Return to Transcripts main page

Nancy Grace

Anna Nicole Smith Accused of Fraud

Aired October 26, 2006 - 20:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight: Multi-millionaire cover girl Anna Nicole Smith evicted from her Bahamas seaside mansion, all amid accusations of murder and on the heels of the unexplained death of her young son and the birth of her brand-new baby girl. All the while, a paternity battle raging over the baby heads to an LA courtroom.
And tonight: A 21-year-old Vermont coed goes missing after a birthday party there at a local restaurant. Then grainy surveillance video emerges of her. Tonight, stunning details, and the prime suspect speaks.

First, though, to the Bahamas. How does an international cover girl get evicted?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I ask this now. Where is this woman`s decency? Where is her fairness? Can Anna Nicole Smith not simply submit to the test necessary to settle a question of who`s that little girl`s father once and for all? Can Anna Nicole Smith not allow Larry Birkhead the peace of mind in resolving the question of whether he is the father legally?


GRACE: Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Amid accusations of murder, a paternity test (INAUDIBLE) And has fraud been committed by Anna Nicole Smith? Will she be evicted?

Straight out to Tia Brown with "In Touch Weekly." Tia, what`s happening?

TIA BROWN, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": Quickly, Ann Nicole Smith`s life has turned into a huge soap opera. Larry Birkhead, who`s the -- saying that he`s the father of her daughter, Danilynne, is saying that he demands to have a paternity test for his daughter. He`s petitioned with the Bahamian courts, and he wants Anna and Danilynne to come to the States so he can find out whether he`s the father.

And troubles are also in the Bahamas regarding where she lives. G. Ben Thompson is saying that he is the owner of the million-dollar mansion that she resides in, and owning and residing in that mansion is one of the points necessary for her to have residency in the Bahamas. So she may have to leave the country, as well.

GRACE: Now, I don`t understand why she would have to leave the country just because she`s not granted residency, Tia.

BROWN: Because for residency laws in the Bahamas, there are several requirements. Some of them include having a certain amount of property. It has to be worth at least $500,000. You have to prove that you`re financially independent and you can sustain yourself. And you also have to have good moral character. These are some of the things that they request in the petition for residency and to become a citizen, I guess, in the Bahamas. And they`re basically saying that Anna has defrauded the system, and they`d like to revoke her residency.

GRACE: Out to Art Harris, investigative journalist. I`ve got a real problem with anyone stating that just because you can`t buy a house for $500,000, you can`t have residency.

ART HARRIS, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: That`s right, Nancy. In fact, you know, I was curious, you know, what would it take for me to get residency in the Bahamas? So I called a few real estate agents down there and they said, No problem. You know, Come down here. You can actually stay here for up to eight months free and just, you know, fly back to Florida for 24 hours, then come on back, and the clock starts ticking again, or pay $1,000 and you can stay for a year without having to fly out of the country.

Now, in Anna Nicole`s case, you know, she is trying to do his permanency -- permanent residency status by buying a house for more than a half million dollars. But you know what? That`s not a big issue. I don`t see why she can`t just leave the country, come back. She can stay in a hotel there for as long as she wants. That`s what this...

GRACE: OK, wa-wait. Let`s get back to the issue of buying the house. Hasn`t the owner of the home stated that somehow she has defrauded him, as well?

HARRIS: Now, the owner claims -- you know, a South Carolina real estate developer, that, you know, he sold the house to her. She had agreed to sign mortgage papers, failed to do so, and he wants her evicted. Anna Nicole -- there are reports that she says it was a gift. He says, No way, I don`t have that kind of money. I did this as a favor.

And oh, by the way, he also claims that he had a fling with Anna Nicole and she announced to him that he was the daddy. But oops, he then told her that he`d had a vasectomy. So a couple days later, he`s claiming that she admitted to him that, yes, indeed, Larry Birkhead is the father. Nancy, it just -- it gets stranger and stranger.

GRACE: Boy, we`ve got a lot of legal battles going on right here. Let`s go to the lines. Annette in Ohio. Hi, Annette.


GRACE: What`s your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was wondering, if she really believes that he is not the father, why doesn`t she come back? Is there a real reason?

GRACE: Well, I don`t know that anybody would want to cut a vacation or a trip short just because somebody in the States jumps up and claims they`re the baby`s daddy.

I mean, let`s go out to the lawyers. Joining us tonight out of the Atlanta jurisdiction, Ray Giudice and Renee Rockwell. To you, Ray Giudice. What stops any guy out on the street from suddenly announcing he thinks he`s the baby`s daddy, so Anna Nicole Smith has to fly to his jurisdiction? I mean, what do you have to put before a judge before the judge will order a paternity test?

RAY GIUDICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, the courts take the legitimatization of a child very seriously because there`s very serious social and legal ramifications. Some evidence, some spent time together, an under oath statement by this gentleman would be enough.

But let me also state that we don`t need Anna Nicole Smith to come back to the United States. A simple blood test of both her and the child shipped to Los Angeles could be matched up against this or any other gentleman and would show paternity or lack thereof.

GRACE: So what`s the problem, Renee Rockwell? Why all this hullabaloo? Isn`t it just a swab in the mouth? Simple!

RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It is, Nancy, but she does not want to submit to any jurisdiction in the United States because let me tell you what that would mean. Paternity means potential child support. Don`t forget, she`s in line for about $400 million. That`s not going to be anything that he has access to, but the interest on that would be her income. And if she`s, say, getting $2 million a month interest for the money that she could potentially get from her dead husband, think about what that would equate in child support. She would have to pay him child support.

GRACE: Out to Gloria Allred, a special guest joining us tonight. She is a lawyer, a family rights advocate and author of "Fight Back and Win." And she is straight out of the courtroom on a big win today in court herself. Congratulations on that, Gloria.


GRACE: Gloria, got a problem with what Renee Rockwell said. All that`s well and good about child support, but don`t you have to have custody of the child and be taking care of the child, feeding, clothing, educating the child in order for you to get child support?

ALLRED: Well, Nancy, the first step is the acknowledgement of paternity, or if there`s no acknowledgement, after a trial or a hearing, there is going to be an establishment of paternity of someone after there are tests. And then there`s going to be the issue of who has custody of the baby. And whomever does not have custody -- that is, the non-custodial parent -- will be ordered to pay some child support and will have the right to some visitation, depending on the assets, the income of both parents. And so there`ll be a battle over that, unless it`s agreed to.

GRACE: Man, Anna Nicole Smith getting it from all sides! Number one, she`s facing an eviction. That`s right, the international cover girl could be thrown out on the streets there in the Bahamas. She`s got the former prime minister announcing he believes that, based on her reputation, she`s unfit to live in the Bahamas. OK. She`s got somebody claiming fraud, a paternity test, and all the while, her own relatives claim murder has gone down in a Bahama hospital. Take a listen to this.


VIRGIE ARTHUR, ANNA NICOLE SMITH`S MOTHER: He was 6 years old whenever she moved in. She was seeing Howard Marshall at the time, and he had bought her a house and got her a nanny to take care of Daniel. And so he -- I asked him, I said, Do you want to go live with your mom, you know? He says, yes, I want to go live with her. I said, OK, and if you don`t like it, then you can come back and live with Meemaw (ph). And he said, OK. So that`s how we left it and that`s how it ended up.

GRACE: Ms. Arthur, I know -- you haven`t told me this, but I know you still love Anna Nicole. I know you do.

ARTHUR: Yes, I do. Yes, I do.

GRACE: I can just tell. Even though you`re concerned about the death of Daniel, I can see that you -- what would you say to her tonight if you could speak to her?

ARTHUR: Vickie Lynn, you know I love you, always have. And be very careful about who you hang around with because you may be next.

GRACE: Ms. Arthur, did Anna Nicole Smith ever call you to tell you Daniel had passed away?

ARTHUR: Yes, she did. She called, but you couldn`t understand anything she said because you could tell she was clearly under some kind of -- of drug because she was very upset. She was mumbling like a -- like a drunk does, you know, where they mumble. All I got out of it was that Daniel`s dead. And then, you know, it was like she was in the middle of a sentence and the phone hung up.


GRACE: Out to the lines. Kathy in Florida. Hi, Kathy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Nancy Grace. How are you?

GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just love your show, hon.

GRACE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Listen, I want to know, what`s the definition of -- why are they say the word "fraud"?

GRACE: Why are they saying or not saying?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are they saying fraud and conspiracy?

GRACE: You know, interesting. Tia Brown and "In Touch Weekly" is covering this. It`s my understanding that this guy who claims he`s the daddy, the amateur photographer, Larry Birkhead, is claiming Anna Nicole Smith engaged in fraud with her lawyer, Howard Stern, to name him the father on the birth certificate. Is that the fraud?

BROWN: Basically, that is the fraud. He`s saying that Anna knew and has known all along that he is the father of the baby, and even Howard has said in the past that, based on timing, it is a possibility that Larry is the father. So to purposely take the baby to another country and to become a citizen there and just not allow him to participate in the baby`s life is a form of fraud.

GRACE: Out to Bethany Marshall, psychoanalyst, joining us tonight. Bethany, a lot of legal lawsuits swirling regarding Anna Nicole Smith right now, but we don`t hear her stepping up to a microphone, explaining. She`s obviously refusing to do the paternity test, the DNA test. Why?

BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOTHERAPISTS: I think she and Howard Stern are what we call complimentary narcissists, meaning that they have the unique individual attributes of narcissists, but that`s blossomed once they got together. So they feel that they`re special, unique, above the law. They put each other on a pedestal. They flagrantly violate the rights of others.

I think the most startling example was going through this commitment ceremony while her son was lying in a funeral parlor. She jumped in the ocean while she had -- right after a C-section, risking infection. And she went through hair and makeup for million-dollar pictures while she had a newborn. So I think it`s really just a pattern of blatant disregard for the rights of others, and at this point, not just Larry Birkhead but disregard for the rights of her daughter, who needs to know who the father is.

GRACE: And back to Gloria Allred, lawyer and family rights advocate. Gloria, what would be the possible motivation of Anna Nicole Smith hatching up some fraud scam?

ALLRED: Well, I think that -- trying to prove fraud, by the way, is going to be very, very difficult. I think the first step is to try to establish paternity and to do that in the family law setting. I don`t know why Anna Nicole Smith is avoiding taking the -- having the DNA tests done. Maybe she`s emotionally unable to do it. Maybe she`s getting bad advice. Or maybe she`s afraid of the result. We don`t know the answer. But I think at some point, she`s going to have to provide those tests.

GRACE: Back out to you, Ray Giudice and Renee Rockwell. All these allegations against her -- what would be the possible motivation for fraud? First to you, Ray.

GIUDICE: Well, I think one of the actions of fraud is telling the authorities in the Bahamas that she owns that house to claim permanent residency, where at best, she was either renting the house or it may have been a gift or a transfer waiting to happen. So I actually think that`s the allegation of fraud that the Bahamas are trying to evict her on.

GRACE: Renee?

ROCKWELL: And Nancy, the importance of that is because if she`s not a resident of the Bahamas, she goes back to the States and then she`s fair game. And you can have a state court say, Provide that baby for that simple DNA test, and they`ll find out like that.

GRACE: And back to Gloria Allred. Gloria, I still am not clear -- I just prosecuted violent felonies, and I never had to deal with a paternity lawsuit in court. What do you have to go and show the judge in order to get the judge to order a paternity test?

ALLRED: Well, of course, first and foremost, the threshold question is jurisdiction. Was she or is she a resident of the state of California? And I think that she was and I think that she is. After that, there are going to have to be some facts which show that Larry, who is the one who is seeking to establish paternity, was -- that he`s going to declare that, in fact, he was with her at the time that the child was conceived. And then after that, I think that the court would order that paternity test be done.


GRACE: Ms. Arthur, you clearly believe that this death was no accident. Why?

ARTHUR: There wasn`t any sign of Daniel taking any kind of drugs, other than a sleeping pill and an anxiety pill.

GRACE: And apparently, in his bloodstream, there is seven times the amount expected to find in an antidepressant. What do you believe is suspicious about these circumstances surrounding his death, Ms. Arthur?

ARTHUR: Seven times as much. Why would he need seven times? You only need one overdose. One time is too many, but seven times? That`s kind of like overkill.




GRACE: Even though you`re concerned about the death of Daniel, I can see that you -- what would you say to her tonight, if you could speak to her?

ARTHUR: Vickie Lynn, you know I love you, always have. And be very careful about who you hang around with because you may be next.

GRACE: Would you travel and go to the funeral for your grandson?

ARTHUR: Yes, I would.

And Daniel didn`t take drugs. If he wanted to take drugs, he could have taken all his mother had the whole time she was in -- well, since she`s been a model. She was a...

GRACE: You know why...

ARTHUR: She`s taken all kinds of drugs.

GRACE: ... investigators are questioning his personal doctors? Are they asking, did they give him methadone?

ARTHUR: Well, I hope they are checking. They need to check and see if he was on anything. But as far as I know, he was never on anything. And if he wanted to be, in his teenage years, he would have -- he has a whole assortment of drugs he could have got from his mother.


GRACE: Tonight, cover girl Anna Nicole Smith is facing an alleged eviction in her home there in the Bahamas, while allegations of not only murder but paternity challenges are arising.

Straight back out to Art Harris, investigative reporter. Art, what about the fact that the little girl, her new baby girl, is born in the Bahamas? Doesn`t that make her a Bahamian citizen? And where does that leave Anna Nicole Smith?

HARRIS: Dual citizenship. You know, she can get a lawyer and fight some sort of court to demand that her finger be pricked to get a blood test. OK, maybe she can buy some time. But I -- I -- you know, I`m unclear of that, Nancy. Still, you know, a dual citizenship of a child does not grant necessarily Bahamian citizenship on Anna Nicole. So you know, in terms of insulating herself from a U.S. action, you know, it sounds like bumper cars to me.

GRACE: And to Tia Brown with "In Touch Weekly." Where did the former prime minister get the idea to trash Anna Nicole Smith and say, based on her reputation, she`s not fit to be a resident of the Bahamas?

BROWN: I think that a lot of citizens in the Bahamas are just very displeased with Anna`s behavior. A lot of people felt like it was inappropriate for her to have the ceremony with Howard before she buried her son, and just all of the media attention it`s brought to the town -- people are just very unhappy with all of that, and they don`t want that to be a way that the Bahamas is viewed by the world.

GRACE: Well, Gloria Allred, it`s a good thing that here in America, just because someone disapproves of your lifestyle, they can`t boot you out of country, huh?

ALLRED: Well, that`s true. On the other hand...

GRACE: I frankly think you would have been gone a long time ago, Gloria.


ALLRED: That could be. And some people might like that. But you know, I think that it`s clear that she is still and has been a resident of the state of California, so I think that`s probably going to be clear to most people, if, in fact, she has not met the legal requirements to be a permanent resident of Bahamas. She`s a resident of California, and that makes her a person under the jurisdiction of the family law court here, and they would have the power to order her to take a test.

GRACE: Take a listen to this.


GRACE: How would you explain such high levels of Lexapro, Zoloft and methadone in this boy`s bloodstream?

ARTHUR: Somebody had to give it to him. He had to get it from somewhere. I just know that Danny didn`t kill hisself. He did not overdose hisself.

GRACE: Ms. Arthur, you clearly believe that this death was no accident. Why?

ARTHUR: There wasn`t any sign of Daniel taking any kind of drugs, other than a sleeping pill and an anxiety pill.

GRACE: And apparently, in his bloodstream, there is seven times the amount expected to find in an antidepressant. What do you believe is suspicious about these circumstances surrounding his death, Ms. Arthur?

ARTHUR: Seven times as much. Why would he need seven times? You only need one overdose. One time is too many, but seven times? That`s kind of like overkill.


GRACE: To Tia Brown with "In Touch Weekly." Is anyone really taking seriously the claims of murder?

BROWN: Well, I think most people think that Daniel`s death was an accident. I think over time, we do see that some of the information that was released about his health condition was very calculated. There was a time when Howard K. Stern, during his interview, said that Daniel had back pain, and that kind of led to why maybe the methadone might be in his system. But we do know that before Daniel`s death, he had been in the hospital for a heart condition and he had been in a mental institution for a few weeks. So we do know that he had been prescribed several different types of medication.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had a magic relationship. Absolutely no question about it. I mean, any time Daniel walked into the room, Anna lit up, and when Anna walked into the room, Daniel lit up. They really loved each other, and it was an amazing relationship.

ARTHUR: I know that Danny had a trust fund. I don`t know if he still has it or if they -- I don`t know what happened, but he did have a trust fund. But if Howard marries Vickie and Daniel`s gone, that leaves Howard and the baby to inherit whatever money she has.

Oh, he was -- he was precious. He was curious. He always wanted to know. He always asked "What if." He was a good boy. He was just a blessing.


GRACE: Amid claims of murder, fraud, now a possible eviction? Anna Nicole Smith under fire in the Bahamas.

Out to internist Dr. Holly Phillips. Let`s talk about the paternity test itself on the baby. How is it administered?

DR. HOLLY PHILLIPS, INTERNIST: It`s a very quick, easy and cheap test. It usually involves just a little swab, what we call a buccal swab. It happens from the inside of the mouth. There`s virtually no blood, no risk of infection. It takes about 24 hours to come back, and it`s very, very accurate.

GRACE: And how long did you say it takes to come back?

PHILLIPS: You can get the results in 24 hours with many laboratories.

GRACE: And how reliable?

PHILLIPS: Very, very reliable. In fact, many people suggest that DNA testing is 100 percent accurate. It`s only -- it only can be affected by human error, meaning if the samples happen to be switched in the lab by a human being. But the actual testing is incredibly accurate.

GRACE: Dr. Phillips, is there a way to determine paternity without DNA testing?

PHILLIPS: Nothing nearly as accurate. We can draw some conclusions from other things. Sometimes people have done hair samples, nails, this other sort of thing. DNA testing is the gold standard.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... police investigators have brought charges again Brian Rooney, age 36, of Richmond, Vermont, for aggravated homicide in the death of Michelle Gardner-Quinn. The cause of Michelle`s death was strangulation and blunt force trauma.


GRACE: A 21-year-old Vermont coed goes missing after a birthday celebration at a local restaurant. Tonight, stunning developments and the prime suspect speaks out for the first time in court.

Out to Adam Silverman, a reporter with the "Burlington Free Press," what happened in court today?

ADAM SILVERMAN, REPORTER, "BURLINGTON FREE PRESS": Nancy, Brian Rooney was in court where, through his attorney, he pleaded not guilty to a charge of aggravated murder and was ordered held on no bail.

GRACE: To Art Harris, what is linking Rooney to this young girl, Michelle Gardner-Quinn?

HARRIS: Nancy, according to police affidavit, there was semen found on her body that matched his DNA to the 100 and 240th quadrillionth. You know, the odds of it being anyone else are very slim, needless to say.

There were also fresh scratches on his back, you know, that police believe were from her, and also there was blood on a pair of jeans that belonged to another male. They haven`t determined that yet. But the time line, Nancy, is what the police have put together and some very, very compelling police work that link him to her at 2:40 a.m., 2:34 a.m. that morning when she disappeared. They can be seen together on the tape. She vanishes. They believe she was killed within two hours, and then her body dumped in Huntington Gorge.

GRACE: Right. To Dr. Holly Phillips, internist, I`m taking that they`ve established the time of the death based on the passage of the food? Because we know she had just eaten at this birthday party at a local restaurant. She leaves the restaurant around 2:00 a.m., then immediately grainy video emerges from a local jewelry store, placing her walking down the street with an unknown male.

It wasn`t until a cell phone number popped up going back to this man, the man pictured here with Michelle Gardner-Quinn. She innocently asked him to use his cell phone. Her battery had gone dead. She used the phone, one telling phone call. That phone number captured on caller I.D. of a friend of hers. That`s how they found Rooney to start with, but explain to me exactly how they`re pinning the time of death, Doctor?

PHILLIPS: Well, there can be several approaches to this. Certainly, the digestion of the food may help, but there are other clues that forensic experts use. There are conditions of the body that can help to suggest what time the death was, and also they used blood tests in helping to figure out how long before the body was discovered had she been dead.

GRACE: Now, she has been gone for some time before the body was discovered, so how would those tests play into the time of death?

PHILLIPS: Well, they can still determine quite a bit, specifically if the body is intact and they can get blood samples. There are really quite a few details that they can ascertain.

GRACE: Back to Adam Silverman with the "Burlington Free Press," where was the body found?

SILVERMAN: The body was found in a location called the Huntington Gorge. It`s about 13 miles east of Burlington. It`s a popular summer swimming hole.

GRACE: Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This afternoon, Burlington police investigators have brought charges against Brian Rooney, age 36, of Richmond, Vermont, for aggravated homicide in the death of Michelle Gardner-Quinn. A judge has reviewed these charges and found probable cause. Mr. Rooney will be arraigned tomorrow in district court at 10:30 a.m.

Late this morning, we received results of DNA analysis in this case from the forensic laboratory in Vermont. Those results indicate that DNA samples found during Michelle`s medical examination matched the DNA from Brian Rooney to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty. The scientific probability of samples randomly existing in the Caucasian population are approximately 1 in 240 quadrillion.


GRACE: Out to Mike Brooks, former D.C. cop and also with the feds, with the FBI terrorism task force, welcome back, Mike. Mike, take me back to the night she goes missing. Let`s analyze what we know.

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE: I`ll tell you what, Nancy. The law enforcement, the Burlington police, and the Vermont state police put together one hell of a case on her. They put together an established time line and they kind of put a lot of subtle pressure on him.

They were able to say that, yes, he was with her. They saw him in the video. Then they went back and they did interviews of a lot of his friends. Somebody had saw him in another bar that put him right along in that time frame. Then they put a surveillance on him, and then he knew the surveillance was there.

They applied subtle pressure in their investigation. They tried to get him to go ahead and take a polygraph test. His lawyer told him not to after he lawyered up. He told him not to do it, but the subtle pressure from these surveillance teams, because he would go up and talk to the surveillance teams, Nancy, in a friendly manner. And they said, "Well, you know, why don`t you go ahead and take a polygraph?"

He finally did, apparently did not do very well in the polygraph, and they started to break him down. They broke him down; they made the case; they worked this case and built a case against him that is extremely strong, in my opinion. And the DNA just kind of puts the little bow on this excellent case that they`ve put together.

GRACE: Back to Adam Silverman with the "Burlington Free Press," back to the night she goes missing. What happened?

SILVERMAN: Well, she had been out with a number of friends and was trying to use her cell phone to contact some other friends and move from one location to another. The batteries on her phone died and she needed to use another cell phone. According to some accounts, she approached Mr. Rooney and asked whether she could use his phone. But he`s given differing accounts of that to the police as to whether she approached him or whether he approached her.

GRACE: Let`s take a look at the different stories this 36-year-old local construction worker has given. First of all, everybody was trashed, I can`t remember.

Number two, when he asked what happened, a couple of black people were standing on the corners. Gee, that sounds like Susan Smith.

Number three, she said something about getting a cab home.

Four, I can`t even remember how I even got home.

Five, when asked if he killed Quinn, he goes, "I don`t think so."

Here we go. About the phone call, first of all, she approached me right outside the bar restaurant and asked to use the phone. Version two: I approached her. I saw her having trouble with her phones and offered mine. Three: She approached me, asked to use the phone.

Now, interesting. Back to you, Mike Brooks, how can you look at someone and tell their cell phone is dead?

BROOKS: There`s no pinging. They went back and got a subpoena for the cell phone company. It was Verizon service. They went back and determined when her phone went dead. And that fits right in the time line.

And then her friends -- he called, you know, the use of his phone, calling her friends, when she did actually use it. And then the friends calling him back and, you know, one of them said one time when they called him back it sounded like he was kind of out of it. And also, during the police investigations, Nancy, they said that, as he started to lose it, if you will, that he would put his head down, wouldn`t look investigators in the eye. They think they have an airtight case.

GRACE: Take a listen to what police had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This afternoon, Burlington police investigators have brought charges against Brian Rooney, age 36, of Richmond, Vermont, for aggravated homicide in the death of Michelle Gardner-Quinn. A judge has reviewed these charges and found probable cause. Mr. Rooney will be arraigned tomorrow in district court at 10:30 a.m.

Late this morning, we received results of DNA analysis in this case from the forensic laboratory in Vermont. Those results indicate that DNA samples found during Michelle`s medical examination matched the DNA from Brian Rooney to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty. The scientific probability of samples randomly existing in the Caucasian population are approximately 1 in 240 quadrillion.


GRACE: The mystery of a 21-year-old Vermont coed has led us to Trial 101. Today, arraignment in a court of law. Arraignment, very simply, when formal charges are read in court, in open court, and a plea is entered. Is this a significant point, Renee Rockwell?

ROCKWELL: Nancy, not really, because you don`t -- I`m sure he knows what he`s charged with, and he can waive that. And if he doesn`t want to enter a guilty plea, if he remains silent, the judge will then enter a not guilty plea for him, but you have, what I can just basically tell you, is the beginning of a long, drawn-out nightmare for him.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Early this afternoon, police received initial information about a woman`s being found of Dougway Road in Richmond. An immediate response by members of the Vermont state police, Burlington police, and the FBI confirmed the presence of a woman`s body, and she has tentatively been identified by investigators as Michelle Gardner-Quinn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She and I spent the summer together working at a national park, and we both lived in the park. And we made not very much money, of course, so we worked together to pool our resources. And we cooked a lot of food together. And Michelle taught me a lot, and I learned a lot from her this summer. And I`m just really grateful to have been her friend.


GRACE: This is a girl that had traveled the world, gone to Brazil, South Africa, Costa Rica, a real free spirit. But back home, a 21-year-old coed in Vermont loses her life.

Out to deputy chief Mike Schirling. Sir, thank you for being with us. It`s great to have you with us. Tell us, what made police focus on Rooney within the first few days of Michelle`s disappearance? He seemed to have been cleared.

DEP. CHIEF MIKE SCHIRLING, BURLINGTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: It`s a good question, Nancy. Actually, within the first few hours of the report, it became apparent that Mr. Rooney needed to be looked at as a suspect, primary from the information from the cell phones that`s been widely reported, the cell phone interaction, the calls, the cell phone that was borrowed from Mr. Rooney briefly.

Within a few hours, there were interviews that were scheduled and then, within five hours, we had our first interview into Mr. Rooney. What was interesting about that is the discrepancies in his story began rather quickly. With our first interview with investigators that we had into him, there were some slight differences between what he was telling investigators and what he was telling or had told Michelle`s friend, which she had contacted on the cell phone.

GRACE: I see that he is charged with aggravated murder, being arraigned in court today. What is the difference in Vermont between murder and aggravated murder?

SCHIRLING: There are a number of things that can bump a murder from first degree to an aggravated murder. In some states, it`s called a felony murder. In this particular case, it`s a murder that takes place with a sexual assault component to it.

GRACE: Now, is the mandatory life behind bars or is it life behind bars without the possibility of parole?

SCHIRLING: We don`t actually make a specific distinction. It carries a life sentence straight up if the person is convicted.

GRACE: Oh, I see. In Vermont, is there such a thing as a sentence of life without the possibility of parole?

SCHIRLING: Essentially. If it`s a life sentence with no secondary minimum, that`s what the sentence is.

GRACE: I understand. Now, about this polygraph, it`s my understanding that he said he`d take a polygraph and then said, "No, I`m not going to," then agreed to. And just before getting strapped up, he said, "Oh, you`re taking too long to do it," and walked out.

SCHIRLING: That`s accurate. As you`re probably aware, a good portion of what happens at the polygraph is the pre-polygraph interview. And during that interview, he again made some statements that had some discrepancies from earlier stories that he had told. And as one of your analysts aptly described, when the pressure was on him and it was just about to be time to be on the polygraph itself, he opted to end the interview at that point and walk out of the station.

GRACE: With us, Deputy Chief Mike Schirling with the Burlington police department. And, Deputy, who exactly found Michelle Gardner-Quinn, hikers, or searchers, police, who?

SCHIRLING: She was found by hikers in the area, was not part of the search grids that had expanded to that point. It was not an area that was scheduled to be searched at the time she was found.

GRACE: Deputy Chief, do you believe that this is the location of her murder or was this merely the location of the disposal of her body?

SCHIRLING: That`s a great question. It`s not one that we have an answer to yet. We`re still awaiting the results of forensic analysis of over 250 pieces of physical evidence. So we`re trying to ascertain what portions of their contact took place in a vehicle, what portions of their contact took place there, and whether there may be even another scene that was involved.

GRACE: Another scene?

SCHIRLING: It`s always a possibility; it`s not something that we have an answer to yet.

GRACE: I know that you guys started by digging up various areas in town. He had been a construction worker. Was that where you were digging, where he had been working?

SCHIRLING: Yes, there was some construction or some excavation going on at about the same time that she was found, and it was at a site that he had been working at previously.

GRACE: Well, I`ve got to tell you, that`s very reassuring, because at the very beginning when you guys announced you had kind of cleared him, I was very stunned at that. He was the last guy known to have been with her. But at the same time, you were digging up construction sites where he was working, so I guess you were onto him at the very beginning.

Let`s go out to Lee in Florida. Hi, Lee.

CALLER: Hello, Nancy. How are you?

GRACE: I`m good, dear, what`s your question?

CALLER: I have a question and a comment, if I may.


CALLER: But my question is -- and I certainly want to comment that DNA is absolutely the best thing that`s ever happened to us, as far as clearing up crimes. But the question is: Do they have any additional information that can put this man behind bars?

GRACE: Excellent question. I know that the scent, such as with a tracker dog, of Michelle Gardner-Quinn was found in this guy`s car, Lee. So right off the bat, his story that he was telling that he was walking along the street, and she says, "Hey, my cell`s dead, can I use your phone?" They used the phone, split. That`s his story. That`s a lie, according to a tracker dog that picked up her scent in his car.

Back out to our deputy chief, Mike Schirling. DNA to me convicts or exonerates based on the location of the DNA. What else, if anything, connects him in your mind, in your investigation to the murder of this 21- year-old girl?

SCHIRLING: Well, we believe that, without the DNA, there`s a strong circumstantial case. That`s based on the scent of Michelle being found in the vehicle and then a host of inconsistent statements that have been described previously in the program. So there`s quite a bit of information that builds the case against him at this point.

It`s important to note, however, that there`s still a tremendous amount of work to be done. There are more interviews to be conducted, and there`s an extensive amount of evidence that still needs to be analyzed in this case. So there will be more pieces coming into play as the case continues.

GRACE: Out to the lawyers, Renee Rockwell and Ray Giudice, Ray, don`t you just hate it when your client starts giving one statement then tries to clear it up with a second, third and fourth statement?

GIUDICE: Nancy, this is why they invented duct tape. I mean, this guy needed to be strapped down, locked in his house, you know, involuntary house arrest. He hired an attorney. The attorney contacted law enforcement, said, "Don`t contact my client." And as Mike Brooks pointed out, they just worked him, and worked him, and worked him.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That information, taken in context with the results of exhaustive investigation by over 70 investigators conducted over the last 18 days, have led police to believe he is solely responsible for Michelle`s disappearance and murder.


GRACE: A 21-year-old Vermont girl goes missing, and now the mystery seems to have been solved. Out to psychoanalyst Bethany Marshall, do you think she was targeted or is this a random crime?

MARSHALL: Well, you have to keep in mind that the M.O. seems to be sexual sadism, which means that he wanted to inflict extreme cruelty, see her frightened and hurt, in order to enhance his sexual arousal. And we know that sex crimes that involve sadism and cruelty are the most frequently rehearsed of all sex crimes, so he thought about this for a long, long time. It could have been a crime in opportunity in that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but he was certainly thinking about this ahead of time.

GRACE: Out to the lines, Mitzi in Kentucky. Hi, Mitzi.

CALLER: Hi, love you, Nancy.

GRACE: Thank you, dear.

CALLER: Does he have a family and a prior record?

GRACE: Good question. What about it, Deputy?

SCHIRLING: He does have a family, and he does have a prior record. It does not involve any crimes against persons. He has, I think, 13 driving offenses, about another 13 property crimes, ranging from burglaries to petty larcenies, and then a couple things like violations of an abuse prevention order and a violation of probation.

GRACE: Very quickly, Dr. Bethany Marshall, psychoanalyst, the cause of death, strangulation and blunt force trauma, suggestions?

MARSHALL: It`s very intimate. I mean, I don`t know if he was standing behind her, if he was facing her, but definitely I believe he wanted to see the fear in her eyes. And remember his crimes before, there were some allegations that he held chemical-soaked rags to women to incapacitate them before he raped them, so I think he graduated from wanting to have power over women to wanting to frighten them.

Everyone, let`s stop our legal discussion to remember Army Staff Sergeant Eugene Alex, 32, Bay City, Michigan, killed, Iraq. Always had a smile on his face. He leaves behind a widow, Melissa, two young boys and a 6-year-old girl. Eugene Alex, American hero.

Thanks to our guests. Our biggest thank you, to you, for inviting us to your home. Happy birthday to a member of our team, assistant lighting director Sean Crowley (ph). Happy birthday.

NANCY GRACE signing off. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. Until then, good night, friend.