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Rutgers Student and Mom Found Stabbed to Death
Aired March 27, 2008 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight: They called, they knocked, they rang the doorbell, they looked in the windows, the window blinds askew, car doors open, the baby`s Disney backpack still sitting on the back seat waiting, but no sign of 22-year-old Krystal Skinner, Rutgers coed and working mom. When they finally break in, the scene is haunting, the 22-year-old mom stabbed to death, the 3-year-old toddler boy sitting on the floor beside her, waiting for mommy To wake up. Tonight: We want justice!
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A vibrant young Rutgers University coed, her whole life ahead of her, found dead in her off-campus apartment, her 3- year-old little boy left all alone in the very next room, 22-year-old Krystal Skinner stabbed multiple times in the chest, police called to the scene when friends and co-workers could not get in touch with her, the young mom never making it to work at a local deli, Skinner working towards a degree in social work, and even had a job set up at the Department of Youth and Family Services when her life is cut short by a violent killer.
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GRACE: And tonight: She tipped the scales at nearly 1,000 pounds, confined to her home and allegedly bed-ridden. But according to cops, that didn`t stop her from killing her little nephew after making claims it was all a big accident. Well, forensics say otherwise. She`s charged with capital murder, but tonight she`s still lounging at home. Why? She`s too fat for jail. Absolutely unacceptable!
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The unthinkable, a morbidly obese woman, almost 1,000 pounds, says she crushed her 2-year-old nephew, Eliseo, to death. But investigators are skeptical of those claims.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) that is impossible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Preliminary autopsy results suggest the boy died after being hit over the head, the autopsy also revealing Eliseo may have had month-old injuries to his skull, head, neck and upper back. The boy`s mom also facing charges after being warned by child services last year to keep her kids away from her severely obese sister.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. Tonight, a scene local cops will never forget, a 22-year-old mom stabbed to death on her apartment floor, her 3-year-old toddler sitting by her side, waiting for Mommy to wake up. We want justice!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) Rutgers campus in shock after classmate 22-year-old Krystal Skinner is found dead in her apartment close to campus. And now police want to question Skinner`s ex-boyfriend, the father of her little son left all alone while his Mommy lay dead, neighbors reporting the ex`s had a violent history and a tumultuous relationship and say they used to hear fighting and screaming, Skinner found repeatedly stabbed in the chest at the Laurel Hill apartments around 9:30 AM. Reports reveal when police arrived to the scene, they find Skinner`s blinds a wreck (ph) and the doors to her Honda open.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The child was (INAUDIBLE) I can`t get out of my head right now, just thinking that child trying to wake up the mom, Wake up, Mommy. And he`s all bloody. They said the kid was all bloody (INAUDIBLE)
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GRACE: Let`s go straight out to Michelle Durham standing by, with KYW Newsradio 1060. Michelle, welcome. What can you tell us?
MICHELLE DURHAM, KYW NEWSRADIO 1060: Good evening, Nancy. Well, basically, the -- 22-year-old Krystal Skinner was found stabbed to death in her apartment in Lindenwold, New Jersey. And Nancy, for people who aren`t familiar with the area, Lindenwold is just over the Ben Franklin bridge from the Philadelphia area. Co-workers at the deli found it very unusual that she didn`t come to work, and so they went to search for her themselves and went to her apartment, tried her door. It was locked. They knocked. No answer. They notified the building supervisor that something was wrong, and the supervisor called police, Nancy, and police made the discovery.
GRACE: Joining us right now outside the scene of the crime, a crime scene that local cops say they`ve never seen anything like it and they will never get it out of their heads, coming in to find a 3-year-old toddler body there in the apartment with the mom, the mom stabbed to death. Joining us right now Marlaina Schiavo. Marlaina, explain to me what you`re seeing there at the scene.
MARLAINA SCHIAVO, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Well, actually, Nancy, it`s quite somber here. There`s no one around. There`s not even police tape around the crime scene and the door. We did see just a teddy bear left on the doorstep. Not even neighbors are coming out to see what`s going on. I spoke to a couple neighbors today and they said they didn`t hear anything the night that, allegedly, things had gone down. And I spoke to the neighbors beneath her and they said all they heard was soft music and no ruckus whatsoever.
GRACE: Marlaina, explain to me what neighbors are saying about the relationship that Krystal Skinner, a 22-year-old working mom and Rutgers student -- she was working, going to college, taking care of the 3-year-old all by herself -- what type of relationship did she have with the ex?
SCHIAVO: Well, actually, the two neighbors I spoke to today said it was actually a very tumultuous relationship. They heard a lot of fighting over the past year. They said that he actually didn`t live here, but he came banging on the door many nights trying to get in, and many nights she did let him in. And the neighbors beneath her actually complained about the noise at one point. I spoke to the neighbor that lives right across from her, and he said that on -- over the summertime, he saw Krystal running out into the parking lot of the complex, screaming for someone to call 911.
GRACE: Marlaina, where is the little boy tonight?
SCHIAVO: The little boy -- right now, we believe that he has been handed over to Krystal`s mom, Denise (ph). And he was with dices (ph) earlier. They did question the young boy. But he`s now in the hands, we believe, of Krystal`s family.
GRACE: Joining me right now is a very special guest there also at the scene outside the 22-year-old victim`s apartment. Joining us, Chris Divello (ph). This is a friend of Krystal Skinners. Chris, thank you for being with us. When did you first realize something was very wrong?
CHRIS DIVELLO, FRIEND OF MURDERED RUTGERS STUDENT: I would probably say around 9:30 in the morning. She didn`t show up to work, and Krystal is, you know, usually always on time. We gave a call to her cell phone, and it was actually turned off, which is unusual, because, usually, we can leave a message. When the phone`s actually turned off, then you know, like, something doesn`t seem right. And so that kind of was the beginning right there, that something wasn`t right, something was wrong.
GRACE: What happened then?
DIVELLO: At that time, we came over to the apartment complex here where she lived. And there was also one of her friends here that actually arrived here before I did, and she was hysterical, crying. She called me up and she said, you know, Krystal`s car is here, and I`m banging on the door, no one`s opening up the door. And you know, I said, Well, you`ve got to call the police immediately, get the apartment complex manager over there. Hopefully, they can open up the door and find out what`s going on because it`s strange to have her car here and her not answer her door. So you know, I definitely knew that something was wrong. It just didn`t seem right.
GRACE: And it`s my understanding, Chris, that the car doors were open, parked outside the apartment, and that the little boy, nicknamed John-John Skinner, the little boy...
DIVELLO: John-John, right.
GRACE: ... Disney backpack was sitting on the back seat, as if she were about to put him in the car to go somewhere. The blinds were askew, and nobody would come to the door.
DIVELLO: Right. Yes, yes You can assume that, that she was either going to take off in the morning with -- she usually drives John-John to the baby-sitter before she comes to work. So you can say that maybe she was getting ready for the next day. But I don`t think -- I think that was something that was probably put in there the night before. It probably wasn`t taken out. And she didn`t get a chance to leave in the morning, unfortunately.
GRACE: Chris, you know her very, very well. What was her relationship with her ex?
DIVELLO: She was trying to be as distant as she can from her ex- boyfriend. I know that he was very persistent in trying to keep the relationship together. She was actually dating other people. And as far as I know, he was also dating someone else. So that`s even the stranger thing that we don`t understand, is why he would still have an interest there. But she had a soft spot in her heart to let him into her life, at least to see baby John-John, at least so maybe he could pick him up a few days a week and still have a father figure in his life. And you know, she was like that. She was the kind of person that would do. Whether she was fearful or not, she still wanted her son to, you know, have a father figure in his life, so...
GRACE: To Chris Divello, friend of Krystal, standing by there outside her apartment, the crime scene absolutely heartbreaking. Chris, has anyone spoken to the little boy? Did he see what happened?
DIVELLO: Well, when I arrived here around -- about a quarter to 10:00 in the morning, yesterday morning, baby John-John was already in the manager`s office. He seems OK. He saw me and he put his arms out to me for me to hold him, but at that time, I think he was being questioned, you know, just to make sure that he was OK. But I didn`t see anything as far as, like, blood goes or anything like that. I looked at him and he looked like he was ready to go to school or ready to go to day care or the baby- sitter`s, and he looked fine. I mean, he was happy and he was smiling. So I mean, you know, I think that his demeanor was still pretty good, at that point, so -- and I was happy to see that.
GRACE: Well, Chris, do we know if he saw what happened? What has he said, if anything?
DIVELLO: Well, originally, I had thought that because of the way he was acting in the manager`s office, he seemed pretty happy at that time. I just assumed that he was sleeping, and I was really happy for that because it`s not something that, you know, you would hope for anyone to see anything like that happen, especially to their mom at that age, I mean, such a small child there. But later, I found out from the prosecutor that he was a witness and he was sitting near the body at the time. So you know, I guess he did see somewhat of what happened.
GRACE: Is he saying who killed his mother?
DIVELLO: Yes. The reports are saying that -- they didn`t go into graphic detail, but from family and friends, I found out today that the detectives at the Skinner residence reported that he was pretty graphic about what he saw. And it wasn`t being known at that time, they weren`t going to reveal to the family, but the police felt pretty confident that they knew who the person was that killed Krystal. There was no question about it.
GRACE: Out to Michelle Sigona with "America`s Most Wanted." What do we know about the ex? It`s my understanding he has a criminal history.
MICHELLE SIGONA, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": Yes, he does have a criminal history, Nancy. And it`s dating all the way back on my sheet back to 2002, March -- or excuse me, November of 2002, and all the way up until January and actually August of `07. It seems that there were some charges back in `07, manufacturing or distributing heroin or cocaine...
GRACE: Heroin? Heroin? Wait! Did I just hear heroin?
SIGONA: Yes, heroin or cocaine. And also, in January -- so a little more than a year ago, Nancy -- there was a simple assault and he was placed on probation, for, actually, both of those charges. And it seems back in 2001, there was a stalking charge, along with -- it was a violation of a court order. So he does have some sort of history.
Again, the prosecutor`s office does say, Look, he is not a suspect at this time. We do not have a warrant for him or anyone else. We are questioning friends. We`re questioning family, co-workers. We`re looking through her cell phone, her laptop, and we`re questioning neighbors at this time. And so...
GRACE: Are they at least saying he`s a person of interest that they`d like to talk to?
SIGONA: That is the question that I asked them, and he said, At this point, we`re not ready to say that anyone is a person of interest, but we are exploring all avenues.
GRACE: Let`s unleash the lawyers. Joining us tonight, felony prosecutor Eleanor Dixon out of the Atlanta jurisdiction, Richard Herman, veteran defense attorney, Mickey Sherman, renowned defense attorney and author of "How Can You Defend Those People?" -- aptly put.
To Eleanor Dixon. I don`t get it -- 2007, August, manufacturing distributing heroin or cocaine, and he gets probation?
ELEANOR DIXON, PROSECUTOR: I know. It`s pretty hard to believe, especially considering he had a criminal record. He had been convicted of simple assault, stalking. Those are domestic violence issues. Obviously, he is escalating his behavior.
GRACE: You know, again, he has not been named a person of interest. He has not been named a suspect. Richard Herman -- Mickey Sherman, first to you. Mickey, it`s to the unusual to start with a husband or a boyfriend and then move out when you`re looking at suspects. Why?
MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, he`s the prime suspect. I mean, it`s just the odds are that it`s usually the husband or the boyfriend, just simple statistics. But the problem is, they say he`s not a person of interest, yet we just had the neighbor, you know, in good faith saying that he`s been told by various people that this is the guy. I mean...
GRACE: Well, according to a 3-year-old baby. Now, I expected you, Mickey Sherman, would say the baby made it all up and was lying.
SHERMAN: No, but don`t forget when children are questioned, whether they`re 2 or they`re 5, they`re questioned by professionals, social workers, victims` advocates, police, counselors. And very often, things are suggested to them, and that becomes their story. I`m not saying that`s what happened here, but there`s a reason why they`re not the most reliable witnesses, as they sometimes...
GRACE: Things suggested...
SHERMAN: ... can`t separate truth...
GRACE: ... to him. You know, Mickey, I say just the opposite. I don`t think, at that age, they have the guile or the ability to fabricate the lies that adults do on the stand.
SHERMAN: It`s not lies, it`s confusion. It`s confusion.
GRACE: Mickey, I`m going to use your book title and throw this at you and Herman. And I`m not talking about the ex, I`m talking about whoever would stab a mother to death with a baby right there. A 3-year-old can have memories. I have memories from age 3. How do you fix yourself to defend someone that is charged with that and that you in your heart know is guilty, Richard Herman?
RICHARD HERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, how do you know in your heart the person`s guilty? This is the United States of America...
GRACE: That`s not what I asked you. If you don`t want to answer, fine. I don`t want a lecture.
HERMAN: Oh, I do want to answer. I do want to answer. These people...
GRACE: Good! Answer!
HERMAN: ... are entitled to a defense and entitled to legal representation, and that`s what I provide for them. And it`s not an easy job, Nancy, and we do it. We do it with passion and we do it pursuant to the law to protect every defendant that goes to court in the United States.
GRACE: OK, that was -- that was beautiful. Bethany Marshall, psychoanalyst and author of "Deal Breakers," what about this monkey wrench thrown in fact scenario that they were dating other people? What difference does that make?
BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: Well...
GRACE: What (INAUDIBLE) does that make?
MARSHALL: Well, you know, when you`re a stalker, you don`t want anything to come between you and the love choice. And so I think what we have to keep in mind is that 76 percent of all women who are victims of domestic homicide are murdered after they leave the guy. Of those women, most of them were stalked in the two years preceding the homicide.
The fact that he stabbed her in the heart speaks to great jealousy and intimate rage. You stabbed me in the heart, so now I`m going to stab you in the heart.
And to this little boy, I think it`s important to know that studies show that children that are that young cannot lie. It`s very difficult for them. however, they are very suggestible. There was probably a lot of abuse going on in this household that this little boy witnessed, so it`s going to be a very complicated case for the people who are interviewing him. They`re going to have to take all these factors into account.
GRACE: We are taking your calls live. Standing be there on the scene is Marlaina Schiavo.
To Geri in Arkansas. Hi, Geri.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Good to talk to you.
GRACE: Thank you, dear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Love your show. Actually, my question was kind of answered while I was waiting, but I do want to just make a quick comment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Remember when the pregnant mother, Jessie, was murdered?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And her little 2-year-old...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... said, Mommy in the blanket...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... Daddy mad, Mommy broke the table?
GRACE: And he was absolutely correct, Geri in Arkansas. Bobby Cutts now serving time behind bars, life behind bars, for the murder of 26-year- old Jessie Davis. Clearly, the main witness was the little boy.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Krystal kind of always kind of feared him, in a way. She used to tell us all the time that she was afraid of him and of him maybe doing something to her. He -- I guess he was violent towards her. And she -- she kind of, like, had a soft spot in her heart because she always wanted him to kind of be in her son`s life, John-John, her baby son, this 3-year-old son`s life. And so she kind of let him into the house to get him and pick him up and to visit.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who killed 22-year-old Rutgers coed Krystal Skinner, the young mom and social services major stabbed multiple times with her 3-year-old in the very next room. No positive ID yet on a suspect, but police want some answers from Skinner`s ex, also the toddler`s biological father. And according to neighbors, Skinner and her ex had a violent relationship. The little boy uninjured, but tonight he`s now without a mommy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: At first, reports were the little boy was in the next room when the mother, 22-year-old working mom and college student Krystal Skinner, was stabbed to death, stabbed repeatedly about the chest. But now reports are emerging the little boy was there next to her when the door was broken in.
Out to the lines. Ronda in Florida. Hi, Ronda.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Congratulations on your babies.
GRACE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If it turns out that this guy, this dad is the one that actually did it, I just want to know what`s going on with these fathers that, you know, they kill the mothers of their baby and then they just walk off and leave the babies there. They don`t -- you know, they`re not even worried about their kid`s wellbeing after they`ve killed their mother. In Bobby Cutts`s case -- I mean, I know he -- that he took her body out of there, but he left that baby alone.
GRACE: He left the baby alone, you`re right, with some hamburger buns.
To Joan Johnson, domestic violence expert. How does the child fit into the domestic violence scenario, Joan?
JOAN JOHNSON, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE EXPERT: Good evening, Nancy. Children are definitely affected by domestic violence. I know two people here that witnessed their mother being murdered when they were children, and it follows them throughout their lifetime. And they can, you know, participate in empowerment counseling and do things like that to help them, but it`s always a trauma that sticks with them forever.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The child was -- that`s -- that`s what I can`t get out of my head right now, just thinking that child trying to wake up the mom, Wake up, mom, and he`s all bloody. They said the kid was all bloody and (INAUDIBLE)
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She didn`t come to work. And I had called her cell phone repeatedly and she didn`t answer it. So a family member was at her apartment and she had called me and she said, you know, I`m worried about Krystal. So she went to the apartment to see where Krystal was and her door was locked. I told her, you know, call the police department (INAUDIBLE) try to get into the apartment. And that`s what they did. They ended up entering the apartment, and (INAUDIBLE) found Krystal on the living room floor, murdered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: This isn`t just a murder, this is potentially harming a child for the rest of its life, the 3-year-old son of Krystal Skinner found sitting there beside Mommy, stabbed to death on her apartment floor, waiting for Mommy to wake back up.
Out to the lines. Stacy in Canada. Hi, Stacy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello. How are you, Nancy?
GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m quite dumbfounded that people would consider a 3-year-old child reliable.
GRACE: I am, too. I am, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you ask a toddler what they had for breakfast, they wouldn`t even be able to tell you. And I can`t believe that people would even assume that that is the fact.
GRACE: Yes. And what about it? To you, Eleanor -- Eleanor Dixon, veteran prosecutor who specializes in crimes on children. What about forensic interviews with children? How does it work?
DIXON: They`re actually very reliable by a trained professional who follows a specific format and does not suggest answers to the child, builds a rapport and tries to learn about the incident. So this is not suggesting anything to children.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Students at close-knit Rutgers Camden in shock after classmate 22-year-old Krystal Skinner is found dead in her apartment close to campus. And now police want to question Skinner`s ex-boyfriend, the father of her little son, left all alone while his mommy lays dead, neighbors reporting the ex`s had a violent history and a tumultuous relationship and say they used to hear fighting and screaming, Skinner found repeatedly stabbed in the chest at the Laurel Hill Apartments around 9:30 AM. Reports reveal when police arrived at the scene, they find Skinner`s blinds a wreck (ph) and the doors to her Honda open.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Standing by at the scene, Marlaina Schiavo. Marlaina, have they found the ex-boyfriend, the father of the little boy?
SCHIAVO: Have they found him? No, Nancy, they have not found the ex- boyfriend of Krystal. They are looking to question him. They`re not calling anybody, like we said earlier, a person of interest, but they are looking for him at this time.
GRACE: Well, don`t you think, Marlaina, that that speaks volumes? I mean, it`s been on television that the mother of his child is dead. Why isn`t he coming in to find out about it, or to find out about the baby?
SCHIAVO: That`s an interesting question, and I think that`s what police want to ask him at this time. I mean, like I said, they`re not calling him a person of interest, but they would like to talk to him since he is the father of the child and he has been seen here just -- when I spoke to the neighbor earlier, they said that he was sitting on the doorstep, smoking a cigarette on Easter Sunday, as we know, which was only four days ago.
So he obviously had a role in the life of Krystal and this little boy, to some extent, even though they were no longer together. So you would think that he would want to know the welfare of his child, at this point.
GRACE: Out to Dr. Bethany Marshall, psychoanalyst and author. Dr. Bethany, I don`t understand, and I guess it`s because I`m not in their shoes, but why would anyone believe a violent daddy is better than no daddy? And what does it say to you, Bethany, the mode of killing, which has been described as a sweetheart murder before, the stabbing, the multiple stabbing about the heart and chest?
MARSHALL: Well, as I said earlier, it`s such intimate rage. And I think women need to know who are in abusive, violent relationships that anything other than, No, you may not contact me, is not really understood by stalkers. And staying together for the sake of the children and letting the dad have access to the children is not appropriate because for abusers, the children really don`t matter. They`re just pawns in the domestic homicide scene. I`m surprised he didn`t kill the little boy first to get back at her and then take her life.
GRACE: And again, he has not been named a suspect or a person of interest at this juncture.
To Dr. Michael Bell, the Palm Beach County chief medical examiner. Dr. Bell, it`s an honor to have you on with us tonight. Thank you for being with us. Dr. Bell, she was stabbed multiple times. Under these circumstances, do you believe that she was conscious for many of those stab wounds?
DR. MICHAEL BELL, PALM BEACH COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER: Most likely, yes. Certainly, stabbing, even if it hits the heart or aorta, death is not going to be instantaneous, and so she`ll still be alive for a little while.
GRACE: Doctor, when you are conducting an autopsy in a case like this, do you often find the killer`s DNA on the body? And how difficult is that with this many mortal wounds?
BELL: Well, it all depends. If he`s been cut during the assault and starts to bleed, you`re more likely to find some of his blood in there, or his DNA, either on the body or at the scene.
GRACE: To John Lucich, investigator and author of "Cyber Lies." John, thank you for being with us. John, you`re an investigator. When you take a look at the facts that we know right now, the backpack sitting in the back of the car to me is a very, very important clue regarding timing. We know from her best friend, Chris Devillo, who`s standing there on the scene outside her apartment, that she would take the baby to day care every morning before she would report to work. This girl is an honor student holding down a job, a single mom for all intents and purposes. What do these clues say to you -- the blinds askew, the door locked, no forced entry?
JOHN LUCICH, INVESTIGATOR: Well, let`s take a look at it from where it starts out. You have a door open, and the knapsack in the back. It tells me that this -- and looking at this guy`s background, being a stalker and abusive behavior and even assault on police officers, he was stalking this woman. He was waiting for her to come, and when she came home, he approached her. He took her and the baby, he forced them inside, and a fight ensued and the murder occurred inside.
GRACE: You know -- to Chris Devillo, friend of Krystal Skinner`s -- it seems to me that it would be as they were leaving to go to day care. I mean, how does it appear to you, Chris? And did she ever exhibit any fear of the ex?
DEVILLO: Well, to answer the first part of that question, I don`t think that the backpack was put in there in the morning. I think the backpack was left in there at night. And as far as the door being open, I wouldn`t confirm that the door was open. I would say that the door was unlocked.
DEVILLO: So let`s clear that up right there. So that kind of puts the situation more now at nighttime, when she came home, rather than in the morning, when she was leaving, so -- and as far as him stalking her, and you know, waiting for her to get out of the car, you know, again, that`s speculation. You don`t know if that`s the case. You know, she could have been home that night and he might have just showed up, like maybe he did in the past, and maybe she let him in, you know, on her own free will, you know, not knowing what would occur and not knowing...
DEVILLO: ... you know, if he was the person that did do this -- not knowing that he was capable of doing this to her, so...
GRACE: Thank you for shedding light on it. The scenario, the way it unfolded, is unsure yet, but we do know that she is dead, multiple times, with the little baby sitting there beside her when authorities finally arrived.
I want to go back out to Michelle Durham with KYW Newsradio 1060. Michelle, isn`t it true that she was an honor student?
DURHAM: She was, Nancy. I mean, Krystal was a senior at Rutgers University, the Camden campus. She was set to graduate in May, with her undergraduate degree in social work. I spoke with Rutgers spokesperson Mike Stepanic (ph) this afternoon, and this is what he told me about Krystal. He described her as a fine student. She was about to be inducted into the social work honor society, and the university intends to follow through with that. They intend to award her that honor and her degree posthumously during commencement ceremonies. And he also wants to convey the university`s sympathies to everyone who knew Krystal.
GRACE: Back to Michelle Sigona with "America`s Most Wanted." Michelle, one thing I`m not clear about. Do we know if there was a sign of struggle at the apartment?
SIGONA: At this point, Nancy, we do know that there was no signs of forced entry into the apartment. As far as the struggle, the prosecutor`s office is not releasing that. They are saying that she was stabbed multiple times. And as you mentioned, her young son was found next to her. And it`s just so eerily similar to the case last summer with Jessie Davis and Bobby Cutts, and you know, her young son, finding her like that. So I mean, this case is just tragic. And hopefully -- you know, hopefully, by the end of this week, we can put a close to this.
GRACE: Out to the lines. Gloria in New Jersey. Hi, Gloria.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. I love your show.
GRACE: Thank you, dear. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basically, I`m confused about handling of this case. How come there is no crime tape or police tape, being it`s a crime scene? And secondly, if the neighbors were concerned about the relationship, were there any calls made to the police so that they can come in and maybe put in a restraining order or stop this man?
GRACE: Excellent question. To Marlaina Schiavo. Why no crime tape? Has the scene already been totally processed?
SCHIAVO: You know, that`s a very interesting question, Nancy. We`ve been trying to talk to investigators all day to get even some of the facts of this case. It`s very peculiar that they still wouldn`t have this roped off, as this just happened, you know, 24 hours ago. So we don`t really know that at this time.
GRACE: And to you, Eleanor Dixon. In order to file a TRO, she had to be the one to do that, unless you bring in a guardian ad litem for the child, to protect the child, which is very rare.
DIXON: You`re exactly right. And unfortunately, Nancy, a lot of times, neighbors don`t want to get involved in a lot of cases with domestic violence.
GRACE: Out to the lines. Jaime in Iowa. Hi, Jaime.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. How are you?
GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I was just -- I think I might have misheard something. I thought they said that they were knocking on the door and they couldn`t get in, but then I also thought I heard something about the door being broken.
GRACE: Yes, I thought the same thing. What about it, Marlaina? Clear that up about the door.
SCHIAVO: About the door. You`re talking about -- say it again, Nancy?
GRACE: Was the door locked, people tried to get in and they couldn`t? Tell me, how was the door when people arrived?
SCHIAVO: Well, actually, the door was locked. Her friend came to the house that day and was banging on the door and banging on the door, could not get in. She went to her car. Her car doors were locked, as well, with all her stuff in there. So yes.
GRACE: Everyone, tonight police still want to speak to the ex. We now understand the little boy is headed to the custody of his mom`s family.
And tonight, on another note, we ask again for your thoughts, and hopefully, your prayers for our friend, Sandy Schiff. Sandy is in the fight of a lifetime in the hospital tonight. Sandy, stay strong.
Everyone, when we come back: A baby boy is dead. She`s charged with capital murder. So why, why, why is she still lounging at home? She`s too fat for jail? Unacceptable!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mom Jamie Rosales`s 2-year-old son, Elesio, died after allegedly being hit over the head by his 1,000-pound aunt. The aunt originally claimed she fell on the boy and crushed him, but police found evidence debunking her story. Jamie Rosales was warned not to leave the children with the aunt by Child Protective Services. But it wasn`t the first run-in with CPS. Reports say the agency investigated five allegations against the family of abuse or neglect, one of those allegations turning out to be substantial. Now Mom facing charges of injury to a child, while severely obese Aunt Mayra facing capital murder. A conviction for Rosales could lead to her being executed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GRACE, HOST: I don`t know who should get the death penalty first, the aunt that weighs 1,000 pounds and says she`s bedridden, but cops have charged her with capital murder, the mother who was warned five times to take care of the children and don`t leave them with this woman, or Child Protective services. What, do you have to be hit over the head with a brick before CPS can get it, take the child away? I don`t understand.
Out to Michelle Sigona with "America`s Most Wanted." Five times they warn the mother?
MICHELLE SIGONA, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": Five times, that`s right, Nancy. And all of those cases that the protective services looked into were all deemed unfounded. So the sheriff says that he is going to look back into those cases to see why they were found unfounded. And also, the mom was actually sent to a parenting class agreement, and within that agreement, she was not allowed to leave the children with this aunt because this aunt is not capable of taking care of herself, much less three other kids.
GRACE: To Michael Board with WOAI Newsradio. If they say the aunt is too fat to take the jail -- I mean, this woman is almost -- is half a ton, all right -- then how was she able to kill the little boy? Why is she lounging at home, watching TV tonight? And I hope you`re watching, lady! Why isn`t she in jail?
MICHAEL BOARD, WOAI NEWSRADIO: Because she`s too fat to get out of her own house.
GRACE: Then how did she kill the baby?
BOARD: Well, she says that she was trying to pick the child up and slipped off her bed and crushed the child. Now, the investigators who looked into this said, No way, it doesn`t match up. The injuries on the child just don`t match up with what she said happened. They said, basically, she smacked the kid around a couple of times. That`s what they believe happened.
GRACE: Isn`t it true, Eleanor Dixon, she changed her story several times?
ELEANOR DIXON, PROSECUTOR: Yes, that is true. And of course, that`s one of the good points for the prosecution. This child died of blunt force trauma.
GRACE: And to you, Richard Herman, Mickey Sherman. It went from, I dropped the child to, let`s see, He got his head stuck under the bed. There was some other story. She changed the story over and over, Richard Herman. What are you going to do with that?
RICHARD HERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, that`s absolutely problematic, Nancy. But you know, experts will come in and there`ll be different versions as to the cause of death here. But one legal issue. Don`t leave the child with this woman because the woman can`t take care of herself, not that the woman has a propensity to cause any damage to anybody. That`s a huge issue in this case. There`s no propensity of violence with old tubby here, 1,000 pounds.
GRACE: I would like to see Richard Herman right now, OK? Richard, we could all let this reduce to fat jokes. Too easy. Not going to do it. Because you know right now, a little boy is dead.
GRACE: And Mickey Sherman, she`s literally lounging at home when she should be in jail on capital murder! She changed her story three times!
MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: How do we know that? How do we know that?
GRACE: It`s in the police report.
SHERMAN: Yes, written by the police. You know, the problem is, this is capital murder. Generally, you want to show that she intended to take a life. Do you really believe that this woman intended to kill the child?
GRACE: The child has multiple blows to the head. On which blow do you think she meant to hit him? Remember, the law is, Mickey Sherman, not that you mean to kill, but that you intend to do the act, the act of beating the child.
SHERMAN: And how do we know she beat her? How many cases have those investigators investigated where a 1,000-pound woman is charged with falling on a child? How do they really know -- are the forensics that bright? I don`t think so.
GRACE: I`m taking a look -- in my hand right now is the autopsy, the cause of death, manner of death. At autopsy, multiple skull fractures and large scalp confusions along the bilateral frontal -- that`s right here -- the occipital -- that`s back here -- the parietal. I want to go to Dr. Michael Bell. What does that mean?
DR. MICHAEL BELL, PALM BEACH COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER: Well, it certainly suggests that there`s more than one areas of the head that have been struck. And again, it probably can`t be explained by a simple fall or other type of accidental cause.
GRACE: Doctor, did you say it could be explained by a simple fall?
BELL: Probably could not.
GRACE: And also, scattered contusions on the ankles and right foot. To me, that says he was knocked down and fell, or it could be a defensive move, where he pulls his right foot up, pulls his knee up over his chest. These injuries not consistent with an accident.
Michelle Sigona, please explain to me, why do they say they haven`t hauled her in and booked her and put her in a jail cell?
SIGONA: Well, basically, the sheriff said that he would have to first blow a wall out of her home, next bring in a forklift with pallets and cushions, take her outside to a tommy (ph) lift, put her on the back of a tow truck...
GRACE: Fine! Don`t I pay enough in taxes every year for that? If I can pay for the war in Iraq, I can pay for this lady to go to jail.
GRACE: We at NANCY GRACE on the hunt for parents who inspire. Now tonight`s "Extraordinary Parent."
CHARLES MOSER, "EXTRAORDINARY PARENT": It feels good to kind of look up every once in a while, remember that, you know, you`re here at work every day, but your ultimate goal is to go home to your kids safe every night.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Charles Moser is a certified superhero. A former Navy SEAL, Moser now deals with some of the most dangerous crime out there as a Las Vegas, Nevada, SWAT team police officer. Oh, and he`s also the hands-on dad to five, soon to be six children.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every day he leaves the house. They know that Daddy`s going out there to tackle bad guys and clean society and try to make everything right and help others in situations where they`re victims.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Moser`s children are proud of their hero dad. Moser can be called away at any moment. Knowing full well the dangers of the job, he and his wife, Claudia (ph), make the most out of every minute together as a family.
MOSER: God has done amazing things in my life. He`s given me a great life and he`s given me a wonderful, beautiful family. And without the Lord, none of this is possible.
GRACE: (INAUDIBLE) Army specialist Matthew Kyle Reece, 24, Harrison (ph), Arkansas, killed Iraq. Loved outdoors, hunting, fishing, basketball, video games. Leaves behind parents Preston (ph), Tammy (ph), brothers Shane (ph) Blue (ph), sister Shaylin (ph), pregnant widow Shantel (ph), children Alyssa (ph) and (INAUDIBLE) Matthew Reece, American hero.
Thanks to our guests, but especially to you for being with us. A special good night to Bronx, New York, friends of the show, students at the New Explorers High School and their principal, Denise Demurning (ph), the school opening their doors to the NANCY GRACE show for premier (ph) day.
And tonight, a special happy birthday to sparring buddy, defense attorney Doug Burns. Happy birthday, Doug.
Everyone, I`ll see you tomorrow night, 8:00 o`clock sharp Eastern. Until then, good night, friends.