updated 6/7/2006 11:14:57 AM ET 2006-06-07T15:14:57

Guests: Natalie Pona, Clint Van Zandt, Larry Kobilinsky, Yale Galanter, Georgia Goslee, Susan Filan, Anna Coren, Maureen St. Guillen, Alejandra St. Guillen, Joe Tacopina

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up, a major announcement now expected in the search for the person who killed Clemson University student Tiffany Souers with her bikini top. 

The program about justice starts now. 

Hi everyone.  We‘ll get to the very latest on the bikini strangler case in a minute.  We‘ve got an update.  But first up on the docket, some terrifying allegations coming out of a court hearing for suspects in that terror plot to bomb buildings in Canada. 

One of the 15 suspects who appeared in court today, Steven Vikash Chand, is said to have plotted to attack Canada‘s parliament and behead officials, including the prime minister, unless Canada agreed to release Muslim prisoners there and in Afghanistan.  A total of 17 men arrested Friday night after security services decided they had to move in. 

Natalie Pona from the “Toronto Sun” has been covering this story and joins us now.  Thanks a lot for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.  All right.  Describe for us what else we‘ve learned about what these guys had planned to do. 

NATALIE PONA, “TORONTO SUN”:  Well here‘s what we know.  Another

allegation is that they were plotting to take over Canada‘s Broadcasting

Corporation, is the CBC here, it‘s sort of like the BBC in, you know, the -

in the United Kingdom.  And they were planning also they, as you had mentioned earlier, to bomb the Parliament Building, bomb possibly the CBC, behead the prime minister.  Take hostages.  Those are some of the allegations.  Of course, they haven‘t been proven in court yet.

ABRAMS:  And this was, according to the authorities, a real plot.  Meaning, in some of these cases we see people saying, oh, you know we would have liked to have done this or that or maybe down the road, but this was a plot that was in action. 

PONA:  Well, that‘s the allegation anyways, Dan.  But what authorities are saying is that the reason they busted these terror suspects at the time they did was to prevent any of these things from actually taking place.  So I guess, yes, they are saying it was a real plot.  That‘s what they‘re saying.

ABRAMS:  But if they‘ve got this much specificity, I mean talking about beheading the prime minister of Canada, talking about taking over the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, doing all of these horrible things, it would seem that they have some evidence to suggest that this was the plan. 

PONA:  I‘m not sure where that evidence comes from right now and I think the lawyers are still waiting for a lot of that disclosure, so authorities are alleging that this is the plan...

ABRAMS:  Got it.

PONA:  That‘s what they‘re saying. 

ABRAMS:  Got it.  Natalie Pona, thanks a lot for taking the time. 

Appreciate it.

PONA:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  Switching gears, -- quote—“significant information” in the investigation into who murdered Clemson University student Tiffany Souers by strangling her with a bikini top.  Police say the investigation is—quote—“moving quickly” and we are expecting a press conference in a couple of hours to release new information.” 

They have constructed a DNA profile of the attacker and have brought in over 50 people to interview.  Also being tested is Tiffany‘s driver‘s license, which was found by the side of the road last week, and hundreds of tips have been coming in since these photos were released of the suspect trying to use Tiffany‘s bank card at an ATM.  You see his face is covered by a bandanna. 

Joining me now NBC‘s Michelle Hofland in Greenville where the press conference will take place, DNA expert and professor at John Jay College of criminal justice, Larry Kobilinsky and former FBI profiler and MSNBC analyst Clint Van Zandt.  All right, Michelle, let me first go to you.

Press conference expected at 7:30 Eastern Time.  Do we know what sort of information they are going to release? 

MICHELLE HOFLAND, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  No, we do not, Dan.  We just were told just a couple of minutes ago actually that they are going to have a press conference behind me in the Greenville County Courthouse.  All along, the county solicitor has really been playing his cards close to his vest, so we are waiting to find out.  All we know is that it is going to be quote-unquote “significant information.”  What‘s that‘s going to be we really do not know at this time.

ABRAMS:  Clint Van Zandt, I have got to believe that they are holding a press conference and saying it‘s significant information, that they have somehow been able to identify this person and they are going to ask for the public‘s help. 

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER:  Well I think that well could be the case, Dan.  It‘s going to be three things.  Number one:  We absolutely positively have the DNA; we just need somebody to compare it to. 

Number two:  We have dead banged the car and we need your help to find the car. 

Or number three:  Here is the guy we‘re looking for, ladies and gentlemen.  The question is you know why have they waited until now?  Probably because they‘ve been trying to find him themselves very quickly.

If they haven‘t, now is the time to get the public.  There are tens and millions of Americans who want to help and if this guy is out there listening and watching us right now, now is the time to pick up the phone, 911, they‘ll give you—they‘ll come by, they‘ll pick you up, do it now before they have to come get you.

ABRAMS:  You know, Clint, I—you and I have talked about the fact that we expected that this case would be cracked within the week. 

VAN ZANDT:  Absolutely.

ABRAMS:  I would not be surprised if they have a name at this point of the person and they need help or a sketch. 

VAN ZANDT:  That‘s really my best hope right now, Dan.  They‘ve had a lot going on in this case.  You know, between the DNA, between the relatively small size of the community, the relatively small pool of potential suspects, the DNA.  The district attorney tells us he believes this—the person responsible for Tiffany‘s death has come from that local community.  All of this says this an in-home...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

VAN ZANDT:  ... homegrown type of offense.  The man, whoever did it, probably didn‘t mean to kill her at all.  It started out to be something else.  It went terribly bad.  Now is his chance before the police are kicking in the door and have to take him out, come of his own volition, Dan.  They‘re giving him a chance right now to come in. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.

VAN ZANDT:  The pressure is tremendous on him.  Now is the time for him to act.

ABRAMS:  Here‘s what the D.A. said about the murder. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB ARIAIL, GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC PROSECUTOR:  As we view it, this is an aggressive act by an individual.  It may be that she knew him, she didn‘t know him.  But somebody that was sexually aggressive and whether or not it was a sexual assault I can‘t answer that at this time, but that‘s what we think this was.  And as a result, there‘s no indication it was a robbery or break-in or a burglary or any of that thing to steal stuff.  It‘s an indication to us that it was a sexually motivated crime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  Larry Kobilinsky, you‘re our DNA expert.  They say they have a DNA profile.  What does that mean?  What are they doing?  Who are all these people they‘re bringing in and what are they doing with their DNA? 

LARRY KOBILINSKY, JOHN JAY COLLEGE DNA EXPERT:  Well, they may very well have a complete genetic profile, which they may have gotten from the rape kit, from either vaginal or anal or oral swabs or there may be DNA on the body or found at the crime scene.  But they have a genetic profile.  Now what does that mean?

Well, if there is an individual who did this crime, who was actually a convicted offender, then his name is on the database, the state or national database.  Now, if they have his profile, they would have checked that database.  They would have the name of the perpetrator.  Now, if they don‘t have that name on the database, then they need to compare this profile to these individuals that they‘re calling in. 

They have a dragnet.  They‘ve checked maybe 50 males, many of them are elimination specimens because these people may have had access to the apartment or they may have come in contact with Tiffany.  So they have to be eliminated.  But without the database, there‘s no name that comes up cold. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  So the only way, the only way that they‘re going to give a name at this press conference, you think, is if they were able to link the DNA found at the scene to the DNA of someone who I guess was accused or convicted of some other crime and as a result their DNA was in a database? 

KOBILINSKY:  That‘s correct.  Or if there‘s a latent print that they were able to match up to a different kind of database, that would give them the name of the individual, too.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Let‘s assume, Larry, they don‘t have a name.  What other sort of information do you think that they could be releasing and saying that it is a—so significant that they need the public‘s help, they want to come out and have this press conference to get the public‘s assistance? 

KOBILINSKY:  Well there were many, many phone calls that have come into law enforcement, Dan.  It could very well be that somebody saw something, somebody could identify the bandanna.  They may be able to narrow the field down to a certain group of individuals.  I mean, it‘s really hard to say, but I think that‘s likely, that the field was narrowed down to a small number of individuals. 

ABRAMS:  Do you have any theories, Larry, as to why this guy tries to use Tiffany‘s card six times? 

KOBILINSKY:  You know, that‘s a very interesting question.  I think that this started off as some sort of sexual assault and it went bad, as Clint said.  I think this became a homicide case.  And then he had these ATM cards and presumably he tried to force the P-I-N, the pin number from her.

She presumably gave him the wrong number or he didn‘t remember the right number and he—as an afterthought, he felt well, you know, let me use these cards to get some money and of course he tried in two different ATMs.  And now we have these very low-resolution images. 

ABRAMS:  I guess, Clint, the other possibility is maybe someone did recognize the bandanna and said hey, you know, I know a guy who had a bandanna just like that one.  It so happens they find out that somehow that guy has some connection to the neighborhood and they may say we haven‘t been able to find this guy. 

VAN ZANDT:  Somebody says I know a white male in his mid 20‘s who lives in that neighborhood, who wears bandannas when he plays softball and drives an old SUV like that...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

VAN ZANDT:  That‘s close enough to go find this guy and bring him in and find out what connection, if any.  And he‘s got to know that this steel ring is just tightening, getting tighter and tighter around him.  This guy is going to be following this case night and day through every way he can, because this is the only way he gets intelligence to find out how close they‘re getting.  The D.A. is saying, my friend, we‘re about ready to knock on your door. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Michelle Hofland, Larry Kobilinsky, Clint Van Zandt, thanks a lot, appreciate it. 

VAN ZANDT:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, the Duke lacrosse team‘s new coach speaks out for the first time and the second dancer at the party where the alleged rape occurs now said she was scared as soon as she arrived to perform for the team.  I‘ve seen the pictures and I can tell you that what I saw was not fear on her naked body, but we‘ll talk about it. 

And Olivia Newton-John‘s ex-boyfriend reportedly spotted in Mexico nearly a year after he disappeared on a fishing trip.  We‘ll hear live from someone who says he spotted him and talk with a reporter who‘s in Mexico looking for him right now. 

Plus, Imette St. Guillen, the young criminal justice student murdered after a night at a New York City bar, yesterday her family received her diploma for her.  It was an emotional day and they join us live. 

Your e-mails abramsreport@msnbc.com.  Please include your name and where you‘re writing from.  I respond at the end of the show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Duke‘s new interim lacrosse coach speaks out for the first time a day after the school‘s president announced the lacrosse team is cleared to play next season.  And he‘s defending the three indicted players, including Dave Evans, a former teammate of his, saying I find it impossible to believe that he could have done the things that he‘s accused of.  While I never had the opportunity to play alongside Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty, I will, as with Dave Evans, support them until there‘s evidence and a court decision that leads me to conclude otherwise. 

Meanwhile, Kim Roberts, who also performed at the March 13 party where the woman says she was raped by the three players, in an interview with “Vanity Fair” magazine is coming out saying she was scared that night.  Quote—“How was someone supposed to perform a show if they‘re wondering, OK, what‘s this guy talking about over here?  Am I going to have to worry about my safety?  Things were said that made me concerned for my safety.”

Joining me now criminal defense attorney Yale Galanter, former prosecutor Georgia Goslee, and MSNBC legal analyst and former prosecutor Susan Filan.  Thanks to all of you for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.

All right.  Yale, a lot of statements here in this article from Kim Roberts about the fear she had, about the behavior of the young men.  I mean clearly, she is trying to paint a very negative portrait of these men and the party.

YALE GALANTER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  She, you know, she‘s been flip-flopping in her stories all along, Dan.  She originally said she didn‘t see anything.  She didn‘t hear anything.  I like you have seen a lot of these photographs.  There was no fear on her face.  She looked completely relaxed.

She looks like she was very into the show.  She never complained about these things prior to the “Vanity Fair” interview.  I think she may be taking advice from her P.R. firm and trying to put more of a positive spin on it for her. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  I mean she says in the “Vanity Fair” article, I guess the biggest thing I was expecting was the guys to be more mature.  To me when a man is more mature, he understands that you might not get what you think you are going to get, so they‘re more apt to be OK with that.  I mean I kind of think I know what she‘s talking about.

But the bottom line is, Susan, you know look, she‘s saying I went there to be a stripper at a party, right?  Let‘s be clear.  She wasn‘t there to lecture the young men on horticulture.  She was there to strip at the party.  OK, fair enough.  That doesn‘t mean there should be any sort of sexual assault is acceptable, et cetera, but she‘s saying I don‘t know anything about a sexual assault. 

She just sounds like she‘s angry still at what has been said about her and about the accuser.  All right.  We lost Susan.  Georgia Goslee, do you want to respond to that one? 

GEORGIA GOSLEE, FORMER PROSECUTOR:  Well you say, Dan that she‘s painting a negative picture.  Could it really be that she‘s just being completely accurate?  I keep hearing what she‘s saying.  Listen to this, you have a group of young men who are supposed to be the greatest thing since sliced bread.  They‘ve created a recipe for disaster and then when it happens you say, foul.  I mean, these guys—listen to this, Dan, what kind of character of any individual, whether it‘s a student or not...

ABRAMS:  I know. 

GOSLEE:  ... who would urinate publicly on a street...

ABRAMS:  I know...

GOSLEE:  ... and who would urinate off of a porch.

ABRAMS:  I know.  It means that they‘re rapists.

GOSLEE:  No...

ABRAMS:  It does.  It does...

GOSLEE:  ... it doesn‘t mean that they‘re rapists...

ABRAMS:  It means they must be rapists...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  If they would urinate off a porch...

GOSLEE:  No, no...

ABRAMS:  ... they must be rapists!

GOSLEE:  No, that‘s not what I‘m saying.  But I‘m saying don‘t think they have a halo around their head.

ABRAMS:  No one said they have a halo.  These guys were in a lot of trouble over time with misdemeanors...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... with public drinking, with noise violations and I‘m sure with public urination. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  That has nothing to do with rape. 

GOSLEE:  Calling racial epitaphs...

ABRAMS:  Yes...

GOSLEE:  ... disrespecting neighbors...

ABRAMS:  That‘s right...

GOSLEE:  ... calling people the “B” word. 

ABRAMS:  Look, the only thing that I think that is relevant in all of those allegations is the business about the racial allegations and Yale...

GOSLEE:  Well you know what? 

ABRAMS:  Because those are significant. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Those are significant.  And Yale, I mean look, that I don‘t -

look, I cannot say what happened, what didn‘t happen.  A neighbor corroborated that it was said—I don‘t think that the men are denying that someone made that comment, but Yale look, you‘ve been in touch with the defense team.  I think that they‘re claiming something precipitated that, right?

GALANTER:  Well, they are.  And Dan, let me put this on the record.  I agree with Georgia 100 percent.  Racial slurs, racial epitaphs should never have been used.  But look at what this was.  This was 47 boys drinking beer in a place...

ABRAMS:  They weren‘t all there, but yes...

GALANTER:  ... well most of them—and expecting to see a strip show. 

These two women worked for escort services.  This was their profession.  The whole idea that she gives an interview to “Vanity Fair” saying oh we‘re little women and we didn‘t know what to expect and we (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- I mean, this was a pure bubble gum piece to try and benefit herself...

ABRAMS:  Well look, the bottom line is...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  The position of the defense is that one of the women made some comment about the size of a white man‘s something and that that‘s how they responded and that‘s what their defense is.  Now again, I don‘t really think it‘s a defense, it doesn‘t make it OK, et cetera, but Susan, does it go to the ultimate question here, is it relevant to you apart from saying it‘s inappropriate, does it—is it relevant to you in assessing whether there was a rape?

SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:   Well, what she‘s doing is she‘s essentially trying to give us the lay of the land as she saw it as it was in that house that night.  Now had she gone and said these boys were just pussycats and they shielded their eyes away from her, would be much less likely to believe...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

FILAN:  ... that something went bad and what she‘s saying...

ABRAMS:  But also it would be less likely to be that they would have invited strippers over to their house.  I mean if you have a bunch of guys who were sitting there and going like this when the strippers arrive, you‘ve got to be asking...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  ... what were they—no, I would be more worried about that...

FILAN:  Well maybe one guy invited them and the rest of the boys were embarrassed.  All I‘m saying is it sets the stage.  Had you had guys shielding their eyes and throwing clothes over them, it would be much less likely to believe that a rape took place.  But you‘ve got these guys...

ABRAMS:  Yes, we‘d also be living...

FILAN:  ... waving a broom...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  We‘d also be living on Jupiter, but go ahead. 

(CROSSTALK)

FILAN:  Do you want me to finish?

ABRAMS:  Yes, please. 

FILAN:  Yes.  Well I think what she‘s saying is it was a hostile, sexually excited group of guys and it‘s therefore more likely to believe that things got out of hand in that setting, but it doesn‘t go to the ultimate issue of did it actually happen?  And because she wasn‘t in the bathroom, so she says to see it, maybe the prosecution won‘t call her as a witness at all.  Then you have to ask yourself if the defense puts her on...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Here‘s the problem.  She‘s got a crucial piece of information and I‘ve got to believe if she was willing to say it, she would say it.  And that is, was she in the car when the young men supposedly came in after they stopped dancing, as the accuser claims?  The accuser claims they went back out to the car, that after they stopped dancing, and then that the men convinced them to come back into the house, depending on which account you listen to, either it was both of them or it was one of them.  But there‘s no chance that she wouldn‘t have known whether the other woman went back into the house or not and that‘s a crucial detail. 

GOSLEE:  I think another crucial detail, Dan, is I would like to correct Yale.  In the article that I read it‘s not just beer.  They were drinking hard liquor.  They had been drinking Jack Daniels, Yale, all day long.  They‘re young, at the height of their sexual prowess. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What does that have to do...

GOSLEE:  Let me tell you this. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... with whether a rape occurred?

GOSLEE:  It has a lot to do with it because it lays the foundation and it‘s not a broad leap to think that these guys—first of all...

GALANTER:  Georgia, these are...

GOSLEE:  Yale...

GALANTER:  ... college boys who are having a party...

GOSLEE:  And so boys are going to be boys, Yale...

GALANTER:  ... and they ordered two strippers. 

GOSLEE:  Is that what you‘re saying?

GALANTER:  Of course it was a sexually charged environment.  That‘s why they wanted the two women to come in and get undressed.

GOSLEE:  But Yale, listen, you don‘t order up your females, drink tons of alcohol all day, then when something happens you say I‘m—even though I‘m a young man I‘m not going to take responsibility...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Take responsibility for what?

GALANTER:  But Georgia, that‘s the issue, what occurred?

(CROSSTALK)

GALANTER:  Georgia, you‘ve got...

ABRAMS:  Wait.  Wait.  Georgia, wait...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Wait.  Wait. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Georgia, yesterday you said you hadn‘t reached a judgment on whether they...

GOSLEE:  I did not never say—I always said that I believed that they raped—that the girl was raped.

ABRAMS:  Really?

GOSLEE:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  We can pull the tape from yesterday. 

GOSLEE:  Pull the tape.

ABRAMS:  I would love—it‘s going to be hard to get it before this segment is over...

GOSLEE:  No, but you can get it...

ABRAMS:  I promise you...

GOSLEE:  Go ahead and get that.

ABRAMS:  I promise you, you said yesterday on this program that you had not made any—that you were just an objective observer, has not made any assessments...

GOSLEE:  I said that?

ABRAMS:  Yes. 

GOSLEE:  No, I‘ve never been an objective observer...

ABRAMS:  You know it must have been another...

GOSLEE:  I‘ve always said the girl was raped.

ABRAMS:  ... attractive woman named Georgia who is on this program and I confused them.  All right.

GOSLEE:  No, I‘m just saying I‘ve always said—but I just wanted to correct Yale.  This was not just a beer or two to marginalize it.  These young men...

GALANTER:  Georgia, the biggest problem...

GOSLEE:  ... had been drinking hard liquor all day long. 

GALANTER:  ... for Kim Roberts...

ABRAMS:  Let me just read...

GALANTER:  ... in this case...

ABRAMS:  Let me read one more quote from the article and then I want to let Susan get a final thought in this.  You have to think of two little girls among how many big boys? That in and of itself is intimidating if they‘re not being respectful of my feelings and my space.  You know, I mean I guess she can have her feelings about it, but you know she was there to strip. 

FILAN:  Right.  But that‘s her perception.  Her perception is that she‘s of less strong stature than this group of burly lacrosse players.  Now, some of them may be thin and athletic.  I don‘t know if burly is the best word, but her perception is it‘s two against 46 and it‘s 46 guys against two women.  And I got to tell you, whether they‘re strippers or not, whether they‘re big, overweight, tall, I think anybody could understand two against 46 athletics...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

FILAN:  ... that‘s got to be intimidating.  Now, are you blaming them because they put themselves in that situation?  It kind of sounds like it to me...

ABRAMS:  Whoa.  Whoa.  I‘ll be very clear on this.  I‘m saying that you can‘t claim as a stripper that you weren‘t expecting there to be a bunch of guys around watching you dance naked.  That‘s all I‘m saying.

(CROSSTALK)

FILAN:  But it almost sounds like if you‘re willing to put yourself in that position, you deserve what you get...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Considering that I haven‘t seen any really strong evidence yet of a rape, then the question is, what did they get?

GOSLEE:  You‘ve got your head in the sand, Dan.

FILAN:  Well let‘s say they got intimidated by this group of guys.  They got taunted with the broomstick.  There were racial epitaphs.  Let‘s say...

GALANTER:  Susan, these pictures—the pictures of these women, they do not look like they‘re intimidated...

ABRAMS:  No, they are...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  They are buck-naked...

GOSLEE:  That‘s subjective, Yale.

ABRAMS:  All right.  My subjective opinion of looking at these pictures is they are two-buck naked women performing sexual acts on one another in front of a lot of different people.  Now again...

FILAN:  Maybe that‘s in the first four minutes before things went...

ABRAMS:  That‘s true.  That‘s true.  That‘s true.

FILAN:  So we don‘t have photographs...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

FILAN:  ... that speak to their state of mind after the broomstick gets waved and the...

ABRAMS:  And there‘s no denial about the broomstick. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  No denial about the broomstick.  Got to wrap it up.  Georgia Goslee, Yale Galanter, Susan Filan—I want to make sure I get the right Georgia on the show for tomorrow. 

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, at least four people now say they spotted Olivia Newton-John‘s ex-boyfriend in Mexico nearly a year after he went missing.  We hear from one of them and talk with a reporter looking for him on the ground in Mexico. 

And we go behind the bars to San Quentin where guards say Scott Peterson is not popular in the cellblock.  In fact, they‘re so afraid other inmates would turn on him, they won‘t let him out in the prison yard alone.  Coming up.

(NEWS BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLM MAHON, THINKS HE SPOTTED PATRICK MCDERMOTT:  A lot of people down here have run away from the law.  So if you want to run away from your wife (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this is the place to go.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Many now wondering whether Olivia Newton-John‘s ex may be one of those people on the run nearly a year after he vanished from an overnight fishing trip.  There are now reports of sightings of Patrick McDermott in Mexico‘s Baja Peninsula.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAHON:  Definitely have seen him before, definitely.  When you see someone is a bit more groomed, he‘s a good-looking guy, he just stands out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  At the time he disappeared we asked whether he could have faked his own death to get away from financial problems.  McDermott left on a fishing trip June 30 from San Pedro, California, paid his bill about an hour before the ship docked on the evening of July 1, was never heard from again.  Now according to Australia‘s “Daily Telegraph” newspaper, there were two reported sightings about three months ago, then one last month around Todos Santos, Mexico.  And the most recent sighting less than two weeks ago when McDermott was allegedly spotted at a bar in Cabo San Lucas.

Joining me now by phone is Anna Coren from 7 Network, Australia who has been working this story down in Cabo San Lucas for the past few days.  Thanks a lot for taking the time.  We appreciate it.  All right.  So how credible are these sightings?

ANNA COREN, CHANNEL 7, AUSTRALIA (via phone):  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we‘ve spoken to a number of eyewitnesses over the last three days and they were all convinced that they have seen this man.  We‘ve shown him—we‘ve shown his photo, Patrick McDermott‘s photo to these people and they all say his face is very familiar.  We spoke to a bar manager.  He thinks he was perhaps there a week ago and then we spoke to a lady from a hotel, Hotel California, in fact, who said he was there checking his e-mail six months ago.  So you know at least a dozen eyewitnesses who think that they have seen him.

ABRAMS:  Have they said whether he looks the same as in the pictures that we‘ve seen? 

COREN:  Yes, they do.  They say his face is very familiar.  And that‘s where the line is a little hazy.  Because whether there is somebody walking around Mexico who looks like Patrick McDermott or whether it is Patrick McDermott that‘s yet to be determined. 

ABRAMS:  But I guess I‘m asking did they say whether he had cut his hair or grown a beard or anything like that? 

COREN:  No, there was one report that said that his hair was a lot darker now.  But otherwise, the picture that they‘re looking at is the person that they have seen. 

ABRAMS:  And what are you doing down there?  I mean how are you going about trying to find him essentially? 

COREN:  Well, we‘ve had a number of locations we were told about.  A couple of bars, a surf spot where he apparently spent the night with a mystery German woman about a month ago.  So we just visited those places.  We spoke to local residents, to bar owners, to staff at hotels, showed his picture and yes, you know, a lot of people are sort of recognizing this guy, so it‘s—it still remains quite a mystery. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  It doesn‘t sound like such a bad gig going down to Baja, going to surf spots and bars and walking around with a picture.

COREN:  It‘s not a bad destination (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I must say. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  So—but based on the accounts of these people, and you‘ve spoken to them, how confident are they?  Because as you know, we always hear how unreliable eyewitness accounts are. 

COREN:  I know.  Well, the U.S. Coast Guard I know has dismissed these alleged sightings.  They were contacted and they say that there have been dozens of sightings all around the world, that they get these reports quite often.  So...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

COREN:  ... you know you speak to some people who say they‘re 99 percent certain, you speak to others who say yes his face looks very familiar.  I think I‘ve seen him in town in the last six months.  So without somebody saying, I have spoken to him, it‘s a little bit hard to verify.

ABRAMS:  Anna Coren, thanks a lot for coming on the program. 

Appreciate it.

COREN:  My pleasure. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up, criminal justice student Imette St. Guillen murdered four months ago after leaving a New York bar.  Now her family has received her college diploma, an emotional ceremony.  Her mom and sister join us next to talk about that day. 

And Scott Peterson is not a popular man on death row.  His fellow inmates warning they‘d stab him and do some other things to him if they had the chance.  We get a behind the scenes look at San Quentin from a director who spent weeks making a movie there.  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, Imette St. Guillen, the young criminal justice student murdered after a night at a New York City bar, yesterday her family received her diploma for her.  They join us live.  Up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  For most, it was a day of celebration as thousands of students graduated from John Jay College of criminal justice in New York City.  But for the family of 24-year-old Imette St. Guillen, it was a different experience.  She was sexually assaulted and brutally murdered in New York on February 25 after a night out.  Her naked body bound and battered, wrapped in a comforter found later in a desolate area.  Monday, her family accepted her diploma on her behalf.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(APPLAUSE)

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  A locket around her neck carrying her daughter‘s ashes, Imette‘s mother also wore her daughter‘s Honor Society tassel, carried her picture while her sister wore a hood around her neck that was meant to be worn by Imette.  The man charged with Imette‘s murder, Darryl Littlejohn, sits in jail accused of her murder, maintaining his innocence, and making some pretty inflammatory statements. 

Joining me now is Imette‘s mother, Maureen St. Guillen, Imette‘s sister, Alejandra, and their attorney and friend of this program Joe Tacopina.  Thanks to all of you for coming on the program.  Appreciate it. 

This was a very emotional day I could see clearly for both of you.  Was it important for you to be there to accept the diploma that she had earned?

MAUREEN ST. GUILLEN, IMETTE‘S MOTHER:  We had to be there.  There wasn‘t any other choice.  She worked very hard for that moment, so we had to be there to accept it for her.  She came so close to getting it herself. 

ABRAMS:  And the school was very important to her, wasn‘t it? 

ALEJANDRA ST. GUILLEN, IMETTE‘S SISTER:  Yes, absolutely very important to her.  You know she started her criminal justice and undergrad and then specifically chose John Jay for forensics and graduate school, so yes.

ABRAMS:  And is this the picture that you brought with you? 

M. ST. GUILLEN:  No, this isn‘t the—this isn‘t the one I held up.  The one I held up actually had the braids with it, the gold braids on it.  This is another one.  We received a couple of them, but I wanted to carry one with me today.  So we brought two to New York.  The other is actually with Joe and this one.  But I just would like to keep her near. 

ABRAMS:  And you wear the locket as well. 

M. ST. GUILLEN:  That‘s correct.  A friend of ours gave it—a friend of Alejandra‘s gave it to me actually for Mother‘s Day, but we just—I just received it and it means an awful lot.  I feel like a little piece of Imette of course is with me. 

ABRAMS:  Was there ever a point, Alejandra, where you thought that you might not want to do this because it‘s so hard to be there?

A. ST. GUILLEN:  Not that I didn‘t ever want to do it.  I knew that it was going to be one of the hardest public days.  There have been many, many—every day is really hard and some days are worse than others.  But you know I feel like I‘ve been in the media a lot and so forth.  I‘ve been able to you know show a public, you know face that has been you know more calm and so forth and I knew that that emotion at that ceremony just—it would—

I would—it would overwhelm me.  And so I was nervous, but I—there was no way that I was ever not going to be there.

ABRAMS:  I just heard so many people talk about what lovely spokespeople the two of you are, and what are you hoping—I mean now you‘re you know hoping that this doesn‘t happen in vain and that there is something that can be learned from this.  What are you hoping...

M. ST. GUILLEN:  Well actually, we‘ve (UNINTELLIGIBLE) started John Jay actually made the very first steps in terms of the legacy for—Imette‘s legacy by awarding the first scholarship this Friday.  Boston Latin School is going to be awarding a scholarship in Imette‘s name, so her legacy is going to go...

ABRAMS:  What sort of scholarships?  What are they—what are the people going to be focusing on in the scholarships?

M. ST. GUILLEN:  Well, in terms of John Jay, it has to be a grad—a second-year graduate student who is on the same level as Imette was in terms that they would have to have a 3.7 grade point average.  They would have to be going forward in order to help other people.  Of course, it‘s criminal justice...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

M. ST. GUILLEN:  ... forensics, so—or education, educating in criminal justice and...

ABRAMS:  Joe, before I ask you about the lawsuit that you filed, you know the suspect here is trashing Imette and I want to sort of let you take this on rather than direct this to the family.  And I quote from him from the “New York Post” interview.  So I said—this is him claiming what he said the night that Imette went missing.  He—the night Imette was killed and he‘s still claiming his innocence.

So I said listen lady, it‘s almost closing time.  It‘s time for you to go home.  She said she was an FBI agent.  I said I don‘t care who you are.  You got to go.  Then she said that‘s why 50 percent of black people are in jail.  I didn‘t even know what that meant.

So this guy is accused of her murder and he‘s now essentially claiming that Imette was a racist? 

JOE TACOPINA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  You know, he‘s a sociopath, Dan.  He‘s a predator, a sexual predator.  He has a history—he has been convicted of it.  He blames his bad karma for having a violent felony record.  He‘s a murderer.  He‘s someone who is going to spend the rest of his life in jail, and it‘s inconsequential whatever words he‘s saying, whatever fantasy spins he‘s creating to try and get out from under this. 

But I will say this.  Imette St. Guillen by all accounts was one of the most spectacular young ladies that we‘ve ever been graced, you know, with the presence of.  And I will say this.  She was very active in the promotion of minority studies.  She was the treasurer of (UNINTELLIGIBLE), which is the organization for Latin American students.  So for—to call you know Imette anything other than a great, young individual who is, you know an honor student and touch so many people and in so many ways you know is sickening. 

We are—you know, he‘ll get his day in court and we‘ll have justice.  We‘re not going to focus on the negativity, because Imette brought so much positive to this world, Dan.  You‘re dealing with two people who you have on set there who are two of the most remarkable women and you can see that the shoe, you know, that Imette wore is from her mother, because you‘re really dealing with some very remarkable young people.

ABRAMS:  And I can tell you I was talking to Joe before we all sat down and he said the exact same thing to me in private as he‘s now saying in public.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  I know how hard a day this has been.  Thank you both so much for coming...

M. ST. GUILLEN:  Oh, well thank you very much. 

ABRAMS:  ... in and...

A. ST. GUILLEN:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  ... good luck and we‘ll be following the scholarship students.

A. ST. GUILLEN:  Thank you. 

M. ST. GUILLEN:  Thank you very much.

ABRAMS:  Joe, thanks for coming in.  Appreciate it.

TACOPINA:  OK, Dan.  Thanks.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, “National Geographic” spends a month inside one of America‘s notorious prisons, San Quentin, home to notorious prisoners like Scott Peterson.  Turns out Peterson is not so popular there, coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We‘re back.  More than 5,000 inmates are serving time today in California‘s notorious San Quentin Prison.  Among them, some of the nation‘s best known killers, including Scott Peterson, who the guards fear could be attacked.  For 30 days in August 2005, a film crew walked San Quentin‘s gang-infested yard and cells.  As it turned out, the prison was also about to see one of the biggest race riots there in 20 years.  Their documentary “San Quentin Unlocked” airs Sunday, June 18 at 9:00 p.m.  Eastern/Pacific Time on the “National Geographic” channel.  Here‘s a clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) When I looked at him, I reference Wally Clever.  He didn‘t come across as you know some monster or anything like that.  He came across as this innocent, suburban type of guy. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What do you think the inmates would do if he was let loose in that yard over there? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I believe they would hurt him seriously.  They would seriously hurt him. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) shot at him?  Oh yes, that‘s a trophy...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s a trophy right there. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s one for the mantle. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

(BEEP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What would we do to him? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) break something off in him, a pencil, number two preferably.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and when you get it in there, you break it off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Brian Jones is the director of the “National Geographic” channel “San Quentin Unlocked” and joins us now.  Thanks a lot for coming on the program.  So how do you get a shot of all these guys without their shirts on, with their shorts talking about you know doing things to Scott Peterson? 

BRIAN JONES, DIRECTOR, “SAN QUENTIN UNLOCKED”:  I think the way we were able to do it was just because of the fact that we spent 30 days in the prison.  So, I know that they got used to me and my producing partner, Daniel Stern, being there practically every day. 

ABRAMS:  And so Peterson is never released into that yard alone, right? 

JONES:  No, he would never...

ABRAMS:  I‘m sorry, only alone. 

JONES:  Yes, he would never get access to the main line.  He‘s strictly in the death row facilities. 

ABRAMS:  Let me play another piece of sound here—this is number three—where the—some of the inmates are talking to your camera crew about stab wounds. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You all got stab wounds?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, I got one right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Right here. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Here‘s mine right here. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Here‘s mine right here. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) break them off. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) knife. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This was all in prison? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Prison, yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Prison.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Kill white...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Kill white...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Kill the white man.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  What exactly is he talking about there? 

JONES:  He—we were asking him about, you know, where his stab wounds came from, and obviously they came from some sort of racial fight between races.  But that‘s the one thing in San Quentin is things that go on in terms of prison rules and laws between inmates, they‘ll never talk about.  It‘s kind of rules of the game there. 

ABRAMS:  Are all the guys we just saw lifers, death row, a mix?

JONES:  They‘re definitely not death row.  They probably are, you know, could be released in the next year or two.  They‘re not there for the long-term, although I don‘t know exactly for sure on each one. 

ABRAMS:  It turns out that you were there at a time right before a race riot broke out.  Let me play another piece of sound from your documentary and then I want to ask you about it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Last night, the Hispanics jumped on the white inmate and this morning the whites retaliated on some of the Hispanics. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  News of fighting inside San Quentin travels quickly between the guards and the inmates. 

(SOUNDS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Then suddenly a code three alarm sounds, bringing every available officer to respond.  This type of alarm only sounds during a major incident.  Officers respond as large numbers of inmates fight each other with shanks and fists.  The prison goes on full lockdown and Gladsen (ph) informs the film crew that it is no longer safe for them to be in the prison. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We‘ve got to get going.  We‘ve got a code three alarm and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) because I can‘t really guarantee your safety, so just get on in, get out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Where are we going...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  At this point, the film crew is rushed off the premises and not permitted to return until days later for security reasons. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Wow.  Brian, when the film crew returned, things had calmed? 

JONES:  Yes, they had.  Although actually we didn‘t get back into the prison until two or three weeks later.  So it took that long to kind of subdue the—you know subdue the kind of threat of violence in the prison. 

ABRAMS:  One more piece of sound here talking about life on death row. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m locked away for eight hours with some of the most violent people in the world.  I say you come in here with your game face on.  It‘s always a challenge, you never know what to expect.  But you always program your mind to face the worst.  They‘ve shot darts at us.  I mean they‘ve made—they‘ve manufactured darts out of staples, out of books.  They‘ve thrown urine and feces on us or at us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Who is the they that he‘s talking about? 

JONES:  He‘s talking about specific death row inmates along the tier that you know on any given time just feel like messing with the guards.  And I always thought anyone that has to go to work with the threat of having you know feces thrown on them I don‘t think is getting paid enough. 

ABRAMS:  Well said.  Brian Jones, it‘s a fascinating documentary.  Thank you for taking the time.  You can see “San Quentin Unlocked” on “National Geographic” channel June 18 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. 

Coming up, I said the president is pandering by backing an amendment banning gay marriage that he knows won‘t pass.  A lot of you saying that I‘ve got it wrong.  Your e-mails are next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Time now for “Your Rebuttal”.  Many of you writing in about my “Closing Argument” yesterday, calling for President Bush to drop these plans for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.  I said you can be opposed to gay marriage and also opposed to this constitutional amendment. 

Walter Higgins from Oakland Gardens, New York, “George W. Bush claims that his reasoning behind the gay marriage ban amendment is to prevent the destruction of the sanctity of marriage.  If this is truly the reason for wanting this amendment, he most surely is also for adding amendments to the United States Constitution banning divorce and unwedded cohabitation.”

Barbara Smith from Wheaton, Illinois, “It seems to me that Bush has held this position all his political life, so why is it suddenly political pandering?”  Because, Barbara, he is leading the charge when he knows it won‘t pass.  Is there really nothing better to focus on than an amendment that won‘t pass? 

Nancy Roberts from Houston, “I resent this complete waste of Congress‘ time on gay marriage and flag burning at the behest of the president.”

Loretta Williams from Paducah, Kentucky, “If Bush doesn‘t try to do this, marriage will take on a new face.  You know the United States is morally on the down hill.”

And you also picked up on former prosecutor Georgia Goslee‘s comments accusing me of not understanding the Duke rape case because women and men think differently. 

Sharon from Warner Robins, Georgia, “Please tell Ms. Goslee that no, all women do not think differently than men on any given subject and especially the Duke case.”

Lynn Davidson from Raleigh, North Carolina, “Does Ms. Goslee mean that women are incapable of experiencing an event without remembering and retelling it the way men can?  She excuses a rape accuser‘s inconsistencies by claiming biological differences and hysteria.”

Joan Beasley from Parker, Colorado, “Like many women, I want to believe the victim.  However, this case is just too convoluted.”

Paul Hechinger from Miami, “Mr. Abrams is too emotionally involved in this case and intolerant of anyone who does not accept the defense team‘s spin.”

Trina Cooper, “Now unless you were at the crime scene when it took place, I suggest you keep your opinions to yourself.”  Oh, gosh, Trina, I wish I had known those were the rules.  I‘m not allowed to talk about this if I wasn‘t there?  What am I going to do on my show ever?

Your e-mails abramsreport@msnbc.com.  We go through them at the end of the show.

That does it for us tonight.  “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews up next.

END

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