Return to Transcripts main page

Crime and Justice With Ashleigh Banfield

New Evidence Scott Peterson May Be Innocent; Woman Drives Drunk with Child in Car; Baby Found Abandoned. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired August 21, 2017 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:00] ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, HLN HOST: Can you believe this? There is a new and confusing account between police and witnesses, and it`s apparently

raising some suspicions that maybe Scott didn`t do it. Did you hear that? That maybe Scott didn`t do it? PRIMETIME JUSTICE begins right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury in the above entitled cause find the defendant, Scott Lee Peterson, guilty of the crime of murder of Lacy

Debeese (ph) Peterson.

BANFIELD: He is one of America`s infamous.

SCOTT PETERSON, CONVICTED OF MURDER: Not to insult the media in any way, but I think that this story may have fallen through the cracks.

BANFIELD: But is there new information that Scott Peterson may not be guilty of killing his wife, Laci?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Christmas Eve morning...

BANFIELD: A new A&E series with a lot of questions about a neighbor, a reporter and the house across the street.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I said wow, on the day Laci disappeared, I saw somebody there.

BANFIELD: Did neighborhood burglars grab Laci Peterson as Scott was returning from fishing?

PETERSON: Hey, beautiful. I just left you a message at home. I`ll see you in a bit, sweetie. Love you. `Bye.

911 OPERATOR: 911. What is the address of your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a drunk woman with two kids in the back seat.

BANFIELD: It`s the call that may have saved a child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I may be a little...

BANFIELD: A woman pulled over who sure looks drunk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much did you have to drink?


BANFIELD: But she didn`t just blow over, she blew the test away.


BANFIELD: Forget the field sobriety test.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She had too many fireballs.



BANFIELD: If you think she failed that test, just check out the most obvious one.


BANFIELD: She`s accused of dumping her newborn just minutes after birth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s crazy. Somebody left their baby out here.

BANFIELD: Just hours old, alone in the dirt and covered in ants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I was, like, Call 911!

BANFIELD: Near death, she`s rescued just in time.


BANFIELD: What the mom now says about that night and how she feels about her baby.

A teenager accused of driving over 100 miles an hour high on opioids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to saying anything to the family about what happened?

BANFIELD: Her car flies out of control, smashing into a house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The (INAUDIBLE) home. They`re in the living room. You know where they are. You know what they`re doing.

BANFIELD: Inside, two sisters watching TV are suddenly crushed to death.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then within a matter of seconds, they`re gone.

BANFIELD: To make matters worse, four other terrified kids were inside that speeding car.

They look like an all American-mom and daughter. But Cops say they were running a business that would make your skin crawl, erotic massage! Was it

really all in the family?


BANFIELD: Good evening, everyone. This is PRIMETIME JUSTICE. I`m Ashleigh Banfield.

There are some names that linger in your sub-conscience (sic) long after they disappear from the news -- O.J., Casey, Jodi, Menendez Scott Peterson

is certainly one of those. In a trial 13 years ago, he became a media spectacle. He was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, and

their unborn son, and he is awaiting his date for death with that crime. He really hasn`t spoken much since the verdict and likely spends his days

just like the other death row inmates at San Quentin, wondering if they are going to live to die a natural death.

The murder of Laci Peterson was nothing short of riveting for America, and tonight, there may just be another chapter developing in the saga. A

neighbor of the Petersons says she saw three men outside of a home across the street from Laci and Scott`s house. Turns out that home had been

robbed right around the same time Laci went missing on Christmas Eve and right around the same time her family called the police for help.


911 OPERATOR: Can I help you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, my daughter (INAUDIBLE) she`s 8 months pregnant. She took her dog for a walk in the park. The dog came home (INAUDIBLE)

911 OPERATOR: So the dog came back without your daughter?



BANFIELD: Exactly when that robbery took place is critical to this case and a source of a dispute tonight. Did the robbery across the street

happen on December 26th, two days after Laci disappeared, the day her dog was seen running about the neighborhood with its leash on, or did it happen

two days earlier, making it and the people connected to it far more connected to Scott`s case? All of that really depends on who you ask.

Scott Peterson is speaking about this in a new television series on A&E. He has always maintained that he was innocently fishing when Laci

disappeared. He says he came back to find that dog with its leash still on but no sign of Laci.


[20:05:04]SCOTT PETERSON, CONVICTED OF MURDERING HIS WIFE: The only unusual thing was the leash (INAUDIBLE) Put my clothes in the washer

(INAUDIBLE) took something from the fridge. After I got in the shower (INAUDIBLE) clothes on, I called Sharon.


BANFIELD: Defense attorney Mark Geragos represented Scott Peterson, and he joins me live now. Mark, obviously, the minute I heard this, the first

thing that came across my mind was, Why didn`t I hear more of this at trial? Why wasn`t this mined? Why wasn`t that neighbor screaming from the

rooftops? How is this all coming to light now?

MARK GERAGOS, PETERSON`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY (via telephone): Hi, Ashleigh, by the way.

BANFIELD: Hi, Mark. You got to answer this one, though, because I`m really perplexed.

GERAGOS: (INAUDIBLE) I don`t know how closely you followed it at the time, but on the day that the verdict came back on the guilt phase, we were

provided discovery. In fact, literally, I got it about 15 minutes before. And the discovery included a tape from the Chino State Prison, which, as

you may know, is the inmate reception center.

And it was an inmate being recorded and a police reporter accompanying a police report by a correctional officer that said a guy by the name of -- I

think his name was Lieutenant Aponte (ph) -- that he`d intercepted a call by one of the burglars and who was talking, I believe, to his brother and

that the brother and he discussed the Laci Peterson abduction, or some such language, and that was not turned over until the jury had actually been out

for, I think, eight days or nine days.

So it was mined obviously after that, but we didn`t know it in real time because obviously, that would have given a completely different


BANFIELD: So I`m still thoroughly confused as to how a neighbor can say to the police, I drove by the house across from Laci and I saw three people in

a strange vehicle, and they looked at me and I looked at them. And that neighbor actually told the police, We were robbed on the 24th, the same day

that Gladys Kravitz (ph) down the street said she saw someone on our lawn. But the police came to the conclusion it actually happened two days later

because that`s what the robbers told them. Where am I wrong here?

GERAGOS: No, you`re right. That`s exactly what happened. The police went out of their way. In fact, I`ll bet if you check some of your archived

footage, you`ll find the police -- I forget the name of the guy from Modesto PD. They went on air and stated they had solved it. They had

irrefutable evidence it was on the 26th, not the 24th.

Interesting thing in the A&E series is Ted Rowlands, who I`m pretty sure you know -- Ted was out there on the 26th. There was a gaggle of people

out there on the 26th because it had already reached critical mass. So we knew that couldn`t have been true at the time.

But if we had had the burglars` tape with the brother in real time, we probably would have moved either for a continuance or a mistrial. As you

might remember, there was other stuff that was late-breaking in terms of discovery during the trial, and we actually stopped and started I think

three separate times based on late disclosures, and we were trying to investigate in realtime.

BANFIELD: So you speak and we act. You just mentioned Ted Rowlands.


BANFIELD: This is how quickly we can react. He`s live with me right now. He covered the Scott Peterson case. Ted, it`s good to talk to you again.

We`ve been colleagues for a long time. You are a fantastic reporter. You were CNN for a long time. You have incredible street cred.

You were on the lawn, so to speak, of the Peterson house. And if you`re doing a live shot, the Petersons` house is behind you and you`re staring

right at that neighbor`s house. And you were there on the 26th. Did you see anything that`s being described as what happened there by the police on

the 26th?

TED ROWLANDS, COVERED SCOTT PETERSON TRIAL: Well, absolutely not, Ashleigh. I mean, the time that we were there -- and we got there at 5:30

in the morning. And as you know, when you`re out covering a missing person, you want to talk to anyone who knows that missing person.

So we were looking for neighbors. Our heads were on a swivel. There is no way that the house across the street was being burglarized while we were

there. Now, the burglars could have been there before 5:30, 5:45 in the morning, moving it back. But then you look at the witness -- the

eyewitness in the neighborhood who claims she saw the burglary taking place early in the morning, but during sunlight hours.

All I can tell you is this. There`s no way that house was being burglarized the morning of the 26th from 5:30 until noon.

BANFIELD: And here`s my guess. If I know the way you work in the field, it`s the same way I work in the field. You grab every neighbor you can,

and you say, What did you see here? Did you see anything? Did you ever have an opportunity to grab a neighbor across the street or anybody

standing on that lawn to ask those questions?

[20:10:14]ROWLANDS: Oh, gosh, yes. Yes. And then what you -- what we had was a photograph of a beautiful young woman smiling from ear to ear who`s

seven-and-a-half months pregnant. We want to know what she`s like. So absolutely, over the course of days and weeks, but starting that morning in

those first hours, everybody on that street we stopped and said, Hey, who is this person? Give a context to the missing person.

At this time, of course, we had no idea that it would turn into what it was. It was a community looking for a missing person. So the answer to

your question is obviously, yes, we talked to everybody.

BANFIELD: And did you find in everybody on that lawn at the time that the neighbor said she saw three people on that lawn with an unusual vehicle?

ROWLANDS: No. The neighbor came out. I never interviewed her. She -- you`ll see her in that A&E special. And she was someone who did alert

police. Keep in mind, the police came out right away, and they said the burglary took place on the 24th. We think it`s important. It was after

they talked to the burglars and believed their story that they established it as being on the 26th.

The defense, Scott`s family, that side said, You just believed the burglars? Now, give investigators credit. They do know what they`re

doing, and frankly, they didn`t believe a word Scott Peterson was saying and they did believe these burglars. They were going on instinct and

they`ve been doing it for a long time. I don`t fault them for the way they proceeded necessarily, but now in hindsight, a lot of questions are being


BANFIELD: Well, I`m going to talk to investigators in a moment but not before I ask you this question. Since you not only ended up as a reporter

on this story at the Peterson house, you were also a witness to ostensibly what could have happened on the 26th as police contend this break-in across

the street happened.

So as a witness to this ostensible December 26th break-in, did police ever ask you what you saw? Because you were there from literally before dawn

until after dusk.

ROWLANDS: No, and I don`t know that they knew that I was out there in the morning hours. When they announced that the burglary was on the 26th in

the morning, I remember looking at my photographer and saying, No way. But it was one -- at the time, one piece of this larger puzzle. At that time,

we didn`t think that Scott was being targeted the way he was. We didn`t realize where the case was going because this was very early on.

(INAUDIBLE) they didn`t talk to me. I wouldn`t have expected them to talk to me.

BANFIELD: So hold tight for a second. I want to talk to you and Mark Geragos again, but not before I bring in retired Modesto Police Department

detective Jon Buehler. He worked on the Peterson case.

Detective Buehler, I hope you can make sense of this for me. Where is the disconnect between why the police believed the robbery across the street

from the Peterson home happened two days after the homeowners say it happened and the neighbor says she witnessed unusual people on the lawn on

the 24th, the day Laci went missing? Where is the disconnect?

JON BUEHLER, RETIRED MODESTO POLICE DETECTIVE: Well, Ashleigh, thanks for having me on here. I think the disconnect could be in a couple of

different places. Number one, it could be a time lag between when the people left the house and when they came back and whether or not the

burglary happened in that time window.

Another thing is, granted, Ted would have seen that if he was out in front, and he brought up a very good point that it could have happened before he

set up there or it could have happened behind the house, where he didn`t have a view of it. It could have happened after he left.

Generally, burglars are not foolish enough to do that in front of a bunch of cameras and things like that. So I think probably with Mark Geragos`s

staff, a bunch of talented attorneys, if there was a discrepancy in this, I`m confident they would have caught that at the beginning phases of the

trial because there was no late discovery on the burglary itself. They knew the reports. The reports were included in the packet that they got,

and I`m pretty sure they would have found that and brought that up.

BANFIELD: So Detective Buehler, I am with you. Ted Rowlands doesn`t miss a thing, and neither do the hundreds of journalists and technicians and

live shot operators and producers who descend on a live shot location, which was what Laci Peterson`s location ended up being. And you`re

absolutely right, robbers, while jerks, are not that dumb to go to a place where there are bright lights recording every move in a neighborhood.

So let`s dispense with the idea that maybe it happened in the back of the house. But I guess the big question is, since CNN was live all day from

dark until dark, why didn`t the cops talk to Ted and his crew to say, Did you see this happen on the 26th?

ROWLANDS: Yes, I can`t really answer why they didn`t do that because I was a different part of the investigation that I was on. The only thing I can

think of on that is it could have been a situation where the information came out later from the guys, once they interviewed them after making the

arrest, and by that time, there was no reason to check with anybody else. Maybe they were satisfied with the information they had.

[20:15:06]I know George Stile (ph) was one of the burglary detectives on that part of the case, very thorough investigator. He was confident that

they had the information.

And one of the things you`ve got to remember in the Modesto area is property crime criminals generally will roll on anybody when money is

offered their way. And one of the things that we found out with the guys that were involved in this particular burglary is they didn`t want to be a

part of Laci`s thing at all. And it was one of those rare times where these guys were more cooperative than most people that we arrest were.

And I think the ability to channel all the information they had and lock down their alibi probably satisfied them. But again, I wasn`t part of that

particular part of the case, so I can`t really go into much more detail...

BANFIELD: I`ll tell you what...

BUEHLER: (INAUDIBLE) from knowledge from that long ago.

BANFIELD: I`ll tell you what, Detective. You are spot on about a criminal who doesn`t want to be part of a crime taking part across the street from a

missing woman that ends up being a murdered woman. So you`re right about that.

But where their heart was, I`m not so sure I believe now where their heart was in saying, Oh, no, no, no, we were there on the 26th, not the 24th when

the lady went missing.

I have this question. Can you stay with me for a moment, Detective, because I have to go to break, but I still have a burning couple of

questions I need to ask, and they revolve around this. Does it even matter? Does anybody even care about the 14th or the 16th? Does it make a

difference to the case?

And then there`s also this, Detective Buehler. It`s you and others who are going to have to answer this. Does anybody care about making it an issue

when you have a guy like Scott Peterson? Because there`s not a lot of love lost for that guy, the way he behaved, the affair that he had, the

girlfriend, cheating on a pregnant wife, the big, beautiful million-dollar smile that Laci had. Who could do that to this woman?

And when nobody cares and everybody hates you, does anybody fight for you? Going to get those questions answered in a moment. And I can`t wait to

hear what Mark Geragos says about that.

And then there`s this, dramatic dashcam video that you have to see to believe. I mean, honestly, you have to see it to believe it. There`s a

woman and she`s weaving in and out of traffic, right? She`s weaving in and out of traffic, and it`s how she acted after she was stopped that really

may have just completely sealed her fate. You`re going to see it, and you`re also going to find out why it`s so serious. And here`s a hint, a 3-

year-old standing in the back seat. All coming up next.


[20:21:37]BANFIELD: For 13 years, Scott Peterson has been cooling his heels on death row in San Quentin, and now 13 years later, he`s talking.

He`s talking to A&E on a brand-new series called "The Murder of Laci Peterson," and he`s saying a lot of things that`s stirring up some


And out of that comes people who come forward with new and interesting information. Maybe it`s not so new, but this information has a different

twist. And it`s certainly getting people talking about whether or not Scott Peterson did it, whether he killed his wife Laci and his unborn


It comes in the way of a neighbor, a neighbor by the name of Diane Jackson, who says, I swear on the 24th, the 24th of December, the day that Laci

Peterson went missing, I saw something weird at the house across the street from Laci. I saw some people on her lawn, and I saw a weird vehicle. And

you know what? I`m pretty sure that it happened on that day.

Here`s how she put it to A&E.


DIANE JACKSON, WITNESS: And when I went by Medinas (ph) house, I saw people on the lawn in a van. I noticed it because they all turned around

and looked at me. And I thought, That`s weird. I didn`t put it together until a neighbor said, Gee, Medinas (ph) came home and their home was

burglarized while they were gone. And they think it was the 24th. And I said, Wow, on the day Laci disappeared I saw somebody there. And she told

me, You have to go to the police with that information. So I walked outside my front door, where there was a police. At that time, they were

everywhere. Film crews were everywhere. And I just said to him, Here`s the information I have. He wrote it in his little book.


BANFIELD: Here`s the information I have. He wrote it in his little book. I`m pretty sure that I saw that scene, those people in that white van on

the 24th. Turns out that house was robbed, and the people who were robbed are pretty sure it happened on the 24th.

But the robbers they caught and prosecuted say it happened on the 26th, and the police believed that. But if it was on the 24th, the day that Laci

Peterson went missing and her little dog was found with his leash still on running the neighborhood, well, isn`t that important?

Here`s how Scott talks about the 24th, the day he says he came home to find that dog and the leash and his wife gone. Have a look.


PETERSON: I don`t know what time I got up. Probably -- Laci got up and went and she had some cereal for breakfast, eats right when she gets up.

Otherwise, she gets sick because she`s pregnant. I laid around in bed longer and got up at 8:00 o`clock probably or so.

MARTHA STEWART, COOKING SHOW HOST: This is it, and it`s called lemon butter cookies...

PETERSON: We were watching her favorite show, Martha Stewart. She was going to finish cleaning up. She was mopping the kitchen floor, and then

she was going to take the dog for a walk. Just decided it seemed too cold to go play golf at the club, so just decided to, you know, go fishing.


[20:25:04]BANFIELD: If you don`t remember this case, there`s actually evidence that he was at a fishing marina. There was a purchase made there.

So the alibi pretty much checks out that Scott went fishing. And when he came home from fishing, he made a phone call on the way. And never before

has this phone call been heard. It`s a message that he left for Laci Peterson.

Again, I just want to promote that the fact is we got this sound bite, we got this message from the folks at A&E. They`re running this entire

program tomorrow night at 10:00 o`clock, "The Murder of Laci Peterson." But if you haven`t heard this voicemail message from Scott Peterson to his

wife Laci, the moment he`s coming home from the fishing marina, well, here`s your chance.


PETERSON: I called Laci (INAUDIBLE) the marina. (INAUDIBLE)

Hey, beautiful. I just left you a message at home, 2:15. I won`t be able to get to Devalla (ph) Farms to get that basket for papa. I was hoping you

would get this message and go on out there. I`ll see you in a bit, sweetie. Love you. `Bye.


BANFIELD: Detective Jon Buehler is still here with me, formerly with the Modesto Police Department, worked on this case.

I get it, Detective. Television producers can put together a narrative that can lead you to a certain way of thinking. But these kinds of pieces

of evidence -- they do seem extraordinary to someone 13 years later who may be looking at this case with fresh eyes, who may have felt they knew

everything about the case but maybe this was something that escaped them. Is this something that changes how you feel about Scott Peterson?

BUEHLER: Well, it doesn`t change how I feel about him or the verdict or anything like that. But of course, what I feel really isn`t important


What`s important was what the jury came up with. And the thing that they did is they sifted through all the evidence that was presented, they

listened to a vigorous defense, and they came up with the conclusion he was guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

One of the things that is present with the A&E thing is although we haven`t heard everything on that yet, there are some things that were left out of

there. You know, they didn`t have -- at least, I haven`t seen it yet. They didn`t have the homeowners talk about when they left, when they came

back. They didn`t show any of the other evidence that led Detective Stow (ph) and the other crew, the other part of his burglary investigation crew,

as to why they determined that it happened on the 26th.

And so without those things, yes, we can throw little things up against the wall and they do look sinister. But I think once you shine the light of

truth and all the complete information, it`d be a pretty explanation to it that would be reasonable to most people watching.

BANFIELD: An I also I understand that a robber does not a murderer make necessarily. But sometimes it does.

BUEHLER: Yes, you can`t rule anything out with really anybody. After doing that job for all those years, there weren`t too many things that

surprised me. But generally, somebody who`s doing property crimes, a burglary, to switch from that to a violent, you know, personal crime, a

robbery and an abduction -- of course, in this case, if they did abduct her, which I think some people are believing, where`s the ransom request?


BANFIELD: How about somebody walks in on you and you got a rap sheet or you just don`t want something to be known about what you`re doing and maybe

something happens you don`t expect. I`m just throwing a bunch of things out there.

But let me jump in with Mark Geragos because Mark, you know Scott best. You spent all those months with him defending him. I have two questions

for you.

GERAGOS: Let me just say something.

BANFIELD: Do you -- yes, go ahead. What?

GERAGOS: I`m going to just say one thing. Do you realize that you just had on somebody -- and you were the amen choir for the idea that a burglar,

felon burglar, a home (INAUDIBLE) first degree burglar -- that doesn`t lead to a murder. So I agree with that.

But at the same time, it`s accepted lore that if you bang some mistress while your wife is pregnant, that that means you could commit murder?

That`s the accepted thing? And I appreciate Buehler and his ideas (INAUDIBLE) once the transparency is put on this. But he`s seen one

episode out of six and he`s already (INAUDIBLE) talk about what the truth is or anything else?

And by the way, ask the detective, the good detective, when did they turn over a ponpings (ph) report, which they deep-sixed, which was exculpatory

evidence? It was the day he was convicted. So...

BANFIELD: OK. So there`s the detective...


BANFIELD: You can hear what Mark Geragos is saying, Detective. What about that exculpatory evidence? Mark Geragos is saying he got it while the

verdict was coming down.

BUEHLER: Yes, and I can`t speak to that because I didn`t hear anything about that until we just mentioned it right now. And you know, without

knowing anything about it, it would be pretty foolish of me to talk about it. But if that is the case, then Mark has, you know, some good

information for, you know, this, you know, attempt to get the death row, you know, situation overturned and possibly the conviction.

But the bottom line is, is there hasn`t been anything really life-shaking, you know, that has come out of this that really changes my belief.


BUEHLER: ... because you really have to ignore...

BANFIELD: ... works, as well.

BUEHLER: ... a lot of circumstantial evidence. You have to put a lot of circumstantial evidence aside to think that Scott didn`t do that. And you

know, Mark is on one side, and I get that and...


[20:30:02] BANFIELD: I want to make sure that people understand detective as well that you turn your material over to the prosecutors. You don`t

march into court and hand it at a certain time.

So that is understandable. You might not know that process. I still need that answer from Mark Geragos. You spent a lot of time, Mark, with your

client. Do you talk to him now? If so, what is his mindset right now, Mark Geragos?

And also, do you think that any of this might actually lead somewhere? Is it possible that this could form the basis of an appeal of any kind?

Because it`s not procedural, it`s evidentiary.

GERAGOS (via telephone): Ashleigh, I see him when I go to San Quentin which is once every other year and other client on parole hearings. He has

adjusted as well as anybody could who believes that they are innocently behind bars and on death row.

And as he has said before, during and after, this pales in comparison to having your family wiped out and that you accused and convicted of doing

it. And as far as the appeal, it`s fully briefed.

They`ve combined both the writ of habeas corpus which is the evidence that was developed after trial and the direct appeal which goes straight to the

California Supreme Court and those are waiting to be heard by the California Supreme Court.

I had told Scott when he was convicted, when he was sentenced, that it was going to take at least 10 years for the public kind of outcry over this to

subside so there could be some dispassionate analysis.

Because once you do dispassionate analysis, you realize there was no circumstantial evidence, there was no crime scene, there was no time of

death, there was no manner of death --

BANFIELD: Mark Geragos, I am so glad you brought that point up, because that`s why I asked Robi Ludwig on the program tonight. She is not only a

psychotherapist but she also literally wrote the book "Until Death Do Us Part."


BANFIELD: Love, marriage, and the mind of the killer spouse. Mark Geragos brings up a great point.


BANFIELD: Thirteen years later, we`ve all had a chance to take a lot of deep breaths and cool down and feel a little bit more circumspect about all

the evidence in the case. This guy was hated -- he was no Steven Avery.

Everybody seemed to love Steven Avery. Everybody was boosting Steven Avery. Hoping for the best. Nobody feels that way about Scott Peterson. Does it

make a difference and why is that?

LUDWIG: Well, I think in part because Scott Peterson had an affair, Laci Peterson`s parents also at one point thought Scott was very guilty and

turned against him. And here is this very good looking, slick character all of a sudden his mistress seemed to turn against him.

So the story looked really bad. It looked really bad and ultimately he was convicted and it was a story that we all lived with day in and day out. But

Mark is absolutely right, 10 years later, there is a different feeling. New eyes, as you mentioned.

Here is a very good looking guy who is on death row. And so I think everybody wants to make sure that justice is served and that the wrong

person is not in prison. And there is this other psychological piece where if someone is really good looking, it is very hard for us to believe that

they are sinister and dangerous.

BANFIELD: K.C., Jodi, O.J. The list goes on and on and on.

LUDWIG: That`s right.

BANFIELD: I tell you what. I can`t wait. I`m just going to plug this program again. A&E, the murder of Laci Peterson. It`s a series. The next

installment is tomorrow night (INAUDIBLE) Eastern. They`re doing a great job.

It is fascinating and I can hear you, I can hear you people out there saying God, Ashleigh, shut up and let that guy fry. I understand how you

feel. Don`t forget there are always two sides to a story and we do have a constitution in this country.

If there is something that is exculpatory, doesn`t everyone deserve to be heard? I am no fan of Scott Peterson nor his behavior, but I am a fan of

evidence and I am a fan of process.

And for that reason, I`m so thankful to Ted Rollins (ph), Detective Jon Buehler (ph), to Mark Geragos, and to Robi Ludwig for helping us sort

through this. I don`t think it`s the end of this conversation.

In the meantime though, there is this woman stopped on suspicion of DUI that I have to tell you about. Police say there was a child in the back of

her car. Not buckled. It is how she acted once she was in the back of their cruiser that will really have your jaw dropping.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): You have too many fireballs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): No, you (beep).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): You told me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would kill you. I would kill you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Stop kicking my car.



BANFIELD: DUIs are serious business in this country. They happen thousands of times a day. You know all those people who say you can beat the rap, you

can breath the breathalyzer because those machines run reliable. You`ve heard them, right?

Well, Brandy Lerma is going to have a real tough time with that, because if you watch the police dash cam video of her rescue, you may never take

another drink, let alone talk that garbage.

Palm Beach, Florida. A tow truck driver sees something and says something. He notices a woman swerving through traffic, a little boy unbuckled in the



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Nine-one-one, what is the address of your emergency?

[20:40:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I have a drunk woman with two kids in the backseat. Oh, my God! Oh, someone (INAUDIBLE).


BANFIELD: After police pulled Brandy Lerma over, they began her field sobriety test, and you can`t make this stuff up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I may be a little --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much have you had to drink?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A couple of fireball.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A couple of fireball?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:- Like this big. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine.


BANFIELD: A couple of fireball this big. Brandy Lerma can barely talk and barely walk. Anything resembling a straight line. How she can barely even

stand still without falling over. In the backseat of the car she was driving, that 3-year-old child was standing up and here you go.

Had to be whisked away to safety by the police. But if you think her field sobriety tests or her breathalyzer result could be disputed, there is more,

there as much more. There is her behavior in the back of the patrol car.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): You had too many fireballs?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): No, you (beep).


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would kill you. I would kill you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Stop kicking my car.


BANFIELD: To all of this, she actually did consider for a moment the safety of that child of hers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m thinking of my child. Who is picking up my child?


BANFIELD: Translation, who is picking up my child? Tony Martinez saw that child. He said he actually saw Brandy Lerma driving erratically and that he

was the person who called 911. And Tony joins me now. Tony, is it as bad as it seems on the tape?

TONY MARTINEZ, WITNESS (via telephone): Everything that occurred in the police car?

BANFIELD: Tony, I could not hear you at the beginning. Something happened to your audio. Can you start from the beginning? Was it as bad as it looks?

MARTINEZ (via telephone): Can you hear me now?

BANFIELD: I sure can.

MARTINEZ (via telephone): OK. I`ll be honest with you. I don`t know what happened in the police unit when she got arrested. I didn`t see any of

that. But when I first encountered her, she pulled up beside me in my tow truck and I rolled my window down.

I thought she need some help and she sounded very, very loud and obnoxious and flipped me off and decided to pulled out into traffic without regard

for anybody`s safety.

BANFIELD: Is it true that she gave you the finger when you pulled up beside her?

MARTINEZ (via telephone): She pulled up beside me, yelled something, told me I was number one and proceeded to just pull out into traffic without any

concern for anyone`s life.

BANFIELD: So I take that as a yes to the finger being the way you refer to her telling you that you were number one. The finger. So the police

describe her as vulgar, defiant, combative, uncooperative.

I know you stuck around after they pulled her over and you probably witnessed a lot of that field sobriety test. Do all those words measure up

and are there any others they missed?

MARTINEZ (via telephone): Absolutely out of her mind.


MARTINEZ (via telephone): She did not belong anywhere in public in the condition she was in. She definitely did not have to have that child in the

car endangering the baby`s life or anyone else life for that matter.

BANFIELD: Tell me about that. Tell me about the condition and appearance of the child and while you`re at it, her appearance, too, how was the little

guy? Was the little guy scared?

MARTINEZ (via telephone): Once again, I only saw her speak when she pulled up beside me. And when she -- and I noticed there was no baby seat or seat

belt on the child and she just decided to take off and I pursued her with my tow truck.

I followed her, kept an eye on her, kept my distance. I wish I would have jumped out. I had a couple opportunities to jump out and grab the keys from

her car, but I wasn`t sure what she would do.

The baby appeared fine once it was over with and the police officers from PBSO (ph) pulled her over. He was just wanting mommy. Well, mommy was not

in any condition.

BANFIELD: Oh, this is really sad. Very, very sad. Tony, thank you for calling 911. We all say it. If you see something, say something.

[20:45:00] And here is a situation where you really did and you really possibly could have saved that child`s life. Because if she was walking

like that, chances are the driving was only destined to get much worse. She is still innocent until proven guilty, but I don`t know how a jury will

feel about that video.

A newborn baby found abandoned in a flowerbed covered in ants. And police say this is the woman who put the little girl there just hours after the

birth. What she told the judge about why she did this in the first place.


BANFIELD: Sometimes you can only make sense of a crime when you actually can meet the criminal, but a crime story we brought you last week will

likely never yield

[20:50:00] any answers even though police say they got their perp. The crime was truly awful. A tiny baby just hours old dumped in a flowerbed and

found crawling with ants. It`s not that we don`t hear about these stories occasionally, we do.

It`s just extremely rare when you can actually see the crime playing out in real time and in this story, there was video of what the good Samaritan

found. And the picture shows the real tragedy of what investigators deal with all the time, but it doesn`t make them any easier to watch.

The little baby was found naked, no diaper, her umbilical cord still attached right there in the mud covered in bug bites and crying. She was

rushed to the hospital where doctors say she`s now being treated for a blood infection, but she`s alive.

And her mom is in big trouble. Police say just before midnight on August 10th, 21-year-old Sidney Woytasczyk had that baby on the kitchen of the

floor of her mom`s apartment.

They say she marched that newborn all the way down the stairs to the flowerbed outside and dumped that girl in the mud. The baby cried for up to

six hours before being rescued. And that the hero who found the baby was able to describe the scene this way.


ALBERT PETERSON, NEIGHBOR WHO FOUND THE BABY: I heard something like a cat. I panicked. It`s her. She was laying on the ground in the flowerbed with

ants -- I`m telling you, completely from head to toe. She was all in her ears. She had a lot of strength too. She was fighting.


BANFIELD: Because police were able to follow the trail of blood right back up to her apartment, Sidney Woytasczyk is now facing down a possible 20-

year sentence. And when she showed up in court, she said, she didn`t know she was pregnant, she didn`t want to be a mother, and she did not want to

see that baby.

Harris County sheriff, Ed Gonzalez, joins me live now from Texas. Sheriff, is this a case of mental health or is this a case of total callus


ED GONZALEZ, SHERIFF, HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT (via telephone): Ashleigh, good to be with you. Thank you. Well, it will be hard to

determine, at least, for now. It just seems, as you stated, that she simply wasn`t ready to be a mom and these type of cases are horrific and

sometimes we won`t know for a while what her true mental state was at the time.

BANFIELD: What about dad? The word is he didn`t even know she was pregnant.

GONZALEZ (via telephone): Yes. He seemed a little bit indifferent about it, kind of surprised. So, we`re still trying to piece all the dynamics that

are going on with that.

BANFIELD: But no charges for him, right? Nobody suspects that maybe he was involved and said, you know, I don`t want this either, so let`s do this


GONZALEZ (via telephone): At this point, it doesn`t believe he had any involvement with it, so again that`s to be determined still during our

follow-up investigation which still continues with other aspects of the case.

BANFIELD: He`s not talking to us. We do know that he is entering into some kind of a custody fight with grandma, with Sidney`s mom, who also I think

interested. About Sidney`s mother, Sidney lived with her mother.

And so, sheriff, are we supposed to believe that somewhere around 11:00 at night, she`s in the kitchen of her mom`s apartment having a baby and mom

doesn`t know anything about this either?

GONZALEZ (via telephone): It`s pretty surprising, but stranger things have happened and again we`re just so lucky that the infant was alive. Medical

staff told me that the little bit longer and the child would have died.

The child was in pretty bad shape. Even now, even being stable, she`s still needs to gain a little bit more weight and ideally she would be a little

bit better. We`re pulling for her and she`s looking fantastic and we hope she continues to make a full recovery.

BANFIELD: Apparently, she`s fighting a blood infection because her umbilical cord wasn`t properly detached from her, and that mud that she was

in likely transmitted some kind of an infection to her. Let me bring in Caroline Polisi, a defense attorney on this.

Caroline, when you have evidence like this of that baby in the mud and then you have a mom in court, 21 years old, saying I don`t want the baby, i

didn`t know I was pregnant, what does that bode for her when you`re staring down 20 years?

CAROLINE POLISI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It`s not looking good for her, Ashleigh. We`ve covered stories like this on your show before and unfortunately, what

law enforcement and everybody wants to get out there, the word to the public, is that there are these safe haven laws.

It`s called, you know, the Baby Moses law in Texas in which this mother could have dropped this baby off at a hospital or a fire station in some

instances and not faced prosecution, but because she did this in such a way that was such horrendous and really, really awful, she`s going to be

looking at some serious charges here.

BANFIELD: Yes, and really tough defense is my guess. Real quick, Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist, no regrets. Is that what surprises you on this


LUDWIG: It does. Here`s a girl who probably had denied pregnancy syndrome

[20:55:00] and she`s young and she didn`t want this baby, she didn`t know she was having it --

BANFIELD: She`s 21.

LUDWIG: Well, but mentally young and figured magical thinking, I can get rid of the baby impulsively and it`s like it never happened. A fear of

losing love of the people around them. So, it happened. I hope she gets treatment.

BANFIELD: What are the odds? Ten seconds, Caroline, that mental health will enter into her defense and that she`ll actually be able to use that


POLISI: She absolutely should bring in a mental health defense here. I think we may be seeing some things dug up about this woman`s past, perhaps

going back into childhood. Who knows what the circumstances were that led to this happening because let`s be honest, Ashleigh, anybody in their right

frame of mind would not have perpetrated a crime like this, so absolutely she`ll be bringing in some sort of defense.

BANFIELD: It`s a really lonely place to be and not just in that courtroom but be in her circumstance as well. Caroline, thank you. Robi, thank you.

We`re back right after this.


[21:00:00] BANFIELD: Thanks for watching, everybody. I`m Ashleigh Banfield. See you back here tomorrow night 8:00 for PRIMETIME JUSTICE. "THE HUNT WITH

JOHN WALSH" is up next.