Guests: Joe Cardinale, Vito Colucci, Robert Shaler, Amy Short, Lawrence Kobilinsky, Mickey Sherman, Vito Bruno, Sanford Rubenstein, Annie Rubenstein, Ernest Nelson, Thomas Brill, Annie Cheney
RITA COSBY, HOST: Good evening everybody. The biggest break so far in the shocking murder of 24-year-old graduate student Imette St. Guillen. Police finally have physical evidence tying this man, ex-con bouncer Darryl Littlejohn, to the killing. Some blood found on the plastic ties that bound Imette‘s hands positively matches Littlejohn‘s blood. He‘s now considered the prime suspect in the case, which is expected to go to a grand jury this week. Imette was savagely tortured, sexually assaulted, brutally murdered and then dumped in an east New York area more than two weeks ago.
Joining me now with all the very latest breaking details is reporter Dan Hausle from NBC affiliate WHDH out of Boston. Dan, let‘s start, first of all—how confident are authorities that they have their man?
DAN HAUSLE, WHDH-TV: Well, they‘re very confident (INAUDIBLE) they have a police commissioner out there saying it‘s about a trillion-to-one shot that they would have the wrong man. That DNA match was really what they wanted to nail down the connection to Darryl Littlejohn.
COSBY: How soon until we could an see an indictment, possibly, Dan?
HAUSLE: That‘s the big question. Authorities said that they would have the grand jury sometime this week. Now, the way they‘ve been moving fast, you‘d think they‘d get him in early, because they‘ve gotten ahead of the publicity now to say they‘ve got the DNA match, and with Littlejohn locked up on a parole violation, the talk is that they could be waiting as well late into the week to even impanel the grand jury. So you could see a charge come out as early as tomorrow or the next day, or we could wait until next week before we ever see a charge come out of a grand jury. So there‘s a wide range on the possibility there. The betting is late in the week at the earliest, and probably into next week.
COSBY: You know, we heard from New York police commissioner over the weekend, Ray Kelly, said that they actually pulled some more evidence, that they‘re looking at more forensics. What are they looking at?
HAUSLE: Well, these forensics, a lot of it, particularly the DNA matches, can take several weeks, so the fact that two weeks into the murder, they come up with this big DNA match is not at all surprising. It seems like they wanted to get that one piece of evidence because a couple of things were going wrong, and when they finally got that one key DNA match—this was a day after you started seeing stories the paper saying maybe police have the wrong guy—but they will continue to have more DNA pieces of evidence coming back over the next weeks, over the next several weeks.
And even the pieces of evidence they were taking out just days before
remember, just a couple of nights ago, they were going into the pipes of this guy‘s house, taking things out of his trap that he might have washed down there. They‘re going to be using DNA on that stuff, too. So every day, they could be coming up with an additional DNA match, another reason to possibly take a long view on the grand jury, to get the most possible evidence to them.
COSBY: You know, Dan, we also know that there‘s now a—what, another witness who came forward, someone who was able to even describe Imette‘s jewelry that night?
HAUSLE: Yes. You got one or two witnesses. These are street people, homeless people living right across the street here from The Falls bar, who reportedly saw Imette get into the van with Darryl Littlejohn.
This is an interesting piece of information because we originally heard, reluctantly, the bar owners here talk about hearing a scream and some shouts outside the bar, suggesting that Littlejohn, after taking Imette outside the bar, that there was some kind of disagreement or confrontation. But then you got the homeless people cross the street saying, yes, we heard this van screech up. That woke us up. Mainly, there was one guy, and then there‘s talk of maybe a woman who was with him, as well, who say they saw Imette get into the side of the van.
So this would suggest that out of an argument, there was maybe some kind of agreement. The guy even quoted Littlejohn as saying, Here, I‘ll help you, I‘ll get you home, and then getting her into the van, not forcing her in. And indeed, he not only allegedly heard this conversation, which initially people were kind of skeptical of, but according to some reports, he described some unique piece‘s of jewelry on Imette that caused police so say, Hey, you know, we really do believe this guy.
COSBY: Very interesting, Dan. Please, keep us posted if you hear anything more throughout the show. We appreciate it.
And tonight, as you just heard, a major physical link tying the bar bouncer, Darryl Littlejohn, to the murder of Imette St. Guillen. Joining me now is former New York police squad commander Joe Cardinale, who‘s been with us from the beginning, and also our pal, private investigator Vito Colucci.
Joe, let‘s start with you. How significant is this DNA match? Here‘s his blood, and as you heard from Ray Kelly, one-in-a-trillion chance, basically, that it would actually match the blood found on the ties that were binding her, and it matched.
JOE CARDINALE, FORMER NYPD SQUAD COMMANDER: Oh, this is huge. It‘s something that they‘ve looking for. I believe they had some evidence in the beginning, and now it ties him in, and now they can proceed with bringing it before the grand jury. But there‘s also going to be more evidence presented in this. There‘s no doubt about that.
COSBY: What kind of stuff do you think, Joe?
CARDINALE: Well, I believe the fibers are going to be tied in. And also, now we‘re working—don‘t forget, Rita, we‘re working with a timeline. We‘re working from now—we have more of a timeline as to when she was taken and where she was taken to. Now we can start filling in the gap in between that, and that‘s important.
And as far as going to the house, going back to his house and pulling the pipes apart, probably looking for hair. And as the story goes on, they might have some more information about this, and they‘re just going to keep going back. As much as it takes, that‘s as many times as they‘re going to go back to the scene and take as much time as they have to.
COSBY: And let me play a little clip. This is from the commissioner this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAY KELLY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: There‘s a lot more forensic work to be done in this case, but obviously, this is a major development. But we have a lot of material to be examined both by our laboratory and the medical examiner‘s office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: You know, Vito, what else does he have to nail down?
VITO COLUCCI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Well, he‘s going to take his time, like Joe said, because now they got the blockbuster evidence yesterday. They‘re going to look for different things. And let‘s not forget those ties, also called “zip strips,” they were found, the identical ones, in a toolbox in the basement of The Falls, too. So there‘s all little things like that that keep adding to the piece.
These forensics may take several weeks to come back, but I think the grand jury will be impaneled, I believe, by Friday or maybe the beginning of next week, they‘ll come down with the thing.
Now, what‘s going on here, Rita, is, don‘t forget, Ray Kelly went on television yesterday. He did this to relieve the fears of the people, to give them the blockbuster thing that they‘ve come up with, kind of put that at rest a little bit now. But like Joe said, and me and Joe talked about this last week on your show, it‘s going to take time, and they‘re going to gather a lot of evidence on this individual.
COSBY: Vito, where do you think the murder happened? We still don‘t know. Did it happen at the bar, at a house? What do you think?
COLUCCI: I think it happened at—definitely not at the bar. I think—because, you know, these homeless people are key, too. And this is a van that‘s very—you know, that has the tire in the back. It has this ladder. The color‘s a little bit different than normal. These people see her come out. He took her someplace, killed her, left her on the side of the road.
I still don‘t believe that he is the one that made that 911 call. I could be wrong. I think somebody just came across the body. I don‘t think it happened in The Falls.
COSBY: Let me play another little clip from the commissioner from this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: There are witnesses that put the victim in the company of Mr.
Littlejohn when she left the bar that evening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: You know, as we‘re hearing now, Joe, one of the witnesses describing her jewelry, saying that there might have even been a woman in the van, too, we were just hearing from Dan Hausle. What do you make of all this? At first, it was just this just one homeless person. Now we‘ve got a second one.
CARDINALE: Well, you know, everybody‘s saying, Oh, they‘re homeless, they can‘t—you know, who‘s going to believe them? You know something? The way they‘re giving this description and the details that they‘re providing, it‘s...
COSBY: It‘s pretty incredible, the detail, right?
CARDINALE: It‘s very credible. Very credible. And you want to know something? This is the—they are the eyes and the ears of New York when something like this happens. From the least likely sources, you get the most information sometimes, and that‘s exactly what‘s happening here. And there may be other people that have seen things going on, not just now, in the past.
I still don‘t buy what‘s going on at this bar. You know, it‘s—you hire this thug to come over and be your bouncer, and with his background, and you know his background, and everybody‘s saying, Oh, yes, they should have did the background check. But it‘s not that. Maybe you know his background and you have him there for other reasons. We don‘t know. But this will come out in the end, I guarantee it.
COSBY: You know, Vito, I want to show—and in fact, we‘ve got the first pictures of one of the bar owners of The Falls, Danny Dorrian. And I want to put this up because I think, so far, from everything we have heard, this is despicable. I hit on exactly what Joe said, this guy not coming forward, waits until the guy‘s, you know, arrested—I mean, not arrested, but actually held for the parole violation in the other case. There‘s something fishy here, Vito. It sounds like there‘s still a lot of unanswered questions, don‘t you think?
COLUCCI: Definitely. But you know what really bothers me the most, Rita? He hears a scream and takes no action. Takes no action!
COSBY: Yes, it‘s shameful.
COLUCCI: Just like—that is shameful. She could still be alive today. He hears the scream, does nothing about it. Like Joe touched about the background check and all those things—of course, they should have been done. She would be alive today. But how about...
COSBY: But Vito, is your gut saying—is your gut saying there might be even something more to what they—what they‘re—there may be some other—you know, maybe they saw something, uncovering something just as strange? Why not come forward?
COLUCCI: Well, definitely. It took them five to seven days to come forward on this. I really feel they‘re worried about the repercussions. I mean, this screams big-time civil suits. Not only that—I talked about it last week—your bruises, your cuts, everything—he had five to seven days to heal these, too, which definitely hurts the case that way, even though it‘s rock-solid now, OK? So I mean, hearing screams and not going to help somebody really bugs me the most, Rita.
COSBY: You bet. It‘s despicable. Both of you, thank you very much.
And still ahead, everybody: Much of this case is going to hang on forensic evidence. We‘re going to take you for an up-close glimpse at how they are piecing this case together. Take a look.
Still ahead: From the crime scene to the crime lab, how do police prove that DNA evidence tied to Imette‘s murder is connected to the prime suspect? Tonight, a rare look inside a high-tech lab that helps put killers behind bars.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: What do you think this evidence means for Darryl Littlejohn?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And tonight, a big scandal in the big business of harvesting human body parts. Are diseased bodies slated for burial instead used to turn a profit? Wait until you hear why your loved one‘s body parts could be worth more than diamonds in this high-tech industry. A surprising investigation coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: We talk about DNA here. We‘re talking about the certainty of one in a trillion. So it is a—you know, a very important piece of evidence for us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: Well, a stunning breakthrough in the murder case of Imette St. Guillen. Police now say that blood found on the plastic cuffs used to bind Imette‘s hands matches Darryl Littlejohn‘s DNA. But what does it take for prosecutors to make a DNA link? Today I visited John Jay College. That‘s the same school where Imette was studying criminal justice. And noted forensic expert Dr. Larry Kobilinsky showed me firsthand how investigators use the latest high-tech science to solve cases like this.
COSBY: Dr. Kobilinsky, walk us through what happens when they find a tie like this on Imette St. Guillen‘s wrist.
KOBILINSKY: Well, the medical examiner, observing this as a very important item of physical evidence, will remove it from the body and package it, document it and turn it over to the crime scene unit or the homicide investigators. This item has to get to the laboratory, and the chain of custody is very critical and everything has to be documented. So that is the first part of the analysis of an item like this.
COSBY: Doctor, it‘s been reported that the ties that were binding Imette St. Guillen were milky white. Does that help to spot things?
KOBILINSKY: Indeed, it does, because any kind of staining pattern stands out with good contrast against the background. Had that not been the case, we would have to use an alternate light source to focus in on a particular stain.
COSBY: So explain how that works.
KOBILINSKY: Right. Well, this light source is an ultraviolet lamp, which is very useful if you‘re looking for semen stains. If there are bloodstains, this light source will cause what we call a quenching or a darkening of the stain. The main point is, you‘re looking for stains by enhancing the contrast with the background.
COSBY: Once the initial tests are done, the sort of more superficial tests, it goes to a DNA machine like this.
KOBILINSKY: That‘s right, Rita. First of all, what we need to do is take the specimen, the blood off of the tie. We need to extract the DNA, which means to isolate the DNA from everything else. We need to determine how much is there. And then we need to amplify it, which means that at 13 different positions in the human genome, we need to amplify and make billions copies of the original target DNA. What that means is if you have a very small amount of evidence, you can get a lot of information.
It then goes into this machine. This is a genetic sequencer, and it separates DNA based upon size. And what happens is, is the DNA sample comes up a tube and then enters a fine capillary, and an electric charge pushes the molecules or pulls the molecules along this tube. And there‘s a separation, smaller of molecules coming out first.
COSBY: So what you‘re saying is the DNA is physically traveling through here...
KOBILINSKY: That is correct.
COSBY: ... and being read as it goes through.
KOBILINSKY: That is right. It is hit by a laser beam. The laser beam excites the molecules, and then a camera detects the light beam given off. And as a result of this process, we end up with a printout of an individual‘s genetic profile.
COSBY: Now, Doctor, this is an actual DNA readout.
KOBILINSKY: That‘s correct. In other words, after the machine has analyzed all the fragments of DNA, it produces a printout such as this. And what you see are the individual genes at each of the 13 sites. There‘s a set here, a set here, and a set here, and on—various genetics of this individual. And what we do after we get this entire profile is make a comparison between the question sample—the blood on the tie—and the exemplar or the profile from the individual that is suspect.
COSBY: The fact that the New York police are now saying that there is a match his blood was found, according to DNA, on the tie. Is that a major development? Is that a lot?
KOBILINSKY: It‘s a blockbuster because this is what forensics is all about, getting a linkage between the suspect and the victim.
COSBY: Is that solid? Is that a pretty solid thing to hold up in court?
KOBILINSKY: It is probably the most solid kind of evidence you can possibly have. We know that the significance of this match is one in trillions, which means that it‘s essentially an absolute identification of his blood on the tie that bound Imette St. Guillen.
COSBY: What do you think this evidence means for Darryl Littlejohn?
KOBILINSKY: Rita, based upon this DNA match, I am absolutely convinced he will be arrested, indicted and convicted for the homicide of Imette St. Guillen.
COSBY: You believe the evidence is that strong right now.
KOBILINSKY: It is absolutely that strong, yes.
COSBY: And we‘re now joined by Dr. Robert Shaler. He is the former head of forensic biology for the New York medical examiner‘s office. He‘s also now the director of forensic science at Penn State University. Dr. Shaler, do you agree with Dr. Kobilinsky that this connection, this DNA match, is key enough for an indictment, and even to go further, maybe?
DR .ROBERT SHALER, PENN STATE UNIV. FORENSIC SCIENCE DIR.: Oh, sure. This is—I agree exactly with what he said, that this is probably the most powerful evidence you can have. You have some of his biological material found, basically, on her body. And when you have that kind of evidence, it‘s as good as it gets.
COSBY: Let me also show some of the other forensics. I just want to put them up on the screen, if I could. We know fibers found on the tape used to wrap Imette have been matched to the carpet in Littlejohn‘s home. Also animal hairs on that blanket, that quilt, have been linked to Littlejohn‘s cat. Are these as solid as that blood link, or is the blood link much more significant?
SHALER: The blood link is much more significant, but all of this is circumstantial evidence, and none of it is saying that Littlejohn didn‘t do it. SO I think that it all kind of ties in and paints a very nice picture for the prosecution.
COSBY: The other thing we were hearing is that they went in and got some of his plumbing, some of his pipes, out in the last few days. If they find Imette St. Guillen‘s hair or items or something connected to her in his plumbing, in those pipes, that‘s pretty damning, right?
SHALER: Oh, sure. It‘s just more evidence piled on top of itself. And the more they find, the stronger the case is. But even if all they had was the DNA Evidence, it‘s very, very compelling evidence, very strong, very overpowering.
COSBY: You know, and they‘re also looking to see if they can link him to some other rapes, as we‘ve been reporting. They‘re checking to see if there‘s DNA on cuffs used in another rape case, as well as the possibility that one of the other rape victims, that her DNA could be in his home. You know, some of these cases are many months old. Does that make a difference?
SHALER: Not really. The evidence is pretty well preserved once it dries, and that evidence is not that old that it‘s going to make any difference to the DNA If the DNA is there, and if they can find it, they should be able to get good test results from it.
COSBY: You know, a lot of people are surprised—and I asked Dr. Kobilinsky this—that they got DNA from Littlejohn. We know that they had it in a bank because he‘s, you know, been in and out of prison for many years. But we also know—it‘s kind of interesting—that they also got it from the previous bank robbery, but they got fresh DNA samples from utensils and also a cup at the police station. I was hearing that he ate Chinese food as the police were sort of questioning him. Are you surprised that a guy who didn‘t seem to want to leave fingerprints, if, indeed, he did this—but we know that there are no fingerprints on the tape around her head, and yet he would sit and eat Chinese food and basically provide them with a DNA sample.
SHALER: Well, he‘s not as smart as he thinks he is. That seems to be true for a lot of people who commit crimes. They try to cover their tracks. They kind of call it one of the “CSI” effects. But these people who do these kinds of acts, they‘re not that smart, really.
COSBY: All right. Well, Dr. Shaler, thank you very much. We appreciate it very much.
And as they continue seeking out justice for the former graduate student, on Friday night, friends and concerned New Yorkers gathered outside of The Falls bar. They protested throughout the evening, calling attention to the bar where Imette was last seen alive and where the bar owner and some employees failed to report what they knew to police. And a lot of people are disgusted about that.
Joining us now is Imette‘s close friend, Amy Short. Amy, I‘m going to get right to this. You know, these folks at the bar—how disgusted are you, as a friend, and also the family—she‘s got to be livid—about—
I want to even put up a quote. This is on one of the flyers at that protest on Friday night. It said, “According to police, Dorrian”—this is, of course, the owner of the bar—“deliberately misled investigators, thereby affording prime suspect and Falls bouncer, paroled felon Darryl Littlejohn, a week to dispose of incriminating evidence.”
You just got to just be so furious.
AMY SHORT, IMETTE‘S FRIEND: I‘m outraged. It‘s outrageous. I think everyone should be outraged by this. It‘s totally reprehensible, incomprehensible, and just awful. It‘s inexcusable. I wish I had an explanation.
COSBY: What do you think should happen to these folks? You know, the fact that they didn‘t come forward—I mean, a lot of people are thinking hindering the prosecution, obstruction of justice. Do you think some charges should be filed against these folks who maybe heard a scream and did nothing?
SHORT: It‘s gross negligence. There has to be something that can be done. I‘m not well versed enough legally to know if any charges can be brought against them, but I sure would like to see that bar shut down.
COSBY: Yes, that‘s what I was going to say. Do you think that, at least, that that‘s a good beginning?
SHORT: It‘s a good start, absolutely.
COSBY: How is the family...
SHORT: And I understand that process has started.
COSBY: Yes, and I know that the liquor authority is looking into them for—it sounds like to me there are some issues even before all this happened. But a lot of people are predicting those days are numbered there. Yes, how‘s the family reacting to that, too, Amy? I mean—huh? How are they handling this news that these guys, especially—it‘s just got to be heart-breaking to hear the reports that maybe they heard something and did nothing.
COSBY: How can anyone react to that? The family‘s (INAUDIBLE) I‘m certain so devastated by the loss of their daughter, to keep having to process new awful information, I just can‘t imagine how they must feel inside.
COSBY: Yes, I don‘t think anybody can. And it‘s a beautiful family, too. It seems like they‘re getting a lot of great support, though. Tell us about sort of everyone that‘s been rallying around them. It sounds like the support over—you know, everywhere, nationwide, everywhere, is wonderful.
SHORT: Absolutely. It‘s heart-warming to know how many people have been touched by this story. Whether they knew Imette or not, the nation is moved by this. And great, let‘s keep moving. Let‘s move towards more safety for women. Let‘s move towards better regulations so that criminals aren‘t in charge of people‘s safety at bars. Let‘s keep moving towards a more positive outcome. This is a horrible thing.
COSBY: You bet. You know, and is there any sense of relief now that we‘re hearing it sounds like an indictment is coming very, very soon, if you listen to New York police commissioner Ray Kelly.
SHORT: Absolutely. Thank God.
COSBY: And how does the family feel about that, too, Amy?
SHORT: I think that the family is waiting for an official arrest before they‘re going to have any sort of comment on that, and I think that‘s their right to do so. I know that they don‘t want to jump to conclusions. They‘ve been quoted in the press by saying they‘re going to wait to hear, you know, what comes of this, and I think they want something official to take place, and they should. We all do.
COSBY: Absolutely. And of course, everybody deserves the due process of justice and to make sure that justice is served. Amy, thank you, and we applaud all your efforts. Want to have you back on again soon. Thank you.
And everybody, we made also some calls, a number of calls, to the lawyer for the Dorrians. That‘s, of course, the bar owners. We have had no response.
Up next: What will it take to get a murder indictment against Darryl Littlejohn? That‘s coming up after the break.
And a scandal in a grim industry, human body parts harvesting. Was a body part broker breaking the law with your loved one‘s remains? A surprising investigation. That‘s coming up.
COSBY: New twists and breaking information in Imette St. Guillen‘s murder tonight. The major breaks in the case go beyond just naming Darryl Littlejohn as the prime suspect. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says there could also be enough for prosecutors to get a murder indictment as soon as tomorrow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: Littlejohn is the prime suspect in this case, and his indictment will be sought for the murder of Imette St. Guillen. Armed with this and other evidence, detectives, as they have throughout this investigation, consulted again today with prosecutors. As a result, the Brooklyn district attorney will impanel a grand jury to seek the indictment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: And joining us now to talk about the case is former sex crimes prosecutor Wendy Murphy, and also criminal defense attorney Mickey Sherman. Wendy, is there enough to indict?
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes, you bet, Rita! Look, everybody
knew they had some kind of contact, and so we might find what I call benign
DNA on her person, connecting him in some way to the body. But when you
find his blood on the tie that was used to bind her hands behind her back -
boy, that‘s about as close as you get to a confession, in terms of the strength of this evidence. That‘s...
COSBY: And Wendy, let me put up...
COSBY: ... put up some other things. I‘ll have you expand on it.
You got the blood matching the ties. We also have the scratch on the neck. We also have cell phone records pointing him in the area apparently at the time. Which isn‘t his area where he lives. And also witnesses say they saw him with Imette, two guys, one person saying they actually saw him in the van with a woman, which brings up another issue and carpet fibers on the tape match. Carpet fibers from his home. You have all these things.
MURPHY: Rita, you can‘t produce, even Mickey can‘t produce an innocent explanation for the blood on the tie behind her back, but when you add all those other factors, it‘s an incredibly strong case. Assuming it‘s all what it looks to be.
COSBY: Mickey, what‘s the innocent explanation? Say your his defense attorney, what do you say?
MICKEY SHERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Identical evil twin and I‘m not trying to make a joke at someone‘s expense, but it‘s that absurd. I think most of the evidence can either be explained away or argued or in some way dealt with, but it fits. If there really is blood and it‘s on the ties and it‘s his blood, I mean, a trillion to one, there‘s not a lot of wiggle room there.
COSBY: So what do you do, Mickey? You‘re his defense attorney, do you look to cop a deal or point at other people now?
SHERMAN: You‘re not going to point to I object else whose blood is not there. You try to make a deal the best you possibly can. Hopefully this man has information that forty other people that did terrible things. You have to trade something of, but it‘s not going to happen. This country is absolutely to enraged that they want this man arrested yesterday.
I‘m just surprised it‘s taking this long, if in fact they have the blood, I‘m not surprised there‘s not a midnight grand jury working out there.
COSBY: Why are they waiting? They don‘t have to rush, he is on parole violation, they‘ve got him. He‘s not walking street.
MURPHY: Mickey, he‘s complaining for, if they rushed to indict him, he will be complaining. If they arrested him now he‘d say it‘s a rush to judgment. It‘s all spin. It doesn‘t matter. They don‘t have to do it today, they can do it tomorrow. There‘s absolutely nothing to be made out of this.
COSBY: Wendy, are you surprised they‘re waiting.
MURPHY: Not at all.
COSBY: We heard from a reporter at the top they may wait until the end of the week. We may see charges coming next week. Are you surprised with all the intense pressure and focus?
MURPHY: No. Why rush? You can make mistakes if you rush, you make fewer mistakes if you don‘t. We have a pile of other DNA evidence that‘s going to come out and hopefully we‘ll just really tie the case together in a way that‘s so overwhelming.
The thing that scares me the most and what I think the defense is going to be able to make hay with is the possibility of another guy being involved here, because once you get two people at the crime scene, if there is a DNA from somebody else at the bar, for example, then you‘ve got this guy, Littlejohn is going to point the finger at the other guy and say yes I raped her but didn‘t tell her and the other guy is the same thing and you have the cross-finger pointing problems that can really whip some doubt in the courtroom. That‘s what I‘m worried about the most.
COSBY: The other thing we heard of is the homeless person, but it sounds like the homeless person was able to pinpoint some of the jewelry she was wearing, so it sounds like they maybe had a pretty good view of things. But if you believe this second witness now, saying maybe a woman was in the van. That opens up a whole can of worms.
SHERMAN: It makes it bizarre, but the problem for Littlejohn it doesn‘t exonerate him. It may start a fire under somebody else, but it doesn‘t put this fire out.
COSBY: But maybe that person did the killing and I did something else.
SHERMAN: The jury is not going to care. If he was there, if he was part of it, if his blood is there, he‘s going down.
COSBY: What‘s the defense, Mickey. What are they going to say, there‘s a rush, all the media furor, rush to judgment?
SHERMAN: You have to find a Mark Fuhrman here. It‘s not going to happen. It‘s just not going to happen.
COSBY: I talked to his defense attorney, he stays that this guy feels like he‘s being railroaded, that‘s according to his client, that he went to work that day, went home, they got the wrong guy.
MURPHY: Good luck. You know what‘s really going to happen in this case? The jury is going to be enraged, that this is a guy looked like he was mopping up the scene, ripping off fingernails, wiping down the body, this is a guy who was slick, watching CSI, knew all the tricks of the trade.
I hope if there‘s a message here, every potential innocent victim out there learns something about how to gather evidence, even if you‘re on your death bed. Dig your nails into the guy, rip some hair out of his head, do anything you can to grab some forensic evidence, because that‘s how you‘re going to capture the smart thugs.
SHERMAN: The problem is we convicted this man and that‘s where I have the problem. That he‘s not been in the court of law yet, no evidence is introduced, you heard Commissioner Kelly say something and I assume he‘s telling us the truth but in the meantime, this guy has more face time on the front of The New York Post than any of the Hilton girls.
COSBY: And that‘s going to be his defense attorney‘s argument.
SHERMAN: He‘s totally been convicted, no way to get a fair trial.
COSBY: That argument and a nickel will get you a lollipop.
Everybody, we are going to continue to stay on this story and bring you all the latest developments that are coming fast and furious. An indictment could come as early as tomorrow. We‘ll keep you posted on the grand jury‘s decision.
If you have any information at all about this case, don‘t do what the bar owners did, don‘t wait to have cops pressure you. Call crime stoppers. 1-800-577-TIPS. And still ahead everybody, a LIVE AND DIRECT exclusive, an interview that we did with Mexican President Vicente fox. He makes some big news in our interview. Find out why he says his country can help end America‘s dependence on Mideast oil.
And next, human body harvesting, it‘s a grim industry, under fire for alleged shady dealings with human body parts. What happens to some loved ones remains after the funeral is frightening. You‘re going to be outraged. That‘s coming up.
COSBY: Tonight, a ghoulish tale sending shock waves around the country. Four men accused of harvesting tissue from the recently deceased without the consent of their families. Images like these are truly disturbing, investigators exhumed bodies and found bones taken from the corpses and replaced by plastic pipe.
But that wasn‘t even the worst of it. In Brooklyn, New York, District Attorney Charles Hynes explained the true horror of the crimes.
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CHARLES HYNES, NEW YORK DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The outrages that they falsified the consent forms, they falsified the cause of death by age as well as the Z‘s.
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COSBY: And LIVE & DIRECT right now is Vito Bruno. He and his late father Michael are victims of this alleged scheme. And also his attorney Sandy Rubenstein is with him.
Also here with us tonight is the author of the book “Body Brokers,” Annie Cheney. A detailed book about what was going on in this industry.
Annie, I‘ve got to start with you. How big a business is this?
ANNIE CHENEY, AUTHOR: A billion dollar business.
COSBY: Billion dollar business, all illegal activity?
CHENEY: Well, no. In fact, most of it is legitimate legal activity.
COSBY: It‘s the stuff that‘s on the side that people don‘t know about.
COSBY: And how many companies are involved?
COSBY: Hundreds of companies.
CHENEY: And maybe are publicly-traded companies.
COSBY: Sort of respectable companies that on the surface are respectable?
CHENEY: Right, and they‘re making big bucks on the stuff.
COSBY: And how many of them are being revealed at this point?
CHENEY: Well at this point in this particular case, we are seeing about three companies that have been implicated in buying these body parts. Whether or not they knew anything about what was actually going on, we don‘t know. So far it‘s just the people involved in the harvesting that have been indicted.
COSBY: And how disgusted were you just personally? I mean, everybody has loved ones who have passed and you just pray for the best, what‘s going to happen with them—to find out that they were putting in plastic pipes, stealing their body parts?
CHENEY: Well actually I wasn‘t surprised by that because I knew that they do this as a matter of course. If they take bones out, they put in PVC piping just to keep the body together.
What I was shocked by and really disturbed by is the fact that these funeral directors—a funeral director who is a partner in this tissue bank, and he was pretty much, you know, anyone who would come in, according to the indictment, he was sort of passing them along to the tissue bank operator.
COSBY: Making big bucks on the side at the expense of these poor families.
CHENEY: He grossed close to $5 million in just a few years.
CHENEY: You know, Vito, you unfortunately, you know, were a victim of this, as well as your father. How did you find out about it?
VITO BRUNO, FATHER‘S BODY PARTS ALLEGEDLY SOLD: The detectives had showed up at my house and asked me to verify a series of documents for my signature. And well, my signature was obviously falsified and as we go through the documents, we had uncovered also that they had changed the cause of death from cancer to heart attack, as well as the age.
COSBY: And what did they change it to?
BRUNO: They changed it to heart attack from cancer.
COSBY: And the age, what did they change the age from?
BRUNO: From 75 to I believe it was in his 60s.
COSBY: To what, make it more appealing, I guess?
BRUNO: Yes, because I believe that you cannot transfer body parts that were tainted or diseased or of certain age, I‘m sure there‘s certain restrictions of age to transfer body parts also.
COSBY: How outraged were you personally to find your poor father passes and then to find out that they were using his body parts illegally on the side?
BRUNO: This is probably the most despicable, heinous crime ever—that I‘ve ever heard of. And that sentiment‘s also been reflected from the district attorney, who says this is the worst thing he‘s ever seen also.
COSBY: It is just disgusting. Hey, you know, I want to show a statement. This is from a gentleman by the name of Michael Mastromarino. And maybe gentleman‘s too nice of a word to use for him. He‘s one of the four men facing charges.
And this is the statement from his attorney. It says, “We apologize for the tremendous emotional and physical stress this matter has caused you. All of the tissue and blood samples were tested and sterilized prior to its release and is safe.”
You know, doesn‘t sound like, Vito, he‘s taking any responsibility?
BRUNO: No, they don‘t. They just trying to cover their tracks. They got caught now and there‘s over 1,000 bodies involved in this investigation.
They could clean the tissue, but the experts say that if your immune system is in any way compromised that, you run a risk of contracting a disease from these tissues. My father had cancer, but there are other people who‘ve had AIDS and syphilis and several other diseases, which are easier to communicate from getting transplanted.
COSBY: Annie, I want to show—we‘ve got a little bit of a graphic that I want to show everybody—just a visual to show how this worked in one of the cases, because it is pretty incredible. We talked about the funeral home. The first floor of Brooklyn Funeral Home had an embalming room, but just above was a secret operating room where bodies had their tissues harvested. They go to incredible depths to hide these, too.
CHENEY: Yes, although, you know, this was inside the funeral home and there were plenty of people who were coming in and out who would have seen this, but it is shocking.
I have to say though that I went a few years ago to the National Funeral Directors Convention and I saw there that some of these companies were straight out, you know, soliciting funeral directors and saying, “Hey let‘s make a deal. You know, we‘ll give you a little money if you let us use your embalming room to do the procurement and you send the bodies to us.”
COSBY: Without of course parent‘s consent, without anybody‘s consent at this point.
CHENEY: Well that‘s up for grabs, you know?
COSBY: Sandy, what kind of charges could these people face, I mean for doing just this horrible, despicable thing?
SANFORD RUBENSTEIN, VITO BRUNO‘S ATTORNEY: Well they‘re already facing racketeering charges, which carries a 25-year prison term. But the real horror here is that there are tens of thousands of people who receive bone and tissue who now need to be tested, their blood, for a lengthy period of time to determine if they contracted any disease, 1,077 bodies. If each one was used for 100 body parts, that‘s 100,000 people. It‘s outrageous.
COSBY: You know, Sandy, real quick, personally how disgusted are you?
You‘ve covered a lot of cases, how shocked were you to hear about this?
RUBENSTEIN: This is one of the most horrendous examples of a wrongful act that I‘ve ever seen.
COSBY: Sandy, thank you very much. And Vito, our prayers are with you. I cannot imagine just to find out this news. Annie, stick with us. Of course. when we come back, another outrageous scandal where bodies donated to science were allegedly sold for profit. A man at the center of it who denies the allegations is going to join me next. That‘s coming up.
COSBY: And another possible body parts scheme getting a lot of attention involves the medical school at UCLA. Two years ago, two men were arrested in an alleged scheme to sell body parts from cadavers that had been donated to the medical school for research. Henry Reid, director of the school‘s Willed Body Program, was arrested on suspicion of grand theft, but has never been charged.
Ernest Nelson, the other man arrested in the alleged scheme is LIVE & DIRECT with us tonight and his attorney Thomas Brill is also with him. And back with us once again is Annie Cheney, she‘s the author of an incredible book, the book called “Body Brokers.”
Ernest, let me start with you. What led you to UCLA and to be involved in cutting up body parts?
ERNEST NELSON: Well, I just thought of doing work for a number of clients that I had, and it just let me to that university.
COSBY: And did they say what they wanted you to do it for? Did you know where it was going?
NELSON: Well, I knew it was going for medical research.
COSBY: Did you have an idea that it wasn‘t people who necessarily wanted their body parts to be used for this kind of activity?
NELSON: No, I had no idea.
COSBY: When did you go there? And did anybody at the school actually see you there at certain hours?
NELSON: I did most of my work during the daytime, you know, in the morning time around 10:00, 11:00 in the morning, so there were a lot of people who saw me.
COSBY: And this other gentleman, Henry Reid, who has now been obviously charged with some pretty strong stuff, what was your relationship with him? Did you know?
NELSON: My relationship with Mr. Reid was purely professional.
COSBY: Yet, he‘s now arrested. And, again, I want to correct myself. He was arrested on suspicion of grand theft. Did you have any idea that he was doing something illegal?
NELSON: No, I didn‘t.
COSBY: What‘s your...
NELSON: Not until it came out in the papers. I had no idea.
COSBY: And what did you think they were doing it for? Did you just think—I mean, it is a little strange cutting up cadavers for research. Did you think that maybe something might be happening improper here?
NELSON: No, because protocol—their protocol dictated that‘s what they did with cadavers, so I never thought anything was wrong with it. Plus, you‘re talking about medical research, and in the advancement of medicine, so I never really thought that there was anything wrong with what I was doing. I was basically doing my job.
COSBY: How tough of a job was that too? I mean, people think of cadavers, it‘s just a tough business.
NELSON: Well, it can be strenuous at times, but, you know, it‘s just like any other job. It‘s a business.
COSBY: You know, and again, one of his colleagues, Henry Reid, director of the school‘s robotic program, again, arrested on suspicion of grand theft. You hear about this, do you buy what he‘s saying knowing the business?
CHENEY: Well, I think that the situation here was, and this is—there‘s actually been a lot of investigations in to medical schools over the years, four over the last eight years. What we have here is a case where a school has a surplus of bodies that they may or may not be using, and you have companies that go around looking for body parts to use. And they may call a medical school.
Now, we don‘t know the actual situation of what went on because there‘s been to indictment here, but, you know, if you have someone working in a school who stands to earn a little bit of extra money selling some of these donated bodies to somebody like Mr. Nelson, why not, you know, not go for it?
COSBY: Let me show you some of the, quote, “price lists” because it is just shocking and so surprising to hear these sort of a, quote, you know, “price tab” in the market out there for different body parts.
An entire body can be worth anywhere between $4,000 and $5,000. A head is going to run between $550 to $900. One hand on the market here is worth $350 to $850. Each leg costs between $700 and $1,000. And each foot runs anywhere from $200 to $400. I mean this is sick. How do they come up with these figures?
CHENEY: That‘s a good question. They actually vary widely from seller to seller. And they will add—they‘ll say, oh, well, you know, we had to write up some legal documents, we did some HIV Testing, whether or not they did any of those things, they‘ll tack on extra charges and come up with any number they really want to.
COSBY: You know, Thomas, you‘re sitting there next to your client. Where does it stand in terms of the lawsuits right now and the case being investigated against your client?
THOMAS BRILL, ATTORNEY: Well, we have filed three lawsuits. Actually, I have nothing to do with any criminal case. I represent him in three civil lawsuits that he has filed against UCLA because of the fact that he believes he was basically duped by Henry Reid.
I will mention that there‘s been a lot of talk about how selling body parts is illegal. It‘s actually not illegal to sell body parts. I think Ms. Cheney has a good point...
COSBY: But if they specifically don‘t sign a consent form and then you forge the signature, that is illegal.
BRILL: Oh, absolutely. No, I agree that there‘s been a lot of wrongdoing, and I think it‘s good that we‘re bringing some light to this whole area because a big problem here is that UCLA wasn‘t telling its donors what it was doing with the bodies.
Mr. Nelson doesn‘t even have a name to identify a body. All he gets is a number, and it‘s really UCLA‘s responsibility to tell the donor if that‘s what they‘re going to be doing.
COSBY: Especially if they had diseases and these questionable things, Mr. Brill. I mean, what if they had cancer or AIDS or something?
BRILL: Absolutely. Absolutely. I agree and I think that‘s why there needs to be some regulation. Now in Mr. Nelson‘s case, Mr. Reid assured him in every instance that there was blood tests done, provided him with the blood tests, provided him with requisition forms, would give him an approval on some cases and not an approval on other cases.
But Mr. Nelson is suing for defamation. He is also suing for breach of contract, and now he has a third lawsuit for violation of his civil rights, as a result of the raid on his home by the UCLA Police who have not brought any charges against him or Mr. Reid up to this point.
COSBY: All right. Well, please keep us posted all of you. Thank you very much and Annie thank you, really disturbing but interesting book.
And when we come back, everybody, my exclusive television interview with Mexican President Vicente Fox. Tonight his breaking news about oil and where we can get it. Some big news coming up. That‘s next.
COSBY: And we have some important big news tonight that you are going to only see here. Over the weekend, I had the chance to sit down with Mexican President Vicente Fox at his presidential residence for an exclusive television interview. And he told me that his country has made a major discovery that could have a very real impact on our pocketbooks.
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PRESIDENT VICENTE FOX, MEXICO: And we will be announcing in a couple of weeks from now, a huge, new reserve of oil and natural gas.
COSBY: Do you think this new reserve that you are speaking of, would you make this new reserve available to the United States?
FOX: Of course, United States is our number one customer, oil wise.
COSBY: Do you think this will help us?
FOX: Well, we‘ll keep selling to the United States as well as we keep selling to different parts of the world. We don‘t think this is the most convenient for anybody to have such high prices of oil.
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COSBY: And we‘re going to have much more of my exclusive interview with President Fox, including his thoughts on the border wars in the coming days right here on LIVE AND DIRECT.
And also coming up tomorrow, our coverage of the Imette St. Guillen murder case is going to continue as we look ahead to the grand jury‘s announcement. A possible indictment coming up as early as tomorrow.
And that does it for me right here on LIVE AND DIRECT. I am Rita Cosby. Hope you have a great night everybody.
“SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” with my pal Joe starts right now—Joe.
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