updated 8/18/2005 11:12:40 AM ET 2005-08-18T15:12:40

Guest: Beth Holloway Twitty, Clint Van Zandt, Tony Rackauckas, Michael Molfetta, Ryan Hawks, Jean Casarez, Robert Beattie, Dr. Keith Ablow

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Coming up, the chief suspect in the Natalee Holloway case could be released in less than three weeks, so why have interrogations come to a screeching halt? 


ABRAMS (voice-over):  Authorities haven‘t interrogated Joran van der Sloot for at least a week and the landfill search is at a standstill.  We talk to Natalee‘s frustrated mother. 

And a former child actor charged in a double murder.  The accusation that he and his friends pretended to be interested in buying a yacht, but then went out to sea, tied the boat‘s owners to the anchor and threw them overboard.

Plus, what does a 60-year-old murder have to do with Scott Peterson killing his wife Laci and unborn child?  Quite a bit, according to the author of a new book.

The program about justice starts now. 


ABRAMS:  Hi everyone, I‘m live from the Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation fundraiser at the Bethpage Golf Course in Farmingdale, New York.  I‘ll tell you more about that later in the program. 

But first up on the docket tonight, the lead suspect in Natalee Holloway‘s disappearance in Aruba could walk free next month and NBC News has learned that it‘s been a full week since he was last interrogated.  For two weeks Joran van der Sloot was interrogated by a team of Dutch behavioral specialists but apparently he said nothing so the interrogators decided to take a break, go over their files and regroup. 

Meanwhile, Joran‘s attorneys were in court today, asking for more access to the prosecution‘s files.  That ruling is expected Monday afternoon.  And the search may go on after days of a halted landfill search due to a lack of equipment and funding.  Private investigators received an anonymous donation that should enable them to search the landfill for another week. 

Joining me now with her thoughts on these latest developments once again is Natalee‘s mother, Beth Holloway Twitty.  Beth, thanks for coming back on the program.  We appreciate it. 

What do you make of this revelation that Joran hasn‘t been questioned for a week?  I mean I have to tell you it didn‘t surprise me because I would say think that after a while of someone saying I‘m not going to talk, I‘m not going to talk, you know they‘d probably say, all right let‘s go back to square one.  But how does it make you feel? 

BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY‘S MOTHER:  Well you know, I‘m thinking that, you know, he‘d really shut down weeks ago you know after he began giving just you know one lie after the next in a statement, so you know when I heard that they were you know stopping the interrogations for a bit, I don‘t know, I‘m just hoping that they‘re able to regroup and maybe come back with him again and in the meanwhile, you know I‘m always optimistic that Deepak and Satish Kalpoe might be rearrested.  I think that would be great idea to bring them back in, begin interrogating them by these officials. 

ABRAMS:  Are you encouraged by the news that an anonymous private donor has funded a continue search now of the landfill? 

TWITTY:  Well yes and this is the first time hearing of this right now, so I have no information about this.  I mean this is great. 

ABRAMS:  Yes, I mean we‘re told that it‘s a go.  That someone has funded that for the next week and I—my guess is they‘re probably doing it because of you, probably after seeing you speaking out so much.  My guess is that they probably decided that it‘s something that they want to be involved in.  Any other news that you‘re hearing there on the island, Beth? 

TWITTY:  No.  You know we have really not—Jug and I have been so frustrated since, gosh, well, we‘ve been frustrated the whole time, but last Thursday, really, we have just been locked out of information from the authorities.   We have a family liaison and he‘s been able to get absolutely zero updates since last Thursday and Jug flew in this weekend, hoping he could get more information on island and has actually received absolutely none.  So, you know...

ABRAMS:  Is it true...

TWITTY:  ... it‘s just increasing our frustration. 

ABRAMS:  Is it true that the prosecutors are not meeting with you? 

TWITTY:  You know, I have met—we have met, but it‘s not on any type of schedule basis.  Very sporadic and they‘ve been very limited at that.  You know but what we need—you know we need to have this contact every day or at least every other day.  And I know there‘s not going to be critical pieces of evidence that are coming forward or you know, but just have that contact so we‘ll know where we‘re going and be involved and kept abreast of what‘s going on.  I mean honestly, this week, if it hadn‘t been for the media, I wouldn‘t have gotten any updates. 

ABRAMS:  So, I don‘t understand.  Have they refused to meet with you?  I mean you‘re basically—you know you basically asked for it, it sounds like and have they said sorry, we just don‘t have time?

TWITTY:  No, they haven‘t even said that.  There‘s just been no response. 

ABRAMS:  Are you getting the sense that they‘re getting frustrated with you? 

TWITTY:  You know, I don‘t think that they should be getting frustrated with me.  I certainly hope not.  I mean you know, I‘m thinking as the victims here, we‘re absolutely having no rights of protection.  It seems like the ones who were involved in the crime are having all the protection and their rights.  I‘m thinking, you know there—you know with these defense attorneys today, I mean again, you know filing these motions and trying to get access to more evidence from the prosecution and you know we‘re just trying to get a family update. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  What was your reaction to hear that some of the defendants are asking for more access to information?  I don‘t see how they‘re possibly going to get that, but what was your reaction to hearing that news? 

TWITTY:  Well, I‘m not surprised because that‘s how their behavior has been the entire time that they‘ve been on the case.  They have had—you know, from the beginning, Joran‘s lawyer was—he was involved with, you know, I know that there was some information that you know he was trying to get from Paul van der Sloot and then was delivering it to his client, Joran, and of course he was removed from the case.  But this was early in June, so I mean I think this has just been his characteristic and record all along. 

ABRAMS:  Beth, I don‘t ask you this every time you come on the program.  I ask it to you occasionally.  How are you holding up? 

TWITTY:  Well, you know it is really difficult, but you know the support from, you know, everyone from the media and from all the viewers has just been incredible.  You know they just give such encouraging—they send such encouraging thoughts, mail and e-mail.  It‘s the only thing that‘s getting us through this and we are so grateful that the media has stayed and carried Natalee‘s voice for her. 

You know we really felt like after July the 4th that we would be here by ourselves for the next eight weeks until the September the 4th date, and when they stayed, I mean we have just been so grateful to them being here on the island because they‘ve been a huge source of getting information for us and also delivering information for Natalee.  So it‘s just been an incredible situation for us. 

ABRAMS:  Beth, thanks again for taking the time to come back on the program.  We appreciate it.  Good luck. 

TWITTY:  OK.  Thank you so much. 

ABRAMS:  MSNBC analyst, former FBI investigator, Clint Van Zandt has been following the story from the state since it broke and is now down in Aruba taking a firsthand look at how the investigation is going.  He joins us now with his take. 

All right.  Clint, so they haven‘t been questioning Joran van der Sloot for the last week.  I think some people are going to be saying, oh, my what are they doing?  Oh, the Aruban authorities, blah, blah, blah.  Look if every time he‘s saying I‘m not going to talk, I‘m not going to talk, I‘m not going to talk, we wouldn‘t be questioning him every day here in the U.S.  either. 

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI INVESTIGATOR:  No.  And I think the reality is, Dan, he‘s not evening saying I‘m not going to talk.  He‘s just sitting there like a statue.  They‘re asking their questions.  You know a week or two ago, people suggested they‘re you know looking at his body language. 

Well does he cross his arms or does he turn sideways?  That doesn‘t make him any more guilty than if he did do it or he didn‘t do it.  What they need is information.  He‘s not giving it.  He‘s sitting right there with his attorneys.  He‘s got this mental picture in front of him that says September 4 and he knows that if he just keeps his mouth shut, that potentially that‘s the end of the race...

ABRAMS:  But Clint...

VAN ZANDT:  ... at most maybe 30 more days...

ABRAMS:  ... it seems pretty clear he hasn‘t kept his mouth shut.  I mean he‘s made all these conflicting statements apparently about what he did and what happened the night Natalee went missing. 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, there was a point.  I mean we had—you know, Dan, that‘s what—that‘s why I can‘t get off these three guys.  You know I mean I hear, you know, people suggesting oh she swam out on to sea, pirates got her, drug dealers, she left of her own volition.  I mean investigation 101 says you start with the last people she was with and see what they have to say.

All these guys have to say is that you know gee, we took her up in the lighthouse; we had some type of contact with her.  We dropped her off and that was it.  One story, stay with the story, OK, investigators move on.  But as you just said, they go story after story after story.  They implicate each other.  They implicate themselves.  I as an investigator would have a hard time getting away from these three guys. 

ABRAMS:  Clint, look, you‘re there on the island, you‘re getting to talk to some of these people firsthand now.  Getting any new information? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well you know (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you just had Beth on.  I mean you know she‘s not a super lady.  She‘s not a super mom.  She‘s just like any of us who is fighting for answers for her child.  I mean she has to go bed every night and get up every morning and say how am I going to do this.  How do I get the emotional manna to carry on one more day, and she does it.

You know I hear people saying hey, you know this story has lost its legs.  Let‘s move on to something else.  If it was my kid, if it was somebody else‘s kid, I would hope I had the tenacity she did.  Number one and number two, I would hope you and other shows would support me because...


VAN ZANDT:  ... I think she‘s absolutely right.  Without the media down here, this investigation would have died.  The authorities would have moved on.  They would have shook their hands and said one happy island.  Whoever is responsible for Natalee‘s disappearance, you know she wasn‘t taken up by Martians, somebody‘s got the answers.  Somebody knows...


VAN ZANDT:  ... and...

ABRAMS:  Clint...

VAN ZANDT:  ... there‘s no way to get away from these three suspects.

ABRAMS:  Am I—Clint, am I a cynic because I‘m starting to lose hope?  I mean am I—are you angry at me because I am starting to lose hope here and I am starting to wonder whether this case is ever going to get solved and starting to believe that, you know, it probably won‘t be.

VAN ZANDT:  I‘m angry at myself, Dan.  I was on your show last night, you know, and I just, you know, Beth and I have talked, and I have talked to other investigators.  As a parent, I‘m angry about this that somebody could be responsible for taking my child or someone else‘s child that you spend 18 years nurturing, loving, preparing for college, and in a heartbeat they‘re gone again.  You know that‘s what I‘m angry about.  And I‘m angry...

ABRAMS:  All right...

VAN ZANDT:  ... that the family doesn‘t have answers. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  All right.  Well—and Clint stick around.  At the end of the show a lot of our viewers had thoughts about your comments last night, so you might want to listen up to that coming up later in the program.

All right, coming up, a former child actor accused of pretending to take a yacht out for a test ride, but then tying the boat‘s owners to the anchor and throwing them overboard.  We‘re going to talk to the prosecutor, coming up.

And the BTK killer back in court for a sentencing hearing—the families of his victims sitting through the gruesome details again, even though he‘s already confessed and agreed to a plea deal.  Why isn‘t this over?

Plus, a new book claims to have the psychological explanation as to why Scott Peterson killed Laci and their unborn child. 

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


ABRAMS:  According to authorities it seems the case of a missing couple from Arizona has been cracked and now a former child actor has been charged in a bizarre plot to steal the couple‘s yacht and throw them overboard.  Skylar Deleon once appeared in the children‘s television show, “Mighty Morphin‘ Power Rangers”.  He‘s now accused of killing Thomas and Jackie Hawks.  Prosecutors say five people, including Deleon‘s wife, plotted to steal Thomas and Jackie Hawks‘ yacht, their money and their bank accounts and then kill them. 

According to prosecutors, they faked interest in buying the boat.  The couple took them out for a test ride and that is when prosecutors say they tied them to an anchor and threw them overboard.  Prosecutors are basing a lot of their case on the testimony of a man who says he was hired to help kill the Hawks and says he restrained the couple before Deleon through them overboard.  He‘s also charged with murder in a separate trial. 

Joining me now is the Orange County California district attorney Tony Rackauckas whose office is prosecuting the case and criminal defense attorney Michael Molfetta (ph) who represents Jennifer Deleon, Skylar Deleon‘s wife, who is also charged with murder.  Gentlemen thank you very much for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.

All right, Mr. Rackauckas...


ABRAMS:  ... lay out for us, if you will, what the allegation is here.  Now you‘ve got this witness who‘s coming forward to you and he‘s saying, I was basically hired by these guys to help them do what? 

TONY RACKAUCKAS, ORANGE COUNTY, CA DISTRICT ATTORNEY:  Well, to kill the Hawks and take their boat and their bank account.  I mean basically what we have here is the Hawks are this very nice couple who‘ve of course been working all of their life to get what they have and they wanted to sell their yacht so that they could move closer to their new grandchild and they put the boat or the yacht up in a magazine for sale and this small-time crook, Skylar Deleon, came across that and decided that it might be a good opportunity to steal the boat

And he and his follower this Alonso Machain went and met the Hawks and he - - Skylar determined that Mr. Hawks actually would—was a pretty big, strong guy and that he would need more help to overpower him, so he enlisted some additional help including this John F. Kennedy.  And on the day that all of this happened, they went out on a test cruise, the three people on board, Skylar Deleon, Alonso Machain, and John F. Kennedy, they overpowered the Hawks, tied them up, handcuffed them, tied them to the anchor—to an anchor, a 66-pound anchor and threw them overboard.  Before they did that...


RACKAUCKAS:  Before they did that, they forced them to sign powers of attorney and the bill of sale and so forth for their boat and for their bank account and then they tried to acquire that after the murders. 

ABRAMS:  The former president must be so proud of his namesake.  Let me ask you about this guy Alonso Machain.  This guy is your key witness.  Do you have evidence apart from him that this is exactly how it went down?  Because this guy is kind of an unsavory character, right? 

RACKAUCKAS:  Well as far as all of the details, I would have to honestly say no to that, but all the facts and circumstances are—support what he has to say.  I mean there was no question before he made his statement that this is the outline of what occurred and—but certainly Alonso Machain adds a good deal of detail to it. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  So Mr. Molfetta, is your position—your position obviously is that your client is not guilty.  Is it your position that the Hawks weren‘t even killed? 

MICHAEL MOLFETTA, JENNIFER DELEON‘S ATTORNEY:  Well I mean my position‘s a little bit different.  Remember, Dan, I represent the wife, Jennifer Deleon.  So my position and the strategy of my defense, which obviously, I‘m not going to get into right now, doesn‘t really deal so much with what happened on the boat on that day.  It deals more with knowledge, if and when she became in possession of certain types of knowledge and what her involvement is, so to address whether or not the Hawks are dead, you know listen, I mean I‘m a human being and I have common sense. 

ABRAMS:  Right.

MOLFETTA:  I think obviously that you have some people that were in contact with their family, were very caring, very loving with their family who have suddenly dropped off the face of the earth.  I mean you know I‘m not going to ram my head into that wall...


MOLFETTA:  ... but as a lawyer, that really doesn‘t confront me. 

ABRAMS:  Right.  So it sounds to me like your position is going to be that this guy‘s story really may be true in large part, but it‘s simply not true that your client, for example—I mean, the allegation is that your client makes the call, sort of lures them there, that she knows the whole time that this is a plan to kill them, throw them overboard, steal their money, and I assume your position is going to be well, maybe she called them but she didn‘t really know what was going on.

MOLFETTA:  Well, first of all, what comes out of the preliminary, she didn‘t make any phone calls to the Hawks initially and no, I don‘t agree with anything Alonso Machain says.  I have absolutely no problem saying that if that is the pony upon which they want to ride to Jennifer Deleon‘s conviction, that being Alonso Machain, I feel pretty good about things.  Alonso Machain, he‘s a prolific and consummate liar. 

ABRAMS:  So Mr. Rackauckas, what is the allegation with regard to the wife?  I mean look the allegation that you just laid out for us is that the husband, this former power ranger or whatever, he‘s the guy who sort of plans the whole thing.  He‘s the—sort of mastermind behind this.  What is your allegation as to exactly what the wife—I mean you‘re charging her with murder. 

RACKAUCKAS:  Yes, that‘s correct.  Well, she, of course knew about it and she was involved in going there visiting the Hawks on the boat, making them feel more comfortable about the whole situation of selling the boat to Deleon and I think that—we understand that the defense is going to be that she didn‘t know about this, but we certainly believe that by the time of the trial, the evidence will be very clear that she knew very well all of the plan. 

ABRAMS:  All right, quick response, Mr. Molfetta, and then I want to talk to their son.

MOLFETTA:  Well again, if you believe Mr. Machain, then have you to believe that before Jennifer ever came in contact with the Hawkses, the plan was that they were going to kill the Hawkses on that day and only after that did Jennifer get involved.  So you know I understand the prosecution‘s position is of course it‘s obvious, but so far it hasn‘t been made that obvious. 

ABRAMS:  Let me bring in Ryan Hawks here.  This is the son of Thomas Hawks and joins us now.  Thanks very much for taking the time.  Look, I don‘t want to ask you about sort of the legal side of this.  I‘ll let the lawyers sort of wrangle on that one.  But when you heard that this is what they believe happened, I mean talk about a senseless kind of crime.  I don‘t know if there was some sense of finality that at least you knew what had happened, but I‘ve got to believe that you were also even more frustrated after hearing what the prosecutors believe happened here. 

RYAN HAWKS, FATHER ALLEGEDLY MURDERED BY DELEON:  Yes, absolutely.  It‘s really rough to hear.  I don‘t think there‘s words that can really define my emotions or feelings right now.  But I knew about 95 percent of it walking into that courtroom.  The details were a little hard to take, but you know—and more is going to come out for trial and it was harder for the family because they didn‘t know of the extent of the death and how brutal it really was. 

ABRAMS:  Yes, and it sounds like you know according to prosecutors that your dad put up a fight in the process.  Tell me a little bit about your dad. 

HAWKS:  Well he‘s—you know, he‘s just the one I love the most and like every great father, I admire my—every great son, I admire my father so much.  He‘s a well-built individual, really into his physical characteristics and very mentally stable, along with my mother, too, and for them to be put in a situation like this, I would always know that they would make the best of any situation, especially when it came to their own lives. 

And I‘m a little speechless right now but it‘s just because the emotional wreck I‘ve been going through.  So, but I know that he did put up a hell of a fight and when they were going in details and even how Skylar and JFK were joking about how they couldn‘t get him in a headlock and this and that I knew exactly the position and how he wrestled and managed his way and try to fight every inch of his life out of those individuals‘ hands, but unfortunately, it wasn‘t enough. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Hey Ryan, thanks a lot for taking the time.  I appreciate it. 

HAWKS:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  And Tony Rackauckas and Michael Molfetta, thanks to you as well. 

Appreciate it.

Coming up...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and then some cords and tightened it. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This was in the bedroom?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Did he in fact suffocate?  The...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Not right away.  No sir, he did not.


ABRAMS:  The BTK killer, bind, torture, kill, set to be sentenced for 10 murders.  He‘s back in court.  Even though he already pled guilty and accepted what seems like a life sentence, so why is everyone being forced to endure more of this?

Scott Peterson sentenced to death for the murder of his wife Laci and unborn child, so why did he do it?  Well a new book claims to have the answers.  That‘s coming up. 

And our continuing series “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”, our effort to find missing sex offenders before they strike.  Our search today resumes in Alabama.

Richard David Bagwell convicted of raping a 7-year-old girl in Winston County, Alabama, has not registered with the authorities.  He‘s wanted.  He‘s 22 years old, 5- foot 9, weighs 155 pounds.  If you‘ve got any information as to where he is, please call the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.  The number, 334-353-1172. Be right back.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, the man known as the BTK killer, bind, torture, kill, in court to be sentenced, but why?  He‘s graphically confessed to killing 10 people.  The deal has been made.  He‘s getting life, so why does the families have to endure more gruesome hearings?  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)


ABRAMS:  I‘m here at a golf course in Bethpage, Long Island.  I‘ll tell you about why later in the program.

Some family members have admitted BTK serial killer Dennis Rader broke down in court today as they listened to detail after detail of Rader‘s 17-year-murder spree that left authorities stumped for more than three decades.  During the first day of Rader‘s sentencing, police, witnesses recounted Rader calling himself a monster and his victims—quote—“projects”.  He said his sexual fantasies drove him to kill. 

His first murders, Joseph and Julie Otero, and two of their children, 11-year-old Josephine and 9-year-old Joseph.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Did he tell you what Josie was doing as she watched what he was doing to her family? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  She was you know, screaming for her mother and—as you can only imagine.  And I remember how he kind of callously said, you know she was over there yelling, you know, mamma, mamma, mamma, something like that and...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And during the interview, he actually mimicked a little girl yelling mommy, mommy, mommy.  Is that correct?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And that was how he explained to you what little Josie was doing when she was watching her family be murdered. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s correct. 


ABRAMS:  The Otero three surviving children were in court today listening to these horrible details of their family‘s last moments.  But why is this hearing even necessary?  Rader pleaded guilty.


DENNIS RADER, BTK SERIAL KILLER:  I finished the job on Kathryn and she was fighting and at that point in time, I had been fighting her, I just—and then I heard some—I don‘t know whether I was basically losing control.  The strangulation wasn‘t working on her and I used a knife on her. 


ABRAMS:  Court TV news correspondent and attorney Jean Casarez was also in the courtroom.  And Robert Beattie is there at the courthouse as well.  He is the author of “Nightmare in Wichita: The Hunt for the BTK Strangler”.  Thanks to both of you for coming on the program.

All right, Jean, so the bottom line is why are they having this detailed hearing where the police are basically repeating much of what Dennis Rader already said in court when he pled guilty. 

JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Well it‘s been very controversial, you are right, but we are hearing things that we have never heard before.  And I think the prosecution is doing this for several reasons. 

Number one:  Wichita has had to live with this for 31 years and a lot has been kept from the community because they were trying to build an investigation to finally find this man and have a trial.  So I think they feel that the community deserves to know it. 

Secondly, they want to make sure the judge sentences him to the maximum, so they want to show the torture that he did to his victims.  Because when Dennis Rader spoke in June, he spoke about binding his victims.  He spoke about killing his victims, but he really didn‘t talk about the torture. 

ABRAMS:  But Jean he‘s getting life, right?  I mean whether it‘s consecutive or concurrent, I mean this guy is never walking free again. 

CASAREZ:  Right, that is true.  He is getting life.  He has to be sentenced to life.  But on counts one through nine, he can go before the parole board in 15 years.  Now the question is are we going to have concurrent or consecutive sentences.  We hope obviously they‘ll be one after the other.  Also on the last murder, he‘s got the hard 40, which means he will most likely have to serve 40 years, day for day and he‘s already 60.  So what you‘re saying is it‘s a moot point.  He‘s going to be put away for life.  Yes. 

ABRAMS:  All right, here‘s more of Detective Clint Snyder in court today. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Did he talk to you about how—what Kathryn was doing when she was stabbed and what he thought about it while he was stabbing her? 

DET. CLINT SNYDER, WICHITA POLICE DEPT.:  Yes, he said that she was moaning and groaning and he talked about how much she was bleeding and how he got blood over his hands, his shoes, his clothing and he talked about how that he didn‘t realize how slick human blood was. 


ABRAMS:  Robert Beattie, do you have a sense of whether the family members want this?  Do they want this three-day hearing where the police are going to recount detail by detail what it is Rader said when he already said much of this himself in court? 

ROBERT BEATTIE, AUTHOR, “THE HUNT FOR THE BTK STRANGLER”:  I‘m not aware of any of the victims‘ families that has asked for this.  This was the district attorney‘s call.  She‘d have to speak for herself.  I think she wanted to create an absolutely solid record of what he did for purposes of appeal and there are many people in this community.  I mean this is like a war that‘s ended after 30 years. 

People wanted more of the story.  Most of the people in the community I think wanted to hear this.  They may regret it later, but this is what happened and it should be remembered.

ABRAMS:  But Jean, as a legal matter, you know why not put out a document or something from the D.A.‘s office, laying out everything that happened.  I‘m just trying to figure out if this hearing, which is so graphic and so disgusting, all the details of what this guy did, is really necessary.  Do you have a sense from talking to family members of victims whether they want this hearing? 

CASAREZ:  Well, I can tell you, the Otero family came out when the proceedings ended today and they said that they feel that it‘s too graphic and it is too private.  In court today, we saw photos from four members of their family, some of the most graphic photos I‘ve ever seen in my life and they are saying we think it should have been kept just amongst family members. 


CASAREZ:  The public didn‘t need to see. 

ABRAMS:  I don‘t know why—I mean look, I‘m all for open courtrooms, et cetera, but the bottom line is the guy‘s pled guilty, he‘s getting life, we know what he did.  He sat there in court for hours going on about how he did it and why he did it, and what he did and now the family members have to endure this.  I mean look I‘m all for giving them the chance to speak to him in court if they want to, but this just seems like overkill to me. 

CASAREZ:  Dan...

ABRAMS:  Jean, real quick...

CASAREZ:  ... there‘s one thing that‘s interesting. 

ABRAMS:  Go ahead.

CASAREZ:  I looked at the agreement and there‘s no right of appeal but for the last case and there is an appeal and he‘s got 10 days to file an appeal for Delores Davis‘ murder. 

ABRAMS:  Jean, how was he reacting in court as they—as these details were discussed? 

CASAREZ:  Very still, very solemn.  I think he enjoyed every minute.  He loves what he did.  He‘s proud of what he did.  I think he was reliving it and probably very excited. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Jean Casarez and Robert Beattie, thanks a lot for taking the time.  We appreciate it. 

Coming up, Scott Peterson sentenced to death for the murder of his wife and unborn child.  Why did he do it?  Well a new book claims to have the answer, coming up. 


ABRAMS:  Coming up, why did Scott Peterson kill his wife Laci and unborn child?  A new book claims to have the answers. 


ABRAMS:  You know Scott Peterson is on death row.  Even though chances of him winning an appeal are remote, it seems people still wonder what makes him tick.  My next guest essentially says his clock is broken.  He‘s looked into the Peterson family history and has come up with a theory of how and why Scott murdered Laci and according to him, it all goes back to the murder of Peterson‘s grandfather in 1945. 

Quote—“I‘m convinced that Laci and her unborn son Conner lost their lives to a psychological perfect storm that began gathering over the Peterson family over five decades ago and reached hurricane strength in the psyche of Scott Peterson.”

Joining me now is Dr. Keith Ablow, a forensic psychiatrist and author of “Inside the Mind of Scott Peterson”.  Doctor, thanks for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.

All right, you say this is a psychological perfect storm.  You know there are going to be a lot of people who are going to look at this book and they‘re going to say, this is a bunch of gobbled gook from some guy who‘s trying to make money off the Scott Peterson story. 

DR. KEITH ABLOW, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST:  Yes, well hopefully not after they read it.  Because my experience of researching this case really showed me that going back to December 22, 1945, when Scott Peterson‘s maternal grandfather is murdered with (UNINTELLIGIBLE) rusty pipe for about $600.  This family begins a path towards psychological destruction that really does reach its greatest strength in Scott Peterson who comes to have no internal self and to be truly a person mimicking a person, looking almost perfect when inside he harbored terrible, terrible rage. 

ABRAMS:  You talk about the strength and you talk about it using your storm analogy, but you know the reality is that you can‘t really say that psychologically because this happened to his grandfather and then his mother became this and as a result, everything is building and it‘s getting worse and worse and worse and then it gets so bad that Scott Peterson kills his wife.  I mean I‘m assuming there are a lot of people out there who‘ve had a lot of bad things happen in their life and this doesn‘t happen. 

ABLOW:  Well you know that—you actually can say that.  In Scott Peterson‘s life, the cylinders on his life story line up like a lock.  Scott Peterson‘s mother was in fact put in an orphanage after she lost her father, so that separation between her and her mother occurred.  She was then separated from her brothers in the orphanage.

ABRAMS:  You should be able—then you should be able to tell us, with certainty, who‘s going to kill their wife, right?  I mean...

ABLOW:  Well...

ABRAMS:  ... you should be able to pick out, if you know their psychological history, you should be able to tell me a 10-year-old is going to kill his wife in 20 years from now. 

ABLOW:  By extension of my theory, we would want to do much more case finding of people who do seem to be cut off from their feelings to have no empathy for others.  But because we regard these people as monsters rather than sick people, even though we use the term sick, there‘s no attempt to identify cases early on. 

And frankly, your statement that you know, lots of people have tough lives but they don‘t kill people.  If you took that into a war and veteran analogy, you‘d say all these people who come back with PTSD, what the heck is wrong with them?  Don‘t they know John McCain?  He‘s a senator.  Well people have different vulnerabilities.  Scott Peterson had different vulnerabilities. 

ABRAMS:  You know that there are going to be people even in the psychological community who are going to say look, this guy has never talked to Scott Peterson.  He‘s never met Scott Peterson.  He‘s never seen any private psychological records.  He‘s basing it primarily on what he‘s seen in the media.  How could he know?

ABLOW:  No, you see that wouldn‘t be true.  I interviewed Lee Peterson, Scott‘s father, interviewed former girlfriends of Scott Peterson, interviewed his half siblings, interviewed Amber‘s lawyer...

ABRAMS:  You‘ve never talked to him.  You‘ve never talked to him.

ABLOW:  Scott was not available to me, but you know what, as a storyteller, because I write novels as well and I testify in court...


ABLOW:  ... about forensic psychiatry all the time.  The real issue is coming up with a story that feels so authentic.  And this one feels, if people read it, they‘ll say look, you know what, maybe a couple of these things could be coincidence.  But the way that these dates line up even, December 22, his grandfather‘s killed.  The end of December, he meets Laci.  He moves in with her the end of December.  He kills her the end of December.  Rebirth and the notion of those dates are tremendously important to this person. 

ABRAMS:  That sounds like a lot of nonsense to me, I‘ve got to tell you...

ABLOW:  Then you‘ve got to sit on my couch a little longer and I‘ll cure you. 

ABRAMS:  I guess I have to and apparently you don‘t even have to sit on the couch to get analyzed by you...

ABLOW:  I‘m starting already man.

ABRAMS:  I‘m sure it‘s going to be a successful book.  Keith Ablow, Doctor...

ABLOW:  Well thanks for that diagnosis anyhow, man.  Take care. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up, why the show about justice is live tonight from a golf course in Long Island.  It is my “Closing Argument”. 

And our continuing series “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose” our effort to find missing sex offenders before they strike again.  Apparently all of you are calling in.  Authorities in Alabama are searching for this man.  Thomas Eugene Carr convicted of sexual abuse on a girl under the age of 13.  He is 42 years old, 6-foot tall, weighs about 200 pounds, has not registered with the authorities.  If you‘ve got any information on where he is, please call the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, 334-353-1172.  Be right back.


ABRAMS:  My “Closing Argument”—why we‘ve taken the program about justice to a golf course in Long Island.  I‘m here for a charity golf tournament.  That charity named after a guy I never knew, but who makes me appreciate my life every day.  His name was Sean Kimerling.  In 2003, Sean was 37, a month younger than me.  A sportscaster in New York, a single athletic healthy guy who loved his work and his family, much like me.  We even had the same agent.  The similarities between our lives are striking.  Some have even said that we kind of look alike.  I know if I had known him, that we would have been friends. 

It turns out Sean and I were also treated for testicular cancer at the same time at the same hospital.  Sean died two days after I went back to work.  He had caught the disease too late.  It had spread throughout his body.  I remember seeing his picture in the paper and saying to myself wow that could have been me.  I‘d like to think if things had come out differently that Sean would be doing his show from the Dan Abrams Charitable Foundation event somewhere in the country. 

The Sean Kimerling Foundation is committed to educating young men about testicular cancer.  It‘s almost always curable if caught early, and it is the most common cancer among young men, ages 15 to 40.  The key is self-exams.  Going to your doctor if you find anything that feels out of the ordinary.  Sean had another common symptom and that was constant and unexplained back pain.  I overcame the disease in private.  Never intended on discussing it until I saw Sean‘s story and realized I owed it to Sean and to myself to do what I could to spread the word. 

I still do so reluctantly.  But after I went public last year, I received a number of e-mails, correspondence from people who said that seeing my story helped saved a life, either theirs or their sons.  They either went to see their doctors over what they had thought was probably nothing or convinced them to check themselves out.  I don‘t need any more encouragement than that.  That‘s why I‘m on a golf course in Long Island, to help promote the Sean Kimerling Foundation in the hope that more men who contract the disease will be as lucky as I was and catch it early.  So they, like me, can say not only did I beat the cancer, that it‘s had no long-term impact on my life or the quality of it.  So for more information about the foundation, log on to their Web site.  It‘s Sean Kimerling—one M -- .org or call 877-609-2690, extension five.  

Coming up, a lot of you writing in about what former FBI agent Clint Van Zandt had to say about Joran van der Sloot in Aruba.  Your e-mails are up next.


ABRAMS:  I‘ve had my say, now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”.  Former FBI investigator and MSNBC analyst Clint van Zandt arrived in Aruba over the weekend and met with members of Natalee Holloway‘s family and investigators on the ground.  And last night he said on the program he believes Joran van der Sloot is a sexual predator who has victimized other tourists before.  I challenged him and asked him what he based it on and he said it was his gut opinion.

Sharon Vasicek in Jacksonville, Florida, “Clint Van Zandt sure hit the nail on the head when he said Joran van der Sloot is a sexual predator.  Joran has picked up girls in that same manner before.  It‘s a game for him.”

And Grace writes, “Yesterday Van Zandt was not as cautious as he typically is, but I believe he has reason to say what he did.”

But Curt Bryant, “Whoa Dan, what‘s up with your analyst?  I seem to recall seeing two girls who dated Joran van der Sloot coming forward to say he was anything but a predator.”

From Odessa, Texas, John Kerr, “I cheered when you challenged Clint Van Zandt‘s assertion that Joran van der Sloot is a sexual predator by asking what evidence Van Zandt had for making such a statement.  His answer was at least honest.  It was a hunch.”

Finally Blaine Gibson in Seattle responds to Van Zandt‘s reasoning, saying Joran‘s past activities with girls could provide the answer.  “Teenage guys like to pick up teenage girls in bars.  If this makes guys sexual predators, the jails will be full and the schools will be empty.”

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

“OH PLEAs!”—you would think the last person, a would-be burglar would call would be his mother.  Rookie robber Kevin Tucker (ph) and his friend Brittany (ph) allegedly cleaned out his vacationing aunt‘s house and then and only then realized they didn‘t have the much-needed getaway car.  So what did Kevin do?  Well allegedly he called his mom up for a ride. 

She said no, so they headed for a motel.  The trouble is when his aunt came home and noticed she was robbed, she picked up the phone and hit redial.  Who was on the other end?  Kevin‘s mother.  The pieces came together.  His aunt called the police.  They promptly arrested Kevin and Brittany (ph) after they left the hotel where they spent the night. 

Both denied any involvement, blaming the other for the botched burglary.  We all grew up hearing our mom say, don‘t ever hesitate to call me if you need me.  It looks like Kevin took that offer a little too seriously. 

That does it for us tonight from the Sean Kimerling Celebrity Golf Tournament at the Bethpage Golf Club on Long Island.  Again for information on the Kimerling Foundation, go to Sean Kimerling --  one M -- .org. 

Coming up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  See you tomorrow. 



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