updated 8/5/2005 11:37:44 AM ET 2005-08-05T15:37:44

Guest: Beth Holloway Twitty, Ricardo Yarzagaray, Susan Filan, John Burris, Pauline Coccoz, Melissa Herard, Robbin Trowbridge-Benko, Scott Coffee, Dr.
Mark Goulston, Charlie Crist

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up, the lead investigator in the Natalee Holloway case says the chief suspect has given authorities 10 different versions of an alibi.  Natalee's mother joins us with what she says could be a new lead. 


ABRAMS (voice-over):  And two jurors who acquitted Michael Jackson now say he was really guilty.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) They're planning a tell-all book.  Are they changing their minds just to make some money?  I'll talk to two of their fellow jurors. 

Plus he killed a man but a jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity.  Doctors at the trial said he'd need to be in an institution for years.  But now, just ten months later, he could walk free tomorrow.  The victim's outraged mother joins me. 

And our series “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose” continues.  Our effort to stop sex offenders before they strike.  Today, Florida's most wanted men, the same state where Jessica Lunsford was raped and killed by a wanted sex offender. 
The program about justice starts now. 


ABRAMS:  Hi everyone.  First up on the docket tonight, Alabama teen Natalee Holloway's mother says she's been approached by what could be a new witness in connection with her daughter's disappearance in Aruba.  Joining me now once again is Natalee's mother, Beth Holloway Twitty. 

Beth, thanks for coming back on the program.  We appreciate it.  Tell me about what you've learned. 

BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY'S MOTHER:  Well first of all, I'd really like to establish what I was looking for and you know being approached by a witness, I want to make it clear that what I was looking for, just any individual who—I'm trying to see if there's any predatory-type history that Joran has, a well established pattern of history, and I think that it is there and so what I'm just now is just seeing if individuals can come forward and we can just discover that further. 

ABRAMS:  And let's be clear.  You're talking about the chief suspect, Joran van der Sloot, and you've been looking for any sort of as you say, predatory past.  So what happened?  Someone just came up to you? 

TWITTY:  Well yes, I had a beautiful 18-year-old blond-headed girl from New Jersey and you know was able to recant an encounter that she had with Joran van der Sloot, Deepak Kalpoe and Satish Kalpoe during the month of April '05.

ABRAMS:  And what did she say happened?

TWITTY:  You know it's a pretty long scenario; we have a lot of details.  You know the main thing to sum it up is you know Joran, how he entered this establishment.  I believe that you know if you enter on the right side, you have to have a valid I.D.  If you enter Carlos N' Charlie's on the left side, you must have some type of—I don't know if it's a VIP pass or what to enter, but Joran enters the establishment on the left side, approaches these groups of tourists. 

You know it's interesting how he is able to try to work his way in and connect and establish himself in that—in Carlos N' Charlie's, was walking her around and these other tourists and was able to point out Satish and Deepak Kalpoe.  They were sitting ironically in the same corner, the same stools that they were seated at in the picture that's been all over international media, so that must be their spot that they wait while Joran is working. 

And you know it's so interesting how everyone in the casino knew Joran.  He had—you know he knew everyone, was greeting all the guys with his grip handshake.  All the girls approach him with a kiss on the cheek.  It was interesting how you know he was able to order these group of girls by just merely leaning over the bar and ordering four shots of 151, one for himself and three for the tourists with no money, so he's got an open tab at Carlos N' Charlie's, able to run a tab. 

You know then, you know as the evening proceeding, he's even approaching these girls getting close to closing time.  So that's another unique pattern that he had. 

ABRAMS:  Did she say anything about violence? 

TWITTY:  No, she didn't say anything about violence, but what I was looking for was a history, is a predatory-type behavior which I think Joran and Deepak and Satish have...


TWITTY:  ... and how tightly connected the three are. 

ABRAMS:  When did she approach you? 

TWITTY:  Yesterday. 

ABRAMS:  And is she a vacationer on the island or does she live there? 

TWITTY:  She's a tourist.  She is a tourist and has been to this island. 

ABRAMS:  Did she come looking for you?  I mean did she come down to Aruba so that she could talk to you? 

TWITTY:  No.  That was not the sole purpose of her trip here.  She and her family, they've visited Aruba, so—but that's not really, you know, I just was really interested to get into the details of how her night transpired. 

ABRAMS:  Right, but as you know that people are going to be saying well, you know who is this person, how credible is she, et cetera, and I'm just trying to set a little bit of background.  And I know you don't want to give her name or anything, but...


ABRAMS:  Right?  I mean...


ABRAMS:  Yes, I understand.

TWITTY:  I would say she's an extremely credible witness.  I sat down with this young girl and her mother, extremely credible, every detail of her story. 

ABRAMS:  And have you talked to the prosecutors about this? 

TWITTY:  No, I've been trying to get—arrange a meeting with her since this morning around 10:00 a.m. 

ABRAMS:  And you expect that that's going to happen? 

TWITTY:  Well, I don't think it will today but hopefully, maybe we'll be able to tomorrow. 

ABRAMS:  Now I know that you had wanted to meet with the prosecutors today.  Did you get an opportunity to do that? 

TWITTY:  Oh, no, that's what I'm waiting on.  I did not get a meeting arranged, so hopefully we will have one tomorrow. 

ABRAMS:  Have they given you any kind of reason as to why they weren't able to meet with you today? 

TWITTY:  No, they have not.  We just weren't able to get in touch with her today. 

ABRAMS:  So it sounds like and based on our conversations from yesterday, where you know you believe that you've gathered a little bit of new information from some of Natalee's friends, put some pieces together, now you have this other woman coming forward and telling you something about the past of Joran van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers, that you really feel like you've got information the prosecutors need to hear. 

TWITTY:  Absolutely.  I really want to sit down and discuss this because I think that—you know like I said, that was my primary focus that I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) do is, you know, if I could get—if anyone could come forward who could also you know document situations or encounters that they've had with Joran and Deepak and Satish, I'm sure they're numerous.  But you know they want to remain—you know they're a little hesitant and want to remain anonymous and I want to give them as much anonymity as possible, but I'm thoroughly seeking out that there are credible witnesses and would like to discuss it with the prosecuting attorney. 

ABRAMS:  And this witness that approached you actually has photos, does she not? 

TWITTY:  She has a photo of Joran with one of the girls that he—that was in her group that night, yes. 

ABRAMS:  And what are you hoping they're going to do with this?  I mean are you hoping this is just going to help create a better picture of sort of these guys...


ABRAMS:  ... at this place? 

TWITTY:  Oh, absolutely.  And what was so unique about it is as you've noticed that Joran and Deepak and Satish were not coming in—it was close to closing time.  Carlos N' Charlie's was closing at 12:00 a.m. that night so he's having to work a little faster and a little harder because due to the night before, Carlos N' Charlie's had had a fight break out between some high school students and some Aruban students and therefore, they were shutting down at 12:00 a.m. that night that they were there. 

ABRAMS:  All right, Beth, keep the heat on.  Thanks a lot for coming back.  We appreciate it. 

TWITTY:  OK.  Thank you so much. 
ABRAMS:  The lead investigator in the case has said he is convinced that Joran van der Sloot was involved in Natalee's disappearance almost 10 weeks ago and he says Van der Sloot has changed his story more than 10 times he's saying now.  So the question is that enough to charge him? 

And what about this woman who Natalee's mom says approached her?  Joining me now is Aruban attorney Ricardo Yarzagaray, former Connecticut prosecutor Susan Filan, and criminal defense attorney John Burris.  All right, let me start with you Mr. Yarzagaray. 

As a matter of Aruban law, let's assume what they have is a guy who says that he was with her that night, Joran Van der Sloot, and let's assume that they have documentation, some sort of proof that he has changed his story many times about exactly what he did.  Is that enough to take him to trial?

RICARDO YARZAGARAY, ARUBAN ATTORNEY:  You can take him to trial, but it's not enough evidence to convict and it's—from the get go, already I think in the first two weeks, it was obvious that the change of story, the inconsistencies were obvious to everyone.  It seems that he's changed his story, his version, his statements I think like—we're talking like 20 times or something. 

But if you ask me if that is enough to convict somebody, I don't think so.  Just like even if you have a confession, it might not be enough if you don't have extra evidence.  Imagine if the father of Joran, for example, would give a confession to save his son.  It wouldn't be enough.  You would need extra evidence to sustain, to you know really give it force to make it credible because we're talking about very, very serious charges here. 

ABRAMS:  As a legal matter, how important do you think this woman is, assuming everything that Beth Twitty just said about this woman coming forward to her and saying, look, you know, Joran effectively was hitting on her with this sort of M.O. with the Kalpoe brothers, et cetera.  How is that relevant to the investigation?



YARZAGARAY:  ... oh, I'm sorry. 

ABRAMS:  No, go ahead.  I wanted you to answer. 

YARZAGARAY:  Well, I think every bit of information is important at this stage, but have you to remember that everything you bring forward can also be used against you.  I mean the defense attorneys could argue that Joran has nothing to hide and he was there all the time and he was an outgoing person and well known amongst the, you know the people in the nightlife, for example.  You can also argue that you're opening a door for another type of pattern...


YARZAGARAY:  ... since the defense attorney could argue, you know let's have a look at a pattern of Natalee.  What did she do?  Has she ever disappeared before?  Why did everybody leave the island before you know saying that she was missing, things like that. 

ABRAMS:  Susan, the changing of the stories, if this were a U.S.  court, if this is were where you were prosecuting in Connecticut, the facts as I've laid them out, what we know for certain, enough to take him to trial?

SUSAN FILAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR:   Well I'm not sure there's probable cause to arrest because it's an entirely circumstantial case.  You don't have a body.  There's really no forensic evidence.  But what you do have, as you're rightly pointing out, are these significant inconsistencies. 

So what you could—if you were able to get a judge to sign off on an arrest warrant or a grand jury to indict, what you could ask a jury to ask themselves is, is there any other reasonable explanation why an innocent person would change his story 10 times but for his involvement and maybe charge him with conspiracy, along with the Kalpoe brothers so that you don't have to find that he, as the principle, committed the act that caused her death. 

So you know without the body, proving that she's dead, I think that's so big of a leap for a juror to make at this point, but that he took a step that caused her death.  That's where you're just going to have to ask a jury to ask themselves...


FILAN:  ... what else could it be?

ABRAMS:  Real quick, John Burris, what do you think of that?
OHN BURRIS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well I don't think that the prosecutor would file those charges based upon this.  Obviously, a lot of inconsistent statements is not helpful.  The question is whether or not any one of those statements sort of implicates him in the crime.  And I would tend to think that a good prosecutor would not want to take a chance on this right now.  There's always a chance more evidence would come up later...


BURRIS:  ... I don't think they would do that that. 


BURRIS:  I don't think that the pattern this lady is talking about is a real substantial pattern yet.  If there were more woman who talked about and more importantly, what happened later on that evening...

ABRAMS:  Right.  Right.  Right.

BURRIS:  Did he take her some place?  That makes sense to me, but the initial discussion does not. 


FILAN:  But it could be the one thing...

ABRAMS:  Ricardo, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it.  Susan and John are going to stick around. 

Coming up, two jurors who voted to acquit Michael Jackson now say they think he really did do it.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Could maybe their new books have changed their minds?  I talked to two of the other jurors. 

And this man stabbed a man to death but was found not guilty by reason of insanity.  Now he could be released from a mental facility after only 10 months.  The victim's mother is outraged.  She joins me, coming up. 

Plus this week we highlight the most wanted sex offenders across the country, hoping to stop these unaccounted criminals before they strike again.  Tonight, we target Florida.  Remember just a few months ago, 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, raped and killed by a wanted sex offender.  All coming up. 


ABRAMS:  The “New York Daily News” reporting today that two of the jurors in Michael Jackson case who deliberated for over 30 hours before finding him not guilty of molesting a 13-year-old cancer survivor are now saying (UNINTELLIGIBLE) well you know we got it wrong.  Juror number five, Eleanor Cook and juror number one, Raymond Hultman are reportedly writing books, “Guilty as Sin”, “Free as a Bird”, and “The Deliberator” respectively.  Remember after the verdict, Hultman defended his decision to find Jackson not guilty. 


RAY HULTMAN, JACKSON JUROR NUMBER ONE:  I don't want to give the impression that this was a really slam-dunk deal where you just go into a room and 12 people agree.  I don't think 12 people can agree on anything except that the sun might come up tomorrow morning and beyond that, you've got to talk about it and we did talk about it.  We challenged the issues and we came to the decision that pointed to reasonable doubt. 


ABRAMS:  Yes.  OK.  What happened?  And remember Cook?  She went after the accuser's mother. 


ELEANOR COOK, JACKSON JUROR NUMBER FIVE:  I disliked it intensely when she snapped her fingers at us.  That's when I thought, don't snap your fingers at me, lady. 


ABRAMS:  “My Take”—come on.  This is absurd.  Are these people really going to say he's guilty of the crime now?  If that's the case, as “The Daily News” is reporting, they should be ashamed of themselves.  What, they had more time to review the evidence since the trial ended?

Joining us now by phone is Jackson juror number 10, Pauline Coccoz and Jackson juror number eight, Melissa Herard.  All right, thank you so much for joining us.  We appreciate it.
Pauline, let me start with you.  What do you make of this apparent change of heart? 

PAULINE COCCOZ, JACKSON JUROR NUMBER 10 (via phone):  It's absurd.  It's absolutely absurd.  You know you just don't understand other than maybe there is some ulterior motives on their own behalf.

ABRAMS:  I mean were these two of the jurors who had real questions.  Did they in the jury room say, oh, wait a second, you know we think that he really might be guilty. 

COCCOZ:  Well, yes.  These were the jurors that kept, I guess, prolonging the agony, you might say, because they kept insinuating that you know—well, it just seemed as if they were looking for a needle in a haystack that wasn't there, you know, and we had to keep reminding these two that you have to you know set personal issues aside, events that might have happened to you in the past aside, and you have to look at everything for the evidence in the case.  And you know, so I'm just disgusted.  I just can't believe that either one of them can actually say what they're saying. 

ABRAMS:  Melissa, no one pressured these two jurors, did they?  I mean no one said you better join the rest of the jury in this case or else. 

MELISSA HERARD, JACKSON JUROR NUMBER EIGHT (via phone):  Oh, no.  No, it wasn't like that at all.  It was like if they felt so strong about it, we would—when they were feeling strong about it, we'd ask them, OK, you need to show us where's the proof, and we'd have a whole closet full of evidence, but not one thing could they come up with, not one thing.  And we did go through a lot of the testimony and we put stuff up all over the room and went through the lies and...

ABRAMS:  But they agreed—I guess what I'm—they agreed with this verdict, right?  I mean...


ABRAMS:  If they—I want to just be clear here, that they were on board with the rest of the jury when verdict time came. 

COCCOZ:  Absolutely.
HERARD:  Oh, definitely. 

ABRAMS:  Let me play a piece of sound from Ray Hultman.  This is one of the jurors who is reportedly writing a book where he's going to apparently say that Jackson's actually guilty.  Let's listen. 


HULTMAN:  We were required to look at some very specific counts in this case.  Some specific charges and one of those charges wasn't that Michael Jackson was guilty of sleeping with boys or that he was guilty of having adult material in his home.  Those weren't the charges in the case.  They were all evidence that could point one direction or the other, but when it came right down to it, we were required to make our decision as to reasonable doubt based on the 10 counts.  And I think we did a good job in doing that. 


ABRAMS:  So, Pauline, if this is a change of heart, you think this is the money talking? 

COCCOZ:  You never know.  I don't know.  I don't want to be malicious or anything, so you know I don't know.  Perhaps. 

ABRAMS:  Melissa? 

HERARD:  I feel the same way Pauline does.  It could be.  We'll just have to wait and see. 

ABRAMS:  All right, if you guys can stick—if you all could just stick around for a minute, I want to bring in my team, former prosecutor Susan Filan and criminal defense attorney John Burris.

Susan, you were there for a lot of this trial.  I mean come on.  I mean is this for real? 

FILAN:  Well, look, here's what it could be.  This was one of those cases where even right down to the end, it was a cliffhanger and the media was divided as to whether it was going to be a conviction, an acquittal or a hung jury.  It was a close call and I remember sitting next to you, Dan...


FILAN:  ... when the verdict came out.  So what could have happened here is dare I compare it to O.J.?  When they were looking at the evidence, it didn't rise to the standard of proof.  They had to find proof beyond a reasonable doubt...

ABRAMS:  Right.

FILAN:  ... but now that they've stepped back and looked at it, they're saying to themselves, of course he did it.  They just couldn't prove it and that may be what they're trying to say although inelegantly. 

ABRAMS:  All right, well if that's the case, then he's still not guilty as a technical legal matter.  Susan, just so everyone understands, as a prosecutor though, you can't appeal, right?  You can't use this...

FILAN:  Absolutely not. 
ABRAMS:  The question though is could someone use it in a civil
lawsuit?  Let's say that someone decides to sue, could they say well look -
· let's say the family decides to sue—look, two of the jurors say they got it wrong. 
FILAN:  No, that's not evidence.  No, absolutely not.  They can't put these juries on now as witnesses.  That's not going to constitute evidence. 

ABRAMS:  John Burris, as a defense attorney I assume you hear these—let's assume that these jurors do come forward and say you know, we got it wrong.  You don't care, do you? 

BURRIS:  No, I don't care as it relates to this aspect of it, but I will say this.  I would want to hear—if I'm representing him in a civil case, I actually want to hear what they have to say because what they have to say may be a road map as what the plaintiff's lawyer may want to do in his case in a civil case.  So I would be correspond to want to hear about it, but there's no question that the one lady, Ms. Cook, remember this, we had a discussion about this on your program, Dan, she had already through her daughter, granddaughter made efforts to write a book, had sought out an agent.

And so it seems to me that she needed—she would want—they wanted a guilty verdict, so it's not surprising to me that she would come back, even if she had misgivings at the time.  I just think this is really the unfortunate aspect of this sort of public kind of trials now.  There's efforts to make money...


BURRIS:  ... on these cases...

ABRAMS:  I don't care if these jurors want to make money.  I really don't.  I don't care if they want to write books about it.  I don't care if these jurors come back and say, we think Michael Jackson molested children in the past, but we came up with the right verdict.  I am deeply troubled, though, if now, less than two months after the verdict, these jurors are going home and their family members are saying, hey, Ray, what did you do, buddy? 

And as a result, he's saying oh, you know what?  I'm going to make some money.  I'm going to clear my name and I'm going to tell everyone that we effectively got it wrong.  I mean that would be very disturbing if that happens, right John? 

BURRIS:  What makes you think it didn't happen?  I mean obviously we have people who've said it was a not guilty verdict and now they've got books, very sexy titles to books...


BURRIS:  ... go into deliberations, that really...

ABRAMS:  “Free as a Bird”, “Guilty as Sin”...


ABRAMS:  I mean you know look, Susan's right, it could mean that what they're saying is that he is guilty of this in other cases but not in this one.  We'll see.  Anyway, we'll follow it up.  Susan Filan, John Burris, thanks a lot. 

Coming up, he was found not guilty of killing a man because jurors believed he was mentally ill.  Doctors at his trial said he'd need years of treatment, but now he could go free tomorrow after only 10 months of therapy.  The victim's mother outraged.  She joins us next. 

And our weeklong series on sex offenders continues, our effort to stop the dangerous criminals before they strike.  Tonight's focus, Florida.  The A.G., Charlie Crist, joins us with his most wanted men. 


ABRAMS:  Coming up, he killed a man but a jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity.  Doctors at the trial said he'd be in an institution for years, but now just 10 months later, he could walk as early as tomorrow.  The victim's outraged mother joins me, first the headlines. 


ABRAMS:  Question:  Can someone be so insane that he's not legally responsible for his actions and then be cured in less than a year?  Well in Nevada, Michael Kane says that's exactly what happened to him.  Four years ago Kane was high on LSD.  He stabbed 23-year-old John Trowbridge at a Las Vegas party.  Trowbridge had just been sitting reading a magazine when suddenly Kane attacked him with a dagger.
Kane said hallucinations lead him to fear for his life.  He was tried for murder last September.  The jury voted to acquit him by reason of insanity after psychiatrists for both sides agreed he was mentally ill and had been psychotic when he killed.  But now just 10 months later, more psychiatrists have decided that Michael Kane is now sane enough to be released. 

Now, remember defense doctors had argued he would have to be supervised for years.  A Nevada judge could turn Michael Kane loose tomorrow.  Robbin Trowbridge-Benko is the mother of Michael Kane's victim, John, and joins us now.  Thank you very much for taking the time.  We appreciate it.  All right, so I've got to assume that the news that he could be released tomorrow is absolutely infuriating to you. 

ROBBIN TROWBRIDGE-BENKO, VICTIM'S MOTHER:  Absolutely, Dan.  I'm outraged and I'm absolutely furious and I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to speak out for my son today and hopefully, there will be enough outcry tomorrow and hopefully the judge will see fit to recommit my son's killer.

ABRAMS:  What do you think happened?  I mean both sides agreed at the trial that the killer was mentally ill, right?

TROWBRIDGE-BENKO:  Oh absolutely.  Both sides said that he was paranoid schizophrenic and used other terms, Dan, as extremely psychotic.  Very strong, hard-hitting terms. 

ABRAMS:  So you just don't buy that he's cured.  I mean you accepted the fact that he was—did you agree with the verdict that he was not guilty by reason of insanity? 

TROWBRIDGE-BENKO:  I did not, Dan.  I did not believe that at the time of the killing that he was under any kind of delusion because in order to have this kind of defense available to him, he had to feel that he was being attacked and as you stated, Dan, he went after my son.  He jumped on my son's back, so there was no defense here. 
There was no need for any feeling of that kind of defense and it was obvious, action speak louder than words.  So no, I do not feel he was insane at the time.  But as you said, both sides, state and the defense stated at the trial, as he sat there before us, he was paranoid schizophrenic and would probably never come out of a mental institute if the jury saw fit to put him in the place where he belongs. 

ABRAMS:  So you believe what, he's pulled one over on them. 

TROWBRIDGE-BENKO:  I don't know.  Somebody's done something here.  One minute—like you said, one minute I'm being told you know he's delusional on LSD.  Another time it's, you know, no, he was paranoid schizophrenic and now 10 months later, I'm being told I'm supposed to accept that no we're back to maybe it just being drugs. 

And I don't know who's got it right and I don't know who's gotten it wrong.  All I know is that they are looking to release either somebody who's a paranoid schizophrenic and a killer or someone who was not paranoid schizophrenic and a cold blooded killer.  Either way, it's not a good situation. 

ABRAMS:  Did your son know this guy at all? 

TROWBRIDGE-BENKO:  Not really.  They were just acquaintances and my son was laying on a bed, reading a bicycle magazine while Michael Kane was sitting in his drug- drug-induced stupor and he just reached out and grabbed the replica Roman dagger that he was carrying with him and stabbed my son in the neck and then he jumped on my son's back and stabbed him six more times.  To my understanding, my son had maybe met him one or two other times, briefly.  So more along the lines of acquaintances. 

ABRAMS:  Let me lay out the events that have occurred in this case since October of 2001.  This is number six.

Michael Kane stabs John Trowbridge in October of 2001.  Kane assaults guards and chews flesh from his own soldier—from his own shoulder.  When he was at the jail, he was sent to a psychiatric hospital.  He returned to jail.  He refused medication, returned to a psychiatric hospital.  He was tried and found not guilty by reason of insanity and returned to the hospital.  So the bottom line is you just feel like the system has let you down. 

TROWBRIDGE-BENKO:  You know, I do.  I feel like the system has not only let me down currently, but they're in the process of letting down an awful a lot of innocent citizens if they let Michael Kane fall through this loophole and that is the instance of where then we would have other people also being—other criminals—other killers having the opportunity to fall through the same loophole. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  All right, Robbin Trowbridge-Benko, thank you so much for taking the time to come on the program.  Really appreciate it.

TROWBRIDGE-BENKO:  Thank you for your time.  I really appreciate it. 

ABRAMS:  So is it medically possible—that's what I want to know—for someone to be diagnosed as psychotic, and all of a sudden, be cured in 10 months?  Well I'm going to ask someone who should know. 

And later, our weeklong series, “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose” continues.  Tonight, the state of Florida where Jessica Lunsford was abducted and assaulted, buried alive.  We're trying to stop them before they strike.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, he kills a man, jury finds him not guilty by reason of insanity.  He's sent off to a mental hospital, now he could be released after just 10 months.  His attorney joins me next.


ABRAMS:  Before we get back to our story, we want to bring you some breaking news and that is that Chief Justice William Rehnquist has apparently been taken to the hospital once again with a fever.  This has happened on a number of occasions.  We have been told in the past that it has often been precautionary, but considering how important a job this chief justice has, his health is a matter of great public concern.  And that's all we know right now is that he's been taken to the hospital with a fever.  We will stay on top of it and bring you any other news as soon as we hear it. 

A Nevada judge could let Michael Kane walk free tomorrow -- 10 months, 10 months after he was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the brutal stabbing of John Trowbridge.  A guy was just reading a magazine at a party, Kane jumped him with a dagger.  Psychiatrists for both the prosecution and defense said at trial Kane was sick, probably psychotic the night of the stabbing, but after 10 months in a mental hospital, Kane could be released tomorrow.  Doctors at the hospital effectively saying he's cured -- 10 months and he's cured. 

Scott Coffee is Michael Kane's attorney.  Dr. Mark Goulston is a psychiatrist and with me again is former prosecutor Susan Filan and criminal defense attorney John Burris.  Mr. Coffee, you can understand why the mother of the victim is saying, come on give me a break, 10 months. 

SCOTT COFFEE, MICHAEL KANE'S ATTORNEY:  Ten months is a nice number, Dan, but he's been in custody and incarcerated for four years and he's been receiving mental health treatment for virtually the entire time.  So the timeframe that we're talking about is really four years rather than 10 months. 

ABRAMS:  But the trial only occurred (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the trial only occurred in September of last year. 

COFFEE:  That's right.  The trial was 10 months ago, but you have to remember that the jury was focused on a very narrow question and that was, was he insane at the time of the stabbing...

ABRAMS:  Right.

COFFEE:  ... which was four years ago.  He was not psychotic at the trial.  If he had been we couldn't have tried him.  He wouldn't have been competent.

ABRAMS:  Well that's not true.  There's a different standard for insanity and for competence to stand trial. 

COFFEE:  Absolutely.  But the point is he was not psychotic at the trial.  He was still mentally ill but he wasn't forwardly psychotic like when he was admitted to the mental institution three years ago. 

ABRAMS:  Dr. Goulston, you buy it?

DR. MARK GOULSTON, PSYCHIATRIST:  I think anybody is capable of having a psychotic episode.  What I think is frustrating is you have these different diagnoses.  When you hear something like paranoid schizophrenic, you do think that this is going to go on for years and should be treated.  And when you have jurors seeing something that's very frightening and even terrifying to them, you rely on experts because you're trying to be objective...

ABRAMS:  But the experts were saying that he would need to be supervised for many years to come. 

GOULSTON:  Well that goes long with the diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, but almost anyone can have a psychotic episode if they're taking recreational drugs...

ABRAMS:  Right.

GOULSTON:  ... if they're sleep deprived...

ABRAMS:  But this was not...

GOULSTON:  ... so it's confusing.

ABRAMS:  Right.  But the psychiatrists in this case were not just saying it was an episode.  They were saying he was mentally ill.  It was not simply based on the drugs—isn't that correct, Mr. Coffee?

COFFEE:  That's—it's Mr. Coffee.  That's more or less correct.  The drugs were probably a trigger.  That's what we're hearing at this point.  There was some methamphetamine use earlier that they think was the trigger of the psychotic episode and some of the times that mimics paranoid schizophrenia. 

ABRAMS:  So Dr. Goulston, with that in mind—I mean Dr. Goulston look, you can understand why a layperson is looking at this and saying, this guy has served 10 months and Mr. Coffee points out that look, the trial took a long time before it actually happened, et cetera.  But the mother who we just talked to is basically saying come on, not guilty, I thought he was going to be in there for basically for life? 

GOULSTON:  You know, there's a saying that the measure of the civilization is how it treats people that have hurt it or terrified it and we are in America so this is not like other countries, which would either kill this person or throw the key away forever.  So we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard than other countries...


GOULSTON:  ... and this may be an example of where it's a frustrating result and we don't have good closure.  The problem I have, Dan, is that I think there needs to be a focus on his being out of a confined facility.  This is where the rubber hits the road and maybe he needs something like impulse management courses or probation or something to make sure that whatever he's suffering from, personality problems, psychosis...


ABRAMS:  Susan...

GOULSTON:  ... that he doesn't become a danger. 

ABRAMS:  ... Dr. Goulston is going to be very upset with my characterization of psychiatry is a squishy science.  That doesn't mean I don't believe in it.  It just means that there is something squishy about it in a sense that different experts will interpret things different ways.  It's not as sort of hard and clear as looking at a broken bone or something like that.  And as a result, can we really have a legal system that people can have faith in where we have results like this that feel so wrong. 


ABRAMS:  Let me ask s Susan Filan...


ABRAMS:  Let me ask Susan Filan.

FILAN:  The conflict for a prosecutor is if someone is clearly insane, legally insane, that's not somebody that you necessarily want to criminalize their behavior and put them in prison.  But if you have someone who's malingering, which may be what this person is doing, faking mental illness and getting over on the system and getting this super soft conviction that gets him out on the street, then justice was not served. 
Now, when you get to a trial on these insanity defenses, they're very complicated.  Because as you say, Dan, the experts are going to disagree and the jurors are going to get confused.  The prosecutor needs to be crystal clear about what the proof is and what...

ABRAMS:  I just think, John Burris, people are going to lose faith in the system when we have results like this because it is, as I've described, it's such a squishy science. 


BURRIS:  You've got to remember this is not a defense that is usually successful. 

ABRAMS:  Right.

BURRIS:  You have three or four case like this from time to time. 


BURRIS:  I don't think you jump the whole system.  You don't say the whole system is a failure because you have one case that appears not to be totally equitable and just. 


BURRIS:  The insanity defense I've tried before, it is a difficult, difficult defense...

ABRAMS:  No question.  But the fact that he's out...


ABRAMS:  ... 10 months later—Dr. Goulston, you wanted to jump in. 

GOULSTON:  Yes, I think Mr. Coffee makes a good point, but we have to keep things in perspective.  OK, so this is the exception—maybe not the exception of the rule that gets us all infuriated, gets us angry at my profession, but it's an...

ABRAMS:  I'm not angry at your profession.  I'm saying it doesn't work because it's imperfect and as a result that when we know someone is killed that I think we are going to have people lose faith in the justice system when we have results like this, even if it is the exception of the rule.  Let me give Mr. Coffee the final word.

COFFEE:  Dan, when we lose faith in the justice system that, for example, prosecuted a 6-year-old and put him in prison when he turned 18 if he misused his father's weapon and killed a playmate.  Would we lose faith in that system?  I mean this is a system that worked.  This is a young man that was mentally ill.  There was no indication he was malingering.  He was tested by expert after expert. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  We shall see what happens tomorrow.  Mr. Coffee, thanks for coming on the program.  Susan Filan, John Burris, and Dr.  Goulston, good to see you again.

Coming up, our weeklong series tracking sex offenders before they strike again.  The state of Florida, Jessica Lunsford killed by a sex offender.  We're calling it “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”, coming up.


ABRAMS:  Want to give you a brief update on that story we told you about a few moments ago that Chief Justice William Rehnquist has been returned to a hospital with a fever.  Supreme Court spokesman Ed Turner says Rehnquist returned to the same hospital he's been before—quote—
“for evaluation.”  We also know that he was at the Supreme Court working today. 

We will keep you updated if we get any new information. 
Back to our weeklong series, “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”.  Every night this week we're showing you some of the most wanted sexual predators throughout the country, hoping we can get them off the streets before they strike.  According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the whereabouts of 150,000 sexual predators unknown. 

Tonight we focus on Florida, the same state where 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford and 13-year-old Sarah Lunde lived and where both were abducted and murdered.  Convicted sex offenders charged in each case.  Florida is faced with a big problem.  There are more than 35,000 known sex offenders in that state.  Upwards of 5,000 of them classified as sexual predators, the most serious classification.

And 46 of those most serious offenders are missing including 28-year-old Ariel Orestes Rovelo kidnapped, sexually assaulted two girls who he knew.  They were 14 and 16 at the time.  Joining me now Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist.
All right, Attorney General, thanks very much for coming on the program.  Let's go through some of these guys.  What's up...


ABRAMS:  ... with this guy Rovelo?

CHARLIE CRIST, FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL:  Well he's a bad actor, obviously and fortunately in Florida, we have a number of these.  As you mentioned at the outset during the introduction there's about 35,000 -- over 35,000 of them throughout the state...

ABRAMS:  Let's just talk about them one by one.  So tell me what did Rovelo do and why do we need to catch him so badly. 

CRIST:  Well what he did was what some of the others did that we're going to talk about.  He is guilty of having—went ahead and molested a young girl and because of the fact that he did that, he is now a sexual predator as defined by Florida law.  He is one of the people that we're trying to apprehend.  It is challenging and difficult to do this, but we're doing everything we can, including utilizing this Web site that you talked about to try to make sure that we get these people, that we're able to bring them to justice and make Florida streets more safe. 

ABRAMS:  Convicted in '97 for sexual battery and kidnapping.  A warrant issued on January 13, 2000.  Multiple sexual batteries on a minor.  Next guy, David Rodriguez.  What do we know about him? 

CRIST:  Well David Rodriguez is in a similar situation.  Again, you know there's going to be five of these people that we'll probably talk about tonight.  The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has listed all five of these on their Web site to make it available to the people of Florida.  It becomes a great service.  They've all been guilty of molestation of a child, lewd or lascivious activity.  These are the kinds of things that we're targeting in the wake of some of these horrific crimes...


CRIST:  ... that we've dealt with in our state.

ABRAMS:  Convicted in 2000.  Three counts of lewd, lascivious acts on a girl under16.  A warrant issued on January 23, 2003.  He absconded from probation.  Again, he's wanted. 
James Thomas Butler, let's talk about him for a minute.  Last known...

CRIST:  ... found guilty. 


CRIST:  ... 2001, lewd lascivious acts on 7 and 8-year-old girls, sentenced to seven years probation.  Last known address was entered April 2005 in Jacksonville.  Previous criminal history includes arrest for aggravated battery, deadly weapon and grand theft for which depositions are unknown.  Disposition, rather, is unknown.  Additionally, he was arrested in 2004 on a domestic violence.  Then there's also Cook, found guilty 1986...

ABRAMS:  William Martin Cook...

CRIST:  ... coercion, right (UNINTELLIGIBLE) adult, sentenced to three years in prison, followed by 10 years probation.  The victims were 7 and 12-year-old girls, unconciable (ph) acts.  Randy Lee Deese...

ABRAMS:  Let's just talk about Cook...


ABRAMS:  Let's talk about Cook for a minute. 

CRIST:  Sure. 

ABRAMS:  Another bad guy.  Again, but these are all people—let's be clear, who are—who have not registered, right, who are wanted right now? 

CRIST:  That's right.  That's exactly right, Dan, and that's one of the frustrations that we're dealing with.  You know whenever you have a situation where you have these kinds of people that are at large, we need to do everything we possibly can to bring them to justice. 


CRIST:  And what you're doing tonight is going to help Florida in a great measure to be able to bring that to bear, to bring these people into justice, advertising and having their face available...


CRIST:  ... or people can go to the Web site, MyFloridaLegal.com.  It's a great tool that we have in the state we've done in conjunction with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.  Governor Bush has directed them very ably to make sure that we have this Web site available.  That Floridians and parents, in fact, are empowered...

ABRAMS:  We just got...

CRIST:  ... to bring these people to justice. 

ABRAMS:  We just got—I just got so fed up with hearing about sex offenders who were wanted and thinking all right, you know what can we do.  Let me—let's put up one more guy, Randy Lee Deese.  What do we know about him? 

CRIST:  Randy Lee Deese, you know he was found guilty in 2001 of lewd and lascivious molestation of a female under the age of 12.  Sentenced to 10 years' probation.  He was known to the victim's family.  His last known address was entered in July of 2005, Tallahassee, Florida.  Criminal history of DUIs and forgeries as well.  I mean these people are creeps. 

ABRAMS:  Let's take one last look here at the five that we've mentioned, Ariel Rovelo, David Rodriguez, James Thomas Butler, William Martin Cook, Randy Lee Deese.  If anyone out there has any information, even if you think you might have information on any one of these guys, please call the Florida Department of Law Enforcement tip line, 1 -- is it 1-888 or is it 1-800 -- 1-800-357-7332 and Attorney General Crist, this is the best thing people can do, right? 

CRIST:  Thank you, Dan. 

ABRAMS:  Oh, OK...

CRIST:  Really appreciate your help.  Thank you.  Thank you very much. 

ABRAMS:  Thanks a lot...


ABRAMS:  Thanks for coming back on the program.  We appreciate it. 
Take a break.  Be back in a minute. 


ABRAMS:  I've had my say, now it's time for “Your Rebuttal”.  The mother of missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway spoke to friends of Natalee's who were with her in Aruba, now believes Natalee thought she was getting in a cab after drinking at a local bar.  Many of you had questions. 

Leslie Jesinkey in South Carolina, “My heart goes out to Beth Holloway and the great job she is doing.  However, I don't understand why Natalee was waving to her friends and getting in a cab by herself.  Why wasn't she getting in a cab with her friends?”
Also last night, a 42-year-old Catholic school English teacher from suburban Albany, New York, accused of having sex with one of her 16-year-old students.  Three other boys say she slept with them, too, but they were 17, old enough to consent. 
Leo Walls in Fort Worth, Texas, “Dan, there you go again.  Here is a 40-year-old woman having sex with 17-year-old boys and they're considered minors, can't buy cigs or booze.  You said not all 17-year-old boys are innocent.  Does the same go for 17-year-old girls?”

Yes, it does.  And remember, 17 legal in that state. 

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

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

Have a good night.  We will see you tomorrow. 



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