Guests: Sean Walker, Martha Bellisle, David Chesnoff, Nelda Luce Blair, Nicole DeBorde, Lawrence Schiller, Michael Kane, Harvey Levin
JIM MORET, GUEST HOST: Coming up, police need your help in finding a man caught on tape in a shooting spree at a Las Vegas casino. They say he killed a man and wounded a woman.
The program about justice starts now.
Hi everyone, I‘m Jim Moret of “Inside Edition” sitting in for Dan Abrams.
First up on the docket, a man is on the loose in Nevada after this shooting spree in a Nevada casino. It happened early Sunday morning in North Las Vegas, about seven miles north of the Vegas Strip, leaving one man dead and a woman injured. Police are desperate to find him. They‘re releasing this surveillance tape with the hope that someone will recognize the gunman and turn him in.
Joining me now, Sean Walker, the public information officer for the North Las Vegas Police Department. Officer, thank you very much for joining us.
SEAN WALKER, PUBLIC INF. OFFICER, NORTH LAS VEGAS POLICE DEPT.:
Thanks for having me, Jim.
MORET: Tell us how did this shooting spree begin? Was it a fight?
WALKER: That‘s what it appears from the surveillance tape. If you watch the start of the tape, it appears to be some sort of verbal and then physical confrontation between the group. During that, the gunman gets some sort of liquid thrown at him. When he—that liquid hits him, he then produces the weapon and begins firing.
MORET: And you‘re able, you believe, to tell a great deal about the suspect based upon the video, his height, his age, and so forth. What are you able to tell?
WALKER: Not so sure on his height. We believe he‘s probably in his late teens or early 20‘s. He‘s a black male, as you can see from the tape. He‘s wearing a dark colored baseball hat that he has turned backyards and then a hooded sweatshirt with a gray or lighter colored stripe across the front of it.
MORET: Have people come forward to help in identifying him?
WALKER: I have spoken with a sergeant in our detective bureau this morning and he did say that they have gotten some leads over the weekend, and they‘re in the process of looking into those at this time, but this is a very clear surveillance tape, so the likelihood of this person being identified is great.
MORET: Was the man killed believed to be the intended target and how about the woman, how is she doing?
WALKER: It‘s hard to say who the intended target is. If you review the tape, he‘s bouncing all around and shooting in a number of different areas and locations, so it‘s hard to see who the intended target was. The female was struck in the hand and she was treated and released at University Medical enter the same day as the incident.
MORET: And lastly, should people be concerned? We‘re putting up a phone number for those to call with information, 702-385-5555. But Officer, before we let you go, there are a lot people who go into casinos every day. A lot of people get very angry they lose money. Should people be concerned about folks bringing weapons into casinos in Las Vegas?
WALKER: You really shouldn‘t because this is an isolated incident. I can‘t even recall any in recent history that‘s happened inside a casino. People need to remember, these casinos are built for your safety. They all have cameras. They all have security officers inside them, so it‘s not something that can be—people should be nervous or concerned about. It‘s actually a rarity to have something like this happen inside a casino.
MORET: And we‘ll continue to follow this case. Sean Walker thank you for joining us.
WALKER: Thank you.
MORET: Now to Reno, Nevada where Darren Mack, the man accused of stabbing his wife to death and then shooting the family court judge presiding over their divorce was in court today for the first time. Mack is charged with murder, attempted murder, and battery with a deadly weapon. He was on the run for 11 days until he finally surrendered to authorities Thursday night at a resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico after failing to show up for an arraigned—arranged surrender that morning.
Mack was then extradited to Dallas, Texas on Friday and booked in the Dallas County Jail and late Friday night Darren Mack arrived in Reno after waiving extradition to Nevada and met with his attorney for over two hours in jail and met again on Saturday morning to begin his defense. Joining me now, Martha Bellisle, legal affairs reporter for the “Reno Gazette-Journal” who was in court today and on the phone, David Chesnoff, co-counsel for Darren Mack. Thank you both for joining us.
First to Martha, tell us what happened in court today.
MARTHA BELLISLE, “RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL”: Well, he was scheduled for his first hearing or his first appearance. He was—the hearing is designed to inform him of the charges against him instead of a preliminary hearing date, but before things got started, his lawyer, Scott Freeman, said that they were not be acknowledging the charges against him. That they wanted instead to have the entire case moved out of the D.A.‘s office and moved out of Washoe District Court.
Of course the court is the same court that Judge Weller presides in,
although he‘s in the family division and doesn‘t hear criminal cases, but -
and also the D.A. who is—oversees this case, has acknowledged that he‘s known Darren Mack for about 20 years, so the lawyers want the case moved out of the D.A.‘s office and out of this court.
MORET: Why, they‘re alleging a conflict of interest there?
BELLISLE: They‘re saying that there‘s a conflict of interest, yes.
MORET: David Chesnoff, co-counsel for Darren Mack on the phone, what about that conflict of interest? It seems like a relationship would actually help your client.
DAVID CHESNOFF, CO-COUNSEL FOR DARREN MACK (via phone): Well, not really, and we‘re looking for this to be done as professionally as possible and I think the D.A. himself according to some news reports has already acknowledged that the conflict exists. But it goes beyond the personal relationship. There are other issues based on what we believe are some conversations that the D.A. may have had directly with our client prior to our representation of him and after the alleged events, which may make him a potential witness in the matter, but we‘re going to be researching and preparing written pleadings for the court, which will be filed in the next day or so, in which our position is more clearly put on paper.
MORET: Now without revealing any privileged conversations, walk us through to the extent you can the arrangement of the surrender. How unusual was this?
CHESNOFF: Well, I mean over my career I‘ve been involved in arranging for people to surrender who have warrants for their arrest. The unique part of this was the fact that there was—the fact that he was located in a foreign country and of course we made available to him not only our knowledge of the extradition process, but also wanted him to be in contact or at least have some help from some Mexican lawyers as well, and he was without going into too much detail, he became aware of what his rights were, but he chose to voluntarily return because one, he wanted to be with his family, and two, he wanted to defend himself.
MORET: And Martha Bellisle, while we talk to you, we‘re going to look at some of the items that were sought in the search warrant affidavit, items found at Mack‘s apartment and you can see...
MORET: ... there are bloodstained towels, t-shirt and shoe, four empty rifle cases, boxes of firearm ammunition. We know that Darren Mack‘s daughter is now in the custody of Darren Mack‘s mom, any word on either of them? Were either of them in court today?
BELLISLE: No, there was no family in court today. Charla Mack‘s family was not in court either. Her mother is in town and her brother, but nobody else was there.
BELLISLE: It was actually a video arraignment. He was in Washoe—or Washoe County jail and he spoke to the judge through a video camera.
MORET: David Chesnoff, did your client ask about the welfare of his daughter?
CHESNOFF: As I kind of told your producers ahead of time, the idea of talking about any of my privileged conversations is not really going to be something we‘re going to talk about...
MORET: Well tell us how they‘re doing then.
MORET: How are they?
CHESNOFF: I will say this. Reiterate it. He wanted to come back because of his love for his family and that includes his daughter who he loves very much.
MORET: And is there a possibility in this case the prosecutor could seek the death penalty, sir?
CHESNOFF: I imagine that that‘s a possibility, but I‘m hopeful that that won‘t be a decision that they make. I think there‘s a lot of reasons why it shouldn‘t be first and foremost, the question they have to determine is to whether or not this is even premeditated and secondly, there are a lot of mitigating factors.
This man has absolutely been an upstanding and wonderful citizen of Reno prior to this, so I would hope they would factor in everything, but I don‘t think this D.A. is in a position to make that decision. We‘re hopeful it will be somebody who is conflict-free.
MORET: David Chesnoff, Martha Bellisle, thank you both for joining us.
BELLISLE: Thanks for having me.
CHESNOFF: Thank you.
MORET: ... JonBenet Ramsey‘s mother Patsy dies after a long battle with cancer, renewing interest in the nine-year-old murder mystery. We‘ll talk to the special prosecutor who investigated the case coming up next.
And the Texas mother who admits she drowned her five children goes on trial again. Andrea Yates‘ attorneys say she was insane at the time. That‘s not what the jury in the first trial thought.
And Anna Nicole Smith‘s fight to keep her husband‘s fortune went all the way to the Supreme Court. Now the man she was fighting with has died, so what happened to the battle over the bucks?
Your e-mails send them to email@example.com. And remember include your name and where you‘re writing from and I will respond to them at the end of the show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE PARNHAM, ANDREA YATES‘ ATTORNEY: Knowing that something is illegal does not mean that you know something is wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORET: And that is the key question as Andrea Yates goes on trial in Houston for a second time for drowning her five children in June 2001. Was Yates insane at the time? Did she know right from wrong? A key piece of evidence for the prosecution in the first Yates‘ trial, this tape of a 911-call where Yates asks police to come to the home she shared with the kids and her husband Rusty.
OPERATOR: What‘s your name?
ANDREA YATES: Andrea Yates.
OPERATOR: What‘s the problem?
YATES: I just need them to come.
OPERATOR: Are you having a disturbance? Are you ill or what?
YATES: Yes, I‘m ill.
OPERATOR: Do you need an ambulance?
YATES: No, I need a police officer. Yes, send an ambulance.
OPERATOR: Are you sure you‘re alone?
YATES: No, my kids are here.
MORET: Prosecutors used that tape and expert testimony to win a conviction. Yates was sent to prison, but that conviction was overturned after an appeals court ruled prosecution psychiatrist Park Dietz gave false testimony when he told the court about an “Law and Order” episode where a woman drowned her kids in the bathtub and successfully pleads insanity, turns out there was no such episode after all.
Nelda Luce Blair is a former Texas state prosecutor. Nicole DeBorde is a Texas defense attorney. Ms. Blair, first to you, what are the problems facing prosecutors second time around in your view?
NELDA LUCE BLAIR, FORMER TEXAS PROSECUTOR: Well, in my view, there really aren‘t any problems facing the prosecutor. There‘s really not new evidence for the defense that I think helps Andrea Yates much. Their biggest trial is to try this case in front of a new jury and they‘ve got to convince them just like they did the old jury that this lady knew exactly what she was doing was wrong when she did it.
MORET: Nicole DeBorde, is that effectively the sole question do you think before these jurors? Is Andrea Yates aware of the differences between right and wrong, and if so, does that 911-call do you think play a pivotal role in this trial?
NICOLE DEBORDE, TEXAS DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think that is the sole question and I think that the great thing about this particular trial as opposed to the trial that happened years before is that the jury is actually going to really be able to focus on that question. A key difference in this turn of events in this trial is that this particular jury has not been pre-qualified for death penalty, and that may make a big difference in the people that are ultimately hearing the case and making the decision, the people that the prosecutors are trying to sell this idea that the lady that killed her five children with her bare hands had no problems with her sanity.
MORET: Ms. Blair, as a prosecutor, in this case the problematic witness, the expert witness who falsely testified before, is going to be called again to the stand. What would you do in a situation like that? Is that a huge barrier, do you think, to getting a conviction?
BLAIR: Well, it‘s difficult, because that‘s why the case was overturned. However, Park Dietz, who is the psychiatrist and expert witness, is a wonderful, wonderful expert witness. He has a very long resume and a very impressive resume, so in spite of the fact that he was a problem in a—in the prior case, simply because he testified about a TV show that had not aired, they will still use him because he is still very well respected and I also expect that they‘ll use some other expert testimony as well to show that this woman knew right from wrong at the time she killed her children and I think that 911-tape helps.
MORET: But Park Dietz didn‘t just make a mistake, he testified falsely. He lied. He was wrong. So...
MORET: ... won‘t he be impeached?
BLAIR: What he said was that a particular show had aired when in fact it has not aired. Now whether he was wrong or made a mistake or whether he actually lied outright is a good question and the jury will give weight to his credibility depending on how they feel about him, but he‘s actually a very good witness on the stand and as I said, has a great resume, so I think that he‘ll help the prosecution.
MORET: Ms. DeBorde, as a defense attorney, what would you think is the best potential outcome for Andrea Yates?
DEBORDE: I think the best potential outcome is that they find correctly that she was insane at the time of these killings and that she go to a mental institution where she belongs, and that‘s the best thing that could happen for her in this case.
MORET: And do you expect that this is going to be a lengthy case as the first one was? Is it going to be difficult? Clearly the subject matter, even five years later, is so difficult to listen to and it will be obviously very difficult for the jury to watch as the testimony presents itself, that Andrea Yates killed her five children in the bathtub.
DEBORDE: And quite frankly, it could possibly even be longer than the first trial, because for each witness that gets up and testifies, there‘s going to be prior testimony that can possibly be used to compare and contrast with what they‘ve said before to what they‘re saying now, so it‘s possible that this trial could actually take longer than the first trial.
MORET: Ms. Blair, if the jury decides that Andrea Yates cannot tell right from wrong, would she still in your view be confined for the rest of her life to some sort of mental facility?
BLAIR: Not necessarily. If the jury finds that she‘s innocent by reason of insanity, she will be sent to a mental institution but only until a doctor decides that she‘s well enough to be let go and that could happen any day. I think that would be a travesty. This lady—the circumstances of this case show that this lady very methodically killed her children one by one, then called the police to tell them she had done something wrong. So I think if she is found innocent, she could be put away for the rest of her life, but there‘s a good chance that she won‘t be.
MORET: Andrea Yates‘ husband recently remarried. He has been subpoenaed to be a witness in this case. What is the most significant and relevant information you think he could present, is that he knew or should have known that his wife was having emotional problems?
BLAIR: Well, you know, there‘s a lot of folks that say perhaps he‘s the one that should be on the stand as well as the defendant, because maybe he did know that there were problems with her, but what he‘s going to provide as a witness is not so much whether he was at fault but whether she has an excuse to have killed her kids. In other words, whether she—he‘s going to testify to her prior problems, to her prior psychotic episodes and of course he‘ll be called to help the defense, to show that maybe she didn‘t know what she was doing, was wrong to do at the time.
MORET: And Nelda Luce Blair, what would you think is the biggest stumbling block from a prosecution standpoint, given the problems in the first case? I mean this clearly is a horrible blow for the prosecution when you have a woman who admits to killing her children, you have a verdict, and then everything is thrown out. The public obviously feels cheated in this case, don‘t you think?
BLAIR: Obviously. No question about it. I‘m a local resident and I feel cheated in this case. There‘s no question that the prosecution is going to have a tougher time, (A), because they don‘t even have the death penalty as a choice, so now they have life imprisonment is all the punishment that she‘ll get if she‘s found guilty.
But their biggest problem is that it‘s an old case now. It was five years ago that these children were killed and there‘s a lot of people out there that feel that if a mother kills her children, then she equals insanity and that‘s simply not true. What they‘ve got to prove is that there was some wrongdoing on purpose on the part of Andrea Yates, and it being as old as it is, it may be a little difficult to do now.
MORET: Nicole DeBorde, as a defense attorney, do you agree with that? Do you think that if a mother kills her children, people will automatically think she is insane or do you think another outcome is likely?
DEBORDE: You know I don‘t think that it‘s automatic, but I do think that in this case despite the fact that we‘re having such a move toward seeking vengeance, because there are five dead children, that the evidence is going to bear out the truth and the truth in this case is, is that she was insane at the time, and the defense has had time to gather more information about her condition up to the point where these children were killed, and hopefully all of that evidence will come out and the jurors will be able to make a decision unclouded by other issues, just focus right on that main question.
MORET: And regarding Andrea Yates‘ condition, let‘s listen to what George Parnham had to say to Dan Abrams on this program June 21 relative to Andrea Yates‘ emotional state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PARNHAM: She is able to talk with me intelligently, presuming of course that I can intelligently carry on a conversation with her. She hurts visibly every moment. She is distraught about her children. She recognizes that mental illness put her children in the position of being victimized by this horrific disease. And she has displayed, you know, the naturalness of a mother‘s love for a child who is departed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORET: Departed. Nicole DeBorde, this is a woman who admitted that she took the lives of her children and we heard in that sound bite remorse and being distraught. Do you think that any of that is really relevant to the issue of whether or not Andrea Yates at the time of the killing knew right from wrong?
DEBORDE: Well and that‘s the key question. You know, all of these things may be used by the defense perhaps to show some contrast between how she is once she‘s in a medical condition that is more stabilized versus how she was at the time. You know, you mentioned earlier that maybe the county or the world feels cheated because you have this case where you have five children that have died and then there‘s a resolution that‘s taken off the table.
But the fact is, is that the world feels cheated any time a child dies at all and I think that‘s probably one reason the prosecution has sought this sort of justice or vengeance result in this particular case, and perhaps now that they have some time to look at it and the jurors are going to have some time to analyze the facts of how her mental condition was leading up in the days right before these deaths and comparing it with her medicated, more stabilized condition, that will be what helps them answer the question.
MORET: Nelda Luce Blair and Nicole DeBorde, thank you both for your insights.
DEBORDE: Thank you.
BLAIR: Thank you.
MORET: Coming up, JonBenet Ramsey‘s mother, Patsy, dies after a long battle with cancer, renewing interest in the nine-year-old murder mystery. We talk to the special prosecutor who investigated the case.
And a suspect wanted for murder shows up and turns himself in on live TV.
We talk with the reporter who was there.
And our continuing series, “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose”, our effort to find missing sex offenders before they strike again. Our search today is in Wisconsin.
Police are looking for Billy Clanton. He‘s 24 years old, five-foot-nine, weighs 150 pounds. He was convicted of first-degree sexual assault of a child and has not registered his address with the state. If you have any information on his whereabouts, please call the Wisconsin State Police at 608-240-5830. We‘ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATSY RAMSEY, JONBENET RAMSEY‘S MOTHER: I did not kill JonBenet. I did not have anything to do with it. I love that child with my whole of my heart and soul.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORET: It is arguably one of the most intriguing unsolved murders in the past decade. Now the JonBenet Ramsey murder case takes another strange twist, with the passing of JonBenet‘s mother, Patsy. It was the morning after Christmas in 1996, when Patsy Ramsey found a two and a half page ransom note on the staircase, demanding $118,000 for her daughter‘s safe return. Hours later the unthinkable. JonBenet‘s body was found in the family basement.
She had been beaten and strangled to death. From the get-go, JonBenet‘s parents lived under a—quote—“umbrella of suspicion”. While many expected a deathbed confession from JonBenet‘s mother, that opportunity has come and gone. Patsy Ramsey lost a 13-year-old battle—
13-year battle with ovarian cancer over the weekend, leaving behind her daughter‘s unsolved murder and lots of unanswered questions.
Here‘s NBC‘s Mark Mullen with the story.
MARK MULLEN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the family home in Atlanta where Patsy Ramsey died, family members released a statement, saying they were deeply saddened Patsy lost her 12-year battle with ovarian cancer, a woman those close to described as a loving mother.
LARRY POZNER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is perhaps the only way Patsy Ramsey was going to find peace, because she would be forever haunted not only by the death of her daughter, but by the horrible insinuations.
MULLEN: Many cast suspicions on Patsy and John Ramsey after the bizarre murder of their 6-year-old beauty queen daughter JonBenet 10 years ago this Christmas. She was found beaten and strangled in the family‘s Colorado home, along with a ransom note. The crime fueled tabloids and TV movies, but the case was never solved. Many blame the bungled investigation on an inexperienced Boulder police team—former prosecutor Bill Wise.
BILL WISE, FORMER PROSECUTOR: They kicked the FBI out early on. They refused help from the Denver Police Department.
POZNER: The Boulder police systematically leaked wrong information, false information, rumors.
MULLEN: The Boulder Police Department declined to comment. Patsy and John Ramsey spent years afterwards fighting the perception they were involved, even writing this book in hopes of restoring their name.
P. RAMSEY: I‘m appalled that anyone would think that John or I would be involved.
MULLEN: Ultimately, a 13-month grand jury investigation found no reason to indict the parents, and DNA testing cleared them.
POZNER: I look for the day that some good cop in another state sends in the DNA of a child molester and they match it up.
MULLEN: Still, as the family prepares to bury Patsy next to JonBenet on Thursday, the family may never quiet some conspiracy theorists, who may always speculate the secret surrounding the murder of JonBenet will be buried, along with her mother.
Mark Mullen, NBC News, Los Angeles.
MORET: Michael Kane, a former Boulder County special prosecutor, and Lawrence Schiller, author of “Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: The Uncensored Story of the JonBenet Murder and the Grand Jury Search for the Truth”. Thanks to both of you for being here. And to both of you this question.
First to Lawrence Schiller, how does Patsy Ramsey‘s death impact the investigation of the murder case, if at all?
LAWRENCE SCHILLER, AUTHOR, “PERFECT MURDER, PERFECT TOWN”: Well, I think, if anything, it‘s going to put it on the back burner. Her appearance with her husband periodically in Boulder, visiting the current D.A. always gave some notoriety to the investigation. People were brought on to look at the evidence and then moved on to other jobs. Right now short of a database hit on foreign DNA, I don‘t think there‘s going to be much pressure on this case.
MORET: Michael, do you agree with that assessment?
MICHAEL KANE, FORMER BOULDER COUNTY SPECIAL PROSECUTOR (via phone):
Oh, I think that there will be some flurry because of the publicity that every once in a while this case kind of resurrects itself and it certainly will do that, but I don‘t think there‘s any active investigation going on and this doesn‘t change any of that.
MORET: In the taped report we just heard, the grand jury found no reason to indict the parents and then also that DNA conducted later, testing conducted later, cleared the parents. Do you agree with that assessment? Were the parents in your view ever cleared?
KANE: You were breaking up. Were you talking to me, Jim?
MORET: Yes, were—in your view, were the parents cleared based upon DNA testing?
KANE: Oh, I don‘t think anyone was cleared based on the DNA testing. It was DNA that was found, but making the link between that and the perpetrator has never been established.
MORET: Larry Schiller, what do you know about the DNA testing and in your view what impact did it have on this case?
SCHILLER: Well, foreign DNA was found in her pants. It wasn‘t semen. It was mixed with her own blood, and it seems that there‘s indications that the Denver Police Department found 11 markers. Of course, you need 14 markers in present day DNA to have a hit on a national database. So the DNA has been able to exclude many people, and some reports are that the Ramseys themselves were excluded. But there has not been a definite hit.
Now, advanced DNA technology in the future may be able to look at that material in a different way, but only time will tell. You have to remember that that‘s not the only evidence that might link a perpetrator to the crime. That‘s the evidence we know about. The police and the prosecutors have a lot that they‘re keeping close to their chest, as they should be, because this is an ongoing investigation.
MORET: I want to read and show both of you a statement that Bill Wise, the former Boulder County assistant district attorney made to “The Denver Post” on June 24. If I were on a jury right now with what I know right now, I would not convict Patsy Ramsey of anything. One of the reasons is there was that unknown DNA in JonBenet‘s panties mixed with her DNA and I know they swabbed all the family members and with that kind of evidence coming in, I don‘t know how you could say Patsy Ramsey did it.
That of course again from Bill Wise, the former Boulder County assistant district attorney. Michael Kane, what‘s your reaction to that statement? Do you agree with it?
KANE: I agree with it absolutely. I mean it‘s—the evidence rose to a level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt against anybody. I‘m sure a case that he brought certainly when I was on the case, if we had evidence that pointed a finger one way or the other to someone beyond a reasonable doubt, charges would have been filed, but I agree with Bill Wise, that it never reached that level and today it hasn‘t gotten to that level.
MORET: Mr. Schiller, then the tragedy of this case is that this family, the parents have been under this umbrella of suspicion for so long and that‘s basically all the public heard, and they‘ve heard very little to suggest that perhaps the parents weren‘t involved. Do you see that then as the tragedy coming from this case now with Patsy Ramsey dying?
SCHILLER: Well certainly one of the tragedies is when police accidentally or maybe on purpose released information to try to push a specific suspect in a certain direction, as they did here. You know, it is proper to always look at the family members first when you have a child or a young person killed in a family. But the Ramseys themselves, the way they reacted, the way they were advised probably by attorneys who weren‘t looking at this case close enough, and public relations people that they hired, they did not act as if they were innocent people.
They refused to give interviews at the proper time, refused to cooperate openly, and they placed themselves under that famous umbrella of suspicion. It took a long time for that shadow to slightly move away, and it probably never did completely leave them. You know, the present DNA feels that they—the present district attorney of Boulder feels that they are innocent and that person certainly has a right to that view. You know, you have to look at how this child was killed.
This child was killed with an extreme blow to the head, a garroting of the neck. One has to say would a parent do that to their own child? Yes, they would slap the child, push it against the wall, the child would slip, fall down, hit its head against a tub, but this was not a killing like that. Everything that points to the Ramseys or Patsy Ramsey, there is also something that points away from them.
MORET: Michael Kane, do you think that this murder will ever be solved?
KANE: Honestly, I don‘t believe it will. I don‘t think that anybody is going to spend the time and anybody is spending the time that it would take. At this point, you have to—I mean you have to remember, there were three full-time prosecutors, there were five full-time police officers that worked this case for two, close to two and a half years. And those resources aren‘t being applied now and I think that absent some DNA hit that would definitively tie in a person who had the motive and the opportunity to do this, it‘s not going to happen and I don‘t think that DNA is going to happen.
It‘s been six years. There‘s barely significant databases that have been built up in the last six years and obviously it hasn‘t been matched against that and that tends to make me believe that if it were a person on the outside and if that person left that DNA, that that person is either dead or long gone because it‘s never been repeated, and if somebody had been arrested carrying that DNA, we would have known about it.
MORET: Mr. Schiller, with our remaining 15 seconds, do you think this case will ever be solved?
SCHILLER: Short of a confession or somebody making a tragic mistake and revealing themselves, I don‘t think it will be.
MORET: Michael Kane and Lawrence Schiller, thanks to both of you.
KANE: You‘re welcome.
SCHILLER: Thank you for having us.
MORET: Coming up, a murder suspect shows up to surrender as the cameras are rolling on a reporter doing a live report on the morning news. We‘ll talk to that reporter.
And Anna Nicole Smith‘s biggest roadblock in her fight for what she says is her share of her late billionaire husband‘s estate died over the weekend. What does this mean for Anna?
MORET: Coming up, it was just another live report on a manhunt for a murder suspect. That is until the suspect showed up on camera.
MORET: What started out as a routine live report about a manhunt for a murder suspect took a bizarre turn this morning. Police in Pacoima, California were looking for Alvaro Williamson, believed to have shot and killed his neighbor and injured the man‘s son after an argument last night.
KNBC reporter Robert Kovacik was reporting on the manhunt this morning on the news outside of a local police station when the last person he expected to hear from made a surprise appearance. Take a look at what unfolded.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Williamson allegedly told his 17-year-old son to go and get his loaded handgun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My son wasn‘t involved.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: When the son did...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My son wasn‘t involved.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you Mr. Williamson?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Could we come back here live for a minute?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Could we come back here live for a minute?
I‘m sorry, you are Al Williamson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you understand that the police are looking for you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I‘m walking—turning myself in.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Could you tell us what happened, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘s been an ongoing dispute with my neighbors.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you shoot your neighbor?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No comment. I‘m going to turn myself in right now.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you kill your neighbor?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No comment.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Williamson, where have you been?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything—where have I been? I was at Jack in the Box. I had a soda, sprite.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sir, the police have been looking for you.
There‘s an all points bulletin...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I talked to them. I know. The story you guys put out is false. I‘ll clear it up right now. My son had nothing to do with this. I‘m the person you‘re looking for. I‘m turning myself in.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you turn a gun on to your next-door neighbor?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m turning myself in. If you guys—if you want to go in here, you can walk up to the counter with me.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I‘d like to just hear your story before we go sir. Before you go...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: ... could you just tell me what happened last night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘s been an ongoing dispute. They continuously harass me. They‘ve been bothering me for eight to 10 years, OK, and it‘s over with. I‘m turning myself in right now. I appreciate your time. My son had nothing to do with this. He didn‘t drive a getaway car like they said. That‘s far—that‘s the farthest from the truth and I‘ll—I talked to Sergeant Bunch (ph) and I‘m turning myself in right now.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you admit that you shot your neighbor then, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No comment. Thank you.
MORET: Calm under pressure. Robert Kovacik joins me now. Thanks for talking to us.
ROBERT KOVACIK, KNBC REPORTER: Hi, Jim.
MORET: A little product placement for Jack in the Box in there as well. Tell me what happened. How did this unfold? Did you recognize the suspect?
KOVACIK: Well right before we actually had this confrontation with this murder suspect, we had gone in and spoken with a detective inside the LAPD Foothill Division in the San Fernando Valley and it was very odd today. There was a tremendous sense of urgency inside the LAPD. We worked in conjunction with them trying to take this man—this alleged murder suspect off the street and when he gave me the suspect‘s photo, he said not only do we have an all points bulletin out looking for this man and not only is he considered armed and dangerous, but he said Robert, this is also a big guy.
He is six-seven and 260 pounds, so we took all of this information and we were back live on the air this morning talking to our viewers and I heard someone talking behind my photographer. Now, Jim, it‘s 6:00 in the morning in Los Angeles. You never know who you‘re going to meet out there on the street and you never know what people are going to say, didn‘t pay much attention for the first couple of seconds, but then you hear the hesitation in the live shot and what happened then was when I heard this man say you‘ve got it wrong when it comes to my son. And when he said that, I turned and looked at him and there in front me, I mean I‘m six-feet and this guy towers over me, he wanted to talk to us specifically about his son and we asked him, identifying him from the picture that we had just shown that this was indeed 41-year-old Al Williamson.
MORET: And he was almost nonchalant when you asked him where he‘s been.
KOVACIK: Nonchalant. He was very calm. What had gone down was that he had just spoken with the LAPD and had told them that he wanted to come in and surrender, that he wanted to walk in the doors by himself. They said if you come in, make sure you‘re not armed.
He agreed to come on in. He walked himself into the LAPD‘s Foothill Division. Obviously, past us, but even the detectives that I spoke with had said he was very calm when they talked to him, very matter of fact and they were going to go outside and warn us that this man could pass by us, but as you see, they didn‘t get the chance.
MORET: Robert Kovacik, great thinking on your feet. Thanks so much for joining us.
KOVACIK: Thank you.
MORET: Coming up, Anna Nicole Smith took her fight to keep her husband‘s fortune all the way to the Supreme Court. Now the man she was fighting with has died, so what happens to the battle over the money?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNA NICOLE SMITH, FIGHTING FOR HER HUSBAND‘S FORTUNE: Happy Valentine‘s everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is it with the memory from your husband?
Do you have a good Valentine‘s memory from your husband?
SMITH: Oh, I have very good Valentine memories from my husband.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What was it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORET: Could life get any better for Anna Nicole Smith? A big development in her ongoing battle to claim her late husband‘s fortune could mean that she‘s one step closer to cashing in. Let‘s recap.
The former “Playboy” playmate is fighting for what she says is her share of the $1.6 billion fortune husband J. Howard Marshall left when he died at the age of 89. Her biggest obstacle was J. Howard‘s son, E. Pierce Marshall. He claimed Anna wasn‘t owed any of his father‘s fortune. The two went at it in nasty court battles from Texas to California, even the Supreme Court. Last month the high court looked beyond their 60-year age difference, overruled the decision that left her without any of Marshall‘s money and gave Anna Nicole the thumbs up to go back to court and keep on fighting and really who could resist this defense for needing the money.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How does one go about spending $5,000 a week in cash? What do you do with it?
SMITH: Well, I‘m a very, how do I say this—I would go to premieres like every week, you have to buy a formal gown and I mean gowns are like—
I mean you buy gowns, you spend like $30,000 and you‘ve got to buy gowns, you‘ve got to buy shoes, you‘ve got to pay hair and makeup. I mean it‘s very expensive to be me. I mean it‘s terrible the things that I have to do to be me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORET: No, it‘s not easy being Anna, but things have changed. E. Pierce Marshall, the one person fighting hardest to keep Anna Nicole away from his father‘s cash is out of the picture. He actually died this weekend. Now that doesn‘t mean J. Howard Marshall‘s fortune automatically goes to Anna, but could it mean she is one step closer to the money.
Joining me now to discuss this, managing editor of TMZ.com, an attorney and my friend, Harvey Levin. Harvey, thanks for joining us.
HARVEY LEVIN, MANAGING EDITOR, TMZ.COM: Hi, Jim.
MORET: Hi. Could Anna Nicole—is she now closer in your view to securing some of that fortune?
LEVIN: Yes and no. She‘s closer to the extent that these two were fighting so viciously that neither one was going to bend. Now that he‘s out of the picture, I think you could argue that his heirs don‘t have the same kind of personal stake to keep fighting, so maybe she could settle. On the other hand, Jim, she is trying to prove that he defrauded her, that he forged documents, and if this ends up going back to a trial, she doesn‘t have him to put on the stand to make that allegation now. He‘s dead.
MORET: Well, there‘s still 1.6 billion reasons why this family would be fighting. Let‘s not look beyond the fact that there‘s a lot of money at stake. Do you think that the heirs will be more inclined to settle than Pierce might have been?
LEVIN: You know what? I think so, because she was really attacking him, and now it‘s one step removed, so these heirs can get a big payday quicker than they could if they kept fighting in court and I don‘t think it‘s as personal with them. They may want to clear their father‘s good name or whatever, but the bottom line is he‘s dead. The two people who were really fighting are no longer doing it because half of the equation is dead, so I think it probably brings it a little bit closer to settlement.
MORET: We‘ve been looking at the many changing faces of Anna Nicole Smith. It seemed like Washington, D.C. all but shut down when she made this dramatic appearance to the Supreme Court. Let‘s listen to something she said on the stand in 2001 regarding her relationship with her deceased husband.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you call him right before he died?
SMITH: I didn‘t know when he died.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you call him right before he died?
SMITH: I was in New York. They called me and told me he died.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma‘am. Did you make a call to him the last few days of his life?
SMITH: Yes, I sure did and I‘d get hung up on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you aware he refused to talk to you?
SMITH: He never, never. You could never, never say that to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORET: Harvey, this was a bitter fight. Do you expect that the ongoing battle will continue to have some bitterness?
LEVIN: Well, I mean, there‘s hatred with these families right now. I mean she clearly has a problem with them and they with her, but again, Jim, I mean you know it‘s like when two people are fighting so, and it becomes so personal, that it‘s an issue of you know I‘m going to fight for my good name, now all it‘s really about is money.
So I think, you know, these, you know these kids could say, you know, we‘re going to try to clear our dad‘s good name, but they stand a chance of losing a lot or they could settle now, cash in and let—and put it all behind them. And I‘m guessing they‘re going for door number two in this case.
MORET: And talking about kids, there‘s a new kid involved in that Anna Nicole Smith is pregnant. Any news on that, any updates?
LEVIN: Well, I know that there‘s this hugely bitter fight going on right now between the man who allegedly is the father who was a photographer and Anna Nicole Smith‘s lawyer, Howard K. Stern, that for some reason, Stern really doesn‘t like this guy, and there‘s some kind of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) macho fight going on between the two of them and it‘s unclear how Anna stands with all of this.
MORET: I suspect another reality show in the works, what do you think?
LEVIN: Me too.
MORET: Harvey Levin, thank you so much...
LEVIN: Jim, what I‘m hearing is that she‘s actually going to put her pregnancy on the Web site and try to make money off of it to show people you know what it‘s like to run a proper pregnancy.
MORET: Oh my goodness and to show she‘s one of us too, of course.
Thank you, Harvey Levin.
Coming up, your e-mails on the Duke rape investigation. Stay with us.
MORET: Time now for “Your Rebuttal”. Many of you still writing in about the Duke lacrosse rape case. ABRAMS REPORT regular Susan Filan was in court last week when District Attorney Mike Nifong handed over more evidence to the defense.
Here‘s Ken writing in. “Excuse the delay in writing but after seeing Susan Filan gushing over Nifong, I‘m just now able to hold down fluids. Nothing about the case changed last week. Nifong‘s deliberate misleading statements about the DNA, the condoms, the date rape drug, the medical exam, the wall of silence from the players, the choking demonstration, et cetera, are still there. This case is not a noble struggle between two honorable adversaries. This case is an abuse of the criminal justice system by a D.A. who has been knowingly deceitful. Three innocent young men are facing decades in a North Carolina state prison because of the venality of that man you seem so taken by.” A man with a point of view.
Debra Jenkins, “Please stop propelling this sad and sordid tale to the forefront. Every time you do the names of those boys and the reputation of that woman are tarnished by association with one of the most sordid and unseemly stories of the year. You are not doing them or the university a service.”
Apparently a grand jury thought there was enough evidence to indict these three men and because so much hangs in the balance, not reporting on this case would be irresponsible.
Christopher Rising, “The arrogance of the D.A., the incompetence of the Durham Police Department, how can we stand for this? If this government power keeps doing—these three kids what would they do under different circumstances?”
And that‘s it for us. I‘m Jim Moret from “Inside Edition”. Thanks for watching. Chris Matthews up next.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.