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Nancy Grace

Five Children Home Alone Die in House Fire/LA County to Investigate Sheriff Who Tried to Spring Paris Hilton

Aired June 12, 2007 - 20:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news. A Pittsburgh fire in a residential community takes the lives of five children, ages 3 to 7. The question tonight, Why were they home alone? Was it the parents or the babysitter who`s responsible for a deadly inferno?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have not located the babysitter, and as I stated, we`re conducting interviews to try to find out where the babysitter is at.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Authorities in Pittsburgh are looking for a teenage babysitter who was supposed to be watching the seven children in a house. And an overnight fire, of course, broke out. Five of the children died. The other two were able to escape. A neighbor said she could hear the kids screaming as the fire raced through that three-story wood frame building, but she couldn`t get past the burning stairs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At 1:23 this morning, we were called to 6429 Winslow Street for a structure fire. As many of you know, two children, 8 years old, were able to safely escape the fire. And unfortunately, we did suffer five other children, from the ranges of 3 years to 7 years, perished. The five victims were all located in a second floor bedroom, various different locations in that bedroom. One was closer to the door, others were on the bed.

When the firefighters reached them, they all were unresponsive.


GRACE: And tonight: Does it never end with Paris Hilton? Today her celebrity parents show up for expedited visiting privileges (INAUDIBLE) to all of you who had to wait five hours to see your loved ones. And we also learn an official investigation is set to launch on the sheriff that gave Paris Hilton early release, this after a three-time bust following DUI charges, that celebrity treatment still going on tonight, Hilton languishing in a private unit reserved for the acutely medically ill.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sheriff Lee Baca has some explaining to do. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors wants Baca to tell them why Paris Hilton was released early from jail and placed on house arrest. She was expected to stay 23 days but left just after 3.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Calls are being made back and forth between and among important people, and there is no question that Paris Hilton will continue to get preferential treatment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last week, Baca cited an undisclosed medical condition for Hilton, but a judge didn`t buy it and sent her back to jail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheriff Baca is trying to convince us that the judge was wrong in the first place. Ordinarily, he`d have complete control of a prisoner, that`s true. But in this case, the judge said expressly she is to serve her full term, no paid jail, no electronic bracelets, no nothing. He went against that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Authorities also want to know if Hilton`s medical condition could have been treated at the Lynwood jail or a county jail medical ward. Baca has one week to report back to supervisors. In the meantime, Hilton remains in the LA County jail`s special medical wing. Today she was visited by her parents.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is what it is, you know? She`s just-- she wants to just do her time and get on.


GRACE: And right behind me here at the LA County superior courthouse, music mogul Phil Spector on trial for the shooting death of young actress Lana Clarkson, Clarkson dead at Spector`s so-called castle by a single gunshot wound to the mouth. We go inside that courtroom testimony.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What exactly happened just before dawn four years ago at the house up on the hill? The incident began about 20 miles away, in the heart of the Sunset Strip. That`s when Phil Spector, a legendary music producer, met a striking blonde named Lana Clarkson, a hostess at the House of Blues and a struggling actress. 5:00 AM at the mansion, the driver had been waiting in Spector`s Mercedes for about an hour when he heard a pop. Court documents say Spector emerged from his house, blood on his hand, and told his driver, quote, ``I think I just killed someone.``

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shortly after 5:00 o`clock this morning, Alhambra police officers responded to this residence at the 1700 South Grand View (ph) Drive in the city of Alhambra. When the officers arrived, they discovered that a female had been shot inside the location. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my opportunity to talk with you for a few minutes about what we expect the evidence to show. And that evidence, ladies and gentlemen, is going to paint a very, very clear picture, a picture of a man, Philip Spector, who, when he`s confronted with the right circumstances, when he`s confronted with the right situation, turns sinister and deadly. The evidence is going to paint a picture of a man who, on February 3, 2003, put a loaded pistol in Lana Clarkson`s mouth, inside her mouth, and shot her to death.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And now, to the latest in the Spector trial, focusing on the smoking gun. Forensic experts say not a trace of Spector`s DNA found on the weapon used in the shooting. The only DNA found was that of the victim. The defense argues if Spector didn`t touch the gun, he couldn`t have pulled the trigger. Possible rebuttal by prosecutors? Spector wiped down the gun, or Clarkson`s blood may have hidden trace amounts of Spector`s DNA.


GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. Tonight, an entire family of children wiped out by a deadly inferno. Why? Because they were home alone. I want to go straight out to Kevin-- I want to go straight out to Kevin Miller, reporter with KDKA Newsradio 1020 (SIC). Kevin, I don`t understand why five children are home alone. What happened?

KEVIN MILLER, KDKA NEWSRADIO: Well, about 1:40 this morning, Nancy, Pittsburgh fire and police responded to a four-alarm fire. They got there within minutes. They couldn`t save the five children that died of smoke inhalation, according to the Allegheny County coroner. Police are looking for an unsubstantiated report of a babysitter. They don`t know if she exists. Speculation on the street and in the neighborhood is that these kids were home alone.

GRACE: Now, when you say there`s speculation about whether the babysitter exists or doesn`t exist, has anybody found the parents and said, Did you leave your kids alone, five children, ages 3 to 7 alone, or did you leave them with a babysitter? To me, that sounds like a fundamental question, question one in a an arson investigation.

MILLER: Right, Nancy. Police have interviewed both mothers, aged 25. They have not released the details of those interviews, and they`ve said one mother gave a report that they cannot back up of leaving the kids with a babysitter. They`ve given out her name and have urged the community, they`ve urged this lady, if she exists -- I repeat, if she exists-- to come forward to help with this investigation.

GRACE: Out to Jane Velez-Mitchell, investigative reporter and author. Jane, let me get this straight. So one mom says there was a babysitter. One mom says there was no babysitter. And the other mom gives an actual name of the AWOL babysitter?

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, yeah. At first, we were hearing a nickname. Now we`re hearing a name. But this young lady--

GRACE: A nickname?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: --apparently 17 years old, simply cannot be found. We had also heard an unconfirmed report that if she was there, she might have been there with a boyfriend of hers, which further complicates the issue. At this point, they cannot find this woman to determine if she really exists.

I would suggest, since there were two 8-year-old boys who survived this horrific and tragic fire, that they talk to those two young boys, one of whom tried to unsuccessfully get the kids out, another who ran out and screamed for help and tried to get other people to help, unsuccessfully. Those two 8-year-old boys will probably know the real story.

GRACE: My God, two 8-year-old boys trying to save five other little children, ages 3 to 7, left in the home.

Joining us tonight, a very special guest, in addition to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, the mayor of Pittsburgh, also with us, Chief Michael Huss with the Pittsburgh Fire Department. Chief, tell me, do you believe a babysitter was in the home, or were these children left totally alone?

CHIEF MICHAEL HUSS, PITTSBURGH FIRE DEPARTMENT: At this point in time, we have the report that the babysitter was there. We have been unable to confirm that anyone was there at this time, but we are-- the police department is doing due diligence in trying to locate this supposed babysitter.

GRACE: And Chief-- and Chief, have you been able to determine the cause of the fire? Was it arson, or was it an accident?

HUSS: It was arson. Late this afternoon--

GRACE: Oh, man!

HUSS: --we ruled it incendiary, as a result of children playing with matches.

GRACE: You know, Chief, I do not envy you, after having prosecuted arson cases. First of all, you get an arson scene. You don`t know if it`s actually a crime or an accident. But I heard you say incendiary device. What do you mean, gasoline, kerosene, Molotov cocktail, what?

HUSS: No, there`s no device. Incendiary-- we rule-- we rule fire accidental, undetermined or incendiary, which is also-- you know, it`s an arson. But that`s our ruling. It`s very unfortunate. Our investigators worked very hard today to try to nail down this-- this point of origin and the cause.

GRACE: OK, hold on just a moment. You know it`s arson, but you don`t yet know the point of origin or the cause? Then why do you believe it`s arson?

HUSS: No, we have a point of origin. The point of origin is a living room on the second floor of the home. It was adjacent to the bedroom where the five children perished. So we have a point of origin and we have-- we have a cause.

GRACE: You do have a cause? What is the cause?

HUSS: The cause is incendiary. It`s an incendiary fire, meaning that it`s an arson fire. The children--

GRACE: OK, typically, in the practice of law-- I think we`re speaking two different languages. Police say-- lawyers say incendiary device, such as a Molotov cocktail, incendiary device. But you`re saying incendiary in a different context. Was it a cigarette? Was it a match? Was it a liquid? What do you think started the fire?

HUSS: It was children playing with matches. They lit normal household goods on fire. There was no flammable liquid or anything like that involved, but--

GRACE: Oh, I see. I see. Joining us also right now, the Mayor of Pittsburgh. Mayor, thank you for being with us. I think I`ve got the mayor. Liz, do we have the mayor with us?

MAYOR LUKE RAVENSTAHL, PITTSBURGH PA: Yes, I`m here. Can you hear me?

GRACE: Hi, Mayor. Thank you for being with us. Great, I think I can hear you now. Mayor, has child investigations ever been called to this home, child-- DFACS, Department of Family and Children`s Services-- have they ever been called to this home before?

RAVENSTAHL: Unfortunately, due to Pennsylvania state law, that information is confidential. We do have that information, but it is-- again, because of Pennsylvania state law, I cannot release that information.

GRACE: OK. Once it becomes a part of a police investigation, will it be released?

RAVENSTAHL: Certainly, we and the public safety director, Chief Huss, will release any information that we possibly can, once we obtain it and once we feel confident that it is verified. We`ve attempted to do so since 2:30 this morning, when this originally took place, and we`ll continue to do so from here on out.

GRACE: Mayor, was there really a babysitter, or did one of the moms fabricate this to cover herself?

RAVENSTAHL: Well, I think that`s-- I think that`s under investigation. I think it`s fair to say at this time that`s an unanswered question simply because the 17-year-old babysitter has not been located, at this point. So it is a question that needs to be answered, and unfortunately, at this hour, it is unanswered, but there is--

GRACE: Right.

RAVENSTAHL: --a belief in some circles that that may be the case, that there was indeed no babysitter. But that is not yet verified.

GRACE: Has the family been cooperative?

RAVENSTAHL: I believe that they have been. All discussions that I`ve had with the police department have indicated that the mothers have cooperated, that they are answering questions and are cooperating with the investigation. So to the best of my knowledge, yes, they are. They are dealing with police.

GRACE: To Kevin Miller with KDKA Newsradio 1020. Kevin, have the moms taken a polygraph test?

MILLER: Not that that-- that information, Nancy, hasn`t been released, but as the mayor said, they have been interviewed by the police. The police today in their press conference had said that the mothers are victims. They did say that they have contacted the district attorney, and once the investigation is over, they do expect to bring charges. They didn`t say against who today.

GRACE: OK, repeat that again. Who expected to bring charges against who?

MILLER: Well, again, the mothers were investigated by the police, and the police said, Nancy, that the mothers-- their names will not be released because they are classified right now as victims. The police did confirm that they`ve talked to the district attorney, and they did say that they will-- they look to bring charges. They did not, however, say at this press conference against whom. They did say if charges were to be brought against the mothers, that they would release the names then.

GRACE: Kevin Miller, question. What time was the fire?

MILLER: It happened about 1:23 AM this morning, and I think the 911 call came in about 1:40. Now, the Pittsburgh police and fire department, Nancy, came in within minutes. Police were there within a minute. Fire was there within four minutes. The response was incredible.

GRACE: I know the fire department was there pretty quickly. But what I want to know is, where are the two moms at 1:30 AM while all their kids are at home alone?

MILLER: Sure. Nancy, that`s a good question that was addressed today at the press conference, and the mothers, apparently, according to police, were out for the evening. One had worked that day--

GRACE: Out for the evening.

MILLER: Right. Out.

GRACE: Doesn`t 1:30 AM qualify as the morning, the wee hours of the morning? Let`s unleash the lawyers. Joining me, Susan Moss, Anne Bremner, Mickey Sherman. Susan Moss, home alone.

SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Absolutely. If these kids were left home alone without a babysitter, the moms literally are going to lose custody immediately. They unfortunately have suffered a traumatic, horrible loss, but it looks like they`re going to lose those other kids, as well. Kids cannot be left home alone, whether it be at 1:30 AM, 12:00, you know, midnight, et cetera, especially when there are matches around, because this type of tragedy is what happens.

GRACE: Anne Bremner, weigh in.

ANNE BREMNER, TRIAL ATTORNEY: Well, either they had a babysitter, Nancy, and then they`re not at fault, or in defense of the babysitter, they`re saying-- they`re pointing at someone else. You know, when you point your finger at someone, other fingers are pointing back at yourself. So if there`s no babysitter, this phantom babysitter, then they are in a world of hurt. But the fact is, 1:30 in the morning, the kids are not in bed on a school night, even a 17-year-old babysitter shouldn`t be out at that hour.

GRACE: And to you Mickey Sherman, veteran trial lawyer. Mickey, will the defense, if the moms are charged, use the fact that the little children may have started the fire on their own with matches? I don`t see that as a defense.

MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That doesn`t really help.

GRACE: You expect little children to do things like that.

SHERMAN: Exactly. That`s the problem with leaving kids alone. But you know, I think the question you asked either of the mayor or the police chief there is the big one. What`s happened in the past? Has the children`s protective services or the appropriate agency-- have they been out there before? Do these people have a history of this, or was this a first-time situation? And you know--

GRACE: Mickey, Mickey, Mickey! When a mayor says--

SHERMAN: You don`t think that`s-- you asked the question.

GRACE: No, I`m just telling you we know the answer. Think about it. When a mayor says, I can`t comment, if there had not been any other investigation before, he would say absolutely not, they were stellar moms.

SHERMAN: I don`t buy it. No, he`s a politician. I don`t buy it. Ask him again. I just don`t buy that. If, in fact, they have a history of this, I think we would have heard about it, or we will hear about it. But I don`t think we should jump to the conclusion that they must have a history. And also--

GRACE: I agree with that.

SHERMAN: And this is one of those unimaginable tragedies that we just want to punch somebody for, and so what we`re going to do is we`re going to prosecute the parents and put them in jail. And then they`ll really be sorry, as opposed to just being mildly upset that their children have been burned to death. I mean, there`s no necessarily need to prosecute.

GRACE: Mickey, I appreciate the way you`re wrapping this in sympathy for possible moms as victims, but let`s remember who the real victims are, the five little children who were left home alone and died in a deadly inferno.

Out to the lines. Dell in Ohio.


GRACE: What`s your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nancy, I love your show.

GRACE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The question is, how many mothers are involved with the five children?

GRACE: There are two, to my understanding. And if I`m wrong, Jane Velez, correct me. There are two mothers between seven children. The two little 8-year-olds lived. Remember, the two 8-year-old little boys, Dell, ran out in the street and tried to save the other five. So there are two moms. One says there was a babysitter. One says there was not. So they got to get their stories straight. And I`ll let Mickey Sherman and Anne Bremner figure that out.

Everybody, we are live here at the LA County superior courthouse, where Phil Spector is on trial for murder one.

But very quickly, to tonight`s ``Case Alert.`` A memorial service today for 18-year-old Kansas girl Kelsey Smith. She vanished from a local Target store, her body just 20 minutes away. Family, friends, dozens of mourners gathered to remember the teenager, who had just graduated high school herself, headed off to Kansas State University with dreams of becoming a vet. Just 26-year-old father of one Edwin Hall charged with Kelsey Smith`s murder.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mainly, Kelsey loved. She loved her friends and family with a passion. She has taught many what it was like to be loved. Lastly, I would repeat my last words to her-- Bye, baby. See you when I get home.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paris will serve out the remainder of her sentence. She says she no longer wants to appeal. With good behavior, she`ll be out in two weeks. Among the weekend visitors, her sister, Nikki, and an ex-boyfriend. The two did not have to wait in line, prompting other visitors to gripe and allege more special treatment.


GRACE: Will it never end with celebutante Paris Hilton? Now there seems to be an official investigation set to launch on the sheriff giving her an early release, this after a three-time bust following DUI charges. And today, her celebrity parents get expedited to the front of the line, while other people are forced to wait up to five hours to see their loved ones.

Joining us, Sibila Vargas, CNN correspondent. Sibila, does it never end?

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I told you yesterday, it`s one surprise after another. But today I think we were all surprised when we saw Paris Hilton`s mom and dad going to visit her at the medical ward. And what was so surprising was that this was about 1:00 o`clock in the afternoon. Why was it so surprising? Because that`s when visiting hours was closed. So again, you`re, like, OK, what`s going on here?

So I decided to call the LA County Sheriff`s Department, Steve Whitmore, the spokesperson there. And I said, What`s going on? Why are they able to see her during these off-visiting hours? He said, Well, because she`s an administrative inmate that is segregated, she has the right to have her parents go there to see her, and the place is completely cleared off so that they could have privacy. I said, Aren`t you afraid that this is preferential treatment again, Steve? He said, Sibila, I don`t care. We`re doing the right thing. We don`t answer to anyone, but you have the right to interpret it any way you can.

Is that fair? Don`t know.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is what it is, you know? She just-- she wants to just do her time and get on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you feel she`s changed already?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, she really hasn`t had much sleep, so--


GRACE: It never ends with celebutante Paris Hilton. Today her parents, getting celebrity treatment, went straight in to see her, while other people have to wait up to five hours to see their loved ones.

Out to former fed with the FBI, former D.C. cop Mike Brooks. Mike, as a prosecutor, when I would go to the jail, I would have a long wait to get processed to see an inmate, typically a snitch. How does visitation work?

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, SERVED ON FBI TERRORISM TASK FORCE: Well, Nancy, it`s basically the sheriff is the one who`s making the rules. If I`m her parents and I call up and say, Hey, can I come, and he says, Yeah, come on ahead, what am I going to do, say, Oh, no, I`m going to wait until everybody else? I`m going to do it.

He is the one who makes up the rules. Sheriff Baca is the one who makes the rules and enforces the rules there. You know, and (INAUDIBLE) who does he answer to? He has to answer to the citizens of LA. He is an elected official. He`s not appointed, he`s elected. So you know, let your feet do the walking next time there`s election, unless he`s done and he has term limitations.

GRACE: Mike Brooks, emphasis on him making up the rules, instead of following the rules.

BROOKS: Absolutely. He`s the one that does both, unfortunately.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s going on here is behind-the-scenes stuff. There`s maneuvering been going on ever since this whole thing started. Phone calls are being made between and among very powerful people, as you can imagine.

When Paris first went in, her associates were telling people around this town that Paris would be out in a day or two, don`t worry about it, because, as you know, she has certain commitments. She`ll show up at a nightclub and get $250,000 for it. It makes you wonder, gee, how did they know she was going to be out of jail in a couple of days?

Would we have been surprised if Paris Hilton would get special treatment? I mean, come on, folks, it`s the Hiltons.


GRACE: And tonight, we learn that an official investigation of the sheriff who gave Hilton early release is set to launch. Out to the lines, Janice in Oklahoma, hi, Janice.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. I love your show.

GRACE: Thank you, dear.

CALLER: My question is (INAUDIBLE) will she be ordered to attend DUI school, Alcoholics Anonymous, and seek psychiatric care?

GRACE: Oh, you mean when she first got sentenced? Out to you, Jane Velez-Mitchell. I understand she turned down alcohol classes.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, my understanding is that she did not initially register for the alcohol education course that she was required to attend in the required time. But I have later read that she did complete something vis-a-vis alcohol education, and I certainly hope so, for her sake. I will also tell you that her mother has said that she had stated flat-out she will never drink and drive again. Let`s hope she`s telling the truth on that one.

GRACE: Really? And when did she say that, behind bars?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t know, but that`s what her mom said. And this is all part of her new...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... who had an experience with God.

GRACE: Jane, Jane, Jane, timing is everything. You know, I`ll never forget, on my first plea and arraignment calendar, I had 150 brand-new felons come into the courtroom, and three of them got life, and they had crocheted giant crosses out of yarn in the jail and wore them into the courtroom, OK? I appreciate the crosses. I really did. But finding God and getting religion behind bars, let`s hope they hold onto it when they get out.

Joining me right now is a very special guest. It is a spokesperson for the county supervisor, Antonovich. They want an investigation of the Hilton sentencing. Joining me, Tony Bell. Mr. Bell, it`s a privilege to have you with us. Is it the actual sentencing by Judge Sauer or the way that Sheriff Baca behaved?

TONY BELL, SPOKESMAN, SUPERVISOR ANTONOVICH: No, the Board of Supervisors, on Supervisor Antonovich`s motion, will ask the sheriff to report back on all of the circumstances surrounding his decision to release Paris Hilton, reassign her to a home, instead of putting her in a facility to treat her medical, or mental, or psychological illness. We want to ensure that we have fairness in our county jail system for all 20,000 inmates, regardless of fame, fortune or socioeconomic status.

GRACE: And how will the investigation take place? When does it start? Is it official? Tell me about it.

BELL: Well, remember the Board of Supervisors is separately elected from the sheriff. The sheriff is elected by the people of Los Angeles County, and they`re accountable to him. The Board of Supervisors represents the entirety of the 10 million people, and therefore we`re asking the sheriff to report to the Board of Supervisors, really asking him to explain to the people of Los Angeles County why it is that he did what he did and why he violated a judge`s order to specifically deny Paris Hilton home reassignment and release her from county custody when he should have put her in a medical ward within county custody. He made a big mistake, and Supervisor Antonovich wants to find out why.

GRACE: OK. And another question to you, Tony Bell, what I`m interested in is equal justice for everybody. If you`re going to jail, OK, go to jail. I`m sure you belong there. But I want to find out how attention deficit disorder, mild and very recent depression, dry skin, and a bout of claustrophobia can land you in a privileged unit reserved for the acutely medically ill. I don`t understand that.

BELL: Well, let me tell you, we have 20,000 inmates in our county jail system. I`ll bet you 99 percent of them have issues similar to the ones that you`ve discussed. And if they have issues that have immediate need, they would be treated in the facility, and they would not be put in a special holding cell or anything like that, but they will be treated accordingly, and they should. They should be safe. They should have their issues addressed. So should Paris Hilton.

She should get special treatment, preferential treatment from the sheriff? Absolutely not, and he will have to report to the Board of Supervisors on why he`s doing that, if, in fact, he is, and why.

GRACE: Joining us also is Dr. Mark Siegel, internist. He`s also at NYU and an author. Doctor, if she was, quote, "inexplicably deteriorating," why was she allowed to go home for home arrest where she could party hearty, as opposed to being sent to the medical wing of the county facility where she was at Lynnwood?

DR. MARC SIEGEL, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, NYU: Nancy, you`re making a great point. There`s absolutely no way to put that together without it being preferential treatment. Let`s fact it. If she initially had an anxiety reaction, claustrophobia, she wasn`t used to the structured environment there, and they felt she was losing it, they should have put her in a hospital somewhere where she could have gotten more aggressive psychiatric treatment.

The fact that she`s now back there in a medical unit shows that bringing her home was really nothing more than preferential treatment, that she clearly could have been treated for mild anxiety or ADD while in that environment.

GRACE: Out to the lawyers, Susan Moss, Anne Bremner, Mickey Sherman, out to you, Anne Bremner, your number-one job is to keep your client out of jail. But the next best thing is to get them in the medical ward, why?

ANNE BREMNER, TRIAL ATTORNEY: Well, because they don`t have all of the confinement, they don`t have all of the restraints, they don`t have all of the humiliation, all of the angst. And, you know, Nancy, one thing I was going to say is, you know, Paris Hilton promised or said that she`s not going to act like a dumb blonde anymore, and she`s inspired me, because I`m not going to either.

GRACE: I appreciate that. To Mickey Sherman, you know, I don`t really give a fig about the blonde jokes, about changing her life, about the finding religion. I care about one person is treated the same as another. Explain -- hold on, ow -- why is it so important, if you can`t keep client out of jail, why you want them on the medical wing?

MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I`m not so sure you do, frankly. I`ve got to tell you...

GRACE: Oh, really?


GRACE: Didn`t you want your client get treated in juvenile hall -- remember that guy, what`s his name, Skakel, convicted on the murder of Martha Moxley? Yes, it`s anything but jail.

SHERMAN: No, it`s asking that someone be treated as they were when they allegedly committed the crime, but that`s a long way different story than what will eventually be resolved.


SHERMAN: In this case, though, Nancy, the bottom line is the sheriff just picked the wrong dog to race. This is a political battle between the sheriff`s office and the judge, and you`re not going to win when you get in a fight with the judge.

The sheriff, I think, gave his best explanation. I don`t know why we`ve got to get more politicians involved, the supervisor, whatever. I don`t think that`s going to do anything, other than gives people a chance to make some -- put their faces on TV.

The sheriff, I think, was wrong. It was a bad P.R. move. I don`t think that it was corrupt. I don`t think he got paid off. I think he just decided to flex his muscles with the wrong person.

GRACE: Out to Sheryl McCollum, former director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Georgia, Sheryl, you and I have been to many a jail, sometimes together, trying to speak to snitches. We know how hard it is to get in to visit someone. We even had a badge.


GRACE: It`s a very difficult process. Today the parents skate right in while other people wait five hours, and maybe you will be the one on the show tonight to tell the truth about why it`s so important to get on the medical wing. Hit me.

MCCOLLUM: No question, it`s important. You know, the medical wing is easy street, Nancy. She doesn`t have any of the, you know, harassments on people. She can have medications. They can knock her out. She for the next 23 days can ride on valium, practically.

GRACE: You know, I want to go to Leslie Austin, Dr. Leslie Austin, psychotherapist, Dr. Austin, what does it say about people that are truly ill? I`m not talking about claustrophobia. I got claustrophobia coming to the set today in the back of an SUV. I`m not talking about attention deficit disorder. I`m not talking about a skin rash. I`m talking about someone who is really genuinely ill. These medical facilities in jails treat people with chemotherapy, ladies that are giving birth, AIDS patients that desperately need medical treatment, and here is Hilton with a skin rash!

LESLIE AUSTIN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Absolutely. I just think it`s preferential treatment medically, and it`s not justified. The point here is that Paris Hilton is supposed to learn something from her incarceration. She`s supposed to learn that she`s not above the law and she can`t be that special. She needs to observe the rules.

I wish that the media would get away from her and make her not special and let her be like every other person who has to serve her time, not special.

GRACE: Out to Ashley in Tennessee. Hi, Ashley.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. I was calling to see how much you reckon the sheriff is getting paid and, if so, could he be prosecuted for it?

GRACE: How much who was paid?

CALLER: The sheriff.

GRACE: Elizabeth, what did she -- how much was the sheriff paid? Ha, ha, ha. Hey, you know what? I don`t know that he was paid anything. It`s all about celebrity in this town, Ashley. But you know what? With the board doing an investigation, I think we will get to the bottom of it. And there is a recall effort on Sheriff Baca right now.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was 64, renowned for inventing what`s called the "wall of sound," a wave of layered instruments used by almost every musician today. In the `60s and `70s, he worked with the biggest acts, including the Beatles.

5:00 a.m. at the mansion, the driver had been waiting in Spector`s Mercedes for about an hour when he heard a pop. Court documents say Spector emerged from his house, blood on his hand, and told his driver, quote, "I think I just killed someone." Police would find Lana Clarkson`s body slumped over in a chair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was also a sanitary napkin found in an upstairs sink with the blood which apparently had been wiped off the gun. There was blood on him, and there was blood all over the kitchen, teeth strewn throughout the foyer.

FEMALE: On February 3, 2003, Spector was arrested after Lana Clarkson`s lifeless body was found in his castle-like home in a Los Angeles suburb of Alhambra, the victim of a single gunshot in the mouth. His defense team maintains the b-movie actress took her own life.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nancy Grace standing by outside the courthouse. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, and we are talking about the Phil Spector case, which is now in its seventh week, and the defense team not getting what it wants. They had asked for a mistrial. The judge in the case said, no way, you have not laid any groundwork for a mistrial. And on top of that, the judge says he was not likely to allow in the testimony of a former madam, Babydoll Gibson. That`s what the defense wanted.

And we`re going to go straight out now to Nancy Grace outside the courthouse -- Nancy?

GRACE: Thanks, Jane Velez. Another day in the courtroom that surprised court watchers. Joining me right here at the L.A. County Superior Courthouse is Joe Domanick from "L.A. Magazine" who`s been covering the Spector trial.

Give me your take on it.

JOE DOMANICK, REPORTER, "L.A. MAGAZINE": Well, things don`t look good for the Phil Spector, Nancy. I think that there`s been a series of witnesses and a series of rulings by Judge Fidler that are just taking apart the defense case.

GRACE: Now, wait a minute, when you say the judge, Judge Fidler is taking apart the defense case, I mean, is it that hard to do? You`ve got a guy alone in a house with a woman. She ends up dead, and he comes out and says to the driver, "I think I killed somebody." Does the prosecution really need the judge to help?

DOMANICK: Well, what I said was, you have a series of witnesses, as well as a series of judge`s rulings, that are hurting the defense. The witnesses were the three women who testified that they experienced a similar treatment to what the prosecution is alleging that Lana Clarkson experienced. The judge allowed that testimony. It was prior acts testimony. In a lot of states, that`s not allowed. It`s commonsensical that it was allowed, that that was allowed, and that particular testimony was very devastating.

GRACE: I`ve got a question for you. You said in a lot of states, similar transactions, in other words, prior bad acts that are similar to the case in chief, are not allowed. I don`t know a single state where they`re not allowed.

DOMANICK: Well, I was told that there are many states that it`s not allowed.

GRACE: You know, you are right in a sense that there are a lot of very, very strict rules on allowing similar transactions. You`re absolutely right about that. But these cases, these stories were so similar to the shooting of Lana Clarkson, I can see why the judge ruled the way he did, Mr. Domanick. With us here at the courthouse, Joe Domanick with "L.A. Magazine," a reporter on the case from the very beginning.

Out to Dr. William Morrone, medical examiner and pathologist joining us out of Michigan, Dr. Morrone, the defense is arguing this was a suicide, that she went in on her first date with Spector and shot herself with his gun there in his home. OK, doesn`t make sense. Tell me the significance of bruising inside of her mouth?

DR. WILLIAM MORRONE, MEDICAL EXAMINER: The bruising on her tongue is so significant, it`s quintessential for having a gun forced in your mouth. And it`s more of a defensive wound than anything else. He can`t get away from that.

GRACE: And to Mike Brooks, former D.C. cop, former fed, this is week seven. You know, in a lot of jurisdictions, that would be a very long trial. That`s not unusual for California, though.

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE: No, not at all, Nancy. And because of all the evidence and because of all the witnesses, it`s going to be a long trial. But the way they`re going, they`re going about it chronologically. They`re laying the groundwork, and now they`re getting into the nuts and the bolts. We heard from one of the first investigators on the scene and then, for the past couple of days, we`ve been hearing from an L.A. county criminalist who has been talking about and who is their DNA expert, if you will, and he`s been talking about blood spatter and using Luminol, and that kind of thing, around the house.

GRACE: And back to Joe Domanick with "L.A. Magazine," do you think Spector will actually take the stand?

DOMANICK: I absolutely don`t think he`ll take the stand. I think that it will be devastating. It will open up too many avenues of questioning for Spector to deal with, and I don`t think that Phil Spector will do well on the stand. I think he`s in very bad shape.

GRACE: Total meltdown. With me here from "L.A. Magazine," Joe Domanick.

Very quickly, tonight, "CNN Heroes."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And explain to me everything you want to explain.

MATIN MAULAWIZADA, CNN HERO: Afghanistan offered me a lot, and I wanted to bring a little something back. It`s a tiny project, but I wanted to really make sure to bring something.

Afghan women, they`ve survived years of war, years of oppression, still they do, and they prevail. So to me the strength of Afghan women are just remarkable, and I wanted to work with them. Widows in particular rely on the mercy of their families, so they kind of become servants to them. And I wanted to kind of change that, one person at a time, if I could.

My entire point was to make sure the widows and women would be able to proudly work, and be proud of their work, and work outside their house, and provide wealth for their families. It`s just amazing. It sells itself, really.

They read and write the equivalent of a fourth-grader now. Mentally, they`re prepared to go to work. They know how to take measurements. They know how to do -- to write measurements. Once they learn enough, they will basically be businesswomen.

And look at their embroidery on this. I`m hoping that I will send them to courses that they could actually manage a business, grow a business. My whole dream is for them to basically have the confidence to see beautiful objects that they`re making and know that people are enjoying and appreciating them. They were doing the work, and all I am offering is basically an opportunity for them to show what they have.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On February 3, 2003, Spector was arrested after Lana Clarkson`s lifeless body was found in his castle-like home in a Los Angeles suburb of Alhambra, the victim of a single gunshot in the mouth. His defense team maintains the b-movie actress took her own life.


GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. We are live here at the L.A. County Superior Courthouse. Right behind me, music genius Phil Spector on trial for the murder of a young actress, Lana Clarkson.

Out to Diana in Florida, hi, Diana.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. I love your show. Watch you every night.

GRACE: Thanks very much for watching. What`s your question?

CALLER: My quick question is, we hear all about this Spector gentleman, but what about Lana`s family? Do we know anything about her family? Isn`t she the victim?

GRACE: I do. I do, actually. Lana`s family has been in the courtroom practically every day from the get-go. She was out shopping with her mother the day of her death for some comfortable shoes. She was going to be a hostess at the House of Blues.

What else can you tell me -- with me here from "L.A. Magazine," Joe Domanick -- about her family?

DOMANICK: Well, she has a sister. She was very close with her mother. Lana grew up in Northern California, right outside of her commune, and she always, always wanted to be an actress. She came to L.A. when she was 18 years old and that was her big dream, and she worked incredibly hard for 20 years, knock, knock, knocking on doors, and they just kind of never opened.

GRACE: And, you know, another thing I learned about Lana during this trial is she`s not just a beautiful, tall blonde. She had excellent comedic talent. You have to be really smart to be a really great comedian, and she had that.

Very quickly, everyone, let`s switch gears and remember Army Specialist Michael Davis, just 22, San Marcos, Texas, killed, Iraq. A combat engineer, he drove a mine disposal truck known as the Buffalo. With dreams of attending college to study engineering, he loved sending IMs home. A newlywed, he leaves behind a grieving widow, Karen, three sisters. Michael Davis, American hero.

Thank you to all of our guests. Our biggest thank you is to you for inviting all of us into your home. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.