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Nancy Grace

Cops Arrest Mom for Trying to Sell Newborn

Aired October 09, 2007 - 20:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight: She said she had money problems, so she decided to sell everything, including her newborn baby boy, complete with fake birth certificate and naming him after the highest bidder. Price tag for a black market baby right here in America, $25,000.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A New York mom sells her newborn son for $25,000 but gets arrested after it turns out she was selling the baby to an undercover agent. Yue Fan Chau claims her boyfriend went back to China and was selling the baby because she needed cash. Chau faces several charges, including abandoning a baby and tampering with public records. She could face up to seven years in prison.


GRACE: And tonight: Neighborhood vigilantes in a quiet Tennessee community take justice into their own hands when they discover a neighbor, a school bus driver, with tens of hundreds of child porn images on his home computer, this after he served time for sex crimes on minors ages 1 and 4. But when they turn to arson, the child molester escapes, but his wife dies. Tonight: Why did a judge let him walk free in the first place, setting up this deadly scenario? Judge Eric Sexton (ph), you are in contempt!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did vigilante justice go too far? Two Tennessee men charged tonight with first degree murder and arson. According to police, Gary Sellers (ph) and Robert Bell (ph) decided to scare a 53-year- old man out of the neighborhood after he`s arrested for child pornography. According to police, Chandler`s (ph) arrest enraged his neighbors so much, they decided to set his house on fire. Chandler escapes the raging blaze, but not his wife, Melissa (ph). She dies at the nearby ER. While Chandler remains free on probation in his child pornography case, Sellers and Bell sit behind bars for murder after taking the law into their own hands.


GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. First: Price tag on a newborn baby boy right here in America, $25,000.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Authorities say a New York mom tried to sell her 2-day-old baby boy for $25,000. Yue Fan Chau was arrested after accepting cash from an undercover agent for the baby. Chau told detectives she needed the money because her boyfriend went back to China. An undercover agent posing as a prospective parent met with Chau last month. She gave the agent several items, including her Social Security card and a copy of a Green Card.

Two days before the baby was born, the agent spoke to Chau, who said she was at a local hospital and put both his name and the baby`s name he had given her, Brian, on the birth certificate. When the agent went to the hospital and offered Chau the money, she accepted the payment and was immediately arrested. Among the charges Chau faces, first degree tampering with public records, abandonment of a child and endangering the welfare of a child. Chau faces up to seven years in prison.


GRACE: That`s right, $25,000 for a brand-new, newborn baby boy. And plus, you can actually get it named after the highest bidder right there on the formal, official birth certificate!

Straight out to Joshua Rhett Miller with "Metro New York." What happened?

JOSHUA RHETT MILLER, "METRO NEW YORK": Well, this is a case where this woman here, she found herself in a bad spot. And she was talking to a man who turned out to be an undercover police officer for the state. And she said that she had to get rid of the baby. And at first, she was asking for $20,000 and a $1,000 down payment. That -- that -- this then turned into $25,000...

GRACE: Yes, the price went up.

Jane Velez-Mitchell, let`s take it from the top. How did this woman, Fan Chau, get connected with an undercover agent? There had to be some type of introduction.


GRACE: And don`t start off with, She was in a bad spot, OK? What about the baby getting sold...


GRACE: ... like a watermelon off the side of the street? Go ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s the big question, you`re absolutely right, Nancy. How did these two hook up? We know they met in early September in Flushing Queens. Perhaps she was doing some bidding (ph) around the area and suggesting, Hey, my baby is up for sale. She was eight months pregnant.

One way or another, she hooked up with this undercover cop who was posing as a prospective parent, and they had several meetings over the course of September in which she gave him ultrasound photos of her baby who was about to be born in October. She gave him medical records. She also gave him a copy of her Green Card. And on top of that, she offered to let this undercover officer name the baby, and so he did. He named the child Brian.

And after all of that, demanding $25,000 in October when the baby was born. Of course, that`s when it all hit the fan. She`s arrested. She is currently in jail, and this little baby, Brian, is in the care of child protective services.

GRACE: So Mike Brooks, former fed with the FBI, how does she know that this is not a child molester that wants a brand-new newborn baby boy? How does she know that, or does she even care?

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: You know what, Nancy? It doesn`t sound like she cared. All she was here for was for the money. That`s the bottom line. And at this point, you never know what you`re going to get. You know, unless there was -- unless somebody made an introduction and somebody knew it -- you know, but still, you never know what you`re going to get, especially in New York City, Nancy. It could have been a child molester. They could have taken this kid for child porn. You never know. But at least one thing, Nancy. At least she didn`t kill the kid and put it under her kitchen sink, like we`ve seen in some other cases.

GRACE: OK, you know what? I`m going to argue that to the jury. Your defense is, At least she didn`t kill the baby and put it under the kitchen sink. OK.

BROOKS: I`m not a defense attorney, Nancy, I`m only a cop.

GRACE: Yes. Well, it`s a good thing, based on that.


GRACE: But let`s unleash the lawyers -- Eleanor Dixon, prosecutor, straight off a win in a death penalty case in Savannah, Ray Giudice, veteran defense attorney, Atlanta jurisdiction, Doug Burns out of New York. So Ray, how does she not know that this guy isn`t a child molester?

RAY GIUDICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: She doesn`t, Nancy. She`s got some real problems. And in fact...

GRACE: Wait, wait, wait! You`re giving in right off the top?

GIUDICE: Well, because that`s not where I go with the case. Where I go with the case is, number one, it`s interesting that New York state has no statute about selling your baby. This is a compendium of misdemeanors about falsifying birth certificates and applying for hospital records that have added up to a bunch of misdemeanors and one endangerment of a child.

GRACE: Hey, Ray...

GIUDICE: They might not even get...

GRACE: ... that was beautiful.

GIUDICE: They might not get a felony -- they may not...

GRACE: When I decide to sell the twins on the street, I`m going it hire you to defend me.


GIUDICE: Nancy, the problem is, they may not get a felony conviction, if they can`t show that the child...

GRACE: Who are you talking about "they"?

GIUDICE: The state of New York.

GRACE: Can we get to the point? Eleanor, I`m not talking about the state of New York, I`m talking about a woman selling her baby for 25 grand!

ELEANOR DIXON, PROSECUTOR: Well, that`s true, Nancy. And certainly, some type of cruelty to children charges, at the very least, because you`ve got to remember there was planning involved in this crime. She knew beforehand what she was going to do, and she was trying to sell her baby. So you`ve got that premeditation.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fan Chau is a woman from Flushing who allegedly tried to sell her baby for $25,000 to an undercover state police officer. The sale -- it occurred on October 5 outside of New York Downtown Hospital. Baby Brian is now in the custody of ACS, which is the city`s child care.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A New York mom sells her newborn son for $25,000 but gets arrested after it turns out she was selling the baby to an undercover agent. Yue Fan Chau claims her boyfriend went back to China and was selling the baby because she needed cash. Chau faces several charges, including abandoning a baby and tampering with public records. She could face up to seven years in prison.


GRACE: This time, it was an undercover agent. But how many times are children right here in this country sold? This a newborn baby boy price tagged $25,000.

To Joshua Rhett Miller with "Metro New York." Did this woman have a job?

MILLER: This woman did not have a job, and she came in contact with the state officer by being outside. It`s my understanding that it was around by where she lived that she came in contact with this officer outside.

GRACE: So Jane Velez-Mitchell, all of her whining and crying about how everything must go, how she had to sell things to make money -- she didn`t even have a job! So I don`t want to hear any more about the boyfriend moved home to China and she doesn`t have any money. She`s got an 11-year-old boy who is in school. That`s about the 4th or 5th grade. And she`s at home doing what all day, trying to find somebody to buy her baby?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re absolutely right, Nancy. There are so many other options and alternatives other than selling your flesh and blood, which is absolutely unconscionable. Obviously, you can put a child up for adoption. There are, of course, many programs at hospitals where you can leave your baby and you can leave without fear of prosecution. There are homeless shelters. There are family service centers. There are many, many facilities in New York City. This is happening in Flushing, Queens, in New York City, the biggest city in the United States. I mean, this is not happening in some rural area where she may have felt isolated.

GRACE: Do we know, Doug Burns, whether New York is a safe haven state? You know, there are safe haven states all across the country where you can drop your baby. And even if New York is not, nearby states, neighboring states are. You can drop your baby off at hospitals, at certain shelters, at certain locations which are marked publicly.


GRACE: So why not safe haven?

BURNS: Right. There`s no question that Jane is right that there are a number of alternatives, whether it be some type of, you know, outreach, community, et cetera. As far as the specific safe haven, I don`t know that. But I will guarantee you that she had plenty of available options. And it really is tragic. But also, don`t forget the statistics that you just put up. Unbelievable. It`s a multi-billion dollar business, sadly, and hundreds of thousands of children, as you yourself just pointed out, Nancy. So it`s a very large-scale problem.

GRACE: To Dr. Anne-Renee Testa, psychologist and author. You know, ignorance of the law is not a defense here.

ANNE-RENEE TESTA, PSYCHOLOGIST: And Nancy, in her case, you know what? Ignorance is bliss, but I don`t think she`s ignorant at all. And you know, it makes you wonder, Nancy, maybe she`s in the baby brokerage business. You know, she may just decide that, you know, $25,000, I can make that every eight or nine months and just keep on going. That`s a way -- that`s called the ultimate entitlement, the ultimate person who is numb inside, who really and truly has no regard whatsoever for the human condition. You take a baby that`s two days old, and you want to sell it?

I have a feeling, Nancy -- it sounds like she is so organized in the way in which she did it. She had all of this paperwork already. Don`t you think that that`s a little strange that it`s all in order? If she were in a distraught state of affairs, she would definitely not have been that organized.

GRACE: To Mike Brooks. What about cruelty to children or child endangerment? Has anybody thought of that as a legitimate charge?

BROOKS: Well, apparently, there is one child endangerment charge, Nancy. And you know...

GRACE: I mean felony child endangerment.

BROOKS: I know. I don`t understand that, either, and maybe something needs to be changed with laws in New York and other places, too, Nancy, because what about the child that she`s leaving with behind now? She`s endangering that person -- that child, too.

GRACE: Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Authorities say a New York mom tried to sell her 2-day-old baby boy for $25,000. Yue Fan Chau was arrested after accepting cash from an undercover agent for the baby. Chau told detectives she needed the money because her boyfriend went back to China. An undercover agent posing as a prospective parent met with Chau last month. She gave the agent several items, including her Social Security card and a copy of her Green Card.

Two days before the baby was born, the agent spoke to Chau, who said she was at a local hospital and put both his name and the baby`s name he had given her, Brian, on the birth certificate. When the agent went to the hospital and offered Chau the money, she accepted the payment and was immediately arrested. Among the charges Chau faces, first degree tampering with public records, abandonment of a child and endangering the welfare of a child. Chau faces up to seven years in prison.


GRACE: I want to go out to a special guest joining us tonight, Dr. Jake Deutsch. He is a doctor of emergency medicine. Doctor, thank you for being with us. Explain to me the safeguards, how we can avoid children being taken out of a hospital.

DR. JAKE DEUTSCH, DIR. OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, HACKENSACK UNIV. MEDICAL CTR.: Well, there are many things that are put in place when babies are born to prevent such catastrophes. Babies are immediately identified with footprints. There are security bands that are placed on the baby that have to correspondent to the mother. And birth certificates, which we`ve been talking about in this case, have to be filled out. They have to clearly identify the mother and the birth father. And if the birth father is not available, there has to be an affidavit to clearly -- to note who is going to be responsible for the child.

GRACE: Well, are there security measures in place in hospitals?

DEUTSCH: Absolutely. It`s like a security measure when you`re leaving a store. Expensive items are tagged. There`s monitors that are making sure that these alarms are monitoring the babies. And it`s actually a lockdown environment, so you can`t get on and off the floors without having access granted. So it`s very...

GRACE: Jane Velez-Mitchell, where is baby Brian tonight?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In the custody of child protective services. Let`s hope that he`s in a good, loving, temporary home while they try to sort this out. A big question is, Where is the 11-year-old son of this woman? Apparently, it`s been very hard to come by information about that child. And obviously, there should be a lot of concern for the wellbeing of that boy.

GRACE: You know, Mike Brooks, interesting, one of the documents that she showed this undercover cop was proof of a prior pregnancy. Now, the one child I know that she has is 11 years old, and that suggests to me that there could be more of these baby sellings.

BROOKS: You know, the doctor was right on target. She said that she might be part of a baby ring. Absolutely. That could be a very, very true statement. And the other thing, Nancy, go back to the immigration and customs enforcement and see what her record is. See if she`s been going back and forth from China to the United States or any other place where she could be selling these babies, also.

GRACE: Jane, was the transfer made in the hospital or outside the hospital?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, what happened was that they spoke a couple days after the baby was born, and she actually gave him a card that had some kind of numbers on it, sort of a security card if the dad wants to pick up the baby. And at that point, they walked out of the hospital. And that`s when he handed her cash and I believe a check, as well, but the total was $25,000. And as soon as she accepted that, that is when the arrest was made.

And I think the most horrifying thing about all of this is that she said unequivocally she did not want any future contact with this child whatsoever. So I think you have to look at the possibility that she may have possibly drug problems. She may have possibly mental problems. That needs to be investigated.

GRACE: I think she just has a problem with greed, Jane Velez- Mitchell. I don`t know why you want to give everybody an excuse that she has mental problems and emotional problems and drug problems. Nobody said anything about any of that until you just out of whole cloth suddenly say she`s got all these problems!

Let`s unleash the lawyers. Joining me, Eleanor Dixon, Ray Giudice, Doug Burns. Eleanor, try to convince me, why should she get to keep her 11-year-old child?

DIXON: Well, as a prosecutor, I`m not going to try to convince you to do that.

GRACE: So you agree?

DIXON: Oh, I agree. He needs to be in protective custody until the police can do a thorough investigation. And what nobody has said out loud is the fact that she probably doesn`t even have a boyfriend. There`s no boyfriend that exists. She could be used to doing this, but that doesn`t necessarily mean there`s a boyfriend there.

GRACE: Ray, why should she keep the 11-year-old?

GIUDICE: I agree. I think DFACS, family and children`s services, should intervene on the 11-year-old. First of all, the woman`s in jail. She probably has some immigration problems arising out of this. So the 11- year-old needs to be taken care of, and perhaps the 11-year-old may have some evidence that Mommy has been pregnant every nine months. I mean, we can`t foreclose that possibility.

GRACE: What about it, Doug?

BURNS: I`ll take a shot at risking your wrath. Seriously. In other words, the 11-year-old is a separate matter, ostensibly, and you have to objectively look at whether she`s taking caring for that kid.

GRACE: Oh, really? Who`s giving the 11-year-old his dinner tonight? Is Mommy? Oh, no, Mommy`s in jail for selling a baby. I forgot. But you want Mommy to keep the baby.

BURNS: Yes, well, I`ll tell you what, I didn`t say I wanted her to keep it, but I think you might be able to make the argument that she`s cared for the kid well. I don`t know enough about it.

GRACE: OK, very quickly, to tonight`s "Case Alert." Guns in the classroom? This time, it`s a school teacher, an Oregon high school teacher set to square off with the school district in court. English teacher Shirley Katz says she wants to bring her .9-millimeter Glock to class for protection. She claims her ex is a violent threat who could show up and attack her. Katz also wants to prevent another Virginia Tech attack. Oregon allows people with permits to carry weapons into public buildings, but the school district says no teachers with guns. Katz argues the policy is against Oregon law and the 2nd Amendment.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She gave him copies of her sonogram, of her past medical history. And she also has an 11-year-old son. And she gave him documents that proved that she had given birth before. The father has returned to China, and he was not named in the court documents. And he has since been taken out of the picture, really.


GRACE: She sells her baby, a newborn baby boy, right here in America for $25,000.

And I want to know something. Back out to you Ray Giudice. Why does everybody start the story with her boyfriend moved back to China? Listen, how many mothers are left alone to raise their children by themselves? And no, it`s not a good scenario, but it sounds like people are making an excuse. She`s at home, not even working!

GIUDICE: Well, unfortunately, you`re right, Nancy. Too many fathers and boyfriends abandon the mother, abandon the children. We don`t know if he`s the father, also, of the 11-year-old. So that would be something that I`d want to know. I`d also want to know his immigration status.

Interestingly enough, the child, the infant is a U.S. citizen. And the mom may try to do some -- we just had that Hispanic woman that sequestered herself in a church in Chicago for a year. She was illegal, the child was legal. Took a year for immigration to get her out of the country. So this really opens up a Pandora`s box of problems for this lady and the child.

GRACE: Joshua Rhett Miller, the 11-year-old -- is he an American citizen?

MILLER: It`s my understanding, yes, he is, Nancy.

GRACE: So she would already have one child that`s an American citizen. And hey, you know, Jane Velez-Mitchell, she could make a mint. If she`s charging $25,000 and up once a year, she doesn`t have to work. She`s at home watching "General Hospital" every day while you and I are working!

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, absolutely, Nancy. I mean, we`re accepting at face value her claim that she`s destitute, but I would assumed that they`re going to investigate and determine whether she made any money from selling babies previously. Perhaps she has a bank account. There are a lot of people -- I grew up in midtown Manhattan, and I can tell you there are a lot of people who are begging there who actually make quite a bit of money. And so you can`t always judge by appearances.

GRACE: To Eleanor Dixon Why don`t we just send her home? Why do we have to put her up for the next seven years and I have to pay for her food and her bed?

DEUTSCH: Well, maybe we will be able to send her home immediately and maybe we won`t. Homeland Security often waits until they`ve served their complete sentence here in the U.S. before they`re deported.

GRACE: Oh, so I can look forward to supporting here for the next seven years.

Everybody, when we come back: Does vigilante justice end in murder in a quiet Tennessee community?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: House goes up in flames in the community of Helenwood, Tennessee. The blaze taking the life of 37-year-old mother Melissa Chandler. Scott County police blame it on arson, then reveal two locals admit to setting the fire. Why? They wanted to scare the victim`s husband out of the neighborhood, a man they claim is a pervert.

Timothy Chandler had just been arrested on child pornography charges and was at home on bail. That`s when police say Robert Bell and Gary Sellers went to the home screaming and taunting the Chandlers about the child porn case. Bell and Sellers say they never intended for anyone to get killed, but tonight young mom Melissa Chandler is dead.


GRACE: An incredible story out of a quiet Tennessee town. Let`s just take it from the very beginning. To Catherine Howell, news director at WNOX, Catherine, it`s my understanding this guy was already convicted of sex assault on a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old child. And then we find nearly 1,000 child porn images on his home computer. It`s found by his in- laws, by his in-law`s family. What was he doing out working free, Catherine? Who`s the judge that came up with that idea?

CATHERINE HOWELL, NEWS DIRECTOR, WNOX: Well, I think that`s a good question. He served 18 months in prison back in 1990 after he was convicted of gross sexual imposition of a minor, which did involve that 1- and 4-year-old little girls that you were talking about, but he`s not listed on the Ohio sex registry at all. So up until this point, he has not faced any other charges, and he was a free man.

GRACE: But I`m talking about the child porn, 1,000 images of explicit child pornography with very young children, he gets straight probation, is my understanding.

HOWELL: Oh, yeah, after pleading guilty, he gets five years of supervised probation and has to pay some fines and is on the sex offender registry.

GRACE: Was the judge I just saw, Elizabeth? Play that back for me. I`m looking for Judge Eric Shayne Sexton. He gave Chandler zero jail time, zero jail time.

Joining me right now is a very special guest. I`m going to welcome to the show Malinda Lindsey. She is the sister of the woman, the wife of this guy, who died in this house fire, allegedly intentionally set by neighborhood vigilantes. The deceased, her sister, Melissa Chandler.

Ms. Lindsey, thank you for being with us.

MALINDA LINDSEY, SISTER OF MELISSA CHANDLER: Hello, thank you for having me.

GRACE: I cannot even imagine what you have been through. I know that your sister knew about the prior child molestation incidents.


GRACE: She was with him then. She knew him then.


GRACE: When you heard that she had lost her life because of more of his behavior, the way I see it, what was your reaction?

LINDSEY: I was angry. Very angry.

GRACE: What happened?

LINDSEY: I had talked to her. I actually, I guess it would be first important to let you know that the Ohio charges were my children.

GRACE: I knew that. I did not know how you felt about identifying them. I didn`t want to say anything.

LINDSEY: They knew that I was going to talk about it tonight. They knew that I was going to talk about it tonight. I talked to them about it, and they`re OK with that, because they`re upset about losing their aunt, too. And I was the one who turned him in for these charges here in Tennessee again.

And I did my responsibility to turn this in, was promised that there would be no harm come to my sister and my nephew, that once they had what they needed, they would lock him up, and that those two would be protected. And I don`t feel that the detectives didn`t do their job. I feel that the justice system didn`t do theirs, by letting him come home.

GRACE: You know what? I agree with you, Malinda. Why did a judge, Judge Eric Shayne Sexton, give him zero jail time?

Also with us tonight, Lief Jeffers. He is representing one of the men, Robert Bell, that is accused of setting this vigilante fire. I`m going to be right with him.

Malinda, how do you feel about these two guys that set this fire?

LINDSEY: I don`t see this as vigilante justice. Vigilante justice, they would have targeted just him. What they did is a hate crime. I don`t understand why they`re calling it vigilante justice. There is nothing just about what they did.

GRACE: No, there wasn`t.

LINDSEY: And, you know, I`ve never been a believer in the death penalty until this happened, and now I understand why people push for it.




TIMOTHY CHANDLER, HUSBAND OF MURDERED WOMAN: I lost a wife. (INAUDIBLE) but I`m not the one who did it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chandler pleaded guilty Monday to having child pornography, but says the blame for the fire belongs on someone else`s shoulders.

CHANDLER: And (INAUDIBLE) knowing for a fact, you know, the person who had done it, and (INAUDIBLE) that`s the worst (INAUDIBLE) I can think of.


GRACE: Some are calling it vigilante justice. A sex offender pleads guilty, offenses on a 1- and a 4-year-old child, then is discovered with reams, tens of hundreds of explicit photos of child pornography on his home computer. People in the neighborhood find out and burn his house down. He escapes, and his innocent wife dies in the house fire.

I want to go back out to Catherine Howell with WNOX. She`s news director there. What is the community saying about this? And what are they saying about this, Judge Eric Shayne Sexton, who allowed this guy to walk free on child porn?

HOWELL: Well, I think people are very upset about this and don`t exactly know how to feel. I mean, on the one hand, sure, they`re upset about these child sex charges. People are tired of having sex offenders in their neighborhoods. But on the other hand, obviously, an innocent woman was killed.

GRACE: I want to go back to Mike Brooks, former fed with the FBI. Vigilante justice, there`s a lot of romanticism around it, but this time it didn`t work out so well.

MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE: No, there`s nothing romantic about vigilante justice, Nancy. I mean, this woman, she was an innocent woman, lost her lives. These two scumbags, I wish Tennessee had the death penalty like Virginia does, because if there`s a death of an occupied dwelling where arson is involved, it`s a death penalty in Virginia. But in this particular case, no vigilante justice. They`re just criminals.

Now, this guy, Chandler, he should have been locked up, as we`ve talked about. But you know what, Nancy? Why haven`t the feds maybe gotten involved in this to see if there`s any Innocent Images-type cases that they can look at?

GRACE: Feds, feds, feds, they`re slow as molasses. I can`t believe you even brought them up.

BROOKS: Well, Nancy, look, you`re in a rural area here. Most cities will have a task force dealing with this, but maybe the prosecutor didn`t even take a look at that. And I`d also be wondering if, since he moved from Ohio, since he`s a registered sex offender, has he registered in Tennessee? That`s another charge they can take a look at.

GRACE: Let`s go to the lines, Autumn in Vermont. Hi, Autumn.


GRACE: What`s your question, dear?

CALLER: My question is this. Everyone`s stating that this woman is a victim, which I don`t understand. If this man sodomized her own nieces and raped him, what is she, a, doing with him? And, b, why should we really feel sorry for a woman who supports a man who has pornography and rapes her own nieces?

GRACE: Well, I feel sorry for anybody who didn`t commit a crime and dies in a fire. After prosecuting many arsons and seeing what happens, that`s a terrible way to die.

Out to Dr. Anne-Renee Testa, what do you think?

DR. ANNE-RENEE TESTA, PSYCHOLOGIST: Oh, Nancy, first of all, two wrongs don`t make a right. And I think that being in the same house, some women just stay and stay, they`re in denial, and they don`t want to leave. It is so sad that they have someone who`s bullying them inside their house and they don`t get up and leave and have the courage to walk away from it. It`s a tragedy that she died. And as he said, Chandler, he said he wished he had died instead of her.

GRACE: Out to Malinda Lindsey, this is the sister of the fire victim. What do you have to say to Autumn in Vermont?

LINDSEY: Actually, you know, I`ve explained to everybody that, when these charges were brought up the first time, it was my children. And when my sister took him back, I was very hurt. But people need to understand what kind of a person my sister was.

GRACE: Tell us.

LINDSEY: She loved with everything she had. Giving her life for him shows this. The night of the fire, my sister was awake. He was asleep. She woke him up. She got him out. She gave her life for him. I don`t know if she believed that he did what he did all those years ago; I don`t know if she believed these charges either. But when she loves something, she did it with all of her heart, and she was a very big-hearted person, very forgiving. People could walk all over her, and she had no problem forgiving them for that.

People need to understand, yes, it hurt me that she stayed with him. And when I found out about the new charges, I reported this. And it cost me my sister`s life, because they didn`t keep him in jail.

GRACE: Malinda, how did the family find out about all this child porn on the computer?

LINDSEY: They had taken some disks to have Windows programs put onto them to a non-family member who is a friend of the family. And he discovered them, talked about it, gave the disk to my mother. She called and let me know that it existed, because pretty much my family is like most people out there. They don`t want to get involved in things because of court. And she knew that, by telling me, that I would report it, and I did. I reported it to Captain Jeffers of the Scott County Sheriff`s Department.

GRACE: Malinda, did your sister decide not to believe the molestation? Did she just block it out of her mind and think it didn`t happen?

LINDSEY: I believe that, yes.

GRACE: You know, I think, Eleanor Dixon, you know, I`ve seen a lot of cases where women especially choose, they choose not to believe their own eyes. They choose not to believe the evidence. I think it`s some sort -- I`m not a shrink, but I think it`s a way to protect themselves from such a horrible error in judgment and to continue loving the person.

ELEANOR DIXON, PROSECUTOR: Well, I think you`re right about that, Nancy. It`s also a way, of course, to put their head in the sand, in a sense, and to deal with the situation. And the sad thing here is it`s really not vigilante justice. It is a murder. I think the focus needs to be on the two defendants who killed this woman.

GRACE: Out to Phyllis in New York. Hi, Phyllis.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy, congratulations.

GRACE: Thank you, dear.

CALLER: My question is, isn`t there anything anybody could do when a judge makes a bad decision in letting someone go free after there are -- you know, somebody gets convicted, somebody gets caught doing something wrong? How does a judge just allow that person to walk away and not do any jail?

GRACE: To Catherine Howell with WNOX right there in Knoxville, how is this judge getting away with it?

HOWELL: Well, that`s a good question. I mean, obviously, they have to look at whatever the prosecutor is asking for and whatever the statutes allow when it comes to sentencing. Now, he pleaded guilty, and perhaps there was a deal involved.

GRACE: Oh, P.S., everybody, the judge you just saw is not Eric Shayne Sexton. That was a judge hearing a preliminary -- that is him? Is that him, Catherine Howell, the person we`re showing?

HOWELL: Well, I don`t have a view of it, but the same judge did go over the preliminary hearing that was there.

GRACE: Ah, gotcha. So that is, that is Judge Eric Shayne Sexton, right there. Elizabeth, is that him? OK, according to attorney Lief Jeffers, that is him. This is the judge that gave straight probation on child pornography. Good it know.

Catherine Howell, how are the judges in that jurisdiction elected or are they appointed?

HOWELL: Well, generally, they are elected. Generally they are elected. And, of course, if someone loses their seat for some reason, then they will appoint, but generally it`s an elected position.

GRACE: Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Malinda Lindsey stood silent in court, clutching photographs of her late sister.

LINDSEY: She was my sister, somebody`s mother, and somebody`s daughter, and my best friend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lindsey is still heartbroken at the loss of her only sister, Melissa Chandler. Authorities say Robert Bell and Gary Sellers set the fatal fire to target Melissa`s husband, Timothy, a now- convicted sex offender.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Huntsville, Tennessee, efforts to drive a child pornographer from a neighborhood ends with the death of his wife. Two men are accused of burning down Timothy Chandler`s house. His wife couldn`t escape the flames. Chandler pleaded guilty to one child porn charge. He got five years probation. The two men accused of setting the fire pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and arson charges.


GRACE: I want to go to Jane Velez-Mitchell, investigative reporter, Jane, we are seeing this over and over, where judges give straight probation on -- here we had child molestation. He did 18 months with two victims, ages 1 and 4. Then the guy pops up with child porn. Now, as part of a vigilante justice, they`re in the neighborhood, his wife has died in an arson fire.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Oh, it`s absolutely unconscionable, Nancy, that this innocent woman should be the one to pay the price for her husband`s misdeeds. And the fact that all of this porn was found and that there were, really, just this minimal charge.

I mean, you have it even look at the charging. Why wasn`t the charge more severe, if it was approximately 1,000 images of child porn involving young girls from ages 10 to 16 naked and some of them engaged in sexual acts? Why not more serious charges and more multiple charges filed against this man?

GRACE: OK, Tennessee, you`re on notice. Judge Eric Shayne Sexton, you can ask him that question.

Out to the lawyers, Eleanor Dixon, Ray Giudice, Doug Burns, Eleanor, what is the likelihood that a jury would find this to be vigilante justice, as opposed to murder?

DIXON: Well, I don`t think they can find it that easily, because an innocent person who`s totally removed from the case, even though she`s married to him, died needlessly. So I don`t see a jury finding that as justice in the case.

GRACE: Ray Giudice?

RAY GIUDICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yeah, I tend to agree, and I don`t know how you defend this case, but that wouldn`t be the way to defend it. You`ve got a completely innocent person. In addition, there was a child, a son that was in the house at the time. It`s completely foreseeable under the felony arson statute that, when you go to burn somebody else`s house down with an accelerant, that there may be fatalities. I think it`s going to be a tough case to defend.

GRACE: What about it, Doug Burns?

DOUG BURNS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yeah, the discussion would be completely different if the defendant in the pornography case had been killed in the fire. Then you`d talk about raising, you know, vigilantism as possible negation or jury nullification. But as my colleagues have pointed out, with the innocent person dying, absolutely not.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Linda in Florida, hi, Linda.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy, I love your show. Congratulations.

GRACE: Thank you, thank you very much, and thank you for calling in. What`s your question, dear?

CALLER: First, you mentioned earlier on the show that she was a new mother. I`d like to know, where is that baby now? And was the baby in the house with the father?

GRACE: To Malinda Lindsey, what was her status with children?

LINDSEY: She had a 16-year-old son, and he had been removed from the home before Timothy Chandler was released from jail. He was not there at the time of the fire.

GRACE: Now, Linda believes that she was a new mother, is that true?

LINDSEY: No, that`s not true.


GRACE: Yeah, we must have been showing the photo of the little baby. You`re absolutely right, Melinda. There`s your answer, Linda in Florida, one 16-year-old child.


GRACE: After a judge lets him walk free on child porn, neighborhood vigilantes burn the home down. OK, his wife, the innocent wife, dies in the fire.

Out to Lief Jeffers, attorney for one of these so-called vigilante neighbors, that neighbor, Robert Bell, accused of setting the fire. Mr. Jeffers, a lot of people are arguing tonight that your client doesn`t have a leg to stand on, that he cannot argue vigilante justice. I disagree. I`m not saying it is vigilante justice or I think it`s OK, but as far as defenses go, that`s not a bad defense. I`ve seen it work before.

LIEF JEFFERS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it`s not a terrible defense. Of course, we`re very early in this case, and we`ve a lot of fact investigation to do ourselves. We`ll see where it goes, but that`s not the tone of this community, I would say that. I mean, that`s not what we`re about here. And I don`t think that`s something is going to resonate with a lot of folks particularly closely.

GRACE: Especially when the victim was so innocent. You heard the sister describe her - with me, everyone, a veteran trial lawyer, Lief Jeffers joining us from Oneida, Tennessee, knows his way around the courtroom. He`s taken on this case.

Let`s stop, everyone, to remember Marine Corporal Christopher Poole, Jr., just 22, Mount Dora, Florida, killed Iraq. Wanted to enlist since age 10, receiving the National Defense Service medal, Global War on Terrorism medal, and Purple Heart. A free spirit who loved football, boating, his prized red Mustang, and candy and cookies from mom. He leaves behind mom, Donna, stepdad, Robert, brother, Jeff, fiancee Andrea. Christopher Poole, American hero.

Thanks to our guests, but, most of all, thank you for inviting us into your home. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern, and until then, good night, friend.