credibility. And there was some suggestion that, you know, she knew about these things, that the doctor actually had some concerns about him -- her being around this guy, that he was concerned about his family and the children because this guy had been in the house and who knows what else.
PINTO: Oh, please! He was a gardener! He was watering the plants!
WAYNE: Well, no, that wasn`t the evidence, though. I mean, they were lovers, and that`s the bottom line.
PINTO: Yes, but...
WAYNE: And that`s the evidence in the case.
PINTO: Yes, but he didn`t hurt anybody, didn`t extort anybody, as Dr. Nyce would have us believe.
To Jonathan Miller. Jonathan, I understand there`s a little appellate issue brewing here, something to do with the jury visiting the creek and then chatting among themselves, despite the judge telling them not to.
MILLER: Well, not necessarily appellate issue, but the judge had taken them on a tour because he wanted them to get a better idea of what the location looked like. There had been a lot of pictures that didn`t seem to maybe give a -- you know, the right kind of look to it. Now, he had told the jurors not to speak among themselves and that he was not going to give them any instructions.
What I reported in "The New York Times" today was that he did speak with one of the jurors when they asked him -- the quote was, These pictures don`t necessarily -- are somewhat deceptive or deceiving, and he nodded and said yes. Now, you know, whether that...
PINTO: Let me ask Joe Episcopo.
MILLER: ... this is an issue or not...
PINTO: Joe, is that a problem? Are you going to be all over that on appeal?
EPISCOPO: No, because it seems to help the defense. How can you worry about an appeal if it helps the defense? It`s harmless error.
PINTO: Well, what about the fact that -- remember the Scott Peterson case? Don`t rock the boat, they said, and those jurors were trying out that boat, and we heard about it, and we know it`s going to be an appellate issue in Scott`s case.
EPISCOPO: That was a completely different issue because the defense wanted to put in a demonstration, and the judge would not allow it. And then the jurors went and did their own demonstration. That`s significantly different.
PINTO: Joe, do you think this guy is sympathetic in any way, Dr. Nyce? Could you make an argument in closing arguments that somehow makes this guy likable?
EPISCOPO: In fact, in listening to his testimony, he`s soft- spoken. He`s accomplished. He`s done some great things in his life. He`s a doctor. You know, he gets the presumption of innocence that most of my clients don`t get. And certainly, that guy Duncan in Idaho isn`t going to get a presumption of innocence.
PINTO: Well, you make a good point. Dr. Deltito, a man -- does he kill his wife in the heat of passion, or was he planning this ahead of time?
DELTITO: To me, it seems it was probably the heat of passion. And I don`t know if he necessarily wanted to kill her, as opposed to beat her up. I don`t know the answer to that. But that`s the burden of proof that`s here, and hopefully, the defense will try to get some lesser included.
PINTO: In answer to your question, I understand those autopsy pictures show a lot of trauma to the head and body, Jonathan. Sounds like he did have the intent to kill her.
MILLER: Well, now, there are very different views from different medical examiners. The medical examiner for the county was saying that there were repeated blows to the head, blows shown to the abdomen, defensive wounds to the hands and the arms. What the defense...
PINTO: Wait. Who had defensive wounds?
MILLER: This is Michelle...
MILLER: ... who had defensive wounds on her hands and arms. But what...
PINTO: She was attacking, allegedly, Dr. Nyce, and she has defensive wounds. OK.
MILLER: Right. Well, now, the -- but what the defense`s pathologist claimed was that some of these wounds could have conceivably come just with a single fall to the head, and that some of the wounds that were found on the abdomen are consistent sometimes with steering wheel injuries.
PINTO: Jonathan, how much did that expert get an hour to testify to that effect?
MILLER: I`m sorry?
PINTO: How much was that expert paid an hour just to make -- to testify to that effect?
MILLER: He`s charging, I believe $350 an hour.
PINTO: Oh. Oh, OK, Sounds -- sounds like a good rate there. Quickly, to my panel, Lisa Wayne would you argue in closing argument? What argument could you make here?
WAYNE: Well, the argument is, here`s a guy who`s lived his life in a good way, that`s been a decent, upstanding citizen, who clearly loved this woman, who has three children. There`s no history of this, that this is a guy who simply...
PINTO: Despite that he brought her from...
WAYNE: He was pushed past his limits. I mean, this is a guy who, because of manipulation, lies and betrayal, even the most reasonable people lose it. And that`s what happened to this guy.
PINTO: Oh, you are so persuasive! But the guy got her from -- I mean, made her come from the Philippines at 20. She has her first child in her early 20s, and then he does this to her?
WAYNE: Oh, we don`t know that.
WAYNE: We don`t know that.
PINTO: That`s what`s alleged.
One thing that really strikes me about this story is that there you are in an affluent suburban neighborhood, and this is going on in the garage next door. Could be any of our neighborhoods across America.
Finally, to Jonathan Miller, what verdict are you anticipating?
MILLER: Oh, Lord! You know, that`s tough to call. I think they`re -- you know, we could -- we could see anything. Murder might be difficult. There`s a lot of issues that are, you know, there that the defense has brought up, that may be difficult for the prosecution to get a murder conviction. I think, you know, you`ll see maybe something a little lower than that.
PINTO: Let`s see what the prosecutor had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GALUCHIE: Michelle finally told the defendant that she was leaving him. She went so far as to pack a suitcase during their argument. She brought the suitcase into the garage of their home. She tried to get the suitcase into her car.
She was never able to leave the defendant. She may have tried to get into the car, but the defendant yanked her out of the car. The defendant grabbed Michelle and threw her down onto the concrete, smashing her skull.
BOCCHINI: You had the blood-stained towels. You had the blood stains on the garage floor. You had blood stains leading up the steps inside the home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: Joe Episcopo, that`s a lot of blood for self-defense. And how come he stuffed those rags down in the cellar, if it was just either a crime of passion or self-defense?
EPISCOPO: I think he`s going to come back with a passion provocation manslaughter and tampering with evidence. I don`t believe he`s going to be acquitted.
PINTO: Let me ask you this, Jonathan Miller. The sister flew out from the Philippines. I`m sensitive to government budgets. They housed her for two months. They had her ready to testify. She didn`t get to take the stand. What happened?
MILLER: Well, in this case, it was -- the prosecution flew her out for $1,600, kept her up in a motel. She was going to testify and tell the jury that she had spoken with Jonathan Nyce in December of 2003. Now, the issue, which was alluded to earlier, was that he had told her and asked her about Alexander Castaneda (ph), Miguel DeJesus, all these names, and that the jury would be then maybe be able to conclude that he knew, again, that she was taking up this affair and that would lead to premeditation...
PINTO: Final words for the doctor. Premeditation, you think, because he staged the -- because he hid the rags and staged the car in the creek?
DELTITO: No, I think he`s a smart enough guy that if he really premeditated it, he wouldn`t have left bloody footprints in the snow going back to the house from where he left the car in the creek, so -- and the fact that...
PINTO: That wasn`t brilliant.
DELTITO: And the fact that she shows up with a suitcase...
PINTO: That wasn`t brilliant. Self-defense or murder. Dr. Nyce`s jury will decide that next week. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBIN LORD, NYCE`S ATTORNEY: This was a tragic and unfortunate accident by a woman who was being confronted for having a sexual liaison.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: I`m Lisa Pinto, in for Nancy Grace. The death toll in London is now more than 50, with over 700 wounded. As we close out the week, a look back at the tragedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEN LIVINGSTONE, MAYOR OF LONDON: The (INAUDIBLE) you free. The people who have come to London, all races, creeds and colors have come for that, and that is what the bombers seek to destroy. They fear that freedom. They fear a world in which the individual makes their own life choices and their own moral value judgments. That`s what they seek to snuff out. But they will fail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The smell of smoke, people panicking, and people starting to calm down, people wanting to get to the back of the train, away from the danger area, but there was nowhere for them to go. Then they took us off the train and made us walk all the way back past it all -- dead bodies on the tracks.
QUEEN ELIZABETH: Those who perpetrate these brutal acts against innocent people should know that they will not change our way of life. Atrocities such as these simply reinforce our sense of community.
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The purpose of terrorism is just that, it is to terrorize people. And we will not be terrorized. When they try to intimidate us, we will not be intimidated. When they seek to change our country or our way of life by these methods, we will not be changed. When they try to divide our people or weaken our resolve, we will not be divided and our resolve will hold firm.
LIVINGSTONE: London continues to run. And I say to those who planned this dreadful attack, whether they`re still here in hiding or somewhere abroad, watch next week as we bury our dead and mourn them. But see also in those same days, new people coming to the city to make it their home, to call themselves Londoners, and doing it because of that freedom to be themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINTO: Thanks to all my guests tonight. Remember, all our talk is meaningless if you`re not listening, watching and participating in this debate on criminal justice.
I`m Lisa Pinto. I`m signing off to go have my baby. Nancy`s back Monday. Thanks a lot. This has been a fun show. It`s a great honor. Thanks a lot, Nancy. Good night.