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Nancy Grace

Pregnant Girlfriend of Former Chicago Bear Found Shot to Death

Aired October 05, 2007 - 20:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight: 7:55 AM, upscale Chicago neighborhood, shots ring out. Police arrive to find the pregnant girlfriend of an NFL superstar shot to death, her body riddled with bullets. No theft, no sex assault. Tonight, Chicago police comb through the evidence for clues. Who shot Rhoni Reuter?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Removed from the crime scene, a tan Jeep Liberty belonging to the murder victim, 42-year-old Rhoni Reuter, a pregnant woman shot multiple times in her Deerfield townhouse. Police confirm Reuter was the girlfriend of former children defensive back Shaun Gayle, a member of the famous `85 Bears and the father of the victim`s unborn child. Police say Gayle came to them when he learned of the shooting, has been assisting in the investigation and is not considered a suspect.


GRACE: And tonight: Superstar Britney Spears`s string of wild and erratic behavior -- was that what cost her custody of her toddler boys? Well, leaks in the Spears camp reveal the music mega-star slept through court-ordered drug tests and then failed to answer her mansion`s intercom when her two toddler boys came for their very first court-ordered visit with Mommy. Spears`s ex raking in $20,000 a month in alimony, that set to be cut off in just 30 days. At the heart of this legal showdown, two little boys.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The court commissioner who stripped Britney Spears of custody of her two baby boys says he did it because the pop star didn`t adhere to the mandate he issued last month. Spears reportedly slept through two drug test appointments and wasn`t available for a third one. Now the judge wants Spears to receive counseling before her next court appearance and wants all visits with her sons monitored.

And is she or isn`t she? Superstar Britney Spears is reportedly not checking into rehab this weekend. One good thing for Spears, her new song, "Gimme More," is moving quickly up the charts.


GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. First, the 6-months-pregnant girlfriend of Chicago Bears superstar Shaun Gayle found dead, upscale Chicago suburbs, her body riddled with bullets.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A Super Bowl champ and sports star`s pregnant girlfriend found dead in the Chicago suburbs, police called to an upscale Deerfield condominium complex after neighbors report hearing a woman screaming, plus banging and crashing noises in the early hours. There officers find Rhoni Reuter, expected to deliver a baby in just months, dead from multiple gunshot wounds. And now explosive court documents reveal football star Shaun Gayle had an order of protection against an ex- girlfriend who allegedly had been harassing Reuter. Police spotted at Gayle`s home leaving with a garbage bag but refused to say why. Police say Gayle is not a suspect, fully cooperating with the investigation.


GRACE: If he`s not a suspect of any type, then why are police combing through his trash? But he did voluntarily go to the police station and stay there for hours. That`s practically unheard of.

Let`s go out to Jeff Johnson (ph), investigative reporter with BET. Jeff, take it from the top.

JEFF JOHNSON, BET: Well, what we`ve seen here is we`ve seen Reuter -- screams coming from the apartment, a neighbor calls...

GRACE: Wa-wa-wa-wa-wait. Let`s take it at the very beginning. First of all, what struck me as very odd, Jeff, is you have an armed encounter at 7:55 AM.


GRACE: Now, I`ve prosecuted a lot of cases, a lot of shootings, burglaries, break-ins, you name it. 7:55 AM? Uh-huh. Something is wrong right there. OK, go ahead.

JOHNSON: Well, Nancy, what I was going to say is something else is wrong, is that we heard screams coming from the apartment, but no gunshots coming from the apartment.

GRACE: Well, make no mistake about it, she was shot. She was riddled with bullets.

JOHNSON: Absolutely. So police came as a result of a neighbor calling because she heard screams. When police got there, they saw that she had been shot several times, three times specifically. And the coroner ruled that that was the cause of death. And so at this point, the police still are saying nothing,. They don`t know anything. We know that Shaun Gayle called in -- no one went to go find him -- that he assisted with the police, and after several hours being there and them searching his home, that they did pull a bag of garbage, put it in the trunk of the car and took it away with them.

GRACE: When was that?

JOHNSON: What`s that?

GRACE: When was that?

JOHNSON: That was yesterday.

GRACE: Out to Mary Frances Bragiel, reporter with WBBM Newsradio 780. That`s very interesting what Jeff Johnson has just reported, that nobody heard any shots.

MARY FRANCES BRAGIEL, WBBM NEWSRADIO 780: That`s what police are saying. That`s what they`re saying in published reports, as well, that nothing -- they said there was no forced entry. They heard nothing. Although neighbors did say that they heard some screams.

GRACE: Screams. Now, to you, Mike Brooks, former fed with the FBI. Does this suggest a silencer was used?

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, you can`t really say so, Nancy. You know, early on, we (INAUDIBLE) you know, heard some banging. Sometimes banging could be associated with people who can`t tell the difference between gunshots and bangs. Sometimes you hear a large bang.

But what I find interesting -- there was no forced entry, no sign of forced entry, Nancy. Nothing was taken. To me, first off, it would say it was probably someone she knew or felt comfortable with, since there was no forced entry that early in the morning.

GRACE: Well, also, you`ve got multiple gunshot wounds. If it had just been a burglar, they would have shot her and hightailed it out of there. No sex assault, no theft.

To Dr. Richard Keller, Lake County coroner. What does the autopsy reveal?

RICHARD KELLER, LAKE COUNTY, ILLINOIS, CORONER: Well, we did the autopsy last evening, and it revealed that she had died from multiple gunshot wounds. The exact number we really can`t relate because that`s going to be used by the police in their investigation.

GRACE: So we just heard Jeff Johnson say three. So is that not accurate, or can you not say?

KELLER: I would say that`s not accurate, but I can`t really reveal the number.

GRACE: Doctor, what part of her body were the shots?

KELLER: Again, the exact locations are going to be used in the investigation by the police.

GRACE: OK. Could you just tell me if any of them were point blank?

KELLER: The range of the shots was fairly close, not necessarily what one would call point blank.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police received a 911 call Thursday morning from a neighbor in Reuter`s condo complex. That person reported hearing screams. Police say Reuter had been shot several times in her condo. Reuter was seven months pregnant with Gayle`s child. The unborn child did not survive.

The shooting sparked (ph) a heavy police response, with officers from several communities searching the neighborhood for a possible suspect.

Former Bears safety Shaun Gayle spent several hours at the Deerfield police station. We`re told he went there after learning about the murder of his long-time girlfriend, 42-year-old Rhoni Reuter. His attorney was also there. Police are not calling Gayle a suspect, and they say he`s aiding in the investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No suspect information is available at this time. Lake County Major Crimes Task Force is assisting us with this investigation and following up on all leads as they develop.


GRACE: An NFL superstar at the heart of this controversy, his 6- months-pregnant girlfriend, long-standing girlfriend, found dead in her own condo, a very upscale suburban condo there in Chicago, her body riddled with bullets. We have just learned from the coroner tonight that some of those shots were at close range.

And you and I know, Mike Brooks, that the only way you can tell that is to have gunshot powder residue or some sort of stippling effect from the gunshot powder residue. That would suggest three feet or less. Agree or disagree?

BROOKS: Totally agree with you, Nancy. And one thing I`d be very anxious to find out is if there was any sign of struggle, anything at all like that, you know, that would indicate why the scream happened. Was there a confrontation? Was there a struggle and that`s why she screamed? Or did someone pull a weapon on her? Again, just the thing that bothers me is no sign of forced entry whatsoever, nothing taken.

GRACE: Well, what about this -- to Jeff Johnson, investigative reporter with BET. Jeff, isn`t it true that there had been a female stalker, a female stalker who had been harassing not only Shaun Gayle, the NFL superstar, but also his girlfriend, the deceased?

JOHNSON: Well, allegedly, one of Gayle`s ex-girlfriends had been harassing not only Gayle and several of his ex-girlfriends, to go as far as to allegedly e-mailing members of the board of directors of a charity that Gayle was a part of. So there had been protective orders filed.

GRACE: Hey, Jeff?


GRACE: Jeff, that`s the way to get a man back.


GRACE: You e-mail everybody he works with and trash him and his girlfriend. He`ll come running straight back to you.

JOHNSON: Well, but you know, Nancy, the thing that we`re dealing with here is this girlfriend, ex-girlfriend is saying that she didn`t do any of this. She didn`t send any e-mails. She didn`t give any threatening letters. She says she doesn`t even know about...

GRACE: Well, I guess it was a suicide then, Jeff, because everybody said they didn`t have anything it do with it.

We are taking your calls live, 1-877-NANCY01. Out to the lines. Dawn in Michigan. Hi, Dawn. Dawn, are you with me? OK, I can hear Dawn`s television. Elizabeth, let me know when we get Dawn back.

Straight out to -- back to Dr. Richard Keller. He is the Lake County coroner. Doctor, thank you again for being with us. I know you can`t release the number of gunshot wounds. I know that`s going to be probative evidence. Could you tell how long Rhoni Reuter had been dead?

BROOKS: Just a short period of time before the police arrived at the scene.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Sharon in Alabama. Hi, Sharon. Sharon, are you with me? OK. Liz, got a problem with the lines.

I want to go back to this theory of a confrontation before the screams. Wasn`t there some evidence, Mary Frances Bragiel, that there had -- one of the neighbors or two of the neighbors heard a lout of arguing or screaming or a loud thump? What did they hear?

BRAGIEL: ... all the police are saying that they were hearing. That`s why they keep saying there`s no forced entry. They do not believe that this was random. They said this was definitely screaming was all they heard (INAUDIBLE) neighbors reported telling police they heard.

GRACE: Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: WGN news has also learned that Shaun Gayle filed a series of court documents, the most recent today, against a former girlfriend he claimed had been harassing him and some of his friends. On June 1, 2006, he petitioned for an emergency order of protection from the woman. Twenty-one days later, he filed an amendment claiming she had violated the first order. In November `06, Gayle files a second order of protection, claiming he`s being stalked and harassed. The complaint alleges his friend, Rhoni, received a threatening letter from the woman named in the order.

Police won`t confirm or deny that that woman is their suspect, but they do go out of their way to reassure residents that they are in no danger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s no reason to believe that a suspect is still in the area or on the loose in this immediate vicinity.


GRACE: Let`s unleash the lawyers. Joining us tonight, Randi Karmel. She is family law attorney, child advocate out of New York. From the San Francisco jurisdiction, you all know defense attorney Daniel Horowitz. Out of New York, Joey Jackson (ph), defense attorney.

First of all, to you, Daniel Horowitz. I know that the police are saying -- they`re making a very big point to say that Shaun Gayle, the former cornerback for the Chicago Bears -- often played nickel (ph) back, as well -- that he has not been named as a suspect. Then why were they going through and taking his trash?

DANIEL HOROWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, I think you really hit an important point. Everyone is a suspect because it`s so open-ended. Where they have to focus is this restraining order. He says one thing, the ex-girlfriend says something totally different. Only one of them can be telling the truth. And once you resolve that issue, you`re going to have very strong evidence towards one or the other. It`s not definitive, but that`s where the police have to be going.

GRACE: Back to Jeff Johnson. Wasn`t the TRO on the ex-girlfriend -- wasn`t it just renewed recently?

JOHNSON: It was just renewed the same day, in fact.

GRACE: Oh, good Lord! And didn`t she say, I`m in a relationship, I`m pregnant, I`m happy, I had nothing to do with this?

JOHNSON: She says she`s happily married and pregnant.

GRACE: Oh, married and pregnant! OK, then why was the TRO, temporary restraining order, just renewed?

JOHNSON: That`s exactly, I think, the question that we`re all trying to find the answer to.

GRACE: Well, it`s a public document, typically. A TRO, a temporary restraining order, is normally filed in the courthouse. That adds a whole `nother wrinkle to it.

Back to the lawyers, Randi Karmel, Daniel Horowitz, Joey Jackson. To Randi Karmel. The fact that she just had a restraining order levied against her, that does not suggest to me that everything is all quiet on the Western front.

RANDI KARMEL, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: I certainly agree. The fact that there`s a new order of protection, and it`s my understanding that it expires in 2009, is very telling. It also shows that, considering they had a relationship some time ago, years ago, if something is still going on, whether it just be an e-mail or a telephone call, this woman has not let go of this man, and there`s certainly something here that the police need to investigate.

GRACE: Joey Jackson, weigh in.

JOEY JACKSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I want to go back to the issue of forced entry. I know we`re talking about an order of protection. However, forced entry in and of itself does not indicate that it`s -- you know, it`s someone who`s known. And let me just say this. I think other circumstances point to the victim and perhaps, you know, her knowing the person who did this to her. However, you, I`m sure, Nancy, have prosecuted cases in the past where you have a stranger who`s a defendant who gains the trust of the person, and therefore, based upon that gaining of the trust, gains entry and commits acts of violence.

GRACE: Example?

JACKSON: So -- well, you know, in any situation -- for example, you could knock on the door and you could knock on the door and say, Hello, how are you? I`m delivering cookies. I`m delivering your mail. I have something else. I`m a friend of your neighbors.

GRACE: OK, but wait a minute. In that scenario, there`s an end game. It`s for a sex assault or a theft...

JACKSON: Right. Right.

GRACE: ... or a burglary. Nothing stolen...

JACKSON: Hold on. But however, Nancy, think about this. Now, we`re talking about theories. What if -- and you`ve heard of people being hired, for example, to complete certain tasks. It`s not necessary if I want someone dead that, you know, you be the person that actually fulfills that objective. You could hire someone to come...

GRACE: Oh, you mean like a hit man?


GRACE: Let`s talk to Mike Brooks. Mike Brooks, let`s go through the theory of a hit man. Everybody, we are talking about Rhoni Reuter. She was six months pregnant, her boyfriend an NFL star, Shaun Gayle. The theory of a hit man -- it`s pretty tough to keep that quiet. Have you noticed that very often, with hit men, somebody always blabs?

BROOKS: It`s just a matter of time with that. And I tell you, the one thing I`d be right now, if I was one of the investigators, I`d have that former girlfriend -- I`d have her down at the station right now, pregnant or not, talking to her for a number of hours to find out exactly where she was and if she -- if there`s anyone who can give her an alibi. Is there anyone who can account for where she was when this happened?

GRACE: Hey, to Mary Frances Bragiel. Has Shaun Gayle -- not a suspect -- taken a polygraph?

BRAGIEL: (INAUDIBLE) I have no idea if he did or did not. All I know, according to police, what they told me today, again, is that he`s fully cooperative. He`s the one who came to the police station . And so is the former girlfriend. She`s been fully cooperative as of today, speaking to her today. And they said that they won`t be offering any more information regarding the two until the beginning of next week.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Caitlin (ph) in Illinois. Let`s try those lines again. Hi, Caitlin.


GRACE: What`s your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, actually, I grew up in Deerfield and my parents still live up there, and I know the community`s been really concerned about growing drug use and gang violence up there spreading from Chicago. So I was wondering if there`s any indication that that`s happening here.

GRACE: Very interesting because this is very upscale, expensive neighborhood, but that doesn`t mean drugs and violence can`t get in. Jeff Johnson, what about it? Any suggestion this had anything to do with gang or drug violence?

JOHNSON: We`re not hearing that, no. And I think that when we`re talking about some 42 and 45-year-olds, we`re not talking about people that are hanging out with kids, either. And so we`re not hearing that that`s part of this, or the police haven`t said that that`s part of the investigation at all.

GRACE: Joining us tonight, psychotherapist and author Beatty Cohan. Thank you for being with us, Beatty.


GRACE: You know, I remember distinctly when I first heard about the study conducted by Dr. Isabel Horan (ph) that proved that the number one cause of death amongst pregnant woman is homicide. I didn`t believe it when I first heard it. I actually had to call Dr. Horan and find out the specifics of the study. And in fact, that`s what her study showed.

COHAN: Right.


COHAN: Well, number one, these homicides are usually committed by intimate people who are having an intimate relationship. And you know, typically, Nancy -- I was thinking about it -- is someone who is not wanting the child, who does not want to share the woman with a child, whether or not they view the birth of a child as a loss, rather than an addition to -- you know, to the family life. I mean, this is obviously somebody who would be needy, dependent, controlling, and clearly would have psychiatric and possibly substance abuse problems, as well.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former Bears safety Shaun Gayle spent several hours at the Deerfield police station. We`re told he went there after learning about the murder of his long-time girlfriend, 42-year-old Rhoni Reuter. His attorney was also there. Police are not calling Gayle a suspect, and they say he`s aiding in the investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No suspect information is available at this time. Lake County Major Crimes Task Force is assisting us with this investigation and following up on all leads they develop.


GRACE: The pregnant girlfriend of an NFL superstar, Shaun Gayle, found dead in her upscale Chicago home.

Out to the lines. Sean in Alabama. Hi, Sean.


GRACE: Hey, dear. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m sorry. This is Sharon from Alabama.

GRACE: Hello, dear. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I want to know if Mr. Gayle had a key to her townhouse, and is it still in his possession?

GRACE: Excellent question. What do we know, Jeff Johnson?

JOHNSON: We don`t know if he had a key and we can`t -- I don`t know if we can assume one way or the other. But the police haven`t given any indication whether or not he had a key or whether he was -- had access to the apartment, and I`m sure that they questioned him about it, but nothing to that case has been released to the public.

GRACE: And another very important issue. To Mike Brooks. If the ex- girlfriend, who has a restraining order against her -- if one of her fingerprints show up in that home, she`s going to have a problem explaining that. Whereas if Shaun Gayle, the football star`s, fingerprints show up, he had a reason for being there. That really won`t be a problem for him.

BROOKS: That won`t be a problem for him at all. But they find just one fingerprint or one piece of her hair, anything at all, trace evidence from her in that apartment, she`s going to have a lot of explaining to do.

GRACE: Dr. Michael Hunter is joining us, joining us out of New York. Dr. Hunter, how is it that an autopsy can reveal the time of death?

DR. MICHAEL HUNTER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST, MEDICAL EXAMINER: Well, you know, an autopsy is really not the best method as far as determining the time of death. I mean, there are post-mortem changes that we look at, but in a case like this, it`s -- it`s I think pretty clear that her death occurred soon after the scream. Basically, law enforcement comes onto the scene so quickly that I don`t think time of death is really going to be an issue here.

GRACE: No, I don`t think it will be, either.


GRACE: To Brandy in Tennessee. Hi, Brandy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Nancy. Congratulations on the babies.

GRACE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we`re still praying for Trenton.

GRACE: Me, too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, have the police investigated the ex`s relationship with him over the last several months for her to still be pursuing him?

GRACE: I know. I know. What about that? To Mary Frances Bragiel. Are they still having a relationship?

BRAGIEL: That is unclear (INAUDIBLE) police have been very tight- lipped about this whole investigation and about their relationship. (INAUDIBLE) more questions that will come out once they reinterview this woman, which you know will happen.

GRACE: When we come back: Superstar Britney Spears loses custody of her toddler boys. Was the music icon really asleep at their very first scheduled court-ordered visit and during drug tests?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The court commissioner who stripped Britney Spears of custody of her two baby boys said he did it because the pop star didn`t adhere to the mandate he issued last month. Judge Scott Gordon ordered Spears to take drug tests, hire a parenting coach, and undergo joint counseling with her ex, Kevin Federline. Spears reportedly slept through two drug test appointments and wasn`t available for a third one. Now the judge wants Spears to receive counseling before her next court appearance and wants all visits with her sons monitored.


GRACE: What`s even more disturbing, reports that Britney Spears didn`t answer the door when her boys came for their first court-appointed visit. Now, her camp says they didn`t hear the intercom ring.

Out to Kelli Zink, host with, Kelli Zink, explain what`s going on.

KELLI ZINK, CELEBTV.COM: Hello, Nancy. Well, the problem with this story is, allegedly Kevin`s people dropped the children off to see Britney, and her and Elly (ph) were waiting. You know, she had been out checking into hotels. That`s what she`s been doing since she`s lost custody of the children, is checking into these hotels and then leaving around 3:30 in the morning, which is bizarre on its own.

So now her and Elly (ph) are waiting in Malibu, safely back, and they didn`t hear the door bell ring. And then the phone rang, and they said, "We left because you guys weren`t there." The problem is, Nancy, there`s no one to call. Right now, Britney Spears, other than her lawyers, has no representation. Her manager fired her. Her mother and her are estranged, and basically she has cut off everybody in her life that we can call and say, "Hey, what`s going on here?"

So these are reports. People are reporting this, but I can`t say that it`s true or not. What I can say is that I spoke with her lawyer today and he knew nothing about that.

GRACE: Now, was it the doorbell, Kelli, or was it the intercom? Were they at some gate far, far away from her home or were they right there at the door trying to get in?

ZINK: No, I mean, the reports are saying that they were at the gate, which was -- the intercom wasn`t working. Now, if I`m a parent, I`m going to be waiting there with baited breath and all my security system and cameras for my children to come. So the fact that Britney didn`t hear the intercom or it wasn`t working, that`s why it`s hard to say if that`s really what happened.

GRACE: And to Kareen Wynter, CNN correspondent there on the scene, Kareen, all right, there`s the story of her not taking the very first visit with her children that`s she just lost custody of, but what about the court-ordered drug tests?

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And this one just blew my mind, Nancy, actually. The "L.A. Times" is reporting that...

GRACE: Oh, you`re not going to make excuses for her tonight?


WYNTER: You know, even if I try, I can`t for this one. It`s actually surprising. The "L.A. Times" is reporting that Britney Spears has missed three of those mandatory drug and alcohol tests that she must undergo every week and that this really influenced the judge`s decision on whether or not she should have physical custody.

GRACE: Wait, wait, wait a minute. Elizabeth, am I seeing the new -- is that the new video of her dancing around that stripper pole? I could do that. Wait a minute, where`s all the dance steps? I can do that, for Pete`s sake. I probably wouldn`t look as good in the outfit. But wait a minute. Hold on. I got to see this. I haven`t seen this. She`s just walking and walking around and around the pole. Wait.

Kareen Wynter, look, I know this girl has got a lot of talent, but I`m not seeing any dance steps. I`m seeing nothing. And this single, this is the single that`s gone to the top of the charts?

WYNTER: This is actually the much-hyped video that people are waiting for that is reportedly coming out, premiering on Monday. So people are getting a peek of it right now and, boy, does it tell a lot.

GRACE: OK, all right, I was just having a little bit of a hard time. You say Britney Spears, I expect to see all these explosive dance moves. Out to the lines, Vicki in New Jersey. Hi, Vicki.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy, how are you doing?

GRACE: I`m hanging in there, dear. What`s your question?

CALLER: I wonder if anyone has asked or thought about that maybe she really feels that she`s incapable of taking care of the kids and this is her way of letting someone else do it.

GRACE: You know, interesting. To Beatty Cohan, is this her way of just avoiding something she really doesn`t want, or is she afraid?

BEATTY COHAN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: No, I don`t think it`s about not wanting, and I don`t think it is about fear, Nancy. Britney Spears needs to be detoxed. And before that is a possibility, all the counseling in the world is not going to do her or her children or her ex-husband any good whatsoever. She needs to be involuntarily committed for detox.




A.J. HAMMER, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Check out this mad house. Britney Spears surrounded by paparazzi at a California gas station in this video shot by As it turns out, filling up at Shell would put Britney in one hell of a P.R. mess, because while she was tooling around L.A. and checking into swanky Beverly Hills hotels, a court was deciding to continue Kevin Federline`s temporary custody of their two kids, who were taken away from Brit this week. Even though it wasn`t required, K-Fed was in court at the time, Brit not so much.


GRACE: OK, you`re seeing the music video of Britney Spears, the single to this "Gimme More" has gone to the top of the charts. And I just want you to know that the lyrics in this thing say, "I can`t control myself." Duh! And it refers to -- she`s singing about herself, the legendary Ms. Britney Spears, a legend in the courthouse, maybe, over a child custody hearing. And I can`t help but notice, people, I could do that, going round and round and round a stripper pole. OK, not that I`m going to. I don`t want to scare you.

But I want to go straight out to Kelli Zink. Kelli, while everyone is focusing on this video, her new video, remember what the judge said in this little order right here? It says: You`re losing custody until further notice. The judge is waiting to see how she`s going to respond. And now we know, didn`t even open up the front door when the boys came to visit on their first court-ordered visit.

ZINK: You know, that was unbelievable, Nancy, I will say, but I`ll also say this. I spoke with her lawyer this afternoon. You know, it`s the first time he`s spoken since court on Wednesday. And he told me that he thinks that if Britney Spears complies with everything she`s supposed to do, there is no way that things won`t go back to the way they were, meaning joint custody.

He truly believes that if Britney takes these drug tests, if she sees her parenting coach, and if she just complies with what the judge is asking, then she`ll have no problem getting the children back. So this will be the true test. October 26th she`s been ordered to show up. If she does, and if she`s been good, then she should have no problem getting what she says she wants, which is joint custody.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Eric in Iowa, hi, Eric.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy, how are you?

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

CALLER: My question is, how does Britney Spears get out of taking her mandatory parenting classes?

GRACE: You know, I guess the same way she got out of those drug tests. Explain that to me, Kareen Wynter. Wasn`t her excuse was she was asleep during the court-ordered drug test?

WYNTER: That`s right. Not asleep at the wheel, asleep apparently in her own home, Nancy. That`s according to the "L.A. Times," that she failed to show up for three mandatory drug and alcohol screening tests. She just slept right through the appointments, reportedly, according to her assistant. And as for the third one, well, they made it easier. They were actually going to go out to Brit`s home to have it done there. She just couldn`t comply.

GRACE: You mean they offered curb service?

WYNTER: Absolutely.

GRACE: The state actually offered for them to come to her mansion to give her a drug test?

WYNTER: It doesn`t get any easier than that. It doesn`t get any easier.

GRACE: That is video you`re seeing right now from Hollywood.TV. I want to go to Ken Seeley, interventionist with A&E`s "Intervention," founder of Ken, would an intervention help at this point? Or does she -- remember last week, it was rumored that she would go into rehab to try to get in the judge`s good graces, to show she was really trying. That`s been ixnayed.

KEN SEELEY, A&E`S "INTERVENTION": No, what`s happening now, Nancy, is, you know, the judge is doing her intervention and raising the heat, raising the flames to where she feels the pain. And right now, she`s just not feeling it. She`s ignoring his orders.

And so, being that she`s ordering it, if you go to any doctor or any treatment center and look it up in the medical books of addiction, these are all the behaviors she`s demonstrating. She`s a very sick young woman. And if we don`t watch out and get her the right, appropriate help, then maybe the judge should 51/50 her (ph) and lock her up and make her detox and find out what`s going on with her and do a psych eval. Maybe that`s going to help save her life, because I don`t think she has a chance if we don`t do something. And the judge...

GRACE: Well, I`m frankly more worried about what`s going to happen to the kids, between her and Federline. We`re taking your calls live, 1-877- NANCY-01. Out to Alexa in Washington. Hi, Alexa.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. You look wonderful, as always.

GRACE: Thank you. That`s because you`re seeing me from the ears up, but I appreciate that, dear. What`s your question?

CALLER: I was wondering if the fact that Kevin Federline, when he was in court and Britney Spears was not, could that impact her custody in the future perhaps?

GRACE: Well, you know, Alexa, I never tried a case if I could help it, sometimes I couldn`t help it, where the victim, if the victim was still alive, was not in court or the victim`s family, friends, someone there representing the cause of the crime victim.

And I`ve got to tell you something. I know there`s no legal book that says you have to be in court, but I think that was a major, major tactical error. Plus, it makes me wonder, really, for the first time, a lot of people have been rooting for Spears to make a comeback, where her priorities really were.

To Randy Carmel, Daniel Horowitz, Joey Jackson, out to you, Daniel Horowitz, why wasn`t she in court?

DANIEL HOROWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, she`s obviously, to put it frankly, messed up, but it`s not because of drugs. And I`m tired of people saying she should stop using drugs, take parenting classes. She has been emotionally a wreck for years. We know it. Let`s have some compassion for her. Kevin Federline, in my opinion, wants money. He gets the kids, he gets money.

GRACE: Hey, I`m not fighting you on that, because if he gets more custody, he gets more money, to top off his $20,000 a month. But how does -- why can`t both of those things be true? Why can`t Federline want more money and Spears have a substance abuse problem?

HOROWITZ: Well, but the core of her problem is emotional. The judge shouldn`t have said...

GRACE: Why? How do you know that? I mean, you`re looking in your crystal ball?

HOROWITZ: Well, I`ve watched her, and I know people who have met her.

GRACE: Oh, you watched her on TV? You know some people that met her? And you made this medical -- OK.

HOROWITZ: That`s my opinion. You know what? If they would deal with her problems, say, get counseling, rather than do this little drug treatment at some shi-shi place, she`d be a lot better off. And Federline should be watched, because he`s going to put the kids in the hands of a nanny. He`s not going to take care of those kids.

GRACE: Joey Jackson?

JOEY JACKSON, ATTORNEY: May I make a bold prediction?

GRACE: A bold prediction, sure.

JACKSON: The bold prediction is, is that Britney Spears is going to be fine. She`s a young woman. She`s talented. She`s beautiful. She`s going to get through this. The bottom line is, is that she`s living her life in public. You know, you have two precious children here. They`re 2. They`re 1. I think, if anything, the judge`s decision represented a major wake-up call for her. She now knows...

GRACE: Oh, is that why she didn`t answer the door for their first visit?

JACKSON: Listen, you know, she`s going to get it together. It may not be today; it might not be tomorrow. But she`s going to get it together.


GRACE: OK, and I`ve got to tell you, that`s not that bold. All right, she`s got a team of assistants to get her together.

To Randy Carmel, Randy, first of all, I thought it was insane that she didn`t go to court. Then I thought even more insane that she slept through a drug test. But not letting your kids in, not answering the door for your first court-appointed supervised visit?

RANDI KARMEL, CHILD ADVOCATE: She obviously is doing nothing to get those children back. She`s disobeying every court order, and there are a million excuses. She`s on drugs. She has problems. She doesn`t want these children. She has done nothing since the children were taken away from her to do anything positive for these children. She is defiant and not doing a thing for them. I agree, she should have been in court. She should have done everything that was required of her.

GRACE: Oh, here`s a tough decision. Take a look at this. Got to decide, are you going to drop the drink or you going to drop the kid? OK, hold on just a moment, toughie. Oh, hold on to that drink. There we go. OK.

Mike Brooks, are the children really in danger?

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE: I tell you what, Nancy, the court sure thinks so. You know, now she was supposed to have court-supervised visitation with a monitor there, but they said, if something happens, if they see any kind of behavior, the monitor is to say, "Forget it," and stop the visitation.

But, you know, you go into what Ken says, and I have to agree with Ken. A civil commitment might be in order, because the judge, right in the paperwork, Nancy, it says, based on the evidence presented, the court find that there is habitual, frequent and continuous use of controlled substances and alcohol by the petitioner. Who`s the petitioner? Britney Spears.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Carrie in Indiana, hi, Carrie.

CALLER: Hi, love the show.

GRACE: Thank you, dear.

CALLER: I`m curious to know, when she goes to the court-ordered hearing on the 26th of October, is she going there to possibly regain 50-50 custody, or is she going to answer as to why she hasn`t been at the drug testing?

GRACE: Excellent question. Kareen Wynter, CNN correspondent there joining us one the scene in L.A., what is the purpose of the hearing on the 26th?

WYNTER: Well, Nancy, you can bet her attorneys are going to fight like hell, excuse the phrase, to reinstate that physical custody that Britney Spears has lost as a result of this week`s order. But, also, you know, the big question that the judge or the commissioner may have, is she complying with all those mandates, the drug testing, the parenting classes? That`s all going to weigh into it. It`s not just what Britney`s team is bringing to the table. How much will she have fulfilled by that point?

GRACE: And, you know, another thing, to Dr. Michael Hunter, I noticed in the judge`s order -- I`m looking right at it -- he says she`s going to have drug and alcohol tested twice a week at random times. Now, aren`t there drugs that only stay in your system x number of hours and, if you want to catch somebody, you`ve got to test them more than once a week?

DR. MICHAEL HUNTER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Yeah, absolutely. I think the judge has a very good idea of what type of substances she has been using, certainly alcohol. There are possible other drugs, but alcohol will certainly leave the system relatively soon. Cocaine is another. So, yes, you have to do that.

GRACE: How fast will cocaine leave your system?

HUNTER: In a matter of days. And you`re talking about urine. You`re talking about a urine specimen.

GRACE: Exactly.

HUNTER: You`re not going to have evidence necessarily of drugs if you do it only once a week or once a month.

GRACE: To Annette in Texas. Hi, Annette.

CALLER: Good evening, Nancy. I was calling to see if the judge could order her to have a full psychiatric and medical evaluation?

GRACE: What about it, Daniel Horowitz? I`ve seen judges do it plenty.

HOROWITZ: Yeah, that`s really what`s needed. Get a treatment plan that`s really going to help her. You know, she could...


GRACE: Can a judge order it?

HOROWITZ: The judge can order it.

GRACE: I think they both need to be a psychological evaluation, and they both need to be being tested for drugs and alcohol. To Beatty Cohan, psychotherapist and author, to sleep through a court-appointed drug test, isn`t that some sort of denial?

COHAN: Nancy, if you`re drugged and/or drunk, you would sleep through anything. And what Britney Spears is needing, she needs to be detoxed. There`s a fabulous center here in Florida, the Florida Detox Center, where medical intervention would get her to a point where we could then begin to deal with her psychiatric and parenting and other issues.


GRACE: What a week in America`s courtrooms. Take a look at the stories and, more important, the people who touched our lives.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The father of the children, and when he got home, he found that his children were dead in the tub and that they had been drowned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She did this to them. She should pay for it. She had no reason to take their lives.

GRACE: The biological father, I saw, had two domestic incidents, and she was the alleged victim both times.

There is no way that this was the first time that 3-year-old little girl was molested. The girl showed no emotion whatsoever during the molestation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I call it sexual assault, not molestation.

GRACE: Britney Spears losing the things that should be the most valuable to her, her two little toddler sons.

SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: If you use alcohol and unprescribed meds, you lose your custody to K-Fed. The only real question is: Is she even going to notice that her kids are gone?

DISPATCHER: OK, how is your mom doing?

CALLER: I don`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People should be responsible for their dog.

GRACE: It`s the dead lady`s fault, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not saying it`s her fault.

GRACE: Yes, you did. Yes, you did.



GRACE: Let`s stop to remember Marine Corporal Bryan Scripsick, just 22, Wayne, Oklahoma, killed, Iraq. On a second tour, receiving the Purple Heart and Certificate of Honorable Service, lost his life just three weeks before return home. Sweet, generous, always wearing a smile, loved football, wrestling, dreamed of coaching football or baseball, leaves behind parents John and Jan, younger brother, Bret. Bryan Scripsick, American hero.

Thanks to our guests, but especially to you, for inviting us into your homes. A special good night from the New York control room. Good night, Liz. Good night, everybody. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.