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Louisiana AG Orders Autopsies of 50 Memorial Medical Patients; Susan Polk Goes on Trial
Aired October 14, 2005 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news out tonight of New Orleans -- an alleged angel of death. Did a string of mercy killings go down in one of Louisiana`s biggest hospitals? Tonight, we do know that the Louisiana attorney general has ordered autopsies on nearly 50 patients at Memorial Medical to find out the truth.
Also tonight: Nearly 13 years ago, an 11-year-old Girl Scout kidnapped, assaulted, killed. Thirteen years later, is justice playing out in a Pennsylvania courtroom?
And tonight: A legal battle rages in a California courtroom, a woman on trial for the stabbing death of her psychologist, who turned her lover, who turned her husband.
Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. Thank you for being with us tonight.
Tonight: At just 15, she was his psychotherapy patient, then his lover, then his wife, then his killer, say California prosecutors. Did Susan Polk stab her husband to death for his multi-million-dollar estate? Self-defense or murder? Their own two sons could seal their mother`s fate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN POLK, ON TRIAL FOR KILLING HER HUSBAND: I kicked him as hard as I could in his groin, and at the same time, I reached up for the knife. And his hand loosened, and I pulled it out. I said, Stop, I have the knife. And he didn`t stop. And I stabbed him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And tonight, an 11-year-old Girl Scout, dressed for Halloween, heads home from a Scout party but never made it. Finally, nearly 13 years to today, her alleged killers stand trial.
But first tonight, breaking news. Did New Orleans Memorial Medical Center doctors, nurses and administrators openly and repeatedly discuss mercy killing? And more important, did an angel of death stalk the halls of the hospital?
Straight out to CNN correspondent Sean Callebs, standing by. Sean, what`s the latest?
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we`re talking about happened just a couple of days after the hurricane, after the levee broke and New Orleans became quite chaotic. The conditions in the hospital now have been told over and over. There was no power. Temperatures soared above 110 degrees Fahrenheit. All kinds of problems. There were at least 180 patients in there, and close to 1,000 people just trying to find comfort in there, as well.
Now, we talked to a number of doctors, and they say they prepare for disasters like this. They knew this hurricane was coming. So they thought that this would last maybe one, two, even three days. But what we`re talking about happened Thursday, after the hurricane hit. And there are allegations coming from one physician who worked at the hospital that we`re talking about that doctors and medical staff, were talking about euthanasia, were talking about injecting patients who they thought were not going to be able to survive the horrendous conditions and just the sheer trauma that they had to deal with.
GRACE: Well, Sean, the doctor that came forward is Dr. Bryant King. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. BRYANT KING, PRACTICED AT MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER: You got to be [DELETED] kidding me that you actually think that that`s a good idea. I mean, how could you possibly think that that`s a good idea? And she said, Well, you know, we talked about it, and this other doctor said she`d be -- she`d be willing to -- she`d be willing to do it. And I was, like, You`re crazy!
I looked around, and one of the other physicians, not the one who had the conversation with me, but another one had a hand full of syringes. I don`t know what`s in the syringes. I don`t know what`s -- and the only thing I heard her say is, I`m going to give you something to make you feel better. I don`t know what she was going to -- what she was going to give them, but we hadn`t been giving -- we hadn`t been giving medications like that, to make people feel better or any sort of palliative care or anything like that. We hadn`t been doing that up to this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Did an angel of death stalk the halls of Memorial Medical there in Louisiana? No one knows for sure. We do know, Sean Callebs, however, that the Louisiana attorney general has ordered many, many autopsies on these patients.
CALLEBS: Exactly. Now, Tenet Hospital announced -- shortly after -- I think it was Friday, right after the alleged incident from Dr. Bryant King, that they were going to perform autopsies on all 45 patients that passed away either before, during or immediately after the hurricane to find out exactly what happened.
Now, what -- we talked to the coroner, and what he has been told to look for are certain substances, such as morphine or potassium chloride, which could have been injected. We`re not saying it was, but it could have been. But that`s going to be very difficult...
CALLEBS: ... according to the coroner...
GRACE: ... chloride.
CALLEBS: ... to determine if those kind of drugs were used because these bodies were in various stages of decomposition, and we`re talking about a certain degree of time afterwards, and you know the body goes through all kinds of physiological changes...
CALLEBS: ... after someone passes away. So the coroner says his work is cut out for him, and even, indeed, if those drugs were used, he`s not entire sure that he would be able to determine that anyhow, Nancy.
GRACE: Let`s look at what LifeCare had to say. They worked within the hospital. "LifeCare employees at Memorial Medical Center during that week exhibited heroism under the most difficult of circumstances. LifeCare has been fully cooperative with the Louisiana AG since the inception of their investigation and is unable to make any comment on matters related to this investigation."
Very quickly, Sean Callebs, how many autopsies exactly have been ordered by the attorney general?
CALLEBS: Well, if we`re talking about Memorial hospital, there are at least 45. There were 45 patients that passed away by the time the chaos surrounding the hurricane had moved through.
CALLEBS: So we know that...
CALLEBS: ... the coroner`s going to look at the least those 45 patients. Now, they could be looking at patients in other hospitals, which is certainly one thing that Tenet Corporation has said. That is the parent company of Memorial hospital.
GRACE: Sean -- Sean?
GRACE: Sean, What allegedly did the others do when this doctor began discussing mercy killing?
CALLEBS: Well, from what we gather from Dr. King -- and I spoke with him at length a couple of times. He said that he was out, basically, assisting patients as they were evacuating, which kind of makes this even more ironic. They were getting patients out of those horrid conditions, at the same time, some physicians were allegedly talking about euthanasia.
And he came back into the room and a physician approached him and said, Would you like to partake in a prayer? And he said, Wait, we`ve been here for days. Why are we talking about praying right now? We didn`t pray when the storm hit. We didn`t pray when things got very bad after the power went off. And that`s when he said he saw another physician with a hand full of syringes, going to from patient to patient.
And his question is, Why would a doctor be giving any kind of shots to patients? He said that`s something that nurses do. And secondly, he also said, Why would you be giving the same medication to all of these patients? You wouldn`t do that under a normal circumstances.
GRACE: We`re referring to Dr. Bryant King, who is speaking out. Here`s what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: I mean, there`s only one person that died overnight. The previous day, there were only two. So for there to be -- from Thursday to Friday, for there to be 10 times that many just doesn`t make sense to me.
I`d rather be considered a person who abandoned patients than someone who aided in eliminating patients.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Well, the Tenet Corporation, who actually owns, runs the hospital, had this to say. "In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, physicians at staff at MMC performed heroically to save lives of patients under incredibly difficult circumstances. About 2,000 patients, families, physicians, staff safely evacuated from the hospital by boat, helicopter during a continuous evacuation that began Wednesday morning, August, 31, completed Friday, September 2."
They went on to state, "We understand that the Louisiana attorney general is investigative all deaths that occurred at New Orleans hospitals and nursing homes after the hurricane. We fully support and are cooperating with the AG."
Well, the reality is, Joe Lawless, what else can they do when the AG, the attorney general of your state, begins an investigation? This hospital is a corporation. They darn well better cooperate!
JOE LAWLESS, DEFENDANT`S ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, they should cooperate, and there should be an investigation. What troubles me is here you have one doctor, Dr. King, who thinks the appropriate forum to make these complaints is to a television reporter on the news. If he`s got a serious charge and a serious allegation, you don`t call the media...
GRACE: Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!
LAWLESS: ... and say, Let`s have a press conference...
GRACE: Hold on! Hold on!
LAWLESS: ... you talk to the AG.
GRACE: He did talk to the AG.
LAWLESS: Then why is he going to the press?
GRACE: Why shouldn`t he? Why should he hide?
LAWLESS: Because what that does...
GRACE: You know, normally, you scream about the 1st Amendment right to free speech. Now, when this doctor exercises it, you want to stone him to death!
LAWLESS: I don`t want to stone him to death. I want to see that there`s a fair and impartial investigation conducted. And right now, all we have is the word of one man against what I believe are a number of doctors, who appear to me to have been acting rather heroically. If there`s medical evidence, if there`s evidence that something was done, that`s another story. But I`m always suspicious of somebody who decides the right forum to voice this kind of complaint is in the media.
GRACE: Sean Callebs, does anyone back up Bryant King`s story?
CALLEBS: Well, we talked to a nurse, as well, who said that there was discussion about euthanasia. And we really should point out that neither Dr. King nor this nurse or anyone else we talked to actually said they saw a physician inject patients.
But getting back to what your guest was saying about, Why did he come to the media? Well, he didn`t come running to the media. We, you know, put together an investigation, took weeks, and we talked to him a number of times off camera, and we talked to him after he talked with investigators from the state office. He sat down with three investigators for about one hour. They went through a number of questions, and the last half hour of that, someone brought in photographs of about 70 people. And he said the very first photograph that he was asked to look at, identify, was the physician that he said he saw carrying the hand full of the syringes.
GRACE: Speaking of Dr. Bryant King, who is speaking out, here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: There`s no electricity. There`s no water. It`s hot. I mean, people are dying. We thought it was as bad as it could get. All we wanted to know is, Why aren`t we being evacuated yet? That was our biggest thing. We should be gone by now.
FRAN BUTLER, NURSE MANAGER, MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER: The people who were still there, they really and truly took and put their heart and souls into every patient, whether that patient lived or died.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Back to Sean Callebs, CNN correspondent. You stated that a nurse also overheard these conversations about mercy killings, euthanasia. It`s very unusual to me. Here the evacuation is going down, but on the other hand, Sean Callebs, the conditions in the hospital were unbearable.
CALLEBS: The conditions in the hospital00 I don`t think we can even fully understand just how bad it was. You know, the fact that they lost power, the fact that they had to ventilate -- you know, once respirators go down, they had to manually ventilate these patients. That`s 12 beats every minute, 24 hours a day, for at least two or three days before generator power came back on. And they could look out the windows and they could see looting. They could see all kinds of violence in the streets. And the nurses, the female staff in there, they were quite worried what would happen to them if the looters came inside.
There`s no question that these doctors, that the medical staff, performed heroically over these days. No one is questioning that. And they thought that this would go on for two, perhaps three days. They were very frustrated, wondering, quote, "When the cavalry is going to come in."
Now, we should point out Tenet did bring its own helicopters in on Friday to get the last of the evacuees out, but the doctors say, Look, this should have happened a long time ago.
GRACE: Sean, Sean, Sean -- I don`t want to relive Katrina. I want to find fought out if there was an angel of death stalking the halls of Memorial Medical! That`s what I want to find out.
Here`s what the nurse had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUTLER: She was the first person to approach me about putting patients to sleep.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you stunned?
BUTLER: Just kind of. I kind of blew it off because of the person who said it. But when this doctor approached me about that, she made the comment to me on how she was totally against it and wouldn`t do it.
BRYANT: I thought someone had -- was going around injecting people with some sort of lethal medication.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Now, the Memorial Medical Center nurse that you just saw, Fran Butler, says she never actually saw patients euthanized and would never participate herself. However, we do know that this investigation is ongoing.
Now, back to you, Sean Callebs. To disbelieve this story, you would have to disbelieve not only the doctor, Bryant King, but this conversation the nurse is telling us about.
CALLEBS: You know, we talked to Dr. King on two separate occasions on camera at length. His story matched up perfectly both times. This is someone who saw something that changed him forever. And we should point out, after the doctor approached him and said, Would you be interested in taking part in a prayer, and he saw what he -- and he heard the talk about possible euthanasia, he left the hospital. He abandoned his patients. He`ll be the first to admit that. He said he would rather be known as a physician who walked out on his patients than someone who took their lives. And he had about a three-and-a-half-hour walk home, and he told me that during that time, he wondered if he should have stayed.
He`s a very physically fit young man. He`s very athletic. He`s a strong guy. He said with his power and his voice, he can be a commanding presence. He probably could have intimidated the doctor who came to him and first talked about euthanasia. He wonders if he should have stayed and done that. He didn`t. He made the choice to leave, and to this day, he doesn`t know exactly what happened. But in his mind, he is pretty sure what happened.
GRACE: Renee Rockwell, defense attorney, I find it fantastical in this case, and in many others, where witnesses can lead you up to the brink of an alleged crime, and then suddenly, they turn away, they leave the room. Here they`re saying that there`s a doctor with a hand full of syringes with liquid in it, saying, This will make you all feel better, to patients.
RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy...
GRACE: But they don`t know what happened after that? I would have been doing a back flip to see what was going on.
ROCKWELL: Nancy, I surely think that at this point, we may not ever know if anything was administered. It would be one thing if an autopsy revealed that there was morphine that would, of course, alleviate the pain and perhaps stop someone`s respiration. On the other hand, if an autopsy revealed potassium chloride, which would cause immediate cardiac arrest, then that would show me that there may be some form of foul play. But I just can`t imagine, at this point, that any of those doctors, to me who were heroes, that stayed and did not abandon, would be doing anything that they thought was going to get them in trouble.
GRACE: Well, Renee, maybe you`re right, but you`ve got a doctor, a well established, reputable doctor, and a nurse confirming some of these conversations. You`d have to disbelieve both of them. All I know is this. The Louisiana attorney general has decided there is enough information to order 50 autopsies. Sean Callebs, thank you for being with us.
Very quickly, to tonight`s "Case Alert." Today, just one day after she would have turned 18, Taylor Behl`s family said good-bye. Funeral service today in Taylor`s hometown, Vienna, Virginia. Taylor`s body found last Wednesday in a wooded area about 70 miles away from VCU`s campus. Thirty-eight-year-old photographer Benjamin "Skulz" Fawley, the only suspect in the case, being held tonight on child pornography and firearm possession.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he come at you with a knife?
POLK: Yes, he did. He was on top of me, stabbing at me with the knife. Once I saw the knife, I was sure that he was going to kill me. It was the only thing I could think of to do to save myself. And at that point, I grabbed the knife. And I said stop, and he didn`t. And I stabbed him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: She found out she could either be a very rich widow or a very poor divorcee. Was it self-defense or murder? Straight out to investigative reporter Jane Velez-Mitchell. Jane, bring us up to date.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, Nancy, some very key testimony in this absolutely bizarre and very, very violent murder case out of northern California. This 47-year-old woman, Susan Polk, seemingly wholesome, a mother of three sons, accused of repeatedly -- and I mean repeatedly, 27 wounds -- stabbing her psychologist husband with a paring knife and leaving him to die in a pool of blood in the family`s pool house, only to be discovered 24 hours later by their youngest son, a 15-year-old.
Now, she doesn`t deny she was there. She says she was acting in self- defense after years of being battered psychologically and physically. The prosecution says, Absolutely nonsense, that she is a cold-blooded killer and that she was in a rage because, basically, she was losing in their divorce battle, that he had gotten $2 million house, he`d gotten custody of the 15-year-old son, and he was cutting her spousal support, and she was furious.
Now, the key testimony is that a 911 dispatcher says that about a week before the murder, the husband calls 911 and says, My wife threatened to kill me. Then they play the 911 tapes, and you don`t hear an actual threat, but you hear a lot of complaining by this man about his wife`s presence in the house.
GRACE: Well, joining us tonight, the defense attorney on the case, you`ve met him many times before on our program, Daniel Horowitz. Now, listen, you may disagree with him, but at least he`s not just another talking head. He`s in that courtroom, fighting for his client, who, by the way, miraculously, Daniel, escaped unscathed, not a single scratch. But her husband had, what, 26, 27 slice wounds?
DANIEL HOROWITZ, SUSAN POLK`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, I`m holding up 27 fingers, if you think there were 27 stab wounds. Their own medical examiner said there were one, two, three, four, five significant stab wounds. Everything else...
GRACE: You said significant, but what about the other wounds?
HOROWITZ: Well, they`re scratches. They`re nicks. They`re really nothing...
GRACE: From the knife?
HOROWITZ: ... that you wouldn`t even -- from the knife. But you -- if you ran through a thicket of thistles, you would get those kinds of scratches.
GRACE: OK! I notice that your client doesn`t have any thistle scratches at all. Daniel, I`ve got to go...
HOROWITZ: Well, actually, she does, Nancy.
GRACE: I got to go to a quick break.
GRACE: But Daniel Horowitz will be with us when we get back.
Tonight, I want to tell you all about a very important new resource for crime victims, Victim Power. It provides a new technology on line allowing anyone, victims, witnesses, to report crimes and remain 100 percent anonymous. Police, prosecutors can receive reports, even enter into dialogue with victims and witnesses while they are anonymous. You can access this important site on line, Victimpower.org.
GRACE: She claims she drove all the way from Montana to California to, quote, "settle the divorce." I don`t know. I thought lawyers could do that.
Quickly, out to investigative reporter Jane Velez-Mitchell. Before we go back to defense lawyer Dan Horowitz, Jane, explain to me the wounds on the body. I understand that he sustained 27 stab wounds, 22 lacerations, and she had none.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, basically, what the coroner`s report said is that there were five major stab wounds to the man`s body, in the chest and the abdomen. The rest of those wounds are defensive wounds on his hands and feet, as if he were fighting off an attacker. And by the way, a very significant piece of evidence -- her hair is found gripped, strands of her hair found gripped in his hand, his clenched fist.
GRACE: In one hand or both hands?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t think it`s both hands, but I think it might have been one hand.
GRACE: Because, interesting, if it were both hands, that would show he was totally unarmed throughout. And also, defensive wounds can occur when someone has fallen down and they`re horizontal and they`re balling up.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, especially with the feet.
GRACE: That`s my experience...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s kicking up with his feet.
GRACE: That`s my experience with defensive wounds on victims` bodies, on the knee, leg and feet.
Quick break, everybody, but we`ll all be right back. As you know, we want very much to help solve unsolved homicides, help find missing people. Tonight, look at 11-year-old Joshua Weintraub, last seen, Midland, Virginia, August 29. His birthday is Sunday. Please, help us bring Joshua home in time to celebrate. If you have info on Joshua Weintraub, call Fairfax County police, 703-691-2131, or go to Beyondmissing.com. Please help us.
THOMAS ROBERTS, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. I`m Thomas Roberts, and this is your "Headline Prime Newsbreak."
Much of Baghdad is in the dark, after insurgents sabotaged power lines, knocking out electricity to about 70 percent of the city. Water was also out in certain areas because the pumps just wouldn`t work. The blackout comes on the eve of a national constitutional referendum.
The search for survivors from last weekend`s massive earthquake in Asia has come to an end. Authorities estimate more than 23,000 people were killed in Pakistan, with 1,300 more deaths reported in India. The Pakistani president says nearly 2.5 million people are feared homeless. Today, President Bush visited the Pakistani embassy to sign a condolence book and offer assistance.
Acting New Jersey Governor Richard Codey has declared a state of emergency in response to rising floodwaters. Coty says more than 500 residents have evacuated. Today is the eighth straight day of rain in parts of the northeast, and forecasters are predicting another two to three inches of rain by tomorrow alone.
That is the news for now. Thanks for joining us. I`m Thomas Roberts. And we take you back for more of NANCY GRACE.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM MORET, CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Do you believe your mom is innocent?
ELI POLK, SON OF ACCUSED MOTHER: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.
MORET: How do you feel knowing that one of your children, Eli, is going to be taking the stand in your defense and Gabriel is going to be taking the stand for the prosecution?
SUSAN POLK, ACCUSED OF MURDERING HUSBAND: It`s a devastating experience to have a child make accusations, you know, against a parent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Today in a California courtroom, battle rages on. She says self-defense. The prosecution says murder.
Now, back to the defense attorney in this case, Daniel Horowitz. Daniel, explain to me again how it is that he has all of these lacerations. According to the autopsy report, 26 to 27 lacerations, including five stab wounds to the chest and abdomen, and she has none.
HOROWITZ: Well, Nancy, actually, I`m very proud of our Contra Costa County sheriff`s department, because, even though they were looking at this as if she were the perpetrator, they did note -- and they will testify -- that she had cuts on both of her hands, on her upper arms, that she had a black eye, and actually they then took a photo of two black eyes. So she did suffer injuries, Nancy.
GRACE: Where on her hands were the cuts exactly?
HOROWITZ: OK, the cuts on her hands look like a bite mark. There`s actually one inside -- it looks like he was trying to bite her hand to get the knife out. This cut`s on top of her left hand and on her upper arms, Nancy.
GRACE: OK. Let me just think about that for one moment. You`re telling me she`s got a bite mark and she`s got a cut on the outside of her hand?
HOROWITZ: Yes, on the top of her left hand.
GRACE: Top of the left hand. Well, I don`t know about you, Daniel, but that clearly shows to me that that was while she was holding the knife.
HOROWITZ: Probably, Nancy. She won this battle, where nobody should have died. And it`s unfortunate that he died. But, you know, Nancy...
GRACE: Well, he never had the knife in his hand.
HOROWITZ: Well, that`s one point of view. And Jane set forth the prosecution case to date as they`re doing. But I disagree.
I believe that the physical evidence will show that she was on her back with the knife and he was on top of her. And I think that will be shown by the blood evidence and by the angle of the knife wounds on his body.
But that`s a battle to be fought in the courtroom. But keep an open mind, because we have very good experts on both sides.
GRACE: Yes, I know the battle is in the courtroom. That`s when you are starting to filibuster, Daniel Horowitz. I know you.
Now, listen. You say she`s on the bottom with a knife. Can you put the knife in his hand at any time?
HOROWITZ: Well, Nancy, except by her testimony, there`s no physical evidence that puts the knife in her hand, which is a difficult thing for us. But the angles of the knife wounds to him, they`re not dead center, as if a man was being stabbed repeatedly. They`re scattered around his body.
GRACE: Oh, Daniel, Daniel, I respect you deeply. I give you a lot of credit for this argument. It`s creative. It`s totally -- Renee, what would you do with this?
ROCKWELL: What I`d do with it is rewind the hands of time and make sure she doesn`t say anything. What has she done? She`s committed herself to a self-defense theory. But then again, if she says that he attacked her, and she`s defending herself, why didn`t she call 911? She did nothing. She waits 24 hours, and the son discovers him.
GRACE: And then, to Caryn Stark, psychotherapist, Caryn, almost immediately after she learns that her payments are going to be slashed by over 50 percent, and that her husband, the psychologist, gets custody of the remaining teenage boy, she gets in a vehicle and drives, drives herself from Montana to California.
Now, Caryn, how much stewing do you think she did on the road from Montana to California?
CARYN STARK, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: I think she did a lot of stewing, Nancy. And if you think about the fact that a lot of people are saying because she was so young when she met him -- she was 14 -- which is totally illegal what he did, the involvement that they had, nonetheless...
GRACE: Well, fine, he can go to jail for statutory rape, but, uh-oh, he`s dead.
STARK: And that`s my exact -- he may be culpable of that. But this woman was able to even say that she wanted to have a divorce. She did the drive. It clearly -- Daniel makes me laugh, because he said, "Well, it`s only five major stab wounds."
GRACE: It`s only five stab wounds to the chest. Good point.
STARK: And she was capable of doing that, too.
GRACE: So, Daniel, what was she doing on the way from Montana to California, just sharpening the knife?
HOROWITZ: Well, no, Nancy. Actually, she was calling her children. And after she arrived, there was a long period of time where she just lived at the house. She took her sons to -- her son, Gabriel, to school. She had a normal life.
GRACE: Other than those three 911 calls her husband made.
HOROWITZ: Well, I heard those calls today. And there`ll be a lot more evidence about them. They really were mostly him grousing about the divorce and saying, "Hey, 911, why don`t you help me get my wife out of the house?" There wasn`t anything very spectacular about them.
The bottom line, Nancy, is that this man was very rageful. She had no financial motive -- I know it seems on the surface she did -- to kill him. But it cost her a lot of money when he died. She lost spousal support that in California is a mathematical calculation based upon his earnings.
GRACE: Who was his beneficiary?
HOROWITZ: There was no beneficiary. There is no life insurance policy. That`s another good point.
GRACE: Well, I`m looking at his multimillion-dollar mansion right now. So who gets that?
HOROWITZ: Another point, Nancy. Let me interrupt. He argued that the house was worth less when it was going to be sold in the divorce than when they bought it. That`s what the realtor said. So there would be no value in that house, just a big mortgage to pay.
GRACE: Oh, Daniel, Daniel, just answer in a -- simply, who`s the beneficiary?
HOROWITZ: The beneficiary of what, though? I mean, you can benefit from debts.
GRACE: OK, you know what? Never mind.
Joe Lawless, when there`s not a will, who`s the beneficiary?
LAWLESS: Usually the spouse.
GRACE: OK. Thank you.
Back to Jane Velez-Mitchell, investigative reporter. Jane, also I want to talk about what happened immediately after the stabbing. What was her response?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, she claims now that she`s in shock, but essentially she did nothing. Now she admits she did have an altercation with the husband. And she left the body there for 24 hours until her 15- year-old son discovered the body. He was the one who called 911.
And then, when she was arrested and sitting in the squad car, she says something to the effect of, "Oh, well. We were going to get a divorce anyway." That is a quote from the officer who was at the scene.
GRACE: Daniel, take your best shot at that one.
HOROWITZ: First of all, Nancy, I don`t believe that that is what she said to that officer. I like most of the officers...
GRACE: You know, I hate it when cops make up lies. I hate that.
HOROWITZ: Well, Nancy, there was another officer just 10 feet away who didn`t hear anything said. To me, that`s usually a sign that he doesn`t want to back the other officer`s version of events. I like most of the officers here, but I don`t believe that.
GRACE: OK, let`s just pretend -- Daniel, I`m going to go with you on this one. I`m going to go with you.
But tell me this: If she was in shock, where did she get the wherewithal to take his car and go park it at the, I guess, the bus or train station. And then when her son kept asking -- they`re supposed to go to a ball game that night -- "Where`s Dad? Where`s Dad?" She`s like, "I don`t know."
HOROWITZ: Well, Nancy, that`s something I had to learn -- and in some ways, you know this better than me.
GRACE: Oh, don`t put it on me. Don`t put this on me, Daniel Horowitz.
HOROWITZ: There is something called -- well, Nancy, you have represented as a prosecutor women who have been battered. And you understand, I think -- and certain characteristics of battered women make them hide abuse and hide acts like this. They just don`t deal with it.
GRACE: You mean hide...
HOROWITZ: And I`m learning about it from experts.
GRACE: Well, why did she move his car, if she was in such shock?
HOROWITZ: Well, my understanding is -- and it doesn`t -- it`s not logically perfect -- but she did not want her son to know that his dad was home, because then he would have gone to the pool house looking for him.
GRACE: Well, Daniel, home?
HOROWITZ: I know that it`s not a perfect...
GRACE: Daniel, he wasn`t at home. He was dead, stabbed to death in the foyer.
HOROWITZ: Well, I understand that, Nancy. I understand that.
GRACE: It`s not the same as being home.
HOROWITZ: I understand that. From my point of view -- and from what I understand from the experts -- is that, if she had just gone to the police and said, "It was self-defense, and here`s what happened, blah, blah, blah," and in great detail, that would be a sign that she planned it and that she was not a battered woman.
It is the psychology of a battered woman that makes them go into shock. Now, that`s not my expertise.
GRACE: OK, let`s take a look at...
HOROWITZ: That`s why I consult people.
GRACE: ... Daniel`s client, Susan Polk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POLK: I hope that people will not be prejudiced by the charge that`s been brought against me and that they will listen with an open mind to what I have to say.
What happened is my husband attacked me, and grabbed me by the hair, threw me on the floor, and began to stab at me with the knife.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: He must have had horrible aim, because all he managed to do was to bite her on the hand.
Very quickly, Daniel Horowitz, not only did your woman take his car to the train station and park it, leave it there, she also suddenly got the clean bug and washed all of her clothes, yes, no?
HOROWITZ: Yes, but she really did not cover up any evidence that she was there. His hair -- I mean, his hand had her hair right in his hand. She`s a very, very intelligent woman, Nancy.
GRACE: You need to quit saying that. That`s not helping you.
HOROWITZ: Well, it`s just a fact. If she wanted to make believe she was not involved in this altercation, she would have taken her hair out of his hand.
It really was not a clean bug, Nancy, in the sense that she was covering up a crime. It was a clean bug in the sense that she was sort in another state of mind, which the psychologist will say is normal for a woman in her battering situation.
GRACE: After a murder, OK?
Daniel Horowitz, you and I on two different sides of the fence on this one. But you know what? We`ll see it play out in a courtroom. Daniel Horowitz, straight from the courtroom. Thank you for being with us.
We want to update you now on a story we have been following. I want to congratulate you. Your calls worked. The House passed the Child Safety Act of 2005. And now the bill heads to the floor of the Senate for a final vote.
GRACE: This 11-year-old Girl Scout went missing nearly 13 years ago today. She was dressed in a Halloween outfit on her way home from a Girl Scout party. She was kidnapped, assaulted and murdered. Method of death? This child, after being assaulted, was thrown off a train trestle into a dry creek below, about a 30-foot drop.
Finally, 13 years later, is there justice for Shauna? I want to go straight out to the reporter from "The Derrick," Erin Schattauer.
Erin, thank you for being with us. What happened in court today?
ERIN SCHATTAUER, REPORTER, "THE DERRICK": Thank you, Nancy.
Today was day five of the trial of brothers James and Timothy O`Brien. As you know, they`re accused of kidnap, rape and murder.
Today, we heard from Eldred "Ted" Walker, who was the third defendant in the case. He last month pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and kidnapping. His testimony finished up today. And that was the -- he was on the stand for three days. Yes.
GRACE: Yes, you know, you can make a lot of hay with a co-defendant who takes the stand against two others.
You know, though, sometimes, Jane Velez-Mitchell, you got to go to hell to get the witness to put the devil in jail. There`s no way around the DNA of one of these two brothers. You`ve got the two brothers, the O`Brien brothers, and then you`ve got the rat, Ted Walker. Walker is singing on the brothers. And the brother DNA on this little girl`s leotard outfit.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nancy, what is so shocking about this case is that this Ted Walker claims that it all started out as a Halloween prank, that they were going to show up the local police department by showing how easy it is to snatch a child. He claims, this man who turned, the rat, as you say, that he had no idea it would ever end in rape and murder.
GRACE: Well, you know what? I find that very hard to believe, Joe Lawless. Here you got three grown men who want to do a prank, and this little girl ends up getting raped and murdered? That`s a heck of a prank, Joe.
LAWLESS: Nancy, this is another one of those cases where the DNA is going to be critical. Apparently, the DNA of one of the brothers is on the leotard and somewhere else in the victim`s body. But the...
GRACE: Her mouth.
LAWLESS: The mouth. Three days on the witness stand, there`s a lot you can do with that.
GRACE: But just put it out there, Joe. Let`s don`t handle it with kid gloves.
LAWLESS: All right, well...
GRACE: It`s sperm.
LAWLESS: There`s no question about it.
GRACE: Eleven-year-old Girl Scout.
LAWLESS: And if the DNA of one of the O`Briens is there, it`s a very serious problem for one of those O`Briens.
The other side of the coin is, though, Nancy, you the witnesses seeing one person kidnap the girl. There are no other witnesses other than this guy who testified against the other two. And there is a question about the degree of culpability of the other brother, whoever that brother is. And that assumes the DNA evidence is going to wash, this 11-year-old DNA, 11- year-old evidence.
GRACE: To Caryn Stark, though, don`t you believe, Caryn, that juries want a resolution, juries want to find the truth? They can`t argue with the DNA. And the DNA from the one adult brother is proven by Walker`s statement. In other words, that DNA corroborates his statement.
STARK: I agree with you, Nancy. It definitely corroborates it. It shows the culpability. And we also have to take a look at whether or not this was a prank, as we would see a prank.
It`s hard to believe that a prank would be kidnapping a little girl instead of throwing eggs or switching street signs or -- there`s nothing prank about this. So it`s a shame, because the other man really was seen, Walker, actually kidnapping her, but...
GRACE: That`s right. And a witness came forward at the time. But no one could figure out what had actually happened.
Back to Erin Schattauer with "The Derrick." Erin, what`s the strongest evidence we`ve got against the O`Brien brothers? I know one has DNA.
SCHATTAUER: Well, the DNA evidence was touched on today in court. This is the first time it was brought up. However, it was a crime lab investigator.
GRACE: Right. I`m asking you, what`s the strongest evidence you expect on the O`Brien brothers?
SCHATTAUER: I would say the DNA. The other one, that is against James O`Brien. Timothy O`Brien, however, it was mentioned at their preliminary hearing, there is a witness who says that he admitted to him that he took this little girl and threw her off the bridge with his brother.
GRACE: OK. So it`s a jailhouse confession?
GRACE: Very, very quickly, back to Jane Velez-Mitchell. So you`ve got DNA on one, jailhouse confession on the other, and a rat pointing the finger at both of them. What I don`t understand, Jane, is why isn`t this a death penalty case?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, absolutely a good point, in why the prosecution hasn`t demanded that, we don`t know. We know that they made a deal with Ted Walker, so he`s getting a reduced sentence in turn for testifying that he basically just pulled the girl into the car and, basically, his involvement ended there, and blames the O`Briens for everything else that happened afterward.
GRACE: Well, Renee, how badly can the rat be attacked?
ROCKWELL: Nancy, for 12 years, he lied. And he admitted that he lied. But now he says he`s sticking to his story and it was a prank.
But here you go, Nancy. He`s absolutely part and parcel of a conspiracy that started out as a prank but a kidnapping, and ends up in a murder. I think he`s just -- he`s not a good witness.
GRACE: Well, I know he`s going to undergo a severe attack on cross- examination.
As we go to break, very quickly to tonight`s "All-Points Bulletin." FBI and law enforcement across the country on the lookout for Miguel Alcaraz, wanted in connection with the 2003 South Carolina murder of his girlfriend, 32-year-old Medy Dora el Zelaya (ph).
Alcaraz, 38, 5`7", 150 pounds, black hair, brown eyes. If you have info on Miguel Alcaraz, call the FBI, 803-551-4200.
And tonight, a success story. We reported Gary Edward Lasher wanted for multiple Arizona offenses and California, including molestation, assault and kidnap. Thank you. Tonight, Lasher behind bars.
Local news next for some of you. But we`ll all be right back. Live coverage of the Texas bus crash suit, 3:00 to 5:00 Eastern, Court TV.
Stay with us as we remember Specialist Oliver J. Brown, 19, an American hero.
GRACE: What a week in America`s courtrooms. Take a look at the stories and, more important, the people who touched all of our lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: An 8-month pregnant mom says the courts are trying to take away her unborn baby because her husband is a convicted sex felon.
He pled guilty under oath to two counts of rape, two counts of attempted rape, two counts of sodomy, and two counts of attempted sodomy. And he says, "I was guilty of stupidity." He forgot about the rape and the sodomy on children.
"I`m not saying I was an angel. Maybe more like a hell`s angel."
A case in which a 13-year-old baby-sitter was on trial for shaking a 19-month-old baby girl to death has been dismissed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is a little girl out there who`s never going to learn how to ride a bike. She`s never going to have her first day of school. She`s not going to fall in love. She`s not going to get married. She`s never going to know the joy of holding a newborn child, because she`s dead.
GRACE: A 40-year-old therapist falls for his 15-year-old patient. In California, prosecutors say becomes his lover, and then becomes his wife, and then becomes his killer. Prosecutors say Susan Polk wanted to be a rich widow, not a poor divorcee, and stabbed her husband, Felix, over his multimillion dollar estate.
Some crib. I can tell you this much. It sure beats the heck out of a studio apartment with a foldout sofa.
Taylor Behl would be 18 today. Instead of attending a birthday party, her family is attending her wake. A 38-year-old amateur photographer, Ben Fawley, named as the only suspect in Taylor`s murder, though he has not yet been formally charged.
The search continues for 26-year-old Sue Ann Ray.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tomorrow will be seven weeks since Sue Ann Ray disappeared. In the words of police, vanished off the face of the Earth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My little girl was young. And I`ll never get to hug her again. I`ll never get to kiss her. It`s the worst feeling that any dad, any parent can ever have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Thank you to all of my guests. Our biggest thank you, to you for being with us, inviting us into your homes.
Coming up, headlines from all around the world, Larry on CNN. A special goodnight from the crew in the control room. Good night, guys.
And goodnight from here on the floor.
I`m Nancy Grace signing off again for tonight. I hope to see you right here Monday night 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.