updated 7/27/2007 12:57:55 PM ET 2007-07-27T16:57:55

Guests: Amy Talit, Ron Rising, John Pavia, David Hick

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Breaking news tonight in that horrible story out of a small town in Connecticut.  A state prosecutor has announced he will seek the rarely used Connecticut death penalty for the two suspects accused of invading the home of a prominent doctor and his family in the middle of the night, holding them hostage, tying him up, beating him with a baseball bat, raping his daughters, forcing his wife to the bank before strangling her, then setting the home on fire, killing the daughters, as well.

The DA said, quote, “Based on the facts of this case, I don‘t think there has been a more horrendous murder in the state of Connecticut in the last 30 years.”

And this coming in in the last couple of minutes.  Two other homeowners in the victims‘ town now say they believe the suspects broke into their homes the night before the murders.  Wow.

Both the suspects have lengthy criminal records and were out on parole.  And we learned another exclusive detail tonight about the younger suspect in the case, and this may be as disturbing as it is frightening.  According to our research, someone with the same name, alias and address was an emergency medical technician.

We‘ve also confirmed a report that lays out why they may have targeted this family.  Apparently, the cretins spotted the daughters at a supermarket, they went out to a nearby store and purchased the air rifle and rope.

Tonight, Dr. William Petit is listed in stable condition with head injuries.  Family members are trying to comprehend their loss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CINDY REMN, VICTIM‘S SISTER:  What these maniacs did was so evil.  I wish that they could go look in that house now at what they did and they damage they caused everyone because there‘s  nobody on this earth that deserves what they had done to them.  Nobody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  My take.  Bravo to the state of Connecticut.  Even though they‘ve only executed one person in the last 29 years and only eight inmates are on death row, this is the time to add two more.  In addition to the horrible details of this crime, these men were caught at the house.  It was ablaze.  They tried to run over police officers as an effort to escape.  A conviction on these crimes makes these guys the worst of the worst.

Joining me now is Amy Talit, a reporter from “The Bristol Press” in Connecticut, who has been working on this story.  Amy, thanks for coming on the program.  All right.  So we‘ve a lot of breaking details tonight to talk about.  First of all, we know these guys spotted the girls in a store.  What more do you know about that?

AMY TALIT, “THE BRISTOL PRESS‘:  Well, police are not denying that the suspects spotted the girls at a local store, followed them home and staked out the house.  Other than that, police are keeping details very close to the vest so as not compromise their investigation.

ABRAMS:  But the first contact that these guys had with this family was by seeing the daughters at a store?

TALIT:  That is what the belief is at this time, yes.

ABRAMS:  And so what, then they followed them home after going and buying this air rifle and the rope?

TALIT:  Police are not denying that the suspects did notice the girls at a supermarket, followed them home and staked out the home.  That is correct.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Let me ask you about this new detail that‘s coming in tonight and literally breaking in the last couple of minutes, and that is that other people in the town are now saying—two other home owners saying they believe that their homes were robbed by these two men.  So it sounds like, if that is true, that these men were simply focusing on this town.

TALIT:  That seems to be the case.  There are two other home owners who claim their homes were burglarized Sunday.  And they were home with their families and their children, and the homeowners are saying that they are pretty shaken by that.

ABRAMS:  So wait.  So you knew about this other story.  Tell me about that.  I mean, these other home owners had actually seen these two men in their homes, and they simply came in, stole things and left?

TALIT:  I don‘t have confirmed reports about that.  I also just got it over the wire.  However, police are telling the home owners whose homes were burglarized on Sunday that they believe the suspects may have been the same as those who did what they did at the Petit home.  And also, police have not yet charged the suspects in those two burglaries.  They are still investigating those burglaries at this time.

ABRAMS:  OK.  Just to clarify that because that is coming from the Associated Press.

TALIT:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  Yes, you‘re getting that information, as are we.  That is a stunning development because it would seem that in these other cases, the motive was to rob the home, and in this case, it seems it was more than that, right?

TALIT:  It would seem as that is the case.  The town of Cheshire has already been rocked by what happened, as has the state of Connecticut, and these recent developments of the two burglaries from Sunday has just added to the feeling of absolute devastation that Connecticut and the town of Cheshire are feeling.

ABRAMS:  OK.  Amy Talit, thanks a lot for taking the time.  Appreciate it.

TALIT:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  The Petits were all, by all accounts, loved by everyone who knew them.  The mother and sister of Jennifer Hawke-Petit spoke about the family and shared their memories yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REMN:  She was my older sister.  She was always giving me advice.  And I will miss her for not being there to help me out with any situation in my life now that I have to face it alone.  She was a wonderful sister, a wonderful person.  She was a fantastic mother.  She loved what she did in life.  And the girls were so beautiful.  They were so innocent and sweet.  And they had such wonderful lives still yet to give to this world, and that was all just taken out.  But we all will remember them for how they did impact our lives and everyone else‘s while they were here.

MARYBELLE HAWKE, VICTIM‘S MOTHER:  I know that Jenny and Hayley and Michaela are right next to God and he‘s hugging them tight.  We had a pastor pray at the hospital yesterday.  It was a Baptist pastor.  And we were all there in the room, and after he finished, Bill said, And I have a little prayer.  And so he prayed for—about the girls, and he told really unique things about the girls and about Jennifer.  So it was a beautiful experience.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Oh!  Joining me on phone now is a friend of the family who‘s known them over 10 years, Ron Rising.  Ron, thank a lot for coming back.  We appreciate it.  I understand your wife had an opportunity to visit with Dr. Petit tonight.  How‘s he doing?

RON RISING, FRIEND OF PETIT FAMILY:  Yes, she did.  Hi.  Well, I think it‘s fair to say that he‘s struggling, is the main word I can think of to describe his situation.  And that includes a couple of different levels.  Of course, physically, we have to remember he was beaten pretty badly around the face.  He‘s got bruised eyes.  He‘s got cuts on the forehead and all.  He lost quite a bit of blood and so is weak, you know?  But he‘s going make it.  He‘s going to live.  He‘s out of critical care.  And those wounds will heal.  You know, it‘s the other wounds on a more mental, psychological, spiritual level that I think are much deeper and that are much harder to deal with.  That‘s, you know, another whole story.

ABRAMS:  Yes.

RISING:  He‘s lost his wife and his two daughters.  And I think Jen‘s sister just said it so eloquently.  You know, they were such special, lovely people and so much the center of his life that we can only imagine what that feels like.  You know, if you knew how important family—his family was to Bill, you‘d know that he‘s got feel like he‘s lost everything that was important him.  It‘s like worse than being stripped naked.

ABRAMS:  Has he been talking at all about the incident, as far as you know?

RISING:  Apparently, he has shared accounts of that some with some in the family.  He‘s got a lot of support, a lot—just a real lot of support between his family, the church family, the community.  So he‘s got any number of people looking after him and ready to help him and support him.

Of course, the problem is that doesn‘t bring back his wife and two daughters.  But you know, knowing Bill, I know he will make it.  It‘ll be very painful, and this isn‘t something he‘s ever going to get over, I think.  But knowing the kind of person he is and his faith and his values, that he will—he will make it.  But it‘s certainly a sad, tragic thing that‘s happened to him.  It‘s still just unbelievable to all of us.

ABRAMS:  Ron, it is hard not to tear up, hearing your account, hearing the family‘s account of a man who the rest of us did not know but feel like we have gotten to know in this, through this unfortunate circumstance.  Thank you very much for coming on and sharing this with us.

RISING:  You‘re welcome.  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Joining me now is Connecticut prosecutor—former Connecticut prosecutor John Pavia joins us now.  All right, John.  First let‘s talk about this new development that we‘re getting in tonight, and that is that two other families in that town now believe that these same two guys were—may have robbed their homes while they were in the home.  Does that tell us anything about the motive in this case?

JOHN PAVIA, FORMER CONNECTICUT PROSECUTOR:  Well, I mean, it certainly goes to these guys having a plan, that this was not just a sporadic crime.  And you know, for a town like Cheshire—this is not a town—this is a really nice town and it‘s not one certainly that‘s used to dealing with serious felonies, let alone one of the most heinous crimes we‘ve seen in recent memory here in Connecticut.

ABRAMS:  You know, John, we learned today—we compared his name, his alias, his address and found out that one of these guys was a—this guy was a registered emergency medical technician, and that is so hard to accept.

PAVIA:  You know, so much of this is really hard to accept.  You go to their long records, and everyone‘s asking the logical question: What were these two guys doing on the streets to begin with?  The governor announced today that she‘s going to convene a panel to take a look at the criteria by which these—by which people are released from jail.  So there‘s a lot to deal with here, Dan.  I mean, you don‘t live far from this area.  This is not a—this is a—this is a very serious event.

ABRAMS:  John, real quick, you know, the Connecticut parole board officials have said, Look, you know, we applied the law.  We stuck to the rules.  We didn‘t do anything wrong.  I don‘t want to sort of vilify these guys, if they don‘t deserve it.  But look, you know, the Connecticut law, et cetera, there.  Is there an argument they shouldn‘t have been out?

PAVIA:  It‘s way too early to tell.  But you know, Dan, you‘ve been around just as long as I have, and this is an issue that we have all over the country.  And that is, when you have guys with very long records, if they fall into that category of non-violent felonies, when it comes to overcrowding and they‘re looking for bed space—and Connecticut‘s no different than any other state—they‘re the first ones that, you know, find their way to halfway houses.

ABRAMS:  It‘s so hard to accept, I think, as you can understand, right?

PAVIA:  Yes.  It‘s true.  But immunity, you‘ve seen this before, I mean, and you know—you know how it is when it comes to prison overcrowding, looking for bed space and moving prisoners to halfway houses.  Those guys with the non-violent records are the ones who go first. 

Connecticut‘s no different than any other state.

ABRAMS:  Yes, the list of prison infractions in conjunction with this

but look, we‘ll continue to talk about this.  John Pavia, thanks a lot. 

We got to run.

Coming up next, NFL Michael Vick in court pleads not guilty to federal gambling and dog fighting charges.  It‘s outside of court that Vick had to face hundreds who showed up to boo him.

Plus: A new sex predator investigation.  For the first time, paramedics are called in after one suspect realizes just how much trouble he faces.

And coming up, in connection with the story we were just discussing, we have got one of the homeowners with us, who is going tell us about probably coming face to face with those two evil men that we‘ve been talking about who‘ve been arrested in conjunction with this crime.  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Continuing now with the breaking news out of the story from Connecticut, where much of a family was killed after a home invasion, all three of the girls and the woman you see there, two girls and the mother, were killed.  The father, Dr. Petit, is in the hospital now, still recovering from this vicious attack.

And tonight we‘re re learning that two other home owners in the same town appear to have been robbed in their homes the night before the murders.  Joining me now on the phone is David Hick, who is one of those home owners.  Mr. Hick, thank you very much for taking the time.  We appreciate it.  All right.  So what is it that makes you or the authorities think that it was these same two men who robbed your home?  Mr. Hick?

DAVID HICK, HOUSE ROBBED BY MURDER SUSPECTS:  Yes?

ABRAMS:  I was just saying—if you could turn down your TV?  I was just asking you what it is that makes you think or the police think that it was these two men who robbed your home the night before?

HICK:  It‘s just my understanding through the investigation that they have linked it back to the same two gentlemen, and there might have even been some sort of confession from one that they were, in fact, on our street, in our house the same weekend, the night before.

ABRAMS:  Were you at home at the time?

HICK:  Unfortunately, I was.  My wife and myself and my three small children were sleeping.

ABRAMS:  And so—but they didn‘t wake anyone up, they just robbed the home?

HICK:  They just came in, did their thing, took certain items, and left it so undisturbed that we actually didn‘t really know about it until later Monday morning, after the other crimes had taken place.

ABRAMS:  Did they take personal items or were they items of value?

HICK:  Actually, both.  I can‘t really be specific, but they were, you know, items of value and some personal items, as well.

ABRAMS:  Wow.  And so when you heard about this incident at the Petit home, did you think to yourself, My goodness, this may be connected to what happened to me?

HICK:  Actually, I didn‘t.  It just didn‘t cross my mind right away.  And then when it did, at first, I just really couldn‘t believe that it was connected, and I really still didn‘t believe it until I was told otherwise from officials.  And then it was, as you can imagine, pretty unbelievable.

ABRAMS:  Yes.  All right.  Mr. Hick, thank you very much for taking the time.  We appreciate it.

HICK:  You‘re welcome.

ABRAMS:  Good luck.  Thank you.

HICK:  Thanks.

ABRAMS:  All right.  On to another story.  Outside a Virginia

courtroom today, NFL superstar Michael Vick, now accused of participating

in a dog fighting ring, faced an angry crowd that gathered to welcome him -

kind of.  “Vick is sick,” the fans—or lack thereof—chanted.  Vick and three co-defendants are accused of staging dog fights, gambling on winners, gruesomely killing the losers.  Among the charges listed in the indictment, shooting, hanging, drowning, and in one case, electrocuting a dog.

NBC‘s Steve Handelsman has been at the courthouse in Richmond today.  Steve, thanks for joining us.  All right.  So how many people were there, and were they all there to boo him?

STEVE HANDELSMAN, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Most of them were here to boo, Dan.  It was hundreds.  They came from all across America, animal rights activists, anti-dog fighting activists.  And it was really extraordinary.  I mean, here‘s Michael Vick, who‘s one of the best athletes in this nation, a guy who‘s been great since he was a kid, used to being cheered.  And for the first time today maybe in his life, jeered.  I mean, we‘re used to seeing outside courthouses—you‘ve covered it, Dan, when, let‘s say, Michael Jackson was on trial.  The people who show up are there to support the defendant.  Well, not today.

ABRAMS:  Hey, Steve...

HANDELSMAN:  There were only a handful of people we could find who say Michael Vick ought to be considered innocent until he‘s proven guilty.

ABRAMS:  Let me ask you this, Steve.  He‘s walking in the front of the courthouse, right?  He‘s in front of the cameras.

HANDELSMAN:  Right.

ABRAMS:  Everyone gets to see him.  Everyone gets to yell at him.  You know, you pointed out to one of our producers, and it‘s something I should have thought of, is that there are all these other entrances to courthouses, right?  I mean, they could have brought him in another exit.

HANDELSMAN:  Sure.  I mean first of all, he‘s got a big, big-name lawyer.  You know Billy Martin.  He‘s as fast on his feet in a courthouse as Michael Vick is on the football field.  One call from Billy Martin for virtually any other defendant, and they would have found a way to get this guy quietly in.  After all, they could argue that his life was in danger.  But they walked him like a perp walk right into the mouth of not only the news cameras but that whole demonstration.  I think it had a message.

ABRAMS:  All right.  In a minute, I want to play a piece of sound from Billy Martin, who you just mentioned a minute ago, talking about sort of his defense of Michael Vick.  But anything in the court?  I assume pretty quick hearing.  He pleads not guilty and they set another date, right?

HANDELSMAN:  Right.  I mean, this is all understandable and predictable stuff.  But Billy Martin has begun to really hint about their theory of the case.  These feds found irrefutable evidence of dog fighting at this so-called Bad Newz Kennel that Michael Vick indisputably owns out in rural Virginia, Surry County.

ABRAMS:  All right...

HANDELSMAN:  Billy‘s theory of the case is, is that they‘ve got to prove that Michael Vick was a dog fighter, not just that he owned property, Dan, where dog fighting took place.

ABRAMS:  Right.  All right, let me play this piece of sound.  This is the first time we‘re hearing from the defense attorney for Michael Vick, speaking out.  Here‘s what Billy Martin had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILLY MARTIN, MICHAEL VICK‘S ATTORNEY:  He asserted in a loud and clear voice that he is not guilty of these allegations.  We intend to prove Mike‘s innocence at trial.  We are conducting our own investigation.  We will look into these allegations.  And we look forward to the opportunity to be enabled to walk inside this courtroom saying to the world that Michael Vick is innocent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  We shall see.  Steve Handelsman, thanks a lot. 

Appreciate it.

HANDELSMAN:  OK, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, the just released 911 call from the Lindsay Lohan case.  I guess this is what it sounds like when you call the cops because a Hollywood starlet is chasing you!

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE) coming down right now.  We‘re being followed by a GMC.  The gentleman jumped out of the car.

911 OPERATOR:  And what did he do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, my gosh, sir!  They‘re following us!  We need help!

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Oh my God, it‘s Lindsay Lohan!

But first: Fox continues its commitment to journalism with a hard-hitting political segment.  “Beat the Press” is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Beat the Press, our daily look back at the absurd and sometimes amusing perils of live TV.  First up: Here in the TV business, if we pre-tape an interview, we can make mistakes, maybe edit it later.  This clip that‘s making the rounds on the Internet is difficult to watch because it appears not to have been edited.  Merry Miller from “ABC News Now” in “What‘s the Buzz” segment interviewing Oscar-winning actress Holly Hunter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MERRY MILLER, “ABC NEWS NOW”:  Welcome back to “What‘s the Buzz.”  You may know her as an Academy Award-winning actress, but today she‘s here to talk about a new project on the small screen.

Holly, thanks so much for joining us.

HOLLY HUNTER, ACTRESS:  OK.  Thank you.

MILLER:  Oh, God!  All right, Holly.  Thanks so much for joining us. 

Oh!  OK, we loved the show.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  It gets worse, if that‘s possible.  Listen to the date of the premier and the Web site, the name of the Web site—remember, it‘s ABC—she mentions at the end.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MILLER:  Thank you so much for joining us.  You can catch—and you can catch more Holly on “Saving Grace,” which is going to premier Monday, June 23, at 10:00 PM Eastern on TNT.  All right, folks.  That‘s all the buzz we have for you today.  Make sure to check us out on demand at the arts and entertainment section of NBCNews.com.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  NBCNews.com.  I keep thinking that someone, like, faked that thing.  I don‘t know.

Next up: “TV Guide” recently identified CBS “Early Show” anchor Harry Smith as one of the top salary earners in news, making a reported $3 million a year.  So during a segment on lawn care, I‘m not certain why he‘s talking about the raise in minimum wage impacting his ability to have work done on his own lawn.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... so that you basically have the same advantage as a professionally installed system, and this with a starter kit only costs you about $140.

HARRY SMITH, “EARLY SHOW”:  Now that the minimum wage is going up, maybe we can afford it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Who‘s “we,” Harry?  You deserve the big pay day.  You‘re great.  But come on.

Finally: Fox‘s Bill O‘Reilly‘s repeatedly commented on the limited time they have to cover certain stories.  Of course, that‘s true.  So thank goodness the folks on the Fox morning show squeezed in enough time for this political segment.

Yes, that‘s the “Obama girl” and the “Giuliani girl” and their friends engaging in a nationally televised pillow fight.

Up next: “DATELINE‘s” Chris Hansen heads to the beach for the latest predator bust.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I never met anybody younger than, like, 18, so (DELETED) worried me (DELETED), so...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I understand.  It‘s OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I just didn‘t know—I‘ve just been worried, that‘s all, that some—this was some crazy scheme.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  The suspect‘s worried that it‘s a scheme.  He‘s still willing to risk it.

And later: Can this cat really predict the future?  “The New England Journal of Medicine” seems to suggest yes.  We‘ll ask a pet psychic.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, “Dateline” is back with a brand-new predator bust.  And for the first time, paramedics are needed.  We‘ll get to that in a minute.

But first, the 911 call is out which led to Lindsay Lohan‘s arrest.  The caller on the tape is presumed to be the mom of Lindsay‘s former assistant, who reportedly called 911 pleading for help because a mysterious car was following her. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DISPATCHER:  This is the Santa Monica police.

WOMAN:  Is he behind you?  Is he behind you?

DISPATCHER:  Where are you, ma‘am, ma‘am?

WOMAN:  Right now, we‘re on Seventh and Wilshire.

DISPATCHER:  OK, what‘s going on there?

WOMAN:  We were just about to park our car.  We were turning, and out of nowhere, a huge white GMC came up and—OK, that‘s OK.  This is—we‘re coming.  We‘re at Fourth and Wilshire.  We‘re coming down right now.  We‘re being followed by a GMC.  The gentleman jumped out of the car...

DISPATCHER:  And what did he do?

WOMAN:  Oh, my god, sir, they‘re following us.  We need help.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  It turns out it was Lindsay.  That‘s according to the authorities.  And according to one report, she‘s now saying that the pants where the cocaine was found were not hers. 

But now to a brand-new “Dateline” undercover operation, looking for potential Internet sex predators right on a public beach.  Chris Hansen and “Dateline‘s” hidden cameras hit the Jersey Shore for the first time.  The real first here is these potential predators are caught on camera grooming what they think is an underage teen for sex.  “Dateline” helped catch 28 men over three days during the Jersey sting, including one man who thought he had a future in TV.  He didn‘t expect it would come so soon. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I love your car. 

JOHN DONNELLY, CAUGHT IN SEX STING:  Thank you. 

CHRIS HANSEN, CORRESPONDENT, “DATELINE NBC” (voice-over):  Twenty-one-year-old John Donnelly is here after chatting online with a girl who told him she was 14.  Just a few minutes into the chat, IkeMan04 tells her he‘s really horny, and he continues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We could have lots of fun if I could come to your house to see you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Doing what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Kissing, sucking each other, touching each other, having sex, if you wanted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I never went all the way yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I would be sweet to you.  You‘re the perfect girl.

HANSEN:  Perfect, except that she‘s making it clear she‘s a minor, so he should know he has no business being here.  But that doesn‘t stop him.

DONNELLY:  I‘ve never met anybody younger than like 18, so... 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I understand.  It‘s OK. 

DONNELLY:  I just didn‘t know.  I‘ve just been worried, that‘s all, that this was some crazy scheme. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  What do you mean? 

DONNELLY:  Like there‘s a show, “The Daily Show,” like they make fun of the news, but it really is the news, and I was reading about him, and they pay for like cops to like pretend they‘re like girls and (bleep) like that. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Are you serious? 

DONNELLY:  Yes, so, I mean, I usually don‘t worry it, but it was just like so awful.  I don‘t know.  I guess everything is cool.  I mean, I just I don‘t know. 

HANSEN:  But as he‘s about to find out, everything isn‘t cool. 

(on screen):  How‘s it going? 

DONNELLY:  Pretty good, how are you doing? 

HANSEN:  Good, how are you? 

DONNELLY:  I‘m all right. 

HANSEN:  What‘s happening?  What are you up to?

DONNELLY:  I was coming to meet this person.

HANSEN:  Really?  And who is this person? 

DONNELLY:  (bleep) I wasn‘t going do anything, guys, I promise, please.  I just came to visit this girl.  (bleep), dude, I knew this was a set up.  I didn‘t even want to do anything with this girl.

HANSEN:  Well, that‘s not what it said in the chat.

DONNELLY:  Because I was trying to impress the girl. 

HANSEN:  You were trying to impress a 14-year-old girl? 

DONNELLY:  I don‘t know what I was thinking, sir.

HANSEN:  Yes, I‘ll tell you what you were thinking.  You were thinking about having sex with a 14-year-old girl. 

DONNELLY:  I swear to God, I wasn‘t.

(CROSSTALK)

DONNELLY:  Because I‘ve just been really depressed lately.  I don‘t know what I was thinking, sir.  I know I said all that stupid (bleep) about having sex and stuff like that.  I‘ve only had sex with one girl in my life.  I wouldn‘t have felt comfortable with doing that.  Everyday, I can‘t sleep because I‘ve been thinking, “This is stupid, John.”  Do you know how much trouble—why would you sleep with a 14-year-old girl?  And that‘s why I never wanted to.  It‘s disgusting. 

HANSEN:  I know, but that doesn‘t square with what you said and what you did. 

DONNELLY:  I do not want to be ruined—I wanted to go college and everything.  I want to go for sports broadcasting or journalism. 

HANSEN:  You want to be a television reporter? 

DONNELLY:  Yes. 

HANSEN:  Have you ever been on TV before? 

DONNELLY:  No. 

HANSEN:  Well, this is one of those “good news, bad news” situations, John.  I‘m Chris Hansen with “Dateline NBC,” and we‘re doing one of our “To Catch a Predator.”

DONNELLY:  Please tell me you‘re not, please.  I would never do anything like this. 

HANSEN:  Well, who do you blame then? 

DONNELLY:  Myself, for being so stupid. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  I make several attempts to get the man to leave. 

(on screen):  So like I said, you‘re welcome to leave. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  But he won‘t budge. 

DONNELLY:  There‘s no point in going anywhere.  I just—this was the stupidest mistake I‘ve ever made in my life.

HANSEN:  Finally, after much prompting, he gets up and starts to leave the beach, only to be stopped in his tracks by police from the Ocean County prosecutor‘s office.  And he seems to know what to do. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s here.  It‘s here, right in front of the house. 

HANSEN:  Our next visitor is here for a 13-year-old, and he says this isn‘t his first time meeting a minor. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Come take a seat. 

HANSEN:  Meet 32-year-old James Markott (ph), a printing press operator. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  So what did you want to do? 

HANSEN:  Online, using the screen name Jdmar74, he makes plans to meet a girl who says she‘s 13 and home alone.  The decoy repeatedly asks him what he wants to do when he gets here.  At first, he‘s coy, but finally says...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Have you had sex before?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, with my last boyfriend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We would do that, too.

HANSEN:  When the decoy asks him if he‘s ever been with someone her age, he says 15 was the youngest.  Now he‘s driven an hour-and-a-half to meet her. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  So did you bring the condoms? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Did you? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, I did. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  All right, cool.  Like, remember you said about that 15-year-old you had sex with? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Uh-huh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Was she a virgin? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No, she wasn‘t?

HANSEN:  Then the decoy tries to find out what he has in mind for them. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And you want to like—you can describe to me a little bit what we‘re going do so I can know beforehand. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  A lot of kissing, caressing. 

HANSEN:  But a wet blanket is about to be thrown on those plans. 

(on screen):  Hey, how are you? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All right.

HANSEN:  What‘s happening? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m good. 

HANSEN:  You‘re good? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.

HANSEN:  What are you up to? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Just sitting here, relaxing. 

HANSEN:  Relaxing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Relaxing, having a chat.

HANSEN:  Yes, I think you already had a chat earlier today online, didn‘t you? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  A little bit. 

HANSEN:  The 32-year-old admits he was chatting online with a girl named Michelle.

HANSEN:  And how old is Michelle? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  As far as I know, she is 18. 

HANSEN:  In her profile, it said 13.  She tells you right in the chat it‘s 13.  Now in the chat, you also tell her that you had sex with a 15-year-old girl. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.

HANSEN:  That‘s true, right? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No. 

HANSEN:  You just told her again right here on the beach. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s true, but I have not had sex with a 15-year-old.

HANSEN (voice-over):  But he does admit chatting online with minors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘ve chatted with a few of them.  Some of them talk to me about any problems they have. 

HANSEN (on screen):  Talk about sex with them? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Sometimes. 

HANSEN:  You ever go visit one of them? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I have visited one.

HANSEN:  One?  And how old was the one you visited? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  She was 16. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  He denies he ever had sex with her. 

(on screen):  Well, do you watch much TV, James?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  A little bit. 

HANSEN:  A little bit?  I‘m Chris Hansen with “Dateline NBC,” and we‘re doing a story called “To Catch a Predator” on adults who try to meet young teens online for sex.  Now, if there‘s anything you want to tell us...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, no, that‘s quite all right. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  As he gets up to leave, officers who have been hiding near the house move towards him and place him under arrest. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Police, get on the ground!  On the ground!

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  We‘ll have more of “Dateline‘s” latest sting after the break, including one man who really loses it when he realizes what‘s going on.  And we‘ll look at the recent MySpace decision to remove thousands of convicted sex predators from its site.  The question:  Shouldn‘t certain convicted sex offenders be prevented from using the Internet at all?  We‘ll debate.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  “Dateline” hidden cameras hit the New Jersey shore in its latest undercover sex sting, and this time they encountered a “Dateline” first:  a potential predator in need of a paramedic after he finds out he‘s going to be on national television. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HANSEN (voice-over):  That‘s 37-year-old Kasuo Akutsu (ph) knocking on our door.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hey, I‘m glad you made it. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, I know.

HANSEN:  He‘s been chatting online for more than a week with a decoy posing as a 14-year-old.  Using the screen name Kaz4541, he asks the girl about having sex on the beach, then says he‘s not into that.  He wants a nice, comfortable bed.  He also has a birthday wish:  sex with the decoy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Do you want some brownies?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Not now. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He smelled like he was smoking in the car beforehand and hadn‘t showered in a couple of days.

You didn‘t bring me any chocolate? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No.  You know why?  Because I didn‘t want her to find it. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  What do you mean? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You know, the wrapping and everything. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I would have thrown it away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No.

HANSEN (on screen):  So explain again why no chocolates? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I just didn‘t bring it. 

HANSEN:  You didn‘t?  So what‘s your plan here tonight? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, I was going to just meet her. 

HANSEN (voice-over):  He admits her is a 14-year-old girl named Sandy who he met online.  He says he‘s 37 and works for a major department store in New York City. 

(on screen):  So you just decided today after work that you were going jump in the car to meet a 14-year-old girl named Sandy? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, that‘s it. 

HANSEN:  That‘s it. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s it.

HANSEN:  You thought it was appropriate at the age of 37 to come meet a 14-year-old, why?  Explain that to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think it was appropriate...

HANSEN:  Your chat was pretty darn explicit with her.  And you acknowledge in the chat that the age thing could be a problem.  “Sandy, I am more than twice your age.”

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I know what I did.  What am I going to do now? 

HANSEN (voice-over):  Then Kaz4541 says he‘s feeling ill. 

(on screen):  You talk about her having a hard time enjoying sex because she‘s a virgin and that it might hurt. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Can I please go to bed?

HANSEN:  You can go if you would like to, but I think I need to tell you something first.  I‘m Chris Hansen with “Dateline NBC,” and we‘re doing a story on adults who try to meet kids online for sex.  Now, if there‘s anything else you want to say, we‘d like to hear it.  If not, you can obviously walk out the door you came in. 

(voice-over):  We call for an EMT who comes in and examines him.  It turns out to be nothing serious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He‘s clammy.  He‘s definitely—come on, let‘s get up to your feet.  You all right? 

HANSEN:  He‘s escorted out of the house and is later arrested. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  All right. 

In a related story this week, MySpace kicked off 29,000 convicted sex offenders—this is a separate story—trolling the pages of the popular social networking site.  MySpace disclosed the information after attorneys general from across the country demanded it reveal profile information of sex offenders using the site.  In response, states such as Arizona have moved to restrict Internet access from sex offenders. 

My take:  Why shouldn‘t certain adult sex offenders who‘ve targeted children, let‘s say under the age of 12, be prevented from using the Internet at all?  Is that such a restrictive condition?  I‘m not talking about preventing them from sending e-mails, and maybe they can use it while someone is monitoring them online.  Sure, it‘s tough to enforce, but that‘s not a reason not to try it for predators who target children. 

Joining us now, Houston crimes victim director Andy Kahan and criminal defense attorney B.J. Bernstein.

B.J., do you disagree with me on this?

B.J. BERNSTEIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, you know, I don‘t think it‘s practical.  You know, the problem is, people have jobs and they use the Internet.  As you just said, it‘s OK with e-mails.  Are we going to restrict cell phone e-mails? 

ABRAMS:  The rules are easy to make.  I mean, just sort of saying, “Oh, we can‘t”—the rules are easy to make.  You don‘t make it about e-mails; you don‘t make it about the cell phone.  You make it simply about the Internet.  And if they really need to use the Internet, they can be monitored.  If they‘re adults who‘ve preyed on children, let‘s say under 12, what‘s the problem?

BERNSTEIN:  Well, then the other problem is you have—who‘s on these registries?  “USA Today” and the “New York Times” magazine just had important articles about how people who were teenagers themselves or youthful sex offenders...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  That‘s why I‘m not including them.  That‘s a cop-out answer.  That‘s why I‘m not including them.  It is.  It‘s a cop-out.  I mean, Andy, my problem is, every time we discuss this issue, people try and use the most extreme examples, and because I do have a real problem with the idea of people being prosecuted and labeled sex offenders who were 18 years old having sex with their 16-year-old girlfriend.  But that‘s not what I‘m talking about.

ANDY KAHAN, DIRECTOR, VICTIMS CRIME OFFICE FOR HOUSTON MAYOR:  No, you‘re talking about the schoolyard, the playground.  That‘s the new trolling ground for adult predators.  And like it or not, you know, the 29,000-some-odd numbers, that‘s only going to go higher, because these are the knuckleheads that actually use their real name.  Trust me, as someone who used to supervise sex offenders, you are dealing with the most cunning, devious, secretive type of offender.  They‘re going to find a way to use alias, bogus names, set up e-mail.  This might curb your casual, scared sex offender, as well, but the bottom line is, if you‘re on probation or parole, you lose certain rights.  End of story.

ABRAMS:  And I‘ve got tell you, B.J., I was really disturbed when I read this new study which indicated that 85 percent of guys who are convicted of crimes against children online also admitted that they had molested a child at some point. 

BERNSTEIN:  Yes, I mean, there‘s no doubt that those are the people that you are wanting to go after.  But there‘s the—you know, the problem is we are trying to tackle this issue, and yet we‘re choosing forms that don‘t necessarily work.  And it doesn‘t deal with the true problem, which is the molestation that occurs within families and friends.  I mean, the Internet is part of it.  We see it in the “Dateline NBC” stories, but that doesn‘t solve a large part of it.

ABRAMS:  Andy, take the final word on this.  You‘ve got to make it quick.

KAHAN:  MySpace is a social network primarily designed for young people in mind, but the reality is that government cannot protect children.  Good parenting, that‘s the key for all of this. 

ABRAMS:  All right, sorry I had to cut this sort of short.  We had a lot of breaking news at the top of the show.  Andy Kahan and B.J.  Bernstein, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it.

KAHAN:  You bet. 

ABRAMS:  But sure to watch MSNBC this Saturday night, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time, for “To Catch a Predator.” 

Up next, will today‘s big winner of the day be a grizzly bear caught on tape breaking and entering, a psychic cat who predicts when people will die, or a sumo wrestler who makes up a big, fat lie?  Liars, tigers and bears, oh, my, the day‘s “Winners and Losers” is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS (voice-over):  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this 26th day of July 2007. 

Our first loser, former Durham D.A. Mike Nifong who finally admitted today there was no credible evidence against three Duke Blue Devil lacrosse players.  He then issued an apology that, at this point, is a little hard to swallow.

MIKE NIFONG, FORMER DURHAM D.A.:  I have made mistakes in the prosecution of these cases.  I sincerely apologize to Mr. Seligmann, Mr.  Finnerty, Mr. Evans, and to their families.

ABRAMS:  Our first winner?  A devilish black bear who stole and swallowed a feeder full of birdseed from the backyard of Washington state home.  The evidence of this crime clear and unambiguous:  the grizzly caught on tape breaking and eating. 

The second loser, Mongolian sumo champ Asashoryu.  To avoid being strong-armed into competing in a charity tour, the wrestler apparently fabricated an injury.  He got slammed after Japanese TV caught him playing soccer days later, looking far from injured.

The second winner?  Legitimately handicapped arm wrestler Cody Wagner, who‘s hoping to win the world championship this year.  The Indian athlete was born with stunted legs and using his strong set of arms to get around and wrestle. 

But the big loser of the day?  Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, now the target of a possible perjury investigation by Senate Democrats.  Gonzo‘s testimony before the Judiciary Committee sparked this latest political catfight. 

And the big winner of the day?  Oscar, a Rhode Island cat with a sixth sense.  The clairvoyant kitty has become the subject of a major medical journal article after snuggling up to 25 nursing home patients just hours before they died.  He provides the patients comfort and the home a warning about which patients will likely pass away soon. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  I must admit, I never would have believed that a cat could have this kind of power.  But it probably doesn‘t surprise my next guest:  pet psychic Patrice Ryan.  Thanks for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.  All right, you‘re not surprised, huh? 

PATRICE RYAN, PET PSYCHIC:  I‘m not surprised at all, no. 

ABRAMS:  Why? 

RYAN:  Well, pets are far more intuitive than people, you know, generally are, and so pets usually give you tell-tale of what‘s going to happen anyway kind of life, and people just kind of get it after the fact.  So I think it‘s brilliant and amazing that this cat is able to do this and offer people, you know, some advance warning as to what‘s going on with their loved ones.

ABRAMS:  As a pet psychic, though, I would assume that you can read the mind of the cat who knows that somebody is going to die, right? 

RYAN:  I can tap into him, yes. 

ABRAMS:  And you would be able to—so if you were standing near this cat as it was approaching someone, and even before, you know, the cat snuggles up with the person who‘s going to die, you would have a sense that that‘s what the cat was thinking? 

RYAN:  More than likely, yes. 

ABRAMS:  And how does that manifest itself? 

RYAN:  How does what manifest itself?

ABRAMS:  Is it a sense you have?  Is it through words?  I mean, how does the communication occur? 

RYAN:  I communicate with all species of animals, so it comes through the same way as I read people.  Sometimes it‘s a feeling or it‘s like a vision or it‘s kind of like dialogue.  You know, it‘s kind of all those things in one at a time, yes. 

ABRAMS:  Now, obviously what you do is controversial.  Probably some people don‘t believe in it; some people do.  But let me ask you this:  Are you surprised that the New England Journal of Medicine, probably the most prestigious medical journal in the country, is writing about this cat‘s ability to detect death? 

RYAN:  To me, it makes them smarter, in my book, that they would acknowledge that, so I think it‘s brilliant.

ABRAMS:  Have you ever met a cat like Oscar? 

RYAN:  I can‘t say that I have, but I would love to meet him. 

ABRAMS:  Yes, no, I‘ll bet.  I would not like to meet him, at least no time soon.  But, anyway, Patrice Ryan, thanks very much for coming on the program.  Appreciate it. 

RYAN:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Pet psychic.  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Stay tuned for “Tracking a Killer.”  A 9-year-old disappears without a trace, and then a high-tech investigation yields clues that shock the community. 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2007 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2007 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 MSNBC 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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