IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

'The Abrams Report' for August 9

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

Guest: Sheriff David Haggard, Amanda Sluss, James Pope, Mark Gwyn, Chris Cawood, Ricardo Yarzagaray, Gloria Allred, Joe Tacopina, Shirley Lasseter

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up, a massive manhunt underway for a prisoner who escaped with his wife after police say she gunned down a guard.


ABRAMS (voice-over):  The inmate‘s wife apparently met him while she was working at his prison.  Now she‘s wanted for murder after allegedly shooting and then whisking away her husband while he was still in cuffs and leg restraints.

And after Natalee Holloway‘s mother confronts one of the suspects in her daughter‘s disappearance, some are talking about getting a restraining order against her.



ABRAMS:  Runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks gets down to do some dirty work—quote—“serving her time”.

The program about justice starts now.


ABRAMS:  A massive manhunt is on in Tennessee.  An escaped inmate and his wife considered armed and dangerous, on the run for about eight hours now, after allegedly opening fire killing a correction officer outside a courthouse.

George Hyatte serving a 35-year prison sentence for aggravated assault and robbery in court today to apparently plead guilty to other charges.  His wife Jennifer was there with him as he was sentenced to six more years.  She left just as he was sentenced.

Minutes later corrections officers loading him into a van outside the courthouse.  An SUV pulls up behind the van, Hyatte apparently shoots—yells shoot them.  Shots ring out.  Correction Officer Wayne Cotton (ph)

Morgan hit in the stomach.  The suspected shooter, Hyatte‘s wife, Jennifer

·        get this—a former prison nurse, who was reportedly fired because of her relationship with him when he was an inmate. 

The two take off in a Ford Explorer or SUV, which is found later with blood on the driver‘s side, indicating that someone in that car could have been hit when the officers returned fire.  Officer Morgan was airlifted to the hospital.  He died from his wounds a short time later. 

Joining me now is the Roane County sheriff, David Haggard, whose officers were first on the scene.  Sheriff, thanks for taking the time.  We appreciate it.

All right, give us a sense of what we‘re talking about here.  He is getting loaded onto a van; approximately how many corrections officers are with him when this is happening?  Is he alone?  Set the scene for us. 

SHERIFF DAVID HAGGARD, ROANE COUNTY, TN:  As I understand it, there were two corrections officers from Tennessee Department of Corrections that were on escort with this inmate.  They had been into the courtroom where he‘d pled guilty to another crime of robbery and I understand it, received six additional years to serve and as the officers were exiting the courthouse, coming down the steps and attempting to put him back into the van, Hyatte yelled out to his wife, “shoot them,” and she was already in the parking in a SUV and opened fire on the two corrections officers, striking one of those officers. 

The other officer returned fire and we believe that Jennifer Hyatte was probably struck.  Now, they exited the parking lot and abandoned their vehicle about half a mile from the courthouse and we believe that they picked up another vehicle, a Chevrolet van and then left from that point.

ABRAMS:  Now—by the way, we‘re putting up the number as you‘re speaking for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations in case anyone has any information on these two.  Why is it that you believe that she was struck?  Was there blood on the driver‘s side? 

HAGGARD:  That‘s correct.  Officers found at the scene that there was some blood on the driver‘s side of the vehicle that exited the parking lot when the escape was made. 

ABRAMS:  Now, he was in cuffs and leg restraints? 

HAGGARD:  He was in shackles—that‘s leg restraints plus cuffs and a belly chain and the cuffs are in a security box with a lock on it. 

ABRAMS:  And did—is there any indication that she got the key to that? 

HAGGARD:  There‘s no indication that there was a key and we felt that he has—that when he left the scene, he was still in shackles and still in restraints.

ABRAMS:  And there‘s no doubt in your mind that his wife was the shooter, correct?

HAGGARD:  According to the officer that was there on the scene, that was the situation.  That she opened fire on them. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Sheriff, thanks a lot for coming on the program.  We‘ll keep putting that picture up with that phone number because I know that‘s why you‘re here, is to make sure that people can call in if they have gotten any information.  So we appreciate it. 

HAGGARD:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  All right, joining me now is a spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Corrections, Amanda Sluss, who can talk to us about how the Hyatte‘s relationship started, also about the victim in this case.  Let‘s talk first about the more important issue, which is the victim in this case, Wayne Cotton (ph) Morgan.  Ms. Sluss, what can you tell us about him?

AMANDA SLUSS, TN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS (via phone):  Yes, Wayne Morgan is a 56-year-old employee of the Department of Corrections.  He‘s been with us for 28 years, so you can imagine the devastation, not only at the Brushy Mountain Correctional Complex, but across the board statewide with the Tennessee Department of Corrections that we‘ve lost a man that has spent the past 28 years of his career servicing the Tennessee Department of Corrections. 

ABRAMS:  All right, so am I right that these two meet when she‘s a nurse in the prison where George Hyatte is serving time and that‘s why she loses her job? 

SLUSS:  It‘s my understanding that Jennifer Hyatte was employed as a contract nurse at one of our prisons that‘s located over in west Tennessee.  She was terminated in August of 2004 and the reason for her termination was that they had reason to believe that she was carrying on a relationship with George Hyatte. 

ABRAMS:  And this may seem like an unusual question, but I don‘t know the answer to it.  How unusual is that to have someone fired for carrying on a relationship with an inmate?

SLUSS:  Well, that wouldn‘t be unusual at all from the standpoint that as a matter of policy it is a violation for an employee of the department or a contract employee working for the department to have any type of a relationship with an in inmate...


SLUSS:  ... from all levels of the formed relationship. 

ABRAMS:  This is not the first time that George Hyatte has escaped from custody and certainly not the first time he‘s tried, right? 

SLUSS:  It‘s my understanding that he does have at least one previous escape.  He did escape from I believe the Rhea County jail back in ‘98 and he did received an additional three year sentence for the felony escape charges and I‘ve also been informed recently that he‘s had another escape since then.  They have not been while he‘s been in the Department of Correction custody as the case was today.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Amanda Sluss, thanks very much.  We appreciate it. 

SLUSS:  No.  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  All right, joining me now, an assistant district attorney in Rhea County where George Hyatte is originally from.  James Pope, he knows a lot about this guy‘s past as we‘re continuing to cover this breaking news and that is about this shooting at a courthouse in Tennessee. 

Mr. Pope, thanks for coming back...


ABRAMS:  Thanks for coming on the program.  All right, so what do you know about this guy‘s past?  This is a guy who has tried to escape on numerous occasions, correct? 

POPE:  Yes sir.  He‘s—we‘ve been—he‘s been charged in Rhea County Circuit Court at least four times with escape and that‘s just out of circuit court.  That doesn‘t count any possible changes he may have previously had at a session‘s court. 

ABRAMS:  So that would mean that he would be considered a very, very serious flight risk and I assume that‘s why he was in all of those restraints, correct? 

POPE:  Well, yes sir.  That‘s normal procedure, as I understand it, from the Department of Corrections.  Any time we have someone transported to—from the Department of Corrections to the local court system for disposition of any sentences, they bring them shackled both handcuffs and leg irons and they will not take them off unless a judge gives them the OK to take them off. 

ABRAMS:  Now in addition to his escape efforts, what do you know about his criminal history. 

POPE:  Well the—he was serving the 35-year sentence out of our court for two counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of aggravated assault. 

ABRAMS:  What was that in connection with? 

POPE:  Well, the aggravated robbery, he had two different counts.  One where he pulled a knife on a young man and took $40 off of him and then he went into a convenience store on the other aggravated robbery and claimed he had a gun and took $4,500 off of a convenience clerk.  Then the two aggravated assaults were where he was in the Rhea County jail and he made his escape with another inmate where they got the keys away from him, used these real heavy metal keys, hit the jailer over the head with the keys and then also used a razor to threaten two of the guards with and made his escape from the Rhea County jail.

ABRAMS:  This is a bad guy, a dangerous guy, right? 

POPE:  I would consider him so. 

ABRAMS:  All right, Mr. Pope, thank you for coming on the program.  We‘re trying to make sure we can cover all elements of this really frightening story. 

Let‘s check in with the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the agency that‘s heading up the manhunt at this point, Mark Gwyn.  All right, Mr. Gwyn, thank you for coming on the program.  All right, what is the latest in terms of the search for Mr. Hyatte and his wife? 

MARK GWYN, TN BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION DIRECTOR:  Well obviously it‘s turned into an all-out manhunt.  We have state and federal agents on the ground in all parts of the state, running leads as they come into our command center. 

ABRAMS:  Are you still looking for a gold, Chevrolet Ventura van? 

GWYN:  Yes, we are.  We feel like that that was the vehicle in which they escaped from the county in, but as you may know, obviously, they‘ve had time to switch vehicles but for right now, we‘re still looking for that gold Ventura van. 

ABRAMS:  Is there any—remind me how they got that van. 

GWYN:  Well, it‘s my understanding they had that van waiting on them.  It was brought up here to Roane County possibly last night and placed in order for—to make this escape.  We think it was a pretty well thought out escape plan by Mr. and Mrs. Hyatte. 

ABRAMS:  And is there anyone else who you believe may have been involved as well? 

GWYN:  We‘re looking into that aspect of this case.  There very well could be.  We just don‘t know exactly if other people knew exactly what was going to happen.  That will just have to be part of the investigation as we go through it and determine who had involvement and to what degree they had the involvement. 

ABRAMS:  But it sounds like what you‘re talking about is in the planning.  When it comes to the actual execution of this, it seems that it was just his wife and him? 

GWYN:  That‘s what it appears right now.  Just his wife and Mr. Hyatte, but in the planning we‘ll just have to let the case evolve through interviews and we‘ll determine who had knowledge and what that knowledge was. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  And I assume you‘re getting—and I hope you‘re getting in a lot of calls and leads, et cetera? 

GWYN:  We‘re getting in a lot of calls, a lot of leads.  We‘re running a lot of leads.  I believe we—in the end we‘ll be successful in apprehending these two dangerous individuals.  Obviously, we have concern that most of all, we don‘t want any more loss of life.  So these people are to be treated as armed and dangerous and we know what their propensity for violence is. 

ABRAMS:  All right, Mr. Gwyn, thanks very much for taking the time.  All right, that‘s the number.  Look, as he just said—you just heard him say it.  This is serious stuff.  This woman is accused of shooting a long-time 28-year veteran, Wayne Cotton Morgan (ph), who married, has a son and a daughter, in an effort to help her husband escape from prison. 

These two are believed to get—to be together.  She may be injured.  If you know anything, please call one of those numbers right there.  We‘re staying on top of this manhunt.  Up next, we‘re going to talk to an attorney who saw much of this happen. 

And in the Natalee Holloway case, suspect Deepak Kalpoe files a complaint after Natalee Holloway‘s mother confronts him.  Some now asking has she been going too far in her search for her daughter? 

Plus, we hear from the lead suspect, Joran van der Sloot‘s old girlfriend. 

What does she think about the allegations against him? 

And forget the white dress, runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks dons on an orange vest, fires up a lawn mower and begins her community service. 

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


ABRAMS:  All right, we continue now with our coverage of the massive manhunt underway in Tennessee for a husband and wife, considered armed and dangerous.  Jennifer Hyatte, a former prison nurse, suspected of shooting an officer as she helped to spring her husband, George Hyatte, while he was being transported this morning.  A 28-year-veteran correction officer is dead and the search is on. 

Joining me is now is Chris Cawood, who was at the courthouse when the shooting occurred.  Mr. Cawood, thank you for taking the time.  All right, tell us what was happening in the courtroom right before this happened.

CHRIS CAWOOD, IN COURTHOUSE AT TIME OF SHOOTING:  Well Mr. Hyatte‘s case was the first one up this morning.  The case I had was second and they were negotiating a plea with Mr. Hyatte, so court started about a half-hour late.  I first noticed Mr. and Mrs. Hyatte together in the conference room and when I walked past I noticed that they saw me and they quit talking, but I didn‘t pay attention to that.  As soon as Mr. Hyatte pled guilty, he left by one door and then his wife hurriedly left through the way that all those in the audience would leave.

ABRAMS:  And...


ABRAMS:  Sorry.  Go ahead.

CAWOOD:  It—I was going to say, it wasn‘t until about three or four minutes later that my case had also been postponed so I went to the window.  I didn‘t see the shooting but I saw the immediate aftermath.  People were scattering in the parking lot.  The van door to the Corrections Department van was open.  The corrections officer was lying behind another van and they were—the civilians were saying that a shooting had happened but we could not hear the shooting the courtroom. 

ABRAMS:  Now, you say you saw Hyatte and his wife talking in a conference room.  Is it unusual for someone who‘s considered a flight risk who‘s going to be walking out in both leg restraints and cuffs, et cetera, to be able to have time alone with his wife in a conference room? 

CAWOOD:  Well the attorneys had been in there—his attorney had been in there talking to him about the plea deal and he had exited the conference room and I believe that his wife was in there during the—talking about the plea deal. 

ABRAMS:  Is that improper for an attorney to leave and allow the two of them to talk alone? 

CAWOOD:  No.  They were well guarded.  They were in an area that was very secure.  They couldn‘t have left there.  They were—the corrections officers were in the hallway.  It‘s not unusual for some relative to get to at least see the defendant while they were at court. 

ABRAMS:  And did it look like she ran out of court after the plea or did she just walk out of court?  I mean was there anything unusual about the way she left that courtroom in the minutes before the shooting? 

CAWOOD:  Not really that would draw our attention to anything because very often relatives will leave rather fast because they will get another chance, perhaps to see their relative as he‘s going down the stairway or down the elevator to say bye.  So that‘s not unusual for them to leave fast. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Chris Cawood, thanks very much for taking the time to come on the program.  We appreciate it.

CAWOOD:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  Again, if you‘ve got any information, those are the numbers to call.  If you see either of them, they are armed and dangerous. 

Now to the disappearance of Natalee Holloway—we‘re now learning that something caused by our camera could lead to a big legal development in Aruba.  Remember last night, we showed you this exclusive video of Natalee Holloway‘s mother, Beth Holloway Twitty, taking the investigation effectively into her own hands.  She confronted a suspect in the case, Deepak Kalpoe, at the cafe where he works.  Now Beth is convinced that Deepak Kalpoe knows more than he‘s saying, at the least, about what happened to Natalee.  She is determined to get answers. 

Here‘s what she told us last night right after the encounter. 


BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY‘S MOTHER:  The main thing I was just asking him was I know that well Joran had—he had admitted sexual assault that he had committed against Natalee in their car with Deepak and Satish in, and I just asked Deepak, I said did you try to help Natalee or did you participate?  I—you know I think that is a legitimate question for me to ask him.

I certainly would have hoped he would have been trying to help her.  There were a couple of other things I asked.  He would not comment.  Just kept telling me that his lawyer told him he was not allowed to speak with me and I kept reminding him and—about the reward.  I said we have $250,000 for her whereabouts; we have $1 million for her safe return.  You know Aruba needs answers and these citizens here they deserve answers from Deepak. 

None of us should be subjective to what he is choosing to put us through and you know I just can‘t see why.  I even invited him to come on your show with me.  I think that would be a great way—if he doesn‘t have anything to hide, to come forward and talk.  He did not respond at all.  He would not look at me.  I kept having to redirect him and tell him to look at me. 

And (B), he would just tell me that his lawyer told him that he couldn‘t speak with me.  And those were his only two responses other than the one about where he told me that towards the end of our conversation that the media hasn‘t seen this side of me.  And I gather he must be watching me and I gather he must be seeing what I‘m saying about him.  So that‘s interesting to me.  I‘m glad he‘s keeping up with it.  He needs to be. 


ABRAMS:  Well we are just getting in news now that Deepak Kalpoe has actually contacted the authorities about this. 

NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski is live in Aruba with the latest.  So Michelle, what do we know about Deepak Kalpoe‘s request with the local authorities? 

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Hi, Dan.  Well he wouldn‘t talk to Beth Holloway Twitty yesterday, wouldn‘t give her any answers.  Well today he had an answer for her.  He goes, according to police, to the police department, talks to a detective and then files a formal complaint against her, with the police, accusing her of harassing him and bothering him at work. 

Now you saw in the tape after she did go to his workplace yesterday afternoon, asked him a lot of different questions.  He said his attorney wouldn‘t let him talk to her.  But she says that she just wanted to ask him some questions, that that was not harassment.  We just talked to her attorney today, who says this complaint is frivolous, that this is just a mother who is desperate for information. 

That this was a one-time thing, although Beth did mention that she wanted to try to talk to him again.  Now keep in mind, this complaint is not a restraining order.  What this means is if she did show up every single day and bother him while he was working repeatedly, he might call police and the fact that this is on the record now, police might try to intervene, try to stop her from coming, but nothing close to an arrest, according to her attorney.  Just maybe, you know if she did this all the time, then he could go for a restraining order or police might take some serious action. 

ABRAMS:  All right, Michelle, stay with us.  Before we go to our guests, I want to play this piece of sound and this is from Beth Holloway because it does relate to what Michelle was talking about.  She made it quite clear that she was going to go back to talk to him again.  Here‘s what she said last night.


TWITTY:  I frequent a restaurant that is two doors down from the Internet cafe.  I‘ve been to it three times now since I‘ve been on the island and I plan to go back. 


ABRAMS:  All right, so I‘m joined by Aruban attorney Ricardo Yarzagaray—correct me if the pronunciation isn‘t right—victim‘s rights attorney, Gloria Allred and criminal defense attorney Joe Tacopina.

All right, Ricardo, let me start with you.  Bottom line is how does this work in Aruba?  So Deepak Kalpoe, a suspect in this case, is going to the authorities and saying effectively, I may need protection against Beth Holloway Twitty or he‘s saying I am trying to keep her away from me.  What is effectively—what is the legal matter is he saying here? 

RICARDO YARZAGARAY, ARUBAN ATTORNEY:  Well I don‘t think it‘s really an issue, but generally speaking, investigations and such acts are, you know, the discretion of the prosecution.  With all due respect of—you know and all the understanding in the world for Beth Twitty, as the mother of a possible victim, generally speaking, an attorney with advice, you know the client, not to, you know, interfere with an investigation. 

ABRAMS:  But just—again, before I go on from that, just so I could understand this, the notes I have here say that he went to the police and filed something similar to a stalking complaint.  Can you explain to me as a legal matter what it is that he did? 

YARZAGARAY:  Yes, well, you know if you would compare this to a restraining order or something like that, I don‘t know, it‘s about semantics I guess, but you would need—like basically he would need two or more incidents for something to stick in court. 

ABRAMS:  All right, so right—so this is basically a preliminary step saying if it happens again, then I may have to act. 

YARZAGARAY:  Something in that direction, yes sir. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Gloria Allred, look, you‘ve spent your life representing victims, et cetera.  What do you make of that comment that really the family needs to leave this to the authorities and some even saying that it was, you know, was improper what she did? 

GLORIA ALLRED, VICTIM‘S RIGHTS ATTORNEY:  Well the problem, Dan, is that she‘s been very critical of the authorities.  She has felt that the investigation has not been done in a competent manner and she wants answers.  I think it‘s very unusual that the reports are saying that in fact authorities have provided her with witness statements and possibly documents relating to their investigation and it appears that after reviewing them, she thinks that it‘s an incompetent investigation...

ABRAMS:  If she were...

ALLRED:  ... so she‘s going out and trying to be a private investigator herself...

ABRAMS:  If she were your client, Gloria...

ALLRED:  ... we can identify with the mother of a missing woman...

ABRAMS:  If she were your client, would you tell her to do what Ricardo said, which is stay away? 

ALLRED:  Well I would say at this point it probably would be wise not to go back to him because it is never wise to even be accused of harassing a witness.  I don‘t think that anybody based on one confrontation is going to say she‘s harassing, if that‘s all that happened, is that she went and asked him some questions once.  If she goes more than once...


ALLRED: could be a problem for her. 

ABRAMS:  Joe, if this were happening here, how would it work?  Let‘s assume Deepak Kalpoe is your client and he comes to you, he tells you what happened.  How would something like this work here? 

JOE TACOPINA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well Dan, he basically would do what he did there.  I don‘t know if the name of it is there, but here he would file for what‘s known as a restraining order or an order of protection.  Because what she did to him—and I‘m not about to criticize her emotions, the fact that she wants answers.  She should.  But there is a line that should not be crossed.  And when you start hindering an investigation, like I believe she‘s starting to do by offering witnesses money, even though there‘s a reward out there, you know, sort of try to get answers in lieu of—for reciprocity or for payment...

ABRAMS:  What‘s wrong with putting out a reward, though?

TACOPINA:  No, there‘s nothing wrong with it, but when she‘s demanding answers for money, that is something that will paint any answer...

ABRAMS:  How is that different from any reward?  I mean any reward is saying we want answers...


ABRAMS:  ... money.

TACOPINA:  Because he‘s a potential cooperating witness, that‘s why.  He‘s a potential cooperating witness.  No one who is part of a conspiracy or part of a crime is eligible for reward money.  Reward money comes from a different source.  That‘s a different type of money.  That‘s cooperating money.  That‘s money given to a cooperating witness, you know, to get them to give testimony. 

ABRAMS:  But I think what she‘s basically saying is look, if you‘re not involved here and you have nothing to hide, et cetera, you‘re going to get big reward money. 

TACOPINA:  Right Dan, but that‘s not for her to say.  That‘s why there are people charged with that awesome responsibility of investigating these crimes of going about not only protecting the victim and the victim‘s family and protecting the rights of the Holloway family, but also protecting the rights of that community...

ALLRED:  Wait a minute, Joe.  Because you talk about lines being crossed, in a sense suggesting that maybe she shouldn‘t cross them, what about the fact that she feels that some of the young men that you know have been questioned in this have told conflicting stories?  She believes that some of them have lied and told number stories...

ABRAMS:  Well there‘s no question...

ALLRED:  She wants the truth. 

ABRAMS:  There‘s no question that Joran van Der Sloot has told (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  The authorities...

TACOPINA:  Dan, that‘s all fine and that‘s true, but that helps build a strong case.  But what she is doing, that is not her role to say...

ABRAMS:  Let me...

TACOPINA:  ... well look...


ABRAMS:  Let me take a quick break here.


ABRAMS:  Everyone is going to stick around.  Coming up, we‘re going to hear from Joran van der Sloot‘s former girlfriend.  What does she think about the allegations against Joran and we‘ll continue this conversation, coming up.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, the ex-girlfriend of the key suspect in the Natalee Holloway case speaks out in an exclusive interview.  It‘s coming up after the headlines.



TWITTY:  I think he knows that I‘m all those that you described, but that I was not afraid to confront and look for answers and that I will stop at nothing and I think he knows that now to get them. 


ABRAMS:  That was Natalee Holloway‘s mother on the program last night, only moments after she confronted one of the suspects in this case, Deepak Kalpoe.  We‘re learning just now that Kalpoe has actually gone to the police and filed something similar to a stalking complaint against her, which basically means if she does something again there could be another phone call to the police. 

Ricardo, you‘re on the island there, a local attorney.  What is the sense on the island about Natalee‘s mother?  Do people still sympathize with her, feel her pain or are they starting to believe that she‘s gone too far? 

YARZAGARAY:  No, I don‘t think that anybody would try to imply that she‘s going too far in any sense.  It‘s completely understandable what she‘s doing.  But the thing is, is it wise to maybe give away a surprise that could be used in court by a judge while the, you know when the trial starts because over here—and contrary to the U.S., the judge is very active in the trial, so the judge will start with asking the defendants, the suspects, if you will, amongst which, Kalpoe, questions.  And if—questions that are relevant, maybe good questions are asked beforehand, you know, you can be sure that he‘ll be prepared you know for those questions. 

ABRAMS:  Gloria, what do you tell a client like Beth?  I mean look no one can question her motives.  You can question how she‘s going about doing certain things if you want to, but the bottom line is I think anyone who‘s being fair about this is going to say she‘s acting out of emotion, she‘s acting out of frustration.  She doesn‘t feel that the investigation is doing enough and as a result, she‘s fed up with it.  How do you—what do you say to someone like that when they say look, I‘m going to go and get some answers myself? 

ALLRED:  It‘s very difficult because you know everybody can sympathize with the fact that their child is missing and you know, any one of us would want to know where that child was and what happened.  And it‘s been a long time.  Having said that, I would try to keep her focused on the goals.  The goal is to get answers and the best way to get those answers often is through the system so what you have to do is keep the pressure on the system to help get those answers.  If you want to have a private detective, that‘s fine.  But let people be part of the team who are experienced and let them go and get the answers. 

ABRAMS:  Joe, very quickly, if you were Deepak‘s lawyer would you have advised him against filing a stalking-like complaint or would you have said to go for it?

TACOPINA:  No, Dan, I would have advised him against that because there‘s no one who doesn‘t believe Ms. Holloway is a victim and I would do the same thing as a parent, Dan, quite frankly.  That being said, what Ricardo said is exactly right.  She jeopardized the investigation by either giving up potential error of inquiry, Dan, or sharing information she got in that investigation because they did disclose witness statements to her, so that could be a real danger for this investigation. 

ABRAMS:  All right, Ricardo Yarzagaray, Joe—Gloria Allred and Joe, good to see you.  Thanks a lot. 

TACOPINA:  Thanks Dan.

ABRAMS:  All right, now to Joran van der Sloot, the only suspect still in custody.  He‘s reportedly told conflicting stories about what happened the night Natalee disappeared. 

NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski is back with us.  She spoke to Joran‘s former girlfriend about the allegations.  So did she believe him? 

KOSINSKI:  Well, she believes that he had nothing to do with Natalee‘s disappearance.  Now keep in mind, this is an 18-year-old girl who dated Joran van der Sloot for eight months.  But in this case, it‘s been so difficult to get any information from anybody associated with these suspects, even to just learn a little bit more about them.  We‘re going to get some sense of their character. 

Their friends are pretty much shut down.  They don‘t want to come out for or against any of these people.  But this girlfriend did want to talk to us.  She said she and her family got to know Joran van der Sloot very well and some of the things that you‘ll hear are interesting.

She describes him as flirtatious, yes, but very, very playful and extremely childlike, basically like a big kid.  And at family parties, he would get in with the kids and play with them.  Basically she‘s called him a very nice person and she finds it impossible to believe that he would hurt anybody. 



KOSINSKI:  You fell in love with him. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)   KOSINSKI:  What did you like so much about this boy? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I don‘t know.  He‘s really playful and sweet and fun, spontaneous. 

We‘d always go at his house and watch movies; just you know sit and talk. 

I love talking to him for like hours.  He‘s very sweet to talk to. 

KOSINSKI:  Does it make you sad to think about (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He doesn‘t deserve this. 

KOSINSKI:  Why do you think he doesn‘t? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Because he would never purposely hurt someone. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He‘s not like that, especially another girl.  Like he‘s always very protective of his girlfriends and so you would never think this of him. 

KOSINSKI:  Do you think if an accident did happen, just if, do you think this was the way he would handle it?  Would he sort of not say anything...



KOSINSKI:  Was he very protective of you? 


KOSINSKI:  He was sort of a flirt, wasn‘t he? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, he is.  It‘s like, I don‘t know, like a charming guy.  He likes to flirt a lot.  That‘s the way his personality is.  He‘s always very flirtatious with girls.

KOSINSKI:  Did it make you mad while you were dating that he liked to flirt a lot? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) kind of—not really, because I didn‘t mind.  That was just—he was just being friendly.  He‘s not like that flirtish, just very friendly.

KOSINSKI:  What is it about this guy that makes you say he couldn‘t have done it? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I don‘t know.  He‘s innocent and like I said, he‘s just a kid. 

KOSINSKI:  What do you feel for him being under so much pressure right now, interrogated every day?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think it‘s unfair.

KOSINSKI:  How so? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Nobody deserves that, especially I feel he‘s innocent and it‘s like, he‘s so young and his name is all over the world and people see him as a criminal.  It‘s not fair. 


KOSINSKI:  Joran is one guy who is not talking, at least not to his interrogators and he was interrogated again today—back to you, Dan. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Michelle, keep up the great work out there.  Thanks a lot. 

Coming up, from a Dear John letter to a John Deere mower, runaway bride, Jennifer Wilbanks pays her dues after lying to police about being abducted.  She‘s paying with some time behind the lawn mower. 


ABRAMS:  Coming up, runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks as you‘ve never seen her before, serving her time—the details after the break.



ABRAMS:  Yes, that is runaway bride, Jennifer Wilbanks, wearing an orange government-issued vest, pushing what seems to be a very uncooperative lawn mower.  Today, Wilbanks served eight hours of her court-ordered community service sentence, mowing the lawn outside a local probation office in Lawrenceville, Georgia.  She got 120 hours of community service as part of her plea deal for lying to the Georgia authorities, telling she had been abducted back in April after disappearing four days before her wedding. 

Of course, we‘ve now learned there was no abduction, just cold feet.  Now according to the Georgia Department of Corrections, Wilbanks has already completed about 24 hours of her sentence, doing tasks like scrubbing toilets, washing patrol cars, and picking up trash in parking lots.  A spokesperson told this program that Wilbanks tasks are no different than any of the other people doing community service.

Wilbanks has said she‘s doing well, that she—quote—“needed to get back to work or she‘d get back in trouble—or she‘d get in trouble”, she said.  She also told reporters it had been a long time since she had mowed a lawn. 

Joining us now once again is Shirley Lasseter, the mayor of Duluth, Georgia.  Mayor, thanks for coming back on the program.  We appreciate it.

All right, so she had to sign a waiver, did she not, to allow cameras to shoot her doing this work? 

SHIRLEY LASSETER, MAYOR OF DULUTH, GA:  That was my understanding, was that she did have sign a waivers to everybody that she would allow them to take pictures of her and film her during the work schedule today. 

ABRAMS:  I guess she wanted to show people that she‘s working hard. 

LASSETER:  That or she is enjoying the attention. 

ABRAMS:  Are you at all concerned that after watching her mow that lawn, that there‘s going to be zigzags all over the front of the building there? 

LASSETER:  That‘s funny you should ask.  I didn‘t watch her today. 


ABRAMS:  Now, on a more serious note, I mean this is 120 hours of community service.  The business about scrubbing toilets, doing the rest of that, same thing anyone else would get? 

LASSETER:  It would be the same thing anyone else would get, of course this has come through Gwinnett County and the D.A.‘s office as to what type of work she‘s going to be doing.  The only thing I hope as the mayor in Duluth where this occurred is that it gives her time to reflect back on actually what she did and what she put her family through, her friends through, the tragedy that many of the people felt, to the city of Duluth.  It was our job to find her but to others, it was just a heartbreaking situation and I hope that the community service gives her that opportunity to think, to reflect and to hopefully, grow from this and not to ever let something like this happen again. 

ABRAMS:  And there was some restitution as well, correct? 

LASSETER:  Yes, there was.  We did get financial restitution for the overtime hours that were spent on this case. 

ABRAMS:  Are you comfortable with her being photographed while she‘s mowing the lawn?  I mean it sounds like when you say that she likes the attention, it makes me think that maybe you‘re not so thrilled about it? 

LASSETER:  It really makes no difference one way or the other to me.  This is her community service, this is her life and whether she would like to be photographed or not is certainly up to her and how she feels about that.  I would not have anything to do with that and it doesn‘t bother me one way or the other. 

ABRAMS:  Yes, she wears her diamond earrings while she‘s mowing that lawn.  I‘m thinking that someone‘s going to have to go back and fix it after she‘s done, but who knows.  All right, Mayor Lasseter, thanks a lot for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.

LASSETER:  Thank you so much. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up, your e-mails on this encounter between Natalee Holloway‘s mother and one of the suspects in her daughter‘s disappearance.  Some of you are angry at Natalee‘s mom.


ABRAMS:  We‘re back.  I‘ve had my say, now it‘s time for “Your Rebuttal”. 

Last night we debated Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens‘ comments.  He says among other things that it‘s time to stop victims‘ families from speaking out in death penalty cases. 

Patrick Orr writes, “I agree with Justice Stevens.  Not only should these statements not reach the jury, I believe they should be eliminated altogether.  Emotion is the enemy of reason, which is the foundation for a fair criminal trial.  The government should lead by refusing to indulge people‘s base emotions with the justice system.”

But from New York City, Anna Krengel writes, “Justice Paul Stevens is an idiot.  There is no such thing as a victim‘s statement getting out of hand.”

Also last night, Beth Holloway Twitty, the mother of Natalee missing in Aruba, confronted one of the suspects in her daughter‘s disappearance at the cafe where he works.  She wanted to know whether he participated in or witnessed the sexual assault of her daughter.  He didn‘t answer.

Randy Benson in St. Paul, Minnesota, “There‘s not a shred of evidence to support the claim that her daughter was raped.  There is also not a shred of evidence to support her claim that her daughter thought she was getting into a cab the night she disappeared.”

From San Francisco, Wayne writes, “I think that Beth Holloway Twitty and others who have gone to the Internet caf’ should be charged with obstruction of justice and interfering with an investigation.  She needs to let the authorities in Aruba do their job.”

You know, look Wayne, maybe.  But I think many of you who are parents can understand with all this time passing, seeming little progress, why she may want to do something more than just wait for the authorities.  Even if it‘s the wrong thing to do, I can understand why she is doing what see doing. 

And finally Chris from Tacoma, Washington, “I do not see it as being unusual for Deepak to deny saying anything to Beth when he‘s been advised not to do so by his attorney.”

Your e-mails  We go through them at the end of the show. 

Coming up, when life throws you lemons, you‘re supposed to make lemonade, not call the police on guys who are 9 and 11 who are selling lemonade.  Our “OH PLEAs!” is next.


ABRAMS:  “OH PLEAs!”—two boys selling lemonade—it sounds so cute and summery, but not to a nearby vendor.  Nine-year-old Dominic Serino and 11-year-old Ryan Decker were out making money the old fashioned way.  They‘d set up their stand.  They were selling lemonade for .50 cents a cup.  But then came the real squeeze.  A nearby sausage vendor called the police and complained that the lemonade stand was hurting his business and that the boys were selling those drinks without a license. 

The police, forced to shut down the stand because the boys didn‘t have a $2,200 vending permit.  But the sausage man realized that his business might end up in the grinder if he came across as a big wiener so he agreed to subcontract the lemonade stand under his license, but it‘s just temporary, until the boys go back to school.  The boys should be smiling.  They‘re probably happy now they can work with the sausage man. 

That does it for us tonight.  Up next—before we—right, before we—I just want to bring you continuing breaking news on the story of this manhunt.  If you have any information on the whereabouts of these two people, the Hyattes, George and—what is his wife‘s name—Jennifer Hyatte.  She is believed to have shot a corrections officer outside of the courthouse to help spring her husband. 

They met in prison.  She was a prison nurse.  And she got kicked out of her job apparently for having some sort of relationship with the inmate.  Well apparently she has now taken the next step, allegedly shooting a corrections officer to help her husband go free, serving a 35-year sentence and they are on the loose.  They are wanted. 

She is believed to have been injured in the shootout—armed and dangerous.  There are the pictures.  If you‘ve got any information, there are the numbers. 

All right.  Coming up next, “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews.  Thanks for watching.  Have a good night.  Guess what?  See you tomorrow.  I hope.  Please.



Content and programming copyright 2005 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2005 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.