Return to Transcripts main page
More Bones Found at Des Plaines River Site
Aired May 26, 2009 - 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, breaking news in the mystery surrounding 23-year-old mom Stacy Peterson vanishing, upscale Chicago suburbs, husband- slash-cop Drew Peterson the prime suspect in his fourth wife`s disappearance. Finally, Peterson charged in the 2004 drowning of wife three, Kathleen Savio, Savio found covered in bruises, drowned to death in a bone-dry bathtub.
Bombshell tonight. After a woman`s body washes ashore in dense brush, the Des Plaines River, just 20 minutes from the Petersons` home -- the woman wearing only underwear, no head, no arms, precluding an ID -- police now confirm more human bones, specifically a leg bone, discovered upstream. Tests being conducted on the bones as we go to air, police working around the clock to identify those remains.
Also tonight, did Peterson hire a hitman? Prosecutors claim he offered $25,000 for a hit on wife three. But in the end, did Peterson decide to cut corners and go with the do-it-yourself plan?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The big question tonight, Who is it? State police removed the remains by boat five hours after a river clean-up crew came across a badly decomposed body along the side of the Des Plaines River.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I sat there for, like, 10 minutes just trying to figure out if it is what I thought it was.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: City environmentalist Chad Pregracke says he was by himself on his boat, cleaning up garbage on the Des Plaines River in Will County, when he saw what looked like a decomposed body.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As an autopsy is performed on some badly decomposed human remains found in the same area where Peterson`s fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared, our affiliate WLS is reporting a blue barrel was also found about a mile downstream. Drew Peterson`s stepbrother said he helped remove a blue barrel from Peterson`s home after Stacy disappeared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope it brings closure to somebody`s life, whoever it is, and families. And I`m sure it will in some regard, you know?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bombshell was dropped in court when Will County state`s attorney Jim Glasgow introduced a murder-for-hire plot, alleging Drew Peterson discussed paying someone $25,000 to kill third wife Kathleen Savio weeks before she was found dead inside her home in 2004.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m very happy. Finally, someone`s listening to us. My sister`s going to get the justice that she deserves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And tonight, breaking news in the case of a beautiful young mom and her two little sons found dead in their white-finished two-story home, strangled, each in their own bedroom. In a heartbreaking gesture, 31-year-old Sheri Coleman and her two little boys, Garett and Gavin, ages 9 and 11, laid to rest side by side.
In the late evening hours, police converge on the home of murder victim 31-year-old Sheri Coleman`s in-laws. Husband-slash-daddy former Marine Chris Coleman behind bars on three counts murder one. Manner of death, ligature strangulation. Time of death now pinpointed between 3:00 and 5:00 AM. But hey, wasn`t Daddy still at home? Forensics leading cops to arrest a preacher`s son who worked personal security for renowned worldwide televangelist Joyce Meyer Ministries.
A glove discovered, flung, discarded along I-255 five minutes from the Coleman home. That glove now set to crack the case wide open, allegedly spattered with red spray paint, potentially a direct link to a chilling message scrawled across the wall of the murder scene. Tonight, we learn exactly what that message was. What was spray-painted on the walls of the family home, and exactly where? But what does it mean?
As the specter of a mistress rears its ugly head in the midst of a murder investigation, prosecutors must prove who -- who -- crept into the family home in the early morning hours to smother and strangle the life out of a stunning young mother and two little boys, leaving all three dead in their own beds. Prosecutors say it was Daddy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris, did you kill your wife? Chris? Chris, do you have any comments?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... here today to announce the filing of a wrongful death suit against Mr. Coleman, Christopher Coleman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Christopher Coleman controls all the assets of this family, and he happens to be charged with three counts of murder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After the house is released, we saw on the news that he was there with his family and they were taking clothes and articles and things out of the house.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The lawsuit Jack Carey will file would give Sheri`s family access to the home and protect everything that was Sheri`s - - money, property, investments, everything -- not because her family wants it but to ensure no one else gets it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to make sure that whoever did this does not have one scintilla, not one thin dime out of this tragedy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We cannot strip Christopher Coleman of his dignity and his humanity, but what we can do and what we shall do is to take from Christopher Coleman all his worldly possessions. Crime truly does not pay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. Tonight, after a woman`s body washes ashore just 20 minutes from the Petersons` home -- the woman wearing only underwear, no head no, arms, precluding an ID -- police now confirm more human bones, specifically, a leg discovered upstream. Tests being conducted as we go to air, police working around the clock. Are the remains that of Stacy Peterson?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just found a body. Working and saw it and called state police. And they were here real quick.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Before he knew it, he says, an army of police swarmed the site, setting up shop along the riverbank, using Pregracke`s boat to transport police and equipment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An autopsy is under way on the badly decomposed mainly skeletal remains that were found along the Des Plaines River in Channahon, and now we`re just waiting to find out an identification.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police have asked him not to say much about the discovery, but he now knows that he may have stumbled on a missing link, a body in a high-profile case, a body police have been seeking for two years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stacy Peterson`s family, from my understanding, her relatives, the ones that have been actively searching for her, they have provided some DNA samples to Illinois State Police.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a bombshell that`s likely the first of many. Drew Peterson tried to hire a hit man to kill his third wife, Kathleen Savio, for $25,000.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the first time that we ever heard something like that. It was a shock to us, and it brought tears to our eyes. But we had to control ourselves.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All you Drew Peterson fans, sorry to disappoint you, but it`s Kathleen Savio`s day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Straight out to Kathy Chaney with "The Chicago Defender." Kathy, we know that a woman`s remains washed ashore on the Des Plaines River 20 minutes from the Peterson home. We know that it`s missing a head, we know it`s missing arms, precluding a positive ID through dental or fingerprints. But now more bones upstream? What? Where? Why? When? Who? What can you tell me?
KATHY CHANEY, "CHICAGO DEFENDER": Well, less than a week after the torso was found, on Saturday, more bones popped up. And I`d note that it is -- one bone is a leg bone. The other one has not been determined, but they are linked. They are the bones, and we`re just awaiting the DNA results, which could take up to two weeks.
GRACE: So Kathy Chaney, you`re telling me this absolutely is from the same skeleton, no doubt about that?
CHANEY: That`s what it appears. Illinois State Police did confirm that it was human bones, and it has been linked so far to the torso that was found.
GRACE: To Dr. Michael Bell, joining us out of Miami, the Palm Beach County chief medical examiner. Dr. Bell, isn`t it true that just by looking at the bones, you can tell male, female, you can often tell white, black, Asian, you can tell so many things from just looking at the bones without a DNA test? Yes or no.
DR. MICHAEL BELL, PALM BEACH COUNTY CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: Yes. Gender is fairly easy to tell, provided you have the right bones. The pelvis is very important and the skull is very important with regard to gender determination. Race, however, is very difficult, even when you have the entire skeleton.
GRACE: Can you tell race from a skeleton, Dr. Bell?
BELL: You could -- sometimes, you can. Sometimes, you can`t. Many times, there`s mixed features that make it difficult to tell...
GRACE: Wouldn`t you need the skull?
GRACE: Would the skull -- if you had the skull, be more helpful in determining the race.
BELL: Absolutely. Yes.
GRACE: We don`t have that because in this case -- to the defense attorneys. We`re taking your calls live. Ray Giudice out of Atlanta, Joe Lawless out of Philadelphia. Apparently, the head and the arms taken off the body.
But before I go to you defense attorneys, let`s go to victims` rights advocate Gloria Allred. What about it, Gloria? She just happens to be missing her head and her hands?
GLORIA ALLRED, VICTIMS` RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, yes. We don`t know the reason she`s missing her head and her hands, but it`s very, very suspicious. But of course, they could ultimately identify the DNA from some of the bones. So that`s going to be very, very important.
GRACE: And to you, Giudice and Lawless. Don`t you find it a tiny bit unusual, Raymond Giudice, that Drew Peterson was not the one to hand over his wife`s DNA, the police had to go to extended family to get Stacy Peterson`s DNA?
RAYMOND GIUDICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, certainly, in most cases, that would be unusual, but not in this case. Mr. Peterson has done nothing except run his mouth. He hasn`t cooperated. He hasn`t helped the prosecution, obviously, by recommendation of counsel.
GRACE: But here`s the problem with that, Lawless. Under our constitution, of course, the state cannot comment on a defendant`s choice to remain silent and by refusing to give, say, the hair out of her hair brush. If the state were to comment on that that could be construed as commenting on his right to remain silent. Have you thought about that?
JOE LAWLESS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The state has been commenting on Drew Peterson`s guilt since this started. At this point, they`re trying to build a case against him, and he has no obligation to do anything other than...
GRACE: That was not my question.
LAWLESS: ... exercise his constitutional rights.
GRACE: If you could direct your energy to the question?
LAWLESS: Which was what?
GRACE: Gloria Allred, isn`t it true that the state would not be able to bring up at trial that he, Peterson, refused to help give them the wife`s DNA -- for instance, hair out of her hairbrush? That could be construed, if they argued that at trial, as commenting on his right to remain silent.
ALLRED: Well, yes, I think that`s a good argument. I think that`s the argument the defense would make. And also, they would make an argument that that would be more prejudicial than probative.
GRACE: And very quickly, Rupa Mikkilineni, has it been alleged by prosecutors that Peterson tried to pay 25 grand for a hitman?
RUPA MIKKILINENI, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Well, Nancy, this is the shocking news we`ve just heard. Basically, Peterson -- DA Glasgow alleges in court last week that he tried to hire a hit man.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you, Kitty. It took five years. I put a note in your coffin. You finally answered my prayers. I love you and I miss you. And we`re going to get him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the very beginning, he probably thought he would never come to see this day.
DREW PETERSON, CHARGED WITH MURDERING HIS 3RD WIFE: Look at this bling!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And now that he sees the seriousness of it, he`s no longer laughing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In court, prosecutor Glasgow alleged that Peterson had once tried to order a $25,000 hit on his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drew Peterson left Will County court headed back to jail as his attorney`s motion to reduce his $20 million bond was denied.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All you Drew Peterson fans, I`m sorry to disappoint you, but it`s Kathleen Savio`s day. It`s about time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My sister also said -- she said that she (INAUDIBLE) him. If anything ever happened to her, she was on him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... badly decomposed human remains found near the area where Peterson`s fourth wife, Stacy, is believed to have disappeared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: State police removed the remains by boat five hours after a river clean-up crew came across the badly decomposed body along the side of the Des Plaines River.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Illinois police won`t speculate as to whether the remains might, in fact, be Stacy Peterson.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m going to sleep good tonight knowing that he`s paying for what he`s done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: As we go to air, police have confirmed to us that yet more human bones have been found just 20 minutes from the Peterson home, there washed ashore on the Des Plaines River, apparently, leg bones to match other bones that were found towards the end of last week. They are of a woman, unclothed except for underwear, missing head and arms, precluding a positive ID Through fingerprints or dental records.
This on the heels of learning Drew Peterson accused of hiring, or trying to hire, a hitman -- right -- $25,000 he allegedly offered for a hit on wife number three, Kathleen Savio, later found dead, drowned to death, covered in bruises in a bone-dry bathtub. Did he decide to cut corners and use the do-it-yourself plan?
To Teresa in West Virginia. Hi, Teresa.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. These precious women -- this is just so sad, to think that -- to marry a police officer and to be so afraid that you`re telling people and writing letters to people that, you know, He`s going to kill me if anything happens to me. And I honestly know probably a half a dozen women that I`ve heard them say similar things. My question is, What do you do? How do you keep yourself safe? If you can`t even trust, you know, bodyguards and law enforcement in the world today, I don`t understand how...
GRACE: You know, Teresa in West Virginia, I agree with you. It brings to mind cases that I prosecuted, where evidence showed the female victim said, If I`m ever found dead, go looking for my husband. And sure enough, they would end up on trial.
To Susan Lipkins, psychologist and author of "Preventing Hazing." This story is too familiar. If I end up dead, he did it. He`ll make it look like an accident. It`s almost straight out of a textbook on killing your wife.
SUSAN LIPKINS, PSYCHOLOGIST: Right. It is. It`s sort of like "24," where the cops go on both sides of the boundary -- you know, the good guys and the bad guys and they keep crossing over. But when you have an authority like a policeman who is controlling and you`re starting to feel that he could kill you, that`s when you really need to get out and don`t wait around and say, If he kills me, you know, that`s who did it. You know, you having those signals, don`t be a victim, take a stance and get away.
GRACE: To Derek Armstrong, everyone, joining us out of Toronto. Mr. Armstrong is the author of "Drew Peterson Exposed." He interviewed Drew Peterson for hours on end. Mr. Armstrong, thank you for being with us. We now hear prosecutors formally state that they believe, that they have evidence Peterson tried to hire a hitman, pay 25,000 bucks for a hit on wife number three. That`s three out of four wives. What do you know, if anything, about those allegations, Derek?
DEREK ARMSTRONG, AUTHOR, "DREW PETERSON EXPOSED" (via telephone): Well, my information is that the person they`re talking about is an Anthony "Bindy" Rock. He`s a convicted police killer that Drew Peterson was involved in investigating when he was a policeman. He testified to the grand jury against Drew Peterson. And that`s the speculation, that it`s Anthony ``Bindy`` Rock who Drew Peterson approached with the $25,000 offer.
GRACE: Back to the lines. Holly in Kentucky. Hi, Holly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Thank you so much for taking my call.
GRACE: Thank you for calling in, dear. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, why would Drew Peterson think that he could get away with everything he`s done? And why did he act so confident that no one would even find Stacy? Did he not ever think that she could possibly wash ashore?
GRACE: Holly, wait. Do I still have Holly, Rosie?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I`m here.
GRACE: OK, Holly, you know, I have asked myself that question a million times. How did they think they could get away with it? But look at all of the predecessors. Look at Scott Peterson. There`s too many to even name in one sentence. They all think they can outsmart police.
What about it, Raymond Giudice and Joe Lawless? Raymond?
GIUDICE: I agree, Nancy. These kind of people always think they`re the smartest guy in the room...
GRACE: Hold on. Hold on. Aren`t you here trying to represent the defense side of this?
GIUDICE: I am, but you`ve asked me a question, What makes people do this? I`ve dealt with enough criminals. They always think they`re the smartest person in the room. They think they`re smarter than the lawyers, smarter than the cops, smarter than the jurors...
LAWLESS: Has anyone here convicted Drew Peterson of anything yet?
GRACE: I couldn`t hear you since Giudice was speaking.
GIUDICE: That`s OK. Joe`s making a great point.
GRACE: Go ahead, Lawless.
LAWLESS: Nancy, I hear someone calling and asking, How does he think he can get away with what he did? No one`s been tried. No one`s been convicted. It`s speculation. We don`t know what he`s done or hasn`t done. There are allegations, period.
GRACE: Joe Lawless, it is not speculation. It is a formal indictment after weeks and weeks in front of a grand jury.
LAWLESS: Which means absolutely nothing. You know and I know a prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich if he wanted to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s just no possible way. My sister wouldn`t leave me, her family, her kids. She loved them dearly. She wouldn`t leave us. She wouldn`t just abandon us.
GRACE: A body has been discovered about 20 minutes from Drew Peterson`s home. Is it Stacy Peterson?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Peterson is now charged with the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re ready to go forward with this trial with renewed energy and hope for Kathleen, and hopefully, in turn, for Stacy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Straight out to Diane France -- she`s joining us from Ft. Collins, Colorado -- forensic anthropologist. She is the director of the Human Identification Lab at Colorado State University. Thank you for being with us. What can you tell me regarding this case? What are they trying to do with these bones as we speak? How are they trying to identify them and piece them together?
DIANE FRANCE, FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST (via telephone): Well, you may have more information on this than I do, since I`m not involved with the case. But I had understood that they aren`t even sure that they`re female remains yet. But what the forensic anthropologist will do is, first of all, determine which bones are human, whether or not there are any non- human bones, and then just do a standard biological profile as much as possible, the age, the sex, the ancestry, stature, and so on. What -- and of course, there aren`t very many bones there at this point, so we can`t do all of those things.
And then after that try to determine whether or not there are any ante-mortem or before-death medical records, X-rays, and so on, and then maybe even try to do a post-mortem, ante-mortem comparison and see if you can establish at least a tentative identification from that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have filed our civil action this morning, naming solely Christopher Coleman as the main defendant.
In most wrongful death actions a lawsuit is brought to obtain support for the survivors. Not so in this case. The question becomes why is this lawsuit being filed? What is its purpose?
The answer is simple. To strip the culpable party of all financial holdings. All that he now has and all that he may ever have. To allow one penny of ill-gotten gain to be derived at the expense of Sheri, Garett, and Gavin is not acceptable to those who dearly love them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sheri Coleman`s family doesn`t even know what`s rightfully Sheri`s. They don`t know what`s inside her home. Her mother is left with just memories and grief.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only thing that Angela Decicco has, she`s gotten off the Internet or from the newspapers. No mementos, nothing from -- you know, from this tragedy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sheri`s family has not been allowed inside the home in Columbia where Sheri, Gavin, and Garett lived, where they died. Yet not even a week after the murders, a week before the charges, Christopher Coleman`s family spent hours there, loading a trailer and hauling it away. Contents unknown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lofty as it may be, our goal is to extract something positive from such a horrific, senseless, and quite frankly disgusting tragedy and also to honor the lives of my sister and her sons, her young sons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Straight out to our chief editorial producer, Ellie Jostad.
Ellie, isn`t it true that we have confirmed exactly what was written on the murder scenes and where in the home? What was written, Ellie?
ELLIE JOSTAD, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER, COVERING STORY: That`s correct, Nancy. An attorney representing Sheri Coleman`s mother and brother was in that location today, in the crime scene, and he said he saw in the downstairs living room the words "F-U bitch." Below it the word "punished."
On a wall going up the stairs a word -- phrase that either said "whore paid" or "u have paid." These are crudely scrawled. And then also in the kitchen another message that said "I saw you leave. FU. I am always watching."
GRACE: Hold on. I`m writing this down as fast as I can get it. OK. Where is "F-U bitch"? Where was that written?
JOSTAD: That was written in the downstairs dining room.
GRACE: In the dining room. OK. Where was "punished" written?
JOSTAD: "Punished" is on that same wall in the dining room written below the "F-U bitch."
GRACE: Punished. OK. All right. "You have paid" or "whore has paid." Where was that written?
JOSTAD: That was on a wall going up the stairs.
GRACE: Up the stairs. All right. And "I saw you leave." What was the rest of that?
JOSTAD: "I saw you leave. F U.S. I am always watching." Written in the kitchen.
GRACE: I`m always watching. And that`s in the kitchen. All right.
GRACE: Let`s unleash the lawyers. Gloria Allred, Raymond Giudice, Joseph Lawless.
Ray Giudice, you know what? He may need some footnotes to that. He wrote quite the novel. The killer felt pretty at home there. Taking the time to scrawl messages in the dining room, up and down the stairs, and in the kitchen.
RAY GIUDICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The killer was awful familiar with the layout of the house. The killer brought with him or her paint, potentially gloves, used very careful and directed works. This is a targeted message, a series of targeted messages and very personalized.
GRACE: To Nicole Partin, investigative reporter joining us. She`s based out of Chattanooga.
Nicole, what more can you tell us?
(ON THE PHONE)
NICOLE PARTIN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Good evening, Nancy. Today Sheri Coleman`s mother and brother filed this wrongful death lawsuit against Chris Coleman. And as we`ve heard, they won temporary order allowing them access to the family home.
They wanted to go in, get some of the personal belongings, but it was in that visit that we got our first glimpse and insight into this mysterious writing on the wall.
GRACE: Now hold on. Nicole Partin, what can you tell me about a wrongful death case?
PARTIN: This wrongful death case today consisted of two parts, Nancy. Number one, intentional act, referring to the strangulation of both Sheri and her sons. Part two, negligence in connection to the murders.
GRACE: Negligence in what sense?
PARTIN: Negligence in that, you know, what did he know, was he holding back evidence, was there something that he had to do with this? He was negligent in the acts of this death, both Sheri and the sons.
GRACE: We are taking your calls live. Right now joining me in a primetime exclusive interview, a special guest, Jack Carey. He is co- counsel for victim`s mother Sheri Coleman`s family. They have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant, Chris Coleman.
Mr. Carey, thank you for being with us.
JACK CAREY, FILED WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT AGAINST HUSBAND: You`re welcome.
GRACE: Mr. Carey, explain to me what they hope to gain out of a wrongful death lawsuit. Typically, that`s filed when victims have offspring they want to protect. In this case the two little boys, age 9 and 11, were murdered as well.
CAREY: Well, as what my co-counsel Enrico Mirabelli pointed out at -- earlier today this morning, is that we want to make sure that there is no gain whatsoever to Christopher Coleman. Our goal in this lawsuit, in the wrongful death lawsuit, is to -- if we can accumulate any source of funds, any funds whatsoever, they are going to be donated to the city of Columbia, where this occurred.
The mayor has spoken with Mr. Mirabelli and myself regarding some type of memorial. Something active. Some type of pavilion. Something that would be suitable for the memory of this young woman and her two sons. But there are no heirs, shall we say.
CAREY: . with the exception of the mother and the brother. But we want to make sure that not one thin penny would ever inure to the benefit of Christopher Coleman.
GRACE: Mr. Carey, very well explained. Thank you. With me, Jack Carey, attorney out of Waterloo, Illinois, co-counsel representing Sheri Coleman, the mom who is dead in this case, family.
I want to go out to the lawyers. Gloria Allred, Ray Giudice, Joe lawless.
Here you`ve got a guy, Gloria Allred, sitting on many thousands of dollars, according to our reports, and it won`t go to anybody. His two sons have been murdered. His wife has been murdered. It can only go to extended family. Unless as he`s sitting there in the jailhouse, Gloria, he decides to designate it to the stripper -- excuse me, the hostess at a stripper club that he was allegedly seeing at the time of his wife`s murder.
Now I wouldn`t want that to happen. Would you, Gloria?
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY & VICTIM`S RIGHTS ADVOCATE: No, I wouldn`t. And I think it`s great that the wrongful death case has been filed. And by the way, whether or not he is convicted in the criminal case, Nancy, that wrongful death case can proceed. There is a different burden of proof.
Less needs to be proven in a civil wrongful death case than must be proven in a criminal case, where guilt beyond a reasonable doubt must be proven.
ALLRED: And so they can proceed. And I think it`s a great idea that they`re proceeding now.
GRACE: But Lawless, can he get the money to use in his own defense?
JOE LAWLESS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY, AUTHOR OF "PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT": Well, if it`s his money, he has every right to have access to it. And I think any judge.
GRACE: Whoa, whoa.
LAWLESS: Oh absolutely. He does, Nancy.
GRACE: It was his and her money.
LAWLESS: Well, it was.
GRACE: Before she was murdered.
LAWLESS: If a judge wants to permit the civil suit to go forward, the judge can. Should a judge let that happen? I don`t think so. I think a criminal prosecution should always take precedence over a civil lawsuit not.
GRACE: Wait a minute. Put Lawless up. Put Lawless up.
LAWLESS: Not even.
GRACE: Is there a reason that the civil case cannot go forward? There`s no reason.
LAWLESS: Well, I think the reason.
GRACE: Under our constitution.
LAWLESS: I think the reason is very simple.
GRACE: I`d like to finish, Lawless. There`s no reason under our constitution both cases cannot proceed forward. Think O.J. Simpson. Is that ringing a bell?
LAWLESS: There is no.
GRACE: Of course the criminal case.
LAWLESS: There is no constitutional reason. Is there a reason for fundamental fairness when someone`s standing trial for their life and should only have to prepare to defend themselves on one charge when they`re presumed innocent?
Absolutely. Someone who`s standing trial in a criminal case shouldn`t have to fight on two fronts where the only issue is money on one side and their life on the other. The criminal prosecution is far more important.
GRACE: Well, if you look at history, Joe, the way it normally works, I don`t know about your jurisdiction, but the criminal case takes precedent. Then after that the civil case would go forward.
GRACE: Nothing precludes the two of them from being filed and going forward on different tracks at the same time.
Everyone, quick break. Taking your calls live. I`ll get right back out to the lines. But happy 6th birthday to Georgia friend of the show. Baby David, all grown up. He stays up late every night to watch the show.
Isn`t he beautiful? Happy birthday, baby David.
And happy birthday to -- 90th birthday to Florida friend of the show, Trixxie. She`s beautiful.
The show is celebrating your birthday. Happy birthday to David.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any and all of the proceeds that my mother and/or I receive as the results of this civil suit will be considered my sister Sheri`s money and will be used with Mayor Hutchinson`s blessing to create a prominent, a functional, and a beautiful memorial for my nephews, Garett, Gavin, and my sister in the town of Columbia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not -- truly, this is not about the money. We are doing everything we possibly can to be assured that Christopher Coleman in no way, shape, or form experiences any profit, any one thin dime from what has occurred in Monroe County.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The family of Sheri, Garett, and Gavin well knows that any monetary reward of damages received as a result of the civil action filed today will never adequately compensate them. Mere dollars cannot replace the loss of loved ones. Nor will they lessen the pain and suffering visited on Angela Decicco, the mother of Sheri Coleman, and Mario Weiss, the brother of Sheri Coleman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: A missing piece of the puzzle has been found, has been added tonight. We learned from an alleged eyewitness inside the home what that message was, that epitaph scrawled across the murder scene on multiple walls in red spray paint said.
Apparently, in the dining room it says, "F you bitch. Punished." Up the stairs, "You have paid." In the kitchen, "I saw you leave. F you. I`m always watching."
Out to the lines. Kathy in Wisconsin. Hi, Kathy.
KATHY, CALLER FROM WISCONSIN: Yes, hi. Two quick questions for you. Before he got arrested was there ever any chance of any kind of insurance payoff? And secondly, was there any chance that he gave them all a mild sedative, not enough to knock them out but enough to make it so that they wouldn`t struggle as much?
Love you. Love your show.
GRACE: Kathy in Wisconsin, thank you. Thank you for your compliment and for calling in.
To Marlaina Schiavo, our producer on the story, do we know anything about insurance possibilities? Are there any proceeds that will come to him?
MARLAINA SCHIAVO, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER, COVERING STORY: We are finding that out right now. They have served his father, Ronald Coleman, with papers trying to get all insurance policies, all his financials in order. They`re trying to get tax returns, every bit of information they can possibly get to find out a possible motive in this case.
GRACE: Well, Marlaina, we already know about the hook -- stripper -- excuse me, hostess at a strip club in Florida that he had been seeing and the icing on that cake is she was a high school friend of the dead mom. They were friends.
SCHIAVO: They were friends. Enrico Mirabelli, the cousin of Sheri Coleman, confirmed that she was friends with her in high school. Also.
GRACE: No, I mean, you asked about motive. There you have it, on a silver platter.
SCHIAVO: Yes. And the attorney, Jack, who we were just talking to, they`re also asking for schedules from his employer, Joyce Meyers Ministry.
GRACE: About placing him when he was in Florida.
GRACE: To Ron Shindel, former NYPD deputy inspector. Ron, what about the possibility of him giving them a sedative? The timeline has been narrowed down between 3:00 and 5:00 a.m. Daddy was home at that time by his own account.
RON SHINDEL, FMR. NYPD DEPUTY INSPECTOR: Well, Nancy, that of course is possible. But that will come out in the toxicology. Once the final report is out, they`ll be able to find if a sedative was given.
GRACE: Ron, what do you make of all this writing on the walls? I mean, to me, the killer might as well have taken out an ad, a billboard on Third Avenue that said, gee, I wonder who did it.
SHINDEL: Disturbing. Disturbing. There`s no other word for it. This is a high-profile case. And these clues are just disturbing any way you go, and they`re indicting.
GRACE: You know, Gloria Allred -- let`s get back to the lawyers. Gloria, Ray Giudice, Joe Lawless.
Gloria, I prosecuted a lot of murder cases. You`ve been involved in a lot of murder cases. Long story short, most murder cases are hey, I`m mad, bang, you`re dead, oops, I didn`t mean to, case closed.
When you start getting all the writing on the wall and the spray paint and the alarm system and the window up and the alarm system off, that takes a lot of forethought.
ALLRED: It does. A lot of planning. And also, you know, it`s very typical of batters, husbands, and I`m not saying he did it, we don`t know yet. But husbands who want to control their wives to watch them a lot, to monitor them in an obsessive way.
So that could be a clue that might point to the husband, "I`m watching you." And then of course to denigrate women. To call them the B word instead of looking at them as a human being, to reduce them to a pejorative, to a very negative stereotype.
These are all danger signs. These are signs that could point to someone who is very, very close to her, possibly an intimate other.
GRACE: You know, to Raymond Giudice and Joe Lawless -- first to you, Ray. I know now there`s a moratorium on implementing the death penalty in Chicago -- in Illinois. However, that does not stop prosecutors from seeking it.
GIUDICE: That`s right.
GRACE: And putting somebody on death row. You know, it`s facts like killing the two little boys, writing "F you bitch" up on the wall. Those are the incendiary type of facts that will push a jury over the edge.
GIUDICE: The evidence said -- looks like we`re going to have here does two things. One, it proves premeditation, or at least allows the state to argue the heck out of it. But secondly, from the defense perspective, it eliminates, or makes it very difficult to make any type of a crime of passion defense where somebody suddenly snapped.
GRACE: To Jack Carey, a special guest joining us tonight, he is co- counsel for Sheri Coleman`s family. The mother, who was strangled by ligature along with her two little boys. They are filing a wrongful death claim and plan to put the proceeds toward a beautiful interactive park in Sheri and the little boys` memory.
Mr. Carey, is there any evidence of insurance proceeds or any other any other financial motive that you know of yet for this possible murder by the husband?
CAREY: We know of none. We certainly didn`t find anything in the home today when we were permitted to go through it pursuant to a court order. We have filed what is called respondents and discovery directed to both the father and to his employer to try to get some information regarding.
CAREY: . any type of life insurance policies.
GRACE: And very quickly, Susan Lipkins, the husband`s family, the husband and his family not giving the wife`s family any of her possessions. What does that mean psychologically?
SUSAN LIPKINS, PSYCHOLOGIST, AUTHOR OF "PREVENTING HAZING": Well, I think he was trying to take any evidence out of the house and he obviously doesn`t really seem upset by the death of his sons and if he is the one who wrote all of that, there`s a paranoid flavor to it. He, in fact, is screwing around with somebody else and he`s accusing her of doing that.
GRACE: Everyone, quick break, but I want to introduce to you a very special person. Isaac Aaron Horowitz, born April 22 to defense attorney Daniel Horowitz and wife Valerie. Happiness for Daniel Horowitz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sole purpose of the suit is not to profit, but to deny any ill-gotten gain to Christopher Coleman and it would go after any assets that he might have in his possession in an attempt to take a judgment against him and take the assets away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Out to the lines. Dorothy in Pennsylvania, hi, Dorothy.
DOROTHY, CALLER FROM PENNSYLVANIA: Hi, Nancy. You`re beautiful in and out, you know that?
GRACE: Thank you.
DOROTHY: I wanted to know if the glove was found on the way to the gym or back from the gym. Which side of the road was it on?
GRACE: Interesting question. Out to Nicole Partin, investigative reporter. What do we know about that?
PARTIN: We know, Nancy, that the glove with the red paint splattered on it was found on I-255 which was the route that he would have taken to the gym. We don`t know if it was northbound or southbound.
GRACE: Or was it.
GRACE: Oh OK, don`t know. Great question, Dorothy. We`ll try to get to the bottom of that.
Kathy in Florida, hi, Kathy.
KATHY, CALLER FROM FLORIDA: Hi, friend. How are you?
GRACE: I`m good.
KATHY: Nancy, my question is when this case first broke they said that he tried to take her name off the deed to the house. Did he succeed in doing that?
GRACE: Out to Ellie Jostad, what about it, Ellie?
JOSTAD: Right. And that`s one of the things that was brought up in this wrongful death lawsuit. Her attorneys are now saying we`re not even sure if that is her signature authorizing her name being taken off the deed and if it is, they want to know was she perhaps coerced into making her husband the sole title holder on the house.
GRACE: And Ellie, I`m running out of time, but when was her name taken off the deed to the home?
JOSTAD: It was six months ago in October of `08.
GRACE: Everyone, let`s stop and remember Army Corporal Stephen D. Shannon, 21, Guttenberg, Iowa. Killed Iraq. Awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. A combat engineer known for his sense of humor and respect for others.
A popular student, he was president of his junior class. He was involved in sports and band. He wanted a career in law enforcement or military. Leaves behind parents Joan and Dan, two sisters, Kathleen and Molly. Two brothers, Patrick and Jack.
Stephen D. Shannon, American hero.
Thanks to our guests but especially to you for being with us. And tonight, congratulations to attorney Daniel Horowitz on your new baby and happy birthday to you, baby David.
I`ll see you tomorrow night, everyone. 8:00 sharp Eastern and until then, good night, friend.