updated 3/31/2004 12:45:00 PM ET 2004-03-31T17:45:00

Guests: Joe Tacopina, Deborah Warren, Leah Black, Peter Spear, Melissa Sheridan, Jere Royall



Disorder in the courtroom.  She threw the six-month long Tyco trial into chaos.  Tonight, what happens when 12 strangers are trapped together for weeks and one almost forces a mistrial?

We‘ll talk to jurors from high profile cases who‘ve seen it all.

Searching for a serial killer.  He terrorized an entire city almost 30 years ago, and then disappeared without a trace.  Now he‘s back and taunting police with new clues.  But can they track down the Wichita serial killer before he strikes again?

Cohabitation controversy.  Thinking of shacking up?  Then you may have to ship out.  That‘s the law in seven states.  Tonight, one couple‘s unusual story of what happened when they refused to say, “I do.”

Tonight, from Tampa, Florida, Deborah Norville. 


DEBORAH NORVILLE, HOST:  And good evening. 

Day nine of jury deliberations today in the six-month-long corporate theft trial of two former Tyco international executives, Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz. 

Last week, the jury sent the judge a note saying, “The atmosphere in the jury room has turned poisonous.”  Then later, they sent another note saying, quote, “One or more jurors do not have an open mind.  They refuse to recognize the right of at least one juror to have a good-faith belief that the prosecution had not proved its case.” 

Well, the next day in court, one of the jurors—juror No. 4 -- flashed an OK hand signal at the defense. 

Meantime, in another twist, two news organizations have identified the OK-sign flashing juror by name.  And one newspaper went so far as to plaster her sketch on its front page, calling her “the hold out granny.”

All of this has sent the defense lawyers arguing for a mistrial, which as you know, yesterday the judge denied. 

Ex-Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski and ex-CFO Mark Swartz are charged with pilfering $600 million from the company‘s coffers.  If they‘re convicted, they could face up to 25 years in prison.

So is the Tyco trial headed for a verdict or for a hung jury?  And what on earth is it like right now inside that jury deliberation room?

With me this evening is Joe Tacopina.  He‘s a criminal defense attorney who‘s represented all kinds of high profile defendants, including the police officers in the Abner Louima case.

And with us tonight from West Palm Beach, Florida, Leah Black.  Her husband is attorney and NBC analyst Roy Black.  She served as a juror in the 1991 William Kennedy Smith trial.

And from Houston, Texas, Deborah Warren.  She was a part of the Robert Durst murder case jury.  She was a part of that trial last year, and she‘s now writing a book about her experience. 

Good evening everybody.  Thanks for being with us.

Joe, I want to start with you first.  There‘s no question that juror No. 4 made the OK hand signal.  There‘s no question people saw that.  What was she doing?  What was she thinking?  How could the trial not end in a mistrial?

JOE TACOPINA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, you know, what was she doing and what was she thinking really is a question we need to ask her.  And I‘m sure when this trial is over, she‘ll apply for her 15 minutes of fame and try and get out there and, you know, get a reality show or something. 

But you know, I‘ve got to tell you, what she was doing was calling attention to herself, letting everyone know that “I‘m the one, I‘m the juror,” which is why I had absolutely no problem, Deborah, with the “Wall Street Journal” and the “New York Post” putting her name out there this weekend. 

I mean, it‘s bad for the health of this trial.  It‘s bad for the potential of this trial ever ending in a verdict, because I don‘t think there is a chance of that happening. 

NORVILLE:  And even if there is a verdict, is it not absolute certainty that it will be going to appeal and that they‘ve got some pretty good grounds for appeal? 

TACOPINA:  Unless there‘s an acquittal, this case has more promise for appeal than any I‘ve seen, simply because this juror has made opinion known so strongly.  Then information, private information about her was giving out over the weekend, while the jury is still deliberating.

I mean, jurors‘ information comes out all the time after the trial, but this is a deliberating jury.  And again, it‘s her fault.  She misbehaved in the courtroom by doing that hand sign to the defense, which is in appropriate.  And she gave up her privacy right.  She can‘t claim that it‘s been violated.

That being said, this trial is not going to end where she either convinces 11 other people that they‘re innocent or vice versa.  It doesn‘t look like she‘s going to be one to be moved very easily towards guilt. 

NORVILLE:  How often does this kind of thing happen where a juror deliberately takes an action to draw attention to his or herself?

TACOPINA:  Very rarely do you see that.  I mean, you‘ll often see volatile, you know, reactions coming out of the jury room.  You‘ll see—hung jurors are not that uncommon, by the way.  But you‘ll see one juror lock themselves into a position, which they have a right to do, which is healthy for the system, by the way, that people are not bullied by other people. 

That being said, clearly she has an agenda.  Clearly she thinks she‘s part of the trial, as opposed to a judge of the trial, by doing that, by identifying herself.  I‘ve not seen anything, anything like that in any trial, and I‘ve been involved in a host, as you said, of high-profile cases in New York.  I‘ve witnessed a host of them.  I‘ve not seen anything that demonstrative to call attention to oneself. 

NORVILLE:  And it‘s kind of frightening to see that. 

Deborah Warren, you were on a case that deliberating for a long time, the Robert Durst murder trial.  For those who don‘t remember, it was—it must have been excruciating to have to look at the evidence and hear the testimony. 

This was a man who admitted killing an older gentleman and then said, for reasons he couldn‘t really understand, dismembered the body and disposed of it in Galveston Bay. 

What was it like from the beginning going into the jury room after the final arguments were made and realizing, “We don‘t have unanimity here?”

DEBORAH WARREN, JUROR FOR ROBERT DURST TRIAL:  Well, when we first went in, we took what we called a straw poll vote, just to see where people stood on their verdict.  And of course, you know, it wasn‘t a unanimous vote right at the beginning. 

So we kind of, you know, came to the conclusion that we were going to give everyone the opportunity to say and speak what was on their mind and how they felt about the reason they were voting, but we had about four or five people that was undecided as far as a verdict of not guilty. 

NORVILLE:  And going into that, once you got past the straw poll part, that‘s when everybody is trying to sort through the evidence and figure out which side of the guilty or not guilty question they‘re going to come down on. 

It must get tense at a certain point, because you all were out for a number of days during your deliberations, over five days you spaced out your deliberations.  Tell me about the mood in the room.

WARREN:  Well, like I said, after the trial was over, it was the worst day of my life, because I had never been a juror before, you know, so I had no idea except for looking at TV as far as “The Practice” and, you know, “Law & Order” things like that, that I had no idea how intense it could get in that jury room. 

And it did get kind of, you know, I myself had to stand up and start screaming and hollering at one point, because people‘s feelings was on their cuffs of their sleeves and you couldn‘t say this...

NORVILLE:  You guys were screaming in the jury room? 

WARREN:  Well I wouldn‘t say screaming, but we had to, you know, get it back to the point like I told them, you know, regardless of how you feel about this person or that person, because you‘ve got to remember we were together for eight weeks.

NORVILLE:  And—and—Go ahead.

WARREN:  And you know, I didn‘t know these people.  We had never seen them before.  And you bring in 12 people together that knew nothing about one another.  And you know, some people, you know, you just—some people it‘s hard to get along with.  They have their opinion and this is how they feel and that‘s it, you know. 

NORVILLE:  It‘s clear that the lady in the Tyco case has her opinion and hasn‘t been shy about sharing it. 

Leah Black, when you were deliberating the William Kennedy Smith case, not only did you have, obviously, the evidence and the testimony that you had to consider, but there was an excruciating amount of media attention. 

How does that weigh on the 12 men and women making the deliberations?

LEAH BLACK, JUROR ON WILLIAM KENNEDY SMITH TRIAL:  Well, in the trial that I was in, we were sequestered.  So even though the media was focused on the trial, if you were in the jury pool you didn‘t know that, because there was—you had no access to anything outside the courtroom, including newspapers or television or anything like that. 

So we really didn‘t realize how, you know, much watched this jury trial was. 

But on behalf of this woman in this other trial, I really—I don‘t think we should be criticizing her until we really hear from her.  Because we assume that she sent this signal, but I mean, is there really—until she says, “I sent that signal and that‘s what I was sending and that‘s who I was sending it to,” I don‘t know how we can be 100 percent sure that that‘s what she was doing. 

NORVILLE:  But don‘t you think after the hubbub?

TACOPINA:  Yes.  When you make an OK sign with your finger and look at the defense table, and you know, like that, I mean, there was not a question of doubt in anyone‘s mind who was in that courtroom who saw it.  I was not one of them, but I spoke to four people who were in there and said that‘s what she did.  I mean, it wasn‘t—it wasn‘t, you know—it‘s wasn‘t like an itch, maybe or an ear tug or anything like that.

BLACK:  Well, let‘s assume, if that‘s what she did, then you know, it was inappropriate for her to do that. 

On the other hand, what if she was, there was someone in the courtroom she knew that day that she was signaling to, or someone she had bonded with from the press that had been there every day for six months that she was signaling to.  A break today.

I mean, we don‘t know until she says that‘s what I was doing that that‘s what I was doing.  And it‘s hard enough to get really fair, open-minded jurors in a juror pool.  I mean, everyone when they get jury duty, the first thing they try to do is get out of going to jury duty.  So...

NORVILLE:  And I want to ask how is this going to impact on that?  When—you know, and it‘s surprising.  I thought, Leah, that that was the general thing.  And we actually did some research, and I was, frankly, pleasantly surprised to see that the most recent study that‘s come out, 64 percent of people say yes, they‘d be pleased to serve on a jury. 

I wonder, when you see this kind of publicity, if it‘s going to have a chilling effect the next time somebody gets the jury notice.

WARREN:  Well, after I—excuse me.  After I did my trial with the Dursts, I never in my life thought that I would be ridiculed and talked about and made the brunt of the joke. 

This is why I‘m calling my book now “Durst Ain‘t the Worst,” because the worst was to me, the fact that I received that summons in the mail and thought I was doing what I thought what was the civic duty going down to the courthouse. 

Because like I tell people every day, I didn‘t get outside that courtroom and petition to be a juror.  I was picked as a juror.


WARREN:  And you know, people have a hard time, and I agree with the other juror, the other lady.  You really don‘t know what this lady, she could have had some friends or whoever in the courtroom that she could have been signaling at.  You really don‘t know until she comes forward and speaks for herself. 

You give—you know, you give the jury people such a hard time regardless of what they do, the verdict, regardless of what it is.  You just can‘t do right. 

NORVILLE:  We certainly will hear from this lady when the trial is over, no doubt.

And Leah, you know, talk about signals, I mean, I‘d be remiss in saying that your name is now Leah Black.  You actually met your husband, who was trying this case, as a result of this trial. 

Were there any hand signals back and forth in the courtroom?

BLACK:  Keep in mind that I was sequestered, and of course, I didn‘t even make eye contact because, see, we were informed by the judge not to make eye contact with anybody from either side of the table or anyone in the audience of the courtroom.  And we followed those rules, because we were, of course, afraid not to.

NORVILLE:  Absolutely.

BLACK:  Because they said it‘s not correct to do that.  So I didn‘t run into him until several months after the trial and at which time I don‘t even think he recognized me. 

I went up and said, “Do you remember me?  I was 1-1.” 

But yes, it‘s sort of a twist of fate, I guess.  Things just happened.

NORVILLE:  It ended well for you. 

BLACK:  It ended well for me, but I do feel bad for this woman that‘s getting so much scrutiny without really having given her point of view.

TACOPINA:  Deborah... 

NORVILLE:  And finally, Joe, let me just bring you back to the issue.  Do you think, Joe—you‘ve been listening to the testimony in this trial, do you think the prosecution has proved its case against either one of these gentlemen?  Forget the juror part. 

TACOPINA:  Yes.  I think there‘s a real issue here, and I‘m glad this

·         look, I applaud what this juror is doing, as far as holding her own. 

Any juror, unlike the Durst juror over there, and even the Black juror—that was a mistrial.  Even that juror, I mean, who basically sat on these trials held their own.  And that‘s what this system is about.  People who aren‘t in the trial have no business criticizing the verdict, because you don‘t know.

BLACK:  Absolutely. 

TACOPINA:  But that thing said...

NORVILLE:  Yore going to have to let that be the last word.


NORVILLE:  But you‘re right.  If you haven‘t sat in the jury box and walked the walk, you maybe shouldn‘t be doing the talk.

We thank both of you, Leah Black, Deborah Warren. for being with us, and Joe Tacopina for your insights, as well. 


ANNOUNCER:  Coming up, he‘s been lying low for more than 20 years, but police say a notorious serial killer is back.  He wants credit for one more murder. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He feels superior to the cops.  That‘s part of the thrill of the serial killer. 

ANNOUNCER:  And he‘s got the pictures to prove it. 

Plus, caught on tape.  It‘s the last time she was seen.  Was college student Audrey Seiler the victim of foul play? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We just don‘t know at this point.

ANNOUNCER:  Police say this wouldn‘t be the first time.  The baffling case of a missing coed who disappeared a month after she was mysteriously attacked, when DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT returns.


NORVILLE:  After murdering eight people and terrorizing the city of Wichita, Kansas, a killer has mysteriously resurfaced after almost 20 years. 

Authorities have heard nothing from the killer since his last known murder in 1986.  Then, 12 days ago, an envelope containing the only known crime scene photos of that murder in 1986 and a copy of the victim‘s drivers license were sent to the local “Wichita Eagle” newspaper. 

The murders all date back to beginning in 1974.  The victims were bound, tortured and strangled.  The technique earned the killer the infamous title, the BTK Strangler, initials for bind, torture, and kill. 

Well, ever since that envelope arrived at the local newspaper, police have received more than 1,000 tips which they hope will help them catch the killer.

The question remains, if he‘s back, does it mean he might kill again? 

We‘re joined this evening by Clint Van Zandt, a former FBI profiler, and also by Dr. Howard Brodsky, a psychologist with a forensic specialty from Wichita.  He consulted with police on the BTK investigation back in the 1970s. 

Dr. Brodsky, let me start with you first.  Tell me a little bit about the murders as you were part of the investigation back in the ‘70s. 

DR. HOWARD BRODSKY, PSYCHOLOGIST:  Right.  These are murders that go back to even before I‘ve been in town.  I‘ve been here about 28 years. 

Isolated crimes which the police have tied together now, amounting to eight deaths, the most recent one going back to ‘86.  I did some minimal consultation on the case.  This case has everyone baffled.  No one has to this point been able to come up with a suspect. 

NORVILLE:  At any point were police even close to having leads about what kind of individual or who might be doing this?  I know they weren‘t close to catching them, but just any good leads on what sort of person was behind all of this?

BRODSKY:  Well, my understanding is they said they did follow somebody for a period of time, but that turned out to not be a good lead.  So this case indeed has everyone baffled, and this is someone who has really caught the attention of this community. 

NORVILLE:  Clint Van Zandt, one of the things that was so chilling about this latest development is the photographs that were a part of this latest missive from the killer were photos that nobody had seen because the body had been moved to the hospital in the hopes that they might have been resuscitated. 

There‘s no question that this was the BTK Killer. 

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER:  Well, I don‘t think there‘s any question about that.  That‘s what the authorities have suggested, that there was information contained in this letter sent to the newspaper that allowed them to pretty much confirm in their mind.

And again it‘s consistent with a serial killer to keep a trophy.  In this case, the driver‘s license of the victim, as well as many times we‘ve found serial killers that will actually take pictures of the victim.  They will tape record their interaction with the victim.  All of this helps them relive at some future date that experience and in this case the murder of someone. 

NORVILLE:  But what‘s so extraordinary is that so much time has passed since that murder happened and this man coming forward—we presume it‘s a man—coming forward to claim responsibility. 

What do you suppose has been going on in the intervening years since 1986?

VAN ZANDT:  Well, there‘s the standard things that you always look at.  And that‘s when most people who look at serial killers normally believe that they—that they don‘t stop their nefarious activities, that they will continue to stalk; they‘ll continue to kill. 

Here we have, you know, one of the first cases I know of where we have this 25, plus or minus, period, this hiatus that has taken place. 

So then you go to, well, was he incarcerated, in jail for some other offense that was never linked to this?  Was he in a mental institution?  Did he perhaps marry or have some contact with someone else who allowed him to play out his fantasies in that relationship and now the relationship has changed?  Has he moved? 

And I think the scary thing for this community, Deborah, is that the off chance he may have stayed within that community, perhaps may even have been interviewed by either the media, someone writing a book, law enforcement.  And he‘s stayed there, he‘s worn this mask over himself this 25 years and now he‘s raised his hand and said, I‘m still here. 

This is like some terrible “Silence of the Lambs” revisited movie again and for this small community in the western part of the United States, now they have to relive a nightmare they thought was over with 25 years ago. 

NORVILLE:  And Howard Brodsky, I wonder how much the media has played

·         if any role in reigniting this guy.  There was a 30th anniversary piece in the “Wichita Eagle” in January, and then two months later, all of a sudden this letter appears at the local paper. 

BRODSKY:  Yes.  There‘s no doubt that he‘s interested in publicity.  And of course, he wrote to the newspaper, reopening things.  I think he‘s very motivated to get some attention, and... 

NORVILLE:  Is he motivated enough to kill again to get even more attention?

BRODSKY:  Well, that‘s the concern that has everyone frightened.  It is possible.

NORVILLE:  Do you think, Clint Van Zandt, given this hiatus that he‘s been on, he‘s what is this 20 years older practically from the last killing, is it conceivable that that desire to kill would remain unsatiated?

VAN ZANDT:  Well, this is the interesting part when you‘re dealing with someone like this.  Many times you‘ll have, if the individual has been incarcerated, if he‘s been in a mental institution, he may—years-wise he may be 55 or 60 years old.

But if something has taken place in his life that has stopped that emotional clock and he may start it up again, he may be playing it out like he was a 30-year-old in the body of a 60-year-old. 

NORVILLE:  And Howard Brodsky, give us a sense of the profile you believe the police are looking for. 

BRODSKY:  We think this is a single male, probably white and probably living alone, few interpersonal relationships, certainly not friendly, very stubborn, persistent fellow. 

You know, we‘re really struck by somebody having the trophy of the ‘86 murder, hanging onto it for years and years and now finally revealing it.  So this is somebody with some real, we call it obsessive tendencies. 

NORVILLE:  Yes, but you know what?  That‘s the same thing we hear every time there‘s one of these guys out here.  It‘s always a white guy who‘s a loner who has a hard time forming relationships.

If you‘re sitting there in Wichita, Kansas, and you‘re worried about your personal security, that‘s not going to make you feel a whole lot better. 

BRODSKY:  That‘s true.  And there are not a lot of people who feel good about having this fellow loose.  Women particularly.  Guys are more competitive and think of it in terms of winning something, but the women feel very emotional about their lack of security in a situation like this. 

NORVILLE:  Well, it is a frightening situation, and we thank both of you for being with us.  Dr. Howard Brodsky, thank you very much.

Clint Van Zandt is going to stick around and we‘re going to talk about another unsolved mystery.  It‘s that missing student at the University of Wisconsin. 

When we come back, every second counts right now in the hunt for Audrey Seiler.  She vanished mysteriously just after being attacked.

We‘ll be back.



NORVILLE:  Before last weekend, Audrey Seiler was just one of thousands of sophomores attending the University of Wisconsin in Madison.  Tonight, she‘s the subject of a massive search. 

The 20-year-old co-ed has not been seen for four days.  A surveillance tape shows her leaving her apartment building around 2:30 Saturday morning without her coat, her purse, or her keys.  Her disappearance comes just a few weeks after a bizarre attack that left her lying unconscious behind the building.  That attacker has never been identified.

Now, dozens of volunteers, a lot of them from her hometown in Minnesota, have joined the FBI and police, searching the area around campus for any clues to Audrey‘s disappearance. 

This afternoon, her family expressed their hope their daughter will be found alive. 


SCOTT SEILER, AUDREY SEILER‘S UNCLE:  Audrey knows how much we love her, and we want everyone else to know that, as well.  We‘re very confident and determined that if the right person hears this, sees her face, that they‘ll have some information that will help us. 


NORVILLE:  Back now with me to try to shed some more light on this mystery is MSNBC analyst and former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt.  Also joining us is Chuck Nowlen.  He‘s a reporter for the “Capital Times.”  That‘s the newspaper there in Madison, Wisconsin.

Chuck, let me start with you first.  What is the mood like there in Madison with this disappearance?

CHUCK NOWLEN, “CAPITAL TIMES”:  Well, I think the mood—I think everybody is trying to keep a lid on their emotions and their imaginations on this one. 

You have to keep in mind Madison is a town, it‘s a college town.  The university is 44,000 undergraduates that form basically the soul of the community.

We hate to think it‘s easy for a story like this to sort of run away with you.  But I think everybody‘s hopeful.  And an awful lot of people, I think, are dealing with that by doing something: searching, putting up flyers, tromping through the woods looking for clues in organized searches, things like that.

I think everybody‘s on hold. Like I say, it‘s a case that could make

your imagination run away from you, but it‘s too early to let that happen,

so we‘re just taking it one day at a time, I think, as a


NORVILLE:  What do we know what happens?  We know there was the videotape from the survivor camera that shows her leaving without what you‘d expect on a chilly March evening, having her coat.  She‘s didn‘t have it.  She‘s wearing—without her keys.  What does anybody suspect happens?  Why would she have been outside at that time? 

NOWLEN:  Well, it‘s totally—as I understand it, and I spoke briefly to her parents on Sunday when they had just arrived into town to start their own sort of search and their efforts, as I understand it, she was going to be visiting a friend and then never showed up.  That‘s how I understand it, although the police department has not been very forthcoming with a lot of information.  But that‘s the word I have. 

Frankly, it‘s not that unusual for college kids to be up at that hour of the day on a Friday, on a Saturday night either.  But it was unusual for her, and it was especially unusual for her not to show up when she said she was going to be someplace. 

NORVILLE:  Clint Van Zandt, Audrey Seiler was conked over the head a few weeks ago, knocked unconscious, and then came to a few blocks away from where she was assaulted.  Is that relevant to her disappearance? 

CLINT VAN ZANDT, MSNBC ANALYST:  Oh, I think it‘s got to be.  Law enforcement, you don‘t like coincidences.  And if there is like 44,000 students on campus, this is like she‘s been struck by lightning twice.  Why her? 

Who did it the first time?  Is this someone who has been stalking her for the last month, knowing that happened on February 1?  So law enforcement has got a number of things to do.  They have got to consider, who was she having contact with?  Who was her friends?  What was her emotional state at this time?  And the description we have of her walking out without her keys and sweat clothes, this sounds like the infamous case in Washington, D.C. of Chandra Levy, who walked out of her apartment, left her wallet, keys and everything else and was not seen or heard from again. 

So, obviously, law enforcement, the FBI, they‘re doing everything they can to find this young woman.  But, as time goes on, statistically, it becomes a greater and greater relevancy.  They have to find her as soon as they can. 

NORVILLE:  How often does this kind of thing happen on college campuses or close to college campuses? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, I can tell you, in the United States last year, if we take away child kidnappings and parental kidnappings, there were 227 kidnaps of adults, of which she is, that were investigated by the FBI throughout the United States.  And, unfortunately, it‘s not that unknown on a college campus for a coed, male, female, to disappear, many times of their own volition.  Many times, they are the victim of predators. 

NORVILLE:  And how often do they end up being successfully found safely, those 227? 

VAN ZANDT:  Yes.  I don‘t know the final answer to that. 


Well, we all remember the Dru Sjodin case.  And they‘re still looking for her, coincidence, again, another young woman from Minnesota who has disappeared. 

VAN ZANDT:  Yes.  And, unfortunately, college campuses, I really think, have got a responsibility to make sure young men and women are really prepared for the predators that could be out there looking in that target-rich environment that we also know as a college campus. 

NORVILLE:  Well, we‘re going to talk about that right now.  I want to say thanks to you, Clint Van Zandt, for being with us.  And also Chuck Nowlen with “The Capital Times” newspaper there in Madison.


NORVILLE:  And we do turn our attention now to a disappearance that has totally rocked the university there in Madison, Wisconsin.  And it‘s also raising questions about how safe any college campus can be. 

Joining me now is Dr. Peter Spear.  He is the university‘s provost. 

And, Dr. Spear, thank you for being with us.

I can imagine your phone is just ringing off the hook with concerned parents of all of your students calling. 

What do you tell them?

PETER SPEAR, PROVOST, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN:  Well, this is a very safe campus, particularly for a campus this large. 

We have a community, including faculty, staff and students, of about 60,000 people.  And we have a below-average crime rate on the campus, compared to other institutions like ours.  And, in fact, the past year was the lowest crime rate in the past 30 years. 


SPEAR:  When the students come here, we have orientations that include safety tips.  We have safe ride and safe walk programs, where students can get someone to escort them if they need to move around at night.  We have our own police force.  And we have many different programs to try to make this a safe environment for the students who are here. 

NORVILLE:  How far out does the police force go?  Because I know she had just recently moved to an off-campus building? 

SPEAR:  The university police force has jurisdiction to the borders of the campus.  Audrey lived in a private residence hall just off campus within the Madison City Police jurisdiction. 

NORVILLE:  What went through your mind or what went through your gut?  I can‘t imagine to get that call over the weekend that says one of our students is missing and there‘s concern.

SPEAR:  Well, we were all terribly concerned and felt terrible about it, very sympathetic with the parents.  We‘ve been in contact with the parents and offered them our help.  And the university is helping with transportation for the volunteers and food for the volunteers.  And we‘re trying to give them as much support as we can. 

NORVILLE:  What do you think happened to Audrey? 

SPEAR:  I don‘t know.  I certainly don‘t know anything more than the police know. 

NORVILLE:  And what is the campus doing to try to—beyond facilitating transportation and stuff like that, what are you doing to try to quell what Chuck Nowlen just a moment ago said was sort of this underlying sense of, we‘re trying to keep a lid on it, but there‘s obviously a lot of emotion stirring just beneath the surface? 

SPEAR:  Well, I think people are generally very concerned and puzzled

by this whole situation. 

You have to keep in mind that we don‘t know yet whether this is an abduction or a kidnapping, as opposed to a student walking away.  And I think people are waiting to see.  There‘s no reason to think that this is anything other than an isolated incident. 


NORVILLE:  Yes, but there‘s no reason to think that this is a student who walked away either, sir.  You‘ve heard that she‘s a very reliable young woman who always seems to show up when she tells folks she‘s going to be there. 

SPEAR:  Yes, that‘s right.  And if it‘s not the case of a student who has just walked away, again, nothing that the Madison police or the university have told us suggests that it‘s anything other than an isolated incident. 

So what we‘re trying to do is to emphasize to the students that there are precautions that they can take.  We have tips available.  We have a Web site that‘s available that provides information, so that students can log on and see, get the most recent information, and get information about safety tips. 

NORVILLE:  Dr. Peter Spear, thanks to you for being with us. 

And, as you mentioned, you do have a Web site there.  We want to give the address to folks if they want to get some information.  It‘s www.findaudrey.wisc.edu.  Or you can just call the Madison area Crimestoppers.  Their phone number is area code 608-266-6014.

ANNOUNCER:  Up next, they weren‘t quite ready to say I do, but when they tried living together in North Carolina, the state said, no, you can‘t. 

DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT is coming right back. 


NORVILLE:  The state of North Carolina telling a couple they‘ve either got to get married or live separately.  That‘s next.


NORVILLE:  Most of us know that it‘s against the law to rob a bank or kill a person or steal a car. 

Well, Melissa Sheridan has done none of those things, but as far as the state of North Carolina is concerned, the 24-year-old mother of three who lives with her fiance is breaking the law by living with her fiance.  That‘s right.  Cohabitation is against the law in North Carolina according to an 1805 statute which is still on the books.  It law reads: “If any man and woman not being married to each other shall lewdly and lasciviously associate, bed and cohabitate together, they shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.”

Well, North Carolina is standing by that law and telling Melissa Sheridan that she needs to marry her live-in boyfriend, leave the state or move into separate homes. 

Melissa joins me now from North Carolina. 

Good evening.  It‘s nice to see you. 


NORVILLE:  When did you find out you were breaking the law in North Carolina?

SHERIDAN:  When I moved down here. 

NORVILLE:  And what did they tell you? 

SHERIDAN:  They told me that I had either three choices, to either leave, get married, or live in separate houses. 

NORVILLE:  And the they in this case is the state authorities because you are still serving a probation from a welfare fraud conviction that you had in the state of New York, so that‘s why you had to come into contact with the state officials, is that correct? 

SHERIDAN:  That‘s correct. 

NORVILLE:  And when they told you that you were breaking the North Carolina law, were you aware there was such a law? 

SHERIDAN:  No, I did not. 

NORVILLE:  How did they explain the law to you? 

SHERIDAN:  They really didn‘t explain the law.  They just told me—well, probation, that is, they just asked me who was going to be living in my household.  I explained who was going to be living in my household.  And she said that, you and your boyfriend cannot live together because it‘s against the law.  And that‘s when she gave me my three choices. 

NORVILLE:  Do you remember what you said to her when she explained the three choices? 

SHERIDAN:  No, I do not remember. 

NORVILLE:  Now, we should note that your boyfriend is also the father of your youngest child, your 2-year-old.  So, were they aware that they were saying, you can‘t live with the father of your child unless you get married to him? 

SHERIDAN:  Yes, they did.  I told them from the beginning that we had a daughter together. 

NORVILLE:  Well, why don‘t you and your by friend just get married? 

Wouldn‘t that solve everything? 

SHERIDAN:  Actually, no it wouldn‘t because we‘re both still married to other people. 

NORVILLE:  So you‘re married to your previous husband, as he is, and you all haven‘t gotten a divorce. 


NORVILLE:  I understand finances is playing a roll in that to keep you from being able to get divorced from your previous spouse.  Explain that to me. 

SHERIDAN:  It‘s just, at the point in time, we don‘t have the money. 

NORVILLE:  And it costs attorneys fees and filing fees and all that. 


NORVILLE:  What did your boyfriend say when you came home from meeting with the probation officer and explained to him what they had said? 

SHERIDAN:  Actually, he was up in New York still.  And I called him up in New York and told him what she had said, and he was very shocked about what she said. 

NORVILLE:  And what would it do to your family if you guys had to live apart? 

SHERIDAN:  It would tear us—it would just tear us apart, literally. 

NORVILLE:  Why don‘t you move back to New York?  Wouldn‘t that solve everything?  I guess it‘s not against the law in the state where you lived before you came down South.

SHERIDAN:  No, it wouldn‘t solve everything.  Like, I have family down here.  He has family down here.  And that‘s why we moved down here is to be with our family. 

NORVILLE:  What do you think about this law, Melissa? 

SHERIDAN:  Is disagree with it totally. 

NORVILLE:  Well, I‘ll tell you what.  It surprised a lot of people to hear a law like this was even on the books. 

And it turns out, North Carolina is not the only state where that is the case.  There are actually seven states in the country where they have this law. 

Melissa, thank you very much for being with us tonight.  We wish you luck in making the choices that you‘re going to have to make.  I know none of them are easy one.  So, thanks for being with us tonight.

SHERIDAN:  You‘re welcome. 

NORVILLE:  Of course, the question is, why is a law like this still on the books since is was first codified back in 1805 and why is this law being enforced against this couple?

We‘re joined now by Jere Royall.  He‘s with the North Carolina Family Policy Counsel, an organization that supports the no living together with marriage law. 

And, sir, we thank you for being with us. 

What‘s the point of the law, as far as you can tell? 

JERE ROYALL, ATTORNEY, NORTH CAROLINA FAMILY POLICY COUNCIL:  Well, as with any law, you look to see, is there a rational basis for a particular law? 

In this case, we know that, in marriage, men and women are uniquely created to complement each other in marriage and that other relationships that imitate marriage have negative consequences physically and psychologically.  And that‘s why we have laws in place to encourage marriage and to discourage other relationships that imitate marriage, because we don‘t want people to experience those negative consequences. 

NORVILLE:  But you would agree that it‘s a law that flies in the face of what an awful lot of society is doing.  In the last several years, the number of couples living together without the benefit of marriage is up 72 percent. 

ROYALL:  Well, we are seeing in this country that increasing.  We have seen it in countries that really have legalized other relationships like Scandinavian countries where these problems that we‘re talking about have only continued to increase. 

For example, right now, the latest numbers in Scandinavia, I think just this past week saw where 60 percent of the children are born out of wedlock.  And there again you have to ask yourself what laws do we want to put in place to encourage certain behavior, in this case, encourage marriage and to discourage certain behavior, and again in this particular case, cohabitation, where we have negative consequences being experienced by adults?  And if there are children involved, they as well experience the negative consequences. 


NORVILLE:  A lot of people would just say it‘s meddling in people‘s personal, private lives, since 43 other states don‘t have that law on the books. 

I have to say, I was reminded when thinking about the idea that North Carolina had this law, that North Carolina was one of many states that had other laws.  And 44 years ago, your state had the first of what turned out to be many sit-ins because there were laws that prohibited blacks and whites from sitting at the same lunch counter.  Is it possible that this law, like Jim Crow laws, could be outdated? 

ROYALL:  Again, when you see a law and you‘re questioning, is this law appropriate, I know we clearly see in those cases where you‘re talking about racial discrimination, those laws were not correct.  They did not have a proper basis for them.

In this case, we do see clear evidence for a rational basis for these.  Again, we have seen the instability that comes in these cohabiting relationships.  This is what you have to look at in public policy. 


NORVILLE:  I‘m going to end it right there because, obviously, we‘re not going to settle the public policy right now. 


NORVILLE:  But, Jere Royall, I thank you. 

Just to quickly mention the other states, Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia. 

When we come back, what other kinds of laws are on the books like this?  We did a little digging and you might be surprised by what we found.  There‘s a bunch of them and there‘s a theme, women, revealing clothing, grooming habits. 

We‘ll explain in a moment.


NORVILLE:  Following up on that North Carolina law, we just had to ask, are there other laws that are kind of weird on the books? 

America has got a longstanding commitment to states rights, which means there are plenty of laws around the country that reflect local custom.  Well, we did a little checking and some of those laws might need some updating.  Now, listen carefully.  I‘m not making any of this stuff up. 

A lot of states apparently are preoccupied with keeping women properly attired and groomed.  For instance, in Ohio, it is illegal for women to wear patent leather shoes.  In Kentucky, no female can appear in bathing suit on a public highway unless accompanied by police officers.  I guess cops lobbied for that one.  And in California, a woman wearing a bathrobe may not drive a car.  In Florida, no unmarried woman can don a parachute and use it on Sunday.  I guess it‘s OK to put a parachute on and jump the rest of the week. 

In Michigan, it‘s illegal for woman to cut her hair without her husband‘s permission.  And in Oklahoma, a woman cannot cut her own hair unless she‘s got a license from the state.  Yes, unlicensed use of scissors sounds pretty serious.  And out there in New Mexico, it is against the law for a female to appear unshaven in public.  We‘re not sure if that means the legs or the face. 

And, in Kentucky, the law warns men about consorting with women in scanty attire.  In Kentucky, it‘s illegal to ask a girl in a bikini for a date.  And in the great state of New York, a man can be fined for flirting with a woman.  And kissing is dangerous, too.  Check out Massachusetts.  You are breaking the law there if you kiss in front of a church. 

And in Michigan, believe it or not, a husband and wife are not permitted to kiss in public on Sunday.  Finally, there‘s some laws that have to do with food.  Back in Massachusetts, nobody wants anybody messing with its clam chowder.  Adding tomatoes to New England clam chowder is against the law.  And, in Connecticut, where folks know their pickles, the law says you cannot be a pickle unless you can bounce. 

And coming up next, Tammy Faye Messner, she‘s always quotable, but she‘s getting a lot of attention for comments about who stood by her and who didn‘t when the chips were down. 

That‘s next.



TAMMY FAYE MESSNER, TELEVANGELIST:        And when I was going through the worst moments of my life—and I‘m going to cry and I‘m not apologizing—but it was the gay community, not the Christians, that surrounded me with love and cared for me, and took care—and did everything for me.  They came to my aid.


NORVILLE:  A lot of you wrote in about my interview last night with Tammy Faye Messner.  She says she has inoperable lung cancer, but she‘s upbeat, as always.  And, evidently, she surprised a lot of folks last night when she said that, over the years, her Christian community seemed to let her down in some of the toughest times, that it was the gay community who stood by her. 

Temple Young wasn‘t surprised.  She wrote and said: “Tammy‘s support and acceptance for all people is what sets her apart from most leaders in the religious community.  This is what her supporters, young, old, lost, gay, etcetera, connect with most.  What a lady.”  She says, “I hope the world gets to keep Tammy Faye for a while.”

Don from Louisville, Kentucky, writes: “Your interview with Tammy was fun and sad.  It was laughter through tears.  But isn‘t that how Tammy‘s life seems to have been?  We all love Tammy and pray for her well-being.  Thank you for giving us a great interview.”

Then there‘s the issue of the Tyco trial and all that fighting among the jurors. 

Kathryn Arndt from Woodland Hills has been on a jury and she says that‘s not going to happen again.  She writes: “The reluctant, lazy, irresponsible people I served with made me determined to insist on a judge, not a jury, if I‘m ever tried for a crime.  She says, I will never serve on another jury, even if this means I have to have a root canal.”

We love to hear from you.  Keep those comments coming to NORVILLE@MSNBC.com.

That‘s our program for this evening. 

Coming up next, Joe Scarborough.  He‘s got the former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright talking about Condoleezza Rice testifying before the 9/11 Commission. 



Copy: Content and programming copyright 2004 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2004 FDCH e-Media, Inc. (f/k/a/ Federal Document Clearing House Inc., eMediaMillWorks, 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 FDCH e-Media, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.


Discussion comments