updated 3/24/2006 10:53:09 AM ET 2006-03-24T15:53:09

Guests: Beth Holloway Twitty, David Kock, Steven Cohen, Vito Colucci, Lawrence Kobilinsky, Joe Cardinale, Robert Tarver, James Curtis, Jennifer Johnson

RITA COSBY, HOST, “LIVE AND DIRECT”:  Good evening, everybody.  We are coming to you, as

you can see, LIVE AND DIRECT tonight from The Falls bar in Manhattan.  We are covering a major day of developments in the Imette St. Guillen murder case.

But first, some breaking news in the Natalee Holloway investigation.  In a shocking new CBS News report, the chief investigator in the case says Natalee Holloway may not have been murdered, and instead may have died from a drug and alcohol-related overdose.  And for the first time, we are seeing this newly released photo of Natalee.  It’s the last known image of the Alabama teen from the night that she disappeared.

Natalee Holloway’s mother, Beth, joins us now by phone with her reaction.  Beth, what do you think when you hear all of this?

BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY’S MOTHER:  Well, Rita, I—you know, I’m hearing that—something just doesn’t seem to fit, if we’re talking about, you know, Natalee have—you know, having died from a drug overdose.  I mean, you know, I think that the bottom line is, we’re looking at, you know, where is Natalee, you know?  We’re looking at a recovery mission.  And really, what we wanted to stay focused on, let’s get these searches under way on the sand dunes, and let’s find out if—we need to rule this in or out, find out where Natalee is, where they placed her.

COSBY:  You know, they’re saying that there’s no proof of her using drugs in this report, Beth, and I’m sure it’s hard to hear, but they also say that she may have been in possession of drugs.  And again, maybe somebody pushed it on her, slipped it in her drink.  Maybe she had purchased it.  It’s unclear.

Have you ever known anything with Natalee with drugs?

TWITTY:  Oh, absolutely not, Rita.  Absolutely not.  And you know, we’ve always gone back to that night and the way Joran has described Natalee as coming in and out of consciousness and talking about a lot of strange things.  And it has always been in our minds, thinking that it sounded as if Natalee had been drugged.  And Natalee—it certainly, certainly would have been unknowingly.  I mean, there’s—you know, and we think of the connections that Joran Van Der Sloot has on the island of Aruba.  I mean, he’s very well connected to the well-known drug dealer that has the ecstasy—access to ecstasy.  So you know, it’s always been in our mind that they had drugged Natalee, once they took her from Carlos and Charlie’s.

COSBY:  And in fact, let me put up the quote.  This is from the chief investigative, Chief Gerold Dompig.  This is what he’s saying about sort of access to drugs.  He says, “We do not have proof that Natalee used drugs but that witnesses saw her with drugs in her possession.”

Do you have any idea, Beth, who those witnesses may have been?  Have your—has your attorney talked to those witnesses?

TWITTY:  No.  No, I have no knowledge of that, Rita, absolutely no knowledge of that being true at all.

COSBY:  You know, one of the things that they’re suggesting is that it’s at a critical phase in the investigation and that there might even be some closure or something soon, is sort of the suggestion from Gerold Dompig.  Are you getting any indications of that, Beth, that maybe there’s some breakthrough?

TWITTY:  You know, Rita, we have just ridden this out for so long that it’s just hard for us to bite (ph) into too much as far as any kind of late-breaking news or any, you know, testimony of a new witness coming forward.  I mean, we’ve just had to sit back and really filter through the information and not become—you know, not get caught up in this roller-coaster ride.

And you know, of course, we always hope that it is finally happening and they’re really about to conduct this search and—and get this under way, but I mean, you know, we just have to be (INAUDIBLE) because nothing has ever come to fruition so far.

COSBY:  You know, one of the other things, too, is that he’s suggesting that maybe the boys panicked, that maybe something did happen, a combination of alcohol and drugs, and they panicked and tried to cover it up.  Has that been something that was always sort of in your gut as to maybe what happened that night?

TWITTY:  Oh—oh, absolutely.  And I think that when we go back to that night, that, you know, that’s why these suspects continually have lied and that—you know, whatever transpired, whether they—you know, it still—it still shows these suspects are so guilty of involvement into Natalee’s disappearance, you know, from—from whether they drugged her and she experienced a drug overdose—you know, but then, how they have, you know, covered this up from the beginning and derailed the investigation to where we could never proceed forward (INAUDIBLE) for weeks into it because the suspects just kept lying to the authorities.

And you know, it’s just going to be hard for us to believe this was accidental or anything other than something that was planned.  It will be hard for—I know, for Dave and I to ever think that—you know, you don’t cover up something that was accidental.

COSBY:  Yes, the right thing to do is you come forward and not try to cover it up.  One of the things we’re hearing, Beth, too, is Dompig’s suggestion—we’ve even talked about this on my show before, the suggestion that maybe she was buried in the sand dunes, buried twice, that they panicked, they moved her.  Things keep going back to those sand dunes, Beth.

TWITTY:  Well, you know, and that’s information we have known all along.  I knew there was some concern early on that there was some activity in the sand dunes, as far as something was being extracted from the sand dunes, whether that was articles of clothing or—or something of that sort related to Natalee.  But you know, Dave and have known about some suspicious activity.  And of course, there were witnesses that had—that were coming forward to the family about the possibility of Natalee being moved.  So this is not new to us.  This is something we have been chasing down since the beginning.

COSBY:  You know, and Beth, I know that your attorney’s planning on going to Aruba soon.  What do you hope happens from this visit, especially in light of this news?  What are you going to ask him?  Especially, I would hope—I’m sure he’s going to try to meet with the chief.

TWITTY:  Well, you know, I think the one goal that we have had, and we’ve really tried to stay focused on it, is just, you know, conducting these thorough searches.  And I think that that’s all that we are looking for, is just let’s get these searches under way, whoever needs to be brought in.  And you know, I think we need to—we’re in a recovery mode.  And you know, as far as anything else goes, you know, I just don’t—I feel that we have stayed away from that, as far as whether they’re going to trial or—you know, we just want the search to be conducted so we can—so we can bring Natalee home, Rita.  That’s all that we want.

COSBY:  Absolutely.  You know, as you look at the picture, this is sort of the last photo of Natalee taken out there, I believe on the dance floor.  There she is that night.  What goes through your mind when you see that, Beth?

TWITTY:  You know, Rita, I—it’s just too overwhelming to even begin to get into.  And you know, when I—you know, pictures such as that, and the last night that Natalee was seen, she was coming into the Excelsior Casino, and it just—it’s just so hard to believe that it’s been almost 10 months of a nightmare that we have been waiting and anxiously just seeing if we could get some information, some information out of the island of Aruba.

COSBY:  Well, you deserve it more than anybody, Beth.  Thank you so much, and our prayers are with you and we’re going to continue to follow this story for you.

And we’re now joined on the phone by David Kock.  He is the attorney for the Kalpoe brothers, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe.  David, what do you make of this report that maybe Natalee was drugged or had some drugs on her?

DAVID KOCK, KALPOE BROTHERS’ ATTORNEY:  I don’t know.  It seems to be that there’s always again something new in the case or a new direction, trying to—to steer the case into.  I must say that this information for what regards my clients is again new.  My clients don’t have any knowledge of any drugs in possession or—by this girl or used by this girl.  So for them, it’s something new again.

COSBY:  That’s what I was going to ask you.  Have you definitely asked your clients specifically, David, about this new report, to be able to say that never—did they ever see her with any indication of drugs or anyone around Natalee with any indication of drugs?

KOCK:  You know, we have been trying so thoroughly to—and we have sat so many times with our clients, going over and over and over all their statements that they gave and all possibilities that maybe would have happened.  So this is something that came up in the past.  It was intimated once, so we already touched this subject.  So this, again, on itself, it’s something that we know that that’s not the case with them.

COSBY:  What about your clients, too, and the possibility of them using drugs?  Are they involved in any capacity, David?

KOCK:  No, not at all.  My clients hardly even consume alcohol.  I mean, they’re not drinkers.  I might say there are things in the file about activities by vacationers who have been doing heavy drinking.  But my clients, no.  That’s not the case, Rita.

COSBY:  Had they seen anybody with a date rape drug or an ecstasy?

KOCK:  No.  And once again, when we talk to them, we concentrate on this case, on the events of this case, the events of that night.  So I mean, we do not go beyond that scope.  (INAUDIBLE) so I can only tell you about as pertaining to this specific case and to these specific facts.

COSBY:  You know, we spoke with you a little bit ago on camera, and I want to play a little clip because it sounded like things were moving forward in the investigation at that point, in some degree, or at least wrapping up one way or the other.  Let me play that, if I could.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KOCK:  From the information that we are getting, it seems like, you know, they know, too, they have to round this up.  I won’t be surprised if, you know, summer, June, July, the case will be presented.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  You know, David, when you said that to use, were you hearing anything at all from the authorities?  Because now Chief Dompig is quoted in this report with CBS saying that the investigation’s at a critical phase.  Do you get that feeling, too?

KOCK:  Critical?  I mean, I think if you would go into your archive, you would see that this has been said in the past already.  To or me, it’s not so much a critical phase, but the phase has to arrive where they’re going to close the investigation and decide if they’re going to present a case, yes or no.  And as I told you in the past, I think that they, of course, are going to present the case, to leave it up to the judge to decide if and who would be guilty or not.

COSBY:  David, finally, can your clients say with 100 percent certainty that Joran Van Der Sloot did not drug Natalee Holloway and then panic and bury her?

KOCK:  No.  They cannot say that because after having dropped her (SIC) and the girl at the beach, they do not know.  They were not there, do not know what happened.  So that particular question, I think there’s somebody else you will need to ask that.

COSBY:  All right, David Kock, thank you very much.  We appreciate you being with us, David.

And we’re joined now on the phone by Steven Cohen.  He’s a special adviser to Aruba.  Steven, what do you make of this news?

STEVEN COHEN, SPECIAL ADVISER TO ARUBAN GOVERNMENT:  Well, Rita, I think that, as Beth and you have already talked about, this is not actually anything really new here.  It has always been a consideration by the chief, as well as Karin Janssen, that a murder may not have occurred.  Whether or not that is the final judgment remains to be seen.

But you know, I just want to underline that, you know, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe and Joran Van Der Sloot continue to be the primary focus of the main scenario of this investigation.  That has not changed.  It continues.  And of course, the last time I talked to Chief Dompig, it was concerning the search by the dunes, which, as you know, we’ve talked before about how he is getting prepared to do that.  And as Beth said, this is really our focus.  And you know, this is just an interview that was done, I think, five or six weeks ago.  It’s pretty much an historical interview.  There’s not anything really new in it, as far as I know.  I haven’t heard the whole interview, but I have talked to Dompig about his comments, and I think...

COSBY:  But Steven, I have to ask you...

(CROSSTALK)

COHEN:  I’m sorry.  I can’t...

COSBY:  Why did he—why did he make these comments?  You know, why did he make these comments?  Because of course, he knows it’s going to cause a furor.  Is it just to sort of look like he’s doing something?  Is it all smokescreen?

COHEN:  No, I think you know enough about the chief that he is a very hard-working, devoted individual on this case.  He is someone who speaks his mind.  He has a great sense of honesty and purpose.  And I think when you see comments like this, you know, they’re not couched in anything but just as the way he sees it.

He is the primary source in this investigation.  No one knows more about what has been seen and has been exposed in the file than the chief.  So we really don’t want to be apologists for what he said at all.  This is what he said, and the investigation is going to now continue to center on the search.  And then from the search, we’ll move forward, as the attorney who just preceded me said, to a determination of whether or not there is any range of criminality, and if there is, that’ll be taken to a judge.

COSBY:  All right, Steve, thank you very much.  We appreciate you being with us.

And still ahead, everybody, a look further into the investigation of Natalee’s death.  We’re going to have a lot more details coming up.

Plus, dramatic new developments in the case of a New York grad student picked up from a bar and brutally murdered.  Today, investigators lay out the case against the prime suspect.  You’re going to hear all the evidence against Darryl Littlejohn.  Plus, his defense attorney tells me why he is so sure of his client’s innocence.

And there are late-breaking developments just coming in to us right now in the search for a missing family, the wife and daughters of a pastor who was found murdered.  We’re getting some new details as we speak, and we’re going to bring them to you soon after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  ... saying that Natalee may have been in possession of drugs, according to witnesses, and may have overdosed.  How hard or how easy is that to prove, Vito?

VITO COLUCCI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR:  I’m not going to try to get too excited about this, Rita, you know, because it’s going to be difficult because every week or two, they have credible evidence, OK?  We’ve heard this for months and months and months.

And you know, the deputy chief now has said that he believes this is a combination of alcohol and drugs.  He says he feels strongly—he uses words like probably, possibly, and he now believes.  Well, guess what, Rita?  No one cares about what his feelings are.  Good investigators deal in evidence.  And going back to the statement before, at the end of his comments, he says critical, last phase, OK?  So what are we talking about here?  He’s going to put this case to rest now, Rita?  Very bad.

COSBY:  Well, that’s—I agree with you.  He’s made so many statements.  I mean, he even said on my air, as you know, a few months ago, saying, The boys are guilty as hell, we just have to prove it.  And yet nothing’s happened so far in the case.  And then you hear these outlandish comments.

Let me put up, if I could—this is a quote also from the chief, where he essentially talks about one of the theories that he thinks may have happened to Natalee.  And this is one of his comments.  He says, “We feel strongly that she probably went into shock or something happened to her system with all the alcohol, maybe on top of that, other drugs, which either she took or they gave her, and that she just collapsed.”  And then the theory is that maybe the boys panicked.

Is there any credibility to this theory?  I mean, we did hear—this is one of the theories early on, that maybe nothing was intentional, something happened, they freaked, maybe that somebody slipped her something.

COLUCCI:  Rita, it’s just that, it’s his theory.  He sounds like the captain on the George Smith boat, who came up with him falling over the boat and getting—and sitting on a railing.

You know, this is ridiculous.  You got to deal with evidence here, you know?  I mean, none of this stuff he’s saying—we keep waiting.  Before, you said that he’s getting prepared to do the sand dunes, doing the search.  What’s getting prepared?  This is the biggest case they’ve ever had, their only murder case.  How do you got to get prepared?  Just do it, you know, Rita?

This is going on and on, and I feel very bad that Beth Holloway and the Holloway/Twitty family has to hear reports like this today that come out of the blue with absolutely zero credibility, Rita.

COSBY:  Well, you bring up a good point.  He’s been talking about those sand dunes for months.  Where is the proof?  Vito, thank you very much.

COLUCCI:  Thank you.

COSBY:  And now we’re going to switch gears.  We’re going to move to a big day in court today in the murder of Imette St. Guillen.  Former bar bouncer Darryl Littlejohn pled not guilty to first and also second-degree murder charges in the brutal murder of the 24-year-old graduate student, this after New York police commissioner Ray Kelly laid out the DNA and forensic evidence against Littlejohn.

Joining me now is “Boston Herald” reporter Michelle McPhee.  Michelle, first of all, let’s talk about in court and also prior to court.  We saw some pretty strong evidence, forensic evidence, today laid out.  What stuck with you?

MICHELLE MCPHEE, “BOSTON HERALD”:  What stuck with me was the rabbit hair and the mink hair.  Like, that’s a new development completely.  We did know about the carpet fibers that were found in the brown packing tape that was wrapped around her face that were an identical match to a red rug in his home.  We didn’t know about these hairs from the two jackets that he had.  They were—the fur collars around, you know, his jackets matched hairs that were found both in the blanket and in the brown packing tape.

COSBY:  So it was quite detailed.

MCPHEE:  It was quite detailed.  And that’s part of the whole “transfer of evidence” theory that the detectives have been talking about all along, which is, essentially, you know, the killer always leaves something behind at a crime scene and takes something with him.

COSBY:  You have some, too, some information, rather, on the key piece of evidence, the ties that were binding Imette and the blood.  What do you know about the degree of blood and the type of blood that was on there?

MCPHEE:  “The Herald” reported today—our sources told me that he’s prone to nosebleeds, which would explain how he could get blood on these plastic ties without having any marks or scratches on him, which we’ve reported from the beginning, that he never had a scratch on his neck, he never had any marks on his body.  But that would explain how the blood did get on these ties.

COSBY:  And you’re hearing that it might have been a smear, right, something even more than...

MCPHEE:  Like a...

COSBY:  ... a drop.

MCPHEE:  I believe it was invisible to the naked eye, yet the scientists were able to raise it and then were able to match it to DNA taken from Mr. Littlejohn.

COSBY:  What about the family, too?  Because you and were both in court today, and boy, my heart just went out to that family.

MCPHEE:  Oh, it was devastating.

COSBY:  I was watching the mom and also watching the sister just glued...

MCPHEE:  Such elegant people...

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  So elegant.  How are they holding up?  You spent some time with them today.

MCPHEE:  They’re holding up wonderfully, really.  I mean, they—their—the pain that they’re feeling, you almost feel like this poor woman is going to collapse, you know?  She—and—but they’re absolutely focused on the positive side of her life, and really, their efforts are focused mostly on raising money in her name for a scholarship and making sure people remember the positive.

Out of all the pain that Maureen St. Guillen felt, and sitting in the room with the man accused of killing her youngest daughter, she still had a spot in her heart for the family of Mr. Littlejohn, saying that she knows that these kind of tragedies have a ripple effect on people, and she really just holds the one person responsible and not the city of New York.  She still loves the city, not, you know, Mr. Littlejohn’s family.  She really just felt—I think her heart went out, and it just showed what a generous spirit she had.  And I think it was that spirit that she passed on to her daughter.

COSBY:  In fact, I want to play a little comment of—this is what they said outside the courtroom today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEJANDRA ST. GUILLEN, IMETTE’S SISTER:  Imette was a good person, a kind person.  Her heart was full of love, a love she willingly shared with her friends and family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  What struck you inside the courtroom, really quickly, today?

MCPHEE:  What struck me was just—just how tense it was for that mother to look at him.  Like, her face just completely twisted in pain.  And it was difficult to watch.

COSBY:  (INAUDIBLE) Michelle McPhee, thank you very much for being here on a big day, of course, in this case.

And also, New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly shatters (ph) Darryl Littlejohn’s alibi to the ground.  Let’s take a quick listen to what the commissioner had to say.  The commissioner talked a little bit about—basically, saying that he wasn’t where he said he was.  Apparently, we don’t have the bite, but I’ll just tell you what it was.  Basically, Littlejohn apparently, to some reports, essentially said that he was at a nursing home visiting his mother.  And apparently, we’ve got that.  Let’s listen in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAY KELLY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER:  There are no witnesses or other evidence to support Littlejohn’s claim that he visited his mother in a nursing home on the day Imette was killed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  So where was Littlejohn that day?  Well, just before the show, I spoke to Littlejohn’s attorney to get his reaction to that comment and a lot more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEVIN O’DONNELL, LITTLEJOHN’S ATTORNEY:  I  haven’t heard anything about that, Rita.  I haven’t had a complete—a chance to completely discuss this matter with my client.  Obviously, we were concerned initially about the events of the night before, the night of her disappearance.  But I’m certainly going to address that with him when I go see him tomorrow.

COSBY:  You know, today, police laid out quite a bit of forensic evidence, saying that a carpet that he has, also fur on two coats that he has, matches the tape, also the blanket tied to Imette St. Guillen.  Sounds like pretty damning evidence.

O’DONNELL:  Well, on its face, it does, Rita.  I agree with you.  But again, as I’ve been stating all along, I haven’t had a chance to review any of that, and I’m look forward to submitting that to my experts to give them a chance to take a look at it.

COSBY:  So have you seen it yet?  Have you see any of this evidence, or are you going to start now looking at it?

O’DONNELL:  No.  I’m going to give a call to ADA Taub (ph) probably some time next week, and we’ll get together, and he’ll turn it over at the appropriate time.  You know, he’s got his job to do, I have mine.  And I don’t anticipate him doing anything below board.  I know Ken Taub’s integrity is unquestionable.

COSBY:  You know, police also focused today on the silver van.  You and I have talked quite a bit about the blue van, but today they talked about the silver van.  And one of the back seats of that Silver van was found in Darryl’s house.  It was also seen by an eyewitness, according to police, doing a sharp U-turn right around the place where Imette’s body was found.  Does he own that van, that blue fan?

O’DONNELL:  No, he doesn’t...

COSBY:  I mean, that silver van.

O’DONNELL:  No, he doesn’t own that van.  And this is all news to me today, just like it was to everybody else, apparently.  And again, it’s one of the other aspects of the case that I need to investigate.

COSBY:  Who owns that van, then?

O’DONNELL:  That I’m not...

COSBY:  Do you know?

O’DONNELL:  No, I’m not sure.

COSBY:  There’s also a report, Kevin, that he may have some nosebleeds, frequent nosebleeds, and that could explain how a drop of his blood was found on the white ties that were binding Imette St. Guillen.  Do you know anything about these frequent nosebleeds that he has?

O’DONNELL:  Well, I do, but again, that’s not something I’m going to address right now.

COSBY:  Is that an accurate report, that he does have that, at least as a—as a health problem?

O’DONNELL:  Yes.

COSBY:  It is?

O’DONNELL:  Yes, it is.

COSBY:  So that could be a possibility.

O’DONNELL:  Right now, Rita, anything’s possible.  So I’m not going to take a guess at how that blood got there, if it’s his blood.  What I want to know is who recovered it?  Where was it recovered from?  Who tested it?  Where was it tested?  How many times was it tested?  Did it need to be retested?  Why did it need to be retested?

COSBY:  How was it for him in court today?  You know, I was in the courtroom with you, and especially when the St. Guillen family walked in, did he make any comments about their presence there to you?

O’DONNELL:  No.  I went in the back and discussed what it was like out in the courtroom, and obviously, it was very tense.  And I felt the presence of the St. Guillens, and my heart goes out to them and it always will.  But as far as I’m concerned, Rita, my job is to focus on the rights of my client, making sure that he gets a fair trial.

COSBY:  How is he holding up through this ordeal?  Did he say or do anything interesting to you?  I mean, what were sort of your impressions of this difficult day with him?

O’DONNELL:  Well, you know, he—it’s a very difficult day for him and it’s a very difficult day for the St. Guillens.  He was expecting this day.  This day is no surprise to us.  But we’re kind of relieved that at least now we can start the process of conducting a proper investigation.  I can start having judges signing subpoenas.  I can start reviewing evidence.  So it got the ball rolling for us.

COSBY:  Kevin O’Donnell, thank you very much.

O’DONNELL:  Thank you, Rita.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSBY:  And coming up, we are following a breaking story.  A missing family has just been found.  The bizarre details are coming up.  Plus, more on this murder in New York.  Investigators laid out a lot of forensic evidence in this case.  How hard is that to beat in a courtroom?  That’s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O’DONNELL:  The last two weeks, he’s been portrayed as this monster.  Two weeks ago, the headline with his mug shot, “It’s him.”  OK, so it was important for me to let the public—especially the potential jury pool in Brooklyn—know what kind of a person he really is. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And, of course, a very dramatic day here in court, as we went to the arraignment of Darryl Littlejohn.  It was quite an incredible moment.  And again, his attorney in court saying he is not guilty. 

Earlier, we also talked to the president of John Jay College.  That’s the school that Imette St. Guillen went to.  And, of course, his heart went out to everybody there, but especially the family of Imette St. Guillen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEREMY TRAVIS, PRESIDENT OF JOHN JAY COLLEGE:  To lose one of our best was particularly wrenching.  And the details of this case were so horrific that it’s really just touched the family of John Jay College in a very profound way.  So here we have a case based not totally but largely on the power of forensic science, so I think the D.A. has it right, that this case will become a textbook case in the future. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  And let’s now bring in a professor at John Jay College, who’s also the head of forensic science, Dr. Larry Kobilinsky, a professor there. 

Dr. Kobilinsky, you know, forensics was the key today, don’t you think?  This is going to be key to the case, all these key forensic nuggets that we heard.

LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST:  There’s no doubt about it: 

Forensic evidence is the key to this case.  We have the sock in her mouth. 

We have the tape that covered her face, her nose, her mouth. 

And on that tape were the critical fibers that we heard so much about, the polyester red carpet fibers.  Those finders matched the carpet that was found in his residence, in the basement of his home in Queens. 

We know that there were hairs from a mink, as well as blue hairs from rabbit that was apparently part of the collar of clothing found in the residence.  Obviously, we know about the DNA found on the ties. 

But there’s a whole bunch of other evidence that we haven’t heard about yet.  And all these pieces are coming together, Rita, but the problem is there are still some holes in the prosecution’s case.  And let me go into...

COSBY:  Yes, in fact, let me put up some of the—yes, let me put up some of the things, because, in fact, we’ve got sort of a list of a whole bunch of them.

I mean, there’s a number of different things that are missing in this case.  You know, first of all, they don’t even know where and when she died, the autopsy report, toxicology report.  Fingernail DNA, remember, it wasn’t his DNA under her fingernails.  Still testing those car seats.  No evidence of semen at this point tied to Littlejohn, clothing, her clothing, cat hairs.  There seems to be a lot of loose holes, Doctor. 

KOBILINSKY:  Indeed, you are correct.  And we haven’t even established the time of death yet.  That may be on the autopsy report; we have to wait for that.  And the other question that nobody can yet answer is whether there’s another individual who aided and abetted in this crime. 

COSBY:  Do you believe there is? 

KOBILINSKY:  Well, I think that we have to keep an open mind.  And perhaps, when all the DNA evidence is completed, we’ll have an answer to that, because that kind of evidence can tell us whether there are multiple contributors to the DNA evidence. 

COSBY:  Where do you see this headed to?  Because, Dr. Kobilinsky, I thought it was striking today.  The commissioner said that there’s only 20 percent of the evidence, basically, has been tested.  What else do you think is going to be sort of the clincher?  Do you think they already have the clincher?

KOBILINSKY:  Well, I think the key evidence here is the DNA on the plastic tie.  But, remember, there’s other evidence on the comforter.

We have cat hair.  And, unfortunately, we do not have laboratories in New York City capable of analyzing cat hair.  The evidence will have to be sent to a lab in Maryland or a lab in California. 

But there’s other evidence that may be a key here that will directly tell us what the crime scene is.  Was she murdered in the home?  Was she murdered in a vehicle?  Those car seats that were found in the home may have some very critical evidence, because if that van was used to transport Imette or Imette’s body, we may have some key trace evidence there. 

COSBY:  Great points, Dr. Kobilinsky, thank you very much. 

And joining us now to talk about this case is someone who has been with us from the beginning, former NYPD squad commander Joe Cardinale.

Joe, here we are in front of the bar.  You know, Dr. Kobilinsky just brought up a good point.  He said, look, we can’t rule out maybe somebody else playing a role.  What’s your gut? 

JOE CARDINALE, FORMER NYPD SQUAD COMMANDER:  You know, if there is somebody else playing a role, as the doctor said, it’s going to come into play.  But this is Littlejohn’s chance to come forward and say, “You know what?  You’re blaming me for this, but you know what?  There’s somebody else.” 

He talks about how he feels bad for the family.  Now, I bet he never even made eye contact with them in court today.  And you want to know something?  If there is somebody else involved, step up.  You know, you want to be a man?  You want to speak out on TV?  Come out and say who else is involved.  If not, you’re going on this by yourself, and they’re going to prosecute you by yourself. 

COSBY:  You know, we’re hearing the subway going on underneath us right now.  And as that’s going on, I want to talk with you, because I went over to the one of the local subway stations today.  The reason is, last night on our show, the attorney for Darryl Littlejohn said he took the subway home. 

And we’re showing some shots of us as we went to the subway station just a few blocks away.  It was two or three different stations, but this is one of the closest ones.  Twenty-four hours, and in this particular one, there is no surveillance camera.  There may be in some other ones.  How do you prove if the guy took the subway or not?

CARDINALE:  Well, there’s only a couple of ways of proving it.  The cameras would be one.  And as you said, on this particular station, there’s also the station that’s straight down on Canal Street that’s only a few blocks away.  That’s the same thing.  It’s a 24 hour.  There is somebody in the booth 24 hours. 

COSBY:  Yes, same as with the other one, where I went to.

CARDINALE:  The same thing, but there are cameras, but they’re not recording cameras, all right?  Maybe they can canvas the area and say, “Look, did you see this guy here?  Did anybody remember seeing him here?”  And just canvas the area.

The metro card, the only way to prove that—maybe he used a credit card.  I doubt it, all right?  But if he used a credit card, that’s a way of tracing that. 

But I just find it weird that they would say that this card was in his possession for quite some time and this is the day that it expired.  All right, so, I mean, there’s so many pieces that—you know, his attorney is bringing up and he’s saying, “Oh, we’re going to punch holes in this and that.” 

They’re not going to punch holes in everything.  He has to concentrate on the main evidence over here.  And that DNA is the crucial evidence right now, but as the doctor said, there’s other evidence that’s still being compiled and still being put together.  And they’re going to present it, and I think it’s going to make the case that much stronger. 

COSBY:  In fact, I was surprised—today, we heard from Commissioner Ray Kelly.  And he gave some pretty strong comments, one of them to the effect talking about this van, the silver van, which was down the street.  The car seat of the silver van was found in Littlejohn’s home. 

And let’s play a little clip of—this is his re-counting of an eyewitness seeing that van in a very key area. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY:  A witness said he saw a van that matched the description of the one used by Littlejohn, a Windstar without license plates, making a u-turn at about 7:30 p.m. at the place Imette’s body was found. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  You know, what do you make of that?  And, again, I asked his attorney.  He said that’s not his van, but he didn’t rule out that he could have used the van at some point. 

CARDINALE:  Exactly.  And you were in the area, and so was I.  For those who don’t know, that’s a desolate area, you know, used by prostitutes, people that patronize prostitutes.  And it’s also like a lover’s lane.  They go down there, and, you know, they’re hanging out.  It’s dark. 

COSBY:  How obvious would it be to see a plate with no—I mean, a van with no plates doing a quick u-turn?

CARDINALE:  Oh, you would see that, because you’re looking for people that normally wouldn’t be there, and you would take notice of somebody that’s making a sharp turn or something.  And don’t forget:  Right above it was a streetlight, so you can actually see this van, you know, clearly if you were in the right position, and that street is pretty narrow. 

COSBY:  It certainly was.  Joe Cardinale, thank you very much.  We appreciate you being here.

CARDINALE:  You’re welcome.

COSBY:  And still ahead, everybody, Littlejohn’s attorney seems confident in his client’s innocence.  Details on his potential defense, that’s coming up.

And an entire family vanishes and a pastor is found dead.  There are some breaking details around this very bizarre mystery, and that’s coming up right after the break. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DARRYL LITTLEJOHN, MURDER SUSPECT:  My family knows me.  They know this is really not about me. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY: Darryl Littlejohn says that he is not guilty of the brutal torture and murder of New York grad student Imette St. Guillen.  But even as he pleads not guilty to first- and also second-degree murder charges, authorities are laying out their case against the ex-con-turned-bouncer. 

We’re joined now by criminal defense attorney Robert Tarver and also former prosecutor James Curtis. 

Robert, let me start with you.  How tough is it going to be to defend Darryl Littlejohn? 

ROBERT TARVER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, extremely tough.  You know, you’ve listened to what they’ve come out with, all of this so-called mountain of evidence.  But an experienced defense attorney knows not to panic at this. 

It may sound like some very, very heavy-duty stuff.  But you know what you do when you have that type of constructed evidence that deals with forensics?  You have to deconstruct it. 

Many times—and I’ve seen this happen myself—many times, the forensic case will fall apart.  And in this case, they can’t afford for forensics to fall apart, because all they have is circumstantial evidence. 

COSBY:  Let me go through, in fact, James—let me go through some of the forensics that they’ve got.  They’ve got the red polyester rug fibers.  They’ve got the brown mink hair from the jacket.  They also have the blue rabbit fur from his collar.  These are pretty specific pieces of evidence.  Seem pretty strong forensically, James? 

JAMES CURTIS, FORMER PROSECUTOR:  Oh, absolutely.  Rita, how are you doing?  It’s good to see you again. 

The idea here is that, even though what Robert calls circumstantial evidence is putting together this web, it’s going to be a web that’s going to be able to be woven very, very tightly. 

We’re not talking about a Tom Sneddon-Michael Jackson ill-fated, should-have-never-started-in-the-first-place prosecution; we’re talking about Charles Hynes, one of the most outstanding prosecutors in this country, most innovative, most forward-thinking, and most thorough and complete, Rita. 

COSBY:  Robert, let me tell you—this is a little bit about what Littlejohn said.  You know, he did an interview in the last 48 hours or so.  This is what he said when he was taken out of the police station.  I’ll get you guys to respond.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

LITTLEJOHN:  They made me strip down to the waist.  They made me extend my hands, both sides of my arms, my frontal, my back, my face, my neck, the whole upper torso. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Staying with that, did you have then or do you have any type of scratches on your body? 

LITTLEJOHN:  No, I don’t. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  You know, Robert, he says no scratches, but then how do you make—you know, the fact of what happened to her and also the blood on the ties? 

TARVER:  Well, that’s going to be...

COSBY:  The nose-bleed theory, do you buy that? 

TARVER:  Well, that’s going to be the interesting thing.  Remember, the burden of proof belongs to the prosecution.  They’re going to have to talk about how this supposed blood got there.

Number one, you’re going to have to prove that it’s blood.  And I understand that it’s microscopic, cannot be seen.  Are we talking about regular DNA or are we talking about mitochondrial DNA?  These are really complex issues.  To the average person, you might say, “Oh, wow, this guy is cooked.”

But I’ve got to tell you right now:  There are a lot of tests that can

that are not fail-safe in this regard, but you can’t just say, “DNA is there and therefore that’s it.”  There are a lot of different tests that can prove DNA wrong. 

COSBY:  James, is DNA...

(CROSSTALK)

CURTIS:  And let’s not forget, Rita, what happened in the O.J. Simpson case, because... 

COSBY:  Exactly.  That’s what I keep thinking of.  Exactly.

CURTIS:  ... that is a case where the DNA just fell apart.  Yes, and that’s going to be the problem.  And it’s going to be up to those forensic “CSI”-type case as it’s been cast to really be able to hang together. 

But I can tell you:  If there’s anybody who can do it and put this case together to make it work, it will be the Brooklyn D.A.’s office, under the auspices of Joe Hynes, this prosecutor, and all those little portions, all of those little items, the fibers from his house, that, as you pointed out a moment ago, are very unique. 

We’re not just talking about carpet fibers, which can be, given the sophistication of the technology now, specifically drawn and connected to where they came from, if it’s a rug in his house, but the mink and the rabbit fur?  I mean, you’re not going to find that just anywhere. 

TARVER:  You know, James, you are 100 percent right.  But consider this, and I’ve seen this happen in cases before.  Where you have all three of those types of fibers in one place, and where you can explain him having contact with her, in an amorphous sense, in a sense that’s not criminal, then you’ve got a problem from the prosecution. 

If he rubs up against her, if he walks her out of the club, for example, as he says, and these fibers are on his coat, jacket, when he touches her, and somehow they get transferred to the tape. 

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  Hey, James, can you muddy the water, James, and say, look, you know, she was clearly at the bar where he was working? 

(CROSSTALK)

CURTIS:  Well, that can be true, but the problem is:  Where do you find those fibers?  If that fiber evidence is underneath the tape that is used to bind her in this very gruesome manner, you’ve got a whole different set of circumstances, depending on where they’re located. 

But one thing I was struck with, Robert—I’m interested to see what you think about this—this guy actually comes across as rather soft-spoken, almost a Mike Tyson-lite voice for his big, hulking body.  I see why his attorney had him do this interview now, and we may see him get on the stand.

TARVER:  I’ve got to tell you something:  From the beginning, I said, “I cannot believe that this man is going to put his client on television.”  I would not have expected him to come off in this way.  But you know what?  He makes a very good explanation, and he paints a very good picture.  Are we looking at some very early posturing for jury sympathy? 

CURTIS:  Oh, sure, absolutely.

TARVER:  Possibly.  I can’t see any other reason to put him out there, quite frankly.

COSBY:  Oh, yes, come on, you guys, he went to a local New York affiliate.  Exactly. 

Let me challenge you, though, Robert.  Let me play this.  Hang on one second.

Police time line, because this was very telling today.  The first time we sort of put the time line in perspective publicly. 

First of all, 7:30 p.m.—this is on that Saturday night when her body is found—a witness sees a van make a u-turn, it’s a silver van.

Then, at 7:31, one minute later, Littlejohn uses his cell phone, according to prosecutors; 8:23, about an hour later, police receive that 911 call; 8:43 her body is found. 

So this witness places the van that’s tied to Littlejohn—and, again, his attorney said he doesn’t own the van, but he wouldn’t answer if he had access or not to it—the time...

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  ... back seat of that van is in his house, how tough is that going to be for Littlejohn?

(CROSSTALK)

CURTIS:  That’s going to be incredibly tough.  Oh, yes, that the idea

that this seat is in his house.  And, Rita, what starts this time line off

and it’s so tight it makes it difficult—is an argument over her by one of the managers at the last bar where she was seen, where this man, Littlejohn, was working illegally, in violation of his probation, arguing with this young woman, and that sets all this stuff in motion. 

TARVER:  But, you know, the interesting thing is, he was working. 

He’s not violating his probation by doing anything wrong. 

COSBY:  Good point.

TARVER:  But just to say this:  You know, they’ve got a big web here. 

But the bottom line is, at any point, this whole thing could self-destruct.  All you have to do is show a plausible explanation for those fibers, and you can always find it when a people is home. 

CURTIS:  Well, but, see, that’s the problem though, Robert.  And, Rita, I think this is going to be one of the big...

(CROSSTALK)

COSBY:  Real quick.  Real quick.

CURTIS:  ... is that this guy is not O.J. Simpson.  The plausibility is not going to work for him; it’s got to be convincing. 

COSBY:  And, remember, everybody, his attorney told us last night on the show he took the subway home.  We’ll see what happens, guys.  Thank you very much.

And when we come back, everybody, there are some breaking developments tonight in the search tonight for a missing family.  The word just coming in, the father, a man of God, was found dead, but some new details about the family, coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  And tonight, there are some breaking developments in the search for a missing family.  Tonight, there are reports that the family of the Tennessee pastor who was found dead has been found, after being missing.  It’s all part of a shocking Amber Alert that has been going on all day.  A press conference has just wrapped up.  Let’s listen in on that. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... spotted the vehicle, and immediately got the vehicle stopped, and discovered that they were alive and in good health. 

QUESTION:  Spotted by a law enforcement person? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That is correct.  And he spotted them, and they got it stopped.  And so we have the vehicle, have the children and the wife.  And so that’s all I can tell you at this time. 

QUESTION:  Any indication why they were there? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I can’t tell you anything else at this time, just due to the investigation and until we get some agents down there. 

QUESTION:  How do you feel? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We feel great.  We’re happy that the children and her are alive and well; it’s a big relief. 

QUESTION:  We heard something about postpartum depression.  Any comment on that? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I don’t have any comment on that.  Like I said, this is still an ongoing investigation, and we’ll have more answers later.  And, as things develop, we’ll let you know. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSBY:  And joining me now is Jennifer Johnson.  She is with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. 

Jennifer, is the mother a suspect? 

JENNIFER JOHNSON, TENNESSEE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION SPOKESPERSON:  She is a suspect.  We’ve known from the very beginning that she was either a suspect or a victim in this scenario; we weren’t sure which.

Obviously, that changed dramatically about an hour and a half ago when we found that van and there was no one else with them.  She’s not under arrest, but she is a person of interest.  And we have agents en route, as you heard John say, to try and piece this together. 

COSBY:  Has she said anything to you, as to what may have happened and where she’s been? 

JOHNSON:  You know, our agents aren’t even there yet.  They are on their way there, and we do expect them, I mean, to be there within the next, you know, five or six hours, or however long it takes them to drive down there. 

But, you know, we have a lot of questions for her.  We want to know where she’s been for the last couple of days, and we’re hoping that she’ll be able to enlighten us. 

COSBY:  Do we know if there were any problems in the family, any issues within the family? 

JOHNSON:  You know, one of the first things we looked at was a history of domestic violence.  You always want to find out if there were any kind of arrests or situations that might have alluded to what’s happened here, but there was simply nothing in the family’s background. 

And when you, you know, talk to church members and other people who knew them, this is completely out of character.  So I think that’s what’s put a lot of people—that’s what the real mystery here is:  Why did this happen?  And that’s what we hope to find out. 

COSBY:  Jennifer Johnson, thank you very much, with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations.  Please keep us posted.

And, everybody, we’re going to be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSBY:  And again, two big stories that we’re following tonight.  You’re looking at a picture of Natalee Holloway.  Some big news there.  The chief of police in Aruba is now saying that Natalee may not have been murdered, but may have had drugs in her possession and possibly might have died from a combination of drugs and alcohol.  We’ll, of course, investigate if there’s any truth to his statements. 

Tonight, also, I’m coming to you LIVE & DIRECT from the Falls Bar in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood, where there are some big developments, also, today in the brutal murder of grad student Imette St. Guillen. 

I was in the courtroom just a few hours ago, in court as bouncer Darryl Littlejohn pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree murder charges.  The ex-con could face life in prison without parole if he is convicted. 

Also, authorities laid out the forensic case against Littlejohn, matching his blood and also several hairs from different coats that he was wearing to Imette St. Guillen. 

And that does it for me here, LIVE & DIRECT from New York.  I’m Rita Cosby.  Let’s now go to “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” with Michael Smerconish, sitting in for Joe tonight. 

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 NBC.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon NBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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