Guest: Dan Hausle; Chineka Bucker; Kevin Smith; Michelle McPhee; Bill
Majeski; Vito Collucci; Larry Koblinsky; Nancy Dillon; Wendy Murphy; Jayne
Weintraub; Joe Tacopina; Paul Reynolds
RITA COSBY, HOST: Good evening, everybody. Take a look at what you're seeing behind me tonight, some big developments as we are LIVE AND DIRECT from Queens, New York, outside the home of the man that police now call a suspect in the rape, torture and murder of New York graduate student 24-year-old Imette St. Guillen. She was killed just over a week ago. She disappeared from a bar in Manhattan's Soho district, her body found virtually mummified along a highway in Brooklyn, a few miles away from here.
Tonight, now they are not only investigating this man, named Darryl Littlejohn, as a suspect in Imette's death, they are also investigating a possible connection to at least three other rapes in New York. Littlejohn is one of the bouncers at The Falls bar. That's the last place that Imette was seen alive.
And joining me now live is WHDH reporter Dan Hausle with the very latest. Dan, first of all, what can you tell us about his possible connection to these three other rapes?
DAN HAUSLE, WHDH-TV: Well, it started when a woman saw some of the coverage of this story and a blue van that was right in his driveway. The woman recognized it as a van that she was thrown in when she was raped within the last month or so, one of three women who were raped in the New York City area. She came to investigators, said, Hey, that's the van that was used on me.
Investigators wondered whether there might be a connection between Littlejohn and these three rapes, which would be a missing link because, remember, his history is of armed robbery, not of attacks on individuals. So this would have been a great leap if he's connected to Imette St. Guillen's murder. So this could provide a missing link, if he's involved in some violent attacks on women in the middle of these two attacks.
COSBY: Other thing that's important, Dan, also, is that, apparently, we know that when he was at the bar and talking to Imette, he used some law enforcement terms, too, which, apparently, in these rapes, there's some law enforcement terms. Give us the similarities.
HAUSLE: The person indicated that—in the van that he was with Immigration, and he used that as part of getting close to the women before he threw them in the van. And then we understand his MO was also putting a blanket over the woman. Now, that's a resonance with this case, where Imette was found wrapped in a blanket, where her body was found. So you've got a number of clues that have some resonance there.
And these women, I understand, according to at least one report, did not identify him in a line-up. They actually may have gone as far as putting him in a line-up, didn't get a hit on that, but that could possibly be explained by the fact that they maybe didn't get a good look at him because he was covering them up.
COSBY: You know, Dan, let me walk through some of the things that we know. This is some of the evidence from the suspect's house. We know that there were some alcohol swabs taken from his house, plastic ties similar to what she was bound in, also sections of carpet, clothing, the back seat of another van, not this blue van that we're talking about. Do we know if they found any of Imette's items? You know, where are her cell phone? Where are her personal belongings?
HAUSLE: So far, it seems like the cell phone and some of her personal belongings are still missing. That's why they're working so hard on these DNA tests, to see if they can link particularly anything that would be right here at the house, where Imette should not be if they're not connected. They want to connect that through DNA because even if they get some hits on things over at The Falls bar, that could be explained by him having to throw her out at the bar. So the big key would be to get DNA out of this, tying to some of those pieces of evidence, as you said, that were evidence pulled out of this house here.
COSBY: You talk about DNA. Everyone's waiting on it. We know that there was possibly some DNA found under her fingernails, that she was, you know, unfortunately, fighting for her life. We also know that there may have been some scratches on Littlejohn, we're hearing. Why is it taking so long to get that DNA?
HAUSLE: Well, these tests take a lot longer than you think. And as a matter of fact, the real tests—you may remember way back in the Simpson case, some of those tests took about six weeks for the full tests. They usually try to rush them up a little bit, put them first in line, and as I understand it, I've been told they take maybe a week or so. So this isn't magic, as much as it may take an hour on some of the TV series. They do take a little time, even if they put them to the front of the line, and they're waiting anxiously for those results.
COSBY: You and I have talked to a number of neighbors here. What's sort of the buzz from neighbors about this guy?
HAUSLE: You'll find—the people who really knew him were a bit stand-offish on him. Some of the neighbors just jumped right in and just want to say the nice things about him, but a few people, they were stand-offish. They said he was a tough guy. We hear stories about him walking a Rottweiler in the neighborhood, and there's some talk about him wearing law enforcement gear. So he wasn't a guy that would jump out at everybody, you know, get out of the way, go to the other side of the street, but they also say he wasn't exactly skipping down the street friendly guy, either.
COSBY: Dan Hausle, thank you very much. Please come back to us because we know there's a lot of developments.
There's also word tonight, as we're looking live again at the house—this is Darryl Littlejohn's home. And we know a bit about his criminal background, but the question is, we don't know a lot about his life at home. And as this is going, we're also hearing reports that he may have had another location, that he may have had another house and location that he was possibly staying at, and that that may be searched at this hour tonight.
Joining us to talk, however, about how the neighbors feel about it, what's the mood in this community, is Chineka Bucker, and she lives right across the street from Littlejohn's home.
CHINEKA BUCKER, LIVES ACROSS THE STREET FROM LITTLEJOHN: Right.
COSBY: Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate
COSBY: You know, one of the things I was hearing right when I was pulling up was the word—some neighbors describe him as a Nazi.
COSBY: What is that about?
BUCKER: Well, you know, he wears Army fatigues a lot, you know, so we kind of gave him that nickname as the Nazi because of that reason.
COSBY: When you say he—what, the uniforms or his demeanor?
BUCKER: Yes. Yes. He would wear the uniform, you know, the military uniform. Yes, so we, you know, kind of thought that he was in the service, you know, the Army.
COSBY: And what kind of—what did the military uniform look like?
BUCKER: It was just sort of regular green, you know, Army fatigues, you know? So you know, we kind of figured that, you know, maybe he was in the military, you know, the Army or some sort.
COSBY: Did he say ever he was in the military or worked for law enforcement to you guys in the neighborhood?
BUCKER: Well, I never asked him, you know, and he never indicated that to me, you know?
COSBY: What—how did he act? And what was sort of your interaction with him?
BUCKER: Well, you know, I know him as being my neighbor. You know, I would see him passing through, you know? We would have brief conversation, you know, Hello, how are you, you know, that sort of thing. You know, he seemed like, you know, the average person. He stayed to himself, very quiet, you know, just passing through.
COSBY: You know, one of the neighbors was reporting—I was seeing a report they were actually using the description that he hit somebody in the neighborhood? There was some report you actually saw—“New York Daily News” is reporting that one neighbor saw him hit a woman.
BUCKER: Oh, well, I'm not aware of that. I've never witnessed it. I haven't seen him with any woman, you know, over the short time I've known him, you know?
COSBY: Has he been with anyone? Have you seen him walking with anyone?
BUCKER: No, well, I've only seen him walking his dog or alone, never with any woman of any kind, no.
COSBY: What's your reaction—you know, as we're here—and in fact, let's pan again just to show we're right here. Here's the house. You know, you live, what, in that home right over there, across the street, right?
BUCKER: Oh, no. I'm on the other side.
COSBY: You're on the other side?
BUCKER: Down on the...
COSBY: ... you're right here.
COSBY: This is a small neighborhood.
BUCKER: Right. Right. Very small.
COSBY: What's your reaction as you look at—you know, we're seeing live pictures now. There's two cops out front. Your neighborhood's changed a bit. How do you feel?
BUCKER: Yes, you know, it's kind of shocking, you know, to hear that he's the prime suspect, you know? It totally took me by surprise. You know, it's been a lot going on, you know, with the investigation. And it's just—it's very shocking.
COSBY: Did you think—you know, with your interaction that you had with him, now, looking at him, seeing him, is there something in hindsight that you say maybe this was the guy?
BUCKER: Not at all. I still think that he's innocent. I don't think that he's capable of doing such a thing.
COSBY: You do? You think he's innocent?
BUCKER: Yes, I do.
COSBY: And why do you—have you heard some of the evidence, too? And again, at this point, We have to tell all our viewers police are calling him a suspect, but you know, he's far from being, you know, charged or convicted, at this point...
COSBY: ... which is important to say. But they are saying that now there's a woman who pointed out a van looking like his in another rape case. Now there's some evidence that's sort of pointing in that direction.
COSBY: Again, you still feel that it's still too early to say that?
BUCKER: Yes, very much so. I just don't see that being within his character for him to do such a thing, you know?
COSBY: And why is that? After all the things, the Nazi uniform—you think that was just a style thing?
BUCKER: Yes. I think that's just the type of clothing that he liked to wear. Maybe it was to support our troops, you know, but just—you know, as to the type of person that I've become familiar with, you know, as his neighbor and, you know, the brief conversations, he doesn't strike me as being the type that can do such a vicious thing.
COSBY: Yes. Is it hard tonight, as you look out and you see the cops out in front of the neighborhood and your neighborhood's changed, unfortunately, a little bit. How tough is that for you just to see it?
BUCKER: Well, you know, it's necessary, you know, but it's—you know, it's a little confusing. You know, you don't know for a fact. You would hope to think good things, you know, within your neighbors and who you live around, but then you don't know, you know? So I just look at it like it's very necessary for the—you know, the people to do what they have to do in order to gather information. And I just don't think it's him. I don't think he's capable.
BUCKER: Yes, it's hard to think of a neighbor...
COSBY: ... and anybody, actually, committing this horrible crime.
COSBY: Chineka, thank you very much. We appreciate you being with us tonight.
BUCKER: OK. You're welcome.
COSBY: And also, we have some exclusive video that we want to share with you tonight of that van that we were talking about a little bit ago. This is video that may actually link Darryl Littlejohn to the rape of three other women. This is the van that authorities are talking about.
Just a few hours ago, we sent our producer to the 113th precinct in Queens, which is near Littlejohn's home. He shot these images that you're looking at now. They show the van in the parking lot of the police station, which is where it is being inspected for forensic evidence. At least one of the victims in the other attacks has reportedly told police that this van looks like the one that she was raped in last year.
Plus, reports say that three rape victims also gave similar accounts of their attackers. We were hearing about this before, someone describing themself as an official, as a federal official of some sort. Joining us now by phone with the latest is Lieutenant Kevin Smith. He's a detective with the Nassau County Police Department in Long Island, New York, which is just a few minutes away from where I am standing right now. Sir, tell us about the rape that occurred in your county.
DET. LT. KEVIN SMITH, NASSAU COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, good evening, Rita. The only thing I can really tell you about the rape that occurred in our county was back on November 9, we reported that—or we were investigating, I should say, a kidnapping and rape that occurred in Elmont (ph) at about 5:30 at night. The victim was a female about 15 years old. She was walking along the street when a dark-colored van pulled up in front of her and stopped.
The male subject that got out was just described at that time as a male black apparently armed with a handgun the he put towards the victim. He forced her into the back of the van, covered her head with a coat and drove around for approximately 30 minutes, eventually brought her to a basement of a location that's unknown to us, and apparently, at that time engaged in a sexual assault.
Apparently, a short time later, he put the victim back into a van, drove to an area back in the Elmont vicinity and dropped the victim off. She was found by a passerby, who alerted the police, and we started to conduct our investigation.
COSBY: Now, in this case, we understand that she was able to pinpoint the van. And if we can put the pictures up? This is, again, our exclusive video that we obtained when we went, actually, to the 113th precinct. We have a shot of a van. We understand that she was able to sort of suggest (ph) the van, is that correct? Was she the rape victim who was able to pinpoint the van? We know there were three cases.
SMITH: Rita, I'm sorry, but I can't confirm, really, any aspect of the investigation at this point. I can say that, you know...
COSBY: Can you tell me at least—can you—go ahead.
SMITH: Well, I can tell you this. I can tell you that, you know, we didn't release that information earlier today that it may be involved with a sexual assault here in Nassau County, but I can confirm that we routinely analyze and compare notes with New York City precincts that border the Nassau County area. And as a result of the discussions that we've had between our two departments, we're examining similar cases and possible links between the cases that occurred in New York City.
COSBY: And Lieutenant, if you can tell me, at least in your specific case there in Nassau County—can you tell me, did—again, did this person sort of identify themselves as being, like, an Immigration official, federal official, the attacker in that case?
SMITH: I'm not sure I understand your question, Rita. The sources that I'm referring to...
SMITH: ... were sources that the media brought to me and told me that people were revealing that we were locking this individual up, when in fact, that was not true. As I said, he's a person of interest...
COSBY: No, no, no. Actually, what I'm asking you, Lieutenant—actually, what I'm asking, Lieutenant, is in the old case, did, in that case, did they actually identify themselves as being a federal official, a federal authority in the case in your county...
SMITH: Oh, I'm sorry.
COSBY: ... a while back?
SMITH: I misunderstood you. I don't have any indication that that occurred in our—in our particular case, at this time.
COSBY: OK. Well, Lieutenant, thank you very much. We appreciate it, Lieutenant Smith there from Nassau County, not too far from here.
And coming up, everybody, the investigation into Imette's St. Guillen's murder up close. Is there enough evidence to suggest that cops have found the killer? That's not all that's coming up tonight. We've got a lot ahead. Stick with us.
Still ahead, why Imette St. Guillen's mother is now having to defend her murdered daughter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAUREEN ST. GUILLEN, IMETTE'S MOTHER: Victims are never at fault.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: What kind of a person would blame a murder victim for her own death? Plus, find out what new agency is investigating the bar owners and their outrageous behavior.
And the prime suspect in the Natalee Holloway investigation is fighting back against the lawsuit filed by Natalee's family. Joran Van Der Sloot's new lawyer will join us and tell us why he thinks the case should be thrown out. That's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNARD HALL, LITTLEJOHN'S NEIGHBOR: Pretty much calm (ph) guy. If I walk past him in the street or he walks past, we speak, and that's about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And tonight, I am coming to you live from Queens, New York, where there are some big developments in the investigation into the savage murder of 24-year-old New York graduate student Imette St. Guillen. Tonight, I'm outside the home—as you can see, a live picture there—of the suspect in the case. Officials are now calling him a suspect. That is Darryl Littlejohn. Tonight, police want to know if he was involved also in a series of brutal rapes in New York.
And the person who broke that story is with me now, Michele McPhee with “The Boston Herald.” Michele, let me ask you first real quick, what do you know about the possible connection to three other rapes?
MICHELE MCPHEE, “BOSTON HERALD”: Well, I know that they—Mr. Littlejohn is a very strong suspect in the three rapes. Two occurred in Queens between the hours of 4:00 AM and 6:30 AM. Another occurred in Long Island. What I've learned about the Queens, New York, rapes is that someone posing as a federal marshal—in fact, NYPD has a sketch of a man that has a—that had a federal fugitive justice baseball cap on. He had a jacket on, now, a black windbreaker with a fugitive—a federal fugitive agent emblazoned on the back. And he grabbed these women right off the street and raped them. And then the victims told police that their attacker wiped them down afterwards.
COSBY: What do you mean by wiped them down? In other words, cleaned up the evidence?
MCPHEE: They cleaned up the evidence. And one...
COSBY: ... in the private area so, what, there would be no...
MCPHEE: So there would be no DNA.
MCPHEE: Right. Exactly. And obviously, Mr. Littlejohn, as we know, has seven prior convictions, felony convictions. So the NYPD and investigators have his DNA on file. And Mr. Littlejohn, I'm sure, is well aware of that, if, in fact, he did these rapes. But we do know that there was alcohol swabs recovered from this home during the—during the search warrant, among a mountain of other evidence. You've seen yourself all of the stuff that was taken out of here, but alcohol swabs were among those items.
COSBY: What do you think, Michele, from everything you're hearing—that's obviously significant. The other thing are these ties that were apparently used to bind her that apparently are very similar to ones found in his home. What are some other things that you think were significant that were taken from the house?
MCPHEE: Well, what was significant, too, is at The Falls, he presented himself as a fugitive recovery agent. In fact, he listed it on his resume. And the fact that he was wearing that kind of a hat, you know, fugitive recovery, and the jacket, fugitive recovery, and neighbors say that he was constantly, you know, walking around here like a law enforcement agent—he fits the description in these serial rapes. And the evidence that has been pulled out of here, I'm told, is helping the case with Imette St. Guillen. And hopefully, they'll be making an arrest very quickly.
COSBY: And real quickly, are you getting a sense—you know, we're hearing that this is the suspect they're looking at. Are you hearing that this is the suspect? Are they looking at anyone else?
MCPHEE: Well, they—my sources tell me that this is the only suspect. But did someone help him? They're still very interested in the 911 call. “The Herald” reported today that detectives are making 911 -- digital recordings of people that they talked to and having those recordings analyzed by the FBI to see if there's any similarities in the people that they're talking to that are close to Mr. Littlejohn and the person who made the 911 call from the Queens diner that you visited earlier this week.
COSBY: Yes, it brings up a lot of questions. If they can match who these people are, indeed, why he was calling them, if, indeed, he was committing this act...
COSBY: ... on his own. Thank you very much. Great reporting, Michele, with “The Boston Herald.”
And now let me bring in my top-notch panel. We've got Vito Colucci, private investigator, also forensic science expert Dr. Larry Kobilinsky. And also let me bring in, if I could, who's with me here on the scene again...
BILL MAJESKI, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Hello, Rita.
COSBY: ... investigator Bill Majeski. Bill, let me hit on, first of all...
MAJESKI: Sure. Go ahead.
COSBY: ... what Michele just said.
COSBY: She said they were checking to see who he called. We know that they can't actually get the recordings of the conversations, but they can figure out, OK, he called this number, so...
MAJESKI: Right. They have all the numbers that he called and all the people that he called.
COSBY: What could that lead authorities to believe, if all of a sudden, you know, if he was, indeed, committing this act, and all of a sudden, he's calling So-and-So in the middle of it or soon afterwards?
MAJESKI: I mean, it could bring in a second person that may have been involved with him either in the cover-up or in the actual abduction and rape. We don't know that. That's what the police are working on now. You know, they have a multitude of evidence, and they're trying to take that evidence and put it and connect it to him. And you know, clearly, the cell phone records are an integral part of all of that. They obviously know who he was calling. As we speak now, they're doing the investigation, and indeed, they are doing a very, very good investigation here.
COSBY: What do you think's the most significant taken out of the home? I mean, it's pretty amazing. You can see the two cops still...
MAJESKI: Yes, you're right...
COSBY: ... doing the right thing, make sure that...
MAJESKI: Yes, because they may be coming back here...
COSBY: Yes, they got to make sure it's not tampered with, right?
MAJESKI: ... additional evidence—yes. Right. Exactly. So what they're going to do is they're going to go through what they took out already, and that may lead to something else. One of these individuals that he had called, that may lead to something else which will cause them to go back there and look for something additional. So they're keeping everything under close wraps. They're doing an outstanding investigation. And it's just a matter of putting it all together, putting the evidence and the forensics and putting it into the lap of the suspect.
COSBY: You know, let me bring in Vito, because, Vita, what do you make of this possible rape connection that we're hearing—that we just heard from Michele. I mean, some pretty interesting similarities, three prior rapes. Again, the guy got away, which could explain why there's nothing on this guy's record. Do you believe this is tied?
VITO COLUCCI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Well, you know, Commissioner Kelly called him a person of interest today. This individual—this may crack a lot of cases, Rita. Look what the guy's doing. He likes to wear these things you can buy on line or by at some stores—FBI agent, U.S. Marshal. That's an instant way to start talking to a woman. A woman feels a false sense of safety talking to them, you know?
He likes to brag. What else does he do? He uses—even when he gets arrested, he uses aliases from comic books. So you're dealing with an individual that he's a career criminal. He knows how to work the streets and he knows how to get around these women to give them that false sense until he grabs them, if this is the individual that's doing all this.
COSBY: You know, Dr. Kobilinsky, what we understand is there's no DNA from those three crime scenes, those three rapes that took place, you know, three different ones, one in Nassau County, which we heard about. How do you tie those together if there's no DNA?
LARRY KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Well, you know, obviously, there's some eyewitness testimony. The victims are going to try to identify the individual. There could also be other trace evidence, like hair. But you know, this is what I call the “CSI” effect. Not only are jurors holding prosecutors to a higher standard because they watch “CSI” and programs like that, but criminals are learning how to evade law enforcement detection. And you know, they learn, they learn in prison. They learn from their fellow inmates. They learn not to make the same mistakes.
But whoever did this heinous crime probably made some mistakes, despite his best efforts to clean up the scene and to remove seats from the van. I think there is still—the crucial evidence here is the tissue under her fingernails because that could have the genetic profile of the perpetrator. That's the key here.
COSBY: And Dr. Kobilinsky, are you surprised that they haven't gotten any initial results, at least as far as we know? Do you believe they probably have but just haven't tipped that off to reporters?
KOBILINSKY: Well, the fact is, is if there is such a small amount of DNA present as I think there may be, then that would mean that they would not have a complete profile. They would then have to resort to low-copy-number (ph) DNA, which is another procedure, and again, more time-consuming. And again, if they have to do mitochondrial DNA, that takes weeks. Nevertheless, I think they have some information already that they are not revealing.
COSBY: I'm sure there is. And Vito, let me show—we are seeing
sort of a floor plan of the area, and I want to put that up on the screen
because this is the first time we're sort of getting a glimpse of what it
looks like inside. One theory is that Imette was dragged through a
corridor stairway and also private offices on the second floor. Let's put
that up, if we could. We've got that. What do you make of sort of this
theory? And again, it's that she was dragged through the corridor stairway
· everybody, if you can see it there—and then taken to private offices on the second floor. How critical, to pinpoint the crime scene, Vito?
COLUCCI: Oh, very critical, Rita. You know, that's why they tore apart this place. See, also, if he committed the crime there, if he, in fact, killed her there, then the second part is he has to get her out of there without being seen, whatever time that was, you know, which makes it very difficult.
But that's very important to try to figure out, and that's what the police are doing there. They're trying to figure out, Is this the way he did it? Which way did he go? Which hallway did he walk down? Don't forget, Mr. Littlejohn had access to this. He had the key. He was a trusted employee over here, you know?
But you know what's amazing? Again, we touched on it last night. Thank God, the most—the most practical thing a good police officer has is common sense, to go back to the restaurant a second time, to go back even a third time, where you're sitting in the squad room and you're saying, Something's bothering me about this, because a lot of times, you can brush it off. We interviewed them one time. Forget it. So it's amazing and it's excellent police work that they went back even a third time and finally got this.
COSBY: You bet. And what a shame that it took three times to finally get the truth out of that bar owner, which we're going to talk about in a moment.
But Bill, right now, I want to talk about some of the things that we have, at least that we know in this case, the Littlejohn case. These are what some of the witnesses are saying, that Littlejohn spoke to Imette inside the bar, that he escorted her out, also that Imette and Littlejohn may have argued, and that bar staffers say they heard a muffled scream.
COSBY: Littlejohn is also seen talking to Imette from the driver's seat of the van. And then Littlejohn's cell phone, like we talked about, tracked to an area where Imette's body was found.
COSBY: How do you see this all—what do you think the clencher (ph) in this...
MAJESKI: If you follow the timeline, you see that he's connected to every integral part of the investigative process and that whole abduction situation. I think one of the tell-tale signs is going to be, you know, after toxicology is in, whether or not she was drugged, you know, or, you know, had some kind of a—you know, a foreign substance put into one of her drinks, which made her more drunk than she would have been, if, indeed, she was at all.
COSBY: In other words, him trying to induce that, as well.
MAJESKI: Absolutely. Yes. So making her much more vulnerable than she normally would have been. But I think that all of it—there's a lineage that follows, him taking her outside and him not coming back in, the noise in the hallway, you know, and then the body being found. And then you connect that, parallel that with the timeline of his telephone calls, the telephone call that he made from his house, the telephone call that he made from the same area where the body was found. So in terms of evidence—true, all circumstantial, at this point—it's solid, and now all they have to do is connect the forensic evidence that they should be doing within the next 24 to 48 hours.
COSBY: DNA. DNA. All right...
MAJESKI: DNA is the key. Absolutely.
COSBY: Thank you, guys, very much. We appreciate it, everybody.
And everybody, let me show here again—we continue live, as you're looking at a live shot from Queens, New York. This is outside of the home of the man that police say is a suspect—again, they're going now as far as saying it is a suspect—in the murder of Imette St. Guillen. We're going to follow this case from beginning to end.
And still ahead: Did the owners of the bar where Imette was last seen alive break the law by hiring the man who is now the prime suspect in the murder? What kind of punishment could they face? Plus, guess who is investigating the bar now?
And later, the well-known New York attorney hired to defend Joran Van Der Sloot joins me live. What he says about the lawsuit filed by Natalee's family may surprise you. That's also coming up tonight.
COSBY: And tonight, we continue live from Queens, New York, outside the home of the suspect in the savage murder of 24-year-old New York graduate student Imette St. Guillen. Throughout this entire ordeal, Imette's family and friends have remained incredibly strong and even taken an active role in the hunt for her killer.
LIVE & DIRECT tonight is Nancy Dillon. She is with the “New York Daily News.” She spoke yesterday with Imette's mother and sister.
Nancy, how are they holding up?
NANCY DILLON, REPORTER, “NEW YORK DAILY NEWS”: They're strong. They're a very loving family. And right now, they're not following the day-to-day headlines; they're really focusing on, you know, Imette's life. And when they do give interviews, they really just want to talk about the person she was, and humanize her, and, you know, try and reach anyone who might have seen anything that night so they can come forward and, you know, offer any observations from that night to the police.
COSBY: You know, when I talked with, you know, several days ago—it was last week right after they found out the horrible news, they were just so emotional, too. And clearly, they loved, you know, their daughter, loved their sister so much.
In fact, let me play a little comment. This is from one of the interviews that they did yesterday. This is with “NBC Dateline,” where the mom talks about just how tough this loss has been.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAUREEN ST. GUILLEN, IMETTE'S MOTHER: Knowing I'll never see her again, to hear her voice, I'll cherish little things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Is there any relief, Nancy, in the sense that now they have at least someone who's being called a suspect?
DILLON: You know, again, they said, until there is an arrest, there's just nothing, as far as they're concerned. You know, really, when I spoke to them, they wanted to talk about, you know, their last few days with Imette, and, you know, her beauty and really focus on that. So we didn't talk at all about the suspect in custody. They said until there's an arrest there's really nothing.
COSBY: And, you know, obviously this is having a devastating effect on the family, just because she was a major part and very loving part of their family. This is what Alejandra had to say in another interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEJANDRA ST. GUILLEN, IMETTE'S SISTER: Nothing will make it easier to be without her, but if it could be prevented from happening to somebody else, that's, you know, for anyone who has ever loved anybody, we know—I mean, this has just touched hundreds of people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: You know, Nancy, it's amazing when you hear, you know, this family, how strong and courageous they are, already talking about trying to make a difference for others so early on. It is admirable and just incredible, isn't it?
DILLON: Oh, definitely. I mean, they talked about Imette, just how she always had such a big circle of friends and she made friends so easily and she cared so much about other people. She, you know, was really dedicating her to the field of forensics, and criminology, and studying, you know, the rehabilitation of other people.
And, you know, they said that was such a natural fit for her that, you know, when they were going through her things last week, they found this envelope that said on it, you know, Imette's first grey hair or the date. And they looked inside. And sure enough, there was a hair in there.
And, you know, that's just what she, you know, was like. She was so meticulous and so loving. And you know, they're obviously devastated right now.
COSBY: Needless to say. And our prayers are with that family tonight. Nancy, thank you very much for giving us insight, of course, to the heartbreak, unfortunately, that they're experiencing.
And now, if we could, tonight, and, of course, investigators are focusing—let's talk about the investigation—because they're focusing on Darryl Littlejohn. You can see an old mug shot of him there. But it seems that he is not the only one on the hot seat.
There's a lot of outrage tonight from faulty witness accounts by the owners and bar employees to the owners hiring an ex-convict and a parole-violating probation. The parolee, of course, is Darryl Littlejohn. While many are ballistic, what the bar in this case, the Falls that you're looking at there, did and did not do in this case.
Meanwhile, Imette's mother is speaking out; this time, sadly she's defending her murdered daughter, which is what she feels she has to do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. ST. GUILLEN: You can't live your life in a glass, you know, bubble. I mean, you have to experience life. And for them I just say, “Hey, that's their issue, not ours, you know?” Like...
M. ST. GUILLEN: ... are so fortunate not—they're so fortunate not to have done anything in their life that they can look back at and regret.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And joining us now is former sex crimes prosecutor Wendy Murphy and also criminal defense attorney Jayne Weintraub.
You know, Wendy, I think it is so sad. This poor family has to go through this horrific, you know, crime hearing about this. And now they have to defend their daughter from people who are saying she shouldn't be out late by herself or drinking. I think it's outrageous.
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Oh, and that's, you know, the understatement of the night, Rita. I was so proud to hear Imette's mom say that's their problem. She's clearly not even taking it in, and good for her, although it must be very difficult to hear people saying such ugly things.
Psychologically, I think it makes people feel better to just be harsh and judgmental of women because they say to themselves, “Well, that could have been me. Oh, well, maybe if I think that I wouldn't have done it like that, I wouldn't have been there,” then they feel safer being harsh, and mean, and so cruel.
But, you know, it's no excuse for the kinds of blaming language we're hearing, Rita. Frankly, it's not only her constitutional right to do what she was doing—it was all lawful behavior—she absolutely didn't deserve to be hurt.
And whenever you talk about a woman's behavior as having been wrong or she shouldn't have been there, there's 100 percent of blame to go around. The criminal deserves all of it.
And when you start talking about the victim, you naturally dent into that 100 percent blame, cutting the guy a little bit of slack. There is no excuse for giving an animal like this any slack whatsoever, especially if he's the predator that you're suggesting, with the evidence of the other rapes, that he may well be.
If that's true, he raped a woman at 5:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m. He wasn't taking advantage of a woman who was out too late.
JAYNE WEINTRAUB, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Wendy, why don't you just put him in jail already?
MURPHY: No, that's not the point, Jayne.
MURPHY: This guy was hunting women down.
COSBY: Let me get Jayne in. Jayne, you know, and, again, this is still just—they're investigating this. But I want to switch gears, because I want to make sure we get to this, the bar owners, because so many people are furious tonight.
Let me sort of show their different accounts. And, again, it took them three times to finally tell authorities the truth. First, they said that she had drinks and then that she left by herself. Then they said that Littlejohn actually escorted her out of the bar because she was too drunk. Other bar workers said they heard her and Littlejohn arguing outside, and also the word of a muffled scream.
But, Jayne, the fact that it took three times and authorities had to went to them and basically squeezed it out of them, they finally fessed up. I mean, that's despicable, Jayne.
WEINTRAUB: Well, first of all, they're not under any legal obligation to talk to the police, just like anyone else. They don't have to cooperate and speak to the police.
COSBY: But, Jayne, come on. But, Jayne, do the right thing!
WEINTRAUB: Rita, they did do the right thing. And two and three are not inconsistent.
The first time when they said that she only had two drinks, I'm sure they didn't know what to say or what to do. And I don't think it was the bar owner that actually gave the comment; it was somebody who worked there.
And the second thing is, when they did speak to the police, remember they had no obligation to and they did anyway. And we don't know if there was a scuffle with this bouncer. And we don't know why she was being thrown out. And we don't know what was being said at that time, because she's not here and the bouncer's not talking. So you're speculating, and we don't know the evidence yet.
COSBY: All right, Jayne, I want to tell you one thing, Jayne. First of all, we're not speculating on one thing.
And, Wendy, let me make this clear. What I understand is that this guy basically said he didn't even remember Imette. Turns out the owner was the bartender that night and then didn't tell authorities some key information.
MURPHY: Oh, look.
COSBY: I mean, that is outrageous. That's not speculation; that's fact.
MURPHY: You know, look, Jayne is a good criminal defense attorney, but she should not be in the business of defending a bar owner who had information about a murder and a serious—one of the most serious crimes this state has ever seen, and they're allowed to stay silent?
This isn't about the Fifth Amendment right...
WEINTRAUB: Excuse me, Wendy. They don't have...
MURPHY: This is not about the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. This is about the bar being more worried about its own civil liability exposure—God forbid they should tell the truth—that they hired a jerk and a dangerous menace to society who never should have been allowed to work there.
They knew they had liability exposure. They're going to pay big in this case. I wish I could represent the family, because they will recover a ton of money when they file a suit. That is no excuse for the bar owner to go silent when the police are looking for a serial rapist, potentially, and clearly a killer.
WEINTRAUB: Wendy, you have no evidence yet. Relax.
MURPHY: I said “potentially.”
COSBY: Jayne, I'll give you the last word. Jayne, let me—I'll give you 10 seconds. But one thing is they should have come forward. You want to encourage people to say whatever you know.
WEINTRAUB: You want to encourage people to tell the truth. You want to encourage people to always cooperate with the police. That doesn't confuse the fact that they have no obligation to and they may not have been the right person to talk to, and maybe that person hadn't had all the facts yet. We don't know what the circumstances were surrounding that initial discussion.
We know that, as soon as everybody told them what was going on, we know that they came forward and they told them that there was a scuffle, there was a discussion, and he did throw her out. And that was his job, Rita, to throw her out.
COSBY: Well, let me be clear, also. It's not his job to lie to police three times. And if it turns out, shame on that bar.
COSBY: All of you, thank you very much.
And let's check in—of course, a lot of feisty discussion, I'm sure, coming up on “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” tonight. Let's check in with my pal, Joe Scarborough, for a look at what's ahead tonight—Joe?
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: Rita, you know what we call that in
“SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”? COSBY: What do you got?
SCARBOROUGH: We call it obstruction of justice when you lie to police officers and get in the way of an investigation allowed to drag on for six days without doing anything. We're going to be talking about the bar owner's liability.
We're going to be talking to a talk show host who said Imette invited this rape and this killing on herself because she was out too late at night. We're also going to be looking at laws that force this parole board to allow a man that they said was a menace to society—their words, not mine—allow this menace to society to walk free, despite the fact he didn't serve his entire jail term. In fact, he only served two-thirds of it. What is wrong with the laws in our country? We're going to get to the bottom of it and much more tonight in “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”—Rita?
COSBY: And we'll be tuning in, Joe. Thank you very much. We appreciate it.
And still ahead, everybody, stick with us. We're going to talk about Aruba, because there's some interesting developments taking place today. Could the civil suit against Joran Van Der Sloot be thrown out of court? It will be if his new lawyer gets his way. Joe Tacopina, the all-star attorney, is going to join me live. He's coming up next.
COSBY: Well, the prime suspect in the Natalee Holloway case is now fighting back big time, making a filing of his own through some attorneys. Now, remember, the parents for the missing Alabama teen slapped Joran Van Der Sloot with a civil lawsuit during a trip to New York three weeks ago.
Now, the 18-year-old has gotten a lawyer of his own and he's just filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing in part that the state of New York has absolutely no interest in this matter. This case belongs in Aruba, period.
LIVE & DIRECT tonight is Joran Van Der Sloot's American attorney, Joe Tacopina. He also represents the Van Der Sloot family.
You know, you argue, Joe, that it doesn't have any place in New York.
What do you base that on?
JOE TACOPINA, JORAN VAN DER SLOOT'S U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, two things, Rita. Fact: There is not a single nexus to New York State. There's not a witness who resides in New York. None of the parties reside in New York. The instance alleged in the complaint didn't occur in New York.
There's absolutely no basis for there to be any litigation in New York. There's no subpoena power from New York State courts to bring people in from Aruba. I mean, I could go on, and on, and on. That's the fact.
Then I base it also on the law. The law is very clear in the state of New York. The motion we filed that the judge granted a stay in the proceedings this afternoon, to sort of proceed first and foremost with this threshold issue, Rita, which is the motion to dismiss this complaint on what they call a forum non conveniens.
There's five steps. The highest court in the state of New York has laid out five factors. You need to meet just two of them on balance. We meet all five, in the sense of getting this case dismissed. And it's really as simple as that.
COSBY: Now, Joe, you know, why do the motion to dismiss versus just respond to the allegations? You think you can get it thrown out outright? Or why not take the chance and respond and say, “Look, this is ridiculous”?
TACOPINA: Well, that, you know—we may, Rita. Look, I'm not taking a victory lap here. I'm not presuming we're winning. I mean, you know, this is a litigation. They have their position; we have ours.
I think I'm right. I'm sure John, who is a very good lawyer, thinks he's right. You know, if there comes a time where we have to answer the allegations, the merits, believe me, there is absolutely no concern about doing that. I mean, quite frankly, the facts alleged in this complaint, that start, you know, where the first charge in the complaint is on page 12. The first count, if you will.
But these are imaginary. I mea, there is absolutely no witnesses who will come into court and put life to those words in that complaint. So I'm not concerned about it.
And look, again, what we're saying is this belongs in Aruba, period. That's where all the witnesses are. That's where the transaction that is in dispute, and legally that's what it's called, that's where it occurred.
And, again, this is not to try and deprive the Holloway family of doing what they think they need to do to resolve this mystery. I just hope there comes a point in time when, after all these months of looking only at this one individual, that, you know—and realizing not a stitch of evidence has arisen that points towards him at all, you know, forensic evidence, witness evidence, all this investigation that's been done, Rita, I just hope that people heed the advice and start looking elsewhere, because, you know, I want them to get closure. And I'd also like this to be resolved.
COSBY: But, Joe, Joe, and we literally have, literally, 10 seconds, but you understand their frustration, because Joran had made some inconsistent statements and lied. Don't you understand this poor family?
TACOPINA: Oh, I absolutely do. And Joran has copped to that in his interviews. He's an 18-year-old kid who said, “I know I caused this problem for myself,” but it doesn't make him guilty of what they're saying. We have Les Levine (ph), who's an investigator. He's involved in this case.
We'd love to help them resolve this, because, let me tell you something, I want to get the monkey off this kid's back. And we, you know, quite frankly, hope and pray that this family gets some peace.
COSBY: And we all do hope for that. Joe, thank you very much.
When we come back, we're going to get the family to respond. Stick with us, everybody.
COSBY: And let's hear reaction now from Natalee Holloway's family about the filing made by the Van Der Sloots today, motion to dismiss the civil case that the Holloway family filed against them. LIVE & DIRECT tonight is Natalee's uncle, Paul Reynolds.
Paul, what's your reaction, first of all, to this motion to dismiss by the Van Der Sloot family? Was this expected?
PAUL REYNOLDS, NATALEE HOLLOWAY'S UNCLE: Well, certainly, we expected them to resist the suit. That's only normal procedure. And we're very glad at this point that Joran has taken this opportunity to come forward and start speaking. We think this is the best opportunity we've had to find out what's happened, give us some information, and maybe give this investigation a brand-new start.
COSBY: You know, I want to show just a clip from the filing, if I could. This is one of the quotes in the filing by Joe Tacopina, the attorney for Joran and his parents. And in it, it says that “the plaintiffs filed an emotionally charged complaint containing wild and fictitious allegations, which were based purely on conjecture.”
Do you think everything was grasping at straws or do you think that you guys had a bit of basis for the filing?
REYNOLDS: Well, there is no conjecture whatsoever. Joran himself has admitted to lying. He conspired. He lied. He possibly covered up the criminal acts, either intentionally or unintentional. So there's no conjecture here at all.
He's admitted to it. He needs to be responsible for it. I appreciate the fact he is coming forward and telling the truth. We hope he's telling the truth, because it's giving us some leads that we did not have before.
We've wasted incredible hours and money. So many people have been harmed by the lies, the conspiracy, you know, not only our family, people in the United States, people around the world, and Aruba. You know, his lies and his cover-up have hurt a great country, a great island, and it's a shame what he's done. And, you know, he and his father both are responsible for that.
COSBY: You know, in the filing, they also say this court, meaning the court that's going to oversee this, would have no power over them as residents of Aruba, meaning because they're Aruban residents. You can't do any filing against them in the U.S., that there's no jurisdiction.
Do you guys believe that there is some standing here? And also, what are you going to do if this does get dismissed? What is the family going to do?
REYNOLDS: Well, first of all, I don't think it will be dismissed.
You know, Joran and his family have decided to use New York as a forum. They have decided to go public in New York. They're broadcasting from New York. They're making statements from New York. They have made New York an appropriate place to pursue the truth.
COSBY: Paul Reynolds, thank you very much. And I hope that your family does get some answers. Boy, do you deserve the truth, all of you. Thank you so much.
And, everybody, stick with us. We're going to be right back.
COSBY: And, again, you're looking live. You can see the yellow police tape, also the police officers still standing guard, making sure that nobody gets into the house, which is now a potential crime scene, a potential area of interest, of course, authorities.
This is, of course, the home of Darryl Littlejohn, the person who authorities are now saying is the suspect that they're looking at in the brutal murder of Imette St. Guillen. They are looking into this case, guarding this house, making sure nobody gets into it, making sure the evidence is not tampered.
We are going to stay on this case of Imette St. Guillen until it ends. We will try to get as many clues as possible. Of course, developments are coming fast and furious. So, everybody, stick with us, because tomorrow night we're going to continue our wall-to-wall coverage, as well. So stick with us for that.
We'll see you tomorrow night. That does it for me tonight. Let's go to Joe Scarborough and “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY”—Joe?
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: Hey, thanks so much, Rita.
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